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Summary - October 1969

To be written

October 4

C 2/5 Cav CA'd into a clearing northwest of LZ Ike.  Though the LZ was green, it was readily apparent that there was a significant NVA activity in the area.

That night, the perimeter was probed by a sizable enemy force, resulting in three NVA KIA.

Acting 3rd Platoon Sergeant SSG John Curtin was evacuated to the 45th Surgical Hospital at the Tay Ninh Base Camp with fragment wounds to the left thigh.  PFC James H. White III was also Medevac'd to the 45th Surgical Hospital suffering from multiple fragment wounds to the jaw, neck, right leg, back, and left wrist  (Source:  DA Form 1 Morning Report dtd 5 Oct 69)

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October 5

At daylight, the company checked the area, and received sporadic sniper fire.  They also captured an NVA soldier (thought to be an NCO), who, though badly wounded, fought a rear-guard action against the Americans, allowing the other NVA to retreat.  The NVA soldier was taken prisoner, and evacuated.  (See Brian Phipps's comments about the prisoner.)

The remainder of the day was spent patrolling, and being hit by sniper fire and small ambushes.   The general mood of the company was of caution and impending danger.

The NDP was set up with a smoldering tree stump in the center.  Mike Hayes recalls the company did not dig foxholes that night.  Dan Bertram recalls bring in the planned defensive fires very close that night.  (Source:  Charlie Dickey)

PFC Vernon Whitehead was evacuated to the 45th Surgical Hospital suffering from a "fever of unknown origin."  (Source:  Morning Report DA Form 1 dtd 7 Oct 69)  He returned to duty on October 11.  (Source:  DA Form 1, dtd 11 October 1969)

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October 6

With the previous day's constant contact in mind, the dawn of October 6th was ominous.  Everyone knew there were "beaucoup NVA" in the area.   As the company moved out in a column of threes, SGT Charlie Dickey  remembers that the company began finding items of abandoned enemy equipment.  (Today Charlie wonders if they had been placed there intentionally to lure Americans into a trap.)   The company halted movement just short of what the enemy intended to be the kill zone of a large U-shaped ambush.  When the enemy did open fire, it pinned down the lead platoon.  The trailing 3rd Platoon began movement around to the left in an attempt to encircle the NVA ambush, but found itself under fire from the other side of the U-shaped ambush.   Now 3rd Platoon was pinned down by fire from both a light machinegun (probably an RPD) and a fixed .51 caliber machinegun.

In the meantime, the company headquarters was under fire as well.  According to LT Dan Bertram, the artillery forward observer:

“I very clearly remember when Top Allen was wounded.  He, CPT  Kuykendall, a couple of RTOs and I was were in a very small space between some trees.  We were being fired upon by some NVA.  Top grabbed his AK and said, “I’m going to get those SOBs”.  He walked off to the right front.  There was a flourish of small arms fire and then it stopped.  About ten seconds later Top came walking back, he was pale white and his right arm was hanging limp and pouring blood”.

From an email from Charlie Dickey:

"I was told later that day or maybe the next that Top grabbed Grandpa Bradshaw. James "Rusty" Chaney, and Dennis Doran from the 2nd Platoon, as he went forward.  I do remember hearing Top’s AK and thought for a moment that we were surrounded.  I also remember hearing Top cuss, yell and laugh at the NVA.  I was told he shot a sniper out of a tree but it was another sniper that got him. 

I truly believe that the one he shot had been shooting at me and the RTO next to me.  The kid a foot away from me was hit in at least one leg high up near the butt.  At least one round hit between us and splayed dirt on the side of my face and after everything was over and done, I found an AK round in a canteen hung on my radio.  After Top’s venture we took no more fire from above."

Contact was finally broken at approximately 4 PM, but only after Air Force Phantom jets were called in the deliver napalm on the NVA bunkers.  Once all the wounded were evacuated, and a resupply of ammunition, medical supplies, and water was made, the company settled into an uneasy NDP, with the thought an attack would have to be made the next morning.

Charlie Dickey, with input from Mike Hayes, Brian Phipps, Dan Bertram, and Don Bongle, wrote an excellent article about October 4-8, 1969.

Killed in action was SP4 Gene Paul Fussey, who suffered a gun shot wound to the chest.

Among the many wounded were:

Mike Hayes was awarded a Silver Star for actions on October 6th.

