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Bravo company memories from July 21, 1968 until July 21, 1969

Hello...My name is Jim Rowell. Today, I'm a retired law enforcement officer from the Atlanta, Georgia area. I retired in 1999, after two heart attacks, the last of which almost took my life. In 2005, just two weeks before hurricane Katrina would welcome us home, my wife and I moved back to the area where we grew up in NW Louisiana. We survived the hurricane.

Captain Peter O'Sullivan has asked me to write a history of Bravo company 2/8th Cavalry for the time period 1968 through 1969. But, no history of the First Cavalry Division's action during the Vietnam War can be written any better than the standard history written by Colonel J.D. Coleman. His book, "The 1st Air Cavalry Division Vietnam August 1965 to December 1969" was issued to lucky veterans DEROSing back to the "World." Colonel Coleman was the PIO (Public Information Officer) for the Division in 1969 when he wrote that history. I wasn't so lucky until I met the PIO for the Georgia Department of Public Safety in 1981. You guessed it, it was Colonel J.D. Coleman. At the time, I was a Homicide Sergeant for the DeKalb County Police Department. We were investigating the "Missing and Murdered Children" cases of Black children across the Atlanta metro area. One day, J. D., as I called him, mentioned he was writing a book about his time with the First Cavalry in Vietnam. Naturally, my ears lit up, and I told him I was a Cav veteran, too. He asked me when I was there, and I told him I was with Bravo company, 2/8th. His mouth dropped open, and he replied that he was the CO (Commanding Officer) of Bravo company when the Cav was shipped to Vietnam in 1965. In fact, it was he who gave the company it's call sign, EAGERARMS and named the platoons after Native American Indian tribes, Aztec, Blackfoot, Cheyenne and Mohawk. The first letters of each tribe were designated each of the platoons. I could not have been more surprised!

One day, J.D. called me and asked me out to lunch. I had told him I had several old copies of the "Cavalier" and "Stars and Stripes," newspapers, and he wanted to borrow them to help him in his book, "Pleiku, The Dawn Of Helicopter Warfare In Vietnam." When we met, J.D. gave me an issue of his history of the Cavalry Division. I suppose I was lucky, after all. J.D. went on to write another book, "Incursion, From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries," both of which I highly recommend. I would later write my own story of Vietnam, "Granny and the Eskimo, Angels in Vietnam." With Colonel J.D. Coleman's blessings, I relied heavily upon many of his writings in my own story. (Yes, I shamelessly had to plug my own book which can be found on Amazon or at my own webpage, for less than $4.00 downloaded to your computer!)

After re-reading Colonel Coleman's history of the Cavalry in Vietnam at the beginning of 1968, and once more reading through my old newspapers, I feel no history of Bravo company would be complete if I failed to mention something of the location and the physical condition of the company after the heavy fighting toward the end of 1967.

We'll begin around September 17th, 1967, in Phu Yen Province, where we find the 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry having been detached and placed under the operational control of the 173rd Airborne Brigade during Operation Bolling, conducting search and clear missions in the western portion of the Tuy Hoa-Phu Hiep coastal plain. By October 14th, the Battalion had not sustained any casualties, but had killed 21 of the enemy. Twelve had been detained and 3,000 pounds of rice and 208 fortifications had been destroyed. The Battalion closed on LZ Uplift the 25th of October.

Next, the Battalion released two companies, Bravo and Charlie company, to the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, for the defense of Dak To (Operation MACARTHUR) on November 15th. Charlie company made contact with an NVA battalion in well-fortified positions on a ridgeline nine kilometers east of the Dak To base camp the next day. After three days of intense fighting, both Cav companies occupied the first of a series of jungle-covered hills that commanded a sweeping view of the installation, directly above Highway 14, the land supply route to the camp. Bravo had lost many men in the battle of Dak To, including it's commanding officer, Captain Decker.

At the beginning of 1968, the battalion was still engaged in Operation Pershing with the 1st Brigade. Line companies were securing LZ Laramie, as well as pulling base defense at LZ English and LZ Geronimo. All the companies were engaged in search and clear or cordon and search missions in the Bong Son Plain area. In March the battalion command post moved from LZ English to Quang Tri in the north near the DMZ. Bravo company joined up with the rest of the Cavalry and began Operation Jeb Stuart.

