HistoryNet.com RSS
ArmchairGeneral.com RSS

HistoryNet.com Articles
America's Civil War
American History
Aviation History
British Heritage
Civil War Times
MHQ
Military History
Vietnam
Wild West
World War II

ACG Online
ACG Magazine
Stuff We Like
War College
History News
Tactics 101
Carlo D'Este
Books

ACG Gaming
Boardgames
PC Game Reviews

ACG Network
Contact Us
Our Newsletter
Meet Our Staff
Advertise With Us

Sites We Support
HistoryNet.com
Once A Marine
The Art of Battle
Game Squad
Mil. History Podcast
Russian Army - WW2
Achtung Panzer!
Mil History Online

Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

Notices and Announcements

Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 21 Sep 07, 07:17
Doctor Sinister's Avatar
Doctor Sinister Doctor Sinister is offline
Supreme Ruler of the Universe
Sinc
Distinguished Service Award ACG Ten Year Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon March Offensive 
Summer Campaign 100 Greatest Generals, 2008 Model Forum Group Build 
 
Real Name: Doctor Augustus Julius Sinister IV
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Orbital Command Platform
Posts: 15,097
Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800] Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800]
Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800] Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800] Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800] Doctor Sinister gives and gets respect [800]
Arrow 10 Questions for General Hal Moore



10 Questions for General Hal Moore


An exclusive interview with the hero of the Vietnam War's 1965 Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and co-author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young.

Dr. S.
__________________
Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

www.tabletown.co.uk
Reply With Quote
Facebook Connect and Magazine Promotions

World War II Magazine
$26.95

Armchair General Magazine
$26.95
Military History Magazine
$26.95
  #2  
Old 21 Sep 07, 08:17
grognard's Avatar
grognard grognard is offline
General
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon March Offensive 100 Greatest Generals Winner, 2008 Most Decisive Battle Campaign, 2008 
Greatest/Best Tank of WW2 Campaign 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Worcester MASS
Posts: 4,038
grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100] grognard has demonstrated strength of character [100]
General Moore managed to put both Vietnam and Iraq in perspective in the 10-question interview. My admiration and respect for him have increased. And i had a lot of both after reading the book many years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 21 Sep 07, 15:03
Trung-si's Avatar
Trung-si Trung-si is offline
First Lieutenant
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Mike
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ill
Posts: 649
Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100]
This fight was discussed on an SF vet's board recently.
Highly experienced group, mostly career soldiers of all ranks.

The consencus focussed on the futility of throwing away our guys like that as a test situation.

It was known that a division or more of NVA was there and we sent in our guys to test their mettle.

Lots of opportunities for heroics, but lots of needless telegrams to wives and parents.

I'm sure not against a fight, but this was not a sound undertaking.

I wish someone would question him on that point.
__________________
Mike
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21 Sep 07, 15:57
Miss Saigon's Avatar
Miss Saigon Miss Saigon is offline
General of the Forums - Donut Dolly
South_Vietnam
Distinguished Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon Summer Campaign 100 Greatest Generals, 2008 
Most Decisive Battle Campaign, 2008 Greatest Westerns Campaign Greatest Spy Movies Campaign 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FSB Austin
Posts: 13,475
Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Miss Saigon has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
When the battle of LZ X-Ray is taken as a separate action battle from LZ Albany:

American casualties, attached units included, were 79 killed, 121 wounded, and none missing. Enemy losses were much higher and included 634 known dead, 581 estimated dead, and 6 prisoners.

If the ambush at LZ Albany is included:

The U.S. lost 234 dead, with 242 wounded in the X-Ray and Albany battles. In addition, November 17 (LZ Albany) was the deadliest ambush for Americans in the entire Vietnam War, with 155 killed and 126 wounded.

While it was an American victory in the arithmetic sense, with a nearly 4-to-1 casualty ratio in their favor (both battles together), Moore considers the battle to have been a draw since the U.S. Army left the field allowing the PAVN to reassert control over the area that it had held prior to the battle.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 21 Sep 07, 21:05
DeltaOne's Avatar
DeltaOne DeltaOne is offline
General of the Forums
Powflag
5 Year Service Ribbon Greatest Spy Movies Campaign Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Don
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,129
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
I agree with a lot of Moore's answers but I too, would have liked someone to have asked him why we charged directly into such a massive force. T-S is right on this point. Maybe a SF's background limits our trust in these large battle unit actions.
I am sure the reasoning was along the lines that we had too much trust in our helo asault/resupply/medivac services. This and the fact that we were much better than them in our mind and that we had air/arty superiority. Perhaps it just came down to over confidence.

