National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Topics of a general nature that relate to anything to do with the 6th Battalion 31st Infantry that served in Vietnam.
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National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:20 pm

Notice of this tv show made up from photos and movies taken by a guy who served in an infantry company in the 9th Division in Vietnam has been making the rounds. I didn't see it when it first aired a few days ago, but they are going to show it over again. The next airing is Wednesday April 2. Looks like it is worth watching. And..no it wasn't the 6/31st.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/c ... rs-in-war/
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:31 pm

It's mostly about C Co. 4th/47th, and the Mobile Riverines. I have it set to record...... :D

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:48 pm

That was a pretty intense documentary. Those guys were like our original 6/31st guys. They all came over as a unit together and, unlike the 6/31st that came over later, came over on a troop ship. They had a hard year. Lots of Riverine stufff. Lots of KIA and wounded. Looks like one particularly bloody encounter was near Can Giouc...unless it was some place with a name that sounded a lot like it.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:52 pm

It certainly brought back a lot of memories, good and bad. Can't really say I enjoyed watching it, but can't seem to find
the right word, maybe intense is a good word, or maybe disturbing is better.........or....... whatever, I don't know.
But it did all seem familiar, except riding in the small boats................no thanks.
Of course we rode in the choppers with our legs hanging out the doors, so I guess it's all the same.
All in all, it seemed an honest portrayal of what was happening at the time.
It would be something to show your family or friends when they ask, "What did you do in Viet Nam?"......... 8)

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Delta75 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:29 am

Seeing how these guys suffered, makes us realize how lucky we were compared to many units in Viet Nam. Per the 9th KIA list, both the 6/31st and the 4/47th spent 30 months in country....6/31st lost 140 men...the 4/47th lost 236. Other 9th Division units losses were as follows. ...light compared to the units that fought further north.

4/39 31 months 132 KIA
3/5 46 months 173 KIA
2/47 44 months 192 KIA
3/47 30 months 195 KIA
3/39 31 months 200 KIA
5/60 43 months 236 KIA
3/60 31 months 254 KIA
2/39 31 months 256 KIA
2/60 45 months 310 KIA
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:39 am

I guess you may have gotten those numbers at the MRFA page.


http://www.mrfa.org/9kiabyunit.htm


Interesting about the Artillery deaths. No dates given, but if you added the 1/11 and the 2/4th together probably the great majority of the dead were in some FO team or other attached to Infantry.

30 KIA 2nd Battalion 4th Artillery

15 KIA 1st Battalion 11th Artillery


It could be the Infantry battalion deaths were forced upward by time that the unit arrived...meaning early in the US involvement... and the zeal of the Division commanders pushing them when the US thought victory was a foredrawn conclusion.

Of the Arty guys KIA I knew two of them that died only a day or so apart in May 1970 in Cambodia....Lonsdale and O'Brian. Their names are on our Wall because I remembered them. I don't know if there may have been more FO team guys who's names should be in the list. No telling how many were wounded either. In just Alpha I was right next to two, at different times. Gene Cruise went back to the world with a bullet wound to his knee and Joe Delgato got a lesser wound to the face that was enough to get him back to the battery.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:24 pm

A grenade booby trap wounded me lightly (chest and arms) and my RTO whose name I think was
Jim Tapp. He was closer and got it worse and was Medivac-ed out, they just put bandages on me and I stayed
in the field. Medics made out a wounded slip or whatever they did, but I never got a Purple Heart and at
the time I didn't care. Now I wish I had gotten one, more meaningful than another ArCom w/V that I
did get for that day. There is still one small piece of shrapnel that never came out of my right hand, it
shows up really well on the x-rays from when I fell down a flight of stairs (sober!) and broke my
wrist in '07................ 8)
Anyway, that's the only Arty FO team wounded that I knew.

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:30 pm

Other 9th Division units losses were as follows. ...light compared to the units that fought further north.



