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Diary 7 -13 Aug 1968

7 Aug - Start 13 week. Quiet nite - B Co. on road mission. A & C Co’s RIF big rubber to SE. R OPCON D-A. Neg. results. 2100 - C spotted 2 persons 200 m from wire on NW side of perimeter. A & C Co’s fired M79. A Co. fired 1  81 mm, short  rd, wounded 1 [from] Flame (Died 9 Aug). 2200 - A Co spotted 3-5 men SE of perimeter. Fired M79, Killer Jr. [ Nickname for a type of artillery direct fire technique used by towed 105 mm and mechanized 155 mm howitzers; the suffix Junior or Senior was applied to 105 or 155 projectiles, respectively.. The crew set mechanical time-fused high explosive (HE) projectiles to burst approximately 30 feet off the ground at ranges of 200 to 1,000 meters. The explosion pattern spread shrapnel in a cone shape. Since firing a fuse setting less than what corresponded  to a range of 650 meters placed both the firing crew and other friendly troops in close proximity in danger, Killer was used only in combat emergency situations. (The name Killer came from the radio call sign of the 1st Bn (105 mm), 8th Arty Regt, 25th ID Artillery that perfected the technique.)] All quiet after 2200. No mail, wrote ML.

                    Control of firing
Everyone shave

8 Aug - Quiet nite - Super contact team began arriving 0730. Maj Dendtler OIC [Officer-in-Charge. The 25th ID sent the team to help restore a unit to greater combat readiness. It was composed of skilled repair & maintenance personnel capable of fixing the entire spectrum of battalion equipment from radios to stoves.] All Co’s stood down. Contact team did not bring needed parts. LTC Wolf visited. Very unhappy about B Co. stowage. [Neat and orderly storage of APC equipment and supplies was a 7th Army measuring “yardstick” to gauge combat readiness. LTC Wolf had not been in RVN long enough to conclude there were more effective measures. The soon-to-come Battle for Tay Ninh city would disabuse him of this “Old Army” “yardstick.” Consequently he] Threaten [me] relief from command. No mail. Wrote ML.

PVT Dunn [or Dinn] Medic driver

Gone But Always Remembered
  
                    From the 4/23 KIA list
  
                    19. SGT Dwight Edgar Mooney, HHC.

9 Aug - Check parts van. Quiet nite - A & B Co’s RIF’d area to east of big rubber - found base camp XT343373.


4th/23rd moving through clearing east of Tay Ninh

Examining captured VC documents from small base camp deep in jungle

Entrance to VC bunker complex

Burning VC base camp

VC Claymores, Bangalore Torpedoes, mortar and RPG rounds discovered in Crescent Forest

Cliff Neilson and cache of VC weapons and ammunition found by Alpha Company     

Cliff Neilson holding the remains of an enemy 107MM rocket

C Co. on road. One man shot himself playing Russian Roulette. R relieved OPCON D.  B Co. moved out 1830 to establish FSB OPCON to D. R arrived 1845. Started small malaria pill. No mail.

No personal weapons or foreign.

 

Gone But Always Remembered
From the 4/23 KIA list
20. PFC Statue Mosby, Jr.  C Co.
 

10 Aug - Quiet night - A Co. spotted movement - 2-3 personnel. Neg. results. A Co. & R RIF’d W of Rubber. A Co. found 3 -100 lbs [sacks of] rice. BDE CO found B Co. Short 85 flak vests & 75 steel helmets. B Co. OPCON D. No mail.

                   LP-do not come in on sighting; [go out] well-armed; [use] Claymores
Minesweeper - early start
Return from AP - weapons and police
Notebooks for leaders
Test fire - mortar conc
 

11 Aug - Unquiet nite - A Co. LP spotted 3 personnel. Sprang ambush, fire mortars, & arty. Neg results. RIF’d in Rubber w A Co. - R searched village by ford - neg. results. B Co. OPCON D.

                    Names, number, signs on track
No standing on tracks when moving or riding on front slope
Everyone put on steel pots when combat starts.

SHORTAGES
  
                                    Hel       ARM    Prot
                                                Vests    Mask
                    A            +1         22         28
                    B            19        19        30
                    C               0           0           0
  
                    HHC        0          0           0

Letter from & to ML  

12 Aug - 54th malaria pill. Quiet nite - R stand down. A Co. RIF’d rubber east of airstrip. B Co. OPCON D. C Co. opened road, arrived NDP 1710.

                    Machetes, pioneer tools
Cracked fuel cells - excess speed
No mail
 

13 Aug Quiet nite. C Co. dismounted sweep alongside rubber SE then circle back through Rubber. R block. B Co. OPCON  D. A Co. on road. Neg results. B Co. has 6 wounded by command det claymore vic. Base of Nui Ba Din. Letter from & to ML

Here is a remembrance of the claymore incident posted 8 December 2003 by “Butch” Sincock, the on-site commander:

 

“My one "up close and personal" encounter with Nui Ba Den was in mid-August '68. We were ordered to dismount, move up to the mountain and start climbing. We moved through a banana grove along a trail that led to the base. Right at the base we found a clearing with a small campfire still burning and a pot of boiling water propped up on a couple of rocks above it. Bad sign!  

Another platoon moved up into the clearing. I went up with my RTO just to look around. Got a bad feeling and thought we ought to return to the platoon. As we got back to the platoon (on the right flank) I could look up and see part of the clearing above us. At that instant they blew a huge Claymore on the platoon searching the clearing and then opened up with AKs. The other platoon pulled back, but left one of their guys up there. I took part of my platoon back up and got him out, but he died en route to TNBC. A number of the guys in the other platoon got peppered with pieces of the Claymore. The platoon leader, Dave Blanchard, had a pocket bible in his pants pocket that stopped a huge piece of metal that might have otherwise done a lot of damage.
One of the wounded was the soldier we went back up to pull out after the Claymore went off. We couldn't get a Dust off, so, as I recall, you landed in your LOH, the Arty FO got out, we put the WIA in the back and you flew him to TNBC. I was told later that he died en route. He was from West Virginia and the guys all called him "Pappy" because he was about the oldest guy in the company at 26.”

                  Gone But Always Remembered
         From the 4/23 KIA list
              CPL James Arnold Lisenby, B Co.


Vol 2 No. 34            TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS            August 28, 1967  

Wounded Priest Found Praying For War’s End

 
1st BDE - The Viet Cong showed no respect for the sanctuary of a temple when they shot a Buddhist priest praying for an end to the fighting.
   The 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Clifford C. Neilson of Mobile, Ala., was pushing the enemy out of a village 14 miles southwest of Tay Ninh near Go Dau Ha.  The Tomahawks cautiously approached a Buddhist temple which miraculously seemed unmarked by the scourge of battle.
   Specialist 4 Engle B. Smith, a senior medic from Pensacola, Fla., entered the temple and noticed a priest poised in the position of prayer.  “His snow white habit was smeared with blood, but yet he continued to pray,” stated Smith.
   Through an interpreter it was discovered that the priest was shot twice in the arm while he was kneeling and praying for an end to the bloody battle raging outside.
   The 1st Brigade medic applied first aid to the priest’s wounds and carefully carried him off to a helicopter landing zone where he was evacuated to a military hospital for further treatment.

 

Cliff Neilson
Mohawk 6
May-Nov 1968

Illegitimi nil carborundum

 

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