Fire Support Base Buttons

Next to Song Be Village

Every morning in April 1970, about fifteen of us Blues would board our choppers and fly to LZ Buttons, which was about a half hour flight to the north of Phuoc Vinh.

When we arrived, we usually hung out in culvert looking shelters next to the runway. These shelters gave us some protection in the event of a mortar attack on the airstrip. There we waited for our next mission, whether it be recon or rescue a downed bird.

My radio was always tuned into the same frequency as our Scout birds buzzing around the jungle at tree top level looking for enemy activity. Whenever a door gunner zapped an unfriendly with his M-60 or other weapons of choice, we would let out a cheer almost like a sports event.

The measure of success the military developed for the war in Vietnam was the enemy body count


Nui Ba Ra Mountain in background on right, LZ Buttons with airstrip in background on left


Blues arriving at Buttons


Song Be 1970

The Battle for Buttons

A view of Song Be City from FSB Buttons, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

The berm at FSB Buttons, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein



Photo by Mike Logson (1969)

The 2/12th Cavalry tent city and Nui Ba Ra in January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

LZ Thomas on top of Nui Ba Ra, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

For more photos of Fire Base Buttons: Armed Savage (Delta Troop 1/9th)


Delta Troop 1/9th, 1st Cavalry Division




Filed under Vietnam War

443 responses to “Fire Support Base Buttons

  1. Bob Mantell

    I was at 2nd Brigade hq in Song Be at this time. LZ Buttons was near the Cambodian border and was a staging area during the invasion. If I remember correctly I was with the outfit that re-secured the base, which had long been abandoned. I flew in and out of it several times after that, but apart from the laterite, I don’t recall it from these pix. I have several issues of the Cavalair from June and July.

  2. Bob Mantell

    Okay at second glance I see it now. We never called it Buttons, as I recall, just Song Be, tho of course it wasn’t the village or the SF encampment. My culvert was next to the Red Cross guy, just across from the TOC and not far from the runway. I worked closely with an LTC named Gelke, or something like that. Nice guy.

    • usastruck

      That’s strange, we always called it Buttons.
      At least I did…

      • TOM


      • usastruck

        Same here! Welcome Home Tom…

      • Jim Webb

        It is strange, I arrived late in August of 1969 and was there for a year, we called it LZ Buttons when I arrived. near Song Be. Soon it was changed to FSB Buttons.

      • Frank de la Puente

        Yep, that is how I remember it, Buttons, a real shithole complete with rats all over the place. Submitted on 10/25/2016, by Frank de la Puente, D 1/12, June 1, 1970 to Apr 27, 1971.

      • George Smith

        Kinda late, but Dick Kohler mentioned he was with B Co, 31st Combat Engineers. I was from HHC and was sent up there to operate a grader for the MACV compound we were building. When I first got there in the summer of ’69, we stayed at LZ Buttons. I actually in Apr ’69, but I was at Phuoc Vinh. The Big Red One had Buttons at the time. We stayed in one of the semi-underground bunkers…complete with rats. Later we moved to the old MACV compound in Song Be, which was right down the road from the new construction site next to the airstrip. When it became habitable, we moved to the new compound to finish it. I bounced back and forth between Song Be, Quanloi, and Phuoc Vinh. Went back up when the 1st Cav came in to relieve Big Red.

        George Smith

      • Jack Downing

        I was there from Nov 69 -Nov 70 (in and out to other satellite FSBs, as well as Cambodia). It was always FSB Buttons.

      • Gerald Couch (Ackley)

        I was there like you from August 1969 to August 1970 and also at other FSB’s and Cambodia. I was in 2nd brigade Hdqts company Radio operator for all helicopter traffic “Tarbaby 6C , and yes it was FSB Buttons and the Battle of Buttons is well documented by a 11 ACR guy. I assume you were there, I was.

      • R. Mondazzi

        I was there in 70-71 and we called it buttons, did not know it had another name. I spent my time on nui ba ra operating and maintaining the generators that provided the electricity.

      • Tom Hale

        Yeppers, RTT team chief.70-71 at 1/77th Artillery on Buttons


        Welcome home

        Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

    • Karl E. Gelke

      Dear Bob, This may not reach you as its been a while since your post but LTC Don Gelke was my dad. It was his second tour in Vietnam, first was with the 1st Brigade, 101st ABD 66-67. He was the last Battalion Commander of the 5/7th there. I try to look up info on my dad’s time in Vietnam whenever I can and my jaw dropped when I saw his name. I was 5 when he came home in 71. He went on to finish a 33 yr career in the military. We lost him a few years after he retired to coronary surgery complications in 86. I really believe the proudest part of his life was serving at firebase Buttons. If there is any other info you remember about him I would appreciate it as I was only 21 when he passed. Regards, Karl Gelke

      • usastruck


        Hopefully someone who served in Vietnam with your father will read your comment and provide some useful information…


      • Jack Thomas

        Dear Karl…Hoping this reaches you as with your reply to Bob in 2013, it has been a few years since your post. I served under your Dad in Bravo company 5th Bn, 7th Cav . My tour was from Sept 69 to Sept 70. To find our more about your Dad’s service in 5/7 visit the 5/7 Cav website. Our current association President is MG. Maury Edmonds, your dads sucessor I believe. We will be having our Battallion reunion in Aug. of 2016 in Colorado Springs. Family are always welcome. I did not know your Dad, but as my commander I am sure that we crossed paths more than once.
        Sorry for your loss

    • Juan

      You are right. Most of you guys called this place Song Be although really Song Be (the town) was about five miles away from Buttons. I lived on the other side of the mountain on a MACV Compound. There was a runway, and a few buildings which we Air Force guys lived with a bunch of Army guys. This was an unusual situation because most of us Air Force guys were stationed at large Air Bases such as Bien Hoa or Da Nang. But on the south side of the mountain was what we called ¨Buttons¨ which is where supplies were dropped off. Buttons was about as ugly as anything in Vietnam. Since they cleared Buttons as a landing strip with Agent Orange, nothing would grow there. If you look at the area now, in 2014 with Google Earth, it is obvious still that nothing to this day still grow there. Buttons represents death. Even now, in 2014 there is nothing living at Buttons.

      I pity the poor Vietnamese that may have tried to inhabit the place since we left. I´ll bet most have died of cancer or other diseases since then.

      • dick kohler

        I have been back ten times and it is very green .

      • Chris Johnson "Popeye"

        This is more in reply to John Murphy than Juan as John made a scathing verbal attack on Dick Kohler. Dick is a personal friend and fellow nam vet. I can assure you he is not lying. He was in Nam and I was to at the same time he was. Also Dick married a Vietnamese girl and has a great family and I know them personally. They have been back to Nam often as his kids and his wife have relatives still in Nam. I am vouching for him because of lies directed at Dick. Unfounded ones at that. I was 1/11th ACR, C -Troop, 69-70. And was WIA March 1970. I have looked at his photos and videos on his return visits and have seen red dirt he brought back from Buttons and pieces of sand bags he dug up. He has no reason to lie, he just is not computer savvy to express it all in detail.

      • lee chang soo

        TO Juan
        do you tell me locations about song be town and phuoc long town.

      • Bob Limage

        When were you at the MACV compound Juan? I was with MACV Adviory Team 94/67 in SongBe from 8/68 to 8/69.

      • Michael Schwrtz

        Juan. I second your comments. I spent many a day in Song Be area in mid 1969 to monitor our engineer equipment–Delta Co,31st engineer, based in Phouc Vinh. Our Bravo Co was permanently encamped in the city. I sometimes traveled by C123 to the airstrip. but mostly by chinook to an area outside the berm. LZ buttons, which is always what we called it, had an earthen mound perimeter rather than the traditional wire. I wouldn’t describe it as red clay but more a red sand totally devoid of any vegetation. Definitely a result of agent orange, especially with the lush jungle/mountains a half a click away. There was a part of this base that some referred to as Camp Martin. Does anybody remember this? Perhaps I get this mixed up with my trips to Katum and Loc Ninh. Amusingly, or tragically, Phouc Vinh, host to the 101st and later to 1st Cav as they switched cores, has been documented as the most defoliated area of all of Vietnam. Look it up.

      • Welcome Home Michael…

      • Wayne Faas

        Michael, The FSB occupied by B Btry 6th/27th Arty (8″ & 175mm) on the northwest side of the air strip at Buttons was called Camp Martin. I have a photo of the camp sign with Nui Ba Ra in the background that I found on the internet. Company D, 168th Engineer Combat Battalion along with assistance from B Btry 7th/8th Arty (8″ & 175mm) built the FSB in Sep & Oct 1967.

      • dick kohler

        the airfield was called Farley field after Gary Farley who was with D co 168 eng he was kia 11/12/1967

      • Wayne Faas

        Dick, Thank you for that info. I downloaded a photo of the Farly Field sign sometime ago, but couldn’t make out the unit Gary served with. He was KIA a month after my btry (7th/8th Arty) left Song Be (Buttons)
        and turned the FSB over to the 6th/27th Arty.

      • J Downing

        Yep. I was on and off Buttons several times between 1969-70. It was the staging/rear area for Ops out of FSB Judie, Joan, Thomas (on top of Nui ba ra), Myron, others.

        My experience at Buttons was almost like a mini-R&R as my unit was always out in the bush and operated out of the smaller outlying firebases. What was really nice was the week we were palace guard up on Thomas. 10 to 25 degrees cooler and nice view of the surroundings. Went back to Song be/Buttons in 2002 and hiked up to Thomas. Completely reclaimed by jungle and no trace of bunkers- any remains of US troops. There is a radio relay tower on top of Nui ba ra now and i climbed up it. The Song be river has been dammed up and there is a lake just nw of Song be now. Another thing – they changed the name of the village Song be to something else, so the area was hard to find However, most people up there recognized the name Nui ba ra.

      • song be is now phouc long

    • Bob, same here, we called it Song Be. I do remember “Blues” coming through…I was with the A/5/7, 1st Air Cav there along with Artillery Unit., October 1968 – 1969. Welcome Home to ALL of you!


      I knew him as Major Glick he must have been promoted after I left in January. We talk about him when we meet for our 1/77th arty reunions each of the last couple of years.

  3. Rich

    LZ Buttons – I was wounded there in Nov ’69. Not much of a LZ then.

    • usastruck

      What unit were you with at Buttons?

      • Rich

        HQ 1/77 Air Cav – I was on guard duty – we had a ground attack on 4Nov69 – I was hit by a 40mm RPG; evac to Saigon where they amputated my left leg above the knee. Some hearing loss and lots of ringing – I wonder why? Thank god it had been raining so much and the ground being soft caused the RPG to bury itself pretty much before detonating – at least that is what they said hit me. Rich.

      • gcouch49

        I have a hearing problem today from being down range of those 175’s firing in the night. I was in 1st Cav , 2nd Brigade, I was ground control (radio) for all traffic in and out of LZ on Helicopter pad from August 69 to August 70 with a lot of side trips to other more remote LZ’s, plus I was with group that officially went into Cambodia . Yes I too was in battle in November 4th, 69 and was injured, but not badly. Tarbaby was our radio call sign.

        I am confused about all of this conversation about MACV compound, was not aware of it?

        Plus Buttons was not nearly as developed as any of these pictures when I was there?

    • larry abney

      11 th cav ?

      • usastruck

        Welcome Home Larry…

      • Try as I may this guy Kohler ddes not seem to exist. First of all he says he’s been back in Vietnam 10 times. I could believe three or four times put ten times is a blatant lie. Why would anyone go back to Vietnam 10 times. He says is all beautifully green. Maybe he does not know where Buttons is. I’ll bet he does not know the GPS coordinates of Buttons. I do. If you look at Google earth having awareness of the GPS location you can see that Buttons is just scarred earth. I’ll bet Kohler has never been to Vietnam. Kohler is a loser. He was never at Buttons the first time, much less Eleven times. Why do people lie like that? I challenge Kohler to tell me the GPS coordinates of that god-forsaken place. I’ll be he does not know.

      • Interesting point John…

      • dick kohler

        I was at buttions 04/69 to 01/70 with Bco 31st combat eng I was there 11/04/69 I have lots of pic of 11 cav APC blown up

    • Rich – What unit were you with when you were wounded at Buttons? I was the platoon leader of the 11th Cav platoon that was posted outside the berm on November 4. – Ty Dodge


        I was in 2nd Brigade of 1st Cav, me and my team were responsible for movement of material in and out of Buttons. If you remember the helicopter pad we were on the village side of fire base facing the tree line. The night of battle for Buttons in November , the 11th Armored Cav where right out in front of our tower.

        I was actually wounded when I took a forklift down to ammo dump to resupply men on berm. The ammo dump took incoming and started exploding while I was in it. Where were you?

        Sent from my iPhone

    • Lu Merritt

      Rich, did you lose part of your leg. I remember a guy named Rich who was wounded right be fore he went home. Could that be you? I was there June 69 -August 70.

      • Mike Carter

        Lu, yes that was the Rich you remember. I met with him in Las Vegas about 10 years ago when I attended a 1/5 reunion. I attempted to stay in touch with him but after Vegas he didn’t respond to emails. Richard Hains I think that’s how to spell his last name.

      • Welcome Home Mike…

      • Lisa

        I worked in MACV and MACCORDS compound from 68 to 70. I would like to reconnect with all of them. Can you assist me?
        Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    • Rich, when I was the normal pointman I woke up one morning with the very hard sensation that something was wrong, and that we were near danger. I refused to walk point that morning to link up with the rest of our company for resupply. My platoon leader got pissed and took the point for what was supposed to be only a 100 yard walk down the path. Except he (and we) were met by an ambush set by our own company. They thought we coming in from a different direction and set up trip flares, claymores and 30 cals around the rest of the perimeter. (Piss poor Captain reading maps). My platoon leader took a claymore to his entire body, and several others behind had teeth missing and other BB puncture wounds.

      Was that you?

      Jim Samples
      B 5/7 1st AirCav



    • David Crocker

      Are you Richard Haynes? If so, I remember you. I was with HQ, 1/77th from july 1969 to july 1970. As I remember it, we convoyed from Lai Kae and arrived at Buttons on or about Nov. 2 and barely had time to get our sleeping bunkers built before the ground attack in the early morning hours on Nov. 4. I remember the intelligence report said we were going to get hit by 5 NVA battalions and 1 sapper battalion. I remember there were sappers running around everywhere inside the berm. We were in the corner next to the chopper pad. I remember one of our towers was outside the wire. The 11th Cav was pulling watch that night and had their APC’s outside the wire. They got smoked.
      David Crocker

      • Hey, David – We were right there with you the night of November 4. I was the platoon leader of the 11th Cav platoon outside the wire. Here’s a link to some stuff I’ve written about it. Might bring back a memory or two. Enjoy! – Ty Dodge

      • Yes I was there for the battle of Buttons, it was a long night, one of the 11ACR APC’s was in the wire right in front of us. That did not end well. We were at the corner up by the tower that we worked out of running all the freight in and out of Buttons. But that night we had sappers coming over the berm , they were everywhere, At one point I took our RT F/L and was running back and forth from ammo dump re supplying berm. I was injured that night but thankfully not badly.

        I also was on the radio when “Puff” called in to let us know he was on the. That was really impressive when he started laying down sheets of bullets. Between him and the gunships they saved our butt!

        But your right Buttos didn’t look like the pictures on this blog.

        I haven’t found anyone on here that I served with.

        Thanks for your service guys!

        Gerry Couch

      • Larry Alderson

        Everyone who was at buttons on night/morning of 4 nov has their own memories of what took place. My unit was the 2/12th arty which consisted of 3 155 howitzers of battery c 2nd field force attached to the 2nd brigade of the 1 st cav. We were a split battery, the other half being at Quan loi. We were located to the immediate right of the brigade hq adjacent to the new perimeter which had just been pushed out a short distance from its original location adjacent to my gun , #3’s parapit . The 11th acr. was on the perimeter just to the left of that. Anyway, we had been direct firing killer juniors using #1 green bag powder which had just enough umph to push the pro- jo out the tube and clear the berm. Unfortunately in the process of loading one of the rounds the guys on the rammer did not get a good sound seat. Or in other words the brass rotating bands of the pro-jo did not get ingage the rifling of the tube sufficiently . They had already thrown the powder bag in behind the round and slammed the breach shut when our xo, lt Jones I believe , started screaming for us to punch the round back out. He was screaming that if we fired it, it would not clear the berm and we would have probably killed some of the guys on the perimeter . An operation which is not without risk because you have to crack open the breach, spray the breech and powder with a fire extinguisher , remove the powder and take the ram rod and shove it down the muzzle end of the tube and start pounding on the fuse end of the joe. The xo made a good call and he was right. I take responsibility for the incident because as gunner I should have cranked the breech down enough for the loaders to be able to ram the round home without having to do it over handed. Luckily the whole thing did not end up as a friendly fire incident. We got the round out and re’seated it and pressed on with the mission. I can’t remember how many killer Jr’s we fired that morning but it was quite a few.

        Sorry for the rambling but it was just another small part of what went on that morning in the haze of a raging battle. We left the lz in Dec and rejoined the main part of the battery at Quan loi which was like heaven compared to buttons. What a rat infested stinking mud hole.

        Welcome back to those that made it. Never forget those that didnt

        On Nov 13, 2014 10:36 PM, “My Vietnam Experience” wrote: > > Gerry Couch (Ackley) commented: “Yes I was there for the battle of Buttons, it was a long night, one of the 11ACR APC’s was in the wire right in front of us. That did not end well. We were at the corner up by the tower that we worked out of running all the freight in and out of Buttons. ” >

      • Larry Alderson

        I don’t think my original message went out so this is a second attempt. hopefully it is not a repeat.

      • Rich

        David – might have been me. Nobody told us about possible attack – remember the” WP tents” started to gather in certain locations outside the perimeter. Told the guys to watch out as it appeared to me that something was about to happen. They laughed at me saying maybe you been here too long. Tried to talk with the tower no response – went out of bunker to get their attention – they said they did not know I had been trying to call them! On way back to bunker, it broke loose as I dived into the bunker, I think that is when I got hit. Home now and things are good. Rich..

