Imperial City - Hue
"I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indochina can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, 'an enemy of the people' which has the sympathy and covert support of the people. . . . In November of 1951, I reported upon my return from the Far East as follows: 'In Indochina we have allied ourselves to the desperate effort of a French regime to hang on to the remnants of empire. There is no broad, general support of the native Vietnam Government among the people of that area . . . . [To try to win military victory] apart from and in defiance of innately nationalistic aims spells foredoomed failure.'"
Senator John F. Kennedy, 1954
Bob Hope USO Show
A Shau Valley
Cache - Bastogne
Sunrise Service - Bastogne
By the Veterans of "A" Company
The "History" section was primarily the effort of Raymond C. Houghton and other veterans of "A" Company. He was a forward observer between 1970-1971. Many of the photos in are taken from a pamphlet called "Alpha Avengers of Vietnam". His original web site for the Avengers was called "Sights and Sounds from the war in Vietnam" on the Cyber Haus web site.
After Paris peace talks stalled and President Richard Nixon ordered
intense bombing of North Vietnam, a peace treaty was finally signed in
Paris by the United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong and North Vietnam
on January 27, 1973. On March 29, all American troops were withdrawn and
590 US war prisoners were released.
|Quang Tri and Thua Thien, the northernmost provinces of the Republic of Vietnam, are more than 450 miles from Saigon, the capital. They are bordered on the north by the demilitarized zone, on the south by Quang Nam Province, on the east by the South China Sea, and on the west by the mountainous Laotian frontier. This is the I-Corps Tactical Zone.|
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower undertook action to maintain South Vietnam as a separate national state after the French abandoned their efforts to maintain control over Vietnam. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a supportive nod for a military coup that toppled South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, but was deeply disappointed when Diem and his brother were assassinated. In 1964, after North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked a US Destroyer, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving President Lyndon Johnson broad authority to support South Vietnam in their effort to maintain their independence from North Vietnam.
In 1965, the First Brigade (1/327, 2/327, 2/502) of the 101st Airborne Division landed at Cam Ranh Bay anxiously in search for its "rendezvous with destiny". At the end of 1967 and early 1968, the rest of the 101st Airborne Division (the Second Brigade including A Company, 2/501 and the Third Brigade) landed at Cam Ranh Bay and moved to Bien Hoa just north of Saigon. After just a few weeks, the Second Brigade moved to I Corps near the Imperial Capital of Hue just shortly before the Tet Offensive of 1968 (January 30th). The rest of the Division moved to I Corps just two weeks later and set up headquarters at Camp Eagle.
The battalion flew into Bien Hoa and then moved to Cu Chi by truck convoy. They remained at the 25th Infantry Division base camp for thirty days of in-country training. In January of 1968 Phu Bai became the new AO.
Alpha Company - Fort Campbell, Kentucky
(names are top to bottom, left to right - click on photo to enlarge)
|The larger image of the photo below was shared by Dianne Kintzer. I had to splice the picture because it was so large. My apologies for the inconsistencies. A smaller version of the same photo (courtesy of Floyd Turnley) can be found on the "Alpha Originals" web site: http://www.alpha2nd501st101airborne.com|
|I-Corps was A Company's AO (Area of Operation) in
Vietnam. This area had the most intense fighting and the highest
casualty figures. 53 percent of all American combat deaths occurred in I
Corps. Quang Tri, Quang Nam, and Thua Thien Providences accounted for 40
percent of all American deaths.
Alpha Company departed from Fort Campbell, December 1967. Members of the Advance Party departed between the 17th and 24th of November 1967. The battalion deployed to Vietnam on 13 December with the exception of a twelve-man rear detachment which followed on the 16th and 28th of the month.
Vietnam Military Regions
Don Tate (Scripps-Howard Staff Writer) published an article in "The Pittsburgh Press" on 7 Jan 1968 titled "Green troops learn it's a bloody war".
