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Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2011 by ivankatz







Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2011 by ivankatz

Before the White Man ‘discovered’ this area, it was the home of  various Native American tribes for thousands of years.

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Strouse Showalter Family Tree

Posted in Uncategorized on February 13, 2011 by ivankatz











Ashland, Kansas


The Year 1968 – Charlie Company 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2010 by ivankatz

The following  ‘Tropic Lightning News’ excerpts are related to events during 1968  involving Charlie Company, 3/22, 25th Infantry Division.


Vol 3 No. 01            TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS            January 1, 1968

Page 7

SGT Saves His Platoon

DAU TIENG – Saving the men in his platoon from the blast of a VC claymore mine, a 25th Div sergeant singlehandedly silenced a Viet Cong bunker during intense fighting southeast of Dau Tieng.
SGT David H. Moran, a member of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, was with Co C when a machine gun opened up from a hidden bunker inside a fortified VC base camp.  Hearing the cries for medic, Moran signaled SP4 Michael V. Jamilkowski, 4th Plt Medic, and they headed forward.
The young sergeant helped treat the most seriously wounded and then grabbed a grenade and his M-16 and crept toward the enemy bunker.
“Suddenly, I saw a green wire leading out from the bunker to another claymore aimed at our platoon,” said Moran. Cutting the wire, Moran rushed the bunker and tossed in his grenade.

Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           January 1, 1968


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           January 15, 1968

Silver Star

SGT Fred C. Du Bose, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PSG Wayne O. Knowles, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Vol 3 No. 04            TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS            January 22, 1968


Four battalions of Main Force Viet Cong attempted to overrun a 25th Inf Div fire support base on Jan. 1 and 2, and lost 382 men in the abortive attack.  The battle took place at Soui Cut, some 90 kms from Saigon.  The enemy launched their attack on the afternoon of Jan. 1, hours before the termination of their announced New Year’s truce period.  The Div’s fire support base had been set up only three days earlier.
The attack began with mortar and rocket grenade attacks in the afternoon and evening.  Then shortly before midnight, still well before the end of the truce, four enemy battalions from the 271st and 272nd Main Force Viet Cong Regiments, launched human wave assaults against the fire support base perimeter.
The defenders were members of the 25th Div’s 3rd Bde who were in the process of setting up a powerful fire support base at Soui Cut, only 12 kms from the Cambodian border.

The above map is of the 10-hour battle of Soui Cut. At least 382 Viet Cong of the 271st and 272nd Main Force VC Regiments were killed in their abortive attempt to overrun the fire support base.
The enemy was repelled with small arms, automatic weapons, hand grenades and supporting fire.  The tubes of the 105mm howitzers were lowered and fired directly into the Viet Cong attackers.
It was only last March that men of the 3rd Bde, then the 3rd Bde. 4th Inf Div, had killed 647 communists of these same Viet Cong Regiments in the battle of Soui Tre.  That battle is still the biggest one-day victory of the war.
Additional fire support for the battle at Soui Cut was provided by Army helicopter gunships and Air Force tactical aircraft hitting enemy positions from which they launched their assaults, and later enemy escape routes.
When the Viet Cong attempted to flee to the south and west at daybreak on Jan. 2, these aircraft sprayed the jungle with thousands of rounds of machine gun fire and air-delivered rockets.
The infantrymen found most of the enemy dead around the base camp perimeter.  U.S. casualties were listed as 23 killed and 153 wounded.
In addition to the 382 Viet Cong killed, the enemy lost 87 individual (rifles, carbines and sub-machine guns) and 29 crew-served (machine guns, mortars and recoilless rifles) weapons.

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 5, 1968

Bronze Star Medal (Valor)

SGT David H. Moran, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 5, 1968

Stranded GIs Survive Night

3RD BDE – “If our patrol had been located 15 meters away in any direction, none of us would have survived,” stated PFC John M. Golden from Westminster, Calif.
The ambush patrol from Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, had set up 350 meters from the perimeter of fire support base Burt near the Cambodian border.  A few hours after dark the patrol came under heavy Viet Cong mortar, RPG and small arms fire.
With the only radio knocked out of commission and men wounded, the patrol was forced to remain in position.  “We couldn’t move because we didn’t know where the Viet Cong, were,” commented Golden.
In the meantime the enemy was advancing all around the patrol in their attack upon the fire support base.  With both enemy and friendly fire dropping around their position, the uninjured patrol members bandaged the wounded for the rest of the night.
Only when morning arrived was the patrol able to receive aid from the base camp and return to safety.

Quick Thinking Ambush Patrol Kills 7 VC

3RD BDE – Quick thinking by an ambush patrol that was caught in the direct line of attack on the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div fire support base Burt resulted in their pulling back to a bomb crater where they held off an all night attack killing at least seven enemy troops.  This action took place during the Battle of Soui Cut that resulted in 382 Viet Cong killed.
The ambush patrol from Charlie Co, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, was led by SSG Mark Ridley of San Antonio, Tex, with only two weeks in country.  Although the New Year Truce was in effect, previous mortar attacks which had broken the truce prompted the “Triple Deuces” battalion commander, LTC A.G. Norris, to send the ambush patrol out as counter-mortar security for the support base.
Leaving the southern end of the perimeter at 6:30 p.m. the patrol traveled 400 meters down a main trail before angling in to the right.  “We had been set in place for half an hour,” said Ridley.  “Around 7:30 the perimeter opened up and a little later we began to hear the Viet Cong talking all around us.”
“Then some Viet Cong came down the path, led by a man with a flashlight,” commented PFC William Thompson from Seabrook, Tex.  “We threw some hand grenades and got them.”
By then SSG Ridley had received word that the whole fire support base was under heavy enemy contact.  With friendly .50 cal. and enemy fire cracking overhead, the patrol crawled to a bomb crater where they set up in a circle.
It took only a moment for the men to realize that they were in the line of a major attack on their battalion, and their only chance for survival lay in maintaining a purely defensive posture.  For the rest of the night, the patrol called in artillery concentrations and provided targets for the gunships and aircraft pounding the enemy’s line of attack between their position and the perimeter.
The only reply to the enemy heavy small arms fire and hand grenades thrown by the circling enemy troops was defensive fire to keep the enemy at bay.  PFC John Marts from Owaneco, Ill, kept his M-60 machine gun below ground level until he could see enemy troops creeping up to throw grenades. “We knew we were surrounded and would not be relieved until dawn,” said Marts.  “To conserve ammo I waited until they came close enough so I couldn’t miss and then put a few bursts into the enemy and got back down in the hole.”
The only casualty came when a CHICOM RPG-2 round hit the lip of the crater, lightly wounding one of the men.
By dawn the unsuccessful attack had been beaten back, and a reinforcing element had moved to the ambush site to escort the patrol back to friendly lines.  Seven enemy bodies were found within 15 meters of the bomb crater, and four heavy blood trails led from the immediate area.
“It was a real hairy experience,” remarked Ridley back at the fire support base, “and I never want to go through anything like that again.”

Page 8

Big Ammo Cache Found Near ‘Burt’

3RD BDE – An old Viet Cong base camp 1500 meters outside of fire support base Burt yielded a large store of munitions to a careful search by men of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
Bravo Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, led by CPT Robert L. Hemphill from Lavonia, Ga., discovered the recently hidden explosives while on a reconnaissance patrol.
“We knew from the numerous VC footprints nearby and the perfect condition of the stores that, they had been hidden only a few days ago,” explained Hemphill.
The discovery included 156 60mm mortar rounds, 3 82mm mortar rounds, 13,750 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 41 cases of TNT, 24 cases of C-4, and 14,400 non-electric blasting caps.
The mortar rounds were carefully packed twelve to a box and the fuses and warheads were separately packaged in small metal boxes to insure that the rounds didn’t accidentally explode while being transported.
Using the TNT and C-4, the “Regulars” destroyed the entire bunker complex.  The mortar rounds which had been packed were brought back to the fire support base for experimental study.

Vol 3 No. 9          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          February 26, 1968

Page 1

Div Kills 400 Around Cu Chi


By LT Bruce Burton
In two weeks of continuous contact, elements of six 25th Inf Div battalions have killed more than 400 Viet Cong during the fighting in the Cu Chi area.
Battles raged along Highway 1 from the outskirts of Saigon to the north of the division’s base camp at Cu Chi.  Heavy fighting also broke out during the Tet period from the Ho Bo Woods to Duc Hoa in the northern and southern extremes of Hau Nghia Province.
Soon after the Viet Cong shattered their declared Tet truce, the 1st and 2nd Bns, 27th Inf “Wolfhounds” airlifted into the Saigon area to reinforce American units defending the capital.  When it became apparent that more troops would be needed to handle the string of coordinated attacks along Hau Nghia Province’s stretch of Highway 1, units were dispatched from the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
Both the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf and the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf came in heavy contact within hours of arriving under 2nd Bde control at Cu Chi.
The 1st Bde’s 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf already under the operational control of the 2nd Bde on a land clearing operation in the Ho Bo Woods, also saw heavy action in the Viet Cong Tet offensive.
The 2nd Bn, 27th Inf airlifted into Tan Son Nhut Air Base where the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav was repulsing a massive enemy assault.  The “Wolfhound” battalion set up a base nearby and began to battle enemy units poised to strike at the Tan Son Nhut military complex and at the capital.
Also on January 31, an ambush patrol from the 1st Bn, 27th Inf killed 15 Viet Cong and captured a 75mm recoilless rifle.  Reinforcements from the battalion’s forward base at Duc Hoa killed 22 more and captured a second 75mm recoilless rifle.
Three companies made heliborne assaults into the Saigon suburb of Hoc Mon, which the Viet Cong had overrun the night before.  The American force immediately began clearing operations.
In the early stages of the fighting around Cu Chi, the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf and the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf bore the brunt of the action.
Within days, however, the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf also became fixed in a continuous struggle to push entrenched Viet Cong from two villages to the east of the Cu Chi base camp.
Early on the morning of February 1, the ARVN Cu Chi subsector reported it was under attack by an estimated Viet Cong battalion.
The reconnaissance platoon of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf led a company of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf in a daring charge through heavy enemy automatic weapons and recoilless rifle fire to relieve the burning sub-sector compound.

At daylight, three more companies of the 22nd Inf joined the fight in a three-pronged attack into the village of Cu Chi.  Street-fighting raged for five hours until the enemy force abandoned the village.  The enemy unit, identified as the 1st Bn, MR IV Main Force Regiment, suffered at least 12 killed, five weapons lost and 21 personnel detained.
The fighting in Tan Phu Trung and Ap Cho, neighboring villages along Highway 1 less than 10 kilometers from Cu Chi, began January 31 when the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf moved in to clear two enemy companies blocking the road.
In almost five hours of continuous contact, the infantrymen killed 17 enemy.  The Viet Cong unit, believed to be from the 272nd Regiment, appeared to withdraw from the village.
Two days later, however, fighting again erupted in the two communities, this time as a truck convoy attempted to pass through from Saigon to Cu Chi.
While the convoy waited three kilometers to the south, a company from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf and elements of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf fought their way into the town.
Although the 3rd Bde battalion has borne the majority of the action in Ap Cho and Tan Phu Trung, elements of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, Alpha Co, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor; and the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf have assisted the 22nd Inf in its attempts to drive through the enemy fortifications.
So far, at least 106 Viet Cong have died in the American assaults on their fortifications, lost six individual and two crew served weapons and several personnel detained.
The 2nd Bn, 12th Inf killed at least 115 Viet Cong in the battle to clear Highway 8A at Tan Hoa, and in action between there and an Phu Trung, six kilometers to the south.


Also faced with Viet Cong entrenched in reinforced concrete bunkers, the 3rd Bde unit fought against elements of an estimated two battalions of the 272nd Viet Cong Regiment.
Although the American unit had faced sporadic contact shortly after it airlifted into the Cu Chi area, its first significant contact came on February 5, when it killed 33 Viet Cong who had dug in at the hamlet of Phuoc Hung.
The following day, the infantrymen moved north in an attempt to drive through the village of Tan Hoa.  Like the action along Highway 1, the fighting has raged ever since.
On February 6, a company of the battalion killed 22 Viet Cong who had opened fire with small arms, machine guns and rockets.  Artillery fire from Cu Chi and armed helicopters supported the troops in their assault.
Air Force fighter bombers dumped thousands of pounds of explosives onto the enemy fortifications during the eight-day battle.
Although the U.S. troops several times penetrated the enemy defenses and captured several automatic and crew-served weapons, the Viet Cong force has continued to resist with heavy fire all attempts to break through the town.
In other actions throughout the province, the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf killed 24 Viet Cong and captured one RPG-2 rocket launcher in a five-hour fight in the Ho Bo Woods.


Throughout the two-week period, tactical air strikes accounted for 35 Viet Cong killed, artillery 30, and helicopter gunships 25 enemy killed.
Two kilometers to the east, two companies of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf were locked in battle with a large enemy force.  Fighting until dark, the infantrymen killed 102 enemy, and were supported by tactical air strikes, artillery and gunships.

Page 6

Wandering Wallet

3RD BDE – Finding a wallet in the jungle that had been lost two months ago and 35 kms away, sounds unbelievable.
But just such an oddity happened to PFC John J. Foster.  The soldier from Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, had lost his billfold when wounded on an operation south of Dau Tieng.
Two months later, as Charlie Co was sweeping through a Viet Cong base camp near Cu Chi, the wallet was discovered in a large bunker.

Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 26, 1968


Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 4, 1968


Two Actions
Fighting Nets 14

During an operation east of Cu Chi a unit of the 3rd Bde narrowly escaped being surrounded by a heavily armed Viet Cong force.
Moving north through swampy terrain, Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf discovered fresh food and other signs of enemy activity.


Minutes later the Viet Cong opened fire on the lead elements with heavy automatic weapons and RPG fire.  Withdrawing, the American company returned the enemy fire as they maneuvered away.
Then the company commander, 1LT Charles J. Boyle called in three air strikes on the enemy force.  The troops continued to pour in fire on the VC as the jets and gunships pounded the bunkers.


After the bombing the company moved back through the area and located 14 VC bodies.
“When we discovered well over 50 bunkers with tunnels, it was obvious that this was a base camp for a large VC unit,” commented Boyle.


3rd Brigade Regulars Kill 55 In Four Days

3RD BDE – Recent fighting in the Saigon area brought the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf into combat south of Cu Chi.
With several companies of Viet Cong headed for the village of Cu Chi, troops of the 3/22 were called in to assist the local ARVN forces in pushing back the enemy.
Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie companies swept through the village, killing several VC infiltrators and taking 21 detainees.
Delta Co accounted for 27 of the enemy dead in heavy fighting in and around the smaller villages near Cu Chi base camp.
As the Viet Cong companies scattered throughout the area, the “Regular” troops conducted highly effective search and destroy missions among the dusty rice fields.  Constant enemy fire from rockets and automatic weapons produced U.S. casualties, but the dispersed enemy paid a high price.  In four days of fighting 55 enemy were killed.

LTC Flint 3/22 CO

3RD BDE – With his battalion engaged in heavy combat outside of Cu Chi, LTC Roy K. Flint recently assumed command of the 3rd, 22nd Inf.  LTC Thomas U. Harrold, former battalion commander, was unable to return to Dau Tieng so the customary change of command ceremony was omitted.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Flint spent six months with USARV Headquarters prior to taking command of the “Regulars”.
After a brief handshake ceremony with the former CO, Colonel Flint took to the air in an observation helicopter to direct his battalion in its fight against the Viet Cong

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 25, 1968


SP4 William H. Schieber, Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 15, 1968


CPT Elliot G. Fishburne III, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SGT David H. Moran, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

SP4 Thomas Volz, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Kenneth E. Giesing, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 8

SIX STARS – GEN William C. Westmoreland, on a recent visit to Cu Chi, listens attentively to a report from MG F. K. Mearns, 25th Inf Div commanding general.  (Photo By 1LT Larry Rottmann)

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 22, 1968


1LT Oscar J. Harris, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf


PSG Ronald L. Springsteen, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SSG William L. Watson, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

SSG William R. Barbow, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SGT Gaston R. Golding, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

SGT Harold R. Key, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SP4 William E. Dahl, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 John L. Sayers, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SP4 Jerry Rudisell, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf

SP4 Wilbur Williams Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 22, 1968


Regulars Still Controlling Rivers, Canals

3RD BDE – Night resupply in the area north of Saigon has become a fatal job for the Viet Cong.
Operation Saratoga brought the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, into the Tan Son Nhut area where VC and NVA regulars had been utilizing the hundreds of small rivers and canals to transport troops and rockets close to the capital.
To stop the infiltration, the “Regulars” have met Charlie on his own terms, at night.  Each night, part of the Bn moves out into the canals and streams of the surrounding fields to intercept the Viet Cong as the enemy comes out of hiding.
In four weeks, the 3/22 has accounted for over 60 VC killed and 18 enemy sampans destroyed.
Coupled with intensive daylight sweeps, the Regulars highly effective night operations have markedly reduced Viet Cong rocket attacks in the Tan Son Nhut area and denied Charlie one of his key weapons, freedom to operate at night.

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


2LT Michael D. Balser, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Vol 3 No. 19          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          May 6, 1968

Page 1

Regulars Fight Off Attack, 124 Viet Cong Killed

3RD BDE – The 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, fought off a Viet Cong human wave attack 110 kms northwest of Saigon only hours after they had set up their night position.


The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div unit was taking part in the multi-division Operation Toan Thang when the attack occurred.
The Bn had been heli-lifted into their position and set up their night perimeter in a remote part of the jungle close to the Saigon River.  Very early in the morning, the camp came under heavy mortar attack.  As the mortar fire increased, the VC hit the battalion perimeter with a massive human wave attack.

One sector of the perimeter received the brunt of the attack and was quickly reinforced by the reconnaissance unit.  The Viet Cong began getting inside the perimeter but an all-out effort drove them back.

Air strikes and artillery pounded the VC and the attack began to weaken.  As dawn broke, the enemy was driven back to the edge of the perimeter.  The VC kept trying to press the attack as their mortar rounds were pounding the “Regulars” position.
By sunrise, the unit had successfully beaten off the attack and were joined by the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, who had worked their way through six kms of jungle to reinforce their sister battalion.

The two units gained complete control of the perimeter and received only sporadic fire throughout the morning.
The first sweep of the area that morning produced 124 VC bodies while later sweeps turn­ed up 13 more to bring the total to 137 enemy killed.  Also found were 5 AK-47 rifles, 13 machine guns, 7 RPG launchers and 2 chicom carbines.
The day was climaxed by the presentation of Silver Stars to six Regulars of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf. (See Picture)

COL Leonard R. Daems, at left, the CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, congratulates men of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, on their receiving the Silver Star for their part in a battle in which the unit killed 137 Viet Cong.  The men are, from left, CPT Gerald J. White, commanding officer of Co D; 1LT Richard J. Prairie, commanding officer of Co B; SFC Robert E. Nelson, Co D; SGT Edward D. Crow, Co B; SP5 Carl L. Felgenhauer, attached to Co C; and not pictured, SP4 David Chedester, medic with the reconnaissance platoon. (Photo By SP4 Paul Payne)

This is the third engagement of this nature the battalion has been in.  The first was the “Battle of Soui Tre,” the largest single day battle of the war.  Second, “The Battle of Soui Cut” where 380 VC were killed and now, this battle takes its place in the Battalion’s history.

Each battle was fought under close combat conditions and each was a victory for the American forces

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 6, 1968

BRONZE STAR (HEROISM ) SP4 David B. Leverty, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL  (HEROISM) PFC Frank J. Piraino, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 6, 1968

3rd Bde Mobility Proving Itself

3RD BDE – Mobility, the U.S. Army’s number one asset in Vietnam.  The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div has proven its mobility many times ever since the first of Dec, when the Bde Command Post and Hqs elements began touring War Zone C.
First it was to Soui Tre, the site of the Bde’s battle with an NVA force last Mar.  But, in Dec, the VC and NVA had abandoned the area.  Two weeks of operations turned up only 4,500 hand grenades and a few booby traps.
Then, the Bde CP moved to Fire Support Base Burt, 12 kms from the Cambodian border.  For the first few days it seemed as though the enemy was not there either.  Then, on the night of New Years Day, elements of the 271 and 272 NVA Regiments attempted to overrun Burt.  The New Year began with the Bde killing over 300 of the enemy that night and over 500 for the three weeks in the area.  The Bde then returned to Dau Tieng.
Time in the base camp was short as the men were called for duty against the VC and NVA units north of Tan Son Nhut early in the Tet offensive.  The task was to take the offensive away from the enemy and clear them out of the Tan Son Nhut area.
Commanded by COL Leonard R. Daems, the 3rd Bde units found and destroyed large numbers of the enemy, pushed them out of their strongholds and away from the populated areas.  Dozens of 122mm rockets, mortar rounds and numerous weapons were seized from the enemy.  During these operations, the Command Post moved three more times.
Finally, after almost four months in the field, the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div CP has returned to base camp, still mobile, still ready to go after Charlie.
Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           June 3, 1968

SILVER STAR ~ 2LT Philip J. Hallisy, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

BRONZE STAR (HEROISM) ~ 1LT Ruben Barkley, Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Vol 3 No. 24          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          June 10, 1968

Page 1

Task Force Kill 600 In 13 Days

3RD BDE - In 13 days of operations northwest of Saigon, a task force of the 25th Inf Div has killed more than 600 enemy soldiers attempting to slip away from the Saigon area following the May offensive.
The task force, consisting of four battalions, destroyed 94 bunkers.  Over 60 Viet Cong suspects were detained for questioning.
COL Leonard R. Daems, Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, headed the task force, which included a mechanized battalion, two battalions of infantry and one of armor.
The operation began between Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, as first day action cost the enemy 159 killed.  During the following days, Task Force Daems pursued the scattering Viet Cong across the division area of operations past Trang Bang, forcing remnants into the area of the Boi Loi and Hobo Woods.
On the seventh day of the action, 118 VC were killed in the vicinity of the Cambodian border.  Three days later another 91 Communists were killed, with lesser body counts on the other days of the operation.
The capture of 77 AK-47 assault rifles and four 60mm mortar tubes as well as several enemy rockets was also accomplished during the action, a continuation of Operation Toan Thang.  The task force also captured over nine tons of rice, 1,300 pounds of salt, two USSR flame throwers and several Chinese radios, as well as medical supplies.  Additionally, Task Force Daems turned up an assortment of mines, booby traps, enemy clothing and supplies.
Battalions comprising the task force included the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf; 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, and 2nd Bn, 34th Armor.  Companies from other battalions of the division were assigned to the task force for portions of the operation.

Page 6

REGULARS – From the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, board a Chinook from the 242d Aslt Spt Heli Co as the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, force moves to a new position near Cu Chi.

Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           June 10, 1968


Charlie’s Rockets Streak For Home
Cu Chi Base Camp celebrated the 78th birthday of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh.  It was with the greatest of pleasure that Tropic Lightning Divarty, assisted by men of the U.S. Element Combined Material Exploitation Center prepared their own version of a North Vietnamese party.
But for ‘Charlie’ out beyond the perimeter, it was not to be such a pleasant occasion.  Rather than use U.S. artillery to show the Viet Cong that they wanted in on the celebration, they fired his own weapons back at him!
Using 122mm Russian-built rockets captured by men of the 2nd Bde, the canoneers set them up on the outskirts of the base camp and, on the eve of the President’s birthday, the six foot-four inch long rockets blasted off on a return trip to ‘Charlie.’
Undoubtedly, it gave him some food for thought, but for the men of the 25th Inf Div it was more like the icing on the cake.

Page 2 Decorated

PFC Jimmie Burton, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Alvin E. Hayes, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Paul E. Lewis, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Wallace L. Giesen, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

PFC Jimmie L. Marcum, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Virgil E. Ewings, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gerol Mingo, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC James E. Dice, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

PFC Sheliey O. Smith, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Roger S. Warner, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gill R. Moffitt, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           June 17, 1968

Army Commendation Medal (Heroism)

SGT Joseph H. Best, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Harvey Long, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

SP4 Daniel L. Juan, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Melven Thomas, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

PFC John M. Golden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

PUSHED FOR FIRING – A captured Russian-built 122mm rocket is fused for firing back at Viet Cong forces.  Fusing the rocket at Cu Chi base camp is Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Thomas L. Swearenger, munitions analyst for the Combined Material Exploitation Center.  He is assisted by SP4 Jerry L. Peters of 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.  The rocket, captured by men of the Tropic Lightning Div, was fired on the eve of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh’s 78th birthday.

Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           June 17, 1968


Regulars MEDCAP Tay Ninh

3RD BDE – Using a Huey as transportation, a medical team from the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, flew into Tay Ninh Province for a MEDCAP.
Under the direction of the battalion surgeon, CPT Ira P. Mersack, the “Regulars” medics treated over 300 patients in the hamlet of Suoi Can during the afternoon project.
This turnout was the largest yet for a medcap in this heavily populated district, where the previous week had seen only half as many villagers attend the afternoon clinic.
“We will be coming to one of the hamlets in this district every week,” commented Mersack;  “eventually we hope to establish a tuberculosis clinic and an immunization clinic here.”

Vol 3 No. 26          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          June 24, 1968

Page 1


3D BDE – In a furious day-long battle south of Saigon a company of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, routed an entrenched Viet Cong force and accounted for ten enemy killed.
“We were checking out the area as a possible laager site,” explained CPT Gerald T. Brown, C Co CO from Cape Girardeau, Mo., “when the VC attacked from their bunkers with RPG rockets.”
Reacting quickly, the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, troopers maneuvered to flank the triangular shaped bunker complex.  Without cover from the heavy enemy fire, however, the company had to pull back.
“I called in artillery and gunships to soften up the area,” added Brown.
Throughout the afternoon gunships, artillery, and finally airstrikes alternately pounded the VC bunkers while the Regulars continued to probe the positions only to encounter increasingly intense small arms and RPG fire.
As dusk drew near, C Co made a final attempt to drive out the enemy with hand grenades, small arms and light antitank weapons.  The bunker-to-bunker battle lasted until darkness when the American troops were forced to withdraw from the area.  During the fighting, one enemy soldier surrendered.

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           June 24, 1968


PFC Pedro J. Mundo, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SGT Joseph H. Best, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf

PFC Harvey Long, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SP4 Daniel L. Juan, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

PFC Melven Thomas, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC John M. Golden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           July 1, 1968



1LT Dennis R. Adkins, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf 1LT Michael Donnelly, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

SSG Perry Rowe, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SSG Cecil. A. Du Cote, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

SGT Donald J. Manlief, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SP4 Peter J. Novosel, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

SP4 Loydell Anderson, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Harry Jordan Jr. Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC John E. Lesniak, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           July 15, 1968


1LT Charles J. Boyle, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf 2LT Michael Donnelly, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

PFC Edward Runge, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           July 29, 1968

SILVER STAR ~ 1LT Dennis R. Adkins, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM) ~ 1LT Oscar J. Harris, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf

Vol 3 No. 31          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          July 29, 1968

July 4th Attack Repulsed

3D BDE - More than 400 enemy rocket and mortar rounds and a pair of pre-dawn ground attacks by two reinforced Viet Cong companies were repelled by 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division soldiers on the 4th of July.
The attack, largest sustained in the two-year history of Dau Tieng base camp, was broken by gunships and infantry.  At least 10 enemy soldiers were left dead on the perimeter of the camp.
The attack began shortly before 2:30 a.m. as salvo after salvo of mortar fire struck all corners of the base camp.
Miraculously, no one was killed as an official total of 374 mortars, eight 107mm rockets, and 25 RPG rocket rounds slammed around infantrymen who were huddled in defensive bunkers.
Striking from both sides of the perimeter north of the airfield, the Viet Cong, arrayed in suicide squads, attempted a ground wave pincer movement which hit night defensive positions of the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, and the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry.
Several artillery bunkers were damaged as the enemy suicide squad, hitting the west side of the camp, struck with RPG rocket rounds and satchel charges.  At least seven VC broke inside the perimeter before the attack was halted.
On the east side of the camp, a larger Viet Cong force emerged from behind tombstones in a cemetery but were cut down in a welter of machine gun and duster fire.  Two VC planted themselves near the end of the runway and tossed pressure-released satchel charges onto the east end of the airstrip.
As gunships scrambled and shattered the air with a deafening roar of fire, the ground wave attacks were completely disrupted.  By the light of flares, enemy soldiers were seen to toss their weapons to the ground and run for the protective cover of nearby woods.


Before dawn, an AC-47 “Puff the Magic Dragon” aircraft began circling the base camp, dropping flares and adding further firepower to the assault on the retreating enemy.  Artillery fire and more gunship raids also rained down on the attackers.
A preliminary search of the perimeter the following morning recovered, in addition to the enemy bodies, 434 home-made satchel charges, three bangalore torpedoes, a dozen RPG-7 rocket rounds, 49 RPG-2 rounds, 45 60mm mortar rounds, one RPG-2 launcher, numerous hand grenades and six AK-47 assault rifles.
Blood trails leading away from the base camp indicated additional enemy deaths which could not be positively confirmed.  American casualties numbered five dead, all in defense of the west perimeter, and 53 injured, 18 of whom required hospitalization.

REPAIRING THE BUNKER LINE at Dau Tieng Base Camp, GIs with the help of Vietnamese nationals reinforce the positions.  The west perimeter of the base camp came under heavy ground attack in the predawn hours of July fourth by two reinforced NVA companies.  (Photo by SP4 Bill Sluis)

Commander Gets In on the Action

3D BDE – Seven NVA soldiers died at the hands of a 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division battalion commander firing from his command helicopter.
Lieutenant Colonel Roy K. Flint of St. Petersburg, Fla., Commander of the 3d Battalion. 22nd Infantry, used an M-l rifle and two hand grenades to kill the NVA in rice paddies six miles northwest of Saigon.
The enemy soldiers had been pinned down while LTC Flint and his pilot, Captain Jerry R. Pierce of Celoron, N.Y., strafed the area.  Dropping down to 100 feet, LTC Flint and his pilot spotted one man fleeing along a canal line.  Flint blasted away, unsure whether he got the enemy.
“I looked to one side and saw several shadow-like shapes creeping in water in an old bomb crater,” Flint said.  Quick investigation found them to be enemy troops trying to hide.  LTC Flint fired away all his remaining ammo, killing three of them.
After the action, which took less than 20 minutes, members of Charlie Company turned up four AK-47 assault rifles and two RPG rocket launchers, including one that was loaded and ready to fire.

MANY distinguished guests passed through the division’s area of operations during General Mearns’ year in command.  One frequent visitor and friend of the Tropic Lightning Division was the former commander of all U.S. Forces in Vietnam and now Army Chief of Staff, General William C. Westmoreland, pictured with General Mearns and 3d Brigade Commander, Colonel Kenneth E. Buell.

Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 12, 1968

Regulars Count Accomplishments
Come Up With Impressive List

3D BDE – “Everybody pop smoke” was the enthusiastic cry as companies of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry pulled into Dau Tieng base camp after a record 88 days in the field.
The smoke-popping ritual marked the start of a stand down and a well earned rest.
Operation Toan Thang II so far proved to be most successful for infantrymen of the 3d of the 22d.  From April 10 through July 6 the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Regulars killed more than 275 of the enemy.
While combing woods and jungles, wading through rice paddies and slogging through swamps, men of the 3/22 came up with more than 75 AK-47 and AK-50 assault rifles, more than a dozen RPG-2 rocket launchers, upwards of 100 grenades and 7,000 plus rounds of small arms ammunition.
In addition, they found close to 100 RPG rocket rounds, 80 RPG boosters, and more than a dozen light machine guns.  To this were added more than 10,000 pounds of contraband rice – in all it was a truly impressive list.
The days at Dau Tieng were rewarding ones for the Regulars.  Brigadier General Carleton Preer Jr., assistant division commander for support, was on hand to present 11 Silver Stars.
Lieutenant Colonel Roy K. Flint, battalion commander, presented 42 Bronze Stars and 141 Army Commendation Medals to men of his command.
During the remainder of the time in camp the battalion made sure that its weapons and equip­ment were in good condition. Then the men began to unwind a bit.  Company sponsored barbecues were on the agenda with steaks, hamburgers, refreshments for all.  Trips to the gift shops, swimming pool and PX were also in order.
For some it was a time to answer letters that just couldn’t be answered while in the field – for others, a time to just relax and get caught up on some sleep.

Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968

MOVE! – Men of Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry race toward a chopper ready to lift them into a combat assault to the JUNGLES OF WAR ZONE C seven miles north of Tay Ninh. The 3d Brigade Company was sent in to assess damage from B52 bombing raids. (PHOTO BY PFC HERB BURDETT)

Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 2, 1968

Regular-Type Ambush Nets Seven-Ton Cache

3D BDE - Infantrymen of the 3d Brigade killed three Viet Cong and seized more than 13,000 lbs of enemy supplies in a night ambush two miles west of Dau Tieng.
A platoon of Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry ambushed an enemy convoy consisting of 10 oxcarts along a road in the Ben Cui rubber plantation.
Among the captured supplies were 3,500 lbs of rice; 2,800 lbs of peanuts; 3,500 lbs of salt; 500 lbs of tea and 2,800 lbs of peas.  Also taken were 1700 cans of milk and 200 cartons of cigarettes.


Pages 1 &8

FSB Buell Forces Crush Enemy Drive

1ST BDE – The apparent lull in the Vietnam conflict ended for units of the 25th Infantry Division and Vietnamese forces in Tay Ninh Province.  Base camps, fire support locations and numerous outposts came under heavy enemy fire as a determined Viet Cong force attempted to overrun U.S. positions.
The attacks triggered a two-day battle filled with fierce fighting as 179 Viet Cong soldiers were killed near Tay Ninh City before pulling back late Monday.  The attacks were apparently aimed at denying U.S. and Vietnamese control of the city itself.
Initial action was triggered as an ambush patrol from Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry spotted an estimated enemy battalion three miles northeast of Tay Ninh City.  As they let the Viet Cong force deliberately pass their ambush site they engaged the enemy’s rear elements while coordinated artillery fire blasted away at the front of the column.  Five VC were killed in the action, two rifles and one pistol captured.
At Fire Support Base Buell II, only three and a half miles to the northwest, base personnel were alerted by the ambush and were aware of the imminent danger.  They were ready when at 1:23 am, 75 to 100 rounds of 82mm mortar and 12 rounds of 107mm rocket fire crashed into their perimeter.
Moving under the cover of the rockets and mortars, an estimated enemy battalion made a vicious ground attack on the base, hitting first in the direction of the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery.  During the following four-hour battle, the fire base was hit from the southeast and northwest.
Small arms and sustained automatic weapons fire plagued the staunch U.S. defenders.  The 105mm howitzers from Bravo Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery and the 155mm guns of Alpha Battery, 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery retaliated with point blank fire.  Elements from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry and 2d Battalion 34th Armor delivered a devastating fire into the VC as they pushed their attack.
As the elements of the 9th NVA Division attacked from the shelter of a nearby banana plantation to the northwest, Base Coordinator Lieutenant Colonel Alexander H. Hunt, battalion commander of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry directed the artillerymen to use direct fire on the approaching enemy the VC attempted to penetrate the perimeter of the fire support base, and met a wall of flame and steel from the hard-working artillerymen.  Within seconds the 155mm howitzers of Alpha Battery, 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery (The Clan), under Captain Clifford Crittsinger, joined the 105s of the threatened Bravo Battery under Captain Robert A. Snyder in presenting tremendous firepower to the stunned enemy.
Lieutenant Colonel Hunt used flare ships and called U.S. Air Force tactical air strikes within 150 meters of the perimeter.  Helicopter gunships from Delta Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry and Bravo Troop, 25th Aviation Battalion continually strafed the enemy with machine gun fire and rocket attacks.  They were assisted by the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, under the operational control of the 25th Infantry Division.
As the shattered enemy assault forces began to retreat, the 7th Battalion, 11th Arty followed their movement with continuous fire from their 105mm howitzers.  Twenty minutes later, another assault force attacked from the southeast.  This time The Clan was directly faced with the charging enemy.
Leveling their self-propelled howitzers, the artillerymen once again fired round upon round directly into the enemy’s front.  Howitzer crews of both batteries continued to man their pieces despite small arms fire and automatic weapons fire throughout the attack.
Heavy fighting continued until 4:40am when the enemy started retreating after suffering heavy casualties from the combined Infantry, Artillery and Armor team at the fire support base.  Eighty-three enemy were killed while American forces suffered only one killed and 26 wounded.  Over 700 rounds of artillery alone were expended.
“It was a real joint effort.  The artillery batteries here did a real fine job as did the tank’s direct fire,” commented Major Jerome Johnson, the 3d Bn, 22nd Infantry Operations Officer from Green Bay, Wis.
Meanwhile, Tay Ninh base camp was attacked at 1:15am during the enemy operation but little damage resulted from the five 82mm mortar rounds and the nineteen 107mm rockets hurled inside the perimeter.
A second target for the coordinated enemy advance was the communications center atop the 3200 foot Nui Ba Den mountain near the fire support base.  The small signal relay station received fire from small arms, automatic weapons and RPG rounds, beginning at 2am.  The sharp conflict continued until dawn.  At one point, four bunkers were occupied by enemy troops.  Ten Viet Cong were killed while eight Americans died and 23 were wounded.
At 7:20 am Monday, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry made contact with prowling enemy units three and a half miles due west of Dau Tieng base camp.  Two VC companies unleashed small arms, automatic weapons and RPG fire on the infantrymen.
Throughout the day, the Bobcats aggressively fought the enemy, proving too strong for them by 4:30 pm when the VC broke contact.  Forty-two Viet Cong bodies were found.
During the coordinated attacks, Tay Ninh City was hit as the VC mortared the district headquarters in an attempt to move into the city itself.  An unknown size enemy force was reported in the city.
As the Regional Force and Popular Force units in the area, assisted by the 51st ARVN Ranger Battalion moved in to rout the VC, it became evident that the enemy could not hold their quarters and the Long Hoa market district, fled to the southwest at night after two firefights between 5 and 8 o’clock at night.
Early Monday morning, the Vietnamese soldiers including elements of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry and 2d Battalion, 34th Armor who maintained blocking positions in the southern city limits, swept the city.  The sweep confirmed that the enemy had left the city itself.  During the two days of fighting around the city, these units killed 14 VC while tactical air strikes accounted for another nine enemy killed.
During the actions, 16 AK-47 rifles, two RPG-7 launchers and 32 rounds, 11 RPG-2 launchers and 84 rounds, six .51 caliber machine guns and one .30 caliber with two barrels, one M-16, one radio, 214 hand grenades and 40 rifle grenades, 4,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and twenty-one 57mm recoilless rifle rounds and 10 pounds of documents were captured.  Thirteen enemy soldiers were detained for questioning.

