8th Battalion 4th Artillery
Source: Bob Matlock
Event: Personal Observations
C Btry left Dong Ha, and moved up to C-1. In quite a few reports, I've read that C-1 is often confused with C-2. C-1 was a new base, located just a short distance South of Gio Linh. As mentioned, everything here was new. The bunkers were very well built, and were the best that I was ever in, while in country. At first, they were unfinished on the outside, and there was only loose dirt piled on the tops and around the sides. They were big and spacious on the inside; with heavy square cut timbers for support in the centers, (about 4 counting the ones against one wall to the other), then in the corners. The walls were constructed of heavy planks, as were the floors. They were wide stairs leading down into the bunkers. As many as 4 could run down them with ease, and this happened all to often. The gun bunkers were built in the same manner, with one exception; they were divided in almost the middle. One side was for the gun crews to take cover in, and the other part was for the section chest, bell rammer, etc. The gun pads were made of heavy boards, were wide across to center, making the task of re-laying the guns an easy task. The power pits and the projo pits were build by the guns crews. These were built into the side of the walls of the gun pads. I have pictures of the area, both when we moved in and after we had been there for a while. It went from a very raw and rough site to one that only the military could produce. Everything was made to look very orderly, and strac in appearance. We were not the only ones there, as there was a battery of 6 (I think) Marine 155 SPs, a radar unit, along with some others that I can't think of off hand.
f. On 4 January 1968, C Battery displaced from Dong Ha to a newly constructed "Dye-Marker" position at YD210674 (C1). MCB 121 began construction of this position, consisting of 25 underground bunkers and 4 gun pads, in mid-November 1967. Although hampered initially by extremely muddy conditions, work progressed rapidly during the last two weeks of December with the advent of dryer weather. Basic construction was completed on the day the position was occupied.
h. On 14 January 1968, B Battery displaced 5000 meters north from AT986672 to AT985719. This move was occasioned by a northward shift in the 1st Marine Division TAOR.
i. Because of an increased NVA threat to the Khe Sanh area, A Battery was displaced to YD058543 (Camp J.J. Carroll) on 16 January 1968 and placed under the operational control of the 2nd Battalion, 94th artillery.
In addition, one gun section from C Battery was directly attached to C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 94th artillery, and displaced to YD063548 (also Camp Carroll) on 17 January 1968. This status is expected to continue until the threat to Khe Sanh has diminished.
The 4th Marines took over this search and destroy operation after OSCEOLA I ended. The U.S. suffered 2 KIAs and 46 WIAs and the enemy 24 KIAs
Commencement of siege. Heavy shelling from Kho Roc in Laos.
Ends in Nov; EKIA 1801; USKIA 359, 1713 W
The 1st Marines conducted this clearing operation to provide cover for the 1st Cav Div's arrival at Camp Evans, 15 miles northwest of Hue. Casualties: U.S. 4 WIA, enemy 1 KIA
Siege begins with assault on Hill 861. Ammo dump blows next day.
This operation covered the initial move of major elements of the 1st Cav Div into northern I Corps following PERSHING. It was launched as a search and destroy operation aimed at enemy Base Areas 101 and 114. It had another goal of reinforcing the Marines in I Corps. The battles associated with Tet of '68 would quickly over shadow the search and destroy nature of this operation which claimed 3,268 known enemy casualties and 119 POWS versus US loses of 291 KIAs and 1,735 WIAs. As a result of JEB STUART, the 1st Brigade was near Quang Tri City just in time for Tet. The 1st Cav contributed three battalions: 2/8th, 5/7th and 2/12th Cav and the 101st Abn contributed two battalions: 1/501st and 2/501st Abn
There were probably around 12 175's at Carroll, during this time. There would have been two batteries, from the 2/94th, A Btry 8/4th, with 4 guns and the mentioned one gun from C Btry. This was my gun. We were sent to Carroll, to replace gun three of C Btry; which had experienced an in tube explosion. This resulted in destroying the gun, and wounded around four of the crew; two of whom, were very badly wounded. I was not aware of A Btry having been sent up there the day before us, and did not even hear of them being there the whole time that we were reassigned. I said that there were probably 12 guns, because that is what the normal battalion of 175's, would have. However, there could have been at least 2 to 3 down for various reasons, during this time: such as tubes needing to be changed out, hydraulic failures, engine problems, etc. There were a lot of fire missions for Khe Sanh, during this time. It was not uncommon to get so many, that some of the guns were laid for them most of the time. This way, when they needed the fire power, they got it right then; and did not have to wait for the guns to be re-laid. It was always a race against time; from the time that we got the fire mission, until we got the rounds on the way. We were always up for this, and by that I mean, that we created a lot of racket by yelling out the powder charges, fuse settings, if VT, or fuse quick. A lot of the time, the Capt. and Lt's, and even the first sergeant would come out and help us fire. They might as have, because they were not going to get any rest anyway. If the mission were long, with a lot of rounds, or cease fires, we would get the cooks up to make coffee for us. We always tried to race ourselves, and the other guns; the sole reason being: we knew that American lives were on the line, and that they were depending on us to help them out.
