Counteroffensive, Phase II
(07-01-66 to 05-31-67)
Partial Description of Counteroffensive, Phase II
Vietnam continued to build its forces inside South Vietnam. At first this was
done by continued infiltration by sea and along the Ho Chi Minh trail; but
then in early 1966, crossings began through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
U.S. air elements received permission to conduct reconnaissance bombing raids
and tactical air strikes into North Vietnam just north of the DMZ, but ground
forces were denied authority to conduct reconnaissance patrols in the northern
portion of the DMZ and inside North Vietnam. Confined to South Vietnamese
territory, U.S. ground forces fought a war of attrition against the enemy,
relying for a time on body counts as one standard indicator for measuring
successful progress for winning the war.
During 1966, there were eighteen major
operations, the most successful of these being Operation WHITE WING (MASHER).
During this operation, the 1st Cavalry Division, Korean units, and ARVN forces
cleared the northern half of Binh Dinh Province on the central coast. In the
process they decimated a division, later designated the North Vietnamese 3d
the U.S. 3d Marine Division was moved into the area of the two Northern
provinces, where in concert with South Vietnamese Army and other Marine Corps
units, Operation HASTINGS was conducted against enemy infiltrators coming
across the DMZ.
By 31 December 1966,
U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam numbered 385,300. Enemy forces had
also increased substantially, so that for the same period, their combat
strength was in excess of 282,000 plus an estimated 80,000 political cadres.
By 30 June 1967, total U.S. forces in Vietnam had risen to 448,800, but enemy
strength had increased as well.
While the war in Vietnam may have slowed down for a time, the enemy would show
that he was far from beaten. The U.S. Forces and the 2/94th would not find
peace that easily.
1 November 1966 at 0930 hours, B Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 9 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at YD215425 (~ 12 mi SE of
Camp Carroll (JJC).
1 November 1966 at 1200 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 5 rounds expended. Recon prep fire at XD912564 (~ 9.5 mi W of JJC).
1 November 1966 at 1710 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 6 rounds expended. VC in area at XD882515 (~ 11 mi W of JJC).
12th Marine FSCC
reports 1 Nov 1966: Missions = 5 + 27 H&I for a total of 152 rounds.
2 November 1966 at 0001 hours to 0555 hours, Battalion fired intense harassing
fires at GS (Grid Squares) YD1536, YD1435, YD1535, YD1434, YD1534, YD1433,
YD1533, YD1634, and YD1835 (located SSE of JJC at distances from 12 to 14.5
miles). Three AO target surveillance missions cancelled due to bad weather and
priority air strikes in the area.
2 November 1966 at 0555 hours, 2/94th completed all H&I fires.
2 November 1966 at 0700 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon.
5 rounds expended. Recon prep fire at XD882527 (~ 11 mi W of JJC).
2 November 1966 at 0918 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 13 rounds expended. Suspected VC area at XD875506 (~ 12 mi WSW of JJC).
2 November 1966 at 1030 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 4 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD904513 (~ 10 mi WSW of
2 November 1966 at 1037 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 11 rounds expended. Three defensive concentrations at XD919573,
XD941655, XD932570 (~ 9 mi W, 10 mi NW, & 8 mi W of JJC respectively).
2 November 1966 at 1438 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 12 rounds expended. Suspected VC area at XD887508 (~ 11 mi WSW of
JJC). Good target coverage.
2 November 1966 at 1920 hours, Division FSCC claims cease fire on all H&I
missions from 1950 hours to 2220 hours. Emergency mission notify FSCC. At 2127
hours, cease fire lifted.
Some of the Third Marine Recon teams supported were VIPER, COBRA, SUN, SNOOPY,
SURF, GALLEON, and what looks like MUSTANG.
12th Marine FSCC
reports 2 Nov 1966: Missions = 8 + 35 H&I for a total of 264 rounds.
3 November 1966 at 0310 hours, B Battery fired in support of ARVN. 4 rounds
expended. VC activity at YD229455 (~ 12 mi ESE of JJC).
3 November 1966 at 0330 hours, Division FSCC claims cease fire on all H&I
missions. At 0410 hours, cease fire lifted.
On 3 November 1966 at 0955
hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon. 2 rounds expended.
Defensive concentrations at XD933582 (~ 8 mi WNW of JJC).
1030 hours, defensive concentrations at XD929575 (~ 8.5 mi WNW of JJC); 2
1105 hours, defensive concentrations at XD935571 (~ 8 mi W of JJC); 3 rounds.
1138 hours, defensive concentrations at XD938576 (~ 8 mi WNW of JJC); 3 rounds.
3 November 1966 at 1328 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 14 rounds expended. Recon sniper fire at XD891505 (~ 11 mi WSW of
JJC). Rounds on target, right in there.
3 November 1966 at 1900 hours, Division FSCC claims cease fire on all H&I
missions. From 1955 hours until further notice. Photo plane in the area.
12th Marine FSCC
reports 3 Nov 1966: Missions = 6 + 33 H&I for a total of 187 rounds.
4 November 1966 at 0840 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon.
4 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD938568 (~ 8 mi W of JJC).
0910 hours, defensive concentrations at XD912582 (~ 10 mi WNW of JJC); 2 rounds.
0935 hours, defensive concentrations at XD915590 (~ 10 mi WNW of JJC); 4 rounds.
1102 hours, defensive concentrations at XD915568 (~ 9 mi W of JJC); 5 rounds.
1130 hours, defensive concentrations at XD927588 (~ 9 mi WNW of JJC); 3 rounds.
1200 hours, defensive concentrations at XD919573 (~ 9 mi W of JJC); 5 rounds.
1302 hours, defensive concentrations at XD921584 (~ 9 mi WNW of JJC); 2 rounds.
1325 hours, defensive concentrations at XD905574 (~ 10 mi W of JJC); 3 rounds.
1445 hours, defensive concentrations at XD928563 (~ 8 mi W of JJC); 5 rounds.
12th Marine FSCC
reports 4 Nov 1966: Missions = 10 + 31 H&I for a total of 330 rounds.
6 November 1966 at 1230 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 6 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD945475 (~ 9 mi WSW of
1235 hours, Battery C Registration. 21 rounds expended.
6 November 1966 at 2200 hours, Battalion fired grid saturation fires on
anti-aircraft site and bunkers. Grid squares = XD7754, XD7755, XD7756 (all ~ 18
mi W of JJC). 165 rounds expended.
7 November 1966 at 1910 hours, B Battery and C Battery fired in support of
Marine 1/3. 41 rounds expended. VC campsite at XD806493 (~ 16 mi W of JJC).
8 November 1966 at 0055 hours, Battalion fired in support of USADV with ARVN.
207 rounds expended. NVA Regiment at YD285347 (~19 mi SE of JJC - radius of
1500 meters). Target well covered.
8 November 1966 at 0900 hours, B Battery fired marking round for Third Marine
Recon at XD928501 (~ 9 mi WSW of JJC). 1 round expended.
8 November 1966 at 1500 hours, B Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon.
3 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD938402 (~ 12 mi SW of JJC).
9 November 1966 at 1000 hours, B Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon.
2 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD934415 (~ 11.5 SW of JJC).
9 November 1966 at 1000 hours, B Battery fired Intel Mission (chicken) at
YD180448 (~ 9.5 mi SE of JJC). 21 rounds expended.
9 November 1966 at 1210 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon.
6 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD916412 (~ 12 mi SW of JJC).
On 9 November 1966 at 1700 hours, 2/94th notified that Third Marine Recon is
9 November 1966 at 1955 hours, 2/94th notified; Cease Fire all H&I west of grid
line XD97 (N-S line just west of the Rockpile). Priority missions will have to
be cleared through FSCC.
9 November 1966 at 2040 hours, 2/94th notified; No firing in ARVN area tonight.
Priority missions will have to be cleared through FSCC.
9 November 1966 at 2125 hours, 2/94th notified; Cease Fire west of gird line
XD97 is lifted.
9 November 1966 at 2350 hours, C and D Battery fired in support of Marine 1/3.
Grid squares = XD7757, XD7756, XD7856, XD7857 (all ~ 18 mi W of JJC). 109
rounds expended. VC encampment.
10 November 1966 at 0915 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 7 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD931415 (~ 12 mi SW of
10 November 1966 at 1140 hours, B Battery fired marking round for Third Marine
Recon at YD237470 (~ 12 mi ESE of JJC). 1 round expended.
10 November 1966 at 1915 hours, Battalion fired in support of ARVN. 81 rounds
expended. VC Battalion from grids YD255460 to YD275450 (area 13 – 14 mi ESE of
JJC). Air strike called in.
10 November 1966 at 1955 hours, 2/94th notified; Cease Fire from grid YD102230
to YD102300 ( area 15 – 20 mi S of JJC).
10 November 1966, Artillery Plateau (home to our Battalion) was officially
renamed Camp J. J. Carroll (JJC). This coincided with the birthday of the U.S.
Marine Corps. Camp Carroll was built by the 3rd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment
early in October of 1966 following Operation Prairie. It was named Camp J.J.
Carroll in honor of Marine Captain J.J. Carroll, who was killed on Hill 484
during Operation Prairie. Captain Carroll was Company Commander of K Company,
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines.
On 11 November 1966 at 1000
hours, 2/94th notified; Division FSCC - Cease Fire all 175mm gun day time H&I
until further notice.
The Marines on Camp Carroll
would feel the outgoing power of the 175mm Guns as described below by Marine
Corporal Jim Fowler, 5th Communications Battalion, Third Marine Division.
Marine Corporal Jim Fowler:
long after we set up at Artillery Plateau which would become Camp Carroll, a
175mm gun set up across the road from us. The barrel was actually over our
bunker when they fired in our direction, which I think was toward Khe Sanh.
We had originally been
attached to a Battery of the 12th after pulling back from the Rockpile. We
were reassigned to 3rd Marines after they moved up. The 175mm gun crew fired
a charge 3 over us before we had completed the bunker over the radio relay
van. It shattered several tubes in our van. Two in the AN/TCC-3 telephone
unit and one in one of the AN/GRC-10 radios, if I remember correctly.
The overhead light
also shattered and the whole thing including the coax ripped from the ceiling
of the van. We worked our butts off the rest of the day and into the wee
hours of the morning getting the gear back up and completing the bunker.
After the bunker was complete, we would bounce a couple of inches or so when
they fired a charge 3. Better to be bounced by our own than theirs. Like so
many things you got used to it and it just became another background
occurrence in the daily life."
Account by Lieutenant
Larry Vinyard of D Battery concerning the event above:
“If this is October 1966
that Marine CPL Fowler is talking about, that was "D" Battery No. 1 piece.
Yes, the Marines cussed us a number of times. However, they learned to love
us, in a manly sort of way of course, when we started providing patrol
Article from USARV-IO: Camp J.J. Carroll
"U.S. Marines are
fighting three North Vietnamese Army (NVA) divisions in Quang Tri Province
with the aid of the Army’s 175mm guns.
This camp, just six
miles from the demilitarized zone (DMZ), is the base for the big guns of the
2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. Since the Battalion fired the first rounds on
Oct. 23, 1966, over 70,000 projectiles have been fired.
The artillery unit is
the only Army unit of its type supporting the Marines. All fire missions in
the area go through the 3rd Marine Division.
The Battalion has
supported ten Marine operations, including Operations Hastings and Prairie and
the recent fighting in the DMZ.
The 175’s move around
the province so that their 20 mile range can support the Marines, Special
Forces, or the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) as they are needed.
Batteries have gone
to Gio Linh to fire deeper into North Vietnam.
The big guns have fired
across the DMZ since February 22. Forward observers (FO’s), in Bird Dog
spotter planes flown by Army, Marine, or Air Force pilots, give the targets.
Targets have been SAM
missile sites, anti-aircraft emplacements, staging and assembly areas of
troops, and convoys."
U.S. Army - Vietnam
“U.S. Army units in
Vietnam back the Marines with Action - The artillerymen of these units along
the DMZ don’t talk much about how they live in mud-filled bunkers and brave
the incoming rocket and artillery rounds. They are too busy keeping the enemy
busy ducking the shells and small arms fire they throw at him day after day.”
The U.S. Forces opposing the North Vietnamese Army was a composite unit. The
U.S. Marines were the first to be committed. As the enemy force threat
developed, the US Army deployed some of its Artillery units to reinforce the
Marines and counter the growing threat. These Army Artillery units came under
the operational control of the Commanding General of the III Marine Amphibious
Force. The 2/94th, 1/40th, and 1/44th, with G Battery 65th Arty attached, were
all part of that commitment to the Marines in October of 1966.
The enemy had grown from 23 main force Battalions to 52 Battalions in I Corps.
The U.S. Forces were only seven (7) Marine Battalions along with the three (3)
additional Army Artillery Battalions supplied to reinforce the Marines.
Newspaper written by PFC Bob Kersey, Stars and Strips Correspondent:
CAMP J.J. CARROLL,
"Thanks for the good
"That is the only
reward expected and the only reward received by the men of the 2nd Battalion
94th Artillery, the words of appreciation from the Marines they support.
Located at Camp J. J.
Carroll, just eight miles south of the DMZ, the men of the 2/94th are the
northernmost Army unit in South Vietnam.
Their mission is to
support the 3rd Marine Division and to protect the Special Forces camp at Khe
Sanh, near the Laotian border. The Marines sleep better when the big guns
keep the enemy occupied.
Why was the Army sent
up here in Marine territory?
They fire 12 of the
largest field artillery pieces that the United States has in its arsenal, the
self-propelled 175mm gun. The 175s are capable of firing a 147-pound
projectile 20 miles. They are accurate and can kill everything inside a
When a call comes in
from a unit in trouble, the Fire Direction Center calculates the direction,
elevation, and powder charge to be used and relays the information to the gun
crews. Working often in darkness and two feet of mud, the gun crews can be
ready to fire in minutes. The guns are capable of firing across the DMZ into
North Vietnam, or out to sea on the east.
The Battalion was
organized at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, in June 1966. Most of the NCOs were
transferred from Germany to mold an entire combat-ready Battalion from men
straight out of the Artillery Training School. The job was expected to take 90
days, but the men had attained combat proficiency in less than half that time.
The units arrived in
Vietnam October 15, 1966 at Da Nang.
The big guns were
transported by boat up the coast to Dong Ha, while the rest of the Battalion
went north by truck. From Dong Ha the guns and men were driven the 18
kilometers to their present site. The unit was operational on 20 October
The 2/94th is the
largest 175mm gun unit in Vietnam due to an extra Battery being attached to it
from the 6th Battalion 27th Artillery. They remain only at normal strength
because one of the Batteries is stationed at Chu Lai.
They make up only a
small part of the complex on the plateau; Marine 105mm howitzers, 155mm
self-propelled howitzers, tank and anti-tank units, and security forces also
are based at the camp.
The Marines provide
the main security force and run many patrols and reconnaissance missions out
of their camp, while the Army guns provide the artillery support.
Usually located in
the center of a camp, the 175s are also located on the perimeter. The Army
gun crews man many foxholes and defensive positions 24 hours a day outside
KP and guard duty are
common. The rain and mud are constant. Temperatures drop to the 40's.
They can be called
any time of the day, to fire a few rounds or to help defend a unit under
infiltration routes, troop concentrations and command posts are common targets
13 November 1966, General Walt, Commander of the Third Marine Amphibious Forces,
visited C Battery.
