My memories of Firebase Illingworth on April 1, 1970

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    We moved in to build Illingworth during March.  The site was a grassy clearing. We arrived late in the day and started building gun pits for our mortars, hooches for sleeping, and storage for our ammo.  We had our mortars, 105's, our radar unit, a line company, and our battalion headquarters (TOC).  We were told that we could not go to sleep until we had 3 layers of sandbags on our sleeping hooches.  It started raining about sundown.  Filling sand bags became very difficult. Around 11:00 pm we gave up on the sandbags.  I laid down on a cote and placed a sheet of plastic over me.  I woke up at first light the next morning and thought I had lost my hearing. Then I realized the cote was holding water which was up over my ears.

Fire Support Base Illingworth was named for John Illingworth who died on or about March 14, 1970. Dan Boettcher sent a picture of Jack Illingworth, Dan, and Pat Coode. Jack Illingworth was in Co. A of 2/8 1st Cav. In the book "Incursion" Jack was described as an exceptional soldier.

   
The next day we continued to build the fire base.  We had been told that we would be firing on targets in Cambodia.  Charlie had been moving down in Cambodia and then moving across the border to attach our units. Illingworth was called a jump LZ.  We would be there for a few days and then move to a new location.  By about the second day there, 3 155's were moved in.  (I originally said there were six 155s, but Ken Corbin who proudly served with the 155 unit corrected me. They made enough noise for 6 guns! Ken was wounded that night when the battle was just getting started. The medic patched him up and he fought all night. Ken is an example of a great American hero. Thanks Ken.) We were getting fire missions several times a day.  The 155's were firing day and night.  The 155's were pounding targets on a regular basis.  We were getting so much ammo for the mortars each day that we could not possibly fire it in one day.  We were having to stack up boxes of mortar ammo on the ground.  At one point we just rolled two pallets of mortar ammo off the mule and let it lay where it landed.  After we had been there several days, two track-mounted 8 inch artillery guns were moved to the fire base.  You may have noticed that I never mentioned any wire or claymore mines.  We didn't have any.  There was nothing between us and the wood line.

A few days before the end of March Bobby Barker came to me and asked if I would consider letting him go to the rear to get his teeth fixed.  He said you know sarge may just a couple of days before I am supposed to go home.  Bobby was a great guy, he always did his job, and he had a great attitude.  I told Bobby that I would like for him to leave the next day.  I wrote a little note the 1st Sgt asking him to send Bobby to have his teeth fixed.  I suggested that Bobby should stay in the rear since he only had a couple of weeks left in country.  Bobby left on chopper after we all told him goodbye and wished him well.

Near the end of March, a young Lt named Mike Russell showed up on the firebase.  He had several months in country with the 4th ID.  The 4th went home, but Mike did not have enough time in-country to go with them.  The unlucky guy ended up with us.  By the end of March, Mike had been there long enough for us to become pretty good friends.  He was a squared away guy.  A couple of days before the end of March, Firebase Jay got hit really hard.  They were located a few clicks from us.  The sky looked like it was on fire.  I didn't know any guys on Jay, but I continually prayed during their attack that they would be able to defend against the attach and that we would not get the same dose of medicine.

    On the last day of March, 1970, things seemed extremely tense.  I saw high ranking people leaving the firebase on choppers.  I look up and see Bobby Barker walking in from one of the choppers.  Bobby came over to me and said sarge' I just had to come out and let you see how good I look with my teeth fixed and I wanted to tell everyone goodbye.  Bobby gave me a big smile as he showed his teeth and said, "My momma is going to be so proud of me and my teeth."  I told Bobby to go see everyone and get back on a chopper and get out of here.  I then said Bobby weren't you supposed to leave today.  He said yey I didn't get on the plane, I got on a chopper instead to come see you guys.

Ammo for the 8 inch guns was moved on to the firebase all day.  They had the same problem that we did only worse.  They had tons of ammo and no place to put it.  They fired at the wood line a few time during the day.  It was truly awesome to see the power of these weapons.  Late in the day I saw Bobby was still on the firebase.  There was a chopper on the ground.  I told Bobby to run out there and get on that chopper.  He said sarge', please let me just stay out here with the guys I love just one more night.  I said, "No Bobby, you need to leave."  He walked away from me.

    At about 11:30 pm, our radar unit notified Lt. Russell and me that we had a lot of movement on the Red Ball which was just across the border.  The border was about 1 click from the firebase.  Some say it was a greater distance, but it was close enough. They had determined that the NVA were moving troops down in trucks and turning west into a large field.  They would unload the troops and then go back to get more.  We fired mortars, 105's, and 155's on their position for about an hour.  I thought we had wiped them out.  We laughed and said they would have the rest of the night to drag their dead out of the area.  I laid down in FDC and Lt. Russell did also.  At about 2:30 am all hell broke loose. Mike and I ran out into a cloud of dust.  There were gooks standing on the berm firing RPG's at TOC.  They were everywhere.  I went to all three gun pits and directed the squad leaders to fire charge zeros randomly to the west and to keep it going as fast as possible.  Mike and I both ended up in Blue Three which was led by Juan Romero.  Juan and the rest of his squad worked to pull down charges to charge zero and Mike and I handled the gun.  I was aiming the gun and Mike was hanging rounds.  At one time I told Mike that I was afraid I was going to send one straight up and it would come back down on us.  Mike said, "At this point, I really don't think it will make a shit."  Blue One was wiped out with a satchel charge.  Luckily, they all got out of the pit.  Blue Two was wiped out by a gas stove from our kitchen tent.  The stove blew up and sailed through the air leaving a trail of burning gas and landed in Blue Two.  As with Blue One, the guys all got out and went to the berm.  I saw Bobby running for FDC.  I yelled at Bobby not to go to FDC.  He yelled out that he did not have a rifle.  Bobby disappeared in the dust.

    We saw gooks on the 8 inch guns trying to turn them around.  The 8 inchers were about 50 yards from us.  A barrage of small arms fire erupted toward the 8 inchers.

    At some point during the battle, I tried to call FDC on the land line.  It was dead.  It had been working earlier when I talked to them.  They had tried to call a fire mission to us.  I had answered the horn.  They started calling out the fire mission.  I said, "we don't need a direction, charge, or elevation, we can see the bastards."  Looking back now I realize I should have told them to get their butts out there to help us.

    Some time after the battle had been going on for what seemed like forever, the eight inch ammo blew up.  We all left the ground.  I thought we were all going to die right then.  We looked up and saw things in the air that are not supposed to be there.  Things like PSP, tree trunks, ammo, and lots of dirt.  The problem was that we knew that it was going to have to come back down and it looked like it was headed our way.  I will admit that I just about lost it at that point.  I had a wife and a two year old son at home that I figured just lost their husband and father.  Though we were a short distance from the 8 inch ammo, we did not take the direct blast.  The 8 inch artillery guys had left a track mounted ammo carrier and a five ton truck parked between us and their ammo.  The next morning, the 5 ton was demolished and the ammo carrier was on its side looking really bad.

We continued to fight off the gooks for some time.  Around 4:30 am we noticed that everything had suddenly gotten very quiet.  For a while we felt alone on the firebase though no one mentioned it.  Then we heard someone screaming, "Richards, are you guys still over there?"  I had a bad feeling.  I screamed, "Yes."  The person then yelled out that the gooks had that half of the LZ and we needed to get the hell out of there.  We all went over the blast wall like snakes.  In basic training I had been about the fastest low crawler at Sand Hill.  I started out crawling along with the other guys and then thought that I should go to FDC to be sure everyone got out of there.  I turned left and headed for FDC.  As I approached FDC, I saw Bobby Barker laying on a stretcher.  He had dirt all over him.  I crawled up and tried to get Bobby to get up.  I then realized that Bobby was dead.  Damn!  I said my quick farewell to Bobby and started plowing through the dust to the direction where I had last heard that voice of hope.  Thank you to the drill sgts. at Sand Hill who made me low crawl for miles.  That crawl was easy.

