~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
June 1968 ~ Battalion Timeline
   Regardless of MOS if you recognize or participated in any of the events listed on this Timeline page and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or, if you can provide information on any events not listed, please take a moment to contact Tom Watson the History Project Manager at the Email Link provided for you on this page. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
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Last Updated
12 November 2017

At the start of the month Battalion HQ Detachment, its organic letter companies and the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) were headquartered subordinate to the 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, III Corps Tactical Zone, Bien Hoa Provence, Long Binh Post,  South Vietnam.

18th MP
89th MP
720th MP
      All major theater activities, stateside incidents, or political, Cold War and Vietnam War events not directly related to the battalion’s official history but affected the battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in blue American Typewriter font.
      At the start of the month of June the 720th MP Battalion HQ & HQ Detachment and its organic units, Alfa, Bravo and Charlie companies, and the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) attached for administrative and logistical support, were all headquartered on Long Bin Post, Thu Duc District, Bien Hoa Province in III Corps Tactical Zone under the command of LTC Baxter M. Bullock, subordinate to the 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, United States Army Vietnam (USARV), Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV).
      Battalion strength for the month was 586 personnel (organic units), and 194 for the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog).
Exact Date Unknown A Company assumed the additional commitment of the Prisoner of War (POW) Escort Team. The members of this team traveled by vehicle and air over the entire III & IV Corps Tactical Zones collecting prisoners of war from the division and separate brigade commands prisoner of war collecting points, and transporting them to the ARVN Prisoner of War Camp on the outskirts of Bien Hoa (Bien Hoa Province).

212th MP Company - Exact Date Unknown

Personal Reflection "Lady was a German Shepard pup that was taken to Vietnam by a crew member of an off shore oil rig. When told that he could not keep a dog on the rig, Lady was sent to the MP K9 company.

     I was told that she received the full scout dog training and was put into service as a scout dog (but never appeared on any official books). There were rumors that she was used to produce "pure bred" pups which were sold to various units. When it was learned that the dog company was selling dogs, the Inspector General was sent to investigate.

     As the IG’s helicopter was landing, Lady was taking off in another ship. I received a call from CPT Charles E. Hobbs of the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) asking if I wanted a scout dog. By the time I said "yes", Lady was landing.

     Lady became part of the 615th and was transferred (with me) to Bien Hoa when I became Deputy Provost Marshal (179th Provost Marshal Detachment, 95th MP Battalion].

     Lady ended up saving my life twice and I had an opportunity to return the favor for her. I learned of a pending change that would prohibit any Army dog from leaving Nam (due to some infection found somewhere).

     I had her checked by our vet, and with the help of a member of our unit whose father worked for Pan Am, I had her shipped out of Nam and back to Michigan where she lived out her life in comfort." CPT Frederick W. Honerkamp, III, Commanding Officer, 615th MP Company, 95th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, June 1968-1969.

Wanted: Any information or photographs on Lady while assigned to the 212th MP Company. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

1 June
Change of Command at Bravo Company

     CPT Daryl K. Solomonson received command of B Company from CPT Paul R. Guimond who was transferred to HQ & HQ Detachment and assigned as the new Battalion S3.

     After the change of command ceremony an awards ceremony was held where LTC Zane V. Kortum, Battalion Commander, presented awards to four of the Bravo Company personnel.

     Receiving the awards were, SSG Hudson- Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service, and Army Commendation Medals to CPT Paul R. Guimond, former company commander, and two enlisted men yet to be identified.

2 June

0800 Hours, Memorial services were held at the 89th MP Group Chapel for SGT Apmineo Lara of Charlie Company who died on 30 May from wounds received in a jeep ambush in the TAOR on 28 May. The eulogy was given by battalion commander LTC Zane V. Kortum.

Wanted: Copy of memorial service program. Please use the Email Link at the top of this page.

4 June

Saigon On June 27, 1968 the U.S. Army Vietnam (USARV) published General Orders establishing Headquarters, Capital Military Assistance Command (CMAC) (Provisional) under the command of Major General Hay, with an effective date of June 4, 1968.

     The Capital Military District (CMD) was broadly responsible for reinforcing and protecting Saigon. Within the Capital Military District, the Capital Military Assistance Command was created to help prevent another situation like the Tet Offensive in 1968.

     As the threat of more attacks became more likely, there was a perceived need for a central and permanent tactical command that could protect the area of Saigon. It was to be headquartered at Camp Le Van Duyet in Saigon, Gia Dinh Province, III Corps Tactical Zone along with the Vietnamese Headquarters for the Capital Military District (CMD or Capital Military Assistance Command).

