Ed "Spooky" Nored
RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70
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5-1-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
(Nored) During our stay at "Lolita" a small trio of musicians came out and played live for us. After a few songs they offered their instruments to anyone who had the talent to play. I jumped on the drums and Craig Sherwood grabbed one of the guitars. A black dude seem to think he could sing and we gave it a shot. and for about 10 precious minutes we were all able to leave the world we were in. (see photos below).
(JW) Had to string wire in front of our bunker. Then sat around and played cards. Found out that the 1st. Cav is going to Cambodia---thanks, here we go again.
5-2-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
From JW diary. Had guard most of the night. Slept most of the day. Rained hard tonight. 3 to 4 inches. . Everything is wet and muddy.
5-3-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
From JW diary Had detail this morning . TOC (the command bunker) got flooded out by the rain. Had to help repair it. Then got the afternoon off. good chance we are going to Cambodia.
5-4-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
From JW diary. Got off today. No details. Didn't get any sleep last night and just a little in the morning. Sat around this afternoon and evening.It rained earlier and was nice later.
5-5-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
There had been an old rumor in Delta company that any day we would be going to Bien Hoa for a company R&R. Jim's diary and mine mention that we were definitely Not! going. Cambodia was where we were headed.
DOL/ On this day LTC McClosky gave command of the 1/8th to LTC Galvin.
5-6-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
5-7-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai)
Got ready to return to the field. But all the copters were busy shuttling troops into Cambodia. We spent the night on Lolita.
5-8-70 L.Z. Lolita (renamed L.Z. Nguyen Trai) / Boonies
(Nored) In my May 8th letter I mentioned that I had recently found out one of my friends from A.I.T. training had been killed. He had been serving with Echo comp. 1/8th. I was mad about that and expressed it in the letter.
(DOL) In the afternoon Delta saddled up heavy at Lolita and prepared to be lifted back into the bush. We are doing a "DX" or "Daisy Chain" with Echo recon. The first lift of Delta personal started at 1520 and by 1608 all of Delta was in the bush and Echo recon was on Lolita. Bravo company had been flown into Lolita earlier. One of the lift birds on Bravo companies extraction was hit by ground fire just prior to landing at Bravos location in the bush and one of the pilots was wounded. See entry # 24 for more details. As we were setting up our NDP we found a weapons cache. See John Farriors photos below.
(Nored) Spend most of the day hauling stuff to a clearing where a copter picks it up. During the night of the 8th or 9th Johnny "Reb" Farrior and Ed Nored see the red lens of a flashlight moving outside our parameter. It was very eerie that night watching the soft glow of what appeared to be a flashlight with a red lens over it. It was just outside our trip wire to our flares. We can only speculate that perhaps they were trying to get us to open fire and give away our position or perhaps there was a trail nearby and were simply moving past us and were never aware that we were there. We radioed it in to the CP but nothing, as far as I can remember, was done or happened the following day.
5-10-70 (no log record for this day) Boonies
Finished getting all of the enemy weapons out then moved to a new night-lo where we discovered more enemy bunkers.
5-11-70 Boonies / Delta company is air lifted to L.Z. Mo.
(Nored/DOL) Delta company is told to move toward a pickup zone ,"PZ", and prepare to be extracted. At 0930 while in route to PZ Delta finds another enemy trail. Two feet wide and running east/west showing signs of recent use by 3-4 people. A standard 8X10 bunker is found. Lying by the bunker was a Chi-Com type claymore mine and a rifle grenade. Inside the bunker was a AK-47. All items were in good codition. Delta continued to the PZ . We may have done a recon by fire at the PZ. In the DOL (entry # 15) Battalion suggested we do one before moving onto it. I can't confirm rather we did so or not at this time. We formed a parameter around a bombed out area and at 1200 the birds started coming in. By 1321 all of us had been moved to the new LZ Moe which would be our support base for going into Cambodia. See block of photos below that were taken at the PZ and the treetop ride to MO.
Charly Company had beat us to MO. At 1110 all of their people were on Mo and the lift choppers turned and headed for Delta's location. As mentioned above by 1321 Delta had arrived and the 2 companys spread out around Mo for security. Before it got too dark Charly and Delta sent out patrols. Charly company found an 8 ft. wide trail and one bunker 50 meters from Mo. Delta intern found 3 8X10 hootches. One contained 3 bins containing an estimated 3 tons of corn and barley. Delta had movement in the bush nearby and opened fire. It turned out only to be an animal. Both patrols had to return quickly to Mo as it was growing dark. Concerning the patrols previously mentioned. They most likely consisted of one platoon from each company and not the whole family. The corn and barley would be dealt with several days later.(Info on Delta finding corn/barley is in the DOL of the 12th entry # 12.).
