1969

1969 OVERVIEW

COMMANDER:
LTC Dreisonstok
LTC Mann – 18 March to 12 August 1969
LTC Walrath – 13 August 1969 to early 1970

LOCATION:
AO — Trang Bang northeast 12 miles to Saigon River, and just off LTL-6A (“Six Alpha”) to 4 or 5 miles east — including the Citadel, the Ho Bo woods, and the Boi Loi woods.

HQ — Fire Support Pershing

REAR — Cu Chi Base Camp

OUTPOSTS:
— Fire Support Stuart
— Patrol Base Dees – 6 May to Oct/Nov 1969
— Patrol Base Lorence

 

The 2/12th Infantry fought vicious battles in early
1969; the spring of the year; and during the “Mini-Tet”
holiday. The October 24th firefight _ in the Ho Bo
Woods _ caused Alpha major casualties.

The Army claimed that the North sent down about
110,000 NVA during 1969. An amazing number. We
were shipping over about 2,400 a week. So things _
replacement wise _ were about equal.

COMBAT BATTALIONS IN VIETNAM:
98 Infantry
3 Tank
9 Artillery

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“Throughout the year 1969 the battalion operated northeast of Cu Chi in three traditional enemy strongholds, the Ho Bo woods, the Boi Loi woods and the “Citadel.” The “Citadel,” an area of rice paddies and secondary growth covers the northeastern portion of HAU NGHIA province. It had been a resting place and resupply area for the V.C. for many years and was dominated by a well-trained and well equipped enemy force with many years of combat experience and success in battle to its credit. The battalions primary mission was to destroy the enemy in and around the “Citadel” and return the area to government control.”

[SOURCE: Annual Historical Supplement of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry the period 1 January to 31 December 1969 — courtesy of Danny Darnell — hereafter referred in Sarge’s History as ‘2/12th 1969 ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT’ (or) ‘2/12 ANN HIST SUP.’ _ bh)]

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JANUARY 1969

________
1 JAN 69
Co. A Operational Control (OPCON) to C/1/5 Mech.
Inf. (the Bobcats)
Co. B & B/2/27 Night Laagered
Co. D in Cu Chi for Stand Down
CRIP in Trang Bang

1 platoon Co. B & 1 plt. Co. C on Road Security along
LTL 6-A (known as Six Alpha)

Co. A 2/12th (& C Co. 1/5th) providing security for Rome
Plows clearing land along Six Alpha at Ap Gia Lam _
just north of the cemetery _ north of Trang Bang.

ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
Three Americans _
James Brigham, Donald Smith and Thomas Jones _
were released by the National Liberation Front (NLF)
in a “goodwill” gesture.

_______
2 JAN 69
Co. B at Fire Support Base (FSB) Pershing
Co. D Cu Chi Stand Down. Returns via convoy and
replaces Co. C at FSB Stuart.
Co. C (upon relief) moved from Stuart to Pershing.

One (1) platoon B & 1 plt C Road Security.

1 platoon of Bravo ‘riffed’ from Pershing to Ap Long
Muc (vic 520247) on south side of Dry Lake and
returned to Pershing

C Co. OPCON to 3/4 CAV. One platoon of the Cav
was at Stuart.

Co. A OPCON to 1/5th Mech for Rome Plow security
night laager (NL) at Ap Gia Lam.

________
3 JAN 69
Co. A OPCON to Mech for Rome Plow operations
north of Trang Bang in Xa Bao Me (1/2 klick north of
Pagoda). At 3:55pm a Rome Plow hit a large mine
and became a “combat loss.”
Co.’s B & C at Pershing.
Co. D at Stuart with one platoon of Armor coming in
every night for additional security.

Co. B set up a Check Point (road block) along Six
Alpha at that nasty little VC village (vic XT525).

Co. C riffed west across 6-A and the stream to an
area west of Rung Cay _ to check point at 499259 for
a search. They then moved south a klick. Moved
through that nasty little VC village and back to
Pershing.
Co. D swept the lower end of Six Alpha (TL – 6A).

________
4 JAN 69
Co. A still OPCON with the Mech & Rome Plows in
the Xa Bao Me area east of 6-A and north of Trang
Bang. They took several RPG rounds that severely
damaged a Rome Plow.
Co.’s B & C night laagered at FSB Pershing.
Co. D at FSB Stuart.
1 platoon C Co. & 1 plt. D Co. on Road Security.

Co. B (2 platoons) patrolled south from Pershing;
through Ap Truong Gai; Ong Dam (so of the rubber)
and back.

Co. C (2 plt.s) patrolled east from Pershing to an area
just west of Bo Heo; then between Bo Heo and Suoi
Sup and back to base.

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION:
The mess hall of D
Co., 554th Engineers was bombed at Cu Chi.

________
5 JAN 69
A Co., 2/12th Inf. & A/1/5 Mech. established a new
night laager northeast of Trang Bang in the vicinity of
An Thoi / An Binh.
B & C Co.’s at Pershing.
D Co. at Stuart.
1 platoon B Co. & 1 plt. D Co. have Road Security.

Co. B flies northwest out of Pershing; over Six Alpha & the stream to an LZ just north of the Nguyen-van-Tan
rubber plantation. They moved north one klick;
messed around a little and flew back to base.

Co. C flies NW and lands in a rice paddy _ between
the Suoi Cao and Nguyen-van-Tan rubber plantations
near Suoi Cao(2) _ one mile west of Bravo’s LZ.
Charlie company moved north about a klick and
returned to base.

That evening, Bravo on way to their ambush position
engaged three VC _ just east of that nasty little VC
village vic XT5025. Bravo struck with organic
weapons and 81mm mortars. No known results.

________
6 JAN 69
Co. A 2/12 & 1plt. B/1/5 are night laagered three klicks east of Trang Bang and one klick north of Hwy 1.
[From the ARVN ‘French Fort’ on Hwy 1 go NE one
klick on the dirt oxcart road through Ap An Binh.]
While working 1/2 klm. south of the night laager a
Rome Plow was damaged by a mine.

Co. B was night laagered (NL) four klicks SE of
Pershing in the Xa Troung Dai area _ future site of
Patrol Base Dees in MAY. A Bravo AP blew a bush
on 12VC with claymores and killed 11 VC (BC).
Moving back to the laager they spotted a group of ten
VC and called in artillery on them. At the same time
Bravo was mortared by the VC. No friendly casualties
in the exchanges. During the day, other elements of
Bravo riffed south of Round Lake. This element
spotted six enemy and they were engaged by a
helicopter light fire team (LFT) resulting in 5 VC
KIA(possible).

C Co. at FSB Pershing. Charlie company Eagle Flight to an LZ just west of Ong Dam _ one klick west of
where Bravo was working. Charlie then flew three
klicks east _ pass Rd. Lake _ to an LZ near Xa Trung
Hung where they received fire from an estimated six
VC/NVA. Charlie returned fire with organic weapons
and a LFT with unknown results.

________
8 JAN 69
Co. C KIA:
Medic Spc4 Larry E. Stephens (21) of Walker, AL
perished while on road security in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A still working with the Rome Plows east of Trang Bang.
Co. B & 2 platoons of Co. C at FSB Pershing.
1 platoon of Co. C [Co. C (_)] night laagered north of
Xa Soui Sup. During the day they did a local rif and
were flown back to Pershing.
1 platoon of B & 1 plt. of C from Pershing have road
security.

Co. B moved by convoy to replace Co. A with Rome
Plows. Alpha trucked to Cu Chi for Stand Down.

________
9 JAN 69
Co. A Stand Down at Cu Chi.

Co. B, 2/12 Inf. OPCON to B(_)1/5th Mech for Rome
Plow security. During the day Bravo (and B/1/5 Mech)
moved their night laager to a new position (vc XT5618) _ nearer road 7-A to Trung Lap _ between Ap Duong
Trau Nho and Xa Lao Tao. They encountered many
booby traps in the area. Between 10 a.m. and 2:30
p.m.: an APC hit a mine and was a combat loss;
another APC hit a mine resulting in 1 U.S. WIA; the
Mech was mortared resulting in 1 US WIA; a Rome
Plow was damaged by a mine; and B/1/5 engaged and killed a VC. [NOTE: The symbol “(_)” used after a
company denotes that it is a sub-unit of the company _ usually a platoon. “B(_) 1/5th” (above) means that
there is one platoon of Bravo, First of the Fifth,
working with us _ and not the entire company. See
Sarge’s Soldier Talk web page for an explanation of
this and other terms used by the US Army Grunts in
Viet Nam.]

C Co. at Pershing conducted a rif during the day south
between Ong Dam and Bao Me and returned to base.

D Co. at FSB Stuart _ with 1 platoon of A/3/34th
Armor coming in at night for additional fire support. 1
squad of Delta was out posted at the Troi Sanh stream
culvert along Hwy LTL-19 (3 klicks NW of Trang Bang). This evening a Delta ambush patrol had a VC
claymore detonated on them as they were moving to
their AP site. 3 US WIA were dusted off.

1 platoon of C Co. & 1 plt. D Co. were on Road
Security today.

_________
10 JAN 69
HHC KIA:
Radio Operator, Spc4 Douglas L. Ranshaw
(18) of Evart, MI perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A at Cu Chi for Stand Down.

Co. B working between Ap Duong Tra Nho and Ap
Cay Mit Nai protecting Rome Plows received RPG fire.

Co. C night laagered at FSB Pershing. 1 platoon of
Charlie riffed to search an area just north of Round Lake
near Pershing, and returned to base. 1 platoon of
Charlie had Road Security along with one platoon of
Delta.

Shortly after noon the platoon from D Co. detonated a
booby trapped hand grenade _ on Six Alpha near the
cemetery _ resulting in the evacuation of 1 US WIA.

This evening the CRIP platoon received one round of
RPG fire when moving to their ambush site.

B Battery, 1/8th Artillery’s Lt. John Farley and Sgt.
Bert Allen WIA _ during a mortar attack on FSB
Pershing _ when a round exploded on their guns’
sandbagged parapet.

_________
11 JAN 69
HHC KIA:
Co. C, 3rd platoon Medic, Spc4 Leavy C. Solomon (22) of
Palmetto, GA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A at Cu Chi on Stand Down returned to FSB
Pershing on convoy.

Co. B OPCON to A/1/5 Mech (Bobcats) securing
Rome Plows in the vicinity of Seven Alpha. At 0145
hours Bravo’s ambush patrol sprang an ambush and
received rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire
from the VC/NVA. During the day a Bobcat track hit a
mine causing minor damage.

Co C at Pershing. 1 platoon of Co. C and 1 plt. of Co. D on Road Security. 3rd platoon of Co. C 1/2 klick (west) behind ‘the
schoolhouse’ on Six Alpha providing security when they heard an explosion. A booby trap was
detonated by a 2/12th MEDCAP
element (working along Six Alpha near the old school between Check
Points Delta & Echo) resulting in the death of Specialist “Doc” Solomon.

Co. D at FSB Stuart.

FSB Pershing was attacked by mortars resulting in 6
US WIA (dusted off).

_________
12 JAN 69
Co.’s A & C at FSB Pershing.

Co. C conducted an Eagle Flight from Pershing to a
LZ south of the Ho Bo’s near Xa Sa Nho(1) village.
They riffed south two klicks _ to the mid point of the
village _ and were picked up; flown to a new LZ near
Highway 1 where the Rome Plows were working.
They moved north and shortly after 11 detonated an
unknown type booby trap resulting in 1 US WIA
(evacuated). They returned to the LZ and flew back to base.

Co. D at Stuart received three sniper rounds about
mid-afternoon.

Co. B securing Rome Plows with Mech received 16
rounds of enemy mortar fire this evening.

_________
13 JAN 69
Co.’s A & C at FSB Pershing.
Co. B OPCON to 1/5th MECH for Rome Plow security.
Co. D at FSB Stuart.
CRIP at Cu Chi for Stand Down.
1 platoon A & 1 plt. D on Road Security.

Co. C conducted several Eagle Flights many klicks
SWW of Pershing near Go Da Ha (Hieu Thien) and
returned to base.

This turned out to be “one bad day for one platoon of
Alpha” on Road Security:
At 0930H the Engineers
working with Alpha detonated a large mine on Six
Alpha near Check Point Echo (XT501247). 1 US KIA, an engineer, and 1 US WIA
(evacuated).
At 1456 hours at Check Point Hotel (XT513262) _ the intersection of Six Alpha and the Pershing access road _ a trip wire activated booby trapped grenade
exploded; wounding 2 US WIA (evac). A little over an
hour later another trip-wired grenade went off
wounding Ron Guild, Alpha Co. 1st platoon (XT513262).

_________
14 JAN 69
Co. A at Pershing.

Co. B with B/1/5th Mech working Rome Plows 2 klicks SE of Trang Bang in Ap Phu.

Co. C at Pershing. Co. C(_) at Stuart performed an Eagle Flight to an LZ seven klicks due west of Trang Bang and just south of the Oriental River. [Unusual!] In late afternoon a VC surrendered to C(_).

Co. D at FSB Stuart (Trang Bang).
Co.’s A & D have Road Security today.

_________
15 JAN 69
Co.’s A & C at FSB Pershing.
Co. D at FSB Stuart.

1 platoon of Co. A & 1 platoon of Co D conduct road
sweeps along Six Alpha (Road Security). Alpha
patrolled north of Check Point Delta (CP D) and Delta
south.

Co. B OPCON to B/1/5 MECH four klicks south of
Trang Bang securing Rome Plow operations in area.
In the late afternoon a First of the Fifth track hit a very
large mine killing one and wounding four Bobcats.
The APC was a ‘Combat Loss.’

Co. C conducted a combat air-assault (CAS) to an LZ
south of the Trang Bang River. [Again, this is an
unusual place for the 2/12th to “work.” There must
have been intel about something in this area.] ARVN’s were flown in north of C Co. Charlie conducted a
search to the East along the river to a pickup zone
(PZ) near the TL-6, An Hop, Tha La bridge area. As
they were moving along the river they received M-79
incoming in late morning with no US casualties. They
returned fire with organic weapons and artillery.
Negative results.

_________
16 JAN 69
Co.’s A & C at Pershing.

Co. A conducted an Eagle Flight to the southern Boi
Loi _ LZ 1 klick north of Xa Moi (3). Vic XT5129.
Alpha riffed north a shot distance; encountered two VC and engaged them with organic weapons and artillery
with negative results. Alpha then proceeded to a pick
up zone (PZ) and returned to base.

Co. B with 1plt C/1/5 Mech three klicks south of Trang
Bang supporting Rome Plow operations in Ap An Phu. Near noon a Rome Plow exploded a mine in the
vicinity of Ap An Khuong area _ 2 klicks south of the
Trang Bang bridge _ causing one US WIA.

One platoon of C Co. and one platoon of Co. D on
Rod Security.

In the early morning Co. C discovered a non booby
trapped grenade on their way from Pershing to Six
Alpha. At the same time a trip-wired booby trap
grenade exploded wounding one soldier (1 US WIA)
who was dusted off.

_________
17 JAN 69
A Co. KIA’s:
Pfc. Frank H. Browne II (19) of Fort Worth, TX; and
Spc4 Bruce M. Reiter (20) of New York, NY perished
in Binh Duong Province.

Co.’s A & C at FSB Pershing were subjected to a short
mortar barrage shortly after 4 a.m. They returned fire
with small arms, mortars and artillery. There were no
friendly casualties.

Co. B working with Bobcats and Rome Plows.

One platoon Co. C and 1 plt. Co. D perform Road
Security. 1 platoon of Co. D securing bridge.

1 platoon of Co. A riffed 1 klick due south of Pershing
thru Ap Truong Giai, swung west to a bridge over a
small stream (behind that nasty little VC village on Six
Alpha between Check Point Echo & CP Foxtrot). After crossing the stream they went 1/4 klick south (east of,
and behind the ville) and were to return to base.
Close to 1 p.m. Alpha came under intense small arm,
machine gun, and rocket propelled grenade fire
resulting in 2 US WIA and 2 VC KIA (poss). Two
hours latter, Alpha came under automatic weapons fire and returned fire with artillery, helicopter gunships and
their own organic weapons. 1 US KIA and 4 US WIA
(evacuated) during the firefight.

17 JAN 69 CONTACT SITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpha came under fire _ for the second time _ in this area (XT 514248) on the northern edge of Ap [hamlet] Truong Giai. The site is about 1 1/2 Klicks SW of Pershing _ beyond ‘the cemetery.’

The red symbols denote the cemetery south of FSB Pershing. The white lines are oxcart roads. A road intersection can clearly be seen in the lower left-hand corner of this map. Pale yellow/green areas are open fields and rice paddy. Thin green lines are hedgerows. Very small pale yellow squares surrounded by green are hootches. Large pale yellow/green areas surrounded by green hedgerows are paddies and open fields.

 

_________
18 JAN 69
Co.’s A & D at FSB Pershing.
B Co. OPCON to 1/5th Inf (M) securing Rome Plows
south of Trang Bang. Bravo’s night laager (NL)
continues to be with The Mech and Rome Plows south of Trang Bang.
Co. D at FSB Stuart (Trang Bang bridge).
One plt. of Co. D securing the bridge. One platoon of
Co. D and 1 plt. of Co. C have Road Security.

Co. A performed an aerial flight to an LZ at Xa Bao
Dung (vic XT6126) six klicks northeast of Trung Lap.
In the late morning _ just east of the village _ Alpha
destroyed a bunker with four shrapnel riddled bodies
in it. 4 VC KIA (BC). Shortly after noon Alpha killed
an NVA soldier. 1 NVA KIA (BC). Co. A then returned to base.

On their way to an ambush site the CRIP platoon
received sniper fire 2 klicks north of Trang Bang in Xa
Bao Me. The CRIP did not fire back and there were
no casualties.

The evening of the 18th FSB Pershing was mortared
with six to ten rounds of “incoming.” There were no
casualties and the base returned fire with 4.2″ mortar & 105mm cannon fire.

_________
19 JAN 69
Co.’s A & C at Pershing.
Co. B still under the Operational Control (OPCON) of
The Mech.
Co. D at Stuart.
One (1) platoon of Company A and one (1) platoon of Co. D sweep TL_6A onRoad Security for the Pershing
resupply convoy. One (1) platoon of Delta at Trang
Bang Bridge for security.

In the early morning/night hours of January 19th FSB
Pershing received a single round of “incoming.”
During the day Company E provided security for a
MEDCAP at Six Alpha’s Check Point Echo _ in the
vicinity of that nasty little VC ville.

_________
22 JAN 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A daughter is born to (HHC) Spc4 and Mrs. A. Wehler.

 

February 1969

________
1 FEB 69
Co.’s A, B(_), 2/12th and 2 platoons Co. C, 2/27th Infantry (OPCON to 2/12th) at a night laager in Boi Loi at (XT533353) _ hereafter referred to as “Boi Loi NL” _ 500 meters north of Boi Loi village and Hwy 238. The Boi Loi NL was in Ap Soc Lao, which is 4 klicks west-northwest of the Mushroom and just north of Boi Loi village. Boi Loi NL remained open for some five days, and the companies stationed there were known as Task Force Second of the Twelfth (TF 2/12).
[Map Sheet 6231-II]

1 platoon of Co. B OPCON to 2/27th Inf at FSB Reed (XT477126) six klicks due south of Trang Bang.

Co. C at FSB Pershing and responsible for securing the northern 6A road.

Co. D at FSB Stuart and responsible for securing the southern portion of 6A, and the Trang Bang Bridge.

