Revision Date: 03-28-05
Displacement to Vietnam
In a continuation of a long
history of valorous and meritorious service the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery
Regiment was reactivated as a 175mm (SP) unit at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on 1 June
Note by chronicler:
There were 11 new OCS graduates assigned to the New 2/94th Battalion from the
graduating class of May 1966.
Of these 11 newly
commissioned original officers, one officer that served with B Battery would
be later be inducted into the OCS Hall of fame; Colonel Ed Smith.
In addition, another OCS
Lieutenant assigned to C Battery with the Battalion in Vietnam in 1967 would
also achieve this remarkable Army career achievement, and be inducted into the
OCS Hall of Fame; Colonel Felix Mueller.
There would be at least
four Generals that would evolve from this outstanding Artillery Battalion up
to the rank of Four Star General.
The “personnel on station
date” was 20 June 1966. The Battalion commenced an 8-week Intensified Combat
ceremonies were held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on 9 July 1966 at the Old Post
Quadrangle. The activation was attended by Major General Harry H. Critz, the
Fort Sill commander and later the 4th Army Commander. The Battalion colors were
passed to the new Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Richard G. Trefry.
The activation marked the
beginning of what was to be a long period of combat in which the Battalion would
face problems few artillery units had known in the past. Not only was there the
hot Oklahoma summer ahead, filled with the task of building and training an
entire Battalion on a relative new weapon system.
Looming more ominously was
the prospect of combat duty in a tropical climate of the expanding Vietnam
Field training for the
Battalion commenced on 19 July 1966.
See CD ? , pictures ?
-? Training at Sill
the training and organizing of the summer months ahead would be in preparation
for fielding a combat ready unit on the beaches of Vietnam nearly 10,000 miles
Lieutenant Colonel Richard
Trefry took command of a skeleton Battalion previously commanded by Lieutenant
Colonel Eugene L. Adoue during the planning stages. The problems of organizing
and training a unit of over 600 men were many.
The most serious problem at
the outset was the severe shortage of equipment. The equipment was being
delivered in a piecemeal fashion and half of the training period passed with
only one gun per Battery. Most of the equipment arrived prior to completion of
the ATT. However, some items arrived barely in time to be shipped to the port
Some of the personnel
issues/problems incurred during this training period were:
this was a DA deployment, the Battalion was at a loss when many officers and
enlisted from Fort Sill wanted to join the Battalion and its displacement to
Vietnam. However, due to the restrictions, the Battalion could not
requisition these volunteer officers and men as needed to replace its unfilled
slots or lost personnel.
On 9 August 1966, after an
eight-week intensified Combat Training Program, the Battalion satisfactorily
passed the Army Training Test.
Account by Sergeant James (Jim) Lary, one of the
first gun chiefs with C Battery: “I
was with B Battery 2/36th (8" SP) at Sill that trained the Core Battery for
the 2/94th. I then moved to Battalion Headquarters as the STR NCO (Battalion
Training). A request came for staff NCO's with 175/8" experience to join the
2/94. Since I helped organize an 8" SP Battalion in Germany they asked if I
would go with them to RVN, I said yes, and the rest is as they say HISTORY!"
The Battalion began
preparation for the overseas movement immediately upon completion of ATT.
equipment readiness date of 29 August 1966 was meet in preparation for
By 2 September 1966, all
wheeled vehicles and equipment less that which was to accompany the unit were
shipped from Fort Sill to the Beaumont, Texas Port of Embarkation and loaded
aboard the USNS Drake Victory.
On 6 September 1966, the
USNS Drake Victory sailed from Beaumont, Texas bound for Vietnam with all the
Battalion’s vehicles, guns, trailers, and 45 conex containers.
One CWO and three enlisted were
detailed to accompany the Battalion’s equipment on the
USNS Drake Victory. It
is thought the CWO detailed was
CWO Clyde Fleming JR. who was the
Battalion Maintenance Officer. The three enlisted are not known at this time.
On 14 September 1966, seven
weeks after the completion of the ATT, all red TAT equipment that would
accompany the Battalion (not accessible during the voyage) was shipped from Fort
Sill to the Oakland Army Terminal at Oakland, California.
Upon arrival, the bulk of
the equipment was loaded aboard the USNS General Leroy Eltinge. The USNS
General Leroy Eltinge last combat assignment had been in the Korean War and had
participated in the Inchon Invasion.
On 18 September 1966, the
Battalion was notified that due to some cargo restrictions, some red TAT
equipment could not been loaded aboard Eltinge. This equipment was then loaded
on the USNS Purdue Victory instead. The USNS Purdue Victory also had
participated in the Korean War.
Lieutenant Douglas R. Beard
was singly detailed to accompany that equipment aboard the Purdue Victory.
On 22 and 23 September
1966, the Battalion, less a 25-man advance party, departed Fort Sill by rail
movement, commercial air, and chartered air flights. All personnel arrived at
Port of Embarkation by 1000 hours 24 September 1966, and loaded on the USNS
The main body of the Battalion
that embarked on the
consisted of 21 Officers, one CWO,
and 474 enlisted men.
Account by Lieutenant Greg Smith, one of the
first Officers with C Battery:
“The Battalion left Fort Sill on busses from the area just east of Key Gate
and went to the airport at Oklahoma City. We flew a TWA flight to Los Angeles
and then on to San Francisco, and boarded the Eltinge and slept there that
night. We then sailed out past Alcatraz under the golden gate bridge. I
never knew there was any other plan than to go to Da Nang. We sailed to
Okinawa and stayed there one night. Most everyone went into Naha that day.
We then landed at Da
Nang. This was before the deep-water piers were built. We off-loaded on
smaller flat ships that took us to shore where we actually waded ashore on Red
Beach (later called China Beach). I never heard anything about Saigon and we
never went there. In fact, until we left flying out from Cam Rahn Bay to
Tokyo to Seattle. I was never south of Da Nang.
I was teaching FDC
procedures to new guys all day long on the way over there. I may also have
played too much poker at night as well. My impression was that the Marines
were preparing to cross the DMZ and invade the north and those plans were
changed and we all sat there for the duration in fixed locations as targets.”
Not all the 2/94th members
were lucky enough to fly to San Francisco
Account by Lieutenant Barry DeVita, who was
lucky enough to be assigned Mess Officer on the train to California for two
“The troop train left late in the afternoon, almost sunset and stopped in
Amarillo in the wee hours of the morning. Then rolled thru the Southwest,
arriving in Southern California (Mojave Desert) for the next sunset and
Oakland the following morning.”
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
boarding train and trip
Account by Lieutenant Barry DeVita, regarding
“As we got the word to "saddle up" at HHB, I
stepped into a phone booth and made a quick "coded" call (just the one word,
"Now") call to Lieutenant Leo Ruth (who was [still is] a great friend from
college; and was, at that time, head of the MP detachment at the Oakland Army
Base...). He looked on "the board”; and was able to determine which train
we'd be on...; and was there to "meet" us, just after we backed in alongside
Do any of you remember the MP car with the flashing red lights that pulled up;
and asked for Lt DeVita...? Bet COL (excuse me, sir) LTG Trefry does... 'cuz;
I was "dismissed" to accompany the MPs to HQ -->> where (totally unbeknownst
to me [honest!]), Leo had assembled my brother, my Dad, my Aunt Alice and
Uncle Art, my Cousin Art and his wife Ginny as well as a girlfriend, for one
last good-bye party...!
So while you guys were
loading the ship, I was having one last beer with family and friends!"
Comment by chronicler:
Payback, even after 36 years, is still sooooo sweeeeet!
Seven weeks after the
completion of the ATT the entire Battalion had been crated, loaded, and
transported from Fort Sill, Oklahoma to the Army Terminal at Oakland,
On 24 September 1966 at
1500 hours, less than four months after activation, the Battalion loaded on the
USNS Eltinge, and departed the United Sates for the Republic of South Vietnam.
Account by one of the first enlisted (lost name)
with C Battery:
“C Battery had a very long and tall black guy by the name of Sam P. Cothran.
