ON THE FIRING LINE FROM THE LEGIONNAIRES' LEDGER FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1971.
Copy of publication provided by Dave Eckberg
Action in the 3d Bn, 1st Inf AO for the period 13-28 January:
Working in the mountains south of FSB 4-11, Recon Platoon had an ambush result in 1 VC dog KIA. The dog had negative pack or weapon and was not wearing any tags or I.D.
South of 4-11, the element was making its way up the side of a ridge when they spotted and engaged 2 VC/NVA in a clearing to their front. The enemy was able to evade in spite of 1LT Tinsley W. Rucker's (White Plains, N.Y.) attempt to block their escape with artillery fire as his men continued advancing up the hill. Sweeping the area, the platoon captured an AK-47, a Chicom grenade and 7 rucksacks containing various documents, 5 nylon parachutes, 4 pouches, 5 hammocks, 8 sets of green uniforms and a large quantity of food.
The abandoned foodstuff included 150 lbs of rice, 20 lbs of salt, 10 gal of fish oil, 20 lbs of noodles, 8 cans of ham, 4 cans of hamburger, 6 cans of soy sauce and 2 cans of condensed milk. Additional items which might be considered as part of an NVA SP unit were 5 lbs of tobacco, 1 lb of marajuana, 1 lb of heroin and 4 cans of bug juice.
Four days later, Recon was patrolling west of Nghia Hanh when they discovered an old training area for a company sized sapper unit. The elaborate complex covered an area about 200 meters in diameter and included 12 large bunkers with overhead cover made of logs and mud. There was also a mock up of a barbed wire defense made of vines. On one side of this mock perimeter were several small bunkers with holes for dropping satchel charges. Also found were several pratice Chicoms made from wood.
Searching an area east of 4-11, the 3rd platoon of Delta Company found and destroyed 7 one man fighting positions which were connected by tunnels and surrounded by a trench 3 feet deep.
Southwest of Nghia Hanh ten days later, the company checked an area near their laager position where a trip flare had been set off the previous night. The Legionnaires found 2/60 mm mortar rounds in good condition hidden in a bush less than 50 meters from their NDP.
While on patrol northwest of FSB 4-11, the 3rd platoon of Charlie Company uncovered and destroyed 2 well camouflaged bunkers with thick overhead cover. The positions were large enough to sleep 6-8 personnel and contained an assortment of pottery and cooking utensils.
Southwest of 4-11, the 1st platoon of Alpha Company found 56/.30 cal. rounds.
Dancing Delta Catch VC Fishing
While moving down the side of a mountain south of FSB 4-11, the 1st platoon of Delta Company observed 2 VC with weapons who appeared to be fishing in the river. Selecting two 4 man teams, 1LT John Kettlewell (Dayton, Ohio) directed one group led by SSG George C. Jackson (Troutdale, Ore.) to sweep downstream toward the enemy while the other element led by SGT Louis W. Alsobrooks (Cleveland, Texas) was to push up the river from the opposite direction.
SSG Jackson's team engaged the enemy personnel first and after a brief exchange of fire began pursuing them in a race along the blue, SGT Alsobrooks' men were hastening toward the scene when SP4 Lonnie Scipioni (Hibbing, Minn.) and PFC Raymond Berryman (Pomona, Calif.) caught sight of the 2 VC in flight. Scipioni and Berryman's well aimed rounds dropped one of the enemy who was then captured along with 1 M-1 carbine.
On the Right Track
Leading a reconnaissance squad from the 1st platoon of Bravo Company on a patrol west of Nghia Hanh, SSG William Kawaihalau (Kappa, Hawaii) kept off the enemy's path and as a consequence tripped up 3 NVA while scoring 1 KIA.
Cutting through the thick undergrowth of the canopied jungle, the recon element had progressed 200 meters up a draw when they hit a freshly cleared trail. With Kawaihalau ("Duke") walking point, the patrol remained some distance from the path while moving in the same direction.
"We had not travelled far before "Duke" indicated that there were 3 enemy personnel just ahead," related SGT Dennis Pemberton (Apache Junction, Ariz.). "Apparently, the enemy had known that they were being followed for they seemed to be backtracking when we hit them from the side. If we had continued moving down the trail, they probably would have been waiting for us."
Foresight and alertness not only averted a possible ambush but resulted in 1 NVA KIA and the capture of 1 AK-47 with magazine, a pack containing a 10 1b. sack of rice and a pistol belt with poncho.
On 19 January, CPT Michael H. Dang assisted by 1LT David J. Eckberg, SSG Nelson A. Boicourt and SP4 Kyle G. Baker treated 50 inhabitants of Tu My ville. Later that night and the following evening, a projectionist team from division showed 3 movies providing general entertainment as well as pro-GVN information to an enthusiastic audience of over 1000 people.
In a ville east of Quang Ngai on 22 January, CPT Dang, 1LT Eckberg, SP5 Joseph Baron, SP5 Robert Horridge and SP4 Gary C. Kukenbrod treated 75 people.
On 2 February, 40 children at the Protestant Orphanage in Duc Pho were treated by battalion personnel. The following day, 45 villagers at Tu My and 65 children at Duc Pho's Catholic Orphanage received medical attention.
In a combined effort at Tu Thanh east of Quang Ngai on 5 February, CPT Dang, SSG Boicourt, SP5 Baron, and PFC Craig Hickok assisted by 3 Regional Development nurses treated over 250 people. At the same time, an immunization team from Tu Nghia vaccinated 600 residents. During the latter part of the Medcap, a drama team injected all those present with their own prescription of sounds and humor. Special acknowledgement should go to Tu Nghia District MACV personnel who helped to co-ordinate the services and drivers SP4 Robert Coapman and SP4 Troy Hood who managed to keep their vehicles intact in spite of the road. The village chief indicated his appreciation by providing lunch for the entertainers, medical personnel and advisors.