Screaming Eagles Through Time
Trung Luong

By Col. (Ret.) Tom Furgeson, Commanding Officer A/2/327th at Trung Luong


IRAQI FREEDOM | Heroes of War | Lest We Forget | Our Troops | Enduring Freedom | W.W.II | Vietnam | Vietnam Campaigns | Vietnam Diary | Medal of Honor | Desert Storm | Friends | Veteran Stories | Michigan Casualties | Can You Help? | Links

18 Jun 66

Late in the afternoon, I was ordered to the Battalion CP for a warning order. It seemed that a U.S. Marine Corps Regimental Landing Team was going ashore for a training exercise North of Tuy An, (Map Sheet 6835 IV, Series L7014, coordinates 100790). Our Battalion was to go into an area Southwest of their AO to see what they might flush out. It was also noted that the Special Forces Camp at Dong Tre (coordinates 900700) had been hit fairly hard the previous night and that "maybe" several NVA units with main force back up were in the area. No information received in that warning order indicated that our Battalion (-) could not handle the impending operation. In fact, I went back and briefed the platoon leaders on the operation and requested that no one harass the Marines when and if we run into them. The Company immediately set about preparing for this operation by briefing on LZs, formations to be used and order of movement. The Senior Aidman, Sp5 Cotton, checked those individuals that most likely would not be able to accompany the unit on this operation. Due to their medical conditions, two individuals specifically come to mind.Lt. Roberts, Platoon Leader, and Sp4 Salazar, Machine-gunner. During the evening, helicopter chalks were determined, and the order of movement into the LZ was established. The command group with FO party would land immediately behind the lead Platoon and the FO's Recon Sgt was to go in with the lead Platoon. Three LZs were picked out and the terrain studied by all. The primary LZ was Hill 96 (coordinates 023672) <No. 1 on map>, and the touch down time was 1230 hours 19 Jun 66. We knew the temperature during this time would be around 100 deg. F and water was of the essence. Therefore, salt tablets and at least 3 quarts of water per man was established. Double basic load for all weapons systems was the norm and four grenades per individual would be carried. Morale and spirits were high and all were ordered to get a good nights sleep. Major Hinkle and I would fly out to the Marine Corps CP on board a helicopter flattop early on 19 Jun to receive a final update on their situation and any additional intelligence they might have.

19 Jun 66

Early in the morning, Major Hinkle, S-3, and I flew to the Marine Corps CP. I can remember the sun was just coming up and it was a beautiful morning as the sun shown across the South China Sea. As normal for that area, it was hot and humid. Once aboard the carrier we were briefed, and established boundaries and no-fire lines in the event our units might run into each other or the enemy. I was not concerned and felt very confident that our Battalion could handle anything in our area of operation. The Marine units were just to the North of us and could reinforce our Battalion if necessary. Little did I know that the Marines were not prepared to do so. Upon completion of the briefing and coordination, Major Hinkle and I returned to Tuy Hoa base and went our separate ways. He to Battalion TOC and I to the Company. C Company was lined up on the PZ as we arrived, therefore there was plenty of time to prepare A Company for its deployment. Everything was checked and I felt very confident that all would go well. All leaders went over procedures on how we would handle a "hot LZ." However, we did not expect that because we were to land on the highest piece of terrain around. We did discuss routes of march to the North and objectives to be achieved by each Platoon. There was concern about the dust kicked up by approaching helicopters on the sandy PZ and how we would protect our weapons from this problem. Each Platoon leader had his own solution, therefore, I left it up to them to make that decisionThe lead Platoon though, was to ensure no weapon would malfunction because of dust, therefore their weapons were covered in plastic bags until airborne. This was never really a problem during my two+ tours in VN. Those GI s would find a way to make their weapons work and the officers and NCOs continually checked their men and equipment to avoid this problem.

At approximately 1200 hours A Company lifted off for our assault LZ. The flight was uneventful and the artillery prep was on target; the gun ships made gun runs; and the door gunners on each ship put down fire suppression. The LZ was cold, however, all the fire support set the dry grass on fire and that added to the heat of the day. Once all Platoons were on the ground, combat formations were established and we moved quickly off the burning LZ. LTC Wasco, Battalion Commander, and Major Hinkle were with the Company but not with my command group. The heat was tremendous and we lost several men to this element, however, no one was medevaced. The individuals were doused with water from a stream and sent on their way. Throughout the afternoon, the Company moved to the North clearing the area. There was no contact with the enemy forces during this time. Also, I did not want to move too fast due to the heat and a sixth sense everything seemed to be too easy. There were reports from our Platoon leaders of fire fights to the West where C Company had landed. Later the Battalion CO and S-3 left our unit to check on C Company. The more we monitored the communication between Battalion and C Company, the more concerned we became.