D1
__________________
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
- Voltaire
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 22 Sep 07, 22:13
Trung-si's Avatar
Trung-si Trung-si is offline
First Lieutenant
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Mike
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ill
Posts: 649
Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100] Trung-si has demonstrated strength of character [100]
My take from the book which I had autographed by Moore and Galloway was that they simply wanted to wade in and see how deep the water was.
We had just arrived in force and this maniac wanted to blunder in and test the airmobile concept.
Like Dieppe, Dead GIs? hell, we got thousands where they came from.
Thank god Charlie didn't have an airforce.

Never believe or trust any casualty report from the vietnam war. Either side.

"jus the fac's jack"
__________________
Mike
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 23 Sep 07, 02:13
DeltaOne's Avatar
DeltaOne DeltaOne is offline
General of the Forums
Powflag
5 Year Service Ribbon Greatest Spy Movies Campaign Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Don
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,129
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
Nothing like throwing 'green' warriors to the tigers to see how we much up. I know everyone is new or 'green' to battle at some point but these numbers, ???.


D1
__________________
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
- Voltaire
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23 Sep 07, 09:23
Trailboss49's Avatar
Trailboss49 Trailboss49 is offline
General of the Forums
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Pat
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 17,929
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
From my understanding MACV did not know the size of the NVA that the Colonel and his troops would be facing. The Colonel himself had no input on whether to go in or not, he had received orders to go and that's what he did. Like many things that happened in Vietnam, and other wars, troops were put into harm's way without HQ realizing what they were doing.
__________________
"If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23 Sep 07, 14:35
DeltaOne's Avatar
DeltaOne DeltaOne is offline
General of the Forums
Powflag
5 Year Service Ribbon Greatest Spy Movies Campaign Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Don
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,129
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800] DeltaOne gives and gets respect [800]
It was my understanding that we knew the enemy was located close to this area as the NVA used this as a starting spot in their attack on Plei Me. While we weren't 100% sure of the details (when the hell do we ever know this in combat?), we had a good idea that contact with a large numbered force was going to happen.

D1
__________________
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
- Voltaire
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23 Sep 07, 16:35
Piedpiper 6's Avatar
Piedpiper 6 Piedpiper 6 is offline
Corporal
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Dr. R. E. Sullivan
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 67
Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99] Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trung-si View Post
This fight was discussed on an SF vet's board recently.
Highly experienced group, mostly career soldiers of all ranks.

The consencus focussed on the futility of throwing away our guys like that as a test situation.

It was known that a division or more of NVA was there and we sent in our guys to test their mettle.

Lots of opportunities for heroics, but lots of needless telegrams to wives and parents.

I'm sure not against a fight, but this was not a sound undertaking.

I wish someone would question him on that point.
Questions as to the above, and personal comments:

