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The graveyards are full of indispensable men.-- Charles de Gaulle
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Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
I think it is safe to say that everyone's first impression upon arriving in country to Vietnam was unique to that individual. It would be dependent on a persons' expectations and what his life experiences were subsequent to arrival, as-well-as, the time and place you came in country. Even so, I expect that some common chords are shared in each.
As the War had to be, I shall always be glad I was able to play even a negligible part in it, or I should never have known with such certainty the madness of it. During training I was aware only of the glamour of War. I prepared myself for it with enthusiasm, and bayoneted and clubbed the stuffed sacks representing the enemy with a sort of exalted ferocity. I was as jealous of my regiment as I used to be of my school.
I entered active duty with the 47th Infantry Division from Minnesota. At the time I arrived in Korea, I was originally assigned to A Battery 143rd FA as Recon & Survey Officer on August 16, 1952. I was 1st Lt at that time. All of us, except the battery commander and executive officer, pulled tours as forward observer with the Korean infantry units we were supporting at that time.
We were dropped into the channel from the mother ship at about 4:30 in the morning. I was the intelligence sergeant in headquarters company so a few weeks prior to the invasion I was put into a Quonset hut that had triple Concertina wire around it and was under 24 hour guard.
Sept. 25, 1862, Antietam, MD Dear Brother, I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well. I like here full as well as I expected. We are now encamped on the banks of the Potomac River about six miles above Harper's Ferry.
The 103rd Infantry (Cactus) Division left Camp Howze, Texas during the last half of September 1944. I, Hallet K. Brown, known as H. K., was a member of the 410th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (Company D). Company D, a heavy weapons company, consisted of one mortar (80 mm) and two machine gun (.30 caliber) platoons. I was the first gunner, responsible for carrying the tripod and firing the gun, of the Eighth Squad (8 members), Second Section, Second Platoon.
Our fireteam (Det8), was staging off the Hunderton County (LST-838) and out of the Rach Gia short strip. We had been flying combat ops between Long Xuyen and Rach Gia and had spotted about a half acre of (VC) watermelons growing on a flat spot above a village which was along a river.
I was flying C&C for an operation in lower III Corps, near the end of the Plain of Reeds, actually further SE, near the Thumb and the Testicles, if you know the area. Our Company XO, a fairly new Captain and aviator and a great guy, was my PP.
Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
After a year in Peru in 1946 teaching Peruvian pilots to fly P-47’s, I returned to the U.S. in 1947, was assigned to the 161st Tac Recon Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia, which operated new RF-80’s. I was delighted, but when Lt. Col. Jim Rose the Squadron C.O. had to offer someone for a base headquarters assignment, he picked me — I was out.
As I have a little time I thought I would write you a few lines to let the people at home know how I am getting along. I have been over in this country about five months and like it fine. We get plenty to eat these days but have hard time to eat it. Just think, I only weighed one hundred and forty-five pounds when I landed over here, and I was weighed the other day and weighed one hundred and seventy-two pounds.
Our Combat Crew's operated RB-29s prior to the Korean Conflict from Kadena AB, Okinawa. We were accomplishing border surveillance flights both electronic and visual photography of sensitive areas with some overflights of targets of concern to the defense of the United States. Unfortunately our equipment, both aircraft, photo and electronic capabilities were antiquated and derelict.
The 1/50 finished its participation in the joint Operation Cochise and counterpart ARVN operation in the Soui Ca Valley and moved to AO Walker, An Khe area with the mission of securing QL19 and conducting operations within the AO, securing LZ Schueller, LZ Action, manning Strong Points and bridges along a historic but treacherous road, QL19. QL stands for National Highway in Vietnamese.
It was raining hard again, the monsoon deluge pouring down in sheets. 2d platoon had been out in the field for how many days? Weeks maybe. I had no idea what day it was anymore, but at the last resupply, they'd brought out some Stars and Stripes dated December 21st, so I knew it was somewhere around Christmas.
1814: British attack the American forces at Ft. Ontario, Oswego, New York.
1862: Union and Confederate forces clash at the Battle of Williamsburg, part of the Peninsula Campaign.
1862: Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeat troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla.
1864: The forces of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee clash in the Wilderness, beginning an epic campaign.
1916: U.S. Marines invade the Dominican Republic.
1945: Holland and Denmark are liberated from Nazi control.
1968: U.S. Air Force planes hit Nhi Ha, South Vietnam in support of attacking infantrymen.
1970: In Cambodia, a U.S. force captures Snoul, 20 miles from the tip of the "Fishhook" area (across the border from South Vietnam, 70 miles from Saigon). A squadron of nearly 100 tanks from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and jet planes virtually leveled the village that had been held by the North Vietnamese.