Sam started puking his guts out while standing on the pier just listening to
the water lapping against the pilings. He did not stop until we reached
Vietnam. What I do remember was the ship’s paper. Lieutenant Barry DeVita
was in charge of it and named it the Albatross. We also got lots of canned
figs, large gobs of very sweet Golden Slim. Also little pyramid shaped
cartons of sterilized milk, tasted like sour milk. It is no wonder the decks
were covered with puke.”
Lieutenant Douglas R.
Beard, detailed to accompany the equipment on the Purdue Victory above, was left
on the dock waving good-by.
Staff Sergeant Philis E.
Neaves would carry the Battalion Colors to Vietnam.
On 26 September 1966, with
Lieutenant Doug Beard aboard, the USNS
Purdue Victory departed Oakland for Vietnam with
the rest of the Battalion’s equipment.
Account by Lieutenant Doug Beard regarding the
“I was the officer that accompanied the extra equipment on the Purdue
Victory. You guys got diverted to I Corps but my ship did not. I landed in
Saigon with 40 pallets of equipment and absolutely no one knew where my unit
was located. When I figured out where the unit was, I loaded on to a Korean
Navy LST and headed up the Coast. We hit every port along the way. I was
seasick the whole way and the food that those little fellows served was very
strange. I was out of money by the time I made Cam Rahn Bay, but the slots in
the "O" Club were very generous and kept me going.”
On 1 October 1966 at 0100 hours,
Advance Party departed Fort Sill by C-130 aircraft. The Advance Party consisted
of eight officers, two CWO’s, and 15 enlisted personnel.
Account by one of the enlisted men (lost name)
with 2/94th at Sill regarding his arrival at Sill and embarkation:
“Seven of us graduated AIT as 45B20`s, Small Arms Repairmen. This was at the
time of the airline strike so we had to ride the train to Fort Sill. We
really stopped at Oklahoma City and then took the bus to Fort Sill.
When we got to Sill, we
found out that we were assigned to an artillery Battalion that was forming up
to go to Nam. As soon as we got over to the 2/94th they gave us our gear, set
us up with a rack, and then told us if we wanted leave we had better go now or
we would not have time before we shipped out.
When I got back, I helped
load the trucks on the rail cars for shipping.
After all the trucks were
gone, we made sure all our gear was straight and packed, and three days later
we boarded a troop train for the coast. I spent three or four of the most
boring days of my life. The train passed through my town of Van Nuys, and I
could almost see my house, I was so close.
The next day, the train
stopped on the dock. We got our gear, got off the train in single file,
marched over to the ship, and walked up the gangplank.
The Leroy E.
Eltinge was a troop transport from WW1 that had been converted from a coal
burner to a fuel oil burner. It had so many leaks that there was the smell of
oil all over the place, and the smell was enough to make you sick.
Speaking of sick there
was one guy in my Battery that got sick going up the gangplank and was sick
the whole time till we got to Nam.
After we were on the ship
for thirty days, they knew we were going nuts, so we stopped for the afternoon
in Okinawa for a picnic. We then got back on that damn boat for another five
more days. We docked at Da Nang Harbor, got off the ship, got on buses, and
were taken to the airport where we picked up the guns and trucks. I do not
remember any other artillery group on the ship.
We had lots of time to
talk to everyone on board and I cannot remember any other units . I do
remember that there were about 2500 men on the ship, but I do not know how
many men are in a reinforced Battalion. I heard that after we got off the
ship it went down to Saigon, and picked up 4000 ROK Tiger troops. I know that
was tight, because 2500 artillerymen were sitting all over each other when we
were on that boat.
As I was saying, we were
bused to the airport to get the 175`s and the trucks. The 1st of the 40th
went their separate way because we never saw them again, at least I never
did. We mounted up and then we convoyed up Route One to Dong Ha.
When we were still at
Fort Sill, we had put these large bows with canvas over them on the SP
bodies. The idea was that Charlie was not going to be able to tell that this
was a 175 artillery piece, but no one seemed to think about the front half of
a forty-three foot tube sticking out the front of the canvas with CONG KILLER
written on the end of the tube.
This was of course Army
When we got to
Dong Ha, we made a left turn and went the 18 Kilometers to Camp JJ Carroll.
The Marines were real happy to see us, because it gave Charlie more things to
Account by Lieutenant Barry DeVita:
“The USNS General Leroy Eltinge was 0 for 4 in previous attempts to cross the
Pacific, before it was pressed into service for 2/94th (and 1/40th). That is
why, as the designated "Editor of the Ship’s Newspaper,” providing daily news
to the troops, I originally chose "The Eltinge Epitaph" (liked the
alliteration and thought it appropriate to both the Eltinge's record and our
mission) for the name of the paper. However, someone (forget who) higher up
the 2/94th chain of command said, "NO"! Thus, I chose "The Eltinge Albatross",
(for the obvious Ancient Mariner reference, which nobody in the Army hierarchy
seemed to note or at least object to), although it did NOT please the ship's
captain one little bit . . . ! (He had NO sense of humor; and noted his
ongoing displeasure daily . . .)
On a more mundane matter,
it was particularly galling that every day the troops had to wind their way
down 4 or 5 flights of stairs to eat gruel (ox tail) and drink swill (Tang),
while the officers dined on far finer cuts of meat, fresh shrimp, etc., while
drinking fresh milk, concentrated OJ, etc. . . .; but the real pissing point
was that the doorway to the officers' mess was open to the stairwell that the
troops had to descend, so that they had to endure an unnecessary indignity
Made me wonder how the
Navy did not have mutinies with regularity . . . (?)”
Account by Lieutenant Greg Smith with C Battery: “Regarding
the seasickness on the way over - the officers had cabins on the main deck of
the Eltinge and ate in a formal dining room with civilian waiters etc. All I
could do for the first week was grab some crackers and an orange to suck on
and had to pass up all the great food for fear of not being able to keep it
The enlisted men were
housed "below", where there were no windows to get a fix on the horizon, slept
in racks with not much vertical space between each and ate in a cafeteria
style setting. When the enlisted men went "on deck", they went to the deck
above the main deck.
If you were on the main
deck during the first week, the one thing you did NOT want to do was to go out
on deck by the rail, because there was pretty much a steady rain of vomit
coming down over the second deck rail.
It seemed like after
finally going through the vomiting stage, everyone was immune to further
seasickness, because we actually went through a pretty bad storm, with
footlockers sliding across the rooms, etc., a few days before getting to
Okinawa and I was not aware of much sickness then.
Specialist Jim Fisher and
Specialist John Green were my main two guys in FDC, although neither one
originally had a FDC MOS. I pulled them off trucks at Sill and had them
transferred to FDC because of their GI and math scores in their personnel
files. I trained them on the way over. We'd sit up on one of the Eltinge
decks with firing tables, doing met messages, day after day.”
The ocean voyage must have
seemed a well-deserved vacation to the men, with the exception of some being
seasick, who had worked hard and fast to launch their new fighting force. The
pace of work and necessity for cooperation throughout the Battalion created a
pride and unity few organizations have duplicated. Pride in their swift and
sizable accomplishment over the period of just a few months, and thoughts of the
larger tasks for which they were headed, accompanied them across the Pacific.
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Boat trip over
The 2/94th was accompanied
by the 1st Battalion 40th Artillery, a 105mm SP outfit, and an Army Finance
outfit (not sure of the size). All on the ship were to land in and unload in
the Saigon area. The 2/94th was the last scheduled off the ship so it’s
equipment was loaded first.
Comment by chronicler:
It is my guess the finance unit was the 192nd Finance Center. This unit would
be in the Da Nang area to support the Army units that were now being sent to
the Marine Controlled I Corps Theatre. As I arrived in 67, they were the
finance center for that area.
On the ship, they had to
learn the new fire mission procedure as everything changed from "on the way,
over" to "shot, over" along with some other refinements.
The voyage did have its
problems, as the plan was to have the laundry done at Okinawa and resulted in an
extensive loss of individual clothing.
On 30 September 1966, the
Advance Party from the Battalion arrived in Vietnam from Fort Sill at Tan Sonh
Nut AFB just north of Saigon by C-130 aircraft.
