INVITATION TO FSB ILLINGWORTH PARTICIPANTS

  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

16 thoughts on “INVITATION TO FSB ILLINGWORTH PARTICIPANTS”

  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. 9/18/2011 11:00 AM Paul Baldassano wrote:
    I was the COMMO Chief for the 1/77th field artillery on Illingworth that night and would love to read the book. A lot of what happened then is still fuzy to me as it was happening so fast and at 19 years old, it was a long time and different world away.

  5. 3/16/2012 12:52 PM Jim Bowers wrote:
    Paul,
    The 77th FA Regt is having a reunion 13-15 Sep 2012 in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Some of your guys from B/1/77 at Illingsworth will be there. Check our web site 77fa.org. Would really like to meet all that were on Illingsworth.

  6. 11/10/2011 9:23 PM Jeremiah Lane wrote:
    My uncle Robert Harrison Lane Jr. lost his life here I learned not too long ago. He was in B battery, 1st Bn, 77th artillery. He was Cleveland Bridgman’s radio operator. I look forward to reading this book as well.

  7. 11/17/2011 1:00 AM George Hobson wrote:
    TO. Robert Johnson

    I was the CO of C/2/8 on Illingworth. 52 men of Charlie Company have reunited — we ask that you contact me to join us.

    We also ask that any Trooper of C/2/8 and RECON contact me. Go to http://eastwoodkennel.com/ and post a message which contains your contact information.

    George Hobson

  8. 11/17/2011 11:53 PM George K Hobson wrote:
    Randal
    send me Robert Johnson’s contact information.
    Thanks
    George

  9. 12/29/2011 3:52 PM steven holt wrote:
    i was with the 1/77 as a section chief . i still cant put the things i would like to say in words, but the memories are still there. thanks for all you guys are doing to keep our sacrifices alive

  10. 3/16/2012 1:26 PM Jim Bowers wrote:
    Would you be so kind to post an invitation to all who served on FSB Illingsworth to let them know they are invited to attend the 77th FA reunion in Fernandina Beach, Florida (on Amelia Island). The reunion will be 13-15 Sep 2012. All who served in or were supported by the 77th FA at any time are cordially invited to attend. Meet some of the guys in B-1-77 FA who were on Illingsworth. Info on 77fa.org web site. Bring wives as they will love the shopping/sightseeing/and the sunny beach about 400 feet away.

  11. 7/12/2012 9:50 AM Peg Berthold wrote:
    Frank Bassarab of A Battery, 2/32 May have been there, according to the 2/32 website. He died in 2009; his sister and I are trying to get in touch w/ anyone who may remember him.

  12. 4/27/2011 4:55 PM SSG MICHAEL D KILGORE wrote:
    After mortars left LZ Illingworth the next day who recovered the remains of
    Casey Waller from Recon or was he ever found. I left from LZ Mary in February.

    SSG. Mike D. Kilgore
    E Company/2nd. btn./8th Air Cav
    1969-1970
    Recon/Heavy Weapons

  13. 6/11/2012 11:28 PM LOIS HARRIS wrote:
    HI MIKE,I AM CASEY WALLER’S SISTER-IN-LAW,CASEY WAS KILLED APRIL 1,69,MY SISTER GOT THE WORD ON APRIL 3,I KNOW MY SISTER WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM SOME OF HIS BUDDIES WHERE SURVIVED,WE HAVE PETER LEMON’S BOOK & WOULD LOVE TO PURCHASE YOURS,THANK YOU LOIS HARRIS

  14. 6/12/2012 8:31 AM Randall wrote:
    I am sorry that I had not been on my blog for a few days and did not answer your comment in a timely manner. Mike Kilgore called me last night and told me about the inquiry about Casey’s death. He died April 1, 1970 at about 4:23 am when about 20 tons of 8 inch ammo blew up. We thought everyone on the base would be dead after that explosion. Casey was in Recon platoon and I was in mortar platoon. Recon platoon had come in on the base the day before and maybe two days before. The base was very small though it had a lot of equipment on it. There were about 208 people on the base. We had 25 people killed that night. There were about 87 who had to be medivaced out the next morning. Charlie company was on the berm along with Recon. We had my 3 – mortars, 6 – 105 artillery guns, 3 – 155 artillery guns, and 2 – 8 inch track mounted artillery guns. We had built our base right on the supply line that came out of Cambodia. We were about 1,000 meters from the RedBall (HoChiMein Trail). We have learned in recent years that we were put there as bait to draw the enemy into a fight. We were attacked by somewhere between 600 and 1,200 NVA soldiers. We killed a vast number of their soldiers. Though we were badly hurt by the battle, they were hurt worse. A few more battles like that one and the North Vietnamese would have surrendered. Of course, that is just my opinion.
    Casey was a great guy. Everyone liked him and he was a gung ho soldier.
    Thank you for your comment, and please know that everyone who knew Casey still misses him and wishes we could change the outcome of that night. It was a real hardship on all of us because of the loss of Casey.
    God Bless You,
    Randall Richards

  15. 6/12/2012 9:21 AM LOIS HARRIS wrote:
    THANK YOU FOR THE KIND WORDS OF CASEY,I AM SORRY I GOT THE DATE OF DEATH WRONG,YES HE WAS KILLED ON APRIL 1,1970, STILL TO THIS DAY SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY,BUT WAS UPSET WHEN I READ THE BLOGS,NOT KNOWING WHAT I WOULD FIND OUT,IT’S PRETTY MUCH THE SAME WORDS ,THE HONOR GUARD,THAT CAME WITH CASEY’S BODY, HAD TOLD LINDA.THE PICTURES ARE GREAT,THANKS AGAIN FOR THE INFORMATION,PLEASE THANK MIKE ALSO,LOVE IN CHRIST,LOIS HARRIS

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