Ed "Spooky" Nored

RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70

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4-1-70 L.Z. Candy

Received mortar rounds from the enemy during the night. About a dozen people are wounded including Vinny Sciarretti who died the next day. "Ski" escorts body home.

Lt. Piekarski's account of the early morning mortar attack:

"I remember L.Z.Candy and building this base for about 7 days. Also remember encountering the first rain of the Monsoon season. Every night at dusk the rain would hit and wash away most of the work that  was done that day. On the night of March 31/April 1 I was the Officer on duty. It had been about an hour since my last check of the parameter. I was in the T.O.C., talking to one of the radio operators when all hell broke loose.  We weren't even sure it was a mortar.(For one thing I had never been hit by a mortar round before.) It was the first or second incoming round that struck on or near the T.O.C. because the next thing we saw were several people struggling out of the corridor leading from the main TOC center. This "wing" was the sleeping quarters of the Battalion  Senior NCO staff and the first man out was the Bn. Sgt. Major, who had been hit by shrapnel. Several others had been hit and the place was filled with smoke and dust. I went to the corridor for the Bn. CO and he was already up, along with Capt. Perkins. When the Bn. CO McClosky came out to the main T.O.C area, I headed out to the parameter section for 3rd. platoon On the way there I could hear another incoming round hit inside the parameter. After getting up I began to head for my bunker. (See photo ,"Piekarski caught with his pants down," that's his bunker.) While doing so I noticed a small group of 3rd. platoon people huddled close to Don Ketchams bunker. I headed for them and found Vinny had been hit. A medic was there and Vinny seemed to still be conscious and we were talking to him trying to give all the positive encouragement we could. He was then taken to the aid station. After the mortaring had stopped, I remember  Capt. Perkins wanting to send out a platoon that night to find the enemy location, but we talked him out of it."

end of Lt. Piekarski's account.

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Doc Steve Sipe's account on the attack.

I had just come off of guard duty on the parameter. I remember I had fired some M-79 rounds into the surrounding jungle. (H&I fire) My replacement showed up and I returned to my bunker to get some sleep. I had just laid down for about 5 minutes when I heard the blast from a couple of mortar rounds. One sounded like it was just outside my bunker. Seconds passed when I heard the voice of an ARVN soldier, who was attached to our company, saying “Vinny beaucoup sick! Vinny beaucoup sick!” I got up and ran to the next bunker and saw Vinny lying face down halfway into a bunker (Ketchams bunker) I got down on my knees and yelled at him, “Vinny! Vinny!” I could hear him breathing very hard but he didn't respond. The aid station was close by and I ran for a stretcher. As I grabbed the stretcher I noticed the Doctor was already standing in the aid station ready to go to work if needed. I told him I was bringing in a wounded man. The ARVN soldier helped me carry Vinny back to the aid station. I cut open his shirt and…. nothing. I started to cut open his pant legs when the Doctor, a Captain, told me to come to the other end of the stretcher…… Vinny had received a horrible head wound! All we could do is bandage it. I had so many tears in my eyes while bandaging Vinny's head. I yelled at the Doctor to call a Medevac bird, I'm screaming at him to get it here NOW!! Vinny was still breathing hard. I'm telling him “You're a tuff guy Vinny. Hang in there! Keep breathing Vinny”. ……….Someone came into the aid station and gave an ETA for the Medevac chopper. (Medevac #7 arrived at Candy at 0325) We got Vinny out to the landing area and after loading him onto the chopper the doctor put his arm around me and said, “Steve, you know Vinny isn't going to make it”. I just walked away and looked up into the sky and told God, “I hate being here. This should not have happened!” About an hour later the Captain (Doc. I don't remember his name) saw me having a cigarette and came over to me and said that “Vinny had died before the chopper landed back in the rear”.

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Don "Ketch" Ketcham  remembers this about the morning attack. Juan Ferguson, my R.T.O., and I were on the radio watching the motor rounds being walked into L.Z. Candy. You could see each adjustment being made to walk the rounds in. During this time Vinny Sciaretti, my M-60 gunner, came up to us and asked what was going on?  Expecting a ground attack by the N.V.A. I told Vinny to get the "60" and place it on the berm. Vinny never came back. A mortar round landed a few feet from the bunker. Vinny was hit from its blast as well as Juan Ferguson. We called for a medic and stretcher and soon both wounded men were taken to the aid station. A piece of shrapnel had severed Ferguson's Achilles tendon. I remember him limping badly all morning waiting to be evacuated. He never returned to the company. The time to recover from such a wound as his, would have certainly consumed what time remained of his tour.

(Nored) Juan Ferguson ,WIA ,is shown here to the right of  Ketchams bunker at L.Z. Candy. He was the R.T.O. for Ketcham's squad. "Ketch" remembers Juan stood only about 5' 5'' tall and still was able to carry the extra burden of the weight of the radio. On many occasions out in the bush Ketcham had to give  Juan a hand just to get off the ground.

