25th DIVISION ORDER OF BATTLE
4-23 Inf (M)
7-11 Arty (105) Direct Support (DS) to Bde
B/2-77 Arty (105)
C/3-17 Air Cav
A/65 Engr (DS)
2-14 Inf (-)
2-27 Inf (-)
2-34 Armr (-)
1/A/1-5 Inf (M)
1/C/1-5 Inf (M)
1-5 Inf(M) (-)
1-505 Abn Inf
1-8 Arty (105) DS
A/2-321 (105) DS
C/65 Engr (DS)
2-77 Arty (105) (-) DS
D/65 Engr (DS)
3-13 Arty (155/8")
1-27 Arty (155)
2-32 Arty (175/8")
A/6-15 Arty (105)
B/2-13 Arty (105)
3-4 Armd Cav
F/75th Inf (RGR)
65th Engr Bn
25th Avn Bn
6 APR 69
Easter Day. Alpha company's Captain Charles Boyd writes: "I tell this story each Easter to anyone that will
listen.Easter eve 1969 A 2/12 was in a position to serve as one-third of a cordon and search operation in a
small village south of FSB Pershing. We moved into position just after dark. Put out the ambush patrols and
got set up. I told everyone that we would be moving out about 0400 and link up with another company to our
right and one to our left and seal off this village. Everyone seemed to be nervous - probably because moving
around in the dark could be dangerous - so I fired H & W fire. [Harassment and Interdictory fire.] Not much
sleep, but everyone seemed to settle down some. About 0400 I gave the word to move out and off we went
and were successful in meeting the other companies without anyone getting shot and we sealed the area off.
The sun came up on this beautiful Easter morning. Everyone sat down to eat some c-rats and smoke and watch
for people trying to escape. The schedule called for the Battalion Commander, medical teams and IPW teams
to arrive about 0900. I found a hole under a house that was cool and told my RTOs not to bother me until the
choppers started to come in because I was going to get a nap. I was in a deep sleep and my RTO woke me and
said one of the platoon leaders was on the phone and had a problem. I got on the phone and he told me about
a rabbit with a basket of colored eggs his platoon had detained. This rabbit had no valid ID card and what was
he to do. I laughed to myself and my instructions were to let the rabbit go."
7 APR 69
A Co KIA:
SGT Darrell E. Walden (21) of Girard, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Ron Vanone (Co.A, 3d platoon) wounded (WIA). SGT Walden was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for
his actions on this date.
WALDEN DSC CITATION [Extract of SGT Walden's award.] The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to
Darrell Edward Walden, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations
involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 2d
Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Sergeant Walden distinguished himself by exceptionally
valorous actions on 7 April 1969 as squad leader on a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Tam Dinh. While
sweeping through a section of rice paddies, his company encountered a heavily booby-trapped area. Although
his squad successfully eliminated several of the dangerous devices, Sergeant Walden fell victim to a rigged
hand grenade. As his men rushed to his aid, he suddenly detected the presence of a booby-trapped mortar
round. Realizing that the insidious booby trap would destroy the majority of his squad, he saved the lives of
his men at the sacrifice of his own by throwing himself on the mortar shell at the moment it exploded.
Sergeant Walden's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with
the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United
HQ US Army,
Vietnam General Orders No. 2021 9 June 1969
8 APR 69
C Co KIA's:
SP4 Glenie W.Cain (20) of Caruthersville, MO
PFC Ismel F. Hornelas (20) of North Platte, NE perished in Hua Nghia Province.
13 APR 69
D Co WIA: PFC Larry Crouch, 1st PLT, wounded, evacuated to Cu Chi. Spent month in hospital, xfer'd to HHC;
awarded SS, ARCOM/V. Became driver/RTO for 25th ID liason officer to ARVN Airbourne unit in Tay Ninh.
14 APR 69
Battery D (Capt. Laurence E. Lalicker), 3/13th Artillery displaced from FSB Stuart (XT4919) to FSB Stoneman
(XT3037) where they remained until returning to Stuart on the 13th of May. [Source: ORLL 25th Div ARTY 1May-
16 APR 69
C Co KIA:
SSG Robert P. Roehmer (21) of Kingsville, MD perished in Hua Nghia Province.
20 APR 69
A Co KIA:
1LT Tyrone J. Staten (22) of Gary, IN perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Lieutenant Staten was supposed to be in the mortar platoon, but went out on this day as the 3rd platoon
21 APR 69
B Co KIA:
PFC Jerry Morgan, Jr. (21) of Long Branch, NJ perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Extract of SP4 Ralph Buchanan Bronze Star Medal For Heroism: ".... While on a reconnaissance force operation,
Company B came in contact with an estimated squad sized enemy force. During the initial engagement,
Specialist Buchanan's ammunition bearer was seriously wounded. With complete disregard for his own safety,
Specialist Buchanan threw himself in front of his injured comrade and began to place devastating fire on the
hostile positions. Although in a completely exposed position, Specialist Buchanan continued to place
effective machine gun fire on the insurgents until the battle subsided. His valorous actions were responsible
for saving a man's life. ...."
25 APR 69
B Co KIA:
PFC James M. Abbott (20) o Memphis, TN perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Co. B WIA: Jim Mayer WIA and evacuated - he lost both legs. Jim is now active in helping veteran amputees in
the Washington, DC area.
THE HO BO NIGHT-LAGGAR ATTACKED
27 APR 69
B Co KIAs:
CAPT Benjamin Bugarin (27) of Sepulveda, CA,
PFC Gerald Huffman (24), 2nd plt., of Cleveland, OH,
SP4 Charles W. Jennings (20) of Cullowhee, NC,
PFC Daniel A. Keene (24) of Fairview Park, OH,
PFC Dean R. Johnson (18) of Wheaton, MN
SP4 Wendell W. Leslie (25) of Honolulu, HI perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Medic SP4 William H. "Doc" Kindle (21), Charlie Co. of St. Paul, MN perished in Hua Nghia Province.
ARTY KIAs: [Assigned to HQ 2/12th Inf.]:
1LT Jimmy Donald Johnson (21) Arty Liaison Officer(LNO), of Ashland, KY perished in Hua Nghia Province.
PFC Richard I. Cunningham (20) RTO, of Omaha, NE perished in Hua Nghia Province.