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Group shot of party
Account by Lieutenant Andy Tenis with A Battery:
“I am glad I was with the Advance Party. We flew to RVN on a C130; with stops
on every island. We played a lot of cards on the aircraft (pinochle). I
remember Wake Island because we stayed there for a while to fix something on
the aircraft. Anyway, the booze flowed at the local base club and all had a
good time. Wouldn't want to live on Wake Island; not much happening and the
runway extends over the water on a coral bed. When landing an aircraft, it’s
like coming down on the water. I think only the pilot can see the LZ.”
On 2 October 1966 at 1220
hours, Third Marine Division FSCC reports: B/6/27 175mm guns (D Battery) have
landed in “Operation Prairie”
Comment by chronicler:
It is unclear as to whether the entry meant that B/6/27 had unloaded at Dong
Ha or had taken up positions on Camp Carroll. I suspect it meant they were
unloading on 2 October at Dong Ha. Best estimate is that B/6/27 arrived on
Carroll around 6 October.
On 11 October 1966, the USNS Drake Victory that
had left from the Texas Port with some of the vehicles and other equipment
arrived at Da Nang. It was off-loaded and the vehicles and equipment were being
processed and guarded by the 25-man Advance Party Team.
On 11 October 1966, after
departing Okinawa, the Battalion on the Eltinge was diverted from its original
destination (Qui Nhon), RG4 to Da Nang, RG3 to debark the 2nd Battalion 94th
Artillery as well as the 1st Battalion 40th Artillery.
Rational for the 2/94th
reassignment to I Corps and to the Marines
the changing conditions in Vietnam it seems the threat of an all out crossing
of the enemy along the DMZ was being analyzed. By the spring of 1966, the
enemy was preparing for what looked like a major offensive across and through
the DMZ. (Similar to what happened in the Easter Offensive in 1972.)
Marines with only two Battalions in March 1965 had been committed to the I
Corps Tactile Zone but were stretched to the limit. While the primary goal
had been the defense of the Da Nang area the new threat increase required an
additional 5 Battalions and was designated the Third Marine Amphibious Force
under the command of Marine General Walt.
Air Force had responsibility for DMZ area and Artillery counter fire against
the NVA gun batteries had to be cleared through the Air Force. Obviously,
this was not a good situation for the men on the ground. With the build up,
this operating procedure was changed to the Air Force clearing through the men
on the ground when they were striking positions within range of the American
military counter fire capabilities.
this period of 1965 to 1966 an additional five Divisions of NVA would
infiltrate. Not only did the enemy increase in personnel strengths but also
the increase of quality of weapons was noted as an alarming situation. By the
end of 1966, the enemy would grow from 23 main force battalions to 52 main
force battalion in I Corps.
this build up, it was determined the NVA plan was to open a large second front
in the I Corps area. Not only a second front but also a possibility of an all
out crossing in force. Any all out crossing would allow the North to
negotiate for control of the two large northern provinces in any peace
negations that might take place.
Walt’s Marines were once again stretched to the limit. The 1st Division was
already stretched in the Chu Lai area and the southern areas of I Corps. The
remaining 3rd Division was also undermanned with the large areas of
responsibility assigned to them.
October of 1966, the Marines had been forced to shift more of their resources
to the DMZ. Division HQ was shifted from Da Nang to Phu Bai. A forward
command element was established at the 9th Marine Combat Base at Dong Ha.
This move was just a few weeks before the 2/94th arrived, with the 12th Marine
Regimental Headquarters being moved to Dong Ha also. Along with some of the
11th, 12th, and 13th Marine artillery units to support the Marine ground
troops already deployed.
Marines would be in constant contact with the enemy forces in strength in and
around the DMZ area, even to the point of the enemy choosing to stand and
fight it out with the Marines. General Westmoreland decided it was time to
reinforce the Marines.
Force Oregon was created with initially four Brigades of Army units to take
over some of the Marine responsibility in I Corps. This was primarily in the
southern areas of the region. This was reduced to three Brigades. This
allowed the Marines to move even more resources to the DMZ and their northern
area of responsibility. This task force would eventually become the U.S.
addition to Task Force Oregon, General Westmoreland committed three Battalions
of Army Artillery to the Marines to assist in countering this ominous threat
and build-up of the enemy forces and weapons in the north along the DMZ.
2/94th, the 1/40th, and the 1/44th with G Battery 65th Artillery attached were
committed and attached to the Third Marine Amphibious Group, 3rd MAG. These
units were then further attached to the 3rd Marine Division. These units were
then OPCON’d to the 12th Marine Artillery Regiment. The 12th Marine Artillery
Regiment being the Division Artillery for the Third Marine Division at that
the value of these, attached Army artillery units in stemming the tide of the
NVA advances in the north is not documented very well in the history of the
Vietnam conflict. It is safe to say the additional firepower of all the units
and additional range of 2/94th contributed greatly to the 3rd Marine efforts
in their task of defeating and holding the enemy in the north in check.
Marine officer commented, the 175’s alone, as the defensive lynchpin, may have
forced a change in the enemy plans totally.
additional requirement by General Westmoreland was that one Battery of 175’s
be sent to the 1st Marines in the Chu Lai area. A Battery 2/94th was
selected. After unloading at Da Nang, they would reload on LST’s and head
south. There they would create their own legacy with the 1st Marines until
September of 67 when they would rejoin the Battalion on Carroll to support the
unclear at this time, as you will see later in the history, of the why of
this. It is almost like B/6/27 was sent up to the DMZ area about 20 days too
soon. Otherwise, in my opinion, they would have been assigned to the 1st
Marines and the Battalion would have stayed as a unit supporting the 3rd
Marines from Carroll. It seems to me the support requirements and decisions
overlapped therefore driving the requirement for a 175 mm Battery to be sent
to the Chu Lai area. Rather than having B/6/27, who had just arrived at the
DMZ, to pack up and move again. Just an opinion.}
of our reunions, it was pointed out that then Marine Major Al Gray had
requested the 175mm gun support along the DMZ. Major Gray, himself once an
enlisted Marine, would rise to the rank of Commandant of the United States
On 14 October 1966, after
twenty-one days of crossing the Pacific and South China Sea, the USNS Eltinge
arrived at Da Nang Harbor. Debarkation of personnel was satisfactory.
The Battalion had to wade
ashore. For some reason the men were unloaded on to the smaller craft, landed,
and waded ashore. Then the Eltinge was docked and the Battalion equipment was
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Pictures of unloading and wading ashore
Comment by chronicler:
It seems that the docks were either full or damaged during these few days
therefore the unloading into smaller landing craft and wading ashore of the
Equipment of the two
battalions, however, was in the bottom of the ship’s hold, since other units had
been scheduled to debark first when loading was done at Oakland. All the
equipment aboard the ship had to be off- loaded into lighters, and then much of
The process of off-loading
took five days.
The unit had landed at Da
Nang and was staged at Red Beach on the northern edge of the city. However,
because of the facilities of the port, the equipment from the Drake Victory was
located 17 road miles from the troop staging area. The equipment from the
Eltinge was brought to a third location. (Does not indicate where.)
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
The rest of the equipment
which, had been loaded on the Purdue Victory at Oakland, was still at sea; bound
for Saigon (Vung Tau). That equipment was not received on Carroll until
mid-November, after being transshipped twice.
Comment by chronicler: It
sounds as if the 2/94th equipment was not the primary mission of the Purdue
Victory and that may be the reason it was heading for Vung Tau. The
additional 2/94th equipment was a very small portion of the ship’s cargo.
With the war in the Northern Tactical Zone
increasing and the enemy threat growing at a rapid pace.
for the 2/94th, as well as the 1/40th, was changed from deployment in the Saigon
area to that of reinforcing the Marine controlled I Corps area along the
the enlisted men, and their guns would prove
readiness and worthiness to that Marine Battle Plan!
Account by Sergeant James (Jim) Lary, one of the
first gun chiefs with C Battery:
“Our original assignment was to provide security for Saigon. Our advance
party was setting up the bases for each Battery when our orders were changed
at Okinawa. We had a 4-hour pass and when we got back to the ship, we were
given another 4 hours. When we left Okinawa, we were told we were going to Da
Nang in support of the Marines. We waited on our equipment to arrive from
Saigon, and then loaded on "Mike" Boats to Dong Ha and then convoyed to JJ
Carroll. THEN THE RAINS CAME. OCTOBER 1966.”