(photo from Randolph Foriest "Treetop")

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Top L-R: Doug "dirty doug" Gorton, Stanley "Ski" Krzyminski (escorted Vinnys body home), Ed Nored. and kneeling is Vinny Sciarretti killed 4-1-70 (photo taken at Quan Loi.

(Photo from John Farrior)

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Photo of head quarters bunker at L.Z. Candy. The post like things sticking up are antennas for the radios, and the layer of sand bags you see on the ground is the roof of the bunker.

(Photo from John Farrior)

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Jay Selby, Ron McLaughlin and Ed Nored at the parameter of LZ Candy. The last bunker that is visible in the picture is the one where Vinny was hit. Small things worth noting in the photo is the shower far left. The two 55 gal drums are trash barrels. To the right of the shower is what looks like a small table with 2 halves of a 55 gal drum placed underneath it. This is our toilet. A few feet to the right of the toilet is a drum of human waste being burnt.

(Photo from John Farrior)

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1st Platoon bunker on LZ candy.

L-R Lt "Lt Jim McRell aka "Moose"", Ted Johnson (T.J.) in hammock, 1st blonde guy is Doc Brown (Gary Brown) in background is Elmer Geek, and Chris Luecke on far right.

(Photo from John Farrior)

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4-2-70 L.Z. Candy

(Nored/Linda) Last night about midnight our bunker collapsed and hurt Earl Falkinburgs foot. It Scared the heck out of us because we all thought a mortar round had hit us. Earl was yelling his head off before he finally calmed down. The night before  Jim Smichdt had rushed into the bunker yelling "Incoming! Incoming!".  To put it mildly every body on Candy was jumpy. We weren't getting that much sleep. It was raining a lot and when it wasn't it was super hot. Earlier in the day we had all been informed that Vinny had died of his wounds. In the letter I wrote home to Linda I said "He (Vinny) use to be in my squad about 2 months ago when "Ski" was squad leader. Anyway the guy was well liked by everybody and had a sharp looking girl waiting for him. He was a No. 1 guy Linda. Everybody's kind of pissed off and not too many words are exchanged. Its one of those silent times."

(From JW diary) It rained pretty good tonight. Found out that Vinny died today on his way to Bien Hoa. Sure will miss him, we were becoming close friends. We continued to work on bunkers and repair damage. We were on 100% alert and thought we might get hit again.

Vinny had 2 younger sisters, both still in high school.  Shown left is Judy the oldest and a senior at the time. Both sisters were in class when an ominous announcement came over the intercom   for both sisters to report to the office. Were honored to have her story to share with you.

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Click here to read Ed's tribute to Vinny Sciarretti and a very touching letter written by Judy (Vinny's sister)

 

4-3-70 L.Z. Candy

(DOL/Nored-Linda) Delta company saddles up and humps off L.Z. Candy.I do not believe we took our packs.  By 1000 hours 1st., 2nd. and 3rd. platoons  are spread apart in a line along a road ( "redball"). We are securing a portion of the road as best we can for a convoy of  8 inch and 175 mm artillery pieces as well as other assorted support vehicles that is moving south from L.Z. Hung to L.Z. Buttons. An air strike was taking place very close. DOL entry # 19 says our platoon (3rd.)was contacted. The bombing, according to the DOL was an  "LZ construct". That's when they drop bombs with the intent to clear the jungle to make a Landing Zone (L.Z.) for helicopters..I had already started a letter to Linda and wrote "An air strike consist of 3 planes. 2 jets and one twin propped (FAC) forward air controller. The FAC fires  smoke rockets to mark the target & then"swoosh" the jets come in. Its really exciting to watch....Good grief its loud. Just one loud short boom.Your sitting here real quiet like & then boom! The ground your sitting on rocks and the plants and trees jump then it's back to quiet and stillness."...We sat there most of the day and then returned to Candy. DOL reports 2nd. plt. arrived back at Candy at 1715. DOL says 1st. platoon was airlifted back to Candy. All of 1st. platoon was at Candy by 1759. I can only assume we got in about the same time as 2nd. platoon.

(Nored) My letters also  mention the 3 squad leaders for 3rd. platoon are Gary Borkowski, Donald "Ketch" Ketcham and Ed Nored.  Ed Bryson of my squad is picked to be the new company clerk for Delta Company. Bryson did a good job while out in the field and I believe he had some college time.

Lt Piekarski caught with his pants down. He's having skin sores tended to by a medic (photo taken on LZ Candy. About 40 ft directly in front of the Lt. is where Vinny Sciaretti was hit. The mortar round that killed Vinny landed between the burm of dirt you see on the left and Ketcham's bunker shown on the right. The man with shaving cream on his face is "Ski" Stanley Kryzminski. Ski escorted Vinny's body home.

