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01Oct69-Dozen Hits - All Miss
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-An Americal Div. soldier was hit by 12 AK47 rounds recently - and walked away without a scratch.
Sgt. Facundo Ramos, Rio Piedras of Puerto Rico, was on a sweep with his platoon from the 11th Inf. Bde near Landing Zone San Juan Hill, west of Duc Pho.
Suddenly the element ran into three NVA soldiers coming down the trail. There was a flash of rifles followed by the ripping staccato of M16 and AK47s.
Then, as suddenly as they came, the NVA were gone. The platoon checked for casualties.
Ramos felt around and discovered he had been "hit" 12 times where bullets had either pierced or cut into his clothing and gear.
One round put holes in the side and back of his helmet. Another sliced the bayonet off his belt; several smashed into his ammo pouch ripping the ammo out.
06Oct69-Reds Cut Bait and Run
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
- A North Vietnamese Army unit tried to lure a company from the Americal Div. into a trap, using dummy mortar tubes and straw scarecrows as bait, but the trap was sprung so quickly it was the Reds who were caught.
Gunships from D Troop, 1st Sq., 1st Cav., spotted the fixtures in a valley along Highway 515, 12 kilometers northwest of Duc Pho. The location of the dummies was confirmed by the command and control helicopter of the 1st Bn., 20th Inf. After a thorough artillery and 81mm mortar bombardment of the area, C Co. moved in quickly to search the site and recovered the scarecrows, clothed in NVA uniforms.
The NVA apparently hadn't expected a response so soon to their bait and fled the area leaving behind 200 pounds of rice, 100 AK47 rounds, one 60mm mortar, and 60 mortar rounds.
Meet the Customs Man
PFC STEPHEN WARSH
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - "No, sir, you can't take your pet 12-foot boa constrictor on the plane with you," explained the soft-spoken customs inspector to the U.S. Navy commander.
It takes all kinds of people to make a war and the U.S. Armed Forces customs inspectors at Tan Son Nhut civilian terminal see a lot of them - about 2,000 persons a day at the airport and at Camp Alpha, the nearby R&R processing station.
"We're the first ones people see coming into the country and the last ones they see before leaving," said Air Force S. Sgt. Claude Harrison, boss of the 32-man customs inspection, detail at the Tan Son Nhut civilian terminal.
The customs detail, manned jointly by Army MP's from the 716th Military Police Bn., 18th MP Brigade and Air Force patrolmen from the 377th Security Police Sq., inspects about 70 per cent of all BI baggage passing through customs.
For most persons, the customs inspection is just a formality - another long delay in a schedule wrapped in red tape - but then there are others like the Navy commander and his boa constrictor.
Or the private first class masquerading as a sergeant who tried to smuggle a broken-down fully-automatic M2 carbine out of the country in a suit bag. He didn't make it on either count.
Or the Navy river patrol crew-man who had his "war souvenir" confiscated - a 12-foot-long link of .50 cal. machine gun shells.
Or the GI who planned to tote home a 105mm howitzer shell with the primer intact as "just a lawn piece."
Or the grunt who stored two fully-intact 82mm mortars in his suitcase.
Or the civilian, dressed in an overcoat in 90 degree weather, who tried to pass through customs with a live M26 fragmentation grenade in his pocket.
"Weapons are always a hassle - the proper paperwork is often incomplete," said Sgt. Jeff Nelson, head Army MP at Tan Son Nhut.
In order for war souvenir weapons, including knives , cross bows, dart guns and machetes, to be taken out of Vietnam, they must first be cleared for release and registered as such by the provost marshal and be granted an export permit, he said.
War souvenirs or trophies, other than weapons, also require some paperwork, customs officials caution. Items such as Ho Chi Minh sandals, enemy headgear, and Communist web belts must be cleared and screened for intelligence value by local intelligence units.
Unsealed whisky bottles present still another taboo for the homeward bound BI. Alcoholic beverages not in excess of one wine gallon may be hand carried aboard planes en route to the United States, but they must be sealed. However, the soldier who wants to take home a souvenir bottle of b mui ba - Vietnamese beer - is out of luck. He'll end up drinking it all at the gate or he won't get past customs. And no hip flasks either, as one Army captain found out recently.
Pornography is also a no-no and a problem. The Supreme Court has been trying to decide for years just what constitutes pornography. A MACV directive has simplified the definition: if it shows pubic hair, it is obscene.
