The Daily Report
Remarkably, all of the letters and audio tapes (they were many) that I sent home to my
mother and father and some of which they sent me, survived. My mother persevered
them until I arrived home and these valuable resources are the basis for not only this
"Chronology Of Events" but for this entire web site as well.
This Chronology is probably more interesting to me than to you. It provides me
with a capsulated view of where I was on what day and to some extent, what I was doing.
But, if your really keen on knowing what I was doing during my tour of duty in
Vietnam, than your at the right spot.
* * * 1968
* * *
[April] [May] [June]
[January '69] [February]
Thu 11 I arrived in Oakland, California for my
processing for assignment to Vietnam.
Sun 14 (Easter Sunday) I arrived at
Bien Hoa, South Vietnam and was sent to the 90th Replacement Battalion.
Wed 17 I departed the 90th Replacement Battalion and
arrived at Blackhorse Base Camp, home of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Thu 18 Today I began one week of specialized
training and orientation at Blackhorse.
Fri 26 I left Blackhorse to join K
Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry's Mess section at Phu Loi. This was the
1st Infantry Division's base camp.
Fri 3 In today's letter home I reported
that we had moved from Phu Loi a few days before and that we were in the field with the
Sun 5 K Troop was called into Saigon because
of sporadic fighting from Viet Cong infiltrators who were part of the Tet '68 offensive.
We set up our position in the Phu Tho Race Track.
Mon 6 Our stay was short. We moved out for a
road march to Cu Chi.
Wed 8 Today finds us in the field somewhere near Cu
Thu 9 We have moved once again. We
are now in a thick jungle area with a nearby village. Units of the 25th Inf. Div.
are now attached to us.
Fri 10 We are still in the field and we
have a report that we are going to move to Duc Hoa.
Sun 12 Today, we are passing through Saigon.
Mon 13 We are located on a high hill overlooking
Bien Hoa and about five miles from Bear Cat.
Wed 15 Our new position is about five miles East of
Saigon in the field. We maintain this position until Friday, the 24th.
Sat 25 We are on the move. Our new
location is in the rear trains area at Long Binh.
Tue 28 We left Long Binh shortly after
breakfast for Duc Hoa. We arrived at 4:00 PM.
Wed 29 Duc Hoa, 20 miles Northwest of Saigon.
We are stuck (and I mean stuck) in a rice paddy full of water with snakes all along the
Fri 31 We are West of Duc Hoa and only
four miles from the "Parrot's Beak" (Cambodia) and fighting like hell.
Mon 3 In today's letter home I report that we
are still in the same location as Friday.
Thu 6 Today finds us near Cu Chi.
Sat 8 We are still in the field with the
troop about 2 miles Northwest of Cu Chi. We are being rocketed and mortared each
Tue 11 We have left Cu Chi and we are now back at
Blackhorse Base Camp for which would turn out to be a 9 day stand-down.
Fri 21 We depart Blackhorse for Long Binh for
an 8 day stay. We arrive in the early evening
Sat 29 We depart Long Binh and head back to
Mon 1 We've been at Blackhorse since Saturday.
We will be here another 18 days until the 20th.
Sat 20 We departed Blackhorse in the morning
and road marched to the 56th Artillery Battery at Long Binh to provide them with security.
Sat 26 Still at the 56th. Enjoying their
EM club and their swimming pool (yep, they had a pool).
Mon 29 I fly be helicopter back to Blackhorse to go
before the promotions board. I'm up for Specialist E-5 (I made it, of course).
Tue 30 I fly back to the 56th Arty at Long Binh.
Sun 4 We are preparing to depart the best duty
that I've had so far - the 56th Artillery Battalion security detail. I will miss the
Mon 5 This move was not very far. We arrived
at the 101st Airborne's camp at Bien Hoa. We are still airlifting the chow to the
field by helicopter and keeping two cooks with the troop in the field.
Thu 8 I am now with the troop in the
field somewhere around Phu Loi. We are working with the 1st Infantry Division.
Mon 12 I am now back at Bien Hoa's 101st Airborne's camp.
Thu 15 I depart Bien Hoa and arrive back in
the field with the troop near Phu Loi. I'll stay with the troop until the 23rd.
Fri 16 Today I was promoted to Specialist 5 (E-5)
along with K Troop cook, Kenneth Foster.