While I don't know the average loss per infantry battalion was in Vietnam, I'd think the 9th Division was on the higher side of the average. My last assignment was attached to the 3/506, 101st. Their losses over three and a half years, relative to the 6/31st's two and half years was a total loss of 152. The 6/31st Wall page has listed 144. The 3/506 was the bastard battalion and moved around Vietnam at different times attached to different units in different war zones. They went into Cambodia in 1970 too. When I was with them they were South of Hue in the Ashau Valley.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Delta75 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:31 pm

Of course, many of these units probably spent more time in Vietnam than did the 9th...but KIA totals by division that I could find were as follows:

1st Infantry: 6,146
1st Cav: 5,444
25th: 4,547
101st: 4,011
82nd: 3,000+
9th: 2,624
4th: 2,531
173rd: 1,718
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:10 pm

1st Division was in Vietnam about five years. 1st Cavalry was in Vietnam nearly seven years. As a complete Division the 9th was there about three and a half years. I'd imagine the casualty rate for any battalion in any Division would probably be pretty dramatically different from their worst year to their best year. Probably the worst year of the war, 1968, would have produced the worst casualty rates in all Divisions. But... I'm just surmising. I don't know.

Just looked at our Wall and at the the numbers per year. If I counted right, it looks like 1968, starting in the 4th month, had a total of 58 KIA. 1969, with a full dozen months, produced another 58 KIA. 1970, three and a half months short of a year, produced only 28 KIA. Not that dramatic a difference, but indicative of the total ebb and flow and showing a slowing rate of casualties from April 1968 through September of 1970.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:15 pm

I read somewhere that the number of US troops in VN built up to April 1969 and tapered down from there.
Not sure what day in April had the most troops in country.

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Delta75 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:14 pm

Interesting bit of info.....my wife says that in 1969, after the US starting talking about Vietnamization of the Delta and the removal of most of the 9th Division, the VC were told to avoid contact, if possible, and wait until the US left...they believed that they could easily handle the ARVN units.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:47 pm

Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1969)
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:21 pm

What Jerry is reporting his wife told him about the VC wanting to hold back until the US left I don't doubt. But on the other side of the coin, the US Army was starting to get signals about casualties and held back too. What comes to mind is a book written by Keith Nolan about FSB Ripcord. That was a prime example of the US Army not following up and carrying the war forward as they had in the beginning.

Ripcord was a FSB in the A Shau that was abandoned after a 23 day siege by NVA. Something like 70 men were KIA and lots more wounded. This happened in July of 1970 to a Division that was fully maned and equipped and not standing down in any way. But... the same press that had followed Hamburger Hill would follow this one and the Nixon administration didn't want to see increasing US casualty counts. Normally... previously in all divisions... if a big fight developed that was considered good. More and more troops would have been committed to the battle. Killing the enemy and enemy body counts was the way the war was measured and knowing right were they were was better than having to look for them from the death trade in us for them point of view. But this time the US not only held back but retreated. The probable death toll to actually defeat a large NVA group that could have numbered in the 10s of thousands was considered too much....they were beginning to be aware of the political damage that would be created with the blood that would be spilled.

Nolan's book is still in print. Noland is the one author who has most mentioned the 6/31st in books that people have actually read in Into Cambodia and House to House. Noland, sadly died young just a few years ago. I think John Bayer was one of his college professors....so I guess that was one of his links to the 6/31st.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:44 pm

I just got this book in the mail Saturday, a LOT of stuff in it, almost 400 pages.
Lots of photos and info on every unit that served in VN. First published in 1981.

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:46 pm

Here is another that's interesting for the library. It is as thick as a big city phone book...or a big city phone book used to be. Now with cell phones and super cell phone computer links... maybe big city phone books have shrunk to less.... Whatever.

It's called Where We Were in Vietnam.
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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:28 pm

Michael P. Kelley had a sad ending to his life, but I am going to find the book.

http://vva.org/blog/?p=1014

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Delta » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:09 pm

I now have the Where We Were book (thanks Amazon 2-day shipping) and there is no listing for
FSB Duke that matches Vinh Kim, in fact the book matches Vinh Kim with with FSB Moore???
I'm confused, can someone bring me up to speed on this??

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Re: National Geographic TV and 9th Division

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:42 pm

That book was made up to a large extent from donated memories of place names and where they were. However, your letters home, as in our timeline, would be a good authority in that you called it that back in the day. And then there is this string in which Jerry mentions Vin Zike saying it too...as being the official name for Vinh Kim.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=82&p=220&hilit=Duke#p220

Lots of places had official Army names and actual names that the troops used. For instance, Camp Keaton was never called that on any day today basis. It was always Ben Luc. Can Giuoc, if it ever had an official military name I don't know what it was.

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