Homer's Guest Book

Add your viewpoints and memories to the dialogue and help me tell the whole story.

Email Addresses will be posted as pictures only, to discourage junk mail robots harvesting websites.

All military veterans, active duty, family and friends are encouraged to post to my personal guest book pages. Veterans of other wars are especially encouraged to join the dialogue here. Other units from Vietnam are especially relevant to the story my site is trying to tell and should join in here. Materials will be included in separate links from the guest book.

Email me at the address shown below. If you want your communication posted to the public guest book, please use a subject line in your email like this: Subject: (Guest Book yes) (Email no) The parenthesis and key words Guest Book and Email trigger my programs and make it easier for me to post your entry. The Yes or No let me know whether to post your message to my guest book and whether to post your email address along with the guest book entry. If you do not wish to post your email address, you could simply ask them to contact you through my email address. I will forward the emails to you and let you decide whether to make direct contact.

When in doubt, I will assume that your email is a private communication and will not post it. I tried automatic guest book forms, but was not satisfied with the reliability across browsers and operating systems. Simple email appears much more reliable and allows editorial review before posting online. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Each unit has their own guestbook. If no unit is listed, anyone may publish on my personal guestbook located here. Just email me at the swamp_fox email address at the bottom of this page.

Other Unit Specific Guest Books may be located on their pages under the 4th Infantry Unit Pages page.

Tezeon Wong

I would like to post a message on your guest book to try and find "Gator 376". They pulled a rescue mission/extraction of a SF team on 21 December 1967. The SF Team member that was lost on that mission was Lee Dalton Scurlock, who went MIA when he fell off the rope ladder during the extraction. I am doing research on that particular incident for his surviving family members.

Posted 23 November 2019

If you can help Tezeon find Gator 376, contact me at the Swamp_Fox email address at the bottom of this page and I will forward your email.

Postscript ... I found this on the The virtual Wall of Faces Website.

SFC Darrell "Moe" Elmore
5th Special Forces Group
Special Augmentation Unit
Attached to 4th Infantry

In the summer of 1967 our project (Det B-50, Project Omega, 5th SFGA) had a launch site at Plei Djerang where we were running missions along the border and in the Plei Trap Valley region. Between June and August we got a call that one of the 4th Div LRRP teams had been inserted into our AO and were engaged by some Montangard VC with at least one US KIA and one US WIA (I was in the hole at the time so I was not on our reaction force). According to our Commander the Division did not have the team plotted and when they finally sorted it out, our guys deployed and recovered the team. I would appreciate it if anyone recalled the event and could give the full story.

If you remember this action, please contact him through the swamp_fox email address at the bottom of the page.

Posted 4 November 2019

SP4 Terrance K. Clanton

596 Signal Company Support
63rd Signal Battalion
Radio Platoon

I got my orders to go across the big pond. Viet-Nam! A few days later my orders were cancelled and the entire company got orders to ship out. It was December 1967 when everyone went home on leave for the last time before we left. In January1968 we were training in the mountains of Arizona in cold snowy weather in our 120 degree weather fatigues. I once found a small scorpion in my sleeping bag, no big deal I just set him free and thanked him for warming up my sleeping bag for me.

We had a mock village we went through to sharpen up our skills in finding Charlie’s hiding places without getting killed ourselves. After we had come down from the mountains it was time to pack up. We were loading all our equipment on a train, trucks, generators, jeeps, etc. One day we were called to a big meeting at the train. It seems that some of the jeeps on the train were not ours. Fancy that! Our group was very good at that, so we unloaded the ones that were pointed out and kept the others. After all they were army jeeps and we were army guys. The train soon departed and we were in route.

We flew to California to board a large ship which held three companies of men, it was a long journey to Viet-Nam and a small ship soon became very small and boring. We had to sleep in bunks which were three high and as you lay flat on your back your nose would touch the bottom of the bunk above plus all our gear was on the floor around us. As I began to explore the ship I found what I thought was a wonderful place to move all my stuff to, it was in the bow of the ship and no one had discovered it yet! It was a little room with bars for a door and a single bunk, what a great place! Quiet and no one around to bother me, so as I was lying on the bunk trying out my new found home the Lieutenant found me and with a stern voice informed me that I was in the ships lock up and unless I wanted to be a prisoner for the rest of the voyage I had better get my tail out of there and back to my area. Well I should have known, such a great place was too good to be true. Well, after that I was soon run out of the engine room as I was not supposed to be down there either. I explained that I was just exploring the ship and made hast back to the crowded confines of the ship. After that I soon learned to look before I stepped through the door way leading to the outside deck as there was often a pile of puke right where I would have stepped. The next learning phase of the trip was to stay away from the rail and up wind of everyone else as the sea sickness spread and the vomit waived joyously in the wind.

I was later assigned to what they called the fantail watch. That was a place in the stern (back) of the ship and just off to the side over hanging the water, and above the line of G.I.s sightseeing at the rail, Oh, I mean getting rid of their supper. A great place still, I was supposed to be watching for other ships and such. Realizing it was night time and I was all alone with a wonderful sea breeze in my face, it was a great time to light up a joint and get high without getting caught or anyone smelling the sweet aroma of bliss and putting me in that great place I found earlier, you know, the one with the bars and lots of privacy.

As the days and nights went by my exploring soon came upon an odd looking cage with a cover on it, with a quick look around my curiosity got the best of me and I pulled the cover up only to find one sea sick hawk! The poor bird was sitting on his perch with the saddest looking face, all slumped over and swaying to and fro on the perch. There was a company of chopper guys on board called the “Black Hawks,” I think, any way this was their mascot. After letting it have some air I covered the cage again and went on my way.

This voyage took what seem like forever with a passing of Hawaii and the crossing of the Meridian and a short fuel stop in Okinawa. That was a real experience! We were not allowed to leave the ship so I was lying in my bunk quietly when I suddenly heard the sound of explosions, I rushed to the deck to see what was going on only to find out that there was a fear of being attacked while at dock being fueled, so a small boat was going around the ship throwing hand grenades in the water to ward off any divers who would sink her. I was hoping the preventive measures would not sink us!

Leaving Okinawa our journey continued and soon we were there. My memory of changing ships has faded me (as that was forty years ago now), but I remember being on a smaller boat with a company of infantry. We were pulling into port when the boat suddenly stopped. I discovered that the Japanese Captain and crew had refused to go any further as there was fighting ahead. I went to the front of the boat, (I wasn’t supposed to be there either) to see what going on, as I looked to the shore I saw an air strike in the mountains ahead with columns of white smoke rising in the air and wondered what all the panic was about since it seemed far away. I then turned around to see a very funny site, there was a steel wall around the wheel house of the boat and all I could see were many noses and eyes peaking over the security of this wall, which was the entire crew of this boat.

As I turned more to my right I observed the infantry going over the side of the boat and climbing down a net to a smaller landing craft which would be heading to the distant shore. It was like something out of a television show. What a weird feeling, as if I was watching a movie. I don’t remember how I got ashore, except that I was walking on a dock toward the others in My Company to line up and be accounted for. We then took several trucks up into the mountains to An-Khe (an kay) where base camp was. We stayed there for some time. This was a time I remember being afraid for the first time, it was in the middle of the night when I and the others were awakened and taken outside and placed in fox holes. I was placed in a hole in the ground with my M-16 rifle and told to keep looking forward and if anything or anybody moved to shoot them as they were not friendly. I remember thinking that I was in the middle of the camp and if the enemy was in front of me then they would be in the middle of the camp also and no one on that side of the encampment would be alive. That’s when a chill came over me and I realized the seriousness of it all. All was quite that night and the camp returned to normal (whatever that was.)

