Diary 12-14 MAY 68
12 May Spent day of 12th (and much of 11-13 May) w/ [with] LTC [Lieutenant Colonel] King Coffman, CO [Commander] 2/22, [2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division “Triple Deuce”. Three 25th Division Mechanized Infantry Battalions included: 1st/5th Mech, 4th/23rd Mech, 2nd/22nd Mech] at FSB [fire support base] Trang Bang. Visited other FSB and District Advisor. Met Bill Allison, former Auburn [ROTC] student [of mine.] Mortar nite of 11th. Man under tank track killed. 4 mortar men wounded. Rds [rounds] landed w/in [with in] 3 feet of track. B Co. under attack 0045-0200.
The 25th Infantry Division Commander directed that a Battalion Commander-designee spend several days with the commander of a similar type battalion to familiarize himself with combat command and control, prior to assuming command of his own battalion. A fire support base (FSB) was a semi-permanent encampment for a combat battalion. Typically, the battalion conducted combat operations in the daytime and spent the night at the FSB. Each FSB had at least an artillery battery assigned and all FSB were within artillery range of at least one, and preferably two, other FSBs. FSBs were usually named after an artillery notable of past wars. FSB Trang Bang was an exception to this naming practice. Trang Bang was a small village on the highway between Cu Chi, (location of the 25th Infantry Division Headquarters), and Tay Ninh.
13 May Left Trang Bang w/ Col [actually, Lieutenant Colonel (Promotable)] Fremont B. Hodson, CO, 1st Bde. Pick up wounded VC [Viet Cong] prisoner, deposited him at Cu Chi. Saw 3 dead VC. Went on to Bobcat, 1/5 [nickname for the 1st Battalion (Mechanized). 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division] LTC Lodge [commanding] visited 2 hours. Returned CC [Cu Chi] 1100. Spent afternoon in Bde base camp. Received few mort [mortar]/rocket rds. 1st heavy monsoon rain. 41 MP [took 41st anti-malaria pill since coming to RVN. A once weekly ritual for all soldiers.]
The monsoon season began in RVN in May each year and lasted for about 6 months. Almost daily, usually in the late afternoon and lasting from 1- 6 hours, dark clouds would roll in from the China Sea and torrential rains would begin. Rainfall would total 3-6 inches. No military operations were possible during the storm. After the storm ended, every ground depression was filled, itinerant streams coursed through the area, and dusty areas became almost impassable seas of mud. In about 6 hours, everything was normal. The area to the south and west of Saigon, Cu Chi, and Tay Ninh was very flat and farmed as rice paddies. The paddies were formed by dikes, which kept the monsoon rain available for rice cultivation. Small villages and hamlets occupied what little elevated terrain existed. Near each village was a graveyard, also on slightly higher ground.
May 14 - [(Modified) Table of Organization of Mechanized Battalion (MTOE)]
OFF WO EM AGG HQ & HQ (MTOE 7-46G, TOE 7-46G) 17 0 177 194 Service (Delta) (MTOE 7-47G, TOE 7-47G) 5 2 142 149 Alpha (MTOE 7-48G, TOE 7-48G) 6 0 182 188 Bravo (MTOE 7-48G, TOE 7-48G) 6 0 182 188 Charlie (MTOE 7-48G, TOE 7-48G) 6 0 182 188 Total Combat Strength 40
The TOE was the document which specified the number and rank of personnel and types and numbers of equipment each unit was authorized to have. Each type unit had a unique TOE number and in Vietnam many of these units operated under a modified TOE as did 4/23. From the figures above a fully-manned infantry battalion was authorized 40 officers, 2 warrant officers, and 865 enlisted men.
Rained until 1200, then cleared. Visited 2/22 in battle vic Hiway 1. Saw 2 VC. Observed 4/23 battle from air. Air strikes. Landed Duc Hoa - proceeded vic. 113 [M-113, Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)] to Mohawk [4/23 nickname & radio call sign] NCP [probably NDP]. Spent nite.
Cliff Neilson Mohawk 6 May-Nov 68 Illegitimati non carborundum