Now that we know a bit of the recent past engagements between the enemy and Bravo company, allow me to jump forward and tell you my own personal memories of time spent with the company between July 21st, 1968 and July 21st, 1969. I landed on Vietnamese soil after flying across the Pacific ocean on a bright red and yellow Braniff jet on July 21st, 1968. I was at Cam Rahn Bay located on the edge of the South China Sea. I was processed into the First Air Cavalry Division, then sent to Camp Evans and completed two weeks of in-service-training. During that time, I was first assigned to Alpha company, 2/8th, but then quickly re-assigned to Bravo company. (Little things like this re-assignment caused untold problems for us vets, later in life when we tried to find our past records in Vietnam!) I soon found the reason was due to Bravo company being down to around 50 men in the entire company. We were told to place our personal belongings into our duffel bags which were stored there in the rear, and then issued our M-16 rifle. It was then I realized my MOS (military occupation specialty) was 11B, or the INFANTRY. As we were pushed into a waiting Huey helicopter, I found that it was not a warm fuzzy feeling I felt in my stomach!

The pilot suddenly yelled out that it was a hot LZ. He didn't have to tell me that...I already knew it was 120 degrees hot in Vietnam when I stepped off the plane! Of course, he meant the company was in a firefight. And then, the door gunner yelled out, "Jump!" while I was looking for a safe place to jump down to what looked like 20 feet to the bottom floor of the forest of defoliated trees, some still smoldering from artillery and bombing runs, I was suddenly pushed by the door gunner out of the chopper! When I landed, all the belongings I had in my rucksack (or back pack), along with me, bounced to a hard landing behind a large ant hill. Now, I had seen fire ant mounds back in Georgia, but these were BIG MOUNDS! I was lucky and missed the firefight. I was introduced to the commanding officer, Captain Tillet. I was then introduced to the platoon Lieutenant of Aztec or 1st platoon, Lt. Beal. He led me to Sergeant Linton, platoon leader of Aztec who took me to the squad leader, Specialist George Gordon, who led me to the ammo bearer whose role I was to assume. It don't get no worse than that my friends! I had just jumped into the "National Forest" near the location of LZ Carol, west of Quang Tri City near the DMZ and east of Loas.

George Gordon, a Yankee from New York, became one of my best friends. He was soon given the position of RTO (radio telephone operator) for Sgt. Linton. I recall George selected the nick-name of "Rebel" for me. Why, I don't know. He told me he was trying to get the job of RTO because it was like skating in the field. As I began thinking of ice skates, he told me it was like the safest position in the column when the company started moving. As we started to move out, George told me to learn the phonetic alphabet. Before I could ask what that was, he yelled to me that it was radio speak.

As we humped up and down hills, through valleys and streams, and up steep mountains through the month of August, I was told the stories of Bravo company and why I was so quickly assigned to it. I learned from the guys around me in the perimeter at night who told me that they expected a rest period in order to re-group and receive more men to replace those who were friends of theirs and who fell on the battlefield during the past few months! I was told by an old-timer that I had just missed the largest battle most of them had seen since coming to Quang Tri. My eyes widened as I was told that over 100 helicopters had been shot down during the battle. The most important thing the old timers told me was that if I fell asleep during my two hour watch at night, the enemy may come up the hill and slit your throat, just as it had happened to Private Smith only a few weeks before. Regardless to say, I remained completely awake for the remainder of my watch! I soon learned that life in the mountains consisted of walking, or humping, from one place to another, crossing swollen streams, and climbing up steep inclines where you had to grab a large vine and pull yourself and sometimes the guy behind you up the rain soaked hills.

One of the other old-timers, who looked to be a Native American Indian, told me that Bravo and it's sister companies had just experienced extremely heavy action in what was known as the previous "Tet" offensives of the enemy back in February. At the time, it was known as OPERATION JEB STUART. Bravo company was the lead company and had driven the enemy from the hills around the Marine base at Khe Sanh which would later become famous. While Bravo company lead the Calvary charge into the Marine firebase, they would lose over half their men, and never be recognized for doing so! This action was named, OPERATION PEGASUS, which ended April 15, 1968. The men of Bravo company and the rest of the Air Cav had little down time before they were thrust into yet more heavy action in the southern part of the infamous A- Shau Valley, a major way-station on the Ho Chi Minh trail. After telling all the war stories of the past in which he had been involved, the old-timer, who told us to call him the "Eskimo," pulled out his cigarette lighter one day and showed us the back of his cigarette lighter. A phrase began, "Yea, tho I walk thru the Valley of Death, I shall fear no evil, ...!" All of us Cherries agreed we had been lucky, very lucky!

