HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ---- NOT!
A major attack occurred at LZ Oasis on 11May69, forever known as the "attack on Mother's Day";
several of our artillery brethren were on hand to relate the events

by Sp4 Rick Ericksen, Maj Jerry Orr, Lt Mike Kurtgis, 
Sp4 Milton Pounds, Sp4  Steven Cox, Sp4 Jeff LaBreck



NOT how I want to spend the day, son!

from Sp4 Rick Ericksen:

I remember LZ Oasis as we spent a 3-4 days there on stand down between missions. I remember two things about it. One, when we were there, we got hit one of the nights.  It started with light mortar fire and then a small or what seemed like a small group of Dinks coming in from the north side of the LZ where the chopper pad was. We were taking small arms fire for a short while and then it really started to heat up and there seem to be more then originally thought at first. Next thing I know there are several dinks hiding beside those giant JP # 4 fuel hard rubber bladders (or as we use to call them blevits).  BIG MISTAKE!

Next thing I know, the gunner manning one of the fifty cal's opens up on them and as soon as one of the tracer rounds hit the bladders, it looked like the 4th of July. 
It was unbelievably awesome, but also very scary. The heat was so intense if it wasn't for the thick sand bag walls/bunkers i think we might have been in big trouble ourselves. They acted as barriers from the flames/heat like a fire proof shield of some sort. Luckily we were, I guess a far enough distance to really not harm us or I would probably not be telling the tale.  When the others also blew up, it looked like mini-nukes going off.  It became a chain reaction of 3-4 of them going up all at once. All I remember was this gigantic fire ball that turned the night into day time and the heat from it was unbelievable. Soon as they all went it was "game over" for Charlie and his pals. They were, as best I remember, to the far left and further back away from the actual pad so as not to get hit or landed on by any choppers.  They had a real long injector-type hose that they would use and just plug it into one of the bladders and let gravity flow the fuel to the choppers. It sorted looked like the same type of hose an oil truck uses to deliver fuel oil to a home. Only difference it was extra thick and heavy-looking and jet black in color. It had a special type nozzle attached to it; I guess it was specially made for the choppers.
 
Everything came to a sudden halt, no more incoming rounds or anything.  We just sat there and watched it all night till daylight. After a while they sent out a squad of grunts to check for what was left. The only thing they found were some well done bodies and a very scorched chopper pad to say the least. I do not think this was the big attack I seem to remember that was at LZ St. George when they really got hit hard one night and lost a lot of guys etc. or we were out on another mission somewhere. I just found this guy and he says it was Mothers Day, 11May1969.

 

Additional comments found on a blog by Rick:

from Steven F. Constine, "B" Company, 704th Maintenance

Our worst battle, by far, was on May 11, 1969 (Mother’s Day.) A brigade-size VC/NVA force attacked our home base, LZ Oasis. In the beginning moments of the nighttime siege, we lost 11 of our brothers; over 54 WIAs. Our perimeter defenses were penetrated; firefights took place within the LZ, including some hand-to-hand combat. The battle lasted until dawn. Nearby artillery batteries, Cobra gunships and “Spooky” gunship support was utilized in our defense. Sporadic engagements continued for the next two days. We were all awake for the entire period; No-Doze tablets were distributed amongst the troops to facilitate alertness. The fourth day was devoted to collecting, counting and burying enemy bodies. On the fifth day, LZ resident units performed “search & locate” patrols to secure the area immediately surrounding the LZ. Tensions and anxiety were very high. These events are permanently entrenched in our minds and can never be erased.

By morning of the first day, we found over 45 NVA/VC KIA's. Three more times that Sunday we where attacked, and for the next 4 days, 3 GI's in listening posts where taken POW before the attack started. And me I can't remember a thing after the 1st day; nothing at all. I was there, I did what I was supposed to do, but I can't remember it to this day. God Bless all our Brothers that gave there all that night and the week to follow. LZ Oasis was part of the 3rd Bde, 4th Inf. Div. 
I’ve been told am not am real combat vet and I really don't give a damn anymore; I am proud of what I did and who I was and who I am!