A funny military
story during the visit of General Walt to the Marine emplacements by Marine
Corporal Jim Fowler:
“I was on watch while
the other two members of the team were out, and it was muddy and raining. We
had set up a coffee mess, a lot of guys came by for coffee, and whatever else
was available. One of the First Sergeants, H&S 3rd Marines I think, would
give us a health and comfort pack once a week and who ever had anything to
share would put it out on the table made of ammo box boards.
I heard footsteps
clomping on the entrance porch. We had covered the bunker with runway rubber
(similar to inner tube rubber) and had enough left over for the floor so the
bunker was dry and comfortable. We would remove our boots before entering.
Thinking it was probably a returning patrol, since they would often stop by I
yelled, "Take off your *!!*** boots before you come in our hooch!" I heard
boots clomp as they were removed.
The poncho covering
the entrance was pushed aside and there stood General Walt, CG of III MAF. He
was followed by the Division Commander, the Regimental Commander, and two
Sergeant Majors. General Walt asked a few questions about how we were doing,
communications, etc as he walked around the bunker. Just before he left, he
looked at the regimental commander and asked why the rest of the bunkers
didn't look like ours? The Sergeant Majors looked on me with real disfavor.
I left Carroll in 67
and went to III MAF and later to Khe Sanh. The first of October of 67, I left
Khe Sanh to return to Da Nang and assume duties as a Radio Relay Section chief
where I remained until I rotated out on 24 December 1967."
On 12 November 1966 at 1412 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 2 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD943346 (~14.5 SSW of
On 12 November 1966 at 1540 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 5 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD945456 (~ 9 mi SW of
On 13 November 1966 at 0859 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 3 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD928426 (~ 11 mi SW of
On 13 November 1966 at 1029 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 4 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD943437 (~ 10 mi SW of
On 13 November 1966 at 1455 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 2 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD937451 (~ 10 mi SW of
On 13 November 1966 at 1615 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 3 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD938436 (~ 10.5 SW of
On 14 November 1966 at 1130 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 3 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD9455451 (~7 mi W of
On 14 November 1966 at 1420 hours, B Battery fired in support of Intel
sources. 6 rounds expended. Target not specified at XD933629 (~ 9.5 mi WNW of
On 14 November 1966 at 1500 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 4 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD925425 (~ 11 mi SW of
On 15 November 1966 at 0100 hours, B Battery fired in support of ARVN. 8
rounds expended. Target not specified at YD177453 (~ 9 mi SE of JJC).
16 November 1966, C Battery received eleven enlisted replacements.
17 November 1966, LTC Trefry visited the 12th Marine CP.
17 November 1966 at 2050 hours, Division FSCC reports cease-fire for all H&I.
17 November 1966 at 2145 hours, Division FSCC reports cease-fire for all H&I is
20 November 1966 at 0930 hours, Division FSCC reports NFZ (No Fire Zone) for Phy
20 November 1966 at 0955 hours, Division FSCC reports NFZ for Phy warfare drop
is cancelled. New one at 1000 hours to 1600 hours. No fire zones. Grids
YD1159 to YD1959 (area 4 - 8.5 mi NE of JJC) and YD1951 to YD1151 (area 3.5 - 8
mi SE of JJC).
20 November 1966 at 1025 hours, Division FSCC Phy warfare drop is complete.
21 November 1966 at 1800 hours, Battalion fired 1000-meter saturation fires at
center coordinates; YD134470 (~ 6.5 mi SE of JJC), YD100470 (~ 5 mi SSE of JJC),
and YD102448 (~ 7 mi SSE of JJC). 313 rounds expended.
21 November 1966 at 1845 hours, Battalion fired grid saturation fires at center
coordinates; YD030484 (~ 4 mi SSW of JJC). 155 rounds expended. VC Battalion
reported by agent in area.
On 23 November 1966 at 1130 hours, B Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 5 rounds HE-Q expended. Target at XD883571 (~ 11 mi W of JJC).
23 November 1966 at 1345 hours, C Battery fired in support of AO. 4 rounds
expended. Defensive concentrations at XD832481 (~ 15 mi WSW of JJC; vicinity
23 November 1966 at 1450 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine Recon
(SUN). 6 rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD887592 (~ 12 mi WNW of
23 November 1966 at 1750 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 1 round HE-Q expended. Defensive concentrations at XD890560 (~ 11 mi W
24 November 1966, C Battery and a guest, Col Hammerbeck, Commanding Officer of
Camp JJ Carroll, celebrated Thanksgiving.
Report from the
Associated Press, 26 November 1966:
war in South Vietnam has come to a standstill because of the build-up there.
One of the newest arrivals in country is the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. It
has been credited with bringing the war almost to a standstill in the areas in
which its Batteries are operating. This is due to the gun’s deadly accuracy.
The unit has been beefed up with one more battery, D Battery. This makes the
unit the largest of its kind in Vietnam.”
24 November 1966 at 0733 hours, Battalion fired prep fires in support of Third
Marines. Coordinates YD0945, YD0947, YD1145, and YD1147 (~ 6 mi, 5 mi, 7 mi, &
6 mi respectively SSE of JJC). Expended 282 rounds.
24 November 1966 at 1415 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 7 rounds expended. Cave entrance at XD926545 (~ 8.5 mi W of JJC). Good
coverage on target.
24 November 1966 at 1827 hours, C Battery fired in support of Marine 1/3. 2
rounds expended. Defensive concentrations at XD776546 (~ 18 mi W of JJC).
Reports good effect on target.
26 November 1966 at 1015 hours, D Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 4 rounds expended. Target at XD915468 (~ 10 mi WSW of JJC).
26 November 1966 at 1015 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 4 rounds expended. Target at XD890568 (~ 11 mi W of JJC).
26 November 1966 at 1300 hours, C Battery fired marking round for Third Marine
Recon (SUN). 1 round HE-Q expended at XD896560 (~ 10 mi W of JJC).
26 November 1966 at 1320 hours, C Battery fired at VC site. Expended 2 rounds
HE-Q at XD885574 (~ 11 mi W of JJC).
26 November 1966 at 1325 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 5 rounds HE-Q expended. Marking rounds at XD914468 (~ 10.5 mi WSW of
26 November 1966 at 1458 hours, C Battery fired in support of Third Marine
Recon. 18 rounds expended. VC location at XD890565 (~ 11 mi W of JJC). Recon
reports excellent target coverage.
27 November 1966 - The following units were assigned to IFFV by USARV,
General Order 6524, 27th of Nov 1966, and were further attached to the 3rd
Marine Amphibious Force for OPCON, administrative and logistical support, less
Army peculiar administrative and logistical support.
1. 1st Bn 105 SP 40th Arty
2. 2nd Bn 175mm SP 94th Arty with B Battery 6th Bn 8” SP 27th Arty
3. 1st Bn AA SP 1st of the 44th Arty with Battery G (Machine Gun) 65th Arty
28 November 1966 at from 0803 hours to 0820 hours, C Battery and D Battery fired
in support of Third Marine Recon. 60 rounds expended. VC build up area at
XD8756, XD8856, and XD8955 (~ 12 mi, 11mi, & 11 mi respectively W of JJC).
November 28 1966, C Battery has remained at Camp Carroll to this date and
expended a total of 2,417 rounds.
29 November 1966, the Battalion experienced its first loss. Private First Class
Terry P. Pierce from HHB was swept down the Cam Lo River while washing a truck.
Body was recovered on 14 December 1966. PFC Pierce was from Hopewell, Virginia.
29 November 1966 at 1323 hours, B Battery fired defensive concentrations for
Provisional Battalion at YD111174 (~ 11 mi E of JJC). 8 rounds expended.
29 November 1966 at 1640 hours, C Battery fired marker round for Third Marine
Recon (VENUS). 1 round expended at XD904524 (~ 10 mi W of JJC).
29 November 1966 at 1710 hours, FSCC reports no fire zone for Recon patrol
(VIPER). YD0064 to YD0066 to YD0266 to YD0264 (2000 meter square area ~ 7 mi
NNW of JJC).
30 November 1966 at 0103 hours, FSCC reports cease-fire for 30 minutes. Photo
plane in area.
30 November 1966 at 0124 hours, FSCC reports cease fire lifted. Photo plane has
FSCC reports indicate a total of 5,001 175mm rounds expended in November of
December of 1966 the first “hardback billets were erected for Headquarters
Battery. Most of the Battalion still occupied tents, but were beginning to get
tent frames and wooden floors.
2 December 1966, South Vietnam’s Premier Nguyen Cae Ky and his staff paid a
visit to the Battalion. The Premier was met by Colonel Hammerbeck, CO of the
Third Marine Regiment and Lieutenant Colonel Trefry, CO of the Battalion.
The Premier was escorted to Bravo Battery for a mission briefing. This was
followed by a Firing Demonstration conducted by Lieutenant Wilmeth, B Battery
XO. The Number Four gun section, Bravo Battery, gave the demonstration.
3 December 1966, 1st Field Forces Artillery (Forward) was established in Dong
The mission of the forward command post is to act as an extension of HQ 1st
Field Forces Artillery to monitor administrative and logistical support provided
by the III MAF, HQ 1st Field Forces, and 1st Logistical Command. OPCON of the
Army units is under III Marine Amphibious Force.
On 7 December 1966,
Lieutenant Colonel Trefry commented in the Plateau Outpost; ….
“Your unfailing good
humor, your dedication to duty, your ability to improvise, and your conduct as
American soldiers should be a source of great pride to yourselves as it is to
me to serve with you.”
Quote from Plateau
“Many people pray for
mountains of difficulty to be removed,
when what they really
want is courage to climb them.”
Account from 'Letters
Home' by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C Battery FDO:
Lieutenant G.T. Smith, C Battery FDO, in a letter dated 8 Dec 1966 from Camp
"All four guns in the
Battery are laid on azimuth 5100 as of now. We have 840 projo's on hand along
with 930 PD fuzes and 841 propellant charges. The current Battery average VE
for charge 3 is +1.7. Gun 1 has fired over 1000 rounds through its tube now
and is due to be the 1st gun in the Battalion to have the tube changed. The
current GFT setting has a total range correction of -440 with a deflection
correction of L10."
On 8 December 1966, A Battery,
in the south, displaced from (BS636785) to support search and destroy operations
being carried out by the 1st Marines. The Battery was accompanied by a
reinforced platoon of Marines. A Marine Engineer squad swept all bridges for
mines. It is thought the Battery returned on 12 December 1966.
Comments on A Battery
Activity in the south
Account by Captain
Jerry Heard, A Battery Commander in the South.
Fire mission was the time a Marine Artillery battery co-located with us and
was to fire support for a mission on the east of our perimeter CP. The
Marines came with a Major CO and two Captain platoon leaders with 3 guns
each. They were using 155 guns. Being the Fort Sill 'Red leg', and since it
was my location, the CG had put my Battery in command of the mini-task force.
The Marine Major was highly PO'd. We fired all 10 guns from our FDC. They
march ordered quickly after the mission was finished. The A Battery guys
showed them how it was supposed to be done.
The Manual talked
about using some wreckers when changing tubes, A Battery had none. The chief
of smoke strapped the equilibrators down, took off the old tube, and put a new
one on without having to recharge. We put two 8-inch tubes on about mid-term
and fired pinpoint targets with them. After we burned out all our tubes one
night, shooting for the Tra Bong Special Forces Camp, we used long lanyards
and shot from sandbag cover off of the gun. Stuff was stripping out of the
tubes but we added some elevation and just kept firing.”
Account by Captain
Jerry Heard, A Battery Commander in the South:
“One thing I remember
about the Marines (11th Marines), they rotated their platoons in and out of A
Battery; first to the bush and then our location.
Our Armorer would
re-blue their M16’s, take off the ropes and replace slings, clean and oil
them, and send them out with useable weapons.
One platoon had a
mortar tube and no base plate, and would set it down and guess the settings
for mortar fire. Scared me silly!”
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard, who was visiting A Battery from the north:
“I was down at Chu
Lai with Captain Heard's A Battery for the Marines’ birthday party. We made
them a cake, and since the Marines did not wear unit patches, we made one for
them. It had the Corps Emblem on it and the slogan around it said;
"191 Years of
Tradition Unhampered By Progress, USMC, One Good Deal
Some of them TA
Marine officers sure could not take a joke. Perhaps it was because the slogan
touched a nerve. They went into that war so poorly equipped that it was not
funny. They had out of date radios, helicopters, weapons, everything.
I lived with them
most of the time. I remember writing official reports to division on
stationary that we bought in the PX because they did not have paper in
At least they were
not short on guts, and they could party very well. They may not have had good
weapons, but of course one of them was able to produce a beautiful sword to
cut that damn cake.”
End of Comments on A Battery
Activity in the south
15 December 1966, Colonel J.P. Lanigan assumed command of the Third Marine
Regiment and of Camp Carroll. Colonel Lanigan replaces Colonel Hammerbeck who
was assigned to the G3 Section, Third Marine Division.
16 December 1966 at 2130 hours, C Battery fired the Battalion’s 10,000th round
in Vietnam. Battery was firing at a target near the DMZ, in support of a Marine
19 December 1966, a 2½-ton truck from Service Battery received moderate damage
when it hit a Viet Cong mine north of Dong Ha while being used to haul sand to
the Battery area. Two of the eight men aboard the truck were thrown off and
suffered minor injuries.
PFC Daniel Kempton was one of the first two WIA's the 2/94th would have during
its stay in Vietnam. PFC Kempton would spend two months in Okinawa with a knee
operation and rehabilitation. After his return to the 2/94th, he would be
wounded the second time during a rocket attack at Dong Ha sometime in May or
June of 1967.
The other solder wounded in the first combat event of the 2/94th was PFC Robert
C. Lopp of Service Battery.
19 December 1966, Private Charles Seals of C Battery received a Letter of
Appreciation from General Walt, USMC, for his outstanding accomplishments in the
Battery mess. The Letter of Appreciation was presented by the Battalion
22 December 1966, a memorial formation was held in Headquarters Battery for
Private First Class Terry P. Pierce.
Over the period 22 - 25 December 1966, Dr.
Bernard Fall (Author of "Street without Joy") visited the hill while filming the
CBS News Special Report; Christmas in Vietnam … 1966.
22 December 1966, "Pro-Jo,” the Service Battery mascot, fell dead from his
Articles from a copy
of "The Plateau Outpost" published Christmas Day 1966; saved by Lieutenant
Martin McKnight: Outpost was a bimonthly publication by the 2/94. Editor was
Captain Charles A. Adamson. Reporter was Specialist George L. Pyle.
announced that Lieutenant Andy Tenis has a new daughter.
The 2/94th welcomes
the popular Mike Battery, 4th Battalion, 12th Marine Artillery. The Battery
was OPCON to the 2/94th on 18 December 1966, after repositioning of its parent
Headquarters. Mike Battery, commanded by Captain Jim Way has acquired for
itself a fine reputation and we of the Battalion are proud to have them as
The Plateau welcomes
with open arms Battery C, 1st Battalion 44th Artillery commanded by Captain
R.E. Neily Jr. The Battery armed with its twin forties (Dusters) and quad
fifties (Whispering Death), adds tremendous firepower to Camp J. J. Carroll.
Another new arrival
to the Plateau is A Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Artillery, commanded by
former war correspondent and contemporary novelist, honored the 2nd Battalion
94th Artillery with a too brief visit on 20 December 1966.
Note from Chronicler:
The Quad Fifties were
from Battery G, 65th Artillery, attached to the 1/44th.
24 December 1966, Colonel Dunn from IFFV visited the hill.
25 December 1966, Colonel Dunn and LTC Trefry would fly to Chu Lai to visit with
1966 from the Battalion Commander
Richard G. Trefry
“It is natural at
this time of year we pause to consider the future, and reflect on the past,
while remembering where we are and why we are here. I am sure this has been
an eventful year for every individual in this Battalion and for his family.