Our unit moved through some isolated villages and came across a school in Dinh-Phong (coordinates 020698) <No. 2 on map>. In one of the classrooms there was a blackboard with drawings on it, and it seemed to be being used to plan defensive actions for the enemy. Evidently our operation had not been anticipated and everyone had left in a hurry and the blackboard was not erased. At the time it meant nothing, but looking back, the drawings were of a village and how it would be defended (possibly Trung-Luong). With the continuing fire fights to the West in C Company's AO, and no break in contact, a piece of high ground picked and a perimeter defense was established. All Platoon leaders were ordered to the Company CP. We had been monitoring Battalion transmissions with C Company for some time and knew this was a determined resistance against them. Based upon this information only two ambushes, in Platoon size units, would be sent out that evening after dark. Our three units, the two ambush platoons and the Company CP with weapons platoon and a rifle platoon would be mutually supporting. Each ambush platoon was to be prepared to return to the Company CP immediately after any contact.

After dark the ambush platoons left the Company perimeter and headed for their assigned sites. We watched and monitored C Company's activities all night long, realizing they were in trouble. Shortly after midnight, 1st platoon sprung their ambush and killed several clean cut NVA. Once their ambush was sprung the other platoon was ordered back to the Company perimeter. The ambush platoon was ordered to remain in position and did not return until daybreak. All night long the XO, John Towers, and I discussed C Company's situation and what could be done about it. We both knew our Company would be ordered to attack in the morning and link up with them. We discussed all possible routes of advance with those Platoon leaders and Platoon Sgts in the Company perimeter. Spooky, Puff the Magic Dragon, artillery and small arms fire went on all night long..I had not experienced this before. It was normally hit and run..this was determined resistance. So ended 19 Jun with A Company, 2 Battalion, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