Also killed in this action, PFC Richard A Oman, HHC 1/5th Bobcats
In the early morning hours of 27 April, the enemy tried another attack against a night defensive position
manned by Companies B and C..... just south of the Ho Bo Woods (XT557287). This attempt cost him another
100 killed." [Source: 1MAY69 Quart. Op. Report, HQ 25th Inf Div]
"B, C 2/12th Inf engaged elements of the 1st and 2nd Bns, 268th Regiment on 27 April resulting in 100 NVA KIA
(BC) and 2 PW's
25th Inf Div Ground Command's Daily SITREP 27APR69
At 0315H vic XT557287 Co. C & B 2-12 Inf (NL) rec unk no rds SA, AW, .51 cal, 40 RPG rds, 80 82mm rds and
ground probe resulting in 10 US KIA, 4 US WIA (4 evac). Rtn fire with SA, AW, Arty, LFT, Spooky and [Air Strikes]
resulting in 100 NVA KIA (15 KIA are inclued in air totals); 2 NVA PWs, 20 AK-47 rifles, 9 RPG [Rocket Launchers]
and 1 lb of documents evac; 11 AK-47 rifles, 14 RPG RLs, 40 rds RPG ammo, 40 AK-47 magazines and 40
Co. A (at Pershing) established a civilian control point at XT501247 along with the Vietnamese National Police
and conducted Road Security along Six Alpha (LTL-6A).
Co. B, after the nights contact and having sustained the majority of casualties, left the night laager (NL) and
searched one klick to the northeast to XT564292 where they were picked up and moved by air to FSB Pershing.
Meanwhile, Co. C moved 1 1/2 klicks north-north east to XT562297 and back to the night laager.
Co. D, at Cu Chi, flew into the scene of last nights battle and then patrolled 1 klick south-south west and
returned to the night laager to join Co. C.
The evening of the 27th found companies A and B at Fire Support Base Pershing, and Co.'s C & D at the night
laager (NL) in the vicinity of XT558288.
Site of April 27 Night Attack Against
Bravo & Charlie
The attack was staged against the
2/12th's Bravo and Charlie companies.
The night defensive position was in
open rice paddies on the edge of the Ho
Bo Woods area.
Note proximity B & C Co.s Night
Defensive Position (NDP) in rice paddy
at XT557287 to nearest edges of
"On 27 April Company B and Company C had completed their day ground reconnaissance in the area just
south of the Ho-Bo woods and north of the hamlet Sa Nho (1). A night laager position was set up and
defenses strengthened for the night. That night the enemy launched a major ground attack against the night
laager sight. The 'Warriors' repulsed the attack and killed 100 of the enemy and captured two. Friendly losses
The following article about April 27th appeared in the TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS [Vol.4 No. 20, May 19, 1969]:
100 NVA FALL TO WARRIORS' MIGHT
CU CHI - The dark morning quiet was shattered by the eerie sound of incoming mortars. The Warriors of the
2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, were in a night laager ten miles north of Cu Chi in the Ho Bo Woods. The Fire
Brigade troops were about to face a determined assault of NVA.
"First came the mortars, 75 or more, followed by an RPG barrage, then the ground assault," said First
Lieutenant George Curtis of Brasher Falls, N.Y. "Groups of attackers were spotted on three sides crowding
toward our concertina wire. They were moving up under the cover of darkness and the mortar barrage."
"About 30 enemy were right in front of me," said Private First Class Larry Goodson of Rose Lake, Idaho. "They
were getting on line - so close I could throw grenades. When I ran out of grenades, I got on the machine gun
and finished the job."
"Several enemy were found along the berm line," said Sergeant Clinton Cooper of Mulligon [sic], Mich. "This
shows how close the fighting was. Many were killed with hand grenades."
"They were going all out to overrun us," stated Specialist 4 Jim Conner of Rochester, N.Y. "We drove them
back and forced them to retreat completely. We just had too much firepower."
The Tropic Lightning troops were not alone in the defense. Artillery, Cobra gunships, and Spooky blasted the
enemy with massive firepower. Spooky tuned thenight into day with flares.
The unknown sized enemy force lost 100 men in the two-hour fight, as well as numerous weapons and
"Some of the dead were wearing back packs for carrying RPG rounds," said Goodson. "Each pack could hold
six to eight rounds."
The dead had ropes around their necks, noted one Warrior officer. The battalion Kit Carson Scouts told him
that the ropes are used to drag the dead away from the battlefield.
One hundred of the ropes were never used.
Also found in the area were 31 AK-47, 12 RPG launchers and the usual flotsam of web gear and documents.
One prisoner and one of the dead were each found to have a copy of last month's Playboy in their
possession. The centerfolds, however, were reported missing.
OVERVIEW: In mid May the enemy 273rd Regiment begins to move south out of our Hau Nghia AO.
The regiment is about 80 percent NVA. [SOURCE: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES pg. 346]
1 MAY 69
A Co KIAs:
PFC Charles Benny Hight (20) of Visalia, CA
PFC Steven D Belsly (20) of Metamora, IL
SGT Kenneth L. White (21) of Rockford, IL perished in Hua Nghia Province.
ADAM's CITATION SP4 "Mike" Adams citation (extract): "Specialist Adams distinguished himself by
heroic actions on May 1st while his unit was moving towards its night defensive position. An enemy
force tried to ambush the unit, opening fire on the lead element; which took several casualties.
Reacting immediately, Specialist Adams crawled through 35 meters of hostile fire into the kill zone to
aid his comrades. The area was thickly booby-trapped, but Adams, with complete disregard for his
own safety, continuously re-entered the area amid a barrage of enemy fire to evacuate the
Co. A was moving to their ambush position at night when they were attacked. Radioman Gordon
Kimbel said that the machine gunner, Bob Hasberry, put down so much fire that the barrel of his gun
turned cherry red. "You could see the bullets passing through the barrel," said Kimbel. "When he
changed it out and laid it on the ground it actually bent." "On 1 May the Battalion attacked an enemy
village vicinity XT5726 [Xa Sa Nho (2) 2 miles due east of FSB Pershing - with 462 rounds from artillery.
The mission was adjusted by an aerial observer and although no enemy bodies were seen, evidence
indicated that possibly 30 enemy were killed in the attack. A total of 16 structures were destroyed &
3 MAY 69
A Co. in Cu Chi for 'Stand Down.'
4 MAY 69
D Co KIA:
PFC Dennis R. Gustafson (21) of Wentworth, WI perished in Hua Nghia Province.
THE CONVOY AMBUSH
5 MAY 69
E Co KIA:
SFC Curtis C. Dees (30) of Kerrville, TX perished in Hua Nghia Province.