We grouped near the berm.  I looked for my guys but could not find them.  We had Blue Max choppers spraying their mini guns all around the west and south sides of the berm.  They were a beautiful site and sound.  Things quieted down and we waited for daybreak.  As the sun rose and we could see the LZ, I realized that we had been wiped out, but we survived.  I walked around looking for my guys.  I walked along the line of wounded guys.  I almost walked by Sgt. Huggins.  Huggins and I came to the mortar platoon the same evening at LZ Ike.  We got hit hard that night too.  That's another story.  Huggins reached out and grabbed my leg.  I knelt down to talk to him.  He said, "I'm the lucky one, I'm going home."  He had gotten a bad wound on his calf.  I wished him the best and walked on looking for more of my guys.  We had choppers coming in to haul out the wounded.  I helped load the choppers.

Those birds were being piloted by true heroes.  At one point there was so much blood in the floor of one of the choppers that we threw dirt in on the blood so people could stand on the floor.  I remember very well picking up one end of a stretcher and heading for the chopper and the door gunner waved us back indicating that they were full. We backed off and started to lay the stretcher down.  At that point someone told me the pilot wanted someone up front. I ran up to the cockpit and one other soldier and I talked to the pilot.  He said for us to load the rest of the wounded because it was going to be a while before another one got back to our location.  The pilot told us to pick up on his skids and run with the chopper.  He picked up speed and then converted to altitude just before the wood line.  I would love to know that guy's name.  I'll never forget him.  He is a true hero.  I guess I helped load Pete Lemon on one of the choppers that morning.  Pete was a member of the Recon Platoon in our company.  The faces were all dirty, bloody, and contorted with pain so I don't remember any of them in particular.  Pete later won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that night.

A Side Note:

Sometimes it feels that we are living on a giant revolving wheel that keeps bringing us by the same point in our lives.  Forty years after this event, I met that soldier that we carried to the chopper for a second time.  His name is Ed Collins.  Ed read this blog and got in touch with me.  Ed attended a memorial service held April 1, 1970, at Ft. Sill, OK (see FSB Illingworth and FSB Jay in this site).  I got to meet Ed Collins who I had often thought of over those forty years.  I had wondered if he lived to make it to a hospital.  I had wondered if he lived through the event. Ed said he remembered the gunner waving us back from the chopper.  That was amazing because I thought Ed was at the point of death.  There was a rod sticking through his chest, the meat was blown off the top side of his arms and he was badly burned.  Ed now has cancer and when I met him at Ft. Sill, he said he believed that God had extended his life to allow him to attend that service.  I send an email to Ed periodically to check on him.  I have Ed on the prayer list at my church.  He told me that something is keeping him alive.  He begged me to keep him on the prayer list at my church.  Hang in there Ed. We are praying for you brother.

    After all the wounded had been loaded, I walked over to the dead.  I started to help move the bags.  On the first one I made the mistake of getting in the middle.  Anyone who has ever taken on that position knows the problem I had.  I knew Bobby was in one of those bags.  I really did not want to know which one.  Bobby wasn't even supposed to be there.

I found Mike, Hutch, Juan, and Terry.  We all went back to the mortar area to see what was left.  We were amazed that we had gotten out of there alive.  At Blue three there was a unexploded rocket buried in the ground two feet from where I had been inside the gun pit.  Ammo was blown all over the entire area.  There were very large pieces of shrapnel from the 8 inch ammo.  There was paper everywhere.  We looked at the 5 ton and the ammo carrier.  It was then that we realized what had saved our lives.  It was just by chance that they had left the units parked where they did.  They had so much ammo in their area that I think they could not get any closer to their area. I recently digitized a few pictures from Illingworth. They are included here:


    
This one is me holding a piece of shrapnel the next morning.

  
This is shot toward the eight inch guns.




    
This is a view down into the hole blown by the 8 inch ammo




    
This is Sgt. Juan Romero, my Blue Three squad leader, leaving the Blue Three gun pit. You can see the rear of the 5 ton truck that was parked between Blue Three and the 8 inch ammo.



    
These are the 8 inch ammo carriers that were also between Blue Three and the 8 inch ammo.


    
The water had all drained out of this water tank. The entire Firebase was littered like this.


    
This is the setup for the two chapel services that were held on March 31, 1970.


    
Catholic Chaplain




And this is the Chaplain's dog —NoNuts



    
8 inch gun


    
8 inch gun during fire mission


    
Bobby Barker's grave

Some little jerk Captain came in with a group that was to relieve us.  The little jerk told us to start policing up the area.  Lt. Russell walked over to the jerk and told him that he would have him know that his men had been in a battle all night and they were not about to police up a damn thing.  The jerk asked him if he realized who he was talking to.  Mike said, "Sir, I don't give a shit who you are or what your damn rank is.  My men will not clean up this mess.  They can hardly stand up."  You gotta love Mike Russell.  He's still got that same edge.  No crap, no way, no where! 

I recently received an email from someone who was offended by my comment about this captain. He thought I was referring to his captain who he liked very much. After a couple of emails, we decided that he was not the same guy. I am certain that the captain in question meant well, but he did not understand what we had been through.

Juan Romero and I went down in the crater created when the 8 inch ammo blew up.  It was huge.  I believe Hutch made our picture in the hole.  We then went out to look at some of the dead gooks.  I looked at one that had his left arm blown off.  You could see the socket where the ball joint had been.  Surprisingly, the guy had about three rounds of gauze wrapped around his shoulder.  He had been wounded when we fired on them for an hour.  They put a bandage on him and sent him on the attack.  I never knew any of our guys who would have done that.

I remember going out to the landing pad to get on a chopper.  Sgt Mike Self, 1st Lt Mike Russell, Wendall Hutcheson, and I were walking together. We had no mortars and we had no M16s.  They had been destroyed in the battle.  I looked back at the firebase with total disbelief.  The chopper lifted off and we all looked back at the firebase in total silence.  I don't remember anything being said until some time after we got to a rear area that we were taken to.

Charles Rushing from Alabama whose nickname just happened to be "Alabama" remembers us returning from Illingworth. Alabama said they had been told to leave us alone because we had been through hell and might be in some state of shock. Charles said he had never seen a group of men who looked so tired and depressed.

I recently learned some disturbing information about the battle on Illingworth. At the dinner after the memorial service at Ft. Sill, I learned that there was a total of about 208 people on the FSB. We know that 25 were killed in the battle. I seem to remember that we sent 87 out who were severely wounded. I recently learned that several were hiding in bunkers during the battle. I was told that I had several hiding in the mortar FDC. That information was not revealed to me at the time or during the days that followed. This was very disturbing to me because my men knew if they lost their mortar they were to go to the berm and take up a fighting position. I also learned that there were several hiding in one or more of the artillery FDC bunkers. LTC Conrad went into one of those bunkers and told those men that it was one of the toughest battles he had been in. He told those men to go out on the berm and take some of the bastards with them. The disturbing thing in all of this is that when I do the numbers, I realize that there were probably only about 50 to 65  men left fighting the enemy that night. At the time the 8 inch ammo blew and for days afterward, our thoughts centered on the fact that several guys were killed when the 8 inch ammo blew up. I now realize that if the 8 inch ammo had not blown up, we would have all been slaughtered. The exploding 8 inch ammo might have been divine intervention. It is what ended the battle and saved many lives.

