Battery Fires New Howitzers - Honor Battery gets the new guns
"The Walker Report" - 15 June 1967 newsletter from voyage over
ALLONS -15 August 1967 edition of the 7/15 news New!
ALLONS - 5 September 1967 edition of the 7/15 news New!
ALLONS - 20 September 1967 edition of the 7/15 news
ALLONS - 5 January 1968 edition of the 7/15 news
7/15th Base Dedicated to Memory of LTC Penn - Feb. 25, 1971
"THE LET'S GO BATTALION" - Movements between LZ's
DETACHED VIOLENCE - Fire missions of the Big Guns
7/15th On The Move - 'Fighting Fifteenth' moves to Phu Cat
7/15th PUTS STEEL INTO CAMBODIA - 1971 raids from Duc Co
Fighting 15th Aid ARVN - Supporting 22nd ARVN near Cambodia
'Mom's Place' A Hit With Blackhawk Redlegs - Blackhawk club
Thanks to Tom Griffin for this article from 1967...
XVIII ABC ARTY -- Ft. Bragg's sprawling reservation was the scene last week for the first battery firing of four newly delivered Self-Propelled (8") Howitzers.
Battery A, 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery was selected to fire the new guns because of the results of a battery test conducted by the 54th Artillery Group. During these exercises Battery A was found to be "Best by test". [photo]
When the 7th Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Donald D. Bridenbaugh moves out next week, Battery A will be center battery, an honor that falls by tradition to the best performing battery in a battalion.
Battery A was well prepared for their new guns as they had been training for some weeks to ease the transition from towed to self-propelled weapons. Upon receipt of the Howitzers an accelerated program of training was commenced that climaxed with a practice ATT.
The commanding officer, Battery A, Capt. Robert D. Hammond, has expressed his satisfaction with both the guns and the performance of the men in his unit. When asked how the new Howitzers were an improvement over the old towed weapons Capt. Hammond said that because of the lighter weight the new guns are more mobile and more readilly aircraft transported. The total weight of the new Howitzers is less than that of the tractor alone on the old towed weapons.
15th Field Artillery Newsletter
15 August 1967
by the 15th webmaster.
Newsletter provided by Dan Gillotti
We have finished our first month
in combat. We have fired over 10,000 rounds on a variety of enemy targets. Gun
crews, FDC;s and all the other sections which makeup the battalion have shaken
down into smooth functioning teams. I am pleased with the way everyone has put
his shoulder to the wheel and worked long, hard hours without complaint. You're
all doing a splendid job, and I thank you for it.
LTC Robert B Hankins
7th Battalion, 15th Artillery
ALLONS-- "Let's Go." That is the motto men of the 15th Artillery have lived for, fought for, died for though the years. Now, we are in Viet Nam, presently the ultimate proving ground for freedom and tyranny. Here, we have been given the opportunity to carry on in the finest tradition of the 15th Artillery. Ours is the opportunity to keep alive the spirit embodied in our motto - "Let's Go."
That spirit might well be captured by these words, “With confidence ‘Let’s Go’ to face the unknown and unexpected; with strength, ‘Let’s Go’ to destroy all those who fight against freedom; with wisdom, ‘Let’s Go’ to insure a permanent victory and a lasting peace for the forces of freedom.” Let Us Go.
By 1LT William P. Williams
The Battalion Newspaper
This is the first battalion newspaper published since our arrival in Viet Nam.We deemed it particularly appropriate to print such a paper, mainly, for two reasons;
(1) It will serve as an agent for greater unity. (2) It will serve to record permanently the combat experience of men of the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery.
In Viet Nam the distance between batteries has made it more difficult to relate personally to each other the events in which we share common interests. The battalion newspaper will serve as a means of communicating these events to all the members of the battalion team, thus binding us more solidly together.
The newspaper will also serve as a record of’ the exploits and deeds of the men of the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery as we write another chapter in our battalion’s history.
C Battery Fires First Round In RVN
Captain Hans C, Dollhausen, battery commander for C Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, nervously looked at his watch. It was exactly 1430 hours on that hot afternoon of 16 July 1967.
Suddenly, the gunner announced, “Set;” the assistant gunner announced, “Ready” SFC Guerney Whiteside, section chief., reported, “Number two, ready to fire.” 1LT George M. Rapport, C Battery Executive Officer, commanded, “Fire” With that command, PFC William L. Fox pulled the lanyard, blasting the battalion’s first round far into Charlie. territory.
Thus it was that C Battery began writing a new page in the history of the battalion,
SGM Bevis Gets Last Laugh
All the 1ST Sergeants laughed at SGM Bevis when he began construction of his mongoose trap One of the 1ST Sergeants kidded him and asked if he wasn’t getting enough chow in the mess hail without eating poor ri1ongeese
Two- months later, a. weather
beaten old box was discovered by a 1ST Sergeants Thinking the box was a booby
trap, he called, the Phu Cat EOD team, who immediately arrived sirens screening
and dust flying as the team quickly clamored from the vehicle, There must have
been a Texan on the team, for he immediate threw a lasso around the ominous
structure, The thing just lay there innocently inside the lasso Some thing that
strange looking must be dangerous, they all reasoned. It was a rectangular box.
This same 1ST Sergeant (I requested he permit me to use his name in this
article, He retorted, “You had bloody well better not use my name, Lieutenant.
I’ll sue for libel.” and. all EOD team members, except one, moved three hundred
meters away, behind the Howard. Johnson Mess Hall. Placing a ten pound time bomb
twenty five meters from the object, the last member of the EOD team ran to cover
with the other team members and the 1ST Sergeant. Five minutes later a deafening
explosion threw pieces of the structure for over a half mile – well,
unfortunately, all the pieces except one, which conked the Phantom 1ST Sergeant
on the head, Dizzily picking up the missile, he, blinking his eyes, read the
following inscription engraved on the piece of wood: “To Whom It May Concern:
Please do not disturb, This is a mongoose trap.’ SGM Bevis.”?
LT William P. Williams -
Interested in writing for this newspaper? Contact LT Williams.
A glance toward my office will show you that lots of work is going on inside if the number of personnel standing in line on the outside is any gauge of work. Unfortunately, most people have very little concept of what really is going on inside as far as this infusion program is concerned, I’ll try to explain it.
As regulation require us to have no more than twenty per cent pf a unit rotating home during any month, we must make some changes if we are to comply with this guidance from higher headquarters. The method of selecting who moves and who stays is done as follows: Two rosters are made , by MOS, of all personnel scheduled to depart this unit in June, Our higher headquarters then chooses either roster and, in return gives us an equal number of personnel with the same MOS. The whole process will take about ninety days. after that, groups of from five to ten personnel will be infused.
To those personnel departing, I can speak for the battery commanders in saying, “Thanks for a job we1l done,” They did not want to lose you, but higher headquarters has selected the roster method of choosing personnel as the one most fair to all parties concerned.
To those personnel coming into
the battalion “ We1come to the 7th Battalion, 15th -Artillery, the finest
artillery battalion in Viet Nam,
WO Larry A. Jenkins
Bn Personnel Officer
MEDCAP Visit Big Success
At 1000 hours, 8 August 1967, the battalion OAP team, led by Dr, Joseph A Quash, the battalion surgeon, arrived in the hamlet of Von Son to treat the Vietnamese peop1e there. Accompanied by SFC Russell F Daigle, Dr Quash and his team made their way to the small dispensary, recently built by the people of the hamlet.
While the doctor and some of his assistants were preparing a room in which to treat patients, SFC Daigle and SP4 Torres were busy giving candy to some two hundred children and adults who were waiting outside the dispensary.
Beginning at 1100 hours, Dr Quash began treating the people, During the next three hours the MED CAP team treated a variety of ailments among seventy-five patients, half of. whom were chi1dren
All the children seemed to like the bak si.. However, it’s doubtful that LT Williams made any friends among the children for he, standing out side the dispensary to give candy to all the children who had received treatment, would give them only the tropical chocolate bars-better known now among all the children as “number ten bar,”
The hamlet chief, through an interpreter, told Dr, Quash that all the people wanted him to know that they’ appreciated what he had done for them
SSG William B Faircloth
On 6 August at 0700 hours, B and C Batteries moved from their primary firing positions. Their mission was to conduct an artillery raid,
A casual observer standing along the road as the batteries pulled out would have never realized the amount of planning that had gone into the preparation for movement, the firing, and the safe return of the units.,
First, higher headquarters look at the big picture and decided a raid was necessary. The requirement then came through channels to our battalion operations center, where innumerable details were considered and planned for,
Survey teams, led by SSG Richard Shimpoch, attached to C Battery, and SSG William K Manasco attached to B Battery performed the very dangerous task of surveying the firing positions. The mission now lay in the hands of the batteries.
At approximately 0830 hour, the batteries, having traveled in Charlie’s direction for an hour and a half, suddenly pulled off the road and into position. LTC Robert B. Hankins, the battalion commander observing the course of events from the air, fired a registration mission for each battery. Then CPT Donald W Houston, B Battery Commander, and CPT Hans C Dollhausen, C Battery Commander, fired several missions before 1LT Raymond L Tingstrom, the battalion aerial observer took over. During the course of the day, suspected TC locations took heavy beatings as did other targets.
At l700 hours, the two
batteries moved out as quickly as they moved in. With darkness approaching, the
two batteries pulled back into their “old homes,” their primary positions,
confident that the raid had been a big success.
FFC Ronald D Dean
New Battery- Commanders
At ceremonies held on 8 August and 14 August, A and Headquarters Batteries, respectively, welcomed new battery commanders, LTC Robert B. Hankins, the battalion commander, was on hand to present each battery commander the battery guidon and to charge each commander to carry on in the finest tradition of the 15th Artillery.
Captain Charles T. Schmitt assumed command of A Battery at 1300 hours, 8 August at LZ English, with the impressive 8” self-propelled M11O’s as a backdrop. Captain. Schmitt performed the duty of battalion motor officer before accepting his job. The departing battery commander, Captain James S. Shields had ably led the battery since 3 January 1967
At 1600 hours, 14 August,
Captain Chalmers L. Fennel accepted Headquarters Battery guidon from LTC Robert
B. Hankins. Thus Headquarters Battery received its new commanding officer
Captain Fennell served as the intelligence officer for the battalion before
taking over as Head quarters Battery Commander, The old battery commander,
Captain Thomas D, Harvey, had commanded Headquarters Battery in an outstanding
manner since 3 March 1967.
1LT W P, Williams
Artillery Unit Builds “Skyscraper”
The American Army in Viet Nan, more by accident than by design, demonstrates to the people of Viet Nan the American style of life. The insulated beer coolers that line the highways and the mass-produced shower shoes that many Vietnamese wear are strictly American in origin; so are the sheet-metal roofs that are beginning to replace thatch roofs in Phu Cat and elsewhere—any where the army discards sheet-metal. Even the outdoor latrines the GI’s construct in the boondocks are an example of sanitation which, it is to be hoped, the Vietnamese could pick up.
It took one battery of the 7/15 Artillery to set an example, of an American style skyscraper. Not that it was planned that way, but that is how it turned out. This camp began as an ordinary hillside. First cane the elevator-- a road straight to the top of the hill. Then, bulldozers leveled sections of the hill, The final effect was terraces, corresponding to floors. The various sections moved into exactly the right places, just as they would have in an office building, there is an observation deck, armed with pay telescopes. Here, it is a guard post built of sandbags and armed with a machine gun; but the principle is the same. The top is for the view, Just below the observation tower come the big, luxurious offices in a skyscraper. In that position is the most outstanding structure in the camp, a giant bunker housing FDC, the heart of an artillery unit. In the States, it is true, a wooden floor in a cool office, an ice chest, and a water cooler could hardly constitute luxury. For the cliff-dwellers of the 7/15th Arty, it will have to do until the real thing comes along.
LTC Robert B Hankins, the
battalion’ s commanding officer, and Major Barnes and Major Sterling occupy the
penthouse apartments on the next level down. Below them, one finds the ranking
NCO’s. Somehow, the company grade officers sleep a bit closer to the mess hail
than NCO’s. The mess hail and its dining tents are in prominent positions on the
middle level, as are the medic’s tent and the message center. The orderly room,
logically, is near the bottom of the hill, in the position of an information
desk in the lobby. Finally, the motor pool makes a basement parking area. It has
proven to be a line way to set up camp on a hill. The only worry we have now is
whether the FDC bunker will stay on top of the hill when the monsoon rains come.
PFC Arthur W, Hyatt
Vietnamese Dolls Surprise GI’s
When the 7/15th Artillery
arrived in Viet Nan, the first thing the men did after sandbagging their tents
was send souvenirs home. Clothes and jewelry were high on the list, but the most
popular single item was that beautiful Vietnamese doll that the PX seems always
to stock. She stands about eighteen inches high. Her black hair is long or
short, as her purchaser desires. The native costume is of bright red, green,
blue, or gold silk, split along the sides from the waist down. The trousers
underneath are always white. Her face is pleasant, as plastic faces go; and the
rest is proportioned exactly right to catch a soldier eye.
