July 9 – 16, 1970
Day by Day Report
by Lee Widjeskog
July 9, 1970
Following the unsuccessful assault on Hill 1000 on 8 July, Delta & Charlie 2/506 set up NDPs 400 meters southeast of Hill 1000. The night was quiet but stressful as they anticipated a NVA attack.
FSB Ripcord received 16 mortar rounds but no injuries.
Heavy winds around Ripcord prevented C&D 2/506 from being airlifted to a new location in the morning. Later in the day C2/506 moved to the saddle between Ripcord and Hill 805 and set up a NDP. D2/506 remained in the general area they had occupied the past night.
A2/501 moved north from their NDP where they had not been able to safely medevac from that location. They did a force march to the new NDP and set up for the night expecting to be hit that night as told by Brigade intelligence. No assault happened. The quick move apparently did not give the NVA adequate time to scout the new location and plan for an assault. This is why units moved every day and left their NDP by 0900 which kept the NVA always guessing.
Recon, E20501 was northeast of Coc Meun where they engaged two NVA hitting one. Later, while inspecting a booby trap, Terry Williams was killed when it exploded.
C2/506, in their NDP near Hill 805 received 2 satchell charges around 2300 hours. The anticipated further incursions butnothing happened.
B &C 2/501 continued to work the hills near Ru-Up hill without contact.
D2/501 remained well north of Ripcord patrolling without incident.
A2/506 secured FSB O’Reilly and B2/506 stayed on Ripcord.
July 10, 1970
This was a bad day to hang out on FSB Ripcord. The base received 51 rounds of mortar fire and 5 75mm rounds. 14 men were wounded and three were killed.
Fred (Yogi) Raymond of Alpha Battery 2/11 Field Artillery was killed as he left his bunker to get a case of C rations.
Patrick Bohan, a pathfinder, was directing helicopter traffic onto Ripcord when he had to leave his bunker to get a new radio. A mortar round hit near him killing him on the spot.
Victor DeFoor of Bravo 2/506 ducked into the Mess Hall bunker for safety , but was followed in by a 75mm recoilless rifle round which killed him instantly.
FSB O’Reilly, being secured by A2/506, had mechanical ambushes set outside the perimeter. Recon from E2/506 was approaching and requested direction through the mine field. As they approached, the trail split and the team took the wrong side. The trap was tripped and the explosion killed Roy Johnson and wounded three others.
A2/506 took helicopters from O’Reilly and landed east of Ripcord in a LZ secured by C2/506. Charlie in turn took the choppers back to O’Reilly to secure that area while Alpha started patrolling towards Hill 805.
D2/506 continued patrolling 600 meters northwest of Ripcord between Triple Hill and Hill 1000.
A2/501 was finally able to establish a secure LZ, evacute their wounded and get moved to a site within 1 kilometer of FSB Ripcord in anticipation of a B-52 strike on enemy locations.
Bravo and Charlie 2/501 continued patrolling, now 2 kilometer southeast of Hill 805.
D2/501 continued patrols near O’Reilly. While plotting defensive fire for the night, an incoming phosphorus round went off prematurely, slightly burning two men.
Air strikes were placed near Hill 902 and Hill 805.
July 11, 1970
Starting just past midnight, air strikes were employed throughout the region. Sites included just west of Coc Muen, just west of Hill 1000. south of Hill 805 and west of Hill 805, and in and around Hill 902.
Prior to the drops, A, B, C and E 2/501 were lifted out and taken to Camp Evans for refitting and re-enforcements. Over the past weeks they had not lost many men , but their WIAs were high. The region from Coc Muen to Hill 902 to Re-Up Hill had been a hotbed of NVA activity.
D2/501 remained between FSB O’Reilly and Ripcord patrolling as usual.
Up on Ripcord, B2/506 received 11 mortar rounds, .51 caliber machinegun fire and 2 75mm rounds but took no injuries.
C2/506 secured O’Reilly and accepted more new troops.
D2/506, near Triple Hill engaged 6 NVA at a distance using artillery and mortars with negative results.
A2/506 patrolled half way between Ripcord and Hill 805. It located and disarmed a booby trap at a LZ and at a later site found 7 75mm recoilless rifle rounds and destroyed them. No NVA were encountered.