I need not elaborate
on your present activities.
I hope next year at
this time will see you safely re-united with your families and friends in the
more familiar surroundings of home.
To each of you here
with the Battalion, and to your families, wherever they are.
I wish you a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
25 December 1966, Christmas Dinner Menu - Roast Tom Turkey, Baked Ham/Candied
Yams, Grilled Steak w/Mushrooms, Creamed Potatoes, Bread, Coffee, Beverage,
Assorted Candies, Nuts, Fruit Cake.
The entire Battalion celebrated the first Christmas and New Years in Vietnam
with 48 and 72-hour cease fires, respectively.
During this time, as usual, the enemy forces did not respect the cease-fire.
Continual probing brought in Marine reinforcements to the hill.
Poem by 13-year-old
brother of Sergeant Bland, B Battery
To all the men in
First the torch was
theirs to bear,
But now the torch is
passed to you.
The feelings of your
hearts we share,
the feelings of your
hearts so true.
Some men have
But yet they exist.
Like jewels we
But yet I insist
That you keep on
and keep on living,
and do what you can
with what God is giving
So to you and the men
I say farewell,
farewell, so long.
by Curllon Bland
Comment by Lieutenant
Greg Smith regarding C Battery FDC:
in Artillery Batteries, the Exec post and FDC were separate. In C Battery,
Lieutenant Andy Tenis and I always housed the XO post and FDC in the same
C Battery was
designated as the back up to Battalion FDC. In fact, for a few days in
December 1966, Battalion shut down to move into a newly constructed bunker,
and C Battery took over as the Battalion FDC.
The more the Marines
insisted on moving the 175mm Batteries around as though they were direct
support 105mm batteries, the less Battalion FDC was involved, and FO's, Marine
Recon, FAC's and 12th Marine Regiment FDC sent fire missions directly to the
Battery FDC. At least that was the case in C Battery. (I can't speak for A,
B, and D Batteries.)
Battalion FFE (Fire For Effect) missions were rare and
most were in the first few months on Carroll. When things heated up, it was
not unusual to have guns within the same Battery laid on different azimuths of
fire because of the constant missions. For this reason, FO's using C Battery
usually got two guns in FFE.”
Toward the end of January 1967, the Battalion began a series of Platoon and
Battery displacements, which increased the firing load and consequently
increased the burden of ammo re-supply.
26 January 1967, B Battery was the first to be called upon to move.
2350 hours, B Battery displaced a platoon of guns to a position just southwest
of the Rockpile to support an operation near the Laotian border. The movement
occurred at night, the most dangerous time for movement in Vietnam, and was the
first such night movement of 175mm guns to date. Protection for the
displacement consisted of two Dusters and a security force of 40 Marines. The
mission was to support a large patrol and Marine extraction force.
Account by a Marine
remember you guys!!!!!!! I was a USMC helo pilot from spring '66 to spring
'67. You guys had the 175's there at Camp Carroll. But, I never took any
photos because we never stopped there. We were always going from Dong Ha to
I remember the night
of 26 Jan 1967. Our squadron had two H-46s down in Laos, just across the
border west of Khe Sanh. There were 31 Marines trapped and surrounded on Phou
Loutoukou Ridge. You guys moved two 175’s to the base of the Rockpile so that
you could reach the ridge in Laos. Once you got to the Rockpile, you fired in
support of the men on the ridge all night long. THANKS-A-MILLION!”
One FO party is usually kept atop the Rockpile (XD9856), located with the Marine
force. This location provides excellent observation of the three major valleys
south of the DMZ.
Account by Lieutenant
Barry DeVita, C Battery FO, regarding the Rockpile and the Road to Khe Sanh:
“There were Marines
up on top before us and with us; but RTO Dave Bennett, call sign Peterson
Charlie 13 Alpha Oscar, and I were the 1st Army guys up on top of the Rockpile
to provide FO/RTO communications for 2/94, 1/40, and the Marine 155 unit
(whose designation escapes me).
Note by chronicler:
M Battery 4/12 155’s was OPCON to the 2/94th at that time.
When we arrived atop
the Rock, the Marines were accustomed to firing at any sound, usually with
magazines full of tracers, at any time of night (which both gave away their
precise positions as well as made it virtually impossible to get any sleep at
all - as if trying to sleep in an arched position on the ledge of your choice
was any help.
I taught them to
throw rocks interspersed with occasional grenades in a random sequence
instead, rather than give away their locations via muzzle flashes magnified by
all those tracer rounds, particularly when they were often silhouetted against
the clear (even when only star-lit) night sky.
The preferred way of
dispensing with C-ration cans was to chuck them over the side, so that
"Charlie" would shake, rattle, and roll on his way up - it made a foolproof
early warning system...
(This is how the Rockpile got nicknamed the "Garbage Pile" by those who spent
time on top; and also how the rats got so big and had a lustrous sheen to
their fur - much like collies [from all the high protein that they got a hold
That most rudimentary of
LZ's (landing zone) also served as the anchor point for the huge ship's scope
that we used to scan the horizon for "NVA troops in the open.” It had to be
dismantled whenever a re-supply chopper was on the way in.
When we were there,
the NVA had a 50 caliber in a cave on the Razorback. Typically, every so often
they would take a few shots at us; and we'd try to stick some 106 rounds (from
the Marine Ontos Armor at the forward outpost north of the Rockpile) into the
cave. I'm pretty sure we were up on the Rockpile before Christmas of 1966.
My Rockpile memories
are from on top of the Rockpile not the firebase itself. . . (7-10 days /
month) . . . although, one time Dave Bennett and I had to climb down and
walked home (actually we hitch hiked back) to JJ Carroll. Why you ask?
Because it had rained for sooo long and the ceiling was sooo low and thick
that choppers couldn't get in to pick us up as we ran out of supplies (and
besides we couldn't see at all. So we weren’t in a position to even "suggest"
a fire mission); AND THEN IT SNOWED ON US (in jungle fatigues, with a poncho
liner for "warmth" and a shelter half for "cover"
. . . THAT WAS THE
LAST STRAW!), so we climbed down, with a fire team of Marines (H 2/3, if I
remember correctly), who offered to provide fire support on the way down; and
then they turned around and climbed back up, after a hand shake and a mutual
wish of "good luck" . . . [they later took heavy causalities at Con Thien].
The COLDEST I HAVE EVER BEEN (any where at any time) was that stay on top of
the Rockpile. In an alleged "jungle,” where we were told, "it will be either
hot and dry or hot and wet.
Note by chronicler:
See Jim Lary Article
from the Stars and Stripes 1966: “Viet Weather Just Ain’t So." Located in the
Note by chronicler:
The Ontos was a
relatively light weight tracked armored fighting vehicle that was designed in
the early 1950's to destroy the main battle tanks of this era using the
firepower from its six 106mm recoilless rifles. Its diminutive size; 12 ½'
long, 8 ½ ' wide; crammed three crewmembers into a compartment slightly higher
than 4'. It served the US Marines from 1956 until the bulk of them were
dismembered in 1970.
My Call Sign was
'Peterson Charlie 13' officially. However, 'Bear' was used most often by C
Battery personnel and by the Marine units that Dave Bennett, RTO, and I
supported. (Much to the displeasure of Battalion.)
In addition, this same
FO Team was assigned to the 11th Marine Engineers, who had the task of
reopening Highway 9 (QL-9) to the Khe Sanh area. Task was to clear the mines,
then widen the road and bypass all the bridges that had been strategically
blown so that they were useless to vehicles but could still be used as
footbridges, and eventually replace the bridges.
We then led the 1st
convoy through to Khe Sanh in 14 years, stopping at the coffee plantation just
SSW of the Marine Compound to pay our respect to the owners and apologize for
the billowing clouds of red dust descending upon their coffee trees as the
convoy rolled through, to which, they graciously responded to with "damn fine"
cups of coffee.
That would have been
in late Jan/early February of 1967. Obviously concluded a week or two before
9 April 1967.”
Note by chronicler:
The Lieutenant was
severely wounded in action on 9 April 1967 and Medevac'd.
Account by RTO David
Bennett referenced above:
my tenure with the outfit, we spent several week-long stints on top of the
Rockpile; and much time was spent also on the road to Khe Sanh with the Marine
engineers who were rebuilding bridges, etc.
Seems I remember that
this Private First Class had to wait by his ¾-ton and didn't get any of the
Frenchman's coffee because a certain Lieutenant (like the one referenced
above) burned up the clutch. That same Private First Class did however get an
ass chewing for letting that Lieutenant drive.
I remember quite vividly the LZ on top of the Rockpile. Ahh let me, see a
certain unnamed Lieutenant hanging off a Helicopter wheel strut up there in
Then there was a
large explosive devise that fell from a fast moving low flyer one night and as
near as I can calculate missed hitting the LZ by just a few inches. From the
location of the crater at the base of the vertical drop off, I am guessing it
was the south side of the Rockpile.
A Marine sniper who
fired on a VC rock ape.
The kid in the only
hooch up there had a Benjamin air pistol for shooting the well-fed Rock-pile
rats that visited him during the night.
The rats were well
fed as the c-rations that were not fit to eat (selected by each individual
person) had to have been opened before being chucked into the jungle. In
order to provide a foolproof early warning system.
Also remember while
placing fire concentrations on the road to Khe Sanh, an errant 155 round that
put us, as well as the Marine tourists who decided to watch what we were
doing, scampering over the road and down the bank into the jungle for cover.
That one was too close for comfort because we were on the gun target line.”
RTO, David Bennett
would be wounded in action after being transferred to the 3/18th as part of
the infusion program.
Account by Lieutenant
Barry DeVita, C Battery FO:
would like to mention Marine Lieutenant Phil Sauer... He would often release
an Ontos to trail along behind RTO Dave Bennett and myself on our travels
along Highway 9, for which Dave and I will be eternally grateful. He was both
a great guy and a great friend. Right after I got hit (within a week or so),
I heard that he went up onto Hill 861 or one of the other nearby knolls,
during the "hill fights" to offer support (as was his way) and got hit.
When I finally went
to The Wall (which took 10 yrs) and found his name and Stillwagoner's, 6 rows
apart (which covered only a 6 week time frame), it visibly shook me -
something I'd never felt prior or since... I had always felt that I'd let Phil
down, by not being there for him as he always was for me... I also finally
visualized just how close I came to being there between them.”
Commander, 1st Lieutenant Phillip Sauer, was killed in action on Hill 861, 24
April 1967. The Lieutenant was covering the escape of five other Marines that
were left in the team. Marine Lieutenant Sauer was submitted for the Navy
Cross. He was a friend to the 2/94th FO team above and not forgotten.
Additional challenges facing the Battalion included:
The monsoon season, characterized by torrential rains of several days duration
and prolonged periods of low overcast cloudy days, restricted aerial observation
because aircraft couldn’t fly and limited ground observations because of poor
Initially, there was no Army logistics support in
the 3rd Marine Division area. Forward support elements of the 1st
Logistical Command were subsequently set up at Dong Ha and Chu Lai, but
transportation of supplies and equipment to both the Dong Ha and Chu Lai areas
remained problematical. They must be shipped by air or LCU (Landing Craft
Utility) from Dong Ha and from Da Nang using LST’s. Road networks from Da Nang
to Dong Ha and Chu Lai were in contested areas.
MEDCAP program was started and the Marines assigned seven villages to the
2/94th. However, only two of those were in a secure area.
The villages were dispersed within a half-mile
wide by mile and a half long corridor between QL-9 and the Cam Lo River; NE of
Cam Lo – YD128595
Phouc-Tuyen – YD120590
Hung – YD125590
Dau Binh – YD121589
Tan-Dinh – YD115585
Van Ba Thung – YD114590
Van Quat Xa – YD110588
Notes and discussion
from Oct 1966 to 31 January 1967,
There has been one
non-battle death during this reporting period. PFC Terry Paul Pierce,
Headquarters Battery, from Hopewell, Virginia.
Two men were injured on
19 December 1966; a 2½-ton truck from Service Battery received moderate damage
when it hit a Viet Cong mine north of Dong Ha.
25 Men were admitted
to in-country hospital.
3 Men were evacuated
out of country.
2 Men contracted
28 Article 15’s were
issued and 2 Special Courts.
Provide GS for the 3rd Marine Division. In addition, supporting fires for Khe
Sanh Special Forces camp can be provided as required.
A Battery provides GS
for the 1st Marine Division in the vicinity of Chu Lai and can fire in support
of the Special Forces Camps Tra Bong, Ha Thanh, and Minh Long.
Initially there was a
shortage of tents so 16 personnel were assigned to an 8-man tent.
Mail was a problem, as
the last CONUS duty station was APO 96291 and it was then changed to APO
96289. The Air Force at Dong Ha handled the Army mail at APO 96362 until the
Army finally got their own Post Office, which was APO 96269.
inspection criteria, 25% of the 175mm powder was deemed unsafe to fire when it
reaches the gun positions. Lot 63318-57 was suspended when the primer burned
a hole through the igniter pad but failed to set off the charge, thus causing
a dangerous hang fire. Two hundred forty-two containers of this lot were
trucked 19 miles over marginally safe roads to the gun positions before
attempting to fire them. The powder was dry, but lacked the odor of powder.
The majority of
unserviceable powder is unsafe because of mishandling in transit. Severely
dented canisters from which powder cannot be extracted are found daily. The
denting caused broken and flaked igniter tubes, which, under present
inspection procedures, must be destroyed. Some powder had been found to be wet
when opened, although the amount to date has been insignificant part of the
Powder canisters are
relatively thin and fragile containers and must be treated as such in the
supply chain. Care by forklift operators, in particular, will help eliminate
or reduce this unsatisfactory condition.
The Battalion has
exercised operational control of Mike Battery 4th Battalion 12th Marines
(155mm SP) since 16 December 1966.
Targeting – The
Battalion has tried several different methods of targeting the enemy. The
following works the best for rapid response. Using available intelligence and
studying the trends of the enemy movements and his fondness for attacking
lightly defended areas, some guns are aimed at the most likely candidates.
Other guns are aimed at suspected NVA harboring points and at infiltration
routes. Guns are laid after dusk to deny the direction of planned fires to
Enemy body recovery –
The NVA will try and recover their dead. Therefore this unit waits 15-25
minutes after a mission and then fires a few rounds randomly into the same
The preponderance of
175mm gunfire has been expended on unobserved neutralization and H&I
missions. Marine patrols and aerial observers have observed several fire
missions fired upon as targets of opportunity. The usual immediate
surveillance report is “Effect on Target” or Good Coverage”. Because of dense
trees or thick vegetation, rarely has specific effect surveillance been
reported to FDC. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE MORALE OF THE GUN CREWS to give them
all available surveillance reports.
Fuzes – Because of
the variety of vegetation in the Northern area the selection of fuze is an
important part of mission planning. See below.
heavily canopied jungle: 100% delay will penetrate
to ground level causing tree blow-up and wood fragmentation.
forested regions: Mixed fuze quick and delay. This
causes immense damage, with tree blow-up, cratering, and depending on the
angle of fall, air bursts.
grass and brushwood: Fuze quick (VT on troops in
the open) produces excellent effect.
equipment, especially field jackets and mountain sleeping bags are required
for this sector of Vietnam. The temperature can drop to and stay in the 40 to
50 degree range.
The unit did not bring
any tent stoves with them because it was deemed not necessary.
continues to provide excellent data. From 3 to 6 met messages a day is
driver tubes in the Met equipment failed frequently due to exposure to high
humidity and to shock and vibration from the firing of the 175mm guns.