1. Are we sure that the committment of a bob-tailed battalion (550 troopers as I recall) was a "test situation."
2. Although the Ia Drang-LZ XRay fight has been billed for years as the "largest US operation in VN until that time," it wasn't.
a. Operation Starlite, 18/24Aug65 employed 1/7, 2/4, and 3/3 were employed initially by helo and amphibious attack south of Chu Lai. 3/7, the Special Landing Force 7th Fleet were landed by helo to join the fight. US casualties 51 KIA, 203 WIA. Claimed enemy casualties 623, with many more "probably sealed in caves and bunkers. Problem: Only 72 enemy weapons were captured. (As the MC Operational Briefing Spokesman at this time I dreaded someone asking how many enemy weapons were captured. Thank God I didn't get the question.)
b. Operation Piranha, 7-10Sep65. 1/7 and 3/3 attacked again in the same objective area as in Starlite. Enemy casualties 163.
3. From 8-29Dec65 III MEF launched a huge assault by anyone's standards on enemy forces in the Que Son Valley (between Danang and Chu Lai). 2/7, 3/3, and 2/1 (SLF) plus one full regiment from the 2dArvnDiv (5th). With the concurrence of General Thi, I Corps Commander, and General Lam, CG 2dArvnDiv at Tam Ky, the ARVN Regt was to be used as bait. When the NVA 1st Div descended on them from the area around Hiep Duc the Marines were to cut off their line of retreat. That was the plan. What happened was that the 5th ARVN Regt. disintegrated, and we spent another week or so trying to pick up the pieces. How do I know this? I was the G-3 and wrote the "Concept of the Operation." I also picked up LtCol (Trung?) the Regimental Commander and took him to the 3dMarDiv Hqs on 327 to brief him as to his Regiments Objective. Nothing was mentioned to him about being "bait." I've included the foregoing so that the idea of using Moore's battalion as "bait" in order to draw out the enemy and inflict massive casualties on him has been in the back of my mind since I first read of that operation. Given the mind set of senior officers in VN at the time (Nov65) I add this as a possibility, and as a WAG. (Wild A__ed Guess)

One of the responders mentioned the probable inaccuracy of reported enemy casualties. I concur, in spades. As a battalion commander (1/4) in ’66, every time we got in a fight the first thing required by “Higher” was the number of enemy casualties. How the hell did I know? However, the magic number was to report 10 enemy losses for every one of our own….and some, but not all US commanders did just that.

A further comment on US intelligence. As a staff officer (G-3 TF Delta for Harvest Moon, and Operations Officer of the 3dMarDiv from June-November, 1966) and as an infantry battalion commander, Jan-June 1966 I never received one bit of operational intelligence that was of any use to me. Such things as SI information derived from intercepting enemy communications was denied to me on the basis that I was not cleared for “Spook.” Go figure.

Possibly some of you might be interested in reading the following:

General Greene, Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1Jan64 to 31Dec67, opinion of various personalities he had to deal with, including POTUS. The documents referred to in the article were not infrequently smuggled in and out of various places by the undersigned at Greene’s direction. Green’s oft repeated statement to me was that following the Vietnam War that the politicians weren’t going to be able to blame the Joint Chiefs of Staff for losing the battle as they had in the case of the Bay of Pigs. Whatever, some of you may be interested in reviewing Gen Greene’s thoughts during the run up to and beginning of the Vietnam War.

http://www.sullyusmc.com/Sully/Developmentstrategy.htm

Reading the following will give you a view of the Gulf of Tonkin attacks that hasn’t gotten much if any press. If your interest is in that direction you could find this interesting.

http://www.sullyusmc.com/Sully/The%2...ce%20Arrow.htm

Anyone who thought Vietnam was tough should read the following. I was so glad to get out of HQMC and out in the field again that it is impossible for one who has not done four and a half years in a high level headquarters to understand. At least in Vietnam I could shoot back at the snipers.

http://www.sullyusmc.com/Sully/May%201,%201965.htm
__________________
Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won.
Duke of Wellington
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

  #11  
Old 23 Sep 07, 16:36
Trailboss49's Avatar
Trailboss49 Trailboss49 is offline
General of the Forums
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Pat
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 17,929
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaOne View Post
It was my understanding that we knew the enemy was located close to this area as the NVA used this as a starting spot in their attack on Plei Me. While we weren't 100% sure of the details (when the hell do we ever know this in combat?), we had a good idea that contact with a large numbered force was going to happen.

D1
You are probably right. However, it is quite doubtful if the Colonel was in on the planning of the operation, he was just carrying out orders. Needless to say the US Army bite off more than they knew. Fortunately in this instance they had an outstanding commander to keep them in tact and undefeated.
__________________
"If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 23 Sep 07, 17:26
RadioResearcher's Avatar
RadioResearcher RadioResearcher is offline
Colonel
United_States
Distinguished Service Award 5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Aurora, Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,688
RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300] RadioResearcher is on a distinguished road [300]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper 6 View Post
Questions as to the above, and personal comments:
Now THIS is what this forum has really needed - someone with extensive and diverse bona fides, seasoned perspective, and common sense. Welcome, Doctor.