Next, the Eskimo told us about Operation Delaware where the 8th would uncover a treasure trove of arms and ammunition, as well as several Russian made trucks and tanks. On April 24th, the battalion was airlifted into LZ Cecille. The operation terminated on May 16th, and the battalion was moved back to LZ Sharon, beginning Operation Jeb Stuart III. That operation, he said, was to deny the enemy access to the rice growing coastal plain and up-rooting them from their strongholds. The largest battle of the operation was fought by the 2nd Brigade on June 27-30, 1968, in the coastal area eight miles north of Quang Tri. Elements were moving across a beach near the village of Binh Anh when they were hit by enemy fire from the village. In 10 minutes, gunships from the 1st Sqdn., 9th Cav, ranged over Binh Anh, cutting down any NVA who tried to flee as ARA, tube artillery, naval gunfire from the battleship New Jersey off the coast and eight tactical air strikes hit the village. Some 233 NVA had been killed and 44 captured. Suddenly, the old- timer told us it was time to move out, and to "saddle up!" I could certainly understand now why Bravo company had lost so many men. I began to feel I wasn't going to be that lucky anymore!

It was now the first week of September, 1968, and time continued to slowly pass as we humped the mountains around LZ Carol. There was very little action, only continuous humping, up and down, one boot at a time! Then we heard the rumors of a down time to regroup were true. One day, we were notified by the Battalion commander that we would be moving down to the rear at Quang Tri city. It was the first time, but not the last, to be airlifted by Chinook helicopters. While the company was brought back to strength, our duties were to patrol the nearby small hills for local VC who were taking pot shots at us on occasion. After the Tet offensive back in February, the VC were mostly non-existent. We lost a few men to a claymore mine which had been placed on a roadside, but really had no large action or firefights with the enemy. To the east were the "Sands," an area of sandy white beach called Wonder Beach and located on the South China Sea. We were allowed to go swimming, but at our own peril, since the currents were very strong. But, it was good to stretch out relax a bit. Around this time, the company received a new commanding officer. Captain Robert O'Brien was a West Point graduate a no-nonsense officer who wanted to kill as many Communists as possible. He did, and a few months later was killed himself along with a Colonel and crew when their CC (command chopper) was shot down during a firefight killing all aboard.

During the first of October, a typhoon struck the area, and it rained continuously, day and night for a month. A country boy from the South like myself had no trouble sleeping on the ground wrapped in a poncho sleeping with rain pouring down your face. The city boys were a different matter, however, and I found myself feeling sorry for them. I was soon asked by my platoon leader if I knew my phonetic alphabet. I replied I did, and called out the names from A to Z. Because I was the only grunt in my platoon that had secretly studied the names, I was selected to be his RTO. At first, I was glad to get rid of the ammo cans, but after being given the PRC or Cadillac as it was called, I found it weighed 25 pounds, not counting an extra battery! All told, counting my 75 pound rucksack, I found myself carrying near 100 pounds as I now became the shadow of my platoon leader, Sgt. Linton.

Then, suddenly, on October 25th the entire First Cavalry Division, more than 19,000 men and equipment, was flown South to the III Corps area, 26 miles NW of Saigon to Tay Ninh Province which bordered Cambodia. The terrain was tripple canopy jungle, but mostly flat, except for Nui Ba Den Mountain which rose from the surrounding plain. Bravo company was flown by C-130 aircraft from Quang Tri near the DMZ with North Vietnam to the southern part of South Vietnam and Tay Ninh. The Division made it's headquarters at Phuoc Vinh, while the 2/8th and Bravo company were given a rear area operating at Quan Loi, a village which had a French rubber plantation, all of which were off limits during the entire war, surrounding it.

Bravo's first mission was to land on LZ Rita and relieve remnants of the First Infantry Division, the Big Red One, after it had be overrun by the enemy the night before. We were told to "police" the perimeter for bodies and weapons. Within a few days, Bravo company and it's sister companies were working the area along the Cambodian border. Our area of operations in the Tay Ninh area would find us working from LZs Sharon, Betty, St. Barbara, Grant, Dot, Jake, Joe and Carolyn, not to mention Andy, which was Quan Loi.