At 1030 hours an engineer tank hit a mine west of Six Alpha, behind the school house, at (XT500256). No casualties.

Co. A (out of Boi Loi NL) flew 7 klicks southwest to a landing zone(LZ) at (XT496308) around 11 am. The LZ was in the rice paddy and hedgerow area south of the Boi Loi woods. Two hours later Alpha received automatic weapons fire in the vicinity of the LZ. They returned fire with organic weapons, called in artillery and gunships and air force airstrikes. Three US soldiers were wounded in action and dusted off. An estimated 20 VC were killed by air. At 5:30 pm the contact was broken and Alpha returned to base.
[3 US WIA. 20 VC KBA(poss)]

Meanwhile, the Wolfhounds at Boi Loi NL flew eleven klicks southeast to an LZ 2 klicks south of the Mushroom. There was no contact during the day and the 2/27th(_) returned to base.

__________
2 FEB 69
Task Force 2-12 in Boi Loi NL at (XT533353);
Co. A 2/12th Inf
Co. B(_) 2/12th Inf
2 platoons Co. C 2/27th Inf.

1 platoon Co. B continues OPCON to 2/27th Infantry at Fire Support Base Reed (XT477126).

Co. C at FSB Pershing

Co. D at FSB Stuart

Co. A conducted a combat air assault at 11 am into an LZ at (XT503312) south of the Boi Loi woods and 600 meters northeast of the previous days LZ and contact area. This time Alpha brought the two platoons of Co. C 2/27th with them. The area was searched with negative contact and then the companies returned to the Boi Loi night laager.

Meanwhile, Co. B (minus the platoon south of Trang Bang) conducted a patrol out of the Boi Loi NL, one klick west to (XT523352) where they turned left and went southwest to (XT504344) where they turned left again and patrolled east one klick to a pickup zone (PZ) at (XT516345) and flew back to Boi Loi NL.

Co. C (at Pershing) worked with the engineers to clear the northern portion of highway Six Alpha for the daily convoys that would travel over the road. A command detonated mine at (XT502253) was blown on Company C and the engineers resulting in 1 US KIA and 1 US WIA.

Co. D (at Stuart) cleared the southern portion of Six Alpha.
_______
3 FEB 69
Co.’s A, B(_) 2/12th and 2 plts Co. C 2/27th at Boi Loi NL (XT533353).

Co. A provided security for the Boi Loi night laager and conducted local patrols until 3 pm when they were called on to support the Three-quarter Cav who were in contact. Alpha flew southeast to (XT576287) to support the 3/4th Cav who were fighting 2 klicks due south of the Mushroom. The Cav and Co. A set up a night defensive position (NDP) on the contact site. In response to the absence of Alpha at the Boi Loi night laager, Co. C (at FSB Pershing) flew up two platoons to help secure the night laager in the Boi Loi’s.

Meanwhile, the Wolfhounds at Boi Loi NL flew due north across the Saigon River where. Outside of and due north of the village of Thanh An, they came under sporadic sniper fire at 11 am at (XT537382). Negative casualties.

During the day, 1 platoon Co. B (with Wolfhounds at FSB Reed south of Trang Bang) patrolled five klicks north-northeast to (XT513165), turned south to (XT515154) and returned to Reed (XT477125).

At 7:30 pm the Boi Loi night laager received a mortar attack that wounded one US soldier.

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NOTES _ 3-4 FEBRUARY:
SITUATION (night of 3 Feb / morning of 4 Feb 69):

BOI LOI NIGHT LAAGER (XT533353)
Co. A 1 platoon
Co. B 3 plts
Co. C 2 plts
Co. C, 2/27 1 plt

FSB REED (Wolfhounds) (XT477125)
Co. B 1 plt

FSB PERSHING (XT519255)
Co. C 2plts
HHC 2/12th
1/8th Artillery 1 battery

FSB STUART (XT501194)
Co. D 4 platoons

HO BO NIGHT LAAGER (XT571283)
Co. A 2/12 3 platoons
Co. C 2/27 1 plt
D Troop, 3/4 Cavalry
LRRP Team #25

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THE LAAGER FIGHT

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________
4 FEB 69
Co. A KIA:
S/Sgt. James D. Camp (21), from Winterset, Iowa, perished in Hua Nghia Province.

 

NIGHT LAAGER & BATTLE
NIGHT LAAGER & BATTLE

 


NIGHT LAAGER & BATTLE
Co. A, 2/12th Inf _ with D Troop, 3/4 CAV, Co. C, 2/27th Inf and LRRP Team 25 _ fought a major engagement in theHo Bo woods at their night laager (XT582283). The NDP was on the edge of the (destroyed) rubber plantation of Don Dien Beyssac.

Note the location of the battle site _ black square pointed to by letter opener _ in relation to ‘the Mushroom’ of the Saigon River (and read the story below). The entire area south of the river was ‘the Ho Bo woods.’ Defensive artillery fire was directed at the VC/NVA (locations indicated by small triangles).

<
 

Detail of 4 Feb 69 battle site:
Detail of 4 Feb 69 battle site:

Black Square: U.S. night laager location (XT582283).

Black Arrows: Axis of Ground attacks by VC/NVA. VC mortar attack came from direction of top arrow.

At 0125 hours the night laager came under small arms, machine gun and RPG fire from the North and Southwest. Within four minutes B Battery, 1/8th Artillery, at FSB Pershing, was firing upon the enemy.

At 0315 hrs the enemy mortared the laager with five or six rounds and A & D Battery’s, 3/13th Artillery fired in response. B Battery, 1/8th was also firing high explosive as well as illumination. They had one secondary explosion _ meaning they must have hit one of the mortar or RPG positions.

The ground attack caused 2 U.S. KIAs and 11 U.S. WIAs with unknown enemy results.

 

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GRIGSBY CITATION
“…….Private First Class Lester Grigsby of A Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery…. distinguished himself while serving as forward observer attached to Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry.
While established in a night laager position, Company A came under a massive communist assault. During the initial contact, Grigsby secured a radio and moved through the murderous Viet Cong fire to the perimeter and began adjusting artillery fire on the enemy.
After giving the initial corrections to the FDC, his radio was rendered inoperable by an RPG round.
Undaunted, he exposed himself to a holocaust of exploding projectiles as he returned to secure another radio. After obtaining a radio, he returned through the bullet swept area to the perimeter and effectively resumed adjusting artillery on the hostile force.
His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the defeat of the hostile force….” [From Citation. Source: Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 4 No. 2, March 31,1969.]

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NOTES _ 4 FEB 69:
During the day, the companies returned to the Boi Loi NL.

SITUATION (night of 4th / morning of 5th):

BOI LOI NL
Co. A 4 platoons
Co. B(_) 3 plts
Co. C 2/27th 2 plts

FSB PERSHING
Co. C 4 plts
HHC 2/12th
1/8 ARTY 1 battery

FSB STUART
Co. D 4 plts

FSB REED (Wolfhound)
Co. B 1 plt

________
5 FEB 69
Boi Loi NL: Co.’s A, B(_) 2/12 and 2 plts Co. C 2/27
Pershing: Co. C 2/12
Stuart: Co. D 2/12
1 plt Co. B with the Wolfhounds south of Trang Bag

Co. C(_) 2/27th Inf worked southeast out of the Boi Loi night laager. In the jungle about one klick southeast at (XT544344) they had heavy contact east of Bung Binh village with an estimated company of VC at 9:30 am. The VC fired RPGs and heavy automatic weapons at the Wolfhounds. They responded with their organic weapons, artillery fire, helicopter gun ships and Air force air strikes. One Wolfhound was killed and one wounded and dusted off in the action. VC losses were unknown.

Around noon Co.’s A and B 2/12th flew to a landing zone some four klicks south of the Wolfhound contact. The LZ at (XT544307) was between the Ho Bo and Boi Loi woods near Six Alpha. The companies spent the afternoon trying to close the back door on the enemy and then flew back to their laager in the Boi Loi.

The one platoon of Bravo south of Trang Bang established a blocking position for aWolfhound operation. Bravo had negative contact, but the Wolfhounds got one VC in An Hung.

________
6 FEB 69
1 platoon Co. B still working with the Wolfhounds south of Trang Bang.
Co.’s A, B(_) 2/12 and 2 plts of C 2/27 still up at the Boi Loi NL.
Co. C at Pershing
Co. D at Stuart

Co.’s A and B conducted local patrols around Boi Loi night laager. Boi Loi NL closed and companies flown out; Co. B to Pershing and Co. A to Stuart to replace Co. D.

Co. C (Pershing) and Co. D (Stuart) combat air assault at 1:30 pm to a landing zone (LZ) at (XT586290) near the February 3rd/4th contact site. They searched the area around the LZ and then established a patrol base at (XT597293) one klick northeast of the landing zone. [Patrol base to be known hereafter as the “Ho Bo PB.”]

Meanwhile, one platoon of Co. A, 1/5th Mechanized Infantry (Bobcats) moved north from Trung Lap to join the Warriors for the night at the newly established patrol base at (XT597293) two klicks south of the Mushroom area of the Saigon River.

________
8 FEB 69
A Co. KIA:
Spc4 Michael J. Spear (23) of Chicago, IL perished in
Hua Nghia Province.

Co.’s A (Stuart) and B (Pershing) provided one platoon each for Six Alpha road security. Co. B detonated a booby trap in a hedgerow resulting in 1 US WIA (dusted off).

Co. C, at the Ho Bo patrol base, moved 1500 meters west, turned south for 1 klick and then moved northeast to return to the patrol base.

Co. D continued to improve the Ho Bo patrol base during the day.

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BRAVO NEAR THE LITTLE BRIDGE

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________
9 FEB 69
B Co. KIA:
Pfc. Russell Byrd Adams (23) of Atlanta, GA perished
in Hua Nghia Province.

D Co. KIA’s:
Spc4 Joe E. Hester (22) of Mayfield, KY;
Medic Spc4 Thomas M. “Doc” Neal (20) of Hartford, CT; and
Pfc. Milton A. Ross (20) of Omaha, NE perished in
Binh Duong Province.

Co. A at Stuart
Co. B at Pershing
Co.’s C and D at the Ho Bo patrol base

Co. A secured Fire Support Base Stuart and the Trang Bang bridge, as well as providing one platoon for road security on the southern portion of highway LTL 6-A.

Co. B, 2nd platoon, under command of 1Lt. Howard McKinney were providing security for the engineers sweeping Six Alpha for mines when they were ambushed 100 yards south of the little bridge and old ARVN compound (we called the French Fort). Co. B received small arms and RPG fire from an enemy force of unknown size. Bravo returned fire with their own organic weapons, helicopter gun ships and artillery. In the exchange, Pfc. Adams was killed, Sergeant Larry Fontana was hit in the lower leg by RPG shrapnel, Doc (Pete) Hernandez was shot in the stomach and Lieutenant McKinney had an AK-47 round kiss his knee.

*********************************************************************************************

MC KINNEY SILVER STAR CITATION
“…. First Lieutenant McKinney distinguished himself by heroic actions on 9 February 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company B, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. While on a road clearing mission, Lieutenant McKinney’s platoon was ambushed by an unknown size enemy force. Lieutenant McKinney received a painful leg wound in the initial enemy barrage. Despite his wound he directed his platoon’s fire against the enemy. When one flank was threatened, Lieutenant McKinney crawled across the open road, exposing himself to the enemy’s deadly fire, in order to direct the threatened element. Lieutenant McKinney, once again disregarding his own personal safety and his wound, crawled to the forward most position of the platoon where wounded men were lying. In this forward position he administered life saving first aid and personally assisted them to covered positions. Lieutenant McKinney’s actions were responsible for saving several lives and for the defeat of the insurgent force…. “

************************************************************************************************

Meanwhile, on the 9th; Co.’s C and D, in the Ho Bo woods, flew 3 klicks southeast of the patrol base to a landing zone at (XT627282). Moving off the LZ to the West they came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and RPG fire. They replied with organic weapons, artillery, helicopter gun ships and Air force air strikes. 3 US soldier were killed and two wounded in the action. Co. D bore the brunt of the battle with Specialist Hester, Private Ross and Doc Neal killed in action.

Reacting to the contact in the Ho Bo, Co.’s A(_), B and D 1/5th Mechanized Infantry moved to the area in the late afternoon. After contact was broken 1 platoon Co. A and Co. C(_) 1/5th moved west to the 2/12th’s patrol base for the night. They were released from OPCON to the Second of the Twelfth the next morning.

_________
10 FEB 69
Co. A FSB Stuart XT501194
Co. B FSB Pershing XT518257
Co.’s C and D Patrol Base Ho Bo

Co. A secured the Trang Bang Bridge and Co.’s A and B provided one platoon each for road security on Six Alpha.

Shortly after noon, Co. D found a VC body at (XT621284) 3 klicks east-southeast of the Ho Bo patrol base in the vicinity of yesterdays contact.

The 1/5th Mech was released from OPCON to the 2/12th at 8 am.

________
11 FEB 69
Co. A Stuart XT501194
Co. B Pershing XT518257
Co. C and D Patrol Base Ho Bo XT597293

Co.’s A and B doing the usual thing.

Co. C at Ho Bo patrol base flew 3 klicks northeast to a landing zone at (XT613315) just south of old highway (TL-15) _ halfway between the Thai Thai stream and (the village of) Xa Duoc on the Saigon River. Charlie Company moved northwest towards Duoc and turned left just short of the small temple in the town. Charlie moved southwest to a pickup zone at (XT603313) and returned to base without contact.
[Interesting to note that Co. C were in the area of the present day Vietnamese tourist trap known as “the Tunnels of Cu Chi.”]

Co. D went OPCON to the 3rd Brigade’s 2/22nd (Mechanized) Infantry _ Triple Duce _ around 1 pm and worked with the mech until the next day.

_________
12 FEB 69
Co. A FSB Stuart XT501194
Co. B FSB Pershing XT518257
Co.’s C & D Patrol Base Ho Bo XT597293

Co. A secured the Trang Bang Bridge and Co.’s A and B supplied one platoon each for road security along LTL 6-A. Co. A covered the southern (or lower) portion and Co. B covered the northern (or upper) portion of Six Alpha.

Co. D, working with the Triple Duce since yesterday, flew in to Fire Support Base Pershing by CH-47 Chinook at first light.

‘Bobcats’ and ‘Warriors’ [Co. C] engage tunnel complex six
miles north of Trung Lap near Xa Sa Nho(2)
XT575266.

Co. C went OPCON to the Bobcats of the 1/5th (M) Infantry _ most likely Co. B First of the Fifth. Charlie company and the Mech rode 3500 meters southwest of PB Ho Bo and at 10 am discovered and destroyed 20 meters of tunnel at (XT575266). An hour later the Mech troopers detonated a mine _ killing one and wounding two. A half hour later, in the same area, a 2/12th infantryman fell into a punji pit and had to be dusted off. The Bobcats and Warriors continued on to establish a blocking force south of the Ho Bo woods (vic XT564284 and XT575277) _ oriented to the South to receive any enemy escaping the mechanized forces of Co. A and Co. C, 1/5th Infantry who were driving north. At the end of operations Co. C 2/12th were picked up by the Bobcats of Charlie company and driven back to the Ho Bo patrol base where Charlie company of the Mech spent the night.

_________
13 FEB 69
FSB Pershing Co.’s B and D
FSB Stuart Co. A
PB Ho Bo Co. C (OPCON to Co. C, 1/5th (Mech) Inf}

Co.’s A and B did their usual thing _ one platoon each on road security.

Co. D (-) patrolling out of Pershing worked north of the old French Fort at the little bridge over Six Alpha and returned to Pershing without contact. Route: Pershing to XT503263, XT498277, XT504270 and return to base.

________
14 FEB 69
FSB Pershing Co.’s B and D
FSB Stuart Co. A
Patrol Base Ho Bo Co.C 2/12th (OPCON to Mech), 1 platoon Co. A and Co. C(_) 1/5th (Mech) Inf

Co. A secured Trang Bang Bridge and road security, and (just for a change of pace) Co. D took over the northern Six Alpha road security.

Co. C 2/12th and Co. C 1/5th conducted local security around the Ho Bo patrol base.

_________
15 FEB 69
B Co. KIA:
Pfc. Lewis R. Valentine (20) of Paoli, PA perished in
Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A FSB Stuart XT501194
Co.’s B and D FSB Pershing XT518257
Co. C Ho Bo patrol base (along with Co. C(_) and 1 plt Co. A 1/5th (M) Inf

Co. A and D performed road security on Six Alpha.

One platoon of Co. B patrolled north of Pershing to Square Lake and returned. Route: Pershing (XT518257) north to XT520268 northeast to Square Lake area (XT532275) and returned to Pershing. During the patrol two Bravo infantrymen were wounded by a booby trap in a hedgerow and dusted off. One of the two _ Pfc. Valintine _ died.

Meanwhile, 1 platoon of Co. C, riding the tracks of Co. C(_) 1/5th Mechanized Infantry, left the Ho Bo patrol base and riffed southwest 1400 meters to (XT590280), swung southeast 800 meters, did a little loop and returned to the patrol base.

_________
16 FEB 69
Co. A FSB Stuart XT501194
Co.’s B and D FSB Pershing XT518257
Co. C OPCON to 1/5 (M) Inf at Patrol Base Ho Bo XT597293

Co. A secured the Trang Bang Bridge and provided one platoon to patrol lower Six Alpha (Hwy LTL 6-A).

One platoon of Company D provided road security for the upper portion of Six Alpha. During the patrol Co. D detonated a mine in a hedgerow at (XT504254) in 1 WIA dusted off.

CRIP platoon at Trang Bang patrolled north of Stuart to (XT500220), swung southwest to the northern limits of the city at (XT488207) and returned to base.

Co. B(_) moved south-southeast out of Fire Support Base Pershing and moved 1500 meters to a checkpoint at (XT524242). They then turned southwest for 800 meters to (XT518237), retraced their steps, moving northeast over a klick to (XT533244). They then moved northwest to return to Pershing.

Meanwhile, Co. C _ working with the Mech’s Co. C _ conducted a search south of the parol base in the Ho Bo’s. At (XT566264) they engaged and killed one VC.

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OPERATION TOAN THANG II ENDS.
Midnight 16 Feb 69 – It began 1 June 1968.

RESULTS:
2-12 Inf Casualties;
44 KIA
242 WIA

Combat Losses of Major Items (2-12 Inf);
M-60……………………….4
M16A1……………………19
.45 Cal Pistol…………….1
M79 Grenade Launch….8
AN/PRC-25……………….4
AN/PRT-4………………..10
AN/PRR-9…………………8
Starlight (HM)…………….1
Mine Detector…………….2

Enemy losses (by 2nd Brigade);
VC/NVA KIA (BC)……..1797
VC/NVA KIA (POSS)……876
VC/NVA POW…………….303
Chieu Hoi’s…………………..17
Detainees…………………1425

[SOURCE: 2d Bde 25th Div AAR Op Toan Thang II 1Jun68-16Feb69]

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_________
17 FEB 69
C Co. continues to operate in the vicinity of Xa Sa
Nho(2).

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MINI-TET BATTLES

February 22 to

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_________
22 FEB 6
‘Bobcats’ of the 1/5th MECH opcon to 2/12th in Boi
Loi.

_________
23 FEB 69
B Co. KIA:
Spc4 John W. Washington (19) of Macon, GA died of
wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.

BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to Co. C’s Pfc and Mrs. Douglas T. Crank.
_________
25 FEB 69
Cu Chi Base Camp sapper attack this evening.