On 15 October 1966 at 2100 hours, D Battery
(B/6/27) fired 7 rounds HE in support of Marine FSCC. Target was lights at
8 mi SE of Camp Carroll)
October 1966 at 2200 hours, D Battery (B/6/27) fired 30 rounds HE in support of
Marine FSCC. Target was suspected WVA PSN GS at XD8949. (~ 6.5 mi W of
Note by Chronicler: D
Battery was already operational and firing on Carroll at this time; no gun
It is unknown at this
time if a gun fired the first D Battery round or if “guns” fired the first D
also unknown at this time if these rounds above were the first mission rounds
fired. They are the first the chronicler can find reference to.
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Need to get D Battery slides converted to pictures.
Account by Lieutenant Larry Vinyard of D Battery
regarding the first rounds. “A brief
story...one of the very first missions we fired from JJC in support of the
Marine patrols was on a small group of the enemy. The Marine FO thought we
fired the Battery in adjustment on the first round. When we informed the FO
that we had only fired one gun, his response was "!@#$^&**** expletives
delete!!!" When we fired a few rounds in effect, we had made many Marine
friends. Artillerymen love happy endings.”
October 1966 at 2110 hours, D Battery (B/6/27) fired 12 rounds HE in support of
Third Marine Recon. Target was suspected VC Battalion at YD148652. (~ 6.5 mi
SW of Gio Linh)
On 18 October 1966, the
Guns and all heavy equipment track vehicles were loaded on LCU’s and departed Da
Nang. LCU’s arrived at Dong Ha on 19 October 1966.
Account by one of the cannoneers (lost name)
that made the trip above:
“I was on the Eltinge and I don't remember that it stopped in Saigon, only
remember it stopping in Da Nang, getting off, making pup tents in the sand -
then taking an LST north. Everyone pretty much got sick during THAT little
trip. Then, I remember motoring to where we set up camp (muddy as hell!). I
was in the FDC track. Never heard the term 'Camp Carroll' until some years
The Battalion (minus A
Battery) was assigned to Camp Carroll ("Artillery Plateau") to provide support
for the 3rd Marine Division.
Account by LTC Richard Trefry, first Battalion
Commander, regarding the initial assignments of the Battalion:
“We were assigned, when we first arrived in Vietnam, as a major subordinate
unit of U.S. Army Vietnam with A Battery, OPCON to Task Force X-ray of the 1st
Marine Division further OPCON to the 11th Marine Regiment. If I remember the
spelling correctly, A Battery was OPCON to the 11th Marines at a place called,
as best I can remember, Nui Vo down Route 1, south of Chu Lai.
The Battalion minus OPCON
to the 3rd Marine Div and further OPCON to the 12th Marine Regiment with
station at Dong Ha and Camp Carroll. The 12th Marines were the Division
Artillery of the 3rd Marine Division and the 11th Marines were the Division
Artillery of the 1st Marine Division.
We stayed that way until
approximately the 1st of December 1966 when General Westmoreland sent a
detachment of first field force Vietnam North to Dong Ha and put us ADCON to
them thus removing us as a major subordinate unit from U.S. Army Vietnam.
We remained in this
status until the late spring, I believe sometime around the end of April 1967,
when Task Force Oregon arrived and became the Americal Division at Chu Lai
replacing Task Force X-ray. At that time A Battery became OPCON to the
Division Artillery of the Americal Division and the commander was a Colonel
named Mason Young. The Battalion commander who was given further OPCON of A
Battery was a friend of mine named Dick Livermore. He passed away a few years
ago here in Washington.
During the entire period
I was in Vietnam, I basically had two bosses in the Army. The first was
Brigadier General Desaussere and he was followed by Brigadier General who was
visiting us at the time of the great North Vietnamese artillery attack on Gio
Linh, Dong Ha, Con Thien, and Camp Carroll.
I recall we had visited
all our Batteries as well as Khe Sanh and we had departed Gio Linh and were
eating supper when the show started. He later told me it was one of the more
exciting experiences of his life!
Although our TOE or MTOE
called for an aviation section, we had none authorized. You may recall, I had
an exciting afternoon early in our stay with General Walt and General
Westmoreland concerning the lack of our air section and the fact that we had
not registered around Khe Sanh!
This provided us some
instant notoriety but in a few days, our friends in the 3rd Marine Division
explained the situation satisfactorily to General Walt and then we became one
of his favorite units.
The 12th Marine Artillery
commander was Colonel Ben Read who later became the G2 of the Third Marine
Amphibious Force and who was a stalwart friend to all of us while we were in
Vietnam. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer several years ago. He was
a great soldier and a true gentleman.
Marine General Walt was
another great soldier and a true friend and unfortunately, he too passed on
several years ago. When he came to the Pentagon on visits in his retirement,
he always came to call on me and we would remember incidents along the DMZ.”
On 20 October 1966, after
about a week on the beach, Headquarters, B, C, and Service Batteries, less 20
vehicles and 40 men, road marched from the Da Nang Red Beach staging area north
of the city, through Phu Bai and Hue to Dong Ha, arriving at Dong Ha on 20
October 1966 at 1500 hours.
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Convoy to Dong Ha
On 20 October 1966, Service
Battery, after arriving at the 9th Marine Combat Base at Dong Ha, left the
column and took up positions there. The 9th Marine Combat Base was a sprawling
base that would be the home for Service Battery for the next two years. Dong Ha
is where the Ammo Storage Facility was located for the entire DMZ area.
Obviously, this area was a continuous and valuable target for the NVA gunners.
Account by Lieutenant Martin McKnight with C
Battery and Service Battery:
“Captain Powell was the original Service Battery Commander. He had been a
carpenter before the service, so it really helped when we were building the
hardback frames for our tents. Captain Powell was decorated when the night
re-supply to the Gio Linh outpost was ambushed.”
Note by Chronicler: See
Gio Linh ambush in 1st Campaign.
On 20 October 1966 at 1600
hours, the remaining elements of the column, including Marine 3/12, continued
west along QL9 and on to JJ Carroll, arriving at 1810 hours. With this arrival,
and B Battery 6th Battalion 27th Artillery being attached a full 12 gun
Battalion was formed at Carroll. B/6/27 was assigned as D Battery 2/94th. D
Battery was already located and operational on JJ Carroll at this time.
D Battery would remain
attached to the 2/94th from 20 October 1966 to 13 September 1967.
Note by Chronicler: D
Battery, B/6/27, for its “outstanding and gallant performance” would be
awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation by the Army and a Presidential Unit
Citation by the Navy for the time period it served with the 2/94th and
supported the Third Marines.
Commendation (Army) 2 Oct 66- 10 Sep 67 DAGO 73, 68
Citation (Navy) 15 Oct 66- 15 Sep 67 DAGO 32, 73
Lieutenant Larry Vinyard, FDC, regarding D Battery:
originally assigned to C/6/27 at Phoc Vinh, about 50 miles north of Saigon,
when I arrived in Vietnam on 5 August 1966. B and C/6/27 were composite
units...two 8-inch and two 175's. HHB was also on site.
In mid-September 1966, a
decision was made to send one Battery of 175's to I Corps; B/6/27 was
selected. Captain Gary Van Der Slice was the Battery Commander, Lieutenant
John Hiser was the XO, and Lieutenant Charles Lincoln and I were the FDO's.
We convoyed to Saigon,
shipped guns, and vehicles by ship to Dong Ha, and convoyed to Camp Carroll by
6 October 1966. I believe that B/6/27 was the first Army unit in I Corps
along the DMZ. I do recall that the Marines were happy with the 175 range and
that had something to do with 2/94th coming to the I Corps Area.
We fired without pads and
wallowed in the mud. Our biggest problem was that chassis spades broke
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
D battery pics of loading the guns to head north.