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Don "Ketch" Ketcham by a Cobra gunship

Both shots of Ketcham with the Cobra  were taken at L.Z. Candy. "Arizona Gambler" had landed close to his bunker. Note the gun sight and firing system sticking up in the front seat where the gunner sat. The pilot sat in back. The multi barreled mini gun can be seen and in the other photo the one short barrel of the grenade launcher shares the same turret in the nose. Rocket pods hang from the short wings.

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A good close up of a Cobra gunship. On the short wings of the copter you can see the rocket pod. Underneath the nose you can see the turret which could swivel up or down and left to right. The turret had a multi-barreled machine gun on the left nicknamed the "mini gun" and grenade launcher on the right.

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Photo taken of our squads bunker on L.Z. Candy. Left to right: Ron McLaughlin, Ed Bryson, Earl Falkinburg, Jay Selby, Ed Nored, and Johnny Farrior.

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4-4-70 L.Z. Candy

Company began tearing down L.Z. Candy

(Nored) L.Z.s / F.S.B.s (Fire support bases) Were never meant to be in the same location for long. The enemy troop and supply routes changed all the time. Wherever  the Grunts were sent to seek out and destroy them the artillery followed. We spent a total of 15 days at Candy. In the photograph from L-R Larry Antici, Earl Falkinburg is wearing just the helmet liner from his helmet. Masson-Norris sitting and to his right is  either Jim Watradowski or Doug Gorton. Their busy tearing down a bunker.

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(Nored) Lt. Piekarski  watching over his men as they pass the empty ammo boxes down the line to the fire pit.

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(Nored) Exposed to the sun the heat was unbearable. Seen in this photo is one half of a dog team just trying to stay cool.

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(Nored) In the background you can see the smoke billowing  from one of the pits where we have discarded everything that would burn at Candy. Doug Gordon is in the background. "Gator" is strolling past. In the foreground is Doc Kloss, Lt. Piekarski and Earl Falkinburg..

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L-R standing Doc Kloss, Lt. Piekarski, Earl Falkinburg. People with backs to camera L-R unidentified, Jay Selby and I am fairly certain that's Bob Angle to the right of Jay. L.Z Candy.

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4-5-70 L.Z. Candy

Had memorial service for Vinny.

4-6-70 L.Z. Candy

(Nored-Linda-parents) I mentioned Kelly from first platoon got back from his R&R. Received a great box of cookies from Linda. Its sprinkling. I was test firing a M-60 when it jammed. I stupidly opened the top cover and it went off and I  got severe powder burns over both hands. "Doc Sipe fixed me all up."  My letter also mentions that "everyone has finally stopped talking with a Mexican accent. WOW! For awhile it was real bad."  If it wasn't for my letter I would never have remembered such a silly thing. But at some point all or most of us began talking or trying to talk with a Mexican accent. We were just trying to deal with stuff I guess.

(JW)  Got up about 6:30 am.  Found out there is a 24 hour delay on leaving Candy. No Chinook copters are available.  Slept most of the morning. Had some details in the afternoon. Had special  celebrity visit from a singer named Jill Jorman. (Jim is not sure of her name) See photo below.

(Nored) Scott Lemanski on the left, Jim Wastradowski on the right. Behind Jim W. is last name Borkowski and behind Scott is Doc Steve Sipe. The singer is Jill Jorman. Her name may no be spelled correctly. L.Z. Candy

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(photo courtesy of Jim Wastradowski)

4-7-70 L.Z. Candy

(Nored) From info Mike Mahr sent me in 1988. Mike comes down with malaria and is airlifted Candy  to Buttons(Song Be).

4-8-70 L.Z. Candy / Boonies

(Nored) Finished tearing down Candy and burning up things. Then the company moved off into the bush. Lt. Piekarski leaves to go on R&R.

4-9-70 Boonies

4-10-70 Boonies / L.Z. Margaret

(Nored) Company was airlifted to L.Z. Margaret where the company re supplies. While at Margaret a group of musicians are there from the U.S.O.

4-11-70 Boonies

(Nored) Tom Coker our platoon sgt. Gets a rear job at Song Be. Doc Steve Sipe, our medic, gets out of the field because he has jungle rot.

(DOL) At 0941 Delta Company requested a medavac  for 2 people. One man has fallen down a hill and has a broken leg. Another man is suffering a reaction to medicine he has taken and showing signs of going into a coma. Request was urgent. Medavac chopper  # 13 showed up and medavac was completed at 1015. If any one can provide further info on this incident it would be appreciated. The DOL continues to state that Delta company at 1020 reported finding a large 1000X200 meter dried up rice paddy  surrounded by several bunkers. All about 4 months old and in good condition. A  2 foot wide trail  running north and south with no recent use was also found in the area.

 

(Nored) These next 4 photos are shown in the order they were taken. No exact date but can place these in a  March/April 1970 time frame. They were sent home May 5th from L.Z. Lolita. Shown in photo is one man of Delta company as we move down another well established enemy trail which is one of many that made up this corridor of infiltration routes called the "Jolly Trail". Jolly for no one I assure you.