Pictures showing mangled or mutilated bodies are also prohibited.
An, of course, narcotics are out of the question. The MPs have pretty sensitive noses, and they are adept at sniffing out the grass from the tobacco.
Another headache for custom inspectors comes when GIs try to fly back to the old home town with U.S. government issue equipment - ponchos, poncho liners, knives, machetes - it's no go and the sharp-eyed, well trained custom inspectors don't miss much. All confiscated government-issue equipment is turned over to the investigation section of the security police for further disposition.
Exporting pets poses another problem. Snakes, parrots, dogs or other pets cannot accompany their owner on his flight back to the STates. They must be shipped at the owner's expense as cargo on commercial planes and health certificates must be obtained for all animals. But a recent ruling outlaws shipping pet monkeys to the States.
It can be a long, long wait in the hot sun. The MPs are thorough, and they go through every item of baggage with a fine tooth comb, sniffing tobacco pouches, unrolling socks, peeking into cuffs, feeling the lining of clothes.
But for many of the troops going through, it is just about the last long wait of their service careers.
They're short, they're going home, they've made it - and it would take a lot to really upset them now.
(1) Very little gets past the customs inspectors. Military men leaving Vietnam have their belongings checked carefully (S&S Photos by Michael L. Kopp).
(2) The hands probe, lift. It's your las
search and destroy" experience.
(Personal Note - My door gunner was not allowed to leave with an RPG launcher.
On my three return trips back to the states from Nam I was always amazed at the pile of enemy bayonets, pistols, rifles and etc. that were left in the barracks at Cam Ranh Bay. They didn't have the paper work and they didn't want to be delayed getting out of Nam after their sentence was up.)
??Oct69-The Ranger Squad: Unlucky 7 for Reds
By PFC. TOBY PRODGERS
LZ LIZ, Vietnam (Special) -
The newest force to hit the Americal Div.'s area of operation is the fast-moving, hard hitting "Ranger Squad," a hybrid element composed of five volunteers from B Co., 1st Bn., 20th Inf. and two Vietnamese Regional Forces soldiers.
The concept of this 11th Inf. Brigade squad entails a two-fold operation conducted night and day.
S. Sgt. Dan Wills, of Chicago, the squad's leader, explained the Ranger's job. "At night we operate as a roving ambush, patrolling in an erratic pattern so we'll cross paths with the Viet Cong. It's almost like fishing; when the fish are out, we plan to be there."
During the day, however, the squad's mission is entirely different. "We work as a police force, patrolling the Red Ball (Highway One), and working in the outlying villages to let the friendly Vietnamese know we are around and interested in their welfare," Wills said.
During their first night sortie the squad made three contacts with the enemy in 12 hours, killed two VC and captured one Viet Cong suspect.
Being a small unit, the team must strike quickly to take full advantage of the element of surprise. Pfc. Paul Salatino, of Brooklyn, the squad's grenadier, said, "When we operate, we're constantly on the move. When we spot the VC, we'll open up on them and then break contact, keeping them off balance."
The squad also skirts the movements of the larger elements of B Co., enabling them to engage any VC the company flushes out.
The Americans in the squad are enthusiastic about working with the ARVN troops. Besides being effective guerrilla tacticians, the Vietnamese are of great value in establishing rapport with the friendly Vietnamese civilians in the area.
"They can communicate with the Vietnamese in their own language and know their customs," Wills said. "If we are going to help these people, the ARVNs can show us how."
10Oct69-Ex VC Finds Grass Greener on Other Side of Wire
1. NGUYEN TRONG THU, A FORMER VIET CONG AND NOW AN AMERICAL DIV. SCOUT, THREADS HIS WAY THROUGH CONCERTINA WIRE, WORKS HIS WAY TO A CLAYMORE MINE, THEN DISARMS THE WEAPON IN A DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNIQUES USED BY COMMUNIST SAPPERS TO PENETRATE A BASE.
2. WATCHED BY HIS NEW COMRADES, THU WORKS HIS WAY UP A HILL TOWARD A BUNKER.
3. ATOP THE HILL, A SIMULATED GRENADE IS HURLED INTO A BUNKER. THU'S ADVICE AGAINST SAPPERS: "KEEP ALERT BUNKER GUARDS."
USA Photos by Pfc. Marshall B. Rowland By SPEC. 5 THOMAS MAUS
and PFC. BILL EFTINK
LZ STINSON, Vietnam (Special) ---Nguyen Trong Thu had traveled the route before.