Comment by chronicler:
From the research I have done, I believe the statement is correct that B/6/27,
D Battery, had the honor of being the “very first Army combat unit” in the
Marine controlled, I Corps Theater of Operations. It is also noted that the
spades breaking was a common complaint throughout the operational reports for
six years, as they seemed to be under-designed for zone 3 firings. Several
recommendations were submitted to increase the strength of the spades as
opposed to saving weight. No action was ever taken by the Army.
The move from Da Nang to Dong Ha and on to Camp
Carroll had gone smoothly, without any enemy contact. The move was conducted
completely during the daylight hours of 20 October 1966, since the enemy usually
employed night tactics. Both Dong Ha and Highway 9 to Carroll, which paralleled
the DMZ, were well within range of the NVA gunners.
Arriving in the new base
camp area amid torrential rains of the monsoon season, the men of the Battalion
set up tents in ankle deep mud. The position they occupied was little more than
a plateau when they arrived, and ahead lay the huge task of digging in and
On 21 October 1966, C
Battery occupied firing positions on the northwest corner of Carroll along the
perimeter. B Battery would occupy the back of the hill. D Battery, already in
position and firing, occupied the front of the hill.
Note by a Marine FO with 3/4
“We went back to Carroll in 1994, and it's now a pepper tree farm with a NVA
statue right about where the tower use to be.”
On 21 October 1966, A
Battery was moved by LST from Da Nang; arriving at Chu Lai on 21 October 1966.
The Battery occupied a temporary position at (BS535075).
First A battery firings 21
Account by Lieutenant Doug Meredith of A
"I believe A Battery fired its first round on 21 Oct at 0930 hours with Gun 3
firing the registration on azimuth 4750. Andy Tenis was pulling the lanyard,
Jerry Heard on the BC scope, and Tommy Starks in the FDC bunker calmly yelling
The LST that moved A
Battery from Da Nang to Chu Lai was the USS Sutter Country (LST 1150).
Described as, “With its built in roll with an equal propensity to lose either
all power or an anchor.”
Account by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Trefry,
the Battalion Commander:
“I was on that expedition. We loaded up over near the Da Nang pier and while
leaving the harbor for a while we lost power. It was interesting to watch the
Navy cope with that situation. When we got outside the harbor of Da Nang we
ran into what was probably a good midsize storm, we finally arrived at Chu
Lai, and of course, no one was there to meet us. We beached and unloaded and
I have never seen an LST depart as quickly as did the Sutter County. You may
or may not remember but earlier an LST had washed up on the rocks outside Chu
Lai and was there for everyone to see. It was hardly reassuring!”
Article from “The Typhoon”
publication of I Field Force Vietnam regarding A Battery
“Alpha’s Orphans’ find a Home With The Marines”
sort of stick out like a sore thumb because we are the only Army unit in the
area. But the Marines are glad to have us,” stated Captain Jerry Heard of
Gadsden, Alabama, commanding officer of Battery A, 2nd Battalion 94th
Captain Heard’s Battery of 175 mm guns is located just south of Chu Lai. The
men refer to themselves as “Alpha’s Orphans” because their Battalion
headquarters and the other three firing Batteries are located miles away near
the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
the Battalion arrived in Vietnam last October, there was a requirement that
one Battery go to Chu Lai, while the bulk of the Battalion would position just
directly south of the DMZ. Battery A was selected to be the “Orphans” and
parted from the rest of the battalion for its present location where it came
under the operational control of the 1st Marine Field Artillery Group.
was “Alpha Battery” selected to be the “lonesome end” of the Battalion?
we like to think it’s because we’re the best and I believe we actually are,”
answered Captain Heard. “Actually we’re fortunate to be in the is area
because we can observe more than half our missions. This is the one big
advantage we have over the other Batteries,” the Captain continued. “Their
location near the DMZ prevents them from observing their missions the way they
would like. Knowing what damage your rounds have done to the enemy is one of
the biggest troop morale factors in an Artillery Unit.”
Captain Heard’s “orphans” have done much damage to the enemy since their
arrival in Vietnam. They have accounted for more than 800 confirmed enemy
casualties. Battery A’s thundering 175’s, which can fire as far as 20 miles,
have even received missions to destroy enemy sampans out in the South China
Sea. On several occasions, they have observed secondary explosions from the
have worked well with the Marines,” Captain Heard remarked. “They provide us
with a security force which we have been happy to have. They also provide a
training program for our aerial observers which really gives them some
Commanding Officer further explained that his unit gives classes in basic
artillery principles to the Marine “foot” troops in the area. He stated the
knowledge gained from this instruction could be a big asset to the Marines in
calling for artillery support.
On 23 October 1966, the
newly arrived Battalion became completely operational on Camp Carroll with Gun 3
of C Battery firing the first registration round.
October 1966 at 1107 hours, D Battery (B/6/27) fired 2 rounds HE in support of
Third Marine Recon. Target is unspecified at XD912529. (~ 4.5 mi SW of
Account by Sergeant Jim Lary of C Battery.
“Sergeant Lary recalls some of the firsts for C Battery were:
Firing the first round
for registration was Gun 3.
Firing north was Gun 1.
Firing the first direct
fire mission across the valley at what appeared to be lights was Gun 4.
The first Battalion mass
firing was on 100 meter grid squares to take the top off of the jungle.”
October 1966 at 0543 hours, B Battery fired 6 rounds HE in support of Third
Marine Recon. Target was suspected VC Mortar position at XD925481. Reports
rounds on target. (~ 6 mi SW of Rockpile)
On 25 October 1966, the
final movement of the 20 vehicles and accompanying 40 personnel arrived at
Carroll from Da Nang.
October 1966 at 1323 hours, B Battery fired 30 rounds HE in support of Third
Marine Recon. Target was suspected VC Mortar position at XD919470. (~ 6.5 mi
SW of Rockpile)
The 6th Battalion of the 27th Artillery was originally an 8-inch
self-propelled M110 howitzer Battalion, but was converted to the dual 8-inch
self-propelled howitzer and 175mm self-propelled M107 gun configuration. It
arrived in Bien Hoa and became part of the 23d Artillery Group at Phuoc Vinh
in November 1965, and was posted to Saigon in June 1966. The Battalion went
back to Phuoc Vinh and on to Quan Loi in January 1968. While at Quan Loi it
became part of the II Field Force Vietnam Artillery on 21 October 1969. In
March 1970, the Battalion was posted to Phu Loi and there in April 1971 was
reattached to the 23d Artillery Group. It primarily reinforced the 1st
Infantry Division while in Vietnam.
Account by Lieutenant Greg Smith with C Battery:
“A Lieutenant Hiser was the graduate’s OCS Artillery Instructor. He would
yell at the graduates if they started dozing off, "You guys are all going to
Vietnam and you are going to need this information, so you better pay
attention." So the graduates, build the 2/94th, sail across the ocean, and
head up to Camp Carroll and who was the first person they see. Lieutenant
Hiser from the OCS School, who had beaten them over to Vietnam and was XO of D
Battery 2/94th (B Battery 6/27). Lieutenant Hiser would later become Battery
Commander of D Battery.”
From 'Letters Home' by C Battery, FDO,
Lieutenant Greg Smith:
“Lieutenant Hiser's brother-in-law was killed down by Saigon and Lieutenant
Hiser was given a leave to accompany the body of his sister's husband back to
the States. He was gone for several weeks. It must have been really hard on
his sister, especially to see him go back.”
A BATTERY REPORT and Accounts
General comments from Captain
Jerry Heard, first A Battery Commander
Accounts by Captain Jerry Heard of A
Battery, First A Battery Commander:
“I arrived at Fort Sill fresh out of Europe as one of the first to be levied
from 4th Armored Division, 1st Bn, 22nd Arty. I asked for a firing Battery
even though I was promoted to Captain as I arrived. Luckily, I was able to
rat out a few of my fellow
officers. Roger Schultz had
been an S-1, and another Captain had gone to supply school (Kelly?), and I was
allowed to start as CO of "A" Battery, 2/94th.
Sergeant First Class Nesbitt had some 175mm gun experience so I latched on to
him and posted him at the door where others were reporting in. He handpicked
most of the NCO's for me.