Fri 23 I'm back at Bien Hoa trains area and
will remain there until September 9th. The duty here is not too hard. We cook
breakfast for the personnel with us in the rear and we cook supper for the troops in the
field. The evening meal is airlifted to the troops in the field by helicopter.
Mon 9 I depart Bien Hoa and arrive in the
field with the troop near Phu Loi. I would be here for only a week.
Fri 13 Lucky Friday the 13th would find
me back in the trains area at Bien Hoa in order to prepare for another move to Tan Son
Nhut on Saturday.
Sat 14 We arrive at Tan Son Nhut for an
extended stay of 30 days.
Mon 14 We leave Tan Son Nhut after a long stay and
arrive at Blackhorse in the late afternoon. My first R&R is only 4 days
Fri 18 I departed Blackhorse base
camp for Camp Alpha - the jumping off point for out of country R&Rs (Rest &
Sat 19 I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand for five
fun filled days of R&R. Bob Nacy, from the 2nd Platoon and I had a ball paling
around Bangkok. We even went to Timland (sort of Wild Kingdom meets Disneyland).
Thu 24 Boo Hoo :-(
Back at Blackhorse. R&R is over. Oh well, it's a good
thing because I spent all of my money.
Fri 25 Left Blackhorse base camp for Long
Binh's 2nd Field Forces. K Troop was operating around Phu Loi.
Thu 31 Halloween. I fly by
helicopter out to the field to join the troop. I arrive in the late afternoon to see
a column of black smoke rising up a short distance away. Our medic, George Jones
would tell me that our track 71 (Seven One) was destroyed by a mine and our Track
Commander, Bob Press was dead.
This is an excerpt from my letter home, dated Nov. 5, 1968.
"Dear Mom & Dad:
Greetings once again from Vietnam. Well, I'm out in the "boonies"
again. I've been out for five days, now and I will go back to Long Binh in two more
days. I hope it doesn't get dark before I have a chance to tell you about what has
happened. "Quinn", one of our new cooks
and I came out to the field last Thursday only to hear that one of my best friends was
killed not more than an hour before we arrived. His name was Bob Press. He was the chief medic of
7-1, HQ's Evacuation Track. Bob was driving
when he hit a mine. There was one other man who was
wounded on the track. Another friend of mine. Since this operation began, we
have lost two killed and 17 wounded - all but two evacuated to the states. We have
run into more shit in the past two weeks than I have seen in 7 months. We loose men
everyday. Last night we took 2 RPGs, luckily enough only one man was slightly
wounded. Today, 19 replacements came to the field and there are more back at base
camp. About an hour ago, one of our Ambush Patrols (APs) made contact. The
old man ordered recon-by-fire from our position. I've been so pissed off (about
Bob's death) that I picked up my M-16 and starting firing along with the 50s and
60s. He asked me what I expected to hit. The enemy's position was out of my
range but at least I feel better for it. It's getting too dark to see anything so
I'm going to have to end this letter. Don't worry about me. I'm well and in
good health - so, By For Now! Love, Bob.
Tue 5 I'm still in the field with the troop.
I will be going in to Long Binh on Friday.
Fri 8 I go back to Long Binh. I
will be there only for the weekend.
Mon 11 I'm so upset by the death of my TC, Bob Press
that I ask our Mess Sargent if I can go back out to the field with troop so I catch a
chopper for the field and join the troop somewhere near Phu Loi.
Sun 17 I return from the field to Long Binh.
Thu 21 We learn that the troop has moved is operations to Lai
Khe. We are still at Long Binh airlifting the evening meal to the field.
Thu 28 Thanksgiving Day. I fly out to the field to
help in serving the Thanksgiving dinner. We are
set up in the most miserable place on earth. The ground was so uneven that we hardly
could stand anything up straight without it tipping over.
Fri 29 The mess section moves to Blackhorse base
camp and sets up a re-supply right from our own mess hall. The evening meal is
cooked and airlifted to the troop in the field. We have two cooks in the field and
four cooks at Blackhorse.
Dec 1 We are at Blackhorse and will stay here
for the entire month of December and right through to January 15th. While here I
will take charge of the Mess Section and work to pass the IG inspection on January 7th.
Dec 22 The mess section is still at Blackhorse and
the troop has returned from the field. We have all new equipment in the mess hall -
steam table, cold table, gas range, tables and chairs. It's beginning to look like a
real mess hall. I baked a devil's food cake with chocolate icing that was a big hit
with the men.