A little story about me and Phil Knowlton. We were at Camp Carroll, it was in maybe Jan. 68, we had been taking a bunch of arty. from some NVA arty. Located someplace in the mountains to the North west of Carroll. At that time we had no bunkers except for FDC. We were sleeping in tents, so Phil and I decided to build a little bunker just to the rear of the FDC bunker, we did so, and it was just big enough for the two of us. We had been in are little bunker for about two day's. Phil and I had worked the night shift and was just getting off of work when we started to take some morning incoming, when it was over Phil walked out of the FDC bunker we walked around to the other side to get some sleep in our little bunker, much to are surprise (Shit) our little bunker had taken a direct hit, and was no longer livable. At this point I'm not sure where Phil went to sleep? But I started sleeping under the phone connection board in the FDC bunker. We had no future plans for a new little two man bunker. Larry Nelson, A btry.67-68
At 1,500 hours, 24 January 1968, two vehicles from A Battery (˝-ton 2 ˝-ton trucks) carrying 10 men, accompanied. by three Marine Vehicles, encountered on estimated company size force of NVA approximately 3000 meters west of Cam Lo on Route 9. In the ensuing engagement, which lasted 4 ˝ hours, two A Battery personnel sustained minor wounds. The 2 ˝-ton truck was damaged and the ˝-ton truck was destroyed. Relief forces arrived on the scene at approximately 1700 hours. All personnel were evacuated from the area by 1930 hours. This engagement marked the first time that any elements of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery, have come in direct contact with enemy ground forces since the battalion arrived in RVN. Although initially outnumbered and out-gunned, all personnel reacted quickly and calmly. A Battery personnel accounted for at least three of an estimated 15 enemy KIA. (End Op Rpt) Mike Haberer said: 1Lt Kent Howell was there, others I think Larry Parker and Shifflet(sp) both were enlisted, don't remember the others. One of the enlisted got on the wrong side of the road and got into some close combat. The story as I remember it was that the Marines stopped at the bridge and blocked the convoy. When the fighting started all they could do was fight and get out of there. 1LT Howell had been our survey officer when we deployed and later transferred to A Btry. Then he was transferred to the 1/44. Per Mike Haberer
We were part of a resupply convoy that had left Dong Ha around noon on 24 Jan 1968. There were several members of A Battery. Members that I recall were SFC Gillespie, Claud Calvert, Lt. Howell, Hoye Solomon, John Shea and myself. There was a 2 1/2 Ton truck and a jeep that Calvert was driving. Sgt. Gillespie was in the 2 1/2 Ton truck. Both Gillespie and Calvert received shrapnel wounds.
We were headed back to JJ Carroll when an Army 3/4 Ton truck was headed back to Dong Ha. He flagged us down and told the Marine Lt. in the front of the convoy that there was an ambush down the road. His truck had been hit several times. The Marine Lt. approached Lt. Howell and talked for a few minutes, then Lt. Howell headed towards the truck we were riding in. I could see the Marines in the 2 1/2 Ton truck placing bunker material and lumber against the sides of the truck for cover. When Lt. Howell approached A Battery personnel, he told us that there was an ambush between where we were and JJ Carroll. He asked if we wanted to have a fire fight. Everyone agreed and we headed down the road.
After several miles, we all noticed what appeared to be civilians crossing the road. When we got closer, it was the NVA herding women and children out in front of the convoy. We were forced to stop. At the same time, automatic fire started and mortars were landing in the road and on the side of the road. Not being seasoned ground troops, we violated our training and scattered on both sides of the road. All of the vehicles were hit and most were on fire. SFC Gillespie was close to me and indicated that he was going to try and turn the truck around and head back to Dong Ha. When he got into the truck, a mortar or rocket hit the truck knocking him off of the vehicle. He landed near me. He had a large piece of shrapnel in his hand. The fire and mortars continued for what seemed hours. Somehow I lost contact with everyone and didn't know what direction to head. I was laying on my stomach in the tall grass saying the Lord's prayer over and over. I thought that I was the only one left alive. A few minutes later, someone was running near me and I thought it was the NVA. The person tripped over me. I looked up and it was John Shea. He was in a panic mode and asked me what we were going to do. I told him I was going to lay flat and keep praying. John joined me.
The firing continued and we decided to crawl towards the road and see if anyone else was alive. I found SFC Gillespie. He was holding his chest and said he was having chest pains. He said that the only way out was to run for help. Several of us took off towards Dong Ha with the NVA opening up on us with automatic fire. I was able to get past the main ambush and headed towards Dong Ha. I came across some Seabees that were working in a rock quarry. The had a small group of Marines providing support. I told them what had happened and we headed back to the site. I think there were 14 Marines. I ran ahead and told SFC Gillespie that help was on the way.
The Marine Sergeant asked me to lead his squad to the ambush site and to describe where the fire was coming from. I lead the squad down the road until we got closer and then we moved into the high grass. The Marines brought a radio and medic. When we got to the site, NVA were on top of the truck removing clothes and supplies. We started opening fire. The fighting continued and the Marines called for help from JJ Carroll and Dong Ha. He also called air strikes in on our position. I remember the canisters of napalm falling from the jets and heading on all fours for safe ground. The grass was wilting in waves due to the heat. Tanks and twin forties were coming from JJ Carroll to provide support. The air strikes were so close that a bomb hit one of the twin forties killing 2 personnel and wounding 1. After the area was secured, we had over 44 wounded and 8 dead. Medivac helicopters came in for the dead and wounded.