The first time it had been under the cover of darkness and with the expressed intention of doing as much damage to this Americal Div. firebase as he and his comrades could.
Now, an Americal battalion commander and his men stood in awe as the nearly naked figure squirmed his way through the rows of concertina wire at the same spot he had penetrated only four months earlier.
Nguyen Trong Thu is now a Kit Carson Scout with the 198th Inf. Brigade's 1st Bn., 52nd Inf., which mans Landing Zone Stinson, southwest of Chu Lai.
But on May 12, 1969, VC M. Sgt. Thu, then with the 46th Sappers led his squad of men up the side of the battalion's forward firebase (then called LZ Buff.) A veteran of five years with the VC, Thu had little trouble guiding his men through the three strands of concertina wire comprising the perimeter.
Once inside, the invaders found the alert soldiers of A Co., 1st Bn., 52nd Inf., too much to cope with. Many of Thu's comrades were killed that night and Thu himself was seriously injured.
The sappers dragged most of their dead and wounded back through the perimeter and into the mountains west of Stinson.
Thu was admitted to an NVA-controlled hospital where he started to recuperate and hash over his future as a VC sapper. He thought about how the VC had killed his father during the post-Tet offensive. He also wondered what his brothers saw in the South Vietnamese Army. One is now a second lieutenant and the other is a South Vietnamese Special Forces soldier.
As soon as he regained his strength, Thu broke through the defenses of the enemy hospital and rallied to the government of the Republic of Vietnam. On June 1, he officially became a Hoi Chanh. Shortly after, he came to Chu Lai and took the Americal's three-week Kit Carson Scout training course where he was taught how to aid the same people he tried to overcome just one month before.
It didn't take long for Thu's skill as a perimeter prober to spread around LZ Stinson. The day after he arrived, Thu was demonstrating his prowess at crawling through the barbed wire entanglements of that firebase.
The demonstration was watched by many of the same men of A Co. who wee defending the firebase when Thu first came through.
In three minutes, Thu worked his way through three strands of wire, disarmed a claymore mine and avoided numerous trip flares to breach the perimeter's most concentrated area.
The former sapper explained that they were trained to go through concertina much faster than this if necessary, but that they normally move slowly to prevent detection.
11Oct69-Nixon Scales Down GI Battlefield Tactics.
11Oct69-Booking Kickbacks Claimed
Blonde: Club Sgts. Demanded Favors
WASHINGTON (AP) - A voluptuous Australian booking agent told U.S. senators Thursday that kickbacks - mostly in money but sometimes in sex - were demanded by sergeants scheduling entertainment for the Army clubs they ran in Vietnam.
Miss June I. Skewes, 34, who uses the professional name of June Collins, said she was blackballed and driven out of business when she reported allegedly illegal activities to military authorities.
Her long ash blonde hair tied back with a tangerine-colored ribbon. Miss Skewes testified that corruption in all forms became a way of life in running the entertainment clubs.
She said one club sergeant ordered more than $400,000 worth of snacks for the 25th Infantry Division in the expectation, she said, that the goods would be delivered in small shipments and that he would receive a 10 per cent or $4,000 a month kickback.
"But all the snacks arrived at one time and there was no place to put them," she said.
Sen. Abraham Ribicoff. D-Conn., interrupted to say investigators for the Senate's investigators for the Senate's investigation Subcommittee have confirmed "that what you are saying is a fact and the snacks engulfed the place.".................
13Oct69- .......The other helicopter, an Army UH1, was shot down 75 miles northwest of Da Nang. Two men were killed.
13Oct69-Photo Caption - A sentry watches the off-loading area at the U.S. Navy support base on Sa Huynh, a palm tree-shaded island with sandy shores 110 miles south of Ca Nang that falls far short of being a tropical paradise for the 70 sailors there. (USN)
No Bali Ha'i on Sa Huynh (AKA LZ Charlie Brown)
Shades of South Pacific-Plus VC
By JO3 LARRY LONG
DA NANG, Vietnam (Special)
-Sandy shores, a tropical island, the shad of a palm tree: that is the island of Sa Huynh. But a tropical paradise Sa Huynh is definitely not.
Sa Huynh, 110 sea miles south of Da Nang, serves as a U.S. Navy support base and is home for some 70 American sailors but there isn't much time to relax under palm trees and every stroll along the beach is with an M16 rifle.
