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Avel Central

AVEL Central was an avionics repair company stationed in the III Corps area of South Vietnam. 

AVEL Central stands for Aviation Electronics Support Company (Provisional) Central.

AVEL Central was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington on 28 December 1965 as the 335th Signal Detachment per Sixth Army General Order 231. It had an initial strength of one officer and eight enlisted men.  2Lt Louis D. Nemus was Commanding Officer.

In February 1966 the 335th Signal detachment was transported to South Vietnam by U.S. Navy transport arriving in March 1966. The 335th was assigned to the 258th Signal Detachment, 765th Transportation Bn., 34th General Support Group.

The 335th Signal Detachment was assigned as a Direct Support platoon at Phu Loi Army Airfield and attached to the 605th Transportation Company. While in this capacity the detachment became a General Support Avionics Platoon (3rd Platoon AESCS [Aviation Electronics Support Command South]).

Department of the Army, HQ 34th General Support group (AM&S), General Order 6, dated 1 April 1967 reassigned the 335th Signal Detachment from the 765th Transportation Bn. to the 520th Transportation Bn. at Phu Loi.

In September 1967 the unit changed its designation from the 335th Signal Detachment to AVEL Central (Provisional).  Headquarters and 1st Platoon were located at Phu Loi and 2nd Platoon was located at Cu Chi. The 3rd Platoon was formed at Di-An in February 1968. CWO Harry Lance was platoon leader. Shortly after formation it was moved to Tay Ninh where it remained until June 1968 when it returned to Di-An. At this point Lt. Schallenberg was the platoon leader.

The 3rd Platoon was disbanded at Di-An on 8 August 1968 and its personnel were integrated into the 1st Platoon at Phu Loi and the 2nd Platoon at Cu Chi. But, the 3rd Platoon was reorganized at Bien Hoa on 2 November 1968 and attached to the newly arrived 357th Transportation Company.

The 3rd Platoon at Bien Hoa was disbanded on 1 October 1970 and its personnel integrated into the 1st Platoon at Phu Loi and the 2nd Platoon at Cu Chi. The 2nd Platoon was moved to Phu Loi on 1 November 1970. When Avel finally consolidated at Phu Loi it was attached to the 165th Transportation Company.  The 165th supplied our food and other support activities. Avionics work was done in trailers on the east end of the airfield. The company worked around the clock in two shifts to keep their aviation assets in the air.

Rocket and mortar attacks were rather frequent in 1970. Things slacked off right after the invasion into Cambodia in April 1970 but picked up again in August and continued throughout the year. Attacks were frequent in 1971 but eventually the offensive in MRI called Lam Son 719 took its toll on the enemy. During this offensive Avel Central sent two soldiers up north to Khe Sanh to support the offensive. These were Sgt. Gleenl Young and SP/5 Hennessey.  Lam Son 719 had a great impact on NVA forces and attacks on Phu Loi greatly decreased in the summer of 1971 until he end of the year.  

In March 1971 we opened a large single building shop where all avionics bench repair was done. This was the nucleus of the company until it was finally torn down in April 1972.  The old vans were closed and turned back in.
 1972 as a very calm period. Several attacks but nothing really serious.  The writing was on the wall and it was a time of parties and fun. But of course danger lurked around the corner.  There was a large sign that stated "Stay alert, stay alive" and this was in everyone's mind as no one wanted to be the last GI to die in Vietnam. The company participated in the defense of the base and was assigned a sector of defense. In 1970 this consisted of one bunker by the main gate next to Tower 5. This bunker was manned by three soldiers at night on a rotational basis. Guard lasted for one week.
In 1971 our perimeter sector was moved and we took over Tower 6. At the base of tower 6 was a bunker which was the primary defensive position.  This position was manned by two soldiers 24 hours a day.
By the end of 1971 the war was winding down and the work load was less. As units shut down Avel received an influx of troops from all over Vietnam. Because so many troops were coming and going it is difficult to remember who was who.
In January 1972 we took over a bunker at the east end of the airfield. The bunker was in poor condition so we built a new one with timbers, sandbags and an RPG fence.
Armament consisted of an M-60 machine gun and a M-79 grenade launcher. Each soldier also had their M-16. Every night claymore mines were put out in case of an attack. There was also fu-gas, a form of jellied aviation fuel set off by C-4 explosives and ignited by a phosphorous grenade.
In 1972 the company was shutting down. Those with a lot of time left on their tours and those who had voluntarily extended were transferred to other places throughout Vietnam.  The rest continued to shut down Phu Loi and then were sent to Long Binh to await processing. There they quietly folded the colors and went home.
Commanding Officers:
1965: LT Louis D. Nemus
1966: Major Tosso
1966: CPT Weber
1967: LT Jay Sarajian
1967: LT James Gideon
1967: LT Jay Sarajian
1967: Major David A. Harpman
1968: CPT Sabin
1968: Major Glover
1969: Major Lou Barber
1969: Major Paul F. Burke
1970: Major Peters
1970: CWO3 Nagamine
1970: Major Roger D. Shiley
1971: Major Joseph A. Matos JR

Company First Sergeants
1967: S/Sgt Cunningham
1967: SFC Cress
1968: SFC Donald C. Christmas
1968: SFC Igo
1969: S/Sgt Davis
1969: SFC Yoho
1970: SFC Donald McCune
1971: SFC Edmound Fitzpatrick
1971: S/Sgt Willis
1971: SFC Marvin L. Bentz