"In the Citadel on 5 May, enemy plans for a convoy ambush were upset by the 2nd Battalion, 12th
Infantry, which was sweeping the area along Highway 6A north of Trang Bang (XT500256). Warned in
advance by intelligence of the ambush attempt, the convoy security elements engaged the enemy as
they moved along the highway ahead of the convoy. Artilllery, helicopter gunships and air strikes
were placed upon the enemy position and 16 NVA were killed. The ambush attempt was the first of
several small enemy actions designed to give their replacements combat experience as part of an
Emulatin Campaign. "
5MAY69 Ambush Site
Check Point Foxtrot (XT502253) and the area along Six-Alpha that the May 5th convoy ambush took place.
The top pin points to the (approximate) location that Sergeant First Class Dees was killed in the
Convoy's lead jeep. The bottom pin points to the location of the convoy commander's jeep - Lt. Troy Ross - the last vehicle in the convoy and the one in whice the battalions' Chaplain, Captain "Bob" Campbell SSG Holzhauer] were riding in.
PATROL BASE DEE'S
Closed October 1969
Named to honor Sergeant Curtis Dees.
6 MAY 69
7 MAY 69
A Co KIA:
PFC Norbert Montoyo-Rodriguiez (20) of Barcloneta, PR perished in Hua Nghia Province.
8, 9, or 10 MAY69
SGT "Pappy" Wheat WIA while the 1st platoon of Co. A
was pulling 'road security' along Six Alpha.
10 MAY 69
1/5th Company A and one platoon from Company D, 2/12th Infantry established a night defensive
perimeter in the Boi Loi Woods at XT 559278. After establishing their positions, a test fire of weapons
was ordered after dark. During the test fire, a mortar illumination round was fired. The light exposed
a force of about 30 enemy soldiers advancing toward the perimeter. They were taken under fire and
fled in surprise. The next morning, the bodies of dead enemy soldiers with weapons and equipment
were policed from the area of contact.
11 MAY 69
A Co KIA:
1LT Thomas W. Hastings (21) of Battle Creek, MI perished in Hua Nghia Province.
A Co WIA:
SP4 James "Jim" Boyce and others.
C Co KIA's:
SSG Hurbert S. Tilley, Jr. (20) of Winston-Salem, NC perished in Hua Nghia Province
SP4 Victor M. Yanez (21) of San Francisco, CA, died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia.
The enemy began his summer campaign on the night of 11-12 May 1969.
12 MAY 69
FSB Pershing (XT518256) shelled.
13 MAY 69
D Co KIA's:
PFC Bruce J. Matta (21) of Canton, MA; and
SP4 Ralph M. Santinello (20) of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.
At 0955 hours, Companies B and D of the 2/12th Infantry commenced a combat assault into a
suspected NVA base area between the Ho Bo and Boi Loi Woods at XT 569311. Meeting intense
enemy fire, Company D withdrew to allow helicopter gunships and artillery to pound the area.
Company A, 1/5th(M) set up a blocking position during the air strikes. After the air strikes, the
companies moved through the area policing dead enemy bodies, weapons and equipment from the
"[The battalion] struck a devastating blow again on the 13th and 14th of May when Companies B and
D combat assaulted into Boi-Loi woods and trapped a large enemy force in their base camp. The
battalion killed 92 enemy in that battle and destroyed a regimental sized base camp."
"In other operations in the 2nd Brigade area companies B and D 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, and
Company A, 1st Battalion Mechanized) 5th ....... an enemy soldier dressed in camouflaged clothing.
He was killed by arms fire. Intense enemy fire consisting of automatic weapons and RPG's erupted
fro the brush and Company D withdrew undr the cover of artillery and helicopter gunships (LFT).
Company A, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, set a blocking position while air strikes leveled
the enemy base area. The action was reinforced by Company B (2-12 Inf), lifted in the area on eagle
flights. Company D 92-12 Inf) and Company A (1-5) advanced through the bunker complex and found
50 enemy bodies and 60 bunkers destroyed. The next morning, (14 May), the three companies again
assault the area and, in several scatted incidents, killed 34 more VA."
"The 1/8 Arty directed 467 rounds in support of the ground troops and was credited with 15 of the 50
enemy bodies counted after the action."
Battery D, 3/13 Arty returned to FSB Stuart on 13May69 where it remained until 4 June 1969.
18 MAY 69
"..... the 2/12th Infantry again contacted an enemy force vicinity XT5226 [Loc Hung north of FSB
Pershing. A total o 390 rounds of artillery were fired in support but no enemy bodies could be located
when contact was broken."
26 MAY 69
B Co KIA:
SP4 Louis H. Godley (20) of New York, NY died of wounds (DOW) received in Tay Ninh Province.
"On 26 May, companies C and D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, sweeping an area of previous air strikes
(XT551293) near the Hobo Woods, located NVA KIA and at 1435 hours, the 116th Assault Helicopter
Company, supporting Company C, strafed enemy soldiers with automatic weapons on the east side of
the Ho Bo Woods (XT590304), killing eight of them."
28 MAY 69
A Co. at PB Dees.
29 MAY 69
A Co KIA:
PFC Gerald W. Posten died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.
On May 29, 1969, elements of the 1/5th(M) participated in a combined cordon and search operation 3
kilometers northwest of Trung Lap. As forces moved into the area, the fleeing VC were subjected to
artillery and helicopter gunship fire. The blocking forces were Company B(-) on the right, Company A
2/34th Armor and Company C, 2/12th Infantry on the left. To the east was Company C, 2/27th Infantry.
Company C,1/5th(M) and ARVN forces would conduct the search
At 1137 hours, 1/5th Company C requested a Dust-off for one wounded Bobcat. At 1232 hours, Company
C requested another Dust-off for one man with a gunshot wound and one with wounds from a booby
trapped hand grenade.
At 1330 hours, 1/5th Company C received RPG fire from hedgerows to their front. Two APCs were hit. A
Dust-off was requested for one wounded Bobcat. The two damaged APCs were extracted from the area
and air strikes were called in. At 1440 hours, Company C had another APC hit by RPG fire. A Dust-off was
requested for five wounded Bobcats and one dead Bobcat. Air support was again employed before the
units swept through the area.
31 MAY 69
"On 31 May, Companies B and C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a reconnaissance mission west of the
Saigon River (XT641298), met with an enemy platoon entrenched in a base area and called for artillery,
helicopter gunships and air strikes. The enemy base was destroyed and 25 NVA killed. Eleven enemy
weapons, 24 hand grenades and 14 rounds of RPG ammunition either captured or destroyed. "
1 JUN 69
B Co KIA:
PFC Robert L. Grant (21) of Dallas, TX perished in Hua Nghia Province.
