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Photo submitted by: Denis Hare

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This page is dedicated to three of our Phu Lamers who died in the My Canh Restaurant Bombing on June 25, 1965. The information below came from newspaper clippings, remembrances from fellow Phu Lamers and informaion from U. S. Army Documents, Individual Deceased Personnel Files on each of the three Phu Lamers.


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Newspaper Clippings

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Friday June 25, 1965

29 Are Killed as Terrorists Bomb Saigon Restaurant- 8 Americans Among Dead - 100 Wounded -

Terrorist bombs shattered a floating restaurant on the Saigon river here tonight and killed at least 29 persons, including eight Americans.

Two big explosions sounded almost simultaneously from the river bank. Witnesses said they believed that as many as 50 persons may have died in the crowded restaurant, the My Canh, and on the riverside boulevard nearby.

Police said that 17 of the dead were Caucasians, and presumably most of these were Americans. Of six Viet Namese dead in the initial count, most were women. A United States military spokesman said the dead included five U.S. servicemen and three American Civilians. He said 30 persons injured were targeted at American installations. One hundred or more persons were wounded…

The explosions at the My Canh occurred at 8:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. St Louis time). One was caused by a powerful shaped charge - possibly an American-made Claymore electric mine - planted in the bank of the river. The Claymore explodes in the direction it is pointed.

The restaurant which is moored about 25 feet from the bank, has an entry over a gang-plank leading from the waterfront street. It is patronized mostly by Americans and wealthy Viet Namese.

A second blast, which investigators believed was caused by a bomb mounted on a bicycle went off at a tobacco stall on the bank next to the restaurant. Investigators assumed that the explosions were placed in advance and timed to explode at the peak of the dinner hour on a weekend night. The restaurant was crowded and its glass walls were crushed under the haul of fragments. Victims were carried to a number of Saigon hospitals and authorities had difficulty in compiling casualty lists.

The riverfront normally is thronged with strollers seeking cool breezes in the early part of the night. Women walking with the children were among the casualties. At least one American woman was believed to have been killed. The dead and wounded were scattered in a wide arc…

In sheer power the blasts were exceeded by several others, including the bombing last Christmas eve of an officers hotel and the bombing in March of the United States Embassy. Although Viet Namese police patrol the Saigon waterfront, the My Canh restaurant has not been regarded as a likely prime terrorist target. There were no American military police near the establishment when the blasts occurred. The scene is about 500 yards from the U.S. Embassy, which is heavily guarded since it was damaged March 30 by a terrorist bomb that killed 30 persons.


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San Francisco Chronicle

June 26, 1965
Floating Saigon Cafe Bombed
31 die 49 hurt
9 Yanks killed

Two powerful terrorist bombs exploded in quick succession beside a crowded floating restaurant on the Saigon river last night, killing at least 31 persons including nine Americans. Among the 49 injured were 11 Americans, 33 Vietnamese and five persons of other nationalities. Five of the dead Americans were servicemen. At least two of the other four were U.S. Government employees. Eighteen Vietnamese were killed along with two Frenchmen and a Frenchwoman and one unidentified Causcasian. The terrorist strike staged about 500 yards from the United States Embassy was the bloodiest of its kind in Saigon during the Vietnamese war. The double-barreled blasts erupted on shore, slashing across the luxuriously appointed decks of the restaurant, the My Canh, felling strollers on the riverside boulevard and smashing windows as far as two blocks away. The terrorist bomb strike left the My Canh's decks and the boulevard pavement slick with blood.

Dining on choice Chinese food and French wine aboard the My Canh were nearly 100 Vietnamese and Americans, including United States advisers in from field duty with Vietnamese Military units.

They were prime targets of the explosions, which left both decks a smoking smoldering mass of broken bulwarks, smashed tables and splintered crockery. Others hit were on the boulevard nearby seeking relief from the heat in early night breezes.

U.S. investigators said one of the bombs was a powerful shaped charge- possibly an American-made Claymore electric mine - planted in the back of the river near the restaurants' awning-covered gangplank. The Claymore is an aimed device, exploding in the direction in which it is pointed. The other was a bicycle bomb. Its explosion left a tangled of tires and twisted metal beside a boulevard stall.

Presumably both were timed devices set to go off simultaneously. Whoever planted them seemed to have escaped. Three was no indication of any arrests. The attack was the third major terrorist thrust within the capitol in the last three months……

The riverfront attack on the first night of a new anti-luxury curfew, decreed by Premier Nguyen Cao KY's new military government to cut down the capital's conspicuous nightlife. The curfew was due to start at 11 p.m., one hour later for some reason than was announced in the original order Thursday. Streets have been swarmed for two days with Vietnamese military police, marines and other guards, especially alert against terrorism. A police patrol boat regularly cruises the Saigon river……

June 27, 1965
Sacramento Man Died in Saigon Blast
Sacramento

Five men from the Sacramento area were in the floating restaurant in Saigon when it was bombed by the Viet Cong, the Air Force said yesterday. One of them was killed, three were reported missing and one was injured, McClellan Air Force Base spokesmen here said. All were civilian employees of the Air Force who repaired damaged aircraft. Dead was Leon C. Forcum, of Sacramento. Missing were Leo D. Nelson, Sacramento; Floyd R. McKinney, North Highlands; and John M Kilzer, Sacramento. Alfred H. Charanza. Fair Oaks, was injured.


