Ed "Spooky" Nored
RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70
From Duty Officers Log. At 1642 Delta company requested a medavac for company roster # 141 Lemanski. This was most likely Scott Lemanski aka "Parttime" of 3rd. platoon. He was suspected of having Spinal Meningitis. The chopper showed up at 1715 and was on its way back with Lemanski at 1726.
Scott Lemanski confirms he was the man mentioned in the DOL. The following is what he remembers."I had a bad headache and loss of energy. Doc Kloss gave me something for the headache and said to check back with him in the evening. By evening I was no better. Doc Kloss went to the C.O. (Perkins) and asked for a medavac. Kloss thought it might have been spinal meningitis. Shortly after that I was on my way to the hospital. At the hospital they ran several test. They too suspected meningitis and preformed a spinal tap, which was the most painful test I had ever had. Once meningitis was ruled out blood tests were preformed. It turned out to be some kind of waterborne parasite. Most likely picked up from drinking water from the rivers and streams. The doctors didn't explain it very well. I was given medication and spent a couple of days at the hospital and then rejoined the company. I was gone about one week."
11-1-69 was Perkins the CO or Folsom? It seems to me that it was Folsom until shortly before the 12-9 incident. This is supported by the Dec. 7 entry that implies Folsom left us on Dec. 7 because of a relapse of malaria. If this is the case and Perkin's first real day on the job was Dec.8, he was greeted by having a KIA. If his second day was Dec. 9, he must have thought he just stepped into a real hell hole. Also, Kloss or Sipe? I didn't think I remembered Kloss, thinking that he must have joined Delta company after Dec. 9. I don't know for sure, I'm just asking?
DOL info. entry # 23 states at about 1030 hrs. Delta company has found a 15 ft.long bridge while working a trail showing recent use. Bridge was in good condition and made of bamboo. Any bridge built by the V.C.and N.V.A. would have had to been wide enough and strong enough to support a man pushing a bike across it loaded with 200 pounds of food and ammunition. The DOL continues that Delta company found 4 bunkers about 100 to the east of the bridge. The company ran patrols and continued working the trails. At 1400 another trail was found with recent use in the previous 24 hours by a platoon size force. As far as we know no contact was made with any of the enemy on this day.
11-03-69 "Log Day"
My beard is 2 weeks old.
(Arlyn Perkey):I remember being on LZ Ellen and sitting around with the guys listening to Richard Nixon's November 3, 1969 speech. He was saying how he was going to be tough, really tough. He was going to do whatever was necessary to win. It seemed to me, most people took encouragement from that. It was like affirming that all of this was going to be worth it. It was what we needed and I know I wanted to hear. I point this out because I think it is important to remember that is how I felt then.
11-04-69 Boonies (Large scale attack on L.Z. Ellen.)
(Nored) First of all let me make it clear to the reader that this battle did not involve Delta company. It was Charly companies turn at guard on Ellen. My 2 photos shown are only for reference. They show bunker # 10 and in the other bunkers # 9 and # 8 are shown. At about 0130 in the morning all hell broke loose on Ellen. The N.V.A opened fire from the the tree line with B-40 R.P.G.s, 107mm rockets, 87& 60 mm mortars, machine gun and AK-47 fire. Steve Wilson of Charly company provides us with what he remembers "I was on bunker # 9. There was an explosion out in front of me. At first I thought it was one or our own claymore mines that had been detonated and I began to wonder why they did that. The next thing I remember I was being thrown up into the air and then fell back down into a hole that used to be the bunker." (Steve had been told later that is was a 107 rocket that had hit it.) "I climbed up out of the hole and made it to one of the fighting positions that was on the left. I joined a man named Dave and as we looked out to the front of us we could see what looked to be about 100 enemy soldiers. We began shooting and praying as fast as we could. Scared? Wow was I!!" .
