2 Feb: Really bad day. We got mortared last night and had a big counter fire attack. we had a short round and Charlie was adjusting in. One of the rounds, we don't know which, hit right in front of the Company Commander's OP. It killed him and three platoon leaders. Broke the XO's leg and wounded a cook. Sure was a gory mess. Two of them were hit in the head. Had to literally sweep them up this morning. He was the best commander I've ever had. The troops adored him. You can see the sorrow on all their faces. Some of them broke down and cried. We're really hostile with Charlie now. Moved in some 106MM recoilless rifles. If he fires from the same area tonight, he's in for a big surprise. I had told the CO a few days before that he shouldn't be up there when the mortars hit. He said it didn't make any difference where you were if your time has come. We have to inventory and rebalance the payroll and process bushels of paperwork. By the end of the week, no one will ever mention this incident again. There will be new people and new incidents.
Click here to see picture of A Co. Officers killed in Feb. 1 Mortar Attack
3 Feb: Battalion seems to think it was our short round that killed the officers. They're conducting an official investigation. After looking over the area and talking to everyone who saw it, we're convinced that it was alucky hit by Charlie. 3 Feet further and it would not have hurt anyone. Slowly getting back to normal. It was a big loss but we're getting adjusted to losing friends. No Mail. Charlie has stopped flights in and all the mail comes by plane.
6 Feb: Busy. Breakfast at 0300 and moved out at 0400 for a sweep of the island. I rounded up the sick, lame and lazy to pull bunker guard so the infantry troops could rest. Had to get the cooks up at 0200 to get chow ready. Got about 1 hour sleep all night. I've got about 100 men . My job is to keep them working and the paperwork straight. I use the Platoon Sergeants and Clerks, but I have to supervise and co-ordinate. Keeps me busy.
7 Feb: The rifle platoons moved out early this morning and we've had some un-identified Vietnamese moving around the fort. The troops are in contact in the field. They found a company. S-3 thinks that the people around here are the remnants of the VC Company trying to get away. We're sending patrols to check them out. In the midst of that, one of the cooks was playing with his rifle and blew a hole through his left hand. Going to be an exciting day. No mail. The mail clerk at Rach Kien missed the chopper. He has been messed up all month. Having trouble with the S-4 short issuing chow. Someone gave them wrong figures. I'm having trouble convincing them that they are wrong. I'm getting a bad rep with them. They don't know, or don't care what they're doing and I have to prod them. I'm about 5 weeks ahead on my leaves so the troops have orders in time to have their wives or families meet them. 82 promotions since I've been here. I'm working on waivers to get them promoted as soon as they're eligible. Shows in the troops morale. We haven't had any ice in 8 days. They throw some good parties with their hot cokes and beer.
9 Feb: The mortars make it a little scary at times and the separation makes it lonely but, I'm a field soldier at heart. Guess I like the excitement. I was the same way about jumping until I got too old for it. This tour is an education. I don't plan volunteering to extend or return. One time in each war is enough. . My new CO is a nice guy. He's a lot different than CPT Reed, but he's real friendly, got a good head and doesn't seem to get too excited. He had to investigate the mortar hit and rebuild the company. The troops captured two 82MM mortars and 259 rounds of ammunition. That made morale a lot higher. That's 259 that wont hit the fort or the unit in the field. We don't have a barber now, so I cut the NCO's and officers hair at night. Keeps me busy.
11 Feb: Had a supply boat come in and they stuck a 5 ton fork lift in the mud. So bad it took two 5 ton trucks to pull it out. They broke a 2 inch log chain trying. They're starting to transfer some of my sick, lame and lazy to Headquarters. Sure makes a mess out of my morning report. I lose 33 troops in March. Orders are starting to come in. The troops sure are happy to get DEROS orders. Try to keep them out of the field after they get them. I've spent the past 2 days going through my morning reports to see who's eligible for awards. Big job- Eyes and neck sore from sitting and reading. Got a new Brigade Commander. The CO had to got back for a briefing. Should be quiet here for a few days. Charlie hit the Brigade CP at Tan An the other night. Left 124 bodies and 30 POW's.. They say he's lost 26,000 troops since 20 January. Our troops killed 3 that didn't look over 13 years old. Hard to shoot kids but they're hard core VC. If you don't get them- they'll get you. Even have women in the field.