 

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  • 9/25/2008 7:15 AM richard cowand wrote:
    great work randall,I was with echo recon 2/7, 2/7 was at fsb jay. god bless you and all our bros. everywhere.remember a war that is misreported will be misremembered. you did your part, thanks rich cowand
    Reply to this
  • 9/25/2008 1:58 PM Randall Richards wrote:
    Richard,
    I remember very well when FSB Jay got hit. We stood on Illingworth watching as the sky looked as though it was burning. We could hear the explosions and though we did not know the guys on that base, our hearts and our prayers went out to each of them. We were also hoping and praying that we would not get the same treatment. Unfortunately, two nights later, they hit us with everything they could through at us.
    I am leaving tomorrow morning for my reunion with about 15 guys from Echo, 2/8, 1st Cav. There are 5 in the group who were on Illingworth. We first started meeting in 1995. After that 1st meeting, I could talk about FSB Illingworth for the first time without breaking down.
    I would love for you to contribute at length to the blog. Our children need to know what Vetnam really was. The politicians, generals, and press never told our story. The closest anyone came was the work done by John Lawrence in Cat from Hue. They spent a good bit of time with the second squad of Charlie Company, 2/7, 1st Cav, during March 1970. I recommend you read it.
    Thanks for the comment. Please feel free to write about everyday experiences in Vietnam, and invite people you know who were there to do the same.
    Thank,
    Randall
    Reply to this
    1. 5/27/2009 5:26 PM Tim Bridgman wrote:
      Dear Randall,

      My brother was killed on FSB Illingworth. I wondered if you knew him or any of the guys responding to you knew him. His names was Cleave Bridgman and he was a 1st Lt. in the army and a FDO. His RTO was Robert Lane. I think that he was with 2/8, but I am not sure.

      Tim
      Reply to this
      1. 8/21/2009 7:12 PM Paul wrote:
        Tim,
        I saw the memoriam to your brother Cleaveland in today's Binghamton Press 8/21/2009. Know that your brother will never be forgotten and is remembered fondly by his fellow 1st Cav Sky troopers as well as all Nam Vets. Lt. Bridgman will be forever 24 years old in our hearts. He was a true patriot, an American hero who paid the ultimate price for our rights and freedom. Though I did not know your brother, it would have been a honor to befriend him.
        Paul
        Port Dickinson, NY
        Bravo Co. 2nd of the 7th Cavalry
        1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
        11Bravo, 1968-1969.
        Reply to this
      2. 1/22/2013 8:53 AM Chris Malmquist wrote:
        I was the other FDO. Cleave was my mentor as I had just been assigned as a new FDO. He was a great guy liked and respected by all. Sgt Lane was a section chief and was KIA at the start of the attack.
        Reply to this
        1. 6/20/2013 1:11 PM Jack Morrison wrote:
          Chris,

          You may have the missing pieces of information that Tim Bridgman and I and several others have been looking for.

          I assume you were in the FDC for a time and may be able to provide information as to how, when, and where Cleave was KIA. There is some question as to where and when Cleave was hit by mortars. In the door or on top of the FDC. Did he make it to the aid station? Where and when was he recovered?

          What is really strange is that I remember your name because when I left the field as FO and returned to the Fire Direction Center in July August period, I replaced you as the FDO.

          I remember the day I walked into the battery area, you were laying up underneath some PSP listening to and singing, Bridge over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkel. First time I see Chris and I hear S&G and it was that song that got me started to listen to S&G. I don't recall if you put me onto "The Boxer" by them, but that song is one we later used to call the GAP song (Ground Air Prep) because you can hear the artillery prep and cobras placing steel on the target in the wood line of the LZ just before landing on a green LZ.

          Anyway, I can be emailed at jack.l.morrison@cox.net

          Hoping to hear from you.

          Jack
          Reply to this
    2. 4/1/2010 12:03 AM alan e rappaport wrote:
      It's about one in the morning march31 into April1 and i can"t sleep. I was in echo recon2/8. Gregg Peters was the Lt, Jim Taylor platoon Sargeant. Pete Lemon was in my squad,as were Casey waller, Nathan Mann and Brent Street, who were killed that night. I was not there I was in the rear that night. I am curious who from recon you are in touch with. I don't think theres five guys from the outfit who are still in touch with one another. By the way Gregg Peters passed about three years ago. Thank you for writing abot Illinworth. alan rappaport
      Reply to this
      1. 4/18/2012 6:44 PM laura illingworth phillips wrote:
        thank you for acknowledging my brother, Jack Illingworth.
        Reply to this
        1. 4/26/2012 9:40 AM Dan Boettcher wrote:
          Laura
          I am the guy in the picture next to Jack. My name is Dan Boettcher and I also was with A Company 2/8 Cav. Your brother was a good man.I can be reached at dboettcher@mirrocraft.com
          Reply to this
  • 10/16/2008 10:10 AM kenneth corbin wrote:
    There were only three 155 artillery guns. I was the assistant gunner. The gun behind the 5 ton truck I was looking threw the tube or barrell to fire direct fire. I remember 1 gook the next morning in front of our gun still standing with gun in hands, eyes open, and  dead with his stomack gone. I think one of our rounds went threw him. I was very mad. I did not go to the rear. I wanted to kill more of them.  The smell was very bad. We put the dead gooks in the ground with a bull dozer. I was hit by scrapnelt but did not leave. The captain said he needed us to stay and we did. We were ready the next night. They never came back. I had a friend on that 8 inch gun. I never saw him again. When you see one american dead and his boots worn out, you know he didn't have long to go. That is when you get tuff and brave. We held off alot of gooks with a few men. There were maybe 300 dead not counting what was in the trees. I was proud to serve my country then and now. 1st battalion 30th artillery 1st cav div First time I've been able to talk about illingsworth. Thanks for the story.
    Ken
    Reply to this
    1. 10/23/2008 7:55 AM Randall Richards wrote:
      Ken,
      Thanks for your comment, and thanks for your service to our nation. I know what you mean about the sleep. I thought it would get easier over the years, but it does not. The best thing I have ever done is to write about what happened. Writing has allowed me to organize the events into manageable segments. I hope that more people will make comments because it will help them to get the anger out in the open. I guess I could have dealt with the horrible things that happened in Vietnam better if we had not been treated like a piece of crap when we returned home. The war was terrible, but the treatment we got when we got home has continued to eat at me to this very day. When I get up a little more nerve, I plan to write an article about the homecoming party that was given to me and a plane load of returning soldiers at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. It's a good thing that they took away our weapons before we left Vietnam.
      Thanks Brother, you are a patiot.
      Randall
      Reply to this
    2. 11/3/2012 8:21 PM james corbin wrote:
      hi ken, my name is jim corbin. i was also on illingwoth on 1april70. i was an m-60 gunner in recon 2/8 cav. we were sandwiched in between charlie co. on the berm. my fighting position was right next to the arty mess tent. i'm glad you made it out ok. i also made it out ok, with just a small shrapnel wound just under the skin. anyways, i saw your last name and wanted to know where you are from. who knows, we may be related. now wouldn't that be a twist of fate. my e-mail is corbin150@yahoo.com
      Reply to this
  • 11/1/2008 11:43 PM Phil Stanchfield wrote:
    Randall,