SGT Charlie Dickey was the artillery Recon Sergeant with Comanche that day, and was awarded the Silver Star for his actions.  Read his special story of being saved by the pilot of a Cobra gunship.

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October 7

C 2/5 is extracted from the area by helicopter, after which a B-52 strike called in on the NVA positions.


1SG William A. Allen was presented the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device, and the Purple Heart while a patient at the 45th Surgical Hospital in Tay Ninh.  The identity of the officer making the awards is not known, but as the unit crest of the 1st Cavalry Division were on his epaulets, most likely he was either the brigade commander or one of the division generals.  Reading the citations is CPT Douglas Young, commander of C 2/5 Cav from April through July.  1LT A. Michael "Mike" Patacca took the picture.  Mike had been the 1st Platoon leader from February through August, and was the company Executive Officer when he took this picture.

Top was seriously wounded on October 6th while leading an attack against an NVA machinegun emplacement.  His right shoulder took a round in the joint, effectively rendering his shoulder useless.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of Top Allen today, or what happened to him after he was evac'd home, please notify the Webmaster.

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Comanche_1SG_William_Allen_Awards_in_Hospital_Oct_69.jpg (45683 bytes)
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Courtesy Mike Patacca


October 10

At approximately 8:30 in the morning, the company received sniper fire from a nearby tree, 25 meters southeast of the perimeter, wounding SGT Frankie Cennight (spelling may be in error) in the left arm, and SP4 James Chaney in the right hand.  Both were Medevac'd to the 45th Surgical Hospital in Tay Ninh.  (Sources:  DA Form 1, dtd 10 October 1969 and S3 Daily Staff Journal Form 1594 dtd 10 October 1969)

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October 17

SGT Curtis Stacy got to go home.  It is believed Curtis was one of the company RTOs during the latter part of his tour.  (Source:  DA Form 1, dtd 17 October 1969)

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October 31

The company had been out for about three weeks conducting routine patrols. On the morning of the 31st we came across an NVA bunker complex. The point man spotted a surprised NVA trooper who jumped into a spider hole. One squad deployed on line and had a member charge the hole with a fragmentation grenade. No return fire was received. The rest of the company fanned out and searched the remainder of the complex. When the spider hole was entered it was learned that there were three more NVA in the hole. All four were killed by the fragmentation grenade.

Tall Comanche did suffer one injury. When the frag went off, debris was kicked up and one trooper did receive a deep scalp wound. The field medics cleaned and dressed the cut but it was too deep and a Medevac was required. 
(Webmaster note:  There is no record of anyone evacuated for wounds on October 31st.  Anyone knowing the name of the wounded trooper, please contact

A couple of hours were taken to gather up some NVA equipment and food supplies that were then destroyed. (Written by Dan Bertram)

SP4 Terry Black was evacuated to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh with "fever of unknown origin".   According to Terry, the fever turned out to be malaria.  (Sources:  DA Form 1 for C 2/5 Cav dtd 2 Nov 69 and Terry Black)

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October - Exact Date Unknown

SSG Russ Griffith on LZ Ike.  Looking on is Ben Franklin, who left Comanche in December 1969.  (Source: James Machin and Eddie Hancock)

Comanche_Russ_Griffith_Ike_69.jpg (28978 bytes)
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Courtesy James Machin

Also enjoying the luxury life on LZ Ike, Dennis Guild in the foreground, and Eddie Hancock in the back.  (Source: James Machin)

Comanche_Dennis_Guild_and_Eddie_Hancock_LZ_Ike_Oct_69.jpg (33252 bytes)
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Courtesy James Machin

Here's the guys who got us out of so many bad fire fights.  Any grunt from Vietnam will tell you it was the artillery guys who helped us so often.  These three were part of Battery A, 2nd Battalion 77th Field Artillery, but were attached to Comanche.  They were right out there in the weeds with us.

From the left, the Recon Sergeant, SGT Charlie Dickey.  Next is the Forward Observer, LT Dan Bertram, and his RTO (Radio Operator), SP4 Gary Armstrong.  During this time period, their calls signs were Birth Control 28 and later, Head Beagle 28. (Source: Dan Bertram)

Comanche_Dickey_Bertram_Armstrong_Artillery_1969.jpg (37503 bytes)
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Courtesy Dan Bertram

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