TOP

THE ORIGINAL BANDIDO CHARLIE C CO 1/16TH 1ST ID GUIDONBANDIDO CHARLIE MOVED FROM 5/60TH INF RGT 9TH ID TO THE 1/16TH INF RGT 1ST ID IN 1968

HOME

5/60TH INFANTRY RGT HISTORY

POSSIBLE ORIGINAL BANDIDO CHARLIE PATCH FOUND

60TH HISTORY

From the National Archives

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION

DECORATIONS

Colby Nets 10 Tons of Rice, 14 VC Killed

5th/60th Strikes Hard in Binh Phouc Area

VC Leave Note

Former VC Saving Lives of 5-60 Infantry Patrols

Binh Phuoc Shelled

2nd Brigade Gnaws at Enemy in Mekong Delta Actions

Binh Phuoc Hit Again

Bunkers KO'd

Mech Charge Helps Turn Delta Battle

9th Div Soldiers Rewarded with "Stars" At Dong Tam

THE ASSAULT AT AP BAC

Larry Garner was my C.O. up until...

FIRE SUPPORT BASE CUDGEL

CLOSE CALL IN 1968

FIRE SUPPORT BASE JAEGER

Three-man LP Foils Attack by 40 Enemy on Fire Support Base West of My Tho

THE SECOND SEIGE OF SAIGON, Y BRIDGE

1st M-79 Shot Routs Invaders

TET OFFENSIVE 1968 UNIT CITATION
RECOMMENDATION FOR PRESIDENTIAL UNIT

THE CHAPEL OF THE CYRENIAN

POSSIBLE ORIGINAL BANDIDO CHARLIE PATCH FOUND

Can you confirm the originality of this patch?

Read the accompanying letter here.

If you can provide any information, please contact Al Herrera

60TH HISTORY

 1917 - Constituted 15 May as Company E, 60th Infantry, Regular Army: organized 10 June at Gettysburg National Park, PA, and assigned 17 November to the 5th Division

1957 - Inactivated 1 December in Germany and relieved from assignment to 9th Infantry Division, and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Battle Group, 60th Infantry

1966 - Redesignated 1 February as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, and assigned to the 9th Infantry Division and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas

1970 - Inactivated 13 October at Fort Lewis, WA

From the National Archives:

The 60th Infantry was organized on 10 June, 1917 from elements of the highly decorated 7th U.S. Infantry. It was assigned to the 5th Division on 17 November, 1917 and remained with that division throughout World War I. The regiment sailed for France on 4 April 1918 and during the war participated in four campaigns, including St. Mihiel, the first American Offensive, Alsace and Lorraine.
It was during the Meuse-Argonne Battle that the 60th Infantry first demonstrated the tenacity and determination leading to the motto "To The Upmost Extent of Our Power", when it succeeded , after repeated failures by other units, in seizing the French village of Cuncel. It was during this epic struggle that Captain Samuel Woodfill earned the Medal of Honor. Later while conducting the daring Meuse River assault crossing which General "Black Jack" Pershing considered "one of the most brilliant feats in the history of the American Army in France, the regiment was honored by a second Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Edward C. Allsworth

At the end of World War I the regiment was assigned to Occupation duty until the following summer, when it returned to the United States. On 21 September 1921 the regiment was de-activated, although it remained on the rolls of the regular Army. The peaceful years between World War I and II were dormant ones for the 60th Infantry. After several paper transfers it was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division on 10 August, 1940. This began an association which has lasted to this day.

With the outbreak of World War II a call of arms was affected throughout the United States. The 60th Infantry was activated in the summer of 1940. From then until late in 1942, the regiment was engaged in training for the tasks that lay ahead. The 9th Division and the Regiment quickly attained a reputation of excellence, and as a result, the division was earmarked to participate in the first combat operation against the Germans of World War II---the assault landing in North Africa. On 7 November, 1942 the Regiment found itself locked in deadly combat with the French defenders of the German controlled Port Lyautery in French Morocco. During this operation the regiment made the 9th Division's first river assault of the war by crossing the River Oued.

After a period of time spent in guarding routes of communication and training, the 60th Infantry re-entered the battle of the mountain areas of Tunisia in March 1943. The GO-DEVILS developed the ability to traverse mountains quickly and was repeatedly used by the division to outflank enemy positions by going through terrain considered impassable. It was during this period that Sergeant William L. Nelson of the 2nd. Battalion won the 9th Division's first Medal of Honor. At the cost of his life he halted a dangerous German counter-attack which threatened to engulf his unit. The 2nd. Battalion earned the Division's first Distinguished Unit Citation.

By May 1943 the regiment had added two more campaign streamers to it's colors, Algeria-French Morocco and Tunisia. On 1 August, 1943, the GO-DEVILS landed on the Island of Sicily. Sicily became the seventh campaign streamer to be added to the regiment's colors, after two weeks of fierce mountain fighting.

The period between November 1943 and June 1944 was spent in England preparing for the invasion of France. On 7 June the regiment sailed for the assault beaches, and during the next ten days launched a vital attack which resulted in the 2nd Battalion's second Distinguished Unit Citation. During the massive offensive, the GO-DEVILS repeatedly demonstrated their mobility and aggressiveness. The heroic actions of men such as 2LT. John E. Butts of Company E, 2nd. Battalion, did much to aid in the final destruction of the enemy.

On 7 September 1944 the 3rd Battalion was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation after suffering the highest casualties during the crossing of the treacherous River Meuse. On 14 September the regiment entered the final phase of World War II with its advance into Germany. During the early part of 1945 Company B was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in the seizure of the town of Haven. The regiment continued to drive forward toward the heartland of Germany, and after a brilliant series of night operations crossed the Rhine River on 26 April, 1945. The 60th Infantry had participated in five major campaigns on the continent: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.

The regiment occupied Germany until late 1946. On 15 July 1947, after a short inactivation, the regiment was re-activated as a training unit at Fort Dix, New Jersey. In 1954 it was again shipped overseas to Germany. It remained part of the NATO forces guarding Europe until 1 August, 1956, when it was split up and redistributed. On 1 February 1966, as a result of the war in Vietnam, the 9th Division was re-activated and along with her the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Battalions of the 60th Infantry. Once again the GO-DEVILS took their place on the firing line.

Arriving in the Republic of Vietnam in December 1966, with other elements of the 9th Infantry Division, the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, pushed its way south from Bearcat to establish its Base Camp in Rach Kien, Long An Province. The months that followed saw the construction of a well fortified base of operations and concentrated efforts toward the elimination of all insurgent activity within Long An Province. Minor skirmishes with local guerrillas and hard core Viet Cong constituted the paramount efforts of the unit in its first year in the Republic of Vietnam.

The TET Offensive, 1967-1968, posed new and greater challenges for the GO-DEVIL Brigade. Such places of battle as Ben Tre, An Nhut Tan, Ben Luc, Rach Kien and Peoples Road stand as important victories for the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry.

In June 1968 the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, was a major cog in the wheel which rolled into the Plain of Reeds to do battle with no less than three Viet Cong and NVA Battalions. Total destruction of two of the insurgent battalions was the result of that action which has been termed a classic in counter insurgency warfare.

The standard is high, and the history of the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry is a proud heritage indeed, and each member of the unit should be reassured in knowing he is a part of "The Best Battalion in the Republic of Vietnam".


CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION

World War I
St. Mihiel
Meuse-Argonne
Alsace 1918
Lorraine 1918

World War II
Algeria-French Morocco (with arrowhead)
Tunisia
Sicily
Normandy
Northern France
Rhineland
Ardennes-Alsace
Central Europe

Vietnam
Counteroffensive, Phase II
Counteroffensive Phase III
Tet Counteroffensive
Counteroffensive, Phase IV
Counteroffensive, Phase V
Counteroffensive, Phase VI
Tet 69 Counteroffensive
Summer-Fall 1969
Winter-Spring 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive
Counteroffensive Phase VII

DECORATIONS

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered STE. COLOMBE (2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SCHWAM-MANAUEL DAMS (2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SEDJANANE VALLEY (2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)

Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered SAIGON (5th battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered COTENTIN PENINSULA (60th Infantry cited)
Belgian Fourragere 1940 (60th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at the MEUSE RIVER (60th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the ARDENNES (60th Infantry cited)

Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1968 (5th Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968 (5th Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1969 (5th Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Vietnamese Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1969 (5th Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)
Company B and
Company C each additionally entitled to: Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered CHOLON-SAIGON (Company B and Company C
, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry cited)


 The Old Reliable
February 2, 1967
Page 1

Colby Nets 10 Tons of Rice, 14 VC Killed
Colby Takes Place 40 Km From Saigon

Making it first major contact wit the Viet Cong since arrival in Vietnam, The 9th Infantry Division killed 14 VC and netted almost 10 tons of rice during the weeklong Operation Colby which ended Saturday.

The operation, conducted by the First Brigade and elements of the Third Brigade and 3d of the 5th Cavalry, took place about 40 kilometers east of Saigon.

Armaments captured during the fighting included a sophisticated Soviet-designed Chinese-made AK 47 assault weapon - the VC counterpart of the M-16; 1,715 rounds of small arms ammunition, 35 60mm mortar rounds, 29 Chinese Communists grenades and quantities of blasting powder and explosive charges.

Food items captured included 0,55 tons of rice, 200 pounds of peanuts and 450 pounds of salt.

Miscellaneous items taken were a mimeograph machine and 75 pounds of documents.

In the air war during Operation Colby, Air Force pilots flew 59 sorties.

Here is a brief breakdown of some of the action.

January 22 Elements of the 5th of the 60th Infantry (Third Brigade) captured six tons of rice, 600 rounds of small arms ammunition and 28 mine detonators.

(continues)

Courtesy of Doug "Doc" Birge.


The Old Reliable
April 17, 1967

5th/60th Strikes Hard in Binh Phouc Area

Binh Phouc - Armored personnel carriers of the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, rumbled into Binh Phouc District southwest of Saigon, a little more than two weeks ago.
But the mechanized infantrymen have hit hard, striking often at night in company and platoon-size ambushes. The enemy here is sustaining heavy losses of men and supplies.

To date, the enemy has suffered 79 killed, the loss of 99 who have returned as Hoi Chanh (Chieu Hoi returnees) and 14 detained.

More than 400 enemy bunkers have been destroyed; 15 sampans and 20 tons of rice have been lost to the men of the 5th/60th.

The rice rich district south of the Van Co Tay River has long been an enemy communication route between the Rung Sat and the Plain of Reeds near the Cambodian border.

Contacts with the mechanized battalion have also cost the enemy forces at least one 81mm mortar, a .30 caliber machine gun and four rifles.

In all of the action, the battalion has not yet had to call a supporting air strike. One American has been killed.


The Old Reliable
July 26, 1967
Page 1


Reliable sources.NEWS BRIEFS

VC Leave Note

Binh Phouc-Two bashful Viet Cong decided they wanted to turn themselves into American forces under the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) Program but they lacked the nerve to walk into an allied force base camp.

So they left a note.

The note was discovered in an abandoned bunker in Long An Province by soldiers from the 5th (Mechanized) Battalion, 60th Infantry.

The note explained the pair's intentions and gave the location of their hideout. The 5th/60th continued their sweep operation and picked up the Hoi Chanhs at the specified location.

The defectors brought a 1917 Remington rifle with them.

(The above submitted by Doug "Doc" Birge)


The Old Reliable
July 26, 1967
Page 3

Former VC Saving Lives of 5-60 Infantry Patrols

BINH PHOUC - Four months ago six men, now stationed here, were members of the complex Viet Cong network in the Mekong Delta. Though each performed a different job, all were sworn to kill Americans.

Today these six are saving American lives and fighting side by side with soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division. The Vietnamese men are Hoi Chanhs, enemy soldiers who have defected from the VC ranks to return to the side of the government under the Chieu Hoi "Open Arms" program. The men then volunteered to work with American combat units using their knowledge of Viet Cong techniques and traps to protect allied forces.

The Hoi Chanhs, working with the Reconnaissance platoon of the 5th (Mechanized) Battalion of the 60th Infantry, so far have uncovered 50 punji pits during operations and have prevented members of the platoon from walking into booby traps on more than 50 separate occasions, according to platoon leader First Lieutenant Robert L. Beechinor, of Bakersfield, Calif. Beechinor was leery at first of working with his former enemies. "When I first heard of the program, I really didn't think it was such a good idea. They (the Hoi Chanhs) were given to me as sort of a trial," he explained. "Now all the company commanders are trying to get them and I'm a believer!"

One was an agricultural advisor on the Plain of Reeds. Two worked for two years as Viet Cong guards in villages. Another was a guerrilla fighter with three years of combat under his belt. The fifth was a VC demolitions expert and the last was a schoolteacher who pumped out Viet Cong propaganda.

Members of the recon platoon are unanimous in their praise of the Hoi Chanhs and the contribution the Vietnamese are making to the platoon.

"They go with us on patrols and they see things we would never notice -- mainly booby traps," said Private First Class Jack M. Wedgewood from Burney, Calif.

"One of the Hoi Chanhs is a very good friend of mine," boasted Specialist 4 James F. Gotelli of San Francisco. "He rides on my track."

"They've taught us a lot about booby traps and how to walk in the water and mud without making noise," explained Private First Class Arnold M. Wallace, of Knoxville, Tenn.

"They have a great sense of humor," remarked Specialist 4 Al D. Young, a mechanic from Saginaw, Mich. "and they get along with everyone real well."

Summing up opinions, section leader Sergeant Lawrence McDuffie of Philadelphia, said simply, "I have trusted them with my life on countless occasions."

(The above submitted by Doug "Doc" Birge)


The Old Reliable
August 16, 1967
Page 1

Binh Phuoc Shelled

Binh Phuoc - Eight rifle grenades hit the base camp of the 9th Division's 5th Battalion (Mechanized), 60th Infantry here at approximately 2030 hours Aug. 5.

Six Americans were wounded in the brief attack.


2nd Brigade Gnaws at Enemy in Mekong Delta Actions

The Old Reliable
April 22, 1967
Page 1

(Dong Tam) Enemy forces in the Mekong Delta suffered 24 killed and the loss of a munitions factory, a number of weapons, radio equipment and documents after scattered encounters two days last week with elements of the 2d Brigade. All of the action occurred near the brigades base camp here, about 40 miles southwest of Saigon.

The mechanized infantrymen of Company C, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry-attached to the 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry-made the first kills of the day, Thursday, when they cut down two members of a fleeing enemy force which had attacked them. The company captured an automatic pistol and a Chinese-made hand grenade in the encounter.

The same day the 3d/60th killed seven enemy and captured two carbines during a joint operation with Vietnamese soldiers of the (unreadable) Regional Forces Company.

In a separate encounter on (unreadable) Island in the end of Dong Tam, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry clashed with a hostile force killing four enemy. Meanwhile supporting fire from the 3rd Battalion, 34th Artillery killed four more enemy during the island action.

The next day 2d Brigade units continued to cut away at enemy positions in the Dong Tam area.

Company C, 5th/60th, uncovered an enemy munitions factory southwest of Dong Tam. The factory concealed mines, mine parts, casing for booby traps, explosives and a number of homemade gas masks. Demolitions were used to destroy the factory.

Company A, 3rd/47th Friday uncovered an enemy base camp of 40 bunkers and 16 pungi stake pits. Artillery fire, called in by the infantrymen, destroyed the fortification.

Two enemy short wave radios were captured by elements of the 3rd/60th after action, which resulted in seven enemy dead.

(Above submitted by Doug "Doc" Birge)

 

The Old Reliable
September 27, 1967

Dong Tam - Enemy forces in the Mekong Delta suffered 24 killed and the loss of a munitions factory, a number of weapons, radio equipment and documents after scattered encounters two days last week with elements of the 2d Brigade. All of the action occurred near the brigade's base camp here, about 40 miles southwest of Saigon. The mechanized infantrymen of Company C, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, attached to the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, made the first kills of the day.