Vol 3 No. 37          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          September 9, 1968


On Sunday, August 18, the enemy came out of hiding to launch a series of attacks on 25th Infantry Division and Vietnamese forces in Tay Ninh Province.  He hit an impenetrable wall of fire power – the Tropic Lightning Division.
The enemy was unable to take any of his apparent objectives.  His losses were staggering: more than 900 enemy were killed by the 25th in seven days following the first clash.  Certainly his plans – whatever they may have been – were foiled.
The 25th knew he was coming; the question was when.  Infantry and artillery units had been deployed astride key avenues of approach to Tay Ninh City.
When the enemy struck, the 25th was ready.  Determined infantrymen, cannoneers and tankers stopped the enemy’s main thrust into Tay Ninh City and then set to finding and destroying the VC and NVA as they tried to move through the rice paddies and rubber plantations around Tay Ninh City and Dau Tieng.
The fierce fighting began around Tay Ninh City.  Late Saturday night, two companies from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, set up an ambush along Highway 13 leading into Tay Ninh City from the northwest.  The ambush was sprung on the rear element of an estimated 300 NVA as they moved down the road.  Five enemy were killed in the short engagement.
About four hours later, the 1st Brigade’s base camp to the west of Tay Ninh City received mortars and rockets.  The attack was apparently a diversion for simultaneous attacks on two 25th Division fire support bases, a mountain top signal facility, and a special forces camp.
Fire Support Base Buell four miles north of Tay Ninh City at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday started receiving mortar and rocket fire.  Under cover of the barrage, the enemy launched a ground attack.  Infantrymen and artillerymen fought for three hours; and when it was over, 83 enemy had been killed.
At the same time, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked a U.S. Special Forces and Vietnamese Combined Civilian Defense Group camp at Katum in War Zone C.  There, the enemy’s cost was 59 killed.
The signal facility atop 3,200 foot Nui Ba Den mountain also came under ground and mortar attack.  Ten VC were killed as the Americans repulsed the enemy.
Sunday morning, an unknown sized enemy force was reported in Tay Ninh City.  They had set several fires in civilian areas of the city.  The Tropic Lightning Division deployed forces in blocking positions around the city and astride key exfiltration routes as Vietnamese forces moved through the city flushing out the enemy.
In the southeastern portion of the city elements of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, and the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, killed 10 enemy.

Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was moving into the Ben Cui rubber plantation 11 miles east of Tay Ninh City near Dau Tieng.  They clashed with the enemy at 10:30 a.m. and in six hours of heavy fighting, killed 50.

After a comparatively quiet night, mechanized forces of the Division again set out looking for the enemy. They found him.
At 9:30 a.m. Monday, the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, was moving down Highway 26 when four miles east of Tay Ninh City, they received small arms, automatic weapons and RPG fire from an unknown-sized enemy force entrenched in nearby rice paddies.  Reinforced by elements of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, and the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, they fought until 5:45 p.m. killing 40 enemy.

At the same time, elements of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, again made contact in the Ben Cui Plantation.  They were reinforced by elements of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, and killed 67 enemy in the ensuing four-hour battle.

Before dawn Tuesday, several U.S. camps received harassing mortar fire.  But, an ambush patrol from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, met with more than harassment.

The patrol opened fire on six VC moving to their front and immediately came under heavy attack from an unknown-sized enemy force.  “The RPG’s were coming in at a rate of six to ten a minute,” recalled Sergeant Paul Lambers of Holland, Mich., who took charge of the patrol when the patrol leader was wounded.  After four hours of intense fighting, the enemy withdrew.  He left 56 bodies on the battlefield.

Except for a mortar attack on Dau Tieng base camp, all was quiet during the night and until almost noon Wednesday.  Then, at 11:30 a.m., the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was again searching out the enemy in the Ben Cui Plantation when they ran head-long into an unknown-sized enemy force.  Track-mounted .50 caliber machine guns blazed until the barrels burned out as the enemy launched three human wave assaults at the Tropic Lightning troops.  After 1½ hours of all-out battle, the Bobcats had to return to Dau Tieng base camp for more ammo, and airstrikes and artillery continued to pound the enemy during the afternoon.  The sharp battle left 182 enemy dead.

At 1:00 a.m. Thursday, the enemy launched a pair of mortar and ground attacks on two fire support bases.  Buell was hit for the second time in five days.  Artillery tubes were lowered to fire point blank and determined infantrymen spewed hot lead at the attacking force.  This time, the enemy’s abortive attempt to overrun the base cost him 39 lives.
Simultaneously, Fire Support Base Rawlings, two miles east of Tay Ninh City, was hit by a mortar and ground attack.  Here, the infantrymen and artillerymen took a toll of 25 enemy killed.

At first light Thursday, the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, and the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, again swept into the Ben Cui Plantation.  Early in the morning, they met light resistance and killed 10 enemy.

After five days of fierce fighting, Friday was comparatively quiet for the soldiers.  But, the breather was not long-lived.
Just 20 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, at Fire Support Base Schofield five miles southwest of Dau Tieng was attacked by an unknown-sized enemy force.  Close-in artillery fire and gunships supported the infantrymen as they killed 62 enemy.

As fighting tapered off somewhat, the soldiers had time to reflect on an exhausting but highly successful week.  The combined fire power of infantry, artillery and helicopter gunships along with always-present tactical jet fighters had dealt the enemy a crushing blow.  More than 900 Viet Cong and NVA soldiers were killed as they tried to dent the Tropic Lightning Division’s impenetrable wall of fire power.

Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1968


FSB Buell Repels Two Attacks In Four Days


Bn-Sized Enemy Force Loses 83 During Battle

3D BDE – Tropic Lightning Division infantrymen and artillerymen at Fire Support Base Buell repelled a human wave attack launched by an unknown-sized enemy force, killing 83 enemy.
The enemy attempted to storm the perimeter four miles north of Tay Ninh City after subjecting the defenders to a thundering rocket and mortar barrage.
Infantrymen and tankers from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry; 2d Battalion, 34th Armor, and 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, along with howitzers of the 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, and the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, supported by helicopter gunships and tactical air strikes drove off the enemy and captured hundreds of pounds of equipment, weapons and ammunition during the four-hour night battle.
Lieutenant C.C Brown of Auburn, Ala., of Delta Company, 3d Bn, 22d Inf, credited trip flares with playing a major part in making the night defense a success.
“The flares gave us a clear view of the enemy as he attempted to enter the perimeter.”
A sweep near the perimeter the following morning found 40 freshly dug foxholes plus tunnels and numerous bunkers.  The Tropic Lightning soldiers policed up ten large piles of enemy ammo, bangalores, grenades, ammunition and RPG rocket rounds, all of which were destroyed by engineers.
During the sweep, men of Delta Company, 3d Bn, 22d Inf, made contact with a straggling enemy force.  Sergeant Robert Clark of Atlanta, Ga., and his platoon caught three enemy in an open field and cut them down.  They surprised and killed several more in a bunker.
Included in the items captured were 11 RPG rocket launchers, 112 RPG rounds plus 18 boosters, 15 AK-47 assault rifles, three Chicom machine guns and a .30 caliber machine gun.
Also captured were 214 Chicom grenades, 21 57mm recoilless rifle rounds, 40 anti-tank rifle grenades, eight 60mm mortar rounds, 24 bangalore torpedoes and more than 4,000 rounds of rifle ammunition.
“This was the finest piece of work that’s ever been done by anyone under my command,” said Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, Co.  “Infantrymen, support troops, gunships – all did an outstanding job.  Not one enemy soldier got inside the perimeter all night long.”

VC-NVA Fail Again

3D BDE – An unknown sized enemy force launched a second attack in four days on Fire Support Base Buell four miles north of Tay Ninh City.  The enemy lost 39 in their abortive attempt to penetrate the perimeter.
Elements of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry; 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry; and 2d Battalion, 34th Armor along with cannoneers from the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, and 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, repelled the human wave attack.
At 1:00 in the morning 82mm mortars and rockets came whistling into the perimeter followed by a ground attack that lasted until 5:45 a.m.  “The mortars even continued after the ground attack started,” said Specialist 4 Al Gibbs of Philadelphia, Pa.  “That’s what made this attack harder to handle than the first one.”
Company D and the Reconnaissance Platoon from the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, were responsible for one side of the perimeter and Company C of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf, for the other, with the tanks and artillery providing support.
“Our listening posts spotted movement, and we immediately pulled them in,” commented Platoon Sergeant Robert Nelson of Hannibal, Mo., from Delta Company.  “They hit two of our platoon sectors hard.  Many VC lay out in the brush firing RPG’s at our bunkers.  Others tried to charge the wire and insert bangalore torpedoes, but we stopped them cold,” said Nelson.
“The VC marched right up the road that bisects the perimeter,” said Sergeant Robert Clark of Atlanta, Ga.  “We held them off with our machine guns and M-16’s. Unfortunately our claymores were not too effective.  The VC had shot them full of holes.  Some APC’s from 4/23 and one of the tanks came up quickly to help us.  The tank was firing point blank at the attackers which had the effect of turning a giant claymore mine on them.”
First Lieutenant C.C. Brown, reconnaissance platoon leader from Auburn, Ala., had his unit deployed as a reaction force behind Delta Company.  “As soon as the attack started we moved right up to help hold the bunker line.  We came up to plug gaps in the line and to help out those positions that were pinned down.”
Once again artillery and mortars played an important part in making the defense a success.
“We had 105’s and 155’s firing point blank just outside the perimeter.  These high explosive projectiles showered the enemy with shrapnel,” said Lieutenant James W. Carper, 3/22 liaison artillery officer from Tampa, Fla.  “We also called for 8 inches from the 1st Brigade at Tay Ninh and 175’s from Camp St. Barbara,” continued Carper.
Delta’s 81mm mortar crew fired 137 illumination rounds and 235 high explosive rounds during the attack.  “The crew. (Privates First Class Alex Sudano, of Los Angeles; Bob Searfoss, of Summit Hill, Pa.; and Dennis Bealka, of Chaska, Minn.) put out a maximum effort that helped save the base,” said Lieutenant John Paulding, New Cumberland, Pa., Delta Company platoon leader.
A sweep around the perimeter the next morning turned up the 39 enemy.
“Once again the men under my command did an outstanding job.  Once again, not one VC set foot inside the perimeter,” said Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, commander of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf.
Major Jerome G. Johnson from Green Bay, Wise., operations officer for 3/22, praised the efforts put forth by all units in the perimeter:  “We couldn’t have done it without them.  The tanks, APC’s, and the artillery were just what our infantry troops needed to help repel the attackers successfully.”

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 16, 1968


SP5 Carl L. Felgenhauer, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf


SP4 Geroy Mingo, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf .
SP4 James E. Boggess, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Vol 3 No. 38          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          September 16, 1968

Page 1 (August 25, 1968 Ambush at Ap Nhi)

Company C of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry was on eagle flight operations north of Tay Ninh City when they were directed to join the battle.  The infantrymen were flown to a position just north of the fire fight, landing in rice paddies on the eastern side of the road.  As the Regulars jumped from the helicopters, they were hit with several volleys of enemy mortar fire.
Company C commander, Captain James Hansard of Plainview, Tex., deployed two of his platoons on each side of the road.  Under a constant sniper fire, they swept through an area which separated them from the NVA positions in the “Little Rubber.”
The two platoons on the eastern side of the highway made their way to the edge of the rubber trees.  Staff Sergeant James Allen of Louisville, Ky., stated, “By the time we reached the rubber trees we began receiving RPG rounds.
The NVA were firing them into the trees above our heads so the shrapnel would shower down on us.”
As Platoon Sergeant Fred Painter from Pontiac, Mich., and his men moved into the rubber, they were greeted by an unusual NVA trick.  “We spotted what appeared to be American troops along a berm, wearing green uniforms, helmets and goggles.  They were standing up waving for us to come over to their position.  They turned out to be NVA who had taken the helmets and goggles from the trapped convoy trucks.  They opened up on us, and we all had to hit the dirt,” recalled Painter.
Just inside the tree line, the platoons ran into a U-shaped ambush.  “The NVA were dug into a high berm running parallel to a deep ditch on our right flank.  We were receiving sniper fire from the trees on our left flank and rounds were coming directly at us from another ditch to our front,” said Hansard.

Tanks and APC’s from B Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, called up from Cu Chi, and tracks from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, came up on line with their guns blazing to support the infantrymen.
Another platoon from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, on the western side of the highway moved across the road, using the disabled convoy vehicles for cover.  As they moved through the trucks they pulled wounded Americans to safety.
According to Staff Sergeant William Landman of Granite City, Ill., “We moved through the trucks and got into the rubber.  Part of my platoon acted as spotters shouting directions while the rest of us tossed hand grenades into the spider holes.  In some cases we just rolled the grenades down the berm into the holes.”
The fighting eased, and the Americans set up night positions on both sides of the “Little Rubber.”  The next day, they counted 96 dead enemy.

Vol 3 No. 40          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          September 30, 1968

Pages 1 & 8

First Bde Put Down VC Move

TAY NINH – Soldiers of the 1st Brigade fought off a major attack near the Dau Tieng base camp as enemy activity around Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh increased.
More than 100 enemy soldiers were killed in 14 hours of fighting around the U.S. bases.
Ninety-nine enemy soldiers, dressed in green NVA uniforms and carrying relatively new weapons, were killed in an abortive attack on a night defensive position of Company A, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, three miles southwest of the Dau Tieng base camp in the Ben Cui rubber plantation.
A relief force from Company C of the Bobcats came under heavy fire from an enemy blocking force half way to Alpha’s position.
Company B, located in the Dau Tieng base camp was helilifted to the south of the fight to pinch the enemy off. However, the enemy broke contact and fled shortly after their arrival.
The enemy also made his presence known around Tay Ninh, shelling U.S. fire support bases and the 1st Brigade’s Tay Ninh base camp.  Hardest hit was Fire Support Base Buell II, two miles north of Tay Ninh City.  The base received an estimated 200 mortars and RPG rounds.

A disorganized ground attack was repelled by infantrymen of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, and an early morning sweep of the area revealed nine enemy dead.  Also found were: 2 RPG-7 launchers with 7 rounds and 10 boosters, 37 hand grenades, and 2 bangalore torpedoes.

Also hit with enemy fire were Fire Support Base St. Barbara, which received 50 rounds of 82mm mortar fire; Tay Ninh base camp, which received nine 107mm rockets; and Dau Tieng base camp which was hit with less than twenty 82mm mortar rounds.

Action during the remainder of the day was on a smaller scale as 1st Brigade elements sought to find the enemy and destroy him.

Elements of the 25th Infantry Division maintained blocking positions to the south and east of Tay Ninh City as two battalions of Vietnamese airborne soldiers swept through the city.

Companies A and C of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, conducted a reconnaissance-in-force to the west of Tay Ninh.

In other action, gunships of B Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, killed two Viet Cong who were hiding under trees two miles north of Nui Ba Den. B Troop chopper crews killed seven more NVA soldiers seven miles northeast of Tay Ninh base camp.

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 21, 1968




1LT Richard Booth, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968




SP4 Tyrone Smith, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC John R. French, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Karl Kaiden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 11, 1968


No One’s Objecting To This Objector

DAU TIENG – A 3d Brigade conscientious objector has received such widespread acclaim in the United States following his heroic actions in Vietnam, that his name has become almost a household word.
After Specialist 5 David Chedester of Walla Walla, Wash., was presented the Distinguished Service Cross by General Creighton Abrams, U.S. commander in Vietnam, the story about his amazing exploits while a medic with the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry reconnaissance platoon made the pages of hundreds of stateside newspapers.
Included were the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his home town newspaper and many others.
The Associated Press story told of the medic’s fear of war and hatred of fighting, based on his strict faith as a Seventh Day Adventist.
Chedester received the nation’s second highest award for valor for saving more than a half dozen lives when the battalion’s night defensive position subjected to a massive ground attack last April (12th) in War Zone C.
Chedester, while mortars, rockets and RPG rocket grenades rained in all over the perimeter, rushed to the aid of wounded comrades, treated them, brought them to safety, and supervised their evacuation aboard dustoff helicopters.
The publicity has caused Chedester to be deluged with dozens of letters from admirers all over the United States.
“It is reassuring to us, who only stand and wait while our sons are fighting and dying in Vietnam, to read about someone like you,” said the city manager of a city in South Carolina.  “My own son, Tim, flies C-7A Caribous out of Cam Ranh Bay.  If ever he needs help, I hope you are around.  As a fellow Christian, I pray God will look after you and return you safely to your family.”
A woman from Pittsburgh wrote, “It is truly rewarding to see someone like you and others your equal receive some amount of recognition.  After reading the article I was called upon by a little voice within me to write you.  I guess you could consider this an unusual thank you note, a note that expresses my thanks for your bravery…  God bless you not only when you sneeze, but always.”
A letter without return address said, “We in the Northwest are very proud of you.  You are a brave man.  My very best always.”
Recently Chedester relinquished his post as reconnaissance platoon medic to assume new duties at the battalion aid station.

Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 18, 1968


Combat Honor Roll

SP4 James E. Beverett Added to the Tropic Lightning Combat Honor Roll this week is Specialist 4 James E. Beverett of Company C, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry who well displayed the spirit of the American fighting man.

Beverett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 17 September 1968 while serving as a machine gunner with Company C, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam.  While on a road clearing operation, Company C came under an intense hostile attack, sustaining several casualties.

Fearlessly, Beverett exposed himself to a heavy volume of fire as he moved forward, placing effective suppressive fire on the insurgents, allowing his comrades to evacuate the wounded to safety.

As he was withdrawing from the area of contact, he noticed a severely wounded soldier who had not been extracted with other friendly casualties.  With complete disregard for his own safety, Beverett exposed himself to the withering enemy fire as he attempted to carry his fallen comrade to safety.

Realizing that he could not reach safety unless he received supporting fire, he readjusted the wounded soldier on his back, picked up his M-60 machine gun and began placing highly effective suppressive fire on the enemy as he evacuated the wounded soldier to safety.

His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission.  Beverett’s personal bravery, aggressiveness and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division and the United States Army.

Vol 3 No. 49          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          December 2, 1968 Page 1

Lightning Thrust Into War Zone C,
Convoy Pushes On Towards Phillips


By SP4 Herb Berdett

CU CHI - The 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars conducted a clean sweep of the area along Route 22, securing an important crossing site on the Soui Tri Bi River.
The quick, efficient work of the Regulars enabled combat and support arms of the 25th Division to make a safe and secure crossing and continue on their way toward establishing FSB Phillips, the new base of operations for actions against suspected NVA concentrations in Triple Canopied War Zone C.
Route 22 was at one time a major highway running along the western edge of South Vietnam into the heart of Cambodia.  It is bordered on both sides by thick woods and jungle making it hazardous going for convoys.
The climate, lack of care, and the ravages of war have taken their toll.  Bullet-ridden road signs along the route tell all travelers that the name War Zone C  has real meaning.
As the men of C Company jumped off their Huey copters, their commander, Captain Donald I. Haramoto of Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, realized the gravity of his mission.
“The whole mission depended on securing the river-crossing site, and we were bound and determined to see that our mission was accomplished,” said Haramoto.
Teams from the 46th Scout Dogs were directed to take the lead in checking the areas.  They moved cautiously along the road, sending sweep teams to either side until they reached the river.  The once serviceable bridge lay destroyed at their feet.  It was still possible to cross the foundations on foot, so the sweep team proceeded across, setting up security on the other side.

Action Photos, Story
See Pages 4&5


First Lieutenant Robert Wadkins of Columbus, Ga., a member of A Company, 65th Engineers, stopped to examine the crossing site.  “I’ flew in with C Company to examine the river banks for the best possible site,” said Wadkins.  “We have an AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launching – Bridge) coming up that will permit all the convoy vehicles to cross safely.”  A site parallel to and to the left of the old bridge was selected.  At that point the river was only 35 feet wide and the AVLB, which can span 60 feet, could easily operate.

Soon the convoy with APCs from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, artillery pieces from A Battery, and tanks and. trucks of A Company, 65th Engineers, approached the river.  By this time C Company Regulars had effectively sealed off the area from any possible enemy infiltration.

Now it was the AVLB’s, turn to go to work  The huge tank-like machine lumbered to the edge of the river.  The 60-foot bridge, which had till then been collapsed on the deck of the tank, was raised skyward and thrust across the river, coming to rest gently on the other side.  The tank then charged across, and gravel trucks were brought up to prepare solid approaches to the bridge on both sides of the river.

Then the vehicles began pouring across.  There were tanks and APCs, trucks and jeeps, artillery pieces and water trailers, ammo trucks and mess hall vehicles; in all, 70 tracked and wheeled machines sped across on their way to the new FSB.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, the Regulars commanding officer, landed in his ‘C and C’ ship to view the operation from a hill overlooking the river.

“The bridge was set down at 1230 hours and the entire convoy was moved across by 1350 hours,” said Wadkins.
When the last vehicle came across, the AVLB moved down and picked up its bridge and joined the convoy.

Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1968

1st Bde Spearheads Deep Drive
Into Jungles of War Zone C


By 2LT Mack D. Gooding
CU CHI – Major General Ellis W. Williamson, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, and Colonel Nguyen Quan Thong, province chief of Tay Ninh Province combined elements of the 1st Brigade and Regional Forces to conduct operations around Thien Ngon, in northern Tay Ninh Province.
Thien Ngon lies three and a half miles south and six and a half miles east of the Cambodian border on strategic Route 22.  One of the major objectives of this operation is to clear the area of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army units to allow resettlement of War Zone C by South Vietnamese civilians.

Two companies of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, under Lieutenant Colonel Clifford Neilson, of Mobile, Ala., and two companies of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alex H. Hunt, of Wealder, Tex., began the sweep of Route 22 from Tay Ninh Forward Operations Base to Thien Ngon, 30 miles to the north.  The armored column was greeted at Thien Ngon by the 101st Regional Force company and Colonel Thong.
Troops from the Tropic Lightning Division and the 161st Regional Force Company under Colonel Thong and Colonel Robert L. Fair, commanding officer of the 1st Brigade, executed combined operations within the shadow of the Cambodian border.
Elements of the 1st Brigade swept strategic Route 22 to Thien Ngon, combining forces with the 161st Regional Force Company at the civilian irregular defense group camp.  When the two forces linked up, they began reconnaissance-in-force operations in the area.
The operation around Thien Ngon was a first in many respects: It was the first time a Regional Force Colonel and a U.S. Colonel together directed combined forces of battalion size.  It was the first time that an armored column moved, in force, into northwestern Tay Ninh Province.  It was the first time vital Route 22 was used to resupply a large element in the field.

Comments heard after the first day of action by some of the Americans reflected the admiration and confidence they have in their Vietnamese counterparts.
Fighting as they did, one could not draw a distinction and say, “That’s a U.S. soldier over there and an RF over there.” They fought as one.
The opening and use of Route 22 by Americans and Vietnamese forces denies the use of this route to the Viet Cong, significantly reducing Charlie’s capability of movement of men and supplies in this area.


























SOLDIER AND SCOUT DOG – Specialist 4 Del Troujillo, of Las Vegas, N V., and his scout dog, Smokey, both with the 46th Scout Dog Platoon, prepare to lead a sweep team from C Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry on a search-and-secure mission near the Cambodian Border. (PHOTO BY SP4 HERB BURDETT)
SECURING BRIDGE SITE - Men of C Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, move across the foundations of a demolished bridge on the Suoi Tri Bi River.
Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1968



LTC Alexander H. Hunt, HHC 3d Bn, 22d Inf 1LT Char1es J. Boyle, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

SGT Charles G. Carosin, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf

Vol 3 No. 53          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          December 30, 1968

First Brigade, RFs Encircle,
Crush 100 VC Near Tay Ninh

By SGT Herb Burdett

TAY NINH – In just a few hours elements of the 1st Brigade reinforced Regional Force elements heavily engaged against VC and NVA forces 14 miles southeast of Tay Ninh City.

The Tropic Lightning soldiers moved from their position nine miles northwest of Tay Ninh to bolster their Vietnamese allies in their fight against an estimated NVA battalion.

Within minutes after receiving the word, companies C and D of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, Regulars were preparing to lift off from fire support bases Washington and Buell.  Bravo Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, was on its way to Fire Support Base Hull five miles southeast of Tay Ninh to train its big guns south toward the area of contact.

Daylight was fast disappearing when companies C and D flew into the contact area  “We sure landed in a very hot spot,” said First Lieutenant Donald I. Haramoto of Makawai Maui, Hawaii, Charlie Company commanding officer,  “There were rice paddies all around us and a small nearby village full of VC.”

Company D, commanded by First Lieutenant Dale N. Richey of Fayetteville, N.C., came in on the heels of Company C and also received a hot reception.

The Regulars quickly consolidated their forces establishing a defensive perimeter, girding themselves for a night of combat.  “We began receiving rounds from the rice paddies and hamlets to the south,” said Sergeant Eric Morris of San Francisco, Calif.  “It was good time for some support.”

“The flares are so bright I can easily see the whole area,” radioed the Forward Air Controller.  “Very fine,” replied Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt of Wealder, Tex., commanding officer of the 3d Battalion.  “Your target is the rice paddy bounded on the right by a long hedgerow.”

Soon the strikes were on the way, pounding the enemy soldiers who decided to try to hold their own.  In all, 26 air strikes were called in on the enemy that night and the following morning.

While the aircraft were blasting away, the Regulars finished establishing their night defensive positions, sealing off an important area of escape for the trapped VC and NVA.  Regional Forces and American forces had forged an ironclad ring around the enemy-infested area.

It started around 2:15 a.m.  A torrent of RPG rounds, mortars and automatic weapons fire rained in on the defensive perimeter.  The VC tried to break out through Charlie Company’s section of the perimeter.

“They walked up along a nearby road.  Boy, what nerve,” said Specialist 4 Jim Rodgres of Blythville, Ark.
A VC RPG team was drawing a bead on a group of four defenders when an M79 round put an end to their night’s activities.  A Kit Carson Scout with Company C had knocked them out with a single round.

Despite the heavy RPG and mortar barrage, the determined effort by the trapped VC to break toward the Cambodian border was an utter failure.

When morning came the Regulars and the Regional Forces prepared to sweep the area. The search revealed a total of 96 enemy dead, their bodies clad in forest green uniforms either impaled on the wire or lying nearby.
The 128th Helicopter Company cruising the area in support paid the enemy back for the many aircraft rounds fired at its choppers from around the hostile area.  Just five miles northwest of the contact area they spotted five NVA soldiers in a bunker, engaged them with rockets and got a body count of four.

In all, allied infantry and support accounted for a total of 100 enemy killed while suffering light casualties.

Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 30, 1968


Regulars” 1968 Record Reveals
Host Of Honors, Valor Awards

DAU TIENG – During the year 1968 the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry has proved to be one of the most decorated units in Vietnam.
Since the middle of April the Regulars have been awarded 52 Silver Stars, four Distinguished Service Crosses, more than a hundred Bronze Stars for valor and more than 150 Army Commendation Medals for valor.
The Distinguished Service Cross has been presented to Captain Gerald White, First Lieutenant Phillip C. Bryant, and Specialists 4 Richard Stuart and David Chedester.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander H. Hunt of Wealder, Tex., the Regulars commander, frequently travels to the many locations occupied by the units under his command to distribute the awards to the recipients.
“It is my intention to have the awards presented to the men in the presence of those they have served with these many months,” said Hunt.  “An awards ceremony is always of prime importance to the recipient, but also to his unit and his fellow soldiers.  That is why we are conducting the ceremonies in this manner.”
Colonel Lewis J. Ashley, commander of the 3d Brigade, has heaped praise on the battalion’s awards and decorations section.
“The 3d of the 22d deserves the high number of awards they are receiving. Since the beginning of this year the battalion has borne a large part of the fighting burden in our area of operations and has done outstanding work,” said Ashley.

Klema Rodina: Příběh utrpení a přežití

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 by ivankatz

Klema Rodina: Příběh utrpení a přežití


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House # 90

Náš rodinný příběh začíná v domě # 90 v malé moravské vesnici Bušín (Buschin o roce 1850 mapy), nyní Česká republika.

To je lokalizováno asi 10 kilometrů od polských hranic. Bušín je uhnízděný v krásném údolí obklopeném kopci velký, porostlý trávou a stromy.

Tato fotka je z lístek za předpokladu, že starosta Bušín.  (Klikněte na fotografie pro zvětšení.)

Potok protéká obcí a nakonec se stává přítokem řeky Moravy, z nichž Oblast dostala své jméno z Moravy. Tento přítok se nazývá ‘Bušín Stream a na jejích březích je melivo mlýn v Bušín. Více o tomto mlýnu později.

Klikněte na mapu pro zvětšení

Tato malá obec, je-li Adalbert Klema, syn Franz Klema, žil se svou ženou Ann (Dušková).

Jejich první dítě se narodilo v roce 1851, a pojmenovali ho po svém otci, který byl pojmenován po sv. Adalbert (‘Svatý Vojtěch’ v českém jazyce) – slavný biskup pražský a patrona českých lidí.

Pak následovalo narození jeho bratři a sestry, Agnes, a dvojčata Josef a Ludmila. (Josef děti, by se Ludvík a Anna později emigrovat do Ameriky, se Ludvík usadili v Nebrasce. Jeho syn vnuk, Frank Louis Klema, stále žije v Norfolku, Nebraska.

Mladý Vojtěch, v jeho pozdních dospívajících nebo časných twenties, našel práci v místním mlýně.

Tato fotka starého mlýna je poskytována Leroy Klema, ze staré pohlednice datovaná 04. 1909. To poslal JJ Krátký panu Albert Klema, Wilson, Ks.

Podle starosty Bušín, že ‘horní’ mlýn koupil ‘pan Dasky ‘v roce 1886. The Dasky byli pravděpodobně Vojtěcha matky rodiny, protože její otec byl Ignaz Daska. Tato rodina byla z Klosterle (nyní Klášterec na moderní mapy), na Moravě malé vesnici asi 3 míle jihovýchodně od Bušín.

Starosta také nalezený v jeho výzkumu, že nižší Bušín byl mlýn koupil Josef Venos na Hrabenov v roce 1914, kvůli válce. To by mohlo být v příbuzenském vztahu Cecelia (Venos) Klema, whos otce matka, Terezie (Mazak) Venos mohou být narozen v Rabenau (Hrabenov na moderní mapy), malá vesnice asi 3 míle rovně na východ od Bušín.

Práce na mlýně byl Adalbert a pan Krátký, který s největší pravděpodobností byla ve spojení se Klema o manželství, neboť Terezie (Klemova) Krátký byl Adalbert otce sestra.

Adalbert se setkal místní dívky jménem Cecilia Vejnos (Venos nebo Wenos), který žil v nedaleké vesnici Hosterlitz (Hoštice na moderních mapách) v domě # 58.

Hosterlitz je severovýchodně od Bušín, v docházkové vzdálenosti, asi 3 míle daleko. Její matka Cecelie se narodil v domě Bušín # 39 Prosinec 19, 1825, a její otec Johann Wejnos (Vanos) se narodil v Hosterlitz, House # 58 Březen 16, 1826. Její rodiče byli oddáni 06.6.1848. Cecelia byla 22 a Adalbert byl 21.

Tyto fotografie jsou z rodičů Johanna a Cecelie.

Mladí Adalbert a Cecelia byla stejného věku, se zamiloval, a nakonec se rozhodl oženit.

Následující svatební fotografie ukazuje rodinu Vejnos, ženich a nevěsta ve fotografii nejsou známy.

Johann Vejnos je v zadní řadě, uprostřed dveří, jeho žena je na jeho levé straně.

Cecelia rodiče, Johann a Cecelie lze vidět na této fotografii. Dcera Cecelia je asi někde na fotografii také.

Jejich prvorozený byl chlapec, pojmenované po jeho otci, Adalbert. To dítě zemřelo.

Brzy Cecelia byla těhotná znovu.

Se rozhodli cestovat do nové hranice v Americe. Byli teď ve svých pětadvaceti let, a vzrušený začít jejich nové dobrodružství.

Ačkoli ona byla 6 měsíců těhotná, Albert a jeho Cecelia opustil svou vlast a nikdy se nevrátí.
Výše uvedené fotografie by mohla být Klema sousedů říká jejich dobré byes!

(Poznámka: Cykrits, naše Bušín bratranci, potomci bratra Josefa Vojtěcha, mají tuto fotografii do svých domovských Bušín, spolu s fotografiemi z našich příbuzných Klema v Wilson, Kansas, ze sto lety!

Jejich adresa je Martina Cykrytova, Ludmila Cykrytova a Antonine Cykryt, Bušín 101, 789 62 Olšany, Česká republika. )

Na podzim dni v listopadu 1876 Klemas nastoupil SS Ohio na cestu do nového světa.

Také cestování s nimi, v závislosti na lodi manifest, byly další tři rodiny, Cykrits, Kratkys a dva Ptáček rodiny.

Uvedeny společně na manifest (# 52 až 58) jsou rodiny Cykrt:

Anton, 25 let, zemědělec, Cath? 47 let, Franz 15 let, Josef věku 14 let, Marie 12 let, Anna ve věku 25, a Josef věku 6 let.

Rodina Krátký (# 60-63):

Johannes bylo 25 let, dělník, Amalia 24 let manželka, Johann věku 2 let, a baby Francisca, stáří 9 měsíců.

Rodina Ptáček (# 64-74):

Vojtech? 35 let, mlynář, Anna Věk 31 manželka, Marie 3 let, a baby Anna ve věku 11 měsíců.

Johann věku 35, Miller a Joesfa 33 let, jeho manželka, Francisca věku 9 let, 6 měsíců, Anna ve věku 8, Marie věku 6, Johann věku 4 let, a malý Josefa věku 1 rok 6 měsíců.

A nakonec naši předkové, (# 77-78) V Klemas, Adalbert 23 let, mlynář, a Cecile, jeho žena, 21 let.

(Kopie lodi manifest takto tohoto vyprávění – níže).

Všichni byli zřejmě souvisí a ze stejného společenství. Johannes Krátký uvedené v manifestu může být Krátký, kteří pracovali s Adalbert na mlýn drti, Bušín.

Theresia Krátký, byl Adalbert teta (sestra jeho otce). Příbuzní rodiny Cykrit se současným majitelem domu # 90 v Bušín.

Pan Cykrt žena matka Hedvika (Klemova) Janků. Její sestra, Stepanka (Adalbert neteř), bydlel v domě # 90, kde se narodil Adalbert, až do její smrti říjen, 5, 1982. Takže tam je rodinné pouto mezi těmito třemi rodinami a Klema je.