This was a time when our Radio equipment had not yet arrived and being in a support company, I was loaned out to the “First Provisional Rifle Company” as what they called permanent green line guard. I was tower commander and had a small place to sleep called a” hooch” just behind the tower, every evening they would send me six men for guard duty, I would train them on the M-60 machine gun and the grenade launcher and claymore mines that were in front of us. The men were placed in bunkers to either side of the tower, two in each bunker and two in the tower with me. It was a free fire zone so we could entertain ourselves every night shooting at anything and everything that moved or not. Every morning I had to go beyond the wire to inspect the claymore mines, which were magically turned around facing us. No matter how hard we tried we never heard or saw the VC turn those things around. (That was before I was educated about tunnels.)

It was soon discovered that with the M-79 grenade launcher the higher you aimed it the further out the grenade would go, keep in mind the towers had a tin roof that extended out beyond the small sandbagged box area that we stood in so you had to be careful of your aim. Well, the tower next to us was having a great time out doing us until this guy aimed a little too high, the projectile hit the tin roof and bounced back into the tower, with a scream the man jumped out of the tower and suffered some broken bones from that sudden stop at the bottom. Now my understanding was that the M-79 projectile has to travel a certain distance and so many spins before it arms itself, which it did not, it just sat there on the floor of the tower spinning like a game of spin the bottle. The demolition boys took care of it later. What a hoot!

This was the place I also learned how to take the claymore mines apart and take a small (about the size of your little finger nail) piece of the C-4 explosive and use it to cook C-rations. I would set up my small wind barrier of a stove, light the C-4 with my lighter and set a can of beans over top. In seconds the beans were boiling. Just one hitch, you cannot put out the burning C-4 without an explosion, so I would let it burn itself out.

On day some jerk, (and there is always one), decided to stomp on his and put it out saving it for later, well, the compression set off the C-4 and blue the bottom of his boot off, again what a hoot!! (Another rumour?)

(Webmaster note: C-4 won't explode without a detonator. but I doubt anyone ever dared test the truth of this rumour. Many claimed to have known someone who blew their boot heels off stomping burning C-4, but having shot a block with my .45 cal pistol, I find that hard to beleive. Still I always let it burn out on it's own, just in case.)

Later I was pulled from the towers and given an M-60 machinegun and sent back to the outer perimeter and placed in an area that was under what you would call a street light. It was at night and I was wondering why it was so bright where I was. Just then a white tracer whizzed by me, I crouched down and waited for the next shot which told me where the sniper was, two short burst from the M-60 toward the muzzle flash and the rest of the night was quiet.

The third night and the third sniper down I began to realize that light bulb that lit up my area was a lot brighter than I was! I was sniper bait!! O.K. so be it, if that’s the way they want to play it. Either I had the charm or the VC snipers were really bad shots. Once I was given an M-16 rifle and put in a bunker, yes, under a light, it was very hot that night and the sergeant told me not to get out of the bunker or else! Well guess he knew me pretty well, because it became so hot that night I could not breathe, so out of the bunker I came and crawled on top lying flat on my back with a two sandbag high wall around me. After a while I was getting sleepy. Lying on my back with my rifle across my chest in the cooler night air was just too much for me, that’s when I fell asleep. I woke up with a white tracer bullet zipping across my chest about an inch above my rifle. I could see the muzzle flash but when I pulled the trigger I discovered the safety was on! Zing another white tracer bullet skipped across my rifle which was lying flat against my chest, as I tilted the M-16 up to reach the safety another shot was fired lighting up the darkness of night from just outside the wire of the perimeter, I quickly lowered my rifle only to watch the tracer bullet with its white glowing light miss by a hair. While wondering how I was going to get out of this mess without the sergeant finding out I had not stayed put as I was told, suddenly a long string of red glowing tracer bullets came out of the bush behind me and traveled directly to the next muzzle flash. I gave a silent thank you and crawled my butt off the top of the bunker and back inside with the stifling heat. The rest of the night was quiet and all was well the next day.

I found out that the First Provisional Rifle Company sent out a patrol every morning to survey what I did, I asked to go with them once but was told no, you’re doing a great job and were afraid if you saw what you did you might hesitate. Soon after that the company got orders to move by convoy north to a place near the city of Hue. I remember driving the lead truck in the convoy as we headed down the mountain, when suddenly a burst of bullets came flying across the front of my truck. Without thinking my lead foot pushed the gas pedal to the floor and leaving the convoy behind down the mountain we went, sand bags flying off the front of the truck and the guy with me holding on for dear life until we reached the bottom of the mountain where we waited for the rest of the trucks. The officer in charge was not too pleased with me, so being the loveable character that I was, myself and another guy were assigned to escort three civilians up river by boat to another location. This was one of those river boats with a gun mounted on front, I don’t know what you call them, river boats I guess. We were told to stay in the small stuffy hot cabin, yea, guess who could not stand the heat, YEP, me, so… as I sat on the bow (front) of the boat we headed up river. Everything I did seemed to be at night, as I sat there enjoying the view and the chug, chug, chug, sound of the boat as we traveled up river, until we reached a narrowing of the river, again just like something out of a movie the boat suddenly stopped the quiet chug, chug and the throttle went to a full roar while a 50 caliber on the shore starting firing from right to left across and just above the boat hitting the opposite shore banks. As we passed through the narrowing of the river bank into more open water the roar of the engine slowed to a nice chug, chug, chug again and all was quiet and I was quickly back in the hot little confined space of the crews sleeping quarters. Once arriving at our destination the RCA civilians disembarked and we continued on north. I don’t remember how but I soon arrive at my company in Phu-Bi and settled in.

Often we were headed to the bunkers to take shelter while incoming rockets and mortars reaped havoc over the compound. One morning after a rocket attack I observed a two and half ton truck which was parked just outside of where I slept had been hit with a rocket on one of the ribs which held the canvas top on. It must have exploded with much of its force upward and outward as there was little damage to the truck, well nothing that a new top and a little canvas wouldn’t fix.

Later I was assigned to head up a garbage detail, with a big truck and three or four guys we picked up the garbage and took it to the dump. On the way back we stopped off for a couple of beers, well guess who didn’t get the truck back in time not to get into trouble. YEP, that be me! The next day the First Sergeant suddenly discovered we had a refrigerator in our hooch, (that’s where we sleep). He was going to take it, that was a mistake, we had a guy from Hawaii who was crazy, he grabbed his M-16 and jumped up, jacked a round into the chamber, put it on fully automatic and said “if you touch that refrigerator I’ll fill it full of holes” we were all relieved that he did not want to shoot the First Sergeant who backed out of our sleeping quarters and never again returned.

Soon after that I was put on convoy duty and made several trips with my M-60 machinegun riding shotgun on the passenger side. One of those trips was to a place called Khe Sanh (cas-son) where the marines were having quite a time with the NVA and VC. We were taking supplies to them. Imagine that the Army taking supplies to the marines, not heard of, two rival branches of the service helping each other

The trip up there was somewhat uneventful. We had a helicopter gunship escort most of the way, one on each side of the convoy. As we were traveling down the road my driver said “look at that crazy idiot behind us”, just then our loveable Stanly, the guy from Hawaii, jumped over my head and onto the front of our truck. Motioning for us to pull closer to the rear of the truck in front of us at which time he jumped to the back of the next truck an climbed over the cargo and was on his way. Seems he was bored or something!

Shortly after that one of the gunships pulled alongside of our truck, as I looked at the pilot and he looked at me, he gave me a wave and peeled off to the right and left us. That’s when I got another of those sinking feelings, we were on our own! I had felt quiet safe with our eagle eye in the sky that could see far beyond us and had such fire power to give us a chance. We made it there all right and in one piece. Well I guess that was the first time a marine ever hugged an army guy, or was it because I had a two and a half ton truck full of beer?

