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Summary - July 1967

Following the active month of June with its successful search operations and several large-unit clashes, the 2/5 Cav was assigned to provide security for the Bong Son Bridge and several of the firebases along the Highway 1 portion of the coastal plains.  While the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry assumed the responsibility for aggressive patrolling in the mountains and villages of eastern Binh Dinh Province, the companies of the 2nd Battalion took on a less mobile and generally less active function at Landing Zones such as Uplift and Two-Bits and at the complex of bridges over the Song Lai Giang (Lai Gang River) at the town of Bong Son.

Bunker on the southeast end of the old Bong Son railroad bridge. h

Highway 1 and the railroad line that closely paralleled the highway both crossed the river at Bong Son, the road running over a concrete structure and the railroad over a multiple-span steel truss type bridge.  After the concrete bridge had been badly damaged by sappers, U.S. Army Engineers had re-routed the highway and replaced the tracks on the truss bridge with heavy planking, converting it to a single-lane vehicle bridge for one-way traffic headed north. About four hundred yards upstream a dirt causeway and temporary bridge was built next to the old concrete structure to handle southbound traffic.  Usually one infantry company was assigned to guard all of this area. 

Comanche_Bong_Son_Bridge_Bunker_from_Burington.jpg (21945 bytes)
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Courtesy Ken Burington

Duties included stopping and inspecting civilian vehicles traveling over the bridges during the day (nothing legitimate moved at night) and a walking guard post over the steel bridge at night during which grenades were dropped into the water at random times and locations to discourage enemy swimmers who might attempt to mine the bridge piers.  Concussion grenades were supposed to be used, but like many other items were often in short supply so M-26 frags were substituted and caused a lot of damage to the wiring for the claymores and flares under the bridge as well as the telephone cables.

One of the most welcome parts of pulling guard at the bridge was the opportunity to walk into the town of Bong Son while not on duty.  Compared to the small fishing and farming villages the Company had been searching near the coast, Bong Son was almost metropolitan - there was a store selling electrical appliances such as radios, there was a photographer's studio where several of the men had posed portrait shots taken, there was a jewelry store and a bakery and other shops and it was all a welcome change from the mountains and hamlets.  The Company would run local patrols down Highway 1, and a range for target practice was set up in a small valley about  two miles south of the bridge. 

hMarket in Bong Son Town
h

Comanche_Bong_Song_Town_from_Burington.jpg (27496 bytes)
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Courtesy Ken Burington

Most of C Company's guard assignments during July lasted one week.  When that period was over, the Company would move on to another location such as LZ Uplift, replacing another 2nd Battalion company in providing security.

LZ Uplift from the air, looking west towards the mountains.
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Uplift was located right on Highway 1 where the road bent around two hill masses.  It was about thirteen miles south of Bong Son and had become the 2nd Brigade CP in April of 1967.  It also was the 2nd Battalion trains area and C Company had its supply and arms personnel there.  The Company occupied perimeter bunkers and during the day ran local patrols around the LZ.  Usually one platoon was sent to stay on the top of the eastern hill mass that overlooked the base, the Nui Chop Dung, which was known to the GI's as Duster Hill after the tracked vehicle mounting twin 40-mm automatic cannons that was stationed up there.

Another view of LZ Uplift

Comanche_LZ_Uplift_from_Burington.jpg (22502 bytes)
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Courtesy Ken Burington

Comanche_LZ_Uplift_from_Jensen.jpg (17301 bytes)
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Courtesy Don Jensen

Duty at LZ Uplift meant a chance to see some old friends now working in the rear, a chance to catch a ride down Highway 1 to the Air Force base at Phu Cat to buy cartons of cigarettes in their Base Exchange, even a chance to get some replacement field gear or clean clothing.  One of the disadvantages was that the "visiting" infantry companies were required to provide KP's for the mess tents, but even that had a good side; since most infantrymen are accomplished scroungers, a day working around the mess area meant a load of goodies to haul back to the bunker that night.

After a week at Uplift, it would be time for C Company to move on.  Security duty at Two-Bits had a completely different feel to it, perhaps because of its location west of Bong Son and nearer the entrance to the An Lao Valley area.  It was located adjacent to a secondary road (Route 514) and a trading and black-market village had formed right at the entrance to the LZ.  It was a good place to buy a case of American beer ($10.00 MPC or 1000 Dong) or a fifth of Japanese whiskey for the same price, but the local patrols the Company ran in the area had to work in a busy and populous environment; it might have felt more comfortable to be a little more isolated.