2 JUN 69
Company E, 65th Engineer, 25th Division, commence Rome Plow and anchor chain below Pershing and
along highway 6A ending 30 June. They were destroying hedgerows using a length of ship-anchor drag
between two M-48 tanks . It was at this time that "the school" along 6A went down into a pile of
rubble. Areas northwest of Pershing (XT5024, XT5025, XT5124, XT5125).
4 JUN 69
A Co. at Cu Chi for Stand Down.
SA NHO BATTLE
5-6 JUN 69
"A short range fire fight at noon on 5 June between Delta Company 2/12 Infantry and an unknown size
enemy unit developed into a two day contact in the Citadel,vicinity XT5725 [X. Bau Soi (2) 3 miles east
of FSB Pershing.]. The artillery forward observer with the company, Lt. Parsons, was wounded on the
first afternoon and the battalion and brigade artillery liaison officers adjusted 1/8 Arty and supporting
batteries from command and control helicopters. As the battle developed A and C companies 1st
Battalion 5th Infantry (Mech) and B/2/12 Infantry moved in to reinforce D/2/12. All elements
maneuvered to make room for artillery and air strikes to be placed on the enemy positions once they
had been fixed. At the conclusion of the second day of contact, enemy forces withdrew leaving
behind 77 bodies and 3 captured North Vietnamese Army soldiers. The 2345 rounds of artillery fired
were officially credited with killing 36 of the bodies counted."
5 JUN 69
D Co KIA's:
SSG John M. Bellamy (23) of Van Nuys, CA,
SP4 Jerry M. Dailey (22) of Groves, TX, and
PFC Edward E. King (21) of Decatur, GA perished in Hua Nghia Province.
D Co WIA:
LT Parsons, 1/8th Arty, Artillery Forward Observer serving with Co. D.
".... Company D ...showed its prowess in a battle less than two kilometers north-east of Sa Nho (2).
The day was 5 June and as contact increased in intensity Company B was sent in to reinforce along
with two companies from the 1st Bn (M) 5th Inf. and two companies from the 3rd Bn 49th ARVN Regt.
The battalion was credited with 75 enemy KIA that day and the hamlets of Sa Nho (1) and Sa Nho (2)
were becoming synonymous with enemy presence in force."
"There were several contacts with elements of the 268th VC/NVA Regiment in the Citadel and Ho Bo
Woods. The major action with this enemy unit was initiated by the 2nd Brigade during a five-day
reconnaissance/search mission involving a task force consisting of Companies B and C, 2nd Battalion,
12th Infantry; Companies A and C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, elements of the 3-49
ARVN Regiment and Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor. Sharp fighting began on 5 June, the first
day of the operation, at 1248 hours, when the friendly forces engaged a large concentration of
entrenched enemy soldiers with organic weapons (XT568255). Artillery and helicopter gunships were
shifted to support the contact. In the exchange of fire, five Americans were killed, 14 wounded and
three armored personnel carriers destroyed. A helicopter gunship from 116th Assault Helicopter
Company was shot down, resulting in four U.S. killed. The superior firepower of the allied forces
broke the enemy resistance and sweeps of the contact site revealed 72 enemy killed, 35 AK-47 rifles,
nine other assorted small arms and six RPG rocket launchers with 15 rounds of RPG ammunition."
Extract of DSC award for Capt. John K. Taft, D Co. commander:
TAFT, JOHN K.
Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army
Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
25th Infantry Division
Date of Action: June 5, 1969
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John K. Taft, Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for
extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile
force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, 25th
Infantry Division. Captain Taft distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 5 June 1969
while leading his company during a reconnaissance-in-force mission. As the unit's lead platoon
advanced into a jungle clearing, they were suddenly met with barrages of automatic weapons fire
which instantly cut down a number of troopers. Captain Taft quickly moved from the rear of the
company to an exposed position on the edge of the clearing where he surveyed the situation and
radioed for artillery fire and gunship strikes on the enemy. Attempting to pull back without cover fire,
the lead elements sustained additional casualties. Captain Taft saw their plight and rushed out into
the open to assist them. He laid down suppressive fire with his rifle which enabled several wounded
to be withdrawn. He then returned to his observation point. While directing gunship fire on the
enemy, he received a bullet wound in the head. He refused medical attention, and when he saw a
comrade downed in the open, he dashed forward under intense fire and dragged the man to cover.
The firefight raged on, and as he continued in his weakened state to train gunship strikes on the
hostle troops, he received another bullet wound in the head. But Captain Taft refused evacuation and
courageously remained in command of his men until all the wounded had been extracted and
reinforcements had arrived. Captain Taft's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in
keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his
unit, and the United States Army.
HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 3466 (September 13, 1969)
The 2/12th "Warriors", along with the 1/5th "Bobcats" & Vietnamese "ARVNís", battled the VC/NVA in
northern Bau Soi(2) in the Citadel at (XT568255). The 116th Assault Helicopter Company's Stinger 552,
a (UH-1C) "Charlie Model" gunship, was shot down at (XT565255). The gunship was supporting us
when it crashed in the middle of the enemy. Three crewmen survived the initial crash, but were
killed on the ground.
The crew of Stinger 522 were;
SP4 Ronald R. Baker (24) from Concordia, Calif.,
1LT Jimmy W. Crisp (23) from Menard, Texas,
SP4 Steven W. Herring (20) from Freedom, Calif. and
Warrant Officer Richard J. Holman (21) from Astoria, OR.
The 1/5th Mechanized Infantry lost two or three "tracks" that day and suffered a large number of
killed and wounded.
Bobcat's killed in action were;
SP4 David P. Callahan (20) from Erie, Penn.,
Corporal Robert E. Langston (22) from Tampa, Fla.,
PFC James A. Mardis, Jr. (20) from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.,
CPL Patric E. Poppenga (21) from Chicago, Ill,
SGT Charles M. Ramsey (20) from New Boston, Texas, and
2LT James D. Walker (22) from Santa Barbara, Calif.
6 JUN 69
A Co KIA:
SP4 Terry L. Jenkins (20) of Washington Court House, OH perished in Tay Ninh Province.
Up near Tay Ninh FSB Crook was attacked by the NVA. At Pershing, Alpha was alerted in the middle of
the night and told to saddle-up. We were issued new maps and told to be prepared for a night air-
assault into Crook. I don't mind telling you that the "pucker factor" was running high that night. But
Co. B, 3/22d Infantry and Battery A, 7/11th Field Artillery held their own and so we never went.
8 JUN 69
D Co KIA's:
PFC John E. Lorence (22) of Mantua, OH;
SP4 George F. Marinez (33) National Guard member from Newton, KS;
PFC Roy L. Walker (21) of Brenton, WY; and
PFC Terry E. Toole (22) of Auburn, NY perished in Rung Cay village, Hua Nghia Province.