      • Steve Collins

        Hey Dave, I was HHS BTRY 1 Bn , 77th Arty. 1st Cav from Dec 69 to Mar 71 on firebase Macmurtury. anyone remember that hole?
        I ran artillery planfires to the surrounding bases for awhile until I was moved to 102s. Steve Collins

      • Stu Berry

        David Crocker. Did we call you Davey? This is Stu Berry. I was the battalion S1 clerk. Was with the 1/77th from March 69 to April 70. Left just a week or so before everyone went into Cambodia. Glad you made it.
        Rich Haines(?). Glad you made it also. November 4th was quite a night.

      • David Crocker

        Hello Stu,
        I was there from 7/69 to 7/70. I worked in S3 for awhile then I started running supplies to the other batteries. It’s been a long time and I have forgotten most of the names and faces but not all the stuff that happened at that Godforsaken place.

      • Stu Berry

        Hey David! Let me know where you live, and maybe will get there in our RV. Doing some traveling, between here in Oklahoma and Arizona in the winter. Will throw some names, maybe will strike a chord. I remember Rich worked in S3, also? See Bob Bline posted here, and we were friends on Facebook. Sadly, he passed away a year ago this month. Remember Bill Armbrister or Captain Manguso, who worked with me in S1? Have heard from James Forrest a year ago, but nothing since. Rudy Kwilos is a friend on FB, but don’t hear from him. Haven’t heard anything from Maurice Cormyer. Or Ulis Cromier (? Battery). They were both Canadians, and allowed themselves to be drafted, so they could stay in the states. Sgt Jensen, who our dog was named after, disappeared into the world, as did Hansard from motor pool and Sargent Rock.. Have emailed with Reon Onstine. Look for him in Google and you’ll find a lot of photos he took. Think he could be in California, but has been in Florida, as well as Wisconsin. The 1/77th has a website, which you can search for. On it, they have a roster of everyone who was in country. I think it’s too daunting of a task to keep it updated.
        I think Rich said it above, but on November 3rd, we had no idea anything was going to happen. All I remember from that day was we had to hang onto the tent poles during the tremendous storm to keep the S1 tent from blowing away.
        You may remember, but we had built our bunkers and office blast walls several times. One to get in alignment for ‘top’, and then to put a window in the covered end of the culvert. Then that night, we were trying to sleep and a rifle grenade went off between the bunkers, and shrapnel went through the windows. Still mad about that.
        Hope to see you one day, as well as the many other buddies. Stu

    • Lindsay

      Rich. I remember you. Was with 1/77th too. Had that sapper attack on Nov. 3rd 1969. You and Dixon were wounded. I worked in the TOC.

    • Compared to FSB Joan, Judy, Myron, and many others, it was like NYC! I was there off and on between Nov 69 – Nov 70 when I wasn’t at the other firebases or a couple of months in Cambodia. I was BN S-1 in June-July 1970 while I recovered from being wounded in Cambodia May 28, 1970.

  4. Javier L. "Lou" Ramirez

    LZ Buttons was my first Fire Support Base during the last week of March of 69. I was with The Big Red One “First Infantry Div.” Charlie Company C-1/2 (1st Bn. 2nd Infantry Regt. AKA “The Black Scarf Battalion”

    • usastruck

      Welcome Home Lou…

    • Rod Marcom

      Hey Lou,
      I was there at the same time — Battallion Surgeon of the Black Scarves Good to hear from another brother in arms at that time. I arrived in March as well — then we went elsewhere — back to Lai Khe? Di An, other FSBs and the one outside the Michelin Rubber Plantation — remember setting up at night since our Chinook went down and delayed our arrival – dug the Aid Station during the night in the rain. Hope to hear from you to share ‘war stories’

  5. Rich

    TOM- I was with the 1/77 1st Air Cav from 10’68 to 11-04-69 when I was wounded during a ground attack..
    Hope all is well. Rich..

    • Dennis Spearing

      I should know you 2. My last name is spearing. With 1/77th all 1969 at LZ Dolly, Eagle 1, Vivian, etc. In ammo section, on the guns and forward observer.

    • Rich

      I’m OK hope you are too. Master Sgt Waller was my guy at HQ – I did all the reports and set up the DTs in that area.

      • Mike Carter

        Rich, Mike Carter here. Hope everything is well. I lost contact with you after meeting in Las Vegas. I just got back from the 69th !st Cav reunion in Vegas and your name was mentioned. I guess Vegas rekindled our meeting. Next years reunion will be in Texas at Ft. Hood 7 June thru 1 June I hope you consider attending. There were only 3 from the 1/77 this year in Vegas but we had a good time.

      • Richard Hanes

        Mike – don’t know why I got onto this site again – gursss trying to put some stuff togather for my son. I’m still in Ohio but winter in The Villages, Fl. Hope all is well. Rich Haines 1/77th

    • Rich, we probably crossed paths there at Song Be (Buttons)…I was in country Oct 68-Nov 69. I too remember a perimeter break at night…the 11th ACR was out front every step when it broke loose. Stay well my friends and Welcome Home!

      • Thanks, V Norris, for the shout-out to the 11th Cav. That was my platoon that got hammered outside the wire that night. Read more at . It will bring back some memories.

      • Chuck Mutchler

        I was there with 2nd Platoon of I Trp 11th Cav on the night of the 4 Nov assault on Buttons. I was on a Sheridan right around the corner from Ty Dodges\’s platoon when they were over ran, I was ordered to re position my Sheridan to help reinforce the sector and give covering fire for the recovery force sent out to pick up all of the 3rd platoons wounded after the 3 tracks were destroyed by RPGs.

      • gcouch49

        I was there also that night in November, 1st Cav 2nd Brigade, Hdqts co. I was a ground control for all helicopter traffic in and out of the pad. Those APC’ were right in front of our position on the berm. We were over run, because we had gooks on both sides of us. I was wounded but not seriously.

  6. Javier L. "Lou" Ramirez

    You know guys my Company “C” and Brovo Company were at Buttons April and most May of 69 and the few times we were at camp I never woundered away from our area around the bunkers that we secured. Now that I’v seen the airial pictures 42 years later I can see what LZ/B really looked like.

    • Lou,
      I know what you mean…I was at LZ Liz when I was with the Americal Div in ’69–then saw an aerial photo on line–Wow–what a rush of memories…
      It was a life time ago my friend–welcome home…

    • Glen Garris

      I was on lz buttons as well in 69-70.I was with bco 8th engineers.I was the radio operater.

      • Robert Carter

        The 8th rings a bell. I was a crane operated and I helped build a big commo bunker there. I remember puff saving the day. I was on the perimeter when the a pc blew. I stayed in for another 22yrs and retired as a 1sg. I was in the 557th Engineer Co. called the Earth Eaters. I recall a flying crane had one of it’s engines hit and the pilots ran into my culvert scared. I was in the 20th Engr Brigade in Vietnam and I retired out of the 20th. Cool to have both shoulders with the same patch. I am thankfull for all of you and your families sacrifice. By the way, American Sniper is a must see, not a dry eye in the place. You could here a pin drop as we left the theater. Robert

  7. Sam Veer

    I flew into Buttons in March of 70 to join up with A Co 1/12th Cav. they had been hit pretty hard, and needed replacement. there were several of us went out at that time.

  8. Gerry Couch ( was Gerry Ackley)

    I was at Button, in 1969 with 2nd brigade, 1st Cav. I was the ground control for all air traffic in and out. Tarbaby 6C was my call sign on radio, I was there in Nov for the battle of Buttons. If you google that you will see a article from a 11 Armored Cav guy, He describes that battle exactly as I remember it. He was wounded that night as was I. It was really interesting to see that I could connect with a guy over 40 years ago, that was in same battle probably less than 100 feet from him. I was probably in same medevac tent. FSB Button grew a lot in 1969 and 70. When I first went there in August of 69 we were still building Helicopter pad, and blasting out tree line to try to get some firing zone opened up. Glad you guys made it back, seems like a bad dream at this point in life, it was so long ago and we were so young. But it builds character if you survive.

    • usastruck

      Welcome Home Gerry…

    • Welcome home Gerry,
      Yes it does seem like a bad dream…surreal at times…it’s hard to look back and see those young and fit men in combat and they be us!!
      Several years ago I was a part time bartender at a friend’s tavern–one of those blue collar dives–no Yuppies here–and there was this old wizzen man that would come in and have a shot of Kesslers and a draft..maybe several…then I read and heard that he passed away,,,,found out that he was a Pilot on a B-17 during the War and made 23 missions and was shot down over France on his 24th! If I had known that he would have drank for free!
      I am proud of the Cav—but am also proud of everyone that was in the shit–even thos “jarheads” –(worked with the 9th Engr Marine Bn at Chu Lai—great guys–loved them all–especially Chico and Howdy!).

      • Juan

        I always think of “Paint it Black”, the song that kind of represents Vietnam, the “Rock Music War”. I do not know if you are familiar with that phrase, but the media was calling Vietnam “The Rock Music War”. Find “Paint It Black” and see if it does not some how bring back memories. There are many more songs of that time period that maybe brings back memories to you. Good memories and bad ones. Which songs of the 60’s and 70’s affected you?

      • Remo

        Hey Juan, the song I remember most was the Animals “ we got to get out of this place, sang it all the time. Remo

    • Jim Webb

      I arrived at LZ Buttons in August 1969 and was there for a year. I was in Saigon on Nov. 4th I think it was and called for a chopper to bring me back to Buttons but the S3 Air advised me to stay where I was and find a cot because intel indicated Buttons was in for a big attack that night. I was able to come in the next morning and helped clean things up….



  9. I was at Buttons on and off during 70/71 while with the “Sky Beavers”. I operated a D-5 and D-7 dozer, plus a bucket load and road grader(what ever they needed).. Was HHQed at Phuoc Vinh–but us engineers very rarely saw “home”.. always out in the bush…what’s “stand down”?

    • Robert Carter

      I was there for the Battle at Buttons. I remember Puff saving the day. I was the only engineer there at the time. I operated a 20 ton crane that was to big to fly out so the left me there until a convoy could escort me back to Phuc vinh. The 557th Engineers called the Earth Eaters came to Buttons and expanded the norms back so fixed wing aircraft could land. I was doing my shift on perimeter guard when the NVA hit. I actually used the cranes clamshell to load bodies into a dump truck to be called away. Messy. Any 22 years later I retired as a First Sergeant. God bless all of you who served. By the way the safe convoy for the crane back to Phoc Vinh turned out to be a fuel tanker convoy. We were hit and I supposed Charlie enjoyed some used crane parts.

    • Ted Greer

      I was there as a Sky Beaver also at that time at Buttons I think I remember you. 8th engineers.

  10. usastruck

    Welcome Home Gregory…

    • Thanks usatruck,
      Same to you…without appearing maudlin, sometimes I sit at night–alone–and think what we went through–the good, the bad and the ugly. The war stories I ever tell “civilians” are the fun and amusing things that happened–we all have those stories–and the pictures of the girls I am with on RR and tell them they were my “interporters”.
      The darker stories stay buried within me…
      Now as all us Nam vets are in our mid 60’s to early 70’s we start to begin to fade away….
      Replace by the Iraq and Afghan vets–bogged down in their own Viet Nam…what a shame…
      But I’m proud of my service and proud of the men and women who spent their time in the Nam…we did what we did–and for the most part we did the right thing…
      Best Regards, Greg
      B Co. 588th Engr Bn (Combat) Tay Ninh 68-69
      HHQ 26th Engr Bn (White Lions) Americal Div. Chu Lai 69-70
      HHQ 8th Engr Bn (Skybeavers) Ist Air Cav Phuoc Vinh 70-71

  11. Juan Albarran

    Juan Albarran I was in LZ buttons in 1970 With the water point (31 st Eng.) early 1970 and also after Cambodia in may 1970

  12. Brook Crawford

    Arrived in Song Be 2nd Brigade, First Air Calvary Fire Base November 1969. Did not know it was called Buttons. I was Platoon Leader and my Platoon spent mant times on top of Nui Ba Ra defending communications perimeter atop the mountain. When not on top we were chasing viet cong mortar positions targeing the Fire Base.
    I am headed that way in August, 2012 to visit Ben Hoa, Phuc Vinh, Song Be and Nui Ba Ra. Proud to have served my country when called; regardles of politics.

    • usastruck

      When I was there, I didn’t know it was Song Be.
      Welcome Home Brook…

    • Gerry Couch (Ackley)

      Interesting you mention chasing Charlie on Nui Ba Ra. My memory is that the Viet Cong were throwing mortars randomly down on Buttons from up on that mountain, particularly on Christmas or any time the anti-war groups were protesting in Washington. We used to think the B 52 should come in and make Nui Ba Ra a shorter plateau.

      • Brook Crawford

        Not my experience or memory; we secured the top. We chased mortar positions away from the mountain in areas all around the Brigade Fire Base; at least we kept them moving from location to location.

    • Gerry Couch

      Will be interesting to see those places 43 yrs later, hope you post pictures.

    • J Downing

      I should know you. I arrived Buttons Nov. 69, spent some time there, on top of Nui ba ra (Thomas a few times) and spent about a month west of buttons in the Mortar Box – looking for the all allusive gook mortar positions. Found about 10 positions in that square klick. Was out in the box when I heard the distinct thump when mortars were dropped in the tube and called Buttons and told them to expect incoming. Sure enough. I had a direct azimuth to the tube and called in to Buttons and they walked about 50 rounds about 200 meters from my position along a line I had called in. next morning I went out to check and the arty from Buttons had put one round within 10′ of the berm the gooks had put up around the tube. Called in the tracer team with dogs and they couldn’t find anything around the area. Anyway, I was the platoon leader of Charlie company. Who were you with?

    • thomas ringwald

      Brook I was a platoon leader with D Co. 2/12. Then a liaison for LTC Iversen from Battalion to 2nd Brigade. I was then called up by Col. Edwin Meyers to be liaison from Brigade to Division. I spent 2 years in Nam and ended as Education Director at Bien Hoa. Would love to go back. We severed in the same places. Just wondered how you liked your trip back. Would love to hear about it. My cell is 812-599-7191.

    • Remo

      Hey Brook, I may have partied with you guys, I ran the generators for electricity up there.

  13. Dennis

    Lz buttons my home 1969 1970 so much went on there. Its part of my life I will never forget

    • usastruck

      Memories here as well!
      Welcome Home Dennis…

    • Richard Castro

      I at la button September 1969 got hit on December 23rd on the 4-Hour attack on LZ buttons and I remember November 4th I was with the combat engineer’s B company my name was Sergeant R Castro I left Vietnam in September 1970

      • richard kohler

        I was with B co 31st combat engr from Mar 69 Feb 70 at Buttions

      • Edward Greer

        Wow I was with the 8th combat engineer’s and arrived at Buttions Sept. 1970 and spent a lot of time at Lz snuffy. My name is Ted Greer from the LA area back in the world.

  14. Joe Gondek

    D 2/12 1st Cav 69-70
    LZ Buttons was the fire base that we worked out of the longest at the end of my tour
    also spend some time at LZ Thomas on top the mountain
    great views but cold at night

    • usastruck

      Did you know Bob Bluml and Dennis Holtorf? They were from my home town in Iowa. Holtorf was KIA in November 69.
      They were with C 2/12 about the same time you were there.
      I ran into Bluml one day when we were running recon missions out of Buttons.
      Welcome Home Joe…

    • Tom Ringwald

      Joe was in my platoon. Sorry to report he passed away this year. R.I.P.

    • thomas ringwald

      Joe was one of my platoon members. Sad to say he has passed away. R.I.P. thanks for being part of our group.

      • Steve collins

        Gentlemen I too was on fire bass buttons but in January 1970. I was assigned to first cavalry 1/77 artillery and I was trained on 105 field artillery (13B)But they put me in FDC And assigned me to run plan fires to the outlying batteries.

      • kswenson1

        Greetings, gentlemen, on this Memorial Day weekend. My story of LZ Buttons occurred beginning on ` January 1969, when E Company, 1st Bn 7th Cavalry was moved to Buttons ahead of the 3rd Brigade. Then the FSB was a big rectangle along the side of the airstrip (dirt covered with PSP). Besides us, there was an S&P battalion with clothes washing and hot shower facilities, and an ARVN Ranger Company to provide security for the whole of VC mortared the FSB and airfield nightly. Daily patrols were the norm, but the life was great – hot food, hot showers, clean clothes for the first time since – first time ever! Unfortunately, our “permanent R&R” was cut short when we had to go back to work, about 10 February when we began to move into the area northeast of Bien Hoa.
        Karl Swenson

      • David Crocker

        Hello Karl. Buttons was my home from October 69 to July 70. My time on Buttons was nothing like what you described. The grunts had it bad but the guys that called that rat infested crap hole home didn’t have it much better. I don’t remember ever taking a hot shower there. The chow kept us alive but that was about it. Water Buffalo (roast beef) every day, cold and tough. Had to skim the flies off to get to the hot green kool-aid. I’d put on clean clothes about once a week, maybe. I learned real quick to wait until dark to visit the shitter because of all the bullet holes in the walls (snipers in the rubber trees). Incoming almost every day.
        I guess it’s just me but I don’t understand why anyone would ever want to go back to visit. I have been trying for over 50 years to forget about that place but it still haunts me.


        I don’t remember any rubber trees at FSB Buttons ???  