20 Jun 66

Throughout the early morning hours we continued to monitor the Battalion Command Net and attempted to make something out of what was going on with C Company. At daybreak the 1st Platoon returned and was debriefed. The Platoon had set up in ambush along a North South trail (coordinates 016695) <No. 3 on map> expecting the enemy to come from either of those two directions. What the Platoon did not know was that there was an East West trail which lead directly into the center of their ambush position and terminated on the NS trail forming a T. That's the way the NVA came. Neither end of the ambush knew the enemy was there until the firing broke out. One NVA jumped on Sp4 Housley's back saying "how do I get the hell out of here!" or words to that effect, in perfect English. Several enemy got away, but there were also several who didn't, the bodies, were searched and there were no documents or other information that might be of use to the S-2. Immediately after "Stand To," a warning order was issued, to be prepared to move West and link up with C Company, who by this time must be exhausted due to all of the fighting that had been going on for some 18 hours. Lt. Eddy's 2d Platoon was selected to be the lead element. Order of march was 2d Platoon, Command group, 3d Platoon, Weapons Platoon and 1st Platoon. The straight line distance between our two companies was a little over 4 klicks.
At 0800 hours, just as expected, A Company received orders to move to the West and link up with C Company as soon as possible. I requested from the FO the location of the closest artillery and was told our DS artillery position was located at the cross roads. (Intersection of Routes 1 & 68, coordinates 072712) {Please note the terms used are descriptions of locations we all knew} I also asked the FO what other fire support could be expected. I just was not too satisfied with the Lt. probably because he was new and we had not worked together that long. Therefore I depended almost entirely on the Recon Sgt. Sp4 Pardick. He was good and I could always depend upon him being right there with me during the thick of it. The first order of business was water. 1st Platoon Sgt Calvert stated that there was water in the creek they had crossed that morning on their return. At 0830 hours we move to the creek and the Company provided security as each platoon filled their canteens. Even at this early hour the heat was tremendous. The Company continued West to the finger just North of hill 48, (coordinates 011699) <No. 4 on map>which was about 2 klicks East of C Company. Since C Company was only receiving sporadic fire at this time we established a company perimeter. 1st and 3d Platoons were to cover 2d Platoon as it crossed the 500+ meters of open area to Trung Luong (2) <No. 5 on map>. Lt. Eddy crossed without any problem and called back and said there was plenty of fresh water in the well at the village entrance. He was ordered to move further into the village and prepare for the remainder of the company to cross the open area and join him.
Upon our arrival, there had still not been any contact. Lt. Eddy was ordered to proceed and clean out the remainder of the village. Each platoon would fill their canteens, then form up and follow. The village appeared deserted and did not look like it had been inhabited for some time. The width of the village would only require one platoon on line to accomplish this mission. 2d Platoon moved out and 1st Platoon finished watering down and prepared to move out on the right when all hell broke loose. The automatic weapons fire was tremendous. The command group immediately moved forward as the battle grew in intensity. This was no hit and run action, we were in among them and they among us. It was close quarter fighting with rifles, pistols and grenades. Lt. Towers immediately set up a position for collecting wounded and dead as well as requesting resupply of ammunition, especially grenades, as soon as possible. Lt Eddy was one of the first to go down. Even without officers as leaders the NCOs and privates took over and we were able to dominate the fight. Dead and wounded were evacuated and resupplies arrived quickly. As the battle continued the command post was set up in a concrete house close to the front on the left flank of the Company. There we were Noonan, Hazeltine [Battalion and Company RTOs], the FO Lt., Pardick and me. As I was laying there sending in a situation report, pieces of concrete wall 3-4 feet in diameter came flying off walls as the rounds penetrated. This was heavy. The enemy was using AA weapons in direct fire against us. Someone said "let's get the hell out of here!" As we ran out the back door, an M-60 LMG open up right over our heads and we heard and saw an NVA body and an SKS rifle come crashing down from the roof of the building we were just in. Evidently an enemy soldier had been placed on the roof in a cut out chimney, and was picking off our men as they advanced passed him. (I remember thinking this is just like the cowboy movies I use to see in the local theater.) The reports coming in from the platoons were not encouraging, but everyone was doing his job and we were advancing slowly. I did hear several calls for "medic!" and just then Sp5 Cotton, our senior aidman, ran by me. I tried to grab him and yelled "no!" because the trail directly in front of us was zeroed in with enemy machinegun fire. He made it only to be killed shortly thereafter.
The command group made its way around and settled in for a breather near a pig pen. I tried to put together, in my mind, our positions and tried to get some movement out of the platoons. By this time we had been fighting about an hour and a half and exhaustion was setting in. Somebody had to do something and get things moving again. I heard someone out in front of us yell "medic!" and that's when I said to myself "do it!" and get the men moving. I ran towards the enemy positions and all hell broke loose around me. I can still feel the impact of the rounds hitting around my feet and whipping past my body as I ran that 20-30 meters. I dove behind a log and was up and running again for another 20-30 meters and dove next to a hedgerow and yelled "where the hell are you?!" the trooper called back; he was only about 10 meters from me on the other side of the hedgerow. I asked him how bad he was hit and he said that he was hit in the head but could crawl. I told him to crawl to me and I'd help him back. Once I saw the wound I cursed him, because even though he was bleeding from the head he had only been scratched by a grenade fragment and could easily move without assistance and did not need a medic. I left him there and told him to move to the rear and I continued crawling along the hedgerow. All of sudden I saw a barrel of an AK-47 poke through and start firing into the left flank of 1st Platoon in the creek bed. I was close enough to feel the concussion from the weapon as the enemy soldier fired it. It seemed like I stayed there for hours watching the barrel poke through the hedgerow, fire a magazine, and then be pulled back to reload. I also heard Vietnamese talking right next to me as this was going on. I got a grenade, pulled the pin waited until the weapon was pulled back and I just rolled the grenade through the opening in the hedgerow. It felt like it went off right next to me, which it did. [To this day, I don't know whether or not I cooked the grenade off.I was just too scared and was reacting to each situation as I was taught.] There was moaning and crying from several enemy soldiers but I did not stick around to see what damage had been done.
I crawled into the creek bed on the left flank of 1st Platoon. SSG Calvert and SGT Carter were standing at a bend in the creek bed and one of them said, "Where the hell did you come from?" I asked SSG Calvert his situation and was informed he had a number of wounded and dead but didn't know how many. He was also very low on ammunition and grenades. [This is something many individuals need to know. Grenade usage was enormous because no one could see the enemy and also due to the close quarter of the combat. So instead of shooting your weapon you lob a grenade. Lucky for us most of the enemy's grenades were duds or we would have had many more casualties.] SSG Calvert was ordered to be prepared to withdraw when the order was given and make certain he had a complete accountability of all the men in his platoon. By this time, I did not know how long I had been out of contact with the Battalion and the Company. The RTOs did not accompany me on this excursion. I had to find the RTOs and report to Battalion. I soon found Sp4 Pardick, the RTO for the FO, but did not see the FO. Sp4 Pardick said the RTOs were crawling in the direction I had initially gone. He also added it was a good thing we moved when we did because it wasn't too long after we left, that an RPG round landed right on top of that position. I could not see Noonan or Hazeltine. I yelled for them to get their asses back to me, they heard me and were back within minutes. They too had found the wounded GI who I had helped and he was reunited with his unit.
Due to the situation it was decided to request permission to withdraw to some high ground near Hill 48, which we had crossed earlier in the morning. Weapons Platoon was ordered to move back to the finger, secure that position for the remainder of the Company, which would follow. All three platoon were now committed and had suffered casualties. Battalion was called requesting permission to withdraw to the finger and reduce the battle area by artillery and air strikes. Permission was granted. The command group went back to the resupply point and found Lt. Towers wounded but still functioning. Resupplies of ammunition had been brought in and all wounded and dead had been evacuated. [As I look back, the enemy saw where the medevacs and resupply choppers were landing. On our second and third attacks they had the LZ zeroed in, causing us great difficulty in resupplying our unit and medevacing the dead and wounded.] Another problem we encountered was the absence of rifle slings in one platoon. It seems that the platoon leader decided that the slings would make noise on ambushes and during movement therefore he ordered them removed prior to departure. [Did you ever try to carry or drag a wounded man on an improvised stretcher and four to six rifles from other wounded at the same time without slings? It is impossible. During future operations all weapons had slings.] By the time the order was given to withdraw, both the NVA and we were exhausted. The battle had died down to just a few pop shots at each other and a grenade here and a grenade there. Lt. Towers accompanied us back to the finger that Weapons Platoon had secured. All ammunition was carried back also. The equipment that could not be carried was burned and rendered useless to the enemy. Yes, we licked our wounds but the morale was still fairly high. We had been hit but we were far from being knocked down. Time 1230 hours.