5 June
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Is Assassinated
Sen. Kennedy

     After addressing a large crowd of supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in San Francisco on the night of 4 June, the evening of the California Presidential Primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was in the process of leaving the hotel via the kitchen when he is shot in the head at 12:13 AM on the morning of June 5th by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24 year old Jordanian living in Los Angeles.

     Sirhan is a supporter of the Palestinian movement, and stated he was upset with Kennedy's support for Israel.

89th MP Group Commander's Helicopter Crashes

    The 89th MP Group Commanders helicopter crashed near the Newport Bridge in Gia Dinh Province killing SMG Kenneth E. Kid, and SGT Larry Dwight Maggard, age 22, both members of the 89th MP Group.

     SMG Kidd was formerly the 720th MP Battalion SGM and SGT Maggard was previously assigned to B Company and then HQ Detachment, before moving to the 89th MP Group as the driver for COL Payne.

   COL Francis E. “Frank” Payne, the 89th MP Group Commander, and former 720th Battalion Commander, along with the helicopter pilot, were both severely injured but recovered.

If you can provide a photograph of SGT Maggard and/or a copy of the memorial service program. Please use the Email Link at the top of this page to notify the History Project Manager.

SGM Kidd
SGT Maggard
 Personal Reflections “SSG Angel C. Vasquez and I were on Highway Patrol heading north on Highway-1 towards Long Binh Post, just about three or four kilometers from the Newport Bridge. Although I was Vasquez's driver, he preferred to drive. As a passenger in the jeep I caught movement high and to my right, maybe 6 or 7 hundred yards away. It was a small chopper descending and heading towards us at a rapid speed with the blades moving very slowly. It crashed in a rice paddy maybe 150 to 200 yards away from the eastern side of the highway. SSG Vasquez told me that he couldn't swim, and we both knew that whoever was in that chopper needed help.
     I stripped down to my t-shirt, pants, and boots, emptied all my pockets and dove into a canal that was approximately 50 yards or so wide. As I was swimming across I saw a GI off to my right doing the same thing. The chopper had crashed on the eastern side of the rice paddy so we had to cross most of the paddy before we reached it. The other soldier (he was infantry... I remember as being in the 1st Division, but it could have been the 9th) got to the chopper first.
     He went over to a boot that was sticking out of the rice paddy, and I went over to a body whose torso was sticking out of the rice paddy. The body was on its side, and I turned it over and began to wipe mud and straw off his face and pull it out of his mouth. He was alive and in a lot of pain. As I was getting more mud off his face I noticed cross pistols on his collar. I quickly checked the other side of his collar and saw that he was a full bird Colonel! Seeing that he was breathing and somewhat stable, I got to the southern dike of the paddy and ran back towards the jeep. I informed SSG Vasquez that an MP commander was one of the people in the crash and to get a Medevac chopper to our location ASAP. Vasquez threw me a smoke grenade and told me to use it when the chopper was in the area. When I reached COL Payne again I heard gunfire, and thought, what an idiot I was for leaving my weapons in the jeep! I looked back towards the highway and saw several military people in the prone position.
     The other soldier had managed to drag out (who would later be identified as SGT Larry Maggard), the person whose boot was the only thing sticking out, and he had him resting against the western dike. Then he came towards COL Payne and myself and helped me drag Payne next to Maggard. I was holding COL Payne's head up. He was going in and out of consciousness, and I was telling him that everything was going to be fine and that a chopper was on its way to take him to the hospital. SGT Maggard was gurgling and bubbles were coming out of his mouth. To me, he appeared done for. I couldn't feel any pulse. The soldier from the infantry unit went back to the chopper and pulled out another person. By this time, people were searching the chopper and other people were coming over from various directions, and it was turning into a three-ring circus.

     When the Medevac chopper arrived several corpsmen jumped out and began to check pulses, put in IV's, etc. Our Duty Officer (a lieutenant who's name I can't recall) came from a bridge north of our location just in time to tell us he was taking charge and helped load the last person on the Medevac chopper. When the chopper took off with the casualties the Duty Officer asked me if I wanted to go back with him. I said no, and swam back to where my jeep was.

     GEN Gustafson had arrived at the highway sometime during the rescue and greeted me when I got out of the water. He shook my hand and said, "Good job, son"! I don't remember a doctor, however, that Infantry guy could have been a doctor. I do know that he did a great job that day. I was later awarded an Army Commendation Medal. I refused it because I discovered that the Duty Officer had received a Soldier's Medal for god knows what!”  PFC Arthur Diaz, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, October 1967 to October 1968.

