C,1st and 11th

Charlie battery 1/11th and Delta battery 2/4th were two of the Artillery units that supplied both enlisted members of the FO teams and artillary fire support during different time periods in Vietnam. Please make a post and make yourself known if you played a part in artillery support.
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C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:27 am

Thank you for remembering us
I have read all of your posts in the artillery section
A lot of grunts forget what 9th Division artillery units did and that we weren't always safe at some firebase or Dong Tam
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Thanks for posting

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:43 am

I was officially a member of Delta 2/4th. While I was in Vietnam the battery wrote off and forgot about the enlisted guys it sent to the infantry as soon as they sent them to the FO teams. The guys on the guns and the FDC, however, often saved the asses of infantry in the field, including mine in the artillery FO team for Alpha company. I had more than a few close friends in Delta battery.
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The artillary guys..

Postby The Pelion Kid » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:40 pm

There were many times I was very glad they were there also..In the 4th/47th and the 6th/31st..From me to all yall thanks.. :twisted:
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Postby Niner Delta » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:20 pm

C 1/11th was my assigned unit, but like Robert, I ended up on a FO team with the 6/31st. I had the unique perspective of artillery from both ends of a howitzer, spent a couple of months on the shooting end of the guns before going out to the receiving end with Delta Co.
While still on the 105's, I remember one night firing the guns while under mortar attack, we fired them on our hand and knees because too dangerous to stand up. But the infantry guys needed our fire support and we had to get it to them. Later on while with the infantry, I truly came to appreciate the artillery support fire.

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Postby Niner Delta » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:05 am

Jackpotcharlietwoniner,

Was looking at your callsign again and it is starting to sound familiar, what did it stand for, what was the job of the person with that callsign?
I take it you were with the C 1/11, when and where, we may have met at some time. Please come back and tell us more.

My callsign was niner delta india - artillery recon Sgt

The way I remember it was;
Niner delta - Delta Co FO
Niner delta india - Delta Co recon Sgt
Niner delta oscar - Delta Co RTO

I don't remember what the infantry unit call signs were, does anyone remember them?

There were 2 words that preceeded all call signs and were changed every month. Supposedly they were words that the gooks would have a hard time pronouncing, the only ones I remember were "Yukon Rams", because all month long the call signs started with "Yucan Ramit".

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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:56 pm

I remember you Vernon
Jackpot Charlie 29er was FDC for C/1/11

And in the middle of the night in the Plain of Reeds you would hear a soft......Quack , Over?
Divarty was kind of pissy about that, but it was my way of keeping in touch with my rtos
I was also at Schofield with the 487th
In fact I am the one who threw the first rock that morning in November
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:12 pm

Jackpotcharlietwoniner , noticed that you submitted a request to the photo album. I cleared it a while ago. Any comments you want to make under any photos you should be good to go, but since we just resinked the album there may or may not be a problem. If you have any problem, let me know. Also... if you have any photos that you would like to add to the album just let me know and I could set up an album for you.

Vern, infantry call signs changed every month ..officially anyway... in 1970. I think the generic call sign structure was Alpha 6 for company CO, Alpha 6 Oscar was his primary RTO. Platoon leaders were Alpha One Six, Alpha Two Six, Alpha Three Six, or on family push , just one six, two six, three six. I think a five was thrown in for platoon sgts. The FO's got different call signs every few weeks too, but everybody used Niner Alpha, Niner Alpha India, Niner Alpha Oscar...depending on what company, like you said. The LNO captain was just Niner.

When I first came to the field Lt. Logan was the FO. I started humping his radio. One time he got an SOI call sign change to "Bad Man Niner Alpha". He liked that one and actually used it....probably longer than it was official.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:15 am

