Loc Ninh 1967
Loc Ninh November 1967

Death Among the Rubber Trees -- Printout -- TIME

Friday, Nov. 10, 1967

Death Among the Rubber Trees

The district town of Loc Ninh, some 70 miles north of Saigon, was a company town and, until last week, a
tranquil and prosperous one. Most of its 10,000 inhabitants worked for a giant French rubber plantation,
the Societe des Caoutchoucs d'Extreme-Orient, whose trees marched away row upon row, mile after mile,
across the low hills toward the Cambodian border.

Overlooking the town stood the red-roofed villas of the French plantation managers. Tropical flowers
climbed their villa walls from green lawns, and their country club boasted a large swimming pool and a
red-clay tennis court -the remnants of a prewar colonial past.  The wartime present in Loc Ninh was
embodied in four under strength Vietnamese irregular force companies and an American Special Forces
unit, both of which were assigned to guard the town's airstrip and the district sub-sector headquarters, a
rambling set of old French buildings and bunkers ringed by concertina wire and crowned by an improbable,
rickety observation tower. Down the airstrip from the headquarters (see map) was an only slightly more
substantial, diamond-shaped Special Forces camp, its walls made of logs and earthworks like something
out of the old American West.

To the Viet Cong's main-force 272nd and 273rd Regiments, assigned the task of spoiling South Viet Nam's
inaugural week with a major victory, Loc Ninh must have seemed an ideal target: a district headquarters
defended by under force irregulars and a handful of Americans, close both to the Viet Cong's source of
supplies and to the sanctuary of the Cambodian border only nine miles away. They were wrong: in a week
of fighting, the Viet Cong suffered their biggest defeat since the twelve-day battle around Khe Sanh last
May, when they lost 1,200 men.  The Viet Cong struck just after midnight one night last week, pouring a
rain of rocket and mortar rounds on the Special Forces camp and on the sub-sector compound. Part of their
273rd Regiment roared into the undefended town itself,took it over and used its dispensary to treat Viet
Cong wounded. At the same time, other elements of the 273rd attacked the subsector compound from the
north and west, filtering through the gloom of the rubber trees and throwing themselves against the guns
of the 105 men inside. 

Despite bombing and strafing by U.S. jets and helicopters zooming in to aid the defenders, the
headquarters soon appeared doomed. Punching through the wire, the Viet Cong raced from building to
building, setting each afire. They silenced the bunkers one by one, dropping grenades through their slits.
Soon only the command bunker and one other were still firing back, and in the command bunker
CaptainTran Minh Cong and his twelve men were running out of ammunition. So Captain Cong radioed for
Vietnamese army artillery to zero right in on his bunker. The artillerymen were reluctant to do so at first,
but Cong, as he explained later, was unworried: "This is the best bunker in Viet Nam, even if you hit it with
a B-52." Thereafter, every time the Viet Cong swarmed over the bunker, fused shells set to go off in the air
blasted them. By dawn, a South Vietnamese relief company, helilifted to the rescue from Phu Loi, 60 miles
away, was able to launch a counterattack out of the Special Forces camp. They drove the Viet Cong back
into the rubber trees, forcing them to leave behind more than 100 of their dead.

Bleeding White Sap.

Meanwhile, the U.S. 1st Division's reaction force was moving in reinforcements. The first to arrive were
two helilifted batteries of 105-mm howitzers and two rifle companies, the vanguard of two battalions. A
third battalion later followed and began sweeping the rubber groves east of Loc Ninh.  It proved an eerie
enterprise. Moving down the corridors between the evenly spaced, parallel rows of trees, the troops were
frequently brought up short by jungle birds whose screeches mimicked the whine of bullets. The almost
purple earth underfoot teemed with a fierce breed of red ant whose bite meant torment.  But the battalion
soon did some tormenting of its own. Running into a company of Viet Cong, it killed 83 in a four-hour
firefight that left the bullet-punctured rubber trees bleeding white sap.  Despite their heavy losses, the
Viet Cong tried again next day, this time attempting a two-pronged attack from the east across the airstrip
runway. It was a disastrous tactic; a howitzer at the south end of the field was in a position to fire right
down the runway-"like shooting down a bowling alley," as one of the gunners put it. As the Viet Cong, 30
and 40 at a time, tried to sprint across the strip, the big howitzer shells exploded in their midst. The
gunners fired off 575 rounds during the battle, blistering the paint on the lone gun's barrel. Helicopter
gunships laced the Viet Cong from above with their mini-guns, and Air Force jets made one screaming run
after another, dropping anti-personnel bombs. The few Viet Cong who survived the lethal gauntlet to reach
the strip'swest side were caught in a murderous crossfire between the Special Forces camp and the
subsector compound. Again, more than 100 Viet Cong died.

