H & I TARGET:
FIRE FOR EFFECT???
(Col. Shanahan: What the hell is going on out there?)
If you read and believed everything
typed up at Battalion Headquarters, the Forward Observers (FO) were supposed to
be getting FDC training as well as familiarization with the fire missions the
batteries executed when they came in for a "break" from the
field. Obviously, the Battalion Commander's directives were not being
followed; perhaps not even being read.
because of lack of the directed training, and a group of EM's who were manning
the FDC (Fire Direction Center) wanting to see a
"Butter Bar" make a fool of himself, it was a perfect "set
up". The nightly H&I (harassing & interdiction) targets were
about to become a "real mission" instead of a nightly exercise for the
my first night in the FDC after coming out of the field as an FO with no
briefing, I was given a "fire mission". Not knowing any
different, I fired the entire battery in effect after adjusting. What I
didn't know was that it was an H&I target at Bong
Son. This sudden barrage of artillery fire on an otherwise quiet
evening drew the attention of the Brigade Commander Col James Shanahan. He wanted to know
"what the hell was going on out there?"
was called in as a "Fire Mission" and not an H&I. I
how many rounds were fired "for effect". It seems that the FO
was watching a trail from an observation point that the Dinks used and wanted us
to be ready in case he spotted any movement. What he spotted
instead was the trail lighting up like a Christmas tree! As it turned out,
no one was hurt and I wasn't the one who got in trouble.
trail was probably hard to find come daylight.
by Lt Dennis Munden