Thursday, when they cut down two members of a fleeing enemy force which had attacked them. The company captured an automatic pistol and a Chinese-made hand grenade in the encounter. The same day the 3rd/60th killed seven enemy and captured two carbines during a joint operation with Vietnamese soldiers of the Regional Forces Company. In a separate encounter on Island in the end of Dong Tam, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry clashed with a hostile force killing four enemy. Meanwhile supporting fire from the 3rd Battalion, 34th Artillery killed four more enemy during the island action.

The next day 2nd Brigade units continued to cut away at enemy positions in the Dong Tam area. Company C, 5th/60th, uncovered an enemy munitions factory southwest of Dong Tam. The factory concealed mines, mine parts, casings for booby traps, explosives and a number of homemade gas masks. Demolitions were used to destroy the factory.

Friday, Company A, 3rd/47th  uncovered an enemy base camp of 40 bunkers and 16 pungi stake pits. Artillery fire, called in by the infantrymen, destroyed the fortification. Two enemy short wave radios were captured by elements of the 3rd/60th after action, which resulted in seven enemy dead.


The Old Reliable
September 27, 1967
Page 1

Binh Phuoc Hit Again

BINH PHUOC - The fire base of the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry here was the target of a brief enemy attack Sept. 15.

At 9 p.m. the enemy fired 13 M-79 grenades, one rifle grenade and a barrage of small arms fire into the camp.

Two Americans were very slightly wounded in the attack.


The Old Reliable
Dec. 6, 1967
Page 1

Reliable sources...
News Briefs

Bunkers KO'd

BINH PHUOC - Two platoons of the 9th. Division's 5th Mechanized Battalion, 60th Infantry, destroyed 92 bunkers and took six detainees during a recent search and destroy operation nine miles east of this Mekong Delta Camp. Two of the bunkers were command type, which could control and direct the fire of the other 90 defensive positions.

No direct enemy contact was reported from the mission.


The Old Reliable
May 13, 1967
Page 3

Mech Charge Helps Turn Delta Battle

Dong Tam - When the issue hangs in doubt, charge. With that thought in mind the commander of a 9th Division mechanized company led is armored personnel carriers (APCs) into a bloody battle near here last week that left 195 Viet Cong dead.

Soldiers in other units engaged in the battle, described the armored charge as a turning point in the fight between elements of the Old Reliable' 2nd Brigade and units of the 514th Viet Cong Provincial Mobile Battalion in the Ap Bac Secret Zone.

My men were anxious to take their vehicles into battle, explained First Lieutenant Larry D. Garner, commander of Company C, 5th Battalion (Mechanized), 60th Infantry.

When the Battalion Commander of the 2nd Brigade to which the 5th/60th C Company is attached, gave his go ahead, the men started screaming battle cries as they moved out.

Lieutenant Garner, who has a Master Degree in Military History, and who later received a Silver Star for his actions during the battle, recounted the action of this company. "When we reached the bunkers the men completely overran the enemy position. My boys were running up and down dropping grenades in every bunker they saw" (unreadable) "The track drivers were even battling with the enemy", Lt. Garner said, "One of the drivers (unreadable) was standing up and firing a grenade launcher. "I thought someone else had taken over control of the track, but no, there was no one else. Either he was driving with his feet or he had a very well-trained monkey with him".

The crushing effect of the mech assault relieved some of the pressure on the infantry units that had been pinned down. They were able to maneuver and overrun the Viet Cong who had forced them to keep their noses in the ground with heavy automatic weapons fire. The arrival of the APC's in the thick of the battle brought another blessing. The tracks carried volumes of extra ammunition and even extra machine gun barrels for the infantry units.

(The above submitted by Doug "Doc" Birge)


The Old Reliable
May 13, 1967
Page 7

9th Div Soldiers Rewarded with "Stars" At Dong Tam

Dong Tam - Scores of men serving in the Army's 9th Infantry Division proved last week that gallantry in action is sometimes the rule and not the exception.

Eighteen Silver Stars and 74 Bronze Stars with "V" devices were presented to men in the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry and the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry two days after a battle in which they killed 195 enemy soldiers of the 514th Viet Cong Battalion in the Ap Bac Secret Zone. Major General George S. Eckhardt commander of the 9th Division, came to the 2nd Brigade "River Raiders" base camp and personally presented the medals to the (unreadable).

Silver Star winners from the 3rd-60th, "Wild Ones" were battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Edwin W. Chamberlain, Captain Clarence G. Maisuda, Lieutenants Michael D. Wilson, Raymond McLoof and Joseph G. (unreadable), Sergeant First Class John Brown, Staff Sergeant (unreadable) C. Musgray, Specialist 4 Ernest (unreadable) and Private First Class Raymond R. Wright and Leonard Keller.

Winning Silver Stars from Company C, 5th/60th (attached to the 3rd/60th) were company commander Lieutenant Larry D. Garner and Specialist 4 Boris R. Bentley.

Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Lucien E. Boldoc of the 3rd/47th headed the list of Silver Star winners in the 'Tiger Battalion'. Others were Captain Charles P. MacDonald, Lieutenant Terry G. Stall, Platoon Sergeant Calvin L (unreadable) and Private First Class Raymond A. Walls.

Praise and tribute were also paid to (unreadable) who were awarded the Bronze Star. A total of 21 Bronze Stars with "V" device were presented to members of the members of the 3rd-60th, (unreadable); two to the 3rd/34th Artillery and 12 to the 3rd/47th.

(The above submitted by Doug "Doc" Birge)


THE ASSAULT AT AP BAC

May 2nd 1967

As the shadows lengthened over the dry rice fields of dense foliage, the roar of machine-gun fire and exploding grenades slowly died away. Darkness finally came to the rice paddies of Dieh Thuong Province in the Mekong delta of Vietnam, but it came slowly. Even so, it was of little benefit to the Viet Cong, most of whom had died. This time, darkness would provide no convenient cover for their escape.

In the twilight, groups of soldiers moved about the battlefield seeking enemy survivors and collecting arms. Particles of phosphorus from the heavy artillery that had lashed the area flared fitfully, lighting up shattered palms and underbrush with a ghostly glow. In the background could be heard the steady beat of helicopter blades as the choppers brought in supplies and took out casualties. Occasionally the throaty whine of an armored personnel carrier would rend the eerie darkness momentarily as the carrier jockeyed on the battlefield. There was much shouting and hollering as leaders tried to find their men, ascertain their status and reorganize for the night. Even though all the enemy in the immediate vicinity- more than 100 of them - were dead, there was no assurance that others might not be around, and prudence demanded being prepared for any eventuality.

There soldiers, infantrymen of the 3rd Battalion, 60th infantry ("The Wild Ones"), and their attached mechanized support (
Company C, 5th Battalion ( mech) 60th Infantry), were utterly exhausted and physically weak from their exertions. Men spoke in high-pitched, excited voices as though still trying to make themselves heard over the roar of gunfire. As they held their cigarettes their hands shook from the terrific nervous tensions they had been under. Fear, too, played on their frayed nerves. Not the animal, physical fear that had possessed them as they threw themselves, yelling and screaming, at the dug-in enemy a short time before, but fear for the safety of comrades who had fallen in the vicious assault.

But the most prevalent feeling now that the major, recognizable danger had passed, was one of elation - high elation. To have met the enemy on his own terms after so many fruitless months of seeking him, suffering daily casualties from mines and booby traps until frustrations reached a crescendo that seared the mind and bloodies the heart; to have met the enemy and destroyed him completely, provided a joy and a sense of accomplishment that caused their hearts to glow and animated each man.

Such is the aftermath of violent combat.

Customarily, when major events occurred in Vietnam, there was nothing to indicate that the days' operation would be other than routine. True, our division G2 had indicated that a sizable enemy force was in the Ap Bac area, but experience had shown that at best, this was an educated guess - one that all too often had proved false. In fact, if anything, the operation got off to an inauspicious start.

