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:

On the left is Jack Illingworth for whom FSB Illingworth was named. Next is Dan Boettcher (Dan gave me this picture) and Pat Goode.

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, Father Boyles

  

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. These were not my men. My men were on their mortars or if their gun was disabled, they were on the berm, probably in hand-to-hand combat. 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.

Posted by Randall at 8/11/2008 7:46 PM

Categories: 2/8, E, 1st Cavalry Airmobile, 2nd Battalion, Vietnam, Firebase Illingworth, 1st Cav, 8th Cavalry, Echo Company, Mortar Platoon, 1970, 1st Cavalry Division, US Army

55 thoughts on “MY MEMORIES OF FIREBASE ILLINGWORTH ON APRIL 1, 1970”

  1. 10/17/2008 8:34 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
    Randal thanks for the article on Illingsworth. I was there on the 155 guns. My section was behind the 5 ton truck. I was aiming threw the tube or barrel and that truck was a problem. I got the tube low as i could for direct fire. We fired every round in our pit. When we were looking at the dead gooks next morning i saw some rounds that didnt go off. They didn’t get up enough speed to set off the fuse. I went back to the pit and reset every fuse for quicker time so the next night we would be ready. There was one gook in the trees. Every time I fired he would pick up the flash from the tube and would walk morter or rockets right to us. I finally saw his flash we put a hundred pound shell on him. He had a lot of ammo. There was a big blast. Then the flairs went up for direct fire. I was assistant gunner. I fired the gun that night. I worked the tube back and forth. It got so hot I hat to let some fluid out. It was boiling on the ground.
    Sgt Kenneth W. Corbin
    706-539-1208
    Vietnum
    December 1969 – November 1970
    10/17/2008 8:34 PM kenneth corbin wrote:
    Randal thanks for the article on Illingsworth. I was there on the 155 guns. My section was behind the 5 ton truck. I was aiming threw the tube or barrel and that truck was a problem. I got the tube low as i could for direct fire. We fired every round in our pit. When we were looking at the dead gooks next morning i saw some rounds that didnt go off. They didn’t get up enough speed to set off the fuse. I went back to the pit and reset every fuse for quicker time so the next night we would be ready. There was one gook in the trees. Every time I fired he would pick up the flash from the tube and would walk morter or rockets right to us. I finally saw his flash we put a hundred pound shell on him. He had a lot of ammo. There was a big blast. Then the flairs went up for direct fire. I was assistant gunner. I fired the gun that night. I worked the tube back and forth. It got so hot I hat to let some fluid out. It was boiling on the ground.
    Sgt Kenneth W. Corbin
    706-539-1208
    Vietnum
    December 1969 – November 1970
    I thought illingsworth was forgotten. We only had 3 155 guns there. When we got there I thought ‘what a beautiful place, open field, great i thought’. I was sleeping on top of a bunker. A call came over the radio that we were getting a ground attact. I said what? It was so quite. Then the radio said disregaurd. The first rocket came in and scrapnel went in my arm. I never noticed until later. The medic fixed it the next morning. The captain said he needed us to stay 1 more night. Grown men I saw crying. We pulled it together, and we all stayed. The two people raming the shellls in the tube was a Indian named Yazee and a Mexican named Moreno. I have a wife and two daughters and 5 grand daughters. Every time I look at them, I think about those soilders that didnt make it. They never saw home again. God bless them. I try to live for them, be good to people and country, and i pray for them and all the killing that we had to do. It was war. Thanks again Randall. My spellings not too good. I wrote a small note the other day. Maybe you got it. It feels pretty good to talk about it. Maybe I will sleep tonight.

  2. 2/20/2009 2:40 AM Gary Dunnagan wrote:
    I was also with the 155’s on Illingsworth I would like very much to talk to Ken Corbin for years I have tried to find some of the guys I served with in Vietnam could only think of nick names or first name only
    You can not know how I felt when I read the stories of Illingsworth and then I read Ken Corbin story I need to talk to some of my Artillery Brothers. Yazee, Moreno, Tex, Gary Bowman and so many others.
    Gary Dunnagan

  3. 6/19/2009 3:18 PM Bill Politte wrote:
    I don’t know if you will remember me. I was on the same gun as Phillip Morris. I have tried finding someone from illingsworth for a long time. This is my son’s e-mail address so if you answer he will let me know.