This particular DOL ,Duty Officers Log, is an interesting read. 25 people on Ellen were wounded. 36 enemy soldiers were killed and 2 were taken prisoner. Bunkers # 9 # 10 and # 13 were hit with B-40 RPG rounds. L.Z. Buttons at Song Be was hit and Quan Loi also received incoming rounds
The following is a profile of one N.V.A. soldier who was taken prisoner by Charly company after the attack. The enemy soldier provided the interrogators with the following information. From DOL entry # 33. His name is Chinh,age 30. He was a math teacher in high school. His job in Army was an ammo bearer. His unit was K2, 19th Infantry, 7th N.V.A. Division. He as been in the army 5 months. There were 20 soldiers within his unit.On the way to South V.N. 3 were killed and 2 wounded by American helicopters. He left Cambodia one week ago and was led by an N.V.A. guide. His unit crossed the Song Be river using a rope. They made their own trail. They carried only Ak-47's, B-40 & 41s.They carried rice from Cambodia and dug bunkers each night to sleep in. He knew nothing of any reconnaissance of the FSB (LZ Ellen) prior to the attack. He was wounded during the attack. The soldier was picked up later by a patrol of Charly company as they swept the surrounding area.
(Nored/Linda) " Well here's the situation Linda. This morning we woke up at 7 a.m. At 6:30 the sun starts coming up. We ate, packed our things, brought in the claymore mines and trip flares. Then about 8 we saddled up and drove on. We humped it for 2 hours and it was real a hairy hot one too. My arms are all cut up from thorns and other sharp objects on vines leaves etc. It sure makes you mad when you step into one, start to fall, catch yourself ,then a thorn on another vine catches your helmet and jerks you head back and crash. You fall. You shake your head, get up and catch up with the guy in front of you. You glance at the guy behind you. He's got a big smile on his face and laughs a little bit. You smile and laugh too and the beat goes on. So about 10 a.m. we formed a parameter in an area thick with bushes. It resembled Holly like you see at Christmas. We grounded our heavy stuff and 20 minutes later our (3rd.) platoon was braking brush again." Just another routine uneventful day. We patrolled finding only more thick brush to fight and more bomb craters. We returned to the patrol base and sat around till 1330 when the company saddled up heavy and returned to the location of the previous night lo. 3rd. platoon was sent out light again to find and open area we could use as an extraction point. We are to return to "Ellen" tomorrow. I also expressed in the letter,"I pray when I see one of the "family" get killed that I don't turn to hatred nor lose my humor.".
11-06-69 Delta Company is airlifted back to Ellen and replaces Charly Company who return to the bush.
11-07-69 L.Z. Ellen
Maureen Reagan ,daughter of then Governor Ronald Reagan, came out to LZ Ellen and paid the troops a visit. Info is based on letter Loren Dolge sent home.
DOL info.see entry 21. 2nd platoon (2/6) has been sent on a patrol off L.Z. Ellen. They are about 600 meters off Ellen when they find an old bunker compex. As they are setting up an O.P. (observation post) down the trail that leads into the complex, 3 N.V.A. soldiers are spotted moving up the trail towards them. 2nd. platoon opens fire. The enemy turns and runs. 2nd. plt. recons down the trail and finds a blood trail. 2nd. plt. called in 81 mm mortar rounds.
DOL info. entry # 31. At 1635 the 3-2 (3rd. platoon-2nd. squad) element of 3rd. platoon has also gone on a patrol around Ellen. They have found a fresh bunker, one 6ft. long bangalor torpedo.(used to slip under barbed wire ) Improvised launcher, made out of bamboo, for the 107 MM rocket. As well as remaining parts from a 107 and RPG. All these items were left or discarded by the enemy from the Nov. 4th attack.
Oh yes, I remember what I think was the USO visit. I was amazed, here they had come all the way to give us a show and the 3-2 squad was going to miss it. WHAT? You've got to be kidding. We have to go on patrol around Ellen while everyone else is listening to the show. How often are we going to have this chance? Finally the word came that no, we could go, but we were to take everything with us and be prepared to move out on patrol as soon as the show was over. OK, that's more like it. I never will forget Maureen standing up there and saying she didn't exactly know what this song meant, but it was a good song. She came out with "Good Morning Star Shine." I felt like I had been given a real gift. I don't know that she was that great of performer, but it sure sounded good to me. Besides that, there was a real flesh and blood American woman standing up there to see and she had come way out there in the middle of nowhere. WOW! Soon, our escape from reality was over, she was getting ready to get on the helicopter and we were moving out on patrol. It was nice while it lasted.