On the way back we approached a three quarter ton truck in the middle of the road which had been blown up and was still smoking, infantry lined up on both sides of the road, with a guy in the middle of the road waving us on through. As we were rounding what was left of that truck I looked to my left to see a village under siege and burning. We drove right through the mess and were soon at our own base camp.

Soon after that I was transferred to a place about six miles north of my company called Camp Eagle, home of the 101st Airborne division. There were three of us in a tent with cots for sleeping. Our radio was jeep mounted and the three of us had to keep it on the air twenty four hours a day seven days a week. We were supporting the 101st Airborne in radio teletype communications. The guys in the bush would get into trouble and radio back for support, we would get the message, which was time stamped, dated and signed then delivered to the com center, who got on the field phone to whomever, as I was walking out of the tent the support was on its way. Choppers, artillery or whatever was asked for. This took only minutes as time was of the utmost.

The guys in the airborne unit called us “Legs” because we did not jump out of air planes. (We had to walk). During this time there were many adventures. We had this great idea to safeguard ourselves and the radio by having a bulldozer dig a big hole. We placed logs across it then covered it with sheets of PSP, metal strips with holes cut into them, that were used to make a landing strip for the choppers. Then we put sand bags on top of that in hopes that if a mortar or rocket hit the top it would withstand the blast. We then drove the jeep into the hole and set up communications there. This worked great for a while, but then as the monsoon season would be soon approaching we were afraid it would fill with water, so we began Plan B. We built a sand bag bunker above ground with the same configuration for the roof as we had for the hole in the ground and drove the jeep into it. This was much better as it also gave us a great view of the jungle beyond. This left a big hole in the ground where our equipment used to be.

The airborne guy’s used to come over almost every night for poker and an occasional fight. One night I was watching one of the airborne guy’s walk back to his tent from ours. Guess he forgot about the big hole in the ground between our tent and his, because he suddenly disappeared into the night with a scream and a thud!

We had a CIA guy who used to visit often, at first I thought he was trying to get something on us, but it turned out he liked the entertainment and a round of poker. I was never any good at cards so I was the beer and dope provider and occasional bouncer. Once I got picked up by the MP’s; they drove me to their office and left me sitting in their jeep, pockets filled with marijuana while they went inside, soon they came out and let me go with an apology. Confused I quickly returned to my tent and stashed the goods. A couple of days later the CIA guy showed up at our tent for another round of R&R (rest and relaxation) poker and beer that is and explained that he just happened to be in the MP station when they brought me in. He told them I was working for him and they had to let me go before they blew the mission. Lucky day for me!!

The Airborne Capitan soon grew tired of the fights and such at the legs tent and forbid the guys to come over. As the monsoon season approached a high wind and lots of rain soon took its vengeance out on the bunker that housed our jeep and radio equipment. The whole thing caved in with one of our guys in side. One of the logs from the roof came down and broke his collar bone,so he was evacuated out by chopper and we were left to the task of digging out the jeep and radio equipment. The problem with this was that the radio was still on and the microphone was keyed which meant every time we touched a wet sand bag we would receive a shock. This was quite a task with the rain and a General on the edge of his seat because communications were down until we could restore the equipment to a working order, which by the way left only two of us for the twenty four hour seven days a week task. The rain soaked everything, my cot, my sleeping bag, all my uniforms and it was cold, very cold. We had nothing for heat so I took a candle and put it in a C-ration can, lit it with my trusty Zippo lighter, placed it between my feet and with a lot of imagination that little candle became a beautiful fire place. My hands hovering over the flame, my water soaked body shivering, I created warmth throughout. In times of survival your mind and will are the tools to rely on. A time to go into spirit where all else fades away.

My sergeant was soon replaced with another who turned out to be a cool guy and a handy carpenter. Our tent soon grew a wooden floor and half walls with screen windows and an extension off the radio room, and lights, all run off of our generator. A replacement for the guy who was hurt was also a cool guy. And so time goes on…

I found out that my first cousin Mickey was only six miles away from me. He was in a navy unit called the Sea Bees. I used to travel the six miles to visit him and stay the night as the road to and from was not a safe one, especially at night. We had great visits, on one of which I remember being called out in the middle of the night to take our place in a fox hole. Mickey told me to duck down as the man in charge was checking each hole for the proper placement of his men. "Hide, don’t let him see you.", he said.

Cousin Mickey then noticed I had no rifle and seemed quite concerned that I had left it behind. I told him that it was OK. I said you kill one of them and I will crawl out and take his rifle. What a hoot! I thought Cousin Mickey would give us away laughing at me. All was quiet that night and we had a great visit as we did on several occasions. On one such occasion the airborne guys threw away a small refrigerator because it was broke, so I took it to my cousin and of course, his unit had a shop that could repair such a thing and since we had a generator to run our radio equipment, Yes sir, no more hot beer for me! The guy’s back at my hooch were very pleased also. And so time goes on…

Many times I awoke in the bunker with my flack vest on and the sound of explosions all around us, only remembering the last thing I knew, I was in the tent asleep. Henno and the sergeant must have dressed me and dragged me to the bunker. Many times I had done the same for them. With three men to keep communications up twenty four hours a day seven days a week makes for very tired and sleepy times. When we had incoming we have to shut down the rig and go off the air due to the fact that while we were transmitting, a rocket could home in on the signal and drop rounds right down our antenna, Boom, no more us!

I remember once a disarmed mortar round some guys were playing with came into my possession, I took it back to the tent and decided to take it apart, well there I was sitting on a mortar round with a screwdriver and hammer banging away on the thing when the sergeant and Henno came into the front door, terrified to see a crazy man with a hammer banging away on a deadly explosive! What a hoot! I also remember a TV show in the sixties called” Mission Impossible”, where this guy would listen to a tape recording of his mission and at the end of the tape they would say “in 10 seconds this tape will self-destruct”. Well tape recorded mail from home was popular when I was in Nam, so my father would send tape letters and all the guys would sit around to listen to mail from home. O’ yea my dad was great! At the end of the tape he said “in ten seconds this tape will self-destruct”. You can’t say that in a tent full of nerve shattered GI’s, a tent never emptied so fast before and I never laughed so hard!

A few days later the guys decided to get even as I was sitting on my bunk writing a letter, I heard a thud on the floor, as I turned with fight or flight surging through my body I noticed that the grenade which was lying on the floor between me and the only way out was German made. As I began to re-enter my physical body with some sort of calm, I said, "Nice one guys!", as a lot of laughing and giggling was going on outside the tent. They had their fun with me that day.

I used to take the jeep the six miles south to the main camp where my CO was, to pick up some C-rations. More times than not I was run off the road by a truck full of ARVN soldiers, who would laugh at the joy of it all. In those times I had learned to take a hand grenade apart and disarm it, putting it back together in a harmless state. I kept one such device in my pocket for my next trip to camp. Well it happened; on my next trip a truck full of Arvin soldiers left me no choice, but to leave the road and end up in a ditch! Just then a heard of water buffalo was crossing the road and the truck had to stop. O.K., time for some fun! The two and half ton truck with a canvas top over the back, full of Arvin soldiers staring back at me wasn’t going anywhere , I jumped from the jeep and ran up to the back of the truck, took the dummy grenade out of my pocket, pulled the pin and threw it into the back of the truck. As I quickly ran back to my jeep I heard screams and the ripping of canvas, as I turned for my last look. I saw what I thought was a joyous and funny site of ARVN soldiers flying through the torn canvas side in a panic to flee the nonexistent explosion. HA, got even! What a Hoot!! After that I guess American vehicles got plenty of room on the road, because there were no more incidents of forcing us off to the side.