Combat Mission Makes Men Of Boys
CHI, South Vietnam - Up until now it had all been play war.
green paratroopers, only two weeks in Vietnam, would run down the
dirty road toward chow, and a sergeant would bark things like:
"Hey, you animals, let me hear you growl…” And they would go
this morning the men and boys of Alpha Company came out of their tents
early, slowly formed into platoons, and waited for orders from their
company commander, Capt. Dave
Reiss of Alexandria, Va.
was the morning they were going to war, their first combat mission -
and for some of them, the last.
moved among them, talking to one, then another.
There were hard swallows, tight smiles, and very little of the
famous airborne wisecracking. Some
admitted they bad not slept the night before.
Reiss had told me that though Alpha Company was part of the 2nd
Brigade of the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne,
about 60 per cent of his men weren't hardcore paratroopers.
Many had been mustered up hastily from truck driver or
company-clerk jobs after the brigade had received orders back at Ft.
they've turned into a good outfit fast," Capt Reiss said.
"Still, you never know until you've been shot at.“
Worries About Pigeons
who didn't seem particularly nervous about it was the baby-faced
Georgia lieutenant who commanded the weapons platoon. He smiled and
said he was really more worried about the carrier pigeons he was
training. He didn't like
leaving them alone.
who didn't appear in mortal terror was his big, laughing Negro platoon
sergeant from Kentucky, described by his commanders as not just a good
soldier, but a “great” soldier. He and Capt. Reiss were members of
the small nucleus of combat veterans in the company who volunteered to
return for a second tour in Vietnam.
who didn't mind admitting he was nervous was 2nd Lt. John Rodelli of
Chicago. Lt Rudelli, small, swarthy, intense, said he know how he was
going to react or how his platoon was going to react. Only six months
before, Lt. Rodelli had been taking ROTC and majoring in business
management at college.
nervous one was 18-year-old Pfc. Larry Mize of Baltimore, an
impish-faced medic with a missing front tooth.
got a false one," he sort of stammered, pulling the tooth from
his pocket, "but I don't wear it when I'm walking.
It gives me a headache."
Mize said he became a medic because he figured it might do him some
good when he “got out. And
maybe while I'm in…”
"New Ball Game"
Dave DuBose of Birmingham, Ala., said sure he was an 18-year veteran
and had been under artillery fire in Korea, "but this is a new
8:30 a. m., Capt. Reiss gave the order: "Right about face!"
Then: "Move out in a column of fours."
Company was part of a battalion search-and-destroy sweep north from Cu
Chi toward the Ho Bo Woods about 35 miles northwest of Saigon.
The company platoons went out in three horseshoe-shaped
formations from the camp.
that rifle off your shoulder," someone bellowed to a soldier in
the point platoon.
do you think you've got there, a. bag of oranges?"' hollered a
squad sergeant to a private carrying extra ammo clips in one hand in a
sack. "How you going
to fight like that, soldier?"
it starts," said Lt. Rodelli, popping a magazine in his M-16.
Hours, No Enemy
started and went on for six hours.
We moved, watching for booby traps, guns ready, and kept going
through blistering-hot, thorny, thick-brushed, broken-treed,
insect-swarming flatlands. We
found plenty of enemy tunnels, but no enemy.
The heat knocked out a couple of troopers who had to be
evacuated, and the big black and red ants seemed to want to eat you
alive; but it was all tension and bull labor, no fighting.
the time the company moved into a grassy stretch where they would dig
in for the night, the tension and grimness had been sweated out.
plopped down their packs and rifles, stripped off their shirts, drank
deep from canteens, got out entrenching tools, started digging in the
sun-baked ground and filling up sandbags.
this piece of nothin' what we been marching for all day?" laughed
a soldier, looking around.
war," kidded another.
Start Off For Briefing
Rodelli asked if I wanted to go over to the briefing for the night
ambushes, and I said I did.
better go a little early," he said.
"I'm not sure where it is.”
our perimeter now, about 500 yards out, came artillery bursts-it was
our stuff back at Cu Chi zeroing in our position in case of an enemy
attack during the night.
walked through the weapons platoon where the baby-faced Georgia
lieutenant was holding forth as casual as ever, probably still
worrying about his pigeons. His
platoon sergeant, the "great" soldier, was laughing and
demonstrating digging to the greenies.
say you never hear the one that gets you.
