Colonel Willard Esplin
Colonel Willard (Wil) Esplin
Served 26 years in the US Army but this section tells of his 2 tours in Vietnam. His daughter Holli Joyce supplied me a treasure box (4 of them) of material her father saved over the decades, and landed on her front porch when he died. To date we have found an audio tape, several letters, awards from the Vietnamese Army, a report by a Vietnamese Colonel or General on the battle for Kontum in 1972, a 24 page introduction for men newly assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in 1966 and other materials still to be found. August 16, 2011.
Welcome to Vietnam
This 24 page pamphlet is written to introduce soldiers arriving in Vietnam, to its history, culture, geography and the war. The 1st Infantry Division deployed from Ft. Riley to Vietnam in 1965 and my guess is this was written about that time. Very few Americans knew it's location or anything about Vietnam and this does a great job of informing new arrivals. The first part is a history of the "Big Red One", our first American Army division. I rate it excellent.
Wil Esplin Audio Tape
Recorded in 1972 the tape contains an after action battle report done from memory and talks about his dealing with the Vietnamese military and the local civilian government. This is a large file and may load slowly.
Appointment letter from General William Westmoreland
A letter of appointment from the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, William Westmoreland, offering an appointment to Col. Wil Esplin and an interview with the General. The program was run by the US State Foreign Service Institute to train US Army Soldiers that would interface with Vietnamese civilian and military leaders as a Provence Advisor. Provence Advisor was not an easy assignment but a big plus in making full Colonel in the US Army
The Sentinel, Summer of 1985
This is the newletter of the Society of the First Division telling the story of the pre-deployment preparation and deployment to Vietnam in November 1969.
The Sentinel, Fall of 1985
This is the newsletter of the Society of the First Divison telling the story of the years 1965 to 1970, while the division was deployed in Vietnam.
After Action Report on Cedar Falls Operation
A letter to members of th 1st Division by Commanding General H.W. DePuy, reporting the results of the recently completed "Operation Cedar Falls".
Montagnard Knife and Scabbard
(Large File) This knife and scabbard were made for Col. Esplin then engraved. We tried many ways of photographing the knife and ended up using almost all of them, 17 images. The scabbard is decorated and we show both sides. It is very sharp!
Four medals given to Wil Esplin by the Vietnamese Army and copies of the papers awarding the medals.