The airborne mess tent was just down a dirt road a ways from my tent at camp eagle, so one morning I decided to go to breakfast for some of those good old powdered eggs and such. While sitting at the long table and eating breakfast with the rest of the guys in this tent, that was open on all sides because of the morning heat, we heard a BOOM. Everyone stopped eating and just looked at each other, then the second BOOM went off close to the tent and we all scrambled out and headed for the closest bunker only to find it full with the cooks and no room for anyone else. An airborne sergeant and I turned to see the explosions from the mortar rounds walking down a hill towards the mess tent where we were, so we began to run back to our own area to our guns and the safety of our own bunkers. As we were running I turned to see the explosions from the incoming mortar rounds following us down the road! As I turned to run again I heard the sergeant yelling I turned to see what all the yelling was about and I saw him waving his arms in the air trying to reach his back so I ran back to help him. He started yelling for me to keep going but I did not. His shirt was stuck to his back by a hot piece of shrapnel which was burning him. I pulled his shirt from his back and the metal fell to the ground leaving a small hole and blister on the sergeants back, He asked me not to tell anyone of this. I don’t know why not. I guess he was embarrassed because it was only a small blister, but I granted his wishes anyway. The explosions stopped as quickly as they started and we returned to our tents and jobs like any normal day in Vietnam.

The day finally came when I got my orders to go State side. The lieutenant drove me to the airport and I was on my way. Some 14 hours later I was back in the States and expected to act like nothing had happened. With cat like reflexes and shattered nerves I was a normal person, oh yea,I was normal all right. I was in Washington State, fed a cold steak dinner and told I had to go to the airport after midnight to catch my plane home, so there would be no protesters to spit on me at that time of the night. So this was the beginning of my challenge to be one with all there is, sitting there at a closed airport, in the dark, all by myself, waiting for that flight home. I remember being on the plane and feeling out of place remembering the times left behind which seemed only moments ago.

The plane landed in Melbourne Florida and as I sat there waiting for everyone to get off the plane before me, I wondered what it would be like when I walked down those stairs to the outside world. I don’t remember how long I sat there but I suddenly realized I was the only one on the plane as the pilot and crew had disembarked also. As I walked down the isle of the ghost ship and entered into the light of day, I saw my mother and father waiting for me. My dad seemed to have a worried and puzzled look on his face which faded away when I stepped up my pace toward them.

Home coming wasn’t much as it was still an unpopular war. We just went home… and life goes on.


The 596th Signal Company (Support) arrived in Vietnam on 13 February 68. After receiving an initial in-country orientation at a staging base in II CORP it was assigned to the 459th Signal Battalion in I CORPS. The unit is made a significant contribution to the communications and electronics effort in I CORPS.

If you wish to contact Terrance send the email to me at the swamp_fox address at the bottom of the page and I will forward it to him.

Paul Hale Artillery Specialist..

Remembering our firing in support of the battle on Hill 467.

I was in our advance party to Polei Kleng, prior to moving to FSB 20. The place soon filled up with a lot of men and equipment. Most of the equipment was sitting there still in the slings. The choppers just piled men, howitzers, infantry and equipment all over the place. We were all just lying around with our gear in the tall grass. The fire in the grass at Polei Kleng was started by someone cooking C-rations, and yes it did cause ammo to go off. We had to wear our gas masks to go into the smoke and try to put the fire out by beating the grass with our shirts. We started hearing small arms ammo going off so we lay down for a little while. That fire occurred when the place was full of men and equipment. They finally hooked a lot of the men and stuff out. It was just a staging area and that day they took load after load up into the hills until just five of us were left. We became stranded there; I think they just forgot about us just sitting there with no food or water. The Green Berets told us they were going to walk out and get some help. We finally found a sling that had some apple juice in it, but that really didn't help. The next day the chopper came for us.

When I did get up to FSB 20 it must have been about the 5th of March. On St. Patrick's Day Lt. Williams, the artillery liaison officer for 1st of the 8th, went out and flew into a hornets nest. He landed their aircraft back on our hill with plenty of hits and not running to good. He hurried up to our guns and wanted shoot. We got all six ready and shot one round apiece. I was on the gun that was right next to where he and our XO Tuttle were looking through scope. They wanted just one shot from our gun. I was the gunner and we fired just one shot. Then they went to adjusting, up and down, left and right; finally I walked over to where they were looking through the spotting scope and asked if they were shooting at rabbits running around in circles. Tuttle calmly said they had gooks in trucks and let me take a look. I said lets get them. We loaded up the gun again and I switched over to assistant gunner, so I could be the one that pulled the lanyard. I fired and went back to the scope just in time to see the shell hit and then stepped back and saw the flash as we got secondary explosions. Everybody on the hill went to cheering like we had just scored a touchdown. After that incident the gooks wanted us off that hill bad so they shot at us for days until they got us zeroed.

I was loading the gun that took the direct hit on FB 20 March 26, 1969. That hit killed the gunner, ammo man, and RTO. The gun crew sergeant, assistant gunner, and myself, the loader were wounded. They had us zeroed in perfectly!

Forty years later it hit me, that Lt. Williams gave our position away, when they were forced to land at our chopper pad. No wonder the enemy could hit us so accurately. My point is that Lt. Williams came and landed on our hill a couple times and they probably watched where he landed, which gave our position away. About Williams, he was a good guy, good officer, and good forward observer.

Bryan D Granger

A Former Marine and Present Day Cop

Mr. Steedly,
My name is Bryan Granger and you have posted my Dad's pictures (Bob Granger). I just want you to know you are doing a great thing for him. It is opening him up a lot. I used to love looking at those pictures ... always had questions ... never the courage to ask. Just want to say thank you again for posting my favorite part of history.

Thomas E. Lewis

Mr. Steedly,

Thank you for your bravery, both in Vietnam and in bringing your story and your compassion to others through your website and amazing interview with Walter Edgar.
I was moved by how you humanized the devastating effects of war, especially in naming Mr. Dam as a hero. Your work is inspiring.

Clyde Edward Williams
HHC, 1st Bn/8th Inf, 4th Infantry Division
In Vietnam: Aug 21, 1967 - Aug 20, 1968
MOS: 36K = Field Wireman

Clyde is in need of verifying some stressors for a PTSD support claim with the VA. He was radio operator for LTC John H. Madison "Bullet" for approx 6 months. His final 4 months of duty he was night switchboard operator @ Pleiku. His memory is like most other Viet Nam Veterans, somewhat faint. Other names he remembers but may not be exact are Bob Larue, David May, and 1LT Lars Hedstrom. I have already been in contact with Hedstrom. I would certainly appreciate contact from anyone who might recall Mr. Williams.

This sent to me by and investigator seeking information about Clyde's tour and the conditions prevalent at that time. Anyone on Battalion staff at the time would be a great help, even if you do not remember Clyde. You could attest to the environment he worked in during that time frame. Send any comments to me, using the email address for SwampFox at the bottom of this page and I will forward it to them.

Paul "Richard" Conner

I am the wife of the above named soldier, Paul "Richard" Conner. I have just found your web site and can send my husband's Military information and photograph to you. He was in the 4th Infantry, Operation Swamp Fox. Richard is now deceased. I would appreciate you considering to honor him on your web site.

Shirley J. Conner

Doug Williams

What an amazing site – I have been to many of the places in these threads, starting my tour with the ‘yards and SF at Ranger’s Roost north of Dak Pek!!

