Commanders Diary

23 Oct 5 Nov 68

Diary  23-29 Oct 1968

23 Oct - [field strength] 513. 10 & 9. Dental apt tomorrow. Quiet nite.

A Co. - Showed flag to Soui Da w/ 1 RF Co, closed 1530.
B. Co. - Opened Rt 26 w/ 1 RF Co. Closed 1500.
C Co. - Stand down. 1st day.
Scts. - Escort Wolfhounds

1.5 hour briefing on how to get VCI [Viet Cong infrastructure.]
Letter Mary Lou
No rain - 1

24 Oct - [field strength] 523. 11 & 9. Quiet nite - Scts. - Stand down.

A Co. w/ 164 RF - Open Rt 26 and RIF to the S.
B Co. w/ 1 RF Co. - Open Rt to Mo Cong. Picked up 2 VCI suspects.

From the 25th ID CG Journal of 30 Oct:
Col. Fair, CO, 1st BDE quoted as reporting that Mo Cong is the center for VCI activity in  Tay Ninh Province. There are currently some 64 names on the blacklist.  

C Co. - Stand down. 2nd day.

Meeting with District Chief (MAJ Mach) & Dist. Sr. Adv. (MAJ Gray). Attack [probable] during 24-29 w/ 26 most likely.

1400 Dent apt.
Letter from & to ML.
No rain - 2

25 Oct - [field strength] 529. Quiet nite-
A Co. & 164 RF -open Rt. 26 and RIF'd rubber (Found many personnel working the rubber)
B Co. & RF Co. - open road to Soui Da, dismtd RIF, 1 RF wounded. 3 VC sighted.
C Co. - stand down - 3d Day.
Scts. - Mtd/dismtd RIF'd vic. XT 2 [no additional digits] at base of mnt [Nui Ba Dinh].  Received SA fire 0930. Backed up & pounded w/ 6 AS & 700 rds  Arty. Reentered 1400 w/ neg. results. Drew fire coming out. Total 8 WIA.
[This was the 4/23's last day of combat in which we sustained WIA during my command.]

The 26 October 2004 remembrance of Gary Bennett, Recon Plat leader on that day:  

"The men of Recon will remember  this day. We had a simple morning mission to RIF from the Rock Crusher  to the east along the base of Nui Ba Den. We stopped at the end of the  road at a small abandon village. It was my fault. I thought we had gone  too fast and would return too early. Higher ups may want to give us  another assignment.

I sent Sgt Kirby up the trail  across the foot bridge toward the little temple. He and another trooper  were shot and from then on it was wild. "Doc" Day went to help Kirby and  he was wounded. I felt we must have been the only unit in contact that  day because we had every artillery unit, gun ship and fighter bomber  over head wanting a chance to shoot.

The command & control  choppers for higher echelon commanders were stacked up to 10,000 feet.  Every commander in III Corp seemed to show up. What should have been a  simple little walk in the bananas turned into an all day fight. I give  credit to the soldiers of Recon. We fought like mad and all got out  alive. We did take eight casualties, but all survived.

I remember the last two wounded  were Keith Star and Ed Schwab. There was a lot more to this story, but  that's for another day. October 25, 1968. It was a test by fire for this  Lieutenant."


Another remembrance about that action comes from Johnny Chavers on 31 October 2004:  

"I remember that day, almost as much as I remember my own birthday. That was the second or third fight I was in.

Danny Bostwich was the regular  driver for HQ33 to which I was assigned. For some reason unknown to me, I  was driving the track instead of Danny who was in the track commander's  (TC) hatch.

Starr went out on patrol with  everyone else. When I first got to Nam, Starr was the TC and Danny was  the driver. They had to pull off the day Pizza was hit cause something  was wrong with their 50cal. Dinky Dau stayed there with him with his  trusted 60 cal. to keep them safe. (I was gonna say something else, but  decided not to.)

Back to the fight. Sgt. Kirby was  brought back to HQ 33, by the medic's. I saw his wounded leg. They also  brought to HQ 33 a new in country guy (from Kentucky, I think) with a  bullet hole through his chest coming out the radio he was out there on  the sweep with. What was worse than that was being hit by mortar fire at  the dust off site.

I feel sorry for anybody that got in our way or was there on the side of the road as went fast as  we could and shot everything in sight trying to get the rest of our  wounded Brothers back to the Rock Crusher. They were dusted off from  there. Don't know the status of any of them.


2 letter & card from ML - Ltr to ML
Uniform arrived
No rain - 3rd day

26 Oct - [field strength] 547. 7 & 7. Quiet nite - Scts stand down 1st day.

A Co. w/164 Co. - Open Rt 26; Rome plow 1st day.
B Co. - Cordon village (19 suspects). Sent 1 plat to Soui Da for stationing.
C Co. - Moved to and opened FSB Bragg w/ C-7/1 [7th Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry Division [1st ACD] was OPCON to 1st BDE, 25th ID pending the completion of the airlift of 1st BDE, 1st ACD to TNBC. Upon completion of the move, the 1st BDE, 1st ACD was to take responsibility for parts of the 25th ID TAOR while 25th ID units were being repositioned further north and east toward Cambodia.]

No mail. Wrote ML, mailed $100 check to bank.
(Light sprinkle 2000) Heavy 15 min shower

27 Oct - [field strength] 544. 9 & 7. Quiet nite - Scts stand down - 2nd day.

A Co. - Open Rt 26 - Rome plow 2nd day.
B Co. - Open road to FSB Bragg; escorted FA Btry & convoy to Grant. (One comd det [command detonated] 105 rd exploded in vic Camel [Diary contains no reference to this location], killed 1 RF and 3 RF & 1 Civ wounded).
C Co. - Secured FSB Bragg; opened Rt to FSB Grant.

