All posts by weweresoldiers

VIETNAM MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER DIES

SSG David C. DOLBY, 64, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions on 21 May, 1966, died August 6 in Spirit Lake, Idaho while visiting friends.

 David Dolby was born 14 May, 1946 in Norristown, Pennsylvania.  His father worked for BF Goodrich and was a Prisoner of War during World War II.

 SSG Dolby, known as “Mad Dog” to friends that served with him was a big man who was active with Veteran’s causes and attended several Association reunions and Veterans Day gatherings in Washington, DC.  He signed friends up as Associate members of the 1st Cavalry Division Association to ensure that they received the annual calendar and Saber.

 He earned the Medal of Honor while serving with B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, Jumping Mustangs, during his first tour in Vietnam.  He would return to Vietnam four more times serving with units not in the 1st Cavalry Division.  His other military decorations included the Silver Star, three awards of the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.  SSG Dolby left the military in 1971 and has worked in a tire factory, steel mill and as a painter.

 SSG Dolby was preceded in death by his wife, Xuan, whom he met in Vietnam.  He is survived by his mother, Mary, and a brother, Daniel, that he was estranged from.

B G S.L.A. Marshall dedicated an entire chapter in his book about Vietnam, Battles in the Monsoon, to him.  Marshall said that Dolby was “one of the rarest of warriors — a man with keen imagination who at the same time, when under fire, seems to be wholly without fear.”

 A Memorial Service was held on 18 September in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  His private funeral is pending at Arlington National Cemetery in December.

 First Team!

 Dennis

 Posted by Randall at 9/30/2010 5:00 AM

CONNECTING DOTS AND COMPLETING THE PUZZLE

            On Tuesday, October 4, 2010, my wife and I were about to leave for my annual Vietnam reunion.  I decided that I should check my email before leaving home.  When I opened Outlook the first thing I saw was an email with a subject line of: Bobby Barker.  You can see my story about Bobby Barker in the article entitled My Memories of Fire Support Base Illingworth.   I printed the email and placed it on the back seat of our car. After we got started, I asked my wife to read the email to me.  We cried when we learned that Bobby’s mother had died just a few days before.  I have since learned that Bobby was buried in Talladega, AL and that his mother lived in Talladega, and his aunt Mary Watts also lives in Talladega.  Mary called me on yesterday, October 12, 2010.  We talked for close to an hour.  As a result of this contact and subsequent communication, we will be having a memorial service at Bobby’s grave site sometime during the coming year.  For forty years I had wanted to talk to some of Bobby’s family members.  This is a very good result that came about as a result of this website.  I have included here the original email that started this process.  Read the letter and be aware that there are many people who are still looking for answers. The only way to give closure is to communicate.  We must locate people before we can communicate. 

 

Dear Mr. Randall Richards,

I was baffled to stumble upon your webpage.  Bobby Lee Barker was my mother’s cousin.  She was 5 years old when he passed away, but his memory will never be forgotten.  Bobby lived with my mother and grandparents for some time before the war.  My mother has all of the certificates, telegrams, photos etc. from the war including the flag on his casket and his Purple Heart and other various medals. 

On Tuesday September 25, 2010 Bobby’s mother passed away.  She was 85 years old.  That night I randomly typed his name into Google and stumbled upon your article.  We live in Chicago, however, Bobby’s mother and my grandmother live in Talladega, Alabama.  After the funeral on Friday I shared your article with my mother and grandmother.  They were extremely moved. They would have never imagined they would be hearing the details of the last day of Bobby’s life some 40 years later.  The part where Bobby mentions making his Momma proud gave us all goose bumps.  My grandmother asked me if I had a way of contacting you and I told her that your e-mail was provided.  She does not have the internet or a computer so I told her that I would contact you.  She is writing a letter to you, however, over the years it has been difficult for her to write so she will be typing it on her typewriter.  I told her that you had no physical address provided so that I would re-type the letter and e-mail it to you.  The night she read your story she did not sleep.  The next morning she told me she stayed up all night thinking about Bobby.  She cannot believe she actually has the opportunity to contact you.  She told me it may take her a while.  I think she has a lot to say.  She told me yesterday she has already written a page.  I do not know how long it will take her but expect to hear from her soon.  I have attached a photo she has of Bobby.  If you would like I could probably attach others when she sends me the letter.

Thank you for sharing your stories.  My family has been truly touched by them.

