Building Our First Command Bunker
After Arriving at Dong Ha
By Mike Haberer

When we first arrived in Dong Ha, the S2-S3 and FDC operated from a tent, as did everyone else. Cpt. Kaleugher spent much of his time cross-training the surveyors in FDC. The rest of our time was spent filling sand bags to fortify the tent and guard duty on the perimeter. Then someone decided that we needed a bunker to operate from during attacks. So we started a hole, about 10'x10' as I remember. The soil from the hole was used to fill more sand bags. The hole was two to three feet deep when we got our first incoming. I remember laying in the hole and watching the jet fighters from Da Nang fly over and quiet the enemy guns. The incoming motivated us to dig the hole faster and to put a roof on it. So now it was between three and four feet deep and had a roof with one layer of sandbags on top. But of course it was decided that it must be deeper. So now we were digging in an area with limited room and even more limited air, no breeze. The work was slow. Then one of the older mess Sgt’s came over and told us he wanted to help. He would dig at least half of his off time if he could sleep in the bunker. If I remember correctly, he went to Vietnam as a short timer. Between the Sgt and our own Virginia coal miner, Grady Looney, the hole eventually made a small bunker. It had one radio remoted into it. The only time it was used, except by the mess Sgt., was when we were being shelled. The first time they hit the main ammo dump, we operated from this bunker. Of course we had not completed this one when we start on the main command bunker that more people remember. One side story to the first bunker, during a round of incoming one day the battalion commander ducked into the bunker, already occupied by Cpt Kaleugher and three FDC guys. We had been there 30-40 minutes, and since there was nothing we could do we were half asleep. I heard Col Barnes comment to Cpt Kaleugher that the guys must be brave to be that calm during the incoming. Cpt Kaleugher replied it wasn't bravery we were just bone tired from working the long hours without much rest.

Mike Haberer HHB Survey-FDC 67-68