Sa Huynh is a far cry from Hawaii. Sandbagged bunkers studded with .30 and .50 caliber machine guns overlook beaches strung with twisting rows of concertina wire, and at night the menacing crack of small arms fire, resounds through the hills across the small bay. But most of the men on Sa Huynh wouldn't have it any other way.
"I'd rather be here than anywhere else in Vietnam," said Seaman Joe Secola, 20, of San Jose, Calif.
This is somewhat surprising statement is typical of the sailors of Sa Huynh. These men work long, demanding hours during the day and many stand watches almost every night.
The men live in hastily-constructed "hootches", shower from over-head water tanks, eat food cooked on field ranges, drink water from a pond and occasionally get shot at by the Viet Cong.
Shy, then do most of the Navymen prefer duty on this mile square patch of sand?
"We've got an important job to do here and all the men are aware of that," explained Boatswain's Mate 1.C Jim Click, 30, of Bremerton, Wash. "It's our responsibility to supply elements of the U.S. Army Americal Div. operating in the area. Everyone has to work together and I think each man appreciates knowing someone is always willing to give him a hand."
Seaman Secola put it this way:
"The place is so small that it doesn't take long to get to know everyone. It's sort of like one big happy family. I've been to Da Nang several times and prefer Sa Huynh."
Moving cargo is a hard tedious job. Much of the cargo off-loaded from boats coming in from Chu Lai and Da Nang is ammunition. The supplies are then loaded onto Americal trucks and delivered to the various Army units.
"In a way I'm glad that we work long hours," replied Secola. "If everything is going O.K. on the Hardstand (off-loading area) I don't mind putting in a hard day's work and then coming back and standing security watches. I couldn't just sit around."
15Oct69-Photo Caption - Tank Bites the Dust Again
Doing a little housekeeping during the lull in fighting near Duc Pho, a U.S. bulldozer tips a destroyed tank in a "grave" be........
17Oct69-Gunships, ARVNs Team to Kill 106
S&S Vietnam Bureau
Other Red gunners downed an army light observation helicopter Tuesday afternoon 47 miles northwest of Da Nang. One man aboard the OH6 copter was wounded in the crash, and the craft was destroyed.
Light casualties were reported at an Americal Div. night camp in the Que Song Valley, 32 miles south of Da Nang, as about 15 mortar rounds dropped into the camp early Tuesday evening.
20Oct69-Viets Kill 26 in Pair Of Battles
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Vietnamese infantrymen killed 26 Communist soldiers in two Friday evening fights on the coastal plains about 80 miles Southeast of Da Nang, ARVN spokesmen said Saturday.
A battalion of Vietnamese 2nd Inf. Div. troops camped a mile northeast of Mo Duc weathered a 12-round mortar attack at dusk, then fought off an enemy assault, killing six Reds. No Vietnamese were hurt.
Shortly before midnight, about 30 enemy soldiers walked into an ambush set up by Regional and Popular Force troops three miles south of the town. The infantrymen killed 20 Reds, while suffering four men wounded.
Fighting was light elsewhere .........
23 Oct69- Touchy Task for B Co.
Soldier-Diplomats - a Unit Full of Them
By SPEC. 4 ED CARROL
S&S Staff Correspondent
DUC PHO, Vietnam -
The American soldier on a pacification mission with Vietnamese forces is expected to put a lot into his work.
First, of course, he has to know his job. Then he must develop a rapport, not only with the people of the hamlets, but with his allies as well.
The Americal Div.'s B Co., 1st Bn., 20th Inf., has been working with Regional Forces (RF), Popular Forces (PF), and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in efforts to boost the security of seven hamlets along a 5,000 meter stretch of Highway One 100 miles south of Da Nang. Most of the men have established at least a viable relationship with the Vietnamese, but there are a few problems.
Capt. Boyd Harris, commander of B Co., has to be a diplomat as well as a soldier to deal with his allies. And the men of the company have learned to accept some Vietnamese characteristics they don't fully understand.
The Vietnamese troops are under control of the Quang Ngai Province Chief. Consequently, Harris must often deal with local political leaders. Here, he depends almost as much on tact as he does on military knowhow.
When Harris wants an RF company to go on patrol he makes a suggestion: he doesn't give an order. "You've got to get them to like you." he explained. "As long as they like you, they'll do just about anything for you."