    I was with 2nd 32nd Arty.I was an Artillery Surveyor.Our Survey Sec. would go in before or while a FSB was being built.We would set up the firing pts. for the 8" & 175 self propelled. We like you said came in and out of Illingsworth from the beginning until the end.When we were providing fire support to Jay on the 30th I had a feeling we would be in trouble. Our location was right by TOC it was in a large hole that a dozer dug out. We had about 6 culverts in the hole.We never did get around to sand bag them.I was always looking for the best place to sleep anywhere we were at. That night I was going to sleep in the back of the 5 ton but change my mind.Thank God.The 1st Cav always flew us and the 11th Arm.Cav would lets us ride if we were flown in. They also once in a while provided us protection when we were surveying and bringing in a pt. from the boonies.I have put most of that night into just bad dreams.None of my crew got hit bad.I had a M79 that I carried I remember firing it pt. blank and at the 8" when they threw the satchel down the tube.I remember TOC getting hit my partner had just got off duty from there he worked there when they needed him and also at TayNinh.
    Our Major John Magnuss was wounded severely, we were told he lost both legs. He was one of those great officers who got along with all of us.
    I recently found out that he passed away last year after retiring from the Army. I thought he had died that night.
    I remember putting him and many others on med evacs.I am In contact with his son now. He would love to read your story I will pass it along. I have been promising him for months to send some pics.I have alot but only 4 from there.I have a pic of the guys running the LZ it was a converted APC? with a Flame thrower on it. with a skull of a dead V.C.on it.We were right next to it on the 31st some of us trying to get out and guys coming in.I remember the chinook that day saying he was taking small arms fire and wouldn't land. The guy on the flame thrower told him to get his ass on the ground or he would take him out.He landed.John Magnuss Email address is John Magnuss@hillwood.com I am sure he would like to hear from you or anyone from that night.At Tay ninh when I first got there in Aug 69 an RPG came in and hit a 1st Cav hooch just behind us.There was a few KIA'S I remember.God Bless you and the 1st Cav. for all you did for us. You might be interested in a book I have by Tom Smith 1st Cav Scout Pilot He was there the same time I was exactly. I met him and he gave me his book called EASY TARGET.I was also wondering was it the morning of the 31st that they brought us a mess kitchen in for breakfast and had a Catholic Priest give us Mass.I'm a Catholic and I thought how cool until I found out they only did that when shit was going to happen.It might of been at another FSB or when we went into Cambodia?
    Your Brother
    Phil
    Reply to this
    1. 11/14/2008 10:21 AM Randall Richards wrote:
      Phil,
      You have given a lot of information. This is valuable stuff. I will respond in each way you have requested. I remember the Catholic Priest well. I shared a hole in the ground on a previous LZ with him during a mortar attack. He carried a 45 on his side. I believe he was the one who had the dog named "NoNuts". One of our guys asked him one day a couple of months before we got to  Illingsworth, "Why did you name him "NoNuts"? The Chaplain said, "Damn son, He ain't go no nuts". I have a picture of the ammo boxes that were set up for the services that day. The boxes were set up between our mortar FDC and my number 3 gun pit. Number 3 was the one next to the 155s. I knew we were in for some tough crap, so I went to the Protestant and Catholic services. I will look for the picture. I have several pictures from Illingsworth that I need to posted on this site. I will work on that.

      You mentioned the mess hall. I only remember getting food at it one time. I will never for get it though. Remember how we had Kool-Aid with every meal at a mess hall. They were serving SOS. The cook was dipping the dried beef and gravy over the bisquits with a large laddle. He pulled the laddle out of the sauce and used it to push the ice up and down in the Kool-Aid. An oil slick spread over the Kool-Aid. This old boy from our battalion who had just come in to the LZ from the field drew down on the cook with his M16 and said, "Do that one more time, and I'll blow your damn head off asshole." The cook was so scared he could hardly dip the sauce after that. One of the cooks got his legs blown off during the attack. It was not the one who screwed up the Kool-Aid.

      Phil, you are a hero, a patriot, and a great American. I salute you and thank you for your service to our country. I am one who believes that any person who served our country in any arena deserves a great deal of praise. I have a special place in my heart for all who served in Vietnam. While we were risking our lives people were at home making light of our service. It's a good thing they took up the weapons before we left country. We would have had a few less protestors if we had been armed. I am very pleased that most of our people have come to realize that you can disagree with the precepts of a war without dishonoring the brave soldiers who are serving in that war.

      Very soon, I plan to start an article about homecoming for veterans of Vietnam. I don't know about you, but the group I was with was treated like crap when we returned home. We landed at Seattle. We had tomatoes, rocks, and eggs thrown at us and we were called baby killers. That was my worst wound from Vietnam.

      Those who served in Vietnam share a common bond that can never be broken. The Catholic Priest spoke at a service during our standdown after Illingsworth. I have never forgotten his words. They were pretty close to this: "You men went through hell on earth at Illingsworth. You will never forget the events of that night, and you will never forget your brothers who lost their lives that night and the ones who were wounded that night. You will never live your lives in the same manner as you did before. You must now live your own life and a piece of each life that was lost. You have been changed. Your appreciation of life has been elevated to a new plane because no man can appreciate life as much as he who has come so close to loosing life. God Bless You!" His talk has thundered through my mind over the years, and I  could not forget it if I tried.

      Thanks Phil and God Bless You,
      Your Brother
      Randall
      Reply to this
      1. 10/25/2009 11:45 PM Tim Hall wrote:
        The priest name is Father Patrick Boyle, you can find his email address on Angry Skippers web site.
        He is still kicking and one hell of a guy.
        He was in our sleeping bunker when the incoming started. He pulled pieces of a rocket that was in my back, still hot. He told me that it wasn't a good time to use the Lord's name in vain and he sure was right.
        I was a 11B in A 2/8 who's rear job was a battalion RTO. Some rear job.
        I ended up fighting on the berm. There wasn't room for me inside the bunker so I stood near the opening and fired my 16 at the gooks coming toward the FBS. It is a good thing I wasn't inside because a gook threw a satchel charge into the bunker, I was blown off my feet and wounded for the second time. All the guys in the bunker we killed.
        There are few days when I don't think of that night.
        I wish I had heard Father Boyle's service, I was medivac'd first thing in the morning. I'll have to tell him how much his words meant to you, he will love hearing your kind words.
        Better yet write him I know he would love to hear from you.
        Reply to this
        1. 8/25/2011 4:26 PM Phil Stanchfield wrote:
          When we got up that morning they had brought in a field mess hall with bacon & eggs,then I went to Mass were he gave us genertal absoulution. I thought how cool is this! Not knowing what the brass knew about the night to come.Thanks for giving me a trace on Father Patrick.
          Reply to this
    2. 4/5/2009 7:35 PM Pat Markland wrote:
      I too was at Jay the night we got hit. I was in my hooch with the other guys from commo. We were all sleeping when we heard the sound of morter rounds leaving there tubes, once the rounds started hitting us a rocket came in and hit our master antenna this antenna had other antennas hooked to it for our different contacts. I remember the sounds of explosions and the distinctfull smell of gunpowder all night. Before the rocket hit the antenna one of the first morter rounds hit a barrel of cs gas, it blew up and we were all scrambling for our gas masks. Once the air cleared we were informed to get to the combo bunker because all of our communications was wiped out. The Antenna was right where Colonel Magnus and his Major slept. The rocket also hit the colonel and wounded the major. I often wondered how they both faired since that night.
      We, in commo were installing an antenna as enemy rounds were coming in all around us. once we got the antenna up we wre able to send out to whomever could hear us a mayday as to our dilemma. I will never forget seeing the choppers come in and fight for us with there tracers going out and the nva tracers coming at them, Those guys were incredible. I was never so scared in all my life. The next day after the fighting was over and the carnage was beeeing assessed, that sight was to never be forgotten. All the dead nva around and inside the fire support base was truly remarkable. I don't recall how many of our guys were lost but I will never forget that night. Soon after that night we wre attacked again on April 15th. at another firebase which I cannot recall the name of. I was wounded by a rocket that exploded next our hooch.
      This is the first time I wrote these events down.
      I could say more about the coming home to the staes and the effects it had on me if any one would care to talk about this, send me an email.

      Pat Markland
      1st. air cav
      2/7 btn.
      HHQ communications
      Reply to this
  • 11/2/2008 12:03 AM Phil Stanchfield wrote:
    After looking my picture again it's a Sheridan not a APC.