My Officers all came from
OCS --XO was Lieutenant Andy Tenis--looked like the Russian boxer from
Stallone movies, but was great. Lieutenant Tom Starks was FDO, Lieutenant
Doug Meredith was FO, Lieutenant James Berry was FO--all helped train at Sill
and move to 'Nam. Lieutenant Colonel Dick Trefry (later Lieutenant General,
DA IG) was our able leader.
I remember that many of
the enlisted were from New Jersey and when they went on leave before
departure, I had a time getting them all back. I had a Sergeant First Class
Bryan as First Sergeant initially. Sergeant Kozik was the supply Sergeant (I
think) and got a full conex of stuff donated by Lawton dealers (at least I
think they donated it).
We shipped out together
and things went well until we got to Okinawa. Some genius decided to let the
officers go on pass but keep the enlisted at the ship. RIGHT! They were
diving off the ship!! We also pulled out with laundry being delivered and it
was all dumped in the hold for us to sort through--no one ever got the right
stuff back. My favorite story was the supply guy going around the ship with a
clipboard gathering "contraband.” We had good china, silver, and linen when
we got to 'Nam --all with little anchors on them. I saw how differently the
Navy treats Officers and EM on that trip. Had to go down and eat cold
reconstituted eggs, beef tongue, and soggy toast to see it with my own eyes.
We were joined by the
Battalion CO prior to arrival in Da Nang's Red Beach and told that Gen
Westmoreland had requested a Battery of 175's to support the 1st Marine
Division in Chu Lai. Lieutenant Colonel Trefry said he selected "A" Battery
for the outstanding performance in training at Sill and the experience of our
NCO's. He beefed us up with a few extra personnel and equipment and separated
us at Red Beach. We made the first amphibious landing of a 175mm unit when we
reached Chu Lai. We shipped down from DA Nang on LST's after surviving a
night of pure hell in the first rainstorm.
The gallant A Battery men
played football in the middle of the night in waist deep water. We also
policed up huge amounts of coke, which had fallen off pallets at the dock.
I reported to Lieutenant
General Nickerson, 1st Marine Div CG, and was briefed as to our mission in Chu
Lai. It seemed that Charlie had ringed Chu Lai just outside the range of
Marine artillery. We were to go in, set up, and blast some intelligence
targets before they realized our range. We fired from the edge of the Chu Lai
airstrip for a few days before moving south to a position shared with the 2nd
ROK Marines between Chu Lai and Quang Nai.
We built one of the
greatest firebases you will ever see. Navy Seabees came in, dug huge firing
pits, and capped them with bridge timbers. We could shoot in 360 degrees
without getting off the pads. The Fire Direction Center used 4 different
charts and fired constantly all day and all night. We had more confirmed
kills in A Battery than the rest of 2/94th combined (a quote from my OER by
Trefry). We built super protected barracks by staging competition in filling
sand bags--some of those guys could amaze you. We were mortared with Chinese
rockets, sniped at, and suicide rushed, but GOD willing--we did not lose a
I must mention our Marine
Liaison Officer--Arnie Swenson, who almost shot Lieutenant Tom Starks one
night when we had tracer rounds coming through the officers tent. He spent
his last two weeks in a bunker and wouldn't come out.
I signed the Battery over
to Captain Mike Clay and moved up to the Americal Division when it was Task
Force Oregon. I spent my last 2 months working in the FDC at the HQS. I also
got to go up as an Air Observer and adjusted my old Battery on a couple of
trucks the VC had been using in the Song Tra Bong valley.
I discovered in 1975 that
A Battery was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by the Navy and that the
Battalion was too. So, all the original guys wear 2 of them--which pisses off
all the Navy and Marines.”
Note by chronicler: A
Battery, as a stand-alone Battalion Battery, was award the Navy PUC; DAGO
59,69 (Chu Lai).
As a Battalion Battery, A
Battery was also awarded the Navy PUC; DAGO 32,73 (Vietnam)
On 26 October 1966, A Battery
moved to a position at (BS631851), where they were in general support of the 1st
Marine Division. The Battery had been occupying a temporary position at
(BS535075) from 21 October 1966.
Account from Captain Jerry Heard of A
Battery, first A Battery Commander regarding the first Battery move:
“A Battery shot from the landing strip at Chu Lai for about a week and then
road marched down to what was to be our final location. I re-conned by air
and then the Marines got involved.
Brigadier General Stiles,
1st Marine Division (Rear) dictated the make-up of the convoy from Chu Lai to
Quang Ngai (north of Duc Pho) We were led by a company of Marine Engineers
checking for mines. In front of the convoy were 2 amphibious vehicles with
quad 40's. Spaced in the convoy were two platoons of Marines. We had two
jets circling overhead and two helicopter gun ships. There were two Marine
0-6's moving back and forth, but they essentially let me feel in charge.
The convoy was so long it
took two hours to travel the 15-20 miles. I was delighted to get into
position and see them leave. Politics dictated that we were the not to be
lost; since we were the only long-range artillery the Marines had.”
Battery A, from its
location could support the vicinity of Chu Lai as well as the Special Forces
Camps at Tra Bong (BS344880) and Ha Tanh (BS394702). To support Special Forces
Camp Minh Long (BS540518) the Battery must displace to (BS636785).
Account by Captain Jerry Heard of A Battery,
First A Battery Commander regarding a temporary fire support move:
“At some time we were given a mission to move down the road and occupy a
village location in order to fire at targets which were positioned just
outside our range from the permanent position. I took two guns and set up in
what seemed to be a soccer-field sized area in the center of the village. As
we began to fire, the huts started to fall apart around the field. Several
glass cases broke and people started running out of the huts with their hands
over their ears.
I believe we stayed two
days and one night with constant firing and then moved back to our base camp.
This was the only time we left the main area.”
Account by Lieutenant Doug Meredith FO assigned
to A Battery:
“Since this was my third ocean crossing, I recall little other than intensive
training on the new fire mission language. I didn't see a lot of seasickness,
just a little. I'm sure Greg has it right.
My best memory was the
departure from Okinawa. I had just gotten off my OD watch and we were short
about 6 guys, which they were not going to wait for. I don't even recall if
they were the 1/40th guys or ours. Then up comes a taxi full of black guys
naked. Somehow, they lost their clothes and wallets but conned a cab driver
to bring them to the ship. We left immediately with 100% of the troops
returning. Many of us thought we'd lose up to half of our own guys, but then
where would one hide on an island?
We found out the 2/94th
was going north to I Corps, OPCON to the 12th Marines, Third Marine Division.
It took forever to get everyone else off-loaded so the 1/40th and we could go
north on LST’s and unload in Dong Ha.
We then discovered we
were to send A Battery to Chu Lai, OPCON to the 11th Marines, First Marine
Division, while the rest of the Battalion went to Camp Carroll. Already at
Camp Carroll was B/6/27, another 175mm Battery. At that time, the 2/94th had
four firing Batteries. Bastard A Battery, to be located in Chu Lai; while B,
C, and D Batteries (B/6/27) were to be located at Camp Carroll.
We then started to join
the "infusion" program with each Battery shipping out and getting back in from
other in-country units about half of our people so everyone did not rotate
back home at the same time.
A Battery stayed with the 11th Marines and was
located in a compound with the Korean Marines south of Chu Lai. We never
understood "firebases,” as the Marines never called them that. I rotated a
month with A Battery and a month with the 11th Marine Regiment, as an Air
Observer in the daytime and Regimental FDO at night. I was "Black Coat 13" as
an Air Observer. I ran as FO on a couple of "Rough Rider" convoys up or
down the coast
from Dong Ha to Quang Ngai. There were days when we had to lay on the floor
of a H34 helicopter with a PRC 25 to call in air missions.
The Marines had A, B and C Batteries
made up of 105's, then one Battery of 4.2 mortars mounted on old pack 75
frames (called Howtars). I think H Battery and M Battery were a Battery of
155 towed. Then they had a Battery of 155 "long toms" from WWII assigned to
each Arty Regiment. Don't recall the range, but they were long shooters until
the 2/94th got there. Based on the distinction made between a howitzer and a
gun, technically those long-toms and our 175’s were rifles.
Then later when the Army
came in with the Americal Division, we oriented their air observers before we
went up to the 12th Marines. That was when there were more choppers available
than we ever saw before. With the Marines, we were usually with the C model
Birddog fixed wing.