_________
26 FEB 69
CU CHI. A massive rocket attack struck Cu Chi Base
Camp followed by a ground attack by sappers who
destroyed nine Chinook heavy lift helicopters. More
than twenty enemy were killed and several captured.

_________
28 FEB 69
C Co. KIA:
Pfc. Bruce E. Reed (20) of Peekskill, NY perished in
Hua Nghia Province.

C Co., working with the ‘Bobcats’ three miles NW of
Trang Bang _ in the southern Suoi Cau rubber
plantation _ fought a major engagement during which
one of the Mech’s tracks was destroyed. Pfc. Reed and one Bobcat were killed, and three Bobcats were wounded in the action.

 

MARCH 1969

OVERVIEW

COMMANDER:
LTC Mann – 18Mar to 12Aug1969

HQ:
FSB Pershing
________
2 MAR 69
D Co. KIA’s:
Spc4 Miguel A. Gonzalez-Rivera (20); and
Sgt. John W. Thomas (20) of Louisburg, NC perished
in Binh Duong Province.

________
3 MAR 69
ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
General Abrams is briefed that “‘the so-called ‘war of liberation’ has increasingly become an NVA war.” In October 1965, NVA comprised 26 percent of VC/NVA maneuver and combat support strength, while today it is 70 plus.”
[Source: SORLEY, Lewis. VIETNAM CHRONICLES: The Abrams Tapes 1968-1972. Pg. 134.]

________
4 MAR 69
C Co. KIA:
Spc4 Richard L. Diemler (21) of Hummelstown, PA
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“[The battalion’s] efforts paid dividends and on 4 March a few kilometers south of the hamlet Sa Nho (2) they made contact with the 88th NVA Regiment. The battle raged throughout the day and at morning light on the 5th revealed the bodies of 95 NVA, who would no longer fight in ‘the Citadel.'” [Source: Annual Historical Supplement of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry (AVDCTU-SA) the period 1 January to 31 December 1969.]

________
5 MAR 69
D Co. KIA’s:
Spc4 William T. Harris (23) of Clarksville, TN;
Spc4 Clayton A. Songle (21) of Minneapolis, MN; and
Pfc. Stanley B. Ziegler (20) of Cedarpines Park, CA
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

BACK IN THE WORLD:
Anchorman Frank Reynolds
reported on the ABC Evening News of March 5th;
“Enemy rockets hit Saigon. 25th Infantry fights near
Saigon. Casualties reported…..” And on the 11th
ABC reporter Kenneth Gale said ” the 25th Infantry
Division aims to beat enemy out of bushes between
Saigon and the Cambodian border.” [Source:
Vanderbilt Univ. TV News Archive.]

On 5MAR69 a son was born to Co. E’s Spc4 Samuel J. Goss.

________
9 MAR 69
WIA:
Medic Spc4 John R. Thielen is wounded.
He dies on the 18th.

_________
10 MAR 69
Co. A, 1st platoon, KIA:
Pfc. Cecil W. “C.W.” Tillman (20) of Memphis, TN
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“C.W. was killed when we were working with the Mech. He was on the a APC and bent over when a VC claymore, in a spider hole, hit him,” said Joe Amari. “He had been awarded the Silver Star for the day Reiter killed [17Jan69], he never got it _ he was killed before he saw it.”

_________
11 MAR 69
A Co. KIA’s:
Spc4 Donald L. Fowler (25) of St. Louis, MO;
Pfc. Melvin Guyton (20) of Hamtramck, MI; and
Pfc. George J. Smith, Jr. (19) of New York, NY
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

BACK IN THE WORLD:
ABC TV’s Frank Reynolds reported on the evening news that the 25th Infantry Division aims to beat enemy out of bushes between Saigon and Cambodian border. And, the Beatle’s Paul McCartney marries Linda.
[Source: VANDERBUILT UNIV. TV NEWS ARCHIVES]

_________
14 MAR 69
Back in The World; a daughter was born to Co. A’s Spc4 Jose S. Paz.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE NIGHT LAAGER BATTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

_________
18 MAR 69
C Co. KIAs:
Pfc. Loren C. Jones (20) of Unaka, NC perished in
Hua Nghia Province.

Medic Spc5 Leonard “Doc”Dodson (20) _ assigned to Co. C from HHC Medical Section _
of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

HHC KIA:
Medic Spc4 John Roger Thielen _ wounded on the 9th _ perished of his wounds. Thielen’s company assignment is unknown.

Co. C WIA:
Doc Meyer (RPG)

Alpha’s night laager was attacked. 22 enemy were
killed.

Company C’s night laager attacked.
LTC John Mann, USA (Retired) _ who took command of the battalion that day _ wrote about the 18 March battle (and the April 27th night attack) in VIETNAM magazine [February 2001, Vol. 13 No.5]:

“Company C did quite well that night. They had two killed and 11 wounded. The Communists lost at least 32 men, and we captured 12 AK-47s, several rocket launchers and a .50-caliber machine gun.” _ LTC Mann

ELSEWHERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA:
On this date the USAF begins the (secret) B-52
bombing of enemy targets in Cambodia. Code named
“Operation Menu” the target areas were named for
eating times. The B-52’s served Breakfast, Lunch,
Dinner, Snack and Desert. [Source: Operation
CHECO papers.]
The B-52 strikes of Operation Menu began on 18Mar69 and ended on 26May70.

_________
19 MAR 69
C Co. KIA:
Pfc. Richard D. Satterhwaite (21) of Butte, MT
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Results of C Co.’s night laager battle during which Charlie received small
arms, machine gun and mortar fire; Charlie fought back with artillery support and was credited with 32 VC/NVA KIA (BC) and 30 VC/NVA KIA (poss.).
[Source: 25th Div Arty HQ OP REP]

_________
20 MAR 69
Co. A KIA:
Pfc. Filemon Serrano (22) from Farmington, New Mexico perished in Hau Nghia Province.

A Co.’s night laager came under attack at 0218 hours. Artillery supported Alpha with high explosive rounds.
26 VC/NVA were KIA (BC).

_________
25 MAR 69
B Co. at FSB Stuart mortared.

_________
28 MAR 69
A Co. attacked with small arms, machine guns and
rocket propelled grenades. Results: 16 VC/NVA KIA
(BC), 6 VC/NVA KBA (BC) and 5 VC/NVA KBA (poss).
D Co. working four klicks due west of FSB Pershing _
on the edge of the Dong Tri Sung rubber plantation _
made contact at 1420 hours and moved one quarter
klick south. By 1633 hours they were pinned down
and call for a helicopter light fire team (LFT) and a
heavy fire team (HFT).

Back in The World; General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, died at 1225 hours on 28 March 1969.

_________
29 MAR 69
B Co. KIA’s:
Spc4 Terry J. Barnholt (20) of Garden Grove, CA; and
Pfc. Thomas A. Wiese (20) of Mullen, NE perished in
Hua Nghia Province.

Co. C KIA:
Sergeant First Class John L. Partee (38) of Concord, NC perished in Binh Duong Province.

Sergeant Partee was killed in an ambush.

 

 

 

APRIL 1969

OVERVIEW:
25th DIVISION ORDER OF BATTLE
[Disposition of troops at end of month _ specifically, the night of the 27th. _ bh]

1st Brigade:
4-23 Inf (M), 4-9 Inf, 3-22 Inf, 7-11 Arty (105) Direct Support (DS) to Bde, B/2-77 Arty (105), C/3-17 Air Cav, A/65 Engr (DS), Provisional Co.

2nd Brigade:
2-14 Inf (_), 2-27 Inf (_), 2-34 Armr (_), B/2-14, 1/A/1-5 Inf (M), 1/C/1-5 Inf (M), 2-12 Inf, 1-5 Inf(M) (_), 1/A/2-34 Armr, 1/A/2-27 Inf, 1-505 Abn Inf, 1-8 Arty (105) DS, A/2-321 (105) DS, C/65 Engr (DS)

3rd Brigade:
1-27 Inf, 2-22 Inf(M), 2-77 Arty (105) (_) DS, D/65 Engr (DS)

Division Artillery:
3-13 Arty (155/8″)

Artillery Reinforcements:
1-27 Arty (155), 2-32 Arty (175/8″), A/6-15 Arty (105), B/2-13 Arty (105)

Division Troops:
3-4 Armd Cav, F/75th Inf (RGR), 65th Engr Bn, 25th Avn Bn

________
6 APR 69
Easter Day.

Alpha company’s Captain Charles Boyd writes:
“I tell this story each Easter to anyone that will listen.
Easter eve 1969 A 2/12 was in a position to serve as
one-third of a cordon and search operation in a small
village south of FSB Pershing. We moved into
position just after dark. Put out the ambush patrols
and got set up. I told everyone that we would be
moving out about 0400 and link up with another
company to our right and one to our left and seal off this village. Everyone seemed to be nervous _ probably
because moving around in the dark could be
dangerous _ so I fired H & W fire. [Harassment and
Interdictory fire.] Not much sleep, but everyone
seemed to settle down some. About 0400 I gave the
word to move out and off we went and were successful in meeting the other companies without anyone getting shot and we sealed the area off. The sun came up on
this beautiful Easter morning. Everyone sat down to
eat some c-rats and smoke and watch for people trying to escape. The schedule called for the Battalion
Commander, medical teams and IPW teams to arrive
about 0900. I found a hole under a house that was
cool and told my RTOs not to bother me until the
choppers started to come in because I was going to
get a nap. I was in a deep sleep and my RTO woke
me and said one of the platoon leaders was on the
phone and had a problem. I got on the phone and he
told me about a rabbit with a basket of colored eggs
his platoon had detained. This rabbit had no valid ID
card and what was he to do. I laughed to myself and
my instructions were to let the rabbit go.”

________
7 APR 69
Co. A KIA:
Sgt. Darrell E. Walden (21) of Girard, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Ron Vanone (Co.A, 3d platoon) wounded (WIA).

Sgt. Walden was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on this date.

**************************************************************************************

WALDEN DSC CITATION
[Extract of Sgt. Walden’s award.]

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Darrell Edward Walden, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Sergeant Walden distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 7 April 1969 as squad leader on a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Tam Dinh. While sweeping through a section of rice paddies, his company encountered a heavily booby-trapped area. Although his squad successfully eliminated several of the dangerous devices, Sergeant Walden fell victim to a rigged hand grenade. As his men rushed to his aid, he suddenly detected the presence of a booby-trapped mortar round. Realizing that the insidious booby trap would destroy the majority of his squad, he saved the lives of his men at the sacrifice of his own by throwing himself on the mortar shell at the moment it exploded. Sergeant Walden’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

HQ US Army, Vietnam
General Orders No. 2021
9 June 1969

******************************************************************************************

________
8 APR 69
Co. C KIA’s;
Spc4 Glenie W.Cain (20) of Caruthersville, MO; and
Pfc. Ismel F. Hornelas (20) of North Platte, NE perished in Hua Nghia Province.

_________
13 APR 69
Co. D WIA:
Larry Crouch wounded and evacuated.

_________
14 APR 69
Battery D (Capt. Laurence E. Lalicker), 3/13th Artillery displaced from FSB Stuart (XT4919) to FSB Stoneman (XT3037) where they remained until returning to Stuart on the 13th of May.
[Source: ORLL 25th Div ARTY 1May-31Jul69]

_________
16 APR 69
Co. C KIA;
Staff Sgt. Robert P. Roehmer (21) of MD, in Hua Nghia Province.

_________
20 APR 69
Co. A KIA;
1Lt. Tyrone J. Staten (22) of Gary, IN perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Lieutenant Staten was supposed to be in the mortar platoon, but went out on this day as the 3rd platoon leader.

_________
21 APR 69
Co. B KIA:
Pfc. Jerry Morgan, Jr. (21) of Long Branch, NJ perished in Hua Nghia Province.

***************************************************************************************

BUCHANAN CITATION
Extract of Spc4 Ralph Buchanan Bronze Star Medal For Heroism:
“…. While on a reconnaissance force operation, Company B came in contact with an estimated squad sized enemy force. During the initial engagement, Specialist Buchanan’s ammunition bearer was seriously wounded. With complete disregard for his own safety, Specialist Buchanan threw himself in front of his injured comrade and began to place devastating fire on the hostile positions. Although in a completely exposed position, Specialist Buchanan continued to place effective machine gun fire on the insurgents until the battle subsided. His valorous actions were responsible for saving a man’s life. ….”

*****************************************************************************************

_________
25 APR 69
Co. B KIA:
Pfc. James M. Abbott (20) o Memphis, TN perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. B WIA:
Jim Mayer WIA and evacuated _ he lost both legs.
[Jim is now active in helping veteran amputees in the Washington, DC area. _ bh]

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE HO BO NIGHT-LAGGAR ATTACKED

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

_________
27 APR 69
Co. B KIAs:
Capt. Benjamin Bugarin (27) of Sepulveda, CA,
Pfc. Gerald Huffman (24), 2nd plt., of Cleveland, OH,
Spc4 Charles W. Jennings (20) of Cullowhee, NC,
Pfc. Daniel A. Keene (24) of Fairview Park, OH,
Pfc. Dean R. Johnson (18) of Wheaton, MN and
Spc4 Wendell W. Leslie (25) of Honolulu, HI perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. C KIA:
Medic Spc4 William H. “Doc” Kindle (21) of St. Paul, MN perished in Hua Nghia Province.

[Company unknown KIA:
Pfc. Richard A. Oman (26) of Georgetown, TX (mortar man) perished in Hua Nghia Province. Private
Oman is listed as a “Bobcat” (1/5th Mech Inf) KIA on some websites… may not be a 2/12th KIA.]

[NOTE: Huffman and Keene were previously listed as Co. C KIAs, but Co. B’s (Lt.) Stan Hooper has them as Co. B.]

ARTY KIAs [Assigned to HQ 2/12th Inf.]:
Arty Liaison Officer(LNO), 1Lt. Jimmy Donald Johnson (21) of Ashland, KY perished in Hua Nghia Province.
RTO Pfc. Richard I. Cunningham (20) of Omaha, NE perished in Hua Nghia Province.

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“In the early morning hours of 27 April, the enemy tried another attack against a night defensive position manned by Companies B and C….. just south of the Ho Bo Woods (XT557287). This attempt cost him another 100 killed.” [Source: 1MAY69 Quart. Op. Report, HQ 25th Inf Div]
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“B, C 2/12th Inf engaged elements of the 1st and 2nd Bns, 268th Regiment on 27 April resulting in 100 NVA KIA (BC) and 2 PW’s.” [Source: 1MAY69 Quarterly Op Rep]

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25th Inf Div
Ground Command’s Daily SITREP 27APR69
[Extract courtesy of Co. B’s Allen Suydam. _ bh]

At 0315H vic XT557287 Co. C & B 2-12 Inf (NL) rec unk no rds SA, AW, .51 cal, 40 RPG rds, 80 82mm rds and ground probe resulting in 10 US KIA, 4 US WIA (4 evac). Rtn fire with SA, AW, Arty, LFT, Spooky and [Air Strikes] resulting in 100 NVA KIA (15 KIA are included in air totals); 2 NVA PWs, 20 AK-47 rifles, 9 RPG [Rocket Launchers] and 1lb of documents evac; 11 AK-47 rifles, 14 RPG RLs, 40 rds RPG ammo, 40 AK-47 magazines and 40 [grenades] dest.

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Co. A (at Pershing) established a civilian control point at XT501247 along with the Vietnamese National Police and conducted Road Security along Six Alpha (LTL-6A).

Co. B, after the nights contact and having sustained the majority of casualties, left the night laager (NL) and searched one klick to the northeast to XT564292 where they were picked up and moved by air to FSB Pershing.

Meanwhile, Co. C moved 1 1/2 klicks north-north east to XT562297 and back to the night laager.

Co. D, at Cu Chi, flew into the scene of last nights battle and then patrolled 1 klick south-south west and returned to the night laager to join Co. C.

The evening of the 27th found companies A and B at Fire Support Base Pershing, and Co.’s C & D at the night laager (NL) in the vicinity of XT558288.

Site of April 27 Night Attack Against Bravo & Charlie
Site of April 27 Night Attack Against Bravo & Charlie

The attack was staged against the 2/12th’s Bravo and Charlie companies. The night defensive position was in open rice paddies on the edge of the Ho Bo Woods area.

Note proximity B & C Co.s Night Defensive Position (NDP) in rice paddy at XT557287 to nearest edges of wood line.

 

 

 

  • 27 APRIL 1969 DUTY OFFICERS LOG (Bn. JOURNAL) 

 

 

 

****************************************************************************

“On 27 April Company B and Company C had completed their day ground reconnaissance in the area just south of the Ho-Bo woods and north of the hamlet Sa Nho (1). A night laager position was set up and defenses strengthened for the night. That night the enemy launched a major ground attack against the night laager sight. The ‘Warriors’ repulsed the attack and killed 100 of the enemy and captured two. Friendly losses were light.”

[SOURCE: 2/12th 1969 ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDCTU-SA) courtesy Co. C’s Danny Darnell.]

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The following article about April 27th appeared in the TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS [Vol.4 No. 20, May 19, 1969]:

100 NVA FALL TO WARRIORS’ MIGHT
CU CHI _ The dark morning quiet was shattered by the eerie sound of incoming mortars. The Warriors of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, were in a night laager ten miles north of Cu Chi in the Ho Bo Woods. The Fire Brigade troops were about to face a determined assault of NVA.

“First came the mortars, 75 or more, followed by an RPG barrage, then the ground assault,” said First Lieutenant George Curtis of Brasher Falls, N.Y. “Groups of attackers were spotted on three sides crowding toward our concertina wire. They were moving up under the cover of darkness and the mortar barrage.”

“About 30 enemy were right in front of me,” said Private First Class Larry Goodson of Rose Lake, Idaho. “They were getting on line _ so close I could throw grenades. When I ran out of grenades, I got on the machine gun and finished the job.”

“Several enemy were found along the berm line,” said Sergeant Clinton Cooper of Mulligon [sic], Mich. “This shows how close the fighting was. Many were killed with hand grenades.”

“They were going all out to overrun us,” stated Specialist 4 Jim Conner of Rochester, N.Y. “We drove them back and forced them to retreat completely. We just had too much firepower.”

The Tropic Lightning troops were not alone in the defense. Artillery, Cobra gunships, and Spooky blasted the enemy with massive firepower. Spooky tuned the night into day with flares.

The unknown sized enemy force lost 100 men in the two-hour fight, as well as numerous weapons and ammunition.

“Some of the dead were wearing back packs for carrying RPG rounds,” said Goodson. “Each pack could hold six to eight rounds.”

The dead had ropes around their necks, noted one Warrior officer. The battalion Kit Carson Scouts told him that the ropes are used to drag the dead away from the battlefield.

One hundred of the ropes were never used.

Also found in the area were 31 AK-47, 12 RPG launchers and the usual flotsam of web gear and documents.

One prisoner and one of the dead were each found to have a copy of last month’s Playboy in their possession. The centerfolds, however, were reported missing.

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30 APRIL 1969
PEAK UNITED STATES TROOP STRENGTH IN VIETNAM REACHED.
543,482 souls.