  4. 11/22/2008 5:20 PM richard cowand wrote:
    I still remember the night Illingsworth was hit, I was on Fsb Hannas (named for the fallen commander of FSB Jay) and there came a 100% alert for us, as reports were coming in from Illingsworth’s ground radar that they were picking up signals from nva trucks coming across the Cambodian border.It was a fact that you had to learn by being there because nowhere in any media report will you read that the NVA was driving troops in duces and a halfs to their assenbly areas for attacks on american bases.But that is a fact!

  5. 2/15/2009 12:18 PM Mike Miller wrote:
    Richard, I too was on Jay with Hannas that night. Are you a survivor of FSB Jay?

  6. 11/29/2009 1:17 AM Michael LeRoy Fasching wrote:
    I’m honored to carry my uncle’s namesake. He was only in Vietnam for 2 weeks before dying that night. I’m reading what you all are writing…thank you for your insight into what was to be his last day on earth along with 23 other men. The events of that night are very much a mystery to me and my father (his older brother). You have been a great help, thank you.

  7. 9/2/2008 10:08 AM Dan Boettcher wrote:
    I was a member of Company A 2/8 Cav From November of 1969 to March of 1970. I knew Jack Illingsworth and know somewhat the story of how he was killed. I had just come out of the field a few days before he was killed. I do remember one night the first part of March of 1969, We were hit late in the night and the perimeter area they hit was by me. I was able to call in artillery that night within 50 meters and the assault was repelled. The NVA had not located our perimeter correctly so the mortar rounds missed. It was a scary night. Trip flares were tripped in front of me, claymores were fired. Rifle rounds from both sides were coming and going. frags were being cooked and thrown. In the morning at light there were a number of NVA down in front of us. Some drag mark’s were with 10 yards of us. No one was killed or seriously hurt on our side. What sticks in my mind that during the middle of the night while I was sitting on my poncho on guard duty with my buddy sleeping next to me I heard the voices of the NVA talking, I was told to stay quiet until my flares went off. When they did all hell broke loose.It’s one of those nights that sort of stays with you. We were around the Cambodian Border at the time.I ended up with Malaria and left the field toward the end of March that year. Dan Boettcher A company 2/8 Killer Platoon

  8. 10/26/2009 3:51 PM Tim Hall wrote:
    Dan, I was in Plato at the same time you were in Killer. I remember that night. Was Lizzard the CO then or was it Lt Armor, I think it was Cpt Swearingen.
    Please email me, I would love to hear from you.
    timhall2@charter.net

  9. 8/12/2010 11:46 PM Virgil Lambert wrote:
    Dan,
    The CO was CPT Ray Armor Jan-March of 1970. He left soon after the 26th, the day of our ride to the rescue with A Trp. 11th Cav.

    I was n Plato until Mar 26th. In fact I was Plato at the time. Medivac to Bien Hoa afterwards.

  10. 8/18/2010 8:59 PM Ray Armer wrote:
    Dear Plato
    This is your old CO, please contact me. I have been looking for you. Its been 40 years too long.
    Ray Armer

  11. 8/28/2010 11:46 PM Virgil Lambert wrote:
    Scabbard!

    I’m reading this late at night just before sack time. I’ll hit the email tomorrow. I’ve been looking for you for a long time too, but, as you can see, I couldn’t spell.

    Plato

  12. 9/21/2011 12:01 PM grubby slack wrote:
    welcome home capt,.
    you were the best, over there, and i thank you for being the best,,,,

    would you know where bob bobzinski is , i tried every thing to find him,… we both got hit that nite, march 14th, i saw him in a mash unit, and he had a baseball size hole in the middle of is back,, and then months later i saw him in valley forge,,pa.. going to golf course for rehab,,, i talk with bruce facett, from ca,.. we keep in touch…. i can t remember if you were there that nite., i remember losing dave smith in the well….. geeez… and he took my place pointing out that morning,,, i had a cut on my leg and ripped my pants pretty bad, so he insisted to take my point,, been, hard,,,,,,,

  13. 8/23/2010 11:05 AM Jack Morrison wrote:
    Virgil –

    Ray Armer is trying to reach you. Please contact him at dkarmer@bellsouth.net or send me a note and I will get it to him. You can see my name at various spots on this site. Thanks Jack Morrison B/1-77th FO with C/2-8th after Illingworth.