11-08-69 L.Z. Ellen
(Nored) My letter on this day mentions "We" went on a long patrol around Ellen. Though I didn't mention if 1st or 2nd platoon had gone with us. I speculate that it was just 3rd. After we got back we were given an opportunity to fire off our old ammo into the tree line and then restock with fresh ammo.
(my camera stopped working today. Borrowed friends camera and took the remaining 12 pictures that was left on film.).
11-09-69 L.Z. Ellen
(Nored/DOL) No letters written today but thanks to the DOL the following happened. At about 0900 First platoon (1/6) walked off Ellen on another patrol and found a fully loaded N.V.A. back pack filled with various items. Grenades, charges for the B-40 RPG, extra clothes, food and personal items. See entry # 25. At 0943 helicopters lifted third platoon (3/6) off of Ellen on what they call a "Mini Cav". A platoon size force on a one day mission. I cannot remember if we were required to take our packs with us. I believe they put us in an area to look for 2 helicopter crewman who were M.I.A. A few days earlier a Huey flying from L.Z. Jerri to Quan Loi had caught fire in the air and went down. 2 of the crew, most likely the door gunners, jumped from the bird before it crashed. The pilots had been found and medavaced but the other 2 were still M.I.A. From memory I remember being in a flooded area that was 2-3 feet and thinking if their bodies are underneath the water they'll never be found. After a long day of patrolling Third platoon was picked up about 1646 and were flown back to Ellen arriving about 1700 about the same time that first and second platoon were returning from their separate patrols off Ellen.
(Arlyn Perkey) I remember this unusual patrol. We were told to keep looking up in the trees as well as on the ground. The thinking was that if they had jumped out, they might have hung up in a tree on the way down. I do recall that we saw/heard some monkies that day, but no evidence of any Americans, alive or dead.
11-10-69 L.Z. Ellen
(Nored/Linda) While on "Ellen" this day a "loach" observation helicopter brought in a dead body. Two guys with a stretcher carried the body over to another copter where he was put into a body bag and flown out. What will always stand out about this incident is the attention this scene attracted. Everybody on the base had stopped what they were doing and quietly watched.
(Nored/DOL) In searching the DOL for an ID on the K.I.A. mentioned in above incident at Ellen. Charly company out in the bush made contact with the enemy about 1530 and had one killed and 7 wounded. Charly companies K.I.A. was R. Salisbury. This may have been his body being transferred from one bird to another. The DOL mentions Delta company needing a medavac but I am fairly certain it refers to the 1/7th Cav's Delta company, which is operating in our area.
11-11-69 L.Z. Ellen
(DOL) Between 1000 and 1100 Delta company was airlifted back into the field. Alpha company took our place as security for Ellen.
(Nored/DOL) The company is working an enemy trail. As we move down it we find 12 3x3 one man fighting positions with no overhead cover (nhc) and a little bit of America is found. The Oct. 1969 issue of the Boston Globe newspaper. This was most likely scavenged from one of our log sites. Often our friends and family back home would send copies of the local newspaper to us. We continue to recon and come across a spot where 2 of the enemy had a night location (NL) and had prepared food less then 24 hrs earlier. Minutes later we find a bike and boxes for AK-47 ammo. Also found were 7 older bunkers with collapsed roofs. At 1328 2 men from first platoon while on "OP" (observation post) on the trail spotted 3 enemy soldiers and called for a squad to come up and engage them. The 3 N.V.A. were wearing khaki shorts and shirts and carrying no equipment or weapons. They were engaged by first platoon but the enemy quickly broke contact. As we use to say they "de de mowed the area".
(Nored) We are working a trail. 2nd platoon had gone down the trail light from the patrol base the company has set up either on the trail or just off of it. I had just dropped my pack and decided to take my pictures out and day dream of home a little. I was sitting there on my pack looking at Linda's picture when an enemy's AK-47 opened up from the other side of the parameter. In less than a second I had thrown my pictures to the ground , grabbed my "16" and spun around and took cover on the ground behind my pack. I'm not exaggeration when I say I did this all in one second. That day I was one quick son of a bitch. I was pointing away from where the gunfire was heard and watching our side of the parameter. Word was passed around a few minutes later that 2nd. platoon had one guy killed on the trail. His name was Terry Andressen, he had the nickname "Cherry Terry". Our platoon was told to saddle up light and move down the trail and back them up while a helicopter came in to pick up his body. Terry was the second American I saw killed and I remember thinking at the time when they carried his body past me in a poncho towards the clearing where the copter was going to land of how Walter Cronkite on the CBS news would tell how may Americans were killed in the past week in Vietnam. All dying like heroes in a typical Hollywood fashion. But there was none of that for Terry. They had patrolled down the trail a particular distance, they stopped turned around, took a few more steps the the Lt. in charge told everyone to sit down and take a brake. A few minutes later the Lt. said to saddle up and move out. Terry stood up and a gook let him have it.