5-12-70 L.Z. Mo
5-13-70 L.Z. Mo
5-14-70 L.Z. Mo
(Nored) A new man joins 3rd. platoon Jerry Allen is placed in my squad. The squad is also issued a M-60 machine gun. Jay Selby asked for the gun and Jerry Allen becomes his assistant gunner. My letter home continues to say that Mike Mahr is our point man followed by Joe Rucci and then myself with John Sanchez carrying the radio behind me.
5-15-70 L.Z. Mo
5-16-70 L.Z. Mo
5-17-70 L.Z. Mo
5-18-70 L.Z. Mo
(Nored/Linda/DOL) It has been raining every day while at Mo. Its not unusual to have 3 inches of mud on the bottom of our shoes. Day before yesterday (the 16th) they handed out some medals. I got an Air Medal. This was a standard issue medal after so many Combat Assaults. The arrival of the rainy season made everything miserable.The DOL says Delta Company destroyed the corn and barley that was found by us on May 11th, the first day we had arrived at Mo. The DOL does not stipulate rather it was 1st,2nd or 3rd. platoon who destroyed the food cache. At the same site 10 pigs were found as well as a cross bow. The pigs were destroyed. If you were there and remember this day feel free to comment and help with info.
In a letter home dated May 18th I stated that Alpha company was on L.Z. Snuffy, Bravo, Charlie and Echo company's were in Cambodia. I had also written that Charlie company had found 1 jeep and 4 enemy trucks off a road.
5-19-70 L.Z. Mo
5-20-70 L.Z. Mo
5-21-70 L.Z. Mo
(Nored) Today on Mo I nearly stepped on a snake. It had white and black stripes. In my letter to my parents I mentioned Gary, the guy who likes to shoot at animals while on patrol and jeopardize the lives of others, was no longer in my squad. When it came time for him to take his turn at walking point he refused to. I asked that he be transferred to another squad and he was.
5-22-70 L.Z. Mo
5-23-70 Cambodia Boonies
(Nored) The company is airlifted into Cambodia. Echo recon platoon secured the landing zone. Once all of our company was on the ground, Echo was lifted out. The company moved out and had only traveled about 500 meters when we came to a jungle road big enough for a truck. We were quite impressed with finding a road when we were use to only finding trails about 6 -10 feed wide in Nam. In the distance we could hear a Pink Team working close by. The small observation copter ("loach") had spotted a hooch and had dropped some grenades on it. Once the bamboo roof had been blown away the crew of the loach could see boxes piled up. A red smoke was thrown on the location, the loach got the hell out of the way as the Cobra gun ship rolled in with rockets and machine gun fire. We could hear several secondary explosions. The day grew long and it was decided that the next day we would go in and check out the area.
(Nored) In the morning L.Z. Mo is prepping the area we are to move into with artillery. The company moves out. 1st platoon has point. The point man comes across a trail but the company continues on the heading toward the location of the hooch spotted by the Pink Team yesterday. As 2nd platoon files across the trail 3 enemy soldiers are seen walking down it. 2nd platoon opens fire. These is no return fire the gooks did an about face and got the hell out of their area. 2nd platoon mad a quick search of the area and found one of them had literally run out of his sandals. The also found some water and rice. We began moving again when 1st platoon slowly merged into a trail that was going in the same direction as we were headed. Using this trail we continued on. A few minutes later an explosion was heard "up front". (When I say up front I am referring to the point squad leading the company). The gooks have exploded some sort of mine. 2 first platoon people are wounded. A med-a-vac chopper is called in and 30 minutes later it's hovering overhead. It lowers a small seat and one by one the 2 wounded are lifted out. (Tim Kleber wrote me and said that himself and a medic were the ones wounded that day. He caught some shrapnel in the ankle and the medic was struck between the eyes. He does not remember the name.) (note from Gordon Swenson... Click here to see my hand written notes of this day.) The company presses on. We continue to move till we come to a junction or rather intersection of well used roads fresh with truck tracks. Our platoon is sent down one road while second platoon is sent down another. 1st platoon stays at the intersection and find about 25 cases of mortar rounds and piles of boxes. (My letters say the contained weapons but I am not certain of this.) The more we wandered the trails and roads the more we found. We still had our packs on when we moved into a cluster of bunkers. We were all pretty awe struck and pretty much like kids on Christmas morning. I remember distinctly standing there next to one of the bunkers when I heard someone say something like "Hey what are these things?" I looked around at the other guys and they were all looking down and around there feet. I looked down and nearly immediately saw what they were referring to. There was a small metallic disc about 2-3 inches in diameter laying about 18 inches from my foot. I remember thinking "I must have stepped on that damn thing!" It was that close. Someone pointed out that they were the head of a mortar round buried in the ground. All of us in 3rd platoon were extremely lucky because they were spread out though out the area that we were standing. We quickly marked the location of each of these booby traps. Harold Hoopengarner and Doc Kloss ventured over to one bunker and found a trip wire going across the entrance with one end tied to a grenade. The two of them bypassed the entrance and began digging through the roof of the bunker but after a few minutes of this decided it was safer to wait for the engineers to come out and clear these booby traps first. My letter says there were 17 of these booby traps disarmed. (See photograph of 7 mortar rounds that were buried and rigged as booby traps.)