    Jack.morrison@cox.net

  14. 8/24/2010 2:38 PM becky paramore wrote:
    julian paramore,sr. was in vietnam at385 infintary. he now lives in greenback, tn. @ 1010 cloyds church rd. we live near maryville, tn. i am his wife becky paramore if you know julian reach me on facebook. it’s a surprise. he was in the army. thanks, becky

  15. 9/21/2011 11:52 AM grubby slack wrote:
    welcome home bro,
    tim i was in smokey plt,, i was smokey2,, the nite of march 14th,, iam trying to find bob bobzinski, from pittsburg, pa, we both were medivac out,, i lost track of him,, and do you remember john, mcclocklin? my spelling isnt too good,hes from phila,,, i often wondered how many we lost that nite, i can still here the one gook crying out , until his buddy shot him,,,,,,,, i was the 5th chopper out that next day,, hope everything is going well for you ,,,,,, here s my email, if you would like to talk, jerseyboyme@yahoo.com

    grubby slack
    phillipsburg, nj

  16. 8/22/2010 12:06 PM Ted Krzyzanowski wrote:
    Dan-Would like you to contact me in regards to March 14, l970. I was with A 2-8 1st Cav with Bob Haney and Jack Illingsworth that night they were killed. I was wounded that night and never returned to the field. I have very slim memories of what actually occurred, and where we actually were- have been looking everywhere for info- please help. If you would email me at tkski14@gmail.com that would be the easiest way.

  17. 4/21/2012 10:11 PM Plato wrote:
    Gentlemen,
    Though my memory isn’t perfect, I do recall a few of the A Co. 2/8 Cav March 70 encounters with the NVA. Here is some info on a few that may help others reconstruct the events and add detail.
    3 March. We had been followed for several days, and knew it. That evening we ate dinner in an area of light vegetation before setting up our perimeter. However, CPT Armer decided that wasn’t a good NDP, and moved us into a grove of medium sized trees. Thank God. The NVA scouts had apparently marked our position and moved back to pick up their unit (Company-sized) or a bit larger. At about 0600 they put a lot of mortar rounds into our “dinner perimeter” where we were no longer. Then, from the muzzle flashes, it looked like a couple of squads moved into that area to draw fire and cause us to disclose our position. It didn’t work. CPT Armer had us delay opening fire, and that thoroughly screwed up the NVA. As the probing unit hit the open field, they turned back. That apparently caused the main force to become confused, and the two forces opened fire on each other. They fumbled around until they spread in our direction. Then we opened up at close range. Since they were still confused we took no casualties and the contact broke. We put down about 60 of them.
    Moving along the tree line near the contact, we ran into something between a squad and a platoon around noon. We lost one of the point team, and one other was wounded. We pulled back into a perimeter just off a trail for medevac and resupply, and we were ready for them. They probed the area to find us, and encountered one of our automatic ambushes. We opened up and they lost 5 while we had two more wounded.

    13 March. We were moving along, leapfrogging, with a platoon passing through the company, making about 100-150 meters, and setting up a loose perimeter for the next platoon to fall back into if needed. Again, a good idea. One of the point teams was engaged by what seemed to be a small ambush, and the platoons (Killer, I think) fell back into the Plato perimeter. The rest assembled and we pushed out our perimeter to spend the night. At that time, we had one KIA and one WIA. Early on the 14th, before dawn a force hit us from the South. Lots of RPGs and the usual AK fire. Our total losses, 2 KIA and 6 WIA according to official reports. It seemed worse than that, but I have no real idea of the numbers.

        1. That was me I think. I have also tried to find Pat Coode who lived in Nashville but he moved and no phone Number. He was the other guy on that picture with Illingsworth. Met Pat about 10-12 years ago when I was in Nashville.

          1. I had that picture on my computer. We took a lightning strike last fall and I lost a lot of stuff on my computer. If you still have a copy of that, I would really appreciate it if you would forward it to me. I would like to post it here.