Replacement of the tubes with newly available solid-state modules has helped
greatly, and together with keeping the equipment turned on 24 - 7 has
eliminated most of this problem. In addition, pouring concrete pads to
support the leveling jacks at the ends of the three outrigger legs completely
eliminated the need for constant re-leveling of the tracking unit.
End of notes &
discussion from Oct 1966 to 31 January 1967,
During these first few months of
operations the Battalion would gain valuable experience in providing
combat ARTILLERY SUPPORT.
The Battalion would realize that the TOE was not satisfactory and adaptable for
twenty-four hour operations in the FDC. The requirement for sustained
operations, coupled with the safety checks involved, required the Battalion to
cross-train some of the Survey Section for help in this area.
addition to the dual survey and FDC assignments, the Survey section would assist
the Marines on Carroll by surveying the observation towers, bunkers, tank
locations, and howitzer and mortar firing positions. The Survey section could
provide fifth order surveys at all times. They were a valuable asset to the
Battalion and its overall performance.
With the tactics of the enemy and the terrain encountered, the Battalion
realized the need for additional Air Observers. Two additional officer AO slots
were added to the Battalion by special letter.
was deemed imperative that every 175mm Battalion have its own organic air
section for several reasons. While under hostile fire, it’s a valuable asset to
locate the source and assist in destroying it. Where enemy activity is reported
by intelligence, the AO can be dispatched to evaluate and use recon by fire to
confirm or reject the suspected enemy activity. Further, the aircraft can be
used as an additional supplement to keep the batteries up and firing, e.g.
transportation of parts for deadlined guns in widely separated areas would have
eliminated down time and enhanced the operational capabilities of the Battalion.
The Meteorological Section has not only played a big part in the success of the
2/94th, but has provided meteorological data to at least eight other
firing units in the area. The section has routinely performed at least three
flights daily, consisting of ten to twelve lines of electronic data.
Equipment failure due to shock and vibration
caused by the constant firing of the 175’s has been a major problem, but the
Meteorological section has always overcome these equipment issues and has never
missed a scheduled observation.
2 February 1967, D Battery displaced a platoon to YD228583 (~10.5 mi ENE of JJC)
in the vicinity of Dong Ha to support Marine operations east of Quang Tri. D
Battery platoon returned to Carroll on 17 February.
Over period 6 February to 20 Feb 1966, gun pads
were constructed in C Battery.
7 February 1967, C Battery displaced a platoon to the base of the Rockpile
(XD983543). Movement was to support a Marine Recon patrol near the Laotian
3rd Marine Recon call sign was Rain Belt. The 2/94th shot frequently in support
of these Recon Marines.
Call sign for the 2/94th was
“Peterson” and for the Marine Regimental FDC, “Punjab”. “6” was the CO, “9” was
the FDC, and “5” was the XO; therefore, C Battery FDC was “Peterson Charlie
9 February 1967, Battery M 4th Battalion 12th Marines displaced from Carroll to
the base of the Rockpile. Movement was to support 3rd Marine operations. M
Battery returned to Carroll on 21 February.
9 February 1967, C Battery platoon returned to Carroll from the Rockpile.
From 8 - 12 February 1967, the U.S. Forces declared a cease-fire in honor of the
Lunar New Year (TET).
The cease-fire was broken on the third night, 10 or 11 February 1967, when B
Battery fired in support of a surrounded Marine platoon.
17 February 1967, D Battery platoon returned to Carroll from Dong Ha.
17 February 1967, B Battery displaced one platoon to YD228583 (~ 10.5 NE of JJC)
in the vicinity of Dong Ha. Movement was to support the Third Marine
18 February 1967, C Battery displaced one platoon to a firing position at the
base of the Rockpile.
21 February 1967, C Battery platoon returned to Carroll.
21 February 1967, M Battery 4/12 returned to Carroll from the Rockpile.
22 February 1967, C Battery fired a 64-round mission into North Vietnam.
Newspaper article dated 2/24/67 from Oklahoma
City Times, saved by
On Wednesday, first
shelling of North Vietnam. The 175's fired 64 rounds against AA that had
fired on a U.S. spotter plane just north of the DMZ.
That would have made
the firing date Wednesday, 22 February 1967. Unknown at this time if a 2/94th
FO/AO called in the missions from the plane.
23 February 1967, C Battery displaced one platoon to the vicinity of the
Rockpile. Movement was to support a CIDG patrol sweeping to the south from Ca
Lu (YD013458). A reconnaissance for further movement to Ca Lu was evaluated.
However, the patrol was extracted before further movement was necessary.
24 February 1967, C Battery platoon returned from the Rockpile.
25 February 1967, Washington Politics ‘finally gave permission’ for the
Marine and Army Artillery units to fire at military targets across the DMZ into
the enemies homeland.
The NVA responded with a vengeance to this new authority given to the DMZ
Artillery units, firing heavy artillery and rocket barrages against Carroll, Gio
Linh, and Con Thien.
26 February 1967, C Battery displaced one platoon to the Rockpile (XD983543) to
support a Marine Recon Patrol Striker. Platoon returned on 1 March.
The Gio Linh Battle
Comment by chronicler:
This first displacement
to Gio Linh (Operation HIGHRISE) would, in a very short time, eventually
become the first major artillery duel of American firing Battalions/Batteries
vs. NVA firing Battalions/Batteries of the war; for both Army and Marine
Artillery. 1000’s of rounds would be exchanged before the NVA would finally
withdraw. It would involve B Battery, D Battery, and C Battery.
This raging, on and off
artillery duel would last until the 17th of July 1967, when C Battery would
return to Camp Carroll as the NVA had withdrawn. It would result in both B
and D Batteries being withdrawn with guns battle-damaged and non-operational.
This victory would cost many many Army and Marine casualties.
It was also a
learning experience in the use of Heavy Artillery in Vietnam in my opinion,
for you will notice that as C Battery rotated up to Gio Linh, they eventually
moved around some to the south of Gio Linh and took tactical advantage of the
175mm range versus the range of the NVA Russian artillery pieces.
26 Feb 1967, B Battery was the first to move in response to this new enemy
activity. As part of Operation HIGHRISE, B Battery displaced to Gio Linh
(YD218732 - just two miles south of the DMZ along Route 1 and approximately 15
miles NE of Camp Carroll. Their mission was to fire at pre-planned targets into
North Vietnam and the DMZ.
26 February 1967 at 0900 hours, the B Battery Platoon, accompanied by Battery C,
1st Battalion, 12th Marines (a towed 105mm Battery) and I Company, 3rd Battalion
4th Marines, departed Carroll for Dong Ha. Also accompanying the convoy were
Dusters from the 1st Battalion 44th Artillery and Quads from B Battery 65th
Artillery (attached to the 1/44th). After arriving at Dong Ha, the
Platoon joined with the Platoon that had been sent to Dong Ha on the 17th of
February. At 1130 hours, the reconstituted Battery departed for Gio Linh
(YD213741), and after arriving in the afternoon, was hit that first night with a
Note by chronicler:
Reports and the remembrances of the Battalion diverge on this B Battery point
While at Gio Linh, Marine Lieutenant Colonel William Rice, 1st Battalion, 12th
Marines commanded this composite Artillery group during this time period.
Account by Lieutenant
Ed Smith about the first day of B Battery at Gio Linh:
“The Battery moved to
Dong Ha and then moved up to occupy this nice little area which was just
outside the Peacekeeping Compound at Gio Linh. We got there mid-afternoon and
the FDC APC was put in this trench that the engineers had dug. We didn't
think much about all this as Lieutenant Jackson, Lieutenant Wilmeth and I
pitched our nice little hex tent just above the FDC. Lieutenant Jackson and I
were sitting outside the tent in our nice folding chairs when the first mortar
attack hit us that day, just about at sundown … 700 or so rounds of incoming.
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard about the first day(s) of B Battery at Gio Linh:
“My jeep was at the
end of our convoy from Dong Ha. My duffel bag got peppered from the mortar
round that hit our tent. Lieutenant Jackson's new 35mm Honeywell camera was
destroyed. I had to stay up there about a month before I was able to get back
to my beloved flight pay.
I do recall an
incident in the early weeks of Gio Linh when shelling caused us to lose much
of our ammo. Service Battery sent a night convoy up from Dong Ha, led by
Lieutenant Martin McKnight, and it got ambushed just south of us on RT 1. One
deuce and a half loaded with ammo blew up, leaving a large crater in the
road. At least two from Service Battery were wounded in that one.
In another incident at
Gio Linh, I was in tower #2 when the daily shelling started. There was one of
our Sergeant (E5)'s up there with me taking pictures. He got down low to hug
the sandbags on the tower floor. I told him to sit up and look for muzzle
flashes because the shells hitting the ground could not hurt us up that high
and if one hit the tower (which it did a week later) hugging the floor would
not help. During the first lull, he decided to go down the ladder. A shell
hit at the tower base while he was on the top step, putting about a
quarter-sized piece of fragment right into the fat part of his butt. So much
for my credibility; I still remember the look of disbelief on his face as I
pulled him back up.”
Account by a 2/94th
Artilleryman who was part of the B Battery contingent at Gio Linh:
“We were proud of
what we were doing during Operation High Rise. We battled the NVA 304th NVA
Division and took the fight to him. We hit long NVA convoys coming down
This red hair war
correspondent comes in on a Huey late one afternoon and stays overnight in the
Captain’s tent. I was also occupying the Captain’s tent. The red hair guy
was easy to speak to and would listen most intensely. I had been instructed
to look after this person by the Captain. I will never forget this genuine
person who was friendly, spoke openly, and asked a lot of questions. This
correspondent was Ted Koppel who eventually became a network news anchorman.”
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard regarding Ted Koppel:
“I also remember
Koppel at Gio Linh during the early days of B Battery. We were his first
assignment there, and he spent the night also. As usual, we got shelled and
he got excited. The next morning he wanted to catch the first truck back to
Dong Ha to call his office in Saigon and file his story. I told him that we
had the same phone connections at Gio Linh that Dong Ha had and he filed his
first combat report from our FDC bunker."
The nights of 28 February and 1 & 2 March 1967 saw over 750 rounds in seven
attacks. Intermittent mortar rounds hit for the next two weeks, with the next
large scale attack occurring on 20 March 1967 when the enemy hit with increased
firepower of captured 105mm rounds. An estimated 927 rounds fell that night and
the Battery sustained casualties. The Number 3 Gun Chief, Staff Sergeant Neal
received shrapnel wounds to the head. The entire Battery performed courageously
under heavy enemy fire by returning much of the incoming with outgoing, and by
exposing themselves to possible injury extinguishing fires on their guns.
While at Gio Linh, the B Battery forward observers, Lieutenant Ed Smith and
Lieutenant Doug Beard participated in seven Recon patrols. While on patrol near
the village of Tan Lich, Lieutenant Smith’s patrol made contact with an
estimated company size enemy unit of the NVA. During a ten-hour period,
Lieutenant Smith called in over 2500 rounds of 105mm artillery fire.
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard referenced above:
“I was flying two or
three missions a day that summer when Ed shows up at the Dong Ha air field to
do some flying. He must have needed the flight pay or maybe a few more points
towards his next oak leaf cluster on his Air Medal. I was scheduled for a
noon convoy cover on route 9 to Khe Sanh in an Army 01 Bird Dog (2-seat
Reconnaissance and Forward Air Control). I knew that there was a pair of Air
Force O1's going north so I scheduled him into the back seat of Covey 60 (a
new Lieutenant Colonel in country on his first mission).
About an hour later,
I was circling Route 9 near the Rockpile when I saw a large explosion at about
5000 feet, five miles north. It left an ugly orange cloud with debris falling
from it. About that time, Covey 61 came up on Guard Radio to say that Covey
60 had just been hit with a SAM. I dialed Lieutenant Tommy Starks at Carroll
to announce Ed's probable departure. I imagine that everybody in Bn FDC must
have rushed over to Ed's tent to see if there was anything of value to be
had. I think when they called down to Regimental HQ to see what happened, Ed
was there. It seems that his pilot had second thoughts about this being a
good chance for him to get his feet wet. I don't recall him coming around
looking for more flights.
They came in about dark
with 9 dead Marines after a daylong hellacious battle. The plan was to send
another platoon-sized patrol back in the morning as "bait.” When it got hit,
they were going to have two airmobile Battalions drop in to "trap" the
ambushers. I spent most of that night writing goodbye letters to family and
friends. Fortunately the powers that be "scrubbed" that operation the next
morning and I didn't get to send my letters.”
Account by Lieutenant
Ed Smith regarding the flight account referenced above:
“I missed the Covey
flight that Lieutenant Beard thought I would be on. Captain Bowen, B Battery
Commander, had called me at Regimental HQ to tell me I was reassigned as the B
Battery FDO, and to get back to JJ Carroll now! The pilot was disappointed
that I was not going with him, since I had flown quite a few missions north of
the DMZ. As I recall, his name was Anderson.”
Comment by chronicler:
considered, probably a pretty good day for Lieutenant Ed Smith.
Battalion Forward Observers
The 2/94th Battalion Forward Observers were a vital part of the campaigns
against the enemy. Serving on the ground, they went along on sweep operations
and maintained FO positions; and in the air, they went into the air as Aerial
Observer’s (AO’s) in an assortment of aircraft (fixed wing and rotor) to call in
artillery and air strikes over North and South Vietnam and Laos as well. They
not only fired the guns of the 2/94th, but also those of the Marine
Artillery and the Navy’s ships off the coast of South Vietnam.
Listed below is a
typical resume of a 2/94th Battalion AO taken from his log book during the
campaigns in 66-67.
Beard, B Battery, 2/94th Artillery
117 (242 flight hours)
67 missions in
47 North Viet Nam
Air Craft flown:
O-1 C, D, E, G, U-10
(Air America), HU-1E, UH-34D, and O-2 A
Fired 42 Artillery
Missions (9 with 175's)
registrations (all valid)
Fired 3 Naval Gunfire
assisted with 121 TAC Air Strikes
31 (countless probables)
Damaged or Destroyed:
12 trucks, 8 AA
sites, 2 SAM sites, 4 boats, 7 artillery batteries, countless bunkers and huts
Plane hit by ground
fire 4 times with one crash landing.
Awarded Air Crewman's
Wings and Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters.
Had the pleasure of
writing recommendations for awards on three of my pilots; one Silver Star and
two DFC's (Distinguished Flying Cross).
Comment by chronicler:
In addition, Lieutenant
Beard was awarded an Army Commendation Medal (ACM) with "V" Device.
Unfortunately, Lieutenant Beard never received the Medal or the citation that
accompanies the award of a Valor Medal.
our 2003 reunion, Lieutenant Beard revealed some photos of a bridge being hit
just north of the DMZ. Lieutenant Beard was flying AO on the mission. Four F4
Phantom jets had tried to take out the bridge with no success. Lieutenant Beard
then asked if he could call in for an artillery strike against the bridge. He
was given permission. The 175’s on Carroll cranked up and three rounds later,
with one adjustment, the bridge was no longer usable.
High - then call in the Artillery!!!
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard regarding qualifications for the Air Medal Award:
"I had to turn in
regular journals to Captain Roger Schulze at Bn S-1 on my flying each month.
Flight pay was based upon hours flown each month. I think I needed about 20
hours to get the extra $110/ month. Air Medals were based upon points (25, I
think). You got one point for each Combat Support Mission (not per landing)
and two points for each Combat Assault Mission in which you actually fired
upon the enemy in some way (artillery, air strikes, firing from the back seat,
dropping grenades, dropping urine sacks, up-chucking out the window over a
hostile village, etc.)"