(negative # 1)

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(Nored) As we moved up the trail the point man came to a junction and stopped and my squad, which was at the rear, was called up to watch down the trail we didn't take. These next 3 pictures were taken at the junction. I remember very well how dark and eerie the path looked. To the lower right where I was standing was a bunker. This photo is also shown at the July 6th. info.

(negative # 2)

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(Nored) This photo shows the bunker at the trail junction. A gun team had set up their "60" just to the right of it to watch down the trail we didn't take. The entrance to the bunker is  the dark spot or hole you see off to the right. This particular section of this  trail had not been maintained or cleared of fallen debris. Most likely  it's presence  had become too well known by the Americans and either because of ambushes, artillery barrages and air strikes the enemy decided to change the route. If you were an N.V.A. soldier moving down the trails only to find them littered with the bodies of your fellow soldiers or you looked forward to getting to the next bunker complex so you could rest only to  find B-52 bomb craters It wouldn't take too long to realize a new trail had to be built.

(negative # 3)

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(Nored) As I sat there on my pack I asked the assistant gunner to snap off a picture of Chris Luecke and myself as we watched down the trail. He removed his helmet,that's it in the  foreground, and snapped one off.  If the gunner had opened fire at the same time  the picture was taken. All you would  see is two blurred images of Chris and I. They don't make a shutter speed quick enough to capture Grunts moving at the sound of gunfire. The orange colored item on my pack is the tent stake fastened to my  tripflare. Photo sent to Linda from L.Z. Lolita , May 6th. Am fairly certain photo was taken on this April 10th to April 28th mission.

(negative # 4)

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4-12-70 Boonies

(Nored / Linda) In my letter home I commented on how the "cherries" or new guys are too relaxed in the field. There making too much noise. I know that only contact with the enemy and the crack of the AK-47 would enlighten our newly arrived replacements.

(JW) Got a "kick out" of water. The company sets up our night lo on a well established  enemy trail. It makes me nervous. It rained while we set up and I got soaked while on guard.

DOL says  1st platoon set up a separate NDP away from the family.

Jay Selby and the "Duke", Earl Falkinburg are writing letters to  the General Foods company and the Lipton company asking for packages. It seems another man in our company had done this and had received 2 cases of Hawaiian Punch. A constant rumor at the time was that we were going to Bien Hoa for a company R&R.

(Nored) No specific date on this photo but its obviously Log day. This was an awkward way to deliver water to companys in the field and even more so trying to fill our canteens from them. They were a essentially a heavy duty " balloon" but with one end left wide open filled with water and then tied off. They were placed into what I believe were empty shipping containers that artillery shells had come in. They were necessary for "kick out" logs. In the photo John Farrior releases water into a canteen cup held by Jim Schmidt  who intern poured it into the canteens.  I do remember  very well that the water from these rubber balloons was the worst tasting water I had in Nam.

This photo was sent to parents from LZ Lolita sometime between May 1-7, 70.

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4-13-70 Boonies (Log day) No I.D. on log bird from DOL. Received 4 sorties between 1500 and 1715.

(Nored/Linda) Electronic sound sensors detect movement 500 meters from our location. We prepped the area with artillery and went in to check out the area. No enemy soldiers found but did discover a bridge running across a stream.

( DOL) According to the DOL all company commanders came in for a full intelligence briefing. ( I assume they met L.Z. Judie).

4-14-70 Boonies

(DOL) The company has its 3 platoons operating separately. The CP and 2nd. platoon are together but 1st  and 3rd platoons are off on their own. Including separate night locations. Our company has found a large bunker complex with various enemy items. See entry # 34.

(JW) 3rd platoon moves away from the rest of the company. It's working by itself. We set up early about 2 PM and are taking it easy. Looks like rain. Haven't seen anything.

(Nored/Linda) It rains nearly every night. My letter says were suppose to be airlifted to L.Z. Judy tomorrow.

 

4-15-70 Boonies

(JW) Humped about 4 Ks. Leeches are all over. I had about 10 on me. Some were really fat ones. We climbed to the top of a hill to get out of leeches and set up night lo. Rained again tonight. Saw a lot of enemy hooches and bunkers.

Two squad leaders jokingly make a command decision in the field. Ed Nored points in the direction of the enemy and Don Ketcham points in the direction we'll move to next. In the background on the left is Doc Kloss with his famous tooth hanging around his nick. Behind "ketch" is John Sanchez and behind Ed is Mike Mahr. Despite the possibility that the enemy could have had his weapon pointed at us from a bush near by we still tried to hang on to our sense of humor. Photo sent to Linda from L.Z. Loita , May 6th. Am fairly certain photo was taken on this April 10th to April 28th mission.

Photo taken March/April 1970.