I remember hearing someone yelling from inside a twin forty and when we looked inside, there was one of the gunners alive. He was calm and asked that we help him out of the hole. We reached for him and he told us to grab his flak jacket and lift. When we pulled him up, both arms were torn and broken.
One of the Marine Lt.’s that came from around JJ Carroll to rescue the group was sitting on the gas can of a tank. An RPG hit the gas can and it blew up. When we found him, all that was left was his belt that was smoldering.
We loaded wounded on helicopters and were told to look for dead NVAs and remove all personal items and weapons. I found Hoye Solomon searching the bodies of the dead NVA. Some looked like they were 14 years old. I was surprised as to how close they were to the road. Some were in fox holes and had set up machine guns. As Hoye and me approached one fox hole there was a very young NVA slumped over the side of the hole. When we approached, he raised his head and tried to get his weapon. Solomon emptied a clip.
We were told to destroy the radios and climb on any vehicle that had room. We stayed overnight at an ARVN compound and returned to Dong Ha the next day. The members of A Battery had a couple of wounded but we all survived. It was a long and sad day. There were more members of A Btry but I can't recall all of the names.
We were in a convoy on the way to JJ Carroll when we hit a mine. I was in the deuce and 1/2 with SPC McFarland. The area had been checked by the Marines and five vehicles, including two flat beds, went ahead of us without incident. Just our luck - we found the mine! Thank God no injuries, but certainly a good scare and something I remember well!
Charles, I think I can remember that sign, when I first saw it was hanging from a corpse on the road either between dong ha and JJ Carroll or JJ and the Rock Pile. The marines had it setting up and look like he was waving at us as we went by. (per Bob McCormack) Charles G White has a photo of the incident. The sign reads: "Golf 2-4 The Magnificent Bastards" which was a Marine unit later involved in the Battle Of Dong Ha beginning 30-Apr-68.
Maj Bill Kindt, BN XO, was in Dong Ha (Bn HQ area) when the report came in. He drove to C-1 the next morning and reviewed the damage. He said "It was pretty bad to identify the bomb fragments as "US"."
(5) At 1955 hours, 31 January 1968, two unidentified jet aircraft dropped eight bombs on Cl, narrowly missing C Battery's position and causing casualties to an adjacent ARVN unit and a nearby village. The bombs were later identified as being of U.S. manufacture. (6) On eight other occasions during the reporting period, an undetermined number of artillery, mortar, and rocket rounds have impacted positions occupied by elements of the battalion without causing any damage.
f. Awards and decorations. Fifteen personnel, including two from Battery C, 2nd TAB, 26th Artillery, have been recommended for Purple Hearts during this period. Seven of these (five of which were earned prior to 1 November 1967) have been awarded to date. In addition, one air medal was awarded and a first Oak Leaf Cluster to the same Air Medal recommended.
"The sudden airmobile blitz straddled the NVA heavy weapons positions and eradicated the fire support needed by the attackers. Trapped between the newly air landed cavalrymen and the defending garrison, 5 enemy battalions were forced to quit the battlefield in complete disarray."
From Dong Ha we could observe bombing North of us. Believing that the bombing action was being conducted against NVA targets, we cheered them on. Later we learned that they were bombing our own gun location. Our first fear was that the NVA were now using bombers against us. Later we learned that the it was the work of U.S. Navy planes. Although C Battery sustained some damage, we had no U.S. casualties. One ARVN battery suffered serious casualties.
Battery C was completely surrounded by a North Vietnamese Regiment during the Tet Offensive. However, with aggressive action by the Marines and superior Artillery, the position was never breached.
ends 3-2, 1st Marines, ARVN; EKIA 5113; USKIA 142, 857 W; ARVN KIA 384, 1800 W
(a) A "C" Battery convoy enroute from C-1 to Doug Ha Combat Base was ambushed at about 1000 hrs, 5 Feb 68, vic YD225627. Two (2) trucks and seven (7) EM from C/8/4 were involved. Two EM were evacuated with moderately serious as wounds, and three EM treated for minor wounds at the Bn Aid Station. One (1) 2 ˝-ton truck was destroyed.
Shortly after midnight on February 7, 1968, a combined NVA infantry-tank assault drove into Lang Vei. Two PT-76 tanks threatened the outer perimeter of the camp as infantry rushed behind them.
(b) At 1000 hrs 11 Feb 65, a gun section from C/8/4 which had been attached to "C" Btry 2/94 Arty was returning to Dong Ha Combat Base from Camp J. J. Carroll when their M107 (175mm gun, SP) struck a mine vic YD092578. The M107 was destroyed and three (3) personnel were slightly injured.
(2) On 11 February 1968, one gun section from C Battery was relieved from attachment to Battery "C", 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery and moved from YD063548 to YD210674 to rejoin its parent unit.