Account by Lieutenant
Doug Beard regarding Air America:
"Did anybody else have
the "pleasure" of flying with Air America, or was I the lone "fool". I did a
few flights out of Chu Lai and they seemed normal to me. Mostly PSI War
(psychological operations) flights that included dropping leaflets over
villages. I was told that they didn't want to waste regular missions on a new
observer that was learning the area. When I moved north to Dong Ha, it was a
The 12th Marines
"loaned" me out to Air America for three flights. I should have smelled a rat
when I got to their operations center and they gave me a bag and told me to
put my wallet, dog tags, and any part of my uniform that had military markings
into it. We then donned generic flight suites. They also told me not to "log"
any of the missions or turn in any of the hours. If I came back at the end of
the month, I would get my "flight Pay" in cash. After three missions, we
parted company and I never went back for the "pay.” I didn't care for their
methods and they didn't care for an observer that regularly got air sick."
27 February 1967, C Battery fired its first round into North Vietnam.
Comment by chronicler:
There does seem to be a
controversy here, as the operational reports show C Battery firing into North
Vietnam on 22 February before official permission was given. It is also
thought that the rules allowed firing into North Vietnam and Laos as long as
it was not an observed mission? It is also thought that there may be some
semantics in play here. (What a way to fight a war?)
27 February 1967, M Battery 4/12 displaced two platoons to the Rockpile
(XD983543) to support 3rd Marine operations at XD888475 (~ 12 mi WSW of JJC) and
XD855472 (~14 mi WSW of JJC). Due to the weather, the operations were
cancelled. One platoon returned to Carroll while the other platoon stayed at
the Rockpile to support the 11th Engineer Battalion constructing bridges on
QL-9. The 2nd Platoon would return to Carroll on 3 March.
Account by a Marine who
was around Carroll and Hill 881:
“I was a 0311 with
"F" 2/3 from 11/66 to 10/67. My company would rotate between Carroll and the
bridge down on Highway 9. I don't know if you remember the Bridge.
On 28 February 1967,
we were involved in a battle at Cam-Lo. My squad became surrounded and we had
to call for fire support from Carroll. I don't know if you were there then or
you may have heard that we had to call the 175 rounds on our own position.
The guys up at Carroll laid those four rounds right between us and the NVA,
which was only a matter of 20 feet or so. Lying on the ground and hearing
Carroll launch those 175’s, knowing they were coming right at us makes me numb
to this day. Having those shells rip through the trees and impact right in
front of us was the most amazing, scary, bone chilling experience you could
imagine. I guess the NVA figured we were crazy because they broke off from
There is no doubt in
my mind that without those well-placed rounds my name would be on the Wall.
We depended on you guys at Carroll many times to get our butts out of a jam
and you were always there.”
1 March 1967, C Battery platoon returned from the Rockpile.
On 3 March 1967, M Battery platoon 4/12 returned to Carroll.
4 March 1967, M Battery 4/12 displaced from Carroll to support Marine
operations. (Does not say where) Entire Battery returned on 5 March.
5 March 1967, M Battery returned to Carroll.
Sometime in March, M Battery 4/12 displaced two platoons from Carroll to the
Rockpile (XD983543). Movement was to support 3rd Marine Regiment operations and
the 11th Engineer Battalion improving Route 9 between Ca Lu and Khe Sanh. One
section returned to Carroll while three sections remained in support of the
On 6 March 1967, C Battery fired it’s 10,000th
round, and by 31 March had fired 14,115 rounds. C Battery had used up twelve
tubes in the process.
6 and 7 March 1967, there were heavy attacks on Camp Carroll.
Account by Specialist
Pat Lacher, a 2/94th Member who was part of the Camp Carroll Headquarters
“I joined the
unit at Carroll on the last day of February 1967. On the night of, I believe
7 March; we took around 1000 rounds of 102mm rockets. These were called "Katusha"
or "Stalin's Organs.” In WWII, they were fired in banks but the NVA used
single tubes to fire the 102mm rockets. A total of six men were killed on
Carroll and I believe at least one was from the 2/94th.”
Note by chronicler:
The 2/94th soldier killed on 7 March 1967
mentioned above was Specialist Ralph Lloyd Stillwagoner from Paden City, West
Virginia. He was the first battle casualty from the 2/94th Battalion.
Account from 'Letters
Home' by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C Battery FDO regarding the attack on 7
“The attack started
shortly after midnight Tuesday morning, March 7th. The first barrage was from
about 00:30 to 01:05; then there was a second attack at about 04:30 and a
third near day break at 06:30. In the first few minutes of the attack, all
the incoming hit near the center of Camp Carroll (where Headquarters Battery
was located) and then hit C Battery on the northwest perimeter. Apparently
the bad guys thought our FDC; with the lights, generator noise, and 3 large
(292) antennas; was a good target, because most of the stuff in C Battery
landed near the FDC and the gun nearest FDC, Gun 1.”
Account by Lieutenant
Larry Rollins, regarding the night of March 7th:
“The night of March
7th saw our first combat casualty. That was the night my tent was hit with me
in it. I was under my cot (I was thinner then) and did not get hit. I was
with Battalion FDC at this time, but Lieutenant Tommy Starks was on duty. I
went looking for my FDC shift people and learned that one of my chart guys was
in the same bunker with the soldier that got killed. The missile had hit on
the top edge of the bunker.”
Report from the
Associated Press Saigon:
‘Reds Keep Shelling,
But Miss Big U.S. Guns’ – Saigon (AP) – Communist mortars hammered again at
the big American guns just south of the demilitarized zone today with 500
shells in three attacks as they kept up pressure on U.S. Marines operating in
The shelling of Camp
Carroll, latest in a series of such attacks, killed six Marines and wounded 15
but damaged none of the powerful 175mm guns with which the Marines shell North
Vietnam and the demilitarized zone, a U.S. spokesman said.
The Communist failure
to hit the big guns was attributed to the elaborate defenses, which the
Americans on the plateau eight and half miles south of the demilitarized zone
have thrown up for the artillery.
‘Secondary Blast Set
Off’ - Counter Mortar fire resulted in one secondary explosion in the hills
from which the Communists were firing, a U.S. spokesman said.
reported 14 Americans killed, 44 wounded, and four missing in ground actions
yesterday and today, along with 61 Communist dead.
Two sizable ground
clashes were reported.
“Several miles north
of Camp Carroll, a Marine patrol made contact with the Communists. Several
companies of Marines were rushed up as reinforcements and contact was
maintained through the night, but the enemy, believed to be North Vietnamese
troops escaped this morning.” a U.S. spokesman said.
Account by Captain
Lockhart taken from the C Battery archive reports:
"C Battery has proved
its flexibility by the manner in which they were able to displace on the
occasions on which platoons were sent to the Rockpile and again in the manner
in which they reacted during the attack on 6th and 7th of March.
During late February and April of 1967, the 2/94th guns on Carroll fired support
for the provisional Artillery units at Gio Linh (YD218732) and Con Thien
(YD113703; ~ 10 mi NNE of JJC). Like Gio Linh, the Marine base at Con Thien was
under heavy artillery barrages from the NVA. Both encampments were receiving
daily artillery and rocket attacks.
During these artillery duels, it is estimated that 7500 rounds were fired from
J.J. Carroll by the 2/94th.
date unknown at this time, (early 1967) C Battery fired a lengthy night mission
resulting in 485 confirmed enemy dead.
Account by Staff
Sergeant James P. Lary, 28, (C Battery 2/94):
“Here is what I
remember, but don't remember the date. We had two rounds fire for effect (was
supposed to be some NVA in the woods). We kept adjusting until we put #3 on
the target, and then #'s 3&4 kept firing as #'s 1&2 were being brought into
position. I was told that the FO was a marine and as the first rounds hit, the
few NVA turned out to be a Battalion size force that came straight at the FO’s
position. He asked for more guns and he and the radio operator left everything
on the OP except the radio and kept calling in fire as they tried to escape.
As the rounds got close to his position, he was asked about that and as the
next rounds hit, he keyed his mike and said drop 100 and fire for effect.
escape as a result of our support. I believe I fired about 15 - 20 rounds. I
had fired 6 rounds as #3 was being brought on line, and then we fired as #2 &
#3 were being turned around and started firing. I do remember that I lit my
cigarette off the tube because it was red hot.
have to fill in the holes and maybe he can recall the number of rounds that
were fired by the battery and the exact details that night.
all I can tell you, except we did save a couple of marines that night.”
End of account.
Both Con Thien and Gio Linh were thought to be manned by contingents of the 4th
and 9th Marines and A Company 3rd Tank Battalion. Elements of the 12th Marine
Artillery were present at Gio Linh along with 2nd Platoon, "A" Company Third
Anti-Tank Battalion, and of course the Army units on the DMZ that became
synonymous with perimeter defense and convoy defense; the outstanding men of the
1st Battalion 44th Artillery’s 40mm Dusters and G Battery, 65th Artillery, Quad
50 caliber Machine Guns.
Camp Carroll, the first
U.S. Base to be hit by 122mm Rockets
6 March 1967, the first military installation in South Vietnam to be attacked by
122mm rockets was Camp Carroll.
Captain Charles Adamson regarding the attack:
That attack caused
enough interest that an Ordinance team was sent from Saigon to JJC to study
this and the 102mm Spin rockets and their effects.
Following their initial use, these rockets were used not only against military
installations, but also against urban areas, ports, and bridges throughout South
Attacks by these rockets were usually of longer duration than attacks by 140mm
rockets, since more than one 122mm rocket could be launched from the same launch
position when using the rocket launcher. The 140mm rockets were usually
launched from individual launch tubes positioned on dirt or mud launch pads.
These tubes were seldom reloaded for follow-on attacks.
The 122mm rocket was fin stabilized and possessed a greater range and
destructive power than either the 107mm or 140mm rocket. Without the need for a
thick iron casing, there can be more explosives and the 122mm rocket has a
greater punch than its equivalent 122mm howitzer shell.
The new 122 mm enemy
Length - 75.4 inches
Weight - 101.86 lbs
Range with spoiler
ring - 3,000 to 7,000 meters. Without spoiler ring - 6,000 to 11,000 meters
Warhead - 14.5 lbs
Launcher length - 8.1
Launcher weight with
tripod - 121 lbs
or about 20 March 1967, the increased ammunition output required the Battalion
ammunition section to work from dawn to dark delivering ammunition to all the
Batteries, with priority going to B Battery at Gio Linh.
During the attack on B Battery on 20 March 1967, much of their powder was
The 12th Marine Regiment directed a re-supply convoy to be organized at 2400
hours. Service Battery contributed six 5-ton trucks with trailers, one ¾-ton
truck, and the Battery Commander’s jeep.
Three hundred meters from Gio Linh, the convoy was ambushed, with a resulting
loss of four 5-tons and trailers and a ¾-ton truck. As a result of the
professional competence and the valor of the personnel of the 2/94th Service
Battery, along with the rapid reaction of the Gio Linh Marine security company
(I/3/4), no lives were lost.
Captain R. Powell, Staff Sergeant W. Fernandez, and Sergeant R. Zovistowski were
awarded the Bronze Star with V device. Sergeant’s Seale and Poolo, and Private
D.R. Woods were awarded the Army Commendation Medal with V device. Sergeant
Seale was also awarded the Purple Heart, as were Specialist’s Kramb and Kerns.
The Mission of
Service Battery Ammo Section was as follows:
To provide an
adequate amount of ammunition to our firing batteries.
terrain, nor Charlie will stop our delivery.
‘They Call, We Haul’
the 147 lb Cong Buster,
Charlie to give his life.
For our service is
We accept all
For we are the best!
Account by Lieutenant
Martin McKnight, Ammo Officer, regarding Gio Linh:
“We were well dug in at
Gio Linh. There were even trenches with built in urinals (my idea). We had
bunkers (just big holes in the ground) for the ammo but occasionally they were
We could hear the
rounds fired from North Vietnam. They were little plops. We jumped to a
bunker. A person can run quite a ways in 5 to 7 seconds. They got some
recoilless rifles up close and then bang bang.
When things were
iffy, we would park the ammo trucks on the reverse side of the hill and take
in two at a time to unload. We heard the incoming when my driver and Sergeant
Lough got hit. I jumped to the right and my driver, Specialist Kerns, to the
left. Specialist Kerns got a flesh wound to the neck, but there were so many
wounded. Specialist Kerns was Medevac'd to Japan because the hospital ships
When we had not received
any fire for about twenty minutes, I told Sergeant Lough that I would drive us
back. He was wounded in the arm and butt. They wired him up. Silver wire so
no infection caused by stitches. I cranked up the jeep and he hobbled out.
When he got in, I floored it and set sail for the trucks and Dong Ha. All the
while, he was hollering “oh my ass, oh my ass”. The road was pretty bumpy
within the camp.
The calves of our
legs would get sore from standing on tiptoe waiting for rounds. Of course,
this was when there were no loud noises from our people.
When Lieutenant Terry
Lee was up there and I was delivering ammo one time, he wanted some ice. So,
I brought him a big block from Dong Ha. I was walking from where our trucks
were parked on the reverse slope when we started receiving incoming. I was
running with a block of ice. I thought to myself. Someone at home would just
not believe this."
Account by Lieutenant
Martin McKnight, Ammo Officer and FDC Officer, regarding Gio Linh:
"I was eventually
attached from Service Battery to the Marines for about 35 days up there. We
were not with our firing Battery when we were at Gio Linh. Rather we did FDC
for the Composite Battalion. I was attached to the Marines, not the Battery
up there at the time and I lived with the Marines. It was different. The
firing Batteries or Marines had no officers to spare so some like me were
sent. We worked in the Marine Headquarters. I did not see the Army Battery
unless I was visiting. The FO's and AO's were not out two at a time a lot of
time and could be spared for a while.
I would take two jeeps
and the ammo trucks to the ammo dump and if the Marines had forklifts working,
they loaded the trucks. One of the Sergeants would be in the lead jeep and I
would follow the convoy to help if anything went wrong. When we got to the
battery, the men would unload the ammo and I would visit. When we got back, I
would finish my western or science fiction novel that I had read on the way to
Gio Linh or Camp Carroll, have a nice supper of steak, and then write a letter
to my wife.
Then one day I was sent
to Gio Linh for a 35-day vacation. I think my job was Asst S-3. Worked 8
hours and slept as much of the 16 that I could; read and wrote to my wife.
Someone said we took over 1700 rounds of artillery, mortars, and rockets in
that time. I did not stand outside and count. I cannot remember if I
relieved Lieutenant Terry Lee or vise versa. I was the one responsible for
getting urinals put in the trenches. Nothing like taking a leak and taking
incoming! The crappers were too large to put in the trenches.
I remember a pilot
giving a target in North Vietnam. We fired at it. Adjusted range a couple of
times and the pilot figured out it was about 30 miles away, which was out of
our range. We fired at a water buffalo towing a machine gun, at least that is
what the spotter said. We fired a lot of H&I at night at road crossings,
cemeteries, creek fords, etc.
One day a Marine Lieutenant was going on patrol. He asked for some plastic
explosives or C-4. After a few days, the person he got it from asked him if
he had used it. He said “No. When I got back, I put it under your cot”.
He went and checked and sure enough, it was still under his cot. He was not
When our Battery in Dong Ha fired a low trajectory over Gio Linh, which was on
a high spot. It sounded like frying bacon right above our heads. Rather
exciting! Glad none of them had razor blades under the fuze. Have you ever
heard of that? As they screwed the fuze down, they put double edge razor
blades sticking out around the edge. The fuze when it was tight kept the
blade in. Made a lot of noise!!!!"