Nevíme, co všechno měli ve svých zavazadlech, ale my víme, že Cecelia přinesl kuchař kniha psaná ve staré nereformovaných českém jazyce, s ní. Někteří věří, že ona může mít pracoval pro vyšší třídy moravského rodu jako kuchař. Nebo to může být svatební dar od své matky nebo babičky. Nikdo vlastně neví. Barbara Myers, vnučka Anna (Klema) Štika, poskytla překlad kuchař knihy, která se tohoto příběhu.

Oni nastoupil SS Ohio, v přístavu Brémy, Německo.

Lodi podmínky byly strašné pro ty, na palubě, a zejména pro mladé, těhotné Cecelia.

Po čtrnácti dny na moři, dorazili do New Yorku, unavený, ale rád se na suché zemi. Bylo to 6. den v prosinci.

V dalším kroku jejich cesty byl dlouhý, tvrdý vlakem do Wisconsinu.

Bydleli v Wisconsin přes chladné zimní Wisconsin, dost dlouho na Cecelia dodat chlapeček. Opět se jmenoval dítě, Adalbert.

Malý Adalbert přišel 13. února 1877, na první člen naší rodiny se narodil v Americe.  On byl pokřtěn v Racine, Wisconsin, přesně o dva týdny později.

Pozemků v Kansas byl povýšen v místním jazyku českému tisku, v tomto okamžiku. Kansas musel připadat jako skvělou příležitost, možná i trochu ráje, je-li pozemek stimulátory mohou být věřil. Takže bylo rozhodnuto, a cestoval do prérie Kansas začít svůj život v novém světě. Život, který by byl jedním z strádání, chudoby pro některé, a bohatství pro ostatní.

Leroy Klema poskytlo kopii autobiografii napsal Joseph Satran, úspěšný Wilson oblast zemědělec. Satran příběh nám dává nahlédnout do toho, co rodiny Klema došlo během jejich cesty, která v mnoha ohledech musí mít paralelně jeho.

Wilson nebyl moc městě, když Joseph Satran přijel v roce 1877 usilovat o své štěstí v české kolonii začal Francis J. Swehla. Jedná se o stejný rok rodiny Klema také přijel hledat své štěstí, nebo neštěstí!

“To stanici v té době nebylo příliš dobré dívat se na, pro ni skládal z rámu chatrči na sklad, dvou-story hotel v nativních kamenů, malý sklad obilí, dva obchody s potravinami, železářství, počínaje na pile, kovárna, tucet nebo více domů a nevyhnutelný sedan, “Satran psal 36 roků později, o tom, co našel při příjezdu do Wilson.

“Určitě ne přímo vybízí začátku, ale většina z osadníků byly středního věku a mladých lidí, plná naděje a odhodlání, a docela ochotní drsné to na začátku.”

Satran příběh je jedním z utrpení, dlouhé hodiny práce a život plný požehnání.

Podle jeho autobiografie, Satran se narodil 04.07.1851 v malém městečku Wesec na úpatí hory Říp na severu středních Čechách. Byl prvorozený z devíti dětí.
Jeho otec, obuvník obchodu, nakonec sbalil svou rodinu a odešel do Spojených států. Důvod – jeho obchod nepřinesl dostatečný příjem na to, aby podpořila rostoucí rodinu.
V roce 1865 opustila tato rodina z přístavu v německých Brémách pro New York City.

“Bylo tam více než 250 lidmi, nahnali dohromady jako dobytek, v kormidlování své malé lodi, a ne kabiny ubytování kromě posádky lodi, proto životní podmínky byly strašné, a na jídlo ven na emigranty byl tak drsný a nechutný že malé děti nemohly strávit a plakaly hladem. Kromě toho, že pitná voda rozdělován bylo sotva dostačující, aby se stanoví žízeň lidí – nebylo nic, co pro mytí kromě vody slané moře, které bylo zcela nevhodné pro tento účel.

“Při pohledu zpět se to zdá nesnesitelný, ale my a ostatní stáli, že po sedm dlouhých týdnů, až jsme dorazili do New Yorku.”

Po dosažení New York, rodina cestovala do Milwaukee, Wisconsin, kde Joseph Satran strýc žil.

“Odjeli jsme v New Yorku za Buffalo, přes Albany, na New York centrální železnice, a když si vzpomenu na to teď, to mi připadá, že vedení této silnice pracovala pod dojmem, že emigranti, černoši a dobytek byly ve stejné třídě , neboť jsme jeli společné krycí vybaveny hrubé prkenné lavice bez opěradel, a pouhá záminka pro toaletní potřeby. Trať byla tak hrozná hrubý a nárazům tak hrozný, že děti, a dokonce i dospělých cestujících, by spadnout z těch mizerně lavic, takže v době, kdy jsme dorazili Buffalo jsme byli všichni bolest a surovin. “

S 600 dolary v kapse, Satran podíval do Kansasu.

“Rozhodl jsem se na Kansas jako moje volba, protože jsem měl předsudky proti začíná statku v zemi dřeva. Naučil jsem se přes naše česká rodina papír, který FJ Swehla právě začíná kolonie českých ‘na vládní půdě Ellsworth County na trati železnice Union Pacifik ve střední Kansas. “

V Kansas, Satran usadil na zemi ležící 9 mil severovýchodně od Wilson. Protože on měl trénink jako tesař, to bylo snadné pro něj vybudovat malou domů na majetku a vozidel, které se dodává.

“Na první úklidovou můj způsobil mi nějaké trápení a já jsem problémy, ale nakonec jsem se zlomil jsem na to. Kdykoli nabízené příležitosti, jsem pracoval za mzdu, ale tam nebylo moc dělat, protože osadníci byli jako špatný jako já a mohl si dovolit najmout. “

Satran rodina se k němu připojila na podzim roku 1879. Následující jaro se oženil s Kateřinou Peterka. Satran byl 28 let, jeho nevěstě bylo 24 let.

“Tak letech spěchal rychle na. Některé přinesl dobré úrodě, další hořké zklamání. Obsah libového let vždy v přesile, že tuk z nich. Najednou tři velmi hubených letech přišel po sobě, která se snažila naše trpělivost, vynalézavost a zůstat pravomocí na velmi nejvyšší. To bylo rozhodující období, kdy tolik Kansans zastavené svých domovů a později byly vyprodány na šerifa.

Nyní zpět k rodině Klema příběh.

Po příjezdu do Wilson, oni žili s mužem jménem Josef Tobias.

Albert (Vojtěch) a Cecelia koupil 80 akrů půdy, šest mil na východ, a jedna míle severně od Wilson.

Na tomto pozemku byla vyhloubena jeskyně, kde mohou mít žil až do rámu dům byl postaven.

Další rodina výzkumník říká, že žila s mužem jménem Josef Tobias.

Někteří říkají, že Albert byl alkoholik. Když jeho děti byly malé, nikdy nebyl doma. On dělal zanedbávat své děti, když byli mladí.

Albert cestoval do Chicaga a žil nějaký čas v katolické doma, ale byl nešťastný. Strýček Bude Klema byl vypracován jít a přinést jej zpátky do Wilson.

Následující novinový článek vypráví o Albert je kartáčovaný vlakem zlomil ruku.

“Albert Klema měl úzký únik z bytí přejet a zabit vlakem úterý ráno.   Chystal na sever na ulici Hlavní o době, kdy rychlé nákladní prošel.   Na ulici Hlavní přechod byl asi na krok na cestě, když cítil, že vlak kartáč jím.   Parní hrudi udeřil ho spinning ho kolem a kartáčování ho stranou, jako by byl z peří.   Nevěděl, jeho paže byla prolomena až o několik minut později.   Byl převezen do nemocnice, kde byla stanovena na kost.   Klema je docela dobře spolu v letech a je velmi tvrdý sluchu. “

Mildred (Klema) Katzenmeier, připomíná příběh o její babička Cecilia, denní fuška na dojení krav.
Jednoho dne, Albert, z nějakého důvodu musel udělat dojení pro ni. Vzhledem k tomu, krávy nebyly použity k němu dojení je,
nebudou stát za ním. Takže k dokončení dojení úkol, Albert se vrátil do domu, dát na šaty Cecilia, a pak dokončil dojení fuška.
Mildred rovněž připomíná, že její babička často říká, že když weren’ta křesťanské ona zabije sebe. Zdá se, že život nebyl snadný pro ni. Bill Perterka také tvrdil, že řekla, ‘Když weren’ta křesťan, by si skočil do studny a utopil se.

Život byl tvrdý pro tuto farmu pár. Cecelia porodila celkem 17 dětí.

  1. Adabert který zemřel v roce Bušín
  2. Adalbert, který se narodil 13 února 1877 in Wisconson

3. Méně než dva roky po příjezdu do Wilson, se narodil Dorthea (25 října 1879).

4. Francis ‘Frank’ se narodil další (18 října 1880), 11 měsíců a 3 týdny po jeho sestry narození.

-Šel nebo jel na kole, s bratrem Will, do Great Bend k účasti na obchodní akademii – od Wilson.

Strýček Frank Klema dělal mnoho různých věcí, že mlácení outfit krátce, měl Music Store, tažených pšenice s kamiony provozu, s Else Eaton, prodal Model T, byl prodavač automobilů Pontiac, prodávaných parní pluhy v Dakoty.

5. William ‘se’ (narozen Mar 7 do 1882).

Strýček Bude se oženil s Mary Beth (Vopat) 9 dubna 1907. Měli sklad, kde Klema to IGA, nyní Shaw, stál. Strýc Bude se v obchodování s nemovitostmi, kupují a prodávají pozemky, atd.-prodává také Avery zemědělské stroje, Dodge automobily, Model T Fords, pak se stěhoval do Salina v roce 1922 nebo 1923, kde byl v obchodu s nemovitostmi.

Následující příběh je o tom vůle působí v zemi, sklad, 10 mil severozápadně od Wilson.
THE Ellsworth Reporter
Čas bere daň na Starém Grillville Obchod Dorothy Grothusen

To bylo na přelomu století, že Sam Gril stanovené úložiště blízko jeho domova v závislosti na “Stručná historie Weinhold rodiny” od Opal Weinhold.

Bude Klema, další průkopník, pomohl gril v podniku. To bylo nazýváno Gril a Willa Store.

Později, Klema vypadl z podnikání a to bylo jmenováno Grillville.

Dříve měla budova byla školní Fairview, okres č. 63. Škola byla uzavřena a Sam Gril přestěhoval budovy na jihozápadním rohu Oddíl jedna, Columbia černošské čtvrti, Ellsworth County, a převést jej do smíšeným zbožím obchod.

Prodejna měla vzkvétající obchodní území, jehož součástí všech zemědělců, na míle daleko, a prodloužený jak daleký sever jako Bullfoot Creek v Lincoln County.

Hodně zboží se prodává a nakupuje. Zemědělci v obchodu na území přinesli své výrobky, smetana, vejce, máslo, kůže, atd., a získal díky účty, pro které jsou obchodovány na věci, které potřebovaly.

Většina cokoli a všechno, co byla prodána v obchodě, buggy biče, koňské chomouty, postroje, oděvy všeho druhu, a samozřejmě celou řadu potravin.

Většina zboží byla přinesena od Wilson o dříví vůz se čtyřmi koňmi vytáhnout zatížení.

Kromě toho došlo k budově jako obchodní vzkvétal. To přišlo být místo setkání celého okolí a novinky byly vyměněny týden od týdne tímto způsobem. Všichni mladí Swains se tady sešli v sobotu večer na swap příze a hrát triky na sebe.


Sam Gril ne, jako obvykle věc, provozovat obchod. On chovu, ale spolu s jeho hospodaření on a bratr Dave táhnul produktu do a ze Wilson.

Sam Gril také provozoval melivo mlýn na místě skladu Griilville, podle čl. Gril, Ellsworth, synovec Sam. To byl poháněn osmi hlavu koně. Zemědělci z oblasti koupili obilí sem, aby se kukuřičné mouky, atd.

Pozdní Simon Duryee. který se narodil v roce 1874 v Illinois a který přišel do Kansas v roce 1879. byl – zeť Sama Grill. Řekl, že si vzpomněl, pomáhá přesunout uložit do jeho umístění daru v oddíle jeden.

Duryee také řekl některých mužů, kteří provozoval obchod. První z nich. jeho znalosti, byl někdo George, který byl mrzák druhů a opilec. Zdálo se, že pil až zisky, když nikdo kolem. Tam byl další George, jehož příjmení si nemohl vzpomenout, dva synové Sam Gril je, Roy a Henry gril. Harve Hetzell, zeť a James Klema, který se oženil s Hattie Weinhold dceru, Hattie.

Podle James Novak z Ellsworth Novak IGA, jeho otec, Jim Novak, pracoval v obchodě Grillville někdy v průběhu starší teens.

Mary Novak, Ellsworth, vzpomíná žijící v Grillville a řízení obchodu a smetanou stanice se svým zesnulým manželem, Frank Novak.

“Domnívám se, že svazu zemědělců by mohla mít vlastní, když jsme byli venku,” paní Novak řekl: “To byl příchod automobilů, které uzavřel obchod. Oni by raději cesta do města potom, “řekla.

Paní Dorothy (Richard) Headley, Ellsworth, vzpomíná účast na aukci za obchod Grillville uzavřena.

“Vzpomínám si na aukci, to by mohlo být v roce 1919 nebo 1920 – Novaks žili tam pak / ‘paní Headley připomenout.

Existuje mnoho vzpomínek na budovy skladu Grillville, který byl mezníkem téměř tři-čtvrti století. A to bylo kvůli Samuel Grill. Jeden z 12 dětí, se narodil v Illinois, kde se jeho rodiče stěhovali do roku 1800. Jejich potomci přišli do Ameriky a do hrabství Lancaster, Pennsylvania, v roce 1700, ještě předtím, než revoluční války.

  1. Joseph, ‘Joe’ jako jeho bratr Frank se narodil (nar. 2-28-83) asi 11 měsíců a 3 týdny po poslední dítě.

Podle Leroy Klema, ‘Uncle Joe Klema farmové a žil na domovské místo, iust přes silnici na sever od kostela Excelsior Lutheran, ale dříve, myslím, běžel obraz show tady v Wilson, byl v západní Kansas na nějaký čas . Můj otec, August A. Klema pracoval, pro strýčka Bude Klema před 1. světové války, jako mechanik. On byl mechanik v Army Air Corp. Ten servis svého velitele letadla, jít do obchodu pro sebe po válce. On také prodával Avery a Hart-Parr traktory, atd. a pak Oliver zemědělské vybavení.

7 a 8. John a Anna, dvojčata, následoval, se narodil za méně než rok poté, co Joseph (Feb 14?, 1884). Zemřel 23.května 1964 @ věk 80 vzhledem k mrtvici).

John Prosinec 12, 1912, ženatý Agnes Stehno

Agnes se narodila 3 června 1891 – zemřel 17 dubna 1966 @ věku 74 – ona byla diabetická – zemřel po zlomené kyčle a zápal plic).

On farmové the Klema ‘doma místo’ přes silnici na sever od Excelsior luteránské církve, šest mil na východ a míle severně od Wilson. Žil v oblasti zvané Hell Creek, poblíž Wilson Dam. Později, po farmě selhal, on pracoval v Wilson v řeznictví.

Jeho bratr Jim mu finanční pomoc při přesunu rodiny na Kanopolis, Kansas byl on otevřel obchod s potravinami.

Tato fotka je jejich skladu v Kanopolis, Kansas.

Jejich nejstarší dítě, Mildred, nepokračoval školy po 8. platové třídy. Její rodiče ji potřebuje na přípravu jídel rodinu, umýt oblečení, a péče o mladší sourozence, zatímco John a Agnes běžel do obchodu, s pomocí od starších dětí.

Starší děti ze potravin ve voze, aby se zákazníkům ve městě. jména dětí jsou Mildred, Victor, Rudolf, Arthur, Albert (stále narozený 1923), Adeline (Bartůněk), John a Shirley (Krug).

9. Leroy Klema spekuluje deváté dítě může být, že se narodila další, datum narození neznámé, jmenoval Mary ona může mít zemřela při porodu.

John sestra dvojče, Anna provdala Peter Štika.

Výše uvedené fotografie je označena, ‘Anna a Petr Štika svatební tanec.’ Všimněte si lidé, kteří hledají ze sena loft dveře.

10. Pak se 18. července 1886, se narodil Cecelia (tzv. Suzy).

Teta Cecelia (Suzy) Klema, byla jeptiška, Sr Bertille, vstoupil Konvent sester sv Joseph-Wichita-15.června 1911-vzal poslední sliby 02.7.1913. Zemřel-chřipky-Dec. 6, 1918 Mt. Carmel nemocnice-Pittsburg:, Ks. Buried-St Mary klášter – Wichita. Ks.

To je zajímavý příběh o Susie:

Susie je ztracena

Děti se budou muset chodit z jejich domů do Wilson, Kansas, několik kilometrů daleko, pro katechismus lekce. Tam bylo asi sedm dětí chůze.

Anna, vzpomíná chůzi na 5 nebo 6 kilometrů na náboženství třídy, spolu se svými bratry & sestry, a když oni chodili domů, zapomněli počítat hlavy a jejich sestra, Susie, nikdy nevrátili domů. Susie (později známý jako sestra Bertilla) bylo asi pět, to dostal mlha a děti ztratila na cestu domů. Nikdo po ní stýskalo, dokud se druhý den ráno!

Matka Cecilia vyšel na mléko krávy a rozhlížel se po ní. Nakonec ji našli. Spala v příkopu celou noc!

Pravděpodobně spal na podlaze doma a ne na stejném místě každý večer, takže by bylo snadné přehlédnout jedno dítě, zejména proto, že Albert a Cecilia měl 14 dětí (17 porodů, ale ne všichni žili v dětství).

11. James ‘Jim’ (Václav) se narodil 1.října 1887. Strýc Jim Klema pracoval v Grillville store-“Wills a gril je”. Věřím, že to byla severně od Stucky’s-N. I-70-NK z Wilson.
Pak byl manažerem Zemědělci Uchovávejte v Wilson. Někteří ředitelé nebyli platí účty, poslal je Dun – z nich blázen – oni vystřelili ho! Potom otevřel IGA skladu v Wilson.

12. Leroy Klema věří, 12. Dítě může být narodil a zemřel, následovaný dalším Mary, narozen 03.10.1890.

13. Mary Francisca II (narozen 03.10.1889 – zemřel 1906, handicapované zemřel v Winfield státní nemocnice)

14. Elizabeth (narozený 16 listopadu 1890) – se oženil s Alvin Steinle – Albert Klema byl hluchý – ona má svůj sluchový aparát (stará módní sluchadlo)

15. Matilda se narodil Feb17, 1892.

16. Emanuel se narodil 10 června 1893 – zemřel 12. 1918 – epidemie chřipky? Byl postižené.

17. A na závěr srpna se narodil 28.srpna 1894. Srpna ‘Gus’ je Leroy Klema otec – Gus pracoval pro jeho bratra, bude mít mechanik před první světovou válkou, Klema Brothers Garáž, Wilson, Kansas.

Následující fotografie je Gus a bude v přední části Klema Brothers Garage, v Wilson Kansas.

Poté, co přišla prvorozeného, a možná dvě další děti při narození, tragédie udeřila znovu, když byl mladý Albert zabit během mlácení nehodě v Plzni, Kansas. Jeho paže chytli v pásu a on vykrvácel. To se stalo 28. srpna 1897.

Telegrafu byl poslán k jeho rodičům, se mu oznamuje, že jejich syn je tragická smrt. Ale paní, která pozoruje děti ztracená telegrafní zprávu a to bylo zapomenuto, a tak jeho rodiče nebyli informováni o jeho smrti až po pohřbu.

Na 9 prosinci 1899, matka zemřela Cecelia, končí svůj dlouhý život nešťastná.

Někteří viní její smrt na ‘vodnatelnost,’ podmínka my teď voláme edém. Některé připomínají ona byla velmi oteklá v době její smrti, pravděpodobně kvůli srdečnímu onemocnění ledvin.

Jiní připomínají, že Albert byl velmi znamenat pro jeho rodinu, a zejména k jeho manželce, Cecelia. Někteří lidé se domnívají, že zemřela v důsledku Albert kopání ji z domu za deště bouře, a ona může mít zemřela kvůli jeho zneužívání.

A konečně, Barbara Myers poznamenal, pokud jde o smrt Cecelia to: ‘důvod (ona), zemřel v 48 byl ne proto, že měla 16 nebo 18 nebo co děti, žijící na prérii se opilec, ale proto, že Albert zamčené ji ven jedné zimní noci, v opileckém vzteku, a dostala zápal plic! ‘

Marie zemřela v nemocnici ve státě, Winfield, 9 března 1906 ve věku 15 let.

Emanuel zemřel 12. 1918 ve věku 25 let.

Mladí Cecelia (Suzy), také zemřel v roce 1918, během chřipkové epidemie (6 prosince 1918) ve věku 32. Byla jeptiška, pouhých 5 let poté, co ji vzal poslední sliby.

Cecilia je


Oni stavěli zcela nový dům na své půdě a Cecilia pak zemřel ve věku 48.

V této pre-1905 foto mají Susie a Anna, Mildred a Vic Klema se tady narodili,

V tomto domě severovýchodně od Wilson, naproti Excelsior Lutheran Church.

Osvětlený kříž lze vidět z I-70.

Nechala za sebou 14 dětí. Jejich nejstarší děti byly, Frank, 17, William, 16 a Anna a John, 14.

Na své smrtelné posteli, Cecilia zeptal se jí 14 roků stará dcera, Anna, nikdy, nikdy nechat nikoho vzít dvě zmrzačené děti a Anna slíbila ona by se o ně postarat.

Děti odebrané z Albert.

Anna držela slib, po dobu jednoho roku. Když Anna bylo 15 let, někdo může mít hlášeny zanedbávat, protože (dvě zmrzačené), děti byly převezeny do Winfield státní nemocnice, a pak se sousedy přišel a vzal všechny ostatní děti. To může být důvod, proč jsou na všech různých náboženství.

Anna nikdy odpustil sama. Vždycky pocit, bylo to jako slib na smrtelné posteli.

Anna nechce žít se svým otcem (Albert), takže po (dvě) děti chodily do Winfield, někdo jí pomohl jít do Salina, kde pracovala v švadlena škole a v restauraci v kuchyni. Řekla, že kdyby lidé věděli, jak špinavé, že kuchyň byla, ale nikdy by se tam jíst.

Albert dostal udržet Gus, proč, nikdo neví. Gus byl čtyři v té době. Jedním z tajemství je, proč Cecilia je rodina, Krátký je nevzala děti.

Albert se v posledních letech.

08.09.1928, Albert přišel zůstat se svou dcerou a synem-v-právo, Anna Klema Štika a Petr Štika.
Beatrice si myslí, že Anna bratři jí zaplatil, aby ho (Albert). The Štika by si potřeboval peníze.  Nebyly zjištěny žádné pečovatelské domy v těch dnech.

Byl tam asi tři roky. On už pil. Nikdo s ním mluvil, když byl úplně hluchý.

Pamatují si ho s úsměvem po celou dobu.Ale on asi mluvil hodně anglicky, protože když Anna Ženatý Peter, nemohla mluvit Českého velmi dobře. (Mluvila a číst německy).

A Frances Bednars, Peter matka, kdo byl protichůdný k manželství (Petra a Anna) rozhodl, že proti Anna, protože “Nemohla ani mluvit české”.

Albert by sedět v rocker v salonu dveří a Anna by se říct dětem hrát si tam tak on by měl na co koukat.

Beatrice si pamatuji něj procházel kolem loděnice trochu. Vždycky se modlil růženec.
Nakonec se stal ochrnutý a upoutaný na lůžko a nejsou schopni se o sebe postarat.

Beatrice, dcera Anna si vzpomene, že Peter stanovena na praní dům (pro Albert žít), docela pěkné.

Ona také si pamatuje všechny mycí, že to musel udělat … bez tekoucí vody, venkovní čerpadlo,
voda ohřátá na dřevo ohně a valcha.Anna vařených jídel v domě a odnesl je do něj.

On nemohl jít na záchod sám a tam byla spousta mytí.

V těch dnech bylo vše provedeno na valcha (ručně). S vodou provádí z čerpadla a zahřívá
přes dřevěné kamna.Byl zvyklý sedět v mytí domu a dívat se na děti hrát.

Gertrude a Mary Ann by řekl, hrát u okna, aby mohl sledovat je.

Kněz přišel, když umíral.

Poznámka: Výše uvedený příběh o Albert, není-li uvedeno jinak, byla zřejmě založena na rozhovorech

Jean Shanelac, s Ann Klema Štika, a Barbara Štika Myers.

Následující fotografie je o děti a jejich manželé.  “Táta a máma ‘jsou John a Agnes, bratr / sestra v-právo k ostatním, nikoli jejich rodičů.

Albert Klema bratra a sestry byli:

1 Albert byl farmář a mlynář. Jeho záznamy jsou: Fol. 22. Fol. 34

Cecelia Vejnos Klema sestry byly:

Maria Alosia (Vejnos), kdo si vzal John Pospíšil, ze Wilson & Plzně.

Mathilda (Vejnos), který se oženil s Augustine Schneider-Narodila se 18.srpna 1857 – zemřel 1921.

Paní Winkler, který navštívil Kansas, pak se vrátil k Czechoslavkia.

THE ADALBERT KLEMA FAMILY – A Story Of Suffering and Survival

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 by ivankatz

(CLICK  PHOTOS TO ENLARGE) Bušín House #90 Our family story starts in house #90 in the little Moravian village of Bušín (Buschin on 1850’s maps), now the Czech Republic. (Note: a good Czech map resource is at:  ) It is located about 10 miles from the Polish border. Bušín is nestled in a lovely valley surrounded by very large hills, covered with grass and trees. This photo is from a post card provided by the Mayor of Bušín. A stream flows through the village and eventually becomes a tributary of the Morava river, from which the area derives its name of Moravia. This tributary is called the ‘Bušín Stream and on its banks is a grist mill in Bušín. More about this mill later. This little village, is where Adalbert Klema, son of Franz Klema, lived with his wife Ann (Duskova).

Their first child was born in 1851, and they named him after his father, who was named after Saint. Adalbert (‘Svaty Vojtěch’ in the Czech language) – a famous Bishop of Prague and patron saint of the Czech people.

Then followed the births of his brothers and sisters, Agnes, and twins Josef and Ludmilla. (Josef’s children, Ludvik and Anna would later emigrate to America, with Ludvik settling in Nebraska. His grandson, Frank Louis Klema lived in Norfolk, Nebraska, and is now deceased.

Young Adalbert, in his late teens or early twenties, found work at the local mill. This photo of the old mill is provided by Leroy Klema, from an old post card dated Apr 1909.  It was sent by J. J. Kratky to Mr. Albert Klema, Wilson, Ks. According to the mayor of Bušín, the ‘upper’ mill was purchased by ‘Mr. Dasky’ in 1886. The Dasky’s were probably Adalbert’s mother’s family, since her father was Ignaz Daska. This family was from Klosterle (now Klášterec on modern maps), Moravia a small village about 3 miles south east of Bušín.

The mayor also found in his research that the lower Bušín mill was purchased by Josef Venos of Hrabenov in 1914, due to the war. This could be a relative of Cecelia (Venos) Klema, whos father’s mother, Theresa (Mazak) Venos may have been born in Rabenau (Hrabenov on modern maps), a little village straight about 3 miles east of Bušín. Working at the mill were Adalbert and a Mr. Kratky, who most likely was related to the Klema’s by marriage, since Teresia (Klemova) Kratky was Adalbert’s  sister.

Adalbert met a local girl by the name of Cecilia Vejnos (Venos or Wenos), who lived in the nearby village of Hosterlitz (Hoštice on modern maps) in house #58.

Hosterlitz (Hostice) is northeast of Bušín, within walking distance, about 3 miles away.   Her mother Cecelie was born in Bušín house #39 on Dec 19, 1825, and her father Johann Wejnos (Vanos) was born in Hosterlitz, House #58 on Mar 16, 1826. Her parents were married June 6, 1848.   Cecelia was 22 and Adalbert was 21. These photos are of her parents Johann and Cecelie. Young Adalbert and Cecelia were the same age, fell in love, and eventually decided to marry. The following wedding photo shows the Vejnos family, the bride and groom in the photo are unknown. Johann Vejnos is in the back row, center of the door, his wife is on his left. Cecelia’s parents, Johann and Cecelie can be seen in this photo. Daughter Cecelia is probably somewhere in the photo also. Their first born was a boy, named after his father, Adalbert. This child died. Soon Cecelia was pregnant again. They decided to travel to the new frontier in America. They were now in their mid twenties, and excited to start their new adventure. Although she was 6 months pregnant, Albert and his Cecelia left their homeland, never to return. (CLICK  PHOTOS TO ENLARGE) The above photo could be their neighbors saying their good byes! This  photo was shown to me  (Ivan Katzenmeier) while visiting the Cykrit home in Bušín.

On a Fall day in November 1876 they boarded a sailing ship for the new world. Also traveling with them, according to the ships manifest, were three other families, Cykrits, Kratkys and two Ptacek families. Listed together on the manifest (# 52-58) are – Cykrt Family Members: Anton age 25 Farmer, Cath? Age 47,  Franz Age 15, Josef age 14,  Marie age 12,  Anna age 25,  Josef age 6 Listed together on the manifest (# 60-63) are – Kratky Family Members: Johannes age 25 Workman,  Amalia age 24 Wife,   Johann age 2,  Francisca age 9 mos Listed together on the manifest (# 64-74) are – Ptacek Family Members Vojtech? Age35 Miller,  Anna age 31 Wife,  Marie age 3,  Anna age 11 mos Johann age 35 Miller,  Joesfa age 33 Wife Francisca age 9 yrs 6 mos,  Anna age 8,  Marie age 6,  Johann age 4,  Josefa age 1 yr 6 mos Listed together on the manifest (# 77-78) are – Klemma Family Members (should be spelled ‘Klema’) Adalbert age 23 Miller,  Cecile age 21 Wife

All were probably related and from the same communities.  The Johannes Kratky listed on the manifest may be the Kratky who worked with Adalbert at the Bušín grist mill. Theresia Kratky, was Adalbert’s aunt (his father’s sister). Relatives of the Cykrit family are the current owners of house #90 in Bušín. Mr. Cykrt’s wife’s mother was Hedvika (Klemova) Janku. Her sister, Stepanka (Adalbert’s niece) lived in house #90 where Adalbert was born, until her death Oct, 5, 1982. So there is a family connection between these three families and the Klema’s. We do not know what all they had in their luggage, but we do know that Cecelia brought a cook book written in the old unreformed Czech language, with her. Some believe she may have worked for an upper class Moravian family as a cook. Or it may have been a wedding gift from her mother or grandmother. No one really knows.  Barbara Myers, granddaughter of Anna (Klema) Stika, has provided a translation of the cook book which follows this narrative. They boarded the S.S. Ohio, at the port of Bremen, Germany. The ship’s conditions were horrible for those on board, and especially for a young, pregnant Cecelia.

The following narrative describes the competition among the ship lines and ports of Bremen and Hamburg. Source: and The ships from Bremen and Hamburg had the best reputation. After the cholera epidemic in 1848, both of these cities established stations for the immigrants, where they were isolated from the rest of the population, bathed, deloused and disinfected. In Hamburg such a hospice was founded for 4 000 people, in Bremen it was similar.

The meals should have consisted of salted beef and pork, peas, beans, semolina, rice and wheat stuffs, cabbage, potatoes, plums, and butter etc. In the morning and in the evening coffee or tea was offered with biscuits, for the rest of the day there was only water to drink. The ships should have stored food for three months or 13 weeks, the passengers could take food of their own to improve meals, but they could not provide their whole boards. The space for each person was measured to 20 square feet; the passengers had the right to a cargo box with measurement of 1m x 166 cm. The passengers had to provide their own blankets and bedrolls in steerage. They also had to have their own pots and utensils for food, drink and washing.

The passengers were insured by the company in case of catastrophe, they had the right for medicines from the ship’s storage, but medical attention was not promised to them. The Bohemian (of Slavic origin) customers were contacted by a company ”representative”, Alois Kares, who urged the people to form communities in USA.   This lead the police to investigate a possible conspiracy, which would have the goal to create a ”New Czechia.” The passengers were required to have a valid passport and a ship’s transportation contract.  Permission to leave Europe, for Moravian citizens, had to be requested from the Austrian government.

The sailing ships sailed from Bremen to New York the first and the 15th of each month, similarly to Baltimore and New Orleans (only from March to November) and to Galveston from March 15 to October 15. In 1877, Bremen’s competition, transportation agent August Bolten, representative for a Hamburg – American stock steamboat company, HAPAG (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft) in Europe, advertised transportation only on ”iron post steamboats” traveling from Hamburg to New York every week for prices much lower than ever encountered before.

”The Czechs traveling in steerage could pay in Austrian money. The HAPAG claimed the meals on their steamships out of Hamburg were ”plentiful, filling and healthy.” In New York, HAPAG had general agent Kunhardt, Richard & Boas, in 1878-1879 Pastor’s representative was Johan Vosátka. HAPAG did not travel to Baltimore, and so it is not surprising that Bolten and Pastor attacked the Bremen line to Baltimore.

“The Passage to America through Bremen to Baltimore” versus  ”The Passage to America through Hamburg,” Controversy The battle was on between the two travel companies and their representatives. HAPAG’s pamphlet, Who travels to America chooses the passage only through Hamburg, expresses the advantages of Hamburg and its boats and the low regard for agents, who ‘try to get people for Bremen, where the transportation of poor immigrants a long time ago became merely a place for many money-seekers without conscience.’ The pamphlet summarized quotes from articles in the Chicago Vestnik, the Labor Lists from Cleveland, Slavia from Racine, American Slovan from Iowa City and the West Progress printed in Omaha, Nebraska. According to these pamphlets, the Bremen ships smelled horribly, the Hamburg ships had perfect conditions and good meals. ”Until recent times the majority of Czech immigrants traveled through Bremen, now they start to turn toward Hamburg, where operates honest and convincing Czech, Josef Pastor, the true friend of Czech immigration.” “The Hamburg (steam) ships had the food as delicious, as given by the contract, we even had every day wonderful beef soup, fresh meat and other foods, which were brought to us.” “There was a medical inspection twice a day, and the captain with the crew took care of the passengers’ health.” At least, that was the opinion of F.J. Chaloupka from Cleveland, who traveled on a HAPAG ship with his mother.

Another pamphlet, “The Passage to America through Bremen to Baltimore’ combined all public opinions taken from the Czech-American newspapers. There were experiences of immigrants printed in the American Slovan and Slavia, mostly in 1874-1875. The articles outlined all the evils of Baltimore, and they underlined how much better it was to travel through Hamburg. Sailing Ship vs Steamboat On his first passage to America, Chaloupka traveled by sailing ship instead of steamboat, but the meals were so bad that he couldn’t eat them. At the end of the 70 days, that is how long the passage lasted, he had to pay 70 dollars to the captain for meals that he could eat. “I cannot and I mustn’t praise my first passage to America through Bremen.”

Those poor Czechs, who couldn’t pay, badly cursed misters Kareš and Stotzky. It is obvious that the Bremen agents, to whom Kareš and Stotzky associated as independent entrepreneurs, wanted to use the capacity of old sailing ships, while in Hamburg they counted on fast and modern transportation of immigrants with steamboats. The Austrian police were not interested in agents of both rival companies, the North German Lloyd and HAPAG, especially since ex-officers of police or government founded the agencies. The Czech and the Czech American public remained divided about the best route to America. In 1879 Josef Novinský, agent of the company Omaha-Topeka-Santa Fe Railway, in his pamphlet about buying land in Kansas wrote ”A word about passage from Europe”, where he recommended to the Czech immigrants himself (address: Great Bend, Kansas, North America), Kareš and Stotzky (29 Bahnhofstrasse, Bremen) or August Bolten, representative of W. Miller (33-34 Admiralitatsstrasse, Hamburg), ”where the Czech department is lead by well-known mister Josef Pastor”.