I heard this one. It
came down behind us hissing and my head already was down and touching
ground before the explosion. That
bursting, shocking sound came and the concussion went smacking over
to my left was saying: "What the devil, what the devil .. (and
then the voice was furious, unbelieving) "That was one of
was another explosion farther away, and I heard the same voice
yelling: "Tell that damned artillery to cease!"
a moment I looked up and saw the black cloud from the first explosion
barely 30 yards away. It
hung over the weapons platoon. All
around men were shouting: "Medic!
Medic!" And at the same time there came screams, ungodly
stood up. Behind me a tall soldier was stretched out flat in the high
just lay there rigidly flat in the grass.
I bent over him and he stared straight at me blinking his eyes
furiously. He wasn't hit.
He was scared literally stiff.
ran toward the smoke and stepped on something.
It was a man's arm, severed at the elbow.
Belonged To Lieutenant
man the arm belonged to lay in the dirt and smoke.
It was the baby-faced lieutenant.
His eyes and mouth were wide open as though he had died
few yards away was the "great" soldier, who had been
laughing and demonstrating digging moments before.
He lay on his back on a bloody hump of earth without his head,
with his left shoulder and arm blown away.
the next nightmarish minutes I saw Pfc. Mize, the young medic, working
among the blood and bowls as though he had been a doctor all his life.
were calling evacuation choppers.
Capt. Reiss and Lt. Rodelli were both moving quickly, directing
their men. Others were trying to identify the dead.
One man kept saying he had to find the sergeant's head. Another
picked up the lieutenant’s arm and wrapped it up with him in a
soldiers worked with morphine and bandages over a man whose leg was
hanging off. They had to
keep knocking away huge ants. Nearby,
ants were swarming over a helmet spattered with blood and flesh. The
helmet had "Tennessee" penciled on it.
Count Four Dead
then and the approximately 25 minutes it took the first chopper to
reach us, we counted four men dead, two more close to it, and eight
others wounded. It was also determined (and later verified) that one
of our own potent 4.2-inch mortar rounds from out of Cu Chi had fallen
short by mistake.
man stood looking down and said over and over, fighting back tears:
It's a helluva thing to happen. It's
a helluva thing …” Another just said: "Damn, damn …”
Mize came over to Capt. Reiss. The kid's hands were bloody to his
wrists, only he didn't look like a kid anymore.
best," the captain said softly. “The very best."
Company had reached the war.
The Pittsburgh Press, Sunday January 7, 1968
|To see more pictures from the early days, go here:|
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TET OFFENSIVE OF 1968
Operation Jeb Stuart
The 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (including A Company, 2/501st) teamed with the 1st Air Cavalry Division and the renown ARVN 1st Infantry Division in Operation Jeb Stuart. Landing and setting up on the Phu Bai airfield, the 2nd Brigade moved north to LZ Sally.
On January 30th, the outbreak of the Tet Offensive, the Brigade continued to move north and joined the heavy fighting in the battle for Quang Tri with the 1st Cav.
After Quang Tri was cleared, the 2nd Brigade and the 1st Cav moved south to set up blocking forces in the countryside around Hue, while US Marines and ARVN forces fought to retake the city from the NVA. The 2nd Brigade cleaned out pockets of enemy resistance between Hue and Quang Tri and intercepted NVA units atempting to reinforce the former Imperial City.
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On April 10th, A and D Companies were sent to verify the reported presence of two enemy companies entrenched in strong defensive positions in the village of Phuoc Dien. In short time, both companies were pinned down and in heavy contact. It soon became obvious they would be unable to take the village without suffering heavy casualties and they would need additional reinforcements.
