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On The Firing Line from the Legionnaires' Ledger for Friday, April 30, 1971

Copy of publication provided by Dave Eckberg

Dancing Delta Uncovers Cache

"We were cutting our way down the mountain to get to an LZ in the valley below.  I had just moved to point position to break trail when I saw a hootch with a metal roof.  I moved closer in order to get a better view when SGT Luis Ayala (Boyamon, Puerto Rico) and I simultaneously saw a recoilless rifle and several bipods," stated PFC Winston Jordan (Elberton, Georgia).  "I told Lieutenant Moore (2LT John Moore-Liberty, Missouri) what we had seen my first reaction being, not that we had found a cache, but that there might be enemy soldiers around."

PFC Jordan and his cover man, PFC Bernard Bowen (Brooklyn, N.Y.), along with other members of Delta Company's 4th Platoon, spread out to secure the area.  SSG Nelson H. Gray, Jr. (Trenton, N.J.), accompanied by RTO SP4 Patrick Moran (Chicago, Ill.), moved in for a closer examination of the hootch.  The search revealed that the Legionnaires had indeed found a large enemy weapons cache.

When the message was relayed to the rear element of the platoon that a cache had been found, SGT Chester Morawski (Chicago, Ill.) laughingly told PFC William Meany (Grand Rapids, Mich.), "They probably found fifty AK-47 rounds."

However, the cache turned out to be one of the largest found in the history of the 3d Bn, 1st Inf.  The Legionnaires moved the weapons into several open areas cleared by artillery the previous day.  When the tabulations were completed the cache was found to consist of 3/50 caliber machine guns with tripods, 3 complete 60 mm mortars and 2 additional base plates, 3/57 mm recoilless rifles, 6 M-1 Garand rifles, 11 BAR's, 6/30 caliber machine guns, 25 Thompson submachine guns, 21 M-1 carbines, 21 SKS rifles, one RPG2 launcher, 11/7.5 mm light machine guns and 6 tripods, 10/7.62 mm Soviet sniper rifles, 6/7.5 mm French rifles, 3/7.62 mm soviet carbines, 7 French 9 mm submachine gunes, 5 grease guns, 4 NVA K-50's, 2 Swedish K 9 mm rifles, a bipod for an 81 mm mortar and assorted spare parts and magazines.

Later, the 4th Platoon was joined by the 3rd Platoon and a human daisy chain was formed to move the weapons down the side of the mountain to an LZ for extraction to FSB 4-11 for closer examination.

Legionnaires Make Charlie Feel Unwanted

Recently the CP and Weapons Plt. from Bravo Company paid a visit to Hill 241 commonly known as the "VC R&R Center".

The "Death Squad" composed of Blood Red Sykes (SP4 Michael Sykes-Adams, TN), Thumping Dannie Dingus (SP4 Dannie Dingus-Kingsport, TN), Turpin the Terror (SP4 Robert Turpin--Norfolk, VA), Butcher Bartnik (PFC Walter Bartnik---Pontiac, MI), Bud the Shadow Norman (PFC Martin Norman--Columbus, IN), Recondo Rudenski (PFC Henry Rudenski) and RTO PFC Aleksander Zasimowicz (New Brunswick, NJ) entered Charlie's domain and proceeded to burn it down, recreation room and all.  Some of the residents of the center left coke cans filled with petnum lying all over the trails.  The squad destroyed them in the interests of a cleaner community and to preserve the ecology.

Charlie was not appreciative of the Legionnaires' efforts and was preparing to "souvenir" them a claymore.  However, a large volume of fire forced the enemy to hastily withdraw from the area and abandon the unused claymore.

The squad left the hill and returned to the valley below.  However artillery was directed on the enemy from nearby FSB 4-11 leaving little doubt in Charlie's mind that his presence was entirely unwanted in the /> (SP4 Wally Watson, Reporter)

Search and Clear

Action in the 3d Bn, 1st Inf AO for the period 13-30 April.

While moving out of a night laager west of Nghia Hanh, pointman SP4 Paul Lundblade (Langley, S.C.) spotted three enemy soldiers moving down the stream toward their position.  SP4 Lundblade and other members of Delta Company's 3rd Platoon opened fire on the enemy with small arms.  A search of the contact area resulted in the capture of 2 AK-47 rifles with magazines.  A blood trail was also found.

Later in the week, the 3rd Plt. found and destroyed 2 60 mm mortar rounds and 100 M-60 rounds.

A few days later, in the mountains southwest of 4-11, Delta's 1st Platoon engaged and killed one enemy soldier and captured one fully loaded M-16 rifle.

While on patrol west of FSB 4-11, Bravo Company's 3rd Platoon found and destroyed two bunkers with overhead covering.  Later the Legionnaires found 3 enemy mines.