My name is Doug Williams and I just read the piece from Terry Ward about FB 20 and Task Force Alpha in March 1969. I’d like to offer what I recall. I was the 1/8 Artillery LNO on FB 20 for the whole period and assigned to the 6/29 Arty. It was a very difficult time because nobody had been in Plei Trap for six months and it showed. There were formidable NVA regular forces coming from the tri-border area along a route that would lead east toward Polei Kleng, and then on to Kontum. Also, for the first time, we were on the receiving end of 105mm rounds. The operation lasted many days with intensity increasing with each day. The 105’s were shooting Chinese ammunition (later extracted with some tubes) and were devastatingly lethal – in one night, toward the end, we counted over 250 rounds landing at or within the FB 20 perimeter. Throughout much of the action, we fired support both for our position on FB 20, and also the poor guys down in the middle of the NVA trail on Hill 467 – they were right in the middle of the bad traffic; and the stench of the good job they were doing was prevalent. When possible, I got in a LOH and went out looking and on one occasion, spotted about 6 NVA trucks with arms and ammo moving down the trail just a little beyond 467. After cranking up our own 105 DS tubes, as well as our 81’s and 4-dueces, I also brought in 175mm from Ben Het and 155’s from somewhere back near Polei Kleng. The fires were arranged to circle the trucks and close them in – it worked, with several large secondaries forthcoming. The most heroic thing I have ever seen was while on FB 20 during the night of incredible incoming. The Battalion Surgeon, stranded for the night due to no flights in and out, went way beyond what one would expect. One 105 gun crew that was shooting counter battery took a direct hit – it was chaos and bedlam as the rounds kept coming in. We were all trying to put out ammo fires, tend to wounded and keep our own tubes firing. We heard some more booms and I knew more rounds were in-coming – as they hit, they landed just outside the pit that had taken the previous direct hit. As the landing rounds exploded, there were balls of light in the dark background. Between the light and me, silhouetted there in the light of the fireballs was the Doc, lying on top of a soldier who had just lost his leg, protecting him and holding up an IV to assist the soldier with pain and loss of blood. I can still perfectly see the memory – the troop made it and was evac’d the next day. Eventually, we found the tubes that were crating so much havoc after a crater analysis and going looking for them in a LOH. As we got near to them, 37's, 12.7's and small arms opened up on us simultaneously – the pilot was incredible and we were at tree top in split-seconds. But we now had their position. That night and early next morning, B52s hit the tri-border area where we found the tubes. After that, their tubes were silent and we extracted both positions, even then under great duress. In all, we brought out nine 105 tubes, and found they were all American carriages that were traced back to the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. The supply line had been broken and the NVA had suffered enormous losses – unfortunately, ours were also high. But for the actions of the Doc, there would be one more -- God bless him wherever he is.

Terry Ward

I was 1/8th S-2 during the operation. I'd like to shed some additional insight into the events as I recall them. Our Battalion Surgeon was Dr. Matthew T. Howard, MD. Matt was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on FSB 20. The red legs had their battery set atop the hill in the center of FSB 20, directly in line with our Battalion TOC. The Medical Center was adjacent to the command CONEX. We were being hit regularly by NVA artillery fire. The artillerymen were doing counter-battery fire at the same time we were receiving in-coming. One of the incoming rounds hit in the midst of one of the gun crews killing several and maiming others. Dr. Howard ran to their aid, and with additional rounds falling, did all he could to treat the wounded. The experience left him visibly shaken, not for his own safety, but for the lack of aid he could offer to the people who were beyond his help.
The Battalion Forward Observer was Lt. Doug Williams, West Point, '67. Doug was the first to spot the NVA artillery position. We were doing a recon flight when he happened to spot a muzzle flash. The tubes were dug into the reverse slope of a hill and nearly completely covered with trees, sticks, and ground cover. We had been trying to locate the position of the guns for DAYS. Later, one of the FAC pilots managed to confirm the location and only then did we start making life miserable for THEM. Capt. Ted Yamashita and his company later secured the guns after a significant amount of ordinance was thrown into the vicinity. The artillery pieces were U.S. manufactured 105's given to the French, taken after Dien Bein Phu, and then turned onto us. Doug Williams was a great spotter and tremendous shooter. More than once, he called for "battery six, open the sheath, TROOPS in the OPEN".
LTC Buckner was a tough guy. A former U of Kentucky football running back, he was fierce guy and working with him was like dancing with a chainsaw. During the shelling, Buckner's hootch took a direct hit with the Col. inside it. I managed to pull him out and dragged him to the medical center. There was plenty of shrapnel flying around and by the time we got to the aid center, it was hard to tell whose blood was on whom. Dr. Howard patched both of us up and all this experience did was make Buck madder. He took some aspirin and went back to business. We needed a tough guy and he fit the mold.
Sp 4, Jerry Lauks, 3-A 1/8 was offered a battlefield commission after his actions in this engagement. Lauks is, was and forever will be the commensurate warrior. He distinguished himself at FSB 29 and in other scrapes we had fallen into throughout his tour. I hope Jerry Lauks has done very well. He IS an American soldier....

Terry Ward

If you wish to contact Terry, send the email to me at the swamp_fox address at the bottom of the page and I will forward it to him.

Jim Carriere,
57th AHC, Kontum
68-69 ... Crew Chief -Gunner

I was at FSB19 on Aug of 1968, the second ship that dropped in more troops. We were shot down as we cleared the trees and barely made it to the field below.

If you have any information as to the soldiers we dropped in, I would enjoy learning more about them. I talked with one of them, because I saw...Crookston Mn. on his helmet.

He claimed that his people had only been in country for 3 months and it was his first combat mission. I had to tell him to pass along the information that FB-19 was hotter than hell and to lock and load.

I'll never forget listening to the Lt. or guy in charge on the headsets. It still brings back memories when I talk about it.

The next day we flew in to pick up the KIA's and this guy from Crookston was still alive. He helped load the dead aboard my helicopter. I can't remember how many loads we took. But I do remember my knees shaking and my chest getting tighter.

The helicopter that was shot down...was #264. As we disembarked from the Helicopter...mortars were being walked in on us.

Thanks for you service...Welcome Home!
You guys were our heroes.

My name is Jack Hawkins and I flew Alligator 66-16422.

(See Four Double Deuce in Task Force Alpha account for date 30 MAR 1969)

Robert Legacy was my crew chief and John Morrison was my gunner. Robert had the day off on the day we extracted Task Force Alpha and unfortunately I do not remember the crew chief who was flying with us. I am sure Morrison does. I was part of the extraction from start to finish and the last trip in was my fourth trip of day. We knew there were two sorties left and we had about 4 slicks left that had not taken hits. Jim Hudkins said he would go in to get one and asked who was going to get the last. I was "tail end charlie" at that time and after a pause from the other two aircraft, I said I would. After Hud picked up the next to last sortie, a pair of cobras from across the boarder heard us and they came in and unloaded their rockets. I was saying the Lords Prayer when that was happening. I had come in the same way for three different times and felt I was pushing my luck there, so I changed my direction going in and missed the LZ. I told the guns covering me that I had fooled around there enough and went back to how I knew to find the LZ, which was low level until I flew over a flare chute and then flare and drop it in. I remember after we were loaded and took off, I went out another direction and saw someone shake his head as that was a bad direction to go. We made it out, I took one bullet hole in a rotor blade and was happy to have that over.

I grew up on a ranch in Texas and my dad was in the Appaloosa horse business. I had a "I would rather be riding an Appaloosa" bumper sticker on my sliding amour plate. After we landed at Polei Kleng, a black trooper came running up with a beer and said the other guys were good, but I was the best. That was the best recognition I have ever received. Several of us received Distinguished Flying Cross for that day, but the present of a hot can of beer was better.

Later the next month, I had an engine failure in 422 out by Blackhawk towards the Mang Yang pass. I think it was part of the same troops that cut out an LZ.

I am still flying and am in Antarctica. The company I work for has the contact with the National Science Foundation here in Antarctica. I am the manager but still love flying. The days I fly are the best I have down here.