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MAY 1969

OVERVIEW:
In mid May the enemy 273rd Regiment begins to move south out of our Hau Nghia AO. The regiment is about 80 percent NVA.
[SOURCE: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 346]

________
1 MAY 69
Co. A KIAs:
Pvt. Charles Benny Hight (20) of Visalia, CA; and
Sgt. Kenneth L. White (21) of Rockford, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

*****************************************************************************************

ADAM’s CITATION
Spc4 “Mike” Adams citation (extract):
“Specialist Adams distinguished himself by heroic actions on May 1st while his unit was moving towards its night defensive position. An enemy force tried to ambush the unit, opening fire on the lead element; which took several casualties.
Reacting immediately, Specialist Adams crawled through 35 meters of hostile fire into the kill zone to aid his comrades. The area was thickly booby-trapped, but Adams, with complete disregard for his own safety, continuously re-entered the area amid a barrage of enemy fire to evacuate the casualties….”
[Source: Tropic Lightning News]

********************************************************************************************

Co. A was moving to their ambush position at night when they were attacked. Radioman Gordon Kimbel said that the machine gunner, Bob Hasberry, put down so much fire that the barrel of his gun turned cherry red. “You could see the bullets passing through the barrel,” said Kimbel. “When he changed it out and laid it on the ground it actually bent.”

“On 1 May the Battalion attacked an enemy village vicinity XT5726 [Xa Sa Nho (2) 2 miles due east of FSB Pershing _ Sarge] with 462 rounds from [artillery]. The mission was adjusted by an aerial observer and although no enemy bodies were seen, evidence indicated that possibly 30 enemy were killed in the attack. A total of 16 structures were destroyed & damaged.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div Arty ORLL 1May-31Jul69]

BACK IN THE WORLD:
The peace movement declared May 1st — “National Resistance Day.” The Apollo 11 spacecraft is mated to its Saturn rocket booster.

________
3 MAY 69
A Co. in Cu Chi for ‘Stand Down.’

ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
Regarding the 25th Division, General Abrams stated, “It’s the most promising visit I’ve ever made to the 25th Division in over two years.” “The analysis they’re doing of their own operations, and trying to make improvements_.”
[Source: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES]

________
4 MAY 69
D Co. KIA Pfc. Dennis R. Gustafson (21) of Wentworth, WI perished in Hua Nghia Province.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE CONVOY AMBUSH

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

________
5 MAY 69
E Co. KIA Sgt. First Class Curtis C. Dees (30) of Kerrville, TX perished in Hua Nghia Provinc.

“In the Citadel on 5 May, enemy plans for a convoy ambush were upset by the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, which was sweeping the area along Highway 6A north of Trang Bang (XT500256). Warned in advance by intelligence of the ambush attempt, the convoy security elements engaged the enemy as they moved along the highway ahead of the convoy. Artillery, helicopter unships and air strikes were placed upon the enemy position and 16 NVA were killed. The ambush attempt was the first of several small enemy actions designed to give their replacements combat experience as part of an Emulation Campaign. “
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604 18 December 1969, OR-LL period ending 31 July 1969, Operational Report, Section 1 Operation page 4.]

5MAY69 Ambush Site
5MAY69 Ambush Site

Check Point Foxtrot (XT502253) and the area along Six-Alpha that the May 5th convoy ambush took place.

The top pin points to the (approximate) location
that Sergeant First Class Dees was killed in the
Convoy’s lead jeep.

The bottom pin points to the location of the convoy commander’s jeep _ Lt. Troy Ross _ the last vehicle in the convoy and the one in which the battalions’ Chaplain, Captain “Bob” Campbell and I [SSG Holzhauer] were riding in.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PATROL BASE DEE’S

Est. 6May1969
Closed October 1969

Named to honor Sergeant Curtis Dees.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

________
6 MAY 69
.

________
7 MAY 69
A Co. KIA
Pfc. Norbert Montoyo-Rodriguiez (20) of Barcloneta, PR perished in Hua Nghia Province.

_______________
8, 9, or 10 MAY69
Sgt. “Pappy” Wheat WIA while the 1st platoon of Co. A
was pulling ‘road security’ along Six Alpha.

_________
10 MAY 69
One platoon of D Co. working with the Mech is in a NDP just south of the Ho Bo woods (vic 5527) when a ‘mad minute’ was fired surprising a large enemy force about to attack the night laager.

_________
11 MAY 69
A Co. KIA:
1Lt. Thomas W. Hastings (21) of Battle Creek, MI perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A WIA:
Spc4 James “Jim” Boyce and others.

C Co. KIA’s:
S/Sgt. Hurbert S. Tilley, Jr. (20) of Winston-Salem, NC perished in Hua Nghia Province; and
Spc4 Victor M. Yanez (21) of San Francisco, CA died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia.

The enemy began his summer campaign on the night of 11-12 May 1969. [Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 191]

________
12 MAY 69
FSB Pershing (XT518256) shelled.

_________
13 MAY 69
D Co. KIA’s
Pfc. Bruce J. Matta (21) of Canton, MA; and
Spc4 Ralph M. Santinello (20) of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

B & D Co.s made a combat air assault (CAS) into the
Ho Bo Woods (XT569311). They had contact and
broke it using helicopter gunships and artillery.

XT569311
[SOURCE: Bobcats History – http://www.bobcat.ws/history1969.htm ]

“[The battalion] struck a devastating blow again on the 13th and 14th of May when Companies B and D combat assaulted into Boi-Loi woods and trapped a large enemy force in their base camp. The battalion killed 92 enemy in that battle and destroyed a regimental sized base camp.” [Source: 1969 2/12th ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDSTU-SA).]

“In other operations in the 2nd Brigade area companies Band , 2nd Battalion, 12th infantry, Company A, 1st Battalion Mechanized) 5th ….[? – b.h.]…. an enemy soldier dressed in camouflaged clothing. He was killed by arms fire. Intense enemy fire consisting of automatic weapons and RPG’s erupted fro the brush and Company D withdrew under the cover of artillery and helicopter gunships (LFT). Company A, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, set a blocking position while air strikes leveled the enemy base area. The action was reinforced by Company B (2-12 Inf), lifted in the area on eagle flights. Company D 92-12 Inf) and Company A (1-5) advanced through the bunker complex and found 50 enemy bodies and 60 bunkers destroyed. The next morning, (14 May), the three companies again assault the area and, in several scatted incidents, killed 34 more VA.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604 18 December 1969,ending 31 July 1969, ORLL Quarterly Report May 1 to July 31, 1969 page 9]

“The 1/8 Arty directed 467 rounds in support of the ground troops and was credited with 15 of the 50 enemy bodies counted after the action.”

Battery D, 3/13 Arty returned to FSB Stuart on 13May69 where it remained until 4 June 1969.
[Source: ORLL 25th DIV ARTY 1May-31Jul69]

 

_________
18 MAY 69
“….. the 2/12th Infantry again contacted an enemy force vicinity XT5226 [Loc Hung north of FSB Pershing._ Sarge]. A total o 390 rounds of artillery were fired in support but no enemy bodies could be located when contact was broken.”
[Source: ORLL 25th DIV ARTY 1May-31Jul69]

_________
26 MAY 69
B Co. KIA Spc4 Louis H. Godley (20) of New York, NY died of wounds (DOW) received in Tay Ninh Province.

“On 26 May, Companies C and D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, sweeping an area of previous air strikes (XT551293) near the Hobo Woods, locatedNVA KIA and at 1435 hours, the 116th Assault Helicopter Company, supporting Company C, strafed enemy soldiers with automatic weapons on the east side of the Ho Bo Woods (XT590304), killing eight of them.”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604 18 Dec 1969, ORLL May 1 to 31 JUL 1969 page 11 ]

_________
28 MAY 69
A Co. at PB Dees.

_________
29 MAY 69
A Co. KIA
Pfc. Gerald W. Posten died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.

C Co. was operating as a blocking force for a combined mechanized infantry and armor sweep near Trung Hung (3 klicks NW of Trung Lap).

__________
31 MAY 69
“On 31 May, Companies B and C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a reconnaissance mission west of the Saigon River (XT641298), met with an enemy platoon entrenched in a base area and called for artillery, helicopter gunships and air strikes. The enemy base was destroyed and 25 NVA killed. Eleven enemy weapons, 24 hand grenades and 14 rounds of RPG ammunition either captured or destroyed. “
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604 18 Dec 1969, ORLL Quarterly Report May 1 to July 31, 1969 page 11 ]

 

JUNE 1969

________
1 JUN 69
Co. B KIA:
Pfc. Robert L. Grant (21) of Dallas, TX perished in Hua Nghia Province.

_________
2 JUN 69
Company E, 65th Engineer, 25th Division, commence Rome Plow and anchor chain below Pershing and along highway 6A ending 30 June. They were destroying hedgerows using a length of ship-anchor drag between two M-48 tanks . It was at this time that “the school” along 6A went down into a pile of rubble. Areas northwest of Pershing (XT5024, XT5025, XT5124, XT5125).
[SOURCE: Holzhauer recall and 25th Div AD506604 ending 31JUL69 pages 182-186]

_______-
4 JUN 69
A Co. at Cu Chi for Stand Down. “Major attraction: BEER! Major entertainment: Fist fights between the platoons and tear-gassing the officers…” I wrote in a letter home. The fist fights were for bragging rights as to which platoon was “the best!” The tear gassing was good-natured.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SA NHO BATTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

================================================================

__________
5_6 JUN 69

“A short range fire fight at noon on 5 June between Delta Company 2/12 Infantry and an unknown size enemy unit developed into a two day contact in the Citadel,vicinity XT5725 [X. Bau Soi (2) 3 miles east of FSB Pershing.]. The artillery forward observer with the company, Lt. Parsons, was wounded on the first afternoon and the battalion and brigade artillery liaison officers adjusted 1/8 Arty and supporting batteries from command and control helicopters. As the battle developed A and C companies 1st Battalion 5th Infantry (Mech) and B/2/12 Infantry moved in to reinforce D/2/12. All elements maneuvered to make room for artillery and air strikes to be placed on the enemy positions once they had been fixed. At the conclusion of the second day of contact, enemy forces withdrew leaving behind 77 bodies and 3 captured North Vietnamese Army soldiers. The 2345 rounds of artillery fired were officially credited with killing 36 of the bodies counted.”
[Source: ORLL 25th DIV ARTY 1May-31Jul69]

================================================================

________
5 JUN 69
Co. D KIA’s:
S/Sgt. John M. Bellamy (23) of Van Nuys, CA,
Spc4 Jerry M. Dailey (22) of Groves, TX, and
Pfc. Edward E. King (21) of Decatur, GA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co.D WIA:
Dave Ethier
Lt. Parsons, 1/8th Arty, Artillery Forward Observer serving with Co. D.

“…. Company D …showed its prowess in a battle less than two kilometers north-east of Sa Nho (2). The day was 5 June and as contact increased in intensity Company B was sent in to reinforce along with two companies from the 1st Bn (M) 5th Inf. and two companies from the 3rd Bn 49th ARVN Regt. The battalion was credited with 75 enemy KIA that day and the hamlets of Sa Nho (1) and Sa Nho (2) were becoming synonymous with enemy presence in force.” [SOURCE: 2/12th 1969 ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDCTU_SA).]

“There were several contacts with elements of the 268th VC/NVA Regiment in the Citadel and Ho Bo Woods. The major action with this enemy unit was initiated by the 2nd Brigade during a five-day reconnaissance/search mission involving a task force consisting of Companies B and C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry; Companies A and C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, elements of the 3-49 ARVN Regiment and Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor. Sharp fighting began on 5 June, the first day of the operation, at 1248 hours, when the friendly forces engaged a large concentration of entrenched enemy soldiers with organic weapons (XT568255). Artillery and helicopter gunships were shifted to support the contact. In the exchange of fire, five Americans were killed, 14 wounded and three armored personnel carriers destroyed. A helicopter gunship from 116th Assault Helicopter Company was shot down, resulting in four U.S. killed. The superior firepower of the allied forces broke the enemy resistance and sweeps of the contact site revealed 72 enemy killed, 35 AK-47 rifles, rice, other assorted small arms and six RPG rocket launchers with 15 rounds of RPG ammunition.”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604 18 December 1969, OR-LL Quarterly Report ending 31 July 1969 page16]

*********************************************************************************

Extract of DSC award for Capt. John K. Taf, Co. C commander:

TAFT, JOHN K.
Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army
Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
25th Infantry Division
Date of Action: June 5, 1969
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John K. Taft, Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Captain Taft distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 5 June 1969 while leading his company during a reconnaissance-in-force mission. As the unit’s lead platoon advanced into a jungle clearing, they were suddenly met with barrages of automatic weapons fire which instantly cut down a number of troopers. Captain Taft quickly moved from the rear of the company to an exposed position on the edge of the clearing where he surveyed the situation and radioed for artillery fire and gunship strikes on the enemy. Attempting to pull back without cover fire, the lead elements sustained additional casualties. Captain Taft saw their plight and rushed out into the open to assist them. He laid down suppressive fire with his rifle which enabled several wounded to be withdrawn. He then returned to his observation point. While directing gunship fire on the enemy, he received a bullet wound in the head. He refused medical attention, and when he saw a comrade downed in the open, he dashed forward under intense fire and dragged the man to cover. The firefight raged on, and as he continued in his weakened state to train gunship strikes on the hostile troops, he received another bullet wound in the head. But Captain Taft refused evacuation and courageously remained in command of his men until all the wounded had been extracted and reinforcements had arrived. Captain Taft’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 3466 (September 13, 1969)

*******************************************************************************************

The 2/12th “Warriors”, along with the 1/5th “Bobcats” & Vietnamese “Arvins”, battled the VC/NVA in northern Bau Soi(2) in the Citadel at (XT568255). The 116th Assault Helicopter Company’s Stinger 552, a (UH-1C) “Charlie Model” gunship, was shot down at (XT565255). The gunship was supporting us when it crashed in the middle of the enemy. Three crewmen survived the initial crash, but were killed on the ground.

The crew of Stinger 522 were;
Spc4 Ronald R. Baker (24) from Concordia, Calif.,
1Lt Jimmy W. Crisp (23) from Menard, Texas,
Spc4 Steven W. Herring (20) from Freedom, Calif. and
Warrant Officer Richard J. Holman (21) from Astoria, OR.

The 1/5th Mechanized Infantry lost two or three “tracks” that day and suffered a large number of killed and wounded.

Bobcat’s killed in action were;
Spc4 David P. Callahan (20) from Erie, Penn.,
Corporal Robert E. Langston (22) from Tampa, Fla.,
Pfc. James A. Mardis, Jr. (20) from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.,
Cpl. Patric E. Poppenga (21) from Chicago, Ill,
Sgt. Charles M. Ramsey (20) from New Boston, Texas, and
2Lt. James D. Walker (22) from Santa Barbara, Calif.

________
6 JUN 69
Co. A KIA:
Spc4 Terry L. Jenkins (20) of Washington Court House, OH perished in Tay Ninh Province.

Up near Tay Ninh FSB Crook was attacked by the NVA. At Pershing, Alpha was alerted in the middle of the night and told to saddle-up. We were issued new maps and told to be prepared for a night air-assault into Crook. I don’t mind telling you that the “pucker factor” was running high that night. But Co. B, 3/22d Infantry and Battery A, 7/11th Field Artillery held their own and so we never went.
_ Holzhauer

LATTER IN VIETNAM:
During the 6 OCT 1969 Briefing for General Wheeler;
SOMEONE: (re recent actions at Fire Support Base Crook) (where all the intelligence came together, and the 25th Division reacted in a pre-planned and coordinated attack, resulting in 323 enemy KIA and U.S. 2 WIA): “That’s probably going to go down as one of the greatest offensive actions of this war. And they never left their bunkers. [Source: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 275]

________
7 JUN 69
ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
During a briefing for General Abrams a “briefer” stated “There is evidence that the enemy is planning further high points similar to the coordinated indirect fie and sapper attacks conducted on the night of 11-12 May 1969. We believe the events of the night of 5-6 June were another such. Each month during May, June, and July is expected to have ‘its brief surge of activity.'”
[SOURCE: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 200]

________
8 JUN 69
Co. D KIA’s:
Pfc. John E. Lorence (22) of Mantua, OH;
Spc4 George F. Marinez (33) National Guard member from Newton, KS;
Pfc. Roy L. Walker (21) of Brenton, WY; and
Pfc. Terry E. Toole (22) of Auburn, NY perished in Rung Cay village, Hua Nghia Province.

Co. B WIA:
Spc4 Ralph Buchanan

Patrol Base Lorence north of Trang Bang (XT518219) established and named in honor of Pfc. Lorence.

BACK IN THE WORLD:
On this date President Nixon announces the first in a series of troop withdrawals from Vietnam. The 9th Infantry Division _ just south of us in the Delta _ is scheduled to be the first to go home. [Oh! Now I see. That’s why all those guys wearing 9th INF DIV patches on their sleeves showed up in the 25th Division soon after the 9th “went home.”.]

___________
9 JUN 69
“… Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, providing security for Company E, 65th Engineer Battalion, killed eight NVA with helicopter gunships, artillery and air strikes in the Citadel north of Trang Bang (XT515245).”
[25th Div Quart Report page17]

_________
11 JUN 69
Co. A KIA:
Pfc. Thomas P. Dawson (23) of Kingston, GA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

A Co. at FSB Stuart guarding ‘the bridge’ and eastern approaches to this market town and District Capitol.

__________
13 JUN 69
“…. (XT524232), Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a reconnaissance mission, engaged an enemy force in a bunker complex and placed artillery and air strikes on the position with helicopter gunships overhead to strafe enemy soldiers who attempted to escape. Twenty-nine enemy were killed and 12 small arms captured.
[SOURCE; 25th Division AD506604 18 December 1969, OR-LL Quarterly Report ending 21 July 1969, page17]

_________
15 JUN 69
XT482243, CRIP working with Mech. Firefight, arty, gunships, air strikes resulting in53 VC killed.

_________
16 JUN 69
Co. D KIA:
Sgt. Joseph J. Heltsley (21) of Brookville, OH died of wounds (DOW) received in Binh Duong Province.

This evening at FSB Stuart the enemy picked the wrong side of the perimeter to probe us _ FIVE of our .50 cal machine guns opened up on them.

_________
17 JUN 69
Co. D KIA:
1Lt. Jerry A. Ashburn (22) of Port Edwards, WI died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.
[Lt. Ashburn’s MOS is listed as 1203, Tank Unit Commander and he may not be a 2/12th Infantry KIA.]

In the Ho Bo Woods …. Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry conducted a reconnaissance mission and made contact at 1332 hours, killing three Viet Cong (XT593277). Moving northwest, Company C killed an NVA soldier at 1505 hours (XT566276) and at 1630 hours initiated a firefight with an enemy force of unknown size, incapacitating them with riot control agent (CS) and then destroying them in place with artillery and gunships. Thirty-two Viet Cong were killed and eight weapons destroyed.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604 18 Dec 1969, OR-LL Quarterly Report ending 31 July 1969, page 20]

_________
18 JUN 69
“……rockets and/or mortar rounds struck PB Dees (XT554272) four times during the day.”
[SOURCE: 25th OR-LL page 20]

_________
19 JUN 69
Co. B KIA:
Pfc. Kenneth L. McFall (22) of Daytona Beach, FL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. E KIA:
Sgt. Thomas J. Bradley (21) of Minneota, MN died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province. [Thomas’ MOS was Heavy Vehicle Driver.]

_________
20 JUN 69
There was a rocket attack on Trang Bang.

_________
22 JUN 69
A Co. at Stuart. “Mud, mud, mud” I wrote home.

_________
23 JUN 69
Co. D KIA:
Sgt. Fred McK. Bailey (25) of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“On 23 June, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry , on a reconnaissance mission of an area (XT550280) engaged by artillery as a result of seismic sensor activations near the Ho Bo Woods, located 25 NVA…..”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604 18 Dec 69, OR-LL ending 31 July 1969 page 22 ]

_________
26 JUN 69
Co. B WIA:
3rd platoon, platoon leader, 1Lt. W. Edwin “Ed” Errickson stepped on a mine outside of Dees and was evacuated.