When I first got in country in January, our call sign was Jackpot Charlie 27
After a code book was dropped out of a helicopter, it was changed to Jackpot Charlie 2 niner and stayed that way for C 1/11
Because FDC tried to keep in touch with it's rtos personally, we also used various cute signatures like "Pops " Baumgartner did and used the Roadrunner, complete with sound effects , that was one way of hearing their voices and reading them.............and it was handy during fire missions when it was needed, it made it personal, and every time that rto keyed his mike, we could hear what was going on around him.
I tried coyote for awhile,
but an incident with those radar units and the ever present need for body count must have done something to me.
When they told us that they were so sensitive that water buffalo and ducks could set them off, I started telling my gun crews that we got three ducks and two water buffaloes, and as mentioned before...........occasionally I would check on my rtos by just saying Quack, over ?
And sometimes we started short conversations that way.
Many of my rtos would check in at FDC when they came in
It was always nice to put a face on the voice
And one of the guys from the 4th and 39th and I stayed in touch until he left Hawaii
He was the one who told me" they stopped us 20 miles in" when I asked him about our crossover mission on the 27th into Cambodia How far did you go ?
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:01 pm

We went actually into Cambodia. It was the Richard Nixon thing that inspired riots and Kent State in May of 1970.

Part of Alpha company, me included, were inserted on the edge of Chantrea in the Parrots Beak. Turned out to be a Regiment of NVA there, according to some early prisoners, complete with mortars and machineguns. Turned into a battalion sized fight over a couple of days and lasted four or five days. Then everybody was moved by company and platoon to differnt areas. Alpha , after Chantrea, went North eight or ten klicks and got into a fight there, and then after a couple of days it was all over and we went back to Vietnam.

There is a chapter in Keith Nolan's book.. Into Cambodia.. that reports one version of what we did there. Some of that history is flawed. Delta company is shown to have played the leading part at Chantrea, but actually was the last company to the location and a full day behind most of the other companies. The first Delta platoon in had no idea what they were facing when they ran into the buzzsaw.

The artillery battery that was lifted in to fire support setup at a village on the Cambodian border. They were a day late in support and their range of fire support was less than needed. But....it wasn't the fault of the battery. Must have been one of the masterminds higher up the food chain.



The arty was at the village circled..Ba Thu..27530283 on the Cambodian/Vietnam border.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:30 pm

A further thought on the distance of the battery to the actual need for fire got me to pull out my old map. I got it in Vietnam from Mike Kirby, the Operations SGt in Alpha at the time. It was half scale and not large enough scale for field work. The eight place grid notation in pencil on the map is odd in itself. In the field, 6 places was normal and practical for location designation, so I think this is where the battery was, down to 10 meters. I got the map with the grid already there. Who put it there, I don't know. Other marks are marks I made when I mailed it home.

I tend to think the battery must have stayed where first placed, at least through the end of the Chantrea fight, as at the end of the fight whatever NVA remained got through our very sketchy lines on the southwest corner of Chantrea and we couldn't fire at them because the arty wouldn't reach.

You will note the piece of paper marked with thousand meter tick marks. Close support from a 105 was good out to a max of 9000 meters from the point of firing. Although the guns could shoot more than a thousand meters further, the rounds were not predictable enough for close support. Some military planner didn't think it through when this three gun battery placement was made.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Bingo Comet 69A » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:47 am

Sorry for the confusion, Niner Alpha and Niner Delta.
Niner Delta and I served in c/1/11 in 69.
If I remember right he was a section chief on one of the guns.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Delta » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:37 pm

Sorry for the slow reply....................

BC 69A,

Yes, I was a crew chief on one of the guns before I went out to the 6/31st. I remember very few names and fewer faces. One of the few I remember is the cocky little bastard of a Chief of Firing Battery named Erlich (?). He is the one that sent me out to the infantry and I hated him even before that. One night one of the guns fired long and he stood there and watched me count powder bags 3 times and come up 1 bag short, knowing I was in deep shit and he was loving it. He finally walked away, he had been standing on the missing powder bag and knew it. He just wanted to see me sweat, and I did. After I had been out a few months with 6/31, I ran into him in Dong Tam, and he asked with a smirk, if I was ready to come back to the artillery, I enjoyed the surprised look on his face when I said, "No, I'll stay out there until time to go home." He hated Shake-n-Bake NCOs because he said we didn't earn our stripes, and always sent them out to FO teams as punishment. If we had ever gotten into a firefight in the arty, he was the only guy I would have considered shooting in the back of the head. And when we disbanded in Hawaii, I'm sure he stole what was left of the battery party fund, but I could never prove it. I hated him more than anyone else in my long, 3 year military career. (ending unexpected vent)
And before disbanding, going to Barbers Point NAS for battery picnic and the battery party on top of one of the Honolulu hotels, so maybe there wasn't much left of the battery party fund. (but if there was, I still bet that bastard would have stolen it)