  18. 9/21/2011 11:42 AM grubby slack wrote:
    welcome home bro,,

    i was in smokey plt, and was hit on march 14 th,, 70.. did you have john mclonklin? from phila,, in your plt, iam trying to find out how many guys didnt make it that nite,, iam also looking for my gunner, from pitts,, bob bobzinski, sure would like to locate him,, nobody can find him,, we got hit together, and last i saw him was in valley forge hospital,, my email is,,, jerseyboyme@yahoo.com

  19. 11/21/2008 5:34 PM Ralph Stutzman wrote:
    Dan Boettcher:
    I would very much like to talk to you about 14 March 1970. In addition to Jack Illingsworth, a high school classmate of mine, Bobby Haney, was also killed. I am in contact with Ted Krzyzanowski who was wounded on that day and would like to be in contact with you as well regarding the events of that day. I want to use this anecdotal evidence in creating a website to Bob’s memory. I have started some work on the Army Together We Served webpage (http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/51550) and hope to continue this effort. My email address is hubies@hotmail.com.

  20. 2/26/2009 10:40 PM Allen Hawkes wrote:
    I was in FDC with E-2/8 1969-1970. I have pics with Huggins and me. We only had half of the company at IKE. We got tore up pretty bad on LZ Becky in August 1969. I really liked Sgt Brown. Send me some email at allen.hawkes@yahoo.com. Formerly Sgt Allen Hawkes.

  21. HAWKES!!!!!,
    Thanks for your comment. I remember you well. Someone from our reunion group had a picture of you last year. I believe the person had talked with you. Dennis Eubanks was on LZ Becky with you. He is a regular at our reunions. We would love to have you attend in October 2009.
    Allen, you were a hero in Vietnam, and you are a hero today. Mike Russell says a hero is a person who gets up every morning and goes to work to support his/her family and does all the things that Americans must do to support their family and continue to build a great nation.
    Thank you for your service to our country,
    Randall Richards

  22. 6/30/2010 7:51 PM Mike Speights wrote:
    I remember Sgt Brown, he was my Sgt too when I derosed in July 69. I heard he was wounded on Becky. I was Blue 5 in E/2/8. I have Allen Hawkes email address so we have corresponded sometimes in the past. Where are these reunions you all are speaking of. I attended the last 1st Cav reunion at Ft Hood.

  23. 4/7/2009 11:48 PM GREG JONES wrote:
    HI ALL AIR CAV BROTHERS I WAS A DOORGUNNER IN CO A 229 AT TAY NINH 1969 I WAS AT ALL THE LZS GRANT, IKE, CAROLYN, DOLLY, SAINT BARBARA ALSO AT AN LOC PHOUC VINH REMEMBER NIGHT ATTACKS ON GRANT AND CAROLYN WHEN GOOKS GOT IN BUNKERS WE DID EMERGENCY RESUPPLY AND MEDIVAC THAT NIGHT AT CAROLYN.
    FLEW FLARE MISSION WHEN GRANT WAS UNDER GROUND ATTACK. AFTER FLARE MISION WE WERE GOING TO MEDIVAC WOUNDED BUT GOOKS OPENED UP WITH MACHINEGUN AND HIT OUR CHOPPER I PUT ABOUT 3OO ROUNDS ON THAT POSITION HOPE I KNOCKED IT OUT.

  24. 12/7/2010 5:52 PM Mike wrote:
    Thank you guys so much for the support you provided us grunts on the ground !!! I was on LZ Ike(Co. E 2/5 Cav) in June ’69 when we were overrun by about 600 NVA.Lost many Cav brothers, but without you and those beautiful slicks, would have been alot more. Thank you, thank you, thank you !!! God Bless you and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  25. 12/16/2009 10:09 PM sgt otto wrote:
    June 20, 1969, does anyone besides me remeber the attack by a re-inforced battalion of NVA. Write what you experienced and remember and I will.

  26. 7/5/2010 9:30 PM Doug wrote:
    Sgt Otto!!

    Remember?? I’ll never forget it! I was on LP/OP that night just inside the outer field of fire and outside the wire. I was a member of 2/5 Cav
    Sgt Otto…your name is really familiar…

  27. 9/17/2010 6:58 AM Sgt Otto wrote:
    I was on the right bunker at the log road as you face out. My machine gunner took a bullet thru the mouth early in the attack on june 20, 1969. I came around the bunker and found 2 nva preparing to fire a B40 when I opened up and emptied my m16 missing them completely but causing them to duck down to the ground. Then another clip and I took them out. The NVA were running in and I was out of ammunition.