_________
27 JUN 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to 1Lt. Jackie Cowder.

In the June 27th issue, Life magazine publishes an article called ‘Vietnam: One Weeks Dead’ showing the photographs of one weeks KIAs including Co. A’s Gerald Wayne Posten who died on May 29th.

_________
28 JUN 69
Elements of the 2/12th are up in the Citadel _ working in the area of the June 5th battle. Artillery fire killed 11 NVA.

“On 28 June, an artillery aerial observer, flying support of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry on a reconnaissance mission operation, observed enemy soldiers in the Citadel north of Trung Lap (XT560265) and engaged them with artillery. resulting in 11 NVA KIA, and four AK-47… and one RPG rocket launcher destroyed.
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604 18 Dec 69, OR-LL Quarterly Report ending 31 July 1969 page 23]

_________
30 JUN 69
Co. C engaged the VC/NVA in the western Ho Bo woods (just off Six Alpha) at (XT542305). Results: 7 VC/NVA KIA (BC).

“On 30 June, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a combat assault just north of the Ho Bo Woods … killed seven NVA and destroyed four AK-47 rifles.”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604 Quarterly Report OR-LL ending 31 July 1969 page 23]

About the end of June or beginning of July Alpha company got a new Commanding Officer _ Capt. Ronad J. Walters _ to replace the wounded 1Lt. Troy Ross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY 1969

2/12th is in the 2nd Brigade, 25th Div
Rear: Cu Chi
Forward: FSB Pershing
Hard Spots: PB Dees and PB Lorance

 

 

_______
1 JUL 69
U.S. Armed Forces service numbers are replaced by Social Security members.

_______
4 JUL 69
Co. B KIAs:
Pvt. William R. McNelly (21) of Fort Mason, CA and
Pfc. Johnny E. Mc Ie [mc ie] (23) of Webster Springs, VA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

After a night on ambush and returning to base, a mine exploded causing Bravos’ casualties.

Alpha company did a company sized RIF southeast of Pershing; hooked north between Pershing and Dees; then returned to base. We refused to walk through a CLEARLY marked _ in Vietnamese _ mined and booby trapped area. Employed the “Flying Wedge” to sweep those nasty (invisible) VC from a rice paddy.

“I remember 4 July 1969 because the guys shot their weapons and flares just after dark at FSB Pershing and LTC John Mann got mad,” recalled Capt. Charles Boyd _ who was with battalion HQ at the time.

________
5 JUL 69
“The operations of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, results in total of 75 enemy killed during the two week period. On 5 July, while on a reconnaissance mission in the Citadel north of Trang Bang (XT518248), Company A uncovered a cache consisting of 36 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, 14 RPG rounds, three bangalore torpedoes, 84 60mm mortar rounds, 60mm mortar fuzes, two complete 60mm mortars and an SKS rifle. At 1630 hours that day, Company B sweeping an area east of the find (XT554223), located seven NV soldiers who had been killed by artillery and air strikes. At 2035 hours that night, a combat patrol from Company B, in the same general area (XT567219), engaged an unknown number of enemy with organic weapons, AC-47 gunship, helicopter gunships and artillery.”
[25th Div, AD506604 18 December 1969, Quarterly Report OR-LL ending July 31, 1969 page 28]

_________
6 JUL 69
Company B:
“Sweeping the area …. morning, the patrol killed an enemy soldier and located seven enemy bodies. Further search of the area disclosed that the enemy element, identified as part of the 83rd Rear Service Group, had been in the process of laying mines, and the infantrymen destroyed two mines and a booby trap.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD5006604, Quarterly Report 31 July 69 page 28]

__________
8 JUL 69
“On 8 July, the 116th Assault Helicopter Company, supporting the 2-12 Inf on a combat assault six kilometers northwest of Cu Chi (XT588173), engaged an unknown number of enemy, resulting in 17 enemy killed.”
[ibid page 28]

_________
10 JUL 69
“On 10 July, Company D, on a reconnaissance mission in the Citadel (XT508245), engaged elements of the 3rd Battalion, 268th Regiment with organic weapons, helicopter gunships and air strikes, resulting in ten enemy killed and five weapons destroyed.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604, Quarterly Report OR-LL ending 31 July 1969 page 28]

ELSE WERE IN THE 2nd BRIGADE:
On July 10, at Xa Sa Nho (1), northeast of FSB Pershing, a captain of the 268th VC/NVA Regiment was captured by elements of the B/2/14th Infantry (OPCON 1/5th Mech). For the next few days of intell was given by the captain. The source said:

the 268th Headquarters was in the Boi Lo XT532315, XT506332, and XT5132;
i the 268th had just received 459 new replacements;
Sub-Region 1 communication center located XT605393 [Onion..

________
11 JUL 69
Co. C KIA:
Pfc. Joseph A. Taisler (21) of Woodside, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

__________
14 JUL 69
“On 14 July, the Combined Reconnaissance/Intelligence Patrol (2-12 Inf …. two 60mm mortar tubes, two RPG rocket launcher, two light machine guns, 20 82mm mortar rounds, 3600 rounds of small arms ammunition, five 60mm mortar rounds, nine anti-mines, 20 RPG rounds, 14 hand grenades, 10 rifle grenades and 600 feet of communications wire.”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD506604, Quarterly Report OR-LL ending 31 July 1969 page 29]

___________
15 JUL 69
“At 1000 hours six kilometers northeast of Trang Bang (XT528246), the Combined Reconnaissance/Intelligence Patrol, 2-12 Inf, exploiting information gained from a prisoner-of-war, evacuated 48 rounds of 82mm mortar ammunition, 82 hand grenades, 10 rifle grenades, four RPG rounds, seven antitank mines, 20 small arms magazines, one bangalore torpedo, two RPG boosters, 2.5 pounds of explosives, two field telephones and 15 blasting caps.

_________
17 JUL 69
Co. C KIAs:
Pfc. Arlen D. Franken (21) of Sioux Center, IA perished in Hua Nghia Province; and
Sgt. Michael G. Emeigh (20) of Port Huron, MI died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia.

________
19 JUL 69
“Late on the afternoon of 19 July, 1/8 Arty supported an airmobile assault by Company B, 2/12 Infantry vicinity XT5927 [4 1/2 miles north-east-east of FSB Pershing near the Sinna Plantation.]. Aerial observers sighted enemy personnel and structures at several points in the area of the infantry assault and engaged them with artillery. All together 820 rounds of artillery were expended resulting in 20 enemy killed (body count) and 9 structures destroyed. The infantry captured 2 enemy soldiers, detained 8 suspects and captured or destroyed numerous documents, weapons and supplies.”
[Source: ORLL 25th DIV ARTY 1May-31Jul69]

________
20 JUL 69
Co. C KIA:
Pfc. Lee Tryon, Jr. (21) of San Diego, CA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

________
21 JUL 69
“The VC got into Trang Bang [village] last night and killed a bunch of civilians” I wrote home.

The convoy to Pershing hit a mine. No one hurt. Alpha takes the convoy back to Cu Chi for Stand Down. We listen to the first men on the moon. [By Christmas first man on the moon Neil Armstrong was touring Vietnam with Bob Hope.]

SARGE’S PERSONAL STORY:
We were working Six Alpha around that time, and all the soda boys and mamma-san’s ALL saw it on TV — somehow. We didn’t see it until later, it was all the Vietnamese talked about for days. I thought at the time “how can they do something like that and here we are in hell, and can’t get us out.”
_ Bruce Holzhauer 2009

________
22 JUL 69
A Co. in Cu Chi for Stand Down. Iced beer in the jeep trailer. “It was a mess! Rain. Power out _ so no movies or floor show,” I wrote home.

_________
23 JUL 69
“On 23 July, a Viet Cong platoon leader had entered Luc Du hamlet (XT 494-206) to harass and propagandize the people. Reacting to this report and gaining information on the possible location of this man’s unit, Companies C and D, 2nd Battalion, 12th infantry conducted a combat assault into an area six kilometers northwest of Trung Lap (XT530230) on 27 July. A command and control helicopter spotted a base area composed of six bunkers, and 10 spider holes with three interlocking tunnels, and directed helicopter gunships over the area following air strikes. The two infantry companies swept the complex, encountering only light resistance, and located 24 enemy killed, 14 AK-47 rifles, one 60mm mortar with seven rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of small arms ammunition and three pounds of medical supplies.”
[SOURCE: 25th Division AD596694 18 December 1969, Quarterly Report ending 31 July 1969, Operational Report page36],

________
24 JUL69
BACK IN THE WORLD; a son was born to Co. B’s S/Sgt. Vernon E. Welch.

________
25 JUL 69
Co. A at Stuart.
I wrote, “It rains constantly. I think I’ve been dry twelve hours at a time only once in the past week.” It seems that there was a laundry supply problem in the 25th about this time _ as we did not receive a change of uniform for weeks. I recall taking off my socks one night and they were so cruddy that they had formed a cast of my feet and were able to stand up on their own when I placed them on the floor of our bunker.
_ S/Sgt Holzhauer

BACK IN THE WORLD:
Pres. Richard Nixon announces that the Vietnamese should take care of their own fighting. This is “the Nixon Doctrine” of “Vietnamization.”

________
27 JUL 69
Co. C & D conducted an air assault from FSB Pershing into the ever-troubling Ong Dam area (XT530230) — three klicks southeast of Pershing. They were looking for a VC unit that had earlier sent a propagandist into Trang Bang north. A C&C chopper spotted a base area with six bunkers and ten spider holes. The two companies encountered only light resistance, and located 24 enemy killed, 14 AK-47 rifles, one 60mm mortar with seven rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of small arms ammo and three pounds of medical supplies. [The bunker complex was just SW of the “Little Rubber” plantation.] _ Sarge]

***********************************************************************************
“… Company C engaged a sizable VC force and cut the enemy down further, by killing 24 NVA. They also captured 500 enemy uniforms that were being carried by the destroyed NVA unit.”
[SOURCE: 2/12th 1969 ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDCTU_SA) — Courtesy of Danny Darnell.]

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OPERATION NUTCRACKER

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_________
28 JUL 69
Co. C KIA:
Medic Spc4 Peter James “Doc” Gerry (18) of Quincy, MA; and

Co. A KIA:
Pfc. Howard W. Lakey (22) of Oklahoma City, OK perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“On 28 July, the 2nd Brigade dealt elements of the 268th Regiment and local Viet Cong elements another devastating blow in a one-day operation code-named “Operation Nutcracker.” The operation arose out of information gained from a Hoi Chanh and targets spotted by the Tactical Imagery Interpretation Section of the 25th Infantry Division Military Intelligence Detachment. It involved elements from six infantry and one mechanized company with one Regional Force company supported by four batteries of artillery [Words lost. – b.h.]
first objective was located in the vicinity of XT579238 and was primary target of the operation, aimed at the capture of prominent Viet Cong official. Companies A and D, and the Combined Reconnaissance/Intelligence Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, with the Regional Force Company [Vietnamese. – b.h.] searched this area but only minor contact.
Objective 3 (XT571245) was north of the primary target and searches by Companies B and C (2-14 Inf) also resulted in minor contact. Companies C and D (2-14 Inf) then moved to Objective 4 (XT571252) while Company B, 1st Battalion, (Mechanized), 5th Infantry searched Objective 5 (XT575230).

Companies A and C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, met with an unexpected, large enemy force as they neared Objective 2 (XT565233) at 0958 hours where intelligence reports placed small number of local Viet Cong cadre. The enemy force was well-entrenched and the two companies pulled back while air strikes were employed to soften the enemy positions. Companies A and C attempted an assault but the enemy returned a heavy volume of small arms and RPG fire. Additional air strikes were required to brake the enemy’s resistance but a third assault by the two companies succeeded in overrunning the bunker complex.

By the end of the day, the Division forces counted 53 enemy killed and captured six prisoners-of-war. The enemy had also lost 27 AK-47 rifles, four RPG rocket launchers, one .51 caliber heavy machine gun, one K54 pistol, and 20 107mm rockets. Three Division soldiers were killed in the action and 13 wounded. One light observation helicopter was shot down and classified as a combat loss.”
[SOURCE: 25th DIV AD506604 18 December 1969, )R-LL Quarterly Report from May 1 to July 31, 1969 pages36-37]

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On the 28th, Company A working out of Patrol Base Dees.
A & C Co.’s involved in cordon & search in the Citadel ran into a bunker complex.
SEE MAP PAGE: MAP #4

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The Tropic Lightning News ran a story on the July 28th firefight in the August 11, 1969 issue (Vol. 4 No. 32):

OPERATION NUTCRACKER IS SWEET FOR FIRE BRIGADE

CU CHI _ In ten hours of fierce fighting ten miles northwest of here, a joint effort by 2d Brigade units scored a heavy blow against enemy forces.
Aided by air strikes and gunships, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry; Alpha and Charlie Companies of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry; and elements of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, combined firepower to put the squeeze on an estimated two battalions of North Vietnamese soldiers during “Operation Nutcracker,” in which 40 enemy were killed.
The action started when the Warrior companies began to push from open rice paddies into an area of hedgerows and abandoned hootches. The 1/5 Bobcats were right with them.

[NOTE: Actually, the Bobcats were at least a klick away from us. I never saw a ‘track.’. Spent .50 caliber rounds fell amongst us periodically all day _ as they usually do when ‘the mech’ was around. _ bh]

According to Captain William Correia [1/5th?] of Warren, R.I., “As soon as we moved into the area, several enemy began running from the hedgerow. We fired over their heads [Hence the “spent” .50 cal rounds _ Sarge] and they retreated into the thick brush.”
The target was “softened” with artillery fire, and then the ground units moved in. Alpha Company platoon leader 2d Lieutenant Tony Harper of Jacksonville, Fla., stated, “We had just entered the wooded area when we noticed fresh sandal prints around some spider holes and tunnels. We held up and started to check things out when the enemy opened up from a bunker.”
The mechanized company had not gone far, either, before the first enemy soldier popped out of a hole with his AK-47 blazing.
Specialist 4 Flaco Conklin of New Haven, Conn., said, “I was manning the .50 caliber machine gun on my track when an enemy soldier popped up out of his hole only three feet in front of us and started shooting his AK on automatic at us. One shot creased my helmet. Luckily his weapon jammed, which saved my life.”
Shortly thereafter the track driver, Alvarado Baltazar, Jr., dropped a grenade in the hole, killing the occupant. Baltazar is from San Antonio, Tex.
The mechanized company could move only 50 meters farther before several automatic rifles opened up on it. Bobcat .50 caliber machine guns quickly silenced the positions and drove the occupants from their well-camouflaged holes.
Charlie Company of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry received enemy fire almost simultaneously and under similar circumstances. Under the covering of fire from gunships, the Tropic Lightning troopers were pulled back to allow artillery and air strikes to pound the enemy lair.
Specialist 4 Juergen Marshall remarked, “The air strikes and gunships really did a good job on that place. The first gunship slammed some rockets into the bunker that was giving us the most trouble.”
Devastating artillery and air strikes continued while the 2d Brigade units organized their reentry into the enemy bunker complex. Sporadic fire met the 25th Division troops.
“We had to fight our way through that entire hedgerow,” said Conklin. “NVA were coming up out of holes all over the place.”
“The holes were so well-concealed and the enemy so patient,” said Correia, “that we sometimes didn’t make contact until after we had passed their positions.”
When the Warriors moved back into the trouble spot, they made use of grenades and LAWs against the enemy snipers.
Private First Class Gene Loving of Chester, S.C., said,”We were really working out with LAWs. We made a lot of direct hits on bunkers.”
By the time darkness fell, 40 dead NVA had been discovered. Captured enemy weapons included 18 AK-47 assault rifles, three RPG-2 launchers, one K-54 pistol, and one .51 caliber machine-gun with tripod. Twenty 107mm rockets were also discovered and destroyed. More than a pound of enemy documents was confiscated during the engagement.
After a hard day of fighting, the mechanized unit set up a night defensive position near the contact area. Early the following day, they made another sweep, finding more documents and assorted munitions. Three enemy suspects were detained.
[SOURCE: Tropic Lightning News. 1969.]

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Co. B 1/5th MECH lost a man that day; Pfc.Paul Eugene Fabrisi, from Naugatuck, Connecticut, was killed in action on 28Jul69. It was his 3rd month (to the day) in Vietnam.

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SARGE’S EYEWITNESS story of July 28th:
“”Alpha company moved northeast out of Patrol Base Dees
towards the Citadel in column of twos. As we moved
through the rice paddies the artillery was coming in
over our heads and crashing into the wood line ahead.
We never did get ‘on line.’ As we hit the edge of the
woods the lead _ point _ platoon entered the jungle
and swung left. Our platoon _ the First _ turned left
and was moving along in the rice paddies parallel to
the wood line. We hadn’t gone far when the column
stopped for no apparent reason. Suddenly there was
the sound of firing _ a short firefight _ from the woods
where the point platoon was. It turned out that the
point had stopped to rest when an NVA popped up out
of a hole and sprayed the lead element _ killing one,
wounding several others, and stealing one of our own
M-60 machine guns as he slipped back into the jungle.
Our platoon [1st] was still in the open and we hunkered
down behind paddy dikes and waited for orders. Because I was the only one in Alpha to have any CS gas, I was called forward. I crawled forward keeping a rice
dike between myself and the wood line.”

“As I neared the area of the firefight a Medivac
helicopter was coming in for a landing on my left
front. Several soldiers emerged from the jungle
with a wounded man on a stretcher. As the Medivac
came in it was taking fire from a machine gun. Our
machine gun! As the helicopter settled down the
jungle finally ‘masked’ the NVA’s line of sight, and
the firing stopped. At this instant a photographer on
the chopper snapped a picture. [PHOTO below.] It
captured the Aero Medic and stretcher bearers with
their charge. The blade-wash had blown the bush hat
off the right rear soldiers head, and he miraculously
caught it and stuffed it in his mouth _ without dropping
the wounded man. The Dust-off departed without
taking fire.”

“At a crouch I entered the tree line where the stretcher
bearers had come out _ figuring that this was where
the company commander might be. I had gone about twenty yards into the thick jungle when I stumbled upon two GIs taking
cover on the ground ready for a fight. They were as
surprised to see me walking upright as I was to see them. I had almost passed them by in the thick jungle,
and could have just as easily ran into two NVA as
two GI’s. It was stupid of me to go running off into
the bush without knowing the score. I asked them where the C.O. was and they headed me in the right
direction _ I back tracked.”

“I found Alpha’s command group hunkered down behind a giant termite hill. I was asked to fire my one CS round at the enemy bunker across the field. I did so. Because I didn’t know where my platoon was, I decided to hang out with the command group and wait to see what happened next.”