We had a tube blow up at
our initial site, when A Battery was assigned south of Chu Lai. When we were
down south and the Americal division was formed, we immediately had to change
two tubes into 8-inch and send some folks to Korea to get nuclear training;
which we all thought was dumb, but then they didn't ask us! The Marines had
their 155 rifles, which was why they always called our guns "rifles,” which
always raised Army eyebrows. We did need their range, and many times, they
were the only guns that could reach to support the Special Forces Camps, or
Khe Sanh later on.
SSG Churray had base
piece. He was cool. One night in Chu Lai after laying the guns for the
night, he checked my lay and was on the way back to the FDC to let me know it
was a safe lay. I was looking up at him, walking on the road, when all of a
sudden, the biggest snake in the world stood straight up in front of him and
looked him in the eye. In a flash, he reached for his helmet, swung it, and
hit the snake in the head; killing it. We put it on the perimeter wire; it
was a 12-foot constrictor. I'll never forget his reflexes.
I stayed with A Battery
and, I think, in Sep/Oct 67 moved up to Dong Ha with the 12th Marines. We
convoyed to Camp Carroll and our A Battery occupied the extreme Western part
of the hill. I later took a platoon of guns to the Rockpile to better support
Lang Vei and Khe Sanh.
I had 2 tours at the
Rockpile of a month or so each. On one trip, we convoyed a platoon there and
back; on the other, I was just there. Little did I know at the time that my
future boss in Florida (88-90) was the USMC commo guy, sitting on top of the
pile. It was only accessible by chopper, so we never met back then. Small
End of A BATTERY Report and Accounts
October 1966 at 1550 hours, C Battery fired 22 rounds HE in support of Third
Marine Recon. Target was suspected VC positions at XD896522. (~ 5.5 mi SW of
Rockpile) At 1630 hours C Battery, fired 45 rounds HE in support of Third
Marine Recon. Positions XD914525 and XD915529. (~ 4.5 mi NW of Vandegrift)
October 1966 at 1915 hours, C Battery fired unknown number of rounds HE in
support of ARVN. Target coverage was good at XD907569. (~ 5 mi W of Rockpile)
October 1966 at 0930 hours, B Battery fired 28 rounds for AO. Target was VC in
the open at YD053707. 70% of target coverage was good. (~ 12 mi SW of
October 1966 at 1315 hours, 2/94th Battalion fired grid saturations in support
of Third Marine Recon. 495 rounds expended.
Targets were VC positions (XD8750,
XD8751) (XD8850, XD8851, XD8950, XD8951, XD9250, XD9251) 2/94th Battalion S3
observed target area from air. 3 trails uncovered. Much litter as it appeared
from the air, looked like bits of square tin and scrap cardboard. Many trees
blown down (10 inch in dia) uncovering jungle floor. (~ area covered ranged
from 5 to 7.5 miles SW of Rockpile)
Note by Chronicler: Major Parks and Captain
Adamson would observe the damages done by the grid saturations. They observed
the damages from a Marine
H-19 helicopter (Korean War
vintage). They then reported the findings back to the 12th Marine FSCC.
October 1966 at 1605 hours, 2/94th Battalion fired saturation in support of
Third Marine Recon. 348 rounds expended. Targets were VC positions at (XD9053,
XD9153, XD9253). (~ area covered ranged from 4 to 5 mi SW of Rockpile).
the Third Marine Recon team names were “Viper,” “Cobra,” “Snoopy,” “Surf,”
“Galleon,” “Mustang,” “Showcase,” “Hungarian,” and "Witty Ordeal.” Where I
could find the name of the Recon team calling in the fire missions, I have
included those as part of the mission chronology.
Steve Shircliff was patrol leader for Showcase, Hungarian, and Witty Ordeal.
grid square concentrations were a developed tactic by LTC Trefry and Captain
Chelburg. Grid saturations would become known as Mini Arc Lights. This was in
reference to the well-known B52 Arc Lights.
the sayings early on; until the Marine FO’s got use to working with the 175 mm
rounds and its larger impact. “After the Marine FO adjusted 14 times we had
total grid saturations - only 4 rounds at a time.”
October 1966 at 2010 hours, B Battery fired in support of Division FSCC
Forward. 9 rounds expended. Target was VC in open at XD804474. (~12 mi SW of
The men of the 2/94th found
that there was a lot more to being artillerymen than loading projectiles,
powder, and pulling a lanyard. They had to build latrines and showers, and
started building wooden frames for the tents that would be called home. Along
with the torrential rain and wind, the men were subjected to temperatures that
had dropped into the low 40’s.
Supplies and ammo were
moved from the 9th Marine Combat Base at Dong Ha to Camp Carroll and areas west
of Carroll along QL9 (Highway 9), the only all weather road in the area.
The first priority was
establishing and improving the gun positions. The soil at JJ Carroll was clay,
and the heavy rains combined to cause many guns to get stuck in the mud. The
Seabee’s eventually came in to build platforms and gun pads for the artillery
pieces, thereby alleviating the problem.
See CD ?, pictures ? -?
Seabees building gun pads. and early pictures of Carroll
Tents were the only shelter
for the first three months, and the monsoon season was just beginning.
following coordinates were the Battalion’s locations:
Battery, Dong Ha YD229597
B, JJ Carroll YD060545
C, JJ Carroll YD058543
D, JJ Carroll YD063549
It is thought that Golf
Company, 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, had the duty at this time. Among their
assets were a 155mm Howitzer Battery from the 12th Marines, M/4/12; a Marine 105
Battery, C/1/12; a Marine Mortar Battery, unit unknown at this time; tanks from
B Company 3rd Marine Tank Battalion; and Ontos from Third Anti-Tank Battalion.
A company size unit of the
2nd Battalion 9th Marines would eventually move in, replacing 3/4, to provide
perimeter and area defense for the encampment. It is thought that these 2/9
Marine units remained at Camp Carroll until the end of 1968 or early 1969 when
the camp was closed upon the departure of the 3rd Marine Division for home and
the 2/94th moved to other locations within I Corps.
Camp Carroll was to be the
permanent base camp for the Battalion until the end of 1968. This position was
strategically located five miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). From
their positions at Camp Carroll the 175mm guns of the Battalion could cover the
I Corps area of Vietnam from Laos to the South China Sea, most of the entire
width and length of the DMZ and well into North Vietnam itself.
The men and the 175mm guns of the 2nd
Battalion 94th Artillery at Camp Carroll would become the “Lynchpin” for the
Defense of the entire DMZ area for the next two years.
Comment by Chronicler: A
new Marine General would take over the I Corps area after Khe Sanh in mid-
1968. The new commander had a different philosophy as to the tactile
operations of artillery. He would close Camp Carroll as the lynchpin and
invoke a more mobile, raiding type, of artillery operations in the theater.
However, this did not last long as a new smaller version of Camp Carroll was
rebuilt on the same plateau as the old Battalion home had been on previously.
While the Battalion would never base there again, Batteries would rotate in
and out for the rest of the war on the new smaller Camp Carroll. The majority
visitor from the 2/94th to the new Carroll would be B Battery.
2/94th would become heavily involved in the defenses of Con Thien and Gio Linh
in early 1967, engaging in massive intense artillery duels with the NVA.
late 1967 and early 1968, the 2/94th would engage the enemy artillery and NVA
ground units trying to overrun the hills around Khe Sanh and the Khe Sanh Combat
along the DMZ could an enemy soldier find a minutes peace in what use to be a
common infiltration and staging area. Within minutes of being spotted by an AO,
FO, or Marine Recon the enemy soldier would receive a warm welcome to the
south. No waiting for the fog to clear or planes to arrive on station. It was
an immediate and deadly rain of steel. The enemy soldier would learn to hate
the big guns on Carroll and its displacements along the DMZ; nicknamed the
“McNamara Line.” The artillery fire against the enemy soldier would be
relentless as he tried to move away.
above in the 31 October 1966 accounts. The 2/94th with its 175 mm rounds could
destroy his jungle canopy hiding places by ripping the tops out of the jungle
cover. Thus exposing his trails, his storage areas, his staging areas, and his
places to pause and regroup from the trip to the South.
