LZ IKE

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I came into country at Cam Ranh Bay.  I had been in country for a few days and had been through Cherry School.  On the 9th day of September 1969, my name was called out as being assigned to E, 2/8, 1st Cav Div.  We left for Tay Ninh.  When we got to Tay Ninh we were told where our company headquarters was.  When we got there I thought this is not so bad.  I saw lots of sand bags and plenty of places to take cover.  About the time I decided on what looked like the place I would want to be during an attach, we were told to come pick up our gear.  We were shown the supply room where they gave us a pack, an M16, 10 empty M16 magazines, a poncho, a poncho liner, a soft canteen, and some bug juice.  I packed the stuff into the back pack in the same order that it was given to me.  We were then told that a Chinook would pick up in a few minutes.  By then it was probably 4:00 pm.  We loaded on the chopper. That big chinook flew a great distance to take me and Sgt Huggins out to LZ Ike.

    After the chopper had been in the air for quite a while, it started to circle.  I looked out a side window.  There were people running around in what looked like a field of mud surrounded by a mud berm.  It looked like a creek ran through the middle of the mud field.  The chopper started a decent.  Huggins asked the rear doorman what was down there.  He said, “Your home.”  Huggins turned and looked at me as he said, “No, Man!”  Well sure enough, they made us get off the chopper and wade through mud into the LZ.  We were met by Sgt Brown.  He was a real jolly guy who started out by showing us a Chinese hand grenade.  He said don’t be like the dumb ass we sent home yesterday.  He pulled the string and blew his balls off.  Brown never smiled.  He said, “Now this is serious so you always listen to what I tell you.”  We were all ears.  I had been trained in mortars in AIT and in NCO School.  I’m not sure Huggins had ever been in mortars.  Brown told Huggins that he would be in mortar FDC and that I would be going out with the Recon Platoon the next day.  I said, “But all my training was in mortars.”  Brown responded, “I don’t need any mortar men.  You’re going with Recon.”  I asked, “How many of these men have had mortar training?”  Brown snapped back, “None of them, but that don’t matter cause I spent a lot of time in artillery.”  I was reminded of the term “military intelligence”.  Sgt. Brown showed us a small metal hooch that had a poncho on each end with a couple of sandbags laying on each poncho to hold it on.  Brown said “now put 3 layers of sandbags on this hooch then you can go to sleep.” We looked at each other in complete amazement. Sure, we thought. Where’s the damn sand?

  We put a few bags of mud on the hooch and then gave up, crawled in, and laid down to try to sleep. Shortly after we got in the hootch, all hell broke loose. We figured out that we were having a mad minute. Tried to go back to sleep, but I just laid there listening to the sounds on the LZ.  Some time later, I don’t know what time, explosions started going off way to close to us.  We sat up and looked at each other.  We decided it had to be incoming.  We started digging in our back packs to get the empty magazines that had been issued to us.  About that time shrapnel came through the poncho and cut a large hole in my air mattress.  I plopped down on the pallet.  Someone yelled from outside, “Is somebody in that hooch?”  We reluctantly answered in the affirmative.  He said get out on the berm and start firing.  I told him we didn’t have any ammo in our magazines.  He told us there was plenty of ammo at the berm.  I crawled out and briefly met Sgt Kilgore.

    I crawled toward the berm.  On my way, I crawled right into what had looked like a creek from the air.  I thought I was going to drown.  I hung on to my M16 and scrambled out on the other side.  I crawled up to the berm and asked for ammo.  Somebody threw several magazines to me.  I loaded my rifle and looked over the berm.  Right there in front of me was a gook about thirty feet from my location.  On the trip to Vietnam, I worried that I would not be able to kill someone when faced with the need to do so.  It had really bothered me, but I did not tell anyone about my concern.  As my eyes fell on the gook I unloaded a twenty round clip into him.  Oh well, so much for fear of killing.  When the brown fecal matter hits the rotating wedge, training takes over and you do what you have been trained to do.  Thank you God.

    That night the squad leader of Blue 3 was wounded and medivaced.  The next day Sgt. Brown assigned me to that job.  He said, “Now I need a mortar man.”