As the 1st Infantry Division moved out of its bases, the Skytroopers moved in, setting up communications networks, making contact with ARVN units and Special Forces-advised CIDG groups, and learning as much as possible about the local enemy. Charlie was no longer in the area after Tet. The enemy whom we would make contact in the coming months were strictly NVA, North Vietnamese Army. These were trained and well equipped soldiers and very deadly! They also had the advantage of having nearby Cambodia as their own sanctuary. On November 9th, Bravo company and the rest of the Air Cavalry, joining other Allied units in the Toan Thang offensive, had killed 109 enemy soldiers. On November14th, Cavalry firepower helped the 3rd Battalion, 36th ARVN Rangers repel an NVA assault on LZ Dot with almost 300 enemy killed. After a month in III Corps, the division by itself had accounted for more than 1,000 NVA dead. Large bunker complexes stocked with munitions had been uncovered around Loc Ninh and along the Saigon River. ARA and tube artillery disrupted traffic on the enemy's major supply routes.

Sporadic action continued in December. Forty-five enemy were killed by Allied units on December 4th, 50,000 rounds of ammo were captured December 8th, 46 enemy died on December 9th, 42 lost their lives on December 18th, 18,000 pounds of rice were seized December 21st, and in a flurry of action after Christmas 155 NVA were killed. Christmas day found the men of Bravo company in the rear area for the Christmas holiday, thinking of loved ones back in the "World," a bit of much needed rest, and most importantly, real hot "grease! (food)" A cease-fire had been worked out with the enemy, but the NVA always such occasions to move men and supplies into the South.

Bravo company would rotate with it's sister companies as we searched for the enemy in the field then came into an LZ for a little rest. Once, Bravo company was in the field for 42 days in a row due to weather conditions not allowing re-supply helicopters to fly unless in emergency conditions. Toward the 24th of January, 1969, the first significant engagement of the year involved Alpha company, 10 kilometers from LZ Rita. The company had clashed with an NVA battalion. Bravo, Charlie and Delta companies would be flown in to bolster their battered sister company. The enemy suddenly broke contact, leaving 24 bodies behind and many blood trails indicating many wounded NVA. For the next few weeks, all the companies would have brief encounters with the enemy. When they fled the field, they would usually leave a bunker complex behind with large quantities of rice and weapons. Delta company would find 61,000 pounds of rice and 4,100 pounds of salt. Bravo company, six kilos from St. Barbara discovered 165 bags of rice containing some 33,000 pounds.

Bravo company would spend the first week of February searching for the enemy along the Saigon River which was the border with Cambodia. On February 5th, 1969, around 12:00 noon, my luck ran out. The day before, I had been moved up to the CO's group of men in the line of march, after trading my RTO position to be the 5-mike or supply coordinator for the company. Suddenly we discovered a bunker complex and recent sandal prints on the trail. As Blackfoot platoon, which was leading point, approached a tributary of the main river, shots rang out from across the water. As a Blackfoot trooper in front of me fell to the ground, I felt what seemed like a fastball striking my right arm. I looked around and saw my rucksack had been ripped from my back and my new two quart canteen spraying water. I fired a few rounds across the river, then laid my weapon down and dragged the wound man back over a sandy berm, I found my CO, Captain O'Brien and Top calling in artillery. The CO carried a CAR-15, and I had always admired it. Since it appeared to be laying unused beside the CO, I grabbed it and crawled back to the crest of the berm where I fired a few rounds toward movement across the river. After exhausting the Captain's ammo, I crawled back to his position as the medic was attending the wounded man. The Captain brought to my attention the fact there was blood running down my right arm. The medic crawled over and ripped apart my shirt. I had been hit with an AK-47 bullet which apparently had gone clean through my upper arm. He quickly bandaged my wound and gave me a shot of morphine. Moments later, I faintly recall being placed aboard a waiting medivac helicopter with the other wounded man and flown to the 15 Med Hospital back at Tay Ninh hospital. I was scratched, but I had survived!

While I was recovering in the hospital, one of Bravo's sister companies discovered a 350 bunker complex which had by all appearances just been vacated by the enemy. A pot of rice was found still warm. After a lengthy search, several prized trophies were discovered, including a pair of 12.7 mm anti-aircraft guns. The weapons were so new that the enemy hadn't had time to remove the Cosmo line protective coating from them. Included in the complex was a hospital still under construction. The medical center boasted five operating rooms and six wards capable of accommodating 15 to 18 wounded NVA each.

This trend continued through March, when I rejoined my company, and April. An indication of the battalion's success were the parting words of outgoing commander Lieutenant Colonel Frank L. Henry. "While I have been commander, " he said, "you have killed more than a battalion of North Vietnamese Army soldiers and captured enough rice to feed two division for 40 days!"