PFC Diaz
Personal Reflection "My tour was ending and I had orders to Fort Benning, Georgia, to become the provost marshal. I scheduled a helicopter trip through southern Vietnam to inspect and say goodbye to each of the units that I commanded. I asked my Sergeant Major [SMG Kidd] and Larry [SGT Maggard was COL Payne's driver] if they would like to go on the trip with me. They both jumped at the chance. We scheduled out itinerary, went first to Saigon, then down through the delta and visited all the units.
     On our flight back over Saigon on the way to Bien Hoa, I was very tired and dozed off. I remember waking up startled when the pilot was giving a “Mayday” over the radio. We were between Saigon and Bien Hoa flying about 1,500 feet. I turned to check with the Sergeant Major and Sergeant Maggard who were in the back seat of the helicopter. I looked to see that they were awake, had their helmets on and were strapped in. At that point I really had no concern because many, many times at Fort Campbell we had turned the motor off in a helicopter and auto rotated in for a landing with no problems. For some reason, I became unconscious. The next thing I remember I was in the hospital in Saigon with someone with a garden hose washing off the rice paddy mud so they could check my injuries.
     It was later learned that we had crashed in a rice paddy on the skid on my side of the chopper. The pilot and I were thrown clear of the aircraft but Sergeant Major Kidd and Sergeant Maggard were both killed when the helicopter motor came forward and crushed them.
     I was told that a doctor, CPT Frank J. Messana, B Company, 9th Medical Battalion, 9th Infantry Division was riding in a jeep on a road about 400 meters away and saw the crash. He raced from his jeep, swam a rice paddy, got to the pilot and I, and was able to remove the mud from our air passages and help get us into the dust-off helicopter that had answered our pilot’s Mayday. He saved our lives.
     In the Saigon Hospital, they found I had a shattered right hip, a skull fracture, fractured ribs, and numerous lacerations. I was stabilized and put in a body cast, the same way I returned from World War II. A few days later I was evacuated to a Army hospital in Tokyo, Japan.
     Several months later after release from Walter Reed Hospital and our arrival at Fort Benning Georgia, I was able to go to Martin Army Hospital in Georgia and personally thank CPT Frank J. Messana for his rescue and saving my life in Vietnam. CPT Messana was awarded the Soldiers Medal for his actions on 5 June 1968 .
     In the fall of 1968 I met with SGT Maggard's family at a memorial service in their local church in Kentucky. At the service I presented SGT Maggard's parents with the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (meritorious service) and Bronze Star Medal (meritorious service).
     Edited from the Journal “Frank Payne ~ Been There Done That” by COL Francis E. “Frank” Payne and Mrs. Jo Anne Embree Payne.

Editors Note: In my correspondence with COL Payne about this incident he stated that everything after the crash was a blank and what he knew about his rescue he was told weeks later by others who were not at the crash site.

     In recent years there came to light another part of the rescue story by PFC Diaz. COL Payne would pass from our ranks without ever hearing of it, and in knowing him, if he had, there would have been a second thank you mission.

      Colonel Payne passed from our ranks at 1050 hours, Monday, 2 July 2001, at his home in Carson City, Nevada. I had the pleasure of corresponding and conversing with the Colonel throughout the year before his death. The burden of the deaths of SMG Kidd and SGT Maggard was still evident. The Colonel was extremely proud of his tour with the 720th MP Battalion and often described the men under his command in Vietnam as the best MP's he has ever had the pleasure of serving with.

COL Payne
6 June
VC Land Mine Kills Two From Charlie Company
Senator Robert F. Kennedy age 42, the younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy, died in the early morning hours of 6 June from the assassins gunshot wounds received on 5 June.

TAOR  That same afternoon, two members of C Company, SFC Frank Aloysius "Pappy" Condon and SP/4 Lewis Randolph Lovell, Jr. were killed instantly when their patrol jeep detonated a powerful Viet Cong land mine while they were driving in the northwestern sector of the Battalion Tactical Area of Responsibility.

     They were two of one hundred fifteen American servicemen to die that day in Vietnam.

      SP/4 Lovell, the driver of the MP jeep, proceeded east along the highway to the vicinity of Long Binh Post Gate #11 where he turned south on to Highway Q-15 towards the Bearcat Base Camp. After making the turn onto Highway Q-15 he left the paved roadway and traveled west out along a dirt trail on the “The Finger of Land” located in the Battalion Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR).

SFC Condon
SP/4 Lovell

      The trail approximately 300 yards south of the perimeter is only several hundred yards long. It ran east and west across the top of the ridge (finger) parallel to the southern perimeter of the post. This area of the TAOR was classified as a “free fire zone.”

      Approximately half way down the trail the jeep ran over a large pressure detonated Viet Cong land mine believed to have been fashioned from a U.S. 105mm howitzer shell. The explosion from the mine was heard over two miles away at B Company Outpost #2 in Long Hung Village. The MP's at the outpost could also see the plume of dark smoke from the explosion.

      Both men died instantly from the powerful explosion. Their remains and those of the jeep were recovered by a C Company Reaction Force rushed to the area.