On 24 March 1967, D
Battery displaced to Gio Linh to relieve B Battery.
24 March 1967, B Battery was replaced at Gio Linh by D Battery (B Battery 6th
Battalion 27th Artillery attached as 2/94th D Battery) and returned to base camp
at JJ Carroll. The entire Battalion had been involved in Operation HIGHRISE,
the first Operation involving heavy artillery firing at targets in North
The firing into North Vietnam proceeded with an intense rate in an effort to
stifle the enemy supply channels from the north. B Battery 6th Battalion 27th
Artillery (attached as 2/94th D Battery) continued to come under enemy rocket,
mortar, and artillery attacks at Gio Linh.
30 March 1967, the attached Marine M Battery, 4th Battalion, 12th Marines lost
three men killed to a gun explosion.
Account from 'Letters
Home' by Captain Charles Adamson, S2:
Marine "Mike Battery", OPCON to us with their 155mm SP's, had a 155 explode
blowing the Breech Block thru the back of their SP; resulting in a flash fire
from the racked ammo, in two Marines burned and killed, and the Section Chief
being seriously burned and later dying at our dispensary. Two other crewmen
were seriously burned.”
scenario would repeat itself in the year I was on Carroll with a loss of three
young Marine gunners. I do not recall the time frame but I believe it was
early in 1968.
For those that were
with me during that year you may recall my excellent hearing. When I was at
the induction center in Jacksonville, FL going through the physical, I had to
take the hearing test three times. For some reason my hearing was above the
average on both ends of the spectrum. The data on my tests were going off the
edges of the IBM cards the data was printed on. The corpsman would show the
doctor and he said I was cheating. So I took the test three times in a sound
proof booth. All three times, it came out the same. Even better in one
instance. I finally asked the doctors and corpsman what in the world I would
be doing cheating anyway, even if I could? This was not a contest for
anything and the reward for passing was not really something to look forward
to. I would later find out how useful this gift was for me and some of the
fellows I served with. Before going to Vietnam I would have to take this
same test twice more at a totally different facility as they had lost all
my records. That is what I was told. Seems I kept getting mixed up with a
Lieutenant Kelley with the same name.
I bring this up at
this time, even though it is out of time sequence, regarding the Marine gun
I would be out on LP and
those Marine guns on the west side of the hill would be firing at night. To
kill time I would see if I could call the shots and which one would be first.
Pretty dumb but it helped to pass the time away and try and stay awake. The
one gun always had a different sound to it. Something about it was
different. I even mentioned it to several of the fellows that it did not
sound like the other ones. Maybe not a catastrophic sound but different never
the less. I even changed my route to the LP exit. I used to walk along
behind those guns on the west perimeter road and changed to walking down the
middle road on the hill and weaving through the 105 pits to the west side. I
got to where I could call that gun firing when it was even out of my sight.
Whether it was intuition, pure luck, or if I could really hear something, I do
not know? Not really knowing what I was listening to or for. It was the gun
that blew up about three weeks later. I sometimes wonder if I should have
said something. Rather than be thought the real fool, I did not. Even my own
guys did not believe me until I could call that gun out of sight.
Later on, after the
word in my section got out. When the new guys came in, they would tell
them, "When this guy heads to a bunker you better be behind him." Some of
them were a real Doubting Thomas and Nay Sayers also. Therefore, after me
leaving them once, and going to the bunker without saying anything, they also
became believers. I would be safely in the bunker as the first volley arrived
while they were still out. Real dumb on my part as I could have gotten
someone killed playing a stupid game!!!! I will say this; "It only took once
for them to learn."
In hindsight, I
should have said something to someone. I guess we will never know if I was
actually hearing a problem or just the sounds of a worn out tired old
9 April 1967, Lieutenant Barry DeVita was evacuated and reassigned to
MEDUSAHMYIS APO US Forces 96331 as a result of wounds received from hostile
action while on Marine patrol.
9 April 1967, Private First Class Richard W. Mackrenroth was also wounded as a
result of wounds received from hostile action while on the same Marine patrol.
Account from 'Letters
Home' by Captain Charles Adamson, S2:
12:30 we got word that Lieutenant DeVita who was about 2500 meters out of the
perimeter with a Marine Patrol as a Forward Observer, was wounded. As the
report goes, the patrol had 12 men counting Lieutenant DeVita and his Radio
Operator, someone stepped on a Booby Trap (2 hand grenades wired together
across a path) some of them took shrapnel and about that time a sniper in a
tree cut loose on them injuring two more men, one in critical condition.
We later got word from
Division Medical Dispensary that the five men were Medevac’d to Phu Bai and
that Lieutenant DeVita was listed in good condition. He had a wound on his
left ear, in the left side of the neck, and one in each leg, but that he was
in good shape..…”
9 April 1967, Private First Class James Lawrence Holroyd, C Battery Gun 2, from
Roeland Park, Kansas was killed on Camp Carroll in an incident involving Gun 2
and Gun 3 of C Battery. Eight men were wounded with three being evacuated. C
Battery wounded included:
Private First Class Bruce E. Cheske - Gun 2
Private First Class Jerry E. Coble - Gun 2
Private William W. Glaser - Gun 2
Private First Class Rufus L. Hare - Gun 2
Private First Class Carmelo M. Jimenez - Gun 2
Specialist James E. Cox – Ammo section
Private First Class Gordon L. Howard
One WIA is unknown at this time. Thought to have been wounded in the leg. Ammo
Sergeant? May also have had the last name of Cox.
Account by Specialist
Dale Elston regarding the incident:
Buckner's Gun 3 (I think) had a shell explode as it was firing over Gun 2
where ammo guys were unloading. All the loose powder around Gun 2 and the
ammo truck caught fire. We, on gun 4, thought it was incoming and figured all
the fire would send up all the ammo so we sought the nearest shelter and
waited for the explosion. I remember looking out and seeing Sergeant Buckner
running from his gun to help the wounded, then grabbing a shovel, and throwing
dirt on the fires. Remember seeing him in the midst of that inferno and
thinking, “Man, that guy has balls”. Gradually the rest of us crawled out of
Gun 2 is deadlined for rewiring and a tube change. Gun 2 was back in action
within a few days.
10 April 1967, Captain James D. Lockhart was reassigned to HQ 2nd Bn 94th Arty.
Captain Chancey K. McCord was assigned to C Battery and assumed command.
14 April 1967, C Battery displaced from Carroll to a firing position at Dong
Ha. Movement was to support operations around Quang Tri and Hai Lang.
15 April 1967, C Battery, at Dong Ha had a muzzle burst 50 meters out of the
tube; no gun damage and no injuries to personnel. The VT Fuze lot was withdrawn
and suspect. Foggy and high moisture content conditions in the air during
firing are also suspect.
27 April 1967, D Battery (B Battery 6th Battalion 27th Artillery) underwent the
heaviest single attack at Gio Linh, withstanding over 1,000 rounds of incoming.
During the attacks, the gun sections returned the fire, destroyed two enemy
artillery positions, and caused numerous secondary explosions. The attacks
continued nightly, and on 30 April 1967, Private First Class Leonard Martin Jr.
from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was killed in action. Since 26 February 1967,
the Batteries at Gio Linh have gone through 22 separate attacks.
Account by former Marine
Corps Sergeant, Michael Hoskins, 0811 (Field Artillery Cannoneer), C Battery,
1st Battalion 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division:
"Thanks Army, for
standing with us.
"There is some conflict
as to whether there was one or two NVA batteries firing that night, 20 March
1967. As you know, we fought from around 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM in the morning
when the NVA battery was located to our northeast. We, as a battery fired 90
rounds into their position, which silenced the artillery and created secondary
explosions on the northeast horizon. It is believed to have been the first
battery-to-battery duel since the Vietnamese war with the French. We have
stateside newspaper clippings noting the same. The NVA battery is believed to
have been inside the five-mile buffer to avoid your weapons.
April 27th was a
completely different matter as they had redeployed 15-19 heavy guns, all in
different locations, some out of our range, so we could not concentrate fire
without being exposed to the other guns. Charlie Battery suffered heavy
causalities that night and your participation in return fire was and still is
noted by us.
Thanks for being
there, especially April 27th when most of their guns were spread out and out
of our range. I was a WIA that night as were many others in Charlie Battery.
With all the movies
and stories that are told, artillery is generally ignored story wise. I am
working on changing that. The grunts had a very difficult tour of duty. No
one would ever question that but... It took more than guts to stand out in the
open in the artillery, rocket, and mortar fire that came in on us almost daily
at Gio Linh. I, for one, am proud to be a "Gun Grunt.” I hope all of you
carry yourselves in the same manner. You deserve to after Gio Linh.
Thanks guys for your
courage and for standing with us at Gio Linh.
Sergeant Michael Hoskins; Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 12th Marines. Semper
Lieutenant Larry Vineyard of D Battery, regarding the night of April 27th:
Lieutenant Lincoln, and I all survived that night. Lieutenant Lincoln was
wounded in early May, about two weeks later. All four of our D Battery guns
were down by about 2:30 AM. The hydraulic systems were broken from overuse or
cut by shrapnel. I remember that the Marines supported one 105mm tube with
lumber to keep it in action. I remember seeing the last walking Marines and
one 105mm towed out the next morning on one truck. That was all that the
Marines had operational. We took up positions on .50 cals after all tubes
were down. I do not know how many rounds impacted in the two Battery
positions, but the rounds started early and lasted well into night. The
pounding was steady.
Batteries from Dong
Ha, and JJC, a navy cruiser with 8-inch guns, a mini-gun air ship, and other
stuff shot counter battery for Gio Linh. It was not a fun evening.
I cannot remember who
fired counter battery for Gio Linh, but the Marines and the Army Battery have
an enormous number of Artillery Battalions to thank for saving our hides. I
seem to remember some discussions that identified between 11 and 17 units that
fired counter battery. For those of you involved that night (and several
others in April and May, 1967), THANK YOU!
Marines Withdrawn After Making A Stand
On 28 April 1967, Marine Battery C/1/12 was withdrawn
from Gio Linh and replaced by Marine Battery D/2/12. Marine C/1/12 had suffered
25% casualties on the night of 27 April 1967. In total, the Battery had
suffered approximately 80% causalities during its stay at Gio Linh. After
many-damaged gun repairs made during the attacks, the Battery left with one
Howitzer still operational.
Accounts of the
2/94th men who were at Gio Linh during this time period express total
admiration for the bravery of the members of this Marine 105mm Howitzer
Battery and adjudge their actions to reflect the highest tradition of the
military and the US Marine Corps.
The Provisional Artillery Group at Gio Linh now was comprised of: Headquarters
element of the 12th Marines, E Battery 2/12 105’s, D Battery 2/94th, one section
of 1/44 Dusters along with a compliment reinforced by two squads of G Battery
65th artillery quads, and one Marine Infantry company; thought to be I Company
3rd Battalion 4th Marines.
The Commanding Officer of the Composite Artillery Battalion and U.S. Free World
Forces in Gio Linh at this time is Marine Major Al Gray, 2nd Battalion, 12th
Note by chronicler:
Marine Major Al Gray, a
former Marine NCO, would go on to become the Twenty-ninth Commandant of the
Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991.
On April 28 1967, C Battery
underwent a rocket attack in Dong Ha.
29 April 1967, Battery M, 4th Battalion 12th Marines released from OPCON to the
Article below submitted by
Lieutenant Larry Vinyard of D Battery:
The authors and the sources of
this story are not known. The story is lifted directly from the six pages in
the 6/27 Battalion prepared publication.
The D Battery Story,
Article written 1 May 1967, (B Battery 6th Battalion 27th Artillery, attached)
Extracted from The Redleg
Courier, soldier newspaper of 6th Battalion, 27th
Vinh, RVN, Volume 1, Number 7, dated May 1, 1967.
LTC Edward C O’Connor (by 1981, Major General)
OIC: 1LT Thomas R.
Editor: SP4 Paul R.
The “B” Battery Story
“My God, my God, please
get something up here!” was the anguished radio call of the leader of a
squad-sized patrol from the 3d Battalion, 12 Marines. His squad was
surrounded by an estimated two Battalions of VC. If ever there was a need for
fast, accurate artillery fire, this was it – the lives of these Marines
depended upon it. The call went to “B” Battery, 6th Battalion, 27th
Artillery, who responded with 60 rounds of 175mm gunfire in the next 20
minutes. Result – dispersion of the enemy force and the saving of the day.
It’s typical of the
actions of Bravo Battery since its move into the I Corps area near the DMZ.
Proud of their accomplishments, deadly efficient, cheerful in spite of
adversity, the battery has piled achievement upon achievement. It’s the
battery of firsts: the first Army unit in support of Marines in the I Corps
area, the first artillery unit to fire into North Vietnam, the first unit to
fire the 175mm gun direct fire in combat, the first Army artillery unit to
attack and destroy an anti-aircraft site in North Vietnam.
The “B” Battery story
really began when the Marine elements first began operating in the jungles of
Quang Tri Province. Right from the start, it was evident that these embattled
soldiers needed more artillery support. As the Marines did not have a gun as
large and as powerful as the 175mm in their arsenal, it was up to the Army to
supply what was needed. The Army responded with typical alacrity, issuing a
call to the 6th Battalion, 27th Artillery on 19 September 1966 to prepare a
heavy artillery battery for rapid movement to Saigon; and thence northward to
the DMZ. Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Edward C. O’Connor, the Battalion
Commander, responded to the problem in a novel way. He created an amalgamated
battery by taking the best men from Bravo and Charlie Batteries, then located
side by side in Phuoc Vinh. The result was Task Force 6/27 (or Bravo
preparation, this unit left Phuoc Vinh on 23 Sept. 1966. It went to a
position just south of the Song Be Bridge where it remained for two days
before moving on to Long Binh. It stayed at Long Binh until the 27th of
Sept. There the vehicles were rechecked and the battery completely
re-supplied. Early on the morning of the 29th, the battery’s equipment was
driven to Saigon and loaded onto an LST (Landing Ship Transport). Altogether
26 vehicles were loaded onto the boat, marking the first time a 175mm gun was
transported anywhere by LST. The boat was crewed by Japanese sailors, which
created some language problems.
The voyage to Da Nang
took four days. The seas were violent, causing horrible cases of seasickness
among the men. The highlight of the trip was at mealtime, when “mess hall
goulash,” a savory delicacy prepared by the Battery Executive Officer was
served. This scrumptious feast was prepared by placing the contents of C
ration boxes into a big stew. “It tasted pretty good, but not after four days
of the same stuff,” said the chef, 1st Lieutenant John H. Hiser.
At Da Nang, the
Battery’s equipment was transferred to six LCU’s for further shipment to Dong
Ha. This was necessary, as the large LST’s could not sail up the Cam Lo River
to Dong Ha, whereas the smaller LCU’s could. The major portion of the
battery’s personnel was flown to Dong Ha and met the equipment ships there.
Following unloading the battery moved overland to their new home at Camp J. J.
Carroll on the “Artillery Plateau.” The guns were laid and ready to fire
within five minutes after their arrival. Their first fire mission, in fact,
came down only 2 hours later.
The Battery was
welcomed with open arms by the Marines. These embattled soldiers really know
how important artillery support was. The villagers were amazed; they had
never seen such behemoths pass through their villages before. The battery’s
position was at first right on the perimeter; in fact one of the perimeter
bunkers was located within earshot of the Exec Post. This situation was
alleviated by moving the perimeter further out.