      • richard kohler

        there was no rubber trees at Buttons
        he must be talking about Quan Loi


        There were no trees at fire base but

      • Teddy Leyba

        To Rodney M., You are correct on Agent Orange associated with heart disease. I suffered severe heart failure, have a pace maker with defibrillator and 3 cables attached to my heart. VA denied me any disability for this issue. I have what is called Nonischemic heart failure, if it was the Ischemic heart failure, yes, I would receive compensation. Even with two devices in my chest and with the three cables, I don’t qualify. However, I do have Glaucoma, PTSD, ringing in my ears (artillery) and a deep wound on my hand, this, VA does accept and I have a rating of 80%. Yes, I did drink gallons of the water from that river down from FSB Buttons. I watched a group of soldiers siphon that dirty water into large rubber vats to purity into drinking water. In response to someone else’s question, no rubber trees at FSB Buttons, they’re located over in Quan Loi. I was there for a couple of months before I ETS back to the World on the “Freedom Bird”. Since then, I owned a small business and enjoyed my last job as elementary school librarian until this Covid issue prevented my return to the work force.
        Note: My unit was C Btry 2/12 FA (155 mm howitzers) Three tubes located on Buttons when all of that hell broke loose.

      • Tom Hale

        HEY GUYS,  I was the radio teletype team chief at the FDC ,1/77th Artillery from Sept.70 until they packed up and went home…transferred to 3/17 ,1st Aviation, and sent to Quan Loi,  a base camp on the boarder of Cambodia.  Even though it had been turned over to the ARVMS, For 4 months, I was the RTO during the day, and a TOC guard at night while the “big dogs” went to the rear at night.  The worst part was flying over Cambodia, knowing that if we went down, no US troops could come help us out. Memories of some horrible scenes that those RVN grunts dealt with are still “in color” in my head.!! Except for only one incident, I was lucky to view from up in the sky!!!     We were young but we were warriors……. wish I ‘d made more  friends whi

      • Ray Smith

        Steve, i was in a battery, fdc, and spent time at song be. Mostly our main base was Snuffy.

  15. URL

    Normally I don’t read this kind of stuff, but this was genuinely intriguing! 19661

    • Freddie Moore

      I was on a Destroyer O’Bannon DD 450, May /June 66 I know we were up river and the log shows anchored near or on SONG BE, we interdicted sanpans <junks what ever and lie up at night if no FOF signal, we were supposed to have given U guys NGFS, we fired a lot of 5"38 ammo and I am attempting to find out if any of the group knew of us and/or the NGFS? V.A confirmed and I have ships log papers for may and june showing we fired a lot. Can/will any one have any memories or knowledge of us. Welcome Home Troopers !

      • Joseph Boslet

        Mr. Moore, not quite sure what Song Be you were near but it would be next to impossible to get a destroyer up the Song Be River in III Corps in Phuoc Long Province to Song Be City. The closest thing we had to naval support was reading about you guys in Stars and Stripes. There is possibly another Song Be in the Delta (IV Corps) which you might want to check out. Good hunting!

      • Mr. Moore
        I was at Buttons or whatever they called it at the time before the 1st Cav in 1968, January to be exact. January 31st the TET offensive to be more exact, and quite frankly (no disrespect intended) I (ike Joey Boslet)
        wrote previously I never heard of, nor did I ever see a naval shell or hear one from any type of navy destroyer into Song Be, Phuc Vinh, or Phuc Long Province. Jets, napalm, puff, C-130’s shot down on the airstrip
        gun ships and cobra’s , 175’s 8 ” SP and quad 50’s but no naval support

        The Song Be river could not support the depth needed for a destroyer as there were some parts of that river that could be forged by infantry so…. your comment regarding your location either has you in serious error, or your a bullshit merchant trying to steal the valor of the brave men that died at Song Be, Either way I don’t give a dam but you really should post your nonsense elsewhere and get your facts corrected…….Sorry I just had to say something ….Vietnam service 1967-1970 ………..Doesn’t matter what I did Im all screwed up in the mind today

  16. Gordon Paul

    I don’t hear anyone mention the 2nd field force heavy artillery on the west side of the airstrip. We moved from there april 1970 to supply artillrery support for the cambodia operation.

    • I think my poor hearing today can be partially attributed to your 175 firing all hours of night, and of course we had no ear protection back then.

    • Teddy Leyba

      I was at LZ Buttons in the latter part of 1969. Served with C Btry. 2/12 FA. II Field Force. We had three 155 mm pig iron howitzers. Have many photos of LZ Buttons. Getting old now, in the process of filing a claim for severe heart failure in connection with Agent Orange. Contact me.
      SP4 Teddy Leyba, USA retired 1SG

  17. Joe Gondek

    I took a picture of a 175 long tom at buttons
    was that yours

  18. Wow, until today Google never knew what I was talking about whenever I entered “LZ Buttons”, and for the life of me I could not recall the name of the village. Now, all of a sudden I get both the village name as well as an arial view. Am now looking at it through Google Earth. Buttons is gone, but the runway is still there.

    I was at Buttons in ’69 with 1st Cav (B)5/7 (grunts). Most of the time we were airlifted to our next search area, but on many occasions we had to hike it out past through the wire and make a quick hustle to the tree lines for local searches. We’ve also climbed that damned mountain more than once making sure charlie was not up there. MAN what a hard climb that was, trying go up a hill that was nearly straight up. And LZ Buttons was always HOT HOT HOT. It felt like it was under a magnifying glass with the sun in perfect focus for scorching us little ants. :- )

    Garry Owen my friends!

  19. carl saddler

    I was in feb 70 when marz station went on line mja. birdie was officer that got it started. my hoch was at base of the 198 ft. tower. i was a sp/5 saddler then. welcome home everone!!!!!!!!!

    • John Berti

      Hi Carl,
      Saw your comments; may be a little late in replying but I would a happy to exchange memories with anyone who remembers the 200-foot tower. My e-mail ID = > Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Keep safe and well. Respectfully!

  20. Joe Boslet

    I have been trying to verify location of FSB Union which I believe was the ‘name’ of the artillery compound at Bu Dop airstrip. Buttons was definitely at Song Be. I was on the ground in Bo Duc with MACV Advisory Team 67 from 10/70 to 10/71 and we gave the red legs coordinates to shoot at based on intelligence reports. At Bu Dop during my first six months were several long skinnies, several short stubbies, some 155’s, and duster along with a quad fifty . After six months, they were pulled out as a precaution that the base would be overrun because we turned over security to you know who. Welcome home everyone.

    • usastruck

      Welcome Home Joe…

      • Joe Boslet

        Thanks for having me on the ‘wire’. I am still researching location of FSB Union – during Cambodian Incursion around time of July 1970. I know pretty much where it isn’t – Bu Dop was not known by any other name. In book “Raiding the Sanctuary”, it is ID’d as FSB Lee – Lee was well south of that location near Duc Phuong. My best estimate of probable Union loc is XU955210, about 5 K SSW of Quan Bo Duc (my home for 11 months). I was there once in January 1971 after compound was dismantled to see if VN were claiming leftovers including ordnance. I know the 8th Engr Btn and 2-8 Cav built it about 7 July 1970 from operational reports available through Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech. I am finishing book manuscript from my journal and any help is most appreciated.

    • Joe,
      I can’t believe your are talking about what was so great a part of my life. You mention MACV 67, I can’t believe it. I spent most of my year at the MACV 67 compound. Even though it was an Army installation I was in the U.S. Air Force. There were only 12 of us USAF guys there. Six pilots, two radio operators and three aircraft mechanics. Oh, and I forgot we had one intelligence guy, so I guess we were 13 Sorry about my bad math. We were just 12.The CIA inhabited a house in Song Be City..I felt sorry for those guys because they were assigned to four years in/ Vietnam while us military guys were only assigned for on e year.. But then again they were volunteers so they got what they asked fo. According to what I recently read on one is that Buttons was a big CIA base. I was really not an Army or Air Force Installation at all.. Do you remember the building withe many antennas that was surrounded by constitina wire?.That I believe was a CIA radio station. What ever it was it was over protected. One day I went to Buttons because I had a tooth ache. I was waiting to see the dentist when out of the corner of my eye I saw red, At the same time I heard gun fire. I don’t know why but this Army guy committed suicide less than two feet from me. There was just a face of blood.He hit the ground right beside me. After months in Vietnam I was not overwhelmed by that sight, but on the other hand I have never forgotten it either Buy this is strange thing. I did not go to the dentist that day. I don’t remember why but I think it was because of the suicide. That was around August of 1970. After that I was transferred back to Bien Hoa. I though Bien Hoa is nothing. After all, I had spent eight months at Song Be. But little did I know that there were rocket attacks coming my way. The very first night at Bien Hoa we had a rocket attack. Since that was my first night there I didn’t even know where the bunker was. That happened to be a stroke of luck. The Air Force guys that had been there for a long time knew where the bunker was so when the rockets started to hit around us they ran to the bunker. Me, not knowing where it was and being confused because of my tooth ache went to the street in front of the barracks. As I arrived there there was a huge blast and the concussion from that blast almost knocked me over. A rocket hit not 50 feet from me and the concussion was super strong, but I did not get hit with any shrapnel. When everything settled down I learned that six Air Force guys were killed by that blast. They had queded up to enter into the bunker, as you know, bunkers has very small doors for safety reasons. As they were frantically trying to get into the bunker a rocket hit just a few feet from them. I was fortunately 50 or more feet away. Six of them were killed. Me, because of my stupidness lived through that incident.. I will never forget that there was an Air Force guy that brought his camera outside to take a picture of the carnage. Some guy who was friends with some of the killed ones hit him hard with his fist. That is the kind of thing that happened in Vietnam. It was not uncommon for some of the guys to turn on their tape recorders when we were attacked. I don’t know if any of there recordings survived the war but I will never forget the sounds of horrified men running for the bunker and cursing as they went. Those sounds scared me more that the attack. People would say as they ran for the bunker, “God Damn” or “Mother Fucker”. Those words were screamed at the top of their voices. I was terrified at those sounds. The voices were worse than the rockets. Facing what you think is imminent death makes you pale with fear. I was not the only one who feared death. We all did.

      • Mr. Murphy, thanks for updating my history file on the Song Be, Phuoc Binh location. I was not aware that all that stuff was going on before I arrived. I did stand a post at MACV compound before I was permanently assigned to Advisory Team 67 in Bo Duc. I just checked Goggle after all the commentary. There is still ‘evidence’ that the big airstrip to the west of Ba Ra is still there is used as an airstrip. Also, there is evidence that the smaller strip north of Ba Ra is there but now has been ‘converted’ to a road. The old Province Headquarters building seems to have been razed (I am sure the new government wanted all traces of that obliterated) but much of the old road network still exists. I did check a few other things like the security compound on north side of the Song Be River along LTL 1A (just south of Bo Duc) at what we called the ‘bridge’ and you can still make out the ‘footprint’ – there is new bridge but just south of it you can make out the old roadway and bridge piers.

        I did finally confirm with a great deal of certainty (thanks to Wayne Faas) the location of FSB Union. Basically, it was built on the site of FSB Ruth just west of Quan Bo Duc compound. Best regards to you all. Not only welcome home but thanks for sharing all your experiences and great information.

      • It’s been a while, but when I went back in 1995, the airstrip was still at Buttons, but unused.  Part of Button’s berm was still there.  Still a bit of concertina wire and some random sandbags here and there.  Much of the area was orchard.

      • Thanks for the information. I would like to see that place again. If you found the Buttons airstrip then you know you’re in the right place. Thanks again Ty.

      • Lisa

        Mr. Murphy. I worked in MACV and MACCORDS in Song Be , Phuoc Long at the time of LTC Colonel Robert T Hayden as a radio operator.
        I would like to contact with you.
        Look forward to hearing form you soon.
        Best regards..

      • SP 5 Dan Peak 366th Aviaion Detachment, 165th Grp., 1st Aviation Battalion

        Lisa, I was an air traffic controller at FSB Buttons/Song Be Army Airfield from Friday the 13th of Feb. 1970 til the 1st Cav stood down and the base was closed. I think that was in spring or summer 1971. Our little 12 man unit only provided air traffic control services to the mostly Cav airfield. We were attached to a 105mm, 175mm, 8″ artillery batterynext door for rations. It was an occassional treat to lie to the MPs at the gate saying we had “business” at the Flight Following center in the MACV/MACCORDS compound in Song Be city. We didn’t know ANYONE at Flight Following. Our perception, however, was that chow was much better at MACCORDS, better than the mystery meat the kind cook at the arty battery fed us. Those were mini vacation trips up there – we didn’t respect or appreciate the risks of a couple of non-combat jokers in a jeep on that road just for a different meal. God watched over us young idiots. I don’t think Song Be was “on limits” but it may not have been completely off limits. Our CO, a Major, and I had bought a python, named Ralph, in Saigon and he needed food so, once in a while, we had to go to a market in Song Be for a duck or chicken,
        I don’t mean to be disrepectful talking about frivolous things. I know Buttons was overrun a short while before I arrived and that was a horribly dark time. During my tenure we had a lot of incoming mortar fire, especially leading up to that day I was in the tower to say “cleared for takeoff” to a flight of 60+ helicopters full of soldiers to start the incursion into Cambodia. After all these years it’s seems better to focus on the screwy things we did to try to maintain our sanity.
        Some have mentioned the red dust. I may saved a pair of once-were-white GI boxers which Mamasan hung on concertina wire every day to dry. Wet cloth plus red dust = rust colored shorts – forever. I think I saw two monsoon seasons start there and in the weeks leading up to them angry little 10-acre sized black clouds blew through just raining like mad. Their huge raindrops would literally kick up a dust cloud about 18″ tall at ground level. Only in a land of such contradictions as Viet Nam could rain raise a dust cloud.
        Enough of my rambling. My salutes and love to all who made it home from there and even more to those who did not. In my old age I wish I felt better about the men and system which sends (wastes?) such brave young men to war and the reasons for which it is done.
        God’s best to you all.

      • I was there when Buttons was overrun November 4, 1969 ( Went back in 1995 and brought home several baggies of that red earth.

  21. Daryl Carlson

    I was at LZ buttons on nov 4 1969 I troop 3/11 ACR Blackhorse 11th armored Calvary

  22. My wife and I took a trip back to Vietnam in 1995, and one of the highlights was day at Buttons. Here’s a link to a short story I wrote, A Trip Down Memory Lane (a.k.a. Thinder Road), about that visit. Enjoy!

    • usastruck

      Ty, the link doesn’t work for me…

      • gcouch49

        Try the above link, good story, I cannot imagine standing on LZ Button now and yes I would be worried about unexploded armament. I can’t tell you how many chicoms I had thrown at me that did not explode and that was just the little grenades.

        Your comment on the “red dirt” is especially interesting, because I thought I had a great tan until I took a bunch of hot showers and the pigment finally came out of my skin.

        I would admit though I have never had a desire to go back. I had a chance once and turned it down.

  23. 5OF5HM


  24. R Smith

    I also was at FSB Buttons in 1970 Between the rockets and rats and an occasional squimish it was pretty quiet

  25. Hi Struck this is Tom Connell, received a letter from Dave Roger today and he told me about this site. I called the sarge and we talked a little. I was quite amazed that some one was trying to find me. I’m in Great Falls, Montana my e-mail is: wow

  26. I arrived at the Song Be air strip on 14 SEP 67, flying in from Bien Hoa with B Btry, 7th Bn / 8th Arty. The entire 175mm artillery battery was airlifted to the air strip (it was not called Buttons at the time). The M107 self propelled guns were stripped of their barrels so that they would be light enough for a C-124 to carry the chassis (one per plane). The gun barrels were carried in C-130’s two at a time. The Engineers (sorry, I don’t recall the unit) had partially built a fire support base, which our battery help complete. Our battery swapped all equipment with B Btry, 6th Bn / 27 Arty a month later on 11 Oct 67 and returned to the northeast corner of Bien Hoa, as the guns couldn’t be flown back-out. I believe that B Brty, 6th / 27th was coming back from a tour on the DMZ.

  27. I’m probably out of place here, but I was with 8th Aerial Port Squadron at the air field from latter 69 thru early 70. I remember we worked with one particular group of the 1st Air Cav on an important project and they submitted up channels. for us to be able to wear the Cav Patch. It was approved but the Air Force turned it down. I can only say we were honored to have supported all you guys.

    • Jerry Petersen

      I think I remember you. I was a 1st LT with the maintenance contact team servicing the 8″ and 175 guns at Buttons. Did you guys stay at the MACV compound, go out to the airfield in the morning and back at night?

  28. Hi Guys
    Wow Buttons I served there from December 1967 through Tet offensive of 1968 with the quad 50’s and search lights…Buttons was nothing more than a Rat hole with four quad 50’s one at each corner and four searchlights…The compound was hit pretty hard with a human wave attack
    that was repelled by the troops inside the quads My friend Frank P Mumolo died there and my friends Seargent Stan is still alive, it was a blood bath

    Two quad 50’s were overun outside at the laterite pit during February of 68, My friends were all there I spent a full 14 months at buttons it was a hell

    shortly after the Tet offensive and two quad 50’S were overun at the laerite pits outside the NDP…….So buttons wasnt anything like it was in 1970 after the cav pulled in
    shortly after the Tet offensive. During the Tet offensive two quad 50’s were overun

    • Henry Matthews

      Hi Jake, I was on Nui Ba Ra from Dec 67 to Feb 68. You’re right about not much being there. We were securing the commo equipment on top of the mtn. Do you remember the hook that got shot up on the mtn and had to land at the strip where Buttons was build. I was wounded and was taken to the aid station at the strip. I think it was run by the 17th air cav. There was not much on the mtn at that time. The only thing above ground was the antennas. We had no lights and had to use hand flares for light. I did have some photos but most were left behind when I was sent back to the world. Sorry for the rachet jaw but have not head from anyone who was there in latter 67. Welcome home brother.
      USA (Inf) ret

      • usastruck

        Welcome Home Henry…

      • F

        Buttons : Ive not heard fron anyone that served at Buttons in or during Tet of 1968. It all seems so crazy all I hear abuout is the Cav this and the Cav that… and the blues this and that… disrespect intended, we didnt even know it was called buttons t the time wer were there in January of 68,

        They put us in a bunker and told us to gurad the base and the 175 and 8 inch guns, that was that. We had to steal our food from the arty guys mess and had no DX service for our fatigues. There were 12 of us : Danny Guiterrez, Roger Sampson Jim Leach, Vince Gorgatelli, Stan Mardula our (squad leader), Frank P Mumolo and Me. :).

