Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Con Thien
By Larry L. Martin

In late November or early December of 1970 I had been assigned to the Btry CP to type up recommendations for awards. According to the verbiage on the citations, it had been a busy summer on Con Thien. There had been numerous incidences of incoming mortar and rocket fire, and as usual, the guys had held their ground, returned the fire, and silenced the enemy guns.

We had an engineer with a bulldozer working on the perimeter, trying to make the berm a little higher. One day, as we were watching this activity, the operator jumped off of the dozer and ran away a few meters and stood looking at the ground by the dozer in some consternation. Of course we investigated (anything to break the boredom) and found that he had un-earthed several mortar rounds that appeared to be ready to fire. Top Stromme got on the radio and the next day a couple of EOD guys were flown in from Phu Bai to assess the situation. After much discussion, I was sent to the motor pool to get a jeep and trailer and told to stay with these guys until they didn't need me anymore. We then proceeded to start picking up mortar rounds. One of the guys told me that if I picked one up and the pin was missing from the side of it to just lay it down and come and get one of them. We picked up all of the rounds without incident ( a jeep trailer full) and driving very carefully we took them outside the perimeter to the dump. Again, without incident, we unloaded the rounds and stacked them like firewood on the ground. The senior of the two guys then brought out a bag of C-4 and daisy chained the stuff all over the pile of rounds. He had me start the jeep and get it turned around so that we were facing the firebase and he told me to stay in the jeep and keep it running. He then pulled the det cord, jumped in the jeep, and we beat feet for the firebase.

While we were outside the perimeter word spread that there was going to be a BIG boom. Some of the guys had their 35mm's set up on tripods. When that stuff exploded it looked like a miniature atomic bomb had detonated. The ground actually moved in toward the explosion, and a tremendous mushroom cloud appeared. If anyone has a photo of that, I would love to see it. This was my first, and last exposure to EOD work.