Quote:
A further comment on US intelligence. As a staff officer (G-3 TF Delta for Harvest Moon, and Operations Officer of the 3dMarDiv from June-November, 1966) and as an infantry battalion commander, Jan-June 1966 I never received one bit of operational intelligence that was of any use to me. Such things as SI information derived from intercepting enemy communications was denied to me on the basis that I was not cleared for “Spook.” Go figure.
--And we, with the proverbial benefit of hindsight, apologize for this. From an official history of special intelligence in Vietnam, The Most Secret War, Army Signals Intelligence in Vietnam (INSCOM, Gilbert, 2002) -- "ASA had felt frustrated by the limited numbers of consumers cleared for SIGINT and of the restraints imposed by the SSO system, a system it did not control."

Although ASA (cover: "Radio Research"), I worked for the 1st Platoon, Sub Unit 1, 1st Radio Battalion-Marine, when I first arrived at Chu Lai. This was a Naval Security Group adjunct, I believe. Although before my time, note the following relative to what precipitated Operation Starlite --

On 15 Aug. 1965, Major General Nguyen Chanh Thi, commander of the South Vietnamese forces in I Corps, had urgent news for Marine Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt, the commander of all the Marines in Vietnam. “I have,” said MajGen Thi, “the most important intelligence information of the war.”

A 17-year-old enemy defector had come into his lines and reported that the 1st Viet Cong Regiment was in the village of Van Tuong south of the new Marine base at Chu Lai. Shortly after MajGen Thi's departure, the Marines' 1st Radio Battalion intercepted radio traffic that confirmed the defector's information.



Last edited by RadioResearcher; 23 Sep 07 at 17:51..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 23 Sep 07, 18:10
Trailboss49's Avatar
Trailboss49 Trailboss49 is offline
General of the Forums
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign 
 
Real Name: Pat
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 17,929
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+] Trailboss49 has achieved enlightenment [1200+]
RadioR:

Yeah, I noticed how some of those radio intercept sights were placed in scenic and romantic locations.
__________________
"If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23 Sep 07, 19:13
Piedpiper 6's Avatar
Piedpiper 6 Piedpiper 6 is offline
Corporal
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Dr. R. E. Sullivan
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 67
Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99] Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99]
[QUOTE=RadioResearcher;767805]
--And we, with the proverbial benefit of hindsight, apologize for this. From an official history of special intelligence in Vietnam, The Most Secret War, Army Signals Intelligence in Vietnam (INSCOM, Gilbert, 2002) -- "ASA had felt frustrated by the limited numbers of consumers cleared for SIGINT and of the restraints imposed by the SSO system, a system it did not control."[QUOTE]

Kudos to those folks who did their best to keep the “Powers That Were” advised, and no apology is due anyone who did not set the policies as to how far down their information could trickle.

I mentioned being the MC Operational Briefer, and some of the stories I included the urls provide additional information. A biweekly chore was to brief the SecNav (then Paul Nitze), the CNO and his retinue, CMC and his retinue, and various other hangers on at the Pentagon. These briefings always began with the two “operational briefers,” the Navy first and then I got to speak our pieces. After fielding questions, if any, we were ushered out to sit in the hallway while the “Spooks” did their magic. Almost invariably a subject in the Spook briefing would involve operations, and either the Navy guy or myself were lassoed, dragged back in the room and attempt to answer the “duty” question. This was ridiculous, and a huge waste of time as one or another of us tripped back into the briefing arena. After a couple of months of this, SecNav declared in his Tuesday briefing that by Friday, by God, both the Navy and Marine Operators would have the necessary clearances to remain in the room while the Spooks performed. Impossible, you say, to get SigInt clearances in that length of time? Well, of course you’re right, unless of course the SecNav declares that it shall be done. I heard from my Mother that night back in Gary Indiana that the FBI had descended on my boyhood home (I left on my 17th birthday) to uncover any seditious activities which I might have carried out. My Mother wondered what the hell I’d done now…..and of course, in true Spook fashion, I couldn’t tell her. Whatever. Among other bits of information I learned in the next year from the Spooks was the name (they even showed his picture) of the US agent who was a member of Ho Chi Minh’s cabinet, and further how that individual was getting his info back to Washington. I spent a week with BGen Walt prior to him relieving MGen “Rip” Collins of the 3dMarDiv, and thus becoming the big US boss of I Corps. I went over the various contingency plans then in existence which might effect his Marines in I Corps in 1965. Walt was impressed enough that he told me that if I could ever shake the shackles of HQMC (I’d been there for over 4 years then in June of ’65) and get my tail out to the Nam that he’d get me an infantry battalion. My God! That was the command every infantry officer dreamed of, and at that time we had some seven battalions in country. Of course it was a dream, because my Files had more red flags hanging all over them than Red Square on May 1st. It came to pass that my boss, bless his soul, told the Commandant that if I didn’t get to a duty assignment with less pressure and more sleep that I threatened to Desert. When CMC asked my boss where I wanted to go CMC was told that Walt had promised me a battalion. So be it, said the Commandant. How about the red flags? Not to worry, Mr. Nitze, SecNav would be more than happy to grant me a waiver to join the SEA War Games, although the waiver did not follow me into retirement. I had to wait 10 years to get a passport. ONI and other assorted agencies were not happy with these decisions, but then they didn’t have to be.

