Very rare that a fellow gets to see the results of his training effort, you know.” [Source: Sorley, VIETNAM CHRONICLES (a.k.a. Women and children were not exempt from the carnage and more than 200 fleeing Red Stick warriors were killed while swimming across the Tallapoosa to safety. They could see Alpha Company's command group (Captain Thomas Lewman, his FO Lt. Duane Niles and RTO Nick Summerfield) there with them. and "Keep Up the Fire! The leeches looked like small snakes trying to slither into openings in your clothing. As Lt. Itow's platoon approached closer to the woodline, they suddenly started receiving gunfire from both flanks and from directly in front of them. It was estimated that before all three lifts were completed, 90% of the Black Widows' helicopters had sustained damages from enemy gunfire. However, now the extreme left flank of Alpha Company had been secured and Alpha now controlled a small part of the hidden canal line. Yet so much Bravery and Honor. So many wounded. Perhaps, most ominous of all, the Go Mon had constructed heavily fortified bunkers in a 7-point ambush inside of the Horseshoe-shaped area, which was bordered on three sides by the Saigon River. Lt. Beedy said, "We were pinned down for hours by small arms fire coming form a tree line of thick bamboo growing along [what appeared to be] a canal which led into the Saigon River." The aerial assault would consist of four Lift Companies, totaling 40 slicks (troop carrying Huey helicopters), and as many Spider Escorts (gun ships) as could be spared. 1st Lt. Joe Wilson------------------Bravo Company Executive Officer
In reaction to the chaos, Colonel James Caller of the Mississippi territorial militia mustered 180 men to ambush a band of Upper Creek sympathizing Red Sticks returning from Pensacola with British firearms and ammunition. The downed helicopter was recovered while Bravo Company and several gun ships gave out covering fire. From the opening in the dike, the SFC quickly squeezed off several well-placed rounds from his M-14 sniper rifle into the firing slits of the enemy bunker, and knocking the bunker out of action. Captain Lewman quickly ordered an about-face and moved back toward the wood line to engage the enemy. The most sinister features of all were the heavily wooded areas, tree-lined embankments, narrow canals, stream inlets and bamboo thickets around the LZ. Alpha Company's Weapons Squad came spewing out of the chopper from all directions as the chopper spun around. Lt. Duane Niles--------------------Artillery Forward Observer attached to Alpha Co. Captain Al Baker------------------4/9th Bravo Company Commander
Preserve 108 Acres of the Most Important Unprotected Battlefield Land! The door gunners in a rush to get their passengers off began kicking some of the Manchus off before they could get their feet on the chopper's struts to jump. Video taken around Headquarters at Nui Dat and The Horseshoe Vietnam 1970. https://www.youtube.com/user/watchdog05?sub_confirmation=1 The Go Mon had Alpha Company in a 3-point ambush and were inflicting casualties as the minutes went by. Bravo Company made the decision to swim out of the LZ. Bill Fitch was shocked when Truman said "Charge 1!" The 3rd lift of choppers had been shot up so badly that the Manchu's remaining company (Charlie Company) at Cu Chi could not be air lifted in due to the extensive damage to 90% of the returning helicopters. Willie was beginning to wonder, "Is he shot, is he dead, or what?" It was not the wound that he was hysterical about, but the fact that the medics were bandaging up numerous leeches attached to his shoulder and chest along with his wound. The landing zone had become a chaotic, hellish place with smoke coming the from the burning brush, explosions going off in every direction, green and red tracer rounds going back and forth, bodies lying out in the open, gun ships circling overhead firing rockets into the tree lines, and everyone on the LZ trying to find a way to fight and survive. In retrospect, there were no victors at the Battle of the Horseshoe. The Horseshoe - Phuoc Tuy Province. Many of the Manchus slipped down into the rice patty water because it was safer and warmer than sitting on a dike shivering in the rain and the wind. Captain Lewman now faced a dilemma: how to break out of the ambush and engage the enemy that was putting pressure on Alpha and Bravo Company. As soon as the 39th scaled the fortification the violence turned from a battle into a slaughter. Lt. Graig Greaves------------------Bravo Company 2nd Platoon Leader