Brandice O’Donnell

P.S. Just in case you were wondering my grandmother’s name is Mary Watts and my mother’s name is Crystal.  Bobby’s mother’s name was Thelma Barker.

A side note from Randall: 

            Slim Eubanks from Arab, AL is looking for anyone who knows a man named Fleshner who was wounded on LZ Ike on September 9, 1969.  Fleshner was wounded, laying on his face, not breathing.  Slim was carrying a man to the med station and saw Fleshner laying there and said, “I just couldn’t stand the thought of him dying with his face buried in the mud.  Slim reached down and rolled the Fleshner over and Fleshner took a deep breath of air. Slim saw the Fleshner had a nasty wound on his side. When Slim came back by the location, Fleshner was gone.  Slim would love to know if Fleshner made it home.  If you know Fleshner please put a comment on here and I will pass it on to slim.

            This past week while at my Vietnam reunion, I had a conversation with a man at Mack’s Bar-B-Q named Ray Elston.  Ray’s dad, William E. Elston (Bill) served with the 1st Cav. during the mid sixties.  Ray would love to talk with anyone who knew his dad.  If you knew Bill Elston please comment  and I will contact Ray and give him your contact information.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Randall at 10/13/2010 1:18 PM

A BATTLE ON LZ IKE AS TOLD BY A LISTENING POST TROOPER

This article was written by Douglas Crow who served with D/2/5, 1st Cav.  This is an example of the excellent stories that are stored in the minds of soldiers who served their country so bravely.  Most of the books written about war are either written by brass or taken from military reports.  Doug’s article gives this account from the eyes and ears of a grunt.  No other person can tell Doug’s story as well as he has told it.  Thanks to Douglas for the article and a special thanks for his courage and dedication to our nation.

  

     One afternoon around June 18th of 1969, D Co, 2/5, 1st Cav moved into LZ Ike. That night, Ike was hit hard with at least 3 platoons of NVA; one from the South and others from the Southwest and North.

  I was chosen for an LP post outside the perimeter and just inward from the jungle’s edge. At dusk, we went out to our positions equipped with M16s, a PRC 25 radio, grenades, claymore mines, and M60s. We set up temporary posts: digging shallow foxholes, arming claymores and establishing radio contact with Ike’s command.

     Between 1:30 to 2:00 AM, a single grenade exploded about 20 feet towards the LZ followed by an eruption of small arms, artillery and rocket fire. Red tracers zinged over us from both directions. I grabbed my helmet and rifle and jumped for cover.

     The enemy units had slipped by our posts undetected. They must have observed us from the jungle, as we later discovered that the claymores had been disarmed.

     When Ike erupted, an NVA unit had wedged between us and the LZ. The result was a nightmarish half hour of not knowing whether we were going to get rocketed by the NVA, accidentally mortared or shot by our own at the perimeter. The rear element of the wedged platoon pinned us down with AK47 fire while the enemy fired B40 rockets at us from the jungle: a most miserable crossfire indeed.

     After nearly 30 mad minutes, the NVA set up a mortar just inside the jungle and to our left front. Each mortar round fired continued to impact closer and closer. Our RTO estimated the tube location, called in Ike’s mortars and silenced the NVA mortar.

     A temporary ceasefire was called and we ran for Ike’s cover. Rather than moving straight towards the LZ through the compromised NVA unit, we ran around to the West gate. About halfway to the gate, a prone NVA trooper emptied his AK47 at the ten of us. We all dove for cover and eliminated the enemy troop. How on earth we all escaped that deadly AK47 arc I’ll never know. The only explanation, other than divine intervention, was that the AK47 shells went between us! We again got to our feet and weren’t stopped until we met Ike’s West gate.

     Inside Ike, we took up positions and started blasting away at the jungle. From around 3:00 AM until before daybreak, Ike maintained a steady rate of fire, including 105 mm artillery direct fire flechette rounds. One of our troopers atop a bunker failed to heed artillery’s direct fire alert and was killed. There were reports of hand-to-hand combat replete with rifle butts and bayonets at the LZ’s berm-line and at least one attempt to resupply Ike with class five failed because of withering enemy fire.  

     After a morning ceasefire, a recon patrol was organized to collect intel. The carnage was grim outside Ike. Each NVA trooper we found was carrying B40 rockets, satchel charges or chi-com grenades. Some toted bags of marijuana.