A 175mm Gun moving from Camp Carroll to Dong Ha drove over a command detonated mine while crossing the large ravine just west of Cam Lo on Route 9. The crew members were able to jump to safety and the accompanying vehicles continued to Dong Ha. After reaching the base camp, Maj Bill Kindt - Battalion XO, secured a platoon of Marines, a tank retriever and several SVC Battery maintenance personnel and moved out to recover the gun. As the gun was being slowly dragged up to the road, a spotter plane noted a large force of NVA moving from the North to capture the gun. Fortunately, about 6 heavily armed Hueys from the 1st Cav were nearby and came to our rescue. They laid down a wall of rockets and machine gun fire and bought us enough time to get the gun on the road and back to Dong Ha. (per Reunion Book) when we left Carroll, heading back to C-1, the gun ran over a mine just to the West of Cam Lo, and the left track was blown off, and the gun ended upside down in a ravine. These two individuals were on the gun and were the only ones injured. I was driving a duce and a half, with the rest of the crew, following the gun when this happened. (per Robert Matlock)
5th, 26th Marines, EKIA 702; USKIA 121, 848 W ends 9-12
1000 rounds hit base on 23-Feb-68. Final NVA assault begins 29-Feb-68. Shelling only through month of March as 1st Cav begins preparation for Operation Pegasus to relieve KSCB. Pegasus staged at LZ Stud (Vandergrift)
USMC, Cua Viet River, Quang Tri Prov, ICTZ ends 12-6, 3500 EKIA;USKIA 395, 1680 W Other records show Napoleon beginning 11-5-67 & Saline beginning 1-30-68; Description: This was a continuing USMC operation along the Cua Viet River to keep it open as a supply line of communications to the port facility in the Dong Ha area of Quang Tri Province.
Buzz, on the medal that you are talking about -- I remember that Charlie Battery had an NCO who lost a leg some time in February or March 1968 --cannot remember his name -- hopefully someone will know. I had heard that he was put in for a Silver Star, but we never heard whether anything ever came of it. Although we all hoped that it would come through, we never were informed of what came of it. I am in a fog as to whether that type of award had to be approved through Marine operational channels or Army administrative channels.
8/4 participated in Operation Rock by firing in support of the 7th Marines from 6 March until 10 March 1968.
(5) On 7 March 1968, A Battery displaced one platoon (2 pu2) to XD983542 (Rock Pile) in the first of a series of moves to replace Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery in that position. On 9 March 1968, the remainder of the battery joined the platoon at the Rock Pile and A/2/94 returned, to Camp Carroll.
James Wilborn Wood has to be the guy I remember from the 8th/4th. He was killed in March-68 and was one of the original men with the unit. Training at Ft. Sill and shipping over with us. He was killed on a work detail sandbagging the Warrant Officers quarters in the SVC. battery area. At least two others were seriously injured (one of them I think would be David Province). If David Province was one of the others wounded that day, we had a letter from him that was written by nurses at Clark Field Hospital in the Philippines saying he was recovering and okay?? I was working on the opposite side of the WO quarters and remember it, but not well after 32 years.
(e) At 1500 hrs 10 Mar 68, two rounds of l30mm artillery landed in the SVC Battery area killing three EM and wounding eight.
(m) At 1320 hrs 10 Apr 68, "A" Battery received 20 rounds of NVA artillery. There were four men slightly wounded.
(f) At 1138 hrs 11 Mar 68, "C" Battery received 7 rounds of NVA artillery resulting in one Medivac and three ammunition trailers damaged.
(g) At 1145 hrs 12 Mar 68, "C" Battery received an unknown number of rounds with one direct hit on a bunker. The bunker was completely destroyed and there were two Medivac cases and one man slightly wounded.
(h) At 1545 hrs 12 Mar 68, "A" Battery received 20 rounds of 122mm rockets. One EM received a minor wound and the unit lost the following equipment: One 2 ˝ ton truck, one 45 KW generator, one 10 KW generator, one air compressor, all POL stocks, and all of the batteries prescribed load list of repair parts.
From 13 March until 26 march 1968, B Btry-8/4 supported the 7th Marines during Operation Worth.
Died of shrapnel wounds.
(i) At 1720 hrs 14 Mar 68, a SVC Battery convoy, in vic grid YD098576 received an undetermined number of NVA artillery rounds. One man was killed and one man was slightly wounded. Two 5 ton trucks were lightly damaged.
(j) At 0715 hrs 24 Mar 68, SVC Battery received three rounds of 122mm rockets. One scored. a direct hit on the battalion's maintenance tent, destroying two TOE generators (1.5 KW) and major components of a second echelon tool set. Twelve general mech tool sets, two conexes (containing battalion maintenance PLL), numerous spare parts and one 3/4 ton truck were also destroyed.
During February and early March of 1968, Headquarters and Service Battery suffered heavy equipment damage and personnel casualties. The Battalion maintenance facilities were destroyed but volunteers from Service Battery managed to save most of the equipment, parts, etc from the burning maintenance tents.
Hey Larry, were you there in the spring of '68 when the Marines shelled their own aid station? Killed the Doc, the Medic and three guys waiting to be flown out. That same week three guys in the radar crew next to us were killed when they were filling oil barrels to put around the radar. They left the radar on and one of our own rockets from a jet homed in on the radar. I was with the sound guys from F battery then. You're right that place was a muddy mess then. Remember what fun it was to go get water at "the wash-out" with Charlie firing mortars at you?
(4) On 31 March 1968, B Battery displaced one platoon (2 guns) from AT985719 to AT965615. The platoon was moved forward to provide supporting fires for the Thuong Duc Special Forces Camp, which was then with an enemy attack. The platoon rejoined the battery on 6 April 1968 after the threat had diminished.