Dealing with villagers is another sensitive part of B Co.'s job. Medical civic action programs (Medcaps) and movie teams from the battalion help win a few hearts and minds, but the conduct of soldiers in the field is the most important thing.
Harris believes the relationships between his men and the people is good. The Villagers have helped the Americans militarily by warning them of enemy locations, and have welcomed U.S. soldiers to their homes.
Harris concedes that generous handouts of C rations and funds under the voluntary informant program have boosted the American image in the area, but whatever the reason, the people are responding favorably. "I think they like us," Harris says.
Pfc. Henry Bush, a company medic, is convinced the U.S. has won quite a few hearts and minds. "If you could take a poll to see if the people wanted Americans or Viet Cong," the 20-year-old soldier said, "I bet we would win."
He also recognizes a certain talent in the ARVN. "They have an extra sense. They seem to know when they'll have contact," he said.
When the Vietnamese are relaxed there is little chance of contact, Bush said, but when they wear their steel pots and proceed with caution, it's likely the enemy is near.
Most of the company has spent time with the Vietnamese soldiers. Harris keeps a limited U.S. force with him and deploys the rest of his troops to Vietnamese units. Generally, the men like to work with the Vietnamese.
"I enjoy working with them," said Sgt. Thomas Tilton. "They make our job a lot easier. They communicate with the people."
But Tilton, a 21-year-old squad leader, has complaints. "They can't keep their hands off our equipment, and when we sweep through a village they always come out with a few chickens."
Despite pilfering, the Americans rarely lose any personal items, and often Vietnamese authorities attempt to recover missing equipment.
Most men in the company think the Vietnamese are doing well in the field and getting better.
"They don't take things as seriously as GIs do," Spec. 4 Kenneth Ingram, 20, said," but they get down to business when we're on a sweep."
And despite the missing chickens, the villagers seem to like the government soldiers.
Misunderstandings and communication gaps are still plentiful where Americans and Vietnamese are working together. But as each side learns to appreciate the other a bit more, the gap narrows.
Photo Caption - Three GIs of the Americal Div.'s B Co., 1st Bn., 20th Inf. clean weapons in their sandbagged command post next to a rice shed in a hamlet south of Da Nang. The Americans are working with Vietnamese forces on pacification projects. (S&S).
23Oct69-More Marines Leave Vietnam for Okinawa
SAIGON (UPI) - A 2,300-man Marine unit will be redeployed to Okinawa this week as the first major element of the 4th Marine Regt. to leave Vietnam under the "Phase Two" withdrawal plan, the U.S. command said Tuesday.
Members of a battalion landing team of the 3rd Marine Div. began sailing for Okinawa on Sunday aboard navy vessels at the northern ports of Da Nang and Cua Viet. All members of the outfit will have departed the war zone by Saturday, spokesmen said.
The unit has been in Vietnam since May 7, 1965, operating in the Chu Lai area 335 miles north-northeast of Saigon and northern sections of I Corps.
23Oct69-Ex-Rock and Roller Now Clicking Away in Vietnam
By SGT. DAVID BUTLER
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
- During those bright happy days of his youth, Marine Lance Cpl. Ian Macrae of Beverly Hills, Calif., was a well-heeled fellow.
As bass guitarist and singer for a rock 'n roll group named the Leaves, young Macrae wandered from the bistros and night clubs of Los Angeles to Las Vegas, making money.
A hit song ("Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?'') had plopped the Leaves right near the top of the heap of hundreds of Southern California rock'n roll bands.
For Macrae, now a Marine photographer with Marine Aircraft Group 12 at Chu Lai, show business success came naturally: he is the son of actress Jean Macrae.
"For as long as I can remember," said the Canadian-born Marine, "I've been in the midst of some form of the entertainment industry. As a result, I'm vitally interested in everything that happens there (Hollywood), especially when it involves people that I know, people that I've grown up with."
Macrae was deeply involved in those early days of his life - the days before enlisting in the Marine Corps two years ago - the days before he married his childhood sweetheart and settled down to the life of husband and father.
First, there was television.
His first part was as an English youngster living with an American Family in the series "Fair Exchange."
"Fair Exchange" ran on network for two years. By the time it was over, Ian had developed a nifty British accent and had accumulated a nice salary that, under California law, was promptly put into a trust fund for him.
From there, he made a stab at the stage in a bomb called "Cinderella in Swingtime," then landed a juicy part in the highly successful "Kinderspiel" in the Los Angeles area.