11-15-69 Boonies Log day. Designated Log bird "Potato Masher # 590".
(Nored/DOL) I wrote no letters on the 15th. From the DOL.Entry # 37. Delta made a sweep of the contact area made yesterday,the 14th., when the point squad had a meeting with an enemy and opened fire. In todays search we found the body of one enemy soldier. Entry # 31. At about 1000 third platoon (3/6) was on a recon to look for a log pad. A contact was made with about 10 of the enemy. In the exchange of fire 3 men suffer minor wounds and will be evaced on the log bird. A search of the area reveals blood trails, spent AK-47 rounds and bloody bandages. They speculate 3 N.V.A. were killed. A pink team (hunter killer team) is on station and working with the Delta company. I believe we got logged today and after the log moved to a position to ambush the north/south trail which showed heavy signs of bicycle and foot traffic as well as our log pad. The gooks looked forward to pilfering the discarded items that littered the log sights. Delta company continues to work this very busy infiltration route called the Serges Jungle Highway. Tomorrow the company moves closer to the "blue", the Song Be River.
(Nored/DOL) I wrote no letters on the 16th. The DOL provides the following. Entry #18.Delta requests a Pink team to work with them. Saber 50, call sign for just one of the many pink teams, is working with Bravo and will move to assist Delta next. Entry # 29.Delta has a meeting with one enemy soldier who is shot and killed as we move into a small bunker complex. 5 bunkers are found and 4 bikes with the brand name "Pacific" are found in the area. Delta continues to move down the enemys trail. Entry # 31 suggests 2nd. platoon has staid back at our log site on ambush. At 1455 Delta finds 4 bikes lying on the side of the trail. Most likely the 4 men moving the bikes spotted Deltas point man first and dumped the bikes and ran for it. Delta is running into a lot of rear service type soldiers. The people who just keep the supplies moving and aren't what you'd consider front line soldiers. Some of these people are Cambodian and have been forced to do the rear service type work. Once they cross the border into Nam they realize there is no "rear".Delta continues down trail. Entry # 39. At 1501 we find a bridge 35 feet long and 4 feet wide made of logs and bamboo. A fresh bunker with fresh camouflage is found nearby. There is some question of when 2nd. platoon rejoined the company at this time.
(Nored/Linda) Still in the bush. Loren Dolge and I pulled in the trip flares from our side of the parameter. When we got back our medic (a soul brother. Sorry no name here.) handed us our malaria pills. Soon after we saddled up heavy and moved out. We are on a enemy trail. Our squad (Tennessee's) has point. I became deathly ill and turned to Loren and asked him to pass the word back to the Doc to pass some pills up to me. Minutes later I had to move off the trail and began throwing up. I noticed the company kept moving past me. Doc showed up. I vomited some more and then took a pill he gave me and later started to feel better. I got back in line and drove on. We came to a stream about 25 feet wide and waist deep. We took turns moving 2 men at a time across it. We filled our canteens then the company moved a bit further and set up a patrol base.
(Nored/DOL) The letter written above was written at 1340. The following is from the DOL. At 1420 Delta reports finding a 25 ft. long 3 1/2 ft. wide bridge. Made of logs with bamboo matting over it. 30 bunkers, 10 fighting positions, 2 bikes and other items listed at entry # 25. At 1458 Delta request a "Pink Team" to assist in working the trail were on. No ETA given on birds arrival. At 1511 we continue to find 3 mortar pits and 1 51 Cal. mg pit dug. At 1515 second platoon, 2/6, while on the trail opened up on 2-4 enemy soldiers approaching them. The enemy turned and broke contact. A pool of blood and blood trail was found and followed. Scout bird "Sabre 26" showed up to assist and DOL continues to say the bodies of 2 NVA were found that had been dragged into the brush.