    Phil
    Reply to this
    1. 4/18/2009 6:47 AM ken corbin wrote:
      phil i borrow some oil for the 155 tube from a guy on the 8 inch the day before attact nice man he had black hair maybe 5ft 10inch tall we had a great talk about artillery i never saw him again i wish i could remember his name i think he was over the gun section he maybe was 28-30 years old we talked like we new each other for years i look the next day but did not find him maybe some one remembers ken corbin thanks for your story
      Reply to this
  • 2/3/2009 8:41 PM Jack Monahan wrote:
    Just a minor correction to an unbelievable night for you guys. I was with A/5/7 who was ordered to go in and relieve you after we were told you were overrun. That meant we had to be picked up and dropped off on the road, in the dark just before daylight. When we got there there wasn't much left but an unbelievable number of dead NVA inside and ouside the perimeter. Along with many GIs dead and wounded. The NVA were stacked like cord wood around a quad fifety on the burm. The first guy I saw was a captain in tattered clothes, in shock just wandering around with a 45 in his hand at his side.
    That little captain you were talking about was policing up all the grenades and other rounds spread out all over the inside of the perimeter for all of our safety. It wasn't any BS police call! By the way, Captain George Brown was the finest CO I ever served under.
    We secured the area and immediately began patrols out to the wood line to finish the job you guys started.
    I remember there were so many bodies that a bull dozer was digging a mass grave and just loading it with NVA.
    There was a recent article in the monthly VFW magazine about Illingsworth. There was not a word said about my company and what we had to do to get there and secure the area.
    You guys had a hell of a fight and did a number on the gooks...
    Welcome home brother!
    Jack Monahan
    3rd Platoon, A/5/7
    Reply to this
  • 2/3/2009 8:41 PM Jack Monahan wrote:
    Just a minor correction to an unbelievable night for you guys. I was with A/5/7 who was ordered to go in and relieve you after we were told you were overrun. That meant we had to be picked up and dropped off on the road, in the dark just before daylight. When we got there there wasn't much left but an unbelievable number of dead NVA inside and ouside the perimeter. Along with many GIs dead and wounded. The NVA were stacked like cord wood around a quad fifety on the burm. The first guy I saw was a captain in tattered clothes, in shock just wandering around with a 45 in his hand at his side.
    That little captain you were talking about was policing up all the grenades and other rounds spread out all over the inside of the perimeter for all of our safety. It wasn't any BS police call! By the way, Captain George Brown was the finest CO I ever served under.
    We secured the area and immediately began patrols out to the wood line to finish the job you guys started.
    I remember there were so many bodies that a bull dozer was digging a mass grave and just loading it with NVA.
    There was a recent article in the monthly VFW magazine about Illingsworth. There was not a word said about my company and what we had to do to get there and secure the area.
    You guys had a hell of a fight and did a number on the gooks...
    Welcome home brother!
    Jack Monahan
    3rd Platoon, A/5/7


    Jack,
    We never knew who you guys were. If you think back to that morning, you will probably remember that we all had the 'Thousand Mile Stare'. Over the next few days I heard guys say that they did not even remember how that left Illingsworth. They knew they were on Illingsworth and they were suddenly in another place. Somewhere I have a picture that I made from a chopper as we were leaving. The place was covered with paper everywhere. I made several pictures of the LZ from the ground. It was truly a mess.
    If Captain Brown was the officer ordering us to police up the area then I appologize for my insensitivety, but we just had nothing left. We were physically and emotionally drained to the point that we could not have fought off a mosquito atack at that point.

    Jack, you and the men in A/5/7 are heros. You bravely came to the rescue of the people on Illingsworth. Thank you for your heroism on April 1, 1970, and I thank you for your service to our great nation.
    God Bless You and all the men of A/5/7
    Randall Richards
    Mortar Platoon, E/2/8
    Reply to this
  • 2/15/2009 12:14 AM Mike Miller wrote:
    Thank You for all you have done! I was a combat engineer on Jay when it was attacked and also flew into Illingsworth right after daylight to help police up the ordinance that was scattered everywhere. I have two Engineer buddies that survived Illingsworth. Running a web site is an enourmous task but helps so much to those of us looking to sort out the past.
    Posted by Mike Miller

    Mike,
    Thank you and the men in your unit who came to help on Illingsworth. You are all heroes. Thank you for your service to our great nation.
    Randall Richards
    Reply to this
  • 2/22/2009 3:45 PM ron curry wrote:
    Hello fellow illingsworth brothers. I was with the 155 s right next to the mortor pits. I was in radio contact with one of your guys and they were pinned in a bunker by their own exploding ammo and offered to drive our duece and a half between them and the ammo they declined. I was 'Hard Charger 23 Chubby' on the radio. After that I got a 60 and my m 16 and went on the berm with another guy. I don t even remember who he was. I picked up another oak leaf for my purple heart that night and an arcom with v for the 4th time. It was one heck of a nite. I was on my second tour and was due out on to deros 3 june. I recall the explosion of the 8 in ammo. I think thats what broke up the attack. I climbed up the berm next morning and there were bodies and body pieces everywhere you looked (enemy). Later someone said we killed about a 100 of them. That's bull. There was quite a bit more than that our numbers which  were about 110 men. We stood off a ground attack of more than 600 along with mortors and rpg. In the November issue 2008 VFW magazine is a 3 page article on illingworth. If anyone cares to, you can e mail me at sretooh2001@aol.com and to all have a great life.
    ron curry
    Reply to this
    1. 4/16/2010 9:10 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
      ron curry thanks for calling and finding me its been great you my friend are a true hero thanks so much
      Reply to this
    2. 12/24/2010 3:30 AM Ralph Jones wrote:
      Hello - Ralph Jones here - A Battery 2nd/32nd F.A. ! The next VFW magazine after the story of F.S.B. Illingworth - someone sent in a reply saying the 8inch S.P. Howitzers should of used their Bee Hive rounds ! The 8 inch rounds were limited ( 207 lbs. each ) and not designed for direct fire ! The U.S. Army never did make a Bee Hive rounds for the 8 inch or 175 mm ! God Bless, Ralph Jones - 40 tons of 8 inch H.E. rds at F.S.B. Illingworth
      Reply to this
  • 4/2/2009 8:50 PM jim hall wrote:
    I was on ILLINGSWORTH 4-1-70 on quad 50. Lost all pictures in house fire. If anyone has any would love to recieve some.
    Thanks
    Jim Hall

    Jim,
    God Bless you and all the men who lived through the night of hell that we experienced on Illingsworth. I have several pictures and will soon be posting them on this site. Thank you for your service and dedication to our country.
    Randall Richards
    Reply to this
    1. 2/16/2010 12:40 AM Shep wrote:
      Hey Jim - Remember it all too well.
      I am proud of our men killing all of the targets.

      Today I still have flashbacks around that time of the year.

      God bless us all.

      Shep
      Reply to this
  • 4/16/2009 9:05 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
    randal thanks for putting my story on line i had people calling me that had been wondering where i was some that were at illingsworth they told me my story was on line my email changed we got broad band in the mountains on hog jowl rd thanks again my friend and god bless you and your family and all veterans and our great country hog jowl rd is between pigeon mountain and lookout mountain its a real road kennth corbin
    Reply to this
    1. 4/8/2010 11:28 AM norm johnson wrote:
      Ken Corbin...I have pictures of the awards ceremony for all of the men from Illingsworth. I would be glad to send copies if you'd like. In case you forgot, I was your BC. Thanks for your service.
      Cpt. USA Retired, Norman E. Johnson
      Reply to this
      1. 4/16/2010 8:59 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
        cpt johnson i remember you very well can you still throw a knife thanks for asking us to stay on illingsworth i sure didn t want to go to rear i am trying to get my bronze star they say no records need help so good to here from you any thing would be appreciated thanks sir for keeping me straight i have thought about you over the years the best cpt we ever had thank you for all your years of service kenneth corbin 4046 hog jowl rd chickamauga ga 30707 its so great to here from you ken
        Reply to this
      2. 4/28/2010 7:42 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
        cpt johnson i would like to see pictures of any thing on illingsworth thanks
         kenneth corbin