Then Macrae started practicing the guitar, picking up tips from friends, and eventually mastered the instrument enough to think seriously about making a go at singing professionally.
Several thousand other young musicians in Los Angeles also had the same idea about the same time, so it was fairly easy to find a few other fellows to form a group.
Out of that came the Nobels, a so-so group that played for the "all the-Cokes-you-can-drink" set at private parties and small dances.
"Gradually, we were working into the top echelons of L.A. pop groups," Macrae said. "Musicians wandered in and out, but a nucleus of three of stayed together for about two years. By that time we were lucky enough to find an agent to handle bookings and the financial end of the business.
But the big break was still to come.
The big break was a simple meeting between Macrae, two other guitarists, a drummer, and a good lead singer. Together on a sunny spring afternoon they formed The Leaves. From then on it was straight up.
Club dates poured in. They were booked into the top teen age clubs on fabled Sunset Strip. Finally, they cut a record called "Hey Joe" that hit the "Top 10" charts at radio stations across the country.
While "Hey Joe" continued to climb in popularity, The Leaves gradually fell apart, and finally, they split up. Again, Macrae was out of work.
Macrae is now a combat photographer in Chu Lai, and although wrapped up in his present job, is still an avid follower of rock 'n roll groups and their music.
Once in a while, while developing film in the dark room, he hears himself on the radio on what the disc jockey calls a "golden oldie," and he remembers . .
25Oct69-4 Months in Reds' Hands
Captive GI Walks Out of Jungle
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - A U.S. soldier held captive by enemy forces for over four months walked out of the jungle to freedom Monday, Army spokesmen reported Thursday.
PFC Jesse B. Harris, 20, of Port Chester, N.Y., a rifleman with the 101st Airborne Div., was "bewildered and dazed" when he walked into Landing Zone Young, a Vietnamese firebase 45 miles south southeast of Da Nang, spokesmen said. He was wearing North Vietnamese Army issued clothing and rubber sandals.
An Army spokesmen at Long Binh said Thursday Harris was taken prisoner while engaged with the enemy on a sweep in the area near Tam Ky, 38 miles southeast of Da Nang. He had been in Vietnam 16 days when he was captured.
It had not been determined whether Harris had escaped or was released, the spokesman said.
Harris's condition at an Army hospital in Long Binh was described as good, but spokesmen said that he was suffering from malaria and a slight wound on his right arm.
The spokesmen said Harris will not see any newsmen while under medical care. He is expected to remain in Vietnam for 10 days before returning to the United States. Harris lost over 30 pounds during his four-month captivity, said the spokesmen, and since arriving at the hospital Oct. 21 he has regained six pounds.
"He has a good appetite, and enjoyed a double order of bacon and eggs, French toast and two cartons of milk for his first breakfast in Long Binh."
Harris told a medical technician Thursday it was a real pleasure to bathe in warm water and use real soap.
26Oct69-Battles Fail To Dampen Kid's Tet
LZ BALDY, Vietnam (Special) - Children's Tet was celebrated by 1,500 youngsters at the American-supervised Hiep Duc Refugee Center, 17 miles west of Tam Ky.
Festivities were not spoiled in the aftermath of the grim battles waged near the settlement in late August. Infantrymen of the Americal Div. killed more than 1,200 NVA Regulars, mainly from the 2nd NVA Div., in the Hiep Duc Valley during a fortnight of continuous enemy contact. The refugee center was one object of the massive enemy offensive; it was saved.
For the celebration, infantrymen of the 196th Inf. Brigade's 4th Bn., 31st Inf., gave 60 pounds of candy to the children of the refugee settlement.
"I feel that it was extremely important that the children be given the opportunity to hold their celebration in spite of the recent heavy fighting," said 2nd Lt. Michael Dononoe, civil affairs officer of 4th Bn., 31st Inf.
28Oct69-ARVNs Invade Que Son, 'Looking for a Fight'
By SPEC. 5 ALAN MAGARY
S&S Staff correspondent
QUE SON VALLEY, Vietnam
- A multi-battalion Vietnamese Army (ARVN) sweep and clear operation into this rugged valley - a battlefield many times previously - began Saturday.
The attack into what an ARVN spokesman said is a North Vietnamese regimental base area is the first operation for the ARVN 1st Armored Brigade, formed in June and sent here to I Corps in August.