11-18-69 Boonies (Log day. Designated Log Bird is "Potato Masher # 173" )
(Nored/DOL) I have no letters for this day. The DOL says at about 1240 our log bird "Potato Masher # 173" took ground to air fire. Location was given to artillery at Ellen and they fired 9 rounds into the area the copter had received fire. There were no hits on the bird.
(Nored/DOL) I have no letters for this day. The DOL says at about 1000 we found 2 bridges that ran across a stream. They were described as being 15 ft long and 4 foot wide. They were covered with bamboo matting and showed signs of heavy bike and foot traffic as recent as 12 hours ago by 12-15 people. It looked about 6 months old. At about noon time a pink team is working with us.Saber 26. We have most likely set up a patrol base and first platoon 1/6 and third platoon 3/6 have gone out on patrol in different directions. First platoon finds a new bunker under construction. Saber 26 drops a WP or white phosphorous on it to mark its position. 3/6 reports they have found a new trail. As we move down the new trail we come across 4 bikes. We destroyed or damaged them the best we could. Bikes were the Pacific brand. 1/6 has found a bridge and destroys it. At about 1430 its reported Delta company finds and destroys another bridge and 2 more "cargo carrying" bikes. This is a long 35 ft x 4ft bridge with bamboo matting and even had hand rails. Its noted that in the DOL that this bridge has been or thought to have been destroyed by ARA (Aireal Rocket Artillery a fancy term for helicopter gunships.) They had obviously missed. We are finding a lot of bridges because were close to the Song Be river. There are countless streams that run into it.
(Nored/DOL) My letter to parents mentions two Delta men being lifted out due with a 104 degree temperature and another man for emergency leave. The DOL had this additional info. At 1300 we come across 4 more bikes. Movement thru the bush was seen and we reconed by fire into the bush. Searched area and found blood trail and "suspected" (My word not DOL's) one enemy K.I.A.....At 1520 third platoon (3/6) found a night location for 5-10 enemy soldiers. Cut fruit and burnt charcoal was found. Indicating they had stayed here last night or the night before. At 1532 Delta company spotted individuals crossing trail and requested a Scout team and few minutes later "Sabre 25" showed up to air recon the area. Nothing else was reported.
11-21-69 Boonies (Log day. Designated log bird, "Black Bandit # 501". )
(Nored/DOL) I have no letters written for the 21st. I can only speculate we were logged in the morning. At 0955 Delta requested a LOH copter to pick up one of the men. It might have been another case of high temperature due to Malaria. Such a request suggested there was an urgency to the situation. The LOH was canceled and he went in on the Log bird. We continue to work the enemy trails and at 1328 find some fighting positions. At 1400 first (1/6) and third (3/6) platoons are at different locations. At 1340 the Killer Team of Delta company was working a trail and had a meeting with 3 N.V.A. The Killer Team fired first and hit 2 of them. One soldier was killed and 2 bloody shirts were found. Delta company continues down the trail and finds a 5X15 ft. garden plot with melons and squash surrounded by a bamboo fence. The last info from the DOL gives different map locations for Delta, 2/6 and 1/6 platoons. They may have been on patrol or they may have staid the night in different locations.
(Nored/DOL) My letter written to parents on the 22nd says. My platoon (3rd) is securing the patrol base while 1st and 2nd platoons have left on patrols. Always a good time to write letters being on what we called "Palace Guard". The DOL shows 1/6 is away from the company and checking their location later that night,1855,confirms they have operated all day on their own and have their own night lo separate from Delta. At 1045 Delta company finds another bunker complex, 15 bunkers with ohc (overhead cover). Found close by is a pile of 30 empty wooden boxes that had markings showing they had contained 82mm mortar rounds. At 1120 first platoon (1/6) requested a scout bird due to movement and bunkers they have found. Nothing more of significance is noted other then the DOL saying a David L. Bennett was W.I.A with Charly company. I believe we took basic, A.I.T. and came into country together.
