A BATTLE ON LZ IKE AS TOLD BY A LISTENING POST TROOPER

This article was written by Douglas Crow who served with D/2/5, 1st Cav.  This is an example of the excellent stories that are stored in the minds of soldiers who served their country so bravely.  Most of the books written about war are either written by brass or taken from military reports.  Doug’s article gives this account from the eyes and ears of a grunt.  No other person can tell Doug’s story as well as he has told it.  Thanks to Douglas for the article and a special thanks for his courage and dedication to our nation.

  

     One afternoon around June 18th of 1969, D Co, 2/5, 1st Cav moved into LZ Ike. That night, Ike was hit hard with at least 3 platoons of NVA; one from the South and others from the Southwest and North.

  I was chosen for an LP post outside the perimeter and just inward from the jungle’s edge. At dusk, we went out to our positions equipped with M16s, a PRC 25 radio, grenades, claymore mines, and M60s. We set up temporary posts: digging shallow foxholes, arming claymores and establishing radio contact with Ike’s command.

     Between 1:30 to 2:00 AM, a single grenade exploded about 20 feet towards the LZ followed by an eruption of small arms, artillery and rocket fire. Red tracers zinged over us from both directions. I grabbed my helmet and rifle and jumped for cover.

     The enemy units had slipped by our posts undetected. They must have observed us from the jungle, as we later discovered that the claymores had been disarmed.

     When Ike erupted, an NVA unit had wedged between us and the LZ. The result was a nightmarish half hour of not knowing whether we were going to get rocketed by the NVA, accidentally mortared or shot by our own at the perimeter. The rear element of the wedged platoon pinned us down with AK47 fire while the enemy fired B40 rockets at us from the jungle: a most miserable crossfire indeed.

     After nearly 30 mad minutes, the NVA set up a mortar just inside the jungle and to our left front. Each mortar round fired continued to impact closer and closer. Our RTO estimated the tube location, called in Ike’s mortars and silenced the NVA mortar.

     A temporary ceasefire was called and we ran for Ike’s cover. Rather than moving straight towards the LZ through the compromised NVA unit, we ran around to the West gate. About halfway to the gate, a prone NVA trooper emptied his AK47 at the ten of us. We all dove for cover and eliminated the enemy troop. How on earth we all escaped that deadly AK47 arc I’ll never know. The only explanation, other than divine intervention, was that the AK47 shells went between us! We again got to our feet and weren’t stopped until we met Ike’s West gate.

     Inside Ike, we took up positions and started blasting away at the jungle. From around 3:00 AM until before daybreak, Ike maintained a steady rate of fire, including 105 mm artillery direct fire flechette rounds. One of our troopers atop a bunker failed to heed artillery’s direct fire alert and was killed. There were reports of hand-to-hand combat replete with rifle butts and bayonets at the LZ’s berm-line and at least one attempt to resupply Ike with class five failed because of withering enemy fire.  

     After a morning ceasefire, a recon patrol was organized to collect intel. The carnage was grim outside Ike. Each NVA trooper we found was carrying B40 rockets, satchel charges or chi-com grenades. Some toted bags of marijuana.

     Though riddled and roughed-up, Ike remained resolute and ready after yet another attempt to overrun it.

 Douglas Crow

 Posted by Randall at 10/20/2010 12:07 PM

13 thoughts on “A BATTLE ON LZ IKE AS TOLD BY A LISTENING POST TROOPER”

  1. Hi
    Im a veteran who was at lz ike after this attack. I guess as a replacement. I got in country june 20 ,1969 and was assigned to 2/5th recon. One of my first details was clearing the wire of dead and body parts.
    Chris McLaughlin
    From NY.

    1. Chris, my cousin Bruce Geis (“Goose”) was in 2/5 D Company and at Ike in June of 1969. Did you know him? 6’3″, blond hair, big smile?

    2. Hi Chris,

      I was in 2/5 recon during that time also. What squad were you in? I was one of the squad leaders and went by Biz. Like you, I have forgotten most of the names but do remember some of the nick names that we all had.
      I attended the reunion of the unit last week in Florida. It was my first time attending and it was far better than I had expected it to be.

  2. Hi,
    Names and faces have faded for me these days and I lost all my pictures. I’m sure we probably met at the LZ . I keep looking for a group picture or other pictures on FB.
    Thanks for reading.
    Chris

        1. Chris, I was in E/2/8, 1st Cav. We may have crossed paths at some point. Thank you for your service to our nation, and Welcome Home!

  3. Arriving in country, I was originally assigned to A Co. 2/8 Cav as a squad RTO, Platoon RTO, Company RTO and Battalion RTO under Capt Mackey.
    We spent most of our first 6 months in the field, with brief stops on LZ Carolyn, St. Barbara and Tay Ninh for a 2 day R&R
    I was on Ike , first as Stone Mountain 65 and then Stone Mountain 83M. I was on duty in the CP the night of the attack, and my hooch was blown up, killing my hoochmate. We had just come from getting run off LZ Becky (a rough month or 2).
    Fortunately, we spent our last 2 months as “Palace Guard” in Phouc Vinh.

    I have written a book about my experiences, which can be found on Amazon by searching for “Letters Home: Vietnam 1968-1969”

    1. Don, I have a friend in Chicago who was a medic with Alpha Company. His name is George Ahearn. George came to our reunion in Biloxi, MS last October. He is coming to the reunion in Jackson, TN this October. Let me know if you possibly remember George.
      Randall

  4. I served with Alpha Co, 2/5 from August 69 to Feb 70. We spent our time on S&D patrols in the bush between stints on LZ Ike and Barbara. I felt safer in the bush than I did on Ike. In Feb of 70, we were load up and moved to Loc Nihn province to stage for the invasion of Cambodia. It was here that I was WIA, medivaced out to Japan and the US and other than a couple of letters, never say anybody again. How does one get notified of reunions?

    1. Michael, I arrived on LZ Ike September 9, 1969. I got there just before dark. I remember the date because that was the last really hard attack on Ike before we left the LZ. We went from there to the Song Bey bridge to pull guard. We then went to LZ Mary for about a month. We then moved to Carolyn. From there I started doing jump LZs until we build Fire Base Illingworth on the Cambodian border. Phil Keith wrote a book about Illingworth, “Fire Base Illingworth”. There were 208 of us when the night started. We were hit by about 500 – 600 NVA and Chinese. We had 25 killed and 93 wounded. After that, we went into Cambodia for a little vacation. Our reunions are mostly mortar guys and radar from Echo Co. 2/8, 1st Cav. For the past 2 years George Ahern from Chicago has joined us. George was a medic with A/2/8 before he was moved to Illingworth. You would be welcome at our reunions. This next year we will be meeting in Florence, AL. We meet during the 3rd week in October.

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