July 12, 1970
The winds were high again on Ripcord. On the positive side they only received 3 mortar rounds. While there were no injuries, the engineers bulldozer was hit in the radiator. B2/506 continued with their security of the hill.
A2/501, after a day on Camp Evans took their bunch of reinforcements and combat assaulted to the Triple Hill area. B & C 2/501 also replenished on Camp Evans landed on the north slope of Coc Muen south of Hill 1000. Patrolling resumed.
Recon, E2/501 landed on the top of Coc Muen.
D2/506 started the day finding some bunkers and equipment on Triple Hill. They were soon picked up and inserted into the area between Ripcord and O’Reilly recently evacuated by D2/501.
C2/506 remained on FSB O’Reilly providing security.
Recon Team E, E2/506 was in the area well north of Hill 605.
With daylight, Hill 805 was bombed and then hit with teargas. As the jets left around 9AM D2/501, recently CAed to the northwest slope of Hill 805 and with A2/506 on it’s right flank assaulted Hill 805. A2/506, 3rd Platoon encountered small arms and RPG fire. This resulted in the wounding and medevac of the platoon leader and his RTO (Noll & Brady). The rest of the assault was uneventful . D2/501 set up on the hill and A2/506 was on the southwest slope of 805 apparently unknown to the NVA. Around 10 PM Delta was engaged by 40 RPG rounds, small arms fire and satchel charges. Suppressive fire from Delta was initiated. Alpha was not engaged and then opened fire on the flank of the attacking NVA. This combined fire caused the NVA attack to break off. Later, three mechanical ambushes were detonated as the NVA attempted to bring more men for another assault. No more NVA attacks happened that night. None of the GIs were killed but 16 Delta 2/501 troops were wounded
July 13, 1970
Winds in excess of 50 mph whipped FSB Ripcord. However, no mortar or other explosives hit the base. There was sporadic rifle fire received off and on that day but no injuries.
Airstrikes were placed for A2/506, D2/501 and others through out the day..
D2/501 remained on Hill 805. They medevaced their WIAs from the night before. and prepared their defenses. Patrols noted blood trails and equipment left behind by the fleeing NVA. There was no attack prior to midnight on the 13th.
A2/506 walked off the hill on a mission to find NVA positions and perhaps bodies. They did find bunkers which they destroyed.
B2/506 remained on Ripcord providing security and patrolling the surrounding area.
C2/506 was doing the same for FSB O’Reilly to the north.
D2/506 was now southwest of Triple Hill and 800 meters northwest of Hill 1000.
Meanwhile, to the west, A,B & C 2/501 had moved into position for a possible assault onto Hill 1000. Recon platoon was in position to the south of Hill 1000.
D2/506 patrolled the area near Triple Hill.
July 14, 1970
With line companys working the areas of Hill 1000, Hill 805 and Coc Muen, the NVA were not able to put too much pressure on FSB Ripcord. They received only 6 rounds of 75mm fire and not injuries.
On Hill 805, D2/501 was hit at 0205 hours by RPG, satchel charges and small arms fire. Delta in turn employed mortars, artillery, aerial rocket artillery (ARA) and flare ships. B3:30 AM the fight was over and the NVA left. In the hour long melee, D2/501 lost Lt. Terry Palm, Paul Guimond, Gary Schneider, Keith Utter, Bill Jones, John Keister and Jim Hembree. Nine others were wounded. Recon of the area in daylight found 5 NVA dead and numerous blood trails. 2nd Platoon B2/506 flew to the nearby LZ to provide security for the evacuation of the wounded , resupply and 20 man reinforcement section for D2/501. Bravo later returned to Ripcord. During the medevac one chopper was hit and had to set down on Ripcord for repairs.
Bravo 2/501 was moving west of Hill 1000 when they were engaged by NVA in bunkers. In the contact, Dennis Huffine was killed and 11 others wounded. Three NVA were killed and a heavy machinegun captured.
North of Bravo, Alpha 2/501 engaged NVA in foxholes resulting in two dead NVA. there were no US casualties.
