My blog service, Typepad, gives me information daily on how many page hits the blog receives the previous day. In addition, I can also see what kinds of Google searches people have done to find the blog. However, I cannot see who has made the searches.
Sometimes, reviewing these Google searches gives me ideas for topics to cover. Some of these items are very particular to some shared experience the searcher and I may have had. Lately, there have been several searches for "OICC" and "Dang Duc Sieu". There are not many people in the world that would have interest in searching on those terms. Those terms are common primarily to those of us who served with the U.S. Navy Officer in Charge of Construction, Republic of Vietnam, back in the late 60s and early 70s. Dang Duc Sieu was the old name of the one-block-long street on which the small hotel was located that housed our 50-or-so naval Civil Engineer Corps officers.
The office building of OICC-RVN was located at 176 Hai Ba Trung Street in downtown Saigon. OICC had many American and Vietnamese civilian employees.
The building is still located there, in use as an office building for a state-owned Vietnamese company.
Since OICC-RVN was the contracting officer for the cost-plus construction contract with the huge contracting consortium RMK-BRJ, many old RMK senior staff will also be familiar with this building.
Đường (Street) Dang Duc Sieu is now named Đường (Street) Nam Quốc Cang.
This is that street today as viewed from the west on Bùi Thi Xuân Street. I cannot remember what the name of this street used to be. The OICC hotel was located mid-block on the right hand (south) side of the street.
The opposite street on the east was called Võ Tánh Street, but is now called Nguyễn Trãi Street. This photo is taken from Nguyễn Trãi Street viewed west on old Dang Duc Sieu Street.
This was the hotel in 1972, featuring grenade screens and a generator out in front behind the green sandbags.
My friend and blog reader emem, who worked in another building on this street until recently, tells me that this hotel was torn down several years ago and replaced with the building shown in the center of the following photograph (not the building with the "KOOL" sign).
The more I look at this photo, however, the more I believe that it is possible that the building was remodeled. The height is the same, and you can see the old roof-top restaurant and deck at the top of the building.
Here is a view of the houses across the street in 1972:
And here is the house across the street today:
The modernist house that was located to the left of the French colonial villa has either been rebuilt or substantially remodeled.
This was the view in 1972 to the west end of Dang Duc Sieu from the rooftop of the hotel.
This is the view today at the end of Dang Duc Sieu:
The new eight to ten-story buildings along the street and at the end of the street are typical of the new construction in Ho Chi Minh City over the past decade in District 1 neighborhoods.
This neighborhood is located south of downtown (downtown defined as the City Hall area at the west end of Nguyễn Huê Blvd. where it intersects with Lê Lợi Blvd.) As shown in this photograph taken in 1972 from the hotel rooftop with a telephoto lens,
a railroad yard with the old terminal at the end stretched to the Bến Thành market. This area is now a long park called 23 September Park, bordered on the right by Phạm Ngũ Lão Street, which is now the center for cheap "backpacker" hotels.
In this photo taken in 1972 just to the left of the previous photo, a water tower, church, and rounded apartment building are shown.
All of those structure still exist, as shown in this photograph taken by my friend emem a couple of years ago.
The new checkered building is Zen Plaza, a retail shopping center.
The Church was on Võ Tánh Street, now renamed as Nguyễn Trãi Street. This is the modern view of this street at the intersection of the old Dang Duc Sieu Street.
The new high-rise building at the end of old Dang Duc Sieu is a 13 or 14-story building, and is emblematic of the changes occurring throughout Ho Chi Minh City.