ACV INCIDENT

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Charlie Salisbury
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ACV INCIDENT

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:20 pm

I just wanted to get this out there, at least among soldiers who understand that feeling. We were loading up on 2 ACV's, to hit or ambush this particuliar area, I was sitting on the 2nd boat, a pretty gruff NCO told me to get off the 2nd boat, board the first, said ours had too many people, I went, I found a spot near the front on the right side going into target. He told me to move to the back, we all can't sit up front, man I was po'd, but did it. I remember the ride is really cool actually, just noisy. The ACV hesitated at the paddy line, thought we were going to get off, then it moved, moved a ways, I felt a jolt, felt heat, to me the explosion was muffled, I remember being in the paddy close to the ACV, minus my 16,dust, that smell, people milling around, someone of you came up to me and said are you all right Tripper? I said yea, I remember being in a weird state, they came again, are you allright/ Yea, well you need to get on the medivac, no, well here is a 16 guard over here, I remember the medic started to work on the boat commander, he was laying on his side, one arm, the medic came, he said well I guess I'm going home now, medic turned him on his back, started mouth to mouth, his eyes startrd to roll back, I thought why you giving up?, then I looked, one arm gone, chest open, bottom gone, I freaked out, I just really could not believe it! The medic was a hero, he never quit trying to save this man, never! I really do not remember anything else, but I do believe Will was dead at that time, I saw it! The whole point of this for me is that medic never quite trying to save this man, the site, the smell, lingers to this day. But above all the medic never quit trying on this man who I can still see, there just was nothing! Did I jump from the craft, did I run, it has bothered me all these years!
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Post that took courage to make

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:49 pm

Lots of emails have been passing that aren't obvious here about that event on August 3, 1970.

There is some question about the platoon Charlie was in and not the actions he discribes. Anybody in his platoon out there remember him or the events? He could use the "I'm ok and you're ok" from somebody who shares a memory of that time.

Charlie Tapp remembers flying out to the ACV for security. He was Plt. Sgt. in 2nd platoon. Harvey Mize was the company CO then and back at Ben Luc and remembers Charlie Salisbury as he does Walker that Charlie posts about in his other post. It's not clear what platoon was on the ACV.


Photo from Charlie Tapp's Album.
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ACV

Postby Delta75 » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:07 am

Charlie Salisbury was 2nd platoon.

I was surprised to hear that he was on the ACV. Will Hoyer was also on the ACV and he was 1st platoon. So in my mind I had always assumed that it was only 1st platoon on the ACV. I will check with Walt Rutherford and see if he knows.

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Stole this from another site.

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:05 pm

Charlie Salisbury is the last guy on the right in this picture. Captain Lowe is presenting CIB's.. This is a photo from Karl Lowe's collection.

Charlie says this about the photo relative to his other post about the fire fight. :

I know one other thing about the firefight, in Karl Lowe"s album, he is giving the soldiers the CIB, I"M on the far right, the machine gunner is on my right shoulder. Sgt. Schelegal is the tall guy.
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Karl Lowe's response

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:12 am

Karl Lowe added this to the answer in two different emails:

. Charlie, Robert Stewart alerted me to your note on his web site. You were in the 1st Platoon. Your Platoon Leader was LT Rick Ray and your Platoon Sergeant was SSG Dan Morrison. I believe your squad leader was SGT Todd Severson. I don't recall who the platoon medic was at that point--maybe Doc Roberts. The man he was trying to save was Major Barry Graham, the commander of the ACV troop. He and all his crew members were killed that day. Your platoon was aboard the 2 ACVs and all were thrown off the lead vehicle by the blast but the men inside had no chance. Half the members of the 1st Platoon suffered injuries from being thrown off the vehicle but were all back to duty within a few days. I was no longer with the company when it happened but was in the TOC at Tan An when the call came in and was the one who sent out the relief force to evacuate the wounded and secure the site. How's life in sunny Florida? Hope the hurricane passed you gently. All the best, Karl Lowe





I understand it was a 500 lb bomb rigged with crossed trip wires to catch the ACV as it came ashore from the river. The ACVs had apparently established a pattern of coming off the river by the same route each time. The VC watched, set the device where they expected the ACVs, and the device detonated when the pressure from the fan depressed the wires. The blast apparently centered on the front half of the ACV, pushing it upward, buckling the floor, killing the crew by thrusting them up against the ceiling, and throwing all the passengers from atop the vehicle. Yes, you were lucky but so was everyone else in the platoon. I don't know what Barry Graham's orders were but I assume he was putting in the 1st Platoon for its night ambushes.

the 39th Cavalry Platoon (ACV) was an odd outfit. It was commanded by a major and originally had only 3 ACVs. One was lost to a similar booby trap in the Plain of Reeds before I joined the battalion but the explosive device was apparently smaller since there were fewer casualties. When MAJ Graham and his crew was killed, the platoon was down to just one vehicle so it was deactivated and the last of the vehicles was sent back to the states.

I did not like working with the ACVs because they were too big and too noisy. Using them to put in night ambushes was a recipe for disaster because the VC could hear you coming for miles and knew exactly where you stopped by listening. Troops riding aboard the vehicles had impaired hearing for an hour or so because they were deafened by the fans.