20 Jun 66
1230-1400 Hours

The Company consolidated its defensive positions on the finger just North of Hill 48 and prepared for any eventuality. Artillery was first to be used extensively and the FO worked the fire missions from East to West through the village and then back again. Also air strikes were requested and arrived approximately 1300 hours. We placed an orange panel in front of our positions and brought the aircraft in, right over our heads, this we never did again. All the bombs and napalm landed right on target however these aircraft were F-100s and when they strafed all the empty shell casings fly over-board. These casing can kill individuals on the ground once ejected. As the 20mm casing came down we all took cover, however one of the men did get hit in the headlucky for him he had his helmet on and did not sustain any injuries. [Never again did we bring close air support perpendicular to our lines, unless absolutely necessary. They were always brought in parallel. There is also a possibility of an early release of a bomb or napalm canisterthis could be catastrophic.]

As these airstrikes were going on for our Company, C Company could not use the artillery positioned at the crossroads because the fighters had to fly through the gun-target line. The fighters were vectored in on a Southeast to Northwest line. After the first airstrike the FAC was instructed to vector all future airstrikes in from South to North for the remainder of the battle. As these airstrikes were going on reinforcements arrived. Lt. Bud Roberts returned to command his platoon; Lt. Abe Martin, who was about to DEROS, volunteered to come back out and take over his old platoon. LTC Wasco ordered Lt. Dan Hill, Assistant S-1 out also. As these officers and men arrived they were assigned to each platoon based upon platoon strength. This is when SSgt Synder, acting Platoon Sgt ordered PFC Kranig to take over his squad in the platoon. When PFC Kranig asked where his squad was Synder pointed to two new men that had just arrived and said, "That's your squad and I don't even want to know their names because they will be dead by tomorrow morning!" This comment scared the hell out of the two men and Kranig.

20 Jun 66
1410 Hours

There was some discussion with the Battalion Commander as to what the next move would be. We had to get through to C Company. B Company had just returned from an operation in the Dak To area and was about to land on Hill 258 shortly, and it was felt that this would divert what was left of the enemy in our sector. Therefore we attacked a second time. The air strikes and artillery had a fairly devastating effect on the enemy's morale, with all the napalm that had been dropped, we knew the fresh water supplies in the wells and creek had been contaminated and could not be used by the enemy, nor us. What I did not know was what lay beyond the village between Trung Luong [2] and C Company. But we did know that a Brigade of the 1st Cav had been alerted and was coming in to reinforce us. In fact their Brigade Commander Col Hal Moore had already assumed command of this operation. It was relayed over the radio from him to "get moving, it was only a squad holding you up!" This did not set too well with the Company when the word spread. The order was given to drop all unnecessary equipment, leave it with Weapons Platoon, and fill all canteens. Weapons Platoon was ordered to give up all canteens to the assaulting platoons and to request all the HE ammunition they could get their hands on to support this attack. If B or C Company took priority over our Company for artillery support we would at least have some indirect fire support from our own mortars. Weapons Platoon was also order to be prepared to defend the current position, independent of the rest of the Company, when we broke through to C Company. Close fire support for the lead platoon, which was Third Platoon, was requested. Command group followed, with First Platoon and Second Platoon bringing up the rear.

 We used what artillery was available as a rolling barrage ahead of Third Platoon, and it was brought in to within 75-100 meters of our advance. However, the artillery was diverted due to unexpected enemy contact on Hill 258 by B Company. Therefore the Weapons platoon was called into immediate action and the FO was told to inform the Battalion Fire Direction Officer, Cpt Jerry Grandru, of the gun-target line and of the maximum ordinate of their fire. We also informed the FAC to cover all bases. As we entered the village there were fires burning everywhere and as anticipated, all water supplies were contaminated. Lt. Abe Martin and Lt. Marvin Roberts had taken over their old platoons, 3d and 1st respectively, which gave the men confidence because they had all served together and knew one another. Lt. Hill also joined the unit from the S-1 staff and was given the 2d platoon as reserve. We were able to push past the advance made earlier in the day. That is when all hell broke loose again. It was close combat but the men kept moving forward. Casualties again started mounting Lt. Martin was down and his RTO Comazzi was made Platoon Leader due to the fact that he had the radio and could direct the remainder of the Third Platoon. Lt. Robert's First Platoon was on the right flank and was stopped. The left flank was able to keep moving therefore we would keep the pressure up on that side.

