The attack of Sunday, June 14th, 1970
This is the most storied occasion I have ever known of in or out of the military. Everybody had a story, a retelling of this attack & they were all exciting! Wow! What a terrible night! These are some of the things I heard:
- When the shooting started, several NVA were either already over the berm or on it. They had been working their way through the “wire” & were tying up the trip flares with bamboo strips. Someone told me the shooting really started when a trip flare was set off by a sapper.
- A sapper actually made it all the way to the medical bunker, somehow hid himself on top & began sniping at anyone he could. Doc Schramm has mentioned this many times. He also told me his vacant sleeping bunker was hit by an RPG which burned through the sand bags & culvert & exploded inside.
- Several of the bunkers, maybe three(?) were over run by the sappers & were only recaptured later as Echo CO, Cpt Crutcher, firing an M-79 grenade launcher, lead some determined GI’s to get them back. F_ckin’ Outstanding!
- There was a spotlight or two(?) which were mounted on jeeps. Those intrepid individuals of the light crew drove onto the berm with their lights aimed out over the perimeter & turned them on! Many of the grunts & GI’s mentioned this…they said it just rained RPG rockets all aimed at the lights, which couldn’t have lasted 15 seconds, if that. Somehow no one was killed!
- No GI’s were killed that night. Amazing!
- The howitzers dropped their cannon barrels & began firing “canister” rounds over the berm. Canister rounds! Grapeshot! Give ’em a taste of the grapeshot lads!
- Mortars! God Bless the Echo Co. mortar platoon. Buynak has said they started firing illumination rounds early. There was activity & nervous GI’s were calling in. He was on duty in the FDC, Fire Direction & Control. He said Nick was also in the FDC & they were nervously guarding the door, worried they might be a target for the sappers. I have a copy of a roster from May 31, 1970. I’ll see if I can sort out who the “11-charlies” that are on it & post that later. They fired over 1500 high explosive rounds that night, in addition to over 600 illum rounds. Man oh man!
- Doc Coleman was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery that night, but I don’t know any of the details. It would be great if someone could fill us in on that.
- Sadly we learned that the night after the attack some of the NVA got close enough to fire a single recoilless rifle round into the base & killed a sleeping trooper.
As for myself, I was on LZ Kuhn with the rest of Recon. We had our own problems, some of which I related in Defending LZ Kuhn, earlier in this blog. All I can say about this attack is: Beau coup VC! Number 10! No good! Dinky Dau!
Michael Baker says
Wow, I just found your site, brings back a lot of memories from that night and the whole Cambodia incursion. I was working one of the mortar pits that night. I remember firing lots of illum because of the fog & plenty of HE, we didn’t have much left by the time they broke off the attack. Doc was a great guy.
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Michael Crutcher says
For Dave Adams & Nick Mychajluk,
I have submitted another comment on the number of mortar rounds fired and my opinion that the mortars made a HUGE difference that night. There were four bunkers we had to take back, and when we could not dislodge them from the fourth bunker with small arms fire, I had someone bring up a 90mm recoilless rifle and that stopped the green tracers coming from the bunker. I think the bunkers at that end of the FSB had been occupied by some brigade troops as FSB David was pretty big. There also was a young commo SGT Goldsworthy with me that night, from the brigade troops, who stuck with me the entire night, at one point saving my life when an NVA had a bead on me. He fought well, and I put him in for a Silver Star, which he was awarded. He would have made a good 11B!
As regards a soldier killed by an enemy recoilless rifle, I think that happened a few nights later, maybe even a week later. Most of the brigade troops had left David and our manning on the perimeter was a bit thin. We took a couple of rounds of–we think–75mm recoilless. Unlike the night of 13/14 June, however, it was clear as a bell, and pretty soon an AC-130 showed up and worked over an area to the east of FSB David and got a couple of secondary explosions; when it was time for the AC-130 to “go home” another one showed up to relieve him. That was a very tense but in the long run quiet night. Tragically, one GI was killed, I think he was from Delta Company.
Fred Corn…. one of the finest soldiers and men I ever met. I was saddened to hear of Fred’s premature passing.
Nick, we ought to collect all the memories we can from the mortar guys and put them together. Would make a hell of a story, with the mortars being the difference between life and death when we had no air support and no supporting artillery fires other than our own direct support battery.
Finally, the Stars and Stripes article mentions 12 wounded Americans, but I remember a count of 34. My number may include those who suffered only minor wounds, as did I, with one piece of shrapnel above my left eye and one in my right hand, both probably from an RPG/B40.
If anyone thinks I’m wrong on any of these recollections, please speak up and set me straight.
Proud to be associated with you guys! If my health holds up, I’ll try to make the next reunion!
David Adams says
Thanks for commenting, I hope we can hear more from the mortar platoon about this night.
Nick Mychajluk says
Thanks for mentioning me along with Bob Buynak. Fred Corn, God rest his soul, received a Silver Star for his efforts that night. It was pretty surreal that night.
Where are you? We have been trying to find you for years?
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