Sp4 Greg J. Malnar
From LZ OD to LZ Mile High - "A" Battery CONEX
LZ Mile High I, was where we went from LZ OD in Oct'67. In the monsoon, also I think there was a typhoon that hit at the same time. It was a miserable first two full weeks. Nothing was dry and you could not dig in.
We had the "A" Battery CONEX there. After that, towards the end of October or real early November, we went down to the flat lands with the CONEX to an LZ which I remember as LZ Colt but I can't find anyone to confirm this LZ. This sticks in my mind because that is when I was granted the privilege of being sent to the field with Charlie Company, 1/35th, as the replacement RTO with Bert Landau as FO. When I came back to the Battery, I was at LZ Baldy with Monty Laffitte as FO. I remember getting word about Capt. Casp (was KIA in a recon chopper being shot down). While I was with the Grunts and as far as what firing base I was at, as best I remember it was LZ Colt because I remember firing support for LZ Ross during TET. After that we ("A" Battery) were bounced around about every two weeks or so it seemed, and we were sent to previously occupied LZs, so maybe that's why we had no CONEX. I do know we had it at FSB 14 (renamed LZ Incoming) and at Mile High II.
Memories from the Bob Becker (A/2/9) film
do appear in the
film. It starts at LZ Mile High , which was the LZ that
was airlifted from "LZ
as it became
We were at a higher elevation but only a klick or so from LZ 14. This was early April (1968) as I recall, and we were still in a area of extreme NVA and Cong activity and strength. I don't know what others felt, but I had the feeling we were bait for a bigger operation to "draw 'em out and get the kills" as it were.
We had two officers that I remember as doing a good job over the trying previous 2 to 4 weeks and one jerk battery CO who showed his true colors once we came under fire and were in contact with Charlie. After leaving LZ Incoming having had casualties, to include the loss of at least one tube and, as I recall, one KIA. His nickname was Dusty as I recall. My memory of him is dim. I do recall the guys wanted to name the new LZ for him, but that went nowhere. Once again the Gun Bunnies, Grunts and enlisted men and their ideas and experience did not count for much as far as the command levels in this war were concerned. Yeah, that's an editorial comment and something I felt all during my fifteen months in country. Be that as it may, we got to the new LZ and began to regroup and get ourselves back into a fighting force to be dealt with.
was a tough LZ:
rocks and damn hard ground. This
was not advantageous
to us or our infantry brothers.
There was a
big loss for C/1/35
at the bottom of hill on I think 04/15/68. I was out with a lot of those guys
earlier in Bert (Lt
FO team in late '67 and
so it was kind of personal for Bert and
along with being another example of how hot this area was. We saw and felt a
lot of close in air support and more than one Arc light (B-52) bombing runs.
The enemy was relentless in coming after us and getting us out of the area;
they must had something big or going on there. It was about the most active 4
to 8 weeks I remember.
Along with the tough conditions on the ground, the weather patterns and fog would play havoc with firing missions and resupply. Fog... my God, did we have fog. You had to wait for a window to get the choppers in and out and hope they would send them. I remember they refused a few times. As I said earlier, this was not a good spot for A/2/9. But I'll tell you what, we did a hell of a job with what we had to work with and got the job done! Proud to say I was part of that group of guys.
As an aside, does anyone remember when we had to call in a Medivac for a couple of ARVNs that had head wounds from 7.62 shells they trying to take apart to get the gunpowder? Who knows why they did it, but the rounds detonated and the Dust-off had to make 2 or 3 runs through the fog to get to us. The mission was called in as "friendlies with head wounds." When those flyboys found out it was them and not GI's that they risked their lives for, they were pissed to no end. Those fly boys were some of the best when it came to operating under fire and in danger. God love them Choppers!
We got a new Btry CO at this LZ by the name of Capt. Fagan. He was gung-ho and ready to go. Had a lot of enthusiasm and had a lot of respect for the guys and what they went through and wanted to get and keep the morale up. But his downfall was getting too involved with the day-in, day-out operations that should have been done by the NCOs and enlisted men. It caught up with him when he decided to guide in a C-47 resupply load. He took the smoke grenade to show the location for the drop, but the grenade was booby trapped and blew up in his hand. Don't how much of it he lost, but we never saw him again after he was evacuated.
Lts (Wayne D.) George & Landau were the ones I remember as the FDO and XO. They went through LZ Incoming and held thing together while having to deal with that battery CO I mentioned earlier . I was more or less running one shift of FDC at this time and I think Steve G had the NCO duties on the other one, if we did have one. We were tight on personnel through the whole battery at this time and once again we did a hell of a job to do our mission and move on to the next one.
As I recall, there was a Radar operation on Mile High. I can't remember a lot about that, other than it was another reason Charlie was so intense on getting us out of there.
I'm sure there are more things that this video brings to mind; I do wish I could recall more. The more times I look at that film and faces and places in it, along with other recollections on The Mighty Ninth website, I'm glad we have it and I want to give a shout out to Dennis for getting and keeping it and us going. Thanks, Lt. D. that this video brings to mind; I do wish I could recall more. The more times I look at that film and faces and places in it, along with other recollections on The Mighty Ninth website, I'm glad we have it and I want to give a shout out to Dennis for getting and keeping it and us going. Thanks, Lt. D.