Personal Reflection  "At B Company Outpost-2 in Long Hung, the day started just like many others. We were up with the dawn for some hot coffee and breakfast and still tired from the work in the hot sun the day before. The aches and tiredness were compounded by having to get up during the night to pull a two hour shift on radio watch. However on this day the routine and morale would change unexpectedly, formed by world as well as local events.

   Having heard of the crash of Colonel Payne's helicopter (89th MP Group) and the deaths of SMJ Kidd and SGT Maggard the day before, things were already somber. As we started into our regular routine news came over the AFVN radio that Senator Robert Kennedy had been assassinated in California on 5 June and died today.

   It’s tough to describe the first feelings I experienced on hearing the news. At first disbelief, then anger followed by frustration and helplessness. All work at the outpost stopped. The PF’s knew something of major importance happened but being unfamiliar and uninterested in U.S. politics, they just left us alone.

      We sat around the rest of the morning discussing the report and expressing our sorrow for the Kennedy family and wondering how this kind of thing could happen once again. It seemed unbelievable.

      As the day lengthened the morning turned into another hot and dry afternoon. We were just getting back to some semblance of activity when we heard a loud explosion off to the east. I picked up the radio handset and immediately reported it to Battalion TOC who could offer no information on the cause or origin.

   Minutes later you could see a large plume of dark black smoke rising above the trees off in the distance. There was radio silence for several minutes then some traffic directing MP patrols to check it out. Several more minutes passed with silence then the word came over the battalion net that one of our C Company patrol jeeps had hit a land mine on the Finger of Land, and both MP’s were missing.

  With this report I became numb and just sat by the radio listening. Without going into the morbid details of the radio transmissions that occurred between the men conducting the search on the Finger, it was apparent that the MP’s in the jeep were not missing, the pieces of their remains were just scattered. It would be several hours before their recovery was completed.

   In later months when I was assigned as the squad leader of an ambush team we often worked the Finger of Land and walked the dirt trail that their jeep was on that day. There was still a large crater in the trail from the land mine and it was a constant reminder to all of us on what SFC "The Sarge" DeHart often said of how quick establishing a routine in the field could kill you in Vietnam."  Journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson B Company, 720th MP Battalion, March 1968 to March 1969.

7 June
Change of Battalion Command

   LTC Zane V. Kortum  the fifth commanding officer of the battalion in Vietnam, passed command of the 720th MP Battalion to LTC Baxter M. Bullock who previously served from 15 February 1966 to 12 April 1968 as Executive Officer, 4th AIT Brigade Fort Gordon MP School, and in key staff positions of the Commanding General, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

   LTC Kortum was reassigned as acting commander of the 89th MP Group prior to moving to the USARV Provost Marshal’s Staff.

10 June

0800 Hours, Memorial services were held at the 89th MP Group Chapel for SFC Frank "Pappy"Aloysius Condon and SP/4 Lewis Randolph Lovell, Jr., C Company who were Killed In Action on 6 June. The eulogy was given by the Battalion Commander, LTC Zane V. Kortum.

Wanted: Copy of memorial service program. Please use the Email Link at the top of this page.

TAOR BG W. T. Bradley, Commanding, Headquarters Engineer Troops Vietnam (Provisional) MACV issued a letter of appreciation to the 18th MP Brigade for the outstanding cooperation and assistance rendered to their units conducting hydrographic surveys in the Saigon-Long Binh region. The letter specifically mentioned SGT Lonny O’Bryan, and the crews of the B Company River Patrol Unit.

12 June
VC Land Mine Ambush Of Engineer Truck

TAOR  Early in the morning a 3/4-ton dump truck ran over a powerful Viet Cong land mine on the dirt road between Outpost-1 and Outpost-2 destroying it and wounding a member of D Company, 46th Engineer Battalion. The truck was part of a construction crew building the new Friendship Bridge to provide access to the village of An Xuan in the southwestern sector of the TAOR.

Personal Reflection “The temperature was up and it was very hot and humid this morning. The Battalion TOC called on the field phone last night and said the local VC had just received a new supply of arms and ammunition. They wanted us to be alert because their informants said the VC were planning to hit targets within out TAOR. For once Battalion TOC received some valid information, and it didn’t take them long to carry out their threat.

     We made two supply runs in our jeep from here at Outpost-2 to Outpost-1. Both were uneventful. SP/4 John Hart drove the first, and I drove the second run. We have to make the runs very early in the morning because with the Engineers of the 2nd Construction Platoon of D Company, 46th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade are working on the new Freedom Bridge near Outpost-1. The single lane roadway is blocked to all vehicle traffic until they finish for the day.

