Following A Battery's firing into Laos at Co Roc in 1968, B Battery also fired on the Co Roc in 1969. A few days after re-joining the battalion in March of 1969, B Battery was sent to Ca Lu on Route 9 south of the Rockpile where the road turned west towards Khe Sahn. I was instructed to number the firing charts so that it would appear that we were shooting in Viet Nam and not Laos. I wondered who would be fooled by this. We fired a number of missions that landed on the Co Roc in Laos.
After a couple of weeks at Ca Lu, we received a frantic radio call from battalion telling us that NVA tanks were headed east on Route 9 towards and that we should immediately move back to Dong Ha. We quickly loaded everything we could carry but had no room for about 300 propellant charges. I told the crews to open the lids of all the cans in the bunkers and pull some of the charges half way out. I had a trail of powder laid out connecting the ammo bunkers and leading to the front gate.
When the battery was well clear of the position, I leaned out of my jeep and touched the powder trail with a lit cigar. My driver floored it and we raced after the convoy. It seemed that we had gone only a couple of hundred meters when a giant fireball rose up over the position. The heat was intense.
We caught up with the convoy but soon one of the guns broke down. With darkness closing in, I sent the rest of the battery to Dong Ha. I stayed with the gun while the maintenance section under Staff Sergeant Stevens disconnected the gun's final drives and got it ready to be towed back to Dong Ha. Unfortunately, I can't remember what we used to tow it. The gun crew and Sergeant Steven's guys were magnificent. We made it back to Dong Ha without any more incidents. It was a long day.
Brian M. O'Neill
B Battery CO 1968-1969