~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
October 1968 ~ Battalion Timeline
This Page Last Updated   24 April 2018
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 the History Project Manager Tom Watson at the Email Link provided on this page. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
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      All major theater activities, stateside incidents, or Cold War and Vietnam War events that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in Italic blue American Typewriter font.
18th MP
89th MP
720th MP

     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 in Long Binh Post in Bien Hoa Provence of III Corps Tactical Zone, South Vietnam.

     Allied Forces Corps Tactical Zones (CTZ) & Military Regions (MR). In 1969 with the implementation of the Intensified Vietnamization Program, the term Corps Tactical Zones was changed to the Army Of The Republic Of South Vietnam (ARVN) designation of Military Regions, the numerical designations of I, II, III, & IV for each zone/region remained the same, as did their boundaries.

Map of Zones/Regions
1 October
212th MP Company  0055 hours, PFC Falibenbach of the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) reported that Long Binh Post Bunker #548, Grid Coordinates [map location] YT 068052 received a burst of approximately 7 to 10 rounds of automatic weapons fire from 150 meters northeast of the bunker. Bunker personnel returned fire with unknown results, no injuries or damages were reported.

TAOR  Just before daylight Ambush Squad-76 met 2LT Robert L. Chavis on Highway 317 outside of An Hoa Hung Village to join him in a search of the area of Gate-11 where a VC Sapper Unit was caught probing the perimeter wire at 2245 hours the night before.

Personal Reflection  "We (Ambush Squad-76) were working a night recon patrol of An Hoa Hung Village and we could hear a fire fight erupt off to our east in the area of Gate-11. Word came over the radio that a team of VC sappers tried to crawl through the wire of Long Binh Post at the gate. B Company TOC notified us by radio to be on Highway-317 just before daylight to meet 2LT Chavis to conduct a search of the area.

     We met the truck and the lieutenant on highway 317 in front of An Hoa Hung Village. With the perimeter bunker guards being jumpy I made sure that we waited until it was light enough for them to identify us as friendlies before we walked out from the village to await the truck. With what happened at Gate-11 during the night I didn’t want to chance an accidental friendly fire incident.

     2LT Chavis informed us that the bunker guards observed one VC body in the wire and what appeared to be several blood trails. Within minutes the truck dropped us off at Gate-11 and I asked the bunker guards to notify their other perimeter guards of our presence.

     The area we were to search is actually just across Highway QL-15 west of the boundary of our Tactical Area Of Responsibility. We formed on line and made a sweep east from Highway QL-15 along the southern perimeter of the post.

     The fuel storage tank farm was off in the distance to our left. We discovered several fresh trails in the brush and grass and ordinance damage to the north side of some trees caused by outgoing small arms fire from the perimeter bunkers, but no weapons or bodies.


     We then turned south and made a sweep of the trails we located, they went from the perimeter wire south to a dry creek bed that runs east and west and eventually connects with the Buong River on the east side of Highway QL-15. The direction of the trails indicates that once again the VC came out of the area south of our TAOR across the Buong River.  CPL Thomas T. Watson, Squad Leader, Ambush Squad -76, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, March 1968-March 1969.

MG Gustafson

     Major General Karl W. "Big Gus" Gustafson became the ninth Provost Marshal General in the history of the U.S. Army. Prior to assuming his new position General Gustafson was the Provost Marshal, U.S. Army Vietnam and Commanding General of the 18th MP Brigade from November 1967 to September 1968.

     During his tenure as the 18th MP Brigade Commander he was the instrumental driving force to expand the military police mission to include counterinsurgency pacification under Operation STABILIZE by convincing GEN William Westmoreland to assign the 720th MP Battalion its own 22 square mile Tactical Area Of Responsibility in September of 1967.


TAOR  1050 hours, B Company reported that SGT Billy Joe Dansel, RA1575434736, D Company, 87th Infantry (Rifle Security, 95th MP Battalion received serious neck strain and a possible cerebral concussion when a bunker he was working in collapsed on him at B Company Outpost-2 just outside of Long Hung Village. SGT Dansel was medivaced to the 24th Evacuation Hospital and admitted by Dr. Barrett. The bunker collapse was due to deterioration of the sandbags.


TAOR  1751 hours, PFC Robert Alicea age 20, is killed in action, and PFC James Brunotte age 21, is seriously wounded and severely disabled when their jeep struck a powerful Viet Cong land mine at Grid Coordinates (map location) YT032020. Two Vietnamese Nationals given a ride back to An Xuan were also severely injured.

     The B Company MP's were returning from Outpost-2 in Long Hung to their duty station at Outpost -1 in An Xuan..

PFC Alicea
PFC Brunotte

     The 1st of the month was payday for the troops at the four outposts, and that meant an officer would be making the rounds to the three northern most villages to hand out the MPC and have the troops sign the book. The pay-officer never traveled to An Xuan, so the staff at Outpost-1 had to make the trip north through the rice paddy roadway to Outpost-2 in pairs to receive their pay. With the new bridge open and a jeep handy, they no longer had to walk the one-kilometer distance. It was a bright sunny day, and by the time the pay officer arrived at Outpost-2 it was late afternoon. Other than a bunker collapse that morning that injured SGT Billy Joe Dansel of D Company, 87th Infantry who was TDY to Outpost-2, the day was uneventful. The single lane dirt road connecting the two villages was now being freely traveled daily by villagers coming and going to work, and MP’s making the mail and supply runs. It was now PFC’s Robert Alicia and Jim Brunotte’s turn to collect their pay.

     The two had a history before their tour in Vietnam having first met at the MP School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Jim Brunotte was made a class squad leader, and Bob Alicia his assistant. Bob was a scrappy streetwise kid from the Bronx, Jim from Chicago, and at first it was a mix of vinegar and oil, but after a rough start they quickly became close friends. When their MP training ended Bob received orders for duty in Germany, and Jim stayed at Fort Gordon assigned as the driver for COL William H. Brandenburg, then the school Commandant. When the colonel received orders for Vietnam, Jim volunteered to follow him. After arriving in Vietnam in mid July, any thoughts of continuing as the colonel’s driver ended when he found himself assigned to B Company. During his processing and orientation, he discovered Bob Alicea had also just arrived from Germany. Bob volunteered for Vietnam because he didn’t like the spit shine duty of the 529th MP Company Honor Guard HQ unit he was assigned to. As luck would have it both were assigned to Outpost-1 in An Xuan, and would be living and working together once again, only this time in the Dog Patch. It was a big change for both from driving a colonel and honor guard duties.