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4-16-70 Boonies (log day) Designated log bird "Desire # 740"

(Nored/Linda) Our platoon is still working on its own and will get a kick out of C rations today. Letter still says were to go to LZ Judy tomorrow and our CO has informed us were to go to Bien Hoa for company R&R May 8th.

(JW) Humped about 2 Ks. Very hard going thru thick vines and bamboo. We get a kick out with no mail.

(Nored) In these 2 photos, taken sometime in April/May of 1970, Delta company is on the move again and humping heavy. In the top photo I count 4 men. Notice how one man has doubled up on the crosses placed on his helmet. In the bottom photo notice how the bamboo has bent over. Either from the wind or a  bomb blast courtesy of a B-52. In both photos  the terrain is demanding  a lot of twisting, bending over, squatting and stepping over from these grunts.  If you were a new guy it would take about a week before you learned the "grunts ballet". A dance in which one attained the ability to balance his pack, helmet, weapon and body in such a fashion as to not make any noise when moving through the bush.

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4-17-70 Boonies

(Nored / Linda) Info/Excerpts from April 17th 1970 letter.  We will not be lifted out to Judy. That's canceled. along with any date of a company size R&R to Bein Hoa. "We have to go to a stream for water this morning and find a sit down pad for the log bird. At the moment were on a hill top waiting for a Loach (observation copter) to finish checking out the area were supposed to move into. The loach just did a recon by fire. He (the loach) flips around the tree top level and sprays the area with a machine gun. Ahh! ...The lovely sounds of war. Meanwhile  further up stairs a gun ship (Cobra) circles and waits  for the little fella to find something.........Jesus Christ!........The Cobra just came down and fired a couple of rockets ,mini-gun and then grenades. I got down behind a tree cause it was kind of close. It scared the hell out of everybody." minutes past. "Well the loach spotted a couple of bunkers about 200 meters from us. Now the little fella is dropping grenades  on them. Now he's firing his machine gun."  End of info from letter. As usual because of the thick vegetation none of us in Delta company could see this happening. Just the familiar sounds and reports from the R.T.O. kept us up to date. Also in the letter mixed in among the lines of war were reflections of locations where Linda and I shared passionate moments and of course I complained about the leeches.

Photo taken April/May 1970. Typical shot of me trying to get a good photo of the grunts little friend. The loach observation helicopter. The Cobra gunship would be circling up above.  There was always a tense moment for us grunts when we heard this "bird" approaching. You couldn't help but wonder if the crew knew we were down here under the canopy.  Coordinating our location vs. the search area or free fire zone that the hunter/killer team was assigned had to be exact.

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4-18-70 Boonies

(Nored) On this day 3rd platoon had point for the company. My squad was point. For the life of me I cannot remember who my point man was this day. I think it was Mike Mahr, but am not sure. We left the night lo and moved a pretty good distance. At least an hour. I remember we were looking for a stream or "blue line" on the map. I was walking 3rd man back when I could see the point man walking into a clearing. He had gone a few yards into it when I quietly called him back and told him to stay in the tree line and move to the right of the clearing. A minute or so passed and walked up a small rise in the terrain and as it leveled off walked right into a small somewhat level area and found 2 bunkers. (I know this is a silly game to play. But if we had showed up 8 - 10 minutes later. My point man would have come up that little 15 foot rise and come face to face with 1 to 3 gooks less than 20 feet away.) One bunker was old and the roof had collapsed on it. There was a new one built on the left. Jay Selby and myself checked out the new one. I remember Jay went in one end and me the other. This wasn't the smartest thing to do. If someone had been in there Jay and I would have been firing at each other. What we found was a very clean fully packed NVA backpack and next to it was a light machine gun. The type with the round drum on top. The rest of 3rd platoon was being spread out. "Gator" and Bill Pease of 2nd platoon had taken positions in the collapsed bunker. As I exited I noticed the bunker had a clean shot into the clearing we had previously avoided. Then "Gator" opened up with his M-14 when he spotted 3 NVA soldiers coming through the bush about 40 - 50 feet away. Then Bill Pease opened fire with the "60". One brave NVA held his ground and returned fire what seemed to be about 15 - 20 minutes. Measuring time in such circumstances is difficult. Out front to the left were Jim Watradowski and Leonard Bauer of "Ketch's" squad exchanging fire with the lone NVA. I believe is was Jim who yelled Leonard was hit and Doc Kloss ran crouched over with his aid bag to where Leonard was lying. As it turned out there was nothing he could do for Leonard despite Docs attempt to resuscitate him. I remember seeing a very clean bullet hole, with no blood, on the top, back of his left shoulder. The shooting ended. A napalm strike was made. Leonard was picked up and began his trip home. We moved into a night location and just as it was getting dark someone told me Cpt Perkins wanted to see me and I walked over to the CP and he had a piece of paper and pencil in hand and said turn around and said something to the effect that "I had got him 2 gooks" as he placed the paper on my back and signed my E-5 promotion. I had very mixed feelings about my promotion being tied to the days events. But one thing for sure. The new guys got quieter.