According to Novinský the passage from Prague to Great Bend cost an adult 64 dollars, which when 1 dollar = 2 florins and 10 kreutzers, meant about 130 florins. This meant that to cross the ocean he counted only 20 dollars, which meant about 44 florins. This estimate was very low. On the other hand, Novinský was correct, when he emphasized that in every American port there is some “good Czech agent”. After fourteen days at sea, they arrived in New York, tired, but glad to be on dry land. It was the 6th day of December. The next step of their journey was a long, hard train ride to Wisconsin. They stayed in Wisconsin through the cold Wisconsin winter, long enough for Cecelia to deliver a baby boy. Again, they named the child, Adalbert. Little Adalbert arrived on February 13, 1877 and was baptized in Racine, Wisconsin, exactly two weeks later. Land in Kansas was being promoted in the local Bohemian language newspapers, at this time. Kansas must have seemed like a wonderful opportunity, maybe even a little bit of paradise, if the land promoters could be believed. So a decision was made, and they traveled  to the Kansas prairie to start their life in the new world. A life that would be one of hardship, poverty for some, and riches for others. Leroy Klema provided a copy of an autobiography written by Joseph Satran, a successful Wilson area farmer. Satran’s story gives us insight into what the Klema family experienced during their journey, which in many ways must have paralleled his. Wilson wasn’t much of a town when Joseph Satran arrived in 1877 to seek his fortune in the Bohemian colony started by Francis J. Swehla. This is the same year the Klema family also arrived to seek their fortune, or misfortune! “That station at the time was not very good to look upon, for it consisted of a frame shack for a  depot, a two-story hotel of native stone,  a  small  grain  storage warehouse, two grocery stores, a hardware store, a beginning for a  lumberyard, blacksmith shop, a dozen or more houses and the inevitable saloon,” Satran wrote 36 years later, about what he found upon arriving in Wilson. “Certainly not a very inviting beginning, but most of the settlers were middle-aged and young people, full of hope and determination, and quite willing to rough it at the start.” Satran’s story is one of hardship, long hours of work and a life filled with blessings. According to his autobiography, Satran was born July 4, 1851, in the small town of Wesec at the foot of Mount Rip in north central Bohemia. He was the first born of nine children. His father, a shoemaker by trade, eventually packed up his family and left for the United States. The reason — his trade did not bring enough income to support a growing family. In 1865, the family left from the seaport of Bremen, Germany for New York City. “There were over 250 human beings, herded together like cattle, in the steerage of their little vessel, and no cabin accommodations except for the ship’s crew, consequently living conditions were frightful, and the food served out to the emigrants was so coarse and unpalatable that young children could not digest it and cried with hunger. In addition, the drinking water doled out was barely sufficient to keep down the thirst of the people — there was none whatever for washing except salty sea water, which was entirely unfit for that purpose. “Looking back now it would seem unendurable, but we and the others stood it for seven long weeks, until we reached New York.” After reaching New York, the family traveled to Milwaukee, Wis., where Joseph Satran’s uncle lived. “We left New York for Buffalo, via Albany, on the New York Central Railway, and come to think of it now, it strikes me that the management of that road labored under the impression that emigrants, negroes and cattle were in the same class, for we rode in common boxcars furnished with rude plank benches without any backs, and a mere excuse for toilet necessities. The track was so terrible rough and the jolting so terrific that the children, and even the adult passengers, would fall off of those miserable benches; so by the time we reached Buffalo we were all sore and raw.” With $600 in his pocket, Satran looked to Kansas. “I determined on Kansas as my choice, since I had a prejudice against starting a farm in timber country. I had learned through our Bohemian family paper that F.J. Swehla was just starting a Bohemian’ colony on government land in Ellsworth County on the line of the Union Pacific railway in central Kansas.” In Kansas, Satran settled on land located 9 miles northeast of Wilson.  Because he had training as a carpenter, it was easy for him to build a small home on the property and stock it with supplies. “At first my housekeeping caused me some vexation and I trouble, but finally I broke myself to it. Whenever opportunity offered, I worked for wages, but there was not much doing because the settlers were as poor as myself and could not afford to hire.” Satran’s family joined him in the fall of 1879. The following spring, he married Catherine Peterka. Satran was 28 years old; his bride was 24 years. “Thus the years sped rapidly on. Some brought good crops, other bitter disappointment. The lean years always outnumbered that fat ones. At one time, three very lean years came in succession, which tried our patience, resourcefulness and staying powers to the very utmost. That was the critical period, when so many Kansans mortgaged their homes and later on were sold out by the sheriff. Now back to the Klema family story. Upon arriving in Wilson, they where they lived with a man named Joseph Tobias. Albert (Adalbert) and Cecelia bought 80 acres of land, six miles east and one mile north of Wilson. On this land was a dug out cave where they may have lived until a frame house was built. Another family researcher says they lived with a man named Joseph Tobias. Some say Albert was an alcoholic. When their children were small, he was never home. He did neglect his children when they were young. Albert traveled to Chicago and lived for a time in a Catholic home, but was unhappy. Uncle Will Klema was drafted to go and bring him back to Wilson. There is a news article, that Albert was brushed by a train breaking his arm. Klema Albert hit by trainMildred (Klema) Katzenmeier, recalls that her grandmother often said that if she weren’t a Christian she would kill herself. Apparently, life was not easy for her. Bill Perterka also claimed that she said, ‘If she weren’t a Christian, she would have jumped in a well and drowned herself. Life was hard for this farm couple. Cecelia bore a total of 17 children.

  1. Adabert who died in Bušín
  2. Adalbert who was born Feb 13, 1877 in Wisconson

3. Less than two years after arrival in Wilson, Dorthea was born (Oct 25, 1879). 4. Francis ‘Frank’ was born next ( Oct 18, 1880), 11 months and 3 weeks after his sister’s birth. -walked or rode bike, with brother Will, to Great Bend to attend business college – from Wilson. Uncle Frank Klema did many different things,  had a threshing outfit briefly, had a music store, hauled wheat with Traffic trucks, with Else Eaton, sold Model T’s, was a salesman for Pontiac cars, sold steam plows in the Dakota’s. 5. William ‘Will’ (born Mar 7-1882). Uncle Will married Mary Beth (Vopat) Apr 9, 1907.  They had a store where Klema’s IGA, now Shaw’s, stood. Uncle Will was in the real estate business, bought and sold land etc. -also sold Avery farm machinery, Dodge cars, Model T Fords, then moved to Salina in 1922 or 1923 where he was in the real estate business. The following story is about Will’s involvement in a country store, 10 miles northwest of Wilson. Grillville trade token MVC-005S Grillville trade token MVC-010S THE ELLSWORTH REPORTER Time Takes Toll On Old Grillville Store by Dorothy Grothusen It was around the turn of the century that Sam Grill established a store near his home according to “A Short History of the Weinhold Family” by Opal Weinhold. Will Klema, another pioneer, helped Grill in the enterprise. It was called Grill and Will’s Store. Later, Will Klema dropped out of the business and it was named Grillville. Previously the building had been the Fairview schoolhouse, district No. 63. The school was closed and Sam Grill moved the building to the southwest corner of Section one, Columbia Township, Ellsworth County, and converted it to a general merchandise store. The store had a thriving trade territory which included all the farmers for miles around and extended as far north as the Bullfoot Creek in Lincoln County. Much merchandise was bought and sold. The farmers in the trade territory brought in their products, cream, eggs, butter, hides, etc., and received due bills for which they traded for things they needed. Most anything and everything was sold at the store, buggy whips, horse collars, harness, clothing of all kinds, and of course a full line of groceries. Most of the merchandise was brought from Wilson by lumber wagon with four horses to pull the load. An addition was made to the building as business flourished. This came to be the meeting place of the entire neighborhood and news was exchanged from week to week in this way. All the young swains gathered here on Saturday night to swap yarns and play tricks on one another. GRILLVILLE STORE Sam Grill did not, as a usual thing, operate the store. He farmed, but along with his farming he and a brother Dave hauled the produce to and from Wilson. Sam Grill also ran a grist mill at the site of the Griilville store, according to Art Grill, Ellsworth, a nephew of Sam’s. It was powered by eight head of horses. Farmers of the area bought their grain here to make corn meal, etc. The late Simon Duryee. who was born in 1874 in Illinois and who came to Kansas in 1879. was – a son-in-law of Sam Grill. He told that he remembered helping to move the store to its present location in Section one. Duryee also told of some of the men who operated the store. The first one. to his knowledge, was a George somebody who was cripple of sorts and a drunkard. He seemed to have drunk up the profits when no one was around. There was another George whose  last name he could not recall; two of  Sam Grill’s sons, Roy and Henry Grill.  Harve Hetzell, a son-in-law and  James Klema, who married Hattie Weinhold’s daughter, Hattie. According to James Novak of the Ellsworth Novak IGA, his father, Jim Novak, worked in the Grillville store sometime during the earlier teens. Mary Novak, Ellsworth, remembers living at Grillville and managing the store and cream station with her late husband, Frank Novak. “I believe the Farmers Union might have owned it when we were out there,” Mrs. Novak said, “It was the coming of cars that closed the store. They would rather drive to town then,” she said. Mrs. Dorothy (Richard) Headley, Ellsworth, remembers attending the auction after the Grillville store closed. “I remember the auction, it might have been in 1919 or 1920 – the Novaks were living there then/’Mrs. Headley recalled. There are a lot of memories of the Grillville store building that was a landmark nearly three-quarters of a century.  And, it was because of Samuel Grill. One of 12 Children, he was born in Illinois where his parents had migrated in the early 1800s. Their descendants came to America and to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in the 1700s, even before the revolutionary war. 6.  Joseph, ‘Joe,’ like his brother Frank, was born (born 2-28-83) about 11 months and 3 weeks after the last baby. According to Leroy Klema, ‘Uncle Joe Klema farmed and lived on the home place, iust across the road north of the Excelsior Lutheran church, but earlier, I think, ran a picture show here in Wilson, had been in Western Kansas for a time. My father, August A. Klema worked, for Uncle Will Klema before World War 1, as a mechanic. He was a mechanic in the Army Air Corp. He serviced his commander’s plane, going into business for himself after the war. He also sold Avery and Hart-Parr tractors, etc. and then Oliver farm equipment. 7 & 8. John and Anna, twins, followed, being born in less than a year after Joseph (Feb 14?, 1884). He died May 23, 1964 @ age 80 due to a stroke). John on Dec 12, 1912, married Agnes Stehno Agnes was born Jun 3, 1891- died Apr 17, 1966 @ age 74 – she was diabetic – died after a broken hip and pneumonia). He farmed the Klema ‘home place’ across the road north of the Excelsior Lutheran Church, six miles east and a mile north of Wilson. He lived in an area called Hell Creek, near the Wilson Dam. (CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE) Later after the farm failed, he worked in Wilson at a butcher shop. His brother Jim gave him financial help to move the family to Kanopolis,Kansas were he opened a grocery store. This photo is their store in Kanopolis, Kansas. Their oldest child, Mildred, was denied her request to continue schooling beyond the 8th grade. Her parents needed her to prepare the family meals, wash the clothes, and care for her younger siblings, while John and Agnes ran the store, with assistance from the older children. The older children delivered groceries in a wagon, to customers in town. the names of the children are Mildred, Victor, Rudolph, Arthur, Albert (still born 1923), Adeline (Bartunek), John and Shirley (Krug). John’s twin sister, Anna married Peter Stika. The above photo is labeled, ‘Anna and Peter Stika’s wedding dance.’  Note the people looking out of the hay loft door. 9. Leroy Klema speculates a ninth child may have been born next, date of birth unknown, named Mary She may have died at birth. 10.  Then on July 18, 1886, Cecelia (called Suzy) was born. Aunt Cecelia {Suzy) Klema, was a nun, Sr. Bertille, entered Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph-Wichita-June 15, 1911-took final vows July 2, 1913.  Died-influenza-Dec. 6, 1918 Mt. Carmel Hospital-Pittsburg:, Ks. Buried- St. Mary’s Convent – Wichita. Ks. This is an interesting story about Susie: SUSIE IS LOST The children would have to walk from their home to Wilson, Kansas, several miles away, for catechism lessons. There were about seven children walking. Anna, remembers walking the 5 or 6 miles to religion class, along with her brothers & sisters, and when they were walking home, they forgot to count heads and their sister, Susie, never made it home. Susie (later known as Sister Bertilla) was about five, it got foggy and the children lost her on the trip home. No one missed her until the next morning!! Mother Cecilia went out to milk the cows and kept looking for her. Eventually they found her. She had slept in the ditch all night! They probably slept on the floor at home and not the same place every night, so it would be easy to miss one child, especially since Albert and Cecilia had 14 children (17 births, but not all lived into childhood). 11.  James ‘Jim’ (Wenceslaus) was born Oct 1, 1887. Uncle Jim Klema worked at the Grillville store-“Wills and Grill’s”. I believe it was north of Stucky’s-N. of I-70-N.K. of Wilson. Then he was manager of the Farmers Store in Wilson. Some of the directors weren’t paying their bills, he sent them a dun – made them mad – they fired him!    Then he opened the IGA store in Wilson. 12.  Leroy Klema believes a 12th child may have been born and died, followed by another Mary, born Oct 3, 1890. 13.  Mary Francisca II (born 10-3-1889 – died 1906, handicapped died at Winfield State Hospital) 14.  Elizabeth (born Nov 16, 1890)- married Alvin Steinle – Albert Klema was deaf – she has his ear trumpet (old fashion hearing aid) 15. Matilda was born Feb17, 1892. 16. Emanuel was born Jun 10, 1893 – died Dec 1918 – flu epidemic? He was handicapped. 17. And finally August was born Aug 28, 1894. August ‘Gus’ is Leroy Klema’s father – Gus worked for his brother Will as a mechanic before World War I, Klema Brothers Garage, Wilson, Kansas. The following photo is of Gus and Will, in front of the Klema Brothers Garage, in Wilson Kansas. After losing her first born, and possibly two other babies at birth, tragedy struck again, when young Albert was killed during a threshing accident in Pilsen, Kansas. His arm got caught in a belt and he bled to death. This happened on August 28, 1897. A telegraph was sent to his parents, notifying him of their son’s tragic death.  But a lady who was watching the children misplaced the telegraph message and it was  forgotten , so his parent’s were not notified of his death until after the funeral. On Dec 9, 1899, mother Cecelia died, ending her long unhappy life. Some blame her death on the ‘dropsy,’ a condition we now call edema. Some recall she was very swollen at the time of her death, possibly due to heart of kidney disease. Others recall that Albert was very mean to his family, and especially to his wife, Cecelia. Some believe she died as the result of Albert kicking her out of the house during a rain storm, and she may have died because of his abuse. And finally, Barbara Myers commented regarding Cecelia’s death: ‘the reason  (she) died at 48 wasn’t because she had 16 or 18 or whatever children, living on the prairie with a drunk, but because Albert locked her outside one winter night, in a drunken rage, and she got pneumonia!’ Mary died in the state hospital at Winfield, Mar 9, 1906 at the age of 15. Emanuel died Dec 1918 at the age of 25. Young Cecelia (Suzy) also died in 1918, during the influenza epidemic (Dec 6, 1918) at the age of 32.  She had been a nun, just 5 years after taking her final vows.



They built a brand new house on their land and then Cecilia died at age 48.


She left behind 14 children. Their oldest children were, Frank, 17, William, 16 and Anna and John, 14. On her death bed, Cecilia asked her 14 year old daughter, Anna, never, never to let anyone take the two crippled children and Anna promised she would take care of them.

Children taken from Albert.

Anna kept her vow for one year. When Anna was 15 years old, someone may have reported neglect, because the (two crippled) children were taken to Winfield State Hospital, and then the neighbors came in and took all the other children. This may be the reason why they are of all different religions. Anna never forgave herself. She always felt it was like a vow on the death bed. Anna didn’t want to live with her father (Albert), so after the (two) children went to Winfield, someone helped her go to Salina, where she worked in a seamstress school and in a restaurant in the kitchen. She said if people had known how dirty that kitchen was, they never would have eaten there. Albert got to keep Gus, why, no one knows. Gus was four at the time.  One of the mysteries is why Cecilia’s family, the Kratky’s didn’t take the children.

Albert’s last years.

September 8, 1928, Albert came to stay with his daughter and son-in-law, Anna Klema Stika and Peter Stika. Beatrice thinks that Anna’s brothers paid her to keep him (Albert).  The Stika’s would have needed the money.There were no nursing homes in those days. He was there about three years. He no longer drank.No one talked to him as he was totally deaf. They remember him smiling all the time.But he probably spoke a lot of English, because when Anna Married Peter, she couldn’t speak Bohemian very well. (She spoke and read German). And Frances Bednars, Peter’s mother, who was opposed to the marriage (of Peter and Anna) held it against Anna because “She couldn’t even talk Bohemian”. Albert would sit in the rocker by the parlor door and Anna would tell the children to play there so he would have something to look at. Beatrice can remember him walking around the yard a little bit. He always prayed the rosary. Eventually he became paralyzed and bedfast and unable to take care of himself. Beatrice, Anna’s daughter remembers that Peter fixed up the wash house (for Albert to live in) pretty nice. She also remembers all the washing that they had to do…no running water, an outdoor pump, water heated over a wood fire and a washboard.Anna cooked the meals in the house and carried them to him. He wasn’t able to go to the bathroom by himself and there was a lot of washing. In those days it was all done on the washboard (by hand). With water carried from the pump and heated over a wooden stove.He used to sit in the wash house and watch the kids play. Gertrude and Mary Ann would be told to play by the window so he could watch them. The priest came when he was dying.   This a photo of their grave in the Wilson, Kansas Catholic Cemetery:Klema Grave Albert Wilson Cemetery Gate Note: The above narrative about Albert, except where otherwise stated, was probably based on interviews by Jean Shanelac, with Ann Klema Stika, and Barbara Stika Myers. Albert Klema brother’s and sisters were: (CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS AND FAMILY TREE)

Albert was a farmer and miller. Cecelia Vejnos Klema’s sisters were: Maria Alosia (Vejnos) who married John Pospisil,  of Wilson & Pilsen. Mathilda (Vejnos) who married  Augustine Schneider- she was born August 18, 1857- Died 1921. Mrs. Winkler, who visited Kansas, then returned to Czechoslavkia. =============================================================== Following are some of the sources the above history is based on: =============================================================== KLEMA FAMILY HISTORY – WRITTEN BY LEROY KLEMA (GRANDSON OF ALBERT KLEMA & SON OF AUGUST) This is some of what I know about the Klema family, much of which is supported by documentation.  The Klemas, Kratkys and two Ptacek families all left together  in Nov. 1876 from the village of Busin, in northern Moravia, not far from Poland, and I think in the district of Olomouc (see map).  It was part of the Astro-Hungarian empire, Czechoslavakia after World War I, now a part of the Czech Republic. The voyage took 14 days.  According to Helen Kratky – her grandmother was Theresia (Klema) Kratky – grand father Albert Klema’s sister. They left Bremen, Germany and arrived in New York on Dec. 6, 1876 (see S.S Ohio manifest – 94 passengers all in steerage.  Ship went on to Baltimore, although not stated on manifest. Helen Kratky said they spent three months in Wisconsin, then to Wilson. Recently obtained Uncle Albert Klema’s baptismal record – see copy.  Born Feb. 13 1877 and baptized February 25, 1877 – Holy Family Church – Racine, Wisconsin.  He died in a threshing accident at his Uncle John Pospisil’s farm near Pilsen, Kansas.  His aunt was Alosia (Vejnos) Pospisil – Grandmother Cecelia Klema’s sister. Uncle Albert bled to death – caught in the belt (of the threshing machine).   the nearest doctor was in Marion, Kansas, a 10 mile ride on horse back. He was buried in Pilsen Catholic cemetery-on what was then the Posposil plot-bought or given? to the Klema’s. A telegram was sent to his parents, but the but the lady taking care of the Klema children, put it up somewhere, and forgot to tell them, so of course, they didn’t know. Bušín had a grist mill on the Morava river, where grandfather Albert Klema and Mr. Kratky worked.  I have the impression the Ptacek’s owned the mill, Busin, about the size of Wilson. Surnames there (in the Czech Republic) Moravia) are masculine and feminine- Klema – masculine, Klemova feminine.  Kratky – masculine, Kratka feminine.  See copy of Theresia (Klemova} Kratky 1849 birth record (sister of grandfather Albert Klema} which lists their parents.  She was wife of Johannes (John) Kratky had two children with them on the voyage, the Klemas had none. A letter dated 1951 to my mother from Aunt Anna (Klema) Stitka – Mrs. Peter Stitka states, ‘Folks said there were 17 of us.’ Somehow the sheet on which their birth dates were recorded got lost, so some did not know exactly when they were born.  I have constructed a chronological chart which, I think, makes 17 children plausible. My mother said the first child-Albert- died in Moravia.   When the second child arrived-also a son-he was given tne same name, a common practice. St. Wenceslaus church in Wilson, Ks. has baptismal records -of 13 Klema children, beginning with Dorothea – born Oct 25, 1879, Bapt. July 25 1880, one ‘child ‘born in Moravia – one in Wisconsin -1 3 in Wilson, then there are two intervals-one two and one half years and one two years when no child was baptized, so I would guess they died before they could be baptized. ” Aunt Anna -Stika asked my mother if she would go and see if Fr.  McManus could find the baptismal records for the Klema children.   He spent an afternoon going through the old records.  It is in my mother’s handwriting, so I assume Fr. read and mother copied. She gave a copy to each Klema family. In 1986 St. Wenceslaus church had their one hundredth year celebration, and published a booklet with pictures and the baptismal records, but there were omissions, errors, and discrepancies which I have corrected.  This booklet is still available. Page 2 Aunt Anna Stika wrote in 1951, ‘they had two Marys, one died as a baby, the other I remember died after I was married.’  She died in Winfield State Hospital. I was allowed to examine all their records, but the one for the oldest baptismal records is hidden.  Although I knew it was there, because of mother’s list, I hunted and hunted. It is in the middle of a journal, only a very few pages, all blank pages in the front and also in the rear. When compiling, they did not find the earliest baptismal records, so they are not in this booklet. The early priests wrote in Latin, which clearly the compilers did not understand. The entry for the twins-Uncle John Klema and Aunt Anna Stika reads “Joannes et Maria Klema” but in 1986 they put it in (the booklet)  ‘Joan es Ma r i e Klema.’   Maria is an error by the priest – should be Anna, because there already was a living daughter by that name – Mary – who died in 1906.  Mary, Marie and Maria, are, I would think, interchangeable. Johannes is late/new Latin for John, so correctly it is John and Maria Klema (Anna), twins, not a girl (Joannes) as they had it. The date of baptism was Feb. 24 1884.  Since that paper (list birthdays) was lost.  They at the time, not knowing the actual date, chose Feb. 14, Valentines Day.  By coincident,  in the 1986 booklet, they miscopied the original record – Feb. 24- and put Feb. 14. All the old baptismal records are there, but not the earliest death records.   If the other records are there why not the early death records?  If they were destroyed in a fire, why were the others in existence? Marion Klema began a family history and did a great deal of work on it, but there are some errors. No Klema child died at sea, since the captain was required to list everyone who did.   Passengers had to list their children and ages on the ship’s manifest.  The Klemas listed no children.  None of the 94 died on that voyage. None of the 94 died on that voyage. ‘Where are the five Klema children buried? Jorothv (Dorothea} B’. Oct l879–Elizabeth-B.Nov. l890-Mathilda-B.Feb. 1892 and the two infants I am supposing died before they could be baptized -one 1885 – the other-1888? Marion has it that they were buried on the farm, but I wonder since grandfather Albert was such a devout Catholic, wouldn’t he want them in consecrated ground? Helen Kratky said a Kratky child is buried in Pleasant Valley cemetery N. of I-70 – on the Wilson flats, a protestant cemetery, because at the time, there was no Catholic one. On June 16, 1887, an acre a n d a half of ground  given by Jacob Jedlicka to establish a Catholic cemetery about a mile and a half southeast of Wilson.  The current Catholic cemetery (1900) adjoins the Wilson City one. The Klema family farm buildings were just across the road north and a little west of the Excelsior Lutheran Church,six miles east and one mile north of Wilson,  They  first owned the lower 80 acres, on which was a dugout, and then, somewhere farther north, a frame house,  Later, purchased the east part from George Irey. I have all the original deeds (LGK-yr. 2001)- given to us by Glenn Klema. Tony Somer’s mother walked with our grandparents and showed them the lower 80 acres. Ruth Weinhold, a close neighbor, not far N.E. of the Klema home, at times, looked after the Klema children.  There is still a tin bldg. south across 1-70 from the Ivan Weinhold farm where they lived. Ruth Weinhold (for a long time) lived in Wilson-first house west of the August A. KLema-later Klema Bros  garage, just south of the Methodist Church.  She was married – briefly— I believe they lived – for a short time – with grandfather Albert Klema on the farm. Page 3 Her maiden name must have been restored, I grew well acquainted with her in the 1940’s and 1950′ s.  She gave us Klema family pictures and others. There were two handicapped Klema children – Mary and Emanuel.  One day they were playing and Mary tumbled down the inside of the house cellar stairs, but wasn’t hurt.

Grandmother Cecelia (Vejnos) Klema died Dec. 1, 1899 this is recorded on two different pages-one-cause of death-dropsy (edema) -the other-no cause given. Joe Schneider (first cousin to my aunt and uncles) remembered her in the casket as swollen-very large . We now know dropsy is a symptom, not a cause, perhaps, heart disease. My understanding is, grandfather Albert Klema was mean to his family, especially his wife, and the children blamed him for her death. Bill Peterca told us that grandmother Klema said “If she wasn’t a Christian, she would, have jumped in a well and drowned herself.”   Source???  Mrs . Kubicek???  Mrs. Kubicek told others that grandfather Albert drove her out of the house when it was raining and she died after this exposure. Grandmother  Cecelia’s maiden name was Vejnos, which I would think is the correct spelling, but there are five others, Venus is on her father’s (grave) stone on the Schneider family plot in the new (current) Catholic cemetery. Johann (John) Wejnos or Vejnos, born March 16, 1826 – (grave) stone has 1825 -year-l889.  His daughter, Mathilda was Mrs. Augustine Schneider-B. August 18, 1857- Died 1921.

A sister, a Mrs. Winckler, was said to have visited the U. S.- did not stay. Maria Vejnos was ; Mrs John Pospisil. They lived one mile west of Klema’s-on the south corner, later Kubicek – today Louis Kasner. Pospisil’s moved to Pilsen, Ks. – then back to Wilson, on Hell Creek, where John Dlabals lived (Philomena Pospisil) .  Her twin.  Matilda Pospisil, so there were the four sisters we know of.

Barbara Myers, Eureka, Ks – John and Beatrice (Stika) Spachek’s daughter (Anna Klema Stika’s grandchild)  has done a great deal of work getting records from Moravia and the Czech Republic . Mother said Mrs Albert (Cecelia Vejnos) Klema was buried in the first Catholic cemetery, then moved to the current one . My theory is when their daughter died in 1906 at Winfield State Hospital – funeral (death record is in Wilson) her father needed a burial plot. The stone only has Albert and Cecelia’s names, but mother said Uncle Emanuel (Dec. 1918) is there, I think this Mary is buried there also.  Divining rods show four graves, but no (grave)  markers for Mary and Emanuel; maybe there are more graves on their plot, but thick vegetation hinders checking. There is an interesting letter-Aug. 24, 1983 – to Juanita Stika – her father-Albert- her mother was Kratky, a sister to Helen Kratky, etc., but the Klema’s said to be our relatives are not, the dates do not correspond to archival records.

Aunt Anna Stika took care of  grandfather (Albert) Klema during his last few years.  They lived at Pilsen, Ks. Grandfather Albert  Klema went to Chicago and lived for a time in a Catholic home, but was   unhappy.      Uncle Will Klema was drafted to go and bring him back to Wilson. He lived a in two different homes, as I understand it,   the last was a small home which they had built for  him.  He  was profoundly  deaf.    Mrs. Alvin (Elizabeth Klema) Steinle has his ear trumpet.   He was  brushed   by   a train breaking his arm.Klema Albert hit by train


Grandmother had a book, written in a   language no  one could translate.      In   1970-71   Barbara   Myers  sent  it  to a  Roger Dvorak in  Chicago.  It   is a cook book  in unreformed   Czech – in  use  before   1848. He wrote, ‘the recipes are very good.’  His 90  year   old   grandmother says it’s   exactly  the way her mother and grandmother used to cook in Bohemia in the last century (1800’s). He tried #9 Bohemian Crown Cake – it was delicious. (See translated copy below – it was written in and translated from unreformed Czech language – not German). Did the Klema’s speak German?  This Roger writes it was a German speaking area.  (Ivan Katzenmeier’s Note: Bušín was never a German village, nor did it have a German name, one of our Czech cousins whose family is from Busin.)

Recently, Barbara sent pictures with all the text in German. In the area the Klema’s came from, (some) towns had both a German name and also a Czech name, for example- Eisenberg is Ruda nad Moravou-not far from Busin.  Tony Sula came from there. Uncle John Klema “may have farmed, but had a butcher shop in Wilson, then he and Aunt Agnes opened  a grocery store (in Kanopolis, Ks). Uncle Jim Klema worked at the Grillville store-“Wills and  Grill’s”.  I believe it was north of Stucky’s-N. of I-70-N.K. of Wilson.  (See news story below) Then he was manager of the Farmers Store in Wilson. Some of the directors weren’t paying their bills, he sent them a dun-made them and-they fired him. That is when he opened the IGA store in Wilson. Uncle Frank and Uncle Will Klema went to business college in Great Bend- my sister says they walked but I thought they rode bicycles. I know they stopped at the Bouska farm S.W.of Wilson, for water, I suppose. Uncle Will and Aunt Mary had a store where Klema’s IGA,  now Shaw’s, stood. Uncle  Will was in the real estate business, bought and sold land etc. -also sold Avery farm machinery, Dodge cars, Model T Fords, moved to Salina in 1922 or 1923 where (he) was in the real estate business. Uncle Frank Klema did many different things,  had a threshing outfit briefly, had a music store, hauled wheat with Traffic trucks, with Else Eaton, sold Model T’s, was a salesman for Pontiac cars, sold steam plows in the Dakota’s. Uncle Joe Klema farmed and lived on the home place, iust across the road N. of the Excelsior Lutheran church, but earlier, I think, ran a picture show here, had been in Western Kansas for a time.  My father, August A. Klema worked for Uncle Will Klema before W. War 1, as a mechanic. He was a mechanic in the Army Air Corp. serviced his commander’s commander’s plane, going into business for himself after the war, sold Avery and Hart-Parr tractors, etc. and then Oliver farm equipment. Aunt Cecelia {Suzy) Klema, was a nun.  Sr. Bertille, entered Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph-Wichita-June 15, 1911-took final vows July 2, 1913.  Died-influenza-Dec. 6, 1918 Mt. Carmel Hospital-Pittsburg:, Ks. Buried- St. Mary’s Convent – Wichita. Ks. I just now, came across information I had forgotten was here. Carolyn Stika wrote (the) Klema’s settled in Wisconsin , stayed three months – moved to Wilson-took a claim of 80 acres. Lived in a cave until house was built on it. About Sister- Bertille-Sr. Laura – custodian of the record, thought she was a cook.  Her mother was a cook and had worked for the elite in Moravia before her marriage.  She, her mother, spoke , read, and wrote German. I have a translated copy of her cookbook – (see translated copy below – it was written in and translated from unreformed Czech language – not German). Albert was deaf for a number of years and bed fast, for about three or four years prior to his death.  He died at the home of his daughter, Anna Stika , at Lincolnville, Kansas where he had lived about two years. I welcome your corrections, additions, comments, etc. today-June 9, 2001   Leroy C. Klema Box M, Wilson, Ks. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK ___________________________________________________________________________ Note: Some of these stories, except where otherwise stated, was probably based on interviews by Jean Shanelac, with Ann Klema Stika, and Barbara Stika Myers. WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Dear Klema Relatives, I am sending you these 160 year old recipes, since I thought you might enjoy having a copy for Christmas. Some copies have been available at the Klema annual reunions in Wilson, Kansas, so you might have a copy.

Although Bohemia is mentioned, Great Grandma Cecelia is from Moravia (north eastern Czechoslovakia)- not Bohemia (southern Czechoslovakia).

This cookbook is meaningful, since she brought it with her from her home in Bušin, Moravia 133 years ago this month, to America. It survived the deprivation and discomfort of the 12 day voyage on the sailing ship from Europe, the brutal train trip across many states, and the difficult life on the Kansas prairie. Today, it is her gift to us this Christmas, thanks to Barbara Myers.  Barbara took the initiative to have it translated, 28 years ago!   Thanks Barbara!

………………………………………………………………………………………………….. THE VEJNOS COOK BOOK February 7, 1971 Dear Mrs. Myers, I have finally finished translating your cookbook for you.  Let me offer you a sincere apology for keeping it so long.  You see, it took me longer than I expected to render all of the old Bohemian measurements into their modern English equivalents. The recipes in the cookbook are very good.  I have even shown them to my 90 year-old grandmother.  She verifies this statement.  Indeed, she says, it’s exactly the way her mother and grandmother used to cook back in Bohemia in the last century. My grandmother also says that the book was probably written before 1848, since the spelling is still the old unreformed Czech.  This should interest you.  Your ancestors no doubt came to America many years ago. I have made a carbon copy of the recipes for myself. In fact, I have already made No. 9, the BOHEMIAN CROWN CAKE.  It came out beautifully and tasted delicious. I trust that you and your family will be satisfied with my work.  Thank you very much once again for the donation you sent to the Czech Studies program at the University. Please drop me a line to let me know whether you have received both the book and the envelope continuing the translation in good order.  My home address is 2730 S CHRISTIANA AVE CHICAGO IL  60623-4611 Sincerely, Roger Dvorak P. S. I did not translate about 5 recipes because they were too obscure and made absolutely no sense.  Also some of the little tips on cooking I left out since they have no meaning for today. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

SISKY (doughnuts) 1 cake yeast                                3 T. butter 1 T sugar                                    1/2 C sugar 1 1/4 C. milk, scalded and cooled     1/4 t salt 4 1/2 C. flour                                1 t nutmeg 1 egg, well beaten Dissolve yeast and 1 T. sugar In warm milk. Add 1 1/2 C. flour and beat. Cover and let rise in warm place until bubbles burst on top. Cream butter and sugar, salt, egg and nutmeg. Add to yeast mixture.  ‘Add remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead lightly. Cover and let rise 14 hours. When light turn out on floured board and roll J inch thick. Cut with cutter 3 inches in diameter.  Cover and let rise 1 hour. -“Fry in deep fat until brown. Drain, cool and roll in powdered sugar or fill with Jelly or custard.

BOHEMIAN CROWN CAKE (ČESЌY KORUKOCЎ TORT) 1 cake compressed yeast    6 egg yolks 1/4 C. lukewarm water        2 1/2 t. salt 1 t. sugar                         2 C. lukewarm milk 3 I. flour                           5 C. sifted flour 1 C. butter                        1/4 to 1/2 C seeded raisins 1 1/4 C. sugar                    2 whole eggs Dissolve the yeast in J cup lukewarm water, add 1 t. sugar and 3 T. flour, blend thoroughly and allow to stand until the mixture becomes foamy. Cream the butter, add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and whole eggs, one at a time. and stir until well blended. Add the salt and yeast mixture and stir vigorously. Add the flour alternately with the milk, blending well after each addition.  Add raisins.  Wash raisins well and dry them. Let rise until double in bulk. Beat down, then turn dough into a buttered tube pan. Let rise until almost double in bulk again. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixed together. Bake in 325̊ oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.

Bohemian KOLÁCЌY (Tarts) 1/2 C. butter     1 cake yeast         3 1/3 C. flour 1 C. milk      3 eggs 5 T. sugar     1 t. salt To melted butter add mils and sugar. Mix yeast in little of lukewarm mixture. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add the lukewarm mixture and beat good together. Add yeast and salt. Add flour about 1C. at a time. Mix until spoon comes out clean from the dough. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk. Make KOLÁCЌY, using as little flour as possible. Put on buttered pan and brush with melted butter. leave rise and bake in 375̊ oven until golden brown This will make about 3 1/2 dozen. The dough may also be used for raised doughnuts.

CHEESE FILLING. Mix: 1 Ib cottage cheese, 2 eggs, sugar to taste 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. melted butter little flour to thicken . HOUSKA (Bohemian Twist) 1 pint scalded milk       1 egg or yolks of 2 (if 2 eggs, 1  C. sweet butter       reserve few T. for brushing the top) 3/4 C. sugar               1 cake yeast 1    t. salt                  1/2 lemon rlnd grated 6 C. flour                   almonds – mace – raisins Warm bowl and flour (room temperature). Crumble yeast in a cup with teaspoon sugar. Add 1/2 C. scalded milk, cooled till lukewarm. Let stand in warm place to rise. To the rest of scalded milk add shortening, sugar, salt and little mace, lemon and when lukewarm beaten, yolks of eggs.  Stir yeast and some flour and only enough more to knead till smooth and elastic. If raisins are desired, add now (1/2 cup)  Mix well into dough. Cover dough closely. Let rise till double. Cut dough. Form into shape. Place in greased pans. let rise till double size and bake. Bake 375″ for 45 min or till well browned. Houska Twist:  Cut three parts of dough, reserving a little. Make three long strips of equal size.  Roll out to fit pan (long pan) and braid together. Place in a greased pan. Take small extra piece of dough.  Cut in 1/2 and twist loosely.  Put on top of Houska Allow to rise double. Then brush top with remaining egg yolk which has one T of water- Almonds can be sprinkled on the top.  :May be made in two regular loaf pans.