There were crabs crawling on the ground also. It was weird because we had never see crabs before in the bush I had no idea where they came from. There was also a small pig running around loose. I thought it was pretty funny until "Gator" caught it and hung it up by its hind feet and cut it's belly open.
Over the next few days the area of jungle we were in was turned into a circus. We found a large amount of rice and more bunkers filled with ammo and mortar rounds. We had to chop a landing zone big enough for a large Chinook helicopter to land. Two 3/4 ton trucks were flown out along with several small vehicles called "mules". We used these vehicles to transport supplies from the bunkers to the LZ. Army intelligence people and photographers came out in droves along with 2 dog teams.
5-26-70 Cambodia (Log day. No I.D. given on log bird.)
Still back hauling stuff.
On either the 26 or 27th (note: it shows up on the 27 log report) a booby trap went off and wounded Ketcham and Scott Lemanski ("Part time"). They are both minor shrapnel wounds.
from JW diary. Finished getting ammo out of cache by 1300, then went and secured the hook pad. Sat around and wrote letters. Don Ketcham returns to the company. His wounds from the booby trap were not serious.
5-29-70 Cambodia (note: this Daily Officers Log gives a good account of what we found and back hauled from Cambodia) Log day. Designated log bird is "Shields # 119"
On the 29th we escorted some Army intelligence people around so they could make a map of the trails and roads.
My letter says that we can easily hear copters landing and taking off from L.Z. Mo. A platoon from Charley company flies out to assist us. The Battalion Commander also comes out and check out captured items.
This was all very exciting to us in Delta company. We were simply not used to getting so much attention. We also realized that we were participating in a significant chapter in the Vietnam war. These days spent in Cambodia were for me the most rewarding and gratifying of my tour.
At the reunion (1986) Joe Michaels told me of a rather strange incident that happened concerning 1st platoon while we were in Cambodia. There's no date for this incident nor does Joe remember the name of the person who was involved. This particular individual had to go to the bathroom. He picked up his "16" and passed the word around that he was going outside the parameter. He went about 20 yards out dropped his pants and squatted down and laid his rifle on the ground beside him. He soon began to hear what sounded like laughter coming from about 20 to 25 yards away. He looked up to see two enemy soldiers looking at him. He had the impression that the 2 soldiers were on dope or something. Without standing up the man from 1st platoon reached down for his "16" and raised it about a foot off the ground, pointed the barrel in their general direction and fired at them. The individuals ran away. The 1st platoon man quickly returned to the parameter and explained what had happened. His squad saddled up light and moved to the area where two enemy had been seen. A blood trail was found and for a short distance the squad followed it before the squad leader decided it was too risky to venture any further with only a squad and he soon returned to the company parameter. Later on, a small group of soldiers that did not belong to Delta company picked up the blood trail but Joe could not remember anything else becoming of the incident.