175's in position to support Marines in the Battle Of Dong Ha. Brief stay before heading for FSB Bastogne to support Operation Delaware.
After the Tet offense in 1968 he (CW 4 Robert "Heavy" Boyles) and I went to Quang Tri to see the destruction and take pictures without any regard for our own safety. I suppose we had the mind-set that we were infallible even though death was all around us. There is no telling how many times we were in the "cross hairs", missed the mines, or dodged the rockets. Crazy warrants will do most anything, I suppose.
101st & 82nd Airborne Division, ARVN, in Qunag Tri & Thua Thien Prov's, A Shau Valley, ends 5-17, 2100 EKIA USKIA 156, 884 W
This operation featured 17 U.S. and four ARVN airborne battalions to relieve the siege of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. Virtually the entire 1st Air Cav Div was committed along with five Marine battalions, mostly from the 26th Marines. The bulk of the NVA units had already departed the Khe Sanh area. The operation consisted for combat assaults to take the high ground on both sides of route 9 and systematically reopening the road. The forces discovered several caches of NVA supplies, hundreds of enemy corpses, and a "pockmarked, burnt, and ruined" landscape "like the surface of the moon." The companion ARVN operation was named LAM SON 207. Casualties: U.S. 92 KIA, 667 WIA, 5 MIA; ARVN 33 KIA, 187 WIA; enemy 1,044 KIA and 9 POWs.
(k) At 1305 hrs 1 Apr 68, an undetermined number of mortar rounds landed in the "A" Battery area. Two men were slightly wounded.
(l) At 1115 hrs 9 Apr 68, a convoy traveling from Dong Ha Combat Base to C-1 received NVA artillery at vic YF210674. Four men were slightly wounded.
(n) At 1115 hrs 11 Apr 68, "A" Battery received 20 rounds of NVA artillery. One round made a direct hit on a M107 (175mm Gun), completely destroying the gun.
(o) An NVA artillery attack of 18 rounds on the "A" Batteries' position at 1100 hrs 12 Apr 68, resulted in one 1/4 ton truck and one 1 ˝ ton trailer destroyed. (p) On 53 other occasions during the reporting period, 969 rounds of artillery, mortars, and/or rockets impacted within positions occupied by elements of the battalion without causing any damage (HHB-20, A-235, D-84, C-620, and SVC-10).
Intelligence firmly believes that Operation Pegasus had caught the NVA totally by surprise, leaving them so badly beaten, that they couldn’t properly bury their dead. But viewing the bodies of hundreds of NVA killed in action, the devastation and destruction they suffered, and most of all the badly wounded NVA left behind crying out, caused a feeling of sickness deep within, and left us in a very quiet somber mood, knowing that like us, they also had family's back home. The reality of war had settled in, and it was not a time to celebrate our victory.
(5) On 15 April 1968, A Battery displaced from YD063548 (Rock Pile) to YD210674 (C-1) to replace C Battery in the first of a series of moves to deploy a small battalion headquarters and service element and one firing battery in the vicinity of Hue to reinforce the artillery fires of the First Air Cavalry Division.
This 4th Marines operation included the continuing USMC operations around Khe Sanh upon termination of PEGASUS. Casualties: US - 435 KIA, 2,396 WIA, enemy - 3,304 KIAs, 64 POWs
(6) On 16 April 1968, the battalion headquarters and service element displaced to YD809163 (Camp Eagle) and established an Operations and Fire Direction Center.
Brought in to provide long range support for upcoming Operation Delaware in the Ashau Valley (1st Cav/101 ABN operation). I went south with a liaison detachment to Camp Eagle to liaison for C Btry in Bastogne. They left sometime in June. Irving Gersten was the C Btry commander in Bastogne (Mike Haberer) Then they moved to Fire Base Bastogne, located southwest of Hue. This was a hell hole in a hard to defend position. The battery fired into the A Shau Valley based on motion detector sensors dropped by aircraft. This area, as well as the DMZ, was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange (Ashley Wright)
(6)cont ...C Battery subsequently displaced to YD824155 (Gia La), established a battery rear area, and prepared to convert two guns to 8" howitzers. The conversion was made on 17 April 1968. On 17 April 1968, the battalion took operational control of Battery "C", 1st Battalion, 83rd Artillery (175mm) located at YD620095 (Fire Support Base Bastogne). On 18 April 1968, C/8/4 (minus Battery Headquarters element) displaced to Fire Support Base Bastogne, arriving on 19 April 1968. The battery retained the headquarters element at Gia La because of a lack of space at the fire support base and to provide for more efficient resupply and administration of the battery.
This was the first large A Shau Valley operation. The 1st Air Cav, 101st Airborne Div, and elements of the 196th Inf Brigade joined by the ARVN 1st Div and an ARVN Airborne task force move through the valley to preempt enemy preparations for an attack on the Hue area and to take advantage of the damage done to the enemy by PEGASUS. It was also described as an airmobile raid of this enemy strong hold. The 1st Cav committed seven Infantry Battalions plus the 1/9th Cav; the 196th Infantry Brigade committed three more as did the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne. Casualties: US - 142 KIA, 731 WIA, 47 MIA; enemy - 869 KIA
I delivered a radio to fire base Bastogne by helicopter, when one of the FDC radios went out. I remember sinking about knee deep in mud when I got off the copter. The guns were in a continual fire mission. All night long was small arms fire and the guns going off. I sent the night there and caught the morning copter back to camp Evans where about half the commo platoon was staying at the time. I was more then happy to get out of that place.