"If we don't get a fight here," said Lt. Col. Calvin Emery, senior adviser for the brigade, "it won't be for lack of looking.
"It would show that the enemy is desperate not to fight. We're giving him every opportunity."
An ARVN spokesman said there is one NVA regiment - the 36th - in the valley, and three more NVA battalions appear headed for a rendezvous in the area.
The armored brigade is commanded by a colonel with a distinct French style - Col. Than Hoa Hiep, a half-French Vietnamese who trained at Saumur, the French cavalry school.
Wearing no shirt but sporting the brigade's black beret and with a pipe clenched between his teeth, Hiep walked outside the gate of Landing Zone Ross, the brigade command post to meet the armored column as it passed.
In addition to ARVN armor, infantry and rangers some regional forces are participating in the operation.
Emery said the operation was "in reaction to enemy concentration" in the area.
"They're up in the mountains and they're trying to get down to get rice," he said. "The few prisoners we picked up were hungry and we hope to keep them that way."
The Que Son is a strange place. Bordered on one side by high mountains, the valley is a peaceful looking region.
but the visitor can see that it's been a battle field before.
Alongside a road is a burned out 2 1/2-ton truck with Americal Div. markings. Pieces of machinery, rusted and battered dot the roadside.
A broken track from an armored vehicle lies half buried in a rice paddie.
The rusted hulk of an M48 tank - apparently destroyed years ago - sticks out of some bushes far off the road.
Yet there are people living here. A woman washed clothes at a well, completely - it seemed oblivious to an armored personnel carrier that knocked down a tree and rolled through her garden.
Down a rough road in one of the operation's objective areas walked three peasants - wearing black pajamas, with conical hats bright in the sun - who were hauling firewood. They ignored the tracks that rumbled past.
28Oct69- .........Meanwhile, Air Force B52s staged five raids Saturday and Sunday against Communist strongholds only one-half mile south of the DMZ in north-central Quang Tri Province. Four other B52 strikes hit enemy activity and storage areas in Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai, Bien Hoa, and Phuoc Tuy provinces. The closest mission to Saigon was 27 miles east of the capital.
28Oct69-Helo Backwash Bares Big Tunnel Camp
By PFC. BILL EFTINK
LZ STINSON, Vietnam (Special) - Rainsoaked infantrymen of the Americal Div.'s 1st Bn., 52nd Inf., marched two days to uncover an extensive enemy basecamp and weapons cache hidden in the mountains 17 miles west of Quang Ngai City.
The well developed jungle hideout consisted of a large tunnel complex and 11 hooches scattered about a large central building capable of housing 100 people. The central building was furnished with bench type seats and contained a large stock of medical instruction documents, leading local sources to believe it was being used as a classroom for training NVA medics.
Underneath the buildings an elaborate tunnel complex provided housing for another 300 enemy soldiers. The 4-by-5 foot tunnels also served as a hiding place for 30 semi-automatic and automatic rifles, 35 mortar rounds, 7 RPG rounds, 3 Chinese Communist field telephones, 50 pounds of documents, 10 NVA rucksacks and over 100 pounds each of polished rice, salt and sugar.
C CO. commander, Capt. Terry A. Gordon, Sacramento, Calif., who led his men to the site after it was discovered by a low flying helicopter said; "The basecamp was one of the most sophisticated I've seen. The fireplace in each of the hooches was equipped with an underground smoke tunnel leading away from the camp. This made smoke detection of the camp very difficult."
The expertly camouflaged camp was discovered when the backwash from a low flying helicopter parted the overhead foliage enabling the pilot to see the large building. Because of the rough terrain the 198th Inf. Brigade soldiers had to be landed on a hilltop nearly five miles away, where they began their two day march.
"The VC must have just left, because when we got here there were four bowls of warm rice in one of the hooches and all of their pigs and chickens were still around. If they had more time they would have chased the animals off or taken them with them," explained Sgt. 1.C. Charles R. Pierce, Rock Island, Ill., platoon leader of the point element.
In addition to serving as a training and resupply area, part of the camp was fenced in to serve as a POW detention area.
29Oct69-Convoy Ambush Foiled
69 Reds Killed in Scattered Fighting
S&S Vietnam Bureau
To the north, track-mounted troopers of the Americal Div. sweeping through the grasslands 60 miles southeast of Da Nang spotted the tip of a rocket-propelled grenade protruding from a well-concealed spider hole. Withering fire by the armored cavalrymen flushed out and killed seven NVA soldiers who wee hiding in a tunnel complex connected to the spiderhole. There were no U.S. casualties.
