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

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 17 Nov 08, 14:27
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Cua Viet May 1968- I need help......

I am a third generation Marine. My Grandfather served in WW2, My dad in Vietnam, and I served in the 1980's.

I need some help with some info on my dad. He is deceased. He served 20 years and did two tours in Nam. He did not talk about it much. I have letters and stuff my mom gave me.

Here is what I need.

My dad was in a forward outpost at the mouth of the Cua Viet river 3 miles south of the DMZ. He saw quit a bit of combat from what I read in his letters.

One particular event he talks about, is an engagement that took place in April or May of 1968 there at Cua Viet. The Marines and the Army killed about 2500 enemy. From what he says, the Army did a great job in that operation, and my dad seldom had anything good to say about the Army.

Was anyone in that operation? Can you expand on it for me?

I'd appreciate it.
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  #2  
Old 17 Nov 08, 14:44
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Hello Billy and welcome to ACG

This battle your dad talked about is commonly known as the Battle of Dong Ha. It is well documented and was indeed a joint USMC-USA battle (Army units were from the AMERICAL Division, 3-21 INF I believe) part of Operation SCOTLAND II, there's a detailed narrative at the 1st Amtrac Battalion website:

http://www.amtrac.org/1atbn/Battles/BattleForDongHa.asp
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Old 17 Nov 08, 16:23
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Thanks Boonierat I really appreciate that.
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Old 17 Nov 08, 18:27
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My helicopter company provided aviation support for the battle, several of my friends were involved. Here is an excerpt from our website, 174 AHC.

"On 29 April 1968, the 2/4 Marine Battalion Landing Team of the 3rd Marine Division, locked horns with an NVA Division (304th) in the 'ville" of Dai Do on the Cua Viet River 'horseshoe' just south of the DMZ (I Corp RVN). Intelligence had tipped our Forces that an entire NVA Division was in the first stage of a major march to seize and destroy the 3rd Marine Division Headquarters at Dong Ha. The Army’s grunt rifle battalion 3/21st Infantry, 196th LIB (out of the Americal) was attached to the 3rd Marine Division on May 1st to help quell the NVA’s intentions.

The stubbornness of the NVA was stunning (as was always the case), though they out-numbered the US troops three to one. And though the loss of American lives was staggering (one is too many), the courage and the stamina of the Marines and Army was valorous. The campaign was marked by constant bombing and shelling (aerial, land based and Naval Cruiser USS Boston). At several points the US Military powers used experimental 2000 lb bombs, when the village areas (Dai Do, Dinh To, Dong Huan, An Lac, Thuong Do and Nhi Ha) turned into a NVA hornet nest. The 3rd Marines officially list the series of actions as ended on May 15 1968 and labeled it (during Operation Night Owl) as the Battle of Dai Do. The Americal classifed it as a continuance of Operation Napoleon.

List of Casualties:

3d Marines Division- 233 KIA 821 WIA 1 MIA
3/21 Infantry 196th LIB- 29 KIA 130 WIA 1 MIA
Navy TF Clearwater- 15 KIA 22 WIA
ARVN- 42 KIA 124 MIA

NVA- 2945 KIA 47 POW


From the start of the battle, the CO of the Marines 2/24 BLT, LT COL William Weise had great concern about airmobility. He requested that the Army provide helicopter support for resupply, extraction, insertion and medevac. The 174th AHC provided that airmobility for the entire battle. There were three Dolphin Slicks and Crews that accomplished this."

If you go to the 174th website you can read some of their stories and see a few pictures taken during the battle. One of our aircraft took a 51 cal hit through a fuel cell that set fire to the gunner's ammo box. They plugged the holes with sticks and other junk and flew home.

Rotorwash
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Old 18 Nov 08, 01:18
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A book on the battle exist, written by Nolan and titled The Magnificent Bastards - The Joint Army-Marine Defense of Dong Ha, 1968.

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Old 19 Nov 08, 09:37
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I know a former Marine who was there. About all I've heard him say is they killed a lot of NVA. I think he was a rifleman at the time. I don't know if he would be interested in talking about it or not. What unit was your dad in? I will see him in a couple weeks.
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Old 19 Nov 08, 11:47
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Man, you guys are fantastic!! I have a suitcase full of pictures, notes, letters, military stuff. I am currently going through it as of this moment.

My dad was a hard ass 20 year Marine. He was a grunt and in Amtracs eventually. He spent time on the Drill Field as a 'Hat', and finally ended things as a Recruiter.

He was the only one of us three that saw combat. He almost never talked about Nam, and when he did it was short and vague. I know he suffered, because I and my family lived with it.

I wanted him to be proud of me, so I enlisted. He never did give me that proverbial pat on the back and accept me into the club, and I can understand that, because I can not imagine what he went through.

But I know he was in this battle, and I will have his unit soon, as I begin to rummage through this proud history.

Thanks guys, you rock!!!!

More to come later.
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Old 21 Nov 08, 20:49
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One of my friends took part in this battle.He was in Echo company,2/4 marines.His company commander was Captain James Livingston...who was awarded the MOH for this action.Livingston went on to become commandant of the marine Corps.
I asked him to go to DC with me to the wall.He told me he would never go there...........He had too many friends names there........
He also told me that during that three day ordeal...........every marine there deserved the MOH.........I have the book also.........."the Magnificent Bastards"..........A salute to every one of them
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Old 03 Dec 08, 12:42
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I'm having trouble finding his unit, he does not cite it in his letters. Perhaps this was a security measure?