     The engineer convoy drove past the outpost gate heading for the construction site just minutes after I returned from the second supply run. About half way between the bridge construction site and our outpost their lead vehicle hit a land mine in a washed out section of the road. I was sitting on the roof of the Popular Forces communications bunker drinking a cup of coffee when the explosion went off. The shock wave from it rattled the roof tiles on our pavilion. CPL Woodrow “Woody” Morgan, the squad leader of Ambush Squad-76 and I grabbed our rifles and ran out to the site to help.

SP/4 Hart
     The driver of the ¾-ton dump truck, who later informed me he had only several weeks left on his tour, walked away from the explosion dazed with only scratches and temporary deafness. He was red as a beet and looked like someone had sand blasted his entire front from the waist up. He was not more seriously wounded because he had the foresight to sandbag the floor of his truck, which shielded him from most of the explosion and shrapnel. Fortunately for him the truck didn’t flip over because it carried a full load of dirt.
     During a search of the area we found the triggering devise used to detonate the land mine. It was made of two pieces of wood separated by a ½-inch space where two wires, one attached to a C-Ration can lid and the other bare. When compressed the two ends met and completed an electrified circuit powered by a small 6 volt battery. The VC that set the trigger apparently waited until I returned from making the second supply run before placing it in a shallow depression on the roadway caused by the wash out. Since our two jeep supply runs ran through the same wash out and didn’t trigger the mine, it appears that the VC’s intentions were to destroy the lead truck of the daily engineer convoy to the bridge.

     They were looking for multiple casualties, more bang for their bucks. Normally the first truck through was the duce-and-a-half that carried the D Company work crew. This morning the three quarter ton dump truck was in front because of the wash out from the rain in the roadway, and it was going to drop the dirt in it so the larger truck could get by to the bridge construction site.

     I assisted Ambush Squad-76 in a search of the area, and we picked up several local farmers working in the surrounding rice paddies for questioning. All the farmers were from An Xuan Village, and as usual no one saw or knew anything.

      Later in the day the Village Chief of Long Hung reported to SGT Anderson that the local VC have five more land mines and are planning to use them. We passed the information along to Battalion TOC.”  Personal Journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson, B Company, March 1968 to March 1969.

CPL Watson
15 June

HQ Detachment Construction of the 36’x 24’ Headquarters Detachment day room, located in the end of the supply building, was begun in January. The design and all construction work was performed during off duty hours by SP/4 Wayne Williams, SP/4 Roger W. Riggs, SP/4 Michael G. Stamm, PFC James S. Stallworth, PFC George E. Kockenga, and other members of the detachment yet to be identified.

    The job was interrupted during the Tet Communist Offensive but was finally completed on 15 June. The grand opening ceremony was completed when Battalion Commander LTC Baxter M. Bullock cut the ribbon. The men decided to name the day room in honor of SMG Kenneth E. Kidd the former Battalion Sergeant Major who had encouraged the men to build it before being killed in a helicopter crash on June 5th. There was unanimous agreement to name the room “The Kenneth E. Kidd Memorial Day Room",,or affectionately called “Kidd’s Place.”
16 June

     The following battalion personnel were awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights during the time periods indicated under 18th MP Brigade General Orders 406: CPT Roger J. Gaydos, HQ Detachment (26 January-7 June 1968); 1LT George A. Loftin, Alpha Company (5 March-13 October 1967); 1LT John A. Milligan, 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) (October 1966-September 1967); MAJ Leroy Walton, HQ Detachment (30 June 1967-7 June 1968).

20 June
Barge Fire At POL Pier In TAOR

TAOR  1548 hours,, a massive fire began when two fuel barges, one loaded with Mogas (automotive gasoline), the other with JP4 (aviation fuel) caught fire at the barge pumping jetty on the Dong Nai River. The fire was reported to the Long Binh Post Fire Chief, Mr. Earl L. Peterson, who dispatched fire fighting equipment to the site.

     Members of D Company, 87th Infantry (Rifle Security), and the 615th MP Company, 95th MP Battalion battled the fire on the assisting LCM's of the 1099th Transportation Company assisting the Long Binh Post Fire Department while B Company, 720th MP Battalion River Patrol units checked for victims, assisted in the evacuation of other personnel and barges, and members of A Company, 720th MP Battalion set up and manned traffic control points on roadways leading to the area. The fire which started accidentally quickly became a raging inferno when it spread to the barge’s cargo of fuel.


     Upon arrival Chief Peterson discovered that they could not effectively combat the fire from the site because his trucks could not gain adequate access to the barge moored on the jetty. CPT Donald A, Holmes, Commanding officer, D Company, 87th Infantry (Rifle Security), 95th MP Battalion, who provide site security for the POL pumping station offered the fire department the use of the Landing Craft (Mechanized) or LCM, under his command at the Cogido Docks and Barge Site to transport the fire truck closer to the barge.