The unit has been in-country long enough now to learn of the reaction to its gifts, At Headquarters Battery, there is a growing suspicion the number one item was a number ten idea.
For family men, the whole thing is turning into an expensive business. In one typical case, SSG Avery Morrison, the battery mess Sergeant, sent two of the dolls home. One for each of his children and that would be the end of it; or so he thought. However, Mrs Morrison thinks they are “just darling; she wants one for herself. Three of the neighbors (so far), all of whom have children, have seen them and liked them. “Wouldn’t it be nice dear, to give,. Then there are a couple of nieces with birthdays on the way And although his wife has not said anything about it yet, Sergeant Morrison claims, to know what she will want to pass out for Christmas presents,
There are others who made the
mistake of sending the dolls to their girls back home. Generally, the girls’
reactions were in the same line. The most outstanding reply ran: “I had no idea
the girls in Viet Nam looked like that! I always thought they were supposed to
be, well, sort of skinny, And now that I think of it, how did you have time to
shop around for thing like that? You wrote that you spend all your time
shoveling dirt into sack and if you think that I going to keep that thing on the
TV set to re remind me during commercials of the good tines you might be having
without me, you better think again. And if they have such beautiful clothes in
Viet Nam then maybe on your next shopping trip you could find some to fit me,
That would show you really are thinking of me after all.. The PFC who received
that one does not wish to be identified, He says he will have trouble enough
patching things up with his girl without comments from the rest of the battery.
Vietnamese- foot lockers may not lock because the hasps fall off, Thatched roofs in the native villages may leak. The back of a mirror bought in the market may once have been a beer can. In those dolls, the Vietnamese seem to have one product that is entirely t well-built.
PFC Arthur W. Myatt
A Fighting Man’s Prayer
Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all who fight for a world of reason and understanding; that the good that is in every mans heart may day by day be magnified; that men will come to see more clearly not that which divides them but that which unites then; that each battle may bring us closer to a final victory not for nation over nation but of man over his own evils and weaknesses; that the true spirit of the United States, its joys, its beauty, its hope, and, above all, its abiding faith, may live among us; that the blessing of peace be ours—the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan for the futures of our families.
Contributed by Sgt Stephen Stultz
15th Field Artillery Newsletter
5 September 1967
by the 15th webmaster.
Newsletter provided by Dan Gillotti
As you know, LTC Hankins' father passed away recently and he has returned home
on emergency leave. It is anticipated that he will return around 22 September.
In the meantime, I am sure that you join with me in expressing our sincere
I would like to welcome to the Battalion the men of the 6/32d Arty who have recently joined us. Although we regretted losing the men we sent in exchange, we realize that each of you can make a valuable contribution in both technical skills and combat experience. I trust that you will enjoy your assignment in the 15th Arty and that the remaining portion of your tour will be a rewarding experience.
A lot has happened to the Battalion since our arrival in-country just two short months ago. Battery positions and a Base Camp have been constructed, one Battery has experienced a mortar attack, and we have participated in several artillery raids. Collectively the Battalion has fired over 25,000 rounds. I think we can all be proud of our progress during this period.
Now we must press on to greater accomplishments. We must prepare for the monsoon season which will be upon us soon. We must give more attention to personal appearance, care and cleaning of personal equipment and maintenance of your section vehicles and equipment. Let us all pull together as a team, constantly striving to make the 15th Arty a better unit, one that we can all be justly proud of.
Getting the Record Straight
In the 15th August edition of the battalion newspaper, there was an article
entitled "C Battery Fires First Round in RVN." Needless to say, the
story drew loud protests from B Battery, the most vehement of which came from
the Commander of B Battery. He stated that he notified the forward Battalion
Headquarters at 1130 hours that his battery had fired the first round.
Therefore, B Battery's Commanding Officer is "setting the record
B Battery Fires First Round in RVN
Captain Donald W. Houston, Commander of B Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, nervously looked at his watch. It was exactly 1130 hours on that hot morning of 16 July 1967.
Suddenly, the gunner announced, "Set;" the assistant gunner announced, "Ready." SSG Wayne Baney, section chief, reported, "Ready to fire." CPT Donald W. Houston, lanyard in hand, commanded, "Fire," simultaneously pulling the lanyard and blasting the Battalion's first round far into Charlie territory.
Thus it was that B Battery began a new page in the history of the 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery.
Since there are two sides to almost all stories, I shall permit CPT Dollhausen to speak. "B Battery's only claim to history was CPT Houston's A and R Program."
1LT William F. Williams
Soldier of the Month
Corporal Michael P. Hipscher, A Battery, 7/15 Artillery, was recently chosen
Battalion Soldier of the Month. Facing tough competition from other battery
representatives, CPL Hipscher superbly answered question after question on basic
military subjects and his own military occupational specialty. There was no
doubt in the minds of members of the board, comprised primarily of seasoned and
experienced non-commissioned officers with from eighteen to twenty-three years'
service to their credit--CPL Hipscher had won.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, 1 January 1944, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Hipscher, CPL Hipscher graduated from Medwood High School before going on to earn his BA degree at Brooklyn College. He majored there in Physical Education. He lettered in basketball, baseball, and soccer while a student. Upon graduation, he taught Physical Education at his Alma Mater, all the while working toward his master's degree.
1 July 1966, found CPL Hipscher at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was to begin a new chapter in his life. There he was awarded trophies for the Best Trainee of the Cycle, both in Basic Training and, nine weeks later, in Advanced Individual Training, which was completed with A Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, his present unit. Receiving advanced promotions to PFC, then being made acting corporal, the Soldier of the Month quickly earned renown as the best fire direction computer in the 15th Artillery. The list of compliments, honors, and accomplishments could go on. Suffice to say, however that CPL Hipscher has won the respect and admiration of his men and his superiors.
31 August 1967, CPL Hipscher became Soldier of the Month, one more honor and achievement added to an ever-growing list. But success is not new to this man; and, doubtless, success will never become old to him. Rather, it will follow him.
When asked recently about some of his honors and accomplishments, after first modestly rationalizing and philosophizing about them, he came to the heart of the matter with these simple words: "I just can't let myself do anything without applying the utmost of my ability."
PFC Frank J. Cavestani
A Battery, 7/15 Artillery
A Battery Performs Direct Fire Mission
In the early morning hours of 23 August, A Battery received "Fire
Mission." Normally a one or two minutes' pause follows, a big blast is
heard, and "Shot Over" is reported. There was no blast, no "Shot
Over" that morning. Silence only prevailed in the FDC for ten
In bounded 1LT Amos J. Mitchell, still panting from having double-timed through the area. "Sir," reported 1LT Mitchell to CPT Charles T. Schmitt, A Battery Commander, "the number two gun, the crew, SSG James E. Montgomery, one hundred rounds of ammunition, and my FDC are ready to depart the area."
CPT Schmitt and 1LT Mitchell led that small team forward through a heavy rainstorm some twelve-odd clicks. Then, a sudden halt.
Sixty seconds later and the show was on. VIP's, the infantry, and FDC provided the audience. SSG James E. Montgomery, section chief, SGT Ralph H. Wickey, SP4 Chester J. Crenna, SP4 Ronald H. Thompson, SP4 Frank S. Ciszewski, PFC Eugene Brown, PFC Ronnie Roden, PFC Francis J. Fico, PFC Kenny R. Edwards, PFC Willie E. Black, and PFC Allen Grant were the performers.
Varoorumph! Varoorumph! Ninety-seven rounds slammed into that VC cave complex only a thousand meters away, sealing entrances, destroying caves.
Throughout the day there was no applause from that audience. There were words of praise, however, for the performance.
1500 hours. "March Order" rang out. In less than two minutes the curtain had fallen on A Battery's show, and the powerful self-propelled howitzer roared from the stage, leaving behind a huge cloud of dust, a thrilled audience, and numerous anguished VC.
PFC Frank J. Cavestani
Batteries Contribute to Scholarship Fund
All the batteries of the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery gave generously to the
Vietnamese Scholarship Fund, enabling the battalion to reach its goal of one
hundred forty-eight dollars. This amount was sufficient to send two students in
Binh Dinh Province to high school for one full year.
The scholarships are presented to young people whose parents are financially unable to send them to school. These youths must be of good character and excel on tests designed to measure scholastic ability. In addition, young people whose fathers died fighting for the Republic of South Vietnam receive additional points toward the scholarships.
In a land where education is so revered but where a grade school teacher sometimes has as little as a fifth grade education, every man can be assured that his contribution has gone for a worthy cause and is appreciated.
1LT William F. Williams
C Battery Makes Raid
On August 1967, C Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, commanded by CPT Hans
C. Dollhausen, conducted a raid in the Central Highlands against the Third North
Vietnamese Army Division.
The battery left its base camp location in the early morning hours and, led by the executive officer, 1LT George M. Rapport, proceeded up the Song Con River Valley. At the head of the valley, which received the nickname "Happy Valley" from the 1st Cavalry troopers in 1966, the column linked up with CPT Dollhausen and a small advance party which had gone ahead to prepare the battery position.
Unhampered by a blinding rainstorm, the battery emplaced quickly and began firing the first of the thirty-nine missions to be fired that day. A total of three hundred forty-nine projectiles, the equivalent of thirty-five tons of TNT, beat down on suspected and known enemy locations throughout the day.
Captain Dollhausen praised 1SG Sterling S. Harryman and 1LT Rapport for the outstanding performance of their jobs. CPT Dollhausen credited the success of the mission to the rapid and accurate computation of data of the fire direction center and the two fire direction officers, 1LT Robert H. Deters, Jr., and 1LT J. D. McKiniry. The BC also gave credit to the spirit and performance of the gun crews, commanded by SSG John Robertson, Jerome Askew, Russell Willis, and SGT George Hollen.
The battery returned to its base camp in the evening to resume its normal mission of guarding the approaches to the An Khe Pass.
SP5 Jay D. Grabbe
B Battery's Second Story
days ago, I entered B Battery's Command Post to pick up some articles for the
CPT Donald W. Houston, Commanding Officer of B Battery, beaming with pride, proudly told his story of the first round fired by the battalion in Vietnam. I said, "Sir, I need another story."
His face reddened. He growled, "Battery commanders have more important things to do than write stories," and walked briskly, more accurately, stomped from the command post.
As soon as CPT Houston was out of ear shot, 1SG Stephen T. Kucas, listening all the while to the conversation, laughed and said, "CPT Houston had a second story all right, but he told me it had better not go past me. Did you know that CPT Houston is a horseshoe pitching champion?
"Well, it all began two weeks ago. At a battery formation CPT Houston announced that he had just organized a new A and R program. He told us that the program was somewhat limited. (Horseshoes was the only authorized game.) He cautioned everyone that he had never been beaten before.
"The next night the battery witnessed a tremendous display of horseshoe pitching prowess by the commanding officer. It was soon evident who would be champ. CPT Houston even announced the score of each game in a command voice.
"Four days later, another battery formation was held, at which CPT Houston announced, to no one's surprise, least of all, to CPT Houston, the battery horseshoe pitching champion--CPT Houston.
"After the formation, I," continued the 1SG, "approached CPT Houston and asked him how to play horseshoes. A two hours' lecture followed. Suddenly it dawned on the BC that he had been opposed by everyone in the battery except me. He told me that he would gladly teach me to play the game.
"Well," said the 1SG, "I won the game, twenty-one to nothing."
CPT Houston walked into the command post again. I said, "Sir, I was wondering if you could teach me how to play horseshoes sometime."
He had just begun a two hours' lecture when the 1SG and I began laughing.
CPT Houston's face turned the tomato red color again. At this point, the Second Story ends; and I'm afraid no one will ever see printed what CPT Houston said--B Battery's Third Story.
1LT William P. Williams
M16 Rifle Tips
The M16 is the finest military rifle ever made. It's lightweight, easy to
handle, and will put out a lot of lead. If you know it, respect it and treat it
right; it will be ready when you need it. The following tips are from combat
veterans who wanted to pass on to you their ideas on weapons' care. Learn them,
use them, and you'll not be caught short.
1. Keep your ammo and magazine as clean as possible. Lightly lube the magazine spring only. Oil it up and you're headed for trouble.
2. Inspect your ammo when you load the magazines. Don't load dented or dirty ammo. Remember, only load eighteen or nineteen rounds.
3. Clean your rifle every chance you get, three to five times a day will not be too often in some cases. Remember, cleanliness is next to godliness; and it may save your life.
4. Be sure to clean carbon and dirt from those barrel locking lugs. Pipe cleaners help here and in the gas port.
5. Don't be bashful about asking for cleaning materials when you need them. They're available; get them and use them.
6. Check your extractor and spring often; if they are worn or burred, get new ones ASAP.
7. Lube your rifle using only LSA. That's the best. A light coat put on with a rag after cleaning is good. Functional parts need generous applications often. Put a very light coat of LSA in the bore and chamber after cleaning.
