Monthly Archives: August 2009

In Flight


Cruising Altitude was usually about Two-Thousand Feet

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Staff Sgt. Dave Roger and I on-board one of our Lift birds viewing the jungle below. These were moments of high anticipation before your feet hit the ground, and your fate was uncertain.

SSgt. Roger was a Blues Squad Leader and Ranger. He led by example and was very much respected by his men. I contacted Dave through a C Troop 1/9th message board six months ago…

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Combat Engineers


Staff Sgt. David Roger Guides Chopper In

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I was able to snap these four sequence shots of a chopper carrying Combat Engineers as they landed.

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I was on the first bird in with Staff Sgt. Roger and other Blues. We were inserted to secure the area while the Combat Engineers cleared fallen trees with their chain saws after a Daisy Cutter Bomb was used to blast a helicopter landing zone (HLZ).

The HLZ would then be used as a temporary firebase for a grunt company to set up camp…

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‘Cavalier Blue’ Lt. Michael T. La Chance


Charlie Troop Blues Platoon Leader

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There’s a good chance Lt. La Chance is calling the Mess Hall Sgt. in Phuoc Vinh to see what’s on the menu for the evening meal. I carried the radio (Blue India) for Lt. La Chance on many memorable missions while in the field.

He had a sense of humor, especially when it came to eating. The rest of us would be chowing down on C-Rations while he always managed to get his hands on LRP Rations, which were much tastier.

I was able to make email contact with Mike about six years ago thanks to the Charlie Troop 1/9th website. This site is dedicated to the memory of those brave men who gave the last measure of devotion to their country and comrades while serving with Troop C, First Squadron, Ninth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and was built by Jack Schwarz (whose call sign was Cavalier44). He served part of 1970 and 71 in Vietnam…

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Civilian Women in Vietnam


Army Special Services

Kathy Hacker, Dir.of Special Services in Phouc Vinh ’70-’71

The women who volunteered to serve with Special Services in Vietnam did so for a variety of reasons. They went for adventure, in search of exciting and rewarding opportunities, and because it presented a challenge, both professional and personal. They went out of patriotism. But mostly they went because they cared about their fellow men and women. They wanted to serve their country and help to boost the morale of soldiers far from home.

Their effectiveness in accomplishing these objectives under extremely difficult working and living conditions was underscored in 1971 when the USARV Special Services Agency was recommended for a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

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Donut Dollies at Phuoc Vinh

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Donut Dollies. Photo by Spartan Jon Logan, 190th AHC, 1970

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Recon Mission in Cambodia


Danger on The Ho Chi Minh Trail

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It was May 23, 1970, and we were walking single file (spaced about six feet apart) down what appeared to be a truck route in Cambodia. Most of these roads or paths were not visible from the air but our guys flying Scouts spotted this one and wanted the Blues to check it out.

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Dave Roger, Dave Parkhurst & Larry Pruett

The following is a first-hand account of that mission by Sgt. Larry Pruett, Charlie Troop 1/9th (Blues) 1969-70:

We were in Cambodia on a wide trail. I was walking point that day, and we had a Cambodian scout with us. As we moved forward, we saw a VC running ahead of us. We moved up and saw a bunker up the hill, and shot the front of the bunker up with M16, M60 & M79 fire. We moved up to the bunker and stuck an M16 in and sprayed 20 rounds. One of the guys got on his knees and looked in but saw no one.

After about ten minutes or so we decided to move on down the trail. As I walked back in front of the same bunker that was supposed to be clear, I got shot with an AK47 from ten feet away. One round went through the armpit the other through my shoulder coming out the back knocking me down and my M16 out of my hands. I crawled up the hill away from the front of the bunker everyone else went down the hill.

There was a brief firefight then my guys tried to throw grenades in from 30 feet away and got shrapnel from the grenades. I had to wave them off and yelled I’ll do it. I crawled up to the bunker, leaned over and threw in a grenade. I don’t know if it hit the bamboo in front or the VC threw it out. I did hear someone yell he threw it out. I crawled up again, and this one went in and blew up the bunker, and I jumped up and ran down the hill to my guys and Doc Hipple. We humped to the nearest open LZ and got out.

Sgt. Pruett received the Silver Star and Purple Heart, and a number of Blues were awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” for that day.

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Ho Chi Minh Trail


A Combination of Truck Routes and Paths

HCMT1The Ho Chi Minh Trail was a network of roads built from North Vietnam to South Vietnam through the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia, to provide logistical support to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. It was a combination of truck routes and paths for foot and bicycle traffic. The trail was actually a 16,000-kilometer (9,940-mile) web of tracks, roads and waterways.

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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)


Facing Wounds You Can’t See

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The Author: “The Ghost in the Orange Closet” Sgt. Tom Criser (right)

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I never met Tom Criser in Vietnam, he was leaving Country as I entered.
We both carried the radio (Blue India) in the field for the Blues of C Troop 1/9 (probably the same one).

I usually don’t finish a book in one sitting, but this one, I had to…
Great Job!
Rob Struck (Blue India) 1970

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Suspected NVA Outpost


We came in ‘Hot’ with our Gas Masks and Flack Jackets on.

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His name was Weaver (above) our point man and occasional ‘tunnel rat’.

Our Scout birds (White platoon) had spotted heavy enemy troop movement in an area next to the Cambodia border, and the ‘upper brass’ felt it was time for the Blues to check it out.

Because we would be grossly outnumbered by the unfriendlies, CS gas (tear gas) was pumped into the area just moments before we were inserted. The CS gas probably came from an artillery battery at a nearby US firebase. The tear gas apparently did the trick. The bad guys di di maued (left quickly) before we got there so we were met with no resistance. As soon as the air was clear enough we removed our gas masks and began to recon the area.

Our point man (Weaver) discovered an entrance to an underground tunnel. He pulled the pin on a hand grenade and tossed it into the opening. After the dust settled, he decided to enter the tunnel for a look around. After a few minutes Weaver came out and said there was a small dug-out area relatively close to the entrance that contained papers and other things. A couple of us (including myself) went back in with him to retrieve the items.

What we had found was important NVA documents and some NVA/Vietcong war medals. Our mission was complete with those findings, so we called for our Lift birds to pull us out before ‘Charlie’ came back.

I confiscated two of the NVA/Vietcong medals and mailed them to my girlfriend back in Iowa for safekeeping. She never did receive them…

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Tunnel Rats


Special US Soldiers called ‘Tunnel Rats’ Would Crawl through the Systems to Find the Enemy

The Vietcong used elaborate tunnel systems to store food and ammunition as well as housing medical and combat facilities. The largest tunnel systems in South Vietnam (some under US bases) could be as vast as 200 kilometers (125 miles) long and were built to withstand bombings, explosions, poison gas etc. Many of the systems were built using forced labor from surrounding villages.

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Triple-Canopy Jungle


We made Our Own Trails

When humping through the jungle on a recon mission we usually tried to avoid heavily traveled trails. Using them would increase our chances of being ambushed or running into booby traps.

Our point man sometimes used a machete to cut through the jungle’s undergrowth to clear a path…

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Time for a smoke (Kool Filters)

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