No mail
Reg 614-30, para 4f - personnel in confinement will have DEROS extended to include period of time lost.
No rain - 1st day

28 Oct - [field strength] 547. 9& 7. 65 malaria. 3 months in Rawlins. Quiet nite. Scts - Escort convoys to & from FSB Bragg.

A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26, security of RP. VTR stuck. Left out; co ordered to secure [VTR] at 2130; reached 2400.
B Co. - Sweep North of Rubber. Neg Results.
C Co. - Open road to FSB Grant & outpost.

No mail
Applied for passport [I  needed a passport because I had been approved for return to the US on  the USAF diplomatic support flight that left SGN. Since it stopped at a  number of foreign capitals - Bangkok, New Delhi, Riyadh, and Madrid - I  needed a passport. From Madrid I hoped to catch a flight to Germany to  visit my father.]
No rain - 2d day

Rainbow over FSB Rawlins III

29 Oct - [field strength] 563. Quiet nite. Scts - Escort convoys to & from FSB Grant.

A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26, recover VTR.
B Co. & 2 RF Co's - RIF'd through rice fields & hedge rows. Captured 1 VC suspect.
C Co. - Open & outpost road to FSB Grant.

2 letters ML-answered ML.
No rain - 3rd day

Cliff Neilson
Mohawk 6
May-Nov 1968    

Illegitimi nil carborundum

30 Oct - [field strength] 547. Quiet nite. Scts - Escort convoys to & from FSB Grant.
A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26; outpost to [36].
B Co. - RIF'd N of Rawlins. Encountered 5 VC and engaged with SA - neg. results.
Found small base camp.
C Co. Open & outpost road to FSB Grant.
No mail.
No rain - 4th day

Happy 37th Birthday Colonel!! 

Col Neilson and Mess Sgt. Schmidt 

FSB Rawlins III Mess Tent 

31 Oct - [field strength] 545. 7 & 8. Unquiet nite. [At] 2000 rec'd 3 rds of U/I [unidentified] arty. Suspected to be 105 from ARVN out of FSB Hull.
Scts - Escort convoys to & from FSB Grant.
A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26; RIF'd north rubber.
B Co. & RF Co. Show flag at Mo Cong; detained 1 person.
C Co. Open & outpost road to FSB Grant. Found two mines.
No mail. Wrote ML
5th day no rain

1 Nov - [field strength] 542. 6 & 6. Quiet nite. Scts - Escort convoys to & from Grant.
A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26; sweep south along stream 1st day of 2 day AP - departed 1800
B Co. - RIF'd north of Bragg.
C Co. Open & outpost rt to Grant.
Rec'd letter ML - wrote ML.
Signed passport picture
6th day no rain

2 Nov - [field strength] 545. 6 & 6. Quiet nite. Scts - Escort convoys to & from FSB Grant.
A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26; sweep north thru rubber. Found old BC. 2nd day of 2 day AP.
B Co. - Stand down.
C Co. Open & outpost rt to Grant.
Rec'd letter ML - wrote ML.
Light rain in AM.

3 Nov - [field strength] 543. 4 & 7. Quiet night. Scts - Stand down to 1230. Open road to Bragg. Escorted convoy.
A Co. - Stand down. AP returned; neg results.
B Co. w/164 -Opened road. Swept N of Rt 26. Neg results.
C Co. RIF'd 0830-1200. Opened & outpost road. 1 convoy left MG 1300.
No mail
Light case - Ho Chi Minh revenge. Temp 101.3
1st day no rain.

4 Nov - [field strength] 553. 4 & 7. 66 Malaria. Quiet night. Scts - Stand down to 1230. Op'd road to Bragg & escorted convoy.
A Co. - Constructed FSB Rawlins in a one co, one btry configuration.
B Co. -Opened Rt 26. Moved to TNBC, prepare for night air assault.
C Co. Stand down until 1230.Opened & out posted road.
1 convoy.
No mail
Temp 99.2
BG Long [25th ID ADC(M)] very unhappy about charts. [No idea what charts]
2nd day no rain.

5 Nov - [field strength] 547. 4 & 6. Quiet night. Scts - Stand down to 1230. Op'd road to Bragg & escorted convoy to Grant.
A Co. & 164 - Open Rt 26 to CP 25, then returned and worked on FSB Rawlins.
B Co. - Night CA [combat [air] assault, one of the most dangerous missions for infantry. This was the first AM operation since we left SGN in July.] to Mo Cong. Cordon & search w/ 2 RF Co's 7 1 CRIP. 31 Suspects (12 deserters, 7 Blacklist, 2 VC, 6 susp VC, 3 ID)
C Co. RIF 7 outpost road to Grant - 1 AP.
2 letters ML
3d day no rain.

From the 25th ID CG Journal, 5 November 1968:
"...don't leave "monuments to defeat" (abandoned APC's, tanks, etc) ..." 

By 1968, the shoulders and  ditches alongside Routes 22, 26, 13,4 and 243 were littered with the  remains of USA and ARVN inoperable, burned, severely damaged, rusting,  wheeled and tracked vehicle hulks. Prior to the CG's orders, neither I  nor anyone else in the chain of command paid much attention to them. We  had a war to fight and there were never enough troops, recovery vehicles, or time available to return these hulks to TNBC or  CC. Consequently, only salvageable vehicles were considered  worth of recovery and then on an "as possible' basis at the time of  occurrence.

To accomplish the CG's order  required organization of a combat and support force; assembly of one or  more VTR, LTR, or wreckers; tractor-trailer cabs and low boy trailers;  and diversion of combat troops from their normal duties.

Once the order was passed, we went about it judiciously as is mentioned in later entries.

Cliff Neilson
Mohawk 6
May-Nov 1968    

Illegitimi nil carborundum