Douse That Light!

Next day was the only quiet one in Loc Ninh's bloody week. The Vietnamese irregulars dug huge pits for
the Viet Cong dead, washed their clothes in the French Club's swimming pool and helped themselves to
the wine cellar. Because the Viet Cong had returned each night to occupy the town itself for a few hours,
the villagers were evacuating it by the thousands. To try to build up their morale, the 1st Division sent in
medics and armored personnel carriers, and the division band went oompahing through the streets in full
battle dress, brass horns gleaming in the sun. The effort was unsuccessful. Understandably frightened by
the ferocity of the battle, the villagers continued to stream southward, their possessions on their backs. By
week's end Loc Ninh was virtually a ghost town.  To the surprise of U.S. commanders, the Viet Cong stayed
around despite their losses. Next night the fighting resumed, in perhaps as weird a contact as either side
has made in the war. About 8 p.m. a group of men walked through a U.S. company's command post, one of
them with a flashlight in his hand. "Douse that light," snarled a U.S. sergeant major, at the same time
noticing that the offender was wearing black pajamas and carrying a Chinese AK-47 gun. But the group
kept right on walking, and it was several startled seconds before everybody started firing. Four of the Viet
Cong were captured, one by a young lieutenant who hit him with a football body block and a right to the
jaw. Later that same night, the Viet Cong massed among the trees for another attack across the runway
but were driven off by U.S. jets. Still another large force of Viet Cong tried to overrun a U.S. battalion
positioned west of Loc Ninh; they were forced back in bloody combat, suffering 200 dead.

By the fifth day of the battle for Loc Ninh, the enemy had lost more than 900 men in their frantic, futile
efforts to seize it. Allied losses were fewer than 50 dead.


Tropic Lightning News

2/12TH INF KILLS 94

DAU TIENG - Five miles northeast of Loc Ninh, 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, soldiers killed 94 Viet Cong in a
pitched battle that lasted over six hours. Seven of the enemy were detained. There were three Americans
killed and 30 wounded.

The heated battle began near midnight with mortar and rocket fire preceding the main three-pronged
ground attack. Several probes of the battalion perimeter had been thwarted earlier in the evening.

The 2nd Bn, 12th Inf., commanded by LTC R. D. Tice, was pulled out of the Boi Loi Woods on the
morning of the battle, and trucked to Dau Tieng. The last of the huge transport planes landed at the small
Special Forces Camp 110 Kms north of Saigon late in the afternoon.

From Loc Ninh, the battalion was heli-lifted into a small egg-shaped landing zone big enough for only
three choppers at a time. The "White Warriors" were to set up a defensive perimeter on the reverse slope
of a hill just south of one of the huge rubber plantations which dot the area.

Almost before the men had a chance to dig in, the probings of the perimeter began. Eight Viet Cong
moved stealthily through the perimeter until they were cut down by Delta Co. The main attack began
shortly after midnight when 30 rounds of mortar fire and RPG-rocket rounds pounded the battalion's
perimeter. A ground attack followed. Fighting at hand grenade range, the infantrymen repelled attackers
throughout the night.

Some of the Viet Cong penetrated the perimeter only to be chopped down or captured. "My RTO told
me that there was a Charlie right outside my CP," said 2LT Earnest Tuggle of Oklahoma City, Okla. "We
took a small party of four men and crawled out of the bunker and there he was, lying under a log playing
possum."