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San Francisco Examiner

June 27, 1965

Saigon (UPI) …A U.S. Spokesman said the latest figures for the Friday night bombing were 42 dead including 12 Americans. Eighty persons were injured in the blast, including 15 Americans. Many were women and children…

…Only a few shocking reminders of the bombing could be seen outside the floating restaurant. It was cordoned off by police who strung rolls of concertine wire around the restaurant to keep the curious away. From a distance, My Canh itself looked ready to open again for business. Only a few chairs cluttered the floor. But there were dozens of pellet holes in the tall which fronting along the upper edge of the boat- restaurant.



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Soldier's Information

Last name: BROWN
First name: JAMES THARPE JR
Home of Record (official): ATLANTA
State (official): GA
Date of Birth: Friday, March 19, 1943
Sex: Male
Race: Negro
Marital Status: Single
--- Military ---
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Serial Number: 14863202
Component: Regular
Pay grade: E3
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 72C20
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Monday, November 9, 1964
Date of Casualty: Friday, June 25, 1965
Age at time of loss: 22
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Bomb explsoion (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Gia Dinh
The Wall: Panel 02E - Row 017

brown

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Last name: IHNAT
First name: MICHAEL JOHN
Home of Record (official): PERTH AMBOY
State (official): NJ
Date of Birth: Thursday, April 29, 1943
Sex: Male
Race: Caucasian
Marital Status: Single
--- Military ---
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Serial Number: 12700592
Component: Regular
Pay grade: E3
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 72C20
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Monday, November 9, 1964
Date of Casualty: Friday, June 25, 1965
Age at time of loss: 22
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Bomb explsoion (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Gia Dinh
The Wall: Panel 02E - Row 018

ihnat

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Last name: WILLIAMSON
First name: CHARLES ALTON
Home of Record (official): GREENWOOD
State (official): WV
Date of Birth: Monday, December 7, 1925
Sex: Male
Race: Caucasian
Marital Status: Single
--- Military ---
Branch: Army
Rank: SSG
Serial Number: 34072124
Component: Regular
Pay grade: E6
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 36H40
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Saturday, November 21, 1964
Date of Casualty: Friday, June 25, 1965
Age at time of loss: 39
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Bomb explsoion (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Gia Dinh
The Wall: Panel 02E - Row 019


williamson

FROM ARMY DOCUMENTS

The following information are additions from the Army Documents, and are listed on all 3 of the soldiers documents.

1.  Died on 25 June 1965 in Vietnam as the result of extreme, multiple injuries incurred in a restaurant when an explosive device was detonated.

2. Individual was at the My Canh Floating restaurant, Saigon, RVN when explosive device was detonated. Death is the result of hostile action.


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WE REMEMBER
From: Donald Alston 11/65 to 11/66

I arrived at Phu Lam in mid November 1965, as a replacement for one of two fellows who were killed a few weeks or a month or so prior to me getting instant orders for shipping. The EM mess hall was named for them. I can not remember their names, but very clearly remembering them as being members of the overseas switchboard crew because of me looking at some old duty rosters that I was about to destroy... The two men mentioned were killed in a restaurant bombing in Saigon as I remember being told and were best of buddies, must have been killed around September or October 1965. I received instant orders to pack and move out without getting to graduate from signal school. It was four of us who were taken from school, given our final exams [right then] and off we were sent. bar

From: Harry Chamberlain 10/65 to 8/66

The Restaurant bombing was the Mai Cahn(sp) restaurant. It was on a barge floating in the Saigon River. Cong threw a grenade into the water on the River side of the barge, and as the people ran off the barge to shore they detonated claymores hung in the trees. All in all a very well planned, coordinated , and, unfortunately for us, deadly attack.

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From: Joe Martin

The floating restuarant killing where we lost SSG Williamson, Sp4 Brown, (my roommate in the Prince Hotel) and Brown"s best friend Sp4 Inhet sic who also lived in the Prince Hotel. Williamson who worked at Ton Son Nhut With me was with Freddie Philpot that night. Freddie was injured. Brown and Ihnet both worked on the overseas switchboard and Willamson had worked at Phulam until just a couple of months prior to his death. He had a telephone MOS and we were in need of someone with wiring experience to get our Main Frame cleaned up. Willy was promoted to SSG shortly after moving to Tan Son Nhut. Keep in mind that we worked at Tan Son NHut but we were assigned to Phu Lam. I can certainly attest to that after pulling all that guard duty out there.



my canh restaurant
"My Canh Restaurant"
We wish to thank Harlan Olson & Ken Jones for giving
us permission to use their photo.
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bombing map

The arrow on the map shows the Gia Dinh province and the area where the My Canh Restaurant is located.

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