 

from Maj Jerry Orr:

If I remember correctly, the NVA/Sapper attack enemy dead was 80-100 dead. The NVA/Sappers drug off many of their dead. The 3d Bde S2 found a mass grave, not far from Oasis, the next day. I believe the KIA was close to 100. American KIA was 12. Just an estimate. It was a helluva fight. They knocked out my Quad 50 and killed one of our soldiers. Same night I lost Lt Huffstutler. Our AO, pilot and crew chief flew into Dragon mountain. Really bad thunder storm moved in. Could not see. Last transmission was: "Can't see...we're going in." I'll never forget that. They we're damn good men...as were so many others.

The gunner in the "Duster" (twin 40mm guns) did a helluva job before he was killed. He was recommended for decoration for a valor. I signed off on it. I also have some pictures or dead VC Sappers. I was extremely proud of all of you that night! Sent Moon out to re-establish contact with the firing battery on our LZ, then remembered he was to go home the next day.  Breathed a sign of relief when he returned to the TOC. He never hesitated when I ordered him to go. Helluva soldier...ALL OF YOU we're incredible fighting men. I shall always remember that time of my life as a soldier. HOO Ah!!

{Footnote: John "Moon" Mullins points out that Lt Huffstutler was KIA on 18May69, which was after the Mothers Day attack.}

 

from Lt Mike Kurtgis:

Yes, it was Mothers Day May 11, 1969.  I have a photo of the burned blevit area and a crispy critter.  It was the NW west corner of the perimeter where the Hawk Radar unit was that was destroyed and the 40mm duster that was also taken out.

 

 

from Sp4 Steven Cox:

Monday, 12May1969, is a date that all that were there at the Oasis will not forget. I remember rounds started coming in that night. Mortar rounds were hitting everywhere, and B-40 rockets were hitting the trees. A field phone hard line cable got hit and cut in two. Because this line came out of the fire direction center, the FDC could not bring up the guns at the Oasis. The communications officer got the Commo Sgt and me to run line on the ground to a box on a telephone pole, with rounds hitting all around us. Then I was asked to take a prick (PRC) 25 radio to a bunker. I think it was bunker number 1 or 2. I remember it had a guard tower next to it. All the time that I was at Ben Het and all that was going on around us, it did not get to me. But taking that radio to that bunker, I could see some trigger happy GI taking a shot at me with all that was happening at the time. I kept low in a drainage ditch that ran along the front of 4th ID HQ. Our FDC had called the bunkers and told them I was coming out to bring a radio for them to use. Later on, they came and told me that I was going to be put in for a medal. I told the sergeant I was just doing my job. A mother’s prayers work, and God will talk to them and make them aware of what is going on. After getting home in 1970, on Mother’s Day my mother told me about what had happened to her last Mother’s Day. She told me that the Lord woke her up from her sleep on Saturday night late. Early Sunday morning, she got my father up and told him that they needed to pray for Steven right now. My mother prayed all day Sunday and that night.  

 

from Lt David Scott:

I have vivid memories of that event. I was the Bde LNO at the time and spent most of it in the Brigade TOC.

 

from Sp4 Jeff LaBreck:

I was also at the Oasis during that Mother's Day attack.  I was on shift in the FDC TOC and we were going to go off shift at 0200hrs. When the incoming started, we were kept on shift until about 0700. When I got back to my tent, I found that my peace flag (that I brought to the historic 2/9th FA Reunion) had been hit when a B-40 Rocket when it through our tent. As I remember, there were several sappers that were crossing our fixed wing airstrip; they were basically dismembered when they were shot with a 90mm canister round from one of the tanks.


from Sp4 Milton Pounds:

I was the one that hit the “incoming” siren the first two nights and activated the counter mortar – counter rocket fire.  I also have some slides of “Puff” working our perimeter at night, Cobras during the day, some slides of the next few days, and the “IVY” paper account of the attacks. 

 

 

 

LETTERS OF APPRECIATION:
contributed by Mark Gannon

 

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