The big threat at
first was not the VC, but large poisonous centipedes, some over eight inches
long. Though bites from these ugly animals were not deadly, they could inflict
very painful swelling upon a man. Fortunately, no one was bitten, but several
men had close calls.
On 18 October 1966
the 2d Battalion, 94th Artillery arrived on the artillery plateau. “B”
Battery was attached to this organization shortly thereafter, eventually
becoming known as Delta Battery, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery.
An unpopular side
effect was the loss of the battery’s cherished call sign, “Redleg.” They had
to adopt the call sign of the 2/94th. Considerable rivalry developed between
“B” Btry and the other units of its new battalion. It is interesting to note
that the 6/27th taught 2/94 a great deal about combat operations. The latter
unit was newly arrived from Ft. Sill and knew very little about 6400-mil
operation. They eventually adopted almost all of the standard operating
procedures used by the “B” Battery Commander, Captain Gary E. Vanderslice.
The Battery received
little control from the 2/94th on fire missions. The Battalion usually
supplied only the coordinates of the targets to be shot. All computing and
checking of the fire data was done entirely within the battery’s own fire
direction center. Some missions came directly from the Marines (often
“Redleg” was requested specifically).
October and November
saw the beginning of the monsoon season.
Prodigious amounts of
rain fell, over 80" between Nov and Jan, including a 22” downpour on one day.
This created great discomfort and considerable mud. The men were not equipped
with adequate wet weather apparel, compounding the problem. On top of all
this the weather turned cold (yes, it’ cold even in Vietnam), with
temperatures often dropping into the 30 – 40 range. The men began to long for
sunny days; at one point, the sun did not appear at all for a 27-day stretch.
A major casualty of
the bad weather was the battery’s building program.
Very little building
was done due to the constant rain and non-availability of lumber. Eventually
the 2/94th supplied “hardbacks” (wooden tent frames and floors) which got the
men out of the mud at least. Wooden gun pads were also built which proved to
be quite successful.
A new gun chassis
arrived on Thanksgiving Day, giving the battery its full complement of four
175mm guns. It had previously fired with only three, as one gun was damaged
All maintenance was done
by the Battery itself. Ordnance support was negligible even in spite of the
presence of a team from the 185th Maintenance Battalion. Although this team
changed hands four times in 4½ months, ordnance support still has not improved
significantly as of this writing.
The supply system was
poor also. The Marines were supposed to provide supplies at first but they
hardly had enough for their own men. Thus, support for B Btry was negligible.
With the arrival of
other Army units in the I Corps area, plus improvements in the Marine’s own
supply system; the present supple situation is much improved. Ammunition was
always in plentiful supply. It was brought to Dong Ha by boat, and by truck
from there to Camp J. J. Carroll. Ammunition runs were frequent.
Captain Albert R.
Pannell assumed command of the Battery upon the rotation of Captain
Vanderslice back to the states. Events picked up rapidly thereafter. On 2
Feb 67 a Platoon of guns plus the FDC section displaced to Dong Ha to support
the 12th Marines on Operation Chinook. They stayed 12 days.
On 27 Feb 67, the
Battery fired the first artillery rounds into North Vietnam. Almost no one
knew it at the time, for it seemed to be just another fire mission on a bright
sunny day. Shortly thereafter whole crews of newsmen and photographers from
NBC, CBS, and AFN descended upon the battery, and the secret was out. Jumping
at the chance for publicity, the cannoneers really “hammed it up” in front of
the cameras. “This was something we always wanted to do, to hit Charlie in
his own back yard,” said Staff Sergeant Harry Dulin, the chief of the gun that
was the first.
another battery of the 2/94th went to Gio Linh to support Operation
This operation was to
clear the area around Gio Linh of VC and North Vietnamese units and to nullify
a village, which had become so well fortified by the NVA that it resembled a
fortress. It was spectacularly successful. Charlie, however, retaliated with
The camp at Gio Linh
became a nightly target for mortar attacks. One night over 600 rounds fell
onto the camp. “B” Battery, still at Camp J. J. Carroll, kept one gun
constantly pointed towards Gio Linh to be constantly ready to fire protective
fires for them. This was done several times.
Camp J. J. Carroll
was hit hard also. On the night of 6 March 67, over 450 rounds of mortar fire
were directed at the camp. Approximately 45 rounds landed in the battery area
itself. Some guns and vehicles were slightly damaged and four men were
wounded by shrapnel (none seriously). Several tents received direct hits and
all were damaged by shrapnel. One man was in one end of a tent when a round
landed in the other end. He was injured. Many of these rounds were 140mm fin
The Redleg Battery
displaced to Gio Linh on 24 March 1967, relieving B Battery of the 2/94th
which was under considerable strain from bearing the brunt of these mortar
B Btry 6/27th was
immediately subjected to the same treatment at Gio Linh; they averaged 20
incoming rounds a night for the first two weeks.
To protect themselves
against these rounds, the men constructed covered foxholes to serve as
shelters. These had walls and roofs made from discarded ammo boxes and were
covered with several layers of sandbags. These bunkers served in lieu of
tents as sleeping quarters. “They’re not as comfortable as the Waldorf, but
I’m sure glad to have something over my head!” said SP4 Gail Hallmeyer, the
On 8 April 1967, the
Battery began receiving mortar rounds from an abandoned schoolhouse
approximately 1200 distant. To show the men of the 105mm battery next door
that 175mm men can stand and shoot, even during a mortar attack, and because
the situation warranted, Lt. Hiser, now Battery Commander, ordered his guns to
shoot direct fire at the schoolhouse. With the 105mm gun crews cheering in
the distance, the big 175s lowered their tubes and literally blasted the
schoolhouse to the ground. Only a portion of a wall was left standing. Eight
rounds were fired at the schoolhouse itself, with three direct hits and one
probable being scored. Eight more rounds were fired at the surrounding area.
Needless to say, those mortars were not heard from again.
As of this writing,
the Battery is continuing on in its mission at Gio Linh. It fires mostly at
anti-aircraft positions and troop concentration in North Vietnam; in fact,
they have a requirement to shoot 300 rounds per day to the north (once they
hit 455). The Battery has constructed a 60’ tower in the Battery area from
which observers seek targets and direct fire towards them. Spotter planes are
not used extensively (as around Phouc Vinh), however jet pilots have been
known to use their planes as spotter planes for them.
Another novel twist
is the use of the Battery as a “flak suppressant.” Here the Battery fires at
enemy anti-aircraft guns, which at that time are shooting at friendly planes
flying overhead. They fire fantastic numbers of rounds (17,470 in six months
in I Corps, with over 5,400 being shot in a mere three weeks at Gio Linh).
That alone is quite a feat."
Lieutenant Doug Beard, FO from B Battery:
time was late April 67, and the place was Northern I Corps. The morning of
April 29th, myself and my Army pilot were detailed to fly from Dong Ha to Khe
Sanh to support Marine operations there. We landed at Khe Sanh to attend a
briefing on the operation.
I remember standing
with a group of about 30 other pilots around a briefing map when I noticed a
Marine Captain in a flight suit on the other side of the group who looked
familiar to me. As I was copying down information from the briefing, I kept
trying to place where I knew him from. I thought back to the airbase at Dong
Ha and could not place him there. I thought back to the airbase at Chu Lai,
back to Ft Sill, back to my days in Germany, no luck. What was even more
puzzling was he was looking at me occasionally as if he were trying to place
The briefing broke up
and we all went off to our various aircraft. As I was lifting off of the
runway, it suddenly hit me where I had known him from. I had not gone back
far enough in my past. I had not gone back to the Fall of 1960, my freshman
year at Ohio Northern University. I was a beginning pharmacy student and
Richard was the engineering student that sat next to me for a year in math
class. After our first year, I would see him occasionally around campus for
the next three years. We always spoke to each other.
I then dropped out
of college and joined the Army.
When I realized what
had just occurred at the briefing, I told my pilot about it, including
Richard's name. He knew him and told me that Richard was a Marine helo pilot
assigned to Dong Ha. The next few weeks, I made an effort to track down my
old college friend. I even located his barracks, but always missed him.
On May 12th, I was
flying VR above a Marine operation just north of Con Thien. A Marine H34 helo
was going into a hot LZ to re-supply and Medevac'd. As it was lifting off, it
got hit by ground fire and crashed hard into a clearing. We flew low over the
crash site looking for survivors. Seeing none, we then attacked the tree line
that the ground fire had come from with TAC air.
When we landed
at Dong Ha, we went over to the Air Group Mess Hall for a quick lunch, since
we were scheduled up again in a few hours. In the mess Hall, I was eating my
lunch, and at the other end of my table were several Marine pilots talking
about their friend that had just been shot down. They were concerned about
any survivors. I asked them if that was the H34 that went down at Con Thien,
and they said yes. I told them that I did not think that anyone had
survived. It was then that one of them mentioned the pilot’s name. It was my
There were probably a
dozen times in my tour of duty that I had witnessed American soldiers die. I
guess that I was lucky that they were always strangers to me. The war had
suddenly become very personal. With Richard's death, a little piece of me
died. I suppose that we all have haunting memories like these that will not
Some of you mentioned
your reluctance to visit "The Wall" when it first opened. I was that way. I
had always managed to keep those memories way in the back of my mind, and I
did not want to confront them. A few years ago, the Traveling Wall came to
Akron. I remember driving out to see it, about 2 AM in the morning in the
rain. I was not alone. There must have been at least 50 others there to,
standing in the rain, Vet's, Mom's, Dad's, relatives, friends. With some
help, I found Richard's place on the Wall. I also found a little peace, at
Maybe that Wall does
help the healing process. I think that these nightly chats with you guys help
to. If there are any of you out there that do not think that you need
healing, think again.”
Notes and discussion
from 1 Feb 1967 to 30 April 1967,
Provide GS for the 3rd Marine Division. In addition, supporting fires for Khe
Sanh Special Forces camp can be provided as required. A Battery provides GS
for the 1st Marine Division in the vicinity of Chu Lai and can fire in support
of the Special Forces Camps Tra Bong, Ha Thanh, and Minh Long.
Battalion is having a
problem with equipping newly arrived personnel (either from in-country or
pipeline sources); especially with helmets, liners, and flak jackets. Some of
this equipment has been borrowed from the Marines.
The frequent and number
of violent attacks on this Battalion has created a shortage of fire
extinguishers. In addition, some are neither suited for, nor large enough for
some fires. Several of the small extinguishers used at the same time work
well in gun fires.
From February 1967 to
April 1967; B, C, and D batteries expended 38,448 rounds.
A Battery, in the
south, expended 6,042 rounds.
In the process, the
Battalion expended 57 gun tubes.
Because of the high
output of rounds during Operation High Rise an airlift of ammunition was
required. At no time was the Battalion completely out of rounds.
Battalion is OPCON to
the 12th Marine Regiment.
6 men were admitted
to in-country hospitals.
10 men were evacuated
out of country.
Since the first
reporting period, powder canisters have been arriving with two boxes
constructed around them to prevent denting.
by chronicler: Also made for great stacking around
a conex bunker or tent.
It is has been noted
that powder storage should not be totally confined. Powder storage bunkers at
Carroll and at Gio Linh were hit, but because neither was completely covered,
only minor lateral damage resulted. The bunker walls should be as thick as
possible. Personnel in covered bunkers should not be affected by either
explosion or debris. This should be pointed out to the troops.
Warning – a rocket
with delayed fuze will penetrate any field shelter. However, there is no
substitute for extensive overhead sandbagging of personnel shelters to
attenuate the secondary effects. Sandbags, although torn and shredded by
fragments, were primarily responsible for saving numerous lives in this
122 mm Rockets – A 2-3
second noise, similar to an aircraft, precedes the impact of the rocket.
Several effects of impact are considered of significance and are of primary
importance when devising personnel and equipment shelters. The surface burst
is characterized by a 360-degree fragmentation pattern, which not only sprays
upward, but sprays horizontally with a grass cutter effect. Prone personnel
without shelter within a 50-meter radius of the impact point probably would
have less than a 50% chance of survival. The rocket motor continues through
the blast to imbed itself in the ground. The second major rocket effect
indicates the use of delayed action fuze. The rocket penetrates the ground
and explodes causing camoflet or vented camoflet 6-8 feet deep and 5-6 feet in
diameter. In both types of explosion, the rocket motor has been recovered
form 21 to 25 feet in the ground past the point of entry. Personnel who saw
the incoming rockets described the high and low angles of fall, indicating an
adjustable fin or high angle capability. Gunnery techniques were obviously of
high order, since all rockets landed on or near artillery and installations,
or near installations which the NVA may have presumed importance, e.g., the
Mess Hall of Headquarters Battery was hit, while the FDC was untouched. Both
installations were similar in appearance. The accuracy also indicated a
prolonged observation and plotting effort against Camp Carroll. All rockets
were fired indirectly from a northerly direction from an unknown range.
by chronicler: Just before I arrived on Carroll, Marines had searched an
individual from Cam Lo who used to come up to the gate and sell ice. On his
person, they found a map with all the gun locations and various installations
on the hill. May account for some of the accuracy and indeed the targeting
itself. In addition, the bunkers that were hit in Headquarters were just
offline from the mess hall from the north.
Fuze quick/delay M572
– Delayed fuze action is absolutely required to penetrate the jungle cover and
extensive bunkering systems in the area of operations. Missions observed by
patrols and air observers indicate that in some instances fuzes set to delay
do not function properly.
VT fuzes bursting on
impact – This Battalion has experienced some difficulty in obtaining the
desired HOB above the target with the M514A1 VT Fuze. Until just recently,
firing was limited to Charge 1 and Charge 2, as this unit did not have the
M514A1 VT Fuze equipped with the Kel F plastic windshield. This discussion is
based on results firing VT fuzes with Charge 2. The procedures listed in
FM-6-40, paragraph 412, were followed on three different missions fired by
aerial observers. In each mission the observer reported that the VT fuzes
were bursting on impact. The chart range for these missions varies from
16,000 meters to 20,500 meters. During one mission, with no friendly troops
in the area, the time of flight read under the elevation gage line was rounded
down and 5 seconds subtracted; and an additional factor of 40/R was added,
instead of 20/R, to the site determined for the ground location. The VT fuze
still burst on impact. In another mission, by rounding down and subtracting 7
seconds, an airburst was obtained.
This unit is continuing
to experiment with VT fuzes whenever the tactical situation permits. It is
desirable to arrive at a fuze correction from experience that not only is
safe, but also will function as designed if and when a target is sighted where
the VT fuze should be employed. Some bad lots of fuzes, the terminal velocity
of the projectile, the terrain characteristics of this area, or the angle of
fall may be factors for improper functioning of the fuzes used to date. An
attempt will be made to gain more information to present in the next quarterly
Billets and working
areas which are used at night are to be sandbagged to provide protection
during the initial phases of a rocket/mortar attack.
Battalion accuracy –
excellent results have been obtained at various ranges. A system of average
VE’s for each charge for each Battery are applied in the MET+VE techniques for
every round fired. All Batteries utilize the graphical firing scales Gun,
175mm, 175AO (REV II) HEM 437.
This unit still has the
experimental models which were obtained from Fort Sill prior to any firing
conducted there in the summer of 1966. Two plot GFT settings are primarily
used for any azimuth on which one or more guns are firing. With this type GFT
setting, the full range of GFT may be used without regard to transfer limits.