I do remember you, and am sure I may have flown you more than once. I also arrived in Viet-Nam in August of 1968. Except for some of the memory details, it still seems like yesterday. Where are you from and where are you currently living. My life has been good, I married a good woman, had two sons, one to West Point as a infantry officer and the other one is a Blackhawk pilot currently flying Medevac in Afghanistan. Pray for him.

Jack Hawkins
Aircraft Commander of Alligator 422

Thank you for your comments. There comes a time when you resign yourself to what is about to happen. You had already done that when you thought you were left. You were going to give it your all and that is the way it is. I would not have wanted to trade places with you. In both of our cases, a person has to have confidence in what he is doing, think he is a little better than the other guy and then give it his best shot. I don't know who told you that we were not coming back, but that never came up with us. As long as we had aircraft flying, someone would have gone in. Hud and I were the senior AC's and it was up to us.

A little history on Jim Hudkins....He was a special forces NCO sometime around 1963 in the Duc Co area. He was evacuated after he took some shrapnel from a mortar round and then left the army. He was a class behind me in flight school, but I knew him and recognized him for the leader he was. I had just gotten into the 119th and about a week later Hud showed up. He was always in control in his calm way, and was an example to us all. He had his ground war experiences and knew more than any of us what you were going through. Thank goodness we had some good examples to follow. Hud died a few years ago with cancer. He was my best friend and is missed.

In 1984 a few helicopter pilots started the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. I finally went to one reunion in Ft. Worth, Texas, back to Mineral Wells and the place where we all started. The turnout was about 1500 including spouses. We were pretty rowdy, but it was the release that so many of us needed. Small groups would gather in rooms and we would talk about those in our past who did not make it, about the times that we were scared to death, and about the times that were funny. It has become more and more about the times that were fun. The only thing really bad about the reunions are that the Cav pilots with their black hats are included! (my brother-in-law was a Cav pilot) There is a lot of good banter back and forth and it has healed a lot of wounds. When I see pics of our era, I still cannot believe what you guys went through. I can't understand how you did it and I saw it, and I know that someone that was never there cannot even start to comprehend what the grunts went through. It was a year sentence fighting with a ghosts. My hat is off to you.

I will call you sometime after the holidays. We are on New Zealand time here and are 6 hours behind you, but a day ahead. I want to know what was happening in the direction that we departed. I distinctly remember several of you in the back hollered no or indicated that was not a good departure path. Too late by then, we were committed.

Do you have any idea of the name of the black kid that gave me the hot beer? He jumped on right after we landed at Polei Kleng and gave it to me.

Do you know the name of the Lt. that was killed by a mortar fragment when Polei Kleng was mortared from the hills to the west? They managed to hit and set fire to a large stash of ordnance. After the gun ships got on the tube and the slicks took off, I went back in and picked him up. He was right by the burning ordnance, and I remember thinking that I wanted them to hurry up and get him on board as the fire on the wooden crates was starting to spread pretty rapidly. When I came back later it was still cooking off. I asked some Captain if the Lt. had survived and he told me he didn't. He was a really good guy.

Again, I don't want to tie up your Christmas and will give you a call later. Tomorrow, I will go down to the hanger where it will be quite and will go through your web site. Thank you for effort and trouble to record the events.




Use anything I have written. I will read your entire web page as your tour and mine coincided to the month and most of my flying was in support of the 4th. I have some stories I laugh about now that were not funny then. Like when Col. Knight threatened to shoot me if he ever saw me again. I had covered him with dust at Polei Kleng, when he was taking his shower. He was not grinning when he said it! And when Sgt. Maj. Gilbert kept us Warrants out of trouble at Dak To when crashing the 1st Brigade bar that was set up for officers. How dare they not let us in for a beer! Ha! The good ol' Sergeant Major Gilbert told us, "Boys, my tent is full of beer in a refrigerator that is cold, and you help yourselves. Discretion is the better part of valor and that is where we went.

And I do remember the red-headed freckled kid that we picked up. It seems you were 21 ? I was a lot older...22. You mentioned one of the guys was your RTO. My assumption is that the others were platoon Sergeants.



If anyone wants to contact me, please forward their e-mail address. I will respond.

Where to start? I flew Alligator 66-16422 of the 119th AHC and never set foot in the Plei Trap, but during the month of March 1969, I flew nearly 180 hours. My crew chief was Robert Legacy from Boston and my gunner was John Morrison from Arkansas. At no time did Rob or John hesitate to go anywhere I went.

For me, the Plei Trap started at the first of March even though I had the day off from flying. The 119th inserted a company (?) into LZ Swinger after the Croc guns prepped the LZ. The fist ship dropped his sortie, but the second or third aircraft, Alligator 110 had its chin bubbles blown out by a command detonated mortar or mine and enemy positions opened up with automatic weapons. With troops on the ground under heavy fire, it took a while to get additional troops in. We lost a crew chief that day. From that day things really picked up for us.

Later in the month, a company was caught in an ambush on a ridge top (A 3/8 ?) and was in need of an emergency supply of ammunition. Dennis Klimezewski loaded up ammo and was trying to drop it off to the company under fire when his aircraft took several hits and his peter pilot (from Argentina) took a round in his heel. I think another aircraft dropped off ammo later but am not sure. The next day I was part of the recovery flight and we picked them up at least 8 miles from the contact site. I think I had 5 or 6 of the survivors on board and will never forget the look they had. We had a couple of boxes of C-Rations on board which I offered to them, but they declined. I smoked at that time and offered my cigarettes and they accepted. If I remembered correctly, it only took 5 or 6 ships to pick up the survivors.

Somewhere deep in the Plei Trap just down hill from a firebase a platoon ? was in a firefight and needed an emergency supply of ammunition. We loaded the aircraft up with several cases and I was to air drop it. I had two Croc gun ships covering me. The platoon in contact had the high ground which was steep and the bad guys were below and on their flank. I approached the contact area flying downhill from the direction of the firebase with a high rate of descent and probably a tail wind. As I came over the popped smoke, I got into a settling with power situation where the more power you pulled, the faster the sink rate. I over flew the drop area, had my crew chief and gunner kick out the cases of ammo and just barely recovered prior to going into the trees. We were receiving ground fire, but the Crocs could not return fire due to where the friendlies were. I went back to Polei Kleng and got more ammo and successfully dropped it at the correct location the second time. I was very close to having to put it into the trees just past the friendly lines right in the midst of the bad guys. I don't know if any of the ground guys remember that, but I surely do.

Also, sometime during the middle of March, the 119th was shut down at Polei Kleng getting ready to make a big lift when Polei Kleng came under a mortar and recoilless rifle attack. During a short lull, a couple of gun ships managed to get up in the air and put some fire on the motor positions. All the slick drivers got their aircraft off the ground and I heard a request for a Medevac in the middle of the apron. I landed by a stash of ordinance that had been set on fire. The injured was a Captain with a serious head injury. I remember sitting next to several truck loads of ordinance and the wooden cases on fire that was spreading pretty rapidly. We took the injured Captain to either Kontum or LZ Mary Lou. I heard later that he did not survive and also heard that he was a really great guy.

We had several aircraft shot up going into and out of TFA. I went in one day with ammunition, (Or at least I hope it was ammo and not grenades) and water. About the time I set down on the pad, mortar rounds started going off pretty close to the LZ. The RTO hollered for us to leave, but I didn't want to have to come back in again, so we threw off the water and boxes. A couple of guys jumped on board, and if I remember correctly, one or both were past their DEROS date. We drew a lot of fire leaving, but received no hits.

I did other supply runs into TFA, but do not remember any specific incidents. I would always come in from the mountains from the north (?) low level as fast as I could fly looking for a flare chute hanging in a tree just prior to the LZ opening, I would flare the aircraft and kick in right pedal to kill my airspeed and about the time it had bleed off, I would be in position to drop into the LZ that would be to my left. I remember a tree in the middle of the LZ that was always in my way. I would have to clear that tree before I could get below the tree line. If I had it to do over again, I would have that tree cut down.