A few days later, the 3rd Herd found and destroyed one booby trap.  They also uncovered a hootch containing an 8" round and 8 recoilless rifle rounds.

The next day, a patrol from the CP element uncovered a boobytrapped hand frag with pull pin type firing device.

A day later the CP element found one boobytrapped can of petnum with pressure type device.

Patrolling in the mountains west of 4-11, Charlie Company's 2nd Plt. found 4 enemy rucksacks containing a M-72 LAW, ammo pouches, 30 lbs of rice and assorted clothing.

Later in the month, Charlie Co. found one boobytrapped 82 mm mortar round and destroyed it in place.

In the mountains west of Nghia Hanh, Recon Platoon had a mechanical ambush detonation.  A search of the area resulted in one VC KIA and the capture of two AK-47 rifles and 20 pounds of rice.

The results of other mechanical ambush detonations during the week were one KIA pig by Charlie Company, one KIA owl by Charlie's 1st Platoon and a 150 lb. cat KIA by Bravo Company's 1st Platoon.

Doctors Make Hootch Calls

Many in the U.S. Armed Forces take medical care for granted.  Even the infantryman in "the bush" has the platoon medic to provide medical treatment.  However, the South Vietnamese people seldom have this excellent medical care we often take for granted.

Every week medical personnel from the 3rd Bn, 1st Inf provide medical service to the South Vietnamese people in the Tu Nghia District of Quang Ngai Province.

Those weekly medcaps usually begin with a cordon and searh of a village by district Regional and Popular Force troops under the command of Major Hoa, the Tu Nghia District Chief.  The villagers are brought together in a centralized location where they are checked for identification cards.  Often a drama team from the district entertains the villagers and disseminates public information.  There is also an inoculation team that gives shots and distributes health and sanitation leaflets.

Recently, on one such medcap at the village of Tu Thuan west of Quang Ngai City, the villagers were already lined up awaiting medical attention when the joint MACV - 3/1 Infantry medical team arrived.

A makeshift dispensary was set up and the medcap was underway.  First Lieutenant David J. Eckberg (San Antonio, Texas) and SP5 Claude A. Bradley (Fisherville, Ky.) began treating those people with minor wounds.  Many small childred cried as their wounds were cleaned, but were led away with smiles on their faces.  LT Eckberg reflected, "These medcaps are very hectic.  But knowing the friends we're making for the Government of Vietnam makes it all worthwhile."

The 3d Bn, 1st Inf Surgeon, CPT Michael H. Dang (Honolulu, Hawaii) and SP5 Manuel Arroyo (Pacioma, CA) assisted by MACV medical personnel and interpreters treated the villagers' internal ailments.

Stated CPT Ernest, from the Tu Nghia MACV Compound, "The medcaps make the people in the villages we visit very happy, but the residents of other villages in the district are sometimes unhappy because they didn't get one that week."

However, the villagers of Tu Nghia District can take consolation in knowing that next week the Legionnaires may be visiting them.

Legionnaires and Refugees

In just two months, as a result of joint psyops missions by the 3rd Bn, 1st Inf and the 11th Brigade, the refugee camp at Ha Thanh in the Son Ha District of Quang Ngai Province has grown from 350 to more than 2000.  The majority of the refugees are Montagnards dissatisfied with VC objectives and eager to begin a new life.  In all cases the refugees are in dire need of food, clothing and medical attention.  The 3rd Bn, 1st Inf Legionnaires are giving aid to these people who have turned to the GVN for help.

Through the efforts of 1LT David J. Eckberg (San Antonio, Texas), clothing has been obtained for these refugees.  Donations of old clothing have come from the North Palm Beach (Florida) Junior Women's Club, the MacArthur Park Lutheran Church of San Antonio, Texas, Mrs. D.E. Lowe of Van Nuys, California & Mr. and Mrs. W. Murphy of Eugene, Oregon.  Mrs. Lowe is the mother of 3/1 medic PFC Christopher Russell.  Major Giang, the Son Ha District Chief, and Major McVeay, the U.S. Senior District Advisor, personally distribute the clothing to insure that everyone is taken care of.  When a village near Ha Thanh recently burned to the ground, the entire populace was reclothed with donated items.

The Legionnaires have been able to help feed the refugees with rice captured from the Viet Cong.  Additionally the men of 3/1 have personally donated bars of soap to the people.

Weekly medcaps by 3/1 Bn Surgeon Captain Michael H. Dang (Honolulu, Hawaii), 1LT Eckberg and other 3/1 medical personnel have provided much need medical attention to the refugees.

The battalion has also given a great deal of support to bolster the military defenses of the district.

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