Company-Sized Operation

Page 1

 

NOTE:  With a couple exceptions, the pictures on these pages
are my personal property and cannot be used without permission.

 

In June of 1967 Bravo Company was chosen to run the first-ever Company-sized reconnaissance patrol in Vietnam.  Early in the afternoon of the day before the operation kicked off, the entire company boarded 2 1/2 ton "6-by" trucks for the trip to the 7th Marine Regiment combat base.  We were put up in tents for the evening and it immediately began pouring rain.  It rained until well past the 0400 formation time and well past the appointed departure time.  By the time we finally got started, the rain had finally quit. 

Unlike normal ops where we were inserted by helicopter, our insert this time would be via an armored convoy to the "end of the road."  From there, we would move on foot along with a platoon of Grunts who were familiar with the area a couple more kilometers up to the foothills where the Grunts turned back.  From that point we climbed up into the mountains to hunt for enemy moving into position to attack or rocket the 7th Marines on our own.

The picture above was taken from the top of the Amtrac I was riding on as we left the "gate" of the 7th Marines area.

 

The shot was taken while sitting on the back deck of the Amtrac while heading out to the drop-off site.  We had recently passed through a small Ville but this church was almost a "click" outside the Ville sitting out there all by itself.  You can't see it but there is a high masonry wall all around the church.  the wall was probably about 6 feet high as it came just about to the height of the top deck of the Amtrac (the wall is just out of the frame at the bottom).

 

The picture above was taken as the convoy was approaching the point where we disembarked to go on foot.  The last vehicle in the line is a rather interesting light armored vehicle particular to the Marines.  It's called an "Ontos" which is Greek for "the thing."  It's a lightly armored, tracked vehicle with a small turret.  The turret has mounts on the outside for six 106mm recoilless rifles.  In their convoy protection role, as here, they were normally loaded with what we called "bee-hive" rounds; that is rounds with several hundreds tiny metal darts that, when fired, literally shredded a target.  They were real ambush-breakers.  As it turned out, the convoy part was uneventful.
 

We're walking along a streambed in a small valley in the hills near the 7th Marine combat base.  At the front id CPL Stone, followed by LCPL Francis "Boogie" Bowers, and behind him is Andy Mecca. 

 

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