13 Feb: Busy and Mad today. Division and Brigade Sergeant Majors came down to mess with me. I got all fired up and said some things I shouldn't have. Looks like I may get transferred out of the division. Caught a Vietnamese man with hair down his back to his waist. From a distance he looked like a woman. Guess we'll have to start checking everybody. Don't know if he was an agent or a member of a religious sect. He sure acted funny. The unit has changed. Have to wait and see if it's morale or the new commander. 9th Division Headquarters is sorry. I had a man shipped and dropped from the morning report on 10 Feb. They stopped his flight and sent him back because they didn't like his uniform and haircut.. That's funny considering that we have not had a barber on the island since 21 January. We think he got hit in Saigon during the TET.
15 Feb: Just got back from another First Sergeants Meeting at Rach Kien . I'm beginning to dislike Rach Kien- hope they don't have any more meetings this month. My clerk says my desk is covered with paperwork. Happens everytime I'm called back for a meeting.
20 Feb: I've got to take over writing awards. The XO is way behind. I have about 50 to do already and we have about 10 per month. Had a problem the past 2 days. We had a boy write a letter to the General Of The Army and everyone wants copies of the answer. Have 1 Special Courts Martial to type and an Article 15. One got mad and stabbed a civilian and the other went to sleep on bunker guard. Mails messed up again but we're getting movies. I even got a TV hooked up for the troops. The few that are in at night seem to enjoy it. The picture is fuzzy and artillery interrupts the sound, but it's something from home. Big shortage of beer and cokes again. Has to move by truck from Saigon and Charlie has been blowing up the road. We're trying to make a deal with the patrol boats to bring us some in from their home ports.
22 Feb: Rough night. We caught a VC battalion up near Can Giouc and cornered it about 1830. Had a pretty good battle. We took 1 KIA and 5 WIA and had an exciting night but we ran the VC out of the area. I didn't get over 1/2 hours sleep. We had air strikes and artillery within 250 meters all night long. Reminded me of Korea.
22 Feb: The trouble with a lot of troops is they play John Wayne and charge automatic weapons without worrying about their own safety. I've had 6 KIA's that way so far. They all got medals but they didn't live to enjoy them. Got to go. Holding memorials for our KIA today.
24 Feb: Bad day. Have to clear 7 men for DEROS . We're moving to the field at 0900. Had 2 kids sneak into the perimeter, 2 women with sick kids trying to get treated and an old lady that was almost killed by a boat motor; and the morning has hardly started. The lady in the boat got her long hair caught in the engine. Pulled her into the motor and knocked holes all over her head and left arm. She looks like she got hit by shrapnel. Not much we can do for her here. The closest doctor is Rach Kien. Two of my troops who were hit the other night are back. Not such a bad fight. We captured a VC Battalion Base Camp with all kinds of equipment-even a generator. We think it was the headquarters controlling the ambushes and mortar attacks in our sector. The locals are Friendly and helpful. Charlie is setting up an ambush for us about a mile down from the fort. We're watching him and the villagers let us know when he's around. When he moves enough troops in to make it worth while, we're going down and Zap him. A good thing about the delta is that we don't get hit hard often. Most of the time just the local VC.
26 Feb: Out last night again. Had to go up to Binh Chanh and guard the 199th. They got into a big battle and couldn't extract their rifle companies. Troops sure live bad up there. No living quarters and everyone scared of the mortars. Turned out to be a nice night. The mortars aren't as bad as they've been here and they had cold beer and cokes which we haven't had in a long time. Had coffee and steak sandwiches during the night too. I'm dropping 7 troops today and picking up 18 and I've got replacements due on the chopper tonight. Be working half the night to get the paperwork squared away.
27 Feb: Feel lousy-think it's the Malaria Pills. Never bothered me in Korea. We had to send a platoon plus back to Rach Kien. Took most of the other platoon to fill them so we should get a break until they return. About due for a rest. We've had 4 combat assaults and 2 nights out this week. I'll have enough time for an Air Medal by April. I was in the air close to 2 hours the other night. They had a fight too big to land the choppers until we got the Airforce and Gunships to hit the area. Sure was pretty from the air. Looked like 4th of July Fireworks. They're planning another meeting in Rach Kien for 1 March. They've been messing up my paperwork lately.
28 Feb: Bad day for me. Feel puny. I've got to go to the field tonight. May feel better there. Does me good to get out of the office. About out of paper. We should get SP Packs issued tomorrow maybe I can stock up. I don't understand why the troops receive so much junk from home.
Click here to see March Notes