English Airfield, also known as LZ English, was another large American base C Company guarded at times.  Two others, LZ Ollie and LZ Pony, were small firebases that generally required less than a full company for their perimeters. 

There were no significant incidents at any of the locations C Company occupied during the month of July.  The entire area of operations from the western mountains to the coastline seemed subdued compared to the activity of the previous month, with even the 1st Battalion not making contact in the mountains until the 25th.  The next day, all of the 2nd Battalion companies were relieved of their security missions and returned to the Cay Giep (mountain) region to resume the search for enemy basecamps but found no action, and July 1967 quietly came to an end.

2002 Kenneth D. Burington

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July 25

 CPT John Paul Yeagley assumed command of the company from CPT Don Markham.

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July 26

Ray "Tex" Long sent some pictures to his home town newspaper, the "La Mesa Daily Reporter" in West Texas.  These were published under the title "Operation Pershing."

Clockwise:

Upper Left:  C 2/5 Cav crossing a river on a search and destroy mission.  
Upper right:  Chris Gadsden shown half way across.  Doesn't like it was very deep, Chris.
Lower right:SP4 Freddie Marshall taking a break on the other side of the river.  Freddie was later killed on March 11.  
Lower left:  SP4 Tom Rutten wasn't getting baptized - he was just crossing the river too.

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Courtesy Ray "Tex" Long

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

SP4 Tom Rutten was assigned to the mortar Platoon after his time with 1st Platoon.  While on LZ Two Bits, he was interviewed by an Army Public Affairs representative.  The tape was sent back to Tom's home town for play.  Click here to listen.  Be patient - it will take more than a few minutes for the file to download before it begins to play.

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

Operating out of LZ Quick, these troopers are at the top of the Cay Giep Mountains, sometimes called "Tiger Mountain".  Just over the top of the helmet of the trooper on the far left is the northern tip of Dam Tra O lake.  A similar picture can be seen on the August 1967  page.

These 1st Platoon troopers are:  closest to the camera, the platoon medic, name unknown.  Talking on the radio of the RTO, PFC Fulmer.  Pointing, and with the CAR-15, is SSG Imre Furedi.  The name of the trooper to the far left is unknown.  (Source: Imre Furedi)

Comanche_Furedi_and_1st_Platoon_Cay_Giep_1967.jpg (29069 bytes)
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Courtesy Imre Furedi

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

Some more pictures of the Bong Son railroad bridge:

Near right: Larry Evans and Robert "Bob" Plew of 1st Platoon

 

Far right - Hot food and beer!  These are mostly 4th Platoon guys - 

J. Lopez, center front looking at camera, Jack Case near center, Tony Estes in the middle of the crowd looking down, and a man named Hill waving (he went to "LRRP"). 

Comanche_Evans_Plew_Bong_Son_1967_from_Evans.jpg (40529 bytes)
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Courtesy Larry Evans

Comanche_Bong_Son_Bridge_July_67_from_Tex_Long.jpg (31973 bytes)
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Courtesy Ray "Tex" Long

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

Larry Wood had just arrived in-country - and had this picture taken somewhere at An Khe.  

Comanche_Larry_Wood_An_Khe_Jul_68_from_Wood.jpg (21756 bytes)
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Courtesy Larry Wood

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

A passing trooper took this picture of Dennis Henzi at LZ Uplift, south of Bong Son.  It was taken out in front of the Communications sleeping tent near the Tactical Operations Center (TOC).  Notice the small scope on the handle of his M-16.  It is an original model M-16 with a chrome bolt and open flash hider. Dennis was taking sniper training at the time for eventual assignment to a Hunter/Killer team along with PFC Ray O'Toole of 4th Platoon.  Henzi was in charge of enemy prisoners and captured enemy weapons at the time the photo was taken.


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Courtesy Dennis Henzi

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July 1967 - Exact Date Unknown

Garry Ward of Kentucky.  This picture was taken inside one of the wooden barracks at An Khe.  It appears Garry is an "FNG" - note that his boots are clean, and his jungle fatigues are still dark green.

Comanche_Gary_Ward_1967_from_Wood.jpg (22561 bytes)
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Courtesy Larry Wood


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Updated September 11, 2006