Click on Map to enlarge.
1. Camp Connor -- TuyLoan Marketplace --"Booby-Trap Alley"
2dBn 26thMarines replaced 3dBn 3dMarines on positions 10 miles Southwest of
DaNang. Viet Cong activity had been strong in the area, as
they attempted to infiltrate and launch rocket attacks against the airbase.
Companies E, F and G manned defensive positions on hills to the
South of TuyLoan. Co. H served as a "mobile
force," and was located with the Bn CP at Camp Connor.
Co. H's initial operations took place South and East of TuyLoan.
In our first Company operation, a Navy Corpsmen demonstrated bravery and skill that
would become commonplace. He pulled a Marine with heatstroke into
a river and resuscitated him while bullets were passing overhead.
The Marine lived: I think our Corpsman was the first 2/26'er to be
decorated in action.
Here also, were the infamous hamlets of Doung Lam, Bo Ban and La Chau with
their "booby-traps." It was here -- while carrying out the Bn's
first Combat OpOrder -- that we lost PFC Michael Gordon Tandy to a landmine.
TuyLoan? It's the place where we became friends with CAC Marines, and the PFs.
It's the place, perhaps beginning with PFC Jack R Roe, where we saw too many good friends
get hurt. It's the place where we learned that life is precious, and that
the next step may be our last. And, it's the place where we experienced the
frustration of knowing that one step didn't guarantee the next!
2. RoughRider Convoy -- DongHa and the DMZ
By the third week of September, things were heating up in the DMZ. Co. H was tasked to
protect a RoughRider Convoy that carried supplies and equipment from DaNang to DongHa in support of
Operation Prairie. The convoy was over 100 trucks, stretching for miles.
We were responsible to move them, safely, thru "Indian Country." Here we saw the support
of our Navy/Marine Corps team -- wreckers and bridging equipment on-board; artillery cover from
firebases along the route; a Navy destroyer offshore; aerial observers, gunships and fixed wing
aircraft on-station overhead, and a supporting Rifle Company and helicopter squadron ready to lend
a hand, if needed.
Our trip was peaceful: a good chance to
practice map reading skills and see beautiful scenery along the way --
PhuBai, Hue, QuangTri and DongHa. We were at DongHa when
chopper squadrons lived in pup-tents and refueled from 55-gal
drums. We were there before the runway, when C-130's landed on
a clay strip. But we were also there to see the forklift trucks
loading "body bags" aboard the tailgate of a C-130. Each of us
grew a little older that day, and we knew that, for the Marines who fought
in the DMZ, the Vietnam War was different. Only later would we
fully understand, "How different."
3. LeMy -- NamO Bridge -- The Good Life.
Shortly after our return from DongHa, the Battalion moved to
DaNang's Northern sector. This time, all Rifle Companies took
up positions on the perimeter. In Company H:
-3dPlatoon (with a section of Co.H's guns, rockets & mortars, and a section of
AmTracs attached) was tasked to defend NamO bridge. NamO was a five-span steel
structure that crossed the Song Ca De between the airfield and Hai Van Pass. It was an important
supply route to the North, and a much threatened target of the Viet Cong.
-2dPlatoon, WpnsPlatoon(-), and the Co.H Command Post (reinforced with 81mm Mortars and a
section of Tanks) were on a Hill position, 1-1/2 to 2 miles upstream of the bridge, overlooking
the Village of LeMy and the entrance to "Elephant Valley."
-1stPlatoon (with a section of Co.H's guns, rockets & mortars, and a section of Ontos
attached) was located on a Hill just Northeast of the Rte.540 & Rte.545 road junction
(about 1-1/2 miles South of LeMy). 1stPlt also maintained a Squad(Reinf) position
on a Hill about halfway between Company H and the 1stPlt CP.
Though we had our share of special tasks --protecting radio-relay teams on the mountaintops,
and being the "SparrowHawk" to help downed helicopter crews-- "Life was good!" The Villagers
were anti-VC and strongly supported our efforts. In contrast to BoBan-LaChau, there was not
much of a booby-trap problem. And, despite the night after night patrols, ambushes
and perimeter security watches -- we had a nice warm bunker to come home to. These days,
when folks say that "I don't need much sleep," I should smile-- How little they know!
I was about to
write home and say that I liked this place, but the Skipper said "Saddle
Up!" -- we were on our way to earning the title, "Nomads."
TuyLoan. Along the bottom row, find the N-S road that splits "Khuon" &"My(1)."
TuyLoan Marketplace: South bank as road crosses river at top of the bottom grid.
BoBan-LaChau: All the area between the road & the river on the East, esp. "My(1)".
Camp Connor: Northeast of Tuy Loan where roads fork in leading to DaNang.
NamO Bridge: Top row, 2d grid from left. Co.H CP south of river at LeMy
(shown as Ap Quan Nam).
| 27 AUG 1966 -
11 OCT 1966