Originally, our 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division had been promised two helicopter companies for the operation; however, late on the day before the operation began, one of these was withdrawn. In view of this, the brigade commander, Col. William B. Fulton, changed his scheme of maneuver. He adopted a conventional formation of two battalions advancing abreast, the 3rd Battalion, 60 Infantry, on the west, the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry on the east, with Highway 4 as a line of departure.

In order to establish a blocking force that would prevent any enemy from withdrawing ahead of our advance, it was decided that Company A, 3/60th, would utilize the helicopters beginning at 0700 to make an airmobile assault and secure a blocking position astride the most likely route of enemy withdrawal. Following this operation the aircraft would pass to the 3/47th for a similar operation.

The rest of the troops would move to their jump-off positions by vehicles with the 3/60th departing first because it had the longest distance to travel. Jump-off was scheduled for 0800. This was the plan finally coordinated on the evening of 1 May 1967.

Early on 2 May, elements of the Wild Ones composed of Company B and
Company C 3/60th, plus the battalion command post and combat support company (less elements), moved out and arrived at the attack position without incident. Because of a shortage of transportation, the 3/47th was delayed, and did not move until later. Meanwhile, Company A, 3/60th, was formed up and waiting at the helicopter pickup site for the promised company of choppers. It soon became apparent that the craft would be delayed, and after a wait of more than an hour, the battalion was notified that the helicopters would not arrive because of a tactical emergency elsewhere.

At this point, the situation was confused, and the brigade commander was unhappy. Two companies of the 3/60th were at the jump-off point, the 3/47th was en route but had not yet arrived, and one company of the 3/60th was sitting in the brigade area at Dong Tam without transportation. In short, a nice tidy plan had gone awry.

After discussing the pros and cons with the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, the brigade commander decided to continue the operation, even though the loss of the blocking force did not augur well for success. Company A was to move by trucks furnished by the brigade besides organic vehicles from the battalion, and upon arrival would go into battalion reserve near the line of departure. Meanwhile, the two companies already in the line of departure would begin the operation by advancing to a series of objectives to the north. The 3rd Battalion 47th Infantry, would also advance to the north as soon as it arrived.

In the zone of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry the attached mechanized company (
Company C 5th Battalion (mech) 60th Infantry) was given the deeper objective because its mobility and speed would allow it to quickly search out those objectives. It was hoped that in this manner the tracked vehicles could compensate for the lack of a blocking force.

The terrain in the area consisted of rice paddles surrounded on four sides by narrow earthen dikes. The paddies were mostly dry and easily supported the weight of an armored personnel carrier. However, throughout the area, the small streams could be crossed only at certain points. Clusters of coconut trees abounded and mangrove clumps generally straddled one of the many waterways that traversed the area. Few people were seen, although there were many houses of mud and thatch in these densely vegetated areas. In addition, farmhouses were scattered throughout the rice paddy terrain. Many of their large haystacks concealed bunkers. Visibility was excellent and the day was hot and clear.

By noontime, troops of "The Wild Ones" had reached and searched as far north as objective Queen without contact or major incident. Some rice had been found more proof that Viet Cong had been in the area. Perhaps more significantly, no mines or booby traps had been encountered, usually a good sign that you are in an area highly frequented by the Viet Cong. Company A, 3/60th had moved forward several kilometers from the line of departure in order to remain in supporting distance of the forward companies. For the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry looked like another hole.

However, for the 'Tigers' of the 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, and especially for Company A of that unit, what had started out as a routine walk in the sun was rapidly becoming a grim one. Almost from the moment it crossed the line of departure, it had begun to meet fire. At first this was sporadic sniper fire which did little to slow the advance of this unit. Moving aggressively, the company closed on the enemy, killed several and forced the others to flee to the north. Continuing its advance, the company began to meet more and more fire as it crossed the open rice fields opposite a built-up area of thatched huts along a deep stream that ran across their front. Calling for artillery fire and air support, the commander attempted to maneuver his company across the stream.

Meanwhile, the battalion commanded of 3/47th had committed his Company B to the right of Company A; but Company B was soon stopped by a heavy fire from along the same streamline. At about this time, Company A succeeded in getting a squad across the stream under cover of supporting fire. Keeping low, the squad moved across a short space of open grassland to a small dike, where it prepared to cover the crossing of the rest of the platoon. Suddenly, a concealed automatic weapon opened fire at a range of 50 meters, completely enfolding the line of troops. Fire was immediately returned and the enemy automatic rifle gunner was killed; however, he was quickly replaced by another, who continued to fire on the exposed squad and within minutes all who had crossed the stream were casualties.

By now, fire from all sides was intense, but despite this, several men of the platoon crawled forward to aid the wounded, only to die themselves. In a short time, all of those forward were dead from multiple bullet wounds, and the platoon was temporarily wrecked as a fighting force. The rest of the company dug in on the south side of the stream and continued to blast the area with fire from artillery and small arms.

Learning that elements of the 3/47th were in contact, and anticipating that his battalion would become involved, the commanding officer of the 3/60th ordered Company B to move toward the area of contact, followed by Company A. At the same time, he recalled the personnel carrier company (
Company C. 5th Battalion (mach) 60th Infantry) from its barren search farther to the west and began moving it toward the point of contact, although some three kilometers to the west. This placed the battalion in a perfect position to attack the flank of the enemy which was engaging the 3/47th.

The brigade commander quickly approved the action taken by the 3/60th, and at the same time directed that Company B, 3/60th, which was closet to the scene of combat, be placed under the operational control of the 3/47th and moved to a position to block the enemy's escape to the north. Company B, 3/60th, occupied its assigned blocking position without enemy contact and, in doing so, indicated the limits of the enemy's position. Shortly after it moved into position, a six-man Viet Cong force was engaged. Three VC were killed and the others fled to the south.

Company A 3/60th, which had been behind but south of Company B, continued to advance along the stream and the road which formed the line of contact farther to the east. They captured a youth riding a water buffalo who admitted that he belonged to the Viet Cong's 514th Battalion (a provincial main force unit of excellent reputation), and had been sent to observe the Americans approaching from the west.

By 1500, Company A had reached the restraining line designated by the brigade commander, and was deployed along it in assault formation with three platoons abreast. Some light small-arms fire had been met by the southern-most platoon advancing along the stream, but the enemy had quickly withdrawn when his fire as returned.

The personnel carriers of (
Company C, 5th Battalion (mech) 60th Infantry ) having a longer distance to travel, and having two fairly deep streams to cross, did not close Company A's position until approximately 1530. When It arrived the 11 carriers quickly deployed in line to the north of Company A, so that the battalion was deployed on an assault line 1,000 meters long and facing the east. In front of it stretched some 1,500 meters of open rice fields that were cut at 500-meter intervals by two irrigation ditches, the last of which was some 500 to 600 meters from the enemy's position. On the north and south was a line of dense coconut trees and undergrowth. Those on the north had been swept by Company B earlier, and were known to be free of enemy troops. Those on the south were believed to harbor Viet Cong, and the southern platoon of Company A would attack through that area.

While these deployments were being made, the 3/47th continued to alternate intense artillery fire and air strikes on the enemy position, thus effectively preventing most of them from escaping. Concurrently, the other companies of the battalion were dispersed to the east and north of the stream, with the mission of blocking any escaping enemy. While these operations were being carried out, the gunship, which had been constantly circling the area, reported a Viet Cong force of company size moving across the fields to the northeast. The gunship immediately attacked this group, killing an estimated 40.

By 1600, everything was ready for the coordinated attack. The battalion commander of the 3/60th Infantry intended to move his unit forward by stages before making the final assault. This was prompted in part by the need to get as close to the enemy as possible before assaulting, plus the necessity of crossing the tracked vehicles over the two irrigation ditches, so that, once started, no obstacle would impede the assault.

The battalion commander planned to close within 500 to 600 meters of the enemy's position and then use fire and movement to overcome the enemy's defense. Although he wanted to start the assault companies together, no effort would be made to keep the companies aligned after the attack began. The personnel carrier company was to advance, mounted, at the fasted speed possible until it reached the line of trees and undergrowth along the river. Then the infantry would bail out and sweep the dense area, taking the bunkers out with grenades and automatic weapons.

