Sp5 Dave PriceI arrived in mid-Sept 67, came home the end of Aug 68 when my 2 year draft was up. The Cam Rahn Bay barracks picture was when I went over. I do remember arriving there about 0430 and spending much of the day having to build lockers and not get any sleep. And there were some barracks there when I arrived.
Lt Col Bobzien was in charge when I arrived at Duc Pho, and he was gone sometime during the summer of 68. I remember him well because the first time I saw him he chewed me out for not saluting him after I walked past him. A few days earlier in Cam Rahn, I had been chewed out by an officer who told me NOT to salute in a combat zone. Officers ... go figure. I did work out well with Col Bobzien because, as shift Noncom in charge of Bn FDC, I usually participated in briefing him. He told me one morning that I displayed good leadership skills and should consider applying to West Point. I told him I already was a college grad, and he said "I forgot that many of you enlisted men are now college grads." I admired him and Major (Stuart) Wright greatly. I was frustrated with the amount of calculations needed to adjust for weather from the Met Messages, which resulted in us rarely using them. (The fact that the maps weren't very accurate and the FO's often couldn't pinpoint their locations meant using the Met Messages to fine tune our firing data was a waste of time.) But during quiet times on night shift in FDC, I worked out a Met Message abbreviated calculation form to replace the complex calculations the full form required. Major Wright was so impressed with its simplicity and accuracy that he said he would send it along for review. I appreciated his positive recognition on that, but the form probably never got very far along before the bureaucracy swallowed it up. Later the Motorola FADAC computer did it all automatically (we used to have races computing firing data against the FADAC and usually the machine lost).
I remember we were told when we were there that the 3rd Brigade moved more in our 12 months than any other non-airborne brigade had moved in history. I don't remember the LZ names of the firing batteries very well, but here are the locations I was at for Battalion FDC:
1. LZ Bronco - Duc Pho - I came
here in Sept 67, unit moved in Jan 68.
2. LZ Gator - Near Chu Lai - This was a forward Brigade CP during a couple of weeks in early Jan 68. This was a temporary move, and almost everyone else was left back at Duc Pho. Major Wright had sent 3 of us to man this forward Bn FDC: Jim Fitzpatrick (who had been in "C" Btry?), and Eldon Smith and I from Bn FDC.
3. LZ Baldy - South of Hoi An - We moved into this location where the 1st Cav had been. Mid Jan thru Feb? Was here for the 68 Tet offensive. No fighting, just getting peppered with some mortars and rockets. Thankfully, only one guy on the LZ was killed during Tet.
4. LZ English - Bong Son - I think we were here part of Feb-March 68.
5. LZ Mickey Mouse - Kontum - Not sure of months here, but I went on R&R to Sydney in April , and was at Kontum at the time. Probably here roughly March - May? Bn FDC was in an underground bunker that was already there when we arrived. Being underground made it a little cooler, but when the monsoon rains came ... we manned the radios standing on chairs while a bucket brigade was needed to keep the damned place from flooding. An engineering marvel.
6. LZ Mary Lou - South of Kontum - Only the Army would move a Brigade camp only a few klicks. The engineers built us a great underground bunker for Bn FDC. I think we were here roughly June and July?
7. LZ Oasis - West of Pleiku - Were there about a month or so, and I rotated out of there in late August 68.
I got to work with some truly fine people over there in Bn FDC. Many of our counterparts in the firing batteries, of course, I knew only over the radio so will never know their names or faces, but what a great bunch of guys.
APRIL - MAY, 1968: LZ INCOMING
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