U. S. Army Training Aid, dtd 28 June 1967
Nine Rules for Personnel of USMACV
The Vietnamese have paid a very heavy price in suffering for their long fight
against the communists. We military men are in Vietnam because the government
has asked us to help its soldiers and people in winning their struggle. The Viet
Cong will attempt to turn the Vietnamese people against you. You can defeat them
at every turn by the understanding, strength, and generosity you display with
the people. Here are nine simple rules:
Remember, we are special guests here. We make no demands and seek no special treatment.
Join with the people. Understand their life, use phrases from their language, and honor their customs and laws.
Treat women with politeness and respect.
Make personal friends among the soldiers and common people.
Always give the Vietnamese people the right of way.
Be alert to security and ready to react with your military skill.
Don't attract attention by loud, rude, or unusual behavior.
Avoid separating yourself from the people by a display of wealth or privilege.
Above all else you are members of the U. S. Military Forces on a difficult mission, responsible for all your official and personal actions.
Reflect honor on yourself and the U. S. A.
DA Pam 360-411
WISE SAVES LIVES.
BETTER BE SAFE THAN SORRY.
A promotion is a happy occasion in the life of every soldier. Judging from the
number of promotions, happiness must have reigned supreme throughout the
battalion during the month of August.
The following personnel were promoted:
SSG Ralph L. Hasley
SP4 Joseph E. Shepard II
SP4 Ernest P. Carlisle
SP4 Sidney L. Mosley
SP4 Phillip F. Truitt
SP4 Franz H. Zapf
SP4 John P. Herlihy
SP4 Samuel Hibbler Jr.
SP4 Edward P. Shiposki
SP4 John A. Levins
SP4 Terrance D. Hernan
SP4 Pete Sanchez
SP4 Randy S. Hawner
SP4 Warren Brown Jr.
SP4 Howard C. Mitchell
(15th webmaster's note: Names from here down to the beginning of B Battery may be spelled incorrectly, since the original text was faint and hard to read)
PFC John O. Flanigan
SGT Michael J. Richoux
SP5 Michael P. Hipscher
SP4 David L. Cline
SP4 Richard L. Wheeler
SP4 Michael Bartucci Jr.
SP4 John Crouch Jr.
SP4 Richard C. Geller
SP4 James B. Raymond
SP4 Johnny Loop Jr.
SP4 Weldon W. Jenkins
SP4 Giles L. Snow
SP4 Ronald H. Thompson
PFC Robert E. Borum
SGT Terry D. McDowell
SP4 Mozan Hosein
SP4 Elmer E. Loy
SP4 James D. Rudd
SP4 Joseph J. Unger
SP4 Michael Pascale III
SP4 Ronald E. Miller
SP4 Thomas P. O'Hara
SP4 Jackie L. Pemberton
SP4 Gary H. Youtzy
SP4 Lawrence R. James
SP5 Jay D. Grabbe
SP4 Mickey K. Peacock
SP4 Raydon Tart
SP4 Albert M. DiFruscio
SP4 Roger D. Altizer
SP4 James E. Spring
SP5 Alvin D. Brewer
SP4 James C. Stafford
SP4 Glen W. DeMaranville
SP4 Charles E. Caldwell
SP4 David E. Sheffield
The officers and men of the battalion join me in congratulating you.
WO1 Larry A. Jenkins
Battalion Personnel Officer
Are You News-Conscious?
A mechanic stands on the corner of a busy street in Manhattan and hears a rod
knocking. Everyone else hears horns and the roar of engines. An exterminator
approaches a house and "hears" termites. Everyone else hears
The point is, people hear or see what their jobs require them to hear or see.
As an additional job for every man in the battalion, I want each one of you to become a "news collector." You are the eyes and ears of the battalion. Only through your cooperation can we make your newspaper a good one.
Please send any ideas for articles or articles you may have written to 1LT William P. Williams, Service Battery, 7/15 Artillery.
The Editor of Allons
15th Field Artillery Newsletter
20 September 1967
to Jim Mardis for providing us with a copy of the
following 7/15th newsletter from September 1967
"CHARLIE" HITS BRAVO
At 2358 hours, 25 August 1967; the 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery Automatic Weapons Unit, on the hill to the south of Headquarters Battery, began blasting, as always, with the big 40 millimeter guns, signaling the beginning of the "mad minute." Other units surrounding our own Bravo Battery joined the chorus.
Meanwhile, Charlie was waiting his turn in the tall hills west of Bravo Battery. In came the mortars just as the US Forces stopped firing. To lots of people the mortars seemed to be an extension of the "mad minute." At first few people realized that the noises they were hearing were not sounds of outgoing rounds. Bravo Battery, alert as always, quickly evaluated the situation and quick as a flash moved toward the bunkers they had so laboriously constructed.
As a result of much sweat and back-breaking work and their alertness, the battery escaped injury with two exceptions.
SSG Willie L. Williams and PFC James E. Donham luckily escaped serious injury in the midst of 82mm mortars, 57mm recoilless rifle and small arms fire. However, SSG Williams sustained a wound from small arms fire; and PFC Donham received shrapnel wounds from an exploding mortar round. Thus, they became the first two soldiers serving with the 15th Arty in Vietnam to become eligible for the Purple Heart Award.
1LT William P. Williams
SOLDIER OF THE MONTH
On 16 September 1967 SP4 Durwood Stokes, A Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, was selected Battalion Soldier of the Month. Though facing keen competition from SP4 Richard J. Rumple, Headquarters Battery; CPL Jimmy D. Knowles, B Battery; SP4 Robert Hernandez, C Battery; and SP4 Frederick W. Bauer, Service Battery; SP4 Stokes went on to win the coveted award. The Battalion Soldier of the Month Award is presented to the soldier showing superior knowledge of his Military Occupational Specialty, for accurate and precise responses to questions dealing with general military subjects, and for outstanding military bearing.
Having served with the 15th Artillery for two years, SP4 Stokes is a wireman in A Batterys communications section.
The son of Mrs. Letha Mae Shipman, SP4 Stokes hails from Baltimore, Maryland. He and his wife, Maxine, have a year old son, Durwood Dwayne Stokes.
From the officers and men of the battalion, "Congratulations."
Dear Mum and Dad:
Wes findaly gut inta this hear cumbat. It is nosey hear 2. Alla thees bullits flyin makes me nervus as a cow thets just put her tale on a lectrick fense. Some of thees big bullitts blow up whin they hit. Sounds lik 12 stiks of dynamight going off at wunst.
I gut my pitcher took Pa. Gonna be put in the nuz. 1 of thees fanci wimmen was hear, miss America and she kissed me. Dont thank rong Ma. I never kissed her back. She wernt drissed two propur neether. Jest a lil thing hear an 2 more thar. She called it a bickeeni I thank. She had skin all ovur her.
Howz bessy? Is she given any milk? I missed that cow. Howz hen lay? I cud youze thet dog hear two smell out thees hear Vee Cees. Thems the bad guys.
I no you cant read or rite butt youns kin git Josey two reed this two you. She still thar? They say hear thet Jody gut her and gone. Hees a-*?**-. Has she done an gone? She was probly a Vee Cee anyhow.
By fur this time
Hiram P. Brown
C FDO FIRES 10,000TH
At 0915 hours, on the clear sunny morning of 4 September 1967, 1LT James J.D. McKiniry pulled the lanyard of the 4th Section Howitzer, sending the "best wishes" of the 4th section and two hundred pounds of steel into a rocky hillside.
1LT McKiniry was leaving the unit that day to go to the 6th Battalion, 32d Artillery. He had been with the unit since October 1966, serving with the battery eight months in the states and two months in Viet Nam in the capacity of fire direction officer.
The normal (no reflection) members of the 4th section are as follows: SSG Russell Willis, Chief of section; CPL Sankey C. Sides, gunner; SP4 Michael S. Donley, assistant gunner cannoneers SP4 Ralph W. Johnson; SP4 George A. Mattie; SP4 Stanley A. Fleming; PFC Oscar L. Keyes; PFC Edward F. Partridge; PFC Michael J. Berrone; PFC Jose A. Leyva; PFC Andrew A. Moore; and PVT Harold W. Wyatt.
ILT Robert H. Deters, Jr.
Forget Not Thy Pill.
Daily and Weekly
Malaria Can Kill.
CHANGE OF COMMAND
At approximately 1330 hours, 14 September 1967, MAJ Norman B. Barnes, 7/15th Artillery Commander, received the guidon from CPT Hans C. Dellhausen and immediately presented it to the new Commanding Officer of Charlie Battery, CPT Alfred F. Reich, Jr.
CPT Dollhausen had been commanding officer since 2 March 1967, when he arrived at Fort Bragg from a command post in a BCT unit at Fort Hood, Texas. Upon arrival CPT Dollhausen found himself confronted with the task of preparing for a Battalion ATT and the forthcoming CMMI. The battery soon learned that the new CO was ready and more than able to cope with the situation, and the batterys high rating on both exemplified his capabilities.
With little time for rest, the unit then had to prepare for overseas movement. Once again CPT Dollhausen was instrumental in preparing his battery with a minimum amount of difficulties.
We, the men of Charlie Battery, congratulate you, CPT Dollhausen, for your outstanding job here and wish you continued success in your future assignments.
Charlie Battery is again fortunate and happy to have CPT Alfred F. Reich, Jr. as its new commander. CPT Reich comes to us from Battalion Operations. It is rumored within the battery that since CPT Reich, Executive Officer 1LT Semon, and 1SG Harryman are "Airborne," we will be running two miles prior to breakfast each morning. However, we are in hopes that if we initiate our fire missions a bit more quickly, we will be able to forego the two mile run.
In any event, we welcome you, CPT Reich, to Charlie Battery, the number one firing battery in the 7/15 Artillery.
SP5 Jay D. Grabbe
GI to 1SG: Top, Im
sick and tired of C Rations.
1SG: If you people dont stop complaining, Im going to have the BC fly the cooks in here.
MIGHTY B IN ANOTHER HARD NIGHTS WORK SAVES INFANTRY
Wednesday, 6 September, began as another long, hot, and uneventful day. Night fell and the hustling of sandbags ceased. But the men of Bravo Battery, led by CPT Donald W. Houston, knew from past experience that the stillness that pervaded the atmosphere could not long be enjoyed.
Sure enough, just minutes after activity seemed to be grinding toward a halt, a 1st Cavalray aerial observer burst onto our set with "Fire Mission." (An explanation is in order at this point. Actually, activity only seems to grind to a halt, as the tempo of activity fluctuates. However, men of the 15th Artillery never completely stopnay, rather we live or die by our mottoAllonsLets Go.)
It was learned later that men of the 1st Cavalry Company had begun to take heavy casualties from automatic weapons fire. Pinned down by Victor Charlie in well-positioned and strongly fortified bunkers on a mountainside and already having called, in vain, for help from two other artillery batteries, the infantry company now looked to the big guns of B Battery as their only hope for salvation.
Two minutes after the observers call, two hundred pounds of steel exploded two hundred meters to the front of the 1st Cavalry Company. The alert aerial observer saw no correction was necessary and came over the set with "Fire for Effect." Now, all the B Big Boys were blasting Charlie with steel, about a half tons worth every two minutes.
End of night, End of Mission came. However, according to the 1st Cavalry Company Commander, who came to B Batterys position early the next morning, there will be no end of gratitude from him, or the men Mighty Bravo Saved in Another Hard Nights Work.
SP4 Jack Penberton
SP4 Ronald C. Statler
A FIRES 1417TH
0532 hours, 19 September 1967.
LZ English, RVN.
The dawn broke cold and damp over the third gun section. A brief chill went through the #10 Cannoneer properly awed by the significance of the occasion. (With this historic round, we would be exactly 10,000 rounds behind B and C Batteries while, of course, being 1417 ahead of Headquarters and Service Batteries. The section chief (unidentified because of poor visibility) alerts his crew, which consists of PFC Ethan Allen Kneagy, the rest of the crew being on R & R at base camp through a slight administrative error. Private Kneagy barely avoiding a hernia, wrestles the deadly round to the loaderrammer. Then he chambers it. Now the powder and the primer. The announcement "Ready" is heard. The FDO looks up from his "Professional Reading" and commands, "Shoot It." Thus dawns another historic day in the trials of A Battery.
Not the first but far from the last to rotate due to ETS is SP5 Michael Joseph Morici, Jr. US55836158.
Specialist Morici hails from Chicago, Illinois, and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Morici, Sr., 2136 West Erie St., Chicago.
Before coming into the Army, SP5 Morici attended the University of Illinois for two years and worked part time as a credit reporter for Dunne and Bradstreet. He intends to continue his education upon discharge and wants to return to his former position.
SP5 Morici was drafted into the Army on 6 October 1965, and took his Basic Training with C Company, 15th Battalion, 4th Training Brigade, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He completed AIT at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in a 155mm howitzer unit, the 1/92 Artillery.
He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, along with the National Defense Service Medal and the Viet Nam Service Medal. His military occupation as first cook in Headquarters Battery began in February, 1966.