“The C. O. called “higher-higher,” and a Loach bringing in CS gas was called for. Yellow smoked was popped and the Loach started to land. It was shot down by the NVA using OUR captured machine gun. The helicopter fell in a field between us and the NVA bunker. I saw it in slow motion. WHRRRR _ the Loach coming in. RAT-A-TAT-TAT _the captured M-60 firing. THUNK THUNK THUNK _ the Loach being hit. The high pitched whine of the Loach turned into a grinding sound as the engine disintegrated. The helicopter fell into the field and shook itself to death _ catching on fire and sending massive clouds of CS gas all over the place. Scratch one light observation helicopter (LOH) _ model OH_6A, one each OD in color. Miraculously, the pilot and passenger _ a major _ escaped unharmed. The major was PISSED! “

“Latter, the bunker was attacked from the flank and
our machine gun was taken back.”
_ Sarge Holzhauer

**************************************************************************************
“…. on the 28th Company C joined Company A …. and the two units fought together to destroy 53 NVA, capture six prisoners and four detainees. The battle also netted 27 AK’s, four rocket launchers and (20) 107 mm rocket rounds, one .51 cal. machine gun, and one K_54 pistol. By the end of July, the enemies hold over “the Citadel” was lost. The enemy reverted back to guerrilla tactics (Phase III) as their war of movement (Phase IV) had met with failure. Now the enemy local forces, the infra-structure and Viet Cong supporters became the targets of the battalion.”
[SOURCE: 2/12th ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDCTU_SA). — Courtesy Danny Darnell]

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July 28, 1969. The 'point' platoon evacuates their wounded.
July 28, 1969. The ‘point’ platoon evacuates their wounded.

 

This photograph was taken on July 28th, just after the Medivac helicopter landed. I (Sarge Holzhauer) am crawling along a rice dike at the right and just out of camera view. The photo appears on page 103 of the 1969 Tropic Lightning Vietnam yearbook.
_ Bruce “Sarge Holzhauer”

 

*********************************************************************************
1Lt. TONY HARPER
[Source: Florida State Times, Vol. 2 No. 2, August 1996. A publication of Florida State University.]

Rushing to an enemy bunker, hurling grenades and
firing his weapon on he run, Tony Harper gave his
life to rescue a wounded American soldier and fight
off the North Vietnamese firing on his men, “Second
Lieutenant Harper (he was promoted posthumously)
distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous act
ions,” begins the citation for the award of the Dist-
inguished Service Cross. Harper was a platoon
leader on a mission near Trang Bang on July 28, 1969
when his platoon came under heavy fire from a con-
cealed enemy bunker.
A firefight followed, and a machine gunner was
wounded close to the enemy fortification. Harper
tried to retrieve the wounded man, but intense fire
drove him back. He then organized volunteers to
make the rescue. The volunteers crawled several
hundred yards and assaulted the enemy from both
sides. While the others provided cover fire, Harper
rushed the enemy bunker. He was wounded by
artillery, rocket and mortar fire, and died two days
later.
“Through his aggressive leadership and actions,
the hostile emplacement and its occupants were
eliminated [Four NVA.] and the body of the Amer-
ican soldier was recovered,” read the citation.
Harper, of Jacksonville, was the only veteran whose
family could not be reached by the ROTC, so little
is known about his time at FSU. [Sarge’s Note: The
ROTC was dedicating a memorial in their ROTC
building in Tallahassee, FL.]
At the ceremony unveiling the Wall of Honor, the
members of each family stood when the plaque
was presented. When Harper’s turn came, the aud-
ience suddenly realized that no family member was
present to rise for him.
Without hesitation, they all stood.
“That was the most touching moment for me,” said
Sally Sperling, widow of First Lieutenant Johnnie
Stephens. “All those families had been through the
same thing.”
[SOURCE: Florida State University.]

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SARGE’S PERSONAL STORY:
I (Holzhauer) have lots of memories Alpha company on July 28th:
My RTO, Gordy Kimbel, and I sharing a shallow
depression in the ground as we were being shot at –
with me being so frozen with fear that I could not
make myself move! I think the term is “scared shitless!”
Lt. John McArthur in a personal duel with an enemy
in a hole who was shooting at McArthur with a pistol.
McArthur was crawling up on him in the middle of that
open field the chopper went down in and McArthur
wanted that pistol _BAD!
The ‘Mech’ was working in the area and their “spent”
.50 cal rounds would occasionally land amongst us.

Lieutenant McArthur was there — as I recall, he was then with the 3rd
platoon, and Lieutenant Harper was honcho of the 2nd. My
Platoon Leader during the battle was Lt. Joseph.

Both Joe Amari (Co. A, 1st platoon) and I remember
that there were four NVA in the bunker and that the
Scouts went in and pulled their bodies out with a
rope. The bodies were laid out and one of the VC

guts were spilled out like a plate of spaghetti.

As we were leaving the area, several ‘Shaped
Charges’ were placed on a number of bunkers in the
area and they didn’t let us know where they were, only
that they had lit the fuses. Kind of scary _ almost
running through those woods _ not knowing if we were
about to be blown up! We then moved off a safe
distance and the Air Force worked over the area.
********

 

Charlie company’s 3rd platoon, Platoon Leader Lt.
Billy Duncan (now LTC Duncan) recalls;

” [We were]
on the operation on 7/28/69 when we made contact _
along with you guys from Alpha _ and it was my medic
Peter Gerry who was killed.” Duncan goes on to
speak of some of the men during this time, “Captain
Jim Bailey was CO [of Charlie company] ’till replaced
by Capt. Michael Neuman. First Platoon Leader… 1Lt.
James Parker. My Platoon Sergeant was Staff
Sergeant Studebaker; and Squad Leaders were Sgt.
Volk (KIA in April 1970), Brady, and Massey.”
**********

SEE MAP PAGE: MAP #4 IN MAPS

 
_________
29 JUL 69
“At 2045 hours that that evening, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, at Fire Support Base Pershing (XT518256), having detected movement with radar, engaged ten enemy with artillery, killing all of them.”
[SOURCE: 25th Div Quarterly Report OR-LL ending 31 July 1969 page 37]

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THE NIGHT THAT THE TWO LIEUTENANTS DIED

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_________
30 JUL 69
Co.A KIAs:
Lt. John D. McArthur (25), 3rd platoon, of Somerville, MA; and
Lt. Tony Harper (24), 2nd platoon, of Jacksonville, FL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“At 2205 hours that night, Patrol Base Dees (XT554227), the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, received 10 rounds of 82mm mortar fire, resulting in one Division soldier killed and three wounded..”
[SOURCE: 25th Div Quarterly Report OR-LL for period May 1 to July 31, 1969 page 38 Section 1 Operations ]

A tragic night at Patrol Base Dees that is forever
etched into the minds of the soldiers of Alpha who
were present; and remembered as “the night the
two lieutenants were killed.”

***********
I [Holzhauer] had a one man sandbagged sleeping bunker at the
time. It was getting towards dark when the first
mortar round exploded outside the wire near me. I
saw the smoke and a second round exploding
between the wire and the berm. They were walking
the rounds in and right towards me. I dove into
my bunker just as the third round landed beyond me
and in the perimeter. It was this round that got the
two lieutenants and wounded several mortar-men
who were preparing to fire ‘Counter-Morter.’
Lieutenants Harper and McArthur were running from
a tent towards the Command Bunker when the
mortar round caught them.

1970 – BACK IN THE WORLD:
In the spring of 1970 I (Holzhauer) was driving near Boston — Lieutenant McArthur’s home town. I thought of stopping by and talking to my old platoon leader, “Mac,” but didn’t have (or took) the time.
It wasn’t until several years later that I realized that in the spring of 1970 I thought McArthur was back home and still alive in Boston — I had blocked out the memory of that night at Dees, and his death. I had blocked that fact out of my mind for nearly fifteen years — both Dees and Boston.
_ S/Sgt Holzhauer

*********

 

AUGUST 1969

OVERVIEW:

Enemy strength: July 1968: 288,000. August 1969 232,000. “The war continues to be fought primarily by NVA troops.”
[SOURCE: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 251]

ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
The 6th Convalescent Center at Cam Rahn Bay is
attacked by sappers _ killing two, and re-wounding
nearly 100 soldiers.

________
2 AUG 69
Co. D KIAs:
Pfc. David L. Deloach (20) of Statesboro, GA;
Spc4 William T. Gresham, Jr. (20) of Ashland, MS;
Pfc. Gerald S. Lotridge (19) of Arlington, VA; and
Sgt. David C. O’Connor (21) of Indianapolis, IN
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

D Co. encounters a bunker complex and destroys it
with organic weapons, artillery and the help of
helicopter gunships.

________
4 AUG 69
Co. A WIA:
Sgt. Vance Baustert
Torres [?Which of the two; Enrique or Juan?]
Pfc. Mike Novak .
This was the day, the choppers landed us between Bo Heo and the Little Rubber and a bunch of guys were wounded jumping out and hitting a booby-trap. Sgt. They jumped off the chopper… boom… they jumped back on and were evacuated.

BACK IN THE WORLD (sort of);
In the Paris apartment of Jean Saiteny, Henry Kissinger meets with North Vietnam’s Xuan Thuy to begin SECRET negotiations aimed at ending the war.

_________
8 AUG 69
ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
In an August 8th briefing General Abrams mused about the Ho Chi Minh Trail; “I’m not aware of any supplies at all that come from North Vietnam into III Corps, unless you want to count that that is carried on the individuals that arrive. It all comes through Sihanoukville [Cambodia].” “I would say that somewhere between 60 and 75 percent of all the supply that comes into South Vietnam comes from Sihanoukville_or Cambodia.”
[Source: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 247]

_________
11 AUG 69
The second MPC currency conversion in Vietnam
takes place. A ‘Top Secret’ operation, the Soda Boys
knew about it days before.

_________
16 AUG 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
The WOODSTOCK Music and Art Festival takes place at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY. From August 15th to 17th. [U.S. Dates; Recall that we were one day ahead of America across the International Dateline.] The high-water-mark of the “Hippie” era.

_________
20 AUG 69
Co. D KIA:
Pfc. Richard P.Albert (21) of St. Agatha, ME
died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.

_________
24 AUG 69
Co. A KIA:
Pfc. John R. Zimmerman (22) of Detroit, MI
perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. B KIA:
2Lt. Dennis M. Skogerboe (25) of Forest
City, IA perished in Hua Nghia Province; and
3rd platoon medic Pfc. Daniel E. “Doc” Faran (19) of
Hawthorne, CA perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Alpha company at Dees.

_________
28 AUG 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to Sgt. & Mrs. Franklin Stott (HHC).

_________
30 AUG 69
A Co. at Pershing.

Co. A, 1st platoon _ working with the Ruff Puffs _ are
ambushed on their way to their ambush site. But the
combined ambush patrol turned the tables on the VC.

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1969 Tropic Lightning Hews:

COMBINED AP OUTFOXES FOE
by SP4 Larry Goodson
“FSB PERSHING — A combined Vietnamese-American
ambush patrol outfoxed a Viet Cong force recently and
wound up beating the enemy at his own game.
The patrol made up of Fire Brigade soldiers from
Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, and men from the 6th Popular Force Platoon, encountered the
unknown size enemy force two miles northeast of
Trang Bang.
The Allies were moving along highway 6A and were
approximately 250 meters from the scheduled
ambush site when, as Platoon Sergeant Bruce D.
Holzhauer recalled it, “Charlie opened up where they
thought we were.”
The patrol had just turned and was moving through
open rice paddies when the enemy put it’s firepower
on the road where the Warriors and Vietnamese had
just been walking.
Private First Class Clyde Glover of Johnson City,
Tenn., said “Everybody was already on line. All we
had to do was get down and return fire.”
A sweep of the area later confirmed that four enemy
had been killed.”
[SOURSE: Tropic Lightning News 22SEP69, Vol. 4 No. 38,’Combined AP Outfoxes Foe’ by Spc4 Larry Goodson. ]

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THE TRUTH:
There were no bodies found on our
“sweep of the area.” All we found was a wounded
water buffalo, some AK shell cases on the road, and what looked like blood trails. Higher-Higher must have
come up with the 4 VC body count _ first I heard of it
was in 2003 when I read the 1969 news story.
_ Sarge Holzhauer

 

SEPTEMBER 1969

________
2 SEP 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to Spc4 & Mrs. James Bishop (HHC).

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HO CHI MINH DIES

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________
3 SEP 69
Bac Ho dies.

“Uncle” Ho _ better known as Ho Chi Minh _ actually died on the second. But, news of his death was postponed for political reasons because “The Party” didn’t want to ruin [some obscure Communist North Vietnamese national holiday].

________
6 SEP 69
ELSE WHERE IN VIET-NAM:
This day the North Vietnamese established the VC/NVA political front known as the ‘Provisional Revolutionary Government for South-Vietnam Liberation’ (PRG) in Cambodia.

_________
10 SEP 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son was born to Co. A’s Martin Alverez.

_________
12 SEP 69

Jack Harrington WIA (three days short of his 21st birthday).

********************************************************************************
“On 12 September the battalion was operating far to the east of their normal tactical area. A Light Scout Team working with the battalion sighted enemy activity just three kilometers northeast of Cu Chi base camp. The ‘Warriors’ reacted and engaged an estimated NVA platoon. The enemy force was completely destroyed and by the end of the day, the battlefield was strewn with 33 NVA KIA, eight AK_47s and 25 sets of NVA uniforms were also captured.”
[SOURCE: 2/12th 1969 ANNUAL HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT (AVDCTU_SA).]

*********************************************************************************

_________
15 SEP 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to Co. C’s Max Koemans.

_________
19 SEP 69
D Co. in Cu Chi for Stand Down.

_________
21 SEP 69
1Lt. David L. Sackett (Co. A, 2nd platoon) Bronze Star Citation:

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“For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 21 September 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam. While on a sweep of a village, Company A received word that a gunship had spotted an enemy soldier near the village. Immediately, Lieutenant Sackett led his platoon to the suspected area. Arriving on the scene, Lieutenant Sackett spotted the muzzle of a rifle protruding from a hidden spider hole. Unhesitatingly, Lieutenant Sackett, with complete disregard for his own safety, rushed the emplacement and threw a hand grenade into the entrance, killing the three enemy occupants….”
[SOURCE: National Archives, Personnel Records, St. Louis]

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[NOTE: Evidently Lt. Sackett learned from an earlier experience with a spider hole; I give you the Tropic Lightning News story below that appeared the very next day _ after the above action.]

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WARRIOR Lt. LEARNS PITFALLS OF CARELESSNESS
CU CHI _ A Fire Brigade platoon leader nearly disappeared into a bottomless pit recently while attempting to check out a VC spider hole. But instead of quicksand or gravity pulling him under, it was a frightened enemy soldier.
Airlifted into an area near the southern tip of the Boi Loi Woods, Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry began a systematic search of a village suspected of harboring Viet Cong.
Shortly after sweeping the objective, elements of the 2d platoon found evidence that confirmed enemy presence.
The first contact with the communists proved to be hair raising for 2d Platoon Leader First Lieutenant David L. Sackett when he attempted to enter a tunnel he believed to be abandoned.
As he lowered himself feet-first into the tunnel, Sackett was grabbed around the ankles by an NVA soldier who was determined to pull the startled officer into his underground lair.
Quick reaction by Privates First Class James Byrd, Joseph Solleri, and Terry Ladd produced a tug-o-war that resulted in the rescue of their somewhat shaken platoon leader.
Grenades thrown into the tunnel produced one wounded detainee.
Sackett said, “I learned today that no matter how safe a hole looks, it has to be fragged before it is investigated.”
Interrogation of the detainee by Vietnamese scouts led to yet another VC hiding place in the immediate area, which Private First Class John L. Razcykowski, Tygh Valley, Ore., described by stating, “It didn’t look like anything but a big mound of dirt. We started digging into it and broke through into an underground bunker.”
As soon as the occupants realized that they had been discovered, they emerged, armed with hand grenades, from a well-concealed trap door. Both enemy were killed by alert security.
The operation came to a close after the Warriors had discovered an AK-47 rifle, a quarter-pound of documents and an NVA diary. Two hundred pounds of rice and the sight for an 82mm Chi-Com mortar were also tallied in the day’s bag.
[SOURCE: Tropic Lightning News 1969]

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_________
23 SEP 69
A Co., 1st platoon WIA:
Platoon Sergeant Sgt. Herb Ballard WIA and evacuated.

The 1st platoon was working northeast of Dees in the vicinity of XT5623, which was near X. Rang (1) — the July 28th battle. . “We opened up on some VC who ran across the rice paddies into the woods,” said Mike Novak. 1st platoon checked out the woods and found nothing. It was getting late of the day. and after some disagreement, the 1st platoon moved out single file using an oxcart path. The explosion blew Sergeant Ballard off the road and into the flooded rice paddy with a splash.

ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
At the 23 SEP 1969 III & IV Corps Intelligence Update meeting in Saigon a briefer reported “in III Corps, the enemy is 82 percent NVA.” And Lt. Gen. Ewell stated ‘we are trying to “drop the level of tactical operations down to company level, both U.S. and ARVN.” We are seeking “a reconnaissance-oriented tactical operation as opposed to an attack-type operation.”
[SOURCE: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 261]

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THE SEPTEMBER BOI LOI BATTLE

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_________
26 SEP 69
A Co. KIA:
Pfc. Norman K. Fork (21) of Laurel, NE perished in Tay Ninh Province.

A Co. WIA:
Pfc. Juan G. Torris, Jr. and
Pfc. Clyde E. Glover.

B Co. WIA:
Spc4 Marcos Molina.

Boi Loi Woods / Mushroom / Trapezoid
Boi Loi Woods / Mushroom / Trapezoid

The large mass of green in the lower-left is “the Boi Loi woods” _ actually, the Reserve Forestiere de Trang Co. It was deep within this jungle that the Sept. 26th battle took place at XT522333.

Lower-right: “The Mushroom” area of rice paddies and swamp formed by a loop in the Saigon River. Delta company landed just to the west of the Mushroom near the intersection of the roads 6A and 238.

On the north side of the river “the Trapezoid” area of operation stretched northwest from the Mushroom to the southern Michelin at Dau Tieng.

 

 

 

Sept. 26, 1969 BATTLE

Sept. 26, 1969 BATTLE
Sept. 26, 1969 BATTLE

 

0834 hrs Co. D LZ XT563322 [Off this map.]

0854 hrs Co. A LZ XT523344 [Blue Triangle]
0910 hrs Co. B LZ XT529344 [Just South of the village of Boi Loi and the stream on this map.]
Blue Square: NVA bunker complex.
Blue Rectangle: Evening Pickup Zone (PZ).

Company B came abreast of A and they both moved south “on line” _ Alpha on the right / Bravo on the left. Alpha was soon forced to proceed single file because of the difficulty in maintaining contact between each other in the thick jungle. As Alpha moved south, they found and destroyed a Chi-Com grenade (XT523338) and a U.S. “butterfly” bomb (XT522333). Shortly after eleven they were sitting down for a break when they came under intense RPG and small arms fire from three sides. Alpha expended their ammo fighting out of what turned out to be a horseshoe shaped NVA bunker complex.

At 1135 hrs Alpha called for a resupply and Dust-off (of one soldier wounded in the leg) at XT517333. This became the resupply and rally point for the days battle. Artillery, helicopter gunships and Air force jets pounded the NVA _ turning the lush jungle cover into a tangle of burnt and broken trees. At 1328hrs Alpha and Bravo companies attacked towards the bunker complex and were forced back _ sustaining 1 US KIA and 5 US WIA. Two hours later _ after more air and artillery strikes _ the American companies once more attacked. Co. A sustained 1 US WIA, wounded in the leg by shrapnel, and he was dusted off at 1547 hrs by Dust-off 79.

The bunker complex was never really explored because it was so large _ a horseshoe shaped bunker complex backed up by two parallel lines of bunkers _ and beginning at 1720hrs Companies A and B where picked up at XT514322 and flown out of the contact area.