        We had 4 quad 50’s two of which were overun as they ran out of ammo at the laterite pits ; and two search lights were destryed : The place is never talked about, was never memorialized in 1968 and there doesn;t seem to be a record of the base in 1968…. or t least no one talks about it.
        So naturally I get an idea and go reserching and this is what I found out. I spent two tours in Nam and what I did was not important, what is important is that the base and arty guns were pointed into Cambodia and guess where they fired …… so this is probably why no one has any documantation on Buttons or pictures in 1968, or maybe its just my exagerrated self imporatnce huh…..I know I served somewhere.

        Maybe I wasn;t even there,,,,however that being explored I served with a bunch of brave ass guys that somehow would up right in the middle of Song Be, Phuc Vinh, in a bunker or soemwhere up there (with a C-130 on the airstrip that was shot down from the secoond story viillages in PhucVink at the south end of the airstrip)….. with 5 guys and Charlie was all over the quads and the 101st Airborne Rangers F Troop in Feb of 1968……

        So buttons Phuc Vinh or whereever was the scens of a human wave attack on the base, overum quad 50’s, and a shit load of mortars, rockets, and little food at times…. Were we even in the us army ? Who the hell knows and no one will tell us what really went on … So if you are one of the ones that I served with drop me a line other than that Im really tired of hearing how bad it was in 1970-1971, We were all soldiers, and young once…….

  29. Jim Webb

    Does anybody know Major Patrick (Maybe Pat Patrick) who was S-2 in Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry – LZ Buttons in 1970.
    I have a good friend who was there with me wanting to locate Major Patrick.

    • Phil

      Pat Patrick was a great and humble soldier. I’ve lost touch and don’t know if he is still with us. In 1969-70 he was the 2nd Bde, 1st Cav, S-2 and later S-3 under “Shy” Meyer, who years later became the Army Chief of Staff. After the war, Pat commanded a brigade in Hawaii. He went on to be the CG of the 101st Airborne. Then, an aircraft carrying some of his troops crashed in Newfoundland. He loved his soldiers and I’m sure it broke his heart.

      Bottom line…. Pat Patrick was all of the things a soldier should be.


        Thank you Phil, Good information Both Dennis Hall and I (Jim Webb) served with him in 1970 at Buttons. We would sure like to get in touch with him. If anybody out there knows where he might be, please let us know. Thank you again! Jim

        Sent from my iPad


      • Jim Webb

        Thank you Phil, Found him and had the privelege to talk to him by phone this evening. What a great experience after nearly 44 years. He is all that you said! Thank you again for the information that you posted.

      • Tom Ringwald

        I was liaison to LTC Iverson after leaving the bush with D Co. 2/12 Cav. I was then moved up to liaison to 2nd Bde by Col. Shy Meyer for Div. When I extended for my 2nd tour, I worked as Army Education Directer at Binh Hoa. LTC. Iverson had moved to G-1 and Col. Meyer had just been promoted to BG. Always good to hear from people I served with.

  30. Amazing. Never thought I could find anything about Nui Ba Ra in the Internet. I was a “Bravo Blue” with B Trp 1/9th and got hit on top of the mountain during my second tour on 24 Feb 1969. Have no idea what happened to the rest of the squad. Lots of firing, helicopters /dustoff trying to land in heavy fire, …just horrible…were securing a tiny radio relay station on top of the mountain. That was the end of my second tour.
    Harald Otto Schweizer (US Army Ret.-disability).
    P.;S. I first served with D Trp (Recon) 1/9th and then they transferred me to B Trp…don’t know if it is true but they told me that B Trp had lost half or more of their 11B’s during a nasty firefight, so I was sent there to stock up their numbers. I guess I found out how they lost their guys before I got there.
    A few weeks/days before 24 Feb 69 we got dropped off on a Charley Alpha in a crash zone in the Song Be area. Several choppers had been shot down, I think it was the first light mission (LOH) together with the gun ship. We were able to rescue one crew member alive…Sometimes wonder what happened to him.
    In the 24th Evac hospital nearly everyone in the beds around me got hit the same day.
    Damn, too many memories are coming back. Not good. Thank you though for letting the world know we were there and that some of us came back.

  31. steve c

    i was b btry 1/30th arty 155 I was at buttons 70/71 we were beside 15th med. Enjoyed visiting your site. Great pics. Glad that I am not the only one that remembers Buttons

  32. Craig Turner

    First fire base I was on was Buttons. Was with Charlie Co. 5/7 Cav. Humped around that general area a lot, but would come in for a 3-day stand down every now & then. Got introduced to the heat & red clay in that area. Remember pulling guard & humping around that Damned Mtn. Got pretty chilly at night. Also setting up ambushes around & on the trails leading into Song Be. This all took place Aug thru about Dec 1969. Not much into these sites but found this interesting. Brings back memories. Anyhow guys, a big hello from Billings Montana.
    Craig T.
    aka in those days
    Rocky Raccoon

    • usastruck

      Welcome Home Craig…

      • Sog Team Six

        Hey Craig

        Remember it well, “Nui Ba Ra”

        I arrived in Song Be when it was really just an NDP Januaru 15th 68 just in time for the party, left Nam in 70 did two tours first tour central highlands where your old base camp used to be at Radcliff,,,,,,, had fun there also AN Khe Pass etc Im not certain anymore what to say about the whole deal… doesnt sound like we did any good there after all….. huh

        Sounds like you have a great Big Family going over there,

        Take Care and Welcome home I guess 🙂


        Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2013 00:57:54 +0000 To:

    • Craig Filson

      Craig, I got to Buttons around the same time. Co. C 5/7 Cav. 3rd platoon first squad leader, later on 3rd platoon SSG. July69-jun70. We also spent time on LZ not far from Buttons, I forgot its name but we had to tear it down. Can’t remember to much Phouc Vinh , Tay Ninh. My last month May70, I was NCOIC of our rear. I am the one who send cheese burgers and beer and soda and trimming on log day which was a kick out.

    • Ted

      Hey, Rocky I hope you get this . Just found you on here. I was with C 5/7 in’69 and ’70. I remember you on point in the bush .You might rember me as “beetle”.I got a rear job the day we went in to Cambodia went E co. radar on a firebase in Cambo. then back to Song Be. hope you get this. Ted “Beetle ” Barley.

    • Ted Barley

      Hey Rocky, just found you on here ,hope your still around and doing well. You might remember me as “Beetle” ,we often switched walking point. I was from N.Y. I’m now retired and living in N.C. Best wishes, Ted Barley

  33. Gary Cicchetto

    Don’t know if it’s “appropriate” for me to leave some thoughts here, but I was the Air Force radio operator for RASH stationed at Song Be during ’70. Call sign was Rash 20. We lived just inside the flt. line next to Song Be tower. Our OV-10 Bronco’s had two revetments just off the flt line. I worked in the TOC and can remember making the 3 or 4 hundred yard dash to the flight line, refueling the OV-10, building rockets and reloading the tubes, starting the engines of the plane, and racing back to my radios in the TOC, and all, might I say, in support of the troops on the ground. 🙂 It was good working with you guys and I can remember some of the units we supported…5/7 garry owens was one I think. Much is hidden now. As I read more, maybe more will come back. Nice to find a site like this!!

    • usastruck

      Welcome Home Gary…

    • Gary, I was an Air Force guy too. I spent a couple of months a Buttons. Before that I was at Song Be, on the other side of the mountain. One of our O’1´s crashed one day because it´s wheel dropped into a a pot hole on the runway and crashed. Because of the pot holes the higher powers moved us to Buttons until the runway could be patched. I worked at Buttons for two or three months. ´What I remember was that during the dry season Buttons what nothing but deep dust. Then during the monsoons Buttons was nothing but mud. Deep mud. Did you ever wonder why nothing grew there? Buttons was created with Agent Orange. In those years because of he pressure to build bases like this they had no choice but to poison the ground. After that we poor bastards had to live in that place. If you have not applied for Agent Orange damages you should.. Buttons was pure poison. If those son’s of bitches give you a hard time about that then they don’t know anything about the war. Do you know how many suicides there were at FSB Buttons. I don’t know how many exactly, but I know there were many, I witnessed one myself.. The US government owes us. I also saw American troops doing unspeakable things there. Throwing grenades during a volley ball game just for fun.. Firing a pistol just barely over the head of a poor Lt after coming in from patrol. I was afraid of the Viet Cong and the NVA, but I was terrified of the American soldiers. What did Vietnam do to them? We were at one of the hell holes of Vietnam and we rarely get credit for it. I challenge anyone who says we didn’t go through hell.

      • Don Hamilton

        Juan, my name is Don Hamilton -1st air cav. 15th s & s . I arrived at Fire Base Buttons late Nov. 69 left April 70. I worked at the ammo-dump while at buttons. I had a skin rash on both rib cages (started 2001) for about 6 years. I was treated at a VA clinic in Dublin, Ga for years. I decided to file a claim for agent orange but was turned down in 2003. VA stated i did not have combat experience and my health issues could not be related to the war. Eventually the rash sent away. (2009)
        But now — since April 2014 it has started to come back, so I have just file another claim. (are you having any health problems). But I have other health issues, besides rash.
        A guy I went to buttons with his name was Harris, he was assigned to petroleum and I was assigned to ammo-dump. We had only been at buttons a couple of weeks, when got hit pretty hard, Harris got wounded and i never seen him again. Do you or anyone know him?
        Thanks to all for there service. God Bless

  34. Ray

    Hey Joe Boslet here is the coord. for FSB Union 11.981752 106.791748
    Here is the site I use to locate places from back in the day.

    • Joseph Boslet

      Ray, I very much apppreciated your follow-up on my inquiry. The resource you quoted was extremely helpful for a number of reasons. The Military History Institute at Carlisle doesn’t seem to have as much information as we are able to get on our own – I know, I have tried several times and all I get back is Michael Kelley’s book on ‘Where We Were’ and it has only a general reference. From the resource you referenced, I checked and it only adds to the mix. FSB Union is another one of those FSB that seemd to ‘float’. I have it on site of FSB Ruth and I have it near FSB Jerri. I am still trying to get the daily reports from the 8th Engineers and 2/8th Cav who were directly involved with building and closing this FSB. From notes in my journal, I have the location somewhere around the old FSB Jerri but in vicinty of XU963218 (intersection of QL14A and LTL1A) in Phuoc Long Province. Thanks for your time and most valuable assistance. Take care of yourself and welcome home!!!

      • Glen

        Joseph i would love to get my hands on the daily reports for the 8th engineer battilion.if you having anything.i was on buttons around 1969.thanks

      • F

        FSB was a CIA base in 1968 monitoring the Ho Chi Minh trail with listeing devices. When movement was detected the artillery fired on the trail, so Chuck really wanted that base silenced. Two human wave attacks ensued with a real bad firefight at the laterite pits

  35. Mike Rehner

    I remember standing down at Buttons in I believe was Feb 1970. We were the 3rd Maint Co contact team that was stationed in the MACV compound in Song Be. Someone brought out some bottles with little Scotch doggies on them and I did more than my share. Crawled in the back of our 3/4 welding truck and slept the sleep of the dead. Everyone else in our unit couldn’t sleep because the artillery rounds kept going off. Sure glad we weren’t hit that night. The next morning we flew out with our equipment and some ARVNs on a cargo plane. When the ARVN brought out their fish sauce rations the I sure was glad he opened the cargo door in filght.

    • Jerry Petersen

      Mike, I was the LT in charge of the 3rd Herd contact team from June of 59 until Feb or March of 70. Became company CO until we were deactivated. Were you in Song Be when the old compound was destroyed and we moved to the new one down the street?

      • Jerry Petersen

        Sorry Mike, typo, should read June of 69.

      • Mike Rehner

        Welcome back Jerry. Yes I was there- but not all of my memories are with me. It seems I can’t remember any names. I was assigned there after Christmas 69 and stayed there until we flew out with the equipment in Feb or March. I remember the morning after the MACV compound was destroyed and my nerves were all on an edge. I was in the trenches and some spent shrapnel came down and burned my neck and I just let loose with my M14 across the river. You came by and stopped me. Hope you are doing well. Cheers!

  36. johnny marcum

    i was there in 70 on lz thomas i ran the pad up there for about 2 months before i ets

  37. F

    FSB “Buttons” was a CIA base in the1968 Tet offensive. Chuck did want very much to silence the 175MM and 8 ” S.P. Guns at the base. They had four of them.The CIA used listening devices on the HO CHI MiNH Trail…The real funny issue is that the quad 50′ crews and the searchlight crews did not know they were operatives and their units detached them to the cia as tdy troops

    • Juan

      I did not know about the CIA part of the picture, even though I knew CIA personnel downtown Song Be. So there is no doubt they were a big part of the picture in Song Be and LZ Buttons. You know, I am sure that Buttons was created using Agent Orange. When I was there during the dry season there was nothing but dust, red dust, dust so deep that your boots would sink into it. During the monsoons, our boots sank up higher than our ankles.. Nothing grew there. I recently looked at LZ Buttons on Goodle Earth and still, to this day, very little grows there. If Agent Orange was not responsible for the destruction of life around LZ Buttons what was? In 2014 to this day, nothing grows in that God forsaken place. If you were there and you haven’t applied for Agent Orange disability you should. Think about this: from 1969 to 2014 nothing grows there in the old base LZ Buttons, while all around there plant life springs up everywhere. Everywhere that is except where Agent Orange was sprayed. Don’t let the government screw you out of what is rightfully yours. If you spent more that one day there, then you were exposed to Agent Orange. If you spent months there, and if you are still alive, then get what you deserve.



      • gcouch49

        I was in and out of there for a year, I never claimed any thing on Agent Orange, don’t know how one would. Any information on how it is done, You are right there never was any vegetation on Base Area, but not far off base there was vegetation and stream if I remember right. I just assumed it was cleared with machinery, I know we blasted back the woods with explosives when we were expanding the clear area by the helicopter pads I have some great pictures of the multiple explosions that were accomplished by strapping C-4 to the trees! Any way to post pictures on here, I have a few of FSB Button.

      • Gerry, I recently located Buttons on Google Earth. And guess what? To this day very little vegetation grows. Yet all around the old base is full of vegetation. Do you remember how during the dry season there was nothing but red dust there. The during the monsoons there was nothing but red mud. My boots used to sink so far that mud flowed into the top of my boots. But the fact that even now in 2014 Buttons is like a scar on the earth.

      • When my wife and I went back in 1995, the whole Buttons area was an orchard.

      • Are you sure? I wonder why the old Buttons area looks so bleak on Google Earth? Are you sure it was Buttons? Also did you travel to the north side of the mountain to see the old MACV compound? This area was not defoliated but since I used to live there I am curious. I would like to go back to Vietnam and see what things look like. I especially want to see Hanoi since it was a place I never saw before.

      • Phil

        If you have the symptoms of diabetes and “set foot” in RVN, you should file a disability claim. It will be approved.

      • J Downing

        You should see google earth now. Metropolis around the area. Crazy



  38. Ray

    When was the air strip put in on Buttons, was it there when the place was attacked in Nov. ’69?

    • The Air Force landing strip was there when I arrived at the Song Be Airfield (Buttons) on 14 SEP 67. C-124’s landed on it carrying our self propelled gun chassis (M107) & C-130’s each carrying two 175mm gun barrels. Drag chutes were needed to stop the C-124’s. See my 17-Jun-13 post on this blog for more details.

      • I have been informed that drag chutes were not used when the C-130’s and C-124’s landed at Song Be with our 175mm S.P. artillery battery (7th/8th) in Sep 67.

        Does anyone recall what material was used to cover the runway? I have found references to both aluminum mat and asphalt being used.

    • I arrived there on Aug 1969 and it was there. It handled C-7 caribou’s and the occasional C-130’s. The Planes were regularly getting shot at when they were landing there. You would see them with all the holes in them from where shots went straight through the sides, because they didn’t hit anything significant. Plus the goal was always to get them unloaded and back out quickly, so they were on the ground for the least amount of time. Plus in Monsoon time they occasionally would get stuck in mud. That was my first “combat Landing” in a fixed wing plane. I thought the pilot was just screwing with us FNG’s until they explained to me what a combat landing was. The pictures don’t look right to me of FSB Button because in Nov 69 when we were attacked, I do not remember it being that developed. By the way those 175MM guns are the cause of my bad hearing even today, because when we came in they had sleeping in front of and not far from the guns which started firing in the night.

      • F

        Gerryou are correct Buttons was not developed at all until 1970 by the1st Air Cav…Gary Owen. I spent an entire year at Buttons during the Tet offensive of 1968,Januray to be exact. There were only 64 people 13 of which were CIA spooks.Buttons was used to fireartillery at the Ho Chi Minh trail
        and inside of Cambodia that being said no one seems to ave any pictures of Buttons in early 1968 as the base seemed to have an air of some sort of non existant place at the time because of the very mission there. So you are right my friend it was not the way you see it today…..

      • gcouch49

        Glad my memory was not failing me. But my memory of 1969 at FB Buttons was not nearly as developed. I was on many other small LZ’s , and was part of the official move into Cambodia also.

      • Mike Rehner

        I flew into the airstrip by Buttons in late 1969 ferrying supplies to my unit. When our unit stood down in February 1970 we spent a night at Buttons before going down south. The big guns fired all night long or so I was told. (I finished off some Scotch before retiring in the back of a 3/4 ton welding truck). When I was there it seemed the CIA operated out of the MACV compound in Song Be. The Air America planes flew in and out of Song Be on a main drag by the new MACV compound. The old MACV compound was destroyed in Tet of 1970.

    • Chuck Mutchler

      Yes it was I was in a Sheridan near it with I Troop 11th Cav the night of the attack on Nov 4th 69

    • gcouch49

      The airstrip was metallic,(corduroy) C-7a and occasion C-130, was on the Nu Ba Ra side if I recall. Yes was there during Nov attack.