The Marines had formerly
called Camp J.J. Carroll, "Artillery Plateau.” The Firebase (Marine Camp) was
located at (YD063545) about 12.5 miles west of the 9th Marine Combat Base at
Dong Ha; just south of Highway 9, between the refugee village of Cam Lo and the
3rd Battalion 9th Marine Firebase at the Rockpile.
It was officially named
Camp J.J. Carroll on 10 November 1966, which coincides 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.
The 2/94th would operate in
the Northern I Corps area for the next 5 years in what was called “Leatherneck
Square.” Hills, valleys, and mountains with peaks from 4,000 to 5,000 feet
characterized the terrain.
In addition, the plateaus
and peaks were often enveloped in a heavy fog, which would preclude some air
conditions would range from extremely hot and dusty to rainy, wet, cool or cold
Article from the Stars
and Stripes 1966
“Viet Weather Just Ain’t
So.” CAMP JJ CARROLL, Vietnam (S&S)-
Staff Sergeant James P.
Lary, 28, (C Battery 2/94th) stepped inside the maintenance shack with his
field jacket zipped to the top. “I’d like to meet the man who said it’s
either hot and wet or hot and dry in Vietnam. The temperature’s been down to
40 degrees up here lately. It’s raining out and the mud is two feet deep in
places.” The sergeant continued, “I heard they had frost up on the Rockpile
last night.” SNOW? Not yet, but hang onto to your jackets and poncho liners,
Vietnam is not always that hot."
Note by chronicler: It
did eventually snow at the Rockpile! See Lieutenant Barry DeVita accounts in
the 1st Campaign.
Comment by chronicler:
Around Christmas time in 1967, conditions at Carroll included a drop in
temperatures to about 40 degrees, winds of 15 to 20 mph winds, and rain.
Fellows from the next tent over had received some fake snow from home. They
came running into our tent with fake snow on their hats and shoulders yelling
the rain has changed to snow. All of us southern fellows all ran to the tent
flap and outside in to the cold rain!
12th Marine FSCC reports
indicate a total of 2,176 (175 mm) rounds expended in October of 1966.
next few years, the 2/94th Battalion and the Third Marines (Reinforced) would
come to know and remember the names of places and battles, Infantry as well as
Artillery. As past warriors from previous wars, they would remember the hard
fought battles of their generation and their war. Places like Con Thien, Cam
Lo, Gio Linh, Charlie One, Charlie Two, Ca Lu, The Rockpile, The Graveyard, Camp
Carroll, Hill 950, Hill 861, Hill 861A, Hill 881N, Hill 881S, LZ Stud, the Ridge
Line, and Khe Sanh.
Later, as the Third Marines were
stood down, the war continued for the 2/94th Battalion. The Battalion would
perform brilliantly and with valor at places like; Lao Bao, Khe Sanh,
Vandegrift, FSB Flexible,
Lang Vei, Barbara, Bastogne, Nancy, Sally, etc.
C Battery and an attached
Battery of the 1/39th would stand alone on the border of Laos as Operation
Lam Son 719 failed
and the ARVN forces withdrew around them. They would become NVA tank
killers. For three days, they would wait their fate facing an overwhelming
enemy until the 1/77th Tank reinforcements and a tank unit from the 9th
ID could be sent in to rescue the stranded Batteries as they fought their way
back out down “Ambush Alley.”
would displace to these remembered places; they would fight at these remembered
places, some would be wounded at these remembered places, and some would die at
these remembered places.
The 2/94th Battalion, being a
long-range heavy artillery battalion, would learn to adapt and develop new
procedures and processes to fulfill its support missions. New mission
assignments that would have probably seemed strange to anyone new to a
long-range heavy artillery outfit. Firing to within 100 meters of a surrounded
Marine platoon, a recon team, a perimeter under attack, or a downed aircraft at
a range of 18 miles or greater. Anti-aircraft gun emplacements or an NVA rocket
or artillery emplacements would feel the sting of the Battalion’s heavy
A perimeter, under ground attack
and NVA artillery attack; would receive both defensive fires and counter battery
fires knocking out the NVA artillery that would then allow the Marines to tend
to business and repel the attacking NVA ground forces.
Even the enemies hiding places
would be uncovered with the Battalion clearing out and destroying grid squares
of jungle hiding places and NVA bunkers.
2/94th Battalion probably fired more long-range heavy artillery at a sustained
rate than any Artillery unit in the history of warfare. Their number of
missions fired, rounds on target, tube changes, breechblock changes would set
the standard for all long range heavy artillery.
many issues would arise in maintenance and tube changes with the rapid rate and
continuous zone 3 fire missions. The Battalion would overcome these issues to
complete all the fire missions assigned to them. The locations of the firing
batteries would enable those batteries to put under fire the entire DMZ area,
into Laos, and well into North Vietnam itself.
2/94th Battalion would continually improve and strive for greater accuracy when
dealing with close proximities to friendly troops. This would be evident in
pre-registering guns and then 2 months later, with cold tubes, hit within 125
meters of a Marine perimeter. The 175’s would receive credit for shutting down
the enemy attacks and then destroying the reserve units, as the Marine FO would
adjust the devastating fire to meet the new threat.
ground forces, detected by movement sensors, would be destroyed before they
could engage our own ground forces. Eliminating a battle and ground force
losses that would never take place. In some cases, the ground troops never
realized the battle that would have taken place, never happened.
short range, the 175’s would deal massive lethal blows as they could direct fire
into the enemy.
Comment by chronicler:
While in any war it seems the Infantry is well documented in their history and
chronology. Like most wars the Artillery, as well as other combat branches,
their story is not told nor documented. The 2/94th being a stand alone
Battalion and attached to the U.S. Third Marines for such a long period.
Their exploits, valor, dedication to duty, and the tremendous impact the unit
made in the defense of the DMZ is not documented at all, either by the U.S.
Army or the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Vietnam War,
especially along the DMZ, was not fought the like the traditional wars in the
past. The artillerymen of this war would deal with many aspects other than
normal artillerymen duties. Such as establishing perimeters and defending
perimeters, listening posts, claymore mines, trip flares, convoy attacks,
manning an M60 machine gun or a .50 caliber machine gun, using mortars in
defensive concentrations, and in some cases being in the lead elements of an
This was recognized by
some of our congressmen and a Combat Artillery Badge bill was proposed.
Similar to the Infantry’s Combat Infantry Badge. However, this bill was never
The Marine Corps, in
their wisdom, did change their requirements for their Combat Action Ribbon.
In the past, this CAR was generally reserved for a 0311 MOS, same MOS as the
Infantry 11B MOS. Their point was that not just the Infantry was involved in
offensive operations and offensive fire. Those Marines that participated in
offensive operations in the defense of the DMZ and were subjected to the
enemy’s continuous rocket and artillery attacks were awarded the Navy Combat
So far, members of the Army
Artillery units attached as part of the Third Marine Division (Reinforced) are
not on the list of possible recipients. I have written to the Naval Awards
section requesting those Army units and the members that qualify be awarded the
Combat Action Ribbon, (CAR). I have received no response from the Department of
the Navy. Since this award was made in 1991, it is doubtful, in my opinion that
the Navy Awards members/committee even know of the three Army Artillery units
that were assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps.
Comment by chronicler:
This is more than just a pride issue for these men of the Army Battalions
assigned to the Marine Corps that did the exact same thing, only 40 meters
away from their Marine counterparts. This becomes a Veterans Administration
issue as points are given to those men who earned combat awards. If the Army
does not want to; or fails to recognize the exact same simple facts as the
Marine Corps; then these men, that qualify under the same requirements, should
be awarded the Navy CAR. No different than these same Army units being
awarded a Navy Presidential Unit Citation. These men certainly qualify for a
CAR and the Veterans Administration points that go with the award.
The following pages are my
“novice attempt” at the “Chronology and the History of the 2nd Battalion 94th
Field Artillery Regiment from 1966 to 1972,” in the Republic of South Vietnam.
The Chronology is recorded
by the Official Vietnam War Campaign inclusive dates.
Click to return to 2/94th