During the extraction of TFA, we used most of the company slicks and two sets of guns and borrowed guns from the 57th Cougars. Sometime during the early phase of extraction, Mark Garrison, one of the Croc guns made a statement over the radio that "he had taken fire from the N, from the W, from the S, and now he was taking fire from the E. It looks as if the Son of Bitches have us surrounded." He later took some kind of heavy round under his peter pilots armored seat. One of the Cougars took several hits and I believe had his wind screen shot out. I chased one of the slicks flown by Windy after he took a spent .50 cal hit in his transmission. He landed on a fire base a couple of miles away. Bob Nilius, platoon leader of the second platoon took hits later in the day and had to return to base. To the best of my memory, 9 aircraft took hits, of which several were disabled on the firebase or at Polei Kleng. The mountain we called Big Mamma cut off communications, so after we would pick up a sortie and head to Polei Kleng, we would be in the blind as to what was still going on. Towards the end of the extraction, Jim Hudkins and myself had been in and out three times and we were regrouping to see who still had aircraft left to fly. At that time I had not taken any hits. There were four or five of us that departed Polei Kleng to go and pick up the last two sorties. Hud said he would go in first and asked who would go in and get the final sortie. After some hesitation, I said I would. Hud got in and out without incident, and I was getting ready to go in to pick up the final four. A pair of cobras that had been working in the area had been monitoring the extraction and stated that they both had full rocket pods and did I want them to unload. The answer was a definite yes, so I held back while they fired their rockets around the hill. I had already made three trips using the same flight path and felt that I was pushing my luck on that route so tried to change my approach into the LZ. The bottom line was that being low level, I got disorientated and missed the LZ. I fooled around for a few seconds trying to find it and remarked that I was getting out and would come back in a different way. I wound up coming in again over the flare chute, the four remaining troops jumped on board and we were out. Again I was going to take a different direction out (I think it was to the south) and heard them holler no! I was already committed and accelerated as fast as I could staying low. We came out hot, and unknowingly, I took one round in one of the rotor blades. I definite remember Homer on board but do not remember any interactions. We made it directly to Polei Kleng, where when the four unloaded, a black trooper jumped on board and gave me a hot can of beer saying I was the best. That was the greatest award I have ever received, a hot can of beer.

Going in and out of TFA was about the only place where, as I sat waiting for the aircraft to be unloaded or loaded, I would look and see the troopers fire their weapons into the bush. I remember a stump a few yards in front of where we landed (just beyond where a mortar round had gone off) and seeing a troop firing up in the trees. We had a lot of aircraft that took hits going into and out of the LZ, but I don't remember anyone personally taking a hit. I feel for the ones that had to hump the bush and I don't think anyone that was not there can understand their story. I flew them in and out, and I cannot imagine the horror and agony that they endured. People that did not experience this cannot fathom that all we had was each other. When someone told Homer that we were not coming back to pick them up, they were all wet. That was never considered, it was never discussed. Know this, I did not expect to make it in and out the last trip, but I was going to give it my best effort. Homer stated that he was praying prior to our arrival. I was too.

Jack Hawkins
Aircraft Commander, Alligator 422
119th AHC

If you want to get in touch with Jack, just email me here at the site and I will forward your email to him.

Posted 30 DEC 2007

Kent Phillips


The taking of Hill 875 in November of 1967 during the battle of Dak To, saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the Vietnam War. The link above is to an account on Wikipedia. During the battle the 2nd and 4th Bn's of the 503rd Infantry suffered 33 MIA, 158 KIA, and 411 WIA. During this same time period, the 173rd Airborne Brigade lost 60 MIA, 272 KIA, and over 900 WIA fighting around the Dak To area. Enemy loses were estimated at 3000.

This email is from Kent Phillips, who is interviewing survivors of the battle for Hill 875 for a screen play about that action.

I hope this e mail reaches you. Here in Ft. Wayne is a sky soldier who was with the 173rd Airborne. I am assembling facts for a screenplay about Hill 875 and the men who were there. The number of people to interview is becoming limited, as most are the same age as myself (61). I am going to donate all of the proceeds (if there are any) , to veterans of this battle, and/or their families. I am working with Shane Black, who wrote all of the Lethal Weapon movies, A Long Kiss Goodnight, and most recently directed Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. I feel he has the right talents for what I want to accomplish with this treatise, as it moves onto the screen.

My goal, primarily, is to contrast America in 1964, with America in 1969. To share the events in my life as a Four F, person, living on campus, then working for Sun Records and the “identity crises” we all felt. We loved our country, yet the majority of the people our age were tearing down every thing we believed in: the government, social mores, sexual activities, drug use, etc. It was the closest time since 1780 that the United States came to being in the throws of revolution. When we returned to our own age group, we could never feel comfortable. Even the distrust of those who claimed that POT would never hurt you, but cigarettes and liquor caused cancer, etc, was not accepted by us. It is fine to post this e mail on your page, and/or send it to all of those you have contact with. I would love to visit with them and hear their story. It is a story beyond the much touted 101st Airborne. The Fourth and the 173rd , hit the NVA head on and were victorious. I have seen the KIA lists. This was one of the bloodiest battles in Vietnam, and the people who fought it were my age. I was safely nested away with my guitar in Muscle Shoals, Nashville, and Florida, being paid to have fun and drink Busch Bavarian. I feel guilty for not being at your side. Thank you for reading this and your courage as a young boy. You may reach Kent at the email address shown below.

Kent I Phillips
Chief Executive Officer
Databank Limited

Posted 4 AUG 2007

Col. Craig B. Collier

Does anyone know the 4th ID unit that CA'd Sept 1968 onto the old abandoned
FSB 19 (Hill 1258) just west of Dak Seang in Sept 1968 - landing squarely
on NVA in the old bunkers with the initial platoon more on less wiped out.

I was a new helicopter pilot in the 57th AHC, the first bird to be driven
off - no one could get another lift in for hrs due to the fire; took a lot
of hits, med evac went down, our helicopter platoon pretty shot-up trying to
get at least one more platoon in, etc.

I have always wanted to know who the infantry lieutenant was on the ground; we
listened to him bleeding (to death), alone.

Somewhere, I heard he survived. Would like to say hello to him - and
express my admiration. And I have one pic of the grunts in the back of our
ship taken about a minute before we set them in - always wondered it they
made it. Good Folks. If anyone can id those units, or give a website, or
id the LT-would appreciate it.,


Found the Unit involved was C / 3-12. Looks like the 1LT died (a 1LT Mercer was
on the wall); The platoon SSG Guy got a citation - DSC.

But can not find any HQ Unit for that BN.

Would appreciate if you could post request where ever you think best for anyone
in that unit on the 30 Aug 68 CA or just from that unit Aug-Sept 68.

Thanks, Craig

Craig B. Collier, MD, MPH

One final Question - and I'll move on - do you have the contact emails for that LT who lead A Co out - and the one who had D Co in the March 1969 Operation Wayne Grey - I gave gunship support to A CO and always wanted to talk to the LT's of both companies.

Posted 5 MAR 2007

Richard Lysinger


Found your site at Pleiku Pals. I'm Richard Lysinger. I was with Co A. 1/35 Inf. 3rd Bde. 4th Inf Div (Cacti) "Grunt".
Very nice site and was surprised when going thru your flashbacks and reading your letters, nice by the way, that we kicked the same dirt, humped the same mountains. Arrived in country on 4-68. My company built FB 28 around 5-2-68, later was told renamed FB Rainbow. Remember writing home and saying how beautifully it was to see rainbows about every day. Then moved to build FB Dot around 6-5-68 same area, then built FB 31 around 7-7-68, then built FB Carmon around 9-11-68. Being a grunt didn't realize I'd become an expert on the shovel, do remember we got pissed off, build the base, secure the area, just to turn it over to some other company, and moved to do it all over again. In between fire bases did patrols and combat missions by Laos, Cambodian border, Dak To and Kontum area. On 9-25-68 remember that day well, and one lucky SOB got out of the field and a job back in the rear at Camp Enari pulling guard and running patrols.
If interested you can view my pictures at cacti35th.org click Photos, then click on my name Richard Lysinger. Didn't get my camera from home until I was on FB Dot.

