ADVENTURES AT LZ ANCHOR
{Thanks to Lt Gary Dean Springer's diary, the exact date is 4 April 67}

 

What it felt like....

What it actually looked like....
{photo courtesy of Sp5 Joe Turner}

This "ka-boom" didn't come from the guns...

It was Spring, 1967.  The 3rd Brigade, 25th Inf Division invaded the area of Duc Pho, the "VC Vacation Land", as it was known back then.  After setting up HQ at LZ Montezuma, the line companies had their hands full with plenty "contact" missions and firefights.  We knew we had ventured into "their territory".

In March, 1967, the 1st Cav had units operating in the area.   LZ Anchor (a hill in the Central Highlands) was a key location in providing direct support artillery fire for the search and destroy missions.   At some point later, Battalion intelligence and operations directed "A" Battery to re-occupy the LZ for support of new and additional search and destroy missions.  That's when the adventures began.

First off, the highly prized, welded-together CONEX containers*  that provided quick mobility and operational setup of the FDC were dropped enroute to location.   Goodbye to the metal fortress protecting our FDC unit and hello tents.

At dusk, the entire hill was rocked by a tremendous explosion.  A 250-lb AF dud was buried in the previous trash sump and touched off.  Thankfully, the enemy planted the bomb so deep to avoid detection that the earth took the bulk of the shock.  The blast went straight up.  Thank God there were no guns sitting atop the blast and there were no KIAs.  Three (3) cannoneers suffered minor ear injuries due to the powerful concussion.  Lt Dennis Munden recalls that he was "knocked on his butt" from the blast and suffered no injury.  The injury part came later when he foolishly picked up a piece of shrapnel from one on the bombs dropped by an A1E Raider.  "I reached over and picked it up and blistered the palm of my hand rather badly because it was still so hot".

Lt Dennis Dauphin recalls that he was at the opposite end of LZ Anchor when the bomb went off.   "It felt like it rained mud and dirt for three solid minutes".  He was talking to Battery Commander Captain Keith Carlton at the time of the incident.   Lt Munden recalls that we "found the wire - American WD1 commo wire - that was used to set it off.  It was neatly hidden in the grass".  One of the line units followed the wire the next day to the point were the enemy set it off.

The decision came down rather quickly to get off this hill.

But the adventure didn't quite end there.  Lt Dauphin was appointed to manage the RSOP back to LZ OD.  As the last of the unit personnel and equipment was being lifted off, he thought he saw his last day in Vietnam.   "The entire hill was surrounded by Vietnamese in their classic black silk clothing.  I was scared shitless.  I stood there with my M16 staring at all these people.  Thankfully, it kicked in that they were just standing there, peacefully, quietly and patiently.  I then realized that they were just waiting for us to leave so they could begin their salvage hunt of the LZ.  Our "trash was their treasure".  I am so thankful...to this day...that I did not open fire on them.


Recollections from: Lt Dennis Munden and Lt Dennis Dauphin, "A" Btry, 2/9th.

"Small World" Coincidences:  One of the three cannoneers injured by the concussion of the blast found my name on The Mighty Ninth website many years after Vietnam called me because he was having trouble proving to the VA that he suffered his ear injury.  I contacted attorney Carroll Mayhew, who also happened to be a member of A/2/9 and together we got him the benefits he deserved.  - Webmaster Dennis Dauphin

     *Per Gary (Dean) Springer, the idea of two CONEX containers cut & welded together to form a mobile FDC unit came from Lt Kermit DeVaughn and approved by LtCol Bruce Holbrook

Additional information about operations at LZ Anchor can be found at "www.tallcomanche.org".
"Great Trench of Bloody Hell"

 

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