     The LCM #42, with a truck aboard approached the burning barge. The LCM was the first craft to reach the jetty and burning fuel barge. On board were, CPT Holmes, Chief Peterson, and 1LT Frederick W. Honerkamp, III, 2LT Peter G, Curtis, and SP/4 Randall Stults of the 615th MP Company, 95th MP Battalion who responded to the barge site when the heard the fire department trucks were dispatched from Long Binh Post. The crew of LCM #42 were SP/4s Richard L. Freeman, Michael J. Borrow, and PFC James D. Swisher, 1099th Transportation Company (medium boat), 4th Transportation Command (Cat Lai). Upon arrival it was discovered that four fuel barges were tired at the jetty, two of the were on fire. One contained 336,000 gallons of of JP4 (aviation fuel), the other 170,000 gallons of Mogas (automotive gasoline).
CPT Honerkamp
SP/4 Stults
This photograph was taken in 1969. The red arrow is the mooring jetty, the blue is the POL off loading site. You are looking north, in the background is The Dong Nai River Bridge.

     Everyone on board LMC #42 pitched in an attempt to extinguish the Mogas fire which was burning from its air vents. It was discovered that the fire truck electrical system harness was damaged when loaded upon the LCM and rendered the pumps useless. The LCM was then placed flush with the burning barge in an attempt to use the hand pumps. The heat was so intense that water spilled on the LCM deck actually boiled. A strong wind on the river also forced the crew to constantly fight to keep the LCM in place and stationary. As LCM #42 began to fight the fire, LCM #21 arrived to assist by spraying foam and water. Aboard LCM #21 were, SGT Lynn H. Mitkos, D Company, 87th Infantry, SP/5 David Thompson, SP/4 Jesus C, Muna, and PFC's Arthur Torchetta and James D. Grogan of the 1099th Transportation Company.

     With both LCM's working, the Mogas barge fire was brought under control but could not be completely extinguished. Chief Peterson then boarded the burning barge with a hose and ran across its deck in an attempt to douse the flames from the vents on the far side. With the flames partially suppressed, CPT Holmes suggested that the barge be separated from the jetty pier and pushed away so that it could burn harmlessly. CPT Holmes, 1LT Honerkamp, and PFC Swisher leaped onto the still burning barge and disconnected the two cables holding it to the jetty pier. This placed them in a close proximity to the JP4 fuel barge which exploded twice while they were aboard the Mogas barge.

     While CPT Holmes, 1LT Honerkamp and PFC Swisher were on the barge, the soles of their boots were melted by the intense heat. 1LT Honerkamn also received a burn to his hand. After returning to the LCM, CPT Holmes was informed by SP/4 Stults that a 50 gallon gas can on the Mogas barge was leaking. Accompanied by SP/4 Stults, CPT Holmes reboarded the craft and kicked the gas can safely overboard. With the connecting cables free, the Mogas Barge was pushed a safe distance way from the jetty and the combatants turned their attention to the other burning barge which contained the highly flammable JP4 fuel and had already exploded twice.

     All attempts to extinguish this fire were in vain and the decision was made to also try and push it away from the pier. All aboard LCM 42 turned their attention to dousing the fire while boat’s Coxswain, SP4 Freeman, skillfully maneuvered the craft in such a manner as to break the cable holding the barge to the pier and push the barge down river where it too could burn harmlessly. Just as the LCM turned back toward the pier the JP4 barge exploded twice more but caused no injuries or damage. Now with the two burning fuel barges safely out of the way, it was an easy task for the fire fighter to contain the small fires aboard the two equipment barges and the operation was concluded. The fire burned for 14 hours before being put out.

     During the action, all aboard the two LCM's exhibited an exceptional amount of courage and disregard for their own safety. Prior to loading the fire fighting equipment aboard the LCM's Mr. Peterson (this portion was unreadable due to fold in the original report) danger involved and they each replied: “let’s go” during the action, each man aboard the LCM's took an active part in suppressing the fire and all were in great danger from the resulting explosions, smoke and fire. In spite of the perils involved, they succeeded in keeping the pier from burning and in saving valuable U. S. Government equipment from destruction”

    For their courageous fire fighting efforts, Soldiers Medals would be awarded to the members of the 615th MP Company, 95th MP Battalion, D Company, 87th Infantry (Rifle Security), 95th MP Battalion, and the 1099th Transportation Company (medium boat).
21 June

   The following personnel were awarded the Good Conduct Medal under HQ 720th MP Battalion General Orders #21.

Alpha Company: SGT Jack E. Martin 28 July 1965-27 July 1968.