  39. James R. (Jim) Webb

    I was assigned to HQ Company 2nd Brigade 1st Cav….. When I flew into LZ Buttons in Septemer of 1979, it was raining and very muddy. The Brrigade TOC was under ground. The whole LZ did not appear to be much larger than a city block. We slept in culvert bunkers 3 cots deep. By the time I left in August of 1970 a lot of things changed, FSB Buttons was a much larger place with an air strip and rocket rearm point. I was lucky and watched much of the war on a map as i worked each night in S2 in the TOC. Sgt. Dennis Hall and I worked together in S2, both working opposite 12 hour shifts for the S2 Major Patrick. It certainly seems like a long time ago.

    • Tom H.

      I was at FSB Buttons from Aug.until the 1/77th Artillery, packed up for Ft. Hood, transferred to 1st Aviation in Quan Loi. Red dust is about all I remember!!!!

    • James R. (Jim) Webb

      I see in the comment above that I flew into LZ Buttons in September 1979, it was actually 1969 and was there for a year and a day. I too remember either red mud or red dust…….

    • Bob Chase

      I was at Buttons from August 1969 to January 1970. I was with the 371st RRC (Radio Research Company). We were an signal Intel unit in direct support of the 1st Cav. When I arrived there it was an LZ about the size you discribed. It expanded to an FSB in the fall of ’69. I too slept in the culvert half bunkers. Just enough room for a 3 cots. We slept in the bunkers next to the 155’s when I first got there. The back blast from the fire missions sucked the air right out of the culvert. Wasn’t easy sleeping.
      Do you remember a Capt. Barnes who worked in S2? I also remember the brigade XO liked to toss tear gas cannisters around our area. He didn’t have the clearance to come into our operation tent and that’s how he got back at us. It was red mud and red dust depending on the season. Capt. Barnes was our contact with your S2 while we were there.

  40. Ray

    Hey Joe when looking on google it won’t look the same. There is no jungle any longer, all turned into farm land. Last time I was in vietnam ’04 all up QL13 and up to Bu Dop is farmland and rubber of course. Not any of the scary stuff any longer.

    • Excuse me for being blunt but I recently looked up Buttons on Google Earth and it appears to me to be just scorched earth. On Google Earth all I see is a bare patch of earth about three miles long and maybe a mile wide. Maybe I’m mistaken but having looked up the GPS coordinates of Buttons and finding it on Google Earth I can see no farm land right at the location. There my be farm lands all around Buttons but on Google Earth all I see is scarred earth. Maybe some day I will return there and see for my self. But I doubt if there is some big sign that says LZ Buttons or FSB Buttons. I mean how do you know that you were at Buttons. The generations that is living now were not even born when Buttons was active. How could they possibly know about Buttons. Could they know the red dirt there? Could they know about the red mud there? Have they seen the Caribous, and the the OV 10’s and C130’s landing there. If they know anything about them is from history books. What if you and I went to France and tried to identify some of the WW II of battles there..You know that small but bloody battles in France and Germany are lost to history. Only the battles that were super well know have been documented. My cousin who used to work for the Veterans Administration and treated only Vietnam Vets has never heard of Buttons. Unfortunately Buttons is a forgotten place. Even though Buttons was a big part of the war as far as you and I are concerned it is nothing on the global scope of things. That is the sad truth.

      • Ray

        Not here to argue with you Murphy, I have been back I seen what I seen yes you can find the old Buttons. You go ahead and believe what you want from google.

      • I’ll take your word for it. After you’ve been back there and I haven’t. I’ll keep my big mouth shut on this subject. I shouldn’t be so passionate about it. Thanks for your reply Ray

      • J Downing

        You must have been looking in the wrong place. Dont look for Song Be – it has been renamed. Look for NuiBa Ra. It is easy to find, The gooks have made an airport or airstrip out of Buttons. it has really built up there – fields, buildiings, houses. I was there in 2002 and it has really built up since then.

  41. Ray, thanks so much for your most valuable assistance. You confirmed location I had for Union from 1st Cav report dated May-Jul 1970. How did you locate Union in the first place? I have done extensive goggle sat study and found that most of this area, as you said from your visit there in ’04, has been radically changed. Even Diem’s Hunting Lodge, once in the middle of our Quan Bo Duc compound, has vanished. Take care, my friend.

  42. larry alderson

    LZ Buttons or Song Be. One and the same to me. I was a gunner with battery C of 2/12 Field Arty. Gun #3 to be exact. There is a picture on this site that has a couple photos of our 1/2 battery. Guns 1, 2 and 3 were at buttons 4, 5, and 6 were at quan loi. We were there for about 3 months including the 4 Nov 69 incident. We fired several direct fire killer juniors that early morning. One thing that kind of angered me was that morning when the smoke cleared they were pinning medals on some troops while just a few steps away they had the body bags lined up outside the medical aid bunker. I do remember the mess sgt got a silver star for killing a sapper hiding among some barrels on the inside of the berm. Close call because he and several others were headed our way. We were on the side opposite nui ba ra mountain and the air strip. We were attached to the 1 st cav both at buttons and quan loi. I doubt anyone remembers that the nva used to occupy the ground half way up the mountain and would watch the base with infra red scopes. you could see the red dot on the hill side. we blasted them with some willy peter one night and set the center of the mountain on fire. I dont think you were supposed to use WP as an anti personnel round but what the hey. Buttons was one rat hole and I mean literally a rat hole. Been a long time and still seems like yesterday. welcome home to all who made it.

    • Teddy Leyba

      To Larry Alderson,
      Dude, we departed FSB Copperhead for LZ Buttons. I remember the first night I had to use a 25 foot lanyard to fire our gun. Someone was not thinking when they placed our 155 pig irons into 105 howitzers. Lots of memories of that place. Toward the end of my tour we (3 tubes) were relocated with the rest of our battery at Quan Loi. Loren from N.D. lived with us back in ’70 for approx. 6 months. Lots of stories to share with pics.

      • larry alderson

        Hey teddy

        Good to hear from you. I was the gunner on gun three. Which were you on. Those 105 pits were a mess. I may be wrong but I was thinking one of our 1st fire missions was a wet one and we recoiled our way completely off the aiming stakes. Had to drag the gun back with a 3/4 ton truck. What a mess that place was. Of course there was the night of 4 Nov 69. I am trying to put a face with a name so I am taking a shot here. There was another guy in the battery who was airborne. That wasn’t you was it.


    • Jim Carlina

      Larry, do I know you? I was there that night 11/4/1969 C 2/12 Arty. Not sure which Gun, but the one closest to the right facing the berm. There was a guard post off to the right (in front). I recall direct fire short fuse.The Cav gunships were a spectacle to see.

      • Welcome Home Jim…

      • larry alderson

        Hi jim. I know memories fade over these many years so I will jog yours. You were on my gun which was #3. I was gunner, mcCaulley was section chief and Pete Peterson was assistant gunner. The short fuse you mentioned was actually a round that did not seat properly. The battery xo was in our pit and started screaming that the round would not clear the berm to our front and called for the round to be punched back out with the ram rod. He was right and made a good call. I will take the blame for the situation. The problem happened because we were firing direct fire with killer juniors and a quick fuse and the tube had to be lowered to level which raised the breach pretty far off the ground. Instead of the loaders being able to ram the round in under handed they were having to do it over hand which was awkward and resulted in the round not seating in the rifling . I was trying to raise and lower the breach between each round but could not move fast enough. Luckily we did not have a friendly fire incident and kill any of our guys on the berm. The bunker on the berm you mentioned took a direct hit from a rpg round. The cyclone fence around it failed to catch or trigger the rpg and it went into the sand bagged conex and resulted in at least one kia.

        Anyway, welcome home jim and I apologize to others here for the long post

      • Jim Carlina

        Thank you Larry, I remember McCaulley and Pete Peterson, in fact I may even have photos of them. No need to apologize for your post. You have a wealth of information that most of us wouldn’t remember or blocked out. I can tell you this; that morning about 5:00 am to 6 am, I walked on top of the berm view the dead VC. I also have a Stars and Stripes Article from 11/6/1969 which I’d like to share. Don’t know how to get the site. By the way were you at LZ Dot 11/68- 4/1970? Or do you know anyone? I was with a 105 battery then A 6/15th. Chinook emergency crash landed on the way into the LZ, (tree came through the floor of the chopper) I got lost in the tree line, scared shit, hit a trip flare, picked up by ARVNs. Days later hit by RPG frags, Nov 26 1968, Medivaced out, Long Binh, then Cu Chi, Cam Ranh Bay, all in 35 days, then back to LZ Dot….Jim

      • larry alderson


        I never was at dot. You guys from the 6/15 joined our battery fsb copperhead when the guys from the 3/197 went home. They we’re a national guard unit out of new hampshire. One of their trucks hit a mine on the way to catch the plane and hit a land mine in the road. Killed 5 and made national news in the states. Anyway, I have a copy of the stars and strip concerning the battle of song be or buttons. Thanks anyway . One of the funniest things I can remember at buttons was you and Charlie downs when you csme rolling out of your little hootch in a fist fight over something silly i think. I believe you guys would rather take your chances with the almost daily in coming that fighting with the rats in below ground rat nest they called a bunker. You do remember the guys that drove the trucks out when we airlifted , saying that our bunker took a direct hit from a 122mm rocket just a few hours after we lifted out. I am jealous of those that can’t or don’t remember things from those heady days. I am ungortunately just the oposite . I don’t know who deros’d back to the states first, but from buttons we went to quan loi to rejoin the other 3 guns. We’re you s
        till there when the Chinook came down the air strip and went inverted and blew up over the end of the strip after flopping all over the sky above our battery implacement. Don’t mean to drift too far off the subject of this forum which is buttons.

      • Jim Carlina

        Yes I remember the tragedy with members of the National Guard Unit. I believe that guard unit left in September of 1969. I had a friend George Huff that made it home thank God. The last I heard from him was in 1997. And I’m not sure if Jesse Herrera was with us. He was A 6/15th. You are so right. Charlie Nobel and I were pretty stupid. I don’t even think we filled all the ammo boxes with sand. If I remember correctly the bunkers always had a damp odor to them. The guys who were there before us notched the number of rats they killed on the walls. llll, then a strike through it. And I think I remember a case of some guys burning a rat with hot wax, terrible. To solve the mystery of the fight with me and Charlie. We had a door and a window. My bunk was directly in front of the door, Charlie’s was under the window. Charlie didn’t get much of a breeze, so he was unhappy. I got it from both ends. He was always complaining. I got fed up, he wanted to take it outside. I was no match for him. He won the fight I guess. I broke my glasses. I guess it was a case of Hooch rage. I don’t think I went to Quan Loi. I got back to the world on January 6th 1970, so I am not sure if I was with you or not. I can’t even remember where I was or how I got to Bien Hoa. I was relieved of my duties on December 28th 1969. I remember saying some goodbyes and feeling like I was just another person going back to the world.

      • larry alderson

        Jim. I was thinking Charlies last name was downs but now I remember. Anyway, he outweighed you by at least 50#. This is no lie. I saw a rat under my cot that was carrying a roll of the GI rat poison which was about the size of a roll of life savers , in his mouth crossways like a dog with a bone in his mouth. It was a losing battle with those things. They got theirs at the end when the rocket hit. The roaches were big enough to trip a rat trap.

        I don’t think I ever saw any vegetation growing on buttons. Agent orange I am sure. If not that it was the black pent prime they put on everything to keep the dust down . I don’t know how your health is but I think I have had everything removed that I can and still be alive. I have 5 siblings and none of them have the problems I do. I feel sure it was ao. You know we ate , drank and breathed the stuff every day. Every round we fired would raise a cloud of dust that would choke you. I sure thought you went stateside from quan loi but by that point everything was becoming a blur. I had reached the saturation point. I managed to get blood poisoning from a wound on my hand and the low life draftees doctor at buttons didn’t know what he was doing. By the time I made it to the evacuation station at quan loi they were ready to amputate. Thanks to the medics there they managed to get me straghitened out after several weeks.thus is another no joke story . I had so much dirt on me from buttons they thought I was black. They did not know who I was when I got it washed off and went back the next day. It had to be the duties and muddiest
        place in the whole of vietnam.

      • Jim Carlina

        Larry, I almost think I remember that rat poison episode, funny! But the Hooch Charlie and I were camped out in was not exempt. A rat ran right over my face one night. Well nothing new. I am sorry to hear about all that has happened to your health. I haven’t had anything removed except bypass surgery in 2003, some skin disorders, the usual hearing loss and PTSD. It has been an uphill battle with VA Compensation. Anyway, I’m still trying to picture you in my mind and photos. Can you help me out here….Jim

      • larry alderson

        Sure thing jim. I can email some of my pics to you if you want to give me your email address. We would have been in the same section for about 3 months I figure. I went home last of march 1970. Can’t remember exact dates but I left about 2 weeks before they went into cambodia. The jump off point was quan loi. I heard gun 3 truck hit a mine but? The day I was to leave I Hung around the airstrip the all day waiting for a chopper from the black cats going to phu loi which did not show. I wasn’t to eager to get on a Chinook anyway after the crash over head shortly before. I ended up in the back of a 3/4 ton then next day with some guys going to hq for e5 board. One I remember was old Pete peterson who was going up for permotion. We had a good time that night at phu loi. I have to admit there are some guys in our section that I can’t remember names. I do recall fitzgesrld, mel, Larry raines, tompkins, plus the ones I already mentioned.

        Are you still fighting with the va. If I can help in that regard I would be glad to. I have been 100% for several years. If you were to add them up individually it is probably closer to 200% but they don’t do it that way. I gotta tell you jim I am almost positive you were at quan loi for a short time anyway but maybe I can Find some pics to back it up.


      • Jim Carlina

        Hi Larry,
        My email is My memory is bad. I have pics at places I don’t recognize, but I do have a few good photos at Buttons and I can only remember me being at A 6/15 Phuc Vinh, LZ Dot,___________ C 2/12 LZ Buttons and a couple of other places. Where I draw the line is a big memory gap then 2 that I don’t recall being hot. One had a lot of pebbles and the other was on a River, may have been the Saigon River. I have a photo of McCaulley (at least I think it’s him) with his index and thumb fingers close together showing he was a short timer ( ti ti). Did we have a guy by the name of Staley?, and I have a pic of a Black fellow with an Army cap on whom I know I was close friends with but I can’t remember his name. Some friend I am. That’s sad because I know he and I were buddies. As far as the VA, I am rated 50% I have nothing going with them at the moment but I plan on trying to re-opening two claims- the heart disease ao related and PTSD. I think they awarded me a small % with no additional compensation to get me off their back. DAV was useless in both. None of us left Vietnam without a story. My tour of 14 months was more traumatic than I ever let on. Thanks for listening….Jim

      • larry alderson

        Jim. Give me a few days to get my act together on the pics that I will email. I can’t remember a Staley but that doesn’t mean anything. As far as Macauley being short
        I doubt it was him. He was still there when I left and that was 3 months after you. Don’t give up on va claims. As far as the dav or anyone else they basically process the papers and info you send them. They will attend a face to face hearing with the va with you. That is what I would do if you haven’t already. Have a face to face. Tell them your story. With what you have told me then and now you have every right to expect and receive 100%. A lot of their decision is based on how you come across with how all that happened has affected your life and income or loss of. Also a paper trail with the mental hygiene dept at the va would go a long way. Mine started in 78. If it would help I would write a buddy letter for you

        Anyway. I will get back to you shortly


      • Jim Carlina

        Thanks again Larry, I’ll await the photos. Regarding the VA I don’t have much of a mental health trail besides an almost nervous breakdown in 2002, but always never thought about treatment as it don’t want to be upset all the time and on meds. I got enough of those. I have documentation of the helicopter incident and perhaps a witness if he is still living. Heart disease is documented by the VA, they poo pooed it by increased rating by 10%, no extra money. Thanks for the offer on the Buddy letter, we can talk about that…Jim

      • gcouch49

        I was there on 11/4 battle and recollect them lowering the 105’s to shoot Flechette round, incredible loud noise but very effective. I ran helicopter pad out of tower on corner. Of course “puff” was incredible. I spoke to him on radio that night before Artillery guys took over giving him coordinates.

    • Teddy Leyba

      Larry Alderson,
      Hi partner,
      I too, was with C Brty 2/12 FA at Buttons same time you were there.
      Too long for me to remember which gun I served on. At the time I was Assistant Gunner. Have many photos during that time. Would like to share with you. You may recognize a few faces.
      Teddy Leyba

      • Larry Alderson

        Hi teddy. I would love to share some pics. I don’t know if you remember the group pic. that Capt. Domingo or Lt. Jones made but I have a copy of it. Probably only 1 of 5 or 6 times we actually stood in some symbalance of a formation the whole year I was over there. Tell me how to contact you via email or text or something . Larry

        On Jul 21, 2017 9:35 AM, “My Vietnam Experience” wrote:

        > Teddy Leyba commented: “Larry Alderson, Hi partner, I too, was with C Brty > 2/12 FA at Buttons same time you were there. Too long for me to remember > which gun I served on. At the time I was Assistant Gunner. Have many photos > during that time. Would like to share with you. ” >

      • Jim Carlina

        Hi Teddy, my name is Jim Carlina C 2/12th. Nice to meet you! I connected with Larry Alderson in the past and was at Buttons through the 11/4/1969 ground attack, left the unit the end of December 1969. I am sorry to hear about your health condition. Yes Agent Orange was big there. I am getting compensated for Agent Orange related heart disease. I have photos too but don’t know how to share them on the site. … Jim

  43. Teddy Leyba

    Need your help,
    Anyone who served in Song Be (LZ Buttons) or Quan Loi?
    Who is now receiving VA benefits for exposure to Agent Orange?
    I was there (both locations) 1969-1970 serving with C-Bty 2/12 FA,
    2nd Field Force. I recently suffered severe heart failure, have 3 wires
    screwed into my heart via a defibrillator which is implanted into my
    chest. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I understand that Agent Orange was sprayed over both areas. I have a VA appointment
    in OKC reference Agent Orange. Please send information to my email
    address listed below.
    Teddy Leyba

  44. gcouch49

    This guy is really bad at Geography! Even during the Monsoons I didn’t see any body of water that would have even supported our buddy Kerry and his PT boats!