B Co WIA:
SP4 Ralph Buchanan
Patrol Base Lorence north of Trang Bang (XT518219) established and named in honor of Pfc. Lorence.
9 JUN 69
"... Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, providing security for Company E, 65th Engineer Battalion,
killed eight NVA with helicopter gunships, artillery and air strikes in the Citadel north of Trang Bang
11 JUN 69
A Co KIA:
PFC Thomas P. Dawson (23) of Kingston, GA perished in Hua Nghia Province.
A Co. at FSB Stuart guarding 'the bridge' and eastern approaches to this market town and District
13 JUN 69
".... (XT524232), Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a reconnaissance mission, engaged an
enemy force in a bunker complex and placed artillery and air strikes on the position with helicopter
gunships overhead to strafe enemy soldiers who attempted toescape. Twenty-nine enemy were killed
and 12 small arms captured.
15 JUN 69
XT482243, CRIP working with Mech. Firefight, arty, gunships, air strikes resulting in53 VC killed.
16 JUN 69
D Co KIA:
SGT Joseph J. Heltsley (21) of Brookville, OH died of wounds (DOW) received in Binh Duong Province.
This evening at FSB Stuart the enemy picked the wrong side of the perimeter to probe us - FIVE of our
.50 cal machine guns opened up on them.
17 JUN 69
D Co KIA:
1LT Jerry A. Ashburn (22) of Port Edwards, WI died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.
[LT Ashburn's MOS is listed as 1203, Tank Unit Commander]. Jerry triggered a booby trap while on
In the Ho Bo Woods .... Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry conducted a reconnaissance mission
and made contact at 1332 hours, killing three Viet Cong (XT593277). Moving northwest, Company C
killed an NVA soldier at 1505 hours (XT566276) and at 1630 hours initiated a firefight with an enemy
force of unknown size, inccapacitating them with riot control agent (CS) and then destroying them in
place with artillery and gunships. Thirty-two Viet Cong were killed and eight weapons destroyed."
18 JUN 69
"......rockets and/or mortar rounds strick PB Dees (XT554272) four times during the day."
19 JUN 69
B Co KIA:
PFC Kenneth L. McFall (22) of Daytona Beach, FL perished in Hua Nghia Province.
E Co KIA:
SGT Thomas J. Bradley (21) of Minneota, MN died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia Province.
[Thomas' MOS was Heavy Vehicle Driver.]
20 JUN 69
There was a rocket attack on Trang Bang.
22 JUN 69
A Co. at Stuart. "Mud, mud, mud"
C Co. WIA
Sgt Don Drewry, 2nd Plt, from Texas, triggers a booby trap and looses both legs from the explosion.
23 JUN 69
D Co KIA:
SGT Fred McKinley Bailey (25) of New York, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.
"On 23 June, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry , on a reconnaissance mission of an area
(XT550280) engaged by artillery as a result of seismic sensor activations near the Ho Bo Woods, located
26 JUN 69
B Co WIA:
3rd platoon, platoon leader, 1Lt. W. Edwin "Ed" Errickson stepped on a mine outside of Dees and was
28 JUN 69
Elements of the 2/12th are up in the Citadel - working in the area of the June 5th battle. Artillery fire
killed 11 NVA.
"On 28 June, an artillery aerial observer, flying support of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry on a
reconnaissance mission operation, observed enemy soldiers in the Citadel north of Trung Lap
(XT560265) and engaged them with artillery. resulting in 11 NVA KIA, and four AK-47... and one RPG
rocket launcher destroyed.
30 JUN 69
Co. C engaged the VC/NVA in the western Ho Bo woods (just off Six Alpha) at (XT542305). Results: 7
VC/NVA KIA (BC).
"On 30 June, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, on a combat assault just north of the Ho Bo
Woods ... killed seven NVA and destroyed four AK-47 rifles."
About the end of June or beginning of July Alpha company got a new Commanding Officer - Capt.
Ronald J. Walters - to replace the wounded 1Lt. Troy Ross
2/12th is in the 2nd Brigade, 25th Div
Rear: Cu Chi
Forward: FSB Pershing
Hard Spots: PB Dees and PB Lorance
1 JUL 69
U.S. Armed Forces service numbers are replaced by Social Security numbers.
4 JUL 69
B Co KIAs:
PFC William R. McNelly (21) of Fort Mason, CA
PFC Johnny E. McIe (23) of Webster Springs, VA perished in Hua Nghia Province.
After a night on ambush and returning to base, a mine exploded causing Bravos' casualties. Alpha
company did a company sized RIF south-east of Pershing; hooked north between Pershing and Dees;
then returned to base. We refused to walk through a CLEARLY marked - in Vietnamese - mined and
booby trapped area. Employed the "Flying Wedge" to sweep those nasty (invisible) VC from a rice
paddy. "I remember 4 July 1969 because the guys shot their weapons and flares just after dark at FSB
Pershing and LTC John Mann got mad," recalled Capt. Charles Boyd - who was with battalion HQ at the
5 JUL 69
"The operations of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, results in total of 75 enemy killed during the two
week period. On 5 July, while on a reconnaissance mission in the Citadel north of Trang Bang
(XT518248), Company A uncovered a cache consisting of 36 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, 14 RPG rounds,
three Bangalore torpedoes, 84 60mm mortar rounds, 60mm mortar fuses, two complete 60mm mortars
and an SKS rifle. At 1630 hours that day, Company B sweeping an area east of the find (XT554223),
located seven NV soldiers who had been killed by artillery and air strikes. At 2035 hours that night, a
combat patrol from Company B, in the same general area (XT567219), engaged an unknown number of
enemy with organic weapons, AC-47 gunship, helicopter gunships and artillery."