     Though riddled and roughed-up, Ike remained resolute and ready after yet another attempt to overrun it.

 Douglas Crow

 Posted by Randall at 10/20/2010 12:07 PM

A FAMILY OF AMERICAN PATRIOTS

This amazing story was sent to me by a family of American Patriots.  Our nation is fortunate to have families that love their country enough to put their lives on the line for their country.  Thank God for the Green family and for thousands of other families across this great land that put their faith in God and Country.  As long as we have patriots like this family of patriots, our nation will stand strong against our enemies.  I pray that the rest of us might gain insight into the call of duty that we must all share as we defend this nation on every front.  We need people in every phase of American life with the nerve to serve as needed to continue to build our nation.

Randall,

 In his story Doug Crow stated that the only explanation why they weren’t hit by the ak spray other than devine intervention was that the rounds went between them. To this I reply…

 If the ak rounds went between the 10 of you that WAS devine intervention. My son Dan ser.w/2nd 508th 82nd abn inf afghanistan his platoon was ambushed somewhere near pakistani border. Dan said it was a perfect ambush. A classic L, the enemy held the high ground, the sun was in thier eyes and it should have been slaughter. Est. enemy strength between 35-50 al quadea armed with at least 3 chinese heavy mac.guns-countless rpgs and ak47’s.

 When it was over and the cordite drifted like a cloud over the battlefield…Not one soldier from his platoon was dead. One man had a small piece of rock hit him in the shoulder leaving a bruise this the only wound. Dan’s gunner was stuck in the turret so Dan dismounted his vehicle & took positon between attackers & his buddy. He said he watched tracers from the chinese machine guns coming directly to them SWERVING away at the last minute. the same thing with the rpgs w/several actually bouncing off the ground in front of them failing to detonate then sailing off harmlessly in the air to land behind them. Hundreds of ak47 rds whizzing all around striking vehicles & “pinging” off of them like a hail storm but hitting no one. One round shattered a side window but the man inside had just bent over to retrieve a fresh ammo clip for his m-4. Not a scratch.

 The martyrs of islam were not so fortunate suffering 10 dead on the battlefield-numerous drag trails-& 17 afghan “farmers” w/ACCIDENTAL gunshot wounds showed up within an hour at a local hosp. where they were treated then promptly taken prisoner. Withering accurate fire from thier 240 b’s had their faces in the dust for evening prayers a good hour & a half early. allah must have been on r&r that day. 

 Meanwhile back in the states Momma & Daddy were on their knees nearly 24/7. The result for the soldiers of 2/508th Charlie co…Every man without exception knew that they KNEW… SOMETHING happened out there that man cannot explain.

Boys from all walks of life and levels of faith & non-faith came to the same conclusion:

 Angels on the Battlefield

 For more on this story go to www.steveraygreen.com . btw I was in A btry 2/32 at fsb st. barbara on the night of june 18th, 1969. We could see the flashes of impacting rounds & the blue-green  &  red tracers sweeping the sky-line in the distance.  We sent some “airmail” to Ike that night via 2 of our 8″ guns if I recall. and I do. My son is home & out now.

 However, yesterday I said good bye to my youngest daughter as she returned to Afghanistan from mid-tour leave. She, like her brother & father before her is less than 5 miles from the Border at fob spin buldac in southern kandahar province. Just before she deployed this spring she recieved radiation treatment for cancer inside her eye ball & her soon to be ex-husband ( an afghan vet) put a .45 he thought was loaded to her head and pulled the trigger. ( Unknown to him she had unloaded the weapon on dad’s advice the night before).

 She fought hell & earth him & it and the united states army for her right to deploy with her unit. She IS a warrior in every sense of the word tho our generation has a hard time seeing women do the job. Her name is SSGT Christina Otto. We call her Full-Otto. At 5′ 2&1/2″ & 120 lbs she looks like a pixie elf but she will kick you in the jimmies & drop you down to her level then swing that m-4 up before you can say allah be praised.