     They received their pay, signed the book and were preparing to return to Outpost-1 as the B Company deuce-and-a-half carrying the bridge security squad was just rounding the corner. If they didn’t get on the road first they would be delayed until the truck dropped off the squad and made its return. On their way up the road they stopped just long enough to pick up the wife and daughter of a PF sergeant from Outpost-1 who were walking back to An Xuan. The jeep now filled with four occupants continued on its way south for another 200 yards when there was an explosion and huge cloud of dust and smoke, followed by a shock wave felt at both outposts.

     Everyone knew instantly that the jeep ran over a land mine, and they rushed out the gate to provide assistance. On their way to the site they reported receiving small arms fire from approximately 200 meters to the northeast. By the time they reached the smoldering remains of the jeep, the dust had already begun to settle. Near the huge crater in the roadway they found the two female passengers, both were alive but stunned and seriously injured. PFC Brunotte was found in a rice paddy, he was conscious but in shock. The blast tore off both of his legs, an arm, and blinded him in one eye. PFC Alicia was found nearby, but for him there would be no help- he was already dead. The MP’s secured the area, and the survivors were lifted out by a Medevac helicopter. It was said that as Jim was being carried to the chopper he repeatedly asked what had happened? No one said a word beyond those of encouragement, because no one knew how to tell him.

     When word of the incident was received at the company on Long Binh Post, 2LT Robert L. Chavis called out all the available ambush team personnel and deployed them to the area to conduct a search. The group split into several squads, and was soon joined by SGT Jim Harding of the 212th MP Company Scout Dog Unit with his K9. They conducted a sweep of the entire area while the PF’s questioned all the villagers working in the surrounding rice paddies.

     After an EOD team examined the blast crater, the remains of the jeep were removed from the roadway and returned to the motor pool. And just like the land mine incident on the road on 12 June, the triggering devise for the mine was found at the scene, and it appeared that the local VC had buried the high explosive package in the roadway during one of the preceding nights. During the night before or sometime that day, one of them returned to the site via a shallow creek that stopped on the east side of the roadway berm to wire or plant the trigger. It’s believed their intended target was to be the bridge security detail truck carrying a squad of MPs.

     The VC never wasted their resources and always looked for the largest bang for their buck. When the truck was observed approaching Outpost-2 it is believed the trigger was then armed or placed in a small depression not knowing that the jeep would leave the outpost before the truck entered the roadway. The two village passengers would eventually recover from their wounds, and PFC Brunotte once stabilized, defied the odds and was sent to Japan for major surgery.

     PFC Alicia age 20, a draftee whose tour began on 17 July, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service and the Purple Heart Medal. He was one of forty-four American Servicemen that died that day in Vietnam. His name is etched on Panel 42W - Row 052 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. He was laid to rest on 14 October at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York in section H, plot 9945.

     PFC Brunotte was later awarded a Bronze Star (meritorious service) and Purple Heart medal. After being medically discharged and suffering some physiological highs and lows, he spent the next 40+ years earning national recognition by assisting other severely disabled veterans make their transition to a better life.


Personal Reflection  "The rest of the Battalion companies called us "Lucky B" because we had yet to suffer any men killed in action. A nickname we could all be proud of. That all ended today in one loud explosion and cloud of smoke in the TAOR.

     It was payday and the jeep was returning from making the run between Outpost-1 and Outpost-2. There were two MP's from Outpost-1 in the front of the jeep, and two Vietnamese females in the back seat when it detonated the land mine.

     PFC Robert Alicea died instantly, PFC James R. Brunotte was still alive, only god knows how or why. He lost his left hand, both legs, his left eye and suffered other wounds. The two Vietnamese females, the wife and daughter of an Outpost-1 PF Sergeant who asked for a ride back to An Xuan Village and were sitting in the rear seat, were seriously wounded.

     The mine detonated in the same area where the engineers truck struck a mine on 12 June. Since this was the second of two runs they made between the outposts, it appears the VC were trying to get the seven man bridge security team truck. The mine was to big to use just against a jeep.

     They departed Outpost-2 unexpectedly, just ahead of the bridge security team truck. The only thing that remained after the explosion was the rear end of the jeep, we never found the motor.

     Everyone in the company was mad as hell about it. The word passed down to us was they didn't expect PFC Brunotte to make it. The men at the outpost said Jim was in shock but could talk with them when they put him in the Dust Off, he kept asking what happened, no one would tell him. Both Bob and Jim had only been in country several months.


     We immediately responded to the call with several ambush teams and made a sweep of the area but as usual none of the villagers or farmers we found in the area knew anything about it.

     The following day information developed from the search of the blast site revealed that the mine was made with approximately 50 to 60 pounds of explosives, and pressure detonated with the same type of devise that had been used in the destruction of the engineer vehicle on 12 June. To prevent premature contact by the ground or elements, the trigger was wrapped in black electrical tape. We never found the battery used in the charge, it had to have been destroyed in the blast.

     The explosives had to have been delivered and planted at the location sometime that night or several days before, however the trigger devise wasn’t placed in the roadway until just before the explosion.

     The VC who placed the trigger had to have left the area by way of the creek that intersected that rice paddy and the roadway.

     PFC Brunotte and both of the Vietnamese females did survive." From the journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson, Squad Leader Ambush Squad 76, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, March 1968-March 1969.

CPL Watson

Personal Reflection  "I worked myself into the job of repairing the hulls of the Boston Whalers for the Boat Squad. One of the guys in the motor pool found some Army issue fiberglass repair kits and suggested I tell them I used to fix surfboards in Los Angeles. So I pulled out most of the dinged up boats and was fixing them when I heard about the land mine incident.

     With Bob dead and PFC Brunotte disabled, I was assigned to fill in at the outpost. I can't remember if anyone else was sent to Outpost-1 with me. I think not. Anyway, it took a day or so at the most to get ready. During that time I took the photos of their jeep and it must have taken a day or so to get what was left of it back to the motor pool.

     I knew of Bob Alicea only because he had the bunk across from mine in my "Hooch" on post. He was quiet and I don't think we talked much, he always had his head in one of those thick paperback novels some people get into. His area was mostly vacant because he was stationed at the outpost and came in only for a day or two and was then gone again.

     My first night at the outpost was sad, and I remember I was angry. At what I don't know. Charlie, of course. But maybe at the war, and all that brought us to be there in harms way. And then thinking of Bob who seemed such a quiet and peaceful guy, who didn't do anything but be in the wrong place, as they say.


     My time at Outpost #1 was pretty much uneventful, except for one incident that occurred when I was outside and heard bullets flying by and plunking into the water nearby. I figured out right away it was A Company test firing their 50 cal. machine guns over the rim of the firing range.