General Barsanti, the Division Commander, ordered the companies to "stay with the enemy" and agreed to send them whatever they needed -- which in this case was extra helicopters to bring in reinforcements. LTC Tallman, the battalion commander, moved B Company into the fray, and by nightfall had succeeded in completely surrounding the village. American positions were established no more than ten meters apart. LTC Tallman ordered 100% alert during the night as well as continuous illumination by flare ships and artillery.
Between 2000 hours that night and 0730 hours the next morning, the trapped NVA made at least 12 separate attempts to break out of the village. The next morning, 36 NVA soldiers were found dead within hand-grenade distance of the American positions. Two dazed NVA were captured and taken prisoner. At 0800, companies B and D assaulted the village in a coordinated attack that met only moderate resistance. When the smoke and dust had cleared, the 2/501st had killed 70 NVA and captured 13.
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DIVISION COMMANDER VISITS ALPHA COMPANY
I try to talk to as many men as possible as I travel throughout the Division area. It isn't as though I were running for office. An Army is not inherently a democratic institution and we don't vote to arrive at decisions. However, I do learn things and it does help me to run this Division better, if I listen to young soldiers, young and old sergeants and young officers. Being one of them myself, I usually know what the old officers are thinking.
On Monday, 3 February, I had an uplifting experience. I was able to find a place to sit my chopper down with A Company, 2/501st Infantry, commanded by Captain Mayer. The company had been "humping" through the mountainous jungle without a break since 18 January. It was raining lightly. The company was spread out in a grassy clearing and I was able to stroll among the platoons and chat with every man.
I wish I could describe it to those at home. Clear eyed men smelling very strong of days on end of honest sweat. Hands hardened, swollen, scratched and strong. All faces, despite the fact that my visit was a complete surprise, freshly shaved. All weapons shiny clean. Each man looked me in the eye as he talked. All were very proud of the unit. Many had been with the company for less than two months, some for almost a year. There were men from Indiana, New Jersey, Texas, Arkansas, California and Connecticut. There were Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, Blacks and Whites, college graduates and high school drop outs, farm and city boys. All were welded together in a common bond of achievement, self sacrifice, physical discomfort, fear, survival and most of all, pride-pride that only a man who has overcome hardship and suffering and fear can understand, pride that makes the most important of considerations the good opinion of the rest of the men in the squad, platoon and company.
It is here that one senses the moral fibre of the men of our Army, which is a cross section of our Nation. It is here that one renews faith and confidence and trust in the future of our country. It here that one drinks at the well of sweat and sacrifice and is refreshed.
The company I saw is a good one. It is, however, not alone. It is one of many. Each day as I see you and talk to you I gain further respect for your soldierly qualities and I am proud to lead the Screaming Eagles.
Screaming Eagle, February 24, 1969
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A SHAU VALLEY
During March and April of 1969, five battalions of the 101st Airborne Division including A Company and the rest of the 2/501st, air assaulted into the A Shau Valley. Combat assaults and fast moving reconnaissance in force quickly determined the NVA were avoiding contact and moving its main forces back across the border. The operation yielded many large caches, one that included 14 trucks, 600 brand new SKS rifles, ChiCom radios and field telephones.
KILLED-HOSTILE ACTION - A Co. 2/501st - 1 Jan 1969-31 Dec 1969
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COMMUNISTS CUT OFF HIGHWAY TO QUANG TRI
Communists Cut Off Highway to Quang Tri
Communist forces cut the highway lifeline to Quang Tri today, preventing South Vietnamese reinforcements and supplies from reaching the endangered city. A 600-man South Vietnamese battalion was sent to try to dislodge the North Vietnamese and reopen the road.
North Vietnamese forces also continued the heavy shelling, followed by some ground attacks, against Firebase Bastogne 15 miles southwest of Hue. Bases Anne and Bastogne were the major northern defenses to Hue, South Vietnam's third largest city. Communist forces Tuesday prevented a South Vietnamese relief column from reaching Bastogne.
American B52s continued their high-level bombing in an effort to ease Communist pressure on Quang Tri, which now is open on all sides to the Communists but which so far has not come under major attack. However low-lying clouds once again held down low-level bombing and straifing runs to a minimum.