  28. 7/5/2010 9:42 PM John Benge wrote:
    Are you talking about LZ Ike? My cousin, Craig Geis, received a silver star for defending that LZ, but I think it was on June 18, 1969. He was in 2/5 D Company. Blond hair and about 6’3″ tall; wore a silver cross around his neck.

  29. 8/25/2010 11:44 AM SGT OTTO wrote:
    I was Company D 3rd Platoon 3rd Squad leader. LZ was hit the 18th and the 20th. I found out earlier this year that I also received a Silver Star for what happened on June 20, 1969, 41 years later.

  30. 10/11/2010 1:42 PM Sgt Otto wrote:
    D 2/5 was there for both attacks, 18 and 20 june 1969. What I remeber is one bunker being blown in on the 18th and the entrance to the LZ being overrun on the 20th. Hindsite makes it look to me like the 18th was fact finding for the NVA and the 20th was the actual assult by over 600 nva accordning to the after action report.

  31. 9/21/2011 11:32 AM grubby slack wrote:
    welcome home bro,,, iam not sure of dates any more , but i was on ike, when almost overrun,, i was outside wire,, with 2 others on LP.. i was with A company 2/8 th,, smokey plt,,

  32. 1/30/2010 6:37 PM Larry Eurek wrote:
    I was there on LZ Ike on September 8, 1969 at the time of Randall’s original description on this website. I was with the motor pool with the 2/8 1st Air Cav, and it was one of the longest Mad Minutes I ever had, lasting from midnight til 5 a.m. Sgt Whitey asked me to help with the evac of wounded to the Chinook on the chopper pad later that morning and the chopper was fired upon and then landed on the VIP pad where he should have been in the first place.

  33. 2/5/2010 5:06 PM SSG Mike Kilgore wrote:
    Loved your article about LZ Ike, See
    you at the reunion in October in Warm Springs, Georgia.

    Love You brother,

    SSG. Kilgore

  34. 3/11/2010 10:40 PM GREG JONES wrote:
    HEY
    I WAS A DOORGUNNER WITH CO.A 229 AVN BTLN AT TAY NINH FEB 69-OCT 69 HIT ALL THE LZ GRANT BARBARA IKE CAROLIONE LZ DOLLY I GOTTA SAY GRANT WAS THE WORST ALONG WITH CAROLINE AND IKE SAW MANY GROUND ATTACKS AT NITE AND DROPPED MANY FLARES AND RESUPPLY OUR TROOPS AND THEN MEDEVAC

  35. 9/7/2010 7:38 PM CHARLES RUSHING ALABAMA wrote:
    GREG,WERE YOU FLYING ON MARCH 26,1970.I WAS IN A MINE FIELD AT ST BARBARA WHEN GABBY LUNA LOST HIS LEGS. A CHOPPER DROPED A MED. ON US AND SAVED HIS LIFE.I DIDN’T GET ON THE CHOPPER WITH GABBY AFTER I HANDING THE MED. HIS LEG. I FOUND GABBY IN 2002 IN BAY CITY, TX.IT WAS A GREAT REUNION FOR BOTH OF US.I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO THE MED.TO LET HIM KNOW WHY I WOULDN’T GET ON THE CHOPPER.I WALKED OUT OF THE MINE FIELD INSTEAD OF TAKING THE RIDE.MAYBE YOU OR SOME OF YOU BROTHERS MAY REMEMBER THIS.THANKS ALABAMA

  36. 7/18/2010 3:43 PM DOORGUNNER wrote:
    HEY
    WELCOME HOME I DID A NIGHT EXTRACTION ON LZ IKE LATE SUMMER 69 I WAS DOORGUNNER WITH 229. THE BRASS DIDNT KNOW IF THEY WERE COMING OR GOING

  37. 8/22/2010 12:20 PM Ted Krzyzanowski wrote:
    Please anyone with info about the incident of March 14, l970 involving A 2-8 1sr Cav please contact me @ tkski14@gmail.com. I was wounded that night when Bob Haney and Jack Illingsworth were killed. My memory of this nite are very unclear.