At this time Sp4 Moore brought two prisoners through the CP. They were in sorry condition, all they had on was a string around their waist, their clothes had been mostly burned off, all hair had been singed off and they were oozing lymph. They were immediately taken to the medical evacuation collection point being run by 1st Sgt Rader. It was learned later that they died before they could be evacuated due to their extensive burns. The fighting kept on for it seems like hours. We were stopped on the edge of a clearing about two thirds of the way through the village. The NVA on the West side of the clearing and A Company on the East, just slugging it out. I advanced along the Southern flank of the company and found a good position to bring in airstrikes which were there in short order. 1st and 3d Platoons popped smoke, it was identified by the FAC, and in came the fighters. My Battalion RTO Sp4 Noonan yelled to me that the first strike was too close and to move it out. My response was, "You don't like the way I bring in air strikes?" His response was, "Hell no, move it out!" That is when I threw the hand set at him and said, "OK, then you call them in!" Noonan said, "How do I do it?".and I said, "just talk to the FAC and the Platoons." Noonan did an excellent job and brought it in real close as I coordinated with the two lead platoons. I later told him he had to learn sometime, because if anything happened to me he was the individual everyone would rely on for supporting fires. "OJT" as I put it.

It was about 1500 hours, the firing had died down considerably and I moved back to the collection point to discuss their situation over with 1st Sgt Rader. When we arrived it was noted they were placing the dead on the medevacs while there were still wounded lying around. The order was given to off load the dead immediately and to load the wounded ASAP, which was done and the dead were covered with ponchos. Once the medevacs had left I turned to see how 1st Sgt Rader was making out, Lt Martin was leaning against a tree all shot up [He returned to the States and was married in a body cast], Sgt Biliowski looked up at me, with a crease across his skull, tried to say something, gasped and died, Montgomery and Kranig were both laying there hit as were several others. I left and went over to where no one could see me and vomited because I could see Biliowski's brains hanging out. When I turned around enemy machinegun fire was completely raking the PZ and the enemy seemed to have it zeroed in. I moved back down the South flank of the Company and came upon Sgt Synder from 3d Platoon. At that moment some bushes, from across the clearing moved and I said, "That bush is moving!" Synder said, "Shit sir all those bushes are moving. I've been picking them off one by one." Just then to our South four enemy soldiers popped up from an irrigation ditch and started firing. We immediately took cover behind a concrete wall but could tell they were not firing at us because the crack of the rounds coming at you is very distinct. I looked over the wall, saw that they were firing at an incoming medevac. I took careful aim at the machine gunner and fired. Since I carried all tracers, and my weapon was not zeroed, I saw my round go about five feet over his head. I readjusted my sighting and the second round missed but the third hit him in the side of the face. It made a sucking noise just like when you hit a deer, out hunting. His assistant gunner tried to take over and I got him with the next round. I was able to hit the other two and the firing stopped. The medevacs and resupply choppers were able to come and go for the remainder of the day without incident.

By this time a PFC was leading 3d Platoon only because he had the radio on his back; we had a number of unknown wounded and dead; Lt. Roberts still had 1st Platoon fighting; Lt. Hill, had what was left of 2d Platoon to the rear where they were assisting in loading the medevacs. I received word that the Company was taking fire from the rear. Lt. Hill was order to cease assisting the medevac loading and clear the rear area. It was just in the nick of time. 2d Platoon caught the enemy in the creek bed trying to encircle the Company and cut us off from the East. They killed about a dozen and captured seven, most were wounded. They captured one heavy machinegun and several other crew served weapons. I started pulling what was left of 1st and 3d Platoons back and made certain they had all their men with them as they did so. As in the first attack the firing died down and only an occasional burst of machinegun fire or grenade explosion could be heard. The stench of burned flesh hovered over the battlefield. It is a smell one never forgets.

About 1730 a call was placed to the Battalion Commander requesting permission to withdraw to the position held by Weapons Platoon, "Wild Gypsy" approved. A Company conducted an orderly withdrawal, under the cover of darkness, carrying several of our dead with us. We moved into a defensive position, with Weapons Platoon, on the finger just North of Hill 48. TIME: 1845 HOURS. The dead were evacuated from this position later the night of 20 Jun. As the Medevac chopper came in I said to 1st Sgt Rader, "those guys have done a fantastic job for us, [this crew had lost three choppers and one wounded to enemy fire taking our wounded out that day], I wish there was something we could do for them." 1st Sgt Rader ran over to the side of the chopper as it was being loaded and handed the pilot something. Later he told me that he had given them some "scrip" and told the pilot to buy the entire crew a drink when they got back to Tuy Hoa.