In mid-April LZ Carolyn was established NW of Barbara, deep in the jungles of War Zone C at Prek Klok, a former CIDG (special forces) camp. High on the priority list of repairs was the 2,500 foot runway. Soon the 5,500 pound capacity C-7A Caribou fix-winged airplanes were making their first sorties to the landing zone, marking the first time in ore than a year that such aircraft had landed there. Maneuver elements of the battalion began making contacts daily after Carolyn was established and patrols were initiated.

At LZ Carolyn, the perimeter guards peered silently into the darkness using the first night-vision scopes which used starlight to see into the dark surroundings. They had been put on alert everyday for the past week to expect a possible enemy attack on the perimeter. On occasion, a trip flare would go off and illuminate the area, but after no sighting or attack, the incident was attributed to the wind causing a limb to fall on the trip wire. Suddenly, just after midnight on May 6th, another trip flare went off outside the wire, and a B-40 shoulder fired rocket slammed inside the center of the perimeter, catching the defenders a bit off guard after all the "false" alarms.
But now, the LZ was really under attack. The initial explosions were followed by many more B-40 and 107 mm rockets and heavy automatic weapons fire. A regimental-size ground attack from the southwest and north quickly followed.

"At first, there was nothing within my sights," said Specialist Four Gordon R. Loder, a rifleman with Charlie company, who was on the LZ that night, "but the next thing I knew, there were large groups of them coming directly toward us. I put my M-16 on rake and just started firing into the masses." Although the enemy eventually succeeded in penetrating the perimeter and occupying six bunkers, the fierce counter-attack launched by the Skytroopers convinced the NVA that their attempt at seizing LZ Carolyn was lost. The decimated enemy force began to withdraw at the crack of dawn. I know...I was on the LZ that night as the 5-mike for Bravo company and my bunker was located on the southside of the LZ, where the brunt of the attack occurred!

At first light, three companies were air assaulted to block and interdict avenues of escape to the north and west. Delta company saw 30 individuals carrying their wounded away and killed 18 additional enemy. Alpha company got five more later that day. What was once an NVA regiment was out of business! The enemy left 198 of their soldiers dead on the battlefield, and thirty were detained as prisoners. Around eight that morning, Bravo company was called into the LZ to "police" the area, or to search and gather dead and wounded enemy, and collect all weapons found.

Later that day, I was ordered back to the rear at Quan Loi by my company commander, Captain John Mooneyham, who had taken over from Captain O‘Brien back in March. I was obviously suffering from a bit of shock! Back at Quan Loi, we had a ground attack around the first of July, but nothing major. The enemy had penetrated the wire perimeter and ran by Bravo company's "hootch" or tent destroying our urinal, which greatly upset me for some reason as I fired at them! They went on to destroy a couple of helicopters on the runway before being killed. I would leave (DEROSE) Vietnam on July 21st! I had survived the WAR!

The rest of the battalion began construction and security of LZ Becky, and LZ Carolyn was bulldozed and abandoned by the Battalion command once its job as a major blocking force on the enemy route to Saigon was successfully completed.

It was relatively quiet for Bravo company and the battalion during the months of June and July, due to the enemy having fled to Cambodia to re-group. Then, that eight week lull was shattered throughout the FIRST TEAM's AO on August7th, when Charlie company suddenly uncovered a cache of rice totaling 5,800 pounds. A few days later, Bravo company discovered two NVA artillerymen setting up 107 mm rockets near Becky, killed them, and captured a 60 mm mortar tube. It was an indication of what was to come the next morning!

For their earlier action, Bravo company was flown into LZ Becky to rest a bit. It was not to be a long rest, however. At 1:45 a.m. on August 12th, enemy activity was observed on radar at LZ Becky by Sgt. Ray Libby, who just happened to be my first squad Sergeant in Aztec platoon way back when I joined up with Bravo company in the National Forest of Quang Tri province near the DMZ in August of 1968. Ray was scheduled to DEROSE in the next few days, but had been promoted to Headquarters company as a radar specialist, having worked for the telephone company before being drafted. Sgt. Libby was on Becky and had been trying to convince his superiors that he had been seeing movement around LZ Becky on the new radar screen, but no one believed him. When he observed the enemy activity the morning of the 12th, everyone suddenly paid attention to what he was saying. He pointed out that what appeared to be a truck discharging personnel near the LZ was actually real. The company commander ordered that tube artillery be engaged with the movement on the radar. Suddenly, secondary explosions rocked the LZ from the area Sgt. Libby had seen. Now, everyone jumped into action! The LZ was ready when at 4:10 a.m., the enemy began firing off a mixed mortar and rocket barrage that destroyed an artillery ammunition storage area, causing the only friendly casualties of the battle. And then, the ground attack began! The attack was termed by a gunship pilot as "the most intense stand-off attack on a firebase I've seen since the Cav moved to War Zone C."