Company A, which would soon be outdistanced by the tracked vehicles, would continued to advance by using fire and maneuver within the platoons to destroy individual enemy position as they were discovered. Even though the general location of the enemy was known, the excellent camouflage and small holes customarily used by the Viet Cong made it impossible to spot exact fire positions until very close to them. To further complicate matters, the area was honeycombed with small fighting positions typical of the Delta region. They all had to be searched and cleared, even though most were found to be unoccupied.

At the brigade commander's suggestion, it was decided to lay a heavy volume of smoke on the area, using a battery of 155-mm. howitzers to screen the battalion's approach. It was also planned to place a battery of 105-mm, howitzers in direct support of each assaulting company, and under the control of the commanders concerned. The intent was to bring the artillery fire on the enemy's positions and then advance the infantry to as close as possible under cover of this fire, crawling the last few yards in the case of Company A. Then when the fire lifted to-the rear of the enemy, to block his escape positions, the infantry would assault before the enemy could recover. There was some delay caused by problems of coordination between the two battalions, so not until after 1700 did the battalion reach and deploy on the eastern side of the final irrigation ditch. Now the brigade commander faced a serious problem. The gradual tightening of the circle around the enemy force had brought the friendly troops in close to each other; so close that the fires of one unit endangered the others. Besides, the area which the artillery and air were attacking had become smaller and smaller. For the artillery, it was especially difficult; the tubes were so hot from continuous use that now the rounds they fired were beginning to become erratic. Also, all commanders were concerned about the possible effects the 50- caliber fire of the armored personnel carriers would have when they assaulted. There was no way to avoid some of this fire falling into positions held by elements of the 3/47th even as far back as the fire support base.

The concern over fire failing in the fire support base was so great that it was decided briefly not to attack. However, by this time all elements of the 3/60th had closed the final assault line and were beginning to meet enemy fire. When recoilless rifle fire began hitting the tracked vehicles, the die was cast. The brigade commander ordered the assault to begin as soon as the air strike in progress, was finished.

All was in readiness when, suddenly, the last attack aircraft wobbled and sprayed the line of tracked vehicles with its 20-mm. miniguns. Several personnel carriers were hit and several troops killed and wounded. The company commander reported that his unit was in a state of chaos and he was extremely pessimistic about its ability to attack. Meanwhile, the battalion commander of the 3/60th was experiencing great difficulty in getting the artillery fire support needed for his assaulting companies. Due to a misunderstanding, the artillery battalion commander refused to relinquish control of his batteries to the forward observers on the ground. Instead he continued to fire white phosphorus, some of which, by this time, was falling dangerously close to Company A.

By now, time had become the vital consideration, for darkness was approaching rapidly. Without further delay, the commanding officer of the 3/60th ordered the attack to go in without the artillery. Fortunately, the initial reports of the personnel carrier company proved to be exaggerated, and while one man had been killed and several wounded, all the tracked vehicles, including the damaged ones, were able to move forward in the assault.

What followed was a classic, coordinated assault such as can be seen only on a movie screen or at a demonstration at Fort Benning, but seldom in live combat. On the north, (
Company C, 5th Battalion (mech) 60th Infantry) moved forward at about ten miles an hour in a general line, while hosing down the countryside with .50-caliber fire. Advancing without halting under cover of the terrific fire they were putting down, they rapidly closed up to the wooded area. As soon as the woods were reached the infantrymen jumped out and began destroying the enemy troops in their position, where they had been trapped and pinned down by the heavy volume of fire.

On the south, Company A was exchanging fire with most of the enemy defenders. The two platoons in the rice fields were coordinating their movements, but as far as the rest of the company was concerned, the southern platoon, fighting through the growth and shacks along the stream, was in a war by itself.

Those platoons in the open area were moving by bounds into the enemy, moving a few yards until forced to hit the ground by enemy automatic arms, firing all their weapons until they could gain fire superiority, then moving again. In half an hour they had advanced to within 100 meters of the main enemy line, but were held up by intense fire from small arms and mortars.

Ammunition was rapidly dwindling, for the effort to maintain fire superiority caused huge expenditures. In addition, some men were having trouble with their rifles, due to the terrific volume of fire they were pouring out. Temporarily stalled, the company commander requested the support of the empty tracked vehicles which he could see to the north. These vehicles quickly joined and began to add the fire power of their .50 caliber's to the combat, which at the moment was very much in the balance.

So far as the battalion commander of the 3/60th was concerned, all his chips were in the pot. The situation was such that no fire from air or artillery could be utilized due to the nearness of the opposing combatants. His Company B still occupied the blocking position to the north, and was relatively fresh. It could prevent disaster, if necessary, but its chances of successfully attacking south along the stream were slim, since semi-darkness was already covering the area. Thus the units in contact would have to finish the job.

It was apparent that the climax was rapidly approaching. If we were going to win, the enemy must soon begin to break and run. We continued to pour fire into his position and to inch forward, taking best advantage of the cover.

The break we were looking for finally came on the right (southern) blank, where the platoon was coming along the stream line. After fighting its way through the houses along the stream, it arrived at a position just short of the enemies main defense line. In front of the platoon was the small pasture were the lead squad of Company A, 3/47th, had been destroyed earlier. the dead lay along a small dike extending perpendicular to their front. Farther to the north (about 30 meters) was another dike, parallel to the one behind which the dead lay.

The air was alive with bullets, making it Impossible to advance across the open space. Quickly dividing his platoon, the platoon leader directed his men to start crawling along the sides of the two dikes under cover of the supporting fire of Company A, 3/47th, from the southern side of the stream. As the men worked their way toward the enemy, they were forced to crawl over the dead of the other unit. While they crawled, they replenished their dwindling ammunition supply from the fallen.

As the second group, under the platoon sergeant, began moving down the dike, the lead man, a squad leader, was killed by fire from a foxhole along the dike. Seeing this, the two men following a machine gun team, quickly jumped up and rushed the position, dispatching the Viet Cong with a burst. Then without pausing, they ran along the entire length of the dike, which had foxholes every five meters of so, to take out the enemy positions one by one. In rapid succession they destroyed an automatic rifle position and light machine gun post, and then penetrated the enemy's main line to destroy a mortar which had been causing some trouble for the rest of Company A.

Inspired by the performance of these two men (who have been recommended for the Medal of Honor), the rest of the platoon jumped up and attacked, destroying the other enemy troops in close combat. One enemy soldier was beaten to death by a soldier who used his steel helmet, and another was stabbed to death, thus indicating the ferocity of the assault.

This attack broke the back of the enemy's defense. Suddenly enemy troop began jumping out of their holes and attempted to escape. Most were shot down as the troops of Company A, seizing the break they had been waiting for, quickly overran the position.

Thus, the battle ended. A hundred Viet Cong died in the area. No doubt, some escaped in the facing light. Since no officers could be identified among the enemy dead, except for the battalion surgeon, there was reason to suspect that these key people may have moved out earlier in the day, and possibly were some of those that had been encountered by Company B.

In the 3/60th, casualties were unbelievably light. Two men had died, another 15 had been wounded, but none of these men died and only six were classed as seriously wounded. Losses in the 3/47th were more severe. Thirteen men had died in the little pasture and many more had been wounded.

However, overall enemy losses had been more than 200 men. A reinforced company, and possibly more, had been lost for the time being to the Viet Cong 514th Battalion. For 'The Wild Ones' of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, and one attached troops, the action had confirmed what they believed all along: that given the opportunity, they could whip anybody. It had proved once again that the American fighting man, when well trained and aggressive, is the finest In the world. Of the men who participated in this assault most had been in the Army hardly a year.

Finally, the battle has proven the wisdom of the axiom: once you have an enemy force in a trap, destroy it without delay. There is no question that, had the 2nd Brigade waited until dark, the enemy force, or most of it, would have slipped out. Although the enemy would have suffered heavy casualties, his defeat would not have been nearly as final as the one which occurred. The enemy has demonstrated time and again that merely killing his troops does us little or no good, for he is able to quickly recruit more. However, If the core of these units, who were irreplaceable, can be captured or killed, the efficiently of these units must begin to wane.