Throughout the night there were numerous flash lights and signal lights on the hills to the South of the valley, from the village, and lines of lights moving South out of Trung Luong (2); fires burned; flares were continuous over all three companies. Everyone was completely exhausted, both the enemy and us. We continuously fired artillery at these targets. The lights would go out for a period of time and right back on again, almost as if they were tantalizing us. There were several discussions with the Battalion Commander about the battle and how A Company fared. It was requested that if we have to go back into the village, we make it a night attack. In fact this was insisted upon. We were at an advantage at night and they at a disadvantage. We had starlight scopes, and they didn't. By attacking at night we would be able to identify their firing positions. The Company was confident we could do it. All the alternatives had been thought over and this seemed to be the best bet. We had the advantage and we could take the night away from the enemy. I am still convinced today, that our Company could have successfully accomplished that night attack! Those men were, beyond a doubt, the best men I have ever served or been with. They would have done it!!! Throughout the night there were several attacks on the defensive position but nothing in earnest..automatic weapons and grenades.

21 Jun 66
0630-1000 Hours

Throughout the early morning there was sporadic fire from the village and several enemy soldiers were observed moving around and were immediately brought under fire. I felt that I would just like to find a well and douse myself with water. I did a very stupid thing at this point, and informed Lt. Roberts to remain at the CP while I found a well. There were several huts on the East side of our position which I headed for and found a clear well about 50 meters from the perimeter. My left leg had a burning sensation just below the knee. Upon examining I noticed two bullet holes trough my trousers. Both the trousers and my leg were caked with dried blood. Evidently I had been grazed the previous morning from enemy small arms fire and didn't realize it. As I was washing down I saw two brown clad figures with weapons walking on a trail towards me. We all saw each other at the same time and I grabbed my rifle but they immediately turned and ran before I could fire. Believe me, I stopped everything and ran back to the perimeter. I never went anywhere after that incident without someone with me for security.

Approximately 0930 hours Sp4 Salazar and about a dozen walking wounded from the Company arrived and hopped off the two choppers. I said to 1st Sgt Rader, "What the hell is he (Salazar) doing here, he can hardly walk?" Sp4 Salazar's comment to me was, "Sir my platoon needs me, where are they?" Sp4 Salazar had gone into a GP Medium tent in the rear where all the dead were being brought and saw our senior aid man, Sp5 Cotton's bodyalso his machinegun had been evacuated with another wounded man. That is when he got mad and rounded up all the walking wounded from A Company. He said something to the effect that, "our comrades are dying out there and they need our help, now let's go!" to the men and they loaded on two choppers and returned to duty. When I saw Salazar and the other men get off the choppers, I knew A Company had been welded into a unit where we were all one. It wasn't for duty, honor, country, it was for each other and our Companywe would never let each other down! These men were my life! I'm so proud of them. They set the standards, not I! I only hope and pray in some small way I measured up to what they expected in a leaderand there was no way I could let them down. I'm a religious man and I prayed every night, "Lord, please, may I not make an ignorant decision that costs a man his life." To this day I know that prayer is what sustained me during very trying times.

Shortly after Sp4 Salazar arrived, approximately 30 reinforcements arrived in the way of officers and rear echelon soldiers, to include a MACV Lt. Lt. Scaglioni was just standing around in the rear and asked Col Wasco if there was anything he could do to help. Before he knew it he was on a chopper and in command of 3d Platoon and I later had to explain to his commanding officer why he was out there. He was to stay with A Company through the remainder of the battle and did an outstanding job. We were also blessed to have the arrival of the two chaplains, Maj (Father) Kovacic and Captain Heim. Father Kovacic was to spend the remainder of the battle with A Company and Chaplain Heim spent several hours with A Company and then on to C Company. Each one of these combat Chaplains were fearless in the face of enemy fire. They administered first aid to the wounded, last rites to the dead and continuously assisted in loading the medevacs with the dead and wounded, sometimes under intense enemy weapons fire. This behavior demonstrates the comradeship that the entire 1st Brigade had, something only those who have experienced it would understand.

Around 1000 hours air strikes were requested to be laid on the village for 1100 hours. We knew that we would be ordered to attack again. At 1045 hours Col Wasco ordered us back in. When asked for permission to wait for the air strikes Col Wasco said A Company was to attack immediately and that the air strikes had been diverted. I was a little ticked but complied with the order. (Later I was to find out Wasco had not diverted the air strikes but Col Moore of the 1st Cav had.) This was to be a coordinated attack by A Company, C Company and several companies from the 1st Cav. A Company was to attack West along the creek bed and C Company was to attack East along the creek bed with one platoon. The Cav units were to make an air assaults North of A & C Companies of the 2/327th and assault South and link up with these companies.