11-26-69 Delta extracted to Ellen. Fun present from Linda for 3-3 squad
(Nored) As best as I can determine the 5 photos below, taken by Arlyn Perkey, were taken on this days extraction. This would be Perkeys last extraction before being wounded in the coming days. The terrain does not match at all for the 11-6-69 lift.
(Nored/Linda). The company is air lifted out of the bush and lands at L.Z.Ellen. Delta's extraction time was between 1425 and about 1500. We are issued mail and both Loren Dolge and myself receive 2 packages from home. Any little package from home is quite welcomed and all of them take on a Christmas like aura. Your fellow squad members hover around and are as eager as the intended recipient to "taste" its contents. I opened my first package from Linda and pull out a squirt gun. Everybody starts cracking up. The squirt gun was followed by a ball and paddle, a checker and chess game. A strange looking candle, silly putty, a whistle, a puzzle and a unique light of some sort and several books. At first I was kind of disappointed but hours later I realized all those little items would wind up entertaining the squad for several days. Including Tennessee who had managed to bounce the ball off the paddle 162 times. A contest was to take place the next day. At every mail call we all wanted to receive a piece of home. A letter from your wife, girl friend, friends or parents made the day. That's for sure. And if they sent you a can of chocolate chip cookies packed in an old coffee can, man you were in heaven.
(Arlyn Perkey) Care packages from home were always a special treat. This is when you found out who really liked the same things you did. Jim Hughes was always happy to see me get a box. He knew there would be red licorice in it. Yes, including enough for him. This sharing of goodies was all a part of the way life was. I remember Jim and I had 3 things in common. Red licorice from when I got a package from home, Salem cigarettes on log day, and chocolate milk if there was any when we got to a FSB.
11-27-69 L.Z. Ellen (Close call for Helicopter Crew)
Nored/Linda. Helicopter accident. It was right after dinner and the squad is sitting around the bunker and burm. A Huey is parked out in front of our bunker. One guy is blowing on the whistle that came in the package and 3 other guys are fighting over the puzzle. All was pretty peaceful when the sound of a hovering copter could be heard off to the right. Suddenly 12 rockets of CS gas go flying into the air. These are intended to be a defense weapon. The pod is located between the burm and wire surrounding Ellen. The blast of wind from the helicopter has set it off. One missile strikes the inside of the copter and it fills with the gas.Now the pilots can't breath or see because there eyes are burning. The copter banks on its left side. Its about 50 feet off the ground and going about 20 mph. It's smoking like hell and guys are running every where. I grabbed my gas mask from my pack and whip it on because most of the gas is being blown back over Ellen. I'm watching the copter heading sideways for the burm.More guys are running and some are yelling "Get down its gonna blow!". The copter is still banked hard to the left. It flies in front of our bunker right to left missing the parked huey. About 10 feet from the ground he levels it off and slides it in for a landing. They shut the motor down and stagger out. Nobody hurt as far as I can remember. The gas dissipates and as the rotor blade slowly turns to a stop we take off our masks, calm down and begin to laugh about it.
(Arlyn Perkey) The out-of-control helicopter incident sticks in my mind because I remember thinking, "where should I run to, how do you know where an out-of-control helicopter is going to go." I decided to watch until it got closer and then try to dodge it. Fortunately, it didn't charge.
11-28-69 L.Z. Ellen
Memorial services are held for Terry who was in 2nd platoon. Loren a good friend in our squad, receives a purple heart. Loren Dolge is from Ellensburg, Washington.
11-29-69 L.Z. Ellen ( Gunship crashes off Ellen. 3rd.plt. heads for crash site.)