Battles of Dai Do and Nhi Ha, taken together, are considered to be the Battle Of Dong Ha where an estimated 7000 NVA attempted to take the 3rd Marine HQ.
(a) 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery, Air Observers flew 135 hours for the 12th Marine Regiment. (b) Battalion Forward Observers were not used in conjunction with 1st or 3rd Marine division operations. One Forward Observer team, however, accompanied a "rough rider" convoy round trip from Quang Tri to Phu Bai. This operation lasted for three days.
The Battle of Dai Do was a fierce and bloody struggle between an under strength Marine battalion landing team, 2nd. Battalion, 4th.Marines (BLT 2/4), and major elements of the 320th North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Division during three hot, humid spring days in 1968 (30 April - 3 May). I was privileged to command those magnificent Marines and Sailors who stopped the well-equipped 320th in its tracks on the north bank of the Bo Dieu River and drove it back toward the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). I believe that we conducted a successful spoiling attack that prevented the much larger NVA unit from launching a ground assault on the Marine combat/combat service support base at Dong Ha, headquarters of the 3rd Marine Division
I remember returning from Da Nang during the latter part of the battle, and watching for hours while aircraft circled above like buzzards waiting for the kill.
Mixed with the incoming Artillery and rockets was the snap and buzz of small arms fire as the marines fought a deadly duel with some 8000 NVA's, as they attempted to destroy the fire base at Dong Ha in May 68. Finally, after some five weeks of heavy fighting, the NVA withdrew to the North after suffering heavy casualties. Dead bodies of the NVA and Viet Cong lay along the highways and numerous villages were completely destroyed. The worst was over. However, it required several weeks to recover from the battle of Tet.
7th, 27th Marines, Hoi An City, ICTZ, ends 8-24, 1020 EKIA; USKIA 172, 1124 W
(a) At 0850 hours 5 May 1968, C Battery received 9 mortar rounds at their area vic YD620095 (Fire Base Bastogne) with negative damages.
ends 5-17; The reinforcement of the 3d Marines by the 1st and 2d Cavalry battalions for the 1st Cavalry Division during the Battle of Dong Ha. These units ranged north of Dong Ha and northeast of Nhi Ha against new units from the 304th NVA division that had moved south of the DMZ. Casualties: US - 28 KIAs, 116 WIAs; enemy 349 KIAs.
(b) At 0630 hours 10 May 1968, A Battery received 18 rounds of 75mm mortars. (c) At 0630 hours 10 May 1968, A Battery received 15 rounds of 85mm mortars in their battery area resulting in one EM wounded.
Near the close of the Battle of Dong Ha, more than 100 tons of ammo blew up at the Dong Ha depot possibly due to NVA long range artillery.
The entire 101st Airborne Division plus the 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne conducted this reconnaissance in force, cordon and search operation aimed at supporting government pacification and rice denial efforts in central Thua Thien Province. Casualties: US 175 KIA, 1,161 WIA; enemy 3,299 KIA and 853 POWs
The 1st Cav Division conducted continuing rice denial and cordons operations along the border of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces with four Infantry Battalions and the 1/9th Air Cav. The 1st and 3d ARVN Regiments participated. Casualties: US - 212 KIA, 1,512 WIA, enemy 2,016 KIA and 251 POWs
This was a 1st Marine Division operation in central Quang Nam Province with the 2/5th, 3/5th, and 2/7th Marines against the 308th NVA Division as a companion to ALLEN BROOK. Casualties: US 175 KIA, 1,161 WIA; NVA 2,728 KIA
(4) On 27 May 1968, a battalion control and support element displaced from YD809163 (Camp Eagle) and moved into position with C Battery rear, at Gia Le, YD-824155.
SOP was that @ charge 3, we would not fire in the rain with VT. Chgs 1 & 2 were ok. The projo was alive only after a second down range. On Hill 65,1968, we fired an emergency Fire Mission in driving rain @ chg 3 and the projo exploded at 500-1000 meters down range, but it was raining so hard , we could not see the flash, only the sound. Also, a B-52, would trigger the VT and with a max ord of 40,000+ feet, the Air Force got a little excited.
B Battery unexpectedly received a fire mission which required re-laying the guns in the opposite direction. The concussion from the blast seriously damaged the Marine mess tent. The Marine company was then commanded by Capt. Charles Robb, son-in-law of LBJ, and later a U.S. Senator. As explained by Alec Wade: After we had been on Hill 65 for about two weeks or so we received a contact fire mission 3200 mills out of the direction we usually fired. We got the guns turned around facing back toward Marble Mountain and the coast to the south east of us. It was about 11:30 in the morning. Captain Robb's company mess hut was about 20 to 25 yards from the end of the 175 tubes. It had never been an issue before because we always fired away from the mess hut. Captain Robb was walking leisurely down the hill towards the 175s when the first rounds went off. The rounds went directly over the mess hut. Simultaneously several things happened. Half of the window screens and half of the roof of the mess hut went flying. Marines came rolling out of the mess hut holding their ears and looking as if they had just taken a direct hit. Chuck Robb started running down the hill and yelling at me. Just as he arrived where I was standing the second set of rounds went off. I was standing just to the side of the 175s. The remaining screens flew off the mess hut and the other half of the roof went flying. Several more marines came rolling out of the mess hut in a dazed condition. Captain Robb tried to cover his ears but was too late. When the dust settled Captain Robb said "Alec, what in the world have you done?" All I could say was "Contact fire mission". He said "What about my mess hall?" Later that same day a marine survey team flew in to survey a new position for us way at the end of Hill 65 past the helipad. We spent the rest of our time out there. As a post script Captain Robb got a new well built mess hall. It was always a pleasure to do business with the marines.