Artillery and airstrikes pounded the surrounding area with one airstrike as close as 75 meters from
the eastern edge of the perimeter. "Spooky" ships also blanketed the area with their deadly rain of fire.
Contact was broken early the next morning only to have the Viet Cong attempt a probe again while using
villagers from the rubber plantation to screen their movement. Men of the battalion pulled the villagers
into the perimeter to save their lives and returned the fire.

"They really wanted to overrun us last night," said Tice, "but the men fought very well. I'm proud of
them."


Tropic Lightning News

SGM Wanted To Bust Him, But He's In Wrong Army

DAU TIENG - When an Army sergeant major sees any of his troops in the field violating noise or light
discipline he usually lets them know it - and fast. This is exactly what SGM Yukio Suenishi of the 2nd Bn,
12th Inf "White Warriors," did recently - but the man with the flashlight was not a member of his battalion.
The 3rd Bde, 25th Div, battalion had set up their command post for the night in a small clearing northeast
of Loc Ninh. At about 9:30 p.m., Suenishi saw a group of men heading toward him through the rubber trees.
The lead man was carrying a flashlight.  "When they got to my position, I grabbed the lead man by the
shoulder and asked him what they were doing with the light on, and walking in the dark," related the
Hawaiian veteran. "He just shrugged my shirt grabbing tactics and the eight men quickly moved on."

When the wandering group reached Delta Co's position, a few feet from Suenishi, they were recognized as
Viet Cong and the lead man was tackled by 2Lt John R. Oosterhuis of Ogilvie, Minn.  The aggressive young
officer wrenched the AK-47 assault rifle from the Viet Congs hands, as the other Charlies scattered within
the battalion's defensive perimeter. One by one, the White Warriors hunted down the remaining VC in the
dark, until two hours later, four Viet Cong were killed and four suspects were detained. There were no US
casualties.


BATTLE MEMORIES

These memories will be updated as more are received.  They are presented without editing. 

Dewight Oilar  1st Plt  Co D

My memories of Loc Ninh are not very detailed. I have some pictures that I took there. I will bring them to
the reunion. Most of them are taken the day after. One of them shows Larry, Jones and Thompson finishing
up a foxhole the next morning.I show the hole was less than waist deep with no overhead cover.

If I remember correctly we didn't get there until late in the afternoon. That is one of the reasons our
fighting positions were not as well prepared as they should have been.

It was late in the evening, almost dark. There was some adjustment made to the lines. Whoever was the
right of our company had been given an LP position. It was decided that they were needed on the line, so it
came down that our platoon had to man that LP. Myself and 2 or 3 others were selected for that duty. I
seems like they pull one man out of each of a fighting position for that detail. I don't remember who the
others were. I think Joe Bastidas may have been one of them.

As I remember it, was in the edge of a rubber plantation, there was a mild upslope to the west. In between
every other or every third row of trees there was a 3 or 4 foot high burm following the contour of the hill.
The LP we relieved had dug a shallow fox hole, less than a foot deep of the east slope of the burm, facing
our lines. The hole was not wide enough for all of us to lay next to each other. 

It seems like it was an hour or two after we got into position, we started hearing noises. We had a Starlight
scope with us, but under the canopy of the rubber trees it wasn't effective and we couldn't see anything.
We called it in and were told to stay in position. After a short time the noises became more distinct and we
were hearing the clinking metal hitting metal. We called in again to report and request to come back into
our lines. Were told to stay in position. We had just signed off when the unmistakable sound of mortars
firing in the distant. A few second later they were impacting our LZ. We got into the shallow foxhole there.
As I said earlier it wasn't big enough for all of us. I ended up laying on top of some one, mostly exposed.
The mortar barrage ended, we called on the radio that LP1 was coming in, before we received a reply all
Hell broke loose.