Dec 25 Christmas. We serve Christmas dinner to the troop from our mess hall at
Blackhorse. Mess Sargent Blackwell prepares a punch
with a special ingredient - vodka.
* * * 1969 * * *
Jan 1 New Year's Day. We
celebrated New Year's Eve at midnight with gun fire shot into the air. It was a
rousing moment. Tracer rounds and illumination flares lit up the sky for about 15
minutes. It's a wonder no one was killed.
Jan 7 The dreaded IG Inspection.
We worked our tails off to get everything in order. We had only one
"gig". We passed with flying colors. Maj. Thomas R. Middaugh,
commander to K Troop honored me with a "Letter Of Commendation"
which reads in part, "I wish to formally commend you for your outstanding
contributions to K Troop. I particularly cite you for your efforts, for you in a
key position of leadership and responsibility were able to spark those under you in such a
way to strengthen the team and insure this success, particularly in the AGI. The
pride which you feel has been justly wrought as it should for every man in K Troop.
It is in keeping with the highest and most remember traditions of the military service and
will surely lead to continued success on the battlefield. Dated: 21 January, 1969
and signed: Thomas R. Middaugh, Major Armor, S3 Officer".
Wed 15 Our long stay at Blackhorse is
over and we move the mess section to Bien Hoa. The troop is operating around An Loc.
Sun 19 Today marks the 7th
Anniversary of the founding of "The National Liberation Front" - the political
arm of the Viet Cong. We are bracing for an all out offensive by the VC.
Tue 21 I report to the field to cook
the breakfast meal and serve the airlifted dinner meal. It's great to get back to
Fri 24 I'm still in the field
with the troop. We are about four kilometers from fire support base, "Holiday
Inn" and will stay here until I return to Bien Hoa next Thursday.
Thu 30 I return from the field and join
the mess section in the trains area at Bien Hoa. I will stay here until about
Wed 19 We are still at Bien Hoa. This duty
isn't hard to take except for the nightly rocket attacks.
Thu 27 We move from Bien Hoa to Tan Son
Mar 4 Dave Mansir and I get a
pass to Saigon. After a few beers (well alright, after more than few beers) a
massage and some more beers we find the Services Club and telephone home. I woke up
my mother and dad in the middle of the night. They told me that I sounded drunk.
Mon 10 I'm back at Bien Hoa with the mess section.
The troop is at "Bandit Hill".
Tue 18 I depart Bien Hoa and arrive at
Lai Kai with the troop for two days.
Thu 20 Today finds me at fire support
base, "Holiday Inn". The troop is providing security for the artillery
unit that seems to constantly have a "fire mission" going. Sure is noisy
in the artillery.
Fri 21 We move to another fire
support base, "Harper's Ferry" to provide them with security. The VC have
this place in their sites and are pounding us pretty heavily.
Sun 23 The Air Force's "crop
duster" flies over our position and sprays the area with Agent Orange. The
foliage along the river bank was beginning to provide the enemy with cover.
Mon 24 Several of my buddies from the
2nd platoon and I go down to the river for a swim. We are joined by some local kids
who seem to enjoy our company. The water was a refreshing relief from the heat.
Tue 25 Me and some of my buddies from
the 2nd platoon are evacuated by ambulance to the hospital at Bien Hoa. We are all
suffering from high fever. I was in the hospital three days. Later, I would
come to realize that it was probably from the the Agent Orange that we got sick.
Fri 28 I'm too "short" (a
term meaning that I'm going home soon) to go back out to the field so I stay at Bien Hoa
for two days of rest to recover from my fever.
Sun 30 I'm finally back at Blackhorse waiting
to process out and a flight home. All I'm required to do is pull night guard duty
for two hours.
Thu 3 Going
Sat 5 Going
Wed 9 GONE !!! I departed 90th
Repl. Bn., Long Binh on Flight Q2B2 at 2000 hrs. I left most of my personal effects
in my foot locker in the supply room at Blackhorse. I was due to return in a month
for re-assignment to my second tour of duty station at Vung Tau.
May 18 I arrived back at Blackhorse and was
immediately re-assigned to the 528th Quartermaster Company. I returned to find my
foot locker broken into and most of my personal effects were stolen.