It was getting toward the end of the day, and it was beginning to rain, the fog was rolling in and visibility dropped to nearly zero in the approaching darkness. The Manchus were instructed to prepare for a quick "in-and-out" mission. In fact, many of Alpha Company's men ducked under the water when they saw the bombs being released and coming in their direction. It was tough enough wading your way through water-filled patties and just trying to keep your balance, much less standing up and fighting that powerful force. Captain Baker took his 2nd Platoon and worked his way along a dike until he was now southeast of Alpha Company's far eastern flank. It was Lt. Itow returning to get help for his platoon, which had been decimated. The downed helicopter was recovered while Bravo Company and several gun ships gave out covering fire. The classic fire and maneuver infantry tactic was impossible in this situation. Before that (from August 1 through August 29, 1967), it had been mostly routine patrols, with maybe some sniper fire or short skirmishes with a small group of VC (Viet Cong) doing quick hit and run tactics. There was now movement of others trapped on the LZ as they began to go over the dikes to link up with the rest of Alpha Company near the tree line. This meant the round would only have enough propellant to leave the tube and would land dangerously close (close enough for the round's own shrapnel to come back on us). Summary; Bowman’s recollection of Company B 4/9th Manchu Infantry during an operation in the Iron Triangle several days east of a river where it made a horseshoe and flowed down to Saigon. Jackson commenced an ineffective artillery barrage at 10:30 a.m. while Coffee’s men positioned themselves across from Tehopeka. Many hours later Zogg was finally loaded onto a dust-off chopper along with Alpha's other WIA's and KIA's. By this time, Doc Hyder collapsed from total exhaustion and was shaking badly-the adrenaline had finally run out of both of them. Bill yelled out, "Help, I need to be pulled loose, I'm stuck!". The LZ was open water filled rice patties with low dikes running parallel and at right angles to each other. To the dismay of Jackson’s Indian allies, his Treaty of Fort Jackson (August 1814) ended the Creek War by confiscating 23 million acres of Indian lands from America’s Creek friends as well as its foes.… The command group, weapons squad and parts of the 1st and 2nd Platoon had managed to make it to the first dike, and the rest of the Company was scattered and pinned down all across the LZ, out in the open water-filled fields. In 1945, the country was liberated by the Soviet Union from the Japanese rule as a result of the agreement with the United States. It was not the wound that he was hysterical about, but the fact that the medics were bandaging up numerous leeches attached to his shoulder and chest along with his wound. We carried some of the most severe cases of battle fatigue, that I was to witness in Vietnam, from those trenches.The sadness of the situation was over-powering. Chief Menawa was wounded seven times during the battle but miraculously escaped after playing dead until nightfall, crawling into a canoe and floating away on the Tallapoosa. When the F-4's finished their bomb run, they flew back around firing their 20mm cannons-making the long burping sound that hundreds of bullet rounds make when fired on full automatic-and empty red-hot 20mm shell casings discharged by the strafing jets rained down on Bravo Company's men, causing many of them to think they had been hit by enemy gunfire. The Weapons Squad now fought with their M-16 rifles, quickly popping up and firing short 1-to-3 round burst, and ducking back down as the Go Mon quickly answered our bursts with several of their own. This makes sense in a morbid sort of way. The VC was closing in on the last of Bravo Company's men, who were trying to board the helicopters. They were both stumbling along the dike and Lt. Itow was dragging the wounded soldier along most of the way. They could see Alpha Company's command group (Captain Thomas Lewman, his FO Lt. Duane Niles and RTO Nick Summerfield) there with them. Larry fired off another mortar round at the woodline and was horrified to see it heading straight for a chopper, but fortunately the chopper was climbing and got out of range of his projectile. The Manchu company commanders were told that this was going to be a short 2-to-4 hour operation to do a Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) and to count the number of dead VC. The jet then began to make strafing runs�this is the only thing that bailed us out.". Either the door gunner, or its crew chief, was killed and one other was wounded. Some guys who attempted to prop their elbows up on the dike to aim and fire were hit immediately. However, a medic said Morgan was dead when he finally got to him. However, Alpha Company had achieved one major objective; they had broken the ambush. When the first lift of 10 slicks made their final approach into the PZ, heavy automatic weapons fire hit two of the helicopters. 