* Please note that according to Charlie Taylor, Bandido 3-6, the use of Bandido Charlie as the company designator was used at this time.


Larry Garner was my C.O. up until I stepped on a land mine. I was in charge of the third Platoon. The item I would like to add is his role in the Battle of Ap Bak. He had just taken over command after Captain "Z" became injured, when A Co., 3rd/60th got itself into a real mess at Ap Bak and we were called in to help them out. As mentioned in his biography, he loved General Custer and his mission in life was to lead a cavalry charge much like Custer. At Ap Bak he accomplished his mission. Our three Mech Infantry Platoons assaulted as one. We attacked the enemy in the tree line, dismounted, and engaged the enemy. Lt. Garner then regrouped the empty tracks and re-assaulted the enemy with just the PC's drivers and Track Commanders, in front of A Company, giving the instant relief. It was an extremely bold move which paid off handsomely. It resulted in a complete victory with a minimal amount of casualties.

Lt. Raymond E. Maloof
Medically retired, 3rd Platoon, C/5th/60th


FIRE SUPPORT BASE CUDGEL

Fire Support Base Cudgel - Where in November of 1967 elements of the 5th Bn (mech) 60th Inf and 2nd Bn 4th Artillery withstood a brutal attack by the Viet Cong.

FIRE SUPPORT BASE CUDGEL
November 18, 1967
From the Old Reliable News
29 November 1967

As we began to dig our foxholes a 9th Division helicopter touched down with the final resupply of ammunition for the night.

The smell of freshly turned earth filled the Mekong Delta clearing as the helicopter lifted off and hovered momentarily over this 3rd. Brigade fire support base.

Specialist Four John Moses, 31, Jackson, Miss., a clerk in the personnel section of the 5th Mechanized Battalion, 60th Infantry, and I were debating about the size of our foxhole as the helicopter disappeared into the darkening Vietnam sky.

Moses looked up and threw a shovel full of dirt from the hole. Sweat streaked down his face. "I don't like this place one bit," he said staring into the jungle surrounding the fire base.

West of Fire Base Cudgel flowed one of the many tidal rivers that wind through the western part of Dinh Tuong Province. On the south, a smaller canal borders the camp.

By midnight the rising Delta water table had filled the foxhole with six inches of water and forced us to find sleeping quarters above ground.


About two hours later, the sound of explosions and people dashing for cover awakened me. I pulled the blanket from my face just in time to see a tracer ricochet in front of me.

Something big was happening.

Machine gun fire was coming in low and heavy. I started to low-crawl to the foxhole, but didn't dare climb over the parapet we had built around the pit.

For twenty minutes I hugged the ground.

Biting a blade of elephant grass, I waited until the enemy fire shifted to another part of the camp. The second it did, I was in the foxhole.

The crack of enemy weapons fire seemed endless. The sound of mortar rounds exploding continued almost unceasingly.

Artillery pieces of Batteries C and D, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery quickly countered the attacking enemy. Mighty 105 howitzers were leveled to fire point-blank barrages.

The enemy was that close.

with dawn came the dust-off helicopters. They carried away five dead and 38 wounded American soldiers.

Details of what happened unfolded as the infantrymen and artillerymen talked about the fierce two hours of combat that had taken place early that morning.

The 156-man fire base had been attacked by two companies of Viet Cong. The two companies had tried unsuccessfully to overrun the American position.

Private First Class George Pardner, 19, a grenadier with the Recon Platoon, 5th/60th recalled the details of the clash:

"Our platoon had dug fox-holes on the west side of the river and everything was quiet until about 2a.m. That's when they hit us with everything. Man, they were close, "Pardner of Rochester, N.Y., continued. "They were no more than 25 meters from our positions and were trying to throw grenades on us."

"We kept tossing grenades back at them and firing. I set off a claymore mine and we could hear them screaming and running all over the place."

"You could hear them talking, that's how close they were," added Recon Platoon leader, First Lieutenant Lee B. Alley, 21, of Laramie, Wyoming. "They hit us with automatic weapons and carbine fire."

Company C, 5th/60th encountered enemy wave attacks from the river.

Weapons squad leader, Sergeant Robert Frazier, 20, of Hamlet, Indiana, said, "I don't know if they were in boats or if they were swimming, but they kept streaming from the water."

"They fired rockets at us from across the river," said Staff Sergeant William Chandler, 25, of Lovelady, Texas. "You name it - they had it."

"If they weren't hard core," Chandler added, "I don't want to mess with anything harder."

"What had happened during the morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 18th, was an attack, first from the south and then from the west," said Lieutenant Colonel William R. Steele, commander of the 5th/60th. An estimated three companies of the 261st Viet Cong Battalion took part.

The firepower of the leveled howitzers along with the infantrymen and supporting air strikes and armed helicopters had beaten back the enemy charge.

TOP


CLOSE CALL IN 1968

Close Call

Bandido 14

The photos, above, were taken at FSB Jaeger, February 25 1968

Here are a couple of photos from a former FO attached to the 5/60th Bandido Charlie in 1968. His name is Irwin "Red" Weller. In the photo of the "close call", the Arty track was backed up to the Bn CO's, and as the FO, he should know. Red was inside the track when a RPG hit the tent next to his track. The RPG just missed him and evidently the rocket was there in the morning when they could see.

FIRE SUPPORT BASE JAEGER

Near Cai Lay Jan 24th 25th, 1968.
Stars and Stripes
Feb 27th 1968
Concerning ,Fire Support Base Jaeger Feb 24th/25th 1968

Fighting from behind a wagon train circle, made of armored vehicles, U.S. infantrymen of the 5th Bn (mech) 60th Inf. stood off an attack by 500 hundred Viet Cong who tried to overrun their patrol base and seize heavey artillery thus blocking the rice life line between Saigon and the Mekong Delta. The pre-dawn battle at Fire Support Base Jaeger took place 42 miles southwest of Saigon, lasting 4 and a half hours.

The enemy attack wilted under counterattacks from infantry reinforcements, helicopter gun ships and outside artillery. But U.S. losses were heavy and damage to the base was extensive.

American losses were 20 killed and 70 wounded. Among the dead was the patrol base commander.

The U.S. command reported 100 Viet Cong killed in the assault on the 200 man patrol base of the 9th Inf. Div. The unit charged with keeping open Highway 4 which carries rice and other essential goods to the capitol of Saigon.

About 60 of the Viet Cong penetrated the bases western perimeter and managed for a while to take over a 155mm artillery piece. Heavy American counter fire drove the enemy away before they could turn it on the defenders or haul it away.

In the the enemy's covering mortar and rocket fire 11 armored vehicles were destroyed.

The attack began shortly after midnight with a Communist feint from the east. Then the main attack came from the west.

Feild dispatches said the 16 armored vehicles drew into a circle around the 4 artillery pieces to stand off a human wave attack by the Viet Cong, when they had blasted their way through barbed wire on the western perimeter with Bangalore torpedoes.

Spec 4 Ralph Hirshler of Lamar, Colorado manned a .50 caliber machine gun on an armored vehicle. "They just kept coming over the rice paddy dikes and I kept heaving lead at them" he said. I must have fired 1000 rounds in 10 minutes

One of the attackers killed the company commander and Lt. Stanley Nowach ,of St. Louis, a Forward Observer, took command.

The fight was touched off when the U.S. company spotted 12 Viet Cong moving toward the perimeter from the east shortly after midnight . The American troops opened up with machine gun fire and sent out four armored personnel carriers to sweep the area. The lead carrier was hit by rocket fire. Then the Viet Cong opened up from the southwest and northwest. Then sent the bulk of its force storming into the western perimeter. Recon Platoon tried to break through to the encircled company but was attacked en route. Four of the armored personnel carriers of Recon Platoon finally drove through along with another infantry company.

"It was obviously coordinated to overrun the four artillery guns" an officer said.