(6) On 11 June 1968, 8th Battalion 4th Artillery relinquished OPCON of C/1/83. At the same time, C/8/4 converted the two 8" Howitzers to 175mm guns and was placed under the OPCON of the 1st Battalion 83rd Artillery for logistical support and technical fire direction control.
Observed larger than platoon sized group of NVA from position at Hill 65. Fearing that the mission might be diverted to Marine 105's, we obtained clearance for a registration. Fired 175mm from Hill 34 and Hill 65. Hill 65 fuzes set for Time to permit direct fire bouncing air bursts. 25 rounds fired. At least 25 enemy KIA.
(9) On 30 June 1968, C/8/4 displaced from YD620095 (FSB Bastogne) to Gia Le YD824155 to await shipment of the 175mm guns via water to Dong Ha for support of operation Thor.
On 1 July 1968, OPERATION THOR began. A Battery convoyed from Camp Carroll to Mike Battery, 4/12th Marines, just West of Dong Ha. Operation Thor was a joint artillery, air and navel operation to saturate the enemy artillery, rocket, and air defense positions in and North of the DMZ. In the six days of operation Service Battery hauled 2,0000 rounds. B Battery occupied Charlie at Cam Lo and C Battery moved to LZ June. There were no incidents on any of the road marches.
1968 Mar 22, General. William Westmoreland was relieved of his duties in the wake of the Tet disaster. He was succeeded by Gen. Creighton Abrams. Abrams reversed Westmoreland's strategy. He ended major "search and destroy" missions and focused on protecting population centers. William Colby took charge of the pacification campaign.
(10) On 1 July 1968, C/8/4 (Minus track vehicles) and a battalion HQ element moved by convoy to YD222590 (Dong Ha). The track vehicles were loaded on LCU's at the Hue LCU ramp.
(11) On 1 July 1968, 8/4 (Minus B Battery) mission changed to General Support of Provisional Corps Vietnam for Operation Thor.
(12) On 2 July 1968, C/8/4 track vehicles off loaded at the Dong Ha Bridge Ramp and moved into position at YD222590 with the remainder of the battery.
(d) At 1700 hours 5 July 1968, a 2 ˝ ton truck belonging to B Battery, vic AT942689, ran over a mine. The truck was destroyed and the driver received minor lacerations.
1st Cav, Thua Thien & Quang Tri Prov's I CTZ, ends 11-3, 2113 EKIA
(15) During this reporting period A and C Batteries fired 14,205 rounds in support of the PCV and 12th Marine Regimental operational 4,647 rounds in support of the 101st Airborne Division and 1st Air Cav operations. B Battery fired 8,156 rounds in support of the 1st Marine Division operations during this same period. (See inclosure 2) (2) Observation: (a) The battalion air observers flew a combined total of 231 hours for the following units: 12th Marine Regiment, 108thh Artillery Group, and Provisional Corps Vietnam. (b) No ground observers were furnished by the battalion during this period.
I recall the day we moved a platoon of 175s from Hill 34 to An Hoa. Apparently too much advance notice had been given, because it took most of the day to make the trip. We stopped frequently while engineers removed mines from the road and blew them. During these long lulls the Vietnamese children would sell our men warm Coca Colas for $2.00 per can. Surely the mining activity was a gimmick to promote soft drink sales at exorbitant prices.
(4) On 4 Aug 68 Battery A received 20-30 rounds of incoming artillery. No damage; one lightly wounded.
(5) On 7, 8, and 9 August Dong Ha Combat Base received a total of 43 rounds of incoming artillery fire. Negative casualties or damage to this battalion. (6) On 7 Aug 68 the battalion began a MEDCAP Program in the village of Dong Luong, near Dong Ha.
B Battery constructs foot bridge across ravine. Although the lumber was too short, we were able to create base supports by laminating several 2 x 6's. Later in early 1969 a drunk Marine falls off of bridge and is seriously injured.
(7) On 21 August Battery A received approximately 25 rounds of incoming artillery. Negative casualties or damage.
(8) On 26 August Dong Ha Combat Base received 40 rounds of incoming artillery. Negative casualties or damage to equipment or personnel in this battalion.
(10) The I Corps Tactical Zone was hit by Typhoon Bess during the period 5 through 7 September. Rainfall of 18.95 inches fell in the battalion area with little damage other than local flooding and collapse of some sandbag fortifications. Damage to surrounding civilian area and to roads was extensive.
Accompanied by only a guitar player, the helicopter pilot, and her escort, Maj. Charles Robb, Martha Raye puts on a show on an ammo box stage at Hill 65. Although not as pretty as some we had heard about, we appreciated her going to the remote hills to put on a show.