Recon Platoon E2/501, also west of Hill 1000, were engaged by NVA in bunkers with small arms fire and RPG. 9 GIs were WIA and B2/501 moved to assist.
B2/506 continued to secure FSB Ripcord. C2/506 secured FSB O’Reilly,
D2/506 worked the area north of Triple Hill.
A2/506 continued to patrol west and south of Hill 805.
Recon E2/506 had returned to Camp Evans.
Air strikes continued around the area as requested. Especially near Hill 805.
July 15, 1970
Things on FSB Ripcord were quiet today as the heavy winds stayed in the area. No reported impacts or injuries. The TOC (Tactical Operations Center) continue to schedule air strikes through out the AO.
On Hill 805, just after midnight, D2/501, requested a medevac to remove a previously wounded man whose condition had worsened. Heavy winds stopped the first attempt. Soon D2/501 was hit with mortar rounds Artillery, ARA and our own mortars were fired in response. In less than a half hour, the NVA broke contact. The medevac picked up the man who died while two additional men were wounded. (The man who died was Gary Schneider listed as having died some hours before on the 14th.). Later in the day Lt. Selvaggi, with 6 replacements , joined the company to take over First Platoon. Around noon, James Plenderleith was medevaced when his wounds started to deteriorate.
Resupply was conducted and during that re-supply one helicopter lost power. An attempt to lift it with a CH-47, was met with heavy machine gun fire and was aborted. The two machine gunners from the chopper. were forced to unhappily spend the night with Delta. Delta 2/501 set up mechanical ambushes and prepare for the expected attack that coming night..
A2/506 moved south and west of Hill 805 and had to medevac their Kit Carson Scout and handler Bob Counts when the scout messed up his knee.
B2/506 continued to secured FSB Ripcord.
C2/506 secured FSB O’Reilly.
D2/506 continued to patrol the area between Ripcord and O’Reilly with no contact.
Alpha, Bravo and Charlie 2/501, set up in three locations around Hill 1000 in a possible assault onto the hill.
Recon E2/501 worked the ridge coming off Coc Muen to the south west of Hill 1000.
July 16, 1970
Another day of heavy winds but no mortar impacts upon FSB Ripcord. It seems the presence of six line companies in the jungles and the high winds which decreased accuracy of the mortars has kept the mortar tubes silent.
D2/501 remains on Hill 805. At 0246 mechanical ambushes detonate west of the hill. This is followed with an assault of NVA from the west and southeast and later from the southwest. Artillery, mortars, the quad 50 and ARA are employed on the assault. Delta also responded with organic weapons. eight inch guns from FSB Rakkasan were employed on suspected NVA reinforcement location at the same time. The enemy fired small arms, RPG and threw satchel charges but after 20 minutes broke off their attack. At 0400 another mechanical ambush went off as the NVA moved in. Delta call for the resumption of the heavy fire and no further NVA assault was made.
D2/501 secured the helicopter that went down on the LZ the previous day, but appeared tampered. An EOD team was brought in to check it out and then it was lifted out by a CH-47. Nothing in the reports mention it, but we assume the two door gunners made their exit back to Camp Evans,as soon as the EOD men arrived.
D2/501 prepared defenses for one more night on the hill with plans to leave on the 17th. They were lightly probed several time, but employment of artillery and ARA diverted further incursions.
Preplanned airstrike were flown throughout the day. NVA were now firing on helicopters as they flew into Ripcord using anti-aircraft guns.
B2/506 secured FSB Ripcord.
C2/506 secured FSB O’Reilly.
A2/506 patrolled 1.5 kilometers southeast of Ripcord and west of Hill 805.
D2/506 constructed a LZ northwest of Triple Hill for future use.
A2/501, B2/501, Recon E2/501 & C2/501 remained west of Hill 1000 and prepared to leave the field the next day. a new assault on Hill 1000 was called off.
As Alpha 2/501 slept in shifts near the LZ, the heavy winds sent an artillery weakened tree, crashing down onto the perimeter. It landed completely across the body of the sleeping Richard Timmons. It took the efforts of five men to lift the tree off Timmons body. However, the efforts were to no avail as Timmons had died of massive internal injuries.