Leonard Bauer (KIA 4-18-70) and Bob Angle

Our old medic, Doc Steve Sipe was in the rear and was asked to open the body bag and  confirm Leonards Identity.

(photo furnished by Bob Angle)

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(Nored) This Photo and the next show the bodies of the 2 NVA soldiers killed on  4-18-70. If you were standing where I was when I took these 2  photos and you turned 360 degrees you would have seen the same terrain and vegetation you see in the photos. I doubt very much if these 2 NVA  ever saw Gator and Bill Pease,the  60 gunner,who  opened up on them. At the time of the shooting I remember being about 6 feet behind Gator on the edge of the hole ,which was the old enemy bunker where the roof had collapsed. I was looking over their shoulder following the direction of their fire and still could not see the enemy soldiers. I had even asked "Where are they?" and they pointed into the jungle. I strained to see anything but all I saw was that wall of  green. Someone yelled to pop smoke and  I grabbed a smoke and pulled the pin and rolled it a few feet from me..  Seconds later I noticed the vegetation on the ground catch fire from the burning smoke grenade. I had to grab my towel and as the shooting continued was beating the flames with my towel till it went out.....When looking back on this day I remember it was the only day when, as a squad leader, I had given an order that effected dramatically the days events. When I called the point man back to stay out of the clearing and move to the right of it. It was the right thing to do at the time. No question about that. But its something you do think about.

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4-19-70 Boonies / Log Day. No I.D. on log bird. Between 1425 and 1745 Delta received 7 sorties.

(Nored) We saddled up in the morning and moved in a full circle and came in from behind were the 2 dead soldiers were lying. They checked the bodies then we moved to a place where we could get logged. We finished about 7 pm and had to set up our night lo in near dark. One of the guys had found a deep hole about 4 to 5 feet in diameter and someone ID'd it as a dud 500 pound bomb from one of our air strikes. Not much we could do about that. So we went to sleep.

4-20-70 Boonies

(Nored) We went on patrol and found a well used trail and then found fresh bunkers that had been built. The company sets up our night lo in the bunker complex.

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4-21-70 Boonies

(Nored) The company saddles up and moves down the enemy trail. 1st platoon is at point. A short burst of "16" fire is heard. The point man spotted an enemy soldier on the trail but didn't hit anything. On the 20th or 21st I was stung by about 10 bees. Around the head. In the letter of the 22nd I mentioned my upper lip was twice its size and so was my left ear.

4-22-70 Boonies (log day) DOL gave no I.D. on log bird. Between about 1000 and 1300 we received 7 sorties.

(Nored) We cleared a spot of the log bird right on the trail. Lt. Piekarski returns to the company from R&R and instead of returning to 3rd platoon he is sent to 2nd platoon. We in 3rd are not happy with that because he is well liked. After we completed re supply we move down the trail further until the order is given to make a left turn and move off the trail. I remember to this day standing on that trail and looking down it just before I turned left. That lousy sense of dread. Only a matter of time. We set up our night lo off the trail and my platoon (3rd) is facing the direction of the enemy.

(Nored) Shown left are 2 photos taken on the 4-22-70 Log. We were still working an active well established enemy trail. You can see the trail  (top photo) running from where I'm standing ,taking the photo, and follow it past the nose of the copter. I'm fairly certain that's Doc Kloss with hands on hips and am fairly certain that's Lt. Piekarski walking towards him. He had just got off the bird and was returning from R&R. We were expecting him and this may be the reason I'm taking the photo at this particular time. To the right, you can see Delta personal have quickly unloaded a portion of our resupply and piled it to the side of the log bird.. Craig Sherwood of Ketcham's squad recently posted the bottom photo to the website with no date. Aspects of it looked familiar and I soon realized he had taken this photo at the same log site, but from the opposite direction. Craig's photo shows the trail  clearer and also captures the wooven bamboo mat that runs about 40 feet. Placed there to keep their bikes from sinking in the mud.

(click on image to enlarge)

4-23-70 Boonies

(Nored) Early in the morning 2nd platoon saddles up light and as they slowly file through our side of the parameter we joked with Piekarski. What seemed to be maybe 5 minutes later the enemy opens up on the 2nd platoon patrol. Lt. Mike Piekarski remembers: "We had only gone 50 to 100 meters when we were lit up. I recall wondering how the hell we hit someone, because we weren't following a trial. It was all just thick shit and we were pounding through it. Well, when the point got lit up, everyone hit the ground. Then I moved up 5 - 10 meters from the point when we caught more fire and I hit the ground again. During this time moving up I was trying to find the squads "60" to get it up there. When I hit the ground I had my hand out flat on the ground, then I looked over and it was just like a gusher. The blood was streaming out of my hand. So, I had the RTO put something on it to try to slow the blood. In the meantime the point squad leader found me and told me he had several wounded and we needed to pull them back. Plus no one could see much through thick brush. By this time the other "60" was up to me so we set him up to cover our withdrawal." At some time after the shooting the CO has sent 1st platoon up to support 2nd platoon. There was 2 other known wounded and they were William Allen and Arthur Phillips (these 2 names show up on Mikes Purple Heart orders.) He believes there were more wounded. Nobody killed. (GS note: according to the Officers Log a total of 5 were wounded.) As Lt. Piekarski waited for the medavac Mike remembered he has a bottle of Wild Turkey in his pack, fresh from R&R. He took to the bottle and admits he was quite bombed by the time he was loaded on the chopper. At the rear aid station when the doctors removed the bandage and poured something all over it he passed out. He had a "million dollar wound and was on his way home.