Bravo Company: SP/4 James A. Goodal, 4 August 1966-3 August 1968, SP/4 Richard F. Newman 4 August 1966-3 August 1968, SP/4 Michael E. Pingree 5 August 1966-4 August 1968, SP/4 Richard J. Zavilla 2 August 1966-1 August 1968, SP/4 Daniel J. Boylan 14 July 1966-13 July 1968, PFC Kenneth L. Perusek 4 August 1966-3 August 1968, SP/4 Richard D. Hicks 3 August 1966-2 August 1968, SP/4 John I. Hart 3 June 1966-2 August 1968.

Charlie Company: SP/4 Jack L. Burton- 3 August 1966-2 August 1968, SP/4 Edward J. Maj- 4 October 1966-3 October 1968, SP/4 Clyde A. Davidson- 19 July 1966-18 July 1968, PFC James D. Crozier- 3 August 1966-2 August 1968, SP/4 John H. Brown- 16 September 1966-15 September 1968, SP/4 Robert L. Allen- 4 August 1966-3 August 1968, SP/4 Michael A. Gamblin- 18 June 1965-25 July 1968,

212th MP Company:  SP/4 Jake E. Ross- 10 August 1966-9 August 1968, SP/4 James L. Julian- 15 September 1966-14 September 1968, SP/4 Gary W. Porte-r 3 August 1966-2 August 1968, SP/4 Roger Handley- 2 August 1966-1 August 1968, SP/4 Eliberto Elizondo, Jr-. 6 October 1966-5 October 1968.

23 June

Alpha Company CPT Robert V. Vogt passed command of A Company to CPT Donnelly E. Brothers. CPT Vogt was reassigned to the 92nd MP Battalion (Pershing Field, Saigon).

Wanted: Photograph of CPT Vogt and the change of command ceremony. Please use the Email Link at the top of this page.

CPT Vogt
CPT Brothers
24 June

TAOR  During the early morning hours at Outpost-4 (Long Binh Tan) one of the PF's on guard duty at the Northwest bunker spotted some movement in the vicinity of the POL Site and fired one round at it. There was no return fire or additional movement. Several minutes later the POL site facility reported receiving a barrage of small arms fire. Battalion Tactical Operations Command (TOC) was contacted for illumination rounds but no additional movement was detected outside the perimeter. A POL site bunker was hit by the VC small arms fire but there were no reports of any casualties.

Outpost-2 PFC Thomas T. Watson of Outpost-2 in Long Hung was informed by SGT Parker that he was to assume the status of Enlisted Man In Charge (EMIC) at Outpost-4, previously staffed on a rotating shift basis by A Company. A promotion to E4 with the rank of acting corporal soon followed. A staff of three additional B Company MP's were to be assigned to assist once the consolidation was completed.

25 June

  The following Battalion casualties were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service: SGT Apimenio Lara (C Company), SP/4 Lewis R. Lovell, Jr. (C Company), SGT John H. Wilkens (A Company).

26 June
Consolidation of TAOR Operations

 TAOR  The Battalion adopted the single company concept for operations in the Tactical Area Of Responsibility. B Company was tasked with full control of the counterinsurgency/pacification infantry mission of Operation STABILIZE.

     The B Company combat Patrols (ambush & reconnaissance) were then increased from two to five each night, while the Boston Whaler (River Patrol) section was increased from six boats to twelve during the following months. At the time of the transition two Navy Patrol Boat Riverine (PBR) from Cat Lai, were assigned to support the battalion's operations on the Dong Nai River. During the months and years to follow, the Navy PBR’s would be replaced by PBR’s of the 458th U.S. Army Transportation Company (PBR), attached to the 18th MP Brigade, and their number increased.

     Alpha and Charlie Companies continued their general purpose missions, with Charlie Company now being assigned the additional responsibility of the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy escort previously conducted by Bravo Company, and the POW Hospital Guard compound at the 74th Field Hospital. The compound was a six-ward hospital encircled by a double perimeter of chain-link fence, well lighted with towers at each corner, and each ward separated by a chain-link fence. The detachment staff consisted of two NCO’s and fifteen enlisted men, 24 hours a day. The average number of prisoners guarded daily was 210 .

      Liaison duties with the local Popular Forces squads at  Outpost-3 (Charlie Company) at the entrance to An Hoa Hung and Outpost-4 (Alfa Company) in Long Binh Tan officially became the responsibility of the Bravo Company mission in the TAOR. Instead of a rotating shift, they were now being staffed full time.

     PFC Joseph F. Bella and PVT Wesley Walker now joined CPL Thomas T. Watson at Outpost-4, both having previously worked the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy. With their arrival work began to upgrade the physical security and living conditions.

