VIETNAM - Mid Years (cont.)

July 1969 - March 1971

During this period the real value of the 75th Support BN became clear. Support as in logistical support. Ammo, fuel, medical, transportation, maintenance, the list goes on. But maintenance was the real challenge. As personnel carriers, tanks, wheeled vehicle and weapons began to wear and as enemy action took its toll the 1/61 was unable to repair all the damage without help. Spare parts were hard to find, the supply system pipeline was empty. Remember all the parts brought from Ft Carson? They were gone and the normal system was not ready to respond. With a year of zero demand, the supply system had no parts on the way. Working long hours, finding parts where no parts existed and cannibalizing wrecks, the 75th kept the 1/61 combat ready. Their home was LZ Provider in greater Red Devil, and there work conditions were primitive at best. They were the unsung heroes of that period. To quote a MAJ Mark A. Olinger writing in the Autumn 1999 QM Professional Bulletin "A major factor contributing to the sustainment of the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), was the 75th Support Battalion that provided direct support to all assigned and attached units. The value added by this support battalion is clear..."
Additional pictures from DELTA Company 75th Support Bn can be found in Thumbnails-75th. And pictures from the 298th Signal Company at Thumbnails-298th.
An even larger collection of pictures from the 75th can be found on a site belonging to Gary Huber. He spent a long time in the BN and his pictures show the good days and the bad. The link takes you off this site so use your browser "Back" to return.

Early in December 1970 large units of NVA crossing the DMZ and moving south were spotted by A Co. patrols to the east of A-4.

(LEFT) Ron Gibson on DONG HA MOUNTAIN (FSB Fuller). A4 in the far background.

(RIGHT) FSB Fuller provided heavy artillery fire support.
Initially engaging with mortars and artillery the BN obtained B 52 support and directed three separate Arc Light strikes on the NVA units. Following the strikes A Co swept the area and after several brief fire fights was able to report the area secure. Another attempt by the NVA to seize Dong Ha and Quang Tri City had been stopped. Infantry operations in the AO, frequently with scout dog teams, continued.

George "Blue Max" Peppard meets B CO
CMDR, 1/61, "Blue Max" Borysko.

During this time entertainers from the US and the Philippines actually made it as far north as C2. The acts were OK, the girls pretty (they were girls after all) but the best thing was realizing that someone from the "world" knew the troops were there.

On the day before Christmas an unexpected visitor landed at A-4. He left after a very short stay and continued on to his original destination.

In January of 1971 the 1st BDE, 5th MECH, parent unit of 1/61, began its mission as part of Lam Son 719. The BDE operation was called DEWEY CANYON II. The 1st BN 61st INF was detached from the BDE and remained as the only US ground combat unit along the DMZ while the operation was being conducted. However initially two rifle companies (A & C) of the BN were attached to the 1/77 Tank Battalion for DEWEY CANYON II. During some phases of the operation the third company (B) was also attached. Operating west of Lang Ve the rifle companies secured the flanks of the main axis of advance for the ARVN forces attacking into Laos. It was hard and dirty work and, as usual the Infantry soldiers paid the price. With the withdrawal of the ARVN forces from Laos in April 1971 all 1/61 units returned to the control of the BN and the 1/5 BDE once more took the DMZ mission.