(Comment from John Butler) I was on the right side of the parameter when we heard the firing and I saw the guy (unfortunately I do not remember his name) come running back into the parameter trying to pull up his pants while running, interesting to see a guy running, M16 in one hand and trying to get his pants up. Having received no return fire we were sent out, found a blood trail that at first was on the ground and waist high on the bushes then got higher as they seem to carry the wounded guy. We found his SKS and web belt with other items on it blood covering both, when the guy was handed the SKS he stated in a surprised voice "I got him"?. We lost the trail and returned to the company, later I remember another Platoon found a newly buried body in a bomb crater, do not know if that was the one that had been shot.
Jim Watradowski diary says we got logged on the 29th then we went on patrol. 1st platoon found 2 new 120 mm mortar tubes.
(DOL) Operating nearby is Alpha company who has also found a cache of enemy supplies. As they were setting up their NDP (night defensive position) 3 men putting out trip flares grew disoriented in the dim light as night approached and tripped an automatic ambush that another platoon of the company had set up. 3 men were killed. See log entry # 28. The Alpha Company commanders report on the circumstances. As mentioned above a platoon from Charly company has come out to help us. At about 1600 one of C companies men accidentally shoots himself in the right foot and is quickly medavaced. See Entry # 47. DOL also provides all the captured equipment Delta found in this area. Too much to summarize.
(Nored/Linda.) Info from May 30 letter. From under the shelter of a poncho I wrote that it was raining at 3:20 in the afternoon. I mentioned members of my squad were kidding and bugging me about Hawaii. In reference to my upcoming R&R to Hawaii where I would meet Linda. Letter also says that tomorrow or the next we would be leaving this area and move into another. One of the trucks that were brought out to help haul enemy supplies to the copter pad accidentally ran over Dick Fowlers helmet and that "it looks funnier then hell". I continue to mention that just across the border we can here the sounds of mortar and artillery being fired from L.Z. Mo as well as the helicopters landing and taking off.
(DOL) Duty Officers Log says the two 3/4 ton trucks Delta company was using to shuttle captured items from their bunkers to the helicopter pad would be lifted out today.
5-31-70 Cambodia (No officers record for this day.)
The following happened to 1st platoon and this information is provided by Dan Kelly.
"The 1st platoon had crossed the road and set up the m-60 to cover it in case anybody came walking down it while the rest of the platoon was crossing it. 3 gooks cam "diddy bobbin" down it shortly afterwards and the gunner opened up on them. He killed on and wounded one or both of the others. The one who was killed tried to fire his AK but couldn't. We found out that the rounds in his magazine were corroded and rusted to the spring."
( end of Dan Kellys account )
(Nored) There was an incident in Cambodia with me and about 5 other guys from 3rd platoon. We were in a bunker (It was a bunker like the one shown with Dick , Jim, Kloss and myself in the photo. . I can't remember if it was this particular one or one just like it.) unloading its contents. We were all ready pretty jumpy and nervous from all the booby traps all ready when one of the guys stopped working and said something like "Did you hear that?" or "What's that?" A second later one of the guys starts to jump out of the bunker in a panicked state and the rest of us take off running for our lives. I remember thinking as I ran about 30 feet and dove behind the mound of dirt, which was the roof of another bunker, that the ammo was going to blow sky high. After about a minute we began to look at one another and ask if they had actually heard anything. We all began to laugh about it and returned to the bunker. Looking back on Vietnam this incident pretty well represents what our Vietnam experience was to us. One minute you would be calmly talking to someone, the next second your adrenalin would be going full blast sending your blood pressure soaring and for either a few seconds or minutes you would be terrorized with fear for your life. Then boom! It would be over with. This happened , I'm afraid, to me and others in the company too many times in Nam. On October 9th, 1969 when the point man for the company spotted a gook and opened up, even us guys in the rear of the march hit the ground. Nothing else happened of any significance that day. There was no return fire, nobody killed or wounded. But for myself and Mike Eukland who had just joined the company the same day I did (Mike went to 1st platoon.) we mentally received our first wound that would last at least 20 years. From that day on every gunshot fired and explosion heard sent a signal straight to the core of our nerves and we hit the ground. If you have ever seen or will see a dog go running and hiding from a loud noise, that was us. That was our glorious reward. Our shining medal for being combat veterans. It wouldn't matter if the firing was friendly or not. Our nerves couldn't tell the difference. When we would be lifted out of the field a common and even humorous scene was when we landed at the firebase and every day after that when a artillery piece would go off you would see someone hit the ground. At time we would look at one another and just laugh it off. But the noises and sound of war chipped away at our nerves and our spirit. We couldn't see it but we were slowly being beat to death and we didn't feel a thing.
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