March 24, 1969 and a mystery

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Niner Alpha
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March 24, 1969 and a mystery

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:43 pm

If you noticed the post in the guestbook, it states this:

Dick Arnold 22-Jul-2015
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I am a team member of the Coffelt Database, an all-purpose on-line Vietnam KIA project:

We include field map grids when known for KIA incidents. Are records show three KIAs for A,6th/31st on March 24,1969: Larry E Bailey, David Stanley Harris, and Johnny Young.

We have come across Logs that indicate a 4th KIA but we can not identify him. Any help would be appreciated.

Dick Arnold

Dick sent me a copy of 4/39 battalion log that mentions 3 Alpha 6/31st KIA sent to Dong Tam at mid day and then at night 1 KIA removed from the field along with three wounded.

Is there a 4th KIA? The ones killed in Alpha that day were Bailey, Harris and Young. Jim Ballinger wrote a poem about Bailey that mentions a Sgt. Coates with five holes in him. Was Coates a real person or just poetic license? I don't see any Coates on the Wall page that would have been correct for the poem. I sent Jim an email a little while ago. Anybody there remember what happened as far as KIA's go?

Check out this string from 2007.


by Jimmy Ballinger

It was march down the delta. We were out on eagle flights.
Hide good charlie cong, captain wants a fight.
We landed out in the paddy, jumped out in the morning sun.
Charlie was in the bushes, behind his ready gun.
Captain knew about it, but chose to tell no one.
Half of alpha company was already in the trees.
When bullets started flying, like a swarm of angry bees.
I saw the captain running. I thought there goes ol blood-n-guts.
If charlie shoots the captain, he'll get him in the butt.

Death is an easy word to say when refering to someone else.
It has a whole other meaning, when applied to yourself.
Where were you going captain, that day by the wagon wheel.
What happened to your motto, KILL!...KILL!...KILL!...
I saw it right away captain, you didn't understand.
Down here in the Mekong, it takes more than just a man.
you gotta be half demon, ready to stomp your way through hell.
did you learn anything, captain, the day ol Bailey fell.

Ol Bailey, was a pfc no one knew or cared.
But when the chips were down, by god, ol Bailey dared.
Aw, hell ol Bailey wasn't nobody. Just a poor black kid.
Oh, but captain, you shoulda seen what Bailey did.
He saw his brothers dying, falling, left and right.
He didn't need no orders, he jumped right into the fight.
Ol Bailey, stood up and let out a terrifying yell.
Here I am you sons of bitches. Then he let loose a shell.
He only fired one round, from his m-79
And with that thunder clap, three viet cong lay dying.
Almost in that same instant. Ol Bailey died in that awful place.
I caught a glimpse of him, as the bullet struck his face.
As Baileys' body fell I lined up my sights.
On the viet cong that done him in. I turned out his lights.

They said we got no body count that day, but I disagree with that.
I saw that muthers head, explode inside his hat.
That ones for you Bailey, that ones just for you.
Just like the good book says, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
I never told anyone, and I was right I think.
I didn't want the captain, taking credit for those dinks.
I got one for Bailey. Bailey he got three.
Trying to save his brothers. Ol Bailey, was just that way.

Aw hell, ol Bailey wasn't nobody just a poor black kid.
Oh, but captain, you shoulda seen what Bailey did.
He took the heat off his brothers, brought it all down on him.
I know it was a long time ago. some memories never dim.
That vision is a part of me now, rooted somewhere deep.
It visits me almost nightly, when I close my eyes to sleep.

Later on that evening, after darkness fell.
Captain asked for volunteers, to go back into that hell.
Try to bring the wounded out if any did exist.
I put up my hand. Third squad can do this.
I knew if I was was out there bleeding. I wouldn't have long to wait.
Them ol boys in alpha company, they don't hesitate.
They'll run to the rescue, of a brother needing help.
Hell it's almost easy, after that first step.
We brought sargeant Coates out that night. Five holes in his hide.
Lotta bullets flying, the day ol Bailey died.

Did you ever make it captain, did you get that maple leaf.
Did you know that Baileys mother died from her grief.
She mourned long the untimely death of her son.
I wonder if she ever knew, what her boy had done.
Aw hell ol Bailey wasn't nobody. Just a poor black kid.
Oh but captain, you shoulda seen what Bailey did.
I wish I coulda been beside him. When ol Bailey met his end.

Aw hell ol Bailey wasn't nobody.
He was just my friend..............
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Re: March 24, 1969 and a mystery

Postby Delta75 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:50 pm

Robert...Sgt John H. Coates is on the 6/31st Alpha 1969 roster...located in Saginaw, MI.

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