Yes, being in the 487th was a hoot, those Hawaiian NGs were going home and they didn't give a damn about anything. I have a picture taken from the balcony of the barracks of all of us out in the middle of the quad assembling wall lockers, what a circus. LOL
And morning formations with them, "Report..........Eh Brudda, everbudy here? Ya Brudda, dey all here."
I especially loved them when they threw away my extension orders that I signed, and my JAG lawyer got me out of the Army a couple of months early!!!

I remember unauthorized call signs like "Blades" (a Lt Inman?), "White Fang" and I was "Shadow", and I would be in the TOC (a steel Conex) at Vinh Kim and we would chat in the middle of the night.

You mentioned, " In fact I am the one who threw the first rock that morning in November", what is that about??

If you were still there in Nov., I assume you stayed at Schofield and became part of the 25th.

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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:21 am

That means you left about a week before C, 1st/487th just flat refused to fall out of morning formation.
Nothing said, 280 plus just all of a sudden refused to fall out for chow......nothing was planned.
It was spooky .
Two guys initially made a run for the chow hall, we all looked at them and they came and got back in line.
The 1st Sgt Jimmie Prine, 1st Cav, kept yelling at the platoon leaders to fall us out.
Then they were yelling at us also...........and I don't know............I looked back behind me at all of those beautiful rocks we had to paint one by one, they were yellow.
But in the early morning darkness, they looked white to me.
I leaned down and got one and remember thinking, my job is FDC..........and turned and threw it at Jimmie Prine...hit the guidon bearer in the foot, turned and reached for another one......I had my range now........and as I threw it, was thrown off by the sight of at least 3 more rocks headed that way.
I picked up another one and then the platoon sgt, a local , had picked up one and was going to throw it at us, and three of us focused in on him and ran him off.
Meanwhile, everyone had found the rocks behind them and the air was full
Jimmie Prine had to run also

Then we decided that it was time for us to make a petition, and 74 of us signed that to go to the IG.
If we could not get permission, we would march ourselves down there as a unit
We cleared the 1st Sgts office, the Battery Commander, Captain Meredith, a fine man, Big Red One, who got caught in between the politics of Schofield and us cleared it.
Then the SGT Major, a big man, we had never seen him before, came and said Corporals and above out, Sp/4 and below stay............we will discuss this, and if you are not satisfied , we will go ahead and approve it.
We stayed there all day, changes were made.
But we had beaten the National Guard Bastards

And yes, I knew Fred Erlich too well........he screwed FDC every chance he could get also
and personally messed me up on several things

I've got a couple of pictures from that picnic at Barber's Point.........and then we played those little Navy guys football in the sand.
Who turned out to be Seals I found out :)
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:41 am

About the maps up here.........and the book Into Cambodia.....I thought that is about 70, not 69.
Am I correct on this ?
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:13 am

May of 1970 was when the Cambodian Incursion happened and also caused all kind of hell back in the US over it. That's the Cambodian trip I was talking about. Troops could well have been in Cambodia for short periods of time and in smaller groups, before. I know my company was on the border with Cambodia just a week or two before the actual invasion. It's not like there was a fence or line marking the border.

Into Cambodia is about the "official" May 1970 events.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:03 am

the maps above showing the artillery location..........is that from 69 or 70 ?
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:54 am

May, 1970.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:15 am

the reason I asked is that we went in, in 69 also
March 26th through April 2nd
We left the night that Dong Tam blew up, watched it from the air

and from studying maps recently, we were inserted by Chinook at Chao Giang or very close to there
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:26 am

The only Chao Giang I can find is a Vietnamese poker player. Where is it?
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:00 am

Ap Vinh Long ?
just ne of Chao Duc
disregard Chau Giang
I have looked at maps for years, I asked one of the Berets where are we.....he pointed to nearby feature and called it Kien Vanh
Then pointed west to the Mekong River , Cambodia on the other side.
They dropped us right next to a graveyard in a high speed dive, pull up and jump manuever. took less than three seconds,
I was the last one out and it took me three seconds also to hit the ground and when I looked back the Chinook was already three hundred yards out about 300 feet up and hauling ass outbound.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:39 am

Long time between posts Jackpot. Good to see you remembered where the site was.