He is most anxious to see a certain girl by the name of Jean Pianezza, who is waiting in Chicago.
SP5 Moricis ETS is 5 October 1967, and we want to wish him well.
WO1 Raymond Rogers
MAD BOMBER STRIKES AGAIN
A new dimension of warfare has been introduced by the infinitely clever and devious enemyThe Mad Bomber.
Each morning the members of A Battery tense for the inevitable attack. Donning steel pots, flak vests, and fire extinguishers, all eyes turn toward the trash burning area of our neighbors, the 7/13 Arty. They also brace as The Mad Bombers K.P.s ignite the infernal bombcleverly disguised as harmless looking barrels of accumulated refuse. It burns quietly at first and then . . BOOM! -- The area explodes in a dazzling display of color. Flames shoot high into the air. Smoke covers the retreat of the K.P.s. Burning plates and cups shower the A Battery area. Quickly the disaster squad goes into action, extinguishing the small fires, pouring water on the tents, smothering the burning refuse with dirt. The actions over now, but the day has just begun, and there is a lot to do. (Like burning our own trash.)
A Battery Reporter
THIS IS YOUR LIFE, ----HEAD
You were monkeying around in the Number One Laundry on Phu Cat Strip when you were discovered. Military Police rescued you from that unwholesome atmosphere and carried you to your new home at LZ Uplift.
"You ate the editors pencil when he tried to write a story about your noble benefactor, CPT Donald W. Houston.
"You are now studying FM 6-40 in hopes of getting yourself in fourth firing battery in the battalion.
"Now as your friends all gather around you, it is plain to see you are loved by one and all, ----head.
"By the way, monkey, where did you get that name?"
B Batterys Own Bud Collier
C GETS MASCOT
Within the battery area, there now lurks a new member who must be considered the "Number One Ghoster." Since her arrival four days ago, she has yet to assist in any of the normal functions except to eat three "Squares" a day. Our new member is the batterys mascot, a five pound, six weeks old, half German Shepherd and half, well, we are not exactly sure.
At present, SP4 Wansley, her assigned master, is attempting to devise ear plugs as she dislikes the howitzers immensely. If, therefore, you visit Charlie Battery in the near future and find a dog donning a curious set of ear muffs, be not alarmed; she is the new assignee, who, by the way, has top priority on all attention.
SP5 Jay D. Grabbe
8" HOWITZER PROVES LETHAL
The 8" howitzer will do more than harass Charlie and put steel on the target. Ask a 1st Cavalry forward observer.
It seems that a short time ago all the men of SSG Percy Seymores third section decided that a good cold watermelon would taste good. The B Battery men, CPL Jimmy D. Knowles and SP4 Francis C. Hauri bought some watermelon seeds at the combination laundry variety store. SP4 Fort D. Hunter and PFC Daniel L. Smith helped plant the seeds. Now it was up to SP4 Ronald M. Jolley and SP4 Alfred O. Garcia to care for the watermelons.
The watermelons, shaded by the howitzer, nurtured by the good Vietnamese soil and powder water poured from the swab bucket, thrived for two long months.
0200 hours, 16 September 1967, 3200 mils the big M110 shifted, tube pointing right over the watermelon patch. Boom!
To FDCs surprise, the boom was immediately followed by this report from the forward observer: "End of Mission. Estimate two casualties. Im one of them. I dont expect anyone to believe this, but a watermelon just hit me on the head."
SFC Russell F. Daigle
THE S5 WAR
The war in Vietnam is fought on many fronts. In the past few weeks, thanks to the generous support of the batteries, several volunteers, CPT William A. Bells barbed horn of plenty, filled with goodies such as M35A2s, steel pickets, lumber, chewing gum, candy, shower heads, soap, oranges, apples, whitewash, and medical supplies, there have been many victories on the civil affairs war front.
At the first of the month you provided scholarships for two poor students in An Nhon District.
On 6 September 1967, a Med Cap visit was conducted in Von Son, resulting in the treatment of approximately one hundred ninety people. One hundred ten bars of soap were distributed. Approximately the same amount of aid was rendered on 13 September. This trip, however, the Vietnamese were short thirty-five teeth at the end of the visit, as a dentist had accompanied us.
On 16 September, thanks to SP4 Bobby Ray Martin, several S-5 team members learned how to parallel park in a rice paddy, five feet below the level of the road. To the Vietnamese villagers surprise, through an interpreter, they learned our mission was not plowing their rice paddies. It was carrying lumber to Thanh Giang to build a bridge. Thanks to SSG Johnny Page and SP4 William Porter, who collided, in route to extract Martins truck, with a Vietnamese National on a Honda, the day was salvaged and the mission brought to a successful conclusion.
Because of the outstanding support you batteries have provided, the Mid-Autumn Festival was a great success. 7/15 Artillery provided enough candy, chewing gum, oranges, and apples for one thousand eight hundred children.
Keep up the fine support.
Do you want to fight the civil affairs war? You may teach English, drive a truck, (better than SP4 Martin did, please) or do almost anything. When you come to base camp for R & R, just let me know. Ill ask your battery commander for permission to enlist you in the civil affairs army to make civil affairs war for a day.
1LT William P. Williams
15th Field Artillery Newsletter
5 October 1967
by the 15th webmaster.
Newsletter provided by Dan Gillotti
LTC BLUHM REPLACES LTC HANKINS AS 7TH BN, 15TH ARTILLERY COMMANDER
At 1400 hours, 23 September 1967, as the battalion's big eight inch
self-propelled howitzers, providing an appropriate background for the occasion,
pounded the enemy, Lieutenant Colonel James L. Bluhm became the commanding
officer of the 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery in ceremonies held at Landing
Zone Uplift. Also playing key roles in the historical event were Colonel S. H.
Wheeler, 41st Artillery Group Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Hankins,
the departing commander, and First Sergeant Robert B. Childress, Headquarters
Battery, 7/15 Artillery.
LTC Hankins assumed command of 7/15 Artillery in June, 1966. A short time thereafter, LTC Hankins faced the monumental task of welding some five hundred men, two hundred forty of whom were young and inexperienced, into a smoothly functioning military machine, ready for combat. Battalion training having been completed by late May, 1967, the officers and men of the 7/15 Artillery were ready to depart Fort Bragg's training field for Vietnam's battlefield. Some eighty days later with all missions having been accomplished in an outstanding manner, the battalion can still hear the echo of those words so often quoted by LTC Hankins: "Hard on the training field, easy on the battlefield."
Our new commander, LTC Bluhm, entered the Army as an enlisted man in January, 1949. Shortly after completing basic at Fort Riley, Kansas, he earned his commission in Officer's Candidate School. Within sixty days from the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, LTC was in combat.
Winner of the Joint Staff and Army Commendation Medals, LTC Bluhm last served with Headquarters, I Field Force, Nha Trang, his primary mission being to coordinate the efforts of numerous subordinate units engaged in helping the Vietnamese people and in strengthening their government.
As the ceremonies ended there at Landing Zone Uplift on that hot, dusty day, the roar of the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery self-propelled howitzers grew deafening as the guns suddenly moved out of position to engage other enemy targets.
SGM BEVIS AND SON, RM4 BEVIS, INTERRUPT RVN TOURS FOR REUNION
Not long ago RM4 Jimmy Lee Bevis, son of Sergeant Major Edgar L. Bevis, 7/15
Artillery, received a Red Cross message on board ship. A big smile came across
the face of the young Navy communications specialist. After all, who else gets a
message right off his own commo rig from his dad in Viet Nam telling him Dear
Old Dad is coming to meet him.
The ship's commander welcomed the Army sergeant major aboard ship. There he met his son, with whom he has served in Viet Nam since early August, 1967. After enjoying the hospitality of the ship's commander for a short time, SGM Bevis and his son, RW4 Bevis, moved out smartly for Manila and R & R.
They stayed at the Hotel Sampaguita for five days. They visited the Manila Hotel, where General McArthur had his office. They also toured the parks and surrounding countryside, sight-seeing and picture-taking. SGM Bevis and his son also reported that they did lots of sleeping and heard no firing during their entire stay in Manila. All in all, it was a very happy occasion for them both.
But like all good things, it had to come to an end; And Father and Son had to go their respective places of duty in Viet Nam--Father to Headquarters, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, where he is the Sergeant Major for the battalion, Son back to the ship, where he works in the heart of the communications center.
1LT William P. Williams
SGT JOSLYN, 7/15 ARTY HERO, LEARNS VIET NAM'S HAPPY VALLEY ROAD MISNAMED
For one horrifying hour, Sergeant Michael M. Joslyn, Hq Battery, 7th Battalion,
15th Artillery survey sergeant, was firmly convinced the Happy Valley Road,
which he was traveling, was, in reality, the road to Happy Mountain, the
traditional home of those who have departed this life.
At 1930 on the pitch black night of 28 September 1967, Sergeant Joslyn, accompanied by PFC Robert Thompson, left the secure location of C Battery, to which they are attached, in route to Happy Valley, northeast of An Khe. Driver of the escort vehicle for the battery's heavily laden ammunition truck, SGT Joslyn, driving without lights, inched his way along the road to Happy Valley, the name First Cavalry troopers gave the valley two years ago.
At 2000 hours the stillness of the night was shattered by a deafening explosion, throwing SGT Joslyn and PFC Thompson completely out of the mine-demolished truck. Simultaneously, fire from heavy automatic weapons, positioned thirty feet away, riddled the truck. Jumping from the ditch into which he had been thrown, SGT Joslyn, in the midst of all the heavy firing, suddenly burst toward the truck, securing his weapon, only to be knocked down again by the blast from an exploding grenade.
PFC Thompson, closer than thirty feet from the enemy and positioned between the enemy and the truck in which his weapon lay, was unable to move without placing himself directly in the line of fire.
Quickly arousing himself from the initial shock of the exploding grenade, SGT Joslyn dived to cover, fire from the automatic weapons ripping away at his position. In came more grenades and automatic weapons fire from several enemy positions. Undaunted, SGT Joslyn crawled eight or ten feet, quickly raised up, and fired several rounds toward enemy positions. Flares from friendly forces, some fifteen hundred meters away, fell, revealing three enemy figures. Quick as a flash, SGT Joslyn jumped up, blasting away. Now, automatic weapons fire came from three directions. Having expended fourteen of his eighteen rounds, SGT Joslyn darted through the brush across a stream, stopping to take cover behind a big rock.
PFC Thompson, now cut off from his weapon, crawled to a safer position.
SGT Joslyn, meanwhile, could hear enemy voices. Surrounding him, they moved approximately forty feet from his position. They were moving in for the kill.
When all hope seemed lost, a helicopter, searchlights beaming, swept in from nowhere. As soon as the helicopter passed, the VC ran away before the helicopter could spot them and take them under fire. As they were leaving, a flare turned the night to day; and the VC could be seen scurrying through the brush, by now, only seven strong. They were carrying three of their fallen comrades.
The VC had finished, however, SGT Joslyn wasn't quite finished. He joined with fourteen Vietnamese and American soldiers, who had just come to his location minutes after the VC fled, and hurriedly began a search in the nearby village for the VC.
Shortly, PFC Thompson was found, miraculously unharmed.
By daybreak, the men had captured five of the seven VC. Upon being questioned, one of the VC revealed that seventeen men had conducted the ambush. It's no wonder there wasn't any happiness on Happy Valley Road that night.
1LT William P. Williams
MAJOR BARNES TO GROUP, MAJOR STERLING NEW BATTALION EXECUTIVE OFFICER
On 20 October 1967, Major Norman L. Barnes, who served as Battalion Executive
Officer for almost a year, moved to his new post as Logistics Officer for the
41st Artillery Group. Major Allan C. Sterling, Jr. left the Battalion Operations
Center to become Executive Officer for the 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery.
In early January 1967, Major Barnes came to the 7/15 Arty to serve as Executive Officer. By late January, he had launched an aggressive maintenance program designed to make every piece of equipment in the battalion ready for combat. Departing the States in June, he served as troop commander aboard ship, bearing responsibility for some seventeen hundred soldiers, in route to Viet Nam. Here in Viet Nam, his meticulous attention to detail and professional competence have weighed heavily in the outstanding accomplishment of all missions assigned to the battalion.
Major Sterling came to the unit at a critical time in its history--shortly before deployment to Viet Nam. His mission was to train all personnel to function efficiently in combat. His foresight and tireless efforts at Fort Bragg are evident today in Viet Nam.
To the departing and new Executive Officers, you can take just pride in a job well done. Good luck in your new assignments.