        Reply to this
      3. 7/4/2010 6:04 PM Jack Morrison wrote:
        Norman,

        I am in the process of putting together documentation for the recommendation of a Presidential Unit Citation. Would you please send me the photos you have of the award ceremony for FSB Illingworth and any orders you may have listing the names of the awardees. I am in need of that information for the paper work being submitted. THanks

        Jack Morrison
        B/1-77th Artillery
        Post Illingworth FO
        Reply to this
      4. 10/22/2010 9:33 AM RRUBLEY wrote:
        Johnson,
        I talked with Ken Corbin yesterday
        and he said he was having some trouble
        getting his Bronze Star. He also said he
        had talked with you and Pedrotti about it. He said something about you were
        going to check your paper work.
        Well I can only say I hope you followup
        on that because Ken was a true hero on
        that night at Illingsworth. I may have been one of the cowards that you relived
        the next morning but I can tell you Ken
        was a great soldier and true hero. I'm
        sure you got a boat load of medals for your actions on Illingsworth. I hope you
        will followup.
         Thanks
        R.Rubley
        action on Illingsworth

        Reply to this
      5. 1/27/2011 5:33 PM Bob Bernhart wrote:
        Norm, if pics of awards still available, I'd also like to see. I have pics somewhere but have not bothered to try to find for 40 years. I was the B-1/77th XO on Illingsworth.
        Reply to this
      6. 4/22/2012 11:22 PM Phil Stanchfield wrote:
        Cpt.
        I was at Illingworth, I was with HQ. 2nd 32nd. I was a survey section leader,
        We were supposed to leave on the 31st.waiting at the LZ for the last chinook bringing in a water tank, they were taking fire and didn't want to land. the LZ operator said if they didn't he would shoot them down.I thought only my section was there, we were waiting forever, when they landed there must have be 40 guys coming out of no where getting on. It made such a large dust cloud I could'nt see it, I tripped my glasses flew off, I was carrying a M79 my gear and a tri pod.I could feel the heat of the engines but it lifted off without me. I went to my CO Major Magnuss and told him. He told me to sit tight until thee next morning.There aws another survey crew that took our spot. It was a big trench that a Roam plow dug out. I didn't go back there I just hung by the LZ than hit a firing pit when it started. Do you know what survey crew took over. I know they receive a couple of silver stars and purple hearts. I would like to see your picture. Thanks Phil Stanchfield. I helped carry Major Magnuss onto a med evac. I have a few pictures I can send you back. Thanks again. Welcome Home I thougt about sleeping in the back of the 5 ton that got blown away. I was very lucky.
        Reply to this
      7. 1/6/2014 3:30 PM Ed Riley wrote:
        Cpt N. Johnson:
        I was in the formation wherein they handed out medals as the brass walked the formation line by line. I was standing next to the Medic named John Roscoe..I remember the brass telling Doc that he did't look like a medic because he was covered in dirt from the night before. A Brty 2/32 arrived at Illingworth @ 04:30-05:30 on 4-1-70
        Reply to this
  • 5/22/2009 4:31 AM Christopher Erb wrote:
    Does anyone on this site remember a SGT Hill, Robert Allen. He was assigned to 1st Cav, C Co, 2nd BN, 8th Cav Reg. He was KIA on 4/1/70. The last known location was FSB Illingsworth. He was my aunt's brother and I am trying to get more information about him.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/18/2010 11:36 AM Jack Morrison wrote:
      Christopher - today I received an email saying you had posted a comment on April 16, but I think maybe it was a reply to the comment above yours, as your comment was dated in 2009. In any event, did you get in contact with anyone? I am in touch with many of the men of C Company 2-8th Cav some of who may remember Hill, as well as the Company Commander, CPT George Hobson. Send me an email and I will put you in touch. My email is jack.l.morrison@cox.net
      Reply to this
  • 7/22/2009 4:14 PM srg wrote:
    I was rto w/a btry 2/32. David Lassen & Terry Schell were also rto's & my best buddies. They were sleeping in one of those culverts. They were hit with 1st round of incoming rockets. They never woke up. David's widow was school teacher from ny. Her class used to send us cookies/care pkgs. I learned last yr that they had only been married 2 wks before David came to fsb barbara.

    Maj. Magnuss kept his legs but they were pretty much worthless. We were exchanging emails right up until just before xmas when he passed on.

    At one point, I was hiding under back of apc that ended up on it's side. I didn't know where to go. Finally I jumped up & started running. Good decision. I ran headlong into sapper w/satchel charge, knocking each other down. I shot him or someone did & his charge didn't detonate.
    My xo, can't remember his name, told me he was putting me in for silver star for that night. I asked him not to. I lost too much to "recieve" something. Besides, I'm not sure I killed anyone. I wrote a song about Illingsworth & fsb St.Barabara, Crook,Jay & Elisabeth...I wasn't at Jay but was the others. It's called Night to Remember...& I guess we always will. In the song I refer to the miniguns as "Spooky" but don't let that throw you. Spooky worked his magic for us at Barbara, Crook & maybe Oklahoma or Mole City. So I worked it into the song. 1st cav 2/8th was pulling guard for us on aug 17th, 1969. 1st cav medic lost his eye, one boy shot in the crotch (wouldn't stop screaming) I came out of fdc just in time to smile at SSG Small who was standing in doorway of empty bunker, waiting for incoming to subside so he could lay in #3 8in. A gook on the other side of the berm armed w/bangalore blew the bunker. I was less than thirty feet away. SSG Small just disappeared in a ball of fire & smoke. I thought it had been a rocket. The concussion lifted me up & threw me against fdc. Took all my air & hearing away.

    I continued on to the east berm where I ran inside a bunker. Inside the bunker were 11/12 boys from 1st cav. Just as I ran inside, we all heard unmistakeable gook-a-meese whispering. A sapper stood up almost within arms reach & shoved a bangalore right in the window past my head. Everything went into super/slo-motion. I saw each rd of a full auto 5 rd burst leave my barrel & enter his belly chest & neck, knocking him to the ground. He fell into the high grass & proceeded to WHEEZE for the next two hours. As the sun came up over Nui ba Den, we found him 50ft from where he fell, all curled up looking like a praying mantis. I guess he shouldn't have been standing there.
    I used to tour w/mobile Wall singing my songs but not anymore. Thanks for the memories. For some it's bad. But in my case, intense remembering helps me. If you have pics. of barbara or illingsworth would love to see them.
    glad you made it home. Yodelin Bandit/rto A btry 2/32 69-70
    Reply to this
    1. 9/9/2009 4:07 PM Jack Morrison wrote:
      I have an air shot of Illingworth I am willing to send to you. Also have been corresponding with son of John M. We also have interaction with those from 2-32, 2-8 Cav, and 77th Artillery. Send me your email address to jack.l.morrison@cox.net and I will start to include you in the various emails. I also have a copy of the infamous 6 page explanation by MG EV Roberts, Commanding General of why Illingworth happened. And more...

      Jack Morrison
      B/1-77th Arty
      In Memory of Cleaveland Bridgman, KIA on FSB Illingworth.
      Reply to this
      1. 11/16/2010 10:06 PM Bob Herschbach wrote:
        Jack, I was also at FB Illingsworth on the night of April 1, 1970. I was a Spec 5 in charge of bringing in survey control to the 8" guns down the road from Katum. I was hit that night and when I left by chopper the next morning, I left with only the pants I had on. I lost everything else than night. You mentioned that you had some pictures of the base. Would it be possible to a copy of them. I would be glad to pay for them to be copied on a CD and for the shipping. My wife is making a scrapbook of memories of my tour for my 3 boys. My youngest is now in Afghanistan. That was a night straight from hell. Thanks for any help.