Machineguns, Ak's and RPGs spitting out their green and white tracers. Heard our Claymores being
detonated. Our men firing back, their red tracers streaming outward, to our left, to our right, over our
heads.I think that was the heaviest volume of fire I experienced during my tour didn't know who was going
to kill us, the VC or our own comrades, but I was sure we were going to die that night. The opening fights
of Tet and the April 17th ambush, or our Mad Minutes couldn't match the intensity of fire. 

I don't know about the others, but I couldn't will myself to stop shaking with fear. I had pulled my rifle in
close to my body. I got the grenade out of my leg pocket, held it with my right hand with my left index
finger through the pin ring. After a period of time we started receiving some fire support from artillery.
Every time a salvo hit there would be a slight pause in the firing from the VC. It seemed to be too far away,
( a couple hundred yards) I wanted it closer! We could call back to have it brought in closer as there were
VC right on the other side of the burm from us. They would have surely heard us. I hated it when the flares
started going off. It seemed like they were spot lights shining right down on us. 

At one point there was a VC standing on top of the burm within three feet of us. I got the impression that
he was a leader, because I didn't see a weapon. My shaking stopped then, I was stiff with fear. I don't
know how he didn't  see us. It seemed like he was there for an hour, though in reality it was probably only
three or four seconds.

Some time during the fight I saw one of our machine gunners, I believe it was Barry Work dueling with one
of their machine gunners. The VC gunner was set up next to a rubber tree. I'd see a burst of green tracers
from his gun, then it would be answered by a burst of red tracer from Barry's gun. Barry's fire was a couple
of feet too high. They went back and forth several times. Finally Barry lowered his fire and killed two of
them on that gun. 

I remember jets coming in, hearing their 20mm's firing that distinctive double roar. I heard them dropping
bombs. I thought they were way off target. Later found out they had spotted a concentration of VC at a
rallying/assembly point and really plastered them. Finally Puff the Magic Dragon showed up and let go
with his red fire hose of death. 

As best as I can remember it wasn't too long after that the fighting stopped. After it was quiet for a couple
of minutes our RTO called in that LP1 was coming in. We all jumped up running to the line shouting "LP
ONE COMING IN!!  LP ONE COMING IN!!" I don't know how much longer after we got back in they launched
a second assault. It didn't last very long and didn't seem as intense. I believe I was able to shoot to VC
during that assault as I knew where to look for them.

The next morning we did a sweep of the area. I know there were several spots where we found "graves",
dug them up and they would be full of arms and legs. Not too far from where our LP was I found a trench
knife whose handle was repaired with trip wire. I still have it. I know by the end of the day we had
overhead cover on all of our foxholes. They still weren't that deep. I recall every ones fatigues being
stained red from the dirt

I don't recall us making any other contact after that night. I know on one of our patrols we got into leeches
and had to stop to pick them off of each other. I also remember being attacked by the bees. Jones and
Miles were our flankers. I looked out and saw them dancing and thought "what a couple of crazy MFers".
About that time I got stung along with everyone else. We all took off running. Finally some one got smart
and started yelling to "Pop Smoke"!  Some dropped their machinegun and refused to go back to get it.
Several people had to be MedEvaced out. The FO's eyes were swollen shut and he couldn't even see. 

The very last part of the excitement of Loc Ninh was when we came back to Dau Teing in the C130 on the
first attempt to land the pilot had to abort the landing. He gave it full power and made a steep climb. The
G forces made my helmet seems it weighed 40 pounds. When we did land the pilot gave it full reverse
throttle as soon as he touched down and we still use every bit of the runway.

That is pretty much everything I remember of Loc Ninh. One after note, I remember Hanoi Hannah (not
Jane Fonda) claiming that we were later were wiped out as revenge for the unit that attacked us that night.
I don't know it the Big Red One's division commander thank us for our actions or if that was just an article
in the Tropic Lightening?

Please let me know of any false memories, additional information, your Loc Ninh memories, etc.