With some hesitation I am at somewhat of a dead end, so I have to see if any of you can help me.

He was at Cua Viet in late April '68 for about 1 year, he wrote the letter describing the battle on May 16th '68.

His name was RD Stevens (Richard D) also known as Dick or Steve. He was a Staff Sgt at the time and was with Amtracks.

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 03 Dec 08, 12:47
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Cua Viet was the home of the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, a component of the 3d Marine Division. There's a very good website about this unit, its probably the one your dad was in:

http://www.amtrac.org/

Last edited by Boonierat; 03 Dec 08 at 12:59..
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Old 03 Dec 08, 17:28
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Thanks Boonierat, I do remember him always wearing this ratty 3rdMarDiv sweatshirt all the time. I am currently checking out that site and digging around.

Still working at things,,,,again, thanks.
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Old 03 Dec 08, 19:57
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RuselUpsomegrub,
If all else fails, you may want to try searching a Virtual Wall site such as this one (I highly recommend);

http://thewall-usa.com/index.asp#search


Enter Branch of Service and Casualty Date; if no luck finding Marines that were KIA in the Province and/or area of the Battle in question; try search Army Branch also - look for unit names and when you start seeing a consistency for the number of KIA's you know of, could possibly provide you with the unit you are looking for. GOOD LUCK!

KEN
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Old 07 Dec 08, 13:06
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Thank you Ken I appreciate your input. However, my dad died in America in '1997 not in country. Boonierat is probably right on with the 1st Amtracs. Is there a way to check unit names those that served in them?

If I have to check each unit it's okay, I have the endurance. Most of the files I have on my dad are medical and pictures. I do not have a complete SRB, I can't match any of the dates in that to the time in Cua Viet. I do however have dozens of pictures.

I'm trying to see if I can get any lingo off the side of the Tracks to establish some sort of unit.

I want to quote from one letter directly:

Cua Viet May 16 1968

Well I'm here at Cua Viet, thats at the mouth of the Cua Viet River. If you had a map you could see it's about 3 miles from the DMZ.

Right now I'm only about two miles from it at one of our own outposts.

We don't do much work with our Amtracs here, but we do a lot of Infantry work. I was on patrol just the other day and we were about 1000 yards from the DMZ. We killed NVA, they walked right up on us at night and we dispatch them quickly.

We are in kind of a Desert area and it is so hard for them to get at us. In fact it's almost impossible.

When we are down at our ComPost we get incomming arty. My second day here we got about a hundred rounds.

They shoot at us from across the DMZ. Those big ones really shake us up sometimes. We have good bunkers, so it would take a direct hit to kill me.

The B52's try to take out their guns but they are dug in and hard to get at. The other night we watched some secondary explosions, but it would not be five minutes and they would be firing on us again.

You have to say one thing about those bastards, they are pretty tough.

The Army moved in up here and really helped us, we killed something like 2500 in a week or more operation.

We have prisoners and every time they hear an explosion they start shaking, so I guess the bombing and arty are not doing them any good.

Last edited by RuselUpsomegrub; 07 Dec 08 at 13:30..
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Old 07 Dec 08, 16:32
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or look on different vietnam war websites till you find his unit
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Old 07 Dec 08, 16:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuselUpsomegrub View Post
Thank you Ken I appreciate your input. However, my dad died in America in '1997 not in country. Boonierat is probably right on with the 1st Amtracs. Is there a way to check unit names those that served in them?
Rusel,
You probably know your DAD's Unit and Dates of the BATTLE by now - Boonie helped you there - now how do you find LIVE folks that may have been in that battle and may even know your DAD.

TWO examples of why I directed you to THE WALL:
Ralph Thursby
Rgthursby@wmconnect.com
Friend & fellow soldier
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Quincy, FL 32352 usa
To a friend who will always be thought of and missed.
I had the honor of being a friend of this brave man from our arrival in Nam in June 1967 until his death in Feb 1968. I'll never forget him!
Tuesday, February 08, 2005

KEN JENSEN
noharmkwj@hotmail.com
Platoon Leader
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boise, Idah 83706 USA
"PERCY" - Black Lion (BIG RED ONE 1st of the 28th - Co. D 1st Platoon)
"PERCY" was this brave soldier's Nick Name given to him by his fellow soldiers. He was and will forever remain, in my heart, the BEST soldier under my Command. This individual was my number ONE MACHINE GUNNER. He and I worked very close on many missions. "PERCY" took multiple rounds through his midsection and I was with him on the Med Evac Chopper when he passed away. I salute him almost everyday of my life. GOD BLESS "PERCY".
Monday, May 29, 2006

As you can tell the 2nd posting is my posting for one of my fine soldiers that is listed on THE WALL. The first posting is from one of my troops that lived through Vietnam. I found him because of his posting in memory of his friend Fred Haas. I have blocked out mailing addresses - but they can also be found on THE WALL many times, along with email addresses as shown in the examples. And of course many times this information will not be provided. However, if your lucky in searching the number of troops that died that were in your DAD's unit, I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that you will find some troops that probably served with your DAD.

Check out some of the folks I found by obtaining information off THE WALL - especially RALPH THURSBY (indiv from 1st example post - this is how I found him):



GOOD LUCK!

KEN
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