 Posted by Randall at 8/12/2008 12:30 PM

11 thoughts on “LZ IKE”

  1. 12/15/2011 1:18 AM Mike The Kansas Kid wrote:
    I was on LZ Ike from April to November of 1969 and when you line company grunts would be placed back on Ike to help protect it….i was in the radio repair shack right to the side of TOC…..i probably have met many of you as you brought a PRC 25 to me for repair and i also gave you guys new battery’s. too…I did my best to Maritain your very important radios and i know they saved many lives too..and called in the BIG GUNS and air strikes.
    I am so glad that i found this site….its going to be great to see the posts….i also got lots of pics of IKE before and after the ground attacks…and some even from the air too!
    Mike In Kansas City.
    Glenn056@Yahoo.com

  2. 3/26/2012 9:31 PM A House wrote:
    WHy was Martin McZeal called zeek? he was my uncle, I never knew him.

  3. 8/9/2012 7:59 PM Anonymous wrote:
    Martin and I were assigned to D 2 5 on the same day and got to be close friends.He was from day one ,someone who had his act together .We were in the same platoon until our Sgt. James Hilliard was killed .We all had nick names and Martin wanted to be called Zeek,short for McZeal .I have some pictures of us in our platoon if you would like and more info. Let me know your address and I would send them to you, I have been looking for family of his for a long time, good hearing from you ,sorry it has taken so long to get back to you our computer service is limited. Would also like info on him also. Thanks Chuck

  4. 8/19/2013 11:19 PM Martin McZeal wrote:
    I would personally love pictures of him. I would be his great nephew. My mother spoke very highly of him and would love to see the person I got my name after.

  5. 1/8/2013 10:52 AM Roger Closinski wrote:
    Mr. House, I knew your uncle well. Grew up with him in Rome and we ended up together throughout the Army. Was also not far from him when he was mortally wounded. He was a good soldier. Had won “Soldier of the Month for April 1969. Everyone had a nickname in the Army as it was easier to remember nicknames. “Zeek” was just a spin off of McZeal. Hope this helps.

  6. 2/23/2013 8:53 PM chuck wrote:
    Martin as every one had a nickname, comeing to our company at the same time he said that he wanted to be called Zeek, Was my first close friend in Viet nam You should be very proud of him,We spent many days together in our mortar platoon,was with him at LZ Ike when he was Killed,Have a picture of us as a mortar platoon,email me if you want more info.

  7. 5/27/2013 5:12 PM rita wrote:
    please send me more information about Martin McZeal I last heard from him right before he died in April 1969. How
    did he died?

  8. 5/27/2013 5:18 PM rita wrote:
    Heard from Martin via US mailjust before he died n 1969
    do you live in Rome? Thinking of him today

  9. 8/19/2013 11:15 PM Martin McZeal wrote:
    Hello, my name is Martin McZeal. I was named after Martin McZeal. He was my great uncle, and although I am young, I would love to know more about him. I was also born in Rome N.Y. but do not currently reside there anymore. My family spoke so highly of him and I’m glad I was named after someone so courageous.

  10. 3/21/2013 8:40 PM Lisa Lord wrote:
    I am a high school teacher in Melrose, MA, researching 11 Melrose Vietnam casualties. Does anyone have information about Cpl. Scott Frederick Andresen, KIA in Landing Zone Ike 13 May 1969? Andresen was w/ C Co., 2nd Bn, 5th Cav. Rgt, 1st Cav. Division.

    Thanks in advance for your help, and thank you all for your service to our country.

  11. 6/16/2013 10:26 AM Wayne Metcalf wrote:
    Scott was my first cousin. His mother and mine were sisters. Scott’s mother died of cancer at a relatively young age. Scott’s father, O.Frederick Andresen later remarried while Scott was still attending school. If you post a contact address for your school I will send you what information I have on Scott.

    The local Melrose paper contains several articles and interviews on Scott after his death as well as on the memorial that was established in his honor at the park across the street from where he grew up. You will need to search their archives. Scott is buried in the veterans section of the Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose.

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