Larry Bland  1st Plt   Co D

I was there along with Jim, Kenneth, the twins, Hardeman, Oilar, Miles, Jones,Thompson and others. I think
Ron was our Platoon leader. I was one of the guys sent out front to get the ammo that was dropped out
side of the perimeter. Jim Hardeman was another one, they kept popping flares so we could see the cases,
but it sure recked our night vision.  I think Dewight was one of the LP's out front in the rubber trees that
ended up stuck out there for awhile. My fox hole was about two or three to right of 4th Platoon where the
mortars hit. I think I was in it with Kenneth, Hardeman and someone else, can't remember who, maybe
Dewight? He got picked for LP. I know it was not very deep because of the hard ground and we ran into
ants.

I think they found one of the gooks laying beside a tree trunk about 10 yards behind our position, that had
been knocked down to create the LZ.

When the jets came in they told us to get in our holes and keep our heads down. It was a good thing since
a couple of pieces of shrapnel hit right next to our hole. I carried one around for awhile, but lost it.

I know Terry and Jerry threw Miles and Jones out of the fox hole they had cause they would not help dig it,
since the ground was so hard. They tried to say it was because they were prejudice, but Jerry said if you
don't dig you don't get in. They were digging their own pretty quickly, while the fighting was going on.
Funny the things you remember sometimes.


Ron Hendricks 1st Plt Co D

I only remembered being in a big fight in the woods with a lot of action until I talked with Dick Newport
just prior to the reunion in 2007.  He reminded me that we were in a part of the Loc Ninh battle.  Here is
what I remember about the battle at Loc Ninh.  We were on routine S&D near Dau Tieng on 2 Nov when we
were brought back to Dau Tieng.  We were picked up by C130s and flown into a small airstrip that I now
remember to be Loc Ninh.  It was now fairly late in the afternoon.  We were picked up by helicopter (unit
unknown) and lifted into a cold LZ.  The 2/12th was now OPCON to 3d BDE 1st ID.  The LZ was so small
only three helicopters could land at a time.  As I remember we, the first platoon, were either the first or
second lift going in.  By the time the battalion was totally inserted it was close to dark.  The LZ was the
North sector of the perimeter.  First platoon D Company was assigned the clearing, 4th platoon under LT
Tuggle was to the right and was in wooded area next to the rubber.  To the right of 4th platoon was, I
believe, 2d platoon under LT Oosterhuis (double O). I don't remember where 3d platoon was located.

The company CP was to the right rear of 1st platoon.  We tied into A Company on the left in the woods. 
We started digging in and found that it was like trying to dig thru concrete.  With me were PSG Holland,
Jim Hekker, a medic, I think Ed Gray, and another RTO who's name I don't recall (appears to have been Joe
Bastidas).  We were attempting to dig a hole large enough for all of us but because the ground was so
hard I told every one to wait until daylight to finish digging in.  BIG, BIG mistake on my part. We had a hole
about 5 feet by 2 feet by about 1 foot deep.  Just to the rear of our hole was a lopped off clump of bamboo
about 2-3 feet tall.  WE were fanned out around the stump.  I remember a lot of shouting and scuffling in
the 4th platoon area.  A few Dinks had walked into the 4th platoons position.  Lt Tuggle had one pinned
down with the huge knife he carried.  More noise and scuffle from the area to right of 4th platoon.  Lt OO
was digging in his hole and a dink came up and squatted at the edge watching him.  OO took him out with
an entrenching tool.  Things quieted down and we settled in for the night.

I had just dozed off, must have been around midnight when all hell broke loose.  Mortar rounds were
landing everywhere.  I woke up in the bottom of our tiny hole with four guys on top of me.  I did not sleep
again for over 72 hours.  Not that I didn't have the opportunity, just couldn't sleep. We were under attack,
later determined to be an VC regiment.  The majority of the fighting took place to the right of 1st platoon in
the rubber.  We began to get supporting fire from gunships, artillery, and air force. Between the flares and
tracers it was so light you could have read a newspaper.  I remember a pair of jets working the right side
(East?) of the perimeter.  One would roll in then the other closely behind.  Big green tracers would fly up
toward the jets, just behind them.  Finally they caught on and the first one came in but the second hung
back.  As the first one came in the green tracers went up again.  The second jet then attacked the site
where the tracers were coming from with CBUs.  No more tracers.  I do not remember how long we were in
contact.  It seems like it was getting light when the fight subsided.

