Bong Son Vietnam 1965-1966, pg. 1

Left to Right: Jim, Tommy, Charlie, Chief, Ernie, top of Daffy’s head,
Bear’s back and Joe’s head (Joe usually had on shades
so was easy to pick out).

This is the team’s arrival in Nha Trang out of Okinawa on a C 124. We had a couple of days of briefing, then were given our area assignment and mission.

In An Khe after being briefed by the B Team and
ready to head to Bong Son the next day.

Left to right:  Rudy, Ernie with little Montangard boy,
Ski (with back to camera), and Doc

Tent city in Nha Trang on our way to II Corps: Daffron, Doc, Ski & Bear

Camp Bong Son from the air (photo taken by Bucky)

This photo shows our camp layout; the dark line around camp is a fighting wall (earthen berm) with MG bunkers. The inner green circle with flaming arrow is SF inner perimeter (can’t see sand bag wall all around). The arrow points directly at underground (Tactical Operations Center (TOC). The arrow was constructed of tin about 3’ long that held about 12 small containers of gas. The arrow was mounted on about a 5’ pole that could be turned in any direction. The arrow could be used during a night attack to inform air coverage what part of camp VC’s were the strongest at. That could be accomplished by lighting the small containers of gas in the arrow and pointing it at the VC’s strong point. Thank GOD we never had to use the flaming arrow. (Thanks Chief & Joe forthe info about the arrow.) The four tin roof buildings on the right side are, from top to bottom, the Dispensary with Red Cross, supply, mess, and office/interpreters quarters.

Both docs slept in the dispensary (which never got hit). Daffy, Joe & Bucky (and later Ham) slept in supply, and during the monsoon season, I moved in with the interpreters. In the inner perimeter are two circles which were 81mm mortar pits; Rudy slept in the top one and Ernie in the bottom one. The mound to the right of the bottom 81 pit is the ammo bunker where I slept until the monsoon season when the rats and water level got the best of me. There were two re-supply tunnels running from ammo to each 81 pit. The old man and both commo’s (Charlie & Bear) slept in the TOC. There was a weapons repair shack just past Ernie’s pit where Ski slept. Our air strip (1000 meters long) is to the north and could handle up to a C123.

The Dirty Dozen

This was taken early on, probably late October or early November
of ‘65 because Ham not in it.

Left to right, back row:  Ernie, Rudy, Daffy, Charlie, Doc Tisor

Left to right, front row:  Cap’n Jim, Bear, Ski, Joe, Bucky, and Da’Chief.
Tommy (Junior Doc) somehow escaped.

The An Lao Valley

The An Lao Valley was a VC Sanctuary (photo by Bucky) - this photo is north top oriented. Very fertile area which the VC and later NVA taxed heavily for rice. We tried several times to penetrate it but never got any further than the hamlet at the big bend - never had the manpower to go into it.

Probably for the best because there was at least one battalion of hardcore VC and one of NVA plus all the local partime VC units. Most of us made several aerial recons in an L19 (two-seater prop AC) and we took heavy ground fire each time. The FAC airplane driver was a wizard at not getting us it - we would spray targets with our M16s while he would lay in a couple of HE rockets and sometimes WP and then he would zoom straight up and get us the hell out of there.

Ski giving what looks like a class on squad and platoon tactics with Jack interpreting and Jim squatted foreground observing- this was our cadre class that we really concentrated on training so they could become the trainers when we formed more companies.

Each camp was authorized to recruit and train four companies of l20 each of CIDG (Civilian Irregular Defense Group) whom we called “Strikers”.

This was our cadre class graduation with the LLDB on the right and SF on the left. The LLDB had only been in camp a week or so and hadn’t been able to contaminate the trainees as we had almost finished their training when the LLDB came in Dec 65.

Standing L to R:  Daffy, Ski, Bear, Rudy and Doc Tisor
Squatting L to R: Charlie, Jim, Chief, Ermie & Joe.

L to R:  Ham, Chief, Charley getting some late dinner after a day recon around camp to check for tunnel entrances, boobies and mortar aiming stakes. This is how we found the aiming stakes in the sandstone quarries south of camp targeting the TOC, mortar pits, ammo dump commo generator, etc.