MAJ JERRY ORR
FIELD HEADQUARTERS - Memories of LZ Oasis
LZ Oasis was Field HQ for 3rd Bde and 2/9th FA . We had some Signal and Intel units also working out of Oasis. Admin (S1) and Supply (S4) were at Enari. Oasis was a hop, skip, and jump from the Cambodian border and Laos. We had Special Forces at Duc Co, and I cannot remember the ones to south. The Ah Shau Valley and Chu Pa had the 66th NVA loaded in there. Same as Cav when they were there 1965? And I think those of you there earlier also fought the same units. The NVA could have a unit completely destroyed, but would replace them and NEVER change the unit designation. Mother's Day battle at OASIS was a "Bitch Hit" by reinforced regular NVA Bns and Sapper Bns. We had just positioned a Radar section on the West side of LZ. We had been getting reports of helicopter activity near border. They were identified as French Alouette helicopters and were inserting NVA, advised by Chinese troops. Mostly mining roads and intelligence gathering missions. When the RADAR detected aircraft movement, we fired a Btry 2 rounds at them. I wanted us to be the first FA unit to shoot down a enemy helicopter. Sadly we were not successful.
FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENT - Patrol had incorrect location
I can only remember one incident of a fire mission that killed one of our Infantry brothers ('68-'69). The patrol that called in the fire mission was not where they said they were. It resulted in a tree burst killing an NCO. I went out to investigate and talk with the Battalion Cmdr. He confirmed that it was not our fault. His comment was "you artillery guys are your own worst enemy. It was a tragic accident. He made an error reporting his position. You had no way of knowing. You have pulled us out of many tight situations by firing danger close. You are doing a great job supporting us."
Still I carry that memory. Have never forgotten. However, after 40 years at the recent union with our 35th Regiment brothers, a 35th Infantry Company Commander, tracked me down. He asked if I remembered the May 11, 1969 battle we were in. I did, it was "Mother's Day" and they had locked up with the 66th NVA there in the Highlands, Ah Shau Valley. I had three Batteries firing in support. One of which was a 155 SP attached as re-inforcing. He said his company was first on the ground and that they were in one helluva fire fight and needed "beaucoup" Artillery NOW! He said "we fired over 3,000 Rounds in that action and he and MANY of his men would not be alive today without our support." And IT WAS DANGER CLOSE and we DID NOT KILL OR WOUND any of our brother "Bluelegs!" We did do our job and we are honored and respected by our fellow Infantry brothers. Be proud of what you contributed in that War. You all have my undying gratitude and respect as soldiers who I had the honor of serving with.
Celebrities Visit The Oasis
Comedian Joey Bishop and the beautiful actress and model Tippi Hedren visited the Oasis and we had lunch with them. By coincidence, Joey's manager's last name was ORR. After lunch I was showing them around the LZ. Joey said he wanted to go out to some of the firebases and visit with the troops. I told him we could not do that; it was too dangerous. His reply was "Bullshit"...I want to visit the troops.
After losing my argument with him, I agreed, but told him that the chopper would not shut down and if we had incoming, if I had to, I would throw him and Tippi into the chopper and get off the firebase. We went to two of our batteries, Charlie and Alpha. They made it out and they talked with our guys. Of course when they saw Tippi they went ballistic. It was one helluva morale booster for our guys. I'll never forget that day. Both of them had the courage and concern for our guys. HOOAH!!
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