Hill 452 Page 1

NOTE:  With a couple exceptions, the pictures on these pages are
 my personal property.  The others belong to friends who have given
 
me permission to post them here.  None can be used without permission.

 

Hill 452 was a high, steep-sided hill sitting all by itself near the far end of the huge Hiep Duc valley.  Since before I arrived in Nam, it was already a permanently-occupied observation post.  Whenever a team departed 452, it was replaced by another team.  A patrol to 452 was considered pretty easy duty since the chances of getting hit there were so remote. 

Initially, it was only accessible by landing a helo on a finger of the hill about 150 feet below the summit and climbing almost vertically up the granite side of the hill using a rope.  Everything we needed in the way of supplies, ammunition, etc, had to be hauled up on that rope.  At some point about late summer of 1967, the Sea Bees took a team up there and built a small wooden LZ that jutted off the side of the hill facing the river.  After that, the helos could drop their main gear on the pad (nose gear hanging off in space) and men and cargo got dumped on the side of the hill with only about a 20 meter hike to the top. 

RT Grim Reaper only went up there three-four  times and it seems the trip on March 1967 was the only time I took any pictures. 

 

This was my home-sweet-home on 452.  It was made by snapping a couple old and unserviceable ponchos together to form a lean-to.  You can see light coming through several holes in the ponchos; rain came through them as well.  The hill was made of volcanic rock or something.  Whatever it was it was hard as....well, a ROCK!  There wasn't even much dirt on top the hill to use to cushion the rocky surface and sleeping was a rather miserable proposition.  Still, one could relax a bit up there since the chances of the enemy being able to scale the steep sides of the hill undetected were remote.


 

This is looking down off the side of 452 into the valley and the river.
 

 

While it was pretty easy duty, it wasn't all R&R.  The mission was to keep the valley under observation for enemy movement.  This shot and the one immediately below were taken during an air strike we had called in on an NVA column moving through the valley.  The top one shows a 500lb bomb going off.  The one below is a napalm canister igniting just to the left of where the bomb had hit.

 

 

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