Informed sources in Washington said more B52s, probably about 18 of them, were being rushed to Southeast Asia to help in the battle.
The U.S. command in Saigon said that "several" Americans have been killed or wounded during the six-day Communist offensive in the Quang Tri province, but said no details could be made available until after next of kin were notified. So far U. S. officials have acknowledged that six American aircraft were shot down, claiming three wounded and 12 missing. However, military sources said other American casualties have occurred, including some among the estimated 65 U.S. advisers in Quang Tn and in unreported downings of U.S. aircraft.
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Imperial City of Hue
|The Imperial Capital of Hue was the third largest city in South Vietnam, behind Saigon and Danang.|
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Company HQ - Phu Bai
|Captain Zimmerman, A Company Commander
||First Sergeant Angel Carrero (Top on right) never forgot that his company was out in the jungle and kept us well supplied..|
|Heavy rains, a common occurrence, formed streams of mud
|It was not McDonalds, but the GI snack bar tried
to bring a little fast food to Vietnam.
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Bob Hope USO Show
"Drive On" Troops Journey to Hope
FIREBASE TOMAHAWK - It isn't as significant as
Plato’s allegory of the cave. It isn't as long as the journey of
progress of Bunyan's pilgrims. And it will probably never gain fame as
an exodus. But the story of the faithful trek of a small group of
soldiers from the 101st toward the lights of Firebase Tomahawk,
enroute to Hope, ended with charity.
Screaming Eagle, Feb 71
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A Shau Valley Operation
|Members of an infantry company are being airlifted for an air assault into an area near the southern tip of the A Shau Valley. The operation is a joint operation with the 2nd Battalion, 54th Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam.|
|A Huey brings supplies. The LZ (landing zone) is cut in the jungle in a low spot not preferred by pilots. The helicopter blades present a danger to the troops unloading.|
|Big Week for Caches
CAMP EAGLE - During the week of January 15-21 in MR1, Screaming Eagles accounted for caches of 2 recoiless rifle rounds; 275 mortar rounds and numerous fuses and small arms rounds found and destroyed or evacuated; 2 enemy warhead; 3 rocket propelled grenades and 3 122mm rockets. In addition 101st troopers were credited with 12 enemy soldiers killed in action and 117 bunkers destroyed.
January 15, B Co., 2nd Bn. (Ambl.), 501st Inf., found 14 boobytraps, 11 of which were made of 60mm mortar rounds.
January 16. the 1/501st scored again while on a recon patrol. This time they discovered and destroyed 17 enemy bunkers about 4 miles west of Hue.
The next day, the 3rd Bn. (Ambl.), 187th Inf., engaged 19 enemy soldiers. Artillery and ARA were called in and resulted in nine enemy soldiers killed in action. The 1/501st found 10 boobytraps and a bunker
complex with sleeping positions and the 2/501st found two warheads and a 122mm rocket durring patrols.
January 18, A Co., 2/501st engaged an enemy force of unknown size about 20 miles south-southwest of Hue. ARA was called in and three NVA soldiers were killed.
Finally January 19, the 1st Bn. (Ambl.), 327th Inf., found a cache consisting of 2 122mm rockets, 3 rocket propelled grenades, 25 rifle grenades, 120 82mm mortar rounds, 157 60mm mortar rounds and 300 12.7mm machinegun rounds about 13 miles south-southwest of Hue.
The 2/502nd discovered 275mm recoiless rifle rounds, 4 60mm mortar rounds and 8 82mm mortar rounds, about 13 miles southwest of Hue. Near the cache site the "Strike Force" troopers found 75 to 100 fighting positions.
Screaming Eagle, Feb 70
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Cache discovered by A Company, 2/501st near Firebase Bastogne
|Combat in Review
In scattered action throughout the division's AO, Screaming Eagles killed 50 enemy soldiers and captured a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.
