Tuesday, April 20, 2010

20 April 1970

Monday night
20 April 1970

I have not received a letter for about 4 days.  However, I did receive 2 Navy Times one day, and a package of chocolate pudding and a pack of instant soup.

The operation I wrote about several days ago, was this morning.  I had planned the whole thing as far as the helicopters we used (9) and fixed wing air (2 A-4’s).  I planned the schedule or time table.

L hour minus 45 minutes - Aerial observer on station.
L hour minus 30 - Artillery prep of Landing Zone begins
L hour minus 20 - Helicopters arrive at Baldy
L hour minus 10 - Helicopters depart Baldy
L hour minus 01 - Artillery prep ends
L hour    Helicopters land and air strike begins.

The objective was an inland island, surround by rivers.  I went to Marble Mountain yesterday with some other officers from here, to conduct the “Zippo” brief.  Marble Mountain is the helicopter air field at Danang.  We went up before lunch, and then gave the brief at 1400.  There were about 20 people there from the various squadrons that would be supporting our operation.  I briefed these people on the whole operation.  That is what my job as ALO is really all about.

I can say, truthfully, that 2  first lieutenants planned this whole operation!!  The artillery officer for the Battalion, and myself.  We have a new operations officer here and he is totally incompetent!  The CO was very pleased with the way the operation went.  He said it was just like the book says.  Just like a field problem back in the states.

The LZ itself wasn’t defended, but one of the A-4’s took a hit while he was bombing the south end of the island.  The A-4’s dropped napalm on one end of the island, while the helicopters were landing at the other end.  They didn’t find anyone on the island, but some civilians in the area said they saw several wounded VC going through their village right after the artillery prep and air strike.

I had put in a lot of time planning this helicopter assault, and I was quite pleased with the outcome.  So now that the operation is over, I’ll go back to the old day to day routine of petty details - like the C&C helicopters!

I’m anxiously awaiting President Nixon’s speech, which I hope we’ll finally hear tomorrow night!  However, I don’t expect him to say much, if it was so unimportant he could put it off.  Or, maybe, he didn’t want to share the news space with the astronauts in space!??

Photo - Marines making a meal of c-rations.

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