PORK, SAUERKRAUT AND DUMPLINGS 3 pr 4 pork shanks (spareribs may also be used) 3 pigtails                      1 1/2 lbs fresh sauercraut 2    pork blades             caraway seed 1 small onion                 potato dumplings salt and pepper Wash pork. Cover with water and allow to boil about 15 minutes. Chop the onion.  Add to meat along with the caraway seed and other seasonings.  Let boil another 1/2 hour. In the meantime, wash the sauercraut and add to the meat. Continue to cook until meat is tender.  Add the dumplings the last 25 minutes of cooking time. More water may be added if necessary. It tastes better when nice and Juicy.


POTATO DUMPLINGS FOR THIS MEAL:  4 large potatoes, 1 egg, salt 1/2 C. flour. Peel potatoes and grate. Put into a cloth to drain most of the water off.  Squeeze the cloth slightly so as to get most of the water out.  Transfer into a bowl and add the egg, salt and flour.  When mixed well, drop by spoonfuls on top of pork and sauerkraut mixture. Cook 25 minutes      Serves 5

BEEF WITH DILL GRAVY Beef off the chuck or round bone    1/2 pint sour cream pinch of salt                                3 rounded T. flour 1 t. sugar                                    2 eggs about 1/2 c. dill, fresh, without blossoms or heavy stems, chopped fine Boil the same amount of beef that is usually used to serve your family as you would to make beef soup—with usual soup greens.  The resulting broth or soup may be set aside for future use or to begin this meal. Set the drained beef aside. Combine sour cream, flour and eggs in a bowl. Beat with beater until smooth. Combine milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add egg mixture to milk mixture as it boils. Beat again with beater. Boil until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat. Add finely chopped dill. Do not boil the gravy after adding the dill. Pour gravy over drained, boiled beef (cut into serving size pieces) and allow to stand about fifteen minutes before serving.  If it is necessary to reheat do so, but do not bring to a boil again. Serve at once. Boil potatoes as usual, adding salt and about J t. caraway seeds. Drain and serve with meat and gravy.

SVÍĆKOVÁ (Pickled Beef Tenderloin) Meat    Salt Bacon, sliced                  Flour lemon Juice                    Onions Juniper berries                soup greens Allspice                         Sour cream Water                          Crock or Enamel Pot Wipe meat with a damp cloth.  Crush juniper berries into a powder.  Spread on both sides of meat. Place into covered crock or enamel pot. Allow to set one day or over-night in a cool place. Scrape off powder. Place bacon strips on the top. Set into lemon juice instead of usual water and vinegar solution. Add soup greens, onions, allspice and salt. Leave set another day or over-night. Boil, stirring or bake, basting until tender. Strain liquid for flour thickened sour cream gravy. Pour over the meat and serve.


ROHLÍĆKY (Fruit filled crescents) 4 0. flour                  4 egg yolks 1/2 Ib. butter              1/2 pint sour cream Mix together and form into balls the size of a walnut, let stand in a cool place overnight. Roll out on floured board. Spread with filling and then roll up into crescents. Bake at 350 Rom 25-30 minutes.

FILLING: 4 egg whites; do not beat too stiff 1 C. sugar             2 T. lemon juice 1/2 lb walnuts        cinnamon to taste mix the ingredients


LISTY (Celestial Crusts) 3 egg yolks             1 T. red wine 1 T Sour cream       pinch salt 1 T sugar              about 1 1/2 C. sifted flour Place in center of “bread “board 1 cup flour, make a well in the center.  Add the yolks, sour cream, sugar, wine and salt.  Mix with a fork until liquids are well combined.  Work in the flour.  The dough should “be like noodle dough.  Knead to make a smooth dough.  Split into two portions.  Roll the dough paper thin on a floured board. Cut into squares 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.  Make 3 or 4 gashes in them.  Fry in deep fat until golden brown, drain. another recipe for LISTY 2 egg yolks            4 T cream pinch of salt           enough flour to make noodle dough Roll out very thin a part of the dough at a time.  The thinner the rolled out piece the better.  Drop in hot fat.  Turn quickly an and remove from fat.  Should be light in color.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

POTATO PANCAKES 2 C. grated raw potatoes     ( a little more than a pound) 1/4 C. milk                         2 t. salt 2 eggs  slightly beaten        1 t baking powder 2 t. grated onion                 1/4 C. flour Drain potatoes, add milk, eggs, onion.  Mix together salt, baking powder and flour and add to potato mixture.  Mix well.  Drop by heaping soup-spoonfuls onto a hot well-greased skillet.  Spread thinly and fry to golden brown on both sides.  Fry more slowly on the second side to insure thorough cooking.  Makes about 18 four-inch in diameter pancakes.  Nice served with pork sausages and apple sauce.

POTATO DUMPLINGS 6 large potatoes      3 eggs sufficient flour         1 t. baking soda salt                       2 t. baking powder. Put potatoes through a ricer.  Mix the other ingredients with the potatoes.  Drop into boiling water and boil about 20 minutes.

BONELESS BIRDS ( Ptáćky bez kostí) Two pounds round steak sliced very thin and cut into pieces about four inches square.  Cut 4 slices bacon into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Pry out very slightly.  On each piece of meat, place 2 or 3 pieces of the bacon and a little chopped onion.  Roll; pin together with toothpicks and roast them to a nice brown in bacon fat with any remaining pieces of bacon.  When brown, season with salt and pepper. Add water to cover and cook until tender. Remove birds Add 1/2 pint sour cream mixed with 2 T. flour to remaining liquid.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Pour over birds and serve.

CHICKEN PAPRIKA Cut up a stewing chicken. Pry 1 large onion cut fine in 1 T. butter.  Add chicken, water to cover and salt.  Cook until tender.  Mix 2 T. flour into 1 pint sour cream.  Add to chicken, season with a little red pepper and paprika and boil until gravy is thickened. Serve with dumplings.

HOT POTATO SALAD 6 baking potatoes                    1/4 t. pepper 1/3 cup vinegar                       1 Ib. bacon, chopped 2 t. salt                                 6 eggs 3/4 C. chopped green ionions or 1/2 C. chopped onions Cook potatoes in boiling water. Peel and dice. Add vinegar and seasonings.  Pry bacon until crisp.  Cook eggs 4 minutes.  Combine potatoes, bacon, 2 T. bacon fat, soft cooked eggs, and chopped onions.  Mix well.  Serve hot salad on a bed of lettuce with frankfurters. Serves 6 people.

SPLIT PEA SOUP 2 packages split peas, green  2 carrots, cut up 1 large ham bone, with ham on it   1 onion, cut up celery or celery leaves, cut up    I tomato (cut up water to cover in 6 quart pot, Bring to a boil, then simmer in covered pot, until peas and vegetables are very soft. Allow to cool about half an hour.  Then pour soup through strainer.  If soup is too thick, thin with water.

OXTAIL SOUP WITH LIVER DUMPLINGS 1 oxtail, cut up                 1 tomato, cut up 4 carrots, diced                spinach, peas, etc., 1 small onion, cut fine        or any vegetable 4 stalks celery, cut fine      1 pkg. prepared liver (includes leaves)               dumplings Salt and pepper to taste Place oxtail and vegetables in water to cover.  Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add the liver dumplings and cook 15 minutes. (I have a recipe for liver dumplings, if you want to try this recipe: Barbara Myers)

SVESIKOVÉ KNEDLÍKY (plum dumplings) 2 1/2 C. flour           2 eggs 1 t. baking powder    1 C. milk 1    T. salt Mix all ingredients together to form soft dough.  On floured board, cut in small pieces. Flatten out. Set plum, apricot or 3 cherries in center. Pull edges together tightly so that the fruit will not come out while boiling. Drop into boiling water and boil for 20 minutes.  Serve with melted butter, sugar and cottage cheese.

NOODLES WITH COTTAGE CHEESE 2    eggs and 1 yolk            1 yolk 2 T. butter                        6 T. grated almonds I 1/2 C. fine noodles            1 Ib. cottage cheese (dry) 1/2 C cream                       6 t sugar Put cheese in bowl, add the 2 eggs and 1 yolk, mix well, then add the melted butter, the sugar, and 2 T. grated almonds, beat well. Have the noodles boiled, add to cottage cheese mixture and mix well. Butter a deep dish, put the mixture in, now add to the cream the 1 yolk, beat well then pour it over the cheese mixture, and sprinkle top with rest of the almonds mixed with a T. sugar. Bake till a nice brown. Serve hot.

BREAD DUMPLINGS 1 egg    1 t. salt 1 C. flour    1/4 c. milk 1 t. baking powder    1 slice white bread, cut into cubes. Mix the dough and make into one roll or loaf. Boil for 20 minutes. Do not remove the cover of the pan until the dumplings have boiled for 20 minutes. After they are done, cut in slices like a loaf of white bread is cut. RAISED DUMPLINGS 1 C. milk    1/2i Cake yeast 2 eggs    Flour to make stiff dough. I t. salt Dissolve yeast in a little lukewarm water. Add rest of ingredients.  Beat well, cover and let rise in a warm place about one hour. Form into balls, place on a floured board and let rise until light.  Drop into boiling water; cover and boil rapidly until done. Test with straw.

FARINA DUMPLINGS 1 egg             salt 1 C. Farina  (I think Cream  of Wheat is a substitute…Barbara Myers) Mix together.  Leave set 5 minutes.  Drop into liquid, boiling, from teaspoon and boil about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and pour about 1 C. cold water over dumplings, letting stand a bit before serving.






Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by ivankatz

For page 1 go to:

The Temple of Heaven – Beijing see:

This temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420, by the same emperor who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Heaven worship is an ancient Chinese religious belief that predates Taosim and Confusianism, and later incorporated into both.

The Ancient Chinese believed in a non-corporeal entity called an omnipotent, just and monotheistic supreme being.

Over time, this supreme being became synonymous with Heaven.

The worship of Heaven is highly ritualistic and requires that the emperor hold official sacrifices and worship at an altar of Heaven, the most famous is the Temple of Heaven.  Idols are not permitted in Heaven worship.

Heaven worship is closely linked with ancestor veneration.  Ancestors are believed to be mediators between Heaven and man.

The Emperor of China, also known as the Son of Heaven, Son of Heaven, gained his authority and legitimacy as ruler, from his  ability to communicate with Heaven on behalf of his nation.  This is known as the ‘Mandate of Heaven.’

Early missionaries saw similarities between Shangdi (Chinese God of Heaven) and the God of the Hebrew Bible, and translated God as “Shangdi” in Chinese. Some Chinese Christian scholars believe the Hebrew God and the Chinese Shangdi are the same  God.

The Chinese Mandate of Heaven vs. the European Divine Right of Kings


The Chinese Mandate of Heaven is similar to the European Divine Right of Kings.   Both notions legitimize ruler using divine approval. However, the Divine Right of Kings grants unconditional legitimacy, and the Mandate of Heaven is conditional on the just behavior of the ruler. Revolution is never legitimate under the European Divine Right of Kings philosphy, but the Chinese Mandate of Heaven approves the overthrow of unjust rulers.

The concept is important in understanding Chinese thought, because it only allows one legitimate ruler at any one time. Thus the Chinese always have one emperor, or one ruling party leader.






The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours respectively. Combined together, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar term.

All the buildings within the Temple have special dark blue roof tiles, representing the Heaven.


The Temple of Heaven is built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails.







Posted in Uncategorized, Viet Nam on November 12, 2009 by ivankatz

The following narrative is written by Ed Tatarnic, John A. Anderson’s cousin,  one of the soldiers killed in the battle on Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain in Vietnam) 13 May 1968.

Please contact Ed at: if you knew his cousin John A. Anderson.

Mr. Tatarnic, has done an excellent job researching this battle, and I am indebted to him for the time and effort he spent on this narrative.

His excellent narrative, has been edited, revised and condensed for those readers without a knowledge of military terminology.

As you read this story, you may realize that you or someone you know was in this battle. If so, I invite you to contact me by leaving a note in the comment section. I plan to continue adding details, and photos of those involved in the battle, to give them the honor they deserve.

******* 13 MAY 1968 BATTLE KIAS/POW*******

The following 21 soldiers were killed in the battle of  May 13, 1968:
* SGT Joseph Adams, New Orleans, LA, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 John A. Anderson, Williamsville, NY,HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Infantry

* SP4 Ralph R. Black, Crystal Falls, MI, C Co, 121st Sig Bn
* SGT Fernando Calle-Zuluaga, Los Angeles, CA, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn
* CPT George Coleman, Birmingham, AL, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn

* PFC Samuel G. Connelly, Hammond, IN, A Co, 2nd Bn, 18th Infantry
* SP4 Moses J. Cousin, Detroit, MI, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn

* SP4 Albert E. Dahl, Aurora, IL, B Co, 125th Sig Bn

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* CPT Arthur L. Davis, Beaufort, NC, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn
* SP4 James A. Davis, Orlando, FL, B Co, 125th Sig Bn

* SP4 Gary J. Gilin, Detroit, MI, A Co, 4th Bn, 9th Infantry
* SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle, Minneapolis, MN, HQ, 3rd ASA Fld Station
* SP4 Paul R. Hoag, Poughkeepsie, NY, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 Michael J. Juneau, Hessmer, LA, B Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 Paul R. Lozano, Bay City, TX, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn
* SP4 Frank J. Makuh, Placentia, CA, C Co, 121st Sig Bn

*PFC John Patrick McGonigal Jr., 194th MP Co., 1st Signal Brigade attached to the 125th Signal Bn
* SGT Timothy J. Noden, Linwood, PA, A Co, 2nd Bn, 18th Infantry
* SSG Ray W. Owen, Columbia, SC, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn MEDIC
* 2LT Thomas N. Teague, Mountlake Terrace, WA, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SSG Harold A. Stone, Champaign, IL, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SSG Bobby C. Wood, Monroe, LA


Brave Young Soldier

Posted on 10/22/01 – by R.E. Wood, MSgt. USAF/ret

‘I did not know this young soldier (John P. McGonigal Jr.); but I do know that on the 13th of May 1968 he was killed along side my cousin, SSgt Bobby C. Wood; while defending a firebase on Black Virgin Mountain. While assisting my cousin with a .50 caliber machinegun an RPG came through the porthole and ended both of their lives.  John: I also came to Vietnam the next year. Just want you and Bobby to know we got some of them for you.’

- See more at:












POW – PFC Donald Glen Smith, captured May 13, 1968- released 1-1-1969. (Far right)





*SP4 Brigham was a 12B20 Combat Engineer in A/65th Engineers, 25th Infantry Division.  He suffered injuries in captivity.  Upon release was flown to Walter Reed Hospital.  It was determined his injuries were untreatable.  He returned to his home in Florida where he died from those injuries.

******18 AUGUST 1968 BATTLE KIA’S*******

A second battle on August 18, 1968 took the lives of the following defenders of the mountain top camp:

  • 125th Sig Bn, 25th Inf Div

SP4 Ronald M. Heinecke, Theresa, WI, Prov Sig Company
PFC Arturo S. Zamora, Mathis, TX, C Company

  • A Company, 3rd Bn, 22nd Infantry, 25th Inf Div
    • SGT James C. Kraynak, Connellsville, PA
    • SGT Kenneth L. Krom, Walkersville, MD
    • SP4 James R. Moncrief, Cordova, AL
    • PFC Gilbert T. Delgado, Houston, TX
    • PFC Roy D. Lowe, Charlotte Court House, VA

  • F Company, 50th Infantry, 25th Inf Div
    • PFC Lorenzo Sewell, Sayreton, AL

I have added some photos of my own and from the internet to the narrative. The photos I have posted are of bunkers that were built after the base camp was destroyed in this battle. The ‘bunkers’ in place during the battle were wooden structures on stilts!

See the After Action Report following this narrative for survivor interviews.

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I spent the month of October 1968 on this mountain, as a Sr. combat medic, with Co. C, 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division, s experiencing the mountain ‘up close.’  I have included my experiences while stationed on this mountain along with my unit, Charlie Company, 3/22, 25th Infantry Division.

Sadly, during this month, I learned of the death of Captain Hansard, our former Charlie Company Commander.
Nui Ba Den oxcart photo by CptTinnel

Here is the story:

THE ATTACK ON NUI BA DEN MONDAY MAY 13, 1968 by Ed Tatarnic (See his original narrative at )

The evening started with the sky clear, many stars could be seen. Many soldiers were having a quiet evening watching TV. At 2145 hours the camp on Nui Ba Den came under attack from combined 82mm mortar and rocket propelled grenades.
Page 3

At this time the standard manning of defensive positions were odd numbered bunkers on duty from dusk to midnight and even numbered bunkers on duty from midnight to dawn. Therefore only every second bunker was on alert.

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BUNKER Nui Ba Dinh Black Virgin Mt 0004

At this time, Special Forces members at base B-32 at Tay Ninh reported hearing explosions and seeing fire atop Nui Ba Den.

From the radios of the Special Force’s Tay Ninh camp there came a request for “artillery to be brought in here fast” then the radio went silent. Other frequencies were tried by Special Force’s to no avail. It was at this time that the communications antenna was blown out by rocket propelled grenades or satchel charges.
Page 5

Upon the initial mortar attack, personnel from bunkers that were manned open fired with automatic weapons.

A soldier from bunker 12 just got off guard duty and while starting down to bunker 15 received small arms fire so he returned fire. He checked bunker 13 and saw one soldier wounded and one dead.

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Page 7

He reported seeing a force of fifteen Viet Cong proceeding to the helicopter pad carrying Rocket Propelled Grenade’s.

Page 8

(Click on map to enlarge)

(Click on map to enlarge)

Page 9 After the first five or six mortars landed on site, bunker 19 was destroyed by either rocket propelled grenades or mortars from the ravine below bunkers 18 and 19.

Page 10

Bunker 19 faced north between the mess hall and the helicopter pad.

With bunker 19 out of action the enemy moved up the ravine completely hidden from bunkers 18 and 20. There was tear gas that came over bunker 20 as bunker 19 burnt.

Page 11 The US personnel moved from bunker 18 to 20 and 2 soldiers were in bunker 20 attempting to operate the radio.

The main enemy force advanced past the perimeter and split into two sections. Some American soldiers moved from bunker 19 to hide in the rocks (see 10a on map above) behind the Enlisted Men’s club.
Nui Ba Den Chopper PadThe larger enemy force moved east to the helicopter pad where they set up a command post with two radios and a mortar team. The smaller enemy force moved further east to bunker 17 then continued south, then west to bunker 13.
(Click map to enlarge)
Page 12
(Click map to enlarge)
Page 13 MESS HALL BUNKER PAD Nui Ba Den Base Camp 4a73bac0

This secured the bunkers around the helicopter pad.

The enemy met automatic fire at bunker 16 and afterwords the US personnel moved south to hide in some rocks in the vicinity of bunker 15.

The personnel in bunker 14, west of bunker 15, tried to open fire on the helicopter pad but were unable to swing the .50mm caliber around to the rear, which was north.

The US personnel in bunker 14 had no M-79’s (grenade launchers) and insufficient M-16 (rifle) ammunition to initiate and return fire as a Rocket Propelled Grenade had destroyed most of the M-16 ammunition.
Page 14
These US personnel then left bunker 14 through the gun port and sought safety outside the camp’s perimeter in the rocks.

ROCKS ON Nui Ba Dinh Black Virgin Mt 0006

The sound of Vietnamese voices chattering and screaming could be heard.

At the same time, an enemy force of between 15 and 20 penetrated the west slope between bunker 7 and the remains of bunker 8 which was burning from Rocket Propelled Grenade’s.


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Page 16

There were US personnel in bunker 7 that attempted to stop this advancement but after a courageous attempt were knocked unconscious by a hand grenade.

The soldiers later gained consciousness when it started to rain at about 0230 hours and joined other soldiers in the burnt out bunker 8.

PFC Donald Glen Smith was stationed in Bunker 8, along with two other soldiers, when it came under attack. The bunker exploded from either a satchel charge of RPG.  PFC Smith suffered head trauma as a result of the explosion and his two fellow soldiers were killed in the blast.   Viet Cong captured him, while he was unconscious, and carried him to their cave in the side of the mountain, and later to a mobile prison camp in the jungle.  He was released January 1st, 1969 with two other POWS.

The enemy moved uphill eastward toward the pagoda at the top of the mountain blowing up the generator on the way.  The personnel hiding in the burnt remains of  bunker 8 did not open fire.



Page 17

This photo is of the pagoda and antennas on its roof.

PAGODA ON Nui Ba Dinh Black Virgin Mt 0005

Upon reaching the top the enemy spread out and placed satchel charges in the operations building and the officer’s quarters.

Page 18

All the US personnel in the pagoda locked themselves inside and were not confronted by the enemy.

All the VHF antennas on the pagoda were destroyed by satchel charges.

Page 19 Another small enemy force penetrated the perimeter on the North Slope near bunker 2, west of the reservoir.

Page 20

Page 21

Photo by Captain Ronald Herman Tinnel

They continued up the hill to the summit where they joined the force that penetrated the perimeter from between bunkers 7 and 8.

During this time bunker 1 detected movement to their front and opened fire with the M-79 grenade launcher.
This drew enemy fire from the rear and the personnel evacuated through the front window and went east to bunker 20, near the reservoir where they remained through out the night.

Page 22

BUNKER NEAR RESERVOIR Nui Ba Den Mt TopPhoto by Captain Ronald Herman Tinnel

Page 23

Two soldiers who were in bunker 5 and opened fire with an M-79 grenade launcher, M16 and claymores. Both soldiers stayed in bunker 5 all night.

Special Forces had two soldiers in bunker 1, one manned the machine gun while the other tried to radio for help.

                                                                    ABOVE PHOTO BY PFC DONALD GLEN SMITH

Page 24

Also in the bunker were two CIDG’s, (Civilian Irregular Defense Group soldiers) – one was wounded when a mortar or Rocket Propelled Grenade blew a hole in the roof.

The Special Force’s mascot dog died of gun fire.

The butane tank for the stove was punctured and this started the bunker on fire.

The Special Force’s personnel could hear the Viet Cong talking.

At this time Special Force’s left the bunker and went down the mountain a bit and used a short antenna radio to contact Detachment B but could not for they were on the north side of the mountain.

They tried different radio frequencies and after about 30 minutes communicated with Katum.

The radio operator was told to go to frequency 68.00.

On this frequency they heard from the S-3 of the 25th Infantry Division, 1st Brigade that Spookys (AC 47 flare/ gunships) were on their way for assistance.

The Special Force’s soldiers who went down the mountain side a bit heard the other soldiers who were in the rocks near the reservoir and moved to their location.

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Photo by Captain Ronald Herman Tinnel

Upon arriving, Special Force’s secured the reservoir perimeter and there were about 20 Americans assembled there. There were only 5 weapons among them and most of the men were not fully clothed, some only had shorts and no boots on. Some were wounded.

Photo by Captain Ronald Herman Tinnel

Generally, US soldiers were split into small pockets of resistance and stayed this way through out the night. They were reluctant to move due to Viet Cong filtration and fire from the Spookys.

Page 26

Once the enemy secured the helicopter pad as a Command Post and mortar location, they split into 3 groups at approximately 2200 hours. The Command Post/mortar crew remained in place, a small group moved southwest to bunker 13 and a larger group moved west up the hill behind a barrage lay down by the mortar crew on the helicopter pad.

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Nui Ba Den Chopper Pad

While the larger force moved up the path westward to the mess hall and billets complex, the smaller force continued along the south perimeter securing bunkers 13, 12 and 11.

The soldiers in bunker 11 tried to detonate their claymores but most never went off. As each bunker was approached, the enemy threw satchel charges or hand grenades into the doorways.

Page 29

The personnel in each bunker manned their positions till they were forced to evacuate.

Some soldiers proceeded from the orderly room to bunker 10 where they laid down a field of fire until a satchel charge exploded in the door way.
Page 30

At this time the soldiers ran out the back door, killing 2 Viet Cong.


Then they ran west to bunker 8 where they joined the rest of the men from bunkers 8 to 12.

                                                     ABOVE IS A PHOTO OF BUNKER 9 (PHOTO BY PFC DONALD GLEN SMITH, POW)

Page 31

The soldiers in bunker 9 set off their claymores then started to fire their .50 caliber, then evacuated when bunker 10 was blown up.
                                                           ABOVE PHOTO OF BUNKER 9  BY PFC DONALD GLEN SMITH, POW

They saw the generator blow up when a Viet Cong threw something at it.

Page 32

All personnel regrouped in the wreckage of bunker 8 which had been destroyed earlier by a mortar or a Rocket Propelled Grenade.

They set up a local security force at approximately 2330 hours and most soldiers stayed there till morning.

One soldier left bunker 8 and preceded to the ammunition bunker next to the pagoda and obtained 2 cases of M-79 (grenades) ammo then returned east to a location in the rocks above bunker 12 and laid down intensive fire on the enemy command group on the helicopter pad. Immediately after this action, the enemy started exfiltrating.

At approximately 2200 hours the main force of the enemy was proceeding westward up the path towards the pagoda.

Page 33

MESS HALL BUNKER PAD Nui Ba Den Base Camp 4a73bac0

When they reached the mess hall, billets and officers and enlisted men’s clubs they spread out placing satchel charges and throwing hand grenades into the buildings.

Page 34

Mess Hall September 1968 Nui Ba Dinh Black Virgin Mt

Some of the buildings were already on fire from the mortar and Rocket Propelled Grenade attacks. The US personnel who were in the mess hall, billets and officers and enlisted men’s clubs left the buildings and went to the sandbagged bunker 19 or to the rocks in the immediate area for cover.

A melted watch found at the NCO club indicated the time was 2220 hours.

Nearly all the personnel were without weapons.

The soldiers with weapons were reluctant to fire them for they never had positive identification of the moving figures and ammunition was low and they did not want to give away their position.


(Click on photo to enlarge)


See page 74 of which describes PFC Torma’s actions.

CAPTAIN HAROLD R WINTON stated, –  ‘At about 0700 hours the 1st Medevac went in with Sgt. Benny E. Wigginton,, senior medic at Detachment B-32, and Specialist Byrne.’   These two medics and the Medevac pilot, evacuated the wounded including PFC Torma, who was severely burned from the satchell charge explosion.


The soldiers had to abandon bunker 19 due to the heat from the burning mess hall and moved to a cave located near the reservoir and bunker 20.

Page 35

Soldiers gathered in either bunker 20 or the nearby caves and rocks and they maintained local security the rest of the night. Some shots went into the cave and the surrounding rocks and ricocheted and wounded some men.

ROCKS AND BUNKER Nui Ba Dinh Black Virgin Mt

The Special Forces team house was destroyed when a Rocket Propelled Grenade hit the butane tank and caused a fire that destroyed the team house. Almost all the buildings on site were burnt to the ground.
Page 36

At approximately 2330 hours a Light Fire Team and mini-gunship arrived and were directed by a lone radio operator working under the Red Horse re-transmission.

The supporting forces providing fire and illumination during the attack were B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Air Calvary (UHIC) gun ships; 5th Air Command Squadron (C-47 Flare and gun ships); Tay Ninh Artillery B Battery 2/32 Artillery.

Cobra gunship

Page 37Fire Mission - Howitzer Painting

The Light Fire Team drew heavy anti-aircraft fire from the base of the mountain. The Light Fire Team saturated an area about 75 meters outside the perimeter to prevent any further infiltration.

The lone radio operator directed Light Fire Team’s weapons fire and the flares dropped by the mini-gunship.

When the first Spooky arrived the weather was still a clear night but by the time the second Spooky arrived the clouds rolled in and it rained from 0200 hours till 0600 hours.

A second Spooky arrived at 0100 hours. By 0130 hours the top of the mountain was heavily fogged over and the Spookys were having difficulty making accurate assaults on the mountain even with the very good illumination from the flare ships.

By now the airships were receiving medium to heavy anti aircraft fire from the sides and the base of Nui Ba Den.

Page 38

Even under harsh conditions the Spookys shot up the resistive areas well. It was noted later that the response from the Spookys was outstanding in their fire power.

The aircraft remained in the air until their ammunition was depleted at which time they were replaced by another sortie.

At approximately 0230 hours the gun ships departed the area leaving behind the flare ship that remained on station till the weather forced them to return to their base.

Special Forces with their radio had problems communicating with the Spookys but found them on frequency 39.30.

While all this was going on, Special Force’s Detachment B at Tay Ninh was organizing a rescue operation.

They had gathered up ammunition, food, water, clothing and medical supplies as well as a 125 KW generator for supplying power ready to go at first light.

By 0230 hours B Detachment had received a message from the mountain saying all but one building and most of the bunkers were destroyed.

Page 39

From the Red Horse re-transmitter, the personnel back at Tay Ninh could hear Viet Cong voices walking around the camp shooting the wounded.

Later at 2400 hours the enemy forces moved down hill eastward toward the helicopter pad where they exfiltrated by an unobserved route.

From 2300 hours till they left, the enemy were setting booby traps in the area on their own fallen dead.

battle Painting

By 0230 hours the enemy had completely left Nui Ba Den.

No Dust Off’s (medical evacuation helicopters) were possible till morning due to rain, fog and gusting winds.

At 0530 hours the group of soldiers from bunker 20, the reservoir and the cave emerged from their positions and split into three units.

One group went to secure the helicopter landing pad in preparation of medical evacuation helicopters, another group swept the mountain camp to check for any Viet Cong that may still be there and the third checked for booby traps and brought the wounded and dead to the helicopter landing pad.

It was still raining and would continue raining until 0800 hours.

Several bodies were discovered in the bunkers and some were booby trapped.

The first MEDEVACS (medical evacuation helicopters) arrived from B Detachment , Tay Ninh at 0706 hours May 14 and the seriously wounded were evacuated by 0900 hours.

Page 40


Two Special Force’s medics came on the first helicopter with blankets and medical supplies and they worked with the two medics stationed on the mountain to tend to the wounded.

The first helicopters received automatic weapon fire from the southern portion of the mountain resulting in minor damage and one aircraft crewmen wounded.

When the first helicopters arrived there were soldiers standing around the helicopter pad, some with only shorts on and no boots.

There was some confusion as the evacuation of the wounded for some of the less serious were loaded on the helicopters before the more serious wounded.

Some soldiers had to be ordered off the helicopters to make room for the wounded.

These soldiers were described as junior enlisted soldiers who were in shock and wanted off Nui Ba Den.

A second set of helicopters came with more blankets, medical supplies and communications equipment.

Page 41

                                                       PHOTO BY PFC DONALD GLEN SMITH TAKEN APRIL 1968

The helicopter landing pad was now congested with equipment and all around the pad were the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

A senior officer asked that the bodies be covered.

By 0900 hours the perimeter was re-secured with available forces.

The soldiers arriving at the top noticed that everything was leveled except the pagoda.

Page 42

Painting Nui Ba Den

Special Forces personnel went to the pagoda and re-established communications by 1400 hours.

Special Forces had a much shorter time re-establishing communications than the 125th Signal Battalion.

A company of 2/12 Infantry, 25th Infantry Division was airlifted to the mountain to reinforce the remaining elements of D Company (Provisional) 125th Signal Battalion.

Eagle Flight

Initial sorties began arriving at 1227 hours and the airlift was complete by 1350 hours.

Three members of the Special Force’s A-324 received the Bronze Star for heroism during the attack.

Also two Special Force’s medics received Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement for the work they did as part of first medical evacuation helicopter.

It was noted in one of the After Action Report interviews that the night before the attack there was suspected movement noticed in the front of bunkers #14 and #15. There was a request for illumination (by flares) but the request was denied.

Page 43

It was determined that the size of the attacking Viet Cong force was between a reinforced platoon and a company size.

It was noticed later that 2 Americans were taken prisoner.

One was SP4 Donald Smith. I do not know the name of the other POW.

The overall toll was:
US Killed In Action ………… 24
US Wounded In Action ……. 35
US Missing In Action ……….. 2
Viet Cong Killed In Action ….25

The Viet Cong advantage was their ability to closely approach and break into the perimeter undetected and their thorough knowledge of the locations of key installations such as VHF antenna towers and the generators.

The following recommendations were noted in the After Action Reports.

Since Nui Ba Den is in such isolation because of its poor access during periods of poor weather the entire camp must be completely self sufficient.

Each major command unit having communications facilities on Nui Ba Den must increase its manpower.

A permanent force of 155 Enlisted Men and 3 officers must be stationed on Nui Ba Den.

At the time of the attack the 125th Signal Battalion had about 70 Enlisted Men on Nui Ba Den but since the 125th Signal Battalion primary duty was communications it did not have the resources necessary to properly defend the camp.

Most of the 125th Signal Battalion were communication’s specialists, not infantry soldiers.

Since the attack, the majority of the replacements have been infantry soldiers with no combat experience, straight from the US.

Increase the number of infantrymen at Nui Ba Den and at least 50 per cent must have combat experience.

Being stationed atop Nui Ba Den, completely surrounded by Viet Cong is a very insecure situation, especially for a new soldier.

There are 26 primary fighting position, 2 soldiers per position, 52 soldiers minimum.

At the time of the attack there were 58 infantry soldiers. At any one time, 15% could be expected to be off duty for various reasons, leaving about 49 on duty – not enough for the defense of the mountain camp, and the number must be increased.

The terrain of Nui Ba Den is very difficult to defend due to restricted fields of fire, poor visibility and narrow defensive sectors. This requires a tighter defense

Page 44

with bunkers closer together supporting each other than currently exists.

Maintain and improve primary and secondary defensive position, all of which must be blasted out to the rock due to the camp’s terrain. Secondary positions must be manned in the case of enemy penetration.

Maintain and improve early warning systems such as trip flares and anti-intrusive devices.

There must be reconnaissance and ambush patrols each day and a minimum of 1 ambush patrol per night.

Provide between 4 to 6 listening post’s during nights.

Maintain and improve defensive razor wire.

More medical personnel are needed to sustain Nui Ba Den during times of isolation due to poor weather.

At the time of the attack there were 2 medics, and 3 are needed. Also, Sr. medic should be assigned to the area.

Operate a weapons section of three 90 mm recoilless rifles.

Operate a mortar fire direction center so support fire can be properly employed.

There must be more infantry soldiers to operate the three 81mm mortars. Four personnel per gun requires a total of twelve. To effectively employ the 81mm mortars a fire direction center must be maintained.

*******RADAR NEEDED******
Operate a ground surveillance section utilizing radar 24 hours a day covering the main avenues of approach to the camp.

A radar section was on the mountain but not authorized. It should have been authorized. The radar section should comprise of 2 radar sets and have six personnel of ground surveillance training and also on ground surveillance mechanic.

********ARMORY NEEDED*******
Also considering the number of weapons on Nui Ba Den there should be an armory for safe storage.

Also two additional cooks should be added and two switchboard operators be made a part of the command section. The switch board should be connected to the Tay Ninh switch board and manned 24 hours a day.

The fighting positions would all be connected by telephone communications as would all other buildings on the mountain.

Page 45

******* REPORTS I USED: *******

125th Signal Battalion After Action Report, Attack on Nui Ba Den

5th Special Forces Group, A-324, After Action Report, Attack on Nui Ba Den

Report of interviews from the 5th Special Forces Group, A-324

S2/S3 Duty Officer log for HHC 2D Bde, 25th Infantry Division (no mention of the May 14th, 1968 attack).

The Duty Officer Log, dated May 13, 1968, for the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

The attack as noted below:

2210 hours…Nui Ba Den Special Forces Camp receiving mortars and small arms fire, Light Fire Team scrambled from Tay Ninh, Artillery being fired from Tay Ninh

2220 hours…Light Fire Team on station Nui Ba Den

2315 hours…Nui Ba Den still under ground attack, received heavy Small Arms and AW fire from west side

2320 hours… Nui Ba Den reported to have some Viet Cong within perimeter

2359 hours…Spooky on station for Nui Ba Den
Page 46

I would like to acknowledge certain people who have helped me in understanding what happened on Nui Ba Den May 13, 1968.

First, Reg Lee who was there at the very beginning as I was trying to find out about my cousin John Anderson and to Donald Crowley, who gave me insight to conditions on the mountain. Edward Shaw and Paul Sherman for their accounts of Nui Ba Den.

I would also like to thank the very generous and professional people at the National Archives and Record Administration, Clifford Snyder and Susan A. Francis-Haughton. Also the fine people at the FOIA, Department of the Army, National Personnel Records Center, and the Director of the Joint Services Record Research Center.