     I had to get the guys at the Tactical Operations Command to call and get them to stop. It's one of the few times I heard the sound of bullets flying over my head. I think I was on my way to the crapper at the time. I remember is sitting up nights on radio watch playing solitaire by the light of a kerosene lamp.

     I can't remember any of the names of the other guys I was there with. I do remember occasions when I would walk into the village alone with just my .45 and a camera to take photos of the village children. At the end of the month the company wanted to put the Boston Whalers back in the water and I was recalled to the Boat Squad to finish my repairs and start up the 'River Rats' again."  SP/4 Rainer “Hippie” Trappe, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, March 1968-March 1969.

SP/4 Trappe
2 October

TAOR  0230 Hours, members of a B Company patrol in the Tactical Area Of Responsibility [TAOR], detained Than Van Cu as a Viet Cong suspect. Under questioning, Cu identified Nguyen Van Than, son of Nguyen Van Gia as a VC, and said he would have information on the death of PFC Alicea on 1 October.

     The patrol then detained Nguyen Van Gia and brought him to Battalion S2 for interrogation. Gia identified his son as a member of the An Xuan VC squad and also gave the names of additional members of the squad. VC Squad leader Dau, Assistant Squad Leader Trai Lon, squad members, Ty, Le, Choah, Nguyen Van Thanh, Xe, Uhao Lon, and Thac. Gia could not provide any detailed information on their weapons, but identified their area of operation as Duc Tu, Long Tahn in the Battalion TAOR, and that their mission was to build roadblocks, lay land mines on the road leading to the new bridge, and generally harass U.S. troops in the TAOR.

0600 hours, the following individuals were noted as filling Staff Duty Officer and Officer In Charge [OIC] of the Reaction Force positions; SDO: 1LT Ed Mendez of B Company and OIC/RF: 2LT Smith.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0635 hours, the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh convoy departed Long Binh Post with a total of sixty-seven vehicles, three march units to Tay Ninh and two march units to Cu Chi.

Blackhorse Convoy  0855 hours, ,the Blackhorse Convoy departed Long Binh Post with twenty vehicles.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0930 hours, C Company elements reported that the northbound Cu Chi-Tay Ninh convoy of forty-six vehicles received approximately four rounds of automatic weapons fire from a sniper. The incident occurred approximately 100 meters North of Highway QL-23, Grid Coordinates [map location] XT-459232, between Trang Bang and Go Dau Hau, no damage or injuries resulted, no return fire initiated.

TAOR  1330 hours,  the 720th MP Battalion Commanding Officer LTC Baxter M. Bullock, hosted COL O’Kier the 18th MP Brigade Deputy Commanding Officer, on a demonstration of the Battalions PBR’s maneuverability and weapons capabilities on the Buong River at Hill-15 in the Tactical Area of Responsibility.

1450 hours, members of the 3rd Ordnance [Long Binh Post] reported that they received sniper fire while working at the Expended Ordinance Pit. The 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot Reaction Force was dispatched to the area.

Blackhorse Convoy  1630 hours, the Blackhorse Convoy [Xuan Loc] returned safely to Long Binh Post with eighteen vehicles and no incidents to report. The Tay Ninh Convoy returned to Long Binh Post with forty-six vehicles.

1700 hours, the POW count was reported, 24th Evacuation Hospital; two POW’s and four MP Guards, 50th Medical Company; one-hundred-eighty-eight POW’s and eighteen MP Guards.

1800 hours, "Power-Nester 38” [radio call sign] was dispatched to assume the duties as Battalion Roving Patrol.

Blackhorse Detachment   1845 hours, the B Company Blackhorse Provost Marshal Office (PMO) reported that person(s) unknown, transported 7 Vietnamese females through the South Gate of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Blackhorse Base Camp in a 2&1/2-ton truck, bumper marking #6 of the 14th Maintenance Detachment, USA # unknown. The females were taken to Bunker #58, became under the influence of alcoholic beverages and indulged in sexual activities.

    The incident was observed by PFC Floyd R. Wise, and PFC Peter H. Barron, both of HQ & HQ Transportation, 2/11th Cavalry, Blackhorse. The activity was observed from Guard Tower #58, located immediately adjacent to the bunker in question. At this time PFC Barron notified SP/5 King at the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment TOC, who in turn notified the Blackhorse PMO at 0030 hours on 3 October.

     B Company MP’s were dispatched to Bunker #58 and all personnel in the immediate area were apprehended and transported to Blackhorse, PMO. SP/4 Claud F. Brown RA1923615, was on duty at the gate at the time the truck entered the gate, but failed to make a check of the occupants in the vehicle.

     The incident is being investigated by the Blackhorse PMO and upon completion; all U.S. Military subjects will be released to their respective units. The Vietnamese Nationals have been released to the Xuan Loc National Police. U.S. personnel will be charged with violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Alcohol was involved. No additional information available at this time .

TAOR  2015 hours, as a result of a sweep conducted by B Company elements from 1900 to 2015 hours in An Xuan and Long Binh Tan Village's in the Tactical Area of Responsibility, nine Viet Cong suspects were detained for being in violation of established curfew, and brought to the Duc Tu National Police Station for interrogation in regards to the death of PFC Alicea on 1 October. The suspects were identified as, Dau Van Sau, Tran Van Mang, Tran Tmi Mai, Nguyen Van Nay, Nugyen Niem Long, Tran Txi Tam, Tran Tmu Cuc, Vo Tmj Xim Mai, and Doam Van Duoc.

2400 hours, Log Closed.

3 October

TAOR  0255 hours, a B Company PBR [Patrol Boat Riverine] observed one sampan floating north on the Dong Nai River at Grid Coordinates [map location] XT 987097. Two Vietnamese males and one female that were in the sampan were detained and transported to Battalion S2 for interrogation by the 702nd Military Intelligence Unit (MIU). The Vietnamese Nationals were in violation of established curfew.

     Interrogation revealed the two males to be Dang Van Xa, DOB 1945, and Hung Phan Long, DOB 1947. Both were classified as innocent civilians by 702nd MIU. The female was identified as, Nguyen Thi Lau, DOB 1903, and classified as an innocent civilian. All three detainees were transported to the Duc Tu National Police Station for further disposition.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0636 hours, the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh convoy departed Long Binh Post with a total of eighty-one vehicles, four march units to Tay Ninh, two march units to Cu Chi.

0645 hours, “Power Nester 5” [radio call sign], Bridge Security Element departed for defile.

If you served on this assignment or can verify the bridge being guarded, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

TAOR  0700 hours, information was received from EOD [Expended Ordinance Disposal] as a result of evaluation of the crater left, the land mine that killed PFC Alicea and severely wounded and disabled PFC Brunotte, both of B Company on 1 October, disclosed that the explosion was caused from a pressure detonated charge in excess of 50 lbs. of explosives.