Cpt Tommy Youmans assumes command from Cpt Johnson.
Around mid-day an F4 came in flying very low above our heads. It was somewhat frightening because I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. Something bad did happen, because immediately after going past us the plane dropped a bomb load on a small village that was located at the base of Hill 65 about 300 meters from our gun position. From a bombing standpoint the mission was a great success. However, from a public relations standpoint, the incident was a blow to the Marines previous CAP projects. We never learned the reason for the incident.
Firefight on the perimeter of B Battery between battery position and Song Vu Gia River. Sgt. Hrabal mans .50 Cal, and is credited with a sunken sampan and 3 enemy KIA. No friendly casualties.
(14) On 11 October a USO Entertainment show performed in the battalion's out-door theater. This was the first show held in the battalion since arrival in country.
3d Marines, near Con Thien, I CTZ, ends 2-28 70, 3922 EKIA ; US 502 KIA, 2331 W
A4 became the home for many elements of 1/61. Normal military house keeping and administration was conducted from the bunkers inside the firebase. But preparation for combat was the focus of the officers and men of the battalion. Operation Rich (23-27 Oct 1968) was another Search and Clear sweep into the DMZ. Departing A-4 (Con Thien) during the hours of darkness, the BN moved on foot and with some elements using rope bridges, crossed the Ben Hai and again made heavy contact with NVA forces. One DSC awarded. These penetrations of the DMZ, under the "Hot Pursuit" policy, reached deeper into the DMZ than any previous US unit action.
175s support Operation Rich in DMZ
(16) On 23 October Dong Ha Combat Base received 20 zounds of incoming artillery. No casualties or damage in this battalion.
f. (U) Civic Action: The battalion was active in a number of Civic Action projects throughout the reporting period. (1) Quang Tri National Prisons Assisting in rehabilitation of 350 former Viet Cong, Scrap materials are donated to be used in making furniture, kerosene stoves and household articles. (2) Gio Ha MEDCAP: Initiated in September and has processed 280 patients. (3) Dong Luong MEDCAP: Started in August and has processed 689 patients. (4) Bao Loc School in Ha Thanh Village: Sponsored by Battery A. Assistance to local villagers in construction of a school and distribution of school supplies.
(17) On 30 October General Haines (CINCUSARPAC) visited the battalion and "C" Battery at Dong Ha. He was accompanied by BG Pixton CG XXIV Corps Artillery.
d. Observation: Battalion air observers flew a total of 454 hours in support of the 12th Marine Regiment and the 108th Artillery Group. The missions were normally flown north of the Ben Hai River in North Vietnam. Air observers adjusted artillery, naval gunfire and tactical air primarily on NVA artillery and antiaircraft positions. The battalion provided one ground forward observer party in support of the 1st ARVN Regiment from 10 through 25 September, and one to the 2nd ARVN Regiment on 22 - 23 October.
(18) On 30 October Dong Ha Combat Base received 40 rounds of incoming artillery. No damage or casualties to this battalion.
(4) On 1 November the Dong Ha Combat Base area received incoming enemy artillery on 4 separate occasions: 0855 hours, 1132 hours, 1306 hours and 2107 hours. No damage or casualties in the battalion.
Evacuated for wounds received at Dong Ha on 10 Mar 68. Received Purple Heart. We are unable to confirm whether he died from his wounds.
(6) On 9 November at 1800 hours Battery A at Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674) received approximately 25 rounds of enemy 82mm mortar rounds resulting in 4 minor WIA and light damage to six vehicles. Combat operations were not affected.
(8) On November 18 Battery C was converted from 175mm guns to 8-inch howitzers. The first gun was ready for action and fired on this date. All guns were retubed and operational by I8 November.
(9) On 19 November 1968 Battery B moved the two guns of the 2nd Plt back to Da Nang (AT985719) No change in mission.
(10) On 24 November Battery C displaced to Fire Support Base C-2 (YD1164) to support 3d Marine Division recon elements in the southern portion of the DMZ. incoming enemy mortar fire was received within 3 hours after the battery closed the new area. There were no casualties.
The 1st Marine Div conducted this search and clear/destroy operation in the An Hoa Basin and Base Area 112 with the 1/3d, the 3/3d, and the 5th Marines plus the 1st ARVN Ranger Group. Casualties: US 151 KIA, 1,324 WIA; enemy 1,398 KIA, 29 POW
(11) On 9 December Battery A displaced from Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674) to Dong Ha Combat Base (YD231589) and occupied temporary firing positions.
Rockpile was barren at the time. A Btry had to build everything from scratch.
(13) On 10 December Battery B displaced 2 guns from Da Nang (Hill 34-AT985719) to An Hoa (AT8647) to support, Operation Taylor Common by, the 1st Marine Division.
(12) On 10 December Battery A displaced from Dong Ha Combat Base to Fire Support Base Elliott (Rockpile-XD9854) to support operations of the 3d Marine Division.
(14) On 10 December Battery A incurred one fatality from a vehicle accident st Fire Support Base Elliott (Rockpile-XD9854).
(15) On 20 December at 1415 hours at Fire. Support Base C-2 (YD1164) the Battalion Commander, LTC. Harry W. Brown, fired the 50,000th round fired by Battery C since arrival in country. Surveillance indicated an enemy bunker destroyed.