6 JUL 69
Company B: "Sweeping the area .... morning, the patrol killed an enemy soldier and located seven
enemy bodies. Further search of the area disclosed that the enemy element, identified as part of the
83rd Rear Service Group, had been in the process of laying mines, and the infantrymen destroyed two
mines and a booby trap." [SOURCE: 25th Div AD5006604, Quarterly Report 31 July 69 page 28]
8 JUL 69
"On 8 July, the 116th Assault Helicopter Company, supporting the 2-12 Inf on a combat assault six
kilometers northwest of Cu Chi (XT588173), engaged an unknown number of enemy, resulting in 17
10 JUL 69
"On 10 July, Company D, on a reconnaissance mission in the Citadel (XT508245), engaged elements of
the 3rd Battalion, 268th Regiment with organic weapons, helicopter gunships and air strikes, resulting
in ten enemy killed and five weapons destroyed." [SOURCE: 25th Div AD506604, Quarterly Report OR-LL
ending 31 July 1969 page 28] ELSE WERE IN THE 2nd BRIGADE: On July 10, at Xa Sa Nho (1), northeast
of FSB Pershing, a captain of the 268th VC/NVA Regiment was captured by elements of the B/2/14th
Infantry (OPCON 1/5th Mech). For the next few days of intel was given by the captain. The source said:
the 268th Headquarters was in the Boi Lo XT532315, XT506332, and XT5132; and the 268th had just
received 459 new replacements; Sub-Region 1 communication center located XT605393
11 JUL 69
C Co KIA:
PFC Joseph A. Taisler (21) of Woodside, NY perished in Hua Nghia Province.
14 JUL 69
"On 14 July, the Combined Reconnaissance/Intelligence Patrol (2-12 Inf .... two 60mm mortar tubes,
two RPG rocket launcher, two light machine guns, 20 82mm mortar rounds, 3600 rounds of small arms
ammunition, five 60mm mortar rounds, nine anti-mines, 20 RPG rounds, 14 hand grenades, 10 rifle
grenades and 600 feet of communications wire."
15 JUL 69
"At 1000 hours six kilometers northeast of Trang Bang (XT528246), the Combined
Reconnaissance/Intelligence Patrol, 2-12 Inf, exploiting information gained from a prisoner-of-war ,
evacuated 48 rounds of 82mm mortar ammunition, 82 hand grenades, 10 rifle grenades, four RPG
rounds, seven anti-tank mines, 20 small arms magazines, one Bangalore torpedo, two RPG boosters, 2.5
pounds of explosives, two field telephones and 15 blasting caps.
17 JUL 69
C Co KIAs:
PFC Arlen D. Franken (21) of Sioux Center, IA perished in Hua Nghia Province;
SGT Michael G. Emeigh (20) of Port Huron, MI died of wounds (DOW) received in Hua Nghia.
19 JUL 69
"Late on the afternoon of 19 July, 1/8 Arty supported an airmobile assault by Company B, 2/12 Infantry
vicinity XT5927 [4 1/2 miles north-east-east of FSB Pershing near the Sinna Plantation.]. Aerial
observers sighted enemy personnel and structures at several points in the area of the infantry assault
and engaged them with artillery. All together 820 rounds of artillery were expended resulting in 20
enemy killed (body count) and 9 structures destroyed. The infantry captured 2 enemy soldiers,
detained 8 suspects and captured or destroyed numerous documents, weapons and supplies."
20 JUL 69
C Co KIA:
PFC Lee Tryon, Jr. (21) of San Diego, CA perished in Hua Nghia Province.
22 JUL 69
A Co. in Cu Chi for Stand Down
23 JUL 69
"On 23 July, a Viet Cong platoon leader had entered Luc Du hamlet (XT 494-206) to harass and
propagandize the people. Reacting to this report and gaining information on the possible location of
this man's unit, Companies C and D, 2nd Battalion, 12th infantry conducted a combat assault into an
area six kilometers northwest of Trung Lap (XT530230) on 27 July. A command and control helicopter
spotted a base area composed of six bunkers, and 10 spider holes with three interlocking tunnels, and
directed helicopter gunships over the area following air strikes. The two infantry companies swept the
complex, encountering only light resistance, and located 24 enemy killed, 14 AK-47 rifles, one 60mm
mortar with seven rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of small arms
ammunition and three pounds of medical supplies."
25 JUL 69
Co. A at Stuart. I wrote "It rains constantly. I think I've been dry twelve hours at a time only once in the
past week." It seems that there was a laundry supply problem in the 25th about this time - as we did
not receive a change of uniform for weeks. I recall taking off my socks one night and they were so
cruddy that they had formed a cast of my feet and were able to stand up on their own when I placed
them on the floor of our bunker.
27 JUL 69
Co. C & D conducted an air assault from FSB Pershing into the ever-troubling Ong Dam area (XT530230) -
- three klicks southeast of Pershing. They were looking for a VC unit that had earlier sent a
propagandist into Trang Bang north. A C&C chopper spotted a base area with six bunkers and ten spider
holes. The two companies encountered only light resistance, and located 24 enemy killed, 14 AK-47
rifles, one 60mm mortar with seven rounds of ammunition, 500 rounds of small arms ammo and three
pounds of medical supplies. The bunker complex was just SW of the "Little Rubber" plantation.
"... Company C engaged a sizable VC force and cut the enemy down further, by killing 24 NVA. They also
captured 500 enemy uniforms that were being carried by the destroyed NVA unit.
28 JUL 69
Medic SP4 Peter James "Doc" Gerry (18), Charlie Co, of Quincy, MA
A Co KIA:
PFC Howard W. Lakey (22) of Oklahoma City, OK perished in Hua Nghia Province.
"On 28 July, the 2nd Brigade dealt elements of the 268th Regiment and local Viet Cong elements
another devastating blow in a one-day operation code-named "Operation Nutcracker." The operation
arose out of information gained from a Hoi Chanh and targets spotted by the Tactical Imagery
Interpretation Section of the 25th Infantry Division Military Intelligence Detachment. It involved
elements from six infantry and one mechanized company with one Regional Force company supported
by four batteries of artillery [Words lost. - b.h.] first objective was located in the vicinity of XT579238
and was primary target of the operation, aimed at the capture of prominent Viet Cong official.
Companies A and D, and the Combined Recon/Intelligence Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, with
the Regional Force Company [Vietnamese. - b.h.] searched this area but only minor contact. Objective 3
(XT571245) was north of the primary target and searches by Companies B and C (2-14 Inf) also resulted
in minor contact. Companies C and D (2-14 Inf) then moved to Objective 4 (XT571252) while Company B,
1st Battalion, (Mechanized), 5th Infantry searched Objective 5 (XT575230). Companies A and C, 2nd
Battalion, 12th Infantry, met with an unexpected, large enemy force as they neared Objective 2
(XT565233) at 0958 hours where intelligence reports placed small number of local Viet Cong cadre. The
enemy force was well-entrenched and the two companies pulled back while air strikes were employed
to soften the enemy positions. Companies A and C attempted an assault but the enemy returned a
heavy volume of small arms and RPG fire. Additional air strikes were required to break the enemy's
resistance but a third assault by the two companies succeeded in overrunning the bunker complex. By
the end of the day, the Division forces counted 53 enemy killed and captured six prisoners-of-war. The
enemy had also lost 27 AK-47 rifles, four RPG rocket launchers, one .51 caliber heavy machine gun, one
K54 pistol, and 20 107mm rockets. Three Division soldiers were killed in the action and 13 wounded.