Utilizing this system, one gun from each of the three Batteries fired at a
registration point at an average range of 20,000 meters. Firing Charge 2, two
of the Batteries had their first rounds within 50 meters of the target and the
third battery was within 100 meters. Another example, using Charge 3,
occurred at a range of approximately 30,000 meters. One Battery had
registered during the previous month at the about range. Firing the same
Battery, but with a different gun, at a point 1000 meters from the
registration point, the air observer sensed the first round as being within
100 meters of the target. However, firing at ranges below 12,000 meters, the
decreased accuracy and large range dispersion prevent the 175mm gun from being
desirable for adjustment type missions. At ranges less than 12,000 meters,
this unit normally fires only unobserved missions with a large safe buffer
Firing the 175mm gun
at ranges above 12,000 meters using good MET data and by applying the MET+VE
technique with a system of average VE’s for each charge, excellent first round
accuracy can be achieved. With a bursting radius of 95 meters, a first round
within 100 meters of the target will produce the element of surprise as well
as possible casualties. There is however, a definite need to obtain a more
stable propellant for ranges under 12,000 meters in order to increase the
capabilities of the 175mm gun.
by chronicler: Must have worked and continued to
work. See Marine FO account in Counteroffensive Phase III from Hill 861.
Rounds against Camp
Carroll - 343 rounds total of 132mm Folding Fin Rockets, 102mm Spin Rockets,
and 82mm Mortar.
Rounds against Dong
Ha - 35 rounds total of 140mm Spin Rockets.
Rounds against Gio
Linh - 2,042 rounds total of 81/82mm Mortars, 122mm Artillery, 105mm
Artillery, and 102mm Spin Rockets.
From 25 February to
present, the unit has fired continuously for Operation
From 20 April to 3 May
1967, the unit has fired continuously for Operation
From 13 May to present,
the unit has fired continuously for Operation
Crocket (Khe Sanh).
From 16 May to 28 May,
the unit has fired continuously for Operation
The firing battery at
Dong Ha gains some additional range into North Vietnam and also provides fire
support for Quang Tri City and fires into the Hai Lang National Forest Reserve
to the south.
The Battalion is
under OPCON of the 12th Marine Regiment, which is organic to the 3rd Marine
Division. The 3rd Marine Division is part of the III Marine Amphibious
Force. This Battalion is attached to 1st Field Force Vietnam Artillery for
command less operational control.
During the month of
May, the Battalion conducted a one-week school for 12 enlisted personnel in
forward observer positions and techniques. This instruction provided
qualified personnel to man the observation post towers at Camp JJ Carroll and
Individual and crew
served weapon firing is scheduled once a week. Batteries attempt to send 25
percent of their personnel each week to insure all individuals fire once a
month. Each individual who performs guard duty is required to fire the M60,
M79, and his individual weapon within one week after reporting to the
Killed in Action – 3
Lloyd Stillwagoner; Headquarters Battery, from Paden City, West Virginia.
Specialist Stillwagoner was killed on Camp Carroll.
Private First Class
James Lawrence Holroyd; C Battery, from Roeland Park, Kansas. Private First
Class Holroyd was killed on Camp Carroll.
Private First Class
Leonard Martin Jr., D Battery, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Private Martin
was killed at Gio Linh.
Wounded in Action –
Camp Carroll: Private
First Class Cheske, Private First Class Coble, Specialist Cox, Private Glaser,
Private First Class Hare, Private First Class Howard, Private First Class
Gio Linh: Staff
Sergeant Neal, Sergeant Seale, Specialist Kramb, Specialist Kerns, Sergeant
DeVita, Private First Class Mackrenroth
3 Unknown at this
time - 1 may have been the ammo sergeant unloading powder on gun 2
– 1 (Unknown)
20 Article 15’s were
issued and 1 Summary Court.
6 Men were admitted
to in-country hospital.
10 Men were evacuated
out of country.
End of notes and
discussion from 1 Feb 1967 to 30 April 1967,
Letter Dated 9 May
FROM: CG III Mar
TO: CG Third MARDIV
INFO: 1FFORCEV ARTY
(FWD) Dong Ha
Over the past few
weeks I have become increasingly aware of the significant contribution to our
success on the battlefield made by the US Army Artillery Units supporting our
Marines on the ground. Please convey my thanks and appreciation to
the officers and men of your operational control. Their evidenced
professionalism, dedicated support, and above all their timely response to so
many requests for support strengthen the bonds uniting military men in the
Lieutenant General Walt Sends, USMC
9 May 1967, C Battery underwent a rocket attack in Dong Ha.
Battery (from JJ Carroll) continued to do its part in Operation PRAIRIE IV by
providing support to the Marines in action near the DMZ and the Laotian Border,
and for recon elements in the field. From 16 May to 28 May 1967, B Battery
fired in support of operation Hickory. In one instance during the operation,
the 9th Marines had been fighting for 3 days to take Hill 117. B Battery massed
fires with another Battery, each firing 124 rounds, and enabled the Marine
infantry to walk up the hill without firing a round.
During the period, B Battery fired 8,942 rounds. 8,576 of which were fired into
North Vietnam. They wore out 19 gun tubes in the process.
On 18 May 1967, C Battery underwent rocket and artillery attack in Dong Ha.
Private First Class John Charles Gainous, C Battery, from Port St. Joe, Florida
was killed during that artillery attack.
by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C Battery FDO, regarding the attack on 18 May 1967:
"In that attack on C Battery at Dong Ha we had one
KIA and several injured. We had no medics with us in the Battery area. Because
it was so urgent, I called back to 2/94th Battalion FDC at Camp Carroll for
help. I reported the casualties in the clear because I couldn't find my
After many, many fire
missions in support of the Marine Recon patrols, I had developed a very close
relationship with a lot of the guys at the 3rd Marine Recon Battalion (call sign
"Rainbelt") based in Dong Ha. I visited their HQ whenever I had the chance,
when I was in Dong Ha. They had always been very appreciative of a lot of the
special things we did in support of them.
As you know, most of
their forward observers were EM with little artillery training. They
always kidded me about how they felt they "owed us one". That day I reported
the casualties we took using our main fire net. Since Marine Recon monitored
that frequency, they heard me call it in and rushed several vehicles with
medical personnel over from their area to our area which I think was on the
southwest corner of the Dong Ha perimeter. It was almost dark by then.
They weren't in the
Battery area very long and as they pulled out I was coming over to say thanks
when I heard Captain McCord ask them who had sent them over to us because he
knew I had called for help and he was expecting Army Medics. As he was pulling
out of the battery area, from his vehicle, a Marine Sergeant answered back, "No
one sent us. We know Lieutenant Smith and heard he needed some help". I had to
turn away and walk off into the darkness because I was so choked up
hearing that. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life and every
time I tell that story it still makes my eyes watery. Another example of how
everyone over there was fighting for and with the guy by this side.
28 May 1967, C Battery displaced to a firing position at Gio Linh to relieve D
During the sixty-six days that D Battery occupied the position, they had
received 38 attacks. D Battery returned to Dong Ha to recuperate from the
numerous hostile attacks and to perform maintenance on their equipment.
Lieutenant Larry Vinyard, FDC, D Battery at Gio Linh:
“When Lieutenant Lincoln was hit, we had been talking
between the XO's post and the FDC in late afternoon...about dusk. We heard
rounds being fired. I jumped for the FDC and he went for the stairs to the XO
post. The round hit closer to him. He also had a compound fracture to his
I remember an FDO being
assigned after Lieutenant Lincoln, but I cannot remember his name. I think that
Terry Lee (Lieutenant Terry G. Lee from C Battery) was assigned to D Battery on
17 June 1967; came about ten days after Lincoln's departure. I remember that
we operated with just one officer for about a week before someone was assigned.
Things were rather hectic on the firebase. At the rate we were beginning to
lose people, I tried not to get close to anyone.”
Account by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C Battery FDO at Gio Linh:
“Gio Linh was the exact opposite of our training in
tactics about the deployment of heavy artillery - specifically of it being in
the rear behind the front lines and used in general support. At Gio Linh, there
was NO infantry in front of our 175s, just NVA. Even the 105s were behind us!"
by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C Battery FDO at Gio Linh:
“I think everyone has a ton of memories about Gio
Linh. That was the most unbelievable month of the whole tour. I remember the
line of guys outside Captain McCord's tent at Dong Ha the day before we went,
pleading not to go.
I remember the officer
calls that Marine Major Al Gray held outside, with Major Gray sitting relaxed in
his lawn chair smoking a cigar and the rest of us sitting on the front 3 inches
of our chairs with one ear cocked for that "sound" from the north that told you
there was 2 or 3 seconds to get down before the round came in. One time we were
attacked during an officers call and Gray just got up and walked (not ran) to
his bunker puffing on his cigar, while the rest of us dove for cover and looked
up at him from a ditch.
One of our powder
bunkers at Gio Linh took a hit during one of the NVA artillery barrages. It was
burning like crazy and it looked like everything around that gun was going to
go. Lieutenant Tenis and I watched it from the FDC bunker and decided that the
whole situation was way too risky. I think the conversation between us was
something like "I'm not going out there and I'm not telling anyone to go out
there." The other saying "me either". Then that Sergeant, and I can’t remember
his name now, but it seemed like he felt like he had something to prove (maybe
I'm wrong about that), ran out there amongst all that incoming to the fire
burning by all those 175mm rounds; it looked like suicide. He grabbed a shovel
and started shoveling dirt on the fire and saved everything from blowing up.
Can you imagine the secondaries if that ammo bunker went? I'm sure there's an
official write-up somewhere.”
chronicler: Marine Major Al Gray would eventually be promoted to
four-star rank and become the Twenty-ninth Commandant of the Marine Corps.
by Lieutenant Andy Tenis, C Battery XO at Gio Linh, regarding Staff Sergeant
Cornett: “The Sergeant was
the Motor Sergeant and he had just repaired the hydraulic lines on the gun in
question. When the powder started blowing, he essentially stopped the fire from
spreading to the gun.”
The following entry
is from the 'Plateau Outpost' Newsletter regarding Staff Sergeant Cornett:
by chronicler: An old copy was found by Specialist
Bob Matlock in his duffle bag 35 years later.
"The Medal of Honor,
the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star--our nations three highest
decorations for gallantry and courage beyond the call of duty. The shades of
difference between them are virtually indistinguishable. The type actions
required to earn them are likewise very similar. One must place his own life
in peril beyond the risk ordinarily involved in order to protect American
equipment, or to assure accomplishment of the mission.
Such actions are
rare, indeed, and awards of any of out of the three highest decorations are
made only after close scrutiny of the action and extensive review of a
recommendation. As might be expected, few are recommended for such awards and
even fewer are approved.
We may be justly
proud that in our ranks we have a man who has earned the Silver Star for
action above and beyond the call of duty in the 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery.
With disregard for his
own safety, Staff Sergeant Hubert Cornett saved one M107 and ammunition stock
and probably several lives by flaunting enemy rounds bursting around him and
extinguishing fires started by those rounds. Hurled to the ground when struck
in the chest by shrapnel, he unhesitatingly returned to his task until all
fires were extinguished and the equipment was safe.
actions were in the finest traditions of military service. He brings great
honor to his Battery, this Battalion, and to his Army comrades-in-arms. His
standard of conduct in action is a splendid example for us all."
Account by Lieutenant Greg Smith, C
Battery FDO, regarding the displacement to Gio Linh:
“Since C Battery followed B and
D Batteries, by the time it was our turn, the NVA artillery, rocket, and mortar
batteries had precise firing data to every target up there. Captain McCord, CO,
lead the convoy in his jeep. I do not remember his jeep driver's name, but he
was probably the biggest guy in the Battery (height and bulk). I had a good
view of everything with my head out of the hatch of the FDC APC. We were hit
right as we started to turn into the Gio Linh firebase off Highway 1.
However, the aforementioned driver of the CO's jeep jumped out and dove in a
ditch when the rounds started coming in. The problem was that he left the jeep
right in the middle of the road going in and effectively prevented the entire
convoy from moving and we were strung out along the road.
After a minute or two,
Captain McCord had to get back in the jeep and drive it out of the way himself
so that we could get the guns and FDC into the firebase.
Once in, Lieutenant
Andy Tenis was busy trying to get the guns into position and laid and I was
trying to get the FDC track in and the FDC set up. Obviously there's a
potential for a certain amount of chaos and confusion anytime a firing battery
moves into a new position, but doing so while receiving artillery incoming was
I remember standing
outside the FDC bunker watching shrapnel from the incoming rounds kick up dirt
around me and heard it ping off the metal of the used powder canisters that were
used to shore up the bunkers, when Captain Hiser (Captain Hiser had been the OCS
Artillery instructor at Fort Sill) came up on the side of me. He must have
noticed the stunned look on my face as I stood there, almost overwhelmed by the
sheer terror of the Gio Linh environment, when he came up right next to me and
shouted "Candidate Smith!"; just like back in OCS. That quickly snapped me back
to reality (I think I even instinctively came to attention). Then he offered a
few words of encouragement, smiled, shook hands, and said, "It's All Yours, I'm
Leaving." I believe that was the last time I saw Captain John Hiser.”
Lieutenant Martin McKnight of Service Battery: “Here
is one for the record books. I got a speeding ticket at Dong Ha. One afternoon,
I got a call that 175 ammo was needed at Gio Linh. I did some quick calculations
and knew we were going to get back close to dark. I told everyone it would be a
hurry up job. We rushed to the ammo dump, loaded up, and headed north. Before we
got off base, I was pulled over and given a speeding ticket by a Marine. What a
way to run a war! We did make it back slightly before dark.
I also got bumped on a
flight by a TV repairman. The officers at Da Nang had to see Combat on TV. Yes,
they showed the old reruns of Combat. I got to see it once at a club in Da
Account by Specialist John Green C
Battery FDC, regarding a direct fire mission on Carroll plus other fire
Smitty (Lieutenant Smith), you are right about the direct fire. It was into the
Razorback. I remember it was Sergeant Pugh's gun, Gun 2. We laid the barrel
down on the deck, loaded up put a 100 foot lanyard on, and let fly. I think it
was because of Khe Sanh getting rounds from the caves on the Razorback. They
fired quite a few rounds. It had never been done before and were not sure the
barrel would stay on the gun deck, but it did. Probably around the summer of 67.
As for the elephant.
They were along the Ho Chi Minh trail and I think it was from a FO in a small
plane. We did get secondary explosions. Sometime between June and September of
I remember the fire
mission we had for the unit that was someplace they shouldn't be. They ran into
a big NVA unit. We had two guns on them, one firing into the NVA and the other
behind them to clear the jungle so they could get to a place for pick up. I
remember being on the radio with them, and when they keyed their mike, I could
hear the rounds go off very plain, and thinking this guy got a set of nuts
bigger than a elephant to do that with the size of round we were shooting his
way. I do remember they got to the pick up and got out. I also remember when the
mission started; we had trouble getting a save-a-plane to fire and a voice came
on the radio with clearance of Mike/Gulf, which later we found out was Major
Major Gray showed up
one day with the patrol leader who carried an American Flag in his piss pot to
Some of the fire
missions are as clear as yesterday.
I remember playing
records over the radio to some of the guys on patrol. Our call sign was 'DR
NO'. I have some pictures of us doing that. I also have a tape I sent home that
was on a reel to reel that I never heard until 25 years later. When I heard the
tape, it had a voice on it that didn't make it home, THE KID -- Jimmy Holroyd.
It was a tough one to
hear after having it for 25 years. Voices like Billy Gilbert, Terry Casteel,
Hinton, and Black and you could here the guns firing in the background. It was
odd the day you called me, as I had just brought my pictures in to show some of
the young guys that work for me what some of the life was like.”