Also I would like to thank the following people for their kind emails and encouragement,
…Charles Stebbins …Ed Grant …Willie Gin…MSGT Woods
…Ron Figueroa…Ted Buchanan…Chester Poole

Page 47
…Jack Harrill…Bill Reeves…Bill Ott…David DeMauro
…Greg Smith…Mike Fowles…Ron Shonkwiler
…John Henchman…Denny Jump

Most of all I would like to thank Bruce Swander for all the invaluable assistance he has given.

Bruce instructed me as to what documents I needed, how to obtain them and how to understand them, which I still do not fully understand.

Bruce also gave me assistance on how the US Army functioned in Vietnam. Without Bruce, this account would not have been written.

Again, thank you Bruce.

In closing, I am not a military person, I have just documented the facts around Nui Ba Den, May 13, 1968.

I would like to repeat, if any one knew my cousin, John Austin Anderson, could you please get in touch with me as I would very much appreciate knowing more about John.

Contact me by E Mail:

My Mailing address is:
35 MacFarlane Avenue
Red Deer, Alberta
Canada, T4N 5S9
Thank you

Ed Tatarnic

This is an edited and condensed version of the ‘After Action Report.’  Source:

‘After Action Report’ for 13 May 1968 Massacre on Nui Ba Dinh

I am Captain Harold R. Winton, the S3 at Detachment B-32, 5th Special Forces Group located in Tay Ninh Province.

In addition to being the S3, I have an additional duty of Unit Historian for Detachment B32.

I have been directed to conduct a Combat After Action Interviews for the U.S.Army Special Forces personnel assigned to detachment A-324 Nui Ba Den.

The purpose of this interview is to extract from these personnel their observations concerning the attack on the night of 13 May on Nui Ba Den.

Page 48 *******(SFC) Peter T. Sherwin*******

My first interview will be with Sergeant First Class (SFC) Peter T. Sherwin, communications supervisor assigned to Nui Ba Den from June 67-March 68, then in September became the Team Sergeant, late October he took over as Camp NCO (non commissioned officer), and was on Nui Ba Den before and after the 25th Inf. Div took over operational control 20 Nov 67.

Here are SFC Sherwin’s comments:

The engineers came up In September. They had preliminary talks and we had to fill out the best way to build a camp.

We wanted to build concrete bunkers into the (mountain). But it ended up they constructed these small houses, this what we call them, as they were not bunkers as such. They were located near the perimeter (of the camp).

We were disappointed with the field of fire the ‘bunkers’ had when the camp was completed. Also in the type of materials that they were made of.

Some of these ‘bunkers’ are on stilts 10 feet off the ground, and there’s no way you can sandbag the sides.

They should have been concrete and so they could have been sandbagged because of the monsoon season lasts 90 days at the most then wood starts rotting and falling apart.

I personally was present when General Abrams came for a tour and inspected the ‘bunkers.’

When he asked why they were built like this, the answer was, ‘they were built for CIDG and not for Americans.’

General Abrams replied, ‘what difference does that make?’ and it was shrugged off. After this the engineers said they could be reinforced and sandbags added. But to my knowledge to this day this has not been done

The whole team made recommendations.

The biggest one is that we want to continue the offensive patrolling, which we did up until December. when we changed Commanding Officer – when Captain Coleman took over. He did go on patrols but only out 100 to 200 meters at the most, also alerts were not conducted through the week.

It’s a Special Forces SOP (standard operating Procedure) that 2 a week be conducted, especially on Nui Ba Den where you got a lot of new troops and a lot of them are not combat troops such as signal (corps).

It’s pretty successful when you have a repetitive order because everyone knows pretty well what to do and where to go.

This was not true under Cpt Coleman.

Some of the recommendations was to blast out the rocks so we would have a better field of fire from the bunkers, this was not accomplished.

We also requested he cement in his claymores and build another wall.

The last couple of patrols we ran he had one strand of wire out there and we pushed it in 8 seconds, 3 Americans and 2 CIDG’s. I felt we should put LP (Listening Posts) out, but Cpt Coleman took over and we stopped putting out LP’s which upset everybody because you lost your early warning.

Page 49

*******(SFC) Gilbert*******

My next interview will be with SFC Gilbert who is the NCOIC (non commissioned officer in charge) Det A 324 Nui Ba Den.

Q. Sgt. Gilbert, what was you doing the night of 13 May before the camp was attacked?

A. Myself and my Radio Operators except the one on duty, we were watching television.

Q. What was the first indication that there was an attack on the hill?

A. At approximately 0930 – 09:45 we heard an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) round hit the east side of the perimeter.

Q. What did you do at this time?

A. I left SGT Holguin on the radio, Sgt. Hager guarding the door, and SP4 Kelly and I went to bunker number one – directly to the rear of our building near the perimeter that was our defense position.

Q. After your move to the bunker what did you do then?

A. Shortly after getting into the bunker we got the machine gun manned and immediately started receiving small arms fire from our rear to the top of the mountain.

SP4 Kelly went back to guard the rear, and he saw some people without shirts. At first he thought they were Americans. After watching them one started passing an RPG. We were quite certain they were not Americans.

At the same time we took a 60 mm mortar hit on top of the bunker blowing a hole in the top and slightly wounding the CIDG (Vietnamese army soldier).

I ordered everyone out to the firing position out front. We took up firing position and returned fire into the rocks.

The VC had fired several RPG into our building and then moved out back up to the pagoda.
Page 50

After this I ordered the people to move down the mountain about 20 meters or so to positions up in the rocks.

We finally made radio communications with the Katum and they in turn notified our B team, headquarters that they had communications with us.

They give as the frequency of the only remaining station still operating, which was Red Horse Retrans.

After making contact with Red Horse Retrans we got their location and began moving toward them.

We received some fire from the rocks moving across, but I believe this was from friendly not from V.C.

I believe they had already moved back up to the pagoda and down to the chopper pad. at the time the building exploded.

It was knocked out.

Sgt. Hager, and Sgt. Holguin were still In the building and I knew then they were either KIA (killed) or I listed them as missing.

Sgt. Holguin after reaching Red Horse Retrans attempted to find some people. And we did find a pocket of about 20 in a cave just north of our position.

After going up there and getting some (personnel) out of the rocks he found that there were only 4 or 5 weapons between the people hidden in the rocks.

Page 51

The First Sergeant finally arrived and had us go ahead and hold our positions where we were.

We had a thin perimeter just around the north edge of the camp. We held fast there until they left.

Q. Could you describe what combat support you received in the way of fire teams and Spooky flare ships?

A. We received first of all a light fire team who was doing an excellent job. He fired every thing he had out around the perimeter.

The Spookys were outstanding. They just kept dropping flares and circular perimeter firing. They did an outstanding job that night.

We received 2 Spookys. At the time of the attack it was clear, but by the time the 2nd Spooky arrived it began to cloud up and it rained continuously from 0200 to 0800 the next morning.

Q. Beginning at first light, explain the condition on top of the hill in terms of the organization of the people and also give us an idea of the support that came to you.

Page 52

A. At the first light we organized 3 separate parties.

One was to secure the chopper pad, one was to start moving the casualties that were wounded down to the chopper pad and the third was to check the area out, secure it, and check for booby traps.

We found numerous booby traps the following morning.

The first ships to arrive were medevac from B32 Detachment (Tay Ninh) and also two Special Forces medics, SFC Wigginton and SP4 Burns.

They arrived with blankets and medical supplies.

They were the only medics capable of doing anything on the hill that morning.

After we got all the wounded evacuated the first ship to arrive was from B32 detachment.

It contained among other things whiskey, clothes, chow, and just about anything imaginable.

Also a ship right behind it contained all new communications gear, since we lost all of ours. Lieutenant Ballentine flew it in from Bien Hoa.

We had everything sitting on the pad and we couldn’t find a place to set up since everything on the hill was just about leveled except the pagoda.

There was quite a little confusion as to who was going to get into the pagoda and what not.

We waited on the pad until just about 1230 hours to see if we were going to get reinforced by the 25th.

We had requested reinforcements the night before but there seemed to be some confusion at higher level as to who was going to reinforce or what they were going to do.

I believe they moved in the positions around a company of about 95, commanded by Captain Hart.

After asking Lt Ballentine, he asked us and I imagine 10 of the people around here to move into the pagoda and set up our communication system again. Finally somebody, I don’t know who, said go ahead, and at 1400 we were in and operational.

Page 53

*******Sergeant Holguin*******

Q. My next interview is with Sergeant Holguin, who is a radio operator of Detachment A-324 Nui Ba Den.

Sgt. Holguin could you explain what you were doing the night of 13 May the night the attack started?

A. May the 13th, I was watching Jimmy Durante and I was getting pretty excited!

I was on Commo check and got called by one of the A sites to relay a message. I was relaying the message at the time when I started hearing loud booms.

I figured it was just the mortar crew, that usually would go up at night and once in a while, whenever the old man up here would let them, would fire some illumination rounds.

But then it started getting louder and dirt and shrapnel started falling on top of our roof and I knew something was wrong.

I told SP4 Kelly to go out and see what he could see. Right after that he called and tried to get artillery support at that time.

Sgt. Gilbert and SP4 Kelly went out to the forward bunker. They had a radio with them but apparently the battery was pretty weak.

Me and Sgt. Hager stayed in the Commo bunker till it was being burned down.

We tried to keep up our Commo because we tried to get the other people on the hill. But nobody else would answer us so we figured we were the last ones to go.

About that time an RPG rocket hit our butane where our stove was located and the whole place started up in flames.

We stayed in it just a little bit longer after, then the radios went dead.

I guess something must of hit the battery cables or one of the radios or the one we were working on. So we decided to make it. We made it outside.

We received fire, I don’t know if it was friendly or Charlie but we decided to go into the rocks. There was a couple of holes there.

We went into the rocks. We could hear gooks talking but we couldn’t hear no Americans. So we figured that we were the only survivors.

We saw the gooks walking around. We wanted to fire at them, but it was just not feasible because if we were the only two we were going to get blown out of that hole, if we started firing at them.

So we stayed there most of the night, until about 2:30 or 3:00.

We heard Americans talking in the background so we joined with them.
We found out there was actually more Americans there than we thought.

Page 54

There was approximately 15 In the rocks, about 15 or 20 meters away from us, the only trouble was that most of them had been caught sleeping or in the club.

There was about 4 weapons to all these men. Most of them was still scared, crying, and well for most of these men, it was the first battle experience..

I know we was pretty shook up and I believe Charles (the enemy) was pretty shook up too.

Q. So you just remained there huddled in the rocks until the next morning approximately first light is this correct?

A. Affirmative, we stayed in the rocks.

We formed up a little perimeter. We had a couple of wounded personnel in there, and tried to help them out.

They caught us at a bad time, we were all relaxed, most of us had our boots off and most of us were sleeping or else working.

So we stayed in the rocks until morning.

When the first med-evacs started coming in we secured the pad. We took all the men we had and secured the pad.

Sent a couple of patrols out to check the bunkers for bodies, booby traps and other wounded people.

On one of these patrols there was a Lieutenant and another person with us. It was me and SP4 Kelley that went out to check these bunkers.

We found bodies in the bunkers and a couple of satchel charges that were apparently duds, and didn’t work.

There was rumors that there were booby traps but I myself didn’t see any.

Q. Could you describe the weather conditions that existed on the hill during the night and also from where you could see, if you could see combat support like, light fire teams, and Spooky’s that came up here and how effective you think they were.

A. The weather conditions as we went outside was clear as a bell, the stars were out, and it was a beautiful night.

We got real good support almost instantaneous.

Before we made it out of our hooch we got word that two Spooky’s were coming up to our location.
Page 55

That made us really feel happy because we figured that it wasn’t going to be a complete disaster, the way it turned out to be.

The Spooky’s fired around the perimeter real good fire-in-tight.

Page 56 I would say there was artillery called in from 013 was real outstanding even though we didn’t adhere to much of it.

It seemed like there was a lot more banging going around in the perimeter than there was on the outside.

Q. Sgt. Holguin would you explain the support you received, what additional help came in from higher headquarters and exactly what the conditions were on top of the mountain at this time?

A. The support was outstanding we received blankets, water, a little bit of chow, which we needed definitely needed, but I feel that the most important thing that came in was a med-evac to get these wounded personnel out.

We had two outstanding medics from down at our B detachment that came up here.

They did most of the patching on these wounded since the medics we had – the doctor was killed and the 2 assistants were not too experienced.

Page 57

I wouldn’t say inexperienced, the didn’t have time in the combat zone to know how to treat a person like these people were.

We got all our Commo equipment up here. We could set up our relay station once again. We did not have the equipment we really wanted, but we definitely had some outstanding help out of our B team. The other units from the 25th Infantry Division, didn’t get the support that we got.

The support, was mostly chow and goodies for them.

These people didn’t want to stay up there, nor did we want to stay up there, but It was a good thing we did, because once you get away from something like this your always shook up afterwords.

We stayed here overnight. We set up our Commo. We had effective Commo to all the A Detachments and Lady Beetle, Company A, so we really had outstanding support from Company A and B-32.

*******Sergeant Charles E. Hager******

My next interview is with Sergeant E 5 Charles E. Hager.

Q. Sgt. Hager during the 3 months that you were here did you ever have any observations of your own of the defensive set up of Nui Ba Den?

A. OK the defense wasn’t properly manned.

Well if there was a man in the bunker it was just about one person and he wasn’t watching out to the front or anything. He was either in there listening to a tape recorder or sitting down.

I can’t confirm this but at one time I walked in a bunker and there wasn’t anybody in there at all.

Also so they had no camp defense as far as wire. Outside they had 2 strands of wire which can be penetrated just by strolling through it.

Also we never had any alerts, the whole time I was up here we had one alert. That was because there was some ricochets off the mountain from the base camp down at the bottom that was coming over our camp.

That’s the only alert we had the whole time we were up here.

Q. Sgt. Hager what were you doing the evening of 13 May?

A. I was watching TV. We got about 3 rounds in repetition close to our team house. We went out to check it.

Before we got to the door to check it I think 2 more rounds had hit, and that convinced us that we were getting mortared.

We began to get our equipment and started preparing for defensive actions at first and then we called in artillery. Then, Sgt. Gilbert and SP4 Kelly went out to Bunker number 1.

Me and Sgt. Holguin stayed in on the radios.

I was guarding the doors to make certain that no VC came in and tried to get a hold of Holguin.

Page 58

Holguin was on the radio trying to call in artillery, Spooky and light fire teams, when an RPG hit a butane bottle and blew it up and caught the team house on fire.

We had about 2 seconds to get out of there cause the whole thing was on fire.

The radios were knocked out. We left the team house.

Right after we left the team house some mortars came through the roof.

We seen small arms fire when we were leaving the building.

We went down into the rocks behind the building and tried to get head cover because the mortar rounds were coming in all over the place in rapid concession.

We picked up a board and put it in front of us for cover from mortar rounds that were coming in.

We stayed there about 30 minutes and we watched all the building burn and hoping that a round would not hit near us.

After about 30 minutes we got a quick glimpse of a VC that was up on top of the hill by our pagoda.

Before we could recognize him as a VC, we thought we couldn’t fire at him. We thought maybe it might be an American.

But then after we thought about it we knew that it was a VC.

We knew that we had a probe inside the camp. So we stayed there.

In the time being there was explosions all around us. Bombs going off in the hooches and stuff like that. We stayed there until about midnight.

Page 59 We wanted to move, and by this time Spooky came. Spooky was dropping flares.

We heard some American forces behind us. We were going to go up with them, and rally with them.

Page 60

Right after going up there Holguin went to the right and I went to the left. Somebody saw a machine gun out of the bunker that was right by a hooch. I looked up there and there were 3 VC.

So I told Holguin to freeze. He was by a rock and I tried to hide. We weren’t spotted and we didn’t have any cover what so ever to fire back.

I just got partly behind a rock. Couldn’t get at him so we stayed there.

I think that just about then Kelly dropped (fired) the M79 (grenade) into the bunker. I don’t think it killed them. I think it scared them away and after that we moved up behind the rocks there and waited.

About 0130 everybody started rallying together and that was about it.

We started getting all the wounded together and check the area out.

Q. So after you got the wounded together the best you could and formed a perimeter basically around the reservoir you more or less stayed fast the rest of the night. Did you see Sgt. Gilbert or Spec Kelly any time before daybreak?

A. That’s a negative. I saw (them) before we left the hooch.

I was getting Holquin’s web gear for him and after opening the door I saw a 60 or 62 mm mortar hit the bunker that he was in – that Gilbert and Spec Kelly were in.

Then I assumed that they were either dead or wounded.

Later on we thought they were finished because the bunker line was overrun and we didn’t see Sgt. Holguin until the next day.

We were in the rocks. We found out later that he was in bunker 20.

The next day when we started putting out med-evacs and everything I ran into him, and we saw each other.

Q. Would you explain what happen the next day after day break. What sort of support you received and in general what the conditions were on the hill in reference to the morale of the troops and what was being done to give you assistance?

A. As far as support goes (from) Special Forces we got a great amount of support on the first Med-evac that came in.

Two medics from the B detachment came up and helped put the Med-evacs out.

A little on we started bringing in very many supplies for setting up our Commo gear which we had set up by noon that next day.

As far as morale goes it was quite low, for not too long, as far as we go, because we stayed up here. A lot later units got replacements.

*******Major Richard S. Miller******

My next interview is with Richard S. Miller, Major, executive officer for Detachment B32 Company A 5th Special Forces GP.

Page 61

Q. What knowledge did you have of the attack on Nui Ba Den on the night of 13 May?

A. On the evening of the 13th of May I was walking around the B32 Compound I noticed a number of explosions taking place on top of Nui Ba Den mountain.

I went into the communications bunker and I found out we was in contact with the radio sight on top of the hill and they were receiving mortar fire and that we had lost communications with the special forces relay site on the hill.

From that time on … approximately 2300 hours, until approximately 0200 hours the next morning I was in the communications bunker monitoring all these Radio Transmissions between Red Horse Retrans and B-32 communications bunker.

It became apparent during the evening that the sporadic communications … was mixed, matched by the confusion.

There were a large number of casualties and a large amount of damage had been done.

The Special Forces Facility had completely been destroyed and that in general confusion was running.

It was most difficult to get the status of any special forces personnel.

The team house had been destroyed at about 0030 hours.

It became obvious that 2 of the special forces personnel Sgt. Gilbert and SP4 Kelly were all right and at this time.

We determined there was going to be an urgent requirement for resupply of building materials, personal items and radio equipment in order to get the facility operational the next day.

At approximately 0200 hours I departed the Commo bunker and headed back to my billets.

Q. Major Miller why did you go up to Nui Ba Den the next morning, on 14 May?

A. I went up on the mountain the morning of 14 May in order to get first hand information concerning the action that had taken place up there, and the extent of damages and extent of injuries, so I could advise the Commander of Detachment B-32 what the requirements would be to get that facility operational as soon as possible.

In addition I wanted to make sure that what supplies did get to the special forces personnel.

In addition I wanted to find out what the 25th Infantry Division’s intentions were for reoccupation or reinforcement of that installation.

Q. What were your observations and actions when you arrived at the top of the hill.

A. When I arrived at 0900 I found small groups of infantry personnel standing around talking to one another.

Obviously confused and some of them still in shock or a daze.

It took me about 10 minutes to locate an officer who was in charge of the situation.

Page 62

The majority of wounded personnel had been evacuated by the 2 special forces medics sent in at 1st daylight.

The bodies of the KIA (killed) from the previous night were still littering the hilltop.

A few, approximately 15, had been brought down to the helipad but no attempt had been made to evacuate them.

I thought that the presence of these bodies, uncovered, and quite mutilated, were having a detrimental effect on the young enlisted men in the area.

So I immediately organized a carrying party to get the bodies from the side of the hill over to the heli-pad. and start loading choppers as they came in for dispatch to Tay Ninh West for each registration facility.
After I got the bodies by the heli-pad out loaded to Tay Ninh West we organized in teams and started bringing the bodies down off the top of the hill for further evacuation. This seemed to be going rather slowly.

After looking for the special forces personnel to find out just what the situation was as far as they were concerned, I met Lt Ballentine, the Signal officer from Company A, who was there to determine what the requirements were in order to get the radio relay site operational again.

He gave me a briefing of what his findings were.

I received a quick rundown from Sgt. Gilbert the NCOIC (non commissioned officer in charge)..

After I talked to these people I then went over to find out what the 25th Infantry. Division’s intentions were concerning the hill.

I was introduced to a LTC (Lieutenant Colonel) from the 25th Division who stated he was the senior officer on the hill and had been given the mission of assessing the hill.

He was the XO (executive officer) from the 3rd Brigade 25th Division at that particular time.

He had not received any information concerning what the Division’s intentions were. He felt the Division would reinforce but he was not sure.

After this I returned to the special forces location and informed Detachment B-32 communications bunker of the situation, and what the immediate requirements were of the personnel on the hill.

I also informed them of the indubious intentions of the 25th Infantry. Division and made my recommendations that if there was no attempt to reinforce, that the 4 special forces personnel be pulled off the hill. And if there was a reinforcement that the facility stay up there.

From the time that I started talking to the the 25th Division officer, until I had finished at the Det B-32 Communications bunker, there were no aircraft arriving

Page 63

or departing the hill due to the cloud cover that had moved in about this time.

The cloud cover lifted and a number helicopters escorted by gun ships came in and started off loading supplies to the various units that were represented.

Throughout this resupply exercise there was a continual problem of junior enlisted men attempting to get on the helicopter in order to get off the hill.

As a matter of fact when I finally departed the hill to return to B-32 I had to pull 3 young men off those copters and explain that I had no authority to remove them from the hill and that any authority to do so would have to come from their parent organizations.

There seemed to be no attempt being made and to find out what units they belonged to and who was missing and who was available for duty.

After I had completed my survey of the situation of the hill I called for AB 32 work helicopter and was brought back down to the Detachment location.

Q. Sir you mentioned the situation was one of demoralization and lack of organization did you notice any difference In the I special forces people left on the hill?

A. Yes I noticed a definite difference in the attitude of the special forces people on the hill from the remainder of the group there.

And after much thought on this subject I think that it can probably be (due) to a couple of things.

One, the special forces people on the hill were all together, they were working as a group, they seemed to have a feeling of belonging to one another and belonging to a group.

They identified themselves with one another, rather than breaking up in small groups and brooding over their problems.

In regard to this business of brooding over their problems, it seemed that the primary interest of the 4 special forces personnel on the hill was directed toward getting their facility operational and getting back on the air, not in getting themselves off the hill.

As a matter of fact, I discussed the problem earlier that I was having with some of the enlisted personnel up there from the other units trying to get on the helicopter to get off.

With the special forces, it was just the opposite.

I had 2 NCO’s up there who I had to order off the hill.

They were not members of the organization up there, but had volunteered to go up to assist.

I think that the 4 special forces personnel up there realized that there was a unit genuinely interested in their well being.

I think this is evidenced by the fact that the 1st 2 Americans from without that arrived on the scene were the 2 Special Forces medics, that arrived up there and they were shortly followed up there by the communications personnel from Company A and Detachment B-32.

All arriving with personnel, supplies, and clothing and so forth, and food in order to assist these people.

Page 64

So I think it’s a combination of a feeling of belonging to a organization, a feeling that they were being supported, and that they were being appreciated – and the idea of having a definite, effective goal, they were directing their efforts toward.

This kept their mind off the more tragic and undesirable conditions that consisted up there at the time.

Q. Do you have any additional comments you would like to make at this time Sir?

A. There’s one additional comment I would like to make.

This concerns the local security that was in effect the night of 13 May, and possibly even before that.

I feel that from a walk through the area and assessing the damage that was done to the buildings, from the location the buildings was hit and so forth, I think the local security measures on the hill that evening were less than desirable.

I feel that this is one of the primary reasons for the rapid success that the VC (enemy) enjoyed that evening.

They were able to splinter or fragment the U.S. personnel up there (with ease) and then to clean them up (kill them) by individual groups, rather than (encounter) an organized and a well directed defensive effort.

The facilities that were made available to the personnel up there were not the best type of facilities for that type of situation.

The wooden structures in the photographs that the investigating officer has, I’m sure indicate a lack of defensive ability.

Possibly fighting bunkers would have allowed them a better chance, would have allowed them to better defend their positions. I think that’s all I have to add. Thank you very much Sir.

*******SP 4  Larry D. Kelly******

My next Interview is with specialist Specialist Fourth Class Larry D. Kelly, radio operator at Nui Ba Den.

Here are his comments:
We pull eight hour shifts, working radio listening to monitor continuously.

At this time after we realized we were under attack we knew we were going to have to call some artillery and this man on radio watch, Sgt. Holguin, started calling various people trying to get some Dep Cons fired.

We hadn’t yet figured out which way every thing was coming from.

we didn’t know until later on that night he was trying to call artillery and trying to clear the artillery through a couple of people.

They had already received a couple hits on their building.

So they couldn’t help any and they couldn’t get anything cleared.

So we didn’t get any artillery for a pretty good while.

The mortar rounds, I don’t know exactly how many came in. I didn’t hear anybody say how many we got even. We did receive about 30 to 40 mortar rounds during the whole affair. I guess from 15 to 20 minutes we were receiving mortar rounds.

Page 65 We located the antenna of our 25 (PRC-25 Radio -portable back pack radio).

I went out into a bunker with SFC Gilbert. The bunker had already taken 2 mortar rounds when I got to it. So I figured we wouldn’t get hit again on that bunker.

But we were in the bunker and Gilbert was trying to call someone on the 25 (PRC-25 portable back pack radio).

We were down on the back of the mountain with the short antenna and no one could hear it. We were on the wrong side of the mountain to be talking to the B team.

Page 66

When we were not able to make communications with anyone there was still mortar rounds going off all over the place, and small arms, we set up a defense inside the bunker.

We didn’t know if any other bunkers were still around. I was guarding the door and I noticed some small arms fire coming from a bunker that no one was suppose to be in.

I wasn’t sure there wasn’t any Americans in it so I didn’t fire. I waited awhile and then in about 1 minute 2 figures came out from around the back of this bunker.

I still didn’t know if they were any of our friendly CIDG (one of several South Vietnamese irregular military units during the Vietnam War) or if they were VC.

I didn’t really think the VC had time to get on the mountain yet so I didn’t shoot. Then one of them shot our hootch (living quarters) with a RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) and I shot him.

The other one I didn’t see where he went. He left just before the 1st one fired the RPG.

Page 68 After that I fired one M79 (grenade) round into the bunker they were in.

I went back to the front of the bunker to get some M 79 rounds, when they shot the front of our hootch (living quarters) with either another mortar or an RPG.

At this time we all crawled out the front and stayed in front, just in case some one came and threw some satchel charges inside the bunker.

We stayed at the front of the bunker for 30 to 45 minutes. Everything started to seem kind of quiet.

We could hear small arms and the flames from a hootch (living quarters) was going on all around there.

And the smoke we could see all the way across the big pond. Sgt. Gilbert could see all the way around the other side.

We were guarding both sides to see that no one came up and we stayed there awhile. Then we could still hear a bunch of small arms and stuff.

Page 69

So we moved in on the side about 40 to 50 meters and stayed there on the side to get out of the smoke from our hootch burning up.

There were only 2 of us Sgt. Gilbert and myself.

One E6 that was in the bunker when we got in there and 2 CIDG that were with us.

In the Commo (communications) room they had a radio relay up there also.

We moved down the side of the mountain and we were trying to call different stations with different frequencies on our radio.

We were unsuccessful at first. Finally about 20 to 30 minutes after we got down there we got in touch with Katum and they told us to go to 6800 on our radio where everyone else was.

When we went up there we started calling people and Red horse Retrans (Retransmission Station) told us he was in bunker 20.

So we immediately started navigating toward this bunker.

We moved up the side of the mountain toward the bottom dike of this water reservoir. we had to walk across the bottom to keep from being seen by anyone.
Photo by Captain Ronald Herman Tinnel

We got to the bunker, enough to go up over the top. Sgt. Gilbert started up over the top. When he got to the top he received some fire.

Some people were hollering ‘cease fire,’ as they thought it was friendly.

But other people I’ve talked to since this has happened, I didn’t know at this time that this was not friendly fire.

Everyone that was in the bunker yelled for someone to ‘cease fire.’ Then we dove down.

We all thought it was friendly fire, but we later found out that it wasn’t coming from this same bunker on the other side of our hootch where I seen the first two before.

I suppose there were still a couple of VC up there with some automatic weapons. It wasn’t AK47. It was a grease gun or something else similar.

Page 70

After we got to the bunker Sgt. Gilbert and this E6 that was in the bunker I went on up to the bunker.

Myself and the 2 CIDG’s (Civilian Irregular Defense Group, one of several South Vietnamese irregular military units during the Vietnam War) stayed down behind the big rock and worked our way around the bottom to keep them going over the top from drawing fire if they came under fire again.

We got up to the bunker.

I was went down and laid down behind the rock. This big rock to the left above bunker 20. We needed to do a diversionary to keep some one from coming up the side and give a shot at the bunker.

It was the only bunker that we knew that was in operation and we wanted to get some kind of security around it.

I stayed there by the rock and the flares were coming in from the Spooky.

The helicopter gun ships were firing all around the mountain.

Page 71 The ‘Spooky’ stayed there about 30- 40 minutes, dropping flares and flying all around the mountain, continuously for 30 – 40 minutes.

The helicopter gun ships were also firing up and down the side of the mountain. I presume the low valleys that made up to the both sides of the chopper pad where it looked like they were firing.

I know once they got kind of close. I don’t think they knew I was down by the rocks which wouldn’t make much difference.

I was still inside the perimeter. They were getting kind of close sometimes.

The ‘Spooky’s’ were firing so much that we would have to hold radio communications until after they were through firing until we could talk.

I don’t really remember the time but after the ‘Spooky’ left he flew around and dropped a couple flares and the clouds started coming in and it rained from that time on till the next morning at about 4:00.

When the rain started all I had on was my jungle boots cut off pants and my wet gear, so I made it up to the bunker and stayed inside the bunker while it was raining.

Page 72

Some people had already checked the mountain out once for being secured.

While at night they located a bunch of wounded people and I got a pretty good picture of how everything was.

I was so cold when I got to bunker. I stayed in there. I just got all this (information) from the people who came back from the patrols.

The next morning at first light, one group went down to take care of the chopper pads to see if we could get “Dust Offs’ (medical evacuation helicopters) out.

A couple more of us went around and started checking the bunker line out to see if we left any people and to see if there was anyone else on the mountain.

We made the check, and had gotten to the Pagoda. By the time we got to the pagoda they were already making “Dust Offs’ (medical evacuation helicopters) moving the wounded out.

On the 1st ‘Dust Off’ Chopper ” (medical evacuation helicopters) the medic and his assistant came up. They started patching some people up that were on the pad.

They got the most urgent people. Some guys were just barely hurt. They were on litters.

There were ones hurt pretty bad. These people that were down here were leaving the ones that were hurt pretty bad until last.

They didn’t have any organization as to urgency of certain patients. They just put someone on there, if they were on a stretcher first. If they could walk, they got on by their selves.

The stretchers did go on first however, but some of the stretchers were not as urgent as others. I feel they should have put the most urgent first.

Well by the time the 2 medics from the B team had looked at all the patients they found one guy his leg was shot up pretty bad and he was already turning pale.

He felt alright, but he had been left until last. Then they got him on as soon as they could.

SP4 Burns and I checked around the bunker line one more time to see if we could find any more wounded people. We located some more KIAs (killed in action).

We started moving them down to the chopper pad because most of the wounded had already come out and had already been taken back to base camp.

We stayed here the following morning. At about 9:30-10:00 we got some more communications equipment. About 3 or 4 people came up to help us carry this communications equipment.

Page 73

We had set up communications temporarily in the pagoda, a big concrete building that’s up there on the mountain. I don’t know how long but its pretty secure and solid.

We set up communications here and started working on putting out communications back together and figure out where.

We finished our building defenses and bunkers.

The supplies they brought up Included one rectifier to keep power to the batteries a PRC 47 radio, and 2 PRC 25 radios ( portable back pack radios).

We received about 10 gallons of water, some food, clothing, blankets, and ammunition, for M-16 rifles and carbines.

We worked most of the day carrying this stuff up to the pagoda where we stayed.
*******Captain R.Harold Winton*******

I am Captain Harold R. Winton, Unit Historian for Detachment B32, 5th Special Forces Group located in Tay Ninh Province.  Now that you have heard from the personnel that were actually on the mountain, I’d like to give you an idea of what the Battle of Nui Ba Den the night of 13 May looked like and also sounded like from the B detachment here as we were monitoring the progress.

Before you can make any sense of this at all any of my conversation you will need to know the call signs:

Alien 06, is the call sign for the Forward Air Controller that went air borne that night.

Sabeone 3 is the call sign for the 2nd Battallion, 32nd artillery support for Tay Ninh province.

In Field Sinker is a call sign is the A Detachment 324 Nui Ba Den.

Flexible and specifically flexible 33 is the S3 section at the 3rd Brigade 25 Div located at Dau Tieng which had over all responsibility of the area.

Red Horse Retrans is the call sign for the retransmission station on top of Nui Ba Den Mountain for the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry headquarters in Tay Ninh West base camp.

Roxy trays is the call sign for Katum, a camp located some 30 kilometers north of Nui Ba Den.

Indicated 58 is the call sign for the artillery unit located at Katum – two 105 mm artillery pieces.

Unjust Ringer is the call sign for Detachment B 32 here at Tay Ninh East.

I was first notified of the contact at Nui Ba Den at roughly 2145 – 2200.

All I heard that the mountain was taking incoming (fire).

I didn’t attach a whole lot of importance to this at first, but since I had to always go over to radio rooms as they progressed.

Page 74

I went over into Commo (communications) to find out what was going on at this time.

I monitored several transmissions, from Infield Sinker 013 asking for artillery concentration to be fired on them. He held several transmissions between himself and Sgt. Holguin on the radio.

Finally at 2220 I heard the last transmission of the day from an excited voice saying get some artillery in here fast.

And then the radios went dead.

I imagine this is about the time the RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) hit the butane tanks which caused the radios to go dead.

I talked to Sgt. Holguin later and he said his last transmission was, “we’re going off the air out,” I never heard him say this, the last I heard him say was “get some artillery in here fast.

So I imagine the radios went out before he stopped transmitting.

I talked with the artillery battalion later and Infield Sinker 224 was the only unit on the air that was calling for artillery at the time.

As soon as we lost contact with Nui Ba Den, I waited about 5 minutes to verify that we had lost contact. Then I notified Colonel Ray at 2230 that we had lost communication contact with the mountain..

I had notified him previously that they had been under attack.

About 2310 they were on station and ‘Spooky’ was on call.

We were very concerned about the status of Special Forces personnel and exactly what was going on with them because we hadn’t heard anything on them since 2230, when they went off the air.

One problem we did have was getting everyone on a compatible frequency.

The Alien FAC (Forward Air Controller) could not go to 6800 on his FM Radios. So we put a PRC-25 portable back pack radio in the back seat with Johnson and he was changing off and on from 6600 talking to people on the ground back to 4930 which was our frequency.

Then we thought since the FM was no good that we could go to UHF and have the light fire team which was on station at this time couple with 7AC on UHF and we tried this and couldn’t get a compatible frequency here.

We finally got a compatible on UHF and Alien could transmit to the light fire team.

The light fire team could hear them and talk back but Alien couldn’t receive so we were sort of in a mess trying to get everybody talking to everyone else on the same frequency.

This situation continued for a while.

At 1410 we heard from Foxy trays, that’s Katum, that Infield Sinker 28, that’s Sgt. Gilbert, and one other man were OK.

Page 75

They were located 50 meters north of the perimeter.

Sgt. Hager and Holguin were still missing and had last been seen in the team house which was burning down.

During this time the 1st light fire team expended around the perimeter.

At about 0130 the mountain got fogged in very badly and the ‘Spooky’ was flying around and dropping its flares and keep missing and flying off to the north and off to the east.
Although I will say he did an outstanding job of providing continuous illumination through the night.

They did have illumination most of the night.

Finally got ‘Spooky’ reoriented. During this time the light fire team was expended.

‘Spooky’ was expending and they were receiving from medium to heavy antiaircraft fire from around the base of the mountain and on the sides of the mountain.

Page 76 The light fire team and ‘Spooky’ shot up these areas pretty well.

A large pagoda was the source of a lot of this and we were going to shoot it up with artillery but the (trajectory) was too high and ‘Spooky’ would been endangered. So we pretty much let it go.

This pagoda has long been known as a Viet Cong (VC) dominated area but its a prominent religious shrine in Tay Ninh province and so far we haven’t been able to shoot it up.

We were actually suppose to get artillery from Tay Ninh West base camp.

Some of the troops on the hill had organized a semblance of a perimeter around the reservoir.

They were patched up, as many were wounded, a large number possibly killed.