TOP


FIRE SUPPORT BASE LAMBERT

The Old Reliable
May 1, 1968
Page 2

Three-man LP Foils Attack by 40 Enemy on Fire Support Base West of My Tho
By SP5 T. L. Farley
Staff Writer

FIRE SUPPORT BASE LAMBERT - "The first volley of machinegun fire threw dirt and stones all over us. We had to do something fast or we'd never get back to the fire base."

This realization prompted Private First Class Darie R. Schiappa and two other soldiers from
Company C, 5th Mechanized Battalion, 60th Infantry, to thwart single-handedly a VC attack on this 9th Division fire base 10 miles west of My Tho on Highway 4 in the Mekong Delta.

"It was 7 p.m., April 14 and the three of us were on a listening post about 75 yards from the perimeter," Schiappa said. "there were a lot of children playing around but suddenly the disappeared. About that time we got hit."

Schiappa, 19, of Vestal, N.Y., said an estimated 40 guerrillas attacked with small arms, automatic weapons and grenade launchers.

Private First Class Dennis A. Harris, 21, of Eden, N.C., remembered one piece of good luck.

The Charlies were just a few meters away in heavyfoliage and although they were putting out a heavy volume of fire they just couldn't hit anything. That gave us time to take cover behind a large concrete structure."

"We knew there was a lot of VC activity in our area so we came prepared for anything," said Private First Class Millar R. Goodwin, 20, of Trenton, Ga. "When we started to do our stuff they had to get their heads down or lose them."

Because the 5th/60th soldiers on the base perimeter could not fire for fear of hitting their listening post, Schiappa realized that he and his two friends would have to fight it out by themselves.

While Harris and Goodwin poured fire on the enemy, Schiappa climbed atop the huge structure to direct their fire and throw grenades.

Ten minutes later, the enemy realized that the three-man fusillade was more than they bargained for and broke contact, escaping with all but one of their dead comrades.


THE SECOND SEIGE OF SAIGON, Y BRIDGE

On May 10, 1968, Bandido Charlie Company again engaged the VC near the Y Bridge in Saigon. Fourteen F100s, four A37s, and four F4s were utilized in destroying the enemy and in protecting the troops. In all 21 structures, 30 bunkers, and 10 buildings were destroyed and 230 enemy killed by the aircraft.

From the Octofoil pages - "Early May 7, an estimated VC Platoon assaulted the Y Bridge, southern entrance to downtown Saigon. Simultaneously, an ARVN outpost futher west came under siege by an enemy company.

The ensuing struggle involved 9th. Division troops in eight days of street fighting like that encountered during February by Old Reliable units in Cholon, My Tho and Ben Tre. Those initial experiences in urban operations would prove invaluable during Round Two of the war's crucial showdown.

As Action boiled over into Saigon's southern suburbs, thousands of men, women and children poured into the city, seeking refuge. Many were cut down by the communists, who honor no distinction between Allied soldiers and innocent civilians.

Division infantrymen, closely supported by armored personnel carriers, helicopter gun ships, artillery and jet fighter-bombers, killed more than 700 enemy who tried for five days to invade the city. Three more days of sporadic flare ups during sweep operations swelled the enemy death toll close to 1,000.

The campaign cost the lives of 50 Old Reliables.

When fighting first exploded before dawn May 7, APCs of the 5th. Mechanized Battalion, 60th. Infantry, which had helped repel enemy intruders from Cholon during the Tet turmoil, rushed into the area from the Mekong Delta.

Nearing the ARVN compound,
Company C received heavy small arms, automatic weapons and B-40 rocket fire. Simultaneously, Company A, racing to intercept the enemy at the bridge, also met intense VC fire. Gun ships and artillery supported both contacts.

At dawn, U.S. air strikes raked the area, downing many enemy who had scurried for cover in a nearby factory complex. The trapped communists tried to flee south across open rice paddies, but were battered by gun ships of the 3rd. Squadron, 5th. Armored Cavalry and 7th. Squadron, 1st. Air Cavalry.

While Company A shut off the bridge access,
Company C's tracks roared through the factory rubble from the west, choking off the enemy in a cement block building near the center of the complex. Huey Cobras and UH-1C gun ships sprayed the VC position with lethal mini guns and rockets.

By noon, May 9, elements of the 5th/60th again were embroiled in heavy contact along the canal, while the 3rd/39th was engaged in the built-up area near the Y Bridge...

At about 6 a.m. May 10, an estimated enemy battalion launched a heavy ground attack against an RF/RP outpost south of Saigon. Infantrymen of the 5th/60th and 6th/31 aided by artillery and air support soon forced another enemy withdrawal...

Heavy fighting resumed the next morning and continued all day. Infantrymen backed by frequent air strikes, chalked up 116 more enemy kills...

One week later the 9th. Division returned to the Y Bridge. In a muddy pagoda yard only a few hundred feet from the battle area, the Old Reliables paid homage to the dead and honored the living." End of quote.


The Old Reliable
29 May, 1968
Page 1

1st M-79 Shot Routs Invaders

SAIGON - The first M-79 round fired in combat by Sergeant Darwin Gault was instrumental in securing the southern fringe of Saigon from the initial enemy thrust.

Gault, 24, of Atlanta, Ga., a squad leader with
Company C., 5th Mechanized Battalion, 60th Infantry, had entered Saigon May 7 aboard an armored personnel carrier and was stationed near the Y Bridge at the center of the Kinh Doi Canal.

When the enemy's pre-dawn assault was halted by a shield of burning lead from the APC guns, the VC fell back and tried to knock out the vehicles with anti-tank rockets.

The first projectile slammed into the bridge railing; the second whizzed high and detonated harmlessly in the canal; and the third was never launched.

"I saw the first two rockets being fired from the window of a building about 150 yards away," recalled Gault. "I picked up an M-79 grenade launcher although I had never fired one at the Cong before."

"I never heard the grenade explode," he said, "but it must have been right there because there was a blinding ball of fire, followed by the explosions of a great number of rockets."

With their positions destroyed, the VC could not hope to knock out the 5th/60th tracks. Another desperate ground attack met the same fate as the first onslaught and the insurgents withdrew leaving 35 dead at the bridge approaches.


Y Bridge,Cholon District, Southern Saigon. Picture taken just days prior to second seige of Saigon, May 7th. This was the route chosen by the NVA and VC units to infiltrate Saigon. They were stopped by A.and
C. Company 5th/60th along with other units of the 9th Infantry Division. ( photo taken by Garry Cooper - Aussie F.A.C.)


TET OFFENSIVE 1968 UNIT CITATION
RECOMMENDATION FOR PRESIDENTIAL UNIT

1. In accordance with paragraph 201, AR 672 - 5 - 1, it is recommended that the Presidential Unit Citation be awarded to the 5th. Battalion (Mechanized), 60th. Infantry for extraordinary heroism in actions against insurgent forces in the Republic of Vietnam from the period 1 February to 26 February 1968.

