VIETNAM - Mid Years (cont.)
July 1969 - March 1971
As a result of heavy contact1 near the DMZ the 1st BN 61st INFANTRY
replaced the 1st BN 11th INFANTRY in October of 1969. The new AO, AO Orange (formally known as Leatherneck Square), contained Firebases A-4 and C-2. From these bases the BN had the mission to conduct search and destroy operations in the area and screen the resettlement village south of Cam Lo.
With departure of the 3rd Marine Division2 OPCON of the 1st BDE 5th MECH passed to XXIV CORPS in October 1969. Now the BN was free to employ itís tracked vehicles in independent operations.
To the left is shown one of the specially equipted bulldozers used by the 59th LCC (Land Clearing Company) to remove potential ambush sites near A4 and C2.
At right is seen a Duster M42A13 of the type crewed by 1st Platoon, HDQS Battery, 1st of the 44th Artillery. They provided extra firepower at A4.
Primary indirect fire support continued to be provided by the 5th BN 4th Artillery, an assigned unit of the BDE. Forward Observers(FO) were with every unit and the 155mm guns were always ready to fire. High Explosive(HE), White Phosphorus(WP), Smoke; they had them all and they used them day and night.
During the month of Nov the BN (now a Task Force ((TF)) with D Company 1/11 Infantry and A Company 1/77 Armor attached.4) made heavy contact with the 27th NVA REGT. After three days and two nights
of close combat5 the NVA positions were overrun and the 27th REGT effectively eliminated for combat use.
Acts of individual bravery and professionalism were everywhere. From an artillery officer (LT Kevin Mc Grath) assuming command of a rifle company when the commander was killed to a radio relay operator remaining on the job for 45 hours without
relief, the troops of TF 161 were outstanding. Two members of the TF received the Distinguished Service Cross for their heroic acts during this battle. The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to
Captain Stanley Blunt6 for leading a seven man night patrol7to the rescue of a trapped platoon and the crews of two downed helicopters. The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to Captain William Starr8 for deliberately absorbing the force of an exploding hand grenade while leading a counterattack force. These were two of only ten such awards given to men of the entire BDE and its attached units during the Vietnam conflict. For this action TF 1/61 was honored with the Valorous Unit Award9.
[Left] XXIV Corps Cmdr LTG Zais, 1/5 Cmdr COL Osteen and an unidentified, but devilishly handsome LTC wearing the Red Diamond patch.
[Right] From Hill 162 looking toward DMZ
10-1) Duane Carter Wounded in Heavy Contact
10-2) US Troop Withdrawal Schedule
10-3) Web Site - Duster Specifications (Off this web site, use "Browser Back" to return)
10-4) Units in Task Force 161
10-5) November Battle and Commo Logs
10-6) Captain Blunt DSC
10-7) Members of the Patrol
10-8) Captain Starr DSC
10-9) Valorous Unit Award Citation