Page 77

They were small pockets of resistance scattered around the mountain however they were afraid to move because they was still a possibility the VC were still in the perimeter and that everybody that moved would be shot at either by friendlies or VC’s.

So there wasn’t a whole lot more that could be done.

Red Horse Retrans (Retransmission Station) reported that all buildings but one had been destroyed and that most of the bunkers had been destroyed also.

We made arrangements with the Tay Ninh ‘Dust Off’ ” (medical evacuation helicopter) pilots who were sure to be flying in the next morning at first light.

They were to come by here first to pick up 2 medics Sgt. Benny E. Wigginton, senior medic at Detachment B-32) and Spec Byrne along with all our supplies we had pushed out.

We talked also with 3rd Brigade 25th Div Detachment 23 about stocking up supplies and radio equipment for then to send in from Dau Tieng, since we thought that some Dau Tieng Choppers would be going in.

They said they would do something about it but as it turned out they never did.

The only supplies went in the next morning other than one unit of PRC 25 radios, ours sent in B-32 and the special forces people ended up giving a lot of the clothes, C rations and everything else, ponchos, blankets and stuff that came in to the other conventional units. They didn’t receive any other supplies.

At about 0700 hours the 1st Medevac went in with Sgt. Benny E. Wigginton,, senior medic at Detachment B-32, and Spec Byrne.

There were no other medical personnel, doctors, nurses, aid men, corpsmen. None of the other units sent (supplies) up to Nui Ba Den.

There had been 3 medics of the 25th Div at the time on the hill. One was an E6 or E7 who was killed. The other two were a SP4 and PFC who really didn’t have enough experience to accomplish anything.

So the most of the, in fact the total amount, almost (all) of the medical treatment fell on Sgt. Wiggington and Spec Byrne, who established priorities and started moving Medevacs (medical evacuation helicopters) back down the hill.

After all this time I talked to Maj Kelly the Chief of operations office 25th Division, who asked me for an assessment of the situation.

I wanted to ask him whether or not he planned to stay up on the hill.

Page 78

Our plans were to get Commo (communications) equipment up there and since we knew, well I’m getting ahead of myself.

I went to bed for about 2 ½ hours and woke up and found out that Holguin an Hager were all right, and immediately notified Company A.

And by this time it was about 7:00 when the first Med evac went in.

A little after that I talked to the 21st Div and told them our plans were to, as soon as possible, reestablish communications on the mountain.

The night before we had called A Company and told them all the equipment were totally destroyed.

That morning they had a slick come out with Lt Ballentine, the signal officer from company A.

Lt Ballentine had a host of Commo (communications) equipment with, rectifier, batteries and everything else that would be needed to reestablish Communications upon the hill.

The only thing he didn’t have was a power supply and we got a 125KW generator, AC from Trang Sut and sent it up to the mountain for the power supply.
Then when Lt. Ballentine came with the radios we spent most of the morning shuttling up tent sand bags, clothing ponchos, the generator, I had mentioned cot, more food and clothing, a couple cases of C rations, shuttled up a big cardboard box of PX supplies, shaving equipment writing paper, pens cigarettes soap, everything we could think of took out of the PX and threw it in a box and sent it up there.

Plus Sgt. Johnson, the operations Sgt, got a case of whiskey for them and sent that up. Sent up a case of cold beer and a case of cold soda for them.

And so our people were pretty well squared away by noon that day.
By about 1400 that day they were back in operation.

We had several people down here.

Sgt. Sherwin and Sgt. Bayne volunteered to go up to the hill and we let him go.

Sgt. Sherwin we wanted to keep out of Ben Soi for a while, and he wanted to go back up there and help them get set up again.

Sgt. Moore volunteered to go back up. Every body, it seemed, wanted to go back up.

Sgt. ? was com chief, then went up along with Lt Ballentine and the radio equipment to help get set back up again.

We finally got a determination from the 25th Division that, yes they would reinforce the hill, yes, they were going to keep their communication equipment up there and Lt. Ballentine finally got permission to move into the pagoda.

Page 79

So he started setting up the radios on the hill, after the 1st load we sent up (with) the Commo (communications) equipment.

The ship came back to Tay Ninh East. It had 2 Americans who had been killed on it. He also had about 4-5 able bodied Americans left along with the wall.

The chopper set down at Tay Ninh East by mistake instead of Tay Ninh West.

I was really amazed at what appeared to be the exodus from the mountain from people trying to get off any way they could.

Contrary to this, the special forces people were trying to get up there anyway they could.

I think, and this is purely conjecture on my part, based on what happened.

I think that one of the problems was that all the units sent their people up there. They had a provisional company of KP’s, and other types to secure the place.

Basically what these people did was send their people up to secure the place. These units sent them up to Nui Ba Den and forgot about them. Or said they were under the control of the 25th Div. There was no unit identity, no cohesiveness, no sense of sticking together, and getting the job done or getting reestablished or anything else except for 324 (our unit).

We have kept close watch on them.

I don’t say that people from the B team get up there every day or even though the day we had the work chopper but at least there’s somebody that goes up there once a week, checks on them make sure they get plenty of food beer soda, and these sort of things all the time.

And the men really had a unit cohesiveness and even though they were separated, when they got back together the next morning they were able to stick together and get on with the job.

As I said I wasn’t an the mountain at the time but this will give you an idea of what took place as seen from the B detachment by monitoring the radio and by observing what went on here.

I’ve got negative further.


Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain), a dormant volcano, rises some 3000 feet above the surrounding plain in Tay Ninh Province. During the war, the Army had a signal relay station atop the mountain, and Allied troops controlled the plain below – but the slopes of the jungle-covered Black Virgin were no-man’s-land. On 13 May 1968 the VC attacked the relay station, killing at least 21 American servicemen in bitter hand-to-hand fighting:

* CPT George Coleman, Birmingham, AL, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* CPT Arthur L. Davis, Beaufort, NC, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn
* 2LT Thomas N. Teague, Mountlake Terrace, WA, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SSG Ray W. Owen, Columbia, SC, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
Page 80

* SSG Harold A. Stone, Champaign, IL, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SSG Bobby C. Wood, Monroe, LA
* SGT Joseph Adams, New Orleans, LA, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SGT Fernando Calle-Zuluaga, Los Angeles, CA, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn
* SGT Timothy J. Noden, Linwood, PA, A Co, 2nd Bn, 18th Infantry
* SP4 John A. Anderson, Williamsville, NY,HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Infantry
* SP4 Ralph R. Black, Crystal Falls, MI, C Co, 121st Sig Bn
* PFC Samuel G. Connelly, Hammond, IN, A Co, 2nd Bn, 18th Infantry
* SP4 Moses J. Cousin, Detroit, MI, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 Albert E. Dahl, Aurora, IL, B Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 James A. Davis, Orlando, FL, B Co, 125th Sig Bn

Gilin Gary 1st squad
* SP4 Gary J. Gilin, Detroit, MI, A Co, 4th Bn, 9th Infantry
* SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle, Minneapolis, MN, HQ, 3rd ASA Fld Station
* SP4 Paul R. Hoag, Poughkeepsie, NY, Prov Sig Co, 125th Sig Bn
* SP4 Michael J. Juneau, Hessmer, LA, B Co, 125th Sig Bn
Page 81 * SP4 Paul R. Lozano, Bay City, TX, 587th Sig Co, 86th Sig Bn

* SP4 Frank J. Makuh, Placentia, CA, C Co, 121st Sig Bn

******18 AUGUST 1968 BATTLE*******

On 17 August 1968 a series of attacks occurred in Tay Ninh Province, leading to a month’s hard fighting. The 25th Infantry Division’s After-Action Report for the Battle of Tay Ninh City contains the following entry for the night of 17/18 August:

After Action Report

The enemy made a serious attempt to disrupt electronic communications into and out of Tay Ninh City at 0234 hours when an estimated company assaulted the perimenter of the communications relay site on the summit of Nui ba den Mountain (XT281581) to the northeast of Tay Ninh.

Striking with small arms, automatic weapons and rockets against the facility’s bunker line manned by A Company, 3d battalion, 22d Infantry, the enemy was able to breach the line in one location and was successful in blowing up one generator before he was pushed back out of the site.

“All other sectors of the bunker line held fast throughout the night and at approximately 0615 hours, the enemy withdrew down the mountain leaving behind leaving 15 dead, five AK-47 rifles, three rocket launchers, three pistols, 12 hand grenades, 100 sachel charges and 20 RPG rocket rounds.

Eight defenders of the mountain top were killed in the fighting, but the enemy was unable to accomplish his objective of disrupting the flow of vital radio communications for TAY NINH and the surrounding area.”

Page 82

The eight US soldiers who died at Nui Ba Den were


  • 125th Sig Bn, 25th Inf Div
    • SP4 Ronald M. Heinecke, Theresa, WI, Prov Sig Company
    • PFC Arturo S. Zamora, Mathis, TX, C Company

  • A Company, 3rd Bn, 22nd Infantry, 25th Inf Div
    • SGT James C. Kraynak, Connellsville, PA
    • SGT Kenneth L. Krom, Walkersville, MD
    • SP4 James R. Moncrief, Cordova, AL
    • PFC Gilbert T. Delgado, Houston, TX
    • PFC Roy D. Lowe, Charlotte Court House, VA

  • F Company, 50th Infantry, 25th Inf Div
  • PFC Lorenzo Sewell, Sayreton, AL

************** **************


  • Source of the following story:
    Page 8        TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS      September 9, 1968
    Six-Pronged Attack
    Regulars Save Relay Site
    3D BDE – Driving off a reinforced Viet Cong company and killing at least 10 attackers, 25th Division
    infantrymen staged a heroic defense to save the retransmission and relay site atop Nui Ba Den mountain.
    • Plagued by 45 mile-an-hour winds, the defenders, including Alpha Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry and members of the Provisional Company, 125th Signal Battalion, which operates the communications facility, held their ground despite near-zero visibility.
    • The mountain outpost was hit with a six-pronged attack in the midst of a rainstorm four hours before dawn.
    • “The VC were running all over the edge of the perimeter,” said Captain Ardre Blackmon of Augusta, Ga., Alpha Company commander.  He said the enemy used wire cutters to get through the concertina and rubber bands to render trip flares harmless.
      Page 83
      While the 3d Brigade Regulars were holding the bunker line, First Lieutenant Philip A. Girmus, signal officer from Seattle, Wash., was leading his reaction force of signalmen from the signal site at the crest of the peak down to the threatened perimeter.
    • Shortly after the attack started, Captain Blackmon was faced with a decision whether to pull his men back to the top of the outpost or to have them stay and hold the bunker line.  He chose to have his men hold, and this was seen as a major factor in saving the site and in defeating the enemy, probably saving many lives.
    • “My men are real heroes,” said Blackmon.  “They did what they were told and they did it well.”
      Many individual acts of heroism were cited by infantrymen who withstood the murderous assault.
      Men of the 588th Engineers Battalion put a security force in position around the signal buildings at the top of the mountain.
    • Lieutenant Edward D. Montgomery of Burns Flat, Okla., Alpha Company’s forward observer, kept eight-inch artillery shells raining in on all avenues of approach.
    • A sweep around and throughout the perimeter revealed the dead and numerous blood trails.  More than 15 weapons were confiscated, among them eight RPG rocket launchers, two AK-50 assault rifles and four Chi-Com pistols. In addition, 30 RPG rounds were found, as well as more than a hundred satchel charges.

Source of the following story:

Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 2, 1968

‘A second target for the coordinated enemy advance was the communications center atop the 3200 foot Nui Ba Den mountain near the fire support base.

The small signal relay station received fire from small arms, automatic weapons and RPG rounds, beginning at 2am.  The sharp conflict continued until dawn.

At one point, four bunkers were occupied by enemy troops.  Ten Viet Cong were killed while eight Americans died and 23 were wounded.’

*******A MEDIC’S DIARY – OCTOBER 1968*******
I am Ivan Katzenmeier, Sr Medic, assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd/22nd, 25th Infantry Division. The following is my diary while stationed on the mountain.
(Nui Ba Den – Black Virgin Mountain in Vietnam)

4 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I am now on the mountain top. The bunker I am in has electric lights, TV, refrigerator, and bed with mattress.

Page 84

It is very foggy at night and hard to see anything.
5 October 68 Nui Ba Din, The Black Virgin Mountain camp.

This camp is 1000 meters high, 3000 feet. There is a lot of communications equipment and antennas up here.

Helicopters bring all our supplies every day at 2 PM.
That is when the fog lifts up here for 30 minutes.
Page 85 At the highest point is a pagoda. The walls are a foot thick.

Bunkers surround the camp along with barbed wire and mines.

This camp was over run on 13 May 1968, 4 and 18 August 1968, by the Viet Cong, who live below us in caves in the mountain side. They attacked the camp, capturing the helicopter landing pad and set up the mortars on it and shelled the camp.

They threw a satchel charge of explosives into the medics’ bunker.

Page 86 This is the Medics’ where I will be staying.

The camp is more secure now, since the barbed wire and bunker line have been extended to include the helicopter landing area. So this denies the enemy access to it. They can’t set up mortar tubes any place else, since there is no other level spot below us.

Page 87 This camp is covered with large boulders. Some have artwork and names etched in the rock.

Skulls and bones can be seen if you look down between the boulders. Remains of prior battles. The Black Virgin must have tears in her eyes when she looks down on this mountain and sees the killing. Maybe that is why it rains so much in this country.

6 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I really like it on this mountain top. It is foggy a lot of the time.

7 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I am in charge of improving the sanitation up here. The latrines are unbelievably filthy. There are barrels of human waste piled around the latrines. They must be burned. Flies are numerous. I will have the situation under control in a couple of days. I have been given a four man detail plus my 3 medics to help me get it cleaned up.

The Viet Cong have let us alone up here so far. Part of the reason is that the men fire their machine guns down the mountainside every 10 minutes (recon by fire).
Page 88 Tonight I fired 18 rounds with my M-16 rifle to make sure it was firing OK.

9 October 68 Nui Ba Din – This morning is beautiful. The sky is clear, the breeze is cool, but not chilly. Tay Ninh, Cu Chi and Dau Tieng and Cambodia can be seen in the distance.

Jets are zooming over us making a deafening noise.

This is the only place in Viet Nam I have liked.

Page 89 Boulder Crushes Man
9 October 68 Nui Ba Din – Two large boulders fell on one of our men at 11:00 this morning, crushing his hip and legs.  His name is Joseph Mack.

He was in the hospital when I was wounded. He is a nice guy.

It took 30 men and a hydraulic jack to help slide him out from under the big rock.

Rain loosened the boulders and they rolled down on him while he was standing by his bunker.

It narrowly missed two other men who tried to push him out of the way, but they weren’t fast enough.

This is his ticket back to the ‘world’ (The U.S.).
Page 90 The ‘dust off’ evacuation helicopter got here before we rescued him. I was glad the fog had cleared so it could land.

10 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I got clean clothes today.

‘The Medicine Woman’
There is a Special Forces group up here to run the communications equipment. They brought up a Vietnamese girl to keep them company. She is their ‘nurse.’

No women are allowed up here so I doubt if she will hold many ‘sick calls’ before she is invited to practice her ‘medicine’ elsewhere!


11 October 68 Nui Ba Din – A Red Cross plane circled the mountain top this morning playing music for us.

I have been reading the Bible and the ‘Ugly American.’

11 October 68 Nui Ba Din – The wind is blowing hard outside and it is rainy and cool on this mountain top. We are to have a severe tropical storm today.

I went before the promotion board and ranked in first place, so I will be Specialist 5th Class soon.

Fighting has slowed down and there is a rumor of a bombing halt.

Wind Storm Destroys Roof

12 October 68 – Nui Ba Din – A bad wind storm last night tore a roof from the Orderly room and scattered all over the mountain top. Some of it flew over our bunker.

Page 91

One man was slightly hurt with a scalp wound.

Men on the bunker line saw several Viet Conq close to their positions. This has been going on for a while. They like to probe our defenses and find out our weak points.
I have a new medic from California. I believe he is Oriental (Japanese?). He knows first aid very well.

My Editorial

The newspapers tell how many of the enemy have been defecting, but they don’t put on the front page that 48,000 So. Vietnamese Army Regulars have deserted their units in the last 6 months. That was on the back page of the newspaper.

I believe we should not be fighting a war for people who aren’t doing their share of the fighting. They only want our U.S. dollars and our men to do their fighting.

13 October 68 Nui Ba Din -

Today is Sunday. I read from the Bible, the book of Matthew today. We had church on Friday. All my medics go to church.

16 October 68 Nui Ba Din – Last night a man had a fever of 102. The fever left him last night about 9 O’Clock. His platoon sergeant was upset with me because I didn’t evacuate him. He thought he could have malaria.
Page 92 The Captain called in a ‘dust off’ evacuation helicopter this afternoon to send him to the Battalion Surgeon. I think they were over reacting, but they aren’t trained medics, and didn’t want to be responsible if he was seriously ill.

18 October 68 Nui Ba Din – We are supposed leave this mountain in a few days for a new assignment.

19 October 68 Nui Ba Din – We are to have another severe tropical storm. It has been cold and rainy today.

All of Charlie Company’s clerks and other base camp soldiers are to be sent up here. Rumors are that we will be up here two more weeks.

A Vote Against the Democrats

I received an absentee ballot today for the November Presidential election. I voted for Nixon. There are rumors that President Johnson is ordering a halt on the bombing of North Viet Nam. I hope it brings peace.

Buildings Destroyed by Storm

20 October 68 – Nui Ba Din – The tropical storm hit.

The wind was 130 knots and destroyed the orderly room and part of the mess hall.
Page 93 A lot of antennas fell.

They just put the roof back on the orderly room after it was blown off 5 days ago!

I just got my first free Army hair cut! The Sergeant Major sent up a soldier who is a professional barber to cut hair. He is from Nebraska.

The weather is cold, but I don’t have to go out in it. I lie in bed covered up with a wool blanket and watch TV, listen to the radio and read. Good duty.

21 October 68 – Nui Ba Din – The weather is improving. Helicopters are able to get up here with supplies for the first time in several days. They are our lifeline to the base camp. They are our only way out of here, since the mountainside belongs to the Viet Cong.

Page 94

We aren’t allowed to have U.S. Currency over here, only MPC or Military Pay Currency.

It was announced we have to exchange all our bills for new MPC.

The old money is now worthless, so Vietnemese dealing in our Military Pay Currency (MPC) will not be allowed to exchange it and it will be worthless to them.

Since we can’t have US currency incur possession, this prevents U..S. currency from getting into enemy hands for them to use to buy supplies.

I bought a Seiko watch from a friend for $23. It costs about $36 in the PX.

22 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I was offered $30 for my watch, but didn’t sell it.

I exchanged my MPC (money) today. It is raining again, but it was clear this morning.

We had ice cream for dinner, which was a treat.

Page 95

23 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I am reading ‘Mila 18′ about the persecution of the Polish Jews in World War II. It is a 560 page book.

More rumors of a bombing halt of North Viet Nam and a cease fire. I hope it works.

Today is a nice day with clear skies.

25 October 68 A man was burned on his face, hands, stomach and back today. He was throwing gasoline on a fire.

The nights are very cool up here. I sleep under a wool blanket.

I finished reading ‘Mila 18.’
Our base camp is to be moved from Dau Tieng to Tay Ninh.

News of Captain Hansard’s Death

Captain Hansard, former commander of Charlie Company was shot by a sniper a few days ago.

I thought a lot of him…. He was a true leader I could follow and trust. And he trusted me.

He was the ideal Army officer.

He was with Charlie Company on the day I was wounded.

I feel extremely sad at his death and very angry right now. A deep sense of loss hangs over me like a dark cloud.

I never had the desire to take anyone’s life in this war until now. I would like to kill who ever fired the shot that killed him.

Page 96 I remember the day I was wounded, I admired him for the example of courage he demonstrated to us that day.

I was overwhelmed with a sense of my mortality.

Death was all around us. The bullets had no respect for who you were. They cut through friend and foe alike.

It didn’t matter whether you were a good person or not. There didn’t seem to be a God looking over us any more, keeping us safe. He was not in control any more.

But when I looked at Captain Hansard on that dreadful day, sensed that he had confidence in his Creator. He seemed safe and protected from all danger that day. I wanted that too-

Now he is dead. It just doesn’t make sense why he should be taken from this world.

I will be struggling with this for a long time.

I want this war to end so that more good men like Captain Hansard will not be killed needlessly.

26 October 68 Nui Ba Din – Today a man ripped his leg open when a board with a nail in it fell on him. I sent him to the hospital for stitches.

The other day a man was injured when a bullet exploded in a fire.

I have cured myself of a case of athletes foot. I now have to keep my feet dry so it doesn’t come back.

29 October 68 Nui Ba Din – I received my orders today that I am an E-5. I will be making over $400 a month now.

3 November 68 Tay Ninh – Today is the day I have been waiting for! The Battalion Surgeon, Captain Sweatman took me out of the field.

I will be working in the Battalion Aid Station Treatment Room.
I am no longer in Charlie Company, but in Headquarters Company.


Source for the following story:

Vol 4 No. 20                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                May 19, 1969

Tomahawks Triumph In Mountainside Battle

TAY NINH – Playing a deadly game of hide and seek on the side of Nui Ba Den Mountain, Tomahawks from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, killed eight Viet Cong.
The Tropic Lightning troops were inching their way up the mountain, checking everywhere for evidence of Charlie when the firelight erupted.
Initial contact was made when an enemy soldier jumped out of a hole 15 feet in front of the pointman and tossed a Chicom grenade at him.  The pointman rolled underneath a rock, escaping the blast and certain death.
“As soon as the first grenade went off, two snipers opened up on us.  They were on top of two giant rocks,” said Sergeant Henry Pistilli of Levittown, Pa.  “In back of the snipers we could see a mortar team pumping out rounds, we immediately called in support from the tanks we had down at the bottom of the mountain,” continued Pistilli.
As the Tomahawks, tanks and one eight-inch self-propelled artillery piece saturated the mountainside, the VC guns fell silent.
When the smoke lifted from the rocky mountainside, eight Viet Cong lay dead as the result of American firepower.

Page 97

JUNE 15, 1969  (Corrected Date)





Page 98





Page 100

553rd EMS technicians serviced the equipment in the relay van. While preparing the relay van for airlift back to Korat, this unexploded sapper charge was found! This is the type of explosive charge planted by the Viet Cong to blow up the vans.



Source of photos and narrative:

The following comment from Lt. Jon Blickenstaff,  states the above attack began Sunday night, June 15, 1969 at 11:30 PM.  Three of his men were killed (KIA).


Page 101  My name is Jon Blickenstaff and I was an Infantry 1st Lt. assigned to Nui Ba Den as a platoon leader under the command of Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, Provisional Company, 25th Infantry Division. Our primary mission was to man and defend the bunker line. I was on the mountain from February 13, 1969 through June 17, 1969. I was directed to your sight by Ron Henry (he has previous posts) whom I served with during the late summer and fall of 1968 when we were both assigned to the 5th Infantry (Mechanized) Regiment, 25th Infantry Division while the unit’s assigned AO was out of Dau Tieng. We have a very comprehensive Regimental Association web site at detailing the unit’s entire deployment history from 1966 through 1971 with tons of photos. The Regiment is the 3rd oldest unit, established in 1808, still on active duty with the US Army and is comprised of the 1st and 2nd Battalions.

I am contacting you regarding the post of Zahra dated June 5, 2012 and the above article titled June 18, 1969 and the Sapper Attack Photos. I was on the mountain the night of that attack, but all my documents and dated letters sent back to my family (which my mother kept for me) support the fact that the attack actually occurred on Sunday night, June 15, 1969 beginning at about 11:30 p.m. I have also confirmed that date with 1st Sergeant Harry Meyer (Retired) who was an E-7 at the time and served in the capacity of 1st Sergeant for the Provisional Company. The Commanding Officer of the mountain at that time was Major Campbell. Harry, now retired, lives near Ft. Knox and I can confidentially provide you his contact information if you are interested.

I had 18 men assigned to me and my security sector was bunkers 7 through 12, with 3 men per bunker. The last photo in the article above is the back side of the bunker I occupied, that being bunker 9.

On the night of the attack, an Air Force container holding top secret surveillance radio equipment was the first target hit by the sappers. That container sat on top of the hill directly behind my bunker 9, so I know that for a fact.

I and others are firmly convinced that the sappers were already inside the wire exploding satchel charges before we started receiving incoming AK-47 and RPG fire from outside the wire as those explosions were the first things we heard.

The focus of the incoming fire was directly in front of bunkers 8 and 9 with bunker 7 receiving fire on the left side as you look at the back of it from the inside of the bunker line.Top of mountain taken next to water reservoir (2)Area in front of Bunker 9 XBunker 10 taken from Bunker 9 XBunker 9 front right x

I had 3 men KIA that night,  Marvin C. WhIte, Ramona, Ca., Gary D. Bender, Des Moines, Ia. and Thomas E. Hughes, Oldfield, Mo. (No photo).

Page 102



Because of all the boulders, elevation variations and bunker locations on the circumference of the mountain, there was an inherently flawed expectation regarding a realistic and tactically sound defense of the mountain.

At best we only had overlapping fire to the bunkers on our immediate right and left, and all the forward views from every bunker was looking downhill at 60 degree angles or more with even more boulders obstructing a clear downhill view to return fire. Once the stuff hit the fan, each bunker essentially became an island unto itself and a coordinated consolidation of manpower was impossible due to all the boulders which provided superb and protected firing positions for the VC to prevent that attempt.

Page 103 The attack reaction plan called for an OIC to assemble all available men on top of the mountain, then move down to the area of the bunker line which was receiving incoming fire and support the fire that was being returned from the bunker line.

Lt. Carl Zuzulak was the OIC that night and he did indeed execute that plan. He and the assembled men worked their way down the paths through the boulders to my bunker.

The Air Force was on station within about 20 minutes from the beginning of the attack and began dropping illumination flares. They stayed on station dropping flares all through the dark, early morning hours and then broke off at daylight.

In all the attacks on the mountain over the years, the VC always took advantage of the obstruction factor that the boulders provided, both inside and outside the perimeter, to exploit their efforts.

If your enemy is willing to give up his life to kill you, which the VC were, then the top of Nui Ba Den provided them the perfect topically disadvantaged position to inflict the most damage with the smallest number of men. It happened every time the mountain was attacked with a predictably factor that favored their outcome.

I rotated off the mountain on Tuesday, June 17, 1969 and returned to the 5th Mech, completing my tour and returning home on July 28, 1969.

I hope this post is not too long, but I wanted to detail the memories as clearly as possible. After all these years it still feels like it was just yesterday.


 553rd Reconnaissance Wing    Nui Ba Den Mountain – Award of the Purple Heart

                 By Ron Cox – October 18, 2009                        Rev – A – 10/18/09
In early 1969 the 553rd  Electronic Maintenance Squadron (EMS) assumed the responsibility for maintaining and manning what was called the Commando Shackle Relay in South Vietnam about six miles outside of the city of Tay Ninh.  The relay was placed on top an extinct volcano, Nui Ba Den mountain, that rose 3235 feet above the flat delta plains and was considered the end of the Ho Chi Mihn trail.  While the US Army controlled the top of the mountain, the Viet Cong (VC) were very active and the mountain housed the headquarters for the liberation force for South Vietnam.  
The relay van housed much of the same radio equipment that was in the EC-121R except it was down linked to operators in portable vans at Bien Hoa Air Base.  The relay site was a high priority for the III Corps Tactical Zone and relieved our aircraft and crews to fly missions in other locations.  The night of June 18,1969 loomed dark and foggy, a VC sapper team crawled through the Army lines to make a deliberate attack on the relay vans.  In the attack the vans were severely damaged and the 553rd EMS Sergeant
on duty at the time, TSgt. John Linaburg, was wounded and at least two VC were killed by Army personnel responding to the attack. Sergeant Linaburg was the only 553rd Reconnaissance Wing member known to receive the Purple Heart.
The attack required the Wing to stretch its operation to provide immediate coverage to the III Corps mission, the Amber orbit, which resulted in a significant drain on our limited resources.
To make matters worse the relay van was a one of a kind item and a replacement would have had to be contracted and built from scratch.  A small team was dispatched from Korat the next day to see if there was any hope for repair.  An evaluation of the van revealed that while the van was beyond repair the damage to the equipment and wiring inside could be repaired.  The team requested that the van be transported to Korat for repair.  
Seventh Air Force immediately gave the repair and return of the Commando Shackle Relay a Combat Essential priority and within hours a Chinook helicopter was lifting it off the mountain and across South Vietnam. When it arrived the next day at Korat on a dedicated C-130 the Van was stripped by members of the EMS Comm Shop and repair began.  When two excellent technicians, TSgt Rozier and SSgt Saltzer, explained that they could increase the capability of the van by fifty per cent, approval was obtained
and by the time a new empty van was received from the States the upgrade was completed and ready to be installed.  As an added measure of protection the entire van was boxed in with steel boiler plate by 553rd personnel.   
The team returned with the van and installed it on what had become to be known as Black Widow Mountain, the entire episode took place between 18 June and 12 July 1969.
Webmaster NOTE – Ron Cox was the Officer In Charge of the Communications Shop, of the 553rd Reconnaissance Electronic Maintenance Squadron.

Hamby Lanny KIA NBD


The following message was posted by Gary Harding on Wall-of-Faces: 

(Lanny Hamby) was a fine member of the 25th Infantry Division, 3/22 Company C.

Lanny was stationed on top of Nui Ba Den Mountain (Black Virgin Mountain) where many fire fights occurred and several helicopters crashed. We controlled the top and bottom and the VC/NVA controlled the middle. It is hard granite rock with numerous caves.

Lanny was so glad to get this job of providing protection up there rather them hump to various places with other riflemen.

On this day, the communications group on top of the mountain received mortar shells from NVA/VC. It is reported that Lanny was in a bunker but was near the door and was hit by a mortar shell. This fine man will not be forgotten. Deeds not Words. 


Page 104  **OPERATION CLIFF DWELLER – 1969**

Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 10, 1969

Story and Photos By Sgt K.C. Cullen


CH-47 Chinooks brought the troops to the top of the mountain.

Coming ‘Round the Mountain
‘Operation Cliffdweller’ Drives Enemy Off the Mountain;  Regulars Kill 40

Sounds of machetes slashing through thick underbrush were interrupted by frequent blasts from exploding grenades.  American and Vietnamese soldiers were making their way across giant boulders and jungle down the northern slope of Nui Ba Den.
“Operation Cliffdweller,” a multi-battalion endeavor under the operational control of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Warren Jones of Minneapolis, had as its purpose the clearing of hundreds of caves and holes on the mountain’s north side.   Forty enemy died in the three-day journey down the mountain.
The entire operation consisted of establishing blocking positions, sweep forces and ambushes around the mountain.
Charlie Company of the Regulars took on the task of descending the mountain from the top, driving out enemy elements and destroying their positions.  The Regulars were accompanied on the descent by provincial reconnaissance unit (PRU) soldiers.
The combined force started from the Tropic Lightning signal facility on the mountain top.  CH-47 Chinook helicopters carried the troopers to the top and from there they started their downward journey.
The force made its way through vines, jagged boulders, steep cliffs, and recently dropped riot control agent.  The Regulars worked through areas that at first glance appeared impassable.  It was never a choice between the easiest ways down, but rather between the best of the bad.  For three days they fought a dual foe, the unseen enemy fleeing before them and the vertical jungle with rocks that is the side of Nui Ba Den.
The elite point element of Charlie Company preceded the rest down the slope, blowing as many caves and holes as they could.
Other units involved in. Operation Cliff Dweller included Alfa Company, 2d Battalion, 34th Armor; Bravo Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry; 160th Regional Forces Company; and the Tay Ninh Province Reconnaissance Unit (PRU).
The Black Virgin Mountain fought the Regulars just as hard as Charlie did, but the combined force proved itself capable of handling both battles.

Page 105

‘Operation Cliff dweller’ begins as Regulars, Vietnamese start down Nui Ba Den.

LARGE ROCKS, dead trees and underbrush surround the Regulars during their three-day trip down Nui Ba Den.  Specialist 4 John Thommes, an RTO for Charlie Company’s forward observer, grasps a tree trunk for support.

Page 106Specialist 4 Bruce Hahn enjoys a brief, 45-degree snooze during a break.

Sgt Larry Goethe emerges after exploring a cave.

Page 107CHARLIE Company commander Captain Norman Sligar has a look of knowing anticipation as he prepares to slide down a big rock.  There were plenty of fatigue pants to DX after the operation.

Page 108A machete blazes a trail.

Page 109FIRE IN THE HOLE! With his grenade pin pulled and ready to drop, Private First Class John Larsen prepares to blow one of the deep holes too small to get into and investigate.  Each day of the operation, the quiet of the mountain was pierced by explosions as members of the point squad had a grenade for each cave and hole they found.

Gear had to be handed down over giant rocks during the three-day trip down the mountain.





18th Military History Detachment, 25th Infantry Division, APO San Francisco 96225

AVDCMH     31 January 1970

SUBJECT: Combat After Action Interview Report

THRU:     Commanding General, United States Army Vietnam
ATTN: Command Historian, APO San Francisco 96375

TO:     Headquarters Department of the Army ATTN: O.C.M.H. Washington, D.C. 20315

OPERATION Cliff Dweller IV.

04 January – 11 January 1970. Northeastern slope of Nui Ba Den (XT2860);

Sheet Number 6231 IV N and IV S, Map Series L8020, 1:25,000; Phu Khuong District, Tay Ninh Province.

CONTROL HEADQUARTERS: 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.



Companies A, B, C, D and Reconnaissance Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor.

Company A and one platoon, Company D, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry.


Battery B, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery.

Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery.

Battery A, 7th Battalion, 9th Artillery.

Battery B, 1st Battalion, 27th Artillery.

NOTE: During the period 4-12 January 1970, a total of 12,653 artillery rounds were fired, of which 648 were used on the landing zone preparation on Nui Cau.


Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion (Little Bear)�CS and Flame Bath drops, resupply and MEDEVAC.

Company B. 25th Aviation Battalion (Diamondhead)�Light Fire Teams.

1st Brigade Aviation LOHs (Yellow Jacket)�MEDEVAC.

187th Assault Helicopter Company (Crusaders)�Provided all lift support except extractions,

242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company (Muleskinner)�Resupply.

Troop D, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry (Centaur)�Light Fire Team, Visual Reconnaissance.

Company A, 2nd Battalion, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery (Blue Max)�helicopter gunships.


Air Force Forward Air Controllers (OV-10).

F-100 Tactical Fighters�Air Strikes.

AC-119 (Shadow)�Gunship, flareship.

MISSION: The primary concept of Operation Cliff Dweller IV was to sweep the northeastern slope of Nui Ba Den, killing and/or capturing as many enemy as possible to include supplies and materials which could be used by the enemy.

BACKGROUND: The primary mission of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division is to destroy VC/NVA forces and their bases of operation, assist the Republic of Vietnam in rural development, pacification and civic action programs; assist in training and provide support to RVNAF, and be prepared to reinforce US and ARVN forces within the TAOI as directed.


Enemy – Nui Ba Den is a headquarters location of elements of the “shadow” government, a staging area for attacks on Tay Ninh City and other allied installations in Tay Ninh Province, and a stopover point on the infiltration route through War Zone “C” from Cambodia to the 25th Infantry Division TAOI. Operation Cliff Dweller IV was one of a series of denial operations carried on by 1st Brigade on Nui Ba Den. In executing this operation, 1st Brigade assigned to the task the largest number of US troops ever to operate on Nui Ba Den mountain.

Terrain – The terrain of Nui Ba Den is unlike any other in the Division AO. The ancient granite mountain is very steeply sloped, covered with enormous boulders, honey-combed with caves, crevasses and tunnels and low, tangled undergrowth covers the greater part of the slopes (except for rock slides).

Weather – Generally the weather was very good – partly cloudy skies, not excessively warm. The altitude of Nui Ba Den allows for more cooling breezes than is normally experienced in other areas of Tay Ninh Province. The one natural phenomenon which caused a problem was that of drafts on the slopes of the mountain. Helicopters which were attempting to resupply US forces on the slopes of the mountain were unable to maintain position during the supply drops because of the heavy updrafts and downdraft.


4 January 1970
Operation Cliff Dweller IV commenced. The concept of the operation was to have two infantry companies sweep down the northeastern slope of the mountain and set up blocking positions a short distance from the bottom.

(See Inclosure 2)

A third infantry company would sweep the base of the mountain from southeast to northwest, link up with the other two companies and all three would sweep through the rock slide area (XT279603) to the base of the mountain. Supporting forces would be placed off the mountain, north and south of the rock slide area and on Nui Cau from which a commanding view of the area of operations is afforded.

At 0800 hours on 4 January the first of eight CH-47 sorties landed.