We (1st platoon) didn't have any frontal attack by the NVA that night.  I do recall our machine guns
engaging an enemy MG firing to our front.  Shortly after dawn we were attacked again.  The NVA were
herding civilians in front of them for protection.  It didn't work but unfortunately some civilians were
casualties.  We went out on a sweep later and found a lot of evidence that a lot of bodies had been drug
away.  We also found where the jet had dropped the CBUs.  Everything was totally shredded, but
amazingly there were some live chickens wandering around.  A footnote, by the time the sun came up our
hole was big enough that all 5 of us could stand up in it at the same time. We got mortared again the next
morning, one landing directly in front of our hole.  Jim Hekker and I both took shrapnel to the face and
chest.  That's when I quit wearing glasses as a piece of shrapnel hit me square between the eyes and
snapped my glasses in two.  After the battle, I think it was on the 5th or 6th of Nov MG Hay, the 1ID CG
flew in and brought a foot locker of ice cream for the battalion.  I believe we operated out of that position
for nearly a week and got mortared a couple of times.


Bob Ault HQ DET 2/12th

I also remember this battle well. The ride in the C-130 was extremely hot and the ride on the chopper into
the LZ was not much better. It was my first battle after being assigned the job of RTO for the S 2.  FSGT
Giles was the person I reported to.  When we approached the LZ I remember seeing a body pinned to a
tree several feet off the ground.  I was told later that it was a Cong that had been hit with a 105 round
filled with darts.  Not really sure if that was true.  We did not land on the ground, but had to jump out or
the chopper hovering above the ground.  I was carrying a radio, pack and rifle with extra ammo. When I hit
the ground my glasses went flying, which left me blind.  Here I was feeling around the grass for my glasses
when another group of choppers came into the LZ. I had no choice but to move out of the way waiting for
the next group of guys to hit the ground. I got one person, whom I never got his name, to lead me to the
Battalion CP, where I let FSGT Giles know what happened.  I was unable to see well enough to operate the
radio, so I ended up trying to dig a fox hole.  The ground in that area was made up of laterite, an iron
bearing soil and like those who were there know it was like digging solid rock.  By dark I had a hole that
was maybe eighteen inches deep and not more than twenty four inches wide and thirty inches long.  It
wasn't big enough to cover half of my body. 

When the mortar rounds hit that night I was near a clump of bamboo. My first instinct was grab my
weapon and head for the hole that was ten feet away.  By the time I got there it was occupied by FSGT
Giles. At that point the only cover I had was the bamboo.  As I headed back to the bamboo I heard the SGM
Suenishi yell get down and I dropped and kissed Mother Earth.  I am not sure how long after that someone
went running past me and almost tripped over my leg.  Without my glasses I could not tell who it was, but
a few shots from the SGM in that direction made it clear that it was not one of ours.  The fighting went on
through most of the night, or at least it seemed that way. To say I was shaking in my boot would be an
understatement. I was unable to tell who was who and I dared not use my rifle.

I remember early the next morning the VC had taken what villagers that were left and made them walk in
front as they advanced on our perimeter. People were yelling get down and then the gun fire started. Again
I was unable to see anything and I got my information from FSGT Giles and possibly the SGM. One thing
about the SGM I seem to remember he used a Thompson submachine gun and not an M-16,  I may be
wrong on that point.

I remember seeing a VC body near the command post, but again I was without my glasses, and could only
tell that because of his black clothing.  That day I remember digging, for hours, a larger bunker. I remember
felling a small tree and cutting it up with a machete for roof supports. This was all done without the
benefit of my glasses.  Glasses were ordered for me and they showed up the following day. What a way to
get my first combat experience.  Blind.