29Oct69-GIs, Viets Honored For Valor
By SPEC. 4 ED CARROLL
S&s Staff Correspondent
TAM KEY, Vietnam - Americans and Vietnamese honored each other here as 27 U.S. troops and 18 Regional and Popular Forces soldiers received valor awards for their performance at the battle of Hiep Duc in August.
Lt. Gen Hoang Xuan Lam, Vietnamese I corps commander, presented the 27 Americans
with Crosses of Gallantry. Col. Thomas H. Thackaberry ([sic] Tackaberry), commanding officer of the 196th Inf. Brigade, Americal Div., was one of four Americans who was awarded the Cross of Gallantry with palm.
Brig. Gen. Howard H. Cooksey, acting commander of the Americal Div., presented Bronze Stars or Army Commendation Medals to 18 Vietnamese soldiers from PF and RF units from Quang Tin province.
These Americans and Vietnamese troops operated together from Aug. 11-31 30 miles south of Da Nang in the Song Cuong and Song Lau valleys. During that period the allies killed 767 enemy.
In an address to the award winners, Thackaberry said "you have learned form our advanced technology," he said. "We have learned the important values of virtues such as patience, humility, love of family and country and above all fortitude in the face of extreme hardship."
29Oct69- Medical Unit Deactivated
SAIGON (UPI) - An Army medical company was deactivated in Vietnam Sunday as part of the "phase two" redeployment of 35,000 American troops, U.S. military spokesmen said.
Spokesmen said personnel of the 520th Medical Co., which was based at Chu Lai 335 miles northeast of Saigon, had been transferred to personnel processing centers for reassignment in Vietnam or return to the United STates. They said only those who have completed the major portions of their tours would be sent home.
The withdrawal of 35,000 troops is to be completed by Dec. 15. During the first phase withdrawal in July and August, American troop strength in the country was dropped by 25,000 men.
30Oct69-Sent Back to Villages
VC Ralliers Given Trial of Trust
By SPEC. 4 ED CARROLL
S&S Staff Correspondent
TAM KY, Vietnam - The Quang Tin province chief has sent several groups of Viet Cong ralliers back to their villages rather than the Chieu Hoi center because he thinks the Chieu Hoi program puts too much emphasis on money.
Col. Hoang Dinh Tho, the chief, took a bold step recently by equipping three groups of ex-VC with M16s and sending them back to their villages to work on their own.
The 70 VC who comprised the three groups were all hard core Communists who fought for several years. About a month ago Tho judged VC company commander Tran Quyen a sincere rallier and gave him and his men a chance to prove themselves. Soon thereafter Tho took the same chance with two other groups.
According to an American official here, Tho believes that much of the indoctrination at Chieu Hoi centers teaches the Hoi Chanh to watch out for himself and forget about patriotism. during his month-and-a-half at the Chieu Hoi center, he learns a great number of ways to make some easy money. The Chieu Hoi program is buying a man's allegiance, he says. Tho wants to win him to the ideology behind the government of Vietnam.
Tho's theories have worked well so far with the three units he sent back to the villages. Quyen's 30 men, equipped with 10 M16s, have turned in enemy weapons, uncovered rich caches, and killed some members of the Viet Cong. The other two groups have also hurt the enemy, and the Chieu Hoi rate in the area around Binh Sa and Binh Phuoc villages has increased tremendously.
In the area where these former guerrillas are working, about 30 miles south of Da Nang, 240 people have come to the government in the past month. Before it was difficult to get 200 a month in the entire province.
Despite the success Tho is gambling. Hoi Chanh have been sent out on military operations, but always with supervision. Quyen and his men are on their own. They are directly responsible to the province chief. The regional and popular force troops in the area have no authority over them.
It seems to have worked well, but no one is predicting the program will expand rapidly.
Tho plans to disband the three groups in six months. Then the ex-VC will return to normal life with government help if needed. Tho doesn't want to keep them fighting longer than six months lest the ralliers continue to suffer the same hardships with the allies as they did with the Communists.
Photo Caption - TRAN QUYEN Rallier Set Free.
31Oct69-Light Viet Action Continues.....
..Meanwhile, Air Force B52s in six raids late Tuesday and early Wednesday pounded Communist enclaves in Quang Ngai, Binh Long and Phuoc Long provinces. ......