SFC RICHARD A. BAKER AWARDED THE ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL
At 1300 hours on the afternoon of 23 October 1967, during ceremonies held at
Service Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, I Field Force, Phu Cat, RVN, SFC
Richard A. Baker received the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
With all the battery in formation, the Adjutant, CPT Karlheinz Peter, made the
award and read the citation, portions of which follow. "Sergeant First
Class Richard A. Baker, United States Army, is cited for meritorious service as
Battalion Supply Sergeant, Headquarters Battery, 3d Battalion, 2d Artillery, 1st
Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas, from August 23, 1967, to July 14, 1967. For
almost two years Sergeant Baker Distinguished himself by an extraordinary
display of professional skill and judgment and a vast knowledge of supply
operations. His performance of duty and dedication to military service reflect
great credit upon himself, the Non-Commissioned Officers Corps and the United
Having been awarded the Korean Service Medal, the UN Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Citation, the Good Conduct Medal (Four Awards) and the Army Commendation Medal on one other occasion, SFC Baker came to Service Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery on 22 September 1967, to fill the position of Battalion Supply Sergeant.
Congratulations. Keep up the good work.
SSG James T. Bing
1LT TINGSTROM BIDS FAREWELL
Upon my departure from the 15th Artillery and the Republic of Viet Nam, I want
to leave with you my very best wishes and take with me the very fond memories of
the people, the places, and the events which I shall regard highly in my life's
Since my arrival in the 15th Artillery at Fort Bragg on 21 September 1965, I have served under three commanders and seven executive officers and can boast having served (or survived) longer in this unit than any other officer.
When the unit became D1, I extended my tour to deploy to Viet Nam for several reasons. I felt an obligation to see exactly what "the war" was like-- to further my own knowledge and satisfy my own curiosity. I wanted to attempt filling the need for an example for those who may have harbored reluctance, anxiety, or doubt in their hearts. Last, in coming to this country, I felt I had to watch that battery and those people whom I feel I had imposed some influence, for I was responsible for their training and preparation, to some extent, for duty in Viet Nam.
I won't insult your intelligence by saying that I wasn't uncomfortable at times, that the going wasn't rough at times, and that there were no heartaches. But I can say that I haven't been disappointed, that I shall never regret having spent the time and the effort in this unit and in coming to Viet Nam and serving with officers, NCO's, and enlisted men of the 15th Artillery. I can return home with a feeling of pride and self-accomplishment for I have served, and I shall never have to wonder if I can be proud enough to call myself and American.
May I humbly extend my personal "good luck" to the colors of the 15th Artillery and to each of you with whom I have worked or associated in my Army tour.
1LT Raymond L. Tingstrom
I'm sure he has spoken for many of us who are now serving here.
clash of a chain,
Boom and a roar,
Do our share in this war.
Have no fear,
For the Lord made me
Satan pulling tail.
Number two man shouts, "Charge six!"
And it's a ride to hell.
Our story remains untold
Of the dreary nights
And the too long days,
Humping our souls away.
A song unsung--
The work of a Cannoneer
Is never done.
A short time to rest.
Stop and think;
Have you done your best?
B Battery, 7/15 Arty
The dictionary defines odyssey as a long wandering usually accompanied by many
changes of fortune. But permit me to start at the beginning.
Of noble blood I was born in the year 1940, a U. S. citizen from birth. Having an uneventful childhood and having done nothing in early manhood significant enough to record in this epic, I decided to serve my country and joined the Army in 1966. I soon found myself in the 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, reputedly the best unit in the Army today; and the battalion has certainly lived up to its reputation. It's the ALLONS, "Let's Go" Battalion, and I quickly received orders to go to Viet Nam, where the unit could prove itself.
At this point the odyssey begins.
Flying from Oakland on 18 August 1967, I arrived in Bien Hoa, two stops and twenty hours later, and debarked the 727. As I had difficulty locating a place there to exchange my U. S. currency and being too impatient to look for the nearest mess hall, I immediately saw a chow problem in it inception. Relying on my innate ability to make friends quick as lightning when I have U. S. currency but need MPC, I approached a prospective friend. I made a thirty cents plus four per cent interest friendship, bought a hamburger, boarded a bus of good-looking WAC's, and went to Long Binh. I was looking for the 7/15 Arty. To Tan Son Nhut, in Saigon, I came. I asked questions there. I went to the APO in Saigon. "There is no 7/15 Arty in Vietnam," they said. I went to Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon, and Tan Son Nhut. Though I was having lots of problems, the U. S. Army was taking care of me. I was continuing to draw partial pay almost everywhere I went. In Saigon I stopped in front of a street vendor to change the duffel bag to my other shoulder. Suddenly, a young man relieved me of a carton of cigarettes which I was carrying under my arm. Being a lover of justice and my Kent cigarettes, I forthwith, with exceeding haste, pursued the little boy into the alley. I was greeted by thirty more like him as he rounded a corner. Needless to say, I happily bade farewell to my carton of Kents but reluctantly gave up to the young fellows some of the meat off my forehead. Thanks to a Tan Son Nhut medic, I soon had a number one head, and I was on my way to find my unit. Then I remembered that SP4 Warren Brown had told me that the 7/15 was near Phu Cat. I went to Qui Nhon and boarded a bus to Phu Cat. No luck. I was worried. I went back to Qui Nhon. Had I been anyone except a soldier I would have gone back to the U. S. by now. Instead, I decided to go back to Phu Cat. As soon as the bus stopped, I saw PFC Frank Montoya and stopped him and got into his truck. He asked me why I jumped into his truck. I told him I was in the 7/15 Arty. We went to the PX. Then we went back to Phu Cat Strip and bought a footlocker. Then I came to the 7/15 Arty, Service Battery to be exact. It was 8 September--of the same year. Thus ended the odyssey.
They say that there's no place like home. Would you believe there's no place like Service Battery, 7/15 Arty?
RICH GI VISITS B BATTERY
One of the least liked duties that has to be performed while we are here in Viet
Nam is the burning of "Honey Pots." SP4 Frank Scala is responsible for
this job at B Battery. He does not particularly enjoy his work, but since he is
an outstanding soldier, he does it without complaint, except occasionally when
someone uses a seat under which there is no pot. This tends to complicate
things, but Frank is ready for just about anything and always manages to
straighten things out.
On 1 October 1967, SP4 Scala was up bright and early and walked over to the latrine as he has done every morning since the battery's arrival at LZ Uplift. He put on his gloves and pulled out the pots from under the seats. Each was filled with diesel fuel, toilet paper and, of course, human waste. But Frank noticed a familiar looking piece of paper floating in one of the pots. He managed to fish it out and to his surprise, it was a $10 MPC.
Well, Frank now does his job with more enthusiasm and hopes that the guy with the expensive tasted in toilet paper will someday return.
The professor at an eastern college asked Mortimer Hayseed to define assets and liabilities. Mortimer stood up and said, "I don't know how you eastern city folks define them; but in my home town of Ragweed, Tennessee, if you don't pay your liabilities, your assets in jail."
CPT BOSSART NEW CO OF BRAVO
CPT Walter R. Bossart, leaving his post as Fire Support Coordinator at I Field
Force Artillery, became Commanding Officer of B Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th
Field Artillery on 22 October 1967.
CPT Donald W. Houston, battery commander since March 1967, left several of his most prized possessions before departing for his new post at I Field Force Artillery.
1. ----head, bequeathed to SGM Bevis. 2. 4 golden horseshoes, the same ones used when 1SG Kucas won the horseshoe pitching championship from him. 3. His big flashlight, to be used at night to find any MPC's before SP4 Scala discovers them the next morning.
With the outstanding battery CPT Houston left behind and these other invaluable aids, I'm sure B Battery will continue to be outstanding.
To departing and new BC's, Good Luck.
1LT William P. Williams
PART I. The Nature of the Conflict
Each battery will soon send forth SS5 (Storm Civil Affairs Troopers) to fight in
the front lines of the S5 War. Before you can be successful, you must learn some
things about the nature of the conflict.
To understand the S5 portion of Viet Nam, you must look at the big picture. The people and the government of South Viet Nam want to be free to live in peace. Ho Chi Minh wants to dominate South Viet Nam. South Viet Nam needs a strong government that will help bind all the people in all the areas of the country together. Unity is necessary for victory; and even if the fighting ceases, the country must remain united if it is going to move forward. To help provide this unity, S5 officers at our level work through government officials, primarily at district level, to enhance the government in the eyes of the people. RVN forces must be used as much as possible; and they and the government must be pushed to the front as often as possible so that the people realize that the government and its soldiers have the best interest of the Vietnamese at heart. People indicate through their government officials the types of projects they desire, express their willingness to do all the work, and wait for you to provide the materials. Oriental philosophy associates loss of honor and losing face with any failure to protect that which they have built. The Vietnamese people do all the work, and certain Oriental beliefs serve as an insurance policy that the efforts will not be in vain.
Sounds easy, doesn't it?
Now that you are aware of the nature of the war, doubtless you'll win many victories and contribute much to the overall success of the war effort.
In the next edition, you'll read about the personnel in Service and A Batteries who already have won many S5 battles.
Articles submitted to the newspaper must be accurately reported. Several
articles in the past few weeks have been filled with untruths and could not be
ALLONS personnel last week purchased a machine designed to ferret truth to insure accuracy in all articles published.
SP4 Ray Burroughs, Battalion Operations clerk, was the first man to fall victim of the new device.
On 22 October SP4 Burroughs wired ALLONS press the following message. "Flash flood just washed away TOC and all of Headquarters Battery. Thanks to me and several quick thinking GI's, the whole battery was saved. The other quick thinking GI's and I are in route to Phu Cat for R & R at Base Camp."
I put the story into the new machine, and it exploded. Pieces of the Truth Machine message were found. "Drizzle at Uplift. SP4 Burroughs in route to Phu Cat Strip."
A new machine has been purchased. Try not to place an undue stress on it.
PFC Frank J. Borrero
Contributed By SP4 Kenneth Drayton, Svc Btry, 7/15 Arty
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
15th Artillery Newsletter
5 January 1968
Transcribed by Dan Gillotti, 15th Historian
MAJOR STERLING TO IFFV
MAJOR GATTI NEW BATTALION EXECUTIVE OFFICER
On 15 December 1967, Major Allen C. Sterling, Jr. departed 7th Bn, 15th Artillery to fill
his new post at the G-3 Plans Division, I Field Force Vietnam (IFFV). Between February and
December 1967 Major Sterling served as Battalion Operations Officer and Battalion
Executive Officer -respectively. Major Sterling came to the 7th Bn, 15th Artillery at a
critical time in the battalion's history- shortly before deployment to Vietnam. His
mission was to train many young and inexperienced personnel to perform a combat mission
smoothly and efficiently. That each mission assigned the battalion has been accomplished
in an outstanding manner attests in part to Major Sterling's professional competence and
leadership ability. Major Raymond E. Gatti came to 7th Bn, 15th Artillery to serve as
Battalion Executive Officer after spending six months as Assistant Plans and Operations
Officer, G-3, I Field Force Vietnam. Entering the Army shortly after graduation from the
City College of New York in 1953, Major Gatti holds the Army Occupation Medal (Germany),
the Expert Infantryman's Badge, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the
National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnamese
Campaign Medal with Device. To arriving and departing Executive Officers, good luck in
your new assignment.
SGM BEVIS - CIVILIAN,
SGM SIMMONS 7th Bn, 15th Artillery new SERGEANT MAJOR
SGM Edgar L. Bevis, having served as Battalion Sergeant Major for almost two years and his
Country for twenty years, recently rotated, both place of duty and uniform.
For his hard work, cheerfulness, conscientiousness, the outstanding job he did, he will be remembered. And those of us who left Fort Bragg to come to Vietnam together won't soon forget his mongoose trap, nor will the Air Force EOD team! SGM Bevis served his country well. Good luck and Godspeed.
Our new Battalion Sergeant Major is SGM John E. Simmons who came to the unit from Headquarters, Division Artillery, 1st Infantry Division, Phu Loi, where he served fifteen months. Entering the army in March, 1947, Sergeant Major Simmons holds the Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze and Silver Stars, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnamese Campaign Medal with Device, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and numerous others. Welcome to the 7th Bn, 15th Artillery. Contributed by the Editor.
CPT BELL TO I FIELD FORCE VIETNAM ARTILLERY,
CPT BUTLER SVC Btry C.O.
CPT William A. BELL, Jr. served in the 7th Bn, 15th Artillery longer than any other
officer in the battalion. He recently departed to fill his post as Assistant S-4 for IFFV
Artillery. Coming to the battalion in October 1965, CPT Bell filled the Assistant S-3 slot
before becoming Battalion Motor Officer. Shortly thereafter, he was commander of the Post
Provisional Trucking Company at Fort Bragg. He Became Battalion S-4/Service Battery
Commander over a year ago. CPT James Butler, our new Service Battery Commander/S-4 is the
quiet, efficient type. A graduate of Xavier University, our RA CPT entered the Army in
June 1965. He completed Airborne Training and Jungle Warfare Training. CPT Butler was CO
of Battery A, 3rd Bn, 32nd FA, an Honest John Bn at Ft. Sill, OK, prior to his arrival in
Vietnam in November, 1967. We extend a hearty welcome to you and -wish you good luck in
your new assignment.
THE "NEED" FOR RECOGNITION.