No sooner than leaving Doc, several guys were yelling and frantically waving at Willie to get his attention and to come to them in the next field behind him. A chopper pilot, (Mark O. Hayes), came in to take out the wounded, under intense fire and displayed great bravery, which saved many lives. Immediately a burst of enemy fire came from an aperture in the bunker. If the Go Mon had concentrated all of their firepower on Alpha Company's men during the landing, the casualties would have been horrific. This pre-strike tactic, when used in Vietnam, told the VC "exactly" where the Landing Zone (LZ) was and where our helicopters were going to insert our men. Captain Al Baker (Commander of Bravo Company) saw this heroic effort from his men's position. And Garth was the commander from the start, and he was the commander in that battle. Sgt. Before that (from August 1 through August 29, 1967), it had been mostly routine patrols, with maybe some sniper fire or short skirmishes with a small group of VC (Viet Cong) doing quick hit and run tactics. Doc Randy Dunphy who was the 2nd Platoon's medic. We could see this perpendicular dike was also 30-to-40 meters in front of the eastside of this same-forested area, which also had a water-filled field in front of it-creating a moat like appearance wrapped around a fortress. The Creek would never be able to regain their tribal autonomy and in 1830 with the signing of the “Indian Removal Act” by President Andrew Jackson, the remaining Creeks were forced onto reservations in Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears.”. As the landing zone came into focus one could clearly see scores of wooded areas, creek inlets, canals, overgrown embankments and hedgerows scatter throughout the Horseshoe. In fact, many of Delta's new guys had never been out in the field or faced hostile enemy fire before. He lifted his helmet up above the dike on the end of the barrel of his CAR-15. During the chaotic attempt to get the wounded out, a bizarre sight appeared in the distance. Willie Gin's following description of his initial approach into Alpha Company's LZ is typical of what Bravo and Delta Company would experience on their approach into this Hell-hole. A medic went over to him and found that a bullet round had passed through his left shoulder below the collarbone and out his back. There were small groups of Alpha Company's men struggling through knee-high water toward the chopper. The door gunner replied, "The LZ is hot and you are going to have jump, the pilot is not going to stop!" The inside door gunners could not provide covering gunfire because the Manchus on the ground were in their direct line of fire; however the outside door gunners were cleared to do so-firing non-stop, on full automatic, to the point that the machine gun barrel was about to melt-down. Rich Parris said, "The LZ was a sea of chaos." Several joined sheets from a Vietnam topographic map series covering the area around the town of Dat Do, the hill known as The Horseshoe, and the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat, in Phuoc Tuy Province. More than 5,000 rounds of air and artillery ordnance were used to pound the area. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend (also known as Tohopeka, Cholocco Litabixbee, or The Horseshoe), was fought during the War of 1812 in the Mississippi Territory, now central Alabama.On March 27, 1814, United States forces and Indian allies under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks, a part of the Creek Indian tribe who opposed American expansion, effectively ending … His medic was still alert, talking and regretful that he could not help with the wounded. This caused Nick Summerfield some distress-feeling that he with the radio and Captain Lewman with his shiny silver bars would be just a little too conspicuous if the lead started flying. As we got closer to the landing zone and lower to the ground, the scene quickly changed; looking entirely different from what most of us had previously seen or experienced before. Alpha Company expended their last remaining clips of ammunition; some soldiers had less than 20 rounds left in their magazine to shoot into the woods to cover the chopper. There were surely more acts of bravery, heroism and sacrifice that we don't even know about, and I felt we needed to record what we collectively do know. The chopper was flying low, approximately 15 feet off the ground. In the end, approximately 36% of the Manchu Battalion had not been in heavy combat before their first battle at the Horseshoe on August 30, 1967. It was getting late in the day and although Bravo Company could have resumed the flanking counterattack, Lt. On the afternoon of August 29, 1967, Bravo Company of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment (Manchus) had finished a search and destroy mission near the Saigon River and they were waiting in an old rubber plantation to be extracted and taken back to Cu Chi by the 116th Assault Helicopter Company (the "Hornets"). Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. Doc Zogg was lying stranded out in the open exposed to the enemy fire, in the water-filled rice paddy. Delta experienced a similar nightmare as Alpha and Bravo Company. The Horseshoe would become known to the these two Army aviation companies as a "meat grinder" and "�the hottest LZ most of our guys experienced in Nam." Somehow this shot up Huey bounced around and managed to take off. Like many others, I only knew what was happening directly in front of me that day. This was a fatal decision. Mike Smith (for finding documents from the National Archives-and of course, Willie Gin and Dick Detra again for their recollections of that day as well. Lt. Beedy thought his wounded medic had weakened to the point of not surviving. Bob Castillo said, "They didn't have a chance. Dennis Gabbert, who was toward the middle of the charge, was also hit and mortally wounded during the assault. Division command was confident that most of the VC Battalion had been decimated by the heavy air and artillery strikes. The wounded soldier nodded yes. The final death toll of the battle was 138 American soldiers and 3 men missing in action. The Manchu company commanders were told that this was going to be a short 2-to-4 hour operation to do a Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) and to count the number of dead VC. A medic came to his aid and he the soldier was trembling and crying silently. It was unknown at the time, but this area of the Iron Triangle contained a vast underground tunnel complex running in a north-to-south direction. March 27, 1814. Prelude to the Battle of Horseshoe Bend The Go Mon had well trained marksmen waiting for anyone to expose themselves for more than one second. Casualties: US - 3 KIA; enemy 233 KIA and 44 POWs. Willie could see Alpha Company in front of the Southside tree line, exchanging heavy fire with the VC. Alpha Company moved out as one unit, in a long line resembling an old Civil War charge. Not wanting to get too close to the wood line, he headed off in an outward-circular direction toward the south and doubled-back toward the front of the tree line. Willie headed off in their direction and discovered they were in a dry grassy field, hunkered down behind a dike and several depressions in the ground. I watched with tears in my eyes.". The gun ships made numerous passes firing their mini-guns into the bamboo thickets and the woods. Before leaving, Dunphy gave instructions to someone as to how to care for Doc Zogg's wound, to periodically release and gently re-apply pressure on the bandage covering it. "Get Down!" The AK-47 rounds smashed into the overhead panel where Herm's head would have been if he had not been leaning over to reset the master caution switch. In his book 'Vietnam Task' Robert O'Neill, the battalion's intelligence officer first tour wrote: The stretch of country from Nui Dat, through Long Tan, around to the east of Dat Do, and to the east of the villages on Route 44 between … Many of Bravo Company's men were stuck in the mud and the Go Mon was beginning to turn their firepower toward them. Willie Gin and two other Alpha FNG's (who were recently promoted to the rank of PFC upon entry into Vietnam) were finally able to stop a moment to catch their breath after being dropped into the hot LZ and getting to safety. Bravo Company called in artillery support to help them get off the LZ. There was one chopper down in the paddy as Delta's lift approached [the LZ] that appeared to have been shot down. ""LZ Hot!" Captain Lewman called in air strikes into the tree line. The Go Mon would outnumber us and 33% of the Manchus were green soldiers. Major John Zugschwert ---Operations Officer (Black Barons)
One helicopter made it back to Cu Chi under its own power, but the other was forced down-having to make a hard landing 200 meters away from the PZ. He decided that Bravo Company had enough ground cover to make a covered approach to the wood line. Lt. Beedy, himself, brought some of these men to the PZ. Alpha, Bravo and Delta Company had linked-up for a long night and the Go Mon knew the battle was over. In 1945, the country was liberated by the Soviet Union from the Japanese rule as a result of the agreement with the United States. The aircraft pilot was not about to land, so we followed their crew's command, dropping out of both doorways into the muddy paddy, up to our knees and waist in deep muddy water infested with leeches. This was the final battle of the Creek War of 1813-14. Hopefully I have done this correctly, in preserving that day's events and providing a more complete picture of what happened with first hand accounts from those who were there. I was more of a facilitator, rather than the author of this article. Lt. At the first hour of daylight, everyone was striping naked-and began the painful process of pulling, burning and scraping leeches off each other, which left bleeding wounds and sores. And this brigade really performed in a first-class way. Then some other Go Mon fighting positions began firing at Alpha Company's position from their distant far right flank. The initial reports on the radio were "LZ Cold" and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. Coffee’s men had served as the diversion Jackson needed. Either the VC were preoccupied with other parts of the LZ or Alpha Company had begun to lay down some effective suppressing fire into the wood line that made their escape from the open paddy possible. They crawled through the mud and sniper fire for three hours recovering what was left of Lt. Itow's men. Fitch thought the jet pilots had made an error and they were dropping their bombs on Alpha Company. The first 5 or 