I was just re-reading the string. It's very interesting still. I had forgotten it.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby jbayer » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:11 pm

Niner,
Just took a look at this string. The maps brought back memories about how shaky the arty support was during that Cambodia operation. The command element of Delta Company was on the west side of Chantrea at max range from the guns and on the gun target line. I called in WP rounds to suppress NVA small arms fire until the battery minus ran out. (A violation of the Geneva Accords, I suppose, but I wasn't much interested in political niceties.) When we moved on to Tnaot, the village on the map to the northwest, we were completely out of 105 range, so I was just another grunt at that point. The only other arty support available was a couple of 155s manned by ARVN. Needless to say, I didn't use them.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:52 pm

I remember that being out of range thing too, John. By the way, that Into Cambodia book your one time student Keith Nolan wrote, besides being one of the few books ever published that mentions the history of the 6/31st, was probably the only one that ever mentioned our involvement in Cambodia. I've seen one or two that dealt with Cambodia that had the 9th as a footnote and mentioned as a mechanized tank battalion. Another had us down as 25th Division, which was the outfit we were opcon to at the time. So much for attention to detail in popular war history.


Funny... once upon a time Karl Lowe and I got into a discussion about who was where in Cambodia by Company and the book follows his notion but mine was a little different. Not that it makes any difference at this junction.

Did I send you a copy of my old map, John? I think I did, but if you want a copy I can mail it to you. It shows more than Cambodia... Gettysburg, Chamberlain, etc.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby jbayer » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:06 am

You did send me the maps. Thanks.
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Re: C,1st and 11th

Postby Jackpotcharlietwoniner » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:57 am

By the way, Vernon
George Hayes who was in Charlie 1/11 at the same time as we were, got in touch with Erlich a few years back.
He called and talked to him for awhile.
He was beginning altzheimers at that time and passed away within a year .
I would have driven anywhere in this country to ask him what in the hell was your problem ????
But when I found that out, I had to let that thought go .
Even him I wasn't going to unload on when he didn't have the capacity.

From April to June the Battery was split.
The border raid three cannons wound up in My Da April 2nd
The number 4, 5 and 6 cannons wound up back in Danger.
We were split up 89 days then.
Today is the 12th of February.
And it all keeps rolling around

Feb 13, 2am, 1969
The first 122 rocket screamed in over our heads.
And shortly after that, those damned sirens started going off......... I still hate them.
560 mortars and rockets hit Dong Tam between then and 730 am.
Ground assaults , 2 of our M 102s were muscled up onto the berm to fire direct fire with beehive rounds.
Vinh Kim behind, and a canal.
We weren't able to fire over the berm without risking Vinh Kim.
Two of Delta's 8 Inch guns roared over to the berm and began firing their wetted down green bags of powder.
Green fireballs and thunder and fired them direct, the effects would have scared the crap out of me if I had been an advancing troop.
When the fireballs hit, they bounced
We had a few aggressors get within the Battery area, My Lt John Turner shot three near FDC including a teenage girl that has haunted him for years.
Alpha Battery 1/11 was on the east side of Dong Tam and they began firing high angle support for us over the top of Dong Tam.
The Cobras were up and really hitting the NVA units hard,
Right before sunrise , two F-100s from Bien Hoa came in and made a run and laid down napalm right in front of us outside the berm
About 730, they still managed to lob another rocket south of us abut 100 yards.
We got hit every night like that after that , steadily.
The Arclight mission to our west happened about 10 days later, then I remember hearing that Saigon and other places to the north were getting hit on the 23rd and I remember thinking it's about time they got in on this.
The numbers of incoming rounds per night slowly started down from a peak of near 600 per night after that B-52 raid.
The first night, C/1/11 put out 440 rounds within about 5 hours.
That rate climbed also steadily since the attacks started earlier each night after they knew that we knew they were there.

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