        Bob Herschbach, 8TAB Artillery II Field Forces
        Reply to this
        1. 8/25/2011 4:09 PM Phil Stanchfield wrote:
          Bob,I was in survey with 2/32 FA My section left on the 31st .I was left behind. Did you know George Longo or Sarg. Tucker? I thought are replacements were HQ II FF?
          Reply to this
      2. 1/13/2011 1:16 AM RRUBLEY wrote:
        Was with the 30th Arty on Illingworth and would like to know if anyone may
        know who the black First SARGEANT was on Illingworth on the 1st of April.
        He may have been with the 77th or 2/8 cav. I would also like to make contact
        with him. This is reference to an article I'm writing on the 30th Arty
        on 1st April. Thanx Bob
        Reply to this
    2. 12/24/2010 3:21 AM Ralph Jones wrote:
      Hi - Ralph Jones again - having a Reunion next year ( 5/11-15/2011 ) ! If you talking about a NVA Soldier who had a satchel charge , about to place it on the other 8 inch Howitzer , I was the 1 who shot him with 3 rounds ! I like to see these pictures and meet up ! Stopped by Fort Hood , Texas this year - met up with the 2nd/8th Cav. and 1st. Cav. Div. ! God Bless Ralph Jones
      Reply to this
  • 7/22/2009 4:24 PM srg wrote:
    P.s.
    Randall Richards...about those protestors. Each time my son Daniel came home from Iraq...then Afghanistan during his 4 yrs with 82nd abn inf...I was standing on the tarmac with cane in hand. Oh if only...but no soldier protesters showed up. I don't call them war protestors...thats the name they claim for themselves. but it makes anyone who doesn't agree with them FOR war. They weren't against the war, they were against us, as they are today. Soldier Protestors. Thank God Supporting the Troops is a nationally popular fad so my son, son-in-laws & daughter don't have to endure that crap. Dan is home & out but still have 3 son-in-laws in...with one Sgt. Shawn Evans on his 2nd tour in Afghanistan with 10th mtn inf div. (boycott toby fonda)
    Reply to this
  • 8/22/2009 10:43 PM bobbie lassen wrote:
    SRG please contact me, you wrote in July of 09 that you knew my David.

    Hope to hear from you
    Reply to this
    1. 10/5/2009 9:56 AM Randall wrote:
      The email address I have for the yodlinBandit is athend7@aol.com. Good luck in contacting him. He was the one who wrote that he knew David Lassen.
      Thanks,
      Randall
      Reply to this
    2. 10/5/2009 4:45 PM srg wrote:
      Bobbie,
      I hope this reply finds you. I am also sending email to we were soldiers. I am steve green. You called me several years ago. I am afraid I was overwhelmed to hear from you at that time. David & I were close friends & co-workers. Of all the friends I lost David & Terry hit me the hardest. I had also just heard from SSGT Small's brother & SSGT Frangella's nephew. After decades of no contact within just a few months I was hearing from everyone. I'm afraid my response was negative for you. I would like to try again if you will give me that chance.

      Thanks again for the cookies your class sent us. Those memories & the ones of David & the boys when we were not at war have gained the upper hand for me. When I go back now, I see us laughing & clowning around. Some of the songs we made up..."We Like It Here"... to the tune of OH CHRISTMAS TREE-
      Walkin in the everlovin Mud....Walkin in a Winter Wonderland...army jokes and all...I sent them all to Iraq &
      Afghanistan with my son, daughter & 3 son-in-laws when it was their turn. They are all home safe now except Shawn on his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. They all will tell you that those stories & songs meant the world to them as well. It doesn't take much to light up the worlds darkest corner. A box of cookies. a letter from home. So you should know that 40 years later stories of David & the boys did just that. Stories like this:

      Once there were some infantrymen on our berm pulling guard in the middle of the day. Right behind them was a 175 howitzer ( A huge artillery cannon mounted on a trac just like a tank-I cannot tell you how loud these things are, but I wear two hearing aids today).
      David, Terry & I came up with this great idea! We would get Hutch (the driver) to start the engine and lower the barrel until it was pointed right at their heads.
      Then we all ran around shouting out numbers like we were giving orders & preparing to fire. It worked so very well. At first they ignored us...then as the barrel lowered they began to pay attention. Finally they figured out that a 200 lb shell was about to be fired directly over their heads!!! Too Late!

      As they jumped to their feet, Terry grabbed the lanyard & David yelled "NO. 3.... FIRE!!!" As terry yanked the cord, the entire group dove over the berm down into the edge of the mine field in a cloud of dust. Of course the gun wasn't loaded. The concussion alone could very well have killed them. Only the primer went off, which was no louder than a very small firecracker. Man that worked good! somebody said. but at the same time we could hear the infantrymen cursing & crawling back up the berm. David said "Okay, My work here is done. I'm leaving now". That also seemed like a good idea & we were gone. It worked so well we did it as often as we could, but always with a different infantry co.

      One day I was working the radio when a fighter pilot called up for clearance to do a victory roll over the compound. He had been on a successful miss
      Reply to this
    3. 4/16/2010 9:19 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
      i was on 155 1st bt 30th artillery 1st cav a battery thanks so much
      Reply to this
      1. 3/4/2011 1:51 PM Jack Morrison wrote:
        R U Going to the 30th Arty reunion in Branson this year? I am trying to attend and find out who is going from 30th who was on FSB Illingworth. I have a brother of one of the 77th Arty who was KIA that is interested in interviewing men from Illingworth. You can reach me at jack.l.morrison@cox.net
        Reply to this
  • 8/23/2009 9:04 AM Richard Andrews wrote:
    A Battery 2nd Battalion 32nd Field Artillery sent 30 men into FSB Illingsworth.
    When the Battle started most of their equipment was knocked out in the initial enemy salvo's. Many went to help the 105's to provide direct fire on the enemy or manned the berms.
    A Battery 2/32 suffered 3 KIA and 27 WIA.

    They lost both 8 inch Guns the Ammo carriers two APc's and the CPC ( FDC Van)and all other equipment that was at that location.
    Reply to this
  • 9/22/2009 12:18 PM Felicia Thornton wrote:
    Randy I think you did an awesome job on this! You will never know what it means to me to hear the hell my dad went thru that nite. I have grown to love each and everyone of you guys over the years thru the reunions. I know this has helped all of you be able to heal some emotional wounds. I am proud of my dad and consider it an honor to know each and everyone of you. You all are my HEROES!! I understand now what the Bronze Star my dad has really means. Thank you for sharing!
    Reply to this
  • 10/31/2009 1:25 PM Sgt Otto wrote:
    Please write about LZ Ike. I was there for the June 20, 1969 assault by a reported 600 NVA where my machine gunner took a bullet thru the mouth and my point man and company commander were killed. Your writing of your experience is good. Thanks!
    Reply to this
    1. 7/6/2010 11:53 AM John Benge wrote:
      My cousin was with 2/5 D Company (Airmobile) and was at Ike at that time. He received a silver star for his defense of that LZ but I thought the battle occurred on June 18, 1969. His name was Craig Geis.
      Reply to this
  • 10/31/2009 1:28 PM Sgt Otto wrote:
    I forgot to mention that I was with 1st Air Cav 3/5 3rd platoon 3rd squad leader.
    Reply to this
  • 11/18/2009 5:56 PM K Gary Duncan wrote:
    As speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony a lady came to me wanting to know if I could help her find out about her father KIA RVN.She was one year old at the time and knows very little. Her father was Cpl Michael Richard Patterson
    C/2/8 1st Cav. KIA 4/1/70. He was involved at Firebase Illingsworth.
    His daughter is Michelle Patterson. I have been trying to help her find out more about her father.
    If anyone knew him please reply to this request. He came in country on March 12. Ironic he "sent" her to me, I was A/2/8 from 71 to 72, worked out of Firebase Melanie, etc. Us "Troopers" stick together, even after we're gone.
    Please help a "Troopers" daughter bring some closure.
    Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 10:58 AM Bill Hatfield wrote:
    I was just ready to print a picture of me standing atop an 8 Inch Howitzer barrel taken at Firebase Illingsworth on April 1st, 1971 and was surprised to find your article. I was assigned to this unit in Oct 1970 in large part because of losses at Illingsworth. We lined up 6 8-inches for a "turkey shoot" and fired all day. Illingsworth grounds were still a mess- must have been awful that year before.
    Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 11:00 AM Jack Morrison wrote:
    Bill,

    Would you please post your email or send me an email at jack.l.morrison@cox.net.