0830 hours, a Memorial Service was held for PFC Robert Alicea killed in action on 1 October. All companies furnished Guidon's for the ceremony, service programs were distributed, and personnel throughout the 18th MP Brigade were invited to attend. The service was held in the 89th MP Group Chapel on Long Binh Post.

If anyone has one of the programs from the memorial service please contact the History Project Manager at the Email Link at the top of this page.

POW Hospital Guards  0905 hours, SGT Felicien W. Fontenotthe C Company NCOIC of the POW Guards, notified this office that POW Vo Van Be, #3121, was admitted to the 50th Medical Company at 0830, POW count 191.
POW Escorts  1040 hours, SP/4 Williams of the 50th Medical Company, notified this office that the following POW’s were ready to be transferred to the III Corps Cage. Nguyen Ban Duc, captured 22 August, unit unknown; Hoang Doc Phu, captured 22 May by 25th Infantry Division; Phan Van Duc, captured 3 August by 9th Infantry Division; Nong Ban Nhon, captured 9 May by unknown unit; Nguyen Van Phong, captured 9 May by 2/16th Infantry; Nguyen Ban Lee, captured 26 June by unknown unit.
POW Escorts  1340 hours, SGT Harris of the II Field Forces Provost Marshals Office notified this office that the following POW’s were ready to be transferred from Cu Chi to the III Corps Cage; Nguyen Van Van, Nguyen Van Dang, Huynh Van Vieu, Tran Van Phan, Ho Van Sinh, Tran Van Luc, and Do Chon Man.

212th MP Company - TAOR  1400 hours, the following information was received at approximately 1105 3 October. A Vietnamese National male named Dao Van Lan, a civilian from Long Binh Tan Village (Outpost #4), ID#161755, DOB 1927, was bitten by a Scout Dog named “Princess,” ID #6X16, from the 212th MP Company (Scout Dog Unit). The K9s handler was PFC Bobbie E. Graff.

     The individual bitten received lacerations of the upper thigh and was taken to the 24th Evacuation Hospital for treatment. The individual was being detained in area during a routine check when he made a quick move, possibly out of fright, when the Scout Dog did the same and bit him.

     The Scout Dogs shot record was up to date. Mr. Lan was treated and released at 24th Evacuation Hospital by MAJ Clyde W. Wagner, 094534.


Personal Reflection  "I remember some things about this, although I was not present when it happened. I wasn’t assigned to the Scout Dog section until the end of October 1968, but I knew Bob Graff, and heard him talk about it.

     His dog Princess was a smaller female, about 55 pounds, but she often just acted like she had a bad temper. She was pretty feisty, and very fast. I'm sure the old " Papasan " probably didn't do anything wrong, Princess probably scared him.

     Bob said the guy was screaming real loud, and there was a lot of blood. I think he was the owner of a large sampan that the 720th B Company Ambush Squad had stopped for a ride across the river, and that Princess bit him as she was starting to get onto the boat.”  SP/4 Mel R. Steinhauer, 212th MP Company, Scout Dog Unit, July 1968-June 1969.

SP/4 Steinhauer
1415 hours, this office was notified that POW Le Van Lu was declared a Civil Defendant by the 219th Military Intelligence Detachment and was transferred from the 50th Medical Company to the Bien Hoa Provost Hospital. POW count changed to 190.
POW Hospital Guards 1420 hours, SGT Felicien W. Fontenot, NCOIC of the POW Hospital Guard, notified this office that an unidentified Viet Cong, #3122 was admitted to the 50th Medical Company at 1130 hours this date. POW count changed to 191.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  1430 hours, while proceeding South on Highway QL-22, a 5-ton tractor-trailer from the 20th Brigade, 79th Transportation Group, A-35, USA # unknown, in theCu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy march order, struck a command detonated land mine at Grid Coordinates [map location] XT 540179.

     The tractor-trailer was overturned and the driver, whose name is unknown, was not injured. An unidentified Vietnamese National was riding a bicycle alongside the of the truck when the mine exploded resulting in serious injuries. The bicyclist was evacuated by Dust-Off to a hospital, location unknown. The exploded mine left a crater in the roadway 4&1/2 feet deep and 4 feet wide. A defile was set up to allow traffic to pass until the roadway could be repaired. The tractor-trailer was recovered and taken to Cu Chi.

POW Escorts  1615 hours, SGT Harris of II Field Force Provost Marshals Office notified this office that POW's Nguyen Van Duc and Nguyen Tan Hoai, are ready to be transferred from Di An to III Corps Cage at Bien Hoa.
POW Hospital Guards  1715 hours, the following POW and Guard count was sent to SGT Shelton at the 89th MP Group. 24th Evacuation Hospital, two POW’s and four MP Guards. 50th Medical Company, 189 POW’s and eighteen MP Guards.
Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  1725 hours, this office was advised that the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy returned to Long Binh Post with 105 vehicles.
1745 hours, Six MP’s from the Battalion were dispatched to the Long Binh Post USARV Stockade [LBJ] to work as compound guards.
TAOR  Popular Forces manning Outpost-4, Grid Coordinates [map location] YT 025043, in the Village of Long Binh Tan, observed one Vietnamese male near the perimeter of the outpost. The male was detained and transported to the Battalion S2 for interrogation by the 702nd Military Intelligence Unit. Interrogation revealed that the male, Nguyen Van Loi, was an innocent civilian.
1800 hours, "Power Nester 38" [radio call sign] was dispatched to assume duties as the Battalion roving patrol.

TAOR  1830 hours, the 9th Infantry Division artillery was given clearance on Bearcat counter mortars. DNSA given counter mortar cancellations, J-35B: 206, 205, 208, 209. J-36B-all clear. J-37B, all clear. DNSA given Harassment & Interdiction (H&I) times, targets and friendly positions.

Personal Reflection  "The numbers, usually three and some times a letter were preset H & I target sights that would be randomly picked or in response to some intelligence that possible enemy activity was on going or planned in the area. This was also called counter mortar/counter rocket H&I. When we had a fire mission we had to get a host of clearances from South Vietnamese political, Army of The Republic of Vietnam, Allied forces, air, etc." SGT Gary A. Johnson, A Company, & Battalion TOC, 720th MP Battalion, 1969-1970.

2400 hours, Log Closed.

