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Monumental Moments

By Tom Skiens Nov. 2005

The name Monumental Moments is a reflection of my experience with C 4/3 in 1968. One moment everything is fine and the next moment you need a monument. I present the following Charlie Company moments because they stand out in terms of causalities by volume. These events helped shape Charlie Company’s legacy. 68 thru 71, They need not be forgotten.

January 13, 1968

Charlie Company was in the third day of what would become a 28 day patrol. This would be the first Bouncing Betty "C" 4/3 would encounter in Vietnam.

At 1243 PM Co C. have hit mine at coord. 588833

We have 6 casualties, 1 serious, need medivac.

At 1300 dustoff over Co. C now. Unable to land

At wounded person’s position. Picking LZ at this

Time. (Dustoff completed 1315)

At 1328, Co. C: spot report. Ref. mines, 2 KHA-

Lt. Scully, PFC Hall, 2 serious wounded- SSG Conroy,

SGT Montgomery, Not seriously wounded,

SGT. Walker.

SP4 Thrasher, PFC Garner, SP4 Elston, PFC Henderson,

PFC Howes.

At 1329, Ref Co C mine report. Plat penetrated old defensive

Wire 300 meters. Point man stepped on mine. 2 KHA,

3 WHA serious, 5 WHA not serious.

April 19-25 1968

The events of this week are noteworthy. They are well documented in a paper titled, Seven Days in April. The mission was to cordon off an area we called, "Sniper Alley". The plan said, put a ring around the area, drop CS gas in the middle and shoot whatever runs out of the smoke. Three days to move into position, one day to drop gas and 3 days to hump out of the area. We hit 7 mines, suffered 6 dead and 13 wounded .

April 19 1968, at 0856, Co C request dustoff for 3 US WHA due to detonation of booby trapped AP mine Vic. BS533853, dustoff completed 0902. 1 other US KHA. Pers concerned: SP4 Pennamon, R. (KHA); 2LT O’Neill, J. (WHA); PFC Hargrove, L.(KHA); Finn. WHA

April 22, 1968. At 0715 Co. C. request dustoff coord. BS504875: 1 US litter, gunshot stomach wound. Dustoff completed 0724, 1 US WHA Sgt. Fox Donald. At 0920 Co. C. requested Dustoff. 1 USA WHA Sgt Jeffrety, Richard, 1 USA KHA Pfc. Price Michael, G. cause, antipersonnel mine

April 23, 1968. At1405 Co. C. req Dustoff for 2 US WHA from detonating Bouncing Betty AP mine. Dustoff completed 1420. At 1511 Co. C. requested a Dustoff for 2 US KHA Vic BS 527853, resulting from detonation of M16 AP mine. Lewis Harmon, KHA, Russel lee Mathney,KHA

April 24, 1968 At 1836 Co. C. requested a Dustoff coord. BS535801. Tripped booby trap resulting in 3 US WHA; Pfc. John Pollte, Pvt. Thomas Brzoska, Pvt. Peyton Leslie, Dustoff completed 1850.

April 25, 1968 At 1520 Co. C. requested Dustoff vic. BS533798. Result of M16A1 AP mine. Pfc. Eric Ficklin, KHA. SP4 George Jacobs, WHA. Pfc. George Daise, WHA. At 1627 Co. C. requested a Dustoff for 2 psychological casualties

February 28, 1969

This Battle took place approx. 7 clicks South Southwest of LZ BUF. Charlie Co. 4/3, mounted on APC’s, is sweeping the Horseshoe on the north side of the SONG TRA KHUC river. The Journal log summary tells the story; 4/3 Inf. Continues offensive search and sweep operations in the BUF AO. At 0915H Company D received AW fire from BS556825 w/1 US WHA and evacuated by C&C at 0924H. At 1030H Company C apprehended 20 VCS(Viet cong suspect) , MAM’s (military age males) and the VCS were brought to LZ BUF. At 1305h Co C requested DUSTOFF for 1 US WHA by SA fire in the head and the DUSTOFF was completed at 1335H. Later the US died of wounds. At 1345H Company C made contact with a platoon size VC/NVA element at BS510765. The enemy was using AW and RPG’s against the APC’s. 4 US were WHA from the APC’s by the RPG fire. Company C then spotted Bunkers and Concertina wire so they called in fast movers to suppress enemy fire. At 1420H Co C had 5 US WHA and DUSTED off at 1445H from the contact. At 1630H Company C moved to a Ville East of OP #1. At this point Co C observed persons moving around positioning themselves in the vile and some were moving out of the western portion of the vile. Company B (which had CA’d into BS524774) moved to the contact area and received heavy AW fire resulting in 6 US WHA and 4 KHA. Company B then linked up with company C and they conducted a coordinated attack. Company C then received 1 US KHA and 3 US WHA. An air strike was placed on the suspected enemy location and at 1700H 4/3 Inf. Request reinforcements from the 198th LIB. The last air strike drew heavy AW fire from BS532769. At 1930H Company B 5/36 CA’d into reinforce 4/3 Inf. Elements. At 1927H Recon platoon CA’d from LZ BUF to contact area.

At 1945H SPOOKY came on station and worked over the enemy location. At 2015H contact with the enemy had ceased. Result of the days contact were: 1 US WHA from Co D. 11 US WHA, 1 US KHA, 3 US MHA from Company C. 4 KHA from Co B 4/3.

Charlie Company Casualties

Pfc Fernando Garcia, WHA

Pfc George Harnish, WHA

Pfc Danial Webster, WHA

Pvt. George McDonald, WHA

Sgt. Austin Lawther, WHA

Pfc. Gary Vergason, WHA

Pfc. John Hamilton, WHA

1lt. Richard Keithline, KHA

Pfc. Dennis Groff, MIA

Pfc. Freund Carter, KHA

Eugene Couturiaux, KHA

April 15, 1970

There is a great deal of confusion about what started this chain of events. This much is known. Charlie Company 4/3 was under the operational control, (OPCON), of the 4/21. On April 15, 1970 Co. C 4/3 was leaving Hill 238 for assigned mission. Something happened while crossing the wire. Booby traps in the wire, Claymore mines being carried by grunts and nearby 81 mm HE and Illum. Rounds all began exploding. No one knows which explosion was first. The result was predictable.

Charlie Company Casualties

John F Brooks, WIA

Kennith Gibbs, WIA

Jim Alexander, WIA

Jack Bearden, WIA

Clinton Deacon, WIA

Frank Esteves, WIA

Lorendo Herrera, WIA

Larry Machart, WIA

John McCall, WIA

Jose Rivras, WIA

Danny Snider, WIA

Harold Titus, WIA

Russel Meyers, WIA

Michael Haynes, KIA

Charles Merril, KIA

Clarence Templeton, KIA

Randall Simmons, KIA

Finder, Foxtrot, Preacher and The Cross Eyewitness account:

Editors note:Harry lost an arm during the "Rice Bowl" incident and now lives in Galion, Ohio. Harry would love to hear from anyone who remembers this incident. His web mail address is listed on our member listing page. I deeply thank him for everything he has done, including his article! (F.F.P.C.)