 

Lt. Mike Piekarski about 40 minutes after he was wounded in the 4-23-70 firefight.

(click on image for a larger view.)

4-24-70 Boonies

(Nored) After moving to another night lo without making contact. This morning the C.O. again sends out 2 patrols. As we continue to work this enemy trail 1st platoon is sent one direction and 3rd platoon the other direction. A short time passes and the all too familiar sound of a fire fight is heard. 3rd platoon pauses because we know we will probably be turned around and be heading to where 1st platoon is at. This is what happened with 1st platoon. They had been moving up the trail till they came to a small clearing. On the opposite side of the clearing about 100 feet across just inside the tree line enemy solider's in bunkers opened up on 1st platoon. 3rd platoon is ordered to turn around and support them. With my squad at point we move up to where they are. I can't begin to tell you of the stress moving down those trails thinking another group is going to ambush you. In this type of jungle fighting the fact is the enemy's bullets will already be inside your body before you get a chance to take cover or even see them. If I remember we came to a fork in the trail and we had to ask 1st platoon which way they had gone. They said left and we drove on in that direction. The shooting had stopped. We arrived at their position and my squad was told to go across the clearing and clear the bunkers. I remember I threw grenades into 2 bunkers. The bunkers were cleared and we were told a helicopter was to land in the clearing and pick up 2 of 1st platoons wounded. We secured the clearing best we could and was entertained by the chopper pilot trying to squeeze the bird into the clearing. There was a tall stump of a tree sticking up about 12 inches in diameter and the main rotor hit is and cut right through it. The copter was the Battalion Commanders ship and not a regular designated medevac. We joined up with the rest of the company without further contact.

4-25-70 Boonies (log day) No I.D. on log bird was given. We received 9 sorties between 1400 and 1700.

(Nored) It's "log day" and we received a hot meal and even ice cream. With all the contact we had I'm sure the Battalion Commander wanted to reward us a little. But I thought it was silly. To be lying on you stomach one day praying a bullet doesn't hit you and then the next day be eating ice cream was just too much of a contrast for me.

(DOL) After receiving our supply Delta moved out and found a north/south trail with recent use. As we moved into a night defensive position (NDP) the company finds one dead body. Its reported that the enemy soldier had been dead about 3 days and was killed by shrapnel, from our artillery or helicopter gunships. Another trail was found crisscrossing the trail we were working.

(Nored/Linda) "Everybody's pants are ripped. "Part Time", in Garys  squad, is wearing a pair of N.V.A. pants cause they were in better shape then his own."

(Nored) It's been 37 years and after inquiring to Scott "Partime" Lemanski about the pants he remembers the following. " I remember the "N.V.A. pants pretty well. I was reluctant to wear them, but as you mentioned I was one of those with badly ripped pants. The crotch was completely gone. On April 18. the day we had contact and Leonard was killed, there were items in and around the bunkers left by the gooks. I had found a pair of pants that looked as though they had been washed and left to dry. They appeared to be my size and the crotch was not ripped out. So I wore them until I could get our G.I. issue on the next Log day. They never showed up and I believe I wore them till we got to the next fire base where I finally got rid of the them. They did protect me from the elements and they were green.

4-26-70 Boonies

(Nored) Early in the morning a trip flare went off and someone blew a claymore mine. The company called in artillery in the area of suspected movement. Shortly after the rounds impacted we could hear someone screaming from the area where they landed. Despite the fact the artillery round had wounded one or more of the enemy . We saddled up heavy and moved in the opposite direction. Later on the company crossed a stream waist deep then humped to the top of a hill. Set up night lo about 6:30 pm. It rained.

(Nored/Linda From letter written the 27th.) "Yesterday we took all day crossing a waist deep stream about 10 meters wide. Then on the other side there was a hill or rather a cliff about 150 feet high and we were using ropes to pull us up. Yeah the grunt goes everywhere!" 