Psychologists tell us that entwined in the fiber of each man's being is the need for recognition. The need to be recognized prompted Alexander to set out to conquer the world. This same need prompted Columbus to sail westward to reach the east. And this same need prompted 1LT Jenkins to burn down the Shit house at Landing Zone English! Good Job LT Jenkins!!!!!! Contributed by the Editor
'GOD BLESS AMERICA.'
"America the Beautiful"
May it always stay that way.
But to keep "Old Glory" flying
There's a price that we must pay.
For everything worth having
Demands work and sacrifice.
And freedom is a Gift from God
That commands the highest price.
For all our wealth and progress
Are as worthless as can be
Without the Faith that made us great
And kept our Country free.
Nor can our nation hope to live
Unto itself alone,
For the problems of our neighbors
Must today become our own.
And while it's hard to understand
The complexities of war,
Each one of us must realize
That we are fighting for
the principles of freedom
And the decency of man.
And as a Christian Nation,
We're committed to God's Plan.
And as the Land of Liberty
and a great God-fearing nation,
we must protect our honor
and fulfill our obligation.
So in these times of crisis,
let us offer no resistance
in giving help to those whom need
our strength and our assistance,
And "The Stars and Stripes Forever"
will remain a symbol of
a rich and mighty nation
built on Faith and Truth and Love.
By Helen Steiner Rice
Contributed by SGT Donald Blanchard III
As the last helicopter fades into an unidentifiable dot and the sun kisses the sky its
golden goodbye, you know you're-in for another long night at Duc Co. Manned by 10 Special
Forces personnel, a few hundred Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG's), and the men of
A Battery, 7th Bn, 15th Artillery, Duc Co is located about six Klicks east of the
Cambodian border and a long dirty ride southeast of Pleiku. Though night has fallen, work
has not ceased. For Du Co and the men of A Battery, Duc Co is a synonym for work, 24 hours
a day. The Duc Co world is small one. Bunkers, homes, fortresses and recreation rooms are
all one in the same. Last night PFC Baker was bitten by a rat. The night before was
scorpions' night. What will tonight bring? Sunrise is a pleasant sight. For a new day
brings relief not only from the things that kill in the night and bite in the dark, but
also offers the hope of some mail from home. Well you cant expect too much.
After all---You are at Duc Co! Contributed by PFC Frank J. Cavestani
CPT DOLLHAUSEN AND 1 LT GAFFNEY GIVE F.O. TRAINING TO ARVN OFFICERS
Recently Captain Hans C. Dollhausen, assisted by 1LT Myles Gaffney, gave forward observer
training to company grade infantry officers of the 41st Regiment, 22d ARVN Division. The
program of instruction included five hours of classroom exercises followed by a Fort Sill
type Observed Fire (OF) shoot. The OF shoot consisted of identifying the target for the
students, requiring the students to compute necessary data for the fire mission, making
the necessary corrections, and giving surveillance of fire. This exercise was conducted at
Landing Zone Crystal. Contributed by the Editor
The lady likes to eat. She got several people in the battalion. The lady is a bug, a
mosquito to be more exact. Her game is malaria. Miss your pill on Monday, get
your daily pill, get-- Never mind the name. Its the deadliest type of malaria. If
you are bitten, the pills should protect you. Better yet, don't get bitten. Use insect
repellent, sleep under your mosquito net, and keep your sleeves down after dark. Don't you
get malaria. Follow these simple precautions. By CPT (Doctor) Joseph Quash
HAPPINESS IN THE VALLEY-
Yep, they did it again. The men of Headquarters Battery, 7th Bn, 15th Artillery staged a
fun-filled evening on the last day of the old year. Led by their master of ceremonies, SP4
Sidney Mosely, the men of the 15th Artillery brought forth a Show 0 Talent. The
turn-out for the show was spectacular. Among the most distinguished personnel in the
audience were LTC Bluhm and MAJ Gatti, who made the show possible. Also MAJ
Fennel (the Battery CO); CPT Dollhausen; CW2 Rogers; our very own 1SG Childress; the
guards from OP 43; our sponsors for the night, from the Happy Valley Restaurant, SSG
Morrison and crew; and the ever fearless hardware supply sergeant, SP4 Richard Rumple. The
free beer and food may have helped to get such a good showing of heads. Before the show
could get under way, a cry arose for Rough and Ready Rumple to say a few words. SP4 Rough
said a few words and was then bounced out on his head. Then the show began. SP4 Brown led
off by quoting a few words of wisdom for the culturally inclined members of the audience.
SP4 Freddie Taylor, of "The Hills" followed a modern dance routine. Then came
SP4 Donnie Yandell and his troupe of Country and Western All Stars. Backing Yandell on the
drums was SP4 Cadore. Following Yandell was rhythm guitarist and vocalist, SP4 Ray
Burrows, who accidentally lost his pick! Chin-up Ray! The sacrifice was
appreciated!. Then came SP4 Norris Wooten, the "Soul-Billy", who made the trip
all the way from Phu Cat combat area. Bringing up the big sound of the group was PFC Les
Hungerford on bass guitar. That wasn't all, for Ole Sid was aiming to please. Next on the
agenda was the Soul Hour, featuring the "Little-Bit-O-Souls". Unprepared,
Unpaid, Unrehearsed, these musicians put together some "OTSS" (on the spot
sounds) for the benefit of those remaining in the audience. This group featured SP4 Cadore
on drums, SP4 Wooten, vocalist, PFC Hungerford, bass/rhythm guitarists and vocalist, and
yours truly PFC Mike Bove, bass/lead guitarist and vocalist. When the bewitching hour
finally arrived, everyone joined together in a good stiff chorus of "Auld Lang
Syme" to welcome in the New Year. The real unsung heroes of the show were the
maintenance personnel. Without their assistance in setting things up and, especially,
repairing that generator, it would have been impossible to have made all that noise. To
all who read this article, Happy New Year. Contributed by PFC Mike Bove
A CLASS FORGOTTEN OR A LESSON LEARNED*
"Send it" came my usual reply when "Trusty Lion" twirled the land-line with "Fire Mission"! But this morning we were due for a test of our knowledge, for the mission was a High Burst Registration. Remember them? "Oh yeah!" Well good for you PFC 6-40." First, we had trouble remembering where we placed those High Burst Registration forms. "Oh yes, here they be" exclaimed one of the members of the A Team.
Now lets see, what would SSG Gillotti, Chief of the Bn FDC, do in a case like this? "Never mind that" barked 1LT Mitchell. "Lets see, it says here that we need the locations of "O1" and "O2". All right, call Lion 8 and get that info, SP5 Szuberla". "Sir, Lion 8 says there is no "01" and "02", but he is going to let us have the grid location of the Radar Station." This ones going to be a High Burst Radar Registration. Right. We all remember that one. Sure we do! "Now, what would SSG Gillotti do..?"
"Forget SSG Gillotti barked 1LT Mitchell. It says here ..! To, make a long story short, we finally shot it with a wait and see attitude. And heres what we monitored.
Young Radar Man: "My radar registers last two rounds below 15. Over".
Lion 8: "Below fifteen? Does that mean you want it raised? Over"
Young Radar Man: "Well it says here that if its below fifteen to tell you."
After our initial laughter and correction, we fired six more rounds, completing the registration. As a reward for our fine performance today, our A Team will be entertained by 1LT Mitchell in a four-hour class on High Burst Registrations. (Oh, and SSG Gillotti will be listening in to make sure we do it right!)
R&R anyone? Contributed by PFC Frank J.
FIRE IN THE HOLE, WATER IN THE 1SGs SHOOTING EYE
At one time, A Battery set the pace for the rest of the battalion in weapons training. 1SG Sammis head filled with ideas, as he was primarily responsible for this achievement. "What other battery," challenged the illustrious 1SG, bursting with pride over his latest construction engineering "masterpiece,!' "fires in the hole?" 1SG Sammis was referring to the weapons firing exercise conducted daily at the four-legged (telephone poles) test fire pit, which he himself designed and constructed. The pit was dug out of the side of a hill. Personnel fired into a sand-filled barrel, which was firmly positioned in the center of the hole. Four telephone poles offered added support to the six feet high sandbag and earth structure. Not long ago, a group of distinguished visitors from Fort Sill came to Landing Zone English. They made their way to A Battery, where 1SG Sammis gave them a cordial welcome and then led them on a brisk tour of the Battery so that plenty of time would be left for the visitors to feast their eyes on his magnificent structure. The visitors had seen everything except the firing-pit within fifteen minutes. As the 1SG led the group nearer and nearer to his pit, he became increasingly tense and excited, almost breaking into a run several times, all the while grinning from ear to ear, just knowing the distinguished visitors were going to be impressed. Twenty feet short of the structure, he stopped, unholstered his .45 caliber pistol, pointed to the pit, all the while looking back at his guests who were walking behind him still huffing and puffing from their efforts to walk as fast as Top was--and said "Theres the four-legged beauty," just as the Battery mutt mounted the roof of the test firing pit. Top walked up to the pit and stopped only one foot away and was a little surprised when he looked up and saw the dog, eye to eye. The 1SG pointed his pistol at the barrel inside the pit to "fire in the hole', took careful aim with his famous eagle right eye, and WHOOM! The big eight-inch Howitzer (closest to the pit) fired, sending a great cloud of dust over everyone. When the dust cleared the dog was nowhere to be found and there was a big wet tear in the 1SGs eye. The last time the "Distinguished Visitors from Fort Sill" saw and heard 1SG Sammis, he was running through the battery area completely devoid of his military cool, screaming, "Kill Rover!"
But 1SG Francis Xavier Sammis,Jr. is not one to
have his spirits dampened, and one hour later, thoroughly exhausted, he walked up to CPT
Schmitt and sheepishly declared, "No sweat SIR. Ill impress them next time with
my greatest inspiration, a day room!" Contributed by 1LT Amos Mitchell
2nd AND 3rd PLATOONS, C BTRY AT LZ PONY
On 31 October 1967, the 2nd & 3rd Platoons of C Btry pulled into position at Landing Zone Pony. The Chief of Firing Battery at the Pony location is SSG Jerome H. Askew, who also serves as 3rd Sections Chief. Chiefing the 2nd Section is SSG Johnnie Robertson. Making the big 175mm fire and bringing smoke on all the VC and NVA for many miles are the jobs of the following members of 2nd and 3rd Platoons, respectively:
SGT Emil L. Venclik, Gunner
SGT Wilmar Chandler, Assist. Gunner
SGT Johnnv W. Jordan
SP4 Robert R. Napier
SP4 Linhard R. Pechal
SP4 Thomas J. Timm
PFC John B. Coonradt
PFC Kenneth L. Frazier
PFC James Frio
PFC James E. Gilmore
PFC Donald W. Sheldon
PFC Maurice Spruille
CPL Arnold F. Willinski, Gunner
CPL Tommy Honeycutt , Assist. Gunner
SP4 Michael V. Dwyer
SP4 Larry Joe Friend
SP4 Billy J. Stapleton
PFC James R. Gomon
PFC Robert Harrow
PFC Harold E. Knapp
PFC Merlin G. Larson
PFC Robert B. Moore
PFC Ruzell Price
PFC Hal Truell
PFC Gary E. Wroe
1LT Robert H. Deters, Jr is the CO at LZ PONY.
Contributed by the Editor
What is a kudo? Since the dictionary is not readily available, I shall not try, to give an authorized definition, but if your name falls under '41st Artillery Groups Kudo column, you can be very proud of yourself, for you have done something outstanding. SSG William 0. Sanders, C Btry Mess Sergeant, was recently commended for having one of the best Christmas decorated Firing Battery messes in 41st Artillery Group. SSG Russell Willis, C Battery, recently was praised by 41st Artillery Group Commander, COL Archibald V. Arnold, for his thorough knowledge of the recoil system of his weapon, M110.'' - -
Kudo is further defined as something to be given
to all persons submitting a good article to this newspaper. However. Ill have to
give kudo a code name; for that Word is already being put to its best possible use!
Contributed by the Editor
The following personnel were recently promoted;
CWO Larry A. Jenkins
CWO Raymond M. Rogers
SGT Johnny W. Jordan
SGT Jimmy D. Knowles
SGT Earl Lutz
SGT Edward J. More
SP5 Vazquez G. Alonzo
SP5 William B. Mosley
SP5 Raymond R. Voss
Congratulations. Bn Personnel Officer CWO Larry A. Jenkins
CWO Jenkins loves publicity.
CWO Jenkins insisted
on getting CWO Jenkins' name in the newspaper as many times as possible. Judging from his
success this week, you can expect to see him get promoted in every edition of this paper.
By the Editor
1 LT RAPPORT, XO, C BTRY to IFFV ARTY
Having served with the 15th Arty for fifteen months as Assist. S-3 and XO of C Btry, 1LT
Rapport recently departed to become the XO of the VMI Brain Trust located at Nha Trang. A
voluntary organization headed by CPT Bell, the CO, 1LT Rapport might furnish the example
to make this a big, successful organization. Presently this brain child of CPT Bell has
but named CO and XO. By the Editor
THE S5 WAR
The S5 War is a strange war in some respects. In this war soldiers often aid and abet the enemies of S5 efforts without really being aware of the effect of their actions.
