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Longhair

LZ Zulu Zulu June 29, 1966 173rd Airborne (The Herd) A/2/503

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I just read an account written by a fellow that I know casually, as he's a neighbor of my work partner. He arrived at camp in VN three days before the battle he described. As a greenie he had no idea what he was in for, but he learned quickly. His platoon walked up on a VC base camp and things got hairy in a hurry. He was wounded along with 26 others in the fight that ensued that also claimed the lives of 13 of his fellow troopers. His platoon SGT was awarded the CMH for his actions, and his story can be read here.

http://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=246017

I've read enough other accounts of that engagement to know that what he wrote was accurate, and more complete than any other that I've seen. I'll try to get a link to the whole story (12 pages) to post up here. It's just a story of one battle, but reading it you get a very real sense of what it must have been like for a kid fresh out of jump school getting tossed into that meat grinder.

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The SGT was a heck of a man to do what he did during the battle.

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1966 was a bad year in the RVN, among many.

Edited by Zephyr One/Zero

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The SGT was a heck of a man to do what he did during the battle.

In the account that I read, that SGT couldn't pull grenade pins with his fingers after taking shrapnel from an enemy grenade that shattered his hand, but he could still use his thumb. When it was all over, he still had 7 pins on his thumb.

He truly was an incredible warrior.

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Shortly after the war, I attended a General Motors SPC class in the Cincinnati are. About half the class was former 173rd from Nam. Those guys were in the shat.

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Had a good friend back then in the 173rd. He survived (wounded) Bien Hoa.

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Had a good friend back then in the 173rd. He survived (wounded) Bien Hoa.

It was a meat grinder.

 

I recently read that the average WWII infantryman only saw an average of 10 days of combat per year, while the average VN infantryman saw 240 days on mission per year.

For as much as I admire my parent's generation and their sacrifices during their war, I have to say that I'm more impressed by what our generation's did, even with politicians that wouldn't allow victory.

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A lot of the 173rd guys rotated out of VN back to the 101st. Then when the 2nd and 3rd brigades went over to join our 1st brigade, the 173rd guys went with. They were part of the assaults on Hill 937 in May 1969. We ran the tests on the new M151 howitzers same ID as the Jeep, then we shipped them to the 173rd by 141s. 3  month’s later we got 6 back shot to pieces. The 1/319th 173rd got overrun and they turned A&B batteries on C which was taken by NVA and opened fire with bee hive at point blank range.

The 173rd Airborne is known as The Rock. They jumped on Corregidor in WWII. Good troopers. They were the first regular military unit in Vietnam came out of Okinawa. They set up a huge banner between two telephone poles on the cleared beach where the Marines “landed”, it read Welcome US Marines Courtesy of 173rd Airborne. Under the banner they sat in beach chairs drinking beer and waiving at the Marines. The picture was popular in the airborne. :-)

Ed

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