SGT G. A. Johnson
4 October

TAOR  0200 hours, an ambush & recon patrol from B Company conducted a nighttime sweep of An Xuan Village and apprehended 7 Vietnamese Nationals who were transported to Battalion S-2 for questioning by the 702nd Military Intelligence (counterinsurgency) unit. The 702nd MI determined that three of the seven, Phan Van Cu age 15 of An Xuan Village, Nguyen Van Gia age 49 of Long Hung Village, and Nguyen Van Tuoi age 16 of An Xuan Village were VC suspects, and were transported to Duc Thu National Police Station. The remaining four, Ho Thi Tot born 1949, Nguyen Thi Thom born 1929, Le Van Ta born 1903 and all from An Xuan Village, and Ho Van Hi born 1912 of Long Hung Village, were innocent civilians and released.

If you participated in this sweep, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

TAOR   0200 to 0400 hours, it was reported that 7 Viet Cong entered the village of An Hoa Hung from the wooded eastern side. Armed with carbines they entered several homes, took the Identification and voting cards of the villagers and were asking where their young men were. Before they left they cut the barbed wire perimeter fence at four-foot intervals and removed all the punji stakes that had been set up by the Rural Development Cadre Team along the eastern side of the village.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0634 hours, the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh convoy departed Long Binh Post with a total of seventy-one vehicles, three march units to Tay Ninh, and two march units to Cu Chi.

0635 hours, “Power-Nester 55,” [radio call sign], the Buong River Bridge security element, departed for the traffic defile on Highway QL-15.

Blackhorse Convoy  0815 hours, the Blackhorse Convoy departed Long Binh Post with a total of thirty-eight vehicles.


TAOR  1500 hours, SFC Richard DeHart of B Company [TAOR NCOIC] reported that a confidential village village source informed him that the village chief of An Xuan has three sons who were members of the VC. Two were named, Xe and Vi, the third sons name was unknown to the source.

     Vi was reported to have two complete sets of identification papers, and he was last seen sometime the week before in An Xuan in full ARVN uniform but was not a soldier. The hamlet chief was brought in for questioning and said that his son was in Vung Tau attending the Rural Development Team School. The source informed SFC DeHart it was not true, and that Vi was hiding somewhere in the village. He also said that the son Xe and two other yet to be identified VC were the individuals who set the land mine between Outpost-1 & 2 that killed PFC Robert Alicea on 1 October.

Blackhorse Convoy  1605 hours, the Blackhorse convoy returned safely to Long Binh Post, with a total of thirty-six vehicles and no incidents reported.

SFC DeHart

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  1610 hours the Cu Chi-Tay Ninh convoy returned to Long Binh Post safely with a total of sixty-one vehicles and no incidents reported.


POW Escorts  1735 hours, SGT Robert J. Walshak of A Company notified this office that twenty POW’s were transferred to III Corps Cage without incident. Fourteen POW’s were transferred from Cu Chi, and six POW’s were transferred from the 50th Medical Company, 24th Evacuation Hospital; two POW’s and four MP guards, 50th Medical Company; one-hundred eighty-five POW’s and eighteen MP guards.

1750 hours, a total of six Battalion MP’s were dispatched to the USARV Stockade to assume the duties of compound guards.

SGT Walshak

TAOR  1800 hours, 9th Infantry Division artillery were given clearance on Bearcat Counter Mortars. DNSA given cancellations on Counter Mortars: J-35B; 206, 207, 208 J-36B; All clear. J-37B, All clear. DSNA given H&I times and targets and friendly positions.

TAOR  1930 hours, members of B Company reported that accompanied by an ARVN Intelligence Squad from Duc Tu they conducted a search of Phuoc Hoi Village resulting the in the apprehension of four Vietnamese males. They were detained by the ARVN intelligence squad and taken to Duc Tu Headquarters for interrogation. The four men were identified as, Le Hui Son, age 46; Tran Van Dund, age 16; Duan Van Duc, age 47; and Tham Van Kham, age 47.

If you participated in this search mission, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

2400 hours, Log Closed.

5 October

TAOR  As a result of the VC destruction of the Rural Development Cadre barbed wire security fence on 4 October, B Company Ambush Squad-76 was assigned to conduct a night patrol and ambush of the eastern area of An Hoa Hung Village.

Personal Reflection  “Needless to say, the destruction of the perimeter security fence was a direct embarrassment to both the RDT and the battalion. It was an in-your-face show of strength. With the fence still in disrepair it was doubtful the VC would return, and I am reasonably sure we were assigned to the patrol as a public relations function to let the villagers know that we were still active in the area to prevent the VC from returning.

     The security fence was located along the eastern perimeter of the village. That area of the village started in the north as open dry ground, and as you progressed south the dry ground became swamp, then ended as a tall-canopied forest. There was no trail or path outside the fence, and the rear yards of most of the homes backed right up to it. To conduct our recon patrol we had to move from yard to yard, and most of the yards had some type of wire or wood fence separating them from their neighbors. Unfortunately for us, many of the villagers also raised chickens, geese, and pigs in the yards we had to pass through, so noise discipline was out the window. To compound the problem, the villagers were not very diligent in cleaning up the animal waste. It was very dark that night, and you couldn’t see what the condition of the yards were as you entered them. It made for a long and nasty patrol.

     On the bright side, most of the chickens wanted no parts of us, and would quickly scatter when we climbed over or through the fences. Unfortunately, most of the pigs and all of the geese aggressively defended their yards. Add to that our stepping into and at times crawling through their waste. I would estimate that it took us approximately three hours to complete the patrol, and by the time we were finished and ready to set up an ambush position, we smelled like hell. For the next six hours we had to lay in the night dampness, smelling like the pens we had just passed through. However, it did keep the bugs away.

      When we returned to post that morning it was the only time that I can recall when everyone in the squad went directly to the shower with their uniforms, web-gear and weapons in tow.” Journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson, B Company, 720th MP battalion, March 1968 to March 1969.

6 October

Bearcat Detachment   A squad + from A Company relieved the temporary four man C Company Detachment at the Bearcat base camp, 9th Infantry Division Provost Marshals Office. The A Company detachment was responsible for the entire operation and liaison with the Royal Thailand Army Vietnam Force Military Police Company also based at Bearcat. Approximately 3,000 U.S. troops of various support units still operate at the base.

     Eventually a combined U.S. and Thai MP Desk was formed and motorized patrols were assigned. Two combined patrols during daylight hours and one during the evening hours. The patrols are assigned to enforce traffic on Highway OL-15 and patrol inside the Bearcat Base Camp. They handle any vehicle crashes, traffic enforcement, transportation of illegal contraband, thefts, etc. The U.S. MP’s were praised by their Thai counterpart, LT Prasit, from Bangkok, Thailand, the MP Duty Officer. “To work with the U.S. Military Police is a great honor.” “Through cooperation and working together we have established a good relationship with the troops.”