A Company jumped off as scheduled at 1100 hours and proceeded along the same route as in the previous two attacks. A heavy rolling barrage was laid down about 50 meters in front of 1st Platoon as we advanced. Just prior to entering the village the barrage was shut down and A1E's came to our aid. The flight of four pounded the village with napalm and 250 pound bombs for about 15-20 minutes then strafed it for about another 10 minutes. Once the air strike was over the barrage began again and the Company advance continued with 1st Platoon on the right flank, 3d Platoon on the left flank and Lt. Hill's 2d Platoon in reserve. Weapons Platoon remained in our night defensive position just north of Hill 48 where they could observe our advance and provide necessary fire support as needed. This they were able to do very effectively under the leadership of MSGT Sample, Platoon Leader. They were also ordered to be prepared to defend their location as required without assistance from the Company. As we entered the village 10-12 NVA came staggering towards 1st Platoon waving a white flag wanting to surrender. They were in neat khaki uniforms with the exception of 3 who were burned and were begging for water. As before, all the water was contaminated and evidently they had been without water for some time. The temperature was 100+ degrees and we too needed all the water we could carry, therefore, the POWs were ushered to the rear, and on to Weapons Platoon.

1st Platoon made fairly decent progress along the creek bed and 3d Platoon was making very good progress on the left flank. Lt. Roberts was on the right flank and came under automatic weapons and MG fire about half way through the village. By this time the artillery had been shut down because the platoon from C Company was attacking East and both of our units were on the gun target line and in close proximity to each other. We were just too close to bring the supporting artillery fires in between us therefore our 81mm mortars were used..very sparingly. There was still no word on the 1st Cav movements, which was of concerned. I moved to Lt. Roberts' position and asked for an up date on his situation and he was satisfied the 1st Platoon was progressing satisfactorily. As I started to head back to the RTOs and medical evacuation point we were attacked by enemy gunners using B-40 rocket launchers. Several rounds landed short of us and several overshot us and exploded on the buildings behind us. It just seemed that the NVA were shooting everything they had in their arsenal at us. I can remember seeing an NVA come out of a hedgerow and saying to myself in slow motion, "There is an NVA soldier, what is he doing, he has an RPG, he's going to shoot that RPG, he is going to shoot it at us!" You could see that rocket coming and we all scattered. Lt. Roberts took off and so did I. That round landed right near where we were and lucky for me my rucksack took up most of the shrapnel and I was hit by a several pieces in the back of my left leg and left elbow. It didn't hurt that much but it sure burned. When the medic Sp4 Amya took some of the shrapnel out later, he asked me, "how come I got hit in the back?" I told him I was running like a son-of-a-gun to try to get away.

At approximately 1300 hours I looked out across the open field between our positions and those of Weapons Platoon, and what did I see, but one dumb individual just walking along towards us. Little did he realize that that field had been under intense automatic weapons and MG fire the previous day and all morning. Next thing I knew he was laying down beside me reporting in"Lt. Dorsey reporting for duty sir!" he said. I asked what rank he was and he said 1st Lt., I told him he was second in command, XO, and immediately ordered him to set up a collection point to evacuate the dead and wounded and bring in ammunition and water. He looked at me and wondered why, at which point Sp4 Masters came running by saying, "I'm going home, I'm going home!" as he was holding his mangled hand. I pulled him to the ground and told him to get his ass down or he wouldn't make it home. Upon observing this, Lt. Dorsey went about his duties with an efficiency of a veteran combat soldier..and this was only his first 2 or 3 hours with the unit..he had just reported into the battalion that morning from CONUS. Lt. Dorsey was to be my closest comrade and friend for the remainder of my command, and life. He was and is a true professional officer. I checked the collection point shortly thereafter and again noticed that dead were being loaded as wounded were coming in therefore Lt. Dorsey ordered the dead removed and the wounded placed on immediately.

As the medevac took off another chopper was inbound. I started for the lead platoons, before I could get too far I saw that "Wild Gypsy" had landed and another Col was with him, Col Moore, 1st Cav. He immediately said cover the dead and chewed out the XO and 1st Sgt, who did not have a chance to cover them as we always did. I briefed Col Moore on the situation, and gave him my assessment of what A Company was up against. My overall assessment was that the force is at least of regimental size. His only comment to me was, "get moving that's only a reinforced squad holding you up!" My response was, "that's the toughest fucking squad I've ever run into." With that off my chest I immediately turned and left without say anything more. In so many words he did not trust my judgement, therefore I shouldn't be in command.