 

***********
1Lt. David L. Sackett (Co. A, 2nd platoon) Silver Star Citation:
“…… First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 26 September 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam. While on a reconnaissance mission, Company A encountered a large enemy force. During the initial contact, the lead element became pinned down by the intense hostile fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Sackett led four of his men forward through the enemy kill zone and swiftly destroyed the main enemy emplacements. Noticing that one of his men had been wounded, Lieutenant Sackett moved to his side and administered life saving first aid. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the defeat of the hostile force…..”

*******

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The following is the Tropic Lightning News article on the September 26th battle that was published in the October 13th edition (Vol.4 No.41):

WARRIORS USE SOMETHING OLD; NVA IS SOMETHING BLUE
by Pfc. Jim Williams

CU CHI _ Fire Brigade Warriors combined the oldest military tactic there is _ the infantry assault _ with modern firepower of artillery, helicopter gunships and air strikes to decimate an NVA company, killing 30 enemy entrenched in the Boi Loi Woods.
Airmobile to a landing zone in the northern part of the woods, the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry’s A and B Companies had begun an on-line sweep, relying on reports that placed a large NVA force in the area.
As Alpha Company came out into a clearing, two RPGs roared directly toward the Warrior command group, which included Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Burton J. Walrath Jr..
“One went over and the other fell short, ” said Walrath. “They probably saw our radio antennas.”
Company A laid down a base of fire as the enemy poured on more RPGs, AK-47 and light machine gun rounds. At the same time, Bravo moved up and also came under fire. Both companies were within 100 meters of the forward enemy element.
Artillery of B Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery and A Battery, 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, and then air strikes were called in. The enemy positions appeared to be well saturated, so both companies went into an assault.
According to one of the command group RTOs, Private First Class [Felton] Cunningham of San Antonio, Tex., “the fire from the enemy was as heavy as before the air strikes.”
Both companies drew back and 1800 more rounds of artillery, four light fire teams and several more air strikes tore up the positions of the entrenched NVA soldiers.
In Walrath’s words, “We knew we were going back in.”
When the support fire decreased, B Company moved around to the right flank with Alpha and gunships providing cover fire. Alpha then organized a third assault on the enemy.
Said Cunningham, “We were 200 meters into the enemy position, receiving sniper fire and we still couldn’t see the bunkers in front of us.”
It was nearly four o’clock in the afternoon when a heavy storm moved in from the Northwest. By this time, 2000 pounds of ammunition had been flown in to the ground troops by slick and LOH helicopters.
In addition to the 30 enemy killed in action, 20 bunkers were destroyed along with 15 of the new AK-47s with the collapsible stock.
Walrath said, “The enemy was excellently disciplined, perfectly entrenched and organized in depth. We beat part of them down and then ran low on ammo and weather at the same time. This was one of the most violent actions I had ever seen; Charlie knew he had been in a fight when we finished with him that day.”
[SOURCE: KIRK RAMSEY at 25th Infantry Division Association.]

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BACK IN THE WORLD:
On September 26th a son is born to Co. A’s Pfc. Jay Hicks.

_________
28 SEP 69
Co. A at stand down in Cu Chi, Waikiki East — the first time that Alpha had used this rec area There is a memorial service at the Cu Chi Chapel for Norm Fork.

_________
29 SEP 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
A son is born to HHC’s Spc5 Daniel J. Buckley.

_________
30 SEP 69
BACK IN THE WORLD: A daughter is born to HHC’s Spc4 Winfield Muffett.

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 1969

 

During the month of October, the 2/12th Inf was in the 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, with an area of operations (AO) that ran north from Hwy 1 (Trang Bang) to the Saigon River. The AO included the Ho Bo woods in which Alpha Company had major contact on October 24th.
2/12th “Rear” at Cu Chi
Bn Forward at FSB Pershing
PB Dees (one company)
PB Lorance (one company)

 

 

OCTOBER 1969

2/12th assigned to: 2nd Brigade, 25th Inf Div
Rear area: Cu Chi
Forward: FSB Pershing (Battalion); PB Dees (one company); PB Lorance (one company).
AO: Trang Bang to Saigon River

2 OCT 69
C Co. KIA Spc4 Dennis M. Lambert (21) of New York, NY died of wounds (DOW) received in Binh Duong Province.

C Co. Eagle Flight and short RIF south of Pershing.

10 OCT 69
D Co. KIA Pfc. Maurice R. Kraemer (20) of East Jordon, MI perished in Hua Nghia Province.

11 OCT 69
A Co.’s artillery Forward Observer beginning in October was Lt. Tim Jachowski, 1/8th Field Artillery, and he kept a journal in Vietnam. I rely on it heavily for the history of the 2/12th in the next few months.

“Landed near Patrol Base Lawrence (5142) and worked south. Came up on an abandoned house and surprised 4 VC. I almost got shot while looking for more VC. I was about 10 feet away when he opened up. He missed, our guys didn’t. We killed 2 and captured 2. We found a lot of documents. 2 AK’s and some medals. We got picked up and happened to see some mortars firing at Pershing while we were flying over a hedgerow. We called it in to Pershing. The battalion called in a LOH and I got off the Huey and in the LOH. Called in artillery on the area where I had seen the mortars. They were probably gone by the time I got there,” Jachowski wrote in his journal.

Along about this time _ in the fall _ PB Lorence was torn down.

12 OCT 69
Lt. Jachowski soon picked up the nickname ‘Lieutenant Ski.’ He wrote: “We [A/2/12] started a three day operation in the same area as yesterday. We PZ’d in the afternoon to Ap Thin Phong (5320). We checked out the civilians and left for ambush positions as it was getting dark. The village was mortared that night by the VC. No contacts that night.”

13 OCT 69
Lt. Ski [A/2/12] wrote: “Just hung around a village until about 1700 when we got resupplied. As it began to get dark we moved off to another village. There were a lot of people on the road to Trang Bang. We questioned them and they said they were afraid they were going to be mortared. The company moved out to three ambush positions. It was a wild night. 2nd platoon had incoming rifle fire most of the night. 1st platoon [Lt. Swift] had its holding position mortared just after they moved to their ambush position. We [the CP group] were with the 3rd platoon and received fire twice. I could hear the mortars firing at 1st platoon so I fired some artillery in [the enemy’s] direction. In the middle of my mission someone said the VC were coming down the road, but it was a false alarm. Net results of the night action; no sleep, no casualties.”

Lt. David Sackett was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism for his actions on the 13th: “While moving to a night ambush site, Company A came under heavy small arms fire from an enemy force. Immediately Lieutenant Sackett organized his men in a defensive position. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Sackett exposed himself to the hail of fire as he moved from position to position checking his men and directing their fire on the hostiles.” [Dept. of the Army General Orders #13828 8NOV69]

14 OCT 69
Lt. Jachowski [A/2/12] wrote:” In the morning we
reassembled and went to another village, sent out a
few RIF’s. They finally caught up with some VC and
killed 7. No losses on our side.”

Tuesday, October 14, 1969 my [Sarge Holzhauer] return flight
from R & R in Hawaii on a ‘Military Hop’; Pan Am
Boeing 707-321 (registration # N405PA) was roaring
down the runway at Anderson Air Force Base, Agana,
Guam, for takeoff when the left inboard engine fell off
the plane. I had a window seat behind the wing, and
was looking at the thing when it went. The pilot
aborted the takeoff. The “Stew’s” panicked. Some of
us went out emergency chutes _ but, because there
was no fire, the rest of us waited for the boarding
stairs to be rolled out. I walked off the plane. There
was a trail of debris and skid marks 100 yards long.
At the end of the debris sat the engine on the tarmac.

15 OCT 69
A Co. KIA Sergeant First Class Francis P. Creamer (28) of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

“This turned out to be a bad day. We were patrolling around southeast of Pershing (529235). It was very hot. About noon SFC Creamer was moving through some tall bamboo when he tripped a booby trap. It killed him and wounded his RTO,” wrote Lt. Jachowski.

BACK IN THE WORLD: The ‘peace movement’ called for an October 24th “Moratorium” to end the war.

18 OCT 69
A Co. KIA Pfc. Robert L. “Bob” LaCombe (21) of Brookshire, TX perished in Hua Nghia Province.

19 OCT 69
A Co.’s Pfc. Mike Dowling WIA.

20 OCT 69
A Co.’s Spc4 M. Alvarez WIA.

21 OCT 69
A Co.’s S/Sgt Bruce Holzhauer; and
Pfc. Keysaw WIA.

BACK IN THE WORLD: Author Jack Kerouac _ On the Road for one last time _ died in St. Petersburg, Florida; and Janis Joplin was belting them out _ on the road in Wichita, KS.

 

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OCTOBER TWENTY-FOURTH

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24 OCT 69
A Co. KIAs:
1Lt. Steven Boal (24) of Upton, WY;
Spc4 Benton Brown (19) of Twin City, GA;
Spc4 Ralph W. Johnson (19) of Minneapolis, MN;
1Lt. David L. Sackett (23) of Welch, WV;
Pfc. Vernon J. Seger (20) of Minster, OH;
Spc4 Ronald “Doc” Sowell (20) of Philadelphia, PA; and

PFC Thomas D. Tomaszewski (20) of Buffalo, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province [Binh Duong Province in the “official” record because it was the location the casualties were finally called in to Headquarters].

A Co. WIAs:
Sgt. Robert Funk (24) of Penfield, NY died of his wounds (DOW) two days latter;
Spc4 Raymond E. Alcantra;
Pfc. Thomas Munger;
Pfc. Ronald Orr
Pfc. Timothy E.Shannon;
Pfc. Danny Griffin;
Spc4 Earnesto Gonzales;
and Pfc. Lonnie Wagner.

DEES TO THE HO BO
DEES TO THE HO BO

The night of the 23-24 October, Alpha’s 1st Platoon (led by Lieutenant Duanne Swift) had setup an ambush outside Patrol Base Dees and were to spend the day of the 24th resting and guarding the patrol base. The two other rifle platoons (lead by 1Lt. Steve Boal and 1Lt. David Sackett) were to helicopter to the enemy stronghold of the Ho Bo woods.

Commanding Alpha company was Captain Eddie White — a seasoned officer who spoke fluent Vietnamese. Lieutenant Sackett was a West Pointer. Lieutenant Boal had Ranger training. All three officers had been with Alpha company since August.

On operations the company commanding office (CO) — Captain White — usually took with him a command group (CP) consisting of two RTOs who carried radios for the company frequency (name unknown this day) and the battalion frequency (Specialist 4 Gordon Kimbel), two riflemen as ‘bodyguards’, the company ‘top sergeant’ (SFC Dennis Johnston), and artillery forward observer (1Lt. Tim Jachowski). Lielutenant Jachowski’s RTO, and artillery recon sergeant, was Sergeant Ken Berg.

06:50 HOURS
A helicopter- call sign Hornet 03- was on station at 6:50 a.m. and a four ship lift from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company (Hornet’s) made the first pick-up at Dees at 7:32. Each helicopter usually carried six to eight infantrymen and four helicopters lifted a platoon (+/-). On the 24th there were to be two platoons flying up to the Ho Bo’s.

The four choppers flew north towards the Ho Bo’s and circled for about forty minutes before landing between an old dirt road (nicknamed Six Alpha) and the brush beside the waters Rach Soui stream at 8:11. The Slicks returned to Dees to pick up the balance of the company and made the round trip to the LZ in about fifteen minutes.

“Gordy Kimbel recalls that “we were flying around a long time – looking for trouble.”

As the first men of Alpha were landing, a platoon from their sister company, Bravo, spotted seven or eight VC a half-mile north of Alpha’ landing zone. Alpha moved off in that direction. 

LZ
LZ

THE HO BO LANDING ZONE (XT548319).At 8:11a.m., elements of one platoon landed. The other four helicopters arrived at the LZ at 8:25. 

[SOURCE: 2-12 INF Battalion Duty Officer Log/Journal 24 October 1969] 

 

MORNING MOVEMENTS

17.Oct241969morning movementspg163

 

The platoon moved northeast off the LZ (#1 on this map). On their left the platoon followed the line of a brush covered banks of a small stream. Ahead of them was the usual hedgerows and more brush.

10:00 HOURS
At 10 a.m. Alpha reported capturing two NVA, a VC and one VC female nurse out of a hole at XT552327 — #2 on map. The enemy had one AK-47 and a P-38 pistol, two U.S. flares, clothing; 10 lbs of documents, and medical supplies.

Meanwhile, Bravo company was flown from Patrol Base Lorance and landed to the west of Alpha in order to exploit the situation. After landing, Bravo immediately saw that the area was a VC underground hospital (vicinity of #2B on this map). Bravo company spent the afternoon in what George Veitch, four-deuce mortar man and FO, called it “a rabbit hunt.” One after another the VC would pop out of holes and Bravo would shoot them.

After finding the medical bunker, Alpha company turned south, passed their mornings LZ and headed for the mechanized infantry laager of C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry — nickname the “Three Quarter Cav.”

11:20 HOURS
At 11:20 a.m. at XT545314 — #3 on map — Alpha found another bunker near the laager, but as artillery forward observer (FO), Lieutenant Jachowski, wrote in his JOURNAL, “No one was home.” Inside the recently vacated bunker was an AK-47, with four magazines and 200 rounds of ammunition; 4 lbs of rice; 3lbs of clothing; 2 lbs of documents; and a map.

As elements of Alpha was searching the area, a “Stinger” gun ship 11/2 miles east was fired on by a VC with an RPG. The gunship killed the VC and Alpha was ordered to fly over to investigate the contact. A pick-up zone (PZ) was established at XT544312 (#4 on map) and shortly after 1 p.m. they flew out.

DIFFERENT MEMORIES
Specialist Gordon Kimbel recalls it as this:
“We had been flying around all morning – just flying around, We were supposed to go back to Pershing for the day when someone in the ship saw a VC below, I wanted to keep going, but they wanted to land.”

The TOC Battalion Journal of the 24th and Lieutenant Ski’s Journal, records an element of Alpha on the ground that morning. 

 

AFTERNOON

18.Oct24Afternoonpg166

 

 

 

According to the 2/12th TOC journal, elements of Alpha helicopter’d from the 3/4 Cav laager area in two four-ship lifts, and in less than five minutes the first unit was on the ground at XT568305 (marked LZ on map). As the empty troopships of the Hornets were leaving they took heavy enemy small arms and RPG fire (vic #3 on map).

When and how all the elements of Alpha gathered together is unclear – some came from the Mech’s laager area, and some, like Kimbel said, “we were just flying around.”

13:12 HOURS
When Gordon Kimbel landed “there was sniper fire and we hit the deck. Someone said it was just sniper fire and we began to get up,” then all hell broke out!

“As soon as we landed we had contact all over,” wrote down Alpha’s FO, Lieutenant Tim Jachowski.

A helicopter Light Fire Team (LFT) was called to Fire Support Base’s tactical operations center (TOC), and a gunship — the pilot’s nickname was ‘Diamondhead 20′ and the ships’ # is unknown — reported at 1:30 that he was overhead and ready to provide support.

13:45 HOURS
FO Lieutenant Jachowski kept a dairy while he was in Vietnam _ “Third platoon moved north and got 2 NVA in holes, 2 AKs and one RPG. We moved south with 2nd platoon and started going into the bush.”

According to the official US Army records held at the National Archives, D.C., and jottened down at the 2-12th TOC on the 24th, the NVA were captured about 1:45 at XT570303 (#3 on map).

“3rd platoon got some fire. Lt. Sackett was wounded,” wrote down Jachowski. “The rest of the platoon drew back with no casualties. The battalion commander came down in his chopper once the firing stopped and picked up Sackett _ who died on the way to Pershing or Cu Chi, where ever they were going.”

******************************************************************************
SACKETT CITATION
1Lt. David Sackett’s award of The Bronze Star Medal For Heroism reads;
“While on a reconnaissance operation, Company A came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons, and rocket propelled grenade fire from an enemy force in well concealed bunker positions. Immediately Lieutenant Sackett led his men in an assault of an enemy bunker, silencing the enemy. As he was advancing on another bunker, Lieutenant Sackett was fatally wounded by enemy fire.”
[SOURCE: Courtesy of the National Archives St. Louis, MO.]

****************************************************************************

Lieutenant Ski continues, “We pulled back to some large bomb craters and called in two air strikes, gunships and artillery. The air strikes were really close, the napalm couldn’t have been more than just a hundred meters away. There was one F-100 and one F-4. While I was calling in the artillery it started raining really hard. I could just barely see where my stuff was landing. Ken [Sgt. Ken Berg.-bh] was helping spot the rounds.”

“When the rain and artillery were done we went back in,” continues Jachowski. “After 75-100 meters we hit a machine gun nest. One man was wounded. We pulled back again.”

Spc4 ‘Gordie’ Kimbel said that the enemy fire was so intense that “we joked about cutting off the buttons of our uniforms to get closer to the ground.”

According to the 2-12th TOC Journal, a Flame Bath drop was made by Little Bear 186 at about 3:15 p.m.. Helicopter Pilot Joe Finch, author of Angel’s Wing, wrote me; “I can tell you it seems familiar. It sounds like a time when we were asked to drop the flame bath within 50 meters of the friendlies. If you remember those flame baths, they were often 50 meters wide. We were scared on that run. There was enemy ground fire, and if it’s the same one, I dropped it as close to the target as I could. Too close for anyone’s comfort. And because I could not afford to miss, I dropped it from a height of about 75 feet. It bubbled the paint on the tail-boom and the crew-chief bawled me out; then the company commander chewed my ass too. The report from the ground was that we scored a direct hit on the target and I returned to my other mission.”

25th Aviation helicopter pilot Greg Bucy recalls; “I flew a Cobra 3.5 hours that day and was probably out there. I remember one time a large fire fight, with Tac Air in that area.” [Tac Air is the Air Force fighter/bombers.] “The thing I remember most about it was the F-4’s were using fuse delay bombs (for the tunnels). After one exploded I saw a bad guy fly up in the air with all the debris, do a back flip, then land and get buried at the same time. The guy must have been blown a hundred feet in the air by the bomb.”

During the action, someone — Captain White according to Kimbel — requested that the Three-Quarter Cav help us out. C Troop, 3/4 CAV, dispatched a platoon containing 2 Sheridan tanks and 3 armored personnel carriers (APC’s).

As the armored column was working its way through the jungle they spotted four VC at XT558305 and at around 4:00 p.m. helicopter pilot Stinger 04 reported that he had engaged them and killed three of the enemy.

In the air, the Slicks of the division’s 25th AVN (Little Bear’s) and 116th AHC (Hornet’s) were busy. At 3:45 pilot ‘Little Bear 22’ reported he was on station for a resupply run. At 4:35 pilot ‘Hornet 23’ landed his helicopter and evacuated an infantryman wounded in the face during the 1410 exchange of fire.

The gunships of the 116th AHC (Stinger’s) were busy too. Shortly after 5:00, a Stinger gunship spotted four VC at XT576304 and killed them. At the same time, a Stinger gunship engaged and killed one VC at XT560314. The enemy was either fleeing from, or moving towards the action.

[NOTE: I presume that ‘Little Bear 22’ made his resupply drop and ‘Hornet 23’ performed his dust-off around this time. _b.h.]

Lieutenant Jachowski gives a vivid account of what happened after the “three-quarter-cav” joined up with Alpha. For the 2-12th’s third, and final, attack at the bunker complex. “They came through the bush and joined up with us. We got organized and started moving again. The cav platoon had 2 Sheridans and 3 APC’s with us moving behind and between them. We followed the [Cav] platoon leaders track in. The Sheridans fired a few main rounds and all the Cav vehicles started firing. It was very thick brush. You had no visibility to the sides _ only what was in front. Then we came to a large clump of brush. Two men were shot dead off one of the tracks…..” 3/4 CAV troopers Spc4 Robert Aday and Staff Sergeant Henry R. Lambert were shot in their heads by a sniper and knocked off their APC(s), according to latter reports. Alpha Company’s Lt. Boal was killed _ either trying to get to them or someone else.