 She is with a battlefield surveillance unit. This is military intelligence personnel cross-trained in infantry tactics ( a total of 16 days of inf. training) in order to gather & analyze intel first hand during the battle. As always, whether the officer that devised this strategy should be honored as a genuis or shot as a traitor will only be determined by the number of dead at the end of the day.  I had to shorten this story to fit in the box so I decided to send you the rest. We appreciate We-Were-Soldiers.

thanks Randall

The Greens

Posted by Randall at 10/22/2010 9:21 AM

LZ IKE: HELL ON EARTH

            Today I received a gut wrenching story from Robert Cammann. Robert lived through hell on earth at LZ Ike. The 2/5 of the 1st Cav was on LZ Ike before the 2/8 of the 1st Cav. moved in. Robert’s story makes one wonder how any infantryman survived a year in Vietnam. I am publishing Robert’s story here just as he wrote it for me. There are names of men listed at the end of the story that I am certain Robert would love to hear from.

 I was introduced to L/Z Ike on June 18th,1969 2 weeks after arriving in RVN.I had spent a week in the bush w/ D2/5, 1/6 & this was my 1st experience on any L/Z.I was to pull gaurd duty that nite w my sgt. so he could show me the ropes.I was to sleep next to him at one bunker but for some reason they moved me to another bunker.We pulled our shift(10-12) & he woke up the next shift & walked me back to my bunker. I crashed outside the bunker,don’t know how long & was awakened to the s—- hitting the fan. It was sheer bedlam shooting over the berm at anything & everything. It wasn’t long & there were gooks all over the place, inside the l/z, in our bunkers; in front of us behind us,everywhere. The place was lit up, explosions everywhere, fires all over, shooting all around. Then I saw some of our guys out in front running into the l/z. Our L/P’s were trying to get back inside, you had to make sure you weren’t firing up our own guys.We were litterally shooting eyeball to eyeball, shooting into our own bunkers. The big guns were firing point blank. Finally things tapered off. When daylight came, it was complete & total shock. I found out my sgt. was dead,shot where he slept. There were 14 dead gooks laying outside one bunker near the log road. We policed up 34 dead gooks. The rest of the day was spent filling sand bags & rebuilding everthing. That nite was spent on L/P out side the L/Z, gooks running all around us. I prayed they wouldn’t detect us. We were observing them all nite through the red eye. I guess they were probing & setting up for another attack, but it remained quiet that nite. Next day was sandbags,rebuilding, preparing for another hit. No one could sleep since the 1st nite; everyone was exhausted. That nite we took turns trying to sleep. I had just sat in the bunker doorway & bearly closed my eyes when all hell broke loose. Here we go again, but this was even more intense & severe. They litterally overran us. They were everywhere, in the bunkers,the big gun pits, the CP.I really thought we’d get completely overrun. I really don’t know how we repelled this attack but eventually the sun poked through. The devastation was unbelievable & indescribeable. Plt. 1/6 in those 3 days went from 37 guys to 7 guys. Me & stevs Brookshire had a week w/ D2/5, 1/6. LT. was gone, Plt. Sgt. was gone, it seemed like everyone was gone. Sgt. Mac was put in charge of what was left of 1/6. I didn’t have enough time to get to know any of the guys. I prayed that the rest of my tour wasn’t going to be like this. God Bless to all who were there.God Bless everyone. Within the next few days we started getting replacement troops. I have a few names I can sort of remember. Maybe some of you guys can help me out w/ some info: John Rauh(n.y.), Joe Brucculleri(n.y.),Larry Schmidt[Twiggy](n.y.),Bob Smith,Steve Brookshire[Hoss](Winston Salem,N.C.),Joe Czarnecki(Detroit?),Dave scherer,Walter Ken Saylor[Popeye](Detroit?),John Hines[Hiney](Mundelein,Ill.),Larry Whitehead[Running Bare](Poplar Bluff,Mo),John Tournet,Mike Spong,Dan Grailian,Orland Fasel,Terry Moynihan; My name is Robert Cammann[NEW YAWK]D2/5,Plt1/6,June3,1969-June3,1970RVN. I’d be more than happy to hear from any of my heroes.      Luv you all!!!     God Bless you all!!!!

