Commanders Diary

9 Oct-22 Oct 68

 (For photo's please refer to LTC Neilson's photo album)


Diary 9 - 15 Oct 1968

9 Oct - [field strength 495. 14 APC DL. Quiet nite. Sct plt escort TN-DT convoy w/ 1 sect; open Rt 22 to CP 23 with one section.
A Co. - open Rt 26 w/2 plats & 164 RF Co.
B Co. - Road runner* to Soui da & then join A Co.
C Co. - Stand down - 1st day.
2 plt AP
No mail

[notes at bottom of page]

Unauth head gear
Clean numbers on tracks

*I do not remember the meaning of the term "Road Runner."
I queried the 4/23 message board in October 2004 and got the following replies:  "From the Glossary of Mounted Combat  in Viet Nam by Donn Starry: Normally an operation with a group of  vehicles that travel a road for the purpose of keeping the enemy off  balance and making the presence of friendly forces felt among the local  populace.  From Doug Conn:
"We used the term  "Running the road" or "Road Running" when we didn't have time to do a  thorough sweep and had to use the road anyway.
Many times we would "run" Rt 26 to secure the convoy.
It was a hard decision to make when I had to pick who was lead track that day."  From Rick Lewis:
"Having  never heard "Road Runner" before but judging from the term, I would have  to agree with the others that "Road Running" was probably actually  traveling within the convoy instead of our normal practice of sweeping  the road and then setting up static security for the convoy as it came  through. 

If the term refers to running the  road without first sweeping for landmines, then we made just such  a  "run" from Rawlins to DT around midnight one night to help secure a  downed helicopter.

NOW,  That was one scary ride!! Any of you that missed out on a full-speed,  "Balls-to-the wall" blacked out, run down the highway at night, you  missed a mighty fun experience.
The "pucker factor" is really elevated at night.
The tracks, throw sparks all the time, but they are real visible at night.
The first thing that goes through your mind is that someone has hit a landmine.
Add choking dust into all of this and you have a real "barrel of fun night" on your hands.
 I don't think I breathed from the time we hit RT 26 until we cleared the rubber at DT." 

From Donny M:
"I hated the days we had to be lead track to sweep Rt 26.
I was sent to TNBC  mine sweeping school after arriving; but we never used a mine sweep  method because we did not have time to actually sweep Rt 26.
Just run it.
First  thing was to make sure to over-ride the governor on the track engine so you could go  wide open. Second thing was make sure the soda girls were waiting for  you. (great intel.)"  Quotes from 1966-67 After-Action Reports furnished by Jim Yarborough:
route-domination operations using all-arms teams ('Road Runner')  

10 Oct - [field strength] 488. 10 APC. Quiet nite. Sct plt open Rt 22 to CP 23 & escort DT-TN-DT convoy.

A Co. - open Rt 26 then return to TNBC
B Co. - Road runner to Mo Co, local RIF
C Co. - Stand down, move to Rawlins
2 plt AP

1 letter ML

[notes at bottom of page]

B & C Co less Berning
Military courtesy
Loaded weapons
Mess, clutter, dirty areas - top of tracks
Claymores out
Inside track
Shirts not on
Police of chopper supply pad
Peneprime
Officers Call

11 Oct - [field strength] 482.  10 APC Quiet nite. Sct plt open Rt 22 to CP 23 (Departed 0700-arrived  0800). Escort arty from Buell to Logan then DT-TN-DT convoy both ways.

A Co. - stood down - 1st day.
B Co. - open Rt 26.
C Co. -road runner to Loc Ninh with RF Co.
2 plt AP

No mail

[notes at bottom of page]

Ammo storage area
Reporting
police - chopper pad
A11 - no E Co D?
A51 - ?
C43 - no 461-5 from Maint
HQ 84 - no job order - switch w/ HQ 10
A13 - release signal should have been WO

12 Oct - [field strength] 505. 10 APC Quiet nite. Sct plt open Rt 22 to CP 23 (Departed 0700-arrived 0800). Escort DT-TN-DT convoy both ways.

C Co. -Open Rt 26 w/ RF.
B Co. - RIF in north Rubber w/ RF164
A Co. - stand down - 2nd day.
2015 - Rec'd mission to escort 155 btry to TNBC. C Co. given mission. Returned by 2400.

No mail

6 - 1/4 ton trls in G4 yard for TI [technical inspection]

Pre AGI [Annual General Inspection]-CMMI [A pre-inspection was a courtesy-type look at the battalion's equipment  to give the commanders an idea of what maintenance areas needed to be  emphasized prior to the real inspection.] -
Passed weapons, commo, and special purpose equipment.
Failed automotive and shop procedures.

13 Oct - [field strength] 490. 10 APC. Quiet nite. Sct plt open Rt 22 to CP 23 (departed 0700-arrived 08050. Escort DT-TN-DT convoy.

C Co. Open Rt 26 w/RF
B Co. RIF mtd north of base camp. Returned to base camp at 1600.
A Co. Stand down 3d day - arrived Rawlins 1600
2 AP's
Rec'd letter ML & Shirley - wrote ML 7 Pop

14 Oct - [field strength] 470. 63 malaria. 9 APC + 8 tracks. Quiet nite. Sct plt open Rt 22 7 escort TN-DT-TN convoy.

C Co. W/ 163 RF Co. - mtd/dismtd RIF north of Rubber - one old BC.
A Co. - open Rt 26 w/ RF Co.
B Co. - stand down 1st day
2 Ap's

[list of items at bottom of page]

Foot Recon - Topping off [These were probably two separate items placed side-by-side.]
Tracking of vehs
SP4 Hayes, Homer RA 14912798 SVC Co (S4)

15 Oct - [field strength] 459. 10 APC (+ 6 tracks).
Quiet nite except 105 fired 1100 rds,
155 - 500 rds.
Scts open Rt 22 & escort DT-TN-DT convoy.