(Nored) I was walking back to a bunker with a fellow soldier came up to me and asked me if I had seen the "Cobra" go down. (The Cobra was a helicopter gun ship.) He turned around and pointed off to the horizon behind him and described how it had fallen straight down spinning all the way. Not like an airplane, but as if it had lost its tail rotor. Our platoon was the QRF (Quick reaction force) and we were soon told to saddle up light and move to the one side of the L.Z. to be picked up. About 1/2 hour later we were setting down on a road not far from the crash. I remember how we moved up the road at a quick pace. This alarmed most of us because we were used to moving very slow up trails and even more so on a jungle road. There was another group of people with us whose job it was to go to these crash sited and recover bodies or give aid to the injured. We didn't have to move very far when we were told to spread out and cover the road and set up a parameter. I couldn't see anything from where I was and I asked "Tennessee" if I could venture over to the crash site. He said yes and I traveled about 150 feet up the road to find the point of impact. All that was left was a crater a few feet off the road about 40 feet across and about 7 feet deep. Sticking out to one side was the tail section of the copter and laying inside the crater was one of the rocket pods. The pod looked like it was in perfect condition and I was amazed at this. All around the area you could hear sizzling and cracking noises. There was some very small explosion like firecrackers and cherry bombs going off and then someone yelled "Get back" or "run for it!" something like that and I sprinted down the road back to where the rest of my squad was. Several of them came out of the tree line and onto the road and we would have run for a mile if somebody hadn't told us something like "It was all clear". I believe it was Doug Gorton "Dirty Doug" who walked back to the perimeter and each of us looked at each other and exchanged one of those "Well I guess we're not going to die after all looks. It was just another waste of good adrenalin. There had been a large explosion and 2 people were injured from concussion. I can't remember if it was members of our platoon or the other group that was with us. As we continued securing the parameter the recovery team found two torsos that were all that remained of the two crew of the Cobra. Held together most likely by the armored vests they wore. The remains were put into one body bag. I think that we were there a total of about an hour all together. We then returned by copter to LZ Ellen.
(Nored ) The 2 air crew flying in the crashed Cobra were AC CW2 Babyak Lawrence Joseph and P WO1 Luse Kenneth Alan. They were with Bravo 1/9th Cav. The Cobra only had 57 hours of flight time. Tail # was 68-15188. source of info is from https://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/69112999KIA.HTM
(comments from Ed Griffith)
I have been looking at the Ed Nored section on the website and have a few comments.
Jeff Croston who was also at the crash scene recalls," I remember diving into a ditch with Jerry Reeves to escape cook off rounds from the Cobras rockets."
(Arlyn Perkey) When we were being inserted into what seemed to me to be a road or trail intersection, I noticed how close the treetops were to the whirling blades on the left side of the descending helicopter. I knew then what a close fit this was going to be and thought "I hope these guys (the pilots) are good. I hope they are really good. If not, we are all in big trouble." They were really good, and we jumped out and speeded down the trail. Like Ed said, this was faster than we usually moved on this type of travel way, and that was scary. When we got to the downed helicopter, I was told to set up the gun on the other side of it, facing down the road. As I went by, I heard all of the popping, mini-explosions that Ed and others described. I can remember glancing around to see if I saw anyone. I didn't see anything I could recognize as a body. I went by the helicopter and stopped to begin setting the gun up when it blew. Yes, just a few seconds ago I was back there. Unbelievably, no one was hurt.
(Ketcham ) Back on LZ word came down of Cobra gunship being shot down by NVA 51 Cal, and a QRF was needed to go out, the squad I was with also went out on this mission. Talk about butterflies and of "What are we in for now" thoughts racing through ones head, both on the flight and on the insertion. I too, also remember racing down the trail at a speed that could have gotten many of us killed and sure broke alot of rules for traveling on trails. My understanding of the situation, from orientation on the LZ, was that Charlie was going to be racing to the same spot to see what they had accomplished - the race was on to see who would get there first - we did (if anyone has read any sniper books, to confirm the kill, one usually travels to the spot where you believe the kill took place and get confirmation, along with any I.D. and or equipment from the helicopter / individual) , but, that does not disallow Charlie from coming close, seeing us and literally standing down and watching, and worse yet, able to pick some of us off. I was in the lead group and Squad lead moved us quickly past the downed helicopter ( I noticed that it had come down upside down and slammed into the ground. After being placed out to make a perimeter, it became quickly clear that they had found the remains of the two Cobra crewmen ( I saw the torso, still smoldering, of the one, as it was loaded into the body bag, since they were blown out backwards from the helicopter as it nosed into the ground), apparently not far from my position on that immediate perimeter. Not long after arriving, one of the rocket pods blew, amidst all the heat and fire. I felt fortunate no one was hit, for I heard some of the shrapnel fly by our area. Being out there just a short time, kept the Adrenalin flowing all the while - I was glad to be on the way back to the LZ - and have that feeling that someone was watching you.
11-30-69 L.Z. Ellen
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