(DOL) Entry # 15 of the DOL says it was 2nd platoon that had heard voices not far from us and that's when artillery was called in resulting in the  wounding or killing  of one or more of the enemy.  Later on one of our platoons found a dead enemy soldier lying off the side of a trail were working. He was covered with leaves and had been dead 2-3 days and showed evidence of being killed by artillery. See entry # 16.  Nearby Bravo company 1/8 in our AO had one of their family killed and one wounded after a meeting with the enemy. See entry # 38. Also worth reading is entry # 39. LRRP Team # 71 were watching the movement of enemy troops in a bunker complex when suddenly they were spotted by the enemy.

4-27-70 Boonies

(Nored) Crossed river again. Our platoon (3rd) had point for the company. Supposed to be extracted tomorrow.

(DOL) Elsewhere in the 1 / 8 th's  AO (area of operations) our sister company Bravo has walked into an enemy bunker complex. Bravo Company suffered 3 KIA and 8 wounded including both a scout dog and dog handler. See April 27 entry # 43 and # 62. Also April 28th entry # 20 for list of names and circumstances.

4-28-70 Boonies / L.Z. Lolita (GS note: LZ was renamed Nguyen Trai)

(Nored) The company saddles up heavy and with 1st platoon at point we move out. There is a dog team up front with 1st platoon. We travel a ways moving down an enemy trail. The company is headed towards a clearing where we are supposed to be air lifted out. Word is passed back to us that the dog has gone "on alert" a few minutes later the point man spots 3 enemy solider's and opens up. A 30 minute fire fight follows. 1st platoon suffer no casualties. A "pink team" was called in. (the "pink team" was a light observation copter with 1 or 2 cobra gunships. This team was also called a "hunter / killer" team.) The observation copter explored further down the trail and spotted 10 of the enemy in a bunker complex. The cobras attacked the enemy location and we continued to the area where at about 2:30 Charlie company flew in to replace us. We were very happy about that to say the least. (At the reunion a couple of the guys said that the dog had been hit. Until I really hear that from somebody in 1st platoon I can only speculate.) (GS note: This is confirmed in the daily officers log.)

(DOL) Charly company who replaced us in the field would continue to work the trails, finding more enemy bunkers and structures. In less then 48 hours on the morning of the 30th they'd make contact and  would suffer I K.I.A. and 8 W.I.A.

(note: 3-30-2011 from Gordon Swenson) I received the follow email from a member of Charly company who visited our website:

I found your web site a few days ago. Haven't made it through nearly all of it yet. It is impressive how well you have covered everything. I was only there for a short time. Got to Vietnam on 13 Feb 70 I believe. On page 15 and 4-28-70 you mention being replaced by Charlie company. That was my company. I remember very well going in there and being told the dog had been wounded. I think I remember seeing the guy carrying the dog but it has been a while and I may have conjured that up in my mind. As we got off the chopper and your guys were getting on, one guy said, "Good luck, man". That was the first indication I had that this was going to be a very hot place. The guy that got killed on 4-30 was Robert "Bob" Palmore from Houston, TX. I met him when we were both assigned to the 1 st Cav and he was my best friend. We ended up in the same company but different platoons. We would meet up every morning for a few minutes before we moved out. I was standing beside him talking to him less than one minute before he was killed. A Lt came by and said to get back in position. I walked away and the world exploded before I made it to my postion. They opened up on him. I can get you a pic of him if it is of any interest to you. If not, it is no problem. Thanks for the great web site. I never took many pics because I had a long time left to do it. I got shot May 2 in the upper left arm. Pretty severe injury but recovered very well.

B H Taylor

BH included the following photos:

Bob Palmore (KIA 4/30/70) (left)

BH Taylor (right)

(photo courtesy of BH Taylor) click on image to enlarge

Bob Palmore (KIA 4/30/70)

(photo courtesy of BH Taylor) click on image to enlarge

Robert (Bob) D. Palmore (KIA 4/30/70)

(photo courtesy of BH Taylor) click on image to enlarge

 

4-29-70 L.Z. Lolita (GS note: LZ was renamed Nguyen Trai)

4-30-70 L.Z. Lolita (GS note: LZ was renamed Nguyen Trai)

(DOL) In Bravo company one man shoots himself in the foot. Entry # 41

(Nored) Excerpt from letter to Linda " A sad thing happened that's pissed me off."Ski" (Stanley Krysminski) has come back. He went home to escort Vinnys body home and we thought for sure he wouldn't come back because he's only got 60 days left in his tour." I also logged this event. "The other day we were braking brush. My squad had point and "Reb" (John Farrior) was point man. All of a sudden a rifle goes off and "slam", everybody hits the ground. A few minutes later they pass up the word  that Gary (from my squad) shot at an animal. I couldn't believe it. "Reb" was so pissed off he came back where Gary was and told him to take point and for the rest of the day he did." ........The following is from (JW) diary . 3rd. platoon was on Q.R.F.(Quick reaction force) and nearly had to go out because of a downed bird. Worked on over hauling our bunker . Company was on 50% alert. ( Meaning 1/2 the people of Delta company had to be up and on guard at night.)

 

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