Some 400 enemy mortar and rocket rounds repeatedly riveted holes in the surface of the LZ, as the enemy battalion launched a ground attack from the north. Bravo company went into action, and in the next 40 minutes the landing zone was silhouetted with the flashing glow of a massed firefight. The enemy reached the wire, but never breached the perimeter. When they withdrew, 101 of their number had died in the attempt and one other was captured. Sergeant Ken Yeager, one of the RTOs for Captain Mooneyham, told me years later at a First Cavalry Division Association reunion that he thought it would be the end for him and the rest of Bravo company that night. He and I maintain a friendly call against the other on whether which attack, LZ Carolyn or LZ Beck, was the worst!

The Battalion left LZ Becky later that day. For Bravo company, it had not been much of a rest. The 1st Brigade commander;, Colonel Joseph E. Kingston, decided that major enemy forces had withdrawn to regroup and prepare for future attempts to the southeast. To preclude this, and to maintain close observation of the enemy and find prepositioned fortifications and stores, the battalion was shifted to LZ Ike. The enemy was apparently moving into that area. The battalion was in for more heavy fighting in the month to follow. On August 25th, Delta company, near LZ Ike, engaged an NVA element in bunkers and received heavy automatic weapons and B-40 rocket fire in return. Searching the battlefield the next day, Cavalrymen found the bodies of 33 NVA soldiers. Five days later, Bravo company, which had ambushed two NVA soldiers on the 30th, engaged several in two separate contacts, killing 28.

On September 1, Charlie company, discovering a strand of enemy communications wire, followed it and ambushed two NVA signalmen setting up a field phone. Tapping the wire, it hooked into an enemy battalion net and directed artillery on an unsuspecting NVA command post. Bravo company continued to make contact. On September 2nd, it took one individual prisoner, pulling him out of a spider hole. Later it was again engaged by the enemy. Air and artillery support killed nine enemy while Bravo accounted for three.

LZ Ike was hit September 5th, with Alpha and Echo (mortar) companies securing the berm. More than 160 shells pounded the LZ, followed by a reinforced NVA company. Fifty-one caliber machineguns filled the air with enemy lead, making air support a hazardous proposition at best. The attack was repulsed by 3 a.m., but incoming rounds continued to hit the LZ until 10 o'clock. A search of the area revealed 46 dead enemy soldiers and one wounded man who was detained.

LZ Ike was again the target of the enemy in mid-September . Stoney Mountain, as the Battalion was called, Skytoopers from Charlie and Echo companies beat back a determined assault on the LZ in the early morning hours of September 14th, killing 34 and detaining another. The battle erupted shortly before midnight when 100 mortar rounds hit the firebase. An estimated company-size unit then hit the wire while the defenders used point blank artillery fire and Cobra gunships to crush the offensive. Ike was probed again two days later, but an alert trooper picked up movement through a starlight scope just after midnight. Seven NVA were found lying outside the wire the next morning.

The 2nd Bn. 8th Cavalry left War Zone C September 23rd, moving to Camp Gorvad to secure the division base camp at Phuoc Vinh. On the 25th, the battalion became operationally controlled by Division Artillery and conducted operations in AO Chief, patrolling and surrounding Camp Gorvad and securing Song Be Bridge. In mid-December, it moved to FSB Mary in the 2nd Brigade's area of operations.

Hue, Quang Tri, Khe Sanh, A Shau, Tay Ninh and Phuoc Vinh were all major areas of confrontation with the enemy and where the Cav and Bravo company were victorious. The First Cavalry Division would be the only military unit to operate in all four Corps of South Vietnam, I Corps, II Corps, III Corps (and later, even parts of IV Corps). The brave men of Bravo company and their fellow troopers of the Air Cav were used to fighting and important victories, but 1968 and 1969, the height of the Vietnam war, were, even by Cav standards, the highpoint of the war, a unique achievement in the face of unusual challenge.

This concludes my information on the years 1968 through 1969, following Bravo company and the First Cavalry as they searched for and rooted out the Communist enemy. For more detailed information concerning the time I spent with Bravo company, please refer to my own book or Colonel Coleman's book "Pleiku."

Contact information: [email protected]