After Operation Oregon (20/24March65) I was ordered to move 1/4 just about due west from my position, and we ended up at PK 17 on Hwy 1 north of Hue. (Wrote Seoul at first, and I am inclined to get my wars mixed up a bit.) Had lots of adventures in that position, but the one that involved Spooks was when the Province Chief of Thua Thien province made my Tactical Command Center an almost daily stop. He’d arrive about noon, I’d break out Cs for him (he loved them) and talk about whatever. He’d been with the Viet Minh, and fought both the French and the Japanese. More than that, my CP was in a large French Fort of the Beau Geste type, and he recalled that the enemy commanders of both the French and Japanese had been killed in the same wing of the fort that I’d made my little home away from home. Cheery news, that. I noted that his S-2 had a most interesting SitMap with all kinds of interesting squiggles. These I recognized from my days as a Spook meant that radio intercepts had been made at the time and place noted. I immediately had my S-2 copy the ARVN map down to the last squiggle. Now that ain’t the end of the story. MGen Wood Kyle, an old friend, and his retinue of lay abouts came to call after we’d been in position a few days. Everything went well until his G-2 saw my S-2s map….at which point he went ballistic. Where were we getting that information from? None of us were cleared….and so on so forth. So as long as we were north of Hue we hid our 2 map every time we got visitors.

Later we moved north of the river to a position that was later called Camp Evans (?) and used extensively by both the Army and MC. Every night about 0200 we’d receive our nightly blessing, 80 rounds of 82 mm mortar fire. And every evening about 1700 we’d receive a Flash message for MY EYES ONLY. Holy smoke, the message said, our intel has picked up info that you’re going to be hit by mortar fire tonight! No defecation, Little Eva. That ain’t News, it’s History. Of course they’d give us no info as to where the signals originated which might have given us a clue as to where to put out most of our ambushes that night.

Operation Comanche brought two more battalions into what I considered by sole fiefdom. After rattling around for a couple of days, everyone else departed except, of course, good old 1/4 and we’d been in the target area then for some two months. We were ordered to move into the Ap Co Bi-Thanh Tanh area, which was then the equivalent of the eeriest spot on earth because of its reputation of being downright ornery to all foreigners, and particularly Marines. After a week or so, I was ordered back east toward my old stomping grounds at PK 17. I determined to march out in column of companies, thus making a wide swath across the countryside where we could search and destroy as we withdrew. MGen Kyle had launched his helo to watch/supervise/whatever our movement, and about an hour into it was on the horn asking me why there were so many fires behind us. The area had been without civilians for some three years, and although the remains of some of their hooches were still there, I wanted to make damned sure that when the VC/NVN moved back in that there would be no place for them to seek any kind of cover. So I’d ordered my ArtyLnO to register, outside the villages remaining, with Willy Peter, and you know how inaccurate those shells are, and it would seem that in fact some of those hootches had caught fire. And without fireman….I’ll let you fill in the blanks. Anyway, after I’d explained the purpose of the Willy Peter there was a long silence on the other end of the phone….then a “Carry On, Sully.” And carry on we did.