    • charlie weller

      Does anyone know what happened to all the guys from 82nd engineers out of long john. We ran the water treatment. I ran the semi tanker to song be village several times a day

    • Gary Cicchetto

      There was a lake that we used to swim in that was just outside of the town. It was about an acre or two in size (I’m guessing) and the water truck would pull up there to refill their tanks. As for the Monsoons, we had a cave-in just outside out tent that swallowed a jeep and one of those ‘totes’. With all the mud and rain, it looked like a normal, flat parking area.
      Our tent was next to the flight line with the dusters.

      • Mike Rehner

        I remember the lake, but I remember it as a little larger- about 4-5 acres. When they destroyed the MACV compound in Song Be during Tet of 1970 that was where we went with soap to clean up. When someone said they saw a turd floating in the water we all jumped out. Still it did get the dust off us until the new compound get built.

      • Dick Kohler

        Mike were you with MACV?

      • Mike Rehner

        No I was with the 3rd Maintenance Co. we had about 10 of us stationed in a hootch on the MACV compound. Our maintenance garage was across the street from the compound. We also had an Air Force forward observer in our hootch who was hit by a mortar shell during Tet of 70. Its hard for me to remember back then but I remember working on a lot of wheeled vehicles back then. We tended to get dirty and greasy and when they blew up the MACV compound and before the new MACV compound was built we piled into a deuce and a half and headed down the road towards Buttons and then made a turn off towards the lake.

      • Dick Kohler

        I remember you guys I was with B co 31st Eng. we built he new compound we had one squad at the old MACV and the rest were at LZ buttons. later the whole co came from Quan Loi to finish the MACV compound. MACV fed us and they had good food. I was there 4/69 to 1/70

      • Mike Rehner

        Well then its about time I said thank you to you engineers. The new compound was real nice and safer compared to what we had- if I remember right a 2 story job dug in the ground. Back at the old MACV compound I had gotten blown out of my bunk when a 120 hit outside our hootches door. One thing that sticks in my mind from the new compound was the night we ate French bread without any lights- I guess they hadn’t been put in yet or something. We had gotten the bread from town. It tasted fresh and delicious with some crunchy kernels baked in the bread. Imagine our surprise the next morning when we found out they were some kind of bugs in the bread. Cheers!

      • Dick Kohler

        Where do you live ? it was a nice place it took about a year to build

      • Mike Rehner

        Columbus, Ohio. How about yourself

      • Richard Kohler

        Desoto MO now when I went into the army in 68 I lived in Vandalia ohio

  45. There was a lake during my tour (70-71) on northeast side of Song Be at the base of Nui ba Ra just outside the village of Phuoc Binh. It is shown on the tact maps for the period. We were told to stay out of these kinds of impoundments due to disease and micro critters that could enter about any bodily opening.

  46. Lou Esposito

    Hi Bill Porter this is Lou Esposito (mess Daddy) we were together at LZ buttons B Co 15th med we were both one of the 5 or six guys that had pregnant wives at home My son Frank James is now 44


    Hey viet vets, this is the first time I have ever seen a pic of Nui Ba Ra since I’ve been home. I was stationed there from May 7, 1969 to July 3, 1969 with the 1st Inf Div 1st MID, which is short for Military Intellingence Detachment (which is the biggest oxymoron ever written) I was up there with only 1 other US guy and 15 Mountainyards as my security. You cannot believe what it was like to be up there by yourself operating 24-7 with no electricity, good water, showers virtually nothing. They tried to overrun us on May 19th, 69 but was able to fend them off with help from a 1st Cav Gunship and 175 artillery support from FSB Haymaker. My mountainyards were the toughest fighters I ever worked with in Nam. At one point they sent 3 Special Forces guys up there with me but they pulled them after a week because they said they didn’t have enough security. Are you Kidding Me!!! As I told them I thought they were the bad-asses. I had only been in country 6 weeks when they sent me there as a pfc 11b10 but they weren’t worried about my security!!! I damn sure didn’t feel very secure myself but I didn’t have a choice. Anyway enough rambling welcome home fellow vets!!!

  48. Rich

    You mentioned the security compound on the other side of Songbe…I was stationed there for awhile. I was with one of three recon teams that weren’t on the books. LOL I volunteered for the work. I remember asking the CO what kind of support we had in the field. He looked up at me and said NONE. You don’t exist. We are USARV attached and not a combat unit. If you need support you would be way down the list. That pretty much sums that up. LOL Yup, we had our own little compound away from everyone else on the other side of the road. Had our own “steak house” concession and could a steak diner for $3.50 ! LOL I transferred from there to 1st CAV (AM).

  49. manuel Hernandez. 219. 895 7570. Hammond, anytime

    I was on lz buttons 70-71 1/30 arty 1st cab.airmobile ,need pics.B bty.missing all my buddies…….HONDO..!!

  50. Bob Limage

    Bob Limage
    I served with MACV Advisory Team 94/67 in SongBe from 8/68-8/69. (The Team number designation changed at some point for some reason while I was there.) We were actually a MACORDS Team – almost as many civilians (CIA) as GIs. During Tet of 1969, we were partially over run, the TOC was blown by sappers and Commanding Officer, LTC Raymond Suarez, and assistant S3, Captain Callahan, were executed by the VC as they left the blown TOC. My buddy Steve Warcheck left the TOC from a different exit, returned to the Team compound and led a reaction team to retieve the bodies. We were under seige for days to come. Spooky and gun ships finally took effect after days of mortars and rockets had landed on us and around us. The CIA guys were pulled into our compound for several nights to protect them and help us against another ground attack. The Province Chief’s compound was next to ours and we thought at the time that he was the object of the attack. Still have nightmares over that night.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Hi Bob,
      Your comment, you mentioned MACCORDS in Phuoc Long. Do you have any contact about US and Vietnamese staffs there? I worked with MACV and MACCORDS as radio operator from 1969-1971 with LTC Hayden, Sgt Sullivan, Sgt Harold k Sample, Mr. Donald L Spurrier. I’m a Vietnamese girl I live now in US. If you have some informations pls let me known.
      My email Very appreciated.

  51. George Lamoureux

    I was at Song Be for only a month, (Mar 70- Apr 70) I was with B battery 2/12 arty (155’s) near the airstrip. I remember the first day there I asked what all of the holes were in the compound, thinking they were rats but actually were mortar holes. While there, a rocket landed just outside our hooch in the road and blasted a huge hole and went through our ammo pit. I came there after being with C battery 2/13th which was stationed at An Loc for the first 10 months. I’d really love to find guys from B bat 2/12th II field force since we left there around April 70 and for the 4 months went on several operations out in the boonies, I’d like to know where we were since I never contacted FDC on locations but we were in some pretty weird places.

    • Teddy Leyba

      Howdy out there. I was there in Song Be with 2/12 FA (1970) for approx. 6 months. Have a ton of photos of the guys and our 155mm Pig Iron guns. The first night we moved into Buttons, our guns were placed in 105 pear pits. The trails stuck outside of the pits. I had to fire first round with a 50 foot lanyard. The gun jumped all over the place. It was a mess, trails backed all the way into the ammo pits, knocking over shells. Funny now, not then. Your name looks familiar, after 47 years, one’s mind kinda fades away. Lots of memories of that place, then we relocated to Quan Loi. Did care for that place, too much like state side duty. Formations, shined boots, clean shaved. New commander had all weapons placed in a arms room for safety. Hahaha! what happens when Charlie hits? You mentioned you were at Song Be for one month. Where did you spend the 11 months of the tour? I started out in a place named Copper Head, outside of Saigon, then to Song Be, and finished tour in Quan Loi.
      Teddy Leyba

  52. Bob Bline

    I was at Buttons (song Be) Nov. 1969 !/77 Arty Commo.
    I remember Rich And Dale Adams Injured in a bunker that night.
    Helped carry Dale to Medi Vac.
    I saw the 11ACR tracks get blown up just out side the wire.
    I think most of us at that time Called it Song Be.

  53. Robert Carter

    Those were the days my friend, thought they would never end…. I remember the time that Puff saved our bacon and more. Guessing USA truck means you drive for them? There are a lot of us vets in big rigs. My son in law, Brian Clark is a trainer for USA. I operated a 20 ton RT crane at LZ Buttons, Song Be. Now retired 1SG. Thank you for being there for us. Robert.

  54. Just found this thread. Late ’69 I was chosen to lead the first supply convoy ever to Buttons from Long Binh. I was told the road had been closed for 10 years (urban legend?) They flew me to Buttons, had a big confab with all the security units. A week later we made it there in one day, no problems. EOD did a big ass controlled detonation in the afternoon that rocked my socks. My RON was interesting because of all the Arty outgoing, some of it direct fire into that big mountain nearby. Return trip was also uneventful. Next week one of my Platoon Leaders led the same convoy. He got ambushed and wounded along with several others. We were never asked to go back. R. E. Johnson. CO 534th Trans Company (Medium Truck.)

  55. Chris Fryer

    For some reason Buttons recently came to my mind & I googled it and hit this thread. I was there 69-70 with Tm 162 Airborne Advisers to VN Airborne.

  56. I was in song be 6/27 arty b battery on 175 from 3/21 to 10/5 1969 remember ground attack 1 guy shot died 2 wks later in states dapper blew up Bunker 2 guys in it lived quad 50 ‘ s cut off gooks head remember guy from Georgia smoked cigs called home runs no filter very strong cannot remember gun # anyone remember when ground attack or names of crew for 175 ‘ thanks Bruce Eakman .

    • David Crocker here,
      I was with 1/77th at Buttons from July 69 to July 70. My unit was in the corner of the firebase next to the chopper pad. That’s where the 11th Cav was in their APC’s. All of them got hit. The bunker in the corner of the berm was blown up and a guy from Anderson, SC was killed in it. I helped dig him out. Gooks (sappers) were running around everywhere inside the berm. several were killed while trying to get into our FDC. It all started somewhere around 11:00 pm on the night of Nov. 3rd and went on for several hours. We didn’t leave the berm till daylight on the 4th.

      • Dave
        I was at Song Be during the TeT offensive, January 31 1968 & I rotated out after a year. I left some friends behind on the quad’s at buttons. Frank P. Mumolo one of my great friends in life and a guy we called the Col, and a guy named Danny Guiterrez. These guys were great warriors and I know God has them safe now

        When we were at buttons, we never knew it was called buttons, we always called it Song Be : None the less it was an evil place for all of us at the time. Both during the January of 68 TeT when Charlie overran two quad 50’s from the base that were mistakenly driven down to the laterite pits and used as an assault weapon, with the 101st 1/506 F troop & the battle of November which you referred to. Frank Mumolo, was a section leader on the bunker and quad you mentioned. Maybe you remember him he was a tall Italian boy from California black rim glasses a nice looking kid,.. Any way we were there in January 68 long before the Cav moved in . We had 4 half way working quads, from D-71st and 4 lights from I/29 and roughly a CIA bunker and roughly 50 guys……..An evil place but you guys did a good job holding on to it……God Bless

      • Welcome Home Frank…

      • dick kohler

        Dave branson was the guy in the bunker that was KIA

    • Doug Conway

      I was chief computer in FDC for B Btry 6/27 Arty from May 68to may 69 at fire base at Song Be. We had two 8″ and two 175s. Never heard it called Buttons. Is this the same fire base lots of health problems. No cooperation from VA. Would like to hear from anyone that knew me. I am from Southern Mo.

    • Doug Conway

      I was there at that time. Chief computer in FDC. My name is Doug Conway. Remember me?

    • Doug Conway

      I’ve been trying to reply to you Bruce. I was with B Btry 6/27 there at Song Be from May 68 to May 69. Chief computer in FDC. Do you remember me. I have several pictures taken inside the compound. My first night there we had a ground attack. Two gooks made it inside. One had his I. D. Sewed inside his shorts he was a NVA Lt. Remember that?

      • Wayne Faas

        Doug, Regarding Chris Martinez, you can get a name rubbing at If you want a photo, my brother is going on ah honor flight to DC on the 18th of May. I can ask him to take a photo of Chris’ name.

    • Toby Hoy

      I was there from sep 1968 to 1969 I remember Chris Martinez he was the guy that was wounded and died 2 weeks later in the states he was on my firing team on a 8 inch gun and the 175s . Sgt Hurley was fire chief . Jeff Herowich , Bob Hienimen my name is Shannon Hoy .. I remember going to the quads and remember seeing beheaded gooks laying outside the burm . Remember guy named Morse holding a head up in air in his hand he was on the quad team..

      • Wayne Faas

        Toby, sorry to hear about your friend-Chris Martinez. Do you recall the exact date he was wounded. The incident date is not recorded on the Coffelt Database, or the Virtual Wall. My unit, B Brty 7th/8th Arty (175mm), preceded B Btry 6th/27th Arty at Buttons Sep-Oct 67.

      • dick kohler

        I got pic of a guy holding a head . it was from a ground attack 5 /12/ 1969

      • Doug Conway

        My name is Doug Conway, I had just left B Btry 6/27 on May 3, 69 for the states. I was FDC chief. Marty , who got killed on May 12 was a very good friend of mine. His name was Paul D. Martinez.

      • Wayne Faas

        Doug, I was in FDC for B Btry/7/8 Arty at Buttons Sep-Oct-67, just before B Btry/6/27 arrived. Don’t you mean Chris Ronald Martinez?

      • Doug Conway

        I think we must be talking about different people. I have been in contact with another buddy of Marty’s and mine who is now a preacher in Northern Ohio and he told me all about the ground attack on May 12 right after I left . He said it was the next morning and Marty was up on top of the berm and a sniper got him. Gary Malone is his name. He ran over and picked Marty up as he rolled off the berm. I seen Marty’s name on the wall in D. C. His full name was Paul Dinnes Martinez. He was from California. Great guy. Hope this clears it up.

      • Doug Conway

        Wayne, I’m checking with Gary Maybe I’m wrong about the name. We just called him Marty. I’ll let u know.

      • Doug Conway

        You were right, I took a picture on the wall of the wrong guy. I didn’t remember his real name evidently. Sorry about that. I cried for the wrong man but my heart was in the right place.

      • Wayne Faas

        Chris Martinez is on Panel W24 and Paul Martinez is on Panel W25, so you were right next to your friend’s name. It is amazing that so many acquaintances were only known by their nickname or last name.

    • Doug Conway

      I was in Song Be B Btry 6/27 from May 68 to May 69. My name is Doug Conway. I was chief computer in FDC. I left on May 3 69 and about a week later was when the ground attack happened that you are talking about. Chris Martinez we called him Marty is the guy who died in the states. Me and him came up from Long Bien together. He tried to get me to extend with him.
      I told him I would rather stand on my head for 6 months in the states than spend another 36 days in that hell hole. Gary Malone was a good friend of mine. He was a gunner on # 1 or 2, I think.

      • Jim Carlina

        Hi Doug, my name is Jim Carlina. I am very sorry you lost your friend. I was with C Btry 2/12 around Sept ’69 to about Dec 69. I was there for the Nov 4th 1969 ground attack.only because I extended my tour as of October 1969. It was a scary night. Started about 1:30 Ended around 5:00 a.m or a.m. Walked around the berm later unofficially counting bodies. Just wanted to say hello repeat my story again.Thank you FDC…Jim

      • Doug Conway

        Thanks, Jim. I’ve often wondered how many like Marty extended for 30 to 40 days so they would be out when they got home and didn’t make it. Such a shame. I’d also like to tell everyone that was there that after 6 years and 8 months, two appeals to BVA in D.C. that I finally got rated 100% by VA. MY claim was for the loss of both kidneys and rheumatoid arthritis due to a fever of unknown origin caused by a unknown virus that I had while at Song Be in March of 69. Maybe this will encourage someone to never give up.

  57. Chuck Mutchler

    Saw several references concerning the ground assault on Buttons that occured there on 4 Nov 69. I was there that night as part of the 11th Cav troop who was providing additional security based on reports of an iniment ground attack. Would like to hear from anyone who was there that night and remembers what happened. I was with 2nd Platoon and was manning a Sheridan as a Track Commander. If you have any photos of that night to share would greatly appreciate seeing them, thanks.

  58. Was in song be may 12 ground attack only reference is in operational report ending July 31 Bunker hit with satchel charge 2 guys wounded puff and cobras kept firing seems like all night 28 gooks dead in wire anybody out there remember that night

  59. Gregory williamson

    my name is Greg Williamson from Gary IND .1st / 30th motor pool buttons . voluntered to put out fires in the ammo dump during incomeing .

  60. Jodi

    Does anyone know Dana Murray,he’s my dad and he has stage4 cancer would love him to possibly reconnect with unit brothers before he passes on.

  61. John McLaughlin

    John McLaughlin I was with the 8th aerial port USAF Spent time at Song Be in 1967-68. I remember the 175mm we moved the replacement barrels in there at times. Spent 3 weeks there with little support. Mort
    or and rocket attacsks at night. And yes the red mud. worked the aircraft loading and offloading. I believe we had maybe 6 to several dozen USAF 605’s there at any given time. Pictures posted here were not what I remembered from 67-68. The Mtn. seems right The post about artillery seems right. Seems to have changed a lot from 67-68. Welcome home everyone

  62. Ray Smith

    My name is Ray Smith, I was with A battery 1/77. We were a 105 battery. We considered Song Be our rear area. It was just red Clay. We never used the “Buttons,” just Song Be. Every time we rotated into Song Be, we would get hit. Seemed like they knew exactly where the 105 battery was set up. We were hit one night with enemy mortars, and they all hit within the battery complex, which was a very small part of the Base. When the first Cav was going home, we found ourselves again at Son Be. Since we were going home, Beer was on sale. They had to get rid of their inventory. Not to change brands, we drank Carling Black Label with Black Label Scotch. Wouldn’t you know, early the next morning, we started taking enemy fire. I was one of the last old timers in the FDC who could organize the fire mission to put out the enemy mortars, who’s positions were being given to us by a nearby radar site. We had our battery adjusting on multiple target and put the fire out. Normally I wouldn’t have done the mission but there was no one else with my experience. I heard the Lt and Captain awarded themselves with Bronze stars. The Captain wasn’t even on the base at the time. I am very proud to have served with the 1st Cav.