One light observation helicopter was shot down and classified as a combat loss."
On the 28th, Company A working out of Patrol Base Dees. A & C Co.'s involved in cordon & search in
the Citadel ran into a bunker complex.
The Tropic Lightning News ran a story on the July 28th firefight in the August 11, 1969 issue (Vol. 4 No.
32): OPERATION NUTCRACKER IS SWEET FOR FIRE BRIGADE CU CHI - In ten hours of fierce fighting ten
miles northwest of here, a joint effort by 2d Brigade units scored a heavy blow against enemy forces.
Aided by air strikes and gunships, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry; Alpha and
Charlie Companies of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry; and elements of the 2d Battalin, 14th Infantry,
combined firepower to put the squeeze on an estimated two battalions of North Vietnamese soldiers
during "Operation Nutcracker," in which 40 enemy were killed. The action started when the Warrior
companies began to push from open rice paddies into an area of hedgerows and abandoned hooches.
The 1/5 Bobcats were right with them. [NOTE: Actually, the Bobcats were at least a klick away from us. I
neversaw a 'track.'. Spent .50 caliber rounds fell amongst us periodically all day - as they usually do
when 'the mech' was around. - bh] According to Captain William Correia [1/5th?] of Warren, R.I., "As
soon as we moved into the area, several enemy began running from the hedgerow. We fired over their
heads [Hence the "spent" .50 cal rounds - Sarge] and they retreated into the thick brush." The target
was "softened" with artillery fire, and then the ground units moved in. Alpha Company platoon leader
2d Lieutenant Tony Harper of Jacksonville, Fla., stated, "We had just entered the woode area when we
noticed fresh sandal prints around some spider holes and tunnels. We held up and started to check
things out when the enemy opened up from a bunker." The mechanized company had not gone far,
either, before the first enemysoldier popped out of a hole with his AK-47 blazing. Specialist 4 Flaco
Conklin of New Haven, Conn., said, "I was manning the .50 caliber machine gun on my track when an
enemy soldier popped up out of his hole only three feet in front of us and started shooting his AK on
automatic at us. One shot creased my helmet. Luckily his weapon jammed, which saved my life."
Shortly thereafter the track driver, Alvarado Baltazar, Jr., dropped a grenade in the hole, killing the
occupant. Baltazar is from San Antonio, Tex. The mechanized company could move only 50 meters
farther before several automatic rifles opened up on it. Bobcat .50 caliber machine guns quickly
silenced the positions and drove the occupants from their well-camouflaged holes. Charlie Company of
the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry received enemy fire almost simultaneously and under similar
circumstances. Under the covering of fire from gunships, the Tropic Lightning troopers were pulled
back to allow artillery and air strikes to pound the enemy lair. Specialist 4 Juergen Marshall remarked,
"The air strikes and gunships really did a good job on that place. The first gunship slammed some
rockets into the bunker that was giving us the most trouble." Devastating artillery and air strikes
continued while the 2d Brigade units organized their re-entry into the enemy bunker complex.
Sporadic fire met the 25th Division troops. "We had to fight our way through that entire hedgerow,"
said Conklin. "NVA were coming up out of holes all over the place." "The holes were so well-concealed
and the enemy so patient," said Correia, "that we sometimes didn't make contact until after we had
passed their positions." When the Warriors moved back into the trouble spot, they made use of
grenades and LAWs against the enemy snipers. Private First Class Gene Loving of Chester, S.C., said,
"We were really working out with LAWs. We made a lot of direct hits on bunkers." By the time darkness
fell, 40 dead NVA had been discovered. Captured enemy weapons included 18 AK-47 assault rifles,
three RPG-2 launchers, one K-54 pistol, and one .51 caliber machinegun with tripod. Twenty 107mm
rockets were also discovered and destroyed. More than a pound of enemy documents was confiscated
during the engagement. After a hard day of fighting, the mechanized unit set up a night defensive
position near the contact area. Early the following day, they made another sweep, finding more
documents and assorted munitions. Three enemy suspects were detained. [SOURCE: Tropic Lightning
Co. B 1/5th MECH lost a man that day; Pfc.Paul Eugene Fabrisi, from Naugatuck, Connecticut, was killed
in action on 28Jul69. It was his 3rd month (to the day) in Vietnam.
EYEWITNESS story of July 28th:
""Alpha company moved northeast out of Patrol Base Dees towards the Citadel in column of twos. As
we moved through the rice paddies the artillery was coming in over our heads and crashing into the
wood line ahead. We never did get 'on line.' As we hit the edge of the woods the lead - point - platoon
entered the jungle and swung left. Our platoon - the First - turned left and was moving along in the rice
paddies parallel to the wood line. We hadn't gone far when the column stopped for no apparent
reason. Suddenly there was the sound of firing - a short firefight - from the woods where the point
platoon was. It turned out that the point had stopped to rest when an NVA popped up out of a hole
and sprayed the lead element - killing one, wounding several others, and stealing one of our own M-60
machine guns as he slipped back into the jungle. Our platoon [1st] was still in the open and we
hunkered down behind paddy dikes and waited for orders. Because I was the only one in Alpha to have
any CS gas, I was called forward. I crawled forward keeping a rice dike between myself and the wood
line." "As I neared the area of the firefight a Medivac helicopter was coming in for a landing on my left
front. Several soldiers emerged from the jungle with a wounded man on a stretcher. As the Medivac
came in it was taking fire from a machine gun. Our machine gun! As the helicopter settled down the
jungle finally 'masked' the NVA's line of sight, and the firing stopped. At this instant a photographer on
the chopper snapped a picture. [PHOTO below.] It captured the Aero Medic and stretcher bearers with
their charge. The blade-wash had blown the bush hat off the right rear soldiers head, and he
miraculously caught it and stuffed it in his mouth - without dropping the wounded man. The Dust off
departed without taking fire." "At a crouch I entered the tree line where the stretcher bearers had
come out - figuring that this was where the company commander might be. I had gone about twenty
yards into the thick jungle when I stumbled upon two GIs taking cover on the ground ready for a fight.