The ACV platoon was attached to our company only once during my time in command. We were operating just south of Highway 1 along the Cambodian border and were expecting a large enemy unit to cross the border north of the Duc Hue Special Forces Camp to attack Go Dau Ha. The ACVs went into night laager positions but had such a high silhouette that they could easily be seen against the skyline. They carried a lot of firepower and generally separated by only 75-100 yards so there was a zone between them for an enemy force to infiltrate. If that happened, they could not fire toward each other because they had no armor so we had to place a platoon there to protect them. I worried more about getting shot up by the ACVs than by the enemy.
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby SgtMike » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:58 pm

Hi guys, I got a call from Robert MacKinlay yesterday. He too was on one of the crafts. He was out of commission for awhile do to hearing loss. Bob has lost his hearing and is trying to get his records for this incident. He is looking for help with letters and the how to obtaining any records of the day etc. I am waiting for an email from him as to what exactly he is looking for. I will get back with you as the info comes in. I guess his computer skills are lacking so must wait for his wife to send the emails.
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby SgtMike » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:01 pm

Hi Robert, I finely found out how I was messed up with my facts. This is what I found out and I was right about Alpha 1st and 2nd platoon being involved in a ACV booby trap incident. This is what I have found out: The first was lost to a mine on January 9, 1970, but some question remains as to whether it was a mine or a dud 500 Ib bomb. Nevertheless, of the 17 personnel on board, 14 were hurt, no one killed, and all but one person quickly returned to duty." On August 3, 1970, the second met a worse fate when it left a waterway the day after a night ambush." The device that destroyed this ACV is believed to have been a command detonated mine, and the explosion resulted in three KIA Major Barry F. Graham, and SP5s Kent C. Wolf and Lany Joe Meador. Others were seriously wounded, to include SP4s Jack Kavanagh and Tommy Macauley.

Thanks for your help I know this will help us put a letter together for Robert.
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:09 pm

Karl Lowe sends this information on the August ACV incident.

I moved from D Company to 3rd Bde HHC as S-3 Ops on 1 July and was on duty at the Bde TOC when the incident occurred. The unit aboard the ACV was D Company's 1st Platoon, led by LT Rick Ray. SSG Dan Morrison was his platoon sergeant. LT Ray or his RTO reported the incident and called in a Dustoff since all 39th Cav crew members were either killed outright or were near death. MAJ Barry Graham was both the 39th Cav Platoon Leader and the vehicle commander at the time. It was him that Doc Roberts was trying to save since most others in his crew were already dead. Barry did not survive. D Company members riding atop the vehicle were thrown off and suffered injuries but none were serious. I believe all were returned to duty within 72 hours. D Company's 2nd Platoon was flown in to secure the site. I don't recall whether LT Harvey Mize was still leading the platoon at the time or if he had already become the acting company commander. Charlie Tapp was his platoon sergeant. Charlie Salisbury, who was one of those aboard the vehicle from 1st Platoon, will probably recall where the mission originated. I believe it was Ben Luc. The incident occurred south of the sugar mill when the ACV came out of the river to drop off the platoon. There were only a handful of places an ACV could enter and leave the river and the VC had apparently watched the pattern long enough to booby trap the most likely point. What I recall from the report is that trip wires were set in an X pattern, causing the ACV to trigger a 155mm round or a 250 lb bomb when it came out of the river. I don't think a crater analysis was done but Charlie Tapp would probably know. I never saw a picture of the wreckage and do not recall A Company having a role in the incident unless they were sent to replace D Company's 2nd platoon to secure the site the next morning when the wreckage was extracted. As an aside, D Company's 1st Platoon was in another mining incident later that month when a 2 1/2 Ton truck returning them to FSB Chamberlain hit a mine on the road from Bao Trai. Again, everyone was injured but none seriously. I think nearly everyone in the platoon earned a purple heart that month. Karl
Charlie Salisbury
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:59 pm

I still think of this event alot, sometimes it's very fresh in my mind. I am sorry for offending some of my fellow soldiers, but had wanted to get it out of my mind. In retrospect, I think that at times it has only made it worse , at least for my head. Again, if I upset soldiers, that surely was not the intent.
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:33 am

You didn't offend anybody Charlie. I'm glad you posted something and had a question. And I'm glad that others have participated in trying to get you some answers. You have, to me anyway, shown the courage to face what you have been carrying around with you all these years and have had the fortitude to bring it out in the light and look it in the eye. And more importantly, you have let the rest of us in a small circle of connections know it and asked for help in understanding it by discriptions from other memories.

This site has about played out in attracting interest and when nobody says anything for long periods of time it only confirms that the party is pretty much over. All of which is probably a good thing, since those of us that had remaining demons that we worked up enough courage to take out of the mental duffle bag and write about have probably all done it by now.

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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:34 pm

Found this story from the Go Devil.

I mentioned earlier in this string that the event was August 3. This story says August 4. However....at night on the 3rd? Day of the 4th that followed?
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:29 am

I always thought that it was towards the evening, it was going to be a night ambush. But WOW, how did you find that article. The death of the boat Commander, is as fresh as it's always been for me, just can't shake it, as hard as I try! I still think about that day, guess that is the way it always will be.
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Re: ACV INCIDENT

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:32 am

Charlie, I found it at the ACV site. If you visit, you will see the link to the 1970 Go Devil and also see a link to the "Calvary Afloat". This document tells the ACV story in Vietnam and contains a paragraph concerning the loss of the last ACV .

http://39thcavacv.com/Library.html

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