C Co. open Rt 26 w/ 164 Co.
A Co. OPCON ½7
B Co. stand down 2d day
2 AP's
Rec'd 2 letters ML - wrote ML


FSB Rawlins III 1968
LTC Cliff Neilson (l) presenting trophy to LTC Forrest Pierce (r) CO 7-11 Arty,
for "Superior Combat Support"  
FSB Rawlins III Oct 1968
LTC Forest Pierce (l) LTC Cliff Neilson (r)
Commander's trophy presentation for Superior Combat Support  

Cliff Neilson
Mohawk 6
May-Nov 1968    

Illegitimi nil carborundum


Diary 16-22 OCT 1968

16 Oct - [field strength] 461. (10 APC & 6 TRACK). Quiet nite. Scts escort 2 btrys arty to FSB Washington II, secured & returned.

A Co. - Open Rt 22(1 plat), escort DT-TN-DT convoy (1 plat).
B Co. - Stand down 3d day.
C Co. - Open Rt 26 w/RF
2 APs

Letter ML & Pop

17 Oct - [field strength] 453. 10 APC & 6 TRACK. Received today accelerated promotions 1-E6, 3-E5, 10-E4. Quiet nite. Scts - same as Oct 16.

A Co. - Open Rt 26 w /RF Co.
B Co. - Stand down 4th day.
C Co. - Escort DT-TN-DT convoy.
1 AP

No mail

18 Oct - [field strength] 464. 10 APC & 6 Track. Quiet nite. - Scts same as Oct 16.
OPN THUNDER ROAD II - DAY 1

A Co. - Open Rt 4; linked up at 1230; depart 1815.
B Co. - moved to NDP (XT287657) at1300, arrived 1530 w/ 1 plat C Co.
C Co. - Escort, closed 2100.
Engineers had 1 DT & 1 10T tractor cab hit mine. 1 WIA (mod)

19 Oct - [field strength] 469. Quiet nite - Scts same as Oct 16.
DAY 2

A Co. - Open Rt 4; linked up 1 km N CP White at 1045. Secured VTR opn. Returned Rawlins 1930.
B Co. - Open Rt 4 from NDP to A Co. at 1045. Found 2 mines. Returned NDP 1700.
C Co. - Escort 2 round trips (3 hrs per rd trip) closed 1800. 78 dump trucks moved to FF.

2 letters from ML

Move of DL track from MP [motor pool at TNBC] to field - M548 HQ 94 (D26)
XO List
AGI 19-21 Oct
S-2 - Clearance of TOC Personnel
Classified document secured
S-3 had no program records
CMMI
Maint on individual & TA & unit equip
Send maint personnel to work with CMMI Team
Security of small arms - Key control

20 Oct - [field strength] 492. 10& 8[This style notation about DL APC & tracks continues.]  Quiet nite - storm hit 0130; heavy rain (8-10") and high winds until  1200. All operations called off except short RIF's by B & C Co's.  Maint & police 1300-1700.

No mail

21 Oct - [field strength] 489. 64 malaria. Quiet nite -IG INSPECTION (less CMMI) went well. All area satisfactory except A Co. security.

THUNDER ROAD II - Day 3

A Co. - Open Rt 4, linked up 0930 at PL Pink. Change of Command [most likely, CPT Beech relieved CPT Montgomery] Closed NDP Mohawk w/ 1 Plat B Co. at 1930.
B Co. - Open Rt 4, linked up 0930. Departed [?] P at 1900. Secure 175 gun. Closed____
C Co. - Escort 3 round trips (approx 150 DT plus misc) Closed RC - 2100.

Letter from ML & Vic

CMMI - Wpns 90 [% score out of 100]
Tac & Spt eq 80
Commo 90
Spec Purpose Eq 94
Chem 92
Maint Opns 88
Tracks 74

From the 25th ID CG Journal:
The requirements for  crushed rock in the reconstruction of Bao Co have been increased to 200  dump truck loads and the requirement for laterite to 150 dump truck  loads.  

22 Oct - [field strength] 490. 7 & 9. Thunder Road - Day 4 (Last day) Quiet nite.

A Co. -Moved out of NDP; opened Rt 4 to CP White at 0930. Closed Tay Ninh 1930.
B Co. - Escort . Closed FSB R 1830 ["closed", in this sense, means arrived]
C Co. - Open Rt 4 to CP White. Closed FSB R 1930.
Scts - Escort.

No mail-wrote Vic

MII3 WATER OPNS REQUIREMENTS (p 64-65 - Driver's Manual) [Apparently we had been ordered to prepare for water operations; the  items below were critical ones to be checked before the M113 entered the  water or it would sink!]
Trim Vane
Side Shrouds (2)
No RPG holes [doubtful this was in the Driver's Manual]
Drain Plug Hull (30)
Drain Plug Final Drive (2)
Bilge Pump (2)
Ramp Seal
Ramp Door Seal
Engine Door Seal
Tow Pintles

Rain

Cliff Neilson
Mohawk 6
May-Nov 1968    

Illegitimi nil carborundum


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