The largest cache was discovered (near Firebase Bastogne) by Drive On troopers of Co. A, 2nd Bn. (Ambl.) 501st Inf., while operating in thick jungle vegetation southwest of Hue. Hidden in two bunkers were 142 B-40 rockets, 30 60mm mortar rounds, 17 82mm mortar rounds and two antitank mines.
In action near FB Brick, Drive On troopers of Co. B, 2/501st killed two NVA soldiers and captured their AK-47 rifles, one RPG launcner, three RPG rounds and several satchel charges.
|The Geronimos of the Ist Bn. (Ambl.), 501st Inf.,
operating near FB Vandergrift in Quang Tri Province, killed 30 NVA
soldiers in several encounters and discovered numerous caches. The
caches contained 330 60mm mortar rounds, 30 82mm mortar rounds, 200
rounds of AK-47 ammunition and a quantity of grenades.
Stand Alone troopers from Co. B, 3rd Bn. (Ambl.), 506th Inf., discovered eight bunkers, 40 60mm mortar rounds and various items of clothing near FB Tomahawk. The Stand Alone troopers also discovered and destroyed a 16-bunker complex.
|The lst Bn. (Ambl.), 502nd Inf., while operating near FB Brick, killed
one NVA soldier and captured three AK-47 rifles, seven 82mm mortar
rounds and two B-40 rockets.
No Slack troopers from the 2nd Bn. (Ambl.), 327th Inf., killed two NVA soldiers and captured a 9mm pistol and a machinegun. A closer search revealed a fragmentation grenade, with the pin still in it, clutched in the hand of one of the enemy soldiers.
Co. C, 1st Bn. (Ambl.), 327th Inf., killed eight enemy soldiers in the FB Normandy area. The Above the Rest troopers captured six AK-47 rifles, two SKS rifles, four machineguns and four M-1 carbines.
Rakkasans from the 3rd Bn. (Ambl.)., 187th Inf., called for and directed Cobra gunships against enemy soldiers while operating in the FB Scotch area. The next morning the Rakkasans killed seven NVA soldiers in repelling a sapper attack. The Screaming Eagles also captured four AK-47 rifles, one machinegun, one RPG launcher and two RPG rounds.
The total cache count for the Screaming Eagles for the two week period was 146 B-40 rockets, 409 60mm mortar rounds, 54 82 mm mortar rounds, 41 grenades, four RPG launchers, five RPG rounds, 16 AK-47 rifles, 200 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, eight machineguns, four M-1 carbines, two SKS rifles and two 12.7 machineguns. In addition, Screaming Eagles destroyed more than 110 bunkers and huts.
Screaming Eagle, Apr 71
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During this period, the Drive On 2nd Bn. (Ambl.), 501st Inf. operating in two locations approximately 10 and 17 miles southwest of Hue, was busy destroying the enemy and his cache.
The action began with the 3rd Plat, Co. C, 2/501st, uncovering a buried cache of RPG rounds and boosters and tunnel digging equipment north of FB Bastogne.
The next morning, the 3rd Plat. of Co. B discovered a large bunker south of FB Veghel. An investigation revealed six 82mm mortar rounds with one box of fuses, one 60mm mortar round and six antitank mines.
Co. C discovered a second cache consisting of several 82mm mortar rounds and fuses, one grenade, an RPG round, two helmets and shovel.
Co. D got into the show by digging up 10 60mm mortar rounds and 25 AK-47 rounds. Then, Co. E's Recon Team No. 1 found an AK-47 rifle with magazine along a stream bed.
The biggest fight came the next day south of FB Veghel. The 3rd Plat. of Co. B came under attack from an unknown size enemy force. An attempt by the 3rd Plat. of Co. A to air assault and reinforce the element was aborted due to heavy fire from enemy gunners around the LZ. Co. A moved by land toward the "Bravos" while artillery, ARA and tactical air strikes were employed. As the elements attempted to link up, both units received mortar and small arms fire. The Screaming Eagles returned organic weapons fire and again artillery was employed.
The 4th Plat. of Co. B then came under attack. The element returned fire and routed the NVA. A search of the areas of fighting revealed seven enemy dead.
