During the past few years I have come to realize that those of us on FSB Illingworth on the night of March 31, 1970 and the morning of April 1, 1970, when the battle took place, were used as bait to draw the enemy out for a decisive battle. The situation was weighed and we were determined to be expendable. I know that many will blast me for this statement, but it is a fact.

  Jerry Granberg and Randall Richards are beginning work on a book about FSB Illingworth and the terrible battle on April 1, 1970. In the book we will compare the things that Washington and the upper level brass were saying was happening during the month of March 1970, with what was actually happening on the ground. Then we will go around the berm and tell the stories of men who fought in the battle. These stories will be told based on reports that we get from people who were there and who fought in the battle. In the appendix we will list every story exactly as written by the contributors.

  The battle at FSB Illingworth became a lesson for the 1st Cav in Vietnam. Mistakes were made that lead to needless loss of lives. What happened on FSB Illingworth was a gross injustice for the men who fought on that base. Much of the information about Illingworth has been swept under the rug to protect the honor of men who made the decisions that led to that horrific battle. Now is the time when we must speak up and let our story become part of written history.

  If you were on FSB Illingworth during battle on April 1, 1970, I invite you to contact me and let us tell your story. If you cannot write your story for any reason please do not dismiss this invitation. Contact me and I will make arrangements to record your story and type it for you. For some of you it will be hard. It was hard for me to talk about Illingworth for many years. No, that is not correct! For many years I could not talk about Illingworth without crying and becoming very emotional. Only by talking with my buddies I served with and by writing about the battle have I been able to overcome the fear of the pain and fight my way through the tears.

   If you know someone who was on FSB Illingworth during battle on April 1, 1970, I beg you to please contact that person and get the person(s) in touch with me. Their story needs to be included in the book.

   I know that time has dimmed much of your memory of that battle. In some cases you may have decided that some of the horrible things you remember happening did not happen because they were so bizarre. Go ahead and tell it the way you remember it. If we find it too outlandish, we will attempt to help you corroborate the events with other witnesses. Needless to say, if you were in the rear shaming or if you weren’t on Illingworth, we do not want to hear your story. There are plenty of good stories consisting of true occurrences without adding swagger or ‘John Wayne’ shenanigans. Please do not embellish your story by adding things that did not happen.

  We need every story from every person who was on the fire support base. It has been 41 years since the battle on FSB Illingworth took place. If our story is every going to be told, it must be now. Don’t take your story to your grave without letting people know that you stood up for your country and fought when called upon. Let people know that you did not run from your duty. If you fought on Illingworth, you are a hero, and we want to tell the world that you are a hero. Please help Jerry and I in this effort.

 Posted by Randall at 3/31/2011 11:24 AM

Jerry and I are still planning to write the book. We have done a good bit of work on it. Jerry says that it just brings back so many bad memories that he has a hard time with it.  He gets really mad when he realizes how many men were lost as they were being used as bait.

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


  1. 4/1/2011 2:34 PM Paul Eggert wrote:
    I lost a good friend Roger McInerny during that fight and would love to know when your book is published.

  2. 10/19/2011 3:30 PM Joe McInerny wrote:
    I am Roger McInerny’s baby brother. I, too, am very much looking forward to reading your book. This Website is a godsend — it heartens me to know that Roger spent his last days with men as exceptional as you guys, and to know that April 1, 1970 on FSB Illingworth will not be forgotten.

  3. 6/22/2011 9:33 PM Robert Johnson wrote:
    I was in C co on that night and had 45 days to go on my tour. Have never posted, called, or commented anywhere before but I can’t get this battle out of my head. Maybe you’re right in that I do need to tell it. Will be in touch.

  4. My name is Louis (Lou) Vaca and I was with Echo Recon 2/8 Cav as the 60 gunner and was severely wounded on Illingsworth on 4/1/1970. I would be happy to share my experience on that under fortified FSB. I lost 3 close friends that morning and solidified eternal bonds with others.

    Please let me know if you are interested in my store.

    1. Louis, thank you for responding. I knew Casey well. Mike Kilgore was the platoon sgt with recon before he left country. Mike, my wife, Virginia, Dennis Eubanks, and I were at the Sister Vietnam Wall in Perryville, MO last week for the dedication. Was Mike still there when you got to recon. I would love for you to write as much as you can remember about Illingworth. I may have helped load you on a chopper the next morning after the attack. The official count of wounded was incorrect. The official report says just 54 were wounded. I counted 87 in the line to be loaded on the choppers. George Ahern, who was a medic there that night told me there were actually 93. Charles Beuchamp, who was the 1st sgt for C Company that night told me there were only 208 to 220 men on the base that night. He did a morning report the next morning and talked to someone in every unit the next morning. My wife and I joined Ralph Jones at Ft. Sill on April 1 of this year to place wreaths and flags in the park there that honors those who lost their lives on March 23 northwest of Illingworth, the (I think) 14 lost on Jay, and the 25 lost on Illingworth. There will be a large gathering of those of us left next year at Ft. Sill, OK. That will be 50 years since the battle. Once again, thanks for writing and I hope you will write all your remember.

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