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No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.-- General Douglas MacArthur
Tet 68 at Camp Red Ball11481 Reads
I was drafted 3 weeks after graduating from high school and went in the Army in September of 1966. After basic training at Fort Campbell and AIT at Fort Polk, I was sent to Vietnam in March of 1967 with an 11B10 light weapons infantry MOS. My first three weeks in-country were spent in a security platoon on the Bien Hoa air base perimeter.
When the 173rd Airborne moved to Bien Hoa, the security platoon, part of the 537th Pers Svc Co. was disbanded and I was re-assigned to the 1st Log Command, HHC USASUPCOM - SGN, and began an 11 month assignment as a member of Army Air Cargo.
Note: by Andrew R. Ansenberger, 368th Transportation Company
Re: Tet 68 at Camp Red Ball
on Jul 27, 2004
I was stationed with a MACV Unit the night Tet broke out, I was an 11B primary MOS and had not seen any action. In the early morning hours while I was up in a tower doing tower guard, I hears a swoosh go over my head, then I heard a loud explosion. Our mess hall went up in smoke and flames. I was stunned, and didn't know what happened, then I heard thump, thump, thump, and there was 3 explosions on our compound, I got on the old crank phone, and called the SGT of the guard, and told him what I saw and heard. Our Platoon Sergeant was Korean War veterean, he was running like mad toward the TOC, he was saying loudly, incoming, incoming, I finally realized what was happening we being mortared, and rocketed, I heard three more thumps, three more explosions. Then the fear of God struck me, I saw approx 10 men in black PJ's running toward our compound and firing, their AK-47's. We were not armed with M-16's, we armed with M-14's I stared to pull the trigger on my weapon and nothing happned, I performed immediate action and ejected what I thought was a bad round, this happened three times, before I realized I had the safety on. This was definetly showing that I was a true FNG. The VC attack strength, and we thought we would be over run, but help came in the form of the Big Red One, a platoon of infantry from the Big Red One landed on our compound, with their help, and leadership, we were able to hold off the attack. By some miracle no one on our compound was killed, but there were 6 guys wounded, 1 from the Big Red One Platoon, and 5 guys from my platoon. I will never forget TET 1968, the war was brought to me, and although I only saw one more attack which was in May 1968, the incident did change me. I found out what fear was, and learned that I could do my job with the fear.
Re: Tet 68 at Camp Red Ball
on Oct 12, 2006
Then came Tet'68. Charlie came through the small village of Bien Hoa, killing the women and children they found hiding there. I understand they used bayonets and machetes to kill them.
When they came out on the other side of Bien Hoa, they found themselves in a small valley (of sorts) between Bien Hoa and Long Binh. They also found themselves surrounded by the 3d Sqdn, 11th ACR. The 11th ACR poured it on them. Charlie frantically fought to find some way out of that valley. I know of two places they managed to break through. One at the SouthWest corner of Long Binh and the other at our gate into Bien Hoa.
The 101st Airborne was guarding our perimeter. They were new and green. USARV had broken the division up to situate each brigade with veteran forces. One brigade, I believe the 3rd Brigade, was placed at Bien Hoa. Their defensive perimeter was overrun by Charlie that day.
There were only MPs and the members of the 537th Personnel Service Company left to stop them. After a period of time Charlie was cornered in the Bien Hoa Jungle Training Site.
As I recall, the MPs lost three or four men and the 537th lost 1 soldier - Specialist Steffes. We had been standing near our headquarters when he was hit mid section. I understand it was a large calibeer round - a 50 caliber round.
Things began to finally settle down only to flare back up again, when Charlie returned in May 1968. We were beginning to wonder if this offensive would ever end.
As luck would have it, it was lucky that I had got to Bien Hoa and not to Siagon. The hotel I would have stayed at was overrun by Charlie. The soldiers there had no weapons and were guarded by one or two armed guards. Some one was watching over me after all.
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