Potrait of Mai from Lowell Gomsrud
From: lowell r gomsrud [email@example.com]
Subject: Nguyen Thi Ngoc-Mai
Hi Andrew: here is a photo of Mai taken about two weeks before she was killed outside camp red ball. I got this photo from Mai's parents when I went back to Viet Nam for the third time and went to CRB. I particularly wanted you to see this now since Sunday, May 17, is Mai's birthday. She was born in 1950. She was three and-a-half months short of 18 years old.
I was the XO and occasionally the CO of the 38th BPO at CRB from September 67 to June 68 when we had to move up to Camp Camelot at Long Binh. I had a BOQ with Lt. George Zumwalt until he was transferred out of CRB in November, I think it was. I stayed in touch with him until about 15 years agol
I appreciate seeing the photos of Mai's house and other camp red ball sites on your website, especially the swimming hole. Do you know what was in that ditch? I do. Agent Orange.
I was in a position during Tet 68 to get a lot of information that you probably did not know about. I'll try to send some of it to you one of these days.
Mai, a sister and two brothers, along with the guy you mention on your website, were killed by the Third Squadron, Fourth Cavalry, 25th Infantry division firing tracked 155 howitzers from Tan Son Nhut, over
250 – 155mm rounds over a three-day period. Chances are that's what got you, although we got several VC mortar rounds in over the same period. The armored cavalry squadron used the radio call sign Vindicator Six-Niner.
Lowell Gomsrud in his officer’s billets after the Tet shelling
Location of Camp Red Ball from Lowell Gomsrud
From: lowellgomsrud [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hi Andy> I see you have a photo of the BOQ on your website. I was in this building when it was hit several times (Vindicator 69) A piece of shrapnel came through the wall maybe 2 feet above my head. i believe that the big circular hole shown in the BOQ in your photo was made by a VC mortar. As far as we could tell, the VN69 155 rounds were set to explode about 11 feet above ground.
I got your emails but I have a MAC and am having trouble unzipping them. If you would like to you could send them to a friend of mine who has a PC (and who worked for IBM for 30 years as a computer expert) who could then put them on a CD and bring them to me. Here's his email
As you see I am now also hooked up to comcast.
Camp Red Ball was located approx 800 meters southwest of the hamlet of Xom Moi. Xom moi was in An Nhon village, which was in Go-Vap district which was in Gia Dinh province.
Here's a portion of the 1:25,000 pictomap. CRB is roughly in the center where i put the red X. It's shown as a rice field surrounded on three sides by jungle VN 69 was firing mostly along the north perimeter, along the treeline. Right across the road south of CRB you'll remember was a very big ARVN ordnance camp surrounded by a high wall. VN 69 probably thought they were firing to protect that ARVN camp. VN 69 did not know that the rice field surrounded by trees was CRB.
From: lowellgomsrud [email@example.com]
Subject: Fwd: Very glad to hear from you.
I am really glad to hear from you. I got your messages and photos and I appreciate them very much. Thank you, thank you. And I forgot to say that I really really appreciate your website.
I just came home unexpectedly for a few minutes. I've been staying with a woman I know who has just got out of the hospital and lives alone, but I'll probably be finished with that by next Monday.
The first thing I'll do when I get back will be to study your photos. I have some photos I took at Camp Red Ball that are Kodak Instamatic 110 slides, and I'll scan them for you. I also have several 35 mm color slides taken by David Barde from the 38th that are pretty good I think, that I'll get to you. (David died in 2002). I also have the 1:25,000 color pictomap of the camp red ball area that I would like you to have a copy of. And some other stuff like SVN propaganda leaflets that were dropped around and on crb because we were basically surrounded by four VC battalions, about 1300 troops I think.
Don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while. I've got uncontrollabe diabetes and a few other things and I have quite a bit (too much) down time. But I'm managing.
Did I give you my adress? 7801 Ridgeway Road, Golden Valley, MN 55426-1409.
Phone (I don't have an answering machine but will check my caller ID: 763-546-3288.
If you'd like to give me your address I'll try to send some stuff to you.
I've been working on a novel about Mai for the last 30 years or so, so any information you have about Camp Red Ball would be fascinating to say the least.
George Michael Zumwalt is a librarian somewhere in the VA medical system. I think he was last somewhere in the deep south. Nowdays he prefers to go by his middle name: Michael
I will be contacting you again many times. thanks again. Please say hello to all the guys from Camp Red Ball.
Very best wishes: Lowell Gomsrud
Gomsrud, Lowell R.
Gomsrud, Lowell Robert Age 71, of Golden Valley, MN, passed away peacefully in his home on Feb. 18, 2014. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Lola Gomsrud, nephew, Clinton Hill and brother-in-law, William Hill. Lowell was born on April 27, 1942 in Hollywood, CA, and grew up in Minneapolis, MN. He graduated from Golden Valley High School and went on to earn a Master's Degree from the University of Minnesota. He served as a U.S. Army Lieutenant during the Vietnam War, and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service. Lowell later returned to Vietnam to work with war orphans during Operation Babylift. For 29 years, Lowell worked as a writer for the MN Department of Revenue. During his time there, he transformed the department's complex publications into easy to read documents. Lowell was an accomplished writer and teacher. His published works include Mai Is The Name Of A Flower, Remembering The Women Of The Vietnam War (written under the name Lowell Robertssen), and Adrift On The River Of Love (under the name Erik Granstrom). Lowell is survived by his daughter, Siri Gomsrud; former wife, Van Tran; his sister, Teri Gomsrud Hill (Dennis Johnson); and his nieces, Karina Hill (Jacob Taintor) and Genine Osher (William Osher). A visitation will be held on Sat., Feb. 22, from 11 am to 1 pm at Gearty- Delmore Chapel, 3888 W. Broadway, Robbinsdale. Burial will be held following the visitation at Crystal Lake Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Save the Children, savethechildren. org or Vietnam Veterans of America, vva.org. Gearty-Delmore 763-537-4511
Published on February 20, 2014, Star Tribune
of Minnesota, http://www.startribune.com/
· Larry W. Nutter
I was stationed with Lowell in VietNam. We worked at the 38th Base Post Office Near Saigon. I remember him as we both were wounded during the TET offensive 1968. Just sorry I could not reconnect with Lowell prior to his passing. RIP Brother.