“Captain White was trying to figure out what was happening,” continued Jachowski, “but it was really a mess, no visibility and everyone talking at once on the radio. There was a VC position in the brush clump and two [Alpha] guys were shot in front of it.”

Captain White’s RTO, Gordon ‘Gordie’ Kimbel, said, “There was mass confusion! Captain White was trying to figure out what to do. [The enemy] were everywhere. They were in the trees. Everywhere!”

The fighting was at very close range and the enemy were all around Alpha. Kimbel recalls seeing Spc4 Benton Brown shot dead before his eyes, “I could see the machine gun, but they couldn’t see me. I took off the radio and grabbed a couple of grenades and took out the machine gun in that brush.” Kimbel was awarded the Silver Star for heroism for his action in taking out that gun.

Artillery FO Lt. Jachowski wrote in his dairy, “There was a VC position in the brush clump…. The battalion RTO threw a couple of grenades in he brush which silenced it for a while. Later firing came from there again and [Captain] White had the [APC] track roll over the clump and fire the .50 cal down into where the hole probably was.”

Jachowski continues, “Ken [Artillery RTO Sgt. Ken Berg] went over with the 3rd platoon to man a machine gun leaving me with the radio. We started getting wounded coming over to our position, which was in the center. I couldn’t call in anything because we were in the middle of their position. All the fighting was at very close range. Thy were well dug in and waited until we were right on top of them before firing.”

*******************************************************************************

CITATIONS:
Two members of Co. A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry (David Fanesi and Ronald Sowell) earned the Nations second highest award for heroism _ the Distinguished Service Cross.

FANESI DSC CITATION
“When the platoon leader was fatally wounded during the initial exchange of fire, Sergeant Fanesi immediately assumed command of the platoon and led his men in an assault on the enemy stronghold. As the element maneuvered toward the enemy bunkers, four of the men were wounded and pinned down by the intense hostile fire. Quickly organizing a medical rescue team, he moved to the aid of the wounded soldiers. As the team was evacuating the casualties, three enemy soldiers opened fire, wounding the medical aid-man. Sergeant Fanesi moved without hesitation to an exposed position and killed the three hostile troops with accurate automatic weapons fire. While moving the casualties to a safer area, the rescue team encountered two more of the enemy in a concealed bunker. Sergeant Fanesi quickly assaulted the bunker, and, although wounded himself, he killed the two soldiers with several well-placed hand grenades.”

SOWELL DSC CITATION:
“Specialist Four Sowell distinguished himself on 24 October 1969 while serving as a medic during an airmobile operation. On this date his company came under intense automatic weapons fire from an enemy force in a well-fortified bunker complex. The friendly element assaulted the hostile emplacements three times attempting to rout the enemy from their positions. During the final assault the third platoon suffered numerous casualties and Specialist Sowell began to maneuver through the hostile fusillade to their aid. He crawled to within 5 feet of an enemy bunker to treat a wounded comrade and then carried him to the relative safety of the friendly defensive lines where he insured the casualty would receive treatment. Again he returned through the hail of enemy rounds to help another wounded soldier and while evacuating him Specialist Sowell was seriously wounded by rifle fire. After bringing his fellow soldier to safety, he received medical attention but refused evacuation. Despite the withering volley of fire he again advanced to within 5 feet of an occupied bunker to administer aid to another wounded man. As he was carrying the soldier back to cover behind the perimeter, Specialist Sowell was shot again and fatally wounded. He managed to drag his comrade to cover before succumbing.”

**************************************************************************

116th AVN Pilot Graig V. Fielding (Stinger 99) witnessed the carnage on the ground, “I must admit that I had forgotten the date, but I will never forget the day. This was not the first, last, nor was it the largest fire fight I was involved with during my tour. It is, however, the day I am reminded of when I hear someone question the resolve or ability of the American Infantryman. I will forever carry with me the individual and collective acts of heroism witnessed from 200 feet above in our gunship…. I send a salutation to the men of Company A 2/12 Infantry, and C Troop 3/4 CAV. I also recognize the bravery of the men of the 268th VC/NVA. We all lost a lot of good men on that day.”
[The Sarge sez; Fielding’s sentiments reflect the grudging respect we infantrymen had for our enemy.]

 

 EVENING & NIGHT

 

THIS IS A PHOTO OF PATROL BASE DEES 
_ Courtesy of Ken Nerpel
THIS IS A PHOTO OF PATROL BASE DEES 
_ Courtesy of Ken Nerpel

 

“ALPHA IS IN A HELL-OF-A-FIGHT!” 

During the day, Alpha’s 1st platoon at Dees was listening to the radio at the Commo Shack _ hell, everyone in the 12th was listening, or had heard the rumor, that “Alpha is in a hell-of-a-fight in the Ho Bo’s.”

Co. C, 2nd platoon, platoon leader Lieutenant Steve Slayton occasionally listened-in as his platoon moved along Six Alpha working road security for the convoy.

Former Delta platoon leader Lieutenant Terry O’Connell had rode the convoy from Cu Chi to Pershing in order to say goodbye to his former platoon. He had just left the 2-12th to take a new job to lead a new Recon unit for Delta of the Thee-Quarter Cav. “My guys were out, and I hung around Pershing for the day. Everyone knew that Alpha was in a big fight in the Ho Bo’s. PRC-25s were tuned in to Alpha’s frequency.”

After coming off Road Security, Lieutenant Slayton was summoned “t0 get your gear and report to TOC, Up there I was told ‘you are going up to the Ho Bo’s — Alpha had lost a couple of platoon leaders and your going up to help out,” Slayton flew out just as the sun was going down. “I remember landing and talking to someone — maybe it was White — who pointed me to a position and the men were spent

Lieutenant O’Connell was shanghaied by his former Delta commander, Captain Wolfe, and ordered to the Ho Bo woods. “I finally met-up my former platoon at the Pershing PZ.” The platoon was to relief Alpha and had been waiting for helicopters that never came. A single helicopter landed for supplies, Lieutenant O’Connell and another lieutenant. “It was dark when we landed — “well, kicked us out at a hover and tossed a pile of stuff on top of us.” O’Connell found himself in the elephant grass in the pitched dark, “We didn’t know where we were…. where Alpha was. Fortunately we had a radio with us and Major Quickmire said they knew where they were and would send somebody out. A couple of guys crawled out and Welow crawled and dragged supplies back into the NDP. “The first thing I saw was a guy in shock and a bunch of medics working on him. There were no defenses. They had packs and everything they could piled up and they made a little ant line until they got the pile of supplies they got off the chopper. We spent the night all awake – nothing happened.”

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TOC NOTES OCT24-25:
24Oct69
LZ …………………… XT568306
“Contact” area ….. (vic) XT5730
NDP [evening]….. (vic)568305

CO. A MORNING REPORT
25Oct69
The October 25th Morning Report for A Co. has the location as XT584305 _ an area northeast of the contact area on an old roadbed. There is a trail leading directly from the “contact” site to this location _ yet, the 2/12 Inf TOC Journal has a PZ site for Alpha (2/12) at XT568304 the morning of the 25th.]
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Spc4 Kimbel didn’t recall any Mech being at the laager – neither did Lieutenant Slayton. Evidently the 3/4 Cav had a battle moving towards Alpha and did not make it to the 2/12th the day of the 24th. 

 

 

 

Stars & Stripes

 

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STARS & STRIPES (Pacific) NEWS ARTICLES about October 24th
_ Courtesy S & S Archives:

Sunday Oct. 26, 1969
25th DIV. KILL 47 REDS IN BATTLE NEAR CAMBODIA
S & S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON _ Heavy fighting erupted 30 miles northwest of Saigon Friday afternoon as GIs of the U.S. 25th Inf. Div. and North Vietnamese troops tangled in the area of the Cambodian border for the second straight day.
Forty seven Reds and 10 Americans were killed in the latest battle and 12 U.S. soldiers were wounded. Thursday, at least 93 Communists were killed in scattered clashes between the capital and the border, but spokesmen said Allied casualties had been light.
The 25th Div. soldiers, supported by armored tracks and heavy air and artillery strikes, scattered the remaining enemy shortly before sundown Friday after a five-hour battle. They also picked up 15 Red weapons, three of them crew-served, on the battlefield nine miles northeast of Trang Bang ………………….

Monday, Oct. 27, 1969
25th ROUTS REDS AT POINT BLANK RANGE
S & S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON _ With U.S. and Communist troops at times trading fire from bomb craters and tree stumps only a few yards apart, U.S. 25th Inf. Div. troops and American air power broke up an enemy supply-and-assembly point Friday, U.S. spokesmen reported Saturday.
Casualties _ 47 Communists killed and 10 American dead and 12 wounded _ were the largest reported in any single action involving ground troops for more than a month.
The clash began when helicopter crewmen working with the 25th Inf. Div. killed three enemy spotted in a crater near the Saigon River north of the Ho Bo woods. Infantrymen from the 25th Div. rode choppers in to sweep through the area 30 miles northwest of Saigon and immediately received heavy small arms fire.
Artillery fire and massive aerial strikes _ including air force F4, A37 and F100 jet bombers and 25th Div. OV10 Broncos _ pounded down a heavy cover fire for the GIs, Armored tracks moved in to join the infantrymen, who received fire from all directions from the scattered Reds, and the combined ground force fought into what was later discovered to be a supply-and-assembly point for a Viet Cong regiment, manned by at least 80 per cent North Vietnamese personnel.
The Reds fled into swollen marshes on the opposite side of the river shortly before sundown.
Elsewhere throughout South Vietnam ……………….

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BACK IN THE WORLD 24 October 1969:
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded ‘Teach Your Children’ _ a hit from their first album; Deja Vu.

 

 

  •   See 2/12th Inf & 3/4 Cav BATTALION JOURNALS FOR Oct. 24 & 25 

25 OCT 69
The day of the 25th, Alpha flew back to Patrol Base Dees and Delta swept the battle area.

Delta came up in APC’s and Lieutenant O’Connell joined them. He recalls, “We went through the aftermath. These huge bomber craters and body parts allover the place.”

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FICTION _ Based on a fact that I noted recently when reading a photocopy of the Co. A Morning Report for October 24th:
“The company clerk slipped the DA FORM 1 into the typewriter and began. He never noticed that the “7” key printed high on the paper if it wasn’t struck hard enough. Strike it HARD and it printed bold _ but in place on the line. He typed the names of the dead and wounded with his usual light fingered efficiency; and the sevens on the paper printed high and light _ as usual. But when it came to any sevens in the KIA’s DEROS (Date Eligible to Return from Overseas) he struck the keys hard and with a certain amount of anger. The sevens on the paper were bold. And in place.”
[SOURCE: Holzhauer]
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_________
26 OCT 69
A Co. KIA:
Sgt. Robert N. Funk (24) of Penfield, NY who was wounded during the Oct. 24th battle died of wounds (DOW).

_________
27 OCT 69
A Co. WIA:
Jim “Catfish” Spence WIA.

BACK IN THE WORLD IN OCTOBER:
11 OCT 69
A daughter is born to Pfc Dennis L. and Mrs. Clark (Co. E).
15 OCT 69
A daughter is born to Pvt. William T. Tufts (Co. C).

_________
31 OCT 69

Extract from Time magazine’s October 31st story LOW SILHOUETTE RISING:
‘The notion that U.S. troops are under orders that approach any kind of truce was ridiculed by U.S. commanders in Viet Nam. “I’d like to get Mansfield and Scott over here,” scoffed Lieut. Colonel Burton Walrath, a battalion commander at a fire-support base near Cu Chi. “We’re killing the Communists today just like we always have.” The only change, many officers say, is that they send out smaller patrols to find the enemy. (Source:Time)

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 1969

 

OVERVIEW:
Co. A — and perhaps with others of the 2-12th — platoons split up and some went to FSB Hampton (Go Da Ha area).
________
1 NOV 69
D Co. KIA:
Pfc. Herschel C. Smith (20) of Millfield, OH perished in HuaNghia Province.

_____________
11 NOV 69 (+/-)
Co. A WIAs:
PV2 Rodney Finkelson wounded and evacuated.
“Doc” Shagreux wounded and evacuated.

The 2nd platoon was riding tanks of the 2/34 Armor when an RPG hit a tank. The RPGs ‘splash’ hit Finklelson with shrapnel and took off the arm of Shagreux.

__________
14 NOV 69
Co. D WIA:
Pfc. Steve Gray wounded by mortar attack at PB Dees. He was blown off the top of a bunker.

_________
16 NOV 69
B Co. KIA:
Pfc. Marvin R. Berhowe (21) of Independence, MO perished in Hua Nghia Province.

_________
22 NOV 69
BACK IN THE WORLD:
Scientist Jonathan Beckworth, of Harvard, separates a single gene from E-Coli bacteria _ thus opening the door to genetic engineering. [As of the year 2000, Mr. Beckworth is extremely concerned about the misuse of his discovery. As well, he should be! _ bh]

_________
30 NOV 69
B Co. KIA:
Spc4 Tom Habad (21) of Hinsdale, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

 

 

 

DECEMBER 1969

 

________
2 DEC 69
B Co. KIA:
Pfc. Lyle F. Kell (19) of Wood Dale, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.

D Co. Wounds of actions (WIA);
Pfc Fernando Gonzales
Pfc. Joseph J. Trusso
Pfc. Peter R. Selby

[SOURCE: Gary Veeh, Co. C Vet, letter of General Orders Number 15092 7 December 1969 (ibid).]

________
3 DEC 69
C Co. WIAs;
Pfc. Dennis W. Mench
Sgt. John E. Nash
2Lt. James S. Parker
Sgt. Gary S. Ricci
Spc4. David O. Shelton
Pfc. George W. Smith
Pfc. Gary Veeh

On this action Co. C moved out of the NDP 2/12 INF working OPCON with the Mech [?3/4 Cav?]. Sgt. Ricci spotted VC and opened with one shot until weapon had stoppage. VC held ComChi grenades and held seven (7) minor Purple Hearts

[SOURCE: G. Veeh of 17Sep05 letter called a “Dec. 2 Action” abd HQ 25 DIV General Orders Number 15092 of 7Dec69 (ibid).]

________
4 DEC 69
D Co. KIA:
Capt. Hiram M. Wolfe IV (25) of Springfield, VA perished in Hua NghiaProvince.

________
5 DEC 69
A Co. WIA’s:
Spc4 Howie Alexander,
Sgt. Frank Viscomi,
Frank Manipole,
Pfc. John “Randy” Cornett, and
Larry Lockwood.

The 1st platoon was working north of Trang Bang, crossing a flooded rice paddy, towards a small village when a booby trap exploded, Containing glass and scrap metal, it wounded Lockwood and Cornett. They were dusted off. The platoon continued their mission, made contact, and several men were wounded.
[SOURCE: John “Randy” Cornett.]

Co. A WIA:
Capt. Jerry Andrews

ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM:
At the 6 DEC 1969 Weekly Intelligence Estimate Update (WIEU) General Abrams said; “But I’ll tell you one thing, that 25th Division_woo, that’s a coldblooded outfit! They’re really sharp_the U.S. 25th. There’s no bullshit there. That’s a very professional thing. I got no dancing girls in the briefing or any of that. Really tight.”
[Source: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 318]

________
8 DEC 69
A Co. WIA;
Spc 4 Willie Harrell,
Pfc. Latty Villanueva, and
Pfc. Robert Ziobro.

Alpha’s Arty FO Lt. Tim Jachowski wrote in his diary, “The company is more or less breaking up. The 1st platoon is going to Hampton [Lt. Swift]. The second [Lt. Slayton] is in the Bo Loi with the Cav and the third [ ?Led by what Lt.?_ Editor] is here at Pershing.
© 1970 Tim Jachowski 1969-70 JOURNAL

________
9 DEC69
Co. A (2nd platoon) WIAs:
Finkelson &
“Doc” Shangreux

Lt. Jachowski writes, “…. I went out with the [Alpha’s] 3rd platoon and a bunch of ARVNs. …. Had some casualties up in the Boi Loi [2nd plt.]…. An RPG hit a Sheridan and they got the splash. Doc Shangreux was a Sioux and lost an arm, he was a real great guy. I hear he’s doing all right. Had some incoming, I slept through it. The artillery called me up and asked if I had a shell report, I told them I didn’t hear anything. Oh well.”

_________
12 DEC 69
B Co. KIA:
Pfc Arlyn L. Lampert (20) of New Albin, IA died of wounds (DOW) received in Binh Duong Province.

_________
13 DEC 69
A Co. KIA:
Pfc. James Michael Cheatham (20) of Morganfield, KY perished in Hua Nghia Province.

Co. A WIA:
Seargent Fanesi
and two others.

Lt. Jachowski’s diary:
“We had one killed and three wounded by booby traps near old Lawrence [sic], 3 incoming rockets tonight, didn’t hit anything.”
_ © Tim Jachowski JOURNAL 1969-1970

_________
15 DEC 69
BACK IN THE WORLD: A son is born to Co. E’s Pfc. Norman Jack.

_________
23 DEC 69
Bob Hope USO Christmas Show
at “the Lightning Bowl” in Cu Chi.
Neil Armstrong, Les Brown and His Band of Renown, Suzanne Charney, The Golddiggers, Teresa Graves, Miss World and Connie Stevens.

One of Bob’s leading jokes was, “it’s nice to be here at Cu Chi_by_the_Sea…….. VC, that is.”

Alpha Company (who were on “Stand Down”) and Delta Company were lucky enough to attend, while Charlie Company was “in the bush” and missed the show.

[UPDATE: Some members of Charlie Company finally got to see Bob’s show when my 8mm Vietnam movies were shown at their 2005 Reunion. _ Sarge]

_________
25 DEC 69
Co A:
Lt. Slayton’s platoon had ambush Christmas night.

_________
26 DEC 69
Co. A
From Arty FO, Lt. Tim Jachowski’s diary: “Started out walking around south of [Lorence] for a while. They are starting to plow up Lam Vo…… [Patrol Base] Dee’s is also going down. …..then flew on up near the little peninsula and headed west to Highway 6A. Lt. Paschke has an ambush position below [Sa Nho (vic XT5626)].”

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27 DEC69
Co. A
“Flew up to the southwestern Boi Loi today and riffed around for a while……. We moved into three ambush sites very near the ones we had on the last Bushmaster.” [JACHOWSKI]

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28 DEC 69
Co. A
“Nothing happened on the bushes. We had breakfast at our ambush site then flew on over to the little peninsula and laid around in a holding area the rest of the day…… moved into our ambush positions about 1800. Just as it was getting dark 3 VC came walking up to our position heading towards the other two Ambush positions. They [passed] us and [moved] on down to the third ambush position. Number 3 opened up on them. One VC made it back to our position and we got him along with a pistol. The next day we found an AK-47 but no sign of the other people.” [JACHOWSKI]

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31 DEC 69
Co. A
“Flew down by New Ong Dam at 1500 and set up three APs. It got very foggy. Had the chaplain come with us. Pershing had quite a fireworks display at midnight for the New Year.” [JACHOWSKI]

BACK IN THE WORLD:
A daughter is born to Co. A’s Pfc. Charles “Terry” Russell.

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© All of (Lieutenant) Tim Jachowski Dairy/1969-70 JOURNAL is Copyright, all rights reserved.