  63. Just signed on. I was stationed LZ Buttons Mid to late 1970. I was Communication Specialist (13th Sig, 1st Air Cav. SCOP, attached to FSSE.
    I was the last humanoid to leave Quan Loi by plane (last C-127), the remaining Signal Corp and Red Hats 6-8 total pulled out that afternoon for points south. Walking along the main road between the air strip Village was eerie. Not a sound, just the wind. From a LZ to a Base of 4,000 down to a few Specialist. Scary shit.
    Really enjoyed reading the comments. Lost all contacts and records in 2002 when our home was destroyed in a fire. Enjoyed the Pics.1970
    Mike 13th sig bn. 1st.Air Cav. Div. 2/70 – 01/71

  64. gary flickinger

    I was with Co. C 2/12th in 1970. Just spent time there when we came in out of the bush. Can’t seem to find buddies. BUTTONS wasdn’t too bad, it was the bush that wasn’t too cool.

    • Teddy Leyba

      Howdy combat vets
      I was there in Song Be (LZ Buttons) from Dec. 1969 till March 1970.
      Upon arrival, the site was a mess, gooks hit it and destroyed the mess
      tent or hall. We were served C rations for 3 months. Our 3 pig iron 155mm were positioned in a 105 mm pit. Trails stuck outside of the pit.
      I had to use a 50 foot lanyard to fire the first round. Damned gun jumped and turned on us. Scared hell out of out team. I have some good photos of Buttons and want to post them on this site for all to see. Can someone send details on how I am able to accomplish this? Our unit was
      C-Btry 1/12 FA. Let’s keep this post going, time in no longer on our side.

    • J Downing

      Gary, I was platoon leader of 1st Platoon, C company from Nov. 69 to around august 70. Had about 2 months (June/July) was battalion S-1 will recovering from wounded in Cambodia May 28. Back out in the bush with Jim Wright (he was Company commander). around Sept, they made me Co of E Company till I DEROSed Nov 18, 70. I think I should kow you.

      • Brook Crawford

        I have been to Vietnam every year for the past six years. I have walked the remnants of the Brigade air strip and took, what is now a gondola, to top of Nui Ba Ra and was able to spot the air strip (Buttons; at the time I did not know its name). There is now Buddhist Temple at the top. Yes, the Song Be village has been renamed Phuc Long.

        I arrived November, 1969 was platoon leader for six months. I remember listening to Arm Forces radio during Thanksgiving 1969 to the Texas vs Arkansas football game as well as the New Years Day Texas vs Notre Dame game while on top of mountain. After six months as Platoon Leader I then became Aide de Camp to General Robert Shoemaker who at the time led the task force invasion into Cambodia.

        My platoon, on a number of occasions, defended the perimeter of the communications system at the top Nui Ba Ra. We also were airlifted off to disturb and help stop the mortars that were hitting the Brigade Fire Base.

        If I can figure out how to attach pictures of my recent visit to the area I will.

      • J Downing

        What company were you with and who was you compny commander?

      • J downing

        Brook, I was on top of Nui ba ra on New Years eve and day Dec 31, 1969. what company were you with

      • J Downing

        Gary, when I was at Nui ba ra in 2002, the only way to the top was to hike. So I did. why have you been there 5 times in the past 5 years?

    • Gary

      Wild card . I was with 2/12 ca v 70 71. Hhc.

      • Welcome Home Garry…

      • Ray Smith


        I’m Ray Smith and in a 105 battery that supported your outfit. I was wondering if you worked out of fire base Gonder in Gambodia. I was with a battery first of the Seventy-seventh.

      • Tom Hale

        I was a RTT Team Chief 1/77th 70-71 . Was there when they left for Fort Hood. Was transferred to 3/17th Air Cav.-Quan Loi.

      • Ronald Ross

        I was also on Nui Ba Ra trying to build a helicopter pad we were there for about 10 days then we were hit heavy and a lot of us were hit and evacuated the injured and the other Americans down to the base camp the mountain was over run that night so luckily

  65. Teddy, scan them and email to me. I will look them over and post some…

  66. Dan Peak

    I feel out of place here. I salute those of you who were at FSB Buttons when the ground attack occurred in 69. I was an air traffic controller and arrived Friday the 13th of Feb. 1970. Our aviation detachment got a Presidential Unit Citation because of the ground attack but no one who lived through it was there when I arrived. As for the base name. we understood it to be FSB Buttons but the official name of the “airfield” operations was Song Be Army Airfield. I’m pretty sure aviation maps listed both names. I think Buttons housed the airfield. Our C..O. was always the airfield commander – not the base commander mind you, he just had charge of the airfield operations. Our little detachment of a dozen men was part of 1st Aviation Brigade, not the 1st Cav.
    I was there for a little over a year, until the 1st Cav stood down and the base was closed in ’71 . We saw a lot of mortars and a few 122 mm rockets. Our C.O. was a good scrounger so our two hootches each had a shiny corrugated metal roof. We fronted on the main road that ran down the middle of the base (middle until the base was greatly expanded to the northwest) from the Song Be end to the Phuoc Binh end. I’m sure it was not every time, but seemed like it, that the enemy mortar team used our shiny roof as an aiming point so the first round of mortar attacks landed in the road in front of us. Then they’d adjust fire to their target. We sort of took comfort in the idea (true or not) that maybe they were good enough to miss us intentionally to preserve their aiming point. Never did hit us, a round hit our water trailer once and the base of our control tower once but none of our men were injured.
    I did a search on Bing Maps for Nui Ba Ra and easily found Button’s old runway and could identify a lot of the base’s area. Looks like a great many trees have been planted on it but maybe 40% of it is brown or has structures. Where the waterfall was between the mountain and Song Be City it looks like they’ve built dams and there’s a big lake east of the mountain.
    My apologies for all this rambling, I haven’t had anyone to talk to about what was a big part of my life. Before I could vote, I’d spent 10% of my life in-country.

    God’s best to you all and may He bless our screwed up country.

  67. Arsenio (Sammy) Lopez

    I was at LZ Buttons on Nov. 4 69 on top of bunker 18 with a 50 cal. Steve Parks was with me also. At about 1 am sappers came over the berm with b40’s. I opened up with the 50 cal. till 6am,replacing the barrel a few times,while green tracers came at us from the tree line trying to take us out. Bunker 20 was over run, Sgt Ickner single handed took out seven sappers i recall. It was a hell of a night for us all. Hope to hear from you guy’s. I have many pictures of LZ Buttons that I would like to share with you.

    • Jim Carlina

      Hello Arsenio, I have a few posts on this site. First I would like thank you for defending Buttons that night. I always wondered who you guys were as I never knew you guys in the bunkers or guard towers, so I am glad to meet you on this site. I was with C 2/12th Arty that night. There was a bunker at the berm almost directly in front of our gun and a tower off to the right. I do not know what the bunker numbers were, but we were directed by FDC to fire point blank fire right over your heads. Our gun was lowered to a level position and the fuse timed 1 sec (Larry Alderson, if you read this please correct me if I am wrong, as my memory has become a problem). I did think about you guys in the bunkers! I always thought I was dreaming when I saw green tracers was something just made up in my head. I particularly remember seeing green tracers come back at the gunships that were called in. Thank you for listening and doing what you did. You are a hero…Jim

      • larry alderson

        Hi Jim. I have been out of the loop for a while following a bad fall off a ladder. You are correct on your account of our direct fire over the heads of the guys on the bunker line. We were firing killer juniors with a charge 1 green bag charge of powder . You can’t go any lower than that. I recall a bunker to our front took a direct hit with a RPG . The thing went thru the RPG fence and thru the front of the conex that was used as a bunker. Can’t remember the casualty count but it was bad. The nva kid that fired it was dead in front of the bunker. Hope all is well with you Jim and appreciate your post. Larry a.

      • Teddy Leyba

        Jim Carlina,
        Don’t know which of the three 155 pig irons you were on at Buttons. I too, was there with C 2/12 FA. Have many photos to share with you. The pics are from Copper Head (NG) remember them? Pics of Buttons and of Quan Loi. Contact me at

  68. Dwayne Knox

    I was at the airfield from December 1967 to January 1968 with the 101st Airborne. I well remember that firebase, a big red scar in the dirt, barbed wire and a high berm. And I remember the quad 50’s at the corners too. I had arrived with the advance party of 2nd & 3rd brigades in November 1967 and spent my first few weeks at the Bien Hoa summer camp, at lest it seemed so then, no sign of the war. Till I saw that fire base. I knew then that it was serious. I never saw Song Be, just the airstrip.

  69. Kenneth R Stuber

    hi my name doc stuber was at fsb buttons oct69-jan70 was one of their medics was at hhs for awhile then went to c batt 1st 77th arty came back to hhs got wounded 1-21-70 head wound worked with david [smitty] smith and edward bott patched up general roberts hand dont know how many medics got to work on a general was at battle for fsb buttons and the one on 1-21-70

  70. Larry Alderson

    I just took a look at lz buttons on Google Earth and was a little shocked at what the Vietnamese were doing around the old base. If anyone wants to take a look just enter nui ba ra in the search bar. That is the name of the hill or mountain just to the east of the base. It is one of the three sister’s mountains. Another is nui ba den at Tay nhin. Can’t remember the third. Anyway, the brown, bare spot just to the west of the hill is the old lz. They have put in paved streets and street lighting.. looks like they are going to build a modern city on the the spot. There are a couple of spots where you can go to street view which will take you down to ground level. One even takes you inside a normal western style restaurant. I can’t believe they would build a town on that spot. Hardly anything will grow there now as a result of agent orange , even after all these years.

  71. Wayne Faas

    Wow, it certainly looks different. The last time I took a detailed look (3 yrs ago), the airfield runway was still visible. One thing that hasn’t changed, the red clay! Song Be arty base (Camp Martin) Sep-Oct-67.

  72. Brook Crawford

    Brook B. Crawford, Second Lieuntenant, Infantry, United States Army, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airmobile), 12th Calvary; for 4-5 months as a Platoon Leader. Balance of time in country was stationed at Phuc Vinh, Division Forward Headquarters, assigned Aide de Camp to General Robert Shoemaker, Assistant Divison Commander, First Air Calvary Division, Task Force Commander that led the Cambodian invasion. He died last month as a retired Four Star General.

    I returned to Vietnam six years ago on a private one person tour to revisit all my combat areas of operation (excluding Cambodia). What an experience to walk the remains of the two air strips and reminisce past experiences. I was able to meet new Vietnamese friends on each of my visits over the past six years.

    Looking back on my experiences I was very lucky to return unharmed from Vietnam and humbled to have served my country and to be apart of the tradition of our great Division.

    I salute all who served bravely in all wars for our country, our freedoms and our way of life. We are all so very fortunate to have been born Americans and had the opportunity of Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.

  73. Aaron Vandegriff

    Thanks for making this page with all these comments. It’s amazing to hear your stories and comments about this place. My father was Bob Vandegriff stationed at Buttons for several months before the invasion of Cambodia in 1970, but he doesn’t talk about it at all, so I’m looking for information about where he was and what it was like. Thanks!

  74. Bryant D. Penton "Lucky"

    For the most part I had no idea what province, and/or the many names of the FSB’s I was assigned to since we moved around so much to support the grunts, engineers or artillary units. I was a gunner on an M-42 A1 tank “Duster” with B Battery 5/2 Arty. In Tay Ninh Province and others near the Hobo Woods, FSB Lanyard, Pace and Blue at the Cambodian borde off Route 22 and Nui Ba Dinh ( Black Virgin Mountain )when I was 18 in 1971. I was assigned to an FSB Buttons. It was on top of a hill and most of our hooches were made of half metal Culver’s and sand bagged. Some hooches were underground. What I recall about FSB Buttons was tat there was a small age outside the wire, but the scariest part for me being new in country was looking down the hill/mountain across rice fields to the jungle we could see hundreds of what appeared to be flashlights heading through the jungle 100’s of meters or a mile away. I ask my Sgt what the lights were and if they were really the enemy why we did not fire in them. I was told they would wipe us out in a second. Being young I beloved the Sgt and just freaked out by what was happening before me. Does this sound like the Buttons you spoke of. I have never mentioned this before and I no it sounds like BS, thanks much

  75. Teddy Leyba

    Attn: Larry Alderson,
    I too was with 2/12 FA at LZ Buttons, Nov 1969.
    I was Asst. gunner on one of the other two guns,
    too long ago to know which one. Have many photos
    to share with you. Contact me ASAP
    Teddy Leyba

  76. John Wincz

    Was on Buttons in ’69, wasn’t as built up As it was in ’70. D 1/9 was there but we had 5/7 Cav and 3 ? Guns from C 1/30 FA(155). We also had guns from the NH Guard 197th FA out of Portsmouth. I was home when those guys were KIA , they were straight up Brothers. John Wincz 1/30 FA

  77. Robert Carter 1SG Retired

    My name is Robert Carter. I have enjoyed reading the comments about LZ Buttons. Especially to see these pictures. Thanks for posting them. I was with the Engineers that extended the terms. I operated a crane that had big tires and a dozen type blade on the front. My unit left me there attached to the Cav because the crane couldn’t be flown out. I remember using the crane to help build a big common bunker. I did my share on the perimeter that dreadful night in November 1970. My bunker was close to where the choppers would land and I shared my bunker with many a surprised crew. I retired as a First Sergeant in 1990. I’m curious to know if anyone remembers me, or at least the crane.

  78. Rod Marcom

    Hi, I was the Battalion Surgeon for the 1st Bn 2nd Infantry, First Infantry Division – We were there in 1969 after the 1st Cav moved elsewhere not sure what date as I was with the 1st/2nd for 6 months until leaving – had been in Lai Khe, Dian and other FSB before Song Be then back to Lai Khe and other FSBs – — We only called it FSB Song Be — I left in September 1969 for home. During the time there we lost a major number of personnel due to poor prep of an LZ – CO was relieved and we got a new one afterwards. We made several MEDCAP missions into the Montagnard village around that area as well. I remember many sleepless nights when charlie was lighting us up with RPG and mortar fire since we had to call the danged Province Chief to get permission to fire at visual gooks outside the wire. That was of course before LTC Holt took command – then he told me, “Doc, if you report gooks setting up mortars out side the wire, I guarantee you, we will kick their asses” = slept a lot better after that for sure. Thank all of you for your service _ I salute you, my brothers in arms!

  79. Reon Onstine

    I see this thread goes on for a number of years, and lots of comments regarding the Nov 4 1969 Song Be (Buttons) attack but I have something new to add. I was there as member of 1st Cav, C Btry 1/77 Arty. An after action report was compiled by the 1st Cav Division Historian. Good reading. Makes you realize the that yhour battle is what is directly in front of you with no good understanding of the bigger picture.

    • Jim Carlina

      Thank you! Very informative. I was in C Btry 2/12 Arty sleeping above ground when it all started happening…..Jim

      • Teddy Leyba

        Jim Carlna, I too, was at Buttons with C Btry 2/12 FA Nov 4, 1969. Contact me at my email Teddy Leyba I have several photos to share with you. I am in contact with Jerry Pols who was there as well in same unit.

      • Teddy Leyba

        Jim, I was at Buttons with you and other members of C 2/12 FA.
        I have reached out to you before. Hopefully you read this. Contact me at my email. I have much to share with you bro.

      • Larry alderson

        Hey Jim
        You still got that shrapnel in your 6:00. Lol

        Larry alderson

      • Jim Carlina

        Hey Larry, Glad to see you’re still with us. Love to hear from you and see all the LZ Buttons comments. And yes, still have that shrapnel. Great memory! My email is if you or anyone else wants to get in touch. Stay well and safe. We made it through the worst….Jim

      • Larry alderson

        I will get with you probably tomorrow. Good to hear from you, and teddy.


        I still have a piece of 155 shrapnel that went thru my right arm on May 9, 1969.  It’s about the size and length of my middle finger.

  80. Karl Swenson

    Greetings, and welcome home to all here. My unit, Echo Company, 1st of the 7th Cavalry, 1st Cav Division, was at Buttons in its earliest days. We arrived there in January 1969 and were assigned the duty of protection of the FSB. We were only a 50-man recon company and we were stretched thin. We also had a secondary mission of reinforcing the SF camp at the top of Nui Ba Ra. Fortunately, we never had to do that.

  81. Greetings, and welcome home to all here! My unit, Echo Company 1/7 Cav, 1st Cav Division, was at Buttons in January 1969. As a 50 man recon company, we were charged with base protection. Stretched pretty thin around that great big perimeter. We did have some help from an ARVN special forces company on one end of the FSB. Our secondary mission was to reinforce the SF camp on the top of Nui Ba Ra, fortunately we never had to do that, I recall that we had some quad .50s mounted on 2 1/2 ton trucks that used to pepper the mountain every afternoon between 4 and 5pm. Lots of fireworks…………..

  82. Dana C. Hobbs

    Dana Hobbs
    August 1969 thru Aug 1970
    I was also stationed in Song Be with 15th S&S 1st Cav. Div. My job was working in ammo dump driving a forklift. I was there that night of Nov.4th 1969 . I was on guard duty in a tower when I saw a fire off in the jungle in front of us. This fire looked like a snake coming toward the base. As the fire got closer to us the APC’s that was outside the wire started blowing up. The fire finally got to Fuel dump and started fuel bladders to catch fire. They came and got me to drive fork lift to move the bladders out of the dump while it was on fire. There were 3 fork lifts that night working to save the JP4 . If I remember right there were VC inside the compound that night . We worked until 5 or 6 o’clock that morning fighting until the main battle was over. There were APC ‘s burning on all sides of Buttons. I thank all you men for catching my back while I was working. It was a very hard night. Hobbs

    • gcouch49

      Hobbs, if you were a “red hat” w/ 15 S&S you worked with me. I was a E-5 radio operator on the helicopter pad where all cargo came in and out from August 69 to Aug 70 “Tarbaby 6 was our radio sign. Only guy I remember was a Hawaiian by the name of Ali ?

