I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the soldiers and airmen who participated in the battle of Firebase Illingworth on April 1st 1970.  I have you and especially the families and friends of the 25 men who contributed their lives to thank for 41 wonderful years.  Since that morning I have lived a very full and prosperous life.  My four adult children and my grand children have you to thank for their very existence.  I am completely convinced that without the bravery and unbelievable effort of the men who fought on Illingworth that night I would not be here today.

I have had the opportunity to thank some of you in person. I regret not making a greater effort to thank each and every one of you.  I especially regret not calling Cpt. Laidig at least one time while I had the opportunity.

 I can only imagine the sacrifices that the friends and families of those 25 men have made over the past 41 years.  Please say a special prayer of thanks by name for those  listed below, their families, friends and the others who struggled on Illingworth, I will.

 A Trp, 1st Sqdn, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR)
SGT Kenneth Ray Hodge, Johnson City, TN
CPL John Lee Smith, Millbrook, AL

A Btry, 2nd Bn, 32nd Artillery
SP4 David H. Lassen, Clarence, NY
SP4 Terry L. Schell, Chicago, IL

HHB, 2nd Bn, 32nd Artillery
SSG Lawrence E. Sutton, Portland, OR (Bronze Star “V”)

B Btry, 1st Bn, 77th Artillery
PFC Thomas R. Bowen, Forestville, CA
1LT Cleaveland F. Bridgman, South Dartmouth, MA (Silver Star)
SSG Benjamin V. Childress, Knoxville, TN
SGT Syriac Hebert, Pine Bluff, AR
SGT Robert H. Lane, Concord, TN

HHB, 1st Bn, 77th Artillery
SP4 Thomas J. Murphy, River Falls, WI
SSG Steven J. Williams, Portland, OR

A Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry
CPL Billy P. Carlisle, Pelahatchie, MS (Silver Star)

C Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry
CPL Leroy J. Fasching, Wibaux, MT

SGT Robert A. Hill, Lowell, OH
PFC Roger J. McInerny, Richfield, MN
CPL Michael R. Patterson, Dearborn, MI
SGT Gerald W. Purdon, Cincinnati, OH (Silver Star)
CPL Klaus D. Schlieben, Richmond, VA

E Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry
CPL Bobby L. Barker, Harvey, IL
CPL Nathan J. Mann, Warsaw, MO
SGT Brent A. Street, Inglewood, CA (Dist Svc Cross)
SGT Casey O. Waller, Cumberland, VA (Dist Svc Cross)

HHC, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry
SGT David G. Dragosavac, Meadville, PA
SGT Sidney E. Plattenburger, Charlotte, NC

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, John

John W. Ahearn
1111 Sparkman Drive
Boerne, TX 78006
Cell; (210)365-3713
Phone: (830)229-5352


  1. 1/30/2012 1:16 PM Charles H beauchamp wrote:
    Need to renew contact with George Hobson and the rest of the Illingsworth list. Lost my contact list due to a computer misshap.

    Note: I met Charles Beauchamp April 1 2010. Charles came to Charlie Company as 1st Sgt on March 31, 1970. He brought 30 new men with him to join Charlie Company. Six of the men lost that night were in Charlie Company. I asked Charles if Illingworth was the worst action he had seen. He said, “Oh no, I was in Vietnam in 1965. I had men wounded. I was wounded. We could not get anyone to a med station for 2 days. If we tried to move, we got shot. Very bad.”

    Charles has since left this Earth to join his soldiers in Heaven. Charles had a long career in the US Army.

  2. 2/2/2013 8:55 AM Felix Frye wrote:
    I was there, but don’t remember too much. I do remember that there was a meeting between the section chief and the BC, more or less begging him to get us out of there before we were attacked. We had been moving on raids every three to four days. We knew we had over stayed our welcome and could not understand why they were keeping us there. I don’t remember when we got to Illingworth, but it was starting to bother everyone that our stay there was just too long and we would be sitting ducks. There was lots of movement in the tree line at night and reports of heavy ground vehicles out there. We all knew it would happen it was just a matter of when. I do remember them telling us that we had to stay put, for now.

    I also remember being on the opposite side of the line of attack. My gun section (B Battery 1/77)was next to TOC. I slept in my bunker with my shoes on and my flak jacket, steel pot, and sixteen next to my side. If memories serve me right one of the first incoming rounds hit TOC directly. Then all hell broke loose. I recall the mortars were near our gun section and they were taken out early on. I remember guys screaming that we were being overrun. One guy was a grunt and was firing from out parapet wall, just shooting at the anything in front of him.

    At one point I believe we were the only 105 firing. Three had taken direct hits and the other two had wounded on them. We dropped the tube and were trying to fire a beehive, but I can’t remember if we did or were just talking about it. we took a hit on our parapet wall and that pretty much knock me out. Went through the rest of the night flashing in and out. I was medivaced with battle fatigue sometime after the sun was coming up.

    I’d love to know when you publish. I am trying to recall some of that night. For the longest I thought it was just a bad dream.

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