    I am working with the brother and best friend of Cleaveland Bridgman, who was KIA on FSB Illingworth. I knew the 2-32nd re-opened Illingworth and I would love to have the pictures of Illingworth as of 1971, especially if you have them of the prior damaged area.

    Paul,

    If you would send me your email, I will put you in touch with several members of C Company, 2-8 Cav, including the Company Commander, who were on Illingworth that morning. They may be able to help with memories of your brother as he was a member of C Company. The reason I know is because I just sent him a complete file with the names of C Company KIA on that day and recognized the last name.

    Thanks Jack Morrison LTC(USA Ret) 77th Artillery
    Reply to this
    1. 4/14/2010 7:23 PM Paul McInerny wrote:
      Jack, I believe you were responding to my e-mail, but I am not sure. My brother was at Illingworth. Thanks for any info you can provide.
      Reply to this
    2. 1/26/2011 10:42 AM Mike Caputo wrote:
      Jack,
      I was with c company 2/8 on March 31, 1970 I was choppered out of field op's near cambodian border, to go on R&R. Upon my return I was informed of Illingsworth. I was short and never returned to the field but have felt "guily" ever since. Guys that transfered to the Cav with from Big Red One D 2/16, I beleive were in that battle. Can you send me list of KIA from c 2/8 cav, thanks.
      Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 11:02 AM Michael LeRoy Fasching wrote:
    I want to thank Mr. Richards for taking up the task of writing his detailed account of the events of April 1, 1970. My uncle's death has always been a difficult subject. Any insight to his life, albeit in this case tragic, is greatly appreciated.

    Michael LeRoy Fasching
    Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 11:04 AM Jack L Morrison wrote:
    I would like for you to send me your email and I can put you in contact with CPL Fasching's Company Commander on FSB Illingworth who has an interest to reach the immediate family of CPL Fasching, brothers, sisters, mother, father, etc about a project that is currently being worked for Charlie Company.

    Jack Morrison Artillery Forward Observer after Illingwoth B Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Artillery In support of C/2-8 Cav starting 1 April.

    jack.l.morrison@cox.net
    Reply to this
    1. 1/29/2010 12:57 AM Michael LeRoy Fasching wrote:
      Thank you. I'm sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I appreciate your passing my information along. LeRoy does have a surviving brother (my father) and sister. My phone is 406-697-7983 also.
      Reply to this
      1. 2/2/2010 1:07 AM Michael LeRoy Fasching wrote:
        My e-mail is hometeam@montana.net.
        Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 11:32 AM Joe Hogg wrote:
    I was a cobra pilot flying for Blue Max and flew a couple of missions in support of Illingworth 1April70. At one point my team became the only radio contact with Illingworth, the artillery adjuster, requested Medivac and provided cover for its wounded extractions, as well engaged mortor and RPG fire and the enemy, at the same time trying to avoid 51 cal anti aircraft. My Blue Max team was just one of several that rotated all night long in support of Illingworth.
    Reply to this
  • 12/16/2009 9:40 PM Tim Hall wrote:
    After almost 40 years I can thank you for your support. As long as I live I will never forget Blue Max. In the jungle when we would hit the shit, there was nothing as sweet as, Custer Dodge 6 India this is Blue Max, what can we do for you. We would pop smoke to mark our position and you would roll in hot.
    On Illingsworth we grunts on the berm could hear you and the jets but because of the dust and the fact that we were a little busy and it was so dark, we didn't see your work.
    I know that without you being there that night we may have not made it.
    Thank you so very much for your work at Illingsworth and all the other times you saved our asses.
    Reply to this
  • 1/12/2010 4:27 PM Gary Owen wrote:
    Randall,
    Thanks for the reply. You guys took a lot of gooks out that night.
    They were stacked like cord wood especially in front of the quad 50 as well as inside. That next afternoon, they had bulldozers digging a mass grave. It was wide and deep.
    The first thing my company did was secure the FSB and take care of the wounded including an Artillery Cpt. who told me he was in the TOC when it blew. That was the first guy I saw when I got inside and he was in shock. We had been in the bush for many weeks so we were pretty shaby looking. I think you might have had the wrong Cpt. frrom my company.
    No one received any awards for that action in my company. Not hard to believe since you guys thought we were an entirely different unit! As with you, we were just doing our job as best we could.
    I know the feeling especially since I went through several major firefights including Shakey's Hill in Cambodia in May of '70. Not to mention being on 3 FSBs that were attached including LZ Buttons in Nov.
    of '69.
    Welcome home brother...rest assured my guys had the utmost respect for every trooper on Illingsworth that night.

    Gary Owen

    Jack Monahan
    36 A/5/7 '69-'70
    Reply to this
  • 1/12/2010 5:18 PM Jack Morrison wrote:
    The following was an email sent to Randall Richards from Jack L. Morrison. I forwarded it to some of the guys from Echo, 2/8, 1st Cav Div. Some of them sent comments.

    Of all the news articles, videos, and broadcasts yesterday about this event, I think this video (about 4 minutes long) is the best one by far.
    It's outstanding....especially the last minute or
    so...
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2009/10/19/VI2009101902649.html?sid=ST2009101903723


    Many of you participated in or supported those in this fight or were in
    country on March 26, 1970 or knew of a relative who served in Vietnam
    during this time period or any other time. I like it because it's more
    than just a summary of events of one battle by a member of A Troop, 11th
    ACR - it's a tribute to all Vietnam Veterans who served honorably.

    Welcome Home!

    Jack Morrison
    Reply to this
  • 1/12/2010 5:27 PM Randall Richards wrote:
    After I sent the email from Jack L. Morrison to my E,2/8,1st Cav guys, Bill Radam sent a copy to Dana ____ who was in Radar with Bill Radam . Dana sent this reply to Bill.

    Bill,



    Here’s a memory, more so a visual that I have.



    Maybe a day or 2 before April 1, the 11th wanted to come to Illingworth & our Commander (don’t remember his name) said “No, there is no room on the LZ for your tanks.”



    If memory serves me correctly. I heard this conversation in TOC. It was a humorous one.



    Do you remember this visual?. The 11th came out of the clearing, X tanks flanked (impressive) in a jester stating “were coming anyway and did.”



    Got pretty crowded as we in the know, know.





    Dana
    Reply to this
  • 2/14/2010 9:45 AM elliott collins wrote:
    I WAS ON IIILINSWORTH WITH 77 ARTILLERY.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/18/2010 11:33 AM JackMorrison wrote:
      Elliot Collins -

      I was not on Illingworth but I did replace Lt C Bridgman, the Fire Direction Officer who was killed in the opening to the 77th FDC that morning. Were you on the guns or FDC or where? I have contact with a lot of 77th folks who were on Illingworth that morning, i.e. John Ahearn (LNO), Bob Bernhardt (XO), Paul Baldassano (Supply), Steve Nicholich (FDC) and brother of Cleave Bridgman. My email is jack.l.morrison@cox.net. Christoper Erb - I also am in touch with many of the men of C Company 2-8th Cav some of who may remember Hill. Send me an email and I will put you in touch
      Reply to this
    2. 1/14/2012 10:25 PM holt wrote:
      if u were w the 77 please get bak w me sgt holt b battery 1/77
      Reply to this

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