      I got blown up in the ammo dump when it got hit by enemy! I survived w/minor injuries. My name was Gerry Ackley at the time.

      I was with group that went into Cambodia, did you?

    • Terry whitted

      I was at camp buttons in 1970 it was a shit hole I was with the 2 8 cav we were only there for short time on way to Cambodia the base got hit all the time I was also at Liz eilliworth April 11970 when in 3hours we were attacked by 400 nova and we only had 220 we lost 24 Kia 58 win we were Guiana pigs terry whitted

    • Gerald (Ackley) Couch

      Hobbs we must know each other! Name sounds familiar! i was the ground control for all helicopter traffic on the pad, worked w/ all the “Red Hats”.

      i was an E-5 officially in 2nd brigade, call sign on radio “tarbaby 6” My name then was Gerry Ackley, Where were you from?

      I was injured that night in the ammo dump, resupplying ammo to the berm by our radio tower. Remember a guy name Aki, he was Hawaiian?

  83. Harald Schweizer

    Some of the photos literally fill me with tears. I am immediately swept back to Nam. I first served (11B40) with D Trp 1/9 Cav and after B Trp 1/9th lost most of their grunts in a very short span of time I was transferred to B Trp for my second tour, in Winter 1968. My downfall was Nui Ba Ra. It was not an LZ…just a small commo relay station without a landing strip. Was part of a group of blues sent there to provide security on 23 February 1969. Got hit hard that night and just thinking about it is a nightmare. Thanks to a tough dust off pilot I was snatched from the top of the mountain in the middle of battle and in the middle of the night. Got to know many hospitals and ended up in Walter Reed during the time Gen. Eisenhower died there..though not because of me.
    Just seeing the 1st Cav patch moves me emotionally. Thanks for this great blog.
    Harald Otto Schweizer (yeah, yeah, I was one of those foreigners who entered the US Army before I became a citizen)


      I was on FSB Thomas New Years Eve 1969-70. Most amazing sight I have seen and will long remember it. Right at midnight, the sky lit up all around me. Rocket flares, mortar rounds with flares, tracer rounds, all around me. Like being in the middle of a birthday cake and candles going off for about 5 minutes. Amazing. I would have not have imagined there were not that many units out there – probably gooks too – all surrounding Thomas.

  84. gcouch49

    Jim & Frank , I agree w/ you pictures confuse me , it wasn’t this big or this secure looking, lots of rats, shot one in a urine barrel, big mistake!

    I was there same time Jim with you, I was in 2nd brigade, ground control for all helicopter traffic in and out! Tarbaby 6 was my radio call sign.

  85. Jason Howell

    Does anyone know my uncle Srgt Herman Jones from Dayton ohio. Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cav. Blue Annihilators?

  86. Charles Mutchler

    Chuck Mutchler
    Any of you guys tat was there the night of 4 Nov 69 for the ground attack on Buttons that has a copy of the Stars and Stripes write up of it I would appreciate it if you could scan it and shoot me a copy. I have never seen the write up. I was with I Trp 2nd Platoon that night on a Sheridan. Thanks

  87. I just looked at George Hart’s pictures that he posted and he said he gave copies to Ty Dodge. I would like to talk to George anyone have contact info. If he was a Red Hat (my guys were all 15 S&S) at Buttons, in November of 69 he was working with me,( I was in 2nd Brigade Hdqts Co) because I ran the pad and the Radio. I was up in that tower that Ty shows down on the corner of the email is

  88. sheldon bob Jonas

    arrived song be village august 69 (1/77) and we moved to buttons about sept or oct. was in the 1/77 fire direction control FDC when the attack started and was with Major Glick as we were bringing in arty support from other fire bases . they normally called me” Jonas” I remember the night.

  89. George Truelove

    I was at Song Be from Oct 67 to Jan 68 with the quad 50’s we later moved outside the berm in support of the 101st. Wasn’t much there just the air strip and 8″ and 175 arty. Not a pretty place. George “Mick” Truelove

    • Wayne Faas

      George, I agree, Song Be was not a pretty place. I was with the 175mm Arty Btry (B/7/8) that helped the engineers build the Arty FSB from 14 Sep to 11 Oct 67. B/6/27 (who had spent the past year on the DMZ) took over our equipment and we returned to Bien Hoa. Was your quad 50 unit D Btry 71st ADA? Also, do you recall who the engineers were? A bit of information, the 175mm gun (M-107) can be converted to an 8″ howitzer (M-110), by simply changing the tube (barrel). The 175mm gun can fire a 150# shell 20 miles and the 8″ howitzer can fire a 200# shell 10 miles very accurately.

  90. Rodney A. Marcom, D. O.

    Rod Marcom — Battalion Surgeon,1st Bn 2nd Infantry, First Inf Division — I believe (March?) Spring 1969 – summer 1969 at FSB Song Be (didn’t call it Buttons when we were there, but do recall the 1st Air Cav was there before us and came after us. I was allowed to leave to attend a friend’s farewell party back at 12th Evac hospital Cu Chi overnight and returned during an assault on the FSB, pilot made a quick low level and momentary hover to allow me to run like hell to the Aid Station underground. That was the worst we had and I missed most all of it fortunately — had worse later though at Lai Khe and Michelin Rubber plantation 18 days before I rotated home.. but that’s another story. We did do MEDCAP missions to the Montangard village near Song Be and visited the MACV compound for the cold beer a few times.

  91. johnny marcum

    Ran the pad at thomas sept.-nov 70

  92. Ray Smith

    I was on Snuffy and remember Thomas was being probed by the VC and the soldier calling in artillery was killed by friendly fire. God bless the 1st Cav.

  93. Gerry Couch

    I agree , no rubber trees at FSB Buttons. Very little vegetation period! I suspect it was cleared w/ agent orange!

    i w as in the area august 69-70 August “tarbaby 6” radio sign

    • Dan Peak

      Roger that. If you were there in the fall of 69, did you go through that massive ground attack?
      I was on LZ Buttons – February 70 until it closed, sometime in 71. One giant rust colored scar on the Earth. I have no doubt Agent Orange played a major role in that. I recently learned that VA makes a “presumptive connection” between Agent Orange and lung cancer/prostate cancer. They shared that info right after the VA claimed I have metastatic lung cancer. But then, who believes what doctors say, especially those employed by the government?
      God bless all you brothers

      • Rodney A. Marcom

        Hi, I was Batallion Surgeon for 1st Bn, 2nd Inf, 1st Inf Div at Song Be FSB ,Spring 1969 until we moved out back to Lai Khe and then home. Sep 1969. Yes, prostate cancer, heart disease both are no contest for being in RVN due to Agent Orange. I have both and moving toward the third in the trio of diabetes all directly due to agent orange. Lung cancer is not yet on the list, but if you do have any of these three, go directly to the nearet Veteran Service Office and apply. We deserve something in return for shortening our lives!!!!

      • Dan Peak

        Gods best to you.

        Recently a VA social services worker volunteered to me that they treated AP ASAP presumptive cause of lung cancer for those exposed. He might have been assuming facts not yet confirmed.


        My unit was in the corner next to the chopper pad. A couple hundred yards or so out beyond the chopper pad there was a treeline. Ask Ty Dodge, he was in the APC’s the night of the ground track. My unit was in a rubber tree Ggrove at Li Kae before moving to Buttons. The trees looked the same. I had never seen a rubber tree before Nam so maybe they weren’t. There was definitely a treeline. Don’t know why everyone is making a big deal about it. Life was shitty on that God forsaken piece of dirt. Does everyone agree to that?

      • Terry whitted

        Buttons was hell on earth agent Orange turned everything orange

  94. Jerry Boss

    I was the battalion mail clerk for 1/77th on Buttons from April to Dec 1970, I arrived in country in Jan 1970, and worked as a cook until I went to s1 and replaced Maurice Conauour as battalion mail clerk. I remember some of the names from the above posts. I remember pulling guard duty in tower 20 (tango20) and requesting light from base defence during some of our long hours on guard duty. If I remember correctly flashlight 1 and sometimes flashlight 2 (from Thomas on top of nui ba ra) lighting up the wire in front of our perimeter. I remember seeing pieces of Ty Dodge’s destroyed tracs buried not far from the berm, and listening to some of the (old guys) telling about the battle for buttons. I remember our ammo squad setting out sorty after sorty for the choppers to resupply our guys. I am proud of my service and have the greatest respect for all US veterans.

  95. Gerald Couch (Ackley

    there was “no vegetation” period! it’s called red clay! Agent Orange my bet , however VA has never agreed!

    • Harald Schweizer

      I was a Bravo Blue (B Troop 1/9th) and got hit on Nui Ba Ra on my second tour in 23 Feb 1969 and everytime I see the words “Bravo Blue” my remaining eye tears up.
      While I also served in recon with D Trp 1/9th in 1968, it somehow does not feel the same. As a squad leader my squad had an almost complete turnover within 2 months due to KIA, WIA, accidents, and all the environmental issues that got you sick.
      One of the guys in B Troop who was on the hill when I got hit may have rotated later in 1969 and you might know him. I have no contact with anyone. His name is Rick Stone.
      Don’t remember anyone else…well, except a Major at Battalion who also flew a Cobra. Don’t recall his name but he looked like Yul Brynner and was just great. He approved my tour extension after my LT turned it down. The LT thought it was too dangerous for me to stay another tour…I then went to the major who listened to me and said NO PROBLEM, just make sure you return here after your extension leave. I promised, came back, and got hit.

  96. Gerald Couch (Ackley)

    I too have and have significant heart issues Nope not agent orange! Yet we saw them dropping it over near Cambodian border.

    Right no rubber plantations at Buttons. However somewhere over near Cambodian border, we were at a previous French rubber plantation where they had a Special Forces camp. Pretty nice place compared to Buttons. Saw the biggest python, like 20 feet long with probably a pig inside it under a tree and stretched across a a dirt path/road, I at 1st thought it was a log when I drove over it with a jeep!

    On the water/river, the refreshing dips were offset by the bloodsuckers stuck to your body that we would burn off with cigarette ash!

  97. Mike Carter

    Rich I’ve been looking for you but spelling your last name wrong 😑 hope you’re doing well. We have had a few 1/77th reunions the last few years with good turnouts. My e-mail is if you want to send a note. I’ll let the rest of the guys you reached out 🙏❤️🇺🇸

    • Tedd5y

      I’m attempting to make contact with anyone who was at Song Be (LZ Buttons) 1969-’70 from C Btry. 2/12 FA (155mm pig iron howitzer) We had 3 guns in support of the Cav. Teddy Leyba email:

      On Sat, Mar 19, 2022 at 1:08 AM My Vietnam Experience wrote:

      > Mike Carter commented: “Rich I’ve been looking for you but spelling your > last name wrong [image: 😑] hope you’re doing well. We have had a few > 1/77th reunions the last few years with good turnouts. My e-mail is > if you want to send a note. I’ll let the rest of the > guys” >

  98. Having just read Ty Dodge’s story, CARIBOU: FIGHTER PLANE EXTRAORDINAIRE!

    I feel i need to share my 1st Caribou ride from Bein Hoa to Buttons! I was a E-5 when i came to Vietnam, timing it so i could take advantage of 5 month early-out, because i would land back in SanFrancisco with only 5 months left in Army.
    I digress!

    in August of 69 in a Caribou full of mostly FNG’s. including me flying into Song Be, it was hot, noisy, and a lot of anxiety in those seats along the side, most had there helmets and flack vest on and not a lot of talking.

    As we neared Firebase, suddenly the little C-7A Caribou did a nose dive, seemed like straight down, almost immediately there were guys sick and barfing into their helmets. Pretty sure we concluded that the aircraft had a problem and we were all gonna die!

    Miraculously all of a sudden Pilot pulls it back to near level and sets it on the ground! Now being one of the “ranking” FNG’s , i figured out this was a initiation for us new guys, so once landed i rushed up to Pilot and confronted him about him about his actions.

    That is when i was informed “Sgt you have just experienced your first “combat landing!”

    “Welcome to FSB Buttons!

  99. Richard Hill

    Jack Downing was my platoon leader. I only saw Buttons a few times. We were out in the bush mostly. He got hit in the Bode. A decent man and a good officer. I was his RTO for a while and Greg “Crazy Teddy” Thompson was our medic. Good to hear he’s still in one piece.

    • Jack Downing

      Richard Hill!!! 59 Harry. Good to hear from you. Your picture has been around on the internet (I put it there) because it was taken at FSB Buttons when yall were standing in front of your bird that was going to take you to the world. And Nui Ba Ra in the background. You used to do great impersonations.

    • Jack Downing

      How do I get in touch with Richard Hill?

      Jack Downing

      Sent from my iPad


    • Tedd5y

      I wish to make contact with anyone in my unit, C-Btry 2/12 FA at LZ Buttons latter part of 1969 to early 1970.

      • Larry alderson


        We have talked before, a couple years ago or more. There aren’t many of us left. You , me and maybe Jim carlina who was on my gun 3. Haven’t heard from him in along time. Probably my fault. I run hot and cold here. Hope all is well. Would sure like to see all those pics you have. Wish I taken more but it was not a fun time. Kinda like taking photos at a funeral. I still remember quite a bit. Hope you are doing well. We had one of the best battery comanders you could ask for. Capt. Domingo did not have to be there. He could probably have gone to Quan loi with the other half of the battery. I almost shot him by mistake, coming up out of our bunker which was closest to the wire. The morning of the 4th of November attack,. He was crouched down behind a barrel at the top of our steps, with a drawn 45. Him being a short Hawaiian scared the heck out of me. I ran right into him.
        If you know of any others let me know.
        Larry alderson
        Gunner gun 3

      • Teddy Leyba

        Bro Larry,
        Contact me at my email address
        Have many stories to share with you. I have contact with Jerry Pols who was on the same gun as myself. I have a ton of info for you including photos at Copper Head ( with the NGs), LZ Buttons, and Quan Loi.

  100. Jack Downing

    Can you send me you email address? Are you on facebook? Will send you a picture.

  101. Richard Hill

    Just great stuff on this page. I never knew it existed before. I was researching some things for an exhibit I’m putting together for a museum here in Jersey and I googled Buttons and here y’all are!! I’ve already gotten replies from my Platoon Leader, Jack Downing and the 3rd Platoon (c/2/12, 1st Cav Div) medic, Russ Berry. I haven’t heard from these guys in 52 years! What a rush! What I am looking for is the missing link in our team: Greg Thompson who was better known as “Crazy Teddy” in country. (Don’t ask me why). He was 1st Plt. Medic and hailed from Lombard, IL, a suburb of Chicago. His dad was Deb Thompson and we were thick as thieves but then, he dropped out of sight. I pray he’s all right and would be grateful for any info anyone may have. Welcome Home, my Cav Brothers and thank you for your service to our country in time of war.

    • David M. Crocker

      This is David Crocker. I was at Buttons from July 69 to July 70. I was with the 1/77th. I don’t know and/or don’t remember most of the guys posting on this website. I do get a lot out of reading what everyone talks about. It stirs a lot of old memories. We were all in that struggle together and that in itself creates a brotherhood among all of us, whether we know everyone or not. There is a bond there that only we can really understand. I know that the Good Lord will look at us in a special way when our time comes to give an account of ourselves. God bless all of you for answering the call.

      • Richard Hill

        Welcome home, David! We are indeed Brothers-in-Arms, my friend and, for a brief time, we each played a role in the history of our beautiful country. I could not have expressed my sentiments better than you have! I thank you sincerely for your service to our Nation and consider myself privileged to have been at Buttons the same time you were. May God continue to bless and protect you and your loved ones today and forever.

    • Tom Ringwald

      I was with D Co. 2/12 and HHQ when I was 2 nd Bde. Liaison for then Col. Shy Meyers. All of 1969 and 1970. Heads up to all 12th Cav. Vietnam Vets we have a 12 th Cav. reunion ever year in Branson . It’s a great time and all of you 12th Cav. Troopers are welcome. Sept. 5-9. 2023.

  102. Jack Downing

    I was on and off Buttons from Nov 18 1969 – Nov 18, 1970. I was on a lot of other satellite FSB – Thomas and Judie to mention a couple. I was with C Company 2/12 First Air Cav. My favorite assignment was on top of Thomas. At least 10 – 15 degrees cooler, beautiful sunsets and chance of getting over-run was slim.

  103. Jack Downing

    I went back to Buttons in 2002 on a private “War Tour”. Hiked up to Nui Ba Ras. It has all changed so much. Could barely recognize the air-strip. There was a lot of buildings around. For anybody interested, I was introduced to the Viet Cong Leader when I was out in the bush there. While on my tour, My guide happened to have a mother that lived in Song Be. He said his mother knew the VC leader back in the war and asked if I wanted to meet them. I was a little apprehensive but said yes. So I go to their house (Nui Ba Ra profile in the background), took off my shoes, walked in and sat on a couch. They did have a TV (it was not on). The leader walked in and we talked in after about 10 minutes. We discussed the war (through an interpreter) for about 10 minutes. There was a memorial a the base of Nui Ba Ra and I asked about it. They said it honored the Freedom Fighters that had been killed in the war. After a few more minutes, the guide said we should leave now. When I got up to leave, the guide asked if I would like a picture of the leader. I said sure if they were willing. So I got their picture of them standing in the doorway of their house. Just before the picture was taken, I put my arm around them. I late asked the guide what the leader’s reaction was. Take a look at the picture. Only shared on on request and on a one to one basis.

  104. Ronald Ross

    Found this page and wanted to comment on this article I was there also Ronald Ross. I will never forget I was the one on the bunk next to Gary Farley when he was killed I was lying on my bunk and Gary was sitting at the front of the bunk we were having a beer when the mortars hit we couldn’t save him I still live with it every day it could have been me

  105. Gerry Couch

    I was there and not sure when all these photos were taken because my memory is not of a FSB Button that was this big?

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