9th Infantry

Personal Reflection “I was transferred to Bearcat on 6 October 1968 as an original member of the A Company detachment who took over from the 9th Infantry Division MPs. We apprehended about 50 AWOL's working with the 9th MP Company the first couple of months we were there. Most were hiding in abandoned hooch's and bunkers on post left vacant when the Thai Queen’s Cobra Regiment moved out. We would wait till about 2 AM to make our raids.

     One night I was run over by 3 AWOL's who escaped. A fourth one went out the back door and was caught by my partner. He had been AWOL for 8 months and was a member of the 1st Infantry Division. We later flew to Lai Khe for his court martial. These guys would live off of the black market and often had Vietnamese women living with them.”  SP/4 William H. Anttila, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, August 1968-November 1969.

8 October

Phu Loi Detachment  The C Company commitment of one platoon of MP’s supporting the Provost Marshals Office at the Phu Loi Base Camp of the 1st Infantry Division was terminated, and the platoon was transferred to Di An (1st Infantry Division). The MP’s and their equipment continued to be utilized primarily for convoy escort to Lai Khe, Phuoc Vinh and Quan Loi.

Personal Reflection  “I arrived in Vietnam on 1 October 1968, the day I was promoted to First Lieutenant, and assigned to C Company at Long Binh as a platoon leader. The Commanding Officer was CPT Don Kirchoffner and 1LT Earl Walling was the other officer in the company.

1st Infantry

     We were always one or two officers short, but managed to get all missions accomplished. After a couple days of orientation, including my first convoy to Tay Ninh, I was assigned to our platoon at Phu Loi in support of the 1st Infantry Division with SFC John Brooks as my platoon sergeant, and SSG John Savage as my operations NCO.

     As the "Sheriff" of Phu Loi, our mission was to run a Provost Marshal’s Office, discipline law and order duties with a detention cell, oversee the civilian workers that came on the base to work, and to maintain checkpoints on the convoy route to Lai Khe."  1LT Herbert W. Bradley, III, Platoon Leader, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, 1968-1969.

11 October
Operation OCTOPUS

TAOR  Battalion TOC launched Operation OCTOPUS in conjunction with the U.S. 702nd and ARVN 15th Military Intelligence Detachments in the village of An Hoa Hung. The mission targeted for interrogation members of families who were identified by undercover operatives and previous interrogations as being sympathetic to the VC, or had relatives affiliated with the VC.

     Like the tentacles of an octopus, a group of fourteen teams composed of five MPs, a scout dog and handler and one ARVN interpreter, cordoned and searched fourteen houses, apprehending a number of suspects. The interrogations lead to the later identification and arrest of several known VC.

If you participated in this operation or can provide any stories, or photographs, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

TAOR  On that same night, B Company Ambush Squad-76 was on a night patrol in the small hamlet of Tam Mang northwest of Outpost-4 and Long Binh Tan Village. It was a full moon, and they were going from house to house checking the occupants for National Identification cards. The thrust of this type of night operation was to catch any VC that might be visiting their family or local sympathizers. If the occupants of the homes fit a family profile, a cursory examination was conducted and an apology was issued for disturbing them. If several adults and/or military age children were observed, all their National Identification cards were checked, the adults separated and the level of questioning moved from cursory to direct interrogation.

    As they neared the small cemetery on the east edge of the village, a burst of automatic weapons fire passed over the heads of SP/4’s Bruce D. Bohm and Delbert D. Austin, Jr. who were assigned as outside security. The squad took to cover behind a home after determining the fire came from the cemetery approximately forty meters to their east. When the contact was reported, Battalion TOC ordered the squad to move into the cemetery and make a sweep


     Without a Starlight Scope or Scout Dog, the seven-man squad was at a great tactical disadvantage. Under the light of a full moon they would have to move across an open field void of cover to reach the cemetery that was cloaked in darkness by a nearby stand of tall trees, so they questioned the safety of the order and it lead to some tense moments of silence on the radio net while awaiting a reply. Unmoved by the explanation, Battalion TOC again ordered the squad to make the sweep. Against their better judgment they did, and were fortunate to have received no fire. The sniper was long gone. Journal of CPL Thomas T. Watson, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, March 1968 to March 1969.

CPL Watson
SP/4 Austin
SP/4 Bohm
SP/4 Edwards
If you participated in this patrol, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.
13 October

13 October, Bearcat Detachment, Personal Reflection “One of the first details we where assigned at the Bearcat Detachment (joint base camp of the 3rd Brigade Headquarters-rear of the 9th Infantry Division and the Royal Thai Army Volunteer Forces) was Highway QL-15 patrol. We would leave post every morning and ride (north) to the defile at the temporary Baily Bridge over the Buong River first, then back up the highway (south) past the rubber plantation to the Long Than area and back again. If you got that patrol, you were out all day. All the guys in the detachment spent a bit of time on QL-15. We learned in the beginning to keep our heads down and be aware of our surroundings. Oh yes, we learned to not wear our MP covers on QL-15 patrol, we found out they were pretty big targets.

     When we were watching the bridge, the engineers also left a task. They left a pail and rope and we had to keep the new concrete abutments wet so they cure better in the heat of the day. Took the water right out of the river below and kept it up pretty much all day long.


     SP/4 Eugene G. Guilford and I were patrolling Highway-QL15 between Bearcat and Long Binh. We were heading to the blown bridge to check and guard. As we drew closer we could see that something was wrong. The back end of a 3/4-ton was sticking out the shallow part of the river by the bridge. The Mama & Papasan’s were letting us know that there was someone in the water caught in the truck. Before the jeep stopped rolling, Gene had his gun belt off and he was down the bank and into the water. I secured the area, called for backup and a “Dust-off” from Long Binh Post for help. While that was going on, Gene got the soldier out of the water up on the bank and was trying with every breath to save this fellow solder.


     From what I could tell, Gene revived him. The chopper arrived and Gene was still caring for him. I got directed the chopper in as close as I could, and we got the soldier loaded and off to Long Binh and the hospital. I can only say that it took a while, but it felt like a lifetime. During the rescue Gene never thought of himself or the danger he put himself in. We where relived by our backup and returned to Bearcat to report it to the post commander and our MP desk.

     To say the least, Gene was exhausted and we didn’t talk about it for the remainder of that day. Unfortunately we learned later on that the soldier did not make it. We never found out his name, but it hurt. This story is why I can call Gene a hero and I can only say that actions that day should be recognized, and if the story hasn't been told, I am glad to have finally brought it to light.” SP/4 Neil Vetrano, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, September 1968-November 1969.

