Written by SP4 Richard Craig
in the Cavalair newspaper
This article has been preserved by Charles Berg and I am posting it here for the heroism of the brave men who fought with Charles on LZ Ike.
TAY NINH—-The six men on the listening post, already heavily concealed in thick underbrush and bamboo, crouched still lower as they heard the unusual noise to their front.
Stirring as cautiously as possible, Sgt. Johnny White raised his head and peered into the darkness. Ahead of him, six North Vietnamese soldiers were busy setting up an 82mm mortar position.
As he turned to alert his fellow soldiers, the chilling “whoosh” of 107mm rockets sounded overhead as they slammed inside the perimeter of Landing Zone Ike, a firebase 15 miles northeast of here.
It was the beginning of round three in the fight of LZ Ike, an isolated piece of real estate in War Zone C, manned by the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry and long a major impediment to the NVA blocking their main infiltration and supply route in 111Corps.
It was the second time in less than 48 hours and the third time in less than a month that the enemy, in ever-increasing numbers, had been thwarted in attempts to overrun the LZ.
In a dawn sweep of the battlefield, 90 enemy bodies were found. Five soldiers were detained.
The LZ was hit by 30-35 107mm rockets, about 40 57mm rounds, 80 B-40 shells, 45 82mm and 60 60mm mortar rounds, and received heavy 51 caliber machine gun fire.
The listening post, trapped to the northwest of LZ Ike, was ordered to return to the firebase. The six men soon realized they were caught in a cross-fire but continued their flight towards the friendly position.
“I’ve never seen so many enemy in my life,” said Private First Class Mario Mejia. “We fragged the mortar position when we pulled back and kept fragging a path straight towards Ike.”
“We were lucky to get back,”said SGT White. “not one man on the LP got as much as a scratch. It was a miracle.”
Huey Cobra artillery helicopters added to the aerial firepower.
“The smoke was so thick by the time we got there it was difficult to detect targets,” said Captain Reave Ross, pilot of one the Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Artillery aircraft.
Over 200 rounds of tube artillery were fired in support of the LZ during the night.
Contact was broken at 2:40 AM as what was left of the enemy force evaded to the north. I hope this is helpful to anyone looking for information about those nights.WAR IS HELL.!!!
Posted by Randall at 3/30/2011 6:11 PM
Categories: 1st Cavalry Airmobile, 1st Cavalry Division, US Army, 1st Cav, LZ Ike, Vietnam
2 thoughts on “THIRD ASSAULT ON LZ IKE CATCHES LP OUTSIDE WIRE, RESULTS IN 90 NVA DEAD”
i was there,also,july to november 1969.I was in the 2/8,echo recon.That muddy,filthy place,i dont miss.i was wounded,along with 3 others on LP,a day after a ground attack.a mortar shell landed a few feet from us,it’s a good thing we were sleeping,except for the guy,manning the radio,or i wouldn’t be around.we were all wounded,to some degree.shrapnel,cut the wire to the radio handset,so we couldn’t call in.they sent a search party,the next day and found us.i spent the next 7 months in yokohama,and fitsimmons,in denver.i could go on,about the ground attack.my squad was sent out to count the bodies,the next morning i remember 68,but i read in another post,38.i’m pretty sure,it was more than that.i went back,with my son in law,3 years ago,for a 8 day battle tour.we started in Hanoi,went to the dmz,khe sahn,Hue,cu chi,and Saigon.we didnt go where i was up by the cambodian border.if someone wants to talk about it,you can e mail me.
Russell, I got to LZ Ike on September 9, 1969. We got hit that night. When I got there, Sgt Brown told me I would be going out with Recon the next day. I told him I had spent a year in mortar training. He said he did not need a mortar man. The Blue 3 squad leader got wounded that night. I had spent the night on the berm and Brown woke me up the next morning and said he needed a mortar squad leader. So I became the squad leader for Blue 3. Do you remember Mike Kilgore and Dennis Eubanks? Mike was the Recon platoon Sgt. Dennis was our Blue 5 squad leader. They had both been on Becky when it got overrun. We have a reunion every year in October. This year we are meeting in Cape Girardeau, MO the 3rd week in October. We have 20 rooms reserved. Let me know if you would be interested in attending. I’m sure you would know some of the people.