Charlie Page 4th Plt - Co D

Battle Of Loc Ninh--11-2 & 11-3-1967

Our battalion was taken off of an operation in the Boi Loi Woods, and returned to Dau Tieng on morning of 11/2.
A Co. was trucked back to Dau Tieng. We re-supplied and waited at Dau Tieng airstrip for C-130's to take us to Loc
Ninh. There was an attempt on 11/1 by VC to overrun the Loc Ninh airstrip and base there. 2/12 was sent there to
reinforce the area. We loaded an entire Co. in a C-130. We were sitting on the floor, packed pecker to butt. We
brought our 81 MM mortars with us. After landing at Loc Ninh, we sat on the airstrip for several hours. We could
see the blasted rubber trees at edge of the airstrip.VC bodies were pinned to several trees by artillery "beehive"
rounds. Four C-130's transported the whole Battalion.

Finally the slicks came to pick us up for the 6 mile flight to our LZ. It was about 4 pm. Only 3 slicks could land in
the LZ at one time. It was slightly sloping South ground. When my ship landed, we saw a VC with a plaid shirt on,
running North from the LZ, toward the rubber trees. We were told to dig in. The ground was hard as a rock.
Hardest ground I ever encountered. My 2 mortars were set out in the open area, about 25 yards from our CP, and
about 25 yards from our section of the perimeter. You could only dig a slit trench about 12 inches deep.

About 10 pm, the VC mortared us, and started their ground attack on 3 different sides of the perimeter. The VC
had one row of rubber trees and our guys had the next row. We were bayonet and hand grenade range. Myself
and another mortarman, Jim Bisson stayed at our tubes, and fired at perimeter targets with HE rounds. We also
fired illumination rounds. The sardine can openers on the illumination containers were breaking off. I told the
guys to use their P-38 can openers  to open them. It worked. We had an enemy machine gun sending green
tracers about 3 feet over our heads. We eventually knocked them out. I had to yell over to our CP to get me more
targets & directions to them. We were firing so close to our own lines that we stripped the powder bag charges
off the rounds and just used the shotgun round detonators  to fire the shells. That would propel them a
maximum of 400 yds.


About 2 am, we were running low on mortar ammo. The BIG RED ONE sent a slick out with ammo. Three of us
guys ran out and unloaded it. We were out of range for artillery support, so PUFF the MAGIC DRAGON showed up
and put on an amazing display of Mini-Guns and flares. Then the AIR FORCE sent in 2 F-100 SUPER SABRES to drop
bombs outside our perimeter. They were close and I could see red & green lights in the cockpit and the pilotís
helmet (A side note--I met 1 of those pilots in 1969 in Hermosa Beach, Ca.). By 5 am the fighting was over. At
about 5:30 am, the VC tried another small assault using nearby villagers walking in front of them. It didn't
succeed.

The fighting was close and intense. There was no moon that night so it was hard to see anybody. 8-10 VC got
inside the perimeter, but were captured or killed. We suffered 3 KIAís about 30 wounded. We stayed up there
for several more days patrolling in the area and finding lots of dead & buried VC and partial bodies. They
mortared us several days later with no casualties. They brought out our HHC Co. to bolster our perimeter. A HHC
guy was at the foxhole next to mine and he accidently shot himself in the chest with a .38 pistol. Doc Jerry
Swilley put an IV in him but he died on the slick.

I was in charge of 3 captured VC and 3 bodies at the LZ about 6 am on morning of 11/3/67. One of the ponchos
covering a body flew open, and I saw the remains inside which was not good and I will not describe the condition
here. The other two remains remained closed. We loaded the three bodies, then stuffed the prisoners on top of
the bodies and into a storage compartment( to punish them ?) and watched the slick take off
Loc Ninh 1967
On this page you will find many first hand accounts of the battle at Loc Ninh in 1967 by the men who participated in the fighting. These are their stories of what they saw and experienced. - Sarge
Battle for Loc Ninh by Jim Bisson, Alpha Co.
Posted courtesy of Alpha Association's Bill Comeau and author, Jim Bisson. Published in the April issue 2010, Alpha's Pride.
Click here to read Jim's story