Well-meaning soldiers throw candy to children as they drive through the villages. Such practices violate the Vietnamese custom of elders giving to their children. Often too, children are injured when they scramble to get the goodies. Another victory for the enemy usually follows the substitution of give away programs for self-help programs.
A Btry recently offered technical advice and construction materials which resulted in the completion of a one-room school and an overwhelming victory. S5 troops winning various medals in the offensive were SP4's'Christensen, Lytle, Martucci, Smith, Snow, and Wegner, PFC's Brown, Bowannie, and Folds. Outstanding Job! A troops have set us a good example. - Lets be S5 soldiers, not Santa Clauses. By the S5
By SP4 Thomas Cooper
7/15th Arty IO
AN KHE -- The 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery and its Command Sergeant Major are together again after a brief separation.
CSM Laverne D. Coyle is now serving his second Republic of South Vietnam tour with the "Fighting Fifteenth." But it is his first confrontation with the many new faces that fill the familiar positions. Almost six months have elapsed since his former tour with the 7/15th Arty. In the interim, he had been serving with the 212th Artillery Group at Fort Lewis, Washington.
His first tour saw the "Fighting Fifteenth" soar from a fledging, canvas covered unit into a formidable, well-established force.
His present tour brings his overseas record to an impressive 14 years. He has served tours in Germany and Korea as well as in the Republic of South Vietnam. CSM Coyle's overseas tours have accorded him two notable distinctions: he was a member of the first Army battalion to land in Korea, and he was the first Command Sergeant Major to serve with I FFORCE V Arty.
The CSM mentioned that he is "a straight-leg Infantryman turned Artillery." However, the transition has been complete and totally justified.
[Note: CSM Coyle was killed in an OH58 helicopter crash December 1, 1970 at the Mang Yang Pass. Also see: 7/15th Scroll of Honor webpage]
By SP4 Thomas Cooper
7/15th Arty IO
AN KHE The men of C Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery recently dedicated their fire base in memory of their past battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond B. Penn Jr.
In a ceremony held at the base of Hong Kong Mountain with the Camp Radcliff perimeter in An Khe, C Battery personnel and attending dignitaries witnessed the unveiling of a memorial stone and plaque naming the site Fire Support Base Penn.
Tribute to the American soldier who perished in a helicopter crash in the Mang Yang Pass in early December was offered in remarks by the Commanding General of I Field Force Vietnam, Major General Charles P. Brown, and by C Battery Commander, Captain John H. Ludwikoski.
American and battalion flags were unfurled at the dedication by a color guard composed of Staff Sergeant Harris S. Henry, Specialist 4 Roy W. Raines, Specialist 4 Franklin L. Slanker and Private First Class Russell O. Rigby.
Dignitaries present at the dedication included Colonel Richard C. Tuck, Commanding Officer, I FFORCEV Arty; Lieutenant Colonel James W. Wroth, Commanding Officer, 52d Artillery Group; Lieutenant Colonel Barry B. Bannister, Commanding Officer, 7/15th Arty, and Lieutenant Colonel Lowell G. Smith, Commanding Officer, 5/16th Arty.
7th Battalion, 15th Artillery
Story and photos by SP4 J.J. ANGLEY
Reprinted from the May 1968 "TYPHOON" magazine
It is noontime at Landing Zone (LZ) Pony. Cannoneers are busy cleaning equipment or playing volleyball. Suddenly, the sound of a siren rings through the air. A forward observer (FO) has radioed for immediate artillery fire support.
The 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, "The Let's Go Battalion", swings into action. The battalion's fire direction center (FDC) receives the necessary information from one of its FOs; the fire data is computed to determine the correct trajectory for the projectile; the computed information is sent to the gun crews which will do the firing and eight-inch shells are soon on their way. All enemy activity within 80 meters of a shell's impact area will meet with almost certain death.
There's a strong feeling among the artillerymen of the 7/15th that their firepower is the "most ferocious in all Vietnam". Living up to her battle cry, "You Yell, We Shell Like Hell", the 7/15th Artillery has blasted "Charlie" with over 130,000 eight-inch and 175mm shells since July 1967. From atop Eight-Inch Hill at LZ Uplift (near Miss America Mountain), to remote areas in the Western Highlands, the eight-inch howitzers and cannoneers of the 7/15th stand ready to "shoot, move and communicate".
Solid communication contacts insure that from the moment a fire mission is called in, to the moment a 201-pound projectile is ready to be fired, less than a minute has elapsed. However, speed in firing is not the only capability of "The Let's Go Battalion". The 7/15th does exactly what her name implies -- she travels.
Capable of rapid displacement, the 7/15th Artillery provides artillery fire support for Free World Military Assistance Forces, to include the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops and the Republic of Korea Army's Capitol Division. The battalion also supported the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile), when the 1st Cav was stationed in the II Corps Tactical Zone.
For fast and effective moves, speed and proficiency developed in training and perfected by application provide flexible mobility capabilities for the battalion. Within a three-day period last January, Bravo Battery traveled a total of 60-miles over rugged, unimproved roadways. The battery went from LZ Uplift to LZ Crystal, conducted fire missions in the Sui La River Valley, returned to LZ Uplift, continued fire missions there, then went back again to LZ Crystal -- only to leave again the following day for LZ Uplift. Making these moves difficult is the transportation of tons of ammunition (10 projectiles weigh over a ton), the large, self-propelled howitzers, supplies and vehicles.
Planning and coordination among the battalion's batteries is the key to the success of complete and rapid movement of the battalion elements. Coordination among the battalion's Service Battery, Headquarters Battery, and the firing batteries is firmly established. To effect the moves, ammo is delivered to the designated location, the complicated mechanisms of the howitzers are checked out, time schedules are established, and the move is made.
"Within 24 hours, up to three firing batteries along with a service battery, can pack up and move anywhere, anytime", exclaims Lieutenant Colonel David W. Ferebee, Jr., the battalion's commanding officer.
During the now concluded Operation Pershing, the 7/15th also supplied reinforcing fire to the 1st Battalion, 77th Artillery. On-call fire support during this operation involved detailed coordination and planning between the two units. Planning also included harassing and interdicting (H+I) fire missions. All known and suspected enemy locations, bunkers and tunnel complexes, were blasted by the deadly howitzers of one of Vietnam's "goingest" artillery units.
Last December and January, after traveling more than 380 miles over rugged terrain and unimproved highways, Alpha Battery saw action at Suoi Dau, Duc Co, Bong Son, LZ Ringo, LZ Oasis, and CAV Hill near An Khe. During the last several months, traveling more than 260 miles over unimproved and paved roadways, Charlie Battery operated from LZs Pony, Oasis and English, prior to their present location in the Western Highlands.
In addition to providing fire support for numerous infantry units, the 7/15th, in conjunction with the 1/77th Artillery, conducts training missions in which ARVN artillery units are schooled in modern artillery procedures. The primary goal of these training missions is to enhance and maximize ARVN artillery capabilities.
According to the 7/15th battalion's commanding officer, Free World artillery support during Operation Pershing increased greatly because ARVN artillery units demonstrated increased effectiveness as a result of this training program.
In conjunction with its daily registration requirements, the battalion is capable of extensive area coverage through its far-ranging air surveillance program. Battalion air observers (AOs) conduct daily surveillance of registration impact areas as well as search for new targets.
Having been attached to the 7/15th, Charlie Battery, 6th Battalion, 16th Artillery, with its 155mm and 175mm howitzers emplaced at LZ Laramie, has added considerably to the battalion's capabilities.
In the words of LTC Ferebee, the 7/15th is capable of delivering "ferocious firepower" by plastering "Charlie" with shell after shell everyday. Yet, even though the battalion fires on a 24-hour schedule, no fatal injuries involving Vietnamese civilians or friendly forces have occurred. The record speaks for itself. The firepower of "The Let's Go Battalion" is ferocious, accurate and on-call anytime, anywhere.
With a pull on his lanyard, a
B Battery 7/15th Artillery, sends a
201-pound projectile on its way.
In a gun pit miles from
7/15th gun bunnies practice
a form of. . .
By SP4 Mike Maattala
Reprinted from a 1969 TYPHOON magazine
They call it the pit. Whether a simple trench or an elaborate construction in a base camp, each pit is the home for an artillery piece in Vietnam. It is also the place where the men who fire the guns spend most of their waking hours.
The pits used by Alpha Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery, were already constructed when they moved into LZ Blackhawk in the Central Highlands. The work had been done by Charlie Battery, 7/15th, which had since returned to battalion headquarters in An Khe. The move by Alpha Battery was its third since January; this time the guns, two 175s and two 8-inchers, were driven from An Khe, a grueling trip over a 40-mile section of QL19 that included the treacherous Miang Giang Pass (Mang Yang Pass).
Working in the pit during the early morning hours, the crew of gun #3 had numerous routine jobs to perform. They worked steadily, shirts off under the already hot sun. Powder and Jo's (projectiles) needed counting and the 175 had to be checked and cleaned. The refurbishing of the pit was still underway --- when the men first arrived most of the bunkers were in need of repair and now they were sandbagging and putting a waterproof membrane on the roof of the last one.
Alternating bunkers and thick timbers ringed the area in which the 175 rested. Powder and Jo's were placed in each of the four bunkers so that no matter what direction the gun was firing the men doing the humping could be as close to the rear of the gun as possible. The floor of the pit, made of layers of timber, had already suffered from the constant grinding of the tracks. In places the wood had collected in piles, resembling huge chunks of shredded wheat.
The biggest piece of artillery used by U.S. forces in Vietnam, the 175 has a spade attached to the rear which enables the crew to dig in the dirt surrounding the wooden floor. The recoil of the gun is still powerful enough to churn up the ground, and the men were busy smoothing out several rough spots left in the pit from a mission the previous night.
A recent rain had transformed the red dirt into a cement-like substance. As they scraped some of it from the spade, Staff Sergeant Jimmy Fortner, section chief from St. Paul, Virginia, muttered to no one in particular, "We oughta use this stuff for our new messhall floor."
Early in the afternoon, an ammo truck arrived from An Khe. Making its stops at the different gun sections, it finally backed into the pit of gun #3 and the men began the heavy task of unloading and storing the Jo's. Right in the middle of the work a fire mission came up: 70 to 80 VC had been spotted in the open. The truck quickly pulled out of the pit; the driver turned the gun around; and the spade was dropped. Specialist Four Howard Landrum, Fayatteville, Georgia, hammered furiously at the powder canisters to loosen their tops.
Twice the spade had to be picked up and reset as the softened dirt made it hard to dig the gun in securely. When all was ready, the crew waited eagerly for permission to fire. Several minutes passed and clearance had still not been obtained. Disappointed over the check-fire, the men left their positions after a few minutes and began repairing a bunker in the pit. A half hour later, the word finally came down from the Fire Direction Center (FDC) at the LZ: the mission was scrubbed.
Later in the afternoon, Captain John Caldwell, battery commander from Middlesex, New Jersey, commented, "Obtaining clearance is one of the biggest problems we have. We not only have to be cleared by the senior U.S. ground commander in the area but also by the province chief. This authority is delegated to certain clearance agencies, and sometimes the process takes a while."
At dinnertime one man remained in the pit while the others went to eat; there must always be someone watching the gun. The consolidated messhall at the LZ had a limited eating space, so after picking up their food the men returned to their hootches.
The rooms were small and the light bulbs hanging from the ceiling dimmed frequently, according to the whims of the generator. At times the lights went out completely, drawing cries of anger from the men. When this happened, they quickly shut off their tape recorders and record players and waited for the power to return. Each room had a desk or cabinet of some sort, constructed from discarded ammo boxes.
When one of the big guns fired, its effect on the hootches was obvious. The walls and ceilings trembled. Everything seemed on the verge of coming apart and frequently did. Specialist Four Ardis Brown, Dothan, Alabama, hammered a nail into his wall, securing a section which had been loosened by the pounding of the guns.
Putting up with the powerful blasts is just one of the peculiarities in the life of a gun bunny, as the men refer to themselves. Fire missions are conducted in a pit miles from the target --- a "detached violence" as Captain Blake termed it. They never see what they are firing at and they normally don't learn of any material results unless a sweep is made of the area afterward.
About half the missions fired by Alpha Battery involve direct support for troops in contact with the enemy. When the men learn they are firing a contact mission they get the gun ready and hump Jo's and powder just a little quicker than usual. They are capable of putting the first round out within three minutes after receiving the mission.
The non-contact missions break down into several types. At times when the enemy's location is not known for sure, they will shoot harassment fire, hoping to disturb Charlie even if they don't hit him. If a trail is discovered and believed to be in use by the enemy, the battery will usually wait until dark and put some rounds on it --- a firing known as interdiction. Somewhat more positive in nature, they will also fire at suspected enemy positions based on reports from forward and aerial observers.