PFC Bella
PVT Walker
Bravo Company SP/4 Daniel J. Boylan of Bravo Company came to the end of his tour and before departing stateside received a letter of appreciation from 1LT Daryl K. Solomonson for his loyalty, dedication and initiative while assigned to the Tay Ninh Convoy escorts mission.
28 June

Personal Reflection  "The outpost was in very bad shape and everything needed a complete upgrading to improve security as well as living conditions. The MPs from A Company staffed it in shifts like the local Popular Forces (PF) soldiers so there was no one actually living in it full time. The place was in a shambles primarily due to the neglect of the PF's. Since A Company conducted periodic perimeter wire repairs the PF's just ignored all routine maintenance knowing the Americans would do the work. The PF Platoon Sergeant spent all his time running his illicit businesses so he didn't give a damn and his enlisted troops followed his lead with a lack of interest.

     I was trying to decide if my first priority should be an upgrade of the security or living conditions. A brief encounter with a local outpost resident the next morning helped me make up my mind.


     I was sleeping on a cot in the three-story watchtower, on the ground floor. The air in the tower was musty but much cooler than the tin roofed building next door, and it felt good. The only drawback was the sound of rats running and fighting between the floorboards overhead. The noise they made woke me off and on throughout most of the night.

     Just before dawn I awoke. I was lying on my back watching the small slivers of daylight as they pierced the cracks in the tower door announcing the coming of another hot dry day. I just lay there looking up at the floorboards above wishing I could just get a few more minutes sleep in before the heat of the day started.

     As I lay there, half awake, I felt the dust and dirt they were kicking up in their latest fight dropping down on my face from the rotting floorboards above. I brushed it away and was trying to decide if I should get up or wait them out and try to drift back to sleep. I was still staring up at the boards above when I saw a large dark object falling down towards me. It landed on my chest with a thud, a damn rat! It was followed by an ample quantity of what I suspected was rat shit and nesting materials that showered down on my face. I don't know who was more surprised. The thoughts of further sleep left my mind and I was up on my feet in an instant looking for the little bastard, but before I could stomp him into the ground he escaped my rage by slipping under the tower door.

     This morning I decided that our first major construction project at the outpost would be living conditions. Needless to say, we spent the entire day tearing out the old flooring and sand bags. Since there was no new lumber readily available at the outpost we gathered up the walkway planking from the dry trenches around the tower and bunkers. They were only used during the rainy season to keep your feet dry, and the rainy season had passed, priorities had to be changed. Besides, the only time anyone would be in the trenches was if the outpost was being attacked, and at that time they wouldn't give a damn about muddy wet boots or sandals.

      The boards were in good condition, thick planking, true cut to two inches thick and twelve inches wide. The old flooring we removed was made with one half inch by four inch planking. The rats made their home in the space between the planks, now that option was gone forever.

      The PF Sergeant (Staff Sergeant) stopped by to see what we were doing. I suspect one of his PF's alerted him that we were using the planking. I passed a pleasant greeting to him while I continued sawing one of the boards to size. He stood there; both legs apart with his hands clenched in fists on his hips like a drill sergeant in basic training and confronted me through the one PF that could speak enough broken English to understand. The interpreter informed me that, the sergeant demanded I pay him for the boards I took. I believe that he assumed I was either rich, foolish, or being a PFC would be scared of his authority. It wasn't easy to keep my temper but I calmly told the interpreter to inform the sergeant I would be glad to as soon as he pays me for the US military equipment his men were using. I received only a blank stare but you could tell his blood pressure was rising. Then I told the interpreter, who I could see was now very concerned about his having to deliver my answers to his sergeant, to remind the sergeant that the outpost looked like a dump and he was responsible for its condition. With that the PF Sergeant immediately turned and walked away. Some color was finally returned to the interpreters face, along with a slight smile. Without his having to say anything I got the distinct impression that he enjoyed the discomfort my response brought to his sergeant.

      The PF sergeant was pissed off, you could see he was used to having his own way when A Company was here, and my rebuff to his demanding attitude caused him to loose face in front of his men. The loss of face in the Asian culture is a great embarrassment. The A Company MPs had previously warned me that I would have problems with him. They said he was like the underworld boss of the village that he had his hand in everything, gambling, vice, bribery, black market trafficking, and that not many of the local PF's or villagers liked him, or would dare to cross him.

     PVT Walker, PFC Bella and I continued replacing the floorboards, finished the stairway steps and replacing the old rotten cloth sand bags in and around the watchtower.

     SFC DeHart stopped by to check on us and was happy with the progress we were making. He also had a good chuckle when I told him about the PF Sergeant and the rat dropping in to visit me this morning. The Sarge wasn't a man of many words but from his facial expressions you could read his attitude towards things, and it was evident he didn't like the PF Platoon Sergeant either. Before my assignment at the outpost would end I would have to rely on the Sarge to come to our rescue and quash a mutiny instigated by the PF Platoon Sergeant." The Journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, March 1968 to March 1969.

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