SP/4 Guilford
SP/4 Vetrano

TAOR  The 15th ARVN Military Intelligence Detachment (Long Binh Post) reported they had received information from an An Hoa Hung village informant that a mine was located on the Buong River in the Battalion TAOR, and that it was designed and positioned to ambush passing river patrol boats.

       An operation was initiated by B Company TAOR Platoon Leader 2LT Robert L. Chavis, and under the protective cover of a light fire team, the B Company elements accompanied by members of the 15th ARVN & 702nd U.S. MI Detachments made an aerial landing on a point that formed a river bend in the Thai Army Area of Operations, just 500 meters southeast of the land feature known as Hill-15. The area was an expanse of tall grass with scattered clusters of trees growing along the riverbank within 1000 meters of the northwestern base of Big Hill-38 situated south of Phuoc Cang Village.

     The team made a search of the surrounding area of the point encountering no VC, but they did locate the mine, a command detonated U.S. M107 155mm high explosive howitzer round hung in a tree growing on the riverbank.

     Earlier in the year sometime during the months of March-April, another command detonate mine made from a smaller U.S. 105mm high explosive U.S. artillery round was discovered by a B Company search team at the base of a lone tree on the Thai Army side of the riverbank between the land feature known as the Rabbit Ears. The Rabbit Ears was a geographical feature of two protruding fingers of land that jutted out in an easterly direction from the southeastern area of the Battalion TAOR just north of the land feature known as the Boot.

     Unlike the earlier find, this shell was well hidden and held in place with heavy wire in the branches of a tree approximately five feet above the high tide line on the waters edge.


     Given its weight of approximately 100 lbs. (32 of which was explosive charge) it was evident the VC took great pains in getting it up into the tree without breaking any of the small lower branches. The placement verified it was to be used against a passing U.S. watercraft. With a maximum fatal blast radius of approximately 500 meters, it could have severely damaged or destroyed a passing PBR or group of Boston Whalers. The artillery fuse had been removed, and all that was needed was the insertion of a blasting cap, command wire and a 6-volt battery or U.S. Claymore mine trigger to facilitate a detonation.

     After carefully examining it from the water, 2LT Chavis climbed the tree branches from the riverside, and placed a timed fuse C4 explosive charge on the large round, blowing it in place before the search team departed the area.

     The official intelligence summary report identified the person that supplied the information as Nguyen Van Ty. His name would surface once more before the month was over in another summary of the ARVN 15th MI Detachment.

If you participated in this operation or can provide any accounts or photographs, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.
15 October

TAOR  As per a Letter of Instruction from MACV Chief of Staff, the joint 702nd U.S. and 15th ARVN Military Intelligence Detachments (Counter Intelligence), USARV, were now specifically tasked to render direct intelligence and counterintelligence support to the Battalion TOC for its counterinsurgency operations within the TAOR. Although both units had already been conducting covert undercover operations within the area, this order effectively cut out the bureaucratic red tape and delay created by their first having to scrub the real-time intelligence through IIFF before it reached Battalion, and then B Company, if at all.

     Although the assignment was temporary, now the Battalion, like an infantry command, had an organic intelligence unit operating for their B Company units in the field. During their direct assignment to the Battalion and B Company, both units jointly developed extensive enemy profiles and black lists, enemy order of battle reports, conducted over 340 interrogations, translation and analysis of 300 captured documents, and participated in cordon and searches, riverine checkpoints and other field operations. Their organic covert agents, and paid and unpaid informants also risked life and limb by infiltrating the communities and social gatherings of the enemy supporters and sympathizer’s. In addition, they could also draw intelligence from their established cell of civilian employee informants within Long Binh Post, an important source for identifying enemy scouting activity both inside and outside its boundaries.

702nd Military
Intelligence (CI)
19 October

     At 2045 hours, a collective barrage of approximately less than thirty 82mm mortar and suspected 107mm rocket rounds impacted on Long Binh Post causing light damage. None of the round originated from the Battalion TAOR.

20 October

     The following personnel from A Company were promoted to the rank of Private First Class (PFC E-3) under Unit Orders No. 67 signed by CPT Donley W. Brothers.

David L. Fernandez, James R. Lamar, Michael Lee, William Lee, III, Stephen D. Maddalin, David E. Malcom, Warren L. Martin, Larry J. Miley, George F. Molda, Joseph W. Morrison, Paul A. Neiferd, Kenneth M. Netzel, Warren L. Odhan, Jr., Martin G. Obsterreich, Ledford S. Russell, Kenneth E. Schuchter, James R. Summerville, Jerry L. Tope, David R. Uppman, and Thomas L. Wantz.


TAOR  The B Company National Police station liaisons in An Hoa Hung Village were SP/4’s Brownenberg and Jack H. Buckner, Jr. Brownenberg was scheduled to go home in two days, and was spending his last night at the police station consuming a respectable amount of beer by the time the ambush squad assigned to a mission in the village arrived, otherwise he probably wouldn’t have insisted on joining them to walk one last patrol in the village. It was a decision he would later regret.

     The squad departed the police station and headed east down the dark trail towards the back of the village with SP/4 David Richards of the 212th MP Company and his Scout Dog in the lead.

     As Squad-75 approached the area in which the home of a major VC member was located, at the same time three VC were approaching it uphill from the south. A small house blocked both of their approaches, and when they turned the corner they both suddenly met face-to-face in the dark.

      It’s unknown if the Scout Dog alerted or not, he may have at the last second, and it may have gone unnoticed in the dark. The VC got the drop on the squad and opened up with a long burst of automatic rifle fire that passed over the head of the K9. SP/4 Richards was struck in the left hand, and SP/4 Brownenberg who was behind him was struck by two rounds, one through the inside of each upper thigh. The PF was third in line and was not hit.

SP/4 Richards
Photograph of SP/4 Brownenberg needed.

     The squad dropped to the ground as the enemy firing stopped. Because of the darkness the squad could not be sure of the location of their three front men so they held their return fire. The VC quickly disappeared into the darkness.

     Both MP's recovered from their wounds, SP/4 Richards would return to work and SP/4 Brownenberg did make it home.

If you participated in this ambush patrol or can provide a photograph or personal information for SP/4 Brownenberg, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.
21 October

   The Series 641 Military Payment Certificates [MPC] were withdrawn from circulation and the new Series 661 was issued to all United States military personnel. Series 641 issued on 31 August 1965 was withdrawn, and the new Series 661 was issued to replace it.

Phu Loi Detachment - Personal Reflection  "On the morning of 21 October I received orders to “Shut the gates and not allow any personnel, military or civilian, on-or-off the base until further orders.” All military personnel were ordered to report to their unit pay officers to turn in all their MPC.