They were as surprised to see me walking upright as I was to see them. I had almost passed them by in
the thick jungle, and could have just as easily ran into two NVA as two GI's. It was stupid of me to go
running off into the bush without knowing the score. I asked them where the C.O. was and they
headed me in the right direction - I back tracked." "I found Alpha's command group hunkered down
behind a giant termite hill. I was asked to fire my one CS round at the enemy bunker across the field. I
did so. Because I didn't know where my platoon was, I decided to hang out with the command group
and wait to see what happened next." "The C. O. called "higher-higher," and a Loach bringing in CS gas
was called for. Yellow smoked was popped and the Loach started to land. It was shot down by the NVA
using OUR captured machine gun. The helicopter fell in a field between us and the NVA bunker. I saw it
in slow motion. WHRRRR - the Loach coming in. RAT-A-TAT-TAT -the captured M-60 firing. THUNK
THUNK THUNK - the Loach being hit. The high pitched whine of the Loach turned into a grinding sound
as the engine disintegrated. The helicopter fell into the field and shook itself to death - catching on fire
and sending massive clouds of CS gas all over the place. Scratch one light observation helicopter (LOH) -
model OH-6A, one each OD in color. Miraculously, the pilot and passenger - a major - escaped
unharmed. The major was PISSED! ď "Latter, the bunker was attacked from the flank and our machine
gun was taken back." - Sarge Holzhauer
.... on the 28th Company C joined Company A .... and the two units fought together to destroy 53 NVA,
capture six prisoners and four detainees. The battle also netted 27 AK's, four rocket launchers and (20)
107 mm rocket rounds, one .51 cal. machine gun, and one K_54 pistol. By the end of July, the enemies
hold over "the Citadel" was lost. The enemy reverted back to guerrilla tactics (Phase III) as their war of
movement (Phase IV) had met with failure. Now the enemy local forces, the infra-structure and Viet
Cong supporters became the targets of the battalion."
1LT TONY HARPER [Source: Florida State Times, Vol. 2 No. 2, August 1996. A publication of Florida
Rushing to an enemy bunker, hurling grenades and firing his weapon on the run, Tony Harper gave
his life to rescue a wounded American soldier and fight off the North Vietnamese firing on his men,
"Second Lieutenant Harper (he was promoted posthumously) distinguished himself by
exceptionally valorous actions," begins the citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross.
Harper was a platoon on a mission near Trang Bang on July 28, 1969 when his platoon came under
heavy fire from a concealed enemy bunker. A firefight followed, and a machine gunner was
wounded close to the enemy fortification. Harper tried to retrieve the wounded man, but intense
fire drove him back. He then organized volunteers to make the rescue. The volunteers crawled
several hundred yards and assaulted the enemy from both sides. While the others provided cover
fire, Harper rushed the enemy bunker. He was wounded by artillery, rocket and mortar fire, and
died two days later. "Through his aggressive leadership and actions, the hostile emplacement and
its occupants were eliminated [Four NVA.] and the body of the American soldier was recovered,"
read the citation. Harper, of Jacksonville, was the only veteran whose family could not be reached
by the ROTC, so little is known about his time at FSU. [Sarge's Note: The ROTC was dedicating a
memorial in their ROTC building in Tallahassee, FL.] At the ceremony unveiling the Wall of Honor,
the members of each family stood when the plaque was presented. When Harper's turn came, the
audience suddenly realized that no family member was present to rise for him. Without hesitation,
they all stood. "That was the most touching moment for me," said Sally Sperling, widow of First
Lieutenant Johnnie Stephens. "All those families had been through the same thing." [SOURCE:
Florida State University.]
PERSONAL STORY from SGT Holzhauer:
I (Holzhauer) have lots of memories Alpha company on July 28th: My RTO, Gordy Kimbel, and I
sharing a shallow depression in the ground as we were being shot at - with me being so frozen with
fear that I could not make myself move! I think the term is "scared shitless!" Lt. John McArthur in a
personal duel with an enemy in a hole who was shooting at McArthur with a pistol. McArthur was
crawling up on him in the middle of that open field the chopper went down in and McArthur wanted
that pistol - BAD! The 'Mech' was working in the area and their "spent".50 cal rounds would
occasionally land amongst us. Lieutenant McArthur was there -- as I recall, he was then with the 3rd
platoon, and Lieutenant Harper was honcho of the 2nd. My Platoon Leader during the battle was Lt.
Joseph. Both Joe Amari (Co. A, 1st platoon) and I remember that there were four NVA in the bunker
and that the Scouts went in and pulled their bodies out with a rope. The bodies were laid out and
one of the VC guts were spilled out like a plate of spaghetti. As we were leaving the area, several
'Shaped Charges' were placed on a number of bunkers in the area and they didn't let us know where
they were, only that they had lit the fuses. Kind of scary - almost running through those woods - not
knowing if we were about to be blown up! We then moved off a safe distance and the Air Force
worked over the area.
Charlie company's 3rd platoon, Platoon Leader Lt. Billy Duncan (now LTC Duncan) recalls; " [We
were] on the operation on 7/28/69 when we made contact - along with you guys from Alpha - and it
was my medic Peter Gerry who was killed." Duncan goes on to speak of some of the men during this
time, "Captain Jim Bailey was CO [of Charlie company] 'till replaced by Capt. Michael Neuman. First
Platoon Leader... 1Lt. James Parker. My Platoon Sergeant was Staff Sergeant Studebaker; and Squad
Leaders were Sgt.Volk (KIA in April 1970), Brady, and Massey."
29 JUL 69
"At 2045 hours that that evening, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, at Fire Support Base Pershing
(XT518256), having detected movement with radar, engaged ten enemy with artillery, killing all of
THE NIGHT THAT THE TWO LIEUTENANTS DIED
30 JUL 69
A Co KIAs:
2LT John D. McArthur (25), 3rd platoon, of Somerville, MA
1LT Tony Harper (24), 2nd platoon, of Jacksonville, FL perished in Hua Nghia Province.
"At 2205 hours that night, Patrol Base Dees (XT554227), the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, received 10
rounds of 82mm mortar fire, resulting in one Division soldier killed and three wounded.." [SOURCE:
25th Div Quarterly Report OR-LL for period May 1 to July 31, 1969 page 38 Section 1 Operations ]
A tragic night at Patrol Base Dees that is forever etched into the minds of the soldiers of Alpha who
were present; and remembered as "the night the two lieutenants were killed."
I [Holzhauer] had a one man sandbagged sleeping bunker at the time. It was getting towards dark
when the first mortar round exploded outside the wire near me. I saw the smoke and a second
round exploding between the wire and the berm. They were walking the rounds in and right
towards me. I dove into my bunker just as the third round landed beyond me and in the perimeter.
It was this round that got the two lieutenants and wounded several mortar men who were
preparing to fire 'Counter-Mortar.' Lieutenants Harper and McArthur were running from a tent
towards the Command Bunker when the mortar round caught them.