At noon the next day during a CA, Co. A, 2/501st, received 12.7mm machinegun and small arms fire from the area surrounding the LZ. The “Attack" troopers returned organic weapons fire and ARA was employed. A sweep of the area revealed three NVA killed. During the sweep the 101st troops were again engaged by the enemy and again the U.S. troopers sent the NVA force, minus one dead, fleeing.
All equipment, supplies and munitions captured during the operation were evacuated.
Screaming Eagle, Apr 71
FIRE BASE BASTOGNE - A platoon from Co. A, 2nd Bn., 501st Inf., 101st onto Airborne Division (Airmobile), while making a combat assault onto a landing zone (LZ) near Fire Base Veghel, came under enemy small arms fire.
Spec. 4 Robert Ivy was a member of this platoon. When the platoon leader was injured, Ivy assumed command of the platoon and exposed himself to enemy fire while organizing the platoon for an assault on the enemy.
His squad, along with the rest of the platoon, drove the enemy from the LZ, allowing the medevac helicopter to come in and evacuate the wounded.
Soon after contact was broken, the platoon was extracted from the area leaving five enemy killed in action near the LZ.
Screaming Eagle, Jun 71
Sunrise Service on Firebase Bastogne
Sunrise Service is held for soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division atop a bunker at fire support base Bastogne, north of Camp Eagle. Chaplain Arthur Webb of Tennessee conducted service.
|FIREBASE BASTOGNE - Four NVA soldiers recently had their
attempts to destroy several American helicopters foiled by Medal of
Honor winner 2LT Joe Hooper, Zillah, Wash., Co. A, 2nd Bn. (Ambl.),
501st Inf. and four men of his platoon, near FB Bastogne.
"We CAed into a small LZ," said 2LT Hooper, "As soon as I got off the bird, four NVA soldiers opened up on us with small arms fire and hand grenades. My bird was the only one to land and there were five of us on it."
As the rest of his platoon circled above, Hooper directed his four-man squad to engage the enemy with what weapons they had. In the initial contact, the five Drive On troopers killed two NVA soldiers and wounded the other two.
As the fighting continued, Hooper called in air strikes and ARA on the enemy position. By noon the enemy fire had ceased and Hooper called in the remainder of his platoon, who linked up with the 1st Plat. and the two units searched for the enemy.
At 1:00 p.m. enemy mortar fire came whistling into Hooper's position. Exposing himself to extensive enemy fire, Hooper made sure his men were in secure areas and again called in air strikes and ARA.
When the mortar barrage stopped, Hooper, organized his platoon and the 1st Plat. for a slow withdrawal through the enemy infested area. In limited daylight, the two platoons joined the rest of the company and routed the enemy soldiers from the area.
For his valorous action, Hooper received the Silver Star, his second one, during an awards ceremony at FB Bastogne. Sixteen other soldiers received Bronze Stars with "V" device and ARCOMs with "V" device for their heroic deeds.
Screaming Eagle, Apr 71
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|Orderly Room, Eagle Beach. Eagle Beach was established on the South China Sea six miles east of Hue in May of 1969 for in country Rest & Relaxation (R&R). A Company was sent to Eagle Beach to recuperate for several days after suffering major casualties due to contact with the the North Vietnamese off Firebase Veghel.|
|But even on R&R, you can't completely escape the realities of war. The perimeter around Eagle Beach was guarded including the beach.|
|Sunrise over the South China Sea at Eagle Beach.|
|Colorful "hooches" line the beach at Eagle Beach.|
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LINEAGE AND HONORS
|The 101st Airborne Division began its redeployment
from Vietnam in November 1971. The Division turned over Camp Evans, LZ
Sally and Camp Eagle to ARVN units, withdrawing to Phu Bai, and
finally to DaNang to close-out of Vietnam. The Screaming Eagles were
the last US Army division to leave the combat zone in South Vietnam.
Finally, a single color-bearing battalion-sized element departed DaNang by plane for Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, in March, 1972.
For more pictures from Alpha Company's early days in Vietnam, go here.
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