Time approximately 1430 hours. I started for the 3d Platoon with the command group. By this time 2d Platoon had been put on line in the center. 3d on the left flank, 2d in the center and 1st on the right flank. The Company had advanced beyond the point we had advanced to in the second attack. As I made my way behind 2d Platoon mortar rounds started raining down on us and we immediately took cover in a small drainage ditch. I looked at the soldier lying next to me and asking his name as we were hugging the ground. His name was Sp4 Mulae, battalion legal clerk. He was from Rochester, NY, which was only 30 miles from my hometown. Funny, we just discussed upstate NY as the mortar rounds were coming in. One round came in real close and landed near or on the back of another soldier. It blew him into the air and spun him around in slow motion, just like a rag doll. I reached up to pull him in and his right arm came off. He had been killed instantly. One thing I remember very vividly is the fact that the incoming rounds did not make any sound. All of a sudden there is a deafening explosion. Very, very terrifying. The incoming barrage lasted about 15-20 minutes, but it seemed like several hours. As I was looking around I happened to pick up an incoming round and got the general direction it had come from. I quickly got my compass and shot an azimuth. Since gunships were in the area the azimuth was furnished them and they flew along it and reportedly found the mortar site and destroyed it. Finally the barrage ceased and we moved on to 3d Platoon. We again came upon Sgt Synder on the very left flank of the Company with what was left one of his platoon. Due to casualties, he had been acting Platoon Sgt since the first attack. We discussed the situation and did not fire to the West unless targets could be identified because we thought C Company would be pushing through at any time. We did not know, at that time, that the platoon from C Company had withdrawn back to their perimeter with heavy casualties.

Again, as the day before, to the South, as a medevac came in, LMG and automatic weapons fire was directed at the aircraft from along a road bed this time. SGT Synder and I suppressed this fire killing or wounding several NVA. Noonan the Company [Bn RTO] directed the Gunships, which were in the area, at additional enemy positions and they made several passes strafing and rocketing them. Lt. Roberts called and said that he was being attacked along the creek bed by an unknown enemy force using cows and water buffalos as cover. Within 10-15 minutes he notified me that his Platoon had sustained some casualties from small arms and B-40 rounds, but, had turned the enemy back killing an unknown number. 2d Platoon had taken the brunt of the mortar attack and suffered more casualties. By this time Lt. Dorsey had been placed in command of the 2d Platoon due to Lt. Hill's evacuation for heat prostration before the Company's attack that morning. 3d Platoon was depleted but was better off than the other two. So here was the situation at about 1630 hours or one hour before dark: In the village we numbered approximately 35 officers and enlisted men; Lt. Roberts had 1st Platoon and wounded; Lt. Dorsey had 2d Platoon; Lt. Scaglioni had 3d Platoon; 1st SGT Rader was in command of the resupply and medical evacuation point; MSGT Sample commanded Weapons Platoon. A Company had done what was asked of them and we held our positions. I ordered a consolidation and pulled into a tight perimeter around the medical evacuation point, we were not going to pull back to the Weapons Platoon again. We would remain until relieved by the 1st Cav. A resupply of ammunition and water had been delivered however there were still several bodies that had to be evacuated. This was done shortly after dark. Fires were burning everywhere and the stench of death and cordite was all consuming. All the platoon leaders were called together and told we would not move, so dig in and be prepared to defend your current positions.

The next 2-3 hours we received small arms and automatic weapons fire and some grenades however we did not respond and give away our exact locations. About 2200 hours Weapons Platoon called and said they had made contact with the 1st Cav and that the company commander wanted to talk to me. I explained the situation and he then decided to move his unit to our position. Once he arrived we discussed the defense and decided the best possible action was to move back to the high ground North of Hill 48, which was secured by our Weapons Platoon. This we did. The 1st Cav Company Commander and I discussed our defensive posture. A Company assumed a portion of the perimeter defense as did the 1st Cav Company. Date of rank was in favor of the 1st Cav Company Commander therefore he was the commander of the defensive position and I would defer to him. Throughout the night there was sporadic firing and minor probing but nothing of any significance. Time 2330 hours.

22 Jun 66
0500 Hours

We were awaked by the sounds of heavy contact in the direction of C Company and the firing kept up for some time. In monitoring the battalion frequency it was learned that C Company was being attacked by an enemy force of undetermined strength. This battle raged for about one hour before everything fell silent. Approximately 0630 we received orders to attack to the South along the high ground as the 1st Cav. attacked through the village towards C Company. Throughout the next several hours our units attacked West to affect a linkup. By 1000 hours the 1st Cav had linked up with C Company. A Company, moving along the high ground to the South, had not made any contact with the enemy. Finally at 1030 hours A Company was ordered to the valley floor for extraction back to Tuy Hoa. This was accomplished without incident.

22 Jun 66
1100-1700 Hours

Upon A Company's return to the base camp a formation was held and I was appalled at the number of casualties the company had suffered. 2d Platoon had 6 men. In all A Company had 42 men left and 2 officers. I found a secluded area, sat down alone, and cried, and cried, until I couldn't cry anymore. Church services were scheduled for that afternoon. Cpt Massadi, Catholic Chaplain conducting the Catholic service and Chaplain Heim conducted the Protestant service. When he asked who is taking communion and I did not raise my hand, Father Massadi asked me why and said I was an Episcopalian .his comment to me was, "You understand what goes on here, you take communion!" Probably the best decision Col Wasco and Maj Hinkle made was to immediately send our unit right back on operations within a couple of days. Our mission was to secure the Cong Song Road, West of Tuy Hoa. Once in position replacements were received, training began and limited operations were conducted. A Company was rebuilt, and became once again a very formidable force to be reckoned with.