6 had already headed out of the landing zone. Nick Summerfield knowing what the Captain intended to do asked "�Are you sure you want to do this Captain?" His chopper had taken a hit from an armor piercing bullet that cut both oil lines-draining the oil from the engine and causing the chopper to leave a smoke trail from an overheated engine all the way back to Cu Chi. Over the next 15 years, Alabama’s population exploded, growing from a sparsely populated wilderness with under 10,000 inhabitants in 1810, to one of the South’s most vital economic engines by 1830 with a population over 300,000. They just got cut to pieces.". As this promising counterattack began to unfold, two incidents prevented it from happening. Sp-4 C.W. During their Tet Offensive of 1968, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army made numerous fierce ... the Horseshoe feature near Dat Do. Their area of operations was from the Ho Bo Woods to the Iron Triangle. Lt. Itow went back alone. It was now late morning and approaching midday; all three Manchu companies were still pinned down on their landing zone and our casualties were mounting up. It was getting toward the end of the day, and it was beginning to rain, the fog was rolling in and visibility dropped to nearly zero in the approaching darkness. The Go Mon slipped away in the night, probably using their tunnel complexes and the numerous canals, streams and the Saigon River as their escape routes. It became a deadly cat and mouse game of trying to get a round off before they saw you and could fire back. Nick Summerfield said, "�bullets were hitting the water around the Captain and me�all I could think of was, the fool has silver bars shining and me with my radio�a couple of great targets!". The Battalion was named for its leader and was formed in the 1950's to fight the French during the French-Indochina War. In short order, a Sergeant was yelling over to us to move out-pointing toward the corner." The Battle of Horseshoe Bend was fought on March 27, 1814, during the War of 1812. Beard and Scott Curtis were among them). Lt. Itow was breathing hard, straining for air. Bill Fitch of weapons platoon watched as two jets came flying in from behind Alpha Company at tree top level. Bill Fitch threw him Morgan's M-16 so he could keep firing. Separating the tree-lined embankments of this wooded area from the first dike directly in front of both sides [south and east sides] of the Southeast corner was a water-filled rice patty field-approximately 30 to 40 meters wide-creating the appearance of a moat wrapping around the corner of a protected fortress, with an open field of fire on both sides of it. Everything appeared normal; a routine maneuver. Lt. Beedy also displayed a great heroic effort, over and above what was expected, in retrieving all the wounded and killed. They had excellent fire discipline, firing only when they were sure they could hit their target. From behind the dike, Truman Boyce (the gunner) began estimating the range needed to hit the wood line. Lucky, for them, taking some of Doc Zogg's extra bandages came in handy. Most entertainers passing through South Vietnam were Australian, such as the teen singing star Little Pattie, whose 1966 tour coincided with the Battle of Long Tan. Lt. Beedy had a small group of his men with him, but could not take the chance of standing up to look for the rest of them. Helicopter gun ships were called in to keep up the pressure on the Viet Cong. As the chopper approached, an exchange of gunfire erupted again. Lt. Jerry Nations-------------------Bravo Company 1st Platoon Leader
The VC still managed to shoot up the chopper bad enough to the point of almost bringing it crashing down. The only way to get to the wounded was to crawl alligator style below the incoming fire. Delta Company's landing zone was approximately 300 meters south of where Bravo Company had landed. Dave went over to pull him out and was immediately hit in his upper left back and the bullet round exited out his lower right back. The Battle of Majuba Hill (near Volksrust, South Africa) on 27 February 1881 was the main and decisive battle of the First Boer War. The air assault plan was to take Alpha Company in as the leading element, landing them first to the north sector of the Horseshoe; followed by Bravo who would immediately land in the south sector. He wrapped several clean bandages securely around the wound to slow the bleeding. Captain Baker said, "It sounded like someone was beating the hell out of the chopper with a big hammer." Delta Company (commanded by Captain Rosenthal) was scattered in small groups all over their LZ, where the choppers had dropped them off in an attempt to avoid the enemy's concentrated gunfire on their tight lift formation. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, also referred to as the Battle of Pecatonica and the Battle of Bloody Lake, was fought on June 16, 1832 in present-day Wisconsin at an oxbow lake known as "Horseshoe Bend", which was formed by a change in course of the Pecatonica River. Once all units were positioned for JUNCTION CITY, they formed a giant horseshoe around the target area. He said, "�The slick was shattered by small arms fire. There were a few choppers ahead of his. John M. Henchman Bo Tuc lake of fire By: Bill Fitch Listening post By: Keith Bolstad Listening post By: Bill Kelly. So for a few brief seconds, most of the enemy gunfire was directed at the choppers. Either the door gunner, or its crew chief, was killed and one other was wounded. Upon arriving at Cu Chi, Hayes' helicopter was disabled and it could not be flown again. As some time passed, Bob Castillo heard cheering and went up to see what was happening. For fear of being killed by friendly fire, they made the decision to pull back because they were now in the line of fire of Alpha Company exchanging gunfire with the enemy positions deep inside of the woods. However, this report was short lived. He then stood up, threw the bandoleer of M-60 machine gun rounds over his shoulder and began firing non-stop into the wood line, raking it from one end to the other. Fortunately, a few rounds did hit the VC bunker line, hopefully creating some pressure on the VC. As if this was not bad enough, one of the three Manchu Company's (Delta Company) was a still a new thrown together Company, and was not a cohesive fighting unit yet. As soon as Willie had him bandaged up, he went to the aid of the other PFC who was slightly wounded and laying along side of the dike, with his head leaning against it and his body submerged below the surface of the water. We carried some of the most severe cases of battle fatigue, that I was to witness in Vietnam, from those trenches.The sadness of the situation was over-powering. Captain Baker decided to use an old "Tom Mix" cowboy trick to draw the VC's fire. Bursts of automatic weapons fire began to intensify and bullet rounds were popping in the water all around Bravo Company's men. As Willie rolled him over, Doc said, "I just got shot in the back!" Alpha Company had no choice but to fallback, taking cover behind the dirt embankment at the base of the tree line. Military Intelligence didn't know anything about the Go Mon Battalion other than its name and that the � Air Cav had located them along the Saigon River. In the meanwhile, back in Cu Chi, Lt. Rich Parris was listening intently to the radio while waiting for the third lift to take Delta Company into the Horseshoe. During the same afternoon, a reconnaissance helicopter from the Troop D, 3rd Squadron 4th Air Cav spotted an entrenched VC Battalion near the location where Bravo Company had made contact with the Viet Cong earlier. Alpha Company to the northeast of Bravo Company was under intense fire and still pinned down in front of the tree line. He was in the direct path of the oncoming tail blades and thinking this was how he was going to die. Doc had been badly shaken by this near miss but after Willie told him he was not wounded, he quickly got moving again to help with the wounded. They were told they were going to a place northeast of Cu Chi in Binh Duong Province-located 8 miles northwest of Phu Cong, and about the same distance directly south of Ben Cat-at the southern most edges of the Iron Triangle in an area shaped like a Horseshoe along the Saigon River, where the Saigon and Thi Tinh River meet. The tree line in front of Bravo Company was actually part of a finger stream branching out from the Saigon River. A Chinook helicopter laden with supplies approaches the landing pad of the newly defended "Horseshoe." They were both stumbling along the dike and Lt. Itow was dragging the wounded soldier along most of the way. The Go Mon Battalion waited patiently until Alpha Company's first ten choppers started unloading their men (approximately 50-to-60 soldiers). Up to this point, he had not fired his weapon because of trying to take care of casualties that did not make it off the LZ. This tactic did not work with the Go Mon Battalion. Some of the fighting was at close quarters, being only a few feet away. Colonel James H. Merryman--- Commanding Officer 269th Combat Aviation Battalion (Black Barons)
The second desperate order was about to be given to Lt. Beedy to suppress the gunfire coming from the left flank. THIS IS A FULL Collection of 4 pages of FIRE BASES, AIR FORCE BASES, Naval and Medical, BROWN WATER Naval, and any and all bases DOD during the Vietnam War 1963 to 1975 Great link for in-country Vietnam vets, or those curious about the Vietnam War… The remaining choppers in Alpha Company's first lift were now coming under intense gunfire on their way toward the landing zone. They were a cohesive hard core military unit that had been together for a long time. Even more significant, the Upper Creek nation had lost its last substantial fighting force. They took great care to remove their dead when retreating so that their true causalities and presents in an area would not be easily known. Melvin "Buzz" Copple (a Delta Company machine gunner) rode into the Horseshoe on one of the other choppers and sat on the left side of the chopper's open doorway. 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