Restrictions on Firing
Into North Vietnam in 1971
By Dick Sugg

During our last month of shooting, we had one occasion to fire a legitimate mission into North Vietnam. The rules of engagement allowed us to fire into the north half of the DMZ if we had two independent reports that we were receiving fire from their side. That happened one night and I authorized return fire from our guns. The only BDA we got was that the firing from the north ceased. We immediately reported that fire mission up the line. Even though we followed the rules of engagement "did nothing wrong" that mission caused a lot of excitement all the way to Saigon. The next day we were told that the decision to fire into North Vietnam had been elevated from the Field Artillery Battalion Commanding Officer to General Officer level. The reason given was that, although we were ready and willing to duel the enemy long range 180mm guns up there, the ARVN artillerymen who were soon to take over our guns and our mission were not. We never had another occasion to shoot into North Vietnam--never got to request General Officer permission.

Dick Sugg, Bn C.O 15 Aug - 15 Nov 1971