  38. 8/24/2010 2:55 PM becky paramore wrote:
    my husband was julian a paramore, sr. we live in greenback, tn. at 1010 cloyds church rd. he was in the 385th infintary in vietnam got injured there in 1970. i’m trying to get a few of his buddies he was w/ there. like douglas, george berry, and
    david greer. reach me at 812tigger@gmail.com or on the facebook.com as becky paramore his wife becky

  39. 8/25/2010 9:17 AM Cortaflex wrote:
    I can see that you are an expert in this field! I am launching a website soon, and this information is very useful for me. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

  40. 8/25/2010 11:45 AM Tacfit Commando wrote:
    I like your style, the fact that your site is a little bit different makes it so interesting, I get fed up of seeing same-old-same-old all of the time. I’ve just stumbled this page for you

  41. 8/29/2010 3:37 PM Virgil Lambert wrote:
    Email just sent, old friend. Yes, way too long. Though, if you’d spelled your name Armor, like I did, it would have been easier

  42. 8/29/2010 7:16 PM john wrote:
    Dates and times,,I’m lost,,was FO with
    E2/5,yeah Ike was about the most action I saw during 2.5 years in country.

  43. 9/20/2011 5:48 PM george olson wrote:
    As I look through all the notes I finally am beginning to realize why I am having trouble. My first LZ was Ike in July 1969. I kept a record of the LZs,but misplaced it when I divorced. From reading I now remember Ike, grant, becky and jamie.

  44. 12/14/2011 7:29 PM Mike The Kansas Kid wrote:
    I also was on Ike and i was a field radio repairman…. with HHC 2/8th from May 1969 to November 1969…I lost many Bros on that LZ….and i still feel the hot concrete on my lips when i walked down the ramp of my “Freedom Bird” in Oakland California and kissed the concrete that day as i was back in the land Of the big PX!
    I have been to the mini wall 9 times and the BIG MAIN WALL in DC one time and its healed me in some ways.
    Mike in Kansas
    My Call sign was 29er Bravo

  45. 12/17/2011 12:37 AM Mike The Kansas Kid wrote:
    I remember the 3 of the 1st Air Cav 2/8th call signs heres the ones that i remember:
    HHC was Stoney Moutain
    a line Company was Roving Gambler
    and another line Company was Angry Skipper..and please whats the others ? Glenn056@Yahoo.com
    Mike in Kansas
    I was in HHC 2/8th and served as radio repairman.

  46. 12/17/2011 1:23 PM Mike The Kansas Kid wrote:
    I would love to hear from any Brothers that was in 1st Air Cav. HHC 2/8th in the Commo section may of 1969 to Nov 1969….wire or radio!
    Mike 29er Bravo
    I Used to wear a t shirt in nam that
    had on it in Magic marker “KANSAS KID”
    Glenn056@Yahoo.com

  47. 4/21/2012 10:13 PM Plato wrote:
    26 March. We had been patrolling with the 11th ACR for a few days, maybe a week. The night before, one of their mortar tracks exploded and they lost several troops. The next day, while we were out doing our “cloverleafs”, where we got off the tracks went into the bush and did a 360 look-see, C Co, 2/8 walked into a regiment. The platoons were spread out, but started edging in the direction of C Co. waiting for the official “word” to go. When it came, the 11th pushed down the trees necessary to get us there riding on the back of the tracks. We pulled in, went on line and the armor cut loose. Plato was nearest the wounded of C Co., so we edged forward a bit and helped get out the dead and wounded, then fell back on line. The NVA tried to flank us on the left, but several of our guys saw the move. Plato, on the left flank, did a little spin and put them down just before we got the word to mount up and move out. No enemy action on the way back to the NDP where the track had exploded. Seems like we evacuated a bunch that night, from the 3 units, but the official count was 3 KIA and 22 WIA.

    I’ve translated the coordinates from the old maps to the Lat/Long that Google and Bing use, if anyone wants to take a look from overhead.
    4 March 11-43.80N, 106-4.88E
    13 March 11-43.80N 106-5.16E
    26 March 11-36.24N 105-59.30

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