One more sea story. Of course I had been debriefed by the Chief Spook in HQMC, Major (later CMC) Al Grey, and told to erase from my memory and never speak again of the various secrets of the universe to which I’d been exposed. So I erased all of that info from my mind….then in late June ’65 became DivOpsOfficer. Now I was a full member of the hangers-around club, and got to attend the 0700 follies every day. Shortly after I arrived the DivAirO reported on some “strange activities” that involved helos going on in the A Shau Valley on the Laotian border. MGen Wood Kyle looked at his staff, and asked if anyone had any idea of what the hell that was all about? Of course I had no precise knowledge of this particular event, but I did know that…. Whatever, I remained mum, and saith not one word.

[QUOTE= RadioResearcher;767805]Although ASA (cover: "Radio Research"), I worked for the 1st Platoon, Sub Unit 1, 1st Radio Battalion-Marine, when I first arrived at Chu Lai. This was a Naval Security Group adjunct, I believe. Although before my time, note the following relative to what precipitated Operation Starlite --

On 15 Aug. 1965, Major General Nguyen Chanh Thi, commander of the South Vietnamese forces in I Corps, had urgent news for Marine Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt, the commander of all the Marines in Vietnam. “I have,” said MajGen Thi, “the most important intelligence information of the war.”

A 17-year-old enemy defector had come into his lines and reported that the 1st Viet Cong Regiment was in the village of Van Tuong south of the new Marine base at Chu Lai. Shortly after MajGen Thi's departure, the Marines' 1st Radio Battalion intercepted radio traffic that confirmed the defector's information.
[QUOTE]

A footnote to the foregoing. Thi was Corps Commander, as noted above, but he was a heck of a lot more than that. It was largely at his urging that the Buddhist Riots kicked off in April/May of ’66, which essentially cut my battalion off from our logistic supply. At times I had to choose between bringing up mail or ammo for the ProvArtyBn that was attached to then my nearly 5,000 Marine command. We had gone on light rations, and then no rations because of the situation. For rations we raided what had been VC stores of rice, and lots of it. Then of course there was always the occasional water buffalo that wandered into one of our mine fields. (Damned difficult animals to drive, those buffalo.) But we also sought out local intelligence as to where the corn fields and peanut fields were. Our patrols were built around procuring food as much as they were looking out for bad guys. War is hell, and blanched peanuts just don’t make it when compared to real food. On the other hand, compared to Charleys….Getting back to Thi, when the Buddhist Riots were finally put down, Thi was invited out of the country by then Premier Ky. But then politics and politicians in Viet Nam did not rest easy in their beds….
__________________
Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won.
Duke of Wellington
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 23 Sep 07, 19:22
Piedpiper 6's Avatar
Piedpiper 6 Piedpiper 6 is offline
Corporal
United_States
5 Year Service Ribbon 
 
Real Name: Dr. R. E. Sullivan
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 67
Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99] Piedpiper 6 is on the path to success [1-99]
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailboss49 View Post
RadioR:

Yeah, I noticed how some of those radio intercept sights were placed in scenic and romantic locations.
I mentioned heretofore then Captain/Major Al Grey as the Chief Spook at HQMC. Shortly after his arrival in HQMC my boss and I were invited down to the Bat Room where Al had his office. General Greene, and one or two of the staff who were cleared for SPOOK were with him. General Greene then read a citation and pinned a badge on Al for his SPOOK work on a series of hills in Viet Nam rung absolutely no bells in my head at the time. After reading the citation, it went back in the safe since it was classified SPOOK, having given the locations of several bat caves. Only later did I realize that Al and a small group of spark hunters had been in the "800 Hils" that overlooked what would be years later the Combat Base at Khe Sanh. Don't know about anyone else, but from what I know about them thar hills I'd have preferred to be elsewhere. Scenic and romantic....well, guess that you could send flowers to a rock ape if you were so inclined.....
__________________
Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won.
Duke of Wellington
Reply With Quote
Reply

Please bookmark this thread if you enjoyed it!


Thread Tools
Display Modes



Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:31.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.