2002 © Copyright. As some time passed, Bob Castillo heard cheering and went up to see what was happening. I was more of a facilitator, rather than the author of this article. Three Medals of Honor and five Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to … There was no incoming fire as the first choppers made their final approach-slipping pass the tree lined forested areas surrounded by expanses of water filled rice patties. He almost got to the end of his bandoleer before he was suddenly thrown backward as if he was hit by a truck. The F-4's released Snake Eye 750-pound bombs that would wobble until the tailfins popped out to stabilize the bombs descent before impact. Following the defeat at Horseshoe Bend, the remaining warriors signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ended hostilities and forced the Upper Creeks to cede over 20 million acres to the United States government, virtually half of what is today Alabama. Delta experienced a similar nightmare as Alpha and Bravo Company. Updated January 02, 2019. Another Delta Manchu had gotten stuck in the mud, could not move, and was screaming for help. As Doc Dunphy moved forward, he gave his M-16 to Terry Craft and shed his web gear, steel pot, and flak jacket. The charge materialized into a long line of green uniformed soldiers (not blue or gray) charging forward, firing their weapons as they sloughed through the mud knee-deep in water. Nick Summerfield knowing what the Captain intended to do asked "�Are you sure you want to do this Captain?" Captain Rosenberg asked Lt. Rich Parris to find Lt. Jim Itow's platoon. The situation was now becoming extremely deadly; we had point blank gunfire coming at us from our front, gunfire from our left flank, and distant gunfire coming from our right flank. The Creek would never be able to regain their tribal autonomy and in 1830 with the signing of the “Indian Removal Act” by President Andrew Jackson, the remaining Creeks were forced onto reservations in Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears.”. It was to hold their fire until the landing zone was full of choppers unloading the bulk of Alpha Company's first lift, and then firing at the choppers and their disembarking infantrymen simultaneously. There was some heavy fire during the initial phase of the charge and then it tapered off as the Go Mon fell back. I swear there was no Plexiglas left in the Huey. Almost immediately upon seeing this, incoming rounds began to popping and snapping into his Command party's chopper, and bits and pieces of the chopper's airframe were flying off with each hit. This tactic did not work with the Go Mon Battalion. Our Commander was afraid of getting bogged down and said no. Weapons Platoon Willie went up, over the dike, and away from the protection it offered. Bravo Company was bouncing up and down on the ground from the enormous explosion of 750-pound bombs being dropped close by. Division command was confident that most of the VC Battalion had been decimated by the heavy air and artillery strikes. Dave's left lung filled with blood and he collapsed. Colonel John Williams led the assault accompanied by a young Sam Houston, the future patriarch of Texas. Dick Detra (a door gunner) was on Chalk-10, the last of ten choppers in Delta Company's lift. At best, they may have wounded a few Go Mon, but their fighting bunkers were still operational. Company found the LZ hot. It was then that Lt. Beedy saw a fighting position on the edge of the wood line to his right and he jumped down behind the dike he was on. The Go Mon also used captured U.S. weapons from the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) such as the M-1 rifle, M-1 automatic Carbine, .30 caliber Machine Gun, and the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Delta Company's landing zone was approximately 300 meters south of where Bravo Company had landed. Everything appeared normal; a routine maneuver. and "Keep Up the Fire! Therefore, it would not be necessary to carry C-rations, ponchos, night kits or additional ammunition-it other words "travel light". A chopper pilot, (Mark O. Hayes), came in to take out the wounded, under intense fire and displayed great bravery, which saved many lives. As Bravo Company made it for the berm, they found a depression in the ground that they quickly took cover in. This rolling artillery barrage was followed by F-4 Phantom jets flying in so low that you could see the pilot sitting in the cockpit as the jet screamed by. On 28 December 1961, US intelligence discovered that a large group of North Vietnamese Army (North Vietnam Army) were near the village of Ấp Bắc – deep in South Vietnam territory. He was told that the area was being prepped with between 2,000 to 6,000 rounds and anything of significance should already be destroyed. The newer H-Model Huey had a wider rotor head with a 1300 HP Turbine Engine. Preserve 108 Acres of the Most Important Unprotected Battlefield Land! Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Others went seeking safer spots nearby, while others came straight into the hot LZ replacing slicks that had just flown off after disposing of their troops. In his book 'Vietnam Task' Robert O'Neill, the battalion's intelligence officer first tour wrote: The stretch of country from Nui Dat, through Long Tan, around to the east of Dat Do, and to the east of the villages on Route 44 between … As mentioned earlier, some of Delta's casualties could have been avoided if their less experienced soldiers had not attempted to run along the top of the dikes. Then some other Go Mon fighting positions began firing at Alpha Company's position from their distant far right flank. As Lt. Itow's platoon approached closer to the woodline, they suddenly started receiving gunfire from both flanks and from directly in front of them. The Battle of Ong Thanh was fought at the stream of that name on the morning of 17 October 1967, in Chơn Thành District, at the time part of Bình Dương Province, South Vietnam, today in Bình Phước Province. Chinook Landing on the Horseshoe. (Ret.) Some of the fighting was at close quarters, being only a few feet away. The first 20 Black Hawk slicks entered the Horseshoe at approximately 8:00 AM in a "Trail" formation, with Alpha Company as the lead element of the three infantry companies being deployed. In fact, many of Delta's new guys had never been out in the field or faced hostile enemy fire before. Historically, the Iron Triangle was a 60 square mile area, bounded by the Saigon River to the South, the Tri Tinh River to the east, and to the north by a line running west from the town of Ben Cat to Ben Suc-as well as taking in the Thanh Dien Forest Reserve to the north. These precious seconds barely gave Alpha Company's men enough time to find cover. This area was a heavily fortified Viet Cong sanctuary known for containing VC Headquarters for Military Region IV, which directed military, political and terrorist activities in the Saigon-Gia Dinh Region (approximately 13 miles away). Willie Gin's following description of his initial approach into Alpha Company's LZ is typical of what Bravo and Delta Company would experience on their approach into this Hell-hole. As Bravo Company approached the LZ, Captain Baker asked the door gunner if Alpha Mark Hayes and WO Spearman took command of Restivo's chopper with door gunners Sp.4 William Sondey and Sp.4 Alfred J. A medic came to his aid and he the soldier was trembling and crying silently. Since we were engaged with fortified bunkers, an M-79 grenade could inflict casualties on the enemy if it hit close to a firing slit or open fighting hole-more so than a M-16 round. Sgt. A force that stung open eyes and brought out tears, while simultaneously slapping you in the face and hitting the sides of your body-throwing you off balance, making it harder to see where you're going and what was happening around you. Too his surprise, that was the first time he noticed any group of soldiers (about the size of several squads behind him). began filling the airways. Lt. Bill Howard--------------------Alpha Company 3rd Platoon Leader The Go Mon had specially trained sniper teams using mounted scopes on their weapons. Your tax-deductible gift will help us to preserve this irreplaceable twice-hallowed ground at Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor — forever. In the meanwhile, back in Cu Chi, Lt. Rich Parris was listening intently to the radio while waiting for the third lift to take Delta Company into the Horseshoe. Within minutes, Willie had fired most of his M-79 rounds, over the heads of Alpha Company's men that were pinned down behind the first dike. The wounded soldier lurched forward over the dike; with his arms extended forward, walking toward the evacuation helicopter in quick jerking movements like Frankenstein. horseshoe hill, phuoc tuy province, vietnam, 1967-11. a view to the southeast from a machine gun bunker at the fire support base on horseshoe hill. Willie was now exhausted and these attempts had been painful for Doc. They immediately began to direct heavy suppressing fire on our mortar position to take us out. "-they were on top of a major Viet Cong bunker complex. Bowman Collection. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend (also known as Tohopeka, Cholocco Litabixbee, or The Horseshoe), was fought during the War of 1812 in the Mississippi Territory, now central Alabama.On March 27, 1814, United States forces and Indian allies under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks, a part of the Creek Indian tribe who opposed American expansion, effectively ending … The last days of August 1967 would become a dark and foreboding chapter in the history of the Manchus, Black Widows and the Black Hawks. Lt. Itow went back alone. Willie and others of the 2nd platoon began to move off the LZ toward the tree line and took up positions behind the third dike in front of the southern end of the VC bunker line. The Manchus would fight other battles with this VC Battalion and would learn more about them as the years of 1967-1968 went by. 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