2. At 301030 January 1968, the 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf was informed that the TET truce was terminated. During the night of 29 January, intelligence reports were received indicating that the insurgents would violate the truce, however, few anticipated the massive aggression that the Viet Cong were soon to initiate. At 311130 January 1968, the 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf, was placed under the operational control of the Capital Military District and proceeded to Binh Chanh, 10 kilometers south of Saigon. Throughout the night of 31 January and the morning of February, recurring contact was maintained with an unknown size enemy element. At 010642 February 1968, Company B and Company C departed Binh Chanh and the Mekong Delta enroute to the streets of Saigon and Cholon. The mechanized infantrymen arrived at the Phu Tho Race Track two hours later with the mission of embattling the insurgent forces in the stricken Capital City. From the race track, Company B was assigned a sector to reconnoiter in force to the northwest on the west side of Highway 235 and commenced movement at 011500 February 1968. At 1600, Company B began their combined mounted and dismounted reconnaissance in force to the northwest of the Phu Tho Race Track. The dismounted elements searched the area, while the Armored Personnel Carriers simultaneously moved to give them supporting fires if they were called upon. Upon arriving at the corner of XS 799538, the commander hesitated, noticing the number of civilians departing the area. Questioning revealed nothing further; however, each mechanized infantryman sensed the imminence. As the lead platoon turned the corner Company B was destined to be the first unit in the 9th Inf Div to fight in the streets of Saigon - Cholon. As the forward platoon advanced one third of the length of the street, and immense barrage of rocket fire came from the buildings on the southeast and from the northwest. In the initial murderous burst of rocket fire, the second Armored Personnel Carrier in the column was hit and immediately burst into flames. Upon receiving the insurgent's formidable fire, the mechanized infantrymen instantly returned a massive volume of fire with 50 Cal machine-guns to both sides of the street. Simultaneously, troops dismounted the APC's and aggressively returned effective fire against the insurgents. The command track, with the captain James H. Scarboro commanding, went forward through the intense fire to aid those wounded on the burning track. As the APC advanced forward an enemy rocket found its mark and struck the left side of the command track. Captain Scarboro received multiple shrapnel wounds, and communications were lost. Almost instantly, a large number of second platoon commanded by 1LT Bruce Mills, immediately moved against the enemy and aggressively denied him the tactical advantage. Later more than 20 Viet Cong bodies were found at this point of heavy contact. As the vast firepower continued to flow from the 50 Cal machine-guns, the fire from the buildings and rooftops subsided. At this point the Company Executive Officer, 1LT Robert E. Whitworth, assumed command and ordered an assault upon the cemetery to the west from where the most intensive fire was coming. As the company began to advance, the enemy opened up with a series of rocket and automatic weapons fire that was impassable. At this time Company C was informed of the situation and began to move towards the cemetery. As Company C rolled from the northeast they deployed and put out savage fire onto the insurgents northeast flank. The mounted infantrymen with superior 50 Cal firepower forced the enemy to cease the heavy volume of rockets and Company B advanced aggressively on the enemy positions. The results of the fierce engagement were 128 insurgents killed (BC) and a massive amount of vital intelligence documents captured.

3. The 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf displayed extraordinary professional competence in this critical battle for control of the Capital City of the Republic of Vietnam. The advent of intense street fighting in Saigon demanded individual valor as well as cohesive teamwork. The mechanized infantrymen exceeded these demands by their combined exprit de corps, individual and collective heroism, and skill against the insurgents by the 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf was a decisive factor in the expulsion of the Viet Cong from Saigon. The achievement of the battalion stands as a living tribute to the counterinsurgency efforts in the Republic of Vietnam and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the American fighting man. The dedication to duty and the myriad acts of gallantry are symbolic of the 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf and reflect great distinction upon the officers and men, the unit and the United States Army.

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDIATION FOR AWARD OF PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION, 5TH BN (M), 60TH INF. 9TH INF DIV, US ARMY

MISSION: The 5th Bn (M), 60th Inf established a base in the vicinity of the Phu Tho Race Track and conducted reconnaissance in force mission to clear the area of insurgents.

CONCEPT OF OPERATION: The overall concept of the operation was the initial entry in Saigon and the establishment of a combat base in close proximity to the Phu Tho Race Track, an area of known insurgent concentration. From the race track base, two companies were directed to execute reconnaissance in force missions, sweeping to the northwest on both sides of Highway 235.

EXECUTION: In the morning of 1 February 1968, Company B and Company C departed Binh Chanh and proceeded to the Phu Tho Race Track in the Vietnamese Capital City. After establishing the combat base at the Race Track, by mid afternoon Company B commended a reconnaissance in force to the northwest on the west side of Highway 235. Simultaneously, Company C began to reconnoiter on the east side of the Highway. At 1630 hours, as Company B rounded the corner at XS 799903 and proceeded down the street, a VC/NVA battalion statistically positioned in the dwellings on the southeast and in heavy fortifications in the cemetery to the northwest, opened up with a murderous volume of rocket and automatic weapons fire. Company B reacted instinctively and decisively engaged the numerically superior enemy. The strategic enemy locations to the southeast on top and emplaced in the buildings were silenced as the Armored Personnel Carriers burst forth with suppressive 50 Cal fire and the dismounted mechanized infantrymen fought from house to house. The enemy's attempt to flank from the north was decisively repulsed. The insurgents reinforced their fortifications in the cemetery and directed a heavy volume of rocket fire on the mechanized Company. Unable to rapidly maneuver into the Viet Cong stronghold due to the volume of rocket fire, Company B requested their sister company - Company C - to advance from the northeast onto the enemy's flank. Company C rolled down the streets of Saigon and deployed, placing murderous fire on the insurgents flank, currently, Company B advanced in an aggressive frontal assault of the Viet Congs cemetery stronghold.

As a result of the fighting reaction of the mechanized infantrymen, 128 Viet Cong were killed, numerous valuable intelligence documents and assorted small arms and munitions were destroyed and captured. Friendly casualties were light, resulting in only three mechanized infantrymen being killed.


THE CHAPEL OF THE CYRENIAN

5th. Battalion, 60th. Infantry, 9th. Infantry Division, Binh Phuoc, South Vietnam was dedicated on August 19, 1967. The following is taken from the bulletin of that day -

The predominate theme of the "Chapel of the Cyrenian" is the cross. As you come into the Chapel the leaning cross is immediately noticeable. The Cross is placed at an attitude to suggest that if you were going to bear a cross you would carry it in this position. This is to emphasize the passage of scripture "If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, take up his cross every day and follow me." Luke 9:23

The red doors on our chapel suggest the blood which Christ shed. Man enters into the Kingdom of God through the blood of Christ, therefore, each time we enter through the doors of this chapel we are again reminded of the work that Christ did on earth.

The name of our Chapel comes from the Gospel of Mark 15:21. At the time of the crucifixion the writer Mark relates that, "On the way they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country and they forced him to carry Jesus' cross. (This was Simon from Cyrene)."

We feel that the symbolism of our chapel is extremely relevant to us here at Binh Phuoc.. Most of the men here have a cross to bear in the form of separation from loved ones, risking of their life, and in the doing of a job that must be done. We believe that faith in God is vital, that the Church not only should be the focal point of our base camp, but of our lives. As Simon bore the Cross of Jesus to assist him, we as Americans are likened to Simon in assisting others. Through the "Chapel of the Cyrenian" we hope that its witness will be our witness, and even though the road may be long, and our cross heavy to bear we may keep on keeping on.

The Chapel was dedicated to the memory of:

1Lt Larry A. Garner
2Lt Leroy B. Webb
2Lt Thomas R. Barry
PSG Johnney E. G Quonga
SSG Billy T. Hamontree
Sp5 Rodi H. Dusehek
SGT Ronald O Griffin
SGT Oren K. Miller
SGT Loya F. Phillips
SGT Ronald L. ?anos

Sp4 Steven E. Anderson
Sp4 Frantz M Baron
Sp4 Gene Beagle
Sp4 Robert E. Bethune
Sp4 Manuel Cardenas II
Sp4 Delacy Cray
Sp4 Ronald F. Groff
Sp4 Ronald C. Hurst
Sp4 Andren Johnson
Sp4 Joseph W. Larrison

Sp4 Pedro Marroguin Jr.
Sp4 Leroy G. Mitchell
Sp4 David P. Oplinger
Sp4 Robert J. Sterling
Sp4 Gale K. Vogler
PFC Donald C. Corlter
PFC Donald R. Fielbor II
PFC Jay E. Forsberg
PFC Joseph W. Francis
PFC Edward G. Lacey

PFC James R. Loso
PFC Cleveland Patterson
PFC Robert W. Raetz
PFC Raymond D. Rahmn
PFC Raymond D Rhamy
PFC Donierl R. Smecster
PFC Tommy L. Smith
PFC John C. Weborg
PFC Thomas L. Van Houten

 

The Bandido Charlie Association is the sole owner of this website and its content.

Ron Morgan, Bandido Charlie Associate, is Webmaster and Editor for the Bandido Charlie News, E-mail: rhmorgan@usa.net

Membership in the Bandido Charlie Association is Free.  We depend on donations and collect no fees or dues.  The Officers of this Bandido Charlie Association are not paid.  The Officers are not reimbursed for their equipment and software used. We use our funds to pay expenses and support Bandidos and their families. For More information, visit the "DONATIONS" Page