Since no one else has been able to tell me much, except Dusty Lowe, and I couldn’t even find much in the 25th Infantry Yearbook, I am just going to tell what I remember, combined with what I can get from the Yearbook.
I know, based on the photographs you will see of what went down on our sections of the Perimeter, and what I remember, plus the yearbook that there were definitely some things going on. Hopefully, my putting down what I can remember and have gleaned from the yearbook will “spark” some memories,
And if that happens for any of you, feel free to contact me and let me know.
Okay, so here goes….
On January 31, 1968, we had been at FSB BURT since Dec. 29, 1967. We had the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s day battle, and continual mortar/rocket harassment attacks 3 times a day since. On the Wednesday right after, only one or two days after, we took a pretty heavy barrage. Naturally, the Infantry was out there doing an outstanding job of starting trouble and finishing it with the enemy within our “support range” at the firebase. My best recollection is, that since every message we got went straight to the 3d Bde TOC, once in a while I would get a little scuttlebutt, or one of my troopies would. One thing that was going around was that the Monastery or Temple that was only a click or two away was being used for lobbing mortars and rockets @ us…and even though our counter mortar had it plotted really well..I remember seeing it listed on some of our messages with pre-plot coordinates on them…for bullshit political reasons, our counter mortar batteries/guns couldn’t get clearance for awhile to fire back upon it. We had to just grit our teeth, and bear it. But as we were eating chow, or mounting guard to go over and help the Infantry on the perimeter in the evening, it was a good conversation topic, especially for those of us who were in the mood to bitch. We were some DEFINITELY UNHAPPY campers, let me tell ya!
Anyway, moving right along…we put up with that shit because we had to until the new March Orders came down. It was also, to the best of my recollection..the longest time we ever spent @ a single firebase up till then. I don’t think I remember spending more than 1-3 days max at most of them, and once we were at 2 in only one day.
Jan. 31st, we got new March Orders, and we were not really surprised. Rumor had it…and rumors are sometimes a lot like legends…at least SOME truth to them…there had been an increase in activity around, and mortaring of Delta Tango our beloved Home Sweet Home. G-2 thought the possibility of an attack on the base was almost certain, which is why they ordered us to load up and “beat feets” back to DT as fast as we could. We were not to stop for anything, including ambushes, which they said were very likely. We were to travel to the left of center on the road, so there would be enough room for the vehicles behind to go around any vehicle that got hit, and just keep pushin. We were to do just that, firing to both sides of the road. I think I remember they had arranged Air Cover also, to support us and any vehicles that got hit on the way in. Very vaguely, I seem to remember some of that stuff, shouting, explosions and firing and then…..
All of a sudden we are being led into trenches that came up to just about 6 inches below our armpits. Plenty of depth to kneel and peek up over the dirt berm. They were behind the section of the bunker line. I could look back the way we had come and see some of the old stucco buildings of the old plantation. Flares were going off, and the floodlights were on that over-looked the “kill zone” past the chain link. I believe we were issued 2 grenades apiece to go with our personal ammo for our M-16s. ………
I remember seeing ladders, and enemy on them, and on the chain link, and then someone was yelling “fire the phugas” and seeing some burning bodies on the chain link tangled up in the barbed wire that was right up against it. I don’t remember if I fired my weapon, but the chain link was close enough to see, so it is a good possibility.
All of a sudden, I heard the loudest explosion of my life, over to my left, back the way we had come. I was startled, and combat senses, jerked my head back that way to see a huey that looked like it had just lifted off of the runway burst into flames, and momentum carry it over a huge tree right next to the wall of one of the HQ buildings, where it settled down into the branches in flames, and continued to burn , I guess. I had to get back to watching the bunkerline. That is all I think I remember. From there, I get a blank.
But, Dusty tells me that for a few days, there were probes, etc. at the bunkerline, and attempts by sappers to infiltrate, etc. and the pictures you will see in the tet album will show how well they were able to get past “fightin focus Artillery.” There were probably other attempts in the other sections of responsibility along the line, but I don’t know anything about them.