 Posted by Randall at 3/13/2011 7:52 AM

Categories: 1st Cavalry Airmobile, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Cav, US Army, 2/5 1st Cav, Vietnam

THIRD ASSAULT ON LZ IKE CATCHES LP OUTSIDE WIRE, RESULTS IN 90 NVA DEAD

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

CHUCK BERG SURVIVED AND TELLS STORY

Glad to find your website,My name is Chuck Berg I also served with D 2nd 5th Air Cav from Jan 1969 to Jan 1970.I stated out as pointman for 3rd platoon My Squad leader Sgt David King was killed after a sniper attack Feb 20 , later I was part of a mortar platoon till our Sgt James Hilliard was killed May 26 our company was mortared after finding a weapons cache along a trail,I was also wounded at this time, He is in the Life magazines One weeks dead June 1969 .I was the Rto for the 3rd platoon Leader the night LZ Ike was attacked , My good friend Martin McZeal {Zeek} was killed June 18  he was in 1st platoon. Elijah Ingram June 19, Kia, On June 20  Capt John DeMay,Joe Goetzer Jr, Craig Hanson, Keith Olson,Larry Poling Were also Killed All of this info I have gotten from my searching the internet and finding the web site 5th US Cavalry and 2nd 12 Us Cavalry 1st Calvary Division It Has alot of information plus Memorial pages for each Company That’s how I have gotten most of the names. From what I can remember the first rocket hit our Company Commanders bunker,Killing Capt DeMay  My platoon leader took over command and helped to get the guys out on the listing post back in to the Lz.It was a miracle.After being wounded for the second time June 20 sent back to Tay Ninh to recover, is were I must have Got the Cavalair news paper with the article about The assault on Lz Ike, Caption reads THIRD ASSAULT ON LZ IKE CATCHES LP OUTSIDE WIRE,RESULTS IN 90 NVA DEAD. it is dated July 23 1969.I have had it since I returned from Viet Nam  .I can either send you a copy ,or type it to you, what ever you would like for posting on yor site. Reading the stores everyone else has posted has brought back alot of memories from that year that most of us have hidden away for 41 years so hoping this will help .

 Posted by Randall at 3/31/2011 11:01 AM

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

A LETTER OF SPECIAL THANKS

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
ahearnj@gvtc.com

ED COLLINS

April 9, 2011, Ed Collins finished his last battle here on earth and passed on to be with our God.

 Ed Collins was one of my heroes in this life. Ed was the man I told about loading on a chopper the morning after the battle on FSB Illingworth. Ed had been placed in a group that was to be loaded on one of the last choppers because no one thought anyone in that group could even live to get to the rear for treatment. I did not know Ed at that time. He was just a badly wounded man who needed help. When we approached the chopper with the stretcher carrying Ed, the door gunner waved us back and said they couldn’t take any more. We move back and put Ed down on the ground. I looked up and saw the door gunner waving for me to come up to the door. I went up and he said the pilot wanted to talk to me. I went up to the pilot and he told me to put rest of the wounded men on the chopper. I asked how he could carry all of them. He said it would be a while before another chopper got back to the site. He said to load them and then for everyone to pick up on his skids and run with the chopper as far as we could. We propped Ed up in the door gunner’s seat. Then after loading all the remaining wounded, we lifted on the skids and ran with the chopper until we could run no more. The chopper gained speed only feet from the ground and then lifted up at the tree line and made it out. For many years I wondered what happened to that man. I always thought that he probably died before he got to the med station.

 After I wrote about this in my article on FSB Illingworth, Ed contacted me and told me that he was the man that I wrote about. He and two of his daughters traveled to Ft. Sill, OK in 2010 for the memorial service for the soldiers who gave their lives on April 1, 1970, at FSB Illingworth and FSB Jay. When I saw Ed coming across the parking lot, I decided it had to be him. He walked straight up to me and said, “I believe you are Randall”. We hugged and cried and neither of us could believe that we had come together after our unfortunate, chance meeting 40 years before. Ed came to our E/2/8 reunion in Warm Spring, GA during October, 2010. He planned to attend our reunion in October of this year, but now we will have to wait a few years to see each other again.

 Ed Collins was my hero because, though he had much wrong with his body, he never complained, but rather, he chose to be positive about the life he had. During the battle on Illingworth, all the muscle was blown off the top of Ed’s arms and shoulders. The doctors redirected muscles to fix Ed where he could move his arms. Before our meeting in OK Ed was diagnosed with cancer and based on the time line given to him by his doctor, he should have already been dead. But Ed felt that God allowed him to live long enough to make it to the memorial service. Thankfully, God gave Ed a year beyond the memorial service to spend time with family and friends.

 Ed Collins was laid to rest with full military honors in Anderson, SC at M.J.”DOLLY’ COOPER VETERANS CEMETERY. My wife and I attended the funeral and were touched by the service.

 Posted by Randall at 4/29/2011 8:24 AM

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