Thanks to my wife of 39yrs for saving my letters home, and me writing on the back of most of my pictures that I remember anything. My biggest regret is the names of my brothers in combat, that have long left me. By chance that anyone recognize some one from my pics please contact me, or any comrade that wants to give a shout. All are welcome.
Again, nice site and enjoyed it, and will return now and then.

"Welcome Home"

Posted 26 JAN 2007

Johnny Basso

I found you in an email I got from the group called Pleiku Pals. I graduated from Senior ROTC at Eastern
Kentucky University and did my 6 weeks ROTC training at Ft. Riley, Kansas. I did not become an
officer because of a bad heart. I served in the Central Highlands from the sea to the tri-border area
at Than Cahn from 1970 - November 1971. I was in D Battery, 5/16th.

Posted 9 DEC 2006

George Beckerman

Hi and Welcome home!

My name is George Beckerman and I was a Grunt, Jarhead in Vietnam in 1968, when up in I Corp outside of Khe Sahn we were on patrolling in the hills, up one, down the other, streams and leaches in the valleys, taking 5, we dropped exhausted to the ground. I came down on part of a snake that was as big around as my thigh. I never saw the head or tail. It quickly slithered almost sideways into the bush to the side of the trail we were on. Huge Snake! You were not dreaming, nor is yours a faulty memory. I too saw one of those huge things 20 or 30 inches around. Only my laundry man knew how scared I was LOL. lst/Cpl grunt w/4th marines ..later with CAP units s/w of Danang.

Semper Fi, Be well George

I have George's Email Address on file...Contact Swamp_fox at earthlink.net

Posted 25 SEP 2006

Posted 20 SEP 2006 Sgt Bob Stine

Well I'll be darn I think I remember you. I am former Sgt. Bob Stine, Call sign Yankee. I was the one that Col Olds and Maj Prahm asked to volunteer to evacuate Firebase 29 on the 10th thru 12th Nov 1968. They awarded the Silver Star to me for that one but the choppers should get the glory. I am trying to reach the head Medic Sp5 Jim Kimsey who was with HHC 1/8 at that time.

Posted 9 JUL 2006

Edwin Hines
1st LT US Army Armor (RET)

Homer I ran across your site...what memories it kindles!! I served with the 4th as the order of battle officer for Kontum Province 2/68-2/69. I spent a good deal of time flying around those mountains, trying to halt the infamous Plei Trap Valley road, attempting to find the bad guys from FSB-5 on Rocket Ridge to the firebases around Ben Het , all the way up the Dak Poko River valley, past Dak Seang to Dak Pek. That area still haunts me... but the real heroes are those that never came back to the world, from both sides, north and south. Though I left a piece of myself there, they paid the last full measure.

I have Lt. Hines Email Address on file...Contact Swamp_fox at earthlink.net

Posted 28 DEC 2005

Jeff Dossett

I heard you on SC Educational Radio with Walter Edgar. I was a Forward Observer with 25th Division in Tay Ninh Province during 1967-1968. I wrote a book and published it on my experience in Vietnam and after returning. Sounds like we had similar experiences and have much the same feelings. I went to your website and read your accounts and found them good to read. If you would like, my book is Delayed Detonation and can be purchased through Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Delayed-Detonation-Jeff-Dossett/dp/0595152619
Would be glad to hear from you.

I have Jeff's Email Address on file...Contact Swamp_fox at earthlink.net

Jeff was leaving country just as I arrived. He was in country during some of the worst fighting around Tet of 1968. His accounts are gripping and brought back many memories for me. Jeff's reference to SCER refers to an interview about my Vietnam Experiences for Dr. Walter Edgar's radio program "Walter Edgar's Journal" on South Carolina ETV. The program should be available for a time on the Listen to Past Programs Link for 12 AUG 2005, after that time you may contact them for a CD of the program.

Posted 14 AUG 2005

Al Wall

I was with D 1/8th 4th ID in late 1969 and early 1970 then transferred to C 1/12th 4th ID till Sept 1970. If anyone knows me e-mail me at:

Posted 16 NOV 2004

Jim Lehmann

I was a medic with B battery 6th/29th artillery during the Plei Trap valley campaign from March 1, 1969 to April 6th when I left the field to go home. I was amazed when I read your post above. I have been taken by the depth of your feelings about that time. As an enlisted man, I had come to believe that officers didn't have the same feelings I had. Your site has opened my eyes. Recently I've come to the realization that a lot of what I thought was my own specific reaction to the war was common to others who served. After I came home I just didn't have anybody with similar experiences with whom to talk. Civilians just don't have a clue. The issues we had were left for us to deal with on our own.

Posted 16 NOV 2004
Tom Lacombe

Homer, I was very impressed with your site. I never imagined all the things required of an XO. I don't know if you have seen anything about my book, but it tells of '69 serving with B co. 3/12. Thanks for putting your story on the web.
"Welcome Home",

Sincerely, Tom Lacombe

Read an excerpt from "Light Ruck, Vietnam 1969" by Tom Lacombe


Posted 17 NOV 2004
John Rochelle

Co. C, 704th Maint Bn
2nd Bde

I haven't read your report in its entirety but I wanted to send to you a "thank you." I stopped after reading about the incident at LZ Mary Lou with the disgruntled soldier. I remember that day well. I was a tech supply officer with Co. C, 704th Maint Bn at LZ Mary Lou. One of our trucks coming from Pleiku had been stopped by this guy at gunpoint after entering the firebase. The driver was an EM who only had a few weeks left in country. He was very shaken up by the incident. To think that he makes it through his tour unscathed and then possibly to die from a deranged friendly. Your encounter with him must have post dated this incident. Anyway, thanks a lot and welcome home!

(Ban Me Thout East, LZ Mary Lou)
Aug 68 - May 69

Posted 18 NOV 2004

Ron Carey
119th Assault Helicopter Company
1st Flight Platoon

After reading your site and our talk on the telephone, I again thank God that I was in aviation and not the infantry. I don't think I could have functioned as an 11 Bravo. Engagements with the enemy as a crew chief were short and sweet. I still feel that when those times happened, time must have stood still. The human brain is not made to remember the madness which happens during those times. Thirty years have past since that time and I still recall the moments as if it were yesterday. Some are blended together but others have stayed with me.

The one that has always remained was the time my weapon jammed. It was the second attempt into LZ Brace. I remember trying to clear my gun but now I watch it as a movie from the outside of my body. After talking to you and others I think you will agree. Thanks for putting together an "OUTSTANDING" web-site and I hope it continues to grow.

I have Ron's Email Address on file...Contact Swamp_fox at earthlink.net

Posted 12 JAN 2005

Dara Kiracofe Klimp

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. My brother Burley Kiracofe from Kalamazoo, Michigan was KIA April 5, 1969 during Operation Wayne Grey. He was 4th Infantry Division, Co D, 1/22.We'd like to have contact with anyone who might remember him. There are some photos and more info on the 1/22nd site: http://1-22infantry.org/

Posted 24 JAN 2005

John Ranney

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your tales about Wayne Grey. I also participated in the Wayne Grey operation with C/3/8. I have read Ron Carey's account and the after-action report about A company. The only point I can add to the tales are Welcome Home.

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