ON THE FIRING LINE FROM THE LEGIONNAIRES' LEDGER FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1970.

Copy of publication provided by Dave Eckberg


Action in the 3d Bn, 1st Inf AO for the period 7-14 October:

Under the VIP program, personnel from the 3d Battalion bought 20/105 rounds Vietnamese children had brought to the southwest gate of FSB 4-11.

Medics from 4-11 conducted a MEDCAP in the Montagnard section of Tu My in which 35 people were treated.

Just south of the Song Tra Khuc river, Recon platoon detonated an ambush which resulted in 1 VC KIA.

While on patrol several days afterward, the platoon found 6 automatic rifles, documents, and an ammo can containing booby trap apparatus, blasting caps and tools buried in a hole along the river.

Working the Da Son Valley, the 4th platoon and CP element of Delta Company were in a stay-behind ambush at their NDP when they engaged 1 VC with claymores, M-16 and grenade fire.  A check of the kill zone revealed 4 VC KIA.

The following day, gunships from the 174th Aviation Company observed 5-6 VC/NVA with packs west of Da Son.  After the "Sharks" had engaged the enemy with machine gun and rocket fire, the 2nd platoon of Delta was inserted into the contact area.  Following a brief engagement, the men of "Dancing" Delta added 3 VC KIA to the 2 claimed by the gunships and captured 2 packs.

West of the Da Son Valley, Bravo Company was hit by small arms fire and several Chicom grenades.  The Legionnaires immediately returned the fire and after the enemy had been driven off a search of the area turned up 1 VC KIA with a rucksack and medical equipment.

Later the same day, the 3rd platoon of Bravo was moving into their NDP when they discovered 40-50 lbs. of unpolished rice in a steel container covered with a poncho.

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Silver Star For Gallantry In Action

Specialist Four Bobby J. McElwain distinguished himself by intrepid actions on 13 May 1970 while serving as a Medical Aidman attached to Co A 3d Battalion, 1st Infantry.  On that date, the company was conducting a sweep of an area near O Bau when it was assaulted by an unknown size enemy force.  During the ensuing battle, a friendly helicopter being used for the extraction of friendly casualties was shot down by the hostile fire.

With complete disregard for his personal safety, Specialist McElwain moved through the hostile barrage to remove the wounded men from the downed ship.  Braving a barrage of enemy rounds, he pulled an unconscious doorgunner from the aircraft and began treating the man's wounds.

When friendly gunships began strafing runs over enemy positions near the downed helicopter, Specialist McElwain secured a smoke grenade and marked his position to protect his wounded fellow soldier and himself.  He then moved the doorgunner to an extraction site and exposed himself to enemy fire while placing several other friendly casualties aboard an evacuation helicopter.

Through his timely and courageous action, Specialist McElwain was instrumental in saving the lives of three fellow soldiers and served as an inspiration to his entire unit.