     Each soldier was given a receipt for their money, and told they could exchange for new MPC in a few days. Each soldier was allowed only one MPC exchange, and were not allowed off base to prevent them from obtaining additional MPC from nonmilitary personnel. The speed at which the word got out that the MPC was being exchanged was absolutely amazing.

Old Series 641
New Series 661

     The Vietnamese civilians lined up at the gates, fences, along the roadways, and anyplace GI’s were, trying to get them to take their MPC for Piaster's, the local currency. They were willing to exchange their old MPC at a rate as low as ten-cents to a dollar. The MP’s at the gates said there was mass hysteria. Since this was the first conversion, it was expected that the U.S. government would make a lot of money on "lost" MPC in the black market. This proved very true, and I believe they made close to fifty million.

     The local Vietnamese merchants were very reluctant to accept MPC for awhile after the exchange, but soon returned to their old ways of taking MPC from GI’s for the exchange of services, the top two being beer and "Short Times."  1LT Herbert W. Bradley, III, Platoon Leader, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, 1968-1969.

1LT H. W. Bradley
23 October

TAOR     TOC received several complaints that two VC Tax Collectors in a small sampan armed with a handgun were stopping local farmers and fishermen that worked the rice paddies and creeks in Ben Go River, while they were returning to their village at the end of the workday. The VC hid in the bushes along the riverbank waiting for the villager’s sampans to pass. They carefully selected their targets, and quickly paddled up to the sampan armed with the handgun taking money, food or fuel as war taxes before disappearing back into the riverbank.

     Since the robberies occurred in the daylight hours just before dark, the situation provided few easy tactical approaches. The VC who remained hidden until they struck would just lay low if they heard approaching patrol boats or a helicopter, and the area in which they were operating in was approximately 2,000 kilometers long and would require at least four squads to effectively blanket the area for any daytime ambushes. 2LT Robert L. Chavis knew he needed something different and decided the best way to catch varmints was with live bait.


      Chavis had Ambush Squad-76 load up several cases of soda, beer and C-Rations before proceeding to the landing at the Steel Bridge on the Ben Go River where they waited for some sampans to pass by. A group of the PF’s Chavis brought with him waived several sampans over, and negotiated with their owners to rent them so the squad could prowl the back-river undercover.

     To a rural Vietnamese fisherman or farmer, the sampan was his family truck and the only means he had to get to work to support them. The risk to the sampan owners was high and the items offered for barter were not working. With the negotiations about to turn sour, Chavis was finally able to up the anti and reach an agreement with four of the villagers. The squad members ended up giving the sampan owners not only the supplies, but also had to dig into their pockets for hard cash. The squad members took the straw hats from the fishermen, hid their rifles out of sight, and paddled off, each with a PF dressed as a farmer.

     After several hours on the river passed without any sign of the VC, they called it quits. It was getting late in the afternoon and Chavis didn’t want them to be on the river after dark. Chavis, SFC Roy L. Hall the new ambush platoon sergeant, and another ambush squad, was going to continue the operation the next day.

24 October

TAOR   In the morning, Chavis’s small Navy resumed the mission just as they had done the day before, only this time the two VC Tax Collectors saw what they thought was a rich target, and tried to stop one of their sampans. It was a large commercial one operated by PF Scout-Interpreters CPL Lee Van Mon and PVT "Frenchie", supported by 2LT Chavis, SFC Hall, SP/4’s Michael E. Green and Kenneth J. Marraccini who were all hidden below deck. As the two VC appeared the PF’s alerted the MP’s below. Somehow during their approach of the sampan the VC sensed something was wrong, and quickly turned and headed back to the riverbank paddling into the mouth of a small creek as Chavis and Hall fired at them.

     According to Chavis, one VC appeared to fall before disappearing from view in the thick vegetation, but they couldn’t be sure if their gunfire was the reason. The PF’s beached the large sampan, and Chavis and SFC Hall gave chase on foot but couldn’t locate them in the thick growth surrounding the creek. They summoned a PBR to support them while the lieutenant called for a light-fire team to search the stream area from above. The helicopters arrived and raked the streambed area with their machine guns before quickly departing.

     2LT Chavis then called for Squad-76 to join them in the search, and by the time the squad arrived by boat the tide was up and the small creek was almost indistinguishable from the rest of the riverbank. The squad disembarked the boat into tall grass near the creek mouth, and their attempt to ford the creek on foot was quickly deterred by the high water. The tide in the back-river wouldn’t turn for several more hours and by then it would be dark. Chavis decided that the squad would spend the night and set up in an ambush position to cover the area hoping the VC would attempt a night escape with their now hidden sampan.

     There was nothing to provide a defensive position, so the squad spent the night standing in waist deep water and chest high grass until daylight. And once again, only the leeches and mosquitoes enjoyed their company. By daylight the river had dropped enough for a sweep, and the missing sampan and two VC were never found.

     The only benefit of the operation was from that day on there were no new reports of war taxes being collected on the back rivers. Unwilling to face another chance encounter with the MP laden sampans, the controversial tactic employed by 2LT Chavis had forced the VC from their new revenue source.

Wanted: If you participated in this operation, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

The 24 October Sampan Crew.
2LT Chavis
SFC Hall
SP/4 Green
SP/4 Marraccini
CPL Muon
PVT "Frenchie"
28 October

SMG (CSM Ret.) Burton E. Morrow replaced SMG Ralf W. Heimbuecher as the new Battalion Sergeant Major. Within weeks after SMG Heimbuecher's arrival during an orientation tour of the Battalion Tactical Area Of Responsibility in June, he fell from a ladder at one of the Bravo Company Outpost watchtowers and seriously fractured a leg requiring an extended hospitalization. CSM Heimbuecher was reassigned to hospitalization in Japan then to convalesce stateside.

If you have a Vietnam tour photograph of SMG Heimbuecher and/or details of his accident, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

SMG Morrow
SMG Heimbuecher
31 October
Stateside  President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed the nation upon earlier announcing his decision to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. The President recorded the address on October 30, 1968, in the Family Theater at the White House for broadcast over nationwide radio and television at 8:00 PM on October 31. In his address he referred to W. Averell Harriman and Cyrus R. Vance, U.S. representatives at the Paris peace talks with North Vietnam, GEN Creighton W. Abrams, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and GEN William C. Westmoreland, Army Chief of Staff who preceded GEN Abrams as U.S. commander in Vietnam.
TAOR  The local Viet Cong fired approximately 30 to 40 rounds of small arms fire at the Outpost-1 (An Xuan Village) compound in the evening. The outpost personnel reconned by fire into the tree line and the sniper fire stopped. No casualties were reported.
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