Occasionally, Alpha Battery will send two guns, one of each type, out on a raid. The guns, along with a mobile FDC, will go out for two to three weeks to support a specific operation. This was the 7/15th's original purpose for sending two of Alpha Battery's guns to LZ Blackhawk. In an LZ the guns are set up with the usual protective walls and storage bunkers. But sometimes they will just drive out to an open field, in which case a trench will be scooped out and the gun will dig in with only a dirt berm pushed up around it.
Gun #3 normally conducts a fire mission with a crew of eight men. Some of the positions require mainly physical strength, such as humping Jo's and powder, while the gunner and section chief, working side by side, need more technical knowledge of the gun. But each job is equally important. Without the men on the ground doing the legwork, a round would never leave the tube.
"We try to let each man learn all the positions," said Sergeant Fortner, "because we might have to fill in for someone at a moment's notice." Most of the men look forward to earning a spot on the gun; there is a certain amount of pride involved. A few months of humping Jo's might also have something to do with it.
Each projectile for a 175 gun weighs 147 pounds; the powder weighs 94 pounds. When a hot fire mission is in progress and rounds are being put out one after another, the men on the ground have all they can do to keep up with the firing. But somehow they manage.
It's hard enough humping powder and Jo's under normal conditions. Sitting in the pit of gun #3, Specialist Four Tom McCann, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, recalled an experience at a previous LZ. "We were firing a night mission, and the mud was knee-deep behind the gun. We were just wading in the stuff. Well, we dropped a Jo and didn't find it until the next morning."
After dinner, word spread among Alpha Battery that volunteers were needed to help work on the floor for the new messhall. The men were tired and a few hesitated momentarily, but the free beer and sodas offered as a bribe were too much to resist. Shoveling, mixing, and drinking, they worked until dark before calling it quits.
Gun #3 was scheduled as hot tube for the night; if any missions came up, they would be the ones called out to fire. The men went to bed predicting, from previous experiences, the hour they would be awakened. Most of them guessed around one o'clock.
They were an hour off; at midnight someone from FDC woke up Sergeant Fortner. Quickly the word was passed through the hootch, "Fire mission --- gun three." They dressed hurriedly and ran out into the darkness toward the gun pit. As the driver maneuvered the 175 on the wooden floor to align it with the correct azimuth, it sounded like a snowbound truck rocking to free itself.
The only light the men had to work in came from a flashlight and one taillight on the gun. They probably could have done it in the dark; they have been through the routine so many times before. With precision they began feeding the Jo's and powder into the huge tube. After each blast, smoke hung over the pit, eerie in the dim light. Every time Specialist Four David Newton, Wathena, Kansas, pulled the tail on the gun, his body was jerked slightly into the air like a puppet, for he was left holding nothing but the lanyard. Halfway through the mission the loader-rammer jammed and the men had to hand-ram the remaining rounds.
Their mission finally completed, the crew of gun #3 left the pit. As they reached the front of their hootch, the only sound in the night was the dull scraping and stomping of mud-clogged boots. Specialist McCann expected to sleep uninterrupted for the rest of the night. But before crawling into his bunk, he placed boots, clothes, and steel pot within easy reach --- just in case.
A quick yank on the lanyard and gun #3
another round during a fire mission.
story is reprinted from the ARTILLERY REVIEW (publication date unknown -- 1970?)
Fifteenth' Goes to Phu Cat
7/15th On The Move
By PFC Tom Cooper
7/15th Arty IO
PHU CAT - In a move that added further significance to its historic motto, "Allons," 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery recently relocated its command units from An Khe to Phu Cat.
The now mobilized headquarters and service batteries were motionless in a serpentine-like column waiting for QL19 to open on this late October morning. The flak jackets stuck to our sweated skin as uncomfortable as the helmets sat atop our heads.
Rumor had it that we could expect an uneventful trip once we passed the security of the gateexcept for the always hazardous An Khe Pass.
No Rear Vision
Although only 11 slots from the rear-guard vehicle, we always wondered if we were really not the last element of the convoy. It was impossible to sight over our load. Every square inch of load space was occupied blinding our rear vision. Boxes of regulations, office fans, desks, stacks of blank forms, a priceless well worn mimeograph machine and two section members precariously balanced on top of the assortment made our vehicle look like a gypsy wagon.
The dust covered Quad 50 gun ship, Hired Killers, from E Battery, 41st Artillery (attached to 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery), could be seen looming over the canvas tops of the training vehicles. It alone was free of cumbersome stuffing.
Finally, the convoy was given access to the road. I was good to move; to deny the sun the opportunity to broil us where we sat. Our good fortune was short lived, though, as a flooded engine in the vehicle ahead of us caused a little more delay. The flooded truck finally coughed back to life, and the procession started its march.
Keeping proper interval, the convoy entered An Khe Pass with each redleg knowing that this was the most dangerous leg of the journey. It was hard to imagine the seemingly peaceful mountain roadway had just the day before been the scene of a sniper ambush. Blue Vietnamese buses sagged up the hill in their condition of chronic obesitywicker baskets, chair frames and cardboard boxes dangling from strapped positions on the roof.
Swinging down into the valley, past a pallet of overturned beer, the convoy was greeted with several bursts from an AK-47. Nothing hit. Then the burst of a mortar round. Again, nothing touched; nothing seen.
The rest of the move was as had been predicted, uneventful. Passing through village after small village, two sights persistently sough attentionthe homes and the children. Faded gray and weathered with rust, the buildings were patched with cardboard sheets. Every few inches a large "C" was stenciled. The children would run within a safe distance of the moving trucks, shouting a waving. After the wave would flash the omnipresent peace sign, the a salute, then an extended and upturned palm.
The approaching view of Phu Cats red dust told us we were now "home." It had taken many days of packing, loading and crating. Add half a day for the transplant. Figure several more days for the unpacking, unloading and uncrating. One week after starting, things would be back to normal.
The serpentine-like convoy of the moving 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery headquarters and service batteries bends around a turn enroute to its new base of operations at Phu Cat. The "Fighting Fifteenth" relocated its base camp from An Khe to the former headquarters compound of the now inactivated 7th Battalion, 13th Artillery
(The following stories are from the March 25, 1971 ARTILLERY REVIEW which was published by I FIELD FORCE VIETNAM ARTILLERY)
7/15th PUTS STEEL
By SP4 Thomas Cooper
7/15th Arty IO
Photos by SP4 Thomas Cooper
DUC CO -- From a raid site laid at the border village of Duc Co, 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery recently delivered heavy fire support into Cambodia.
Located five miles from the Cambodian border, the "Fighting Fifteenth" expended rounds on selected enemy locations as reconned by the II Military Region Ranger border camp. Surveillance credited the artillery unit with a massive secondary explosion as a result of their fire.
The field unit, under the command of B Battery Commander, Captain Norman R. Cherry, was comprised of "Association for Peace III", a 175mm gun from A Battery, Fire Support Base Blackhawk, and "God of Hell Fire", a 175mm gun from B Battery, Fire Support Base Oasis.
The road march to the site, 20 miles southwest of FSB Oasis, necessitated a 50-mile journey for the A Battery gun. Both heavies closed on the site in early morning after negotiating hazardous "Rocket Alley", a 1-1/2 mile stretch of road which had been the scene of hostile action the previous day.
After quickly laying the guns, the crews manned their positions until late afternoon before receiving the march order. The convoy then displaced 30 miles to Artillery Hill, Pleiku.
Fighting 15th Aid ARVN
By SP4 Thomas Cooper, 7/15th Arty IO
Reprinted from a 1971 ARTILLERY REVIEW newspaper
POLEI KLENG -- Executing a rare field artillery maneuver involving the road march of several 175mm guns to a single raid site located 21 miles from the Cambodian border, 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery recently provided solid U.S. heavy artillery support for the 22nd ARVN offensive operations in the northwestern Central Highlands.
After routing the enemy from the Plei Trap Valley by heavy fire concentration, the guns pounded decisively on relocation movements undertaken by the 66th NVA Regiment. Operating in the field with the ARVN maneuver battalions, forward observers Second Lieutenant James E. Nyberg and Second Lieutenant Thomas C. Wagner called in enemy grid coordinates for the guns. With additional rounds expended on radar and intell targets, firing was both rapid and accurate.
Supplying fire support on an on-call 24-hour basis, the composite battery proved, in the words of Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Barry B. Bannister, that "The unit was able to move from a static position to a highly mobile situation with no loss of efficiency."
Tracking through dense jungle terrain comprised of winding dirt trails and bridge-less rivers, the track-mounted self-propelled guns arrived at the site and were fired shortly after being laid. Commented Captain Chester R. Smith, Jr., commanding officer of the battery, "We went over bridges that were completed right before our approach and, if they weren't, we forded the rivers."
"This operation," noted LTC Bannister, "has resulted in the tactical deployment of a 175mm gun battery --- the first time in over a year that First Field Force Vietnam Artillery has deployed an entire 175mm gun battery."
Major General Charles P. Brown presents the Silver Star and Purple Heart Awards to Captain Charles J. Bowers, Jr. (left) and First Lieutenant William H. Walden, Jr., in a ceremony at Artillery Headquarters in Nha Trang. The two officers had distinguished themselves by gallantry in action.
By SP4 Thomas
7/15th Arty IO
"Moms Place isnt noted for its cuisine nor its outstanding atmosphere nor its exceptional entertainment schedule nevertheless, it is the main attraction and gathering place for men of A Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Artillery located at Fire Support Base Blackhawk.
One would be hard-put to label the converted 155 howitzer bunker simply a meeting place; a more apt description might be "multi-functional mini-hall". Moms Place serves in various capacities as: a movie theatre, restaurant, library, special occasions room, bar, recreation center, game room and music lounge.
To all outward appearances, Moms is a sand-bagged bunker with additional revetments of ammo boxes and powder cannisters. Only a trained or familiar eye could locate the remains of the sign lettered on the half-buried cannisters ends indicating Moms location.
Photo credit: Michael B. Mountain, 7/15th
Stepping through the entrance way one is immediately struck by the medley of furniture and decorations. Sitting space is limited to two wobbly tables and several chairs in various states of repair and ruin. "Everything we have obtained for the place has resulted from scrounging and this isnt in the most ideal condition," noted Specialist 5 Robert L. Clark, one of the original builders of Moms. Arduous scrounging resulted finally in the obtaining of abandoned PSP from the roadside for the places roof. Heavy timbering lines the floor with a combination of metal sheeting and plywood for interior walls.
The building of Moms took over two weeks with help of all battery members. "When someone came off guard they would stop by to lend a hand. Also any free time at night or after chow would be used to work on the bunker," remarked SP5 Clark.
The decor follows no basic scheme: the walls are covered with paint salvaged from the bottom of discarded cans; red, yellow and white are in prevalence. "In order to liven up the place, as well as getting it painted, we had a contest between sections within the battery," commented SP5 Clark. "Each section was allowed to decorate their own 4 x 8 area of the wall space in whatever manner they chose. The winners were rewarded with week of free beer, second place with several nights, third place with place was given on free beer." The embellishments range from Gun Fours "Deadly Dealer II" emblem, replete with an intricate hand-painted deck of cards superimposed over their gun, to FDCs verbose message describing the joys of physical delights, to a large image of omnipresent Snoopy.
Because Moms is a gathering place for everyone in the battery, it is only natural that it reflect the diversity of interests of the individuals who frequent it. "People coming into Moms will put things on the walls if it appeals to them," said Specialist/4 Donnie D. Sharp. An itemized list of objects would have to include: one multi-colored, hand-painted map of the United States; one used dart board; several Japanese lanterns; one salvaged, hung, dust-brown flare parachute; several globs of silver Christmas tree tinsel; many pin-up pictures; and an American flag and ARVN flag - to name but a few.
The history of the bunkers name is as interesting as the bunker itself. "When the unit was out at LZ Pony and Dong Tre, Jack E. Grant made a point of bringing sodas and beer to the men working on the sites," said SP5 Clark. "Also, Grant was responsible for obtaining sodas and beer for us when transportation delayed our shipments. Whenever there was a shortage, the sergeant was on hand - and for some reason, so would be the drinks. Consequently, because he took such good care of us, he was nicknamed "Mom - it just stuck after that." "We were sitting at the bunker one night," continued Specialist 4 Daniel J. Zaborowaski, "and the idea to name the place came up. It was unanimous; because of the beers and sodas we served, it could only be called Moms Place!."
Since its original conception, Moms Place has grown to provide a well stocked library and a music system. Furthermore, it has served as the battery theatre as well as a place for entertaining visiting guests. So popular had Moms become that ex-BC, Captain Michael B. Mountain had coasters and napkins printed with the clubs name and location for guests and battery personnel.
In the spirit of the man that gave the name, Moms Place continues to help make a redlegs tour as enjoyable as possible.
7/15th VIETNAM HISTORY
Visitors since January 21, 2002