Companies B and C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry on Nui Ba Den at the Provisional Company installation (XT281582).

Between 0915-0935 hours a four ship lift inserted the Reconnaissance Platoon, C 3/22nd Infantry on Nui Cau (XT271605) where they established a blocking position 200 meters east of the crest of Nui Cau (XT273605) and remained in that position for the duration of the operation. Companies B and C began moving down the northeastern slope of Nui Ba Den on two axes, Company B on the right axis, Company C on the left axis.

Page 112  Because of the difficulty of movement in such terrain, B 3/22nd, C 3/22nd Infantry progressed about 40% of the way down the mountain on the first day. At 0934 hours on 4 January the demolition team from Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion attached to C 3/22nd Infantry destroyed a booby trapped US fragmentation grenade approximately 150 meters from the line of departure.

Night defensive positions were established at approximately 1830-1900 hours as further progress was halted by the ensuing darkness. Company C established its night defensive position approximately 1700 meters north of the crest of Nui Ba Den (XT279598). Company B established its night defensive position approximately 1200 meters northeast from the crest of Nui Ba Den (XT238591). Some enemy probings were suspected during the first night but no actual contact was established. Because of the terrain on the mountain it was difficult for the units to establish perimeters as would be done on more favorable terrain. To offset this difficulty a series of strong points were established to serve as a perimeter, the most effective method of securing a night defensive position in such terrain.

Earlier on 4 January (0645 hours), Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor and the 548 Regional Force Company occupied a blocking position at the northeastern base of the mountain (XT279608). Slightly to the southeast (XT293598), one platoon of tanks from A 2/34 Armor and one platoon, Company D, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry established a second blocking position. Artillery support was provided by Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery and from 6 January on, one platoon of Battery B, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery at Fire Support Base Bragg (XT334579). Security for the artillery was provided by one platoon, Company C, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry and the 163 Regional Force Company.

The first contact on 4 January occurred at 1925 hours when a sniper attached to Rcn/3-22 Infantry observed and engaged three enemy soldiers 300 meters south southeast of the sniper’s location with three rounds of M-14 killing one of the enemy.

At 0005 hours on 5 January an ambush position of Rcn/3-22 Infantry smelled marijuana and detected movement 35-40 meters below their position to the east. Engaging the movement with hand grenades and sniper fire, one enemy soldier wearing black pajamas was killed. No return fire was received. The dead soldier was searched but he had neither weapons nor documents on him.

At approximately 0700-0730 hours on 5 January B 3/22nd, C 3/22nd Infantry continued the sweep down the mountainside.

Because of rain the previous evening movement was very slow due to the rocks being slippery and wet. Very little forward progress was made the second day.

About noon a 14 ship lift inserted Company A, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry in a landing zone secured by A 2/34 Armor and D 4/9 Infantry. The company’s mission was to execute a detailed reconnaissance from southeast to northwest along the base of the mountain to 200-300 meters up the slope.

Companies B and C moved down the slope to set up a blocking position above the area to be swept by A 3/22nd Infantry. As Company A swept, Company B on the southern most axis would swing behind Company A to protect its rear. Company C afforded protection from enemy fires from above.

Company A located one tunnel with a room attached (10x20x30) at 1635 hours (XT293595). Uncovered were a small VC camp with cooking area, two truck batteries, clothing and web gear. The room was large enough to accommodate 35 individuals. There were signs of recent activity within the last 72 hours.

At 1945 hours Company B observed movement and a light 400 meters west of their night defensive position (XT289594). Engaging the movement with organic weapons all movement ceased and the light went out.

6 January
At 1150 hours on the next day (6 January), A 3/22nd Infantry on a reconnaissance of this contact area located 12 graves containing 12 enemy killed by small arms fire. No weapons or documents were uncovered. The enemy dead were wearing green NVA uniforms.

Operation Cliff Dweller IV continued as planned on 6 January. Company B moved out of its night defensive position at 0700 hours and continued to the bottom of the mountain where another night defensive position was established. Just before setting up, elements of B 3/22nd Infantry located three caves which they reconnoitered with fragmentation grenades. No return fire was received.

Company A continued moving across the lower slope of the mountain towards the rock slide area to the northwest (XT279603). Company C moved to within 400 meters of the base of the mountain and established a night defensive position.

The last day of Operation Cliff Dweller IV was originally scheduled to be 7 January. But because of the contact made by B 3/22nd Infantry the previous day the operation was extended. (See Inclosure 3)

Page 1137 January
During the 7th, the platoon from D 4/9th Infantry securing the tank platoon of A 2/34th Armor at the southernmost blocking position was relieved by a Regional Force Company.

At 1030 hours Company B while searching a cave (XT288599) located seven US M-1s, one SKS carbine, two M-72 LAWs, nine M-16 magazines (fully loaded), one can with 400 rounds of M-1 ammunition, one RPG round, one ChiCom hand grenade, one VC gas mask, one NVA shovel, four US poncho liners, two US canteens, one first aid packet, two bars of soap, US soy bean oil, C-ration cans, one fish net, one towel, four female pants, four sets of underwear with bells (female), one garden (15×20) and two enemy killed by small arms fire and fragmentation grenades (credited to A 3/22 Infantry reconnaissance by fire of the cave the previous day). All explosives were destroyed by the demolition team from A/65th Engr and the weapons were sent to Tay Ninh Base Camp.

At 1600 hours Company B located ten pounds of documents in a cave. Later information revealed that the documents consisted of tax receipts, meeting reports, envelopes, financial reports and medical certificates which mainly concerned the Toa Thanh District unit and District Committees, and a list of changes in LBNs (Letter Box Numbers) for the Toa Thanh (D) Sections and Associations to have become effective 17 September 1968. Because of the nature of the terrain it was impossible to tell whether or not there had been recent activity in the area.

Fifteen minutes later (1615 hours), B 3/22nd Infantry observed eight enemy evading into a cave (XT286600). US forces attempted to get the enemy to Chieu Hoi, but were answered with fragmentation grenades, wounding three US so1diers. At 1820 hours the cave was engaged with CS and multi-shot flame thrower resulting in all eight of the enemy being ki1led.

The Reconnaissance Platoon observed one individual 125 meters northwest of their position at 2045 hours. Engaging the enemy with organic weapons, one enemy soldier was killed.

8 January
Beginning on 8 January and lasting for the next two days till the operation ended on 11 January, US forces came under almost constant enemy fire during daylight hours�mostly in the form of highly accurate sniper fire from well-entrenched enemy elements.

As US forces neared the area of the rock slide, enemy fires increased in their intensity. Only when forward movement slowed did the enemy fires slacken.

As Company A came adjacent to Company C’s flank at about 0750 hours on 8 January (XT276604), heavy contact was established.

The left point of Company C first received fire from 3-4 enemy at about 0800 hours. When return fire from M60 machine guns were placed on the enemy snipers, US forces began to receive a heavy volume of fire. The enemy returned fire with small arms, RPGs, sniper fire and M-79 CS rounds.

As infantry elements engaged the enemy with organic weapons, air support saturated the area with fires from six light fire teams, three CS drops, one “Flame Bath” drop and seven TAC air strikes.

Four artillery batteries (1827 rounds), main tank guns and automatic weapons fire from blocking forces were also brought to bear against the enemy all day.

A break in contact occurred at 0835 hours. Five minutes later Company A received small arms and RPG fire from an estimated enemy platoon from several small caves. The enemy continued to fire at US forces throughout the rest of the day, mainly sniper fire. Movement was extremely difficult because of the terrain and the necessity for US soldiers to expose their position when moving.

Due to these factors, plus the highly accurate enemy sniper fire, Company C was able to move only about 50-75 meters during the first two days of contact.

At 1344 hours a resupply helicopter from Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion was hit by an RPG round. The helicopter crashed and burned. Three US personnel were wounded by shrapnel. The helicopter was totally destroyed.

The helicopter was to be used to MEDEVAC two wounded US personnel. The two wounded US personnel awaiting MEDEVAC were killed by AH-1G (Cobra) rocket fire as the helicopter gunship was making a firing run to cover for the downed helicopter and its crew.

This tragic accident would have never occurred had it not been for the close contact in which the US forces were involved and the confusion caused by intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire.

Just prior to this incident a Kit Carson Scout was killed by an explosion of unknown origin. The Kit Carson Scout and two US personnel were attempting to move toward the downed helicopter when ordered by their platoon leader to withdraw.

Just as the men started to make their withdrawal there was an explosion which knocked all three men to the ground. The two US personnel were not wounded but the Kit Carson Scout was killed by the concussion from the explosion.

No cause for the explosion could be determined. This Kit Carson Scout (Tran Van Oi) and another Kit Carson Scout (Tran Van Vien) have been recommended for the award of the Silver Star for their bravery and valor during this operation.

At approximately 1800 hours the enemy broke contact. US forces established night defensive positions in place. No further contact was established during the ensuing period of darkness.

Sixty-two enemy had been killed on this first day of heavy contact. After completing searches of the contact area, US forces evacuated one M-1 carbine, one SKS rifle, ten pounds of documents and five pounds of medical supplies. Six US soldiers were wounded during the initia1 enemy fires.

At 1958 hours on 8 January a member of Recon 3/22nd Infantry was killed by enemy sniper fire. The soldier was helping unload a resupply drop amid moderate enemy sniper fire when the incident occurred.

[NOTE: The authors of this report, SP4 Henry Walsh and SP4 Robert Wright initially attempted to report that this soldier died when accidentally crushed by a resupply load dropped from a CH-47. This fact was confirmed by multiple sources, including the aviators. They were ordered to change the paragraph to the wording used here; when they objected to the inaccuracy, they were threatened with reassignment to infantry duty by the division chief of staff.]

Page 115    9 JANUARY
On 9 January Company D, 3-22 Infantry relieved A 3/22nd Infantry in place at 1500 hours. Company A moved 1.5 kilometers east of the mountain and was extracted to Tay Ninh Base Camp.

Company D received sniper fire at the landing zone and all the way to Company A’s position. Company D’s mission was to sweep up the area of the rock slide and move up to the “saddle”.

Because of the accurate sniper fire D 3/22nd Infantry was unable to make any progress up the slope toward the enemy positions and remained in place until pulled off the mountain on 11 January.

At 1600 hours Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry landed on Nui Cau and moved to the position secured by Recon 3/22nd Infantry where the Company remained the night of 9 January.

During the morning hours of 9 January three tubes of 105mm howitzer of Battery B, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery moved to the northern blocking position of A 2/34th Armor to provide more accurate and direct artillery support. The 548 Regional Force Company securing this position was replaced by B 3/22nd Infantry  during the afternoon of 9 January. One platoon from Company B provided security for the tank platoon at the southern blocking position. Company B would also act as a reaction force in support of the remaining 3/22nd Infantry elements on the mountain.

At 1000 hours on 9 January, A 3/22nd, C 3/22nd Infantry received heavy sniper fire from an unknown number of enemy as the units continued to close on the enemy force in the rock slide area.

US forces were attempting to sweep the hillside near the rock slide area but because the enemy was so well-entrenched that to continue trying to move forward too many casualties would be sustained. Securing the positions they had advanced to, US forces returned the enemy fire with organic weapons, one CS drop, five light fire teams, eight TAC air strikes, five “Flame Bath” drops and three artillery batteries killing 47 of the enemy in contact which lasted all day long. Two US soldiers were wounded during the initial anew fires, the only casualties of the action.

At 1430 hours a MEDEVAC helicopter received heavy ground fire but suffered no casualties.

All during the three days of contact heavy enemy fires were directed at the resupply and MEDEVAC helicopters supporting the operation. Whenever helicopters approached the mountain on a mission the majority of enemy fire would be directed at them. A few of the enemy would try to place spraying suppressive fire on the US forces to protect other enemy soldiers who exposed themselves in the hope of damaging or destroying a helicopter. Though faced with this additional dangers resupply and MEDEVAC helicopters carried out their missions in a most admirable manner.

Fighting continued through most of the day (9 January), slackening off by mid-afternoon. Sporadic small arms fire was exchanged until approximately 1800 hours. During the night of 9-10 January the contact area was intermittently engaged by PSYOP broadcasts, helicopter gunships and artillery.

As dawn broke on 10 January US infantry elements again moved against the enemy forces entrenched in the cave-strewn area of the rock slide.

Company A, 4/9 Infantry moved down to the “saddle” at 0700 hours.

Five hours later the Company moved 150 meters down from the “saddle” to establish a blocking position above the area of contact of C 3/22nd,D 3/22nd Infantry.

At 0830 hours B,C, and D 3/22nd Infantry and A 4/9 Infantry began receiving small arms and RPG fire. US forces returned fire with organic weapons, one light fire team, three TAC air atrikes, two “Flame Bath” drops and three artillery batteries (1648 rounds) during the day long contact.

At 0837 hours all firing ceased briefly. Enemy small arms and sniper fire began again at 1015 hours and abruptly ceased at 1025 hours.

As US forces continued to press the advantage the enemy continued his resistance. Firing picked up again at 1225 hours as the enemy directed heavy small arms fire against approaching US forces. Fighting continued sporadically throughout the day until 1750 hours.

Twenty enemy killed were credited to US fires.

The northern blocking force (XT286612) received a heavy volume of RPG and mortar fire at 1525 hours. Seven US soldiers were wounded by this attack by fire which ceased ten minutes after it began.

At 1430 hours on 10 January snipers attached to A 4/9 Infantry observed three enemy approximately 300 meters from their position. One of the enemy was wearing camouflaged fatigues and a steel helmet. Engaging this enemy with one round of M-14 fire, the sniper killed the enemy soldier. A second round was fired at another enemy but he disappeared before a kill could be confirmed.

During the evening hours (2200 hours), A 2/34 Armor observed one individual moving 35 meters southeast of its position. Engagement with organic weapons resulted in the enemy soldier being killed.

On 11 January Operation Cliff Dweller IV came to an end. It was decided by the 1st Brigade Commander with concurrence of the Commanding General, 25th Infantry Division that no further significant results warranted a commitment of such a large force to extending the operation.

To provide direct support during the withdrawal of American forces, two 175mm howitzers from Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Artillery and two Quad-50’s from 5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery moved on the morning of 11 January to just northeast of the contact area. All US forces moved off the mountain and returned to their base of operations.

By the afternoon of 11 January all US elements had been withdrawn from the mountain.

An unexplained phenomenon noted during the withdrawal stage of the operation was that as the US forces a moved off the mountain they received no enemy fire. Because of the terrain US troops had to expose themselves to possible enemy fire as they moved down and off the mountain. Not one round of enemy sniper, small arms or RPG fire was directed against these troops.

Remaining in position until the morning of 12 January, A 2/34 Armor and B 3/22nd Infantry maintained surveillance over and placed direct and indirect fire on suspected enemy locations.

The 1st Brigade S-3 Daily Staff Journal noted that the Tay Ninh Province Chief stated that the enemy elements involved in the contact on the mountain were the F-31 and F-51 Sapper Battalions of the 271 NVA regiment. This report has not been confirmed through captured document readouts or identification by any other means. On 19 May 1968 the F-31 Sapper Battalion was involved in an attack on the signal installation atop Nui Ba Den and therefore may still have elements in the area, possibly targeted with the same mission.

RESULTS: Operation Cliff Dweller IV was another in a series of successful denial operations on Nui Ba Den carried out by 1st Brigade maneuver and support elements. Eneny personnel losses during the seven day period were 156 killed. US forces suffered three men killed and one Kit Carson Scout was killed. Fifty five American soldiers were wounded, of whom eight were evacuated for further treatment. The remaining wounded returned to their units after a short period of convalescence.

The inability to use Nui Ba Den as a refuge seriously hurt the enemy plans to mount a coordinated, effective offensive in Tay Ninh Province. This area had long been a refuge for enemy elements staging for attacks on Tay Ninh City. Operation Cliff Dweller IV drastically reduced the enemy potential to mount a significant offensive without heavily reinforcing the forces remaining in the mountain refuge.


Because of the type of terrain in which this operation took places many problems were encountered, not all of which could be successfully countered.

(1) Resupply.

(a) US infantry elements required a much larger rate of expenditure of smoke grenades to mark their positions for resupply drops and MEDEVACs, and for identification of friendly positions by supporting fires. (See Inclosure 4 for resupply to 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry)

(b) US equipment losses were abnormally high due to the difficulty troops had in maneuvering in the rock-strewn terrain,

(c) Resupply missions were extremely difficult to complete due to air turbulence on the slopes of the mountain; inability of resupply helicopters to place load a where directed due to irregular, steep terrain; heavy volume of enemy sniper fire directed at resupply helicopters; loss of resupply loads into holes and crevasses; loss of resupply loads due to “drop-off” method; the dropping of resupply loads into areas inaccessible to US troops; and the problems always involved in night resupply missions. Pathfinders were used to control supply drops and even though faced with almost insurmountable problems managed to complete many more resupply missions than was expected.

(d) The loss of water resupply, caused by the necessity of dropping loads rather than placing them in predetermined locations, and the loss of equipment, caused by operating in such unfavorable terrain, were two major problems encountered during resupply missions.

b. Communications. Though there were no reported failures in or loss of communications equipment, the battalion command net used while contact was in effect became heavily loaded at times.

c. Tactics. An interesting innovation employed by Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry is the Point Squad. The point squad is an eight-man, all-volunteer element which acts as a forward reconnaissance element. Because the unit acts only in this capacity, it has built up the experience needed to perform the role of “point” more professionally than could the rotating point man system. The squad consists of a well-experienced NCO, one “tunnel rat”, one grenadier, one M-60 machine gunner and four team members. The success experienced with the point squad has been more than satisfactory.

Page 117  d. Snipers. All during Operation Cliff Dweller IV US forces received almost continuous enemy sniper fire. Though there is no conclusive evidence available, a number of unit commanders remarked that the highly consistent accuracy of sniper fire was due to the possibility that the enemy snipers were trained for that mission and they could have been aided by telescopic sights in this mission. It was noted that enemy snipers did use tracer rounds so as to make corrections while firing.

e. The Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV), Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion successfully used several innovative techniques during Operation Cliff Dweller IV.

(1) The CEV devised a plan to afford more protection for US infantry elements providing security for the southernmost blocking position. When arriving at this position on 8 January the vehicle commander used the CEV blade to build a berm 3-4 feet high between the tanks to protect the infantrymen. This not only gave the infantryman a berm in front of him but also a depression behind the berm for further protection. On 11 January the CEV leveled the berm, filling in all holes after the blocking force had completed its mission and were returning to their respective bases of operation.

(2) In order to bring more destructive fires against the enemy with its 165mm demolition projector, the CEV commander took down the locations of caves during the daylight hours and fired at them at night using a range card system. Three secondary explosions were achieved by using this method. Further damage assessment to enemy personnel or equipment was undeterminable because of the destructive power of the 165mm demolition projector. It was the only weapon available during the operation capable of destroying caves of the granite type found on Nui Ba Den.

(3) It was noticed that by placing a red filter on a flashlight and shining it in the direction to be observed by using a starlight scope that observation was made much easier because the red light aided in setting objects out more plainly and clearly.

(4) A starlight scope was used successfully with an M-119 periscope on occasion for spotting movement on the mountain at night.

f. The one advantage of the rocky terrain was that it offered overhead protection for US troops against “splash” from friendly supporting fires. However, the danger area of “splash” was increased two to three times because of indirect fire rounds impacting on the hard granite rocks. Not only shrapnel from the munitions endangered US forces, but also the debris caused by a splintering of the granite rocks. Because of the closeness of contacts supporting fires were at times brought within a very close distance from US forces on the mountain. Some US soldiers were wounded by this “splash”.

MAJ, Infantry
Division Historian


1. MAJ George F. Mohrmann, S-3, lst Brigade.

2. CPT Jimmy W. Harris, Commanding Officer, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

3. CPT Lawson R. Pride, Jr., Commanding Officer, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

4. CPT Larry B. Thomas, S-4, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

5. 1LT John M. LeMoyne, Commanding Officer, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry.

6. 1LT Robert A. England, Executive Officer, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

7. 1LT Tom D. Fritts, Executive Officer, Company D, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

8. 1LT Peter S. Shockley, Platoon Leader, Reconnaissance Platoon, Company E, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

9. 2LT Donald Vehlhaber, Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon, Comrany A, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Intantry.

10. SSG John G. Wilkes, CEV Commander, Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion.

11. SGT Patrick Anderson, Squad Leader, lst Platoon, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

12. SGT Larry Goethe, Point Squad Leader, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

13. SGT Thomas Ragazzine, Platoon Sergeant, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

14. SP4 Dennis R. Cook, Demolition Team, Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion (attached to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Intantry).

15. SP4 Leonard W. Garvin, FDC Computer, Weapons Platoon, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

16. SP4 William L. Grau, Loader-Machine Gunner, CEV, Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion.

17. SP4 David Reyes, Squad Leader, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry

Company     M-60 Ammunition     M-16 Ammunition     M-79 Ammunition     Smoke Grenades
A     12 Cases     9 Cases     9 Cases     18 Cases
B     16 Cases     12 Cases     12 Cases     24 Cases
C     22 Cases     15 Cases     18 Cases     33 Cases
D     6 Cases     3 Cases     3 Cases     6 Cases
Rcn Plt     8 Cases     8 Cases     8 Cases     16 Cases
TOTAL     64 Cases     47 Cases     50 Cases     97 Cases


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 2, 1970

‘On-Timers’ Aid Operation Cliffdweller
Artillery Support Is The Name Of The Game

TAY NINH – A close-up view of the Black Virgin Mountain, Nui Ba Den, is enough to arouse anyone’s curiosity.  The pinnacle rises abruptly in the center of a flat area which covers hundreds of square miles, and suggests a monster raising its dark scraggy head to look around.
THE ENEMY VIEWS the mountain as a ready-made fortress.  The myriad of caves and tunnels make perfect bunkers, and solid-granite boulders offer more protection than a mountain of sandbags.  Although the top of Nui Ba is occupied by a US relay station, the slopes of the mountain still belong to Charlie.
Bravo Battery of 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, helped shake the enemy loose while supporting the Regulars of 3/22 Infantry and the 4/9 Infantry Manchus in a sophisticated version of “king of the mountain,” Operation Cliffdweller IV.
THE “ON TIME” cannoneers convoyed their six 105mm howitzers from Fire Support Base Buell to Fire Support Base Bragg, 5 kilometers northeast of the Black Virgin Mountain.  There they “prepped” landing zones for the infantry arriving via “eagle flights.”  Once the infantrymen were on the mountain, three of the guns moved to the base of the northeast slope to provide direct fire and artillery support from a different angle.
The hustling gun-bunnies kept their tubes hot for the next 4 days, firing almost continuously.  The constant barrage kept the little man deep in his hole.  Only during the few infrequent lulls in the firing did some of the braver individuals crawl out from under their rocks to fire sniper rounds and mortars back at the artillery.
THE BATTALION ammo section had to hump to keep up with the cannoneers.  Every “duece-and-a-half” in the battalion that could be spared was used to haul ammunition, and as many as 18 truckloads of ammo were hauled to the guns in one day.
When the smoke cleared and the guns were “march ordered” for Buell, any of the enemy who survived the siege were left with Battling Bravo’s calling card, a painful ringing in the ears.


Page 4 – 5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 30, 1970

The 25th Division’s Vietnam history is laced with geographical locations that seem to have appeared almost overnight, enjoyed a fleeting moment of prominence, and then ceased to exist.  Places like Fire Support Bases Kotrc and Crook, Sharron and Dorn, Frontier and Mole Cities.

The only stationary reference point in the otherwise protean area of operations has been Nui Ba Den.
From a distance, the Black Virgin Mountain appears majestic, slightly erotic, out of place: a black silhouette against blue sky and green rice paddy.  But like an aging beauty, she begins to show her years when you draw closer.

Scarred and craggy from years of bombing and shelling, that stately black coat turns to the muddy green of scrub brush and undernourished pine.
The mountain has been described as an island cut loose from the war.  Nowhere is this more evident than at the summit, where a group of 25th Division Soldiers have defended a signal relay site since 1967.
There is a notable absence of base camp atmosphere and the noise of the fire support base.  At one time, the mountain was isolated from the rest of the world, save telephone communication and helicopter resupply, but today, television has made it a full fledged member of Marshall McLuhan’s global village.
On a clear day you can see down across the Boi Loi and Ho Bo Woods, past Cu Chi to Saigon.  By night, the bunker guards command an impressive view of the countryside.  From their vantage point they are able to see artillery fire and then report miles away, tracer rounds crawl along the flatlands as if traveling in slow motion.
But at night, beautiful sights are overpowered by sinister sounds.  Noises made hundreds of meters down the slopes ride the updrafts and seem only a few yards away, serving as a constant reminder of the shaky coexistence on the mountain.
For the past three years, the security for the signal relay site at the summit has been provided by the men of the Nui Ba Den Provisional Company, its soldiers literally defending their own doorsteps, fighting off the VC recon elements that periodically probe the defenses.
Through the years, the Japanese, French, Viet Minh and Viet Cong have all held the summit at one time or another.  Today the only evidence that remains of those earlier occupants is the inevitable collection of names carved into rocks and a few stumps cemented firmly and neatly onto the mountain.
Recently, the Provisional Company stood down as part of the fifth increment of US troop redeployment from Vietnam and the responsibility for the defense of the mountain was quietly turned over to the Vietnamese.
Fittingly enough, as a final gesture, the division crest was carved on one of the rocks at the summit.  According to Major Frank Johnson of Tampa, Fla., the Provisional Company’s commanding officer, the insignia is cut one-quarter of an inch deep in solid granite.  “The Vietnamese,” he said, “say it will last 50 to 100 years.”
The mountain, unless man discovers a way to move them, will last considerably longer.

Page 120  UP THE HILL - Luggage, guitars and rucksacks are lugged up this rock strewn trail, as these 688th RF troops, piling out from the entrails of a Chinook, prepare to take up the defense of Nui Ba Den’s summit.

A LADY WELCOMES YOU — Struggling up the mountain top path, these 688th RF troops are greeted by the 25th’s Black Lady Mountain Welcome Mat, as they move in their equipment to take over the hilltop’s defense.

GOING HOME — This 25th Division trooper, atop his bunker home for the past few months, prepares to leave for good, as the 688th Regional Forces group takes over the defense of Nui Ba Den from the Nui Ba Den Provisional Company, 1st Brigade.

Page 121

A NEW GUARD REPLACES THE OLD — Looking over his new home, this ARVN trooper, a member of the 688th Regional Forces, Tay Ninh Province, is preparing to help take over the defense of the mountain summit.  The ARVN troops are replacing the Nui   Ba Den Provisional Company, 1st Brigade.

Page 122


Posted in Uncategorized on November 2, 2008 by ivankatz

The following account is of The Battle of Ap Nhi as told by Ron Leonard, crew chief of a Diamondhead gunship of B Company, 25th Aviation Battalion.  I am indebted to Mr. Leonard for his excellent research and detailed account of this battle. His account, has been edited, revised and condensed to make it more readable for those readers without a knowledge of military terminology.

Within his narrative, I have inserted my account of the battle, based on my first hand experiences in the battle, as the Senior Medic for Company C, 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division.  I am inserting a narrative by Marvin E. Branch, who was wounded during the battle.  Also I wish to thank the combat artists for the battle scenes.  The story of this battle comes alive due to their artwork. Their names are listed by their works.

As you read this story,  you may  realize that you or someone you know was in this battle.  If so, I invite you to contact me by leaving a note in the comment section. I  plan to continue adding details, and photos of those involved in the battle, to give them the honor they deserve.

The scene is the little Vietnamese village of Ap Nhi, which stretches along the south side of Main Supply Route 22, for about a mile.

It is a farming community, about half way between Go Dau Ha  and Tay Ninh.

The Ben Cui Rubber Plantation, known locally as the ‘Little Rubber,’ is near the village.

The weather and poor military planning on the part of our Commanding General,  favored the plans of our enemy, the Viet Cong, to ambush one of our supply convoys.

It was the  rainy season, with poor visibility, and a low ceiling making flying of our helicopter gunships dangerous.  Initially, there was no available artillery in range of the ambush, to support our troops.

Colonel Duquesne ‘Duke’ Wolf, Commanding Officer of the 1st Brigade, complained bitterly to  Ellis W. Williamson, 25th Infantry Division Commanding General, about the lack of resources to react to an enemy attack.  Unfortunately, his warnings to the General proved to be prophetic!


On the night of 24 August 1968, a reinforced Viet Cong battalion of five companies moved into the village, with the intent of ambushing the Tay Ninh supply convoy.

The convoy had 81 trucks of the 48th Transportation Company, made up of Refer Trucks in front, then supply trucks, fuel  trucks, and ammo trucks following.


The enemy positioned four Viet Cong companies in the trench and rubber trees on the western edge of the ‘Little Rubber’ plantation.  A fifth Viet Cong company occupied fighting positions in the village of Ap Nhi.

25 August 1968
11:45 AM
As the lead convoy trucks entered Ap Nhi it was misty and raining. The convoy was met by a column of Viet Cong dressed as  ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Viet Nam) soldiers marching single file along the north side of the Main Supply Route  adjacent to the Little Rubber plantation.

As the lead trucks exited  the village,  the fuel and ammunition trucks, at the convoy’s rear were in the enemy’s ambush kill zone.  The enemy troops opened fire.

The initial shot of the ambush signaled the  beginning of  the assault.  Almost immediately at least one fuel truck at the front of the kill zone was hit and exploded.  This stalled the remainder of the convoy as the truck blocked the road and burned.

Thirty one trucks in front of the fuel tanker truck sped away and escaped, but fifty were caught in the kill zone. Seconds later an ammunition trailer at the rear of the convoy was hit and burning,  cooking off ammunition.

The initial assault, disabling the thirty first truck in the convoy and rear  vehicle, sealed the remaining 51 trucks in place.

In the initial attack, gun jeeps and vehicles with radios, were also disabled.

Almost as soon as the column came to a halt, the enemy charged from the rubber trees. They fired automatic weapons, threw grenades, and were supported by machine gun, and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire in an attempt to overrun our convoy drivers and take control of their trucks.

From hastily established firing positions, the truckers gallantly returned fire.

SSgt William Seay of the 62nd Transportation Company  was one of those drivers.

He had been driving a truck laden with artillery charges.


When the attack began, Seay immediately leaped from his truck and took cover behind the left rear dual wheel of his truck.

About 20 feet away Specialist David M. Sellman was behind the dual wheels of the ammunition trailer.

As two Viet Cong soldiers attempted to charge his truck Seay shot them with a burst from his M-16.

All along the line the convoy’s drivers held their ground until the attackers had been pushed back to behind the berm.

Within minutes the initial attack had been blunted, but the battle was just beginning. For the next nine hours the Viet Cong attempted to wipe out the small groups of drivers and convoy personnel concentrated along the roadway.

The Americans soon realized they were not only being subjected to automatic weapons fire from the berm across the road, and the rubber plantation, but from snipers in the treetops as well.

Seay spotted one of the snipers in a tree about 75 meters to his right front. Aiming around the right side of the truck tire, he fired a burst from his M-16, killing the sniper.

Minutes passed, and then a grenade thudded to the ground and rolled under the trailer within a few feet of Specialist Fourth Class David  M. Sellman, who was well aware that the trailer was loaded with 175mm artillery shells.

Seay left his position without hesitation, exposing himself to intense enemy fire in the open ground between the truck and the ammunition trailer’s wheels, picked up the grenade and hurled it back across the road. Four Viet Cong jumped from their cover and tried to run, but they were killed when the grenade exploded.

Minutes later, when another grenade landed close to Seay’s group, Sellman kicked it off the road behind them.

No sooner had the dust cleared from that explosion than another grenade rolled under the truck and Seay again retrieved it and threw it back across the road at the attackers.

Just as Seay returned to his cover he and Sellman killed two more Viet Cong trying to crawl through a fence. A few seconds later, an NVA (North Vietnamese Army) enemy bullet tore through the back of Seay’s right hand, shattering a bone in his wrist. Yelling that he was hit and for Sellman to cover him, Seay  ran back to his rear looking for someone to help him with his wound.

Positioned in a ditch on the west side of the road, Seay found a group of six truckers who helped him with his wound. Unable to use his weapon with his right hand, Seay lay down to rest in the roadside ditch while the others moved to better firing positions 15 meters away.

After half an hour Specialist Fourth Class William Hinote brought water to the wounded man and remained with him in the three-foot wide ditch, while both men occasionally fired at enemy positions and awaited the next assault.

Suddenly while Hinote’s back was turned,  Seay fired another burst with his M-16, even though he was in mild shock from a loss of blood.

Seay had risen to a half-crouch and was firing his rifle with his left hand at some Viet Cong trying to cross the road. Hinote turned just in time to see  three of the Viet Cong fall backward over the berm.

No more than five seconds later he turned again and saw Seay himself fall backward, struck in the head by a sniper’s bullet.

The man who had saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at least three times that day died instantly without making a sound.

Some of the trucks were being looted by the enemy. At one point when the Viet Cong were crawling all over the trucks, the truckers requested permission to call in artillery strikes and blow the enemy troops off the road. The 25th Division Commander, General Ellis W. Williamson, denied the request.  There was no artillery in range of the battle.

Prior to arriving at the scene of the ambush, Specialist Fourth Class David M. Sellman recalls being delayed leaving Cu Chi with the convoy, due to a flat tire.  Since the convoy had left without him,   he had to convince his superiors that he could catch up to the convoy.  Finally, he was given permission to leave Cu Chi and catch up to the convoy, soon to be ambushed entering the small village of Ap Nhi.

As Sellman approached the convoy, on the outskirts of Ap Nhi, the ambush began.

He recalls fighting along with Seay and the others, eventually taking a fighting position behind an Armored Personnel Carrier from the 9th Infantry.

As the battle progressed Sellman was wounded by shrapnel.  Later Sellman  awoke in a bunker surrounded by dead bodies, and eventually was evacuated with other wounded to  Long Binh.

Specialist Fourth Class David M. Sellman was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, and  the Army Commendation Medal with V device for valor for his actions that day.  Soon after the battle, he was promoted to Specialist Fifth Class.


12:00 Noon
The 1st Brigade learned of the ambush about noon from Company C of the 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry (4/23rd, Mechanized – armor unit).  This unit had positioned a platoon one kilometer south of the “Little Rubber” plantation, to protect the Main Supply Route .

This under strength mechanized infantry platoon of one officer and ten men with two Armored Personnel Carriers sped north as soon as it heard of the ambush.

The platoon charged into the southern end of the ambush site, and was immediately attacked by a company of enemy fighters , along the length of a  trench.

They also began receiving rifle fire from an enemy position near a farmhouse, now 200 meters to their rear.

Another platoon of Company C 4/23rd located some five kilometers north of the ambush site, sped south and came under heavy rocket and small arms fire from the enemy strong point in the Buddhist temple at the northern end of the ambush.

This under strength force, one officer and fifteen men in four Armored Personnel Carriers lacked sufficient combat power to overcome the enemy force firing from the Buddhist temple, so they kept the enemy fixed in position by firing on them.

12:20 PM
At approximately 1220 hours, the 1st Brigade Commander, Colonel ‘Duke’ Wolf,  arrived at the ambush site in his  Huey helicopter, “Little Bear.”

Immediately Colonel ‘Duke’ Wolf flew to the aid of  Company C 4/23rd platoon, who was being surrounded by the enemy. With the additional firepower of the M-60 door mounted machine guns on his helicopter, and the dropping of several cases of tear gas, the enemy fell back and retreated  from their attack on the platoon’s two Armored Personnel Carriers.

12:30 PM
Lacking any immediate standby reaction forces, Colonel ‘Duke’ Wolf, ordered Company C  3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry (3/22nd), 25th Infantry Division, to fly by helicopter as quickly as possible to the northern end of the ambush.

12:35 PM
Ten Huey helicopters  of the 25th Divisions 116th Aviation Hornets scramble for an emergency Combat Assault.

An Infantry Company (C 3/22nd) is  picked up by Huey Helicopters, 5 Kilometers north of Fire Support Base Buell II and inserted just north of the Buddhist temple at Ap Nhi.


Charlie Company Assaults the Enemy

The following narrative is inserted based on my (Specialist 4th Class Ivan Katzenmeier) experiences as the Sr Medic for Company C, 3/22nd.

25    August 68

1:00 PM

My infantry unit, Company C 3/22nd, is ordered to join other assault units engaged in the battle at Ap Nhi.

Our unit is flown by helicopter to Tay Ninh, waits an hour and then flies to the sight of the ambushed convoy.


We land on a road outside of the village, not knowing what to expect.

A mechanized armored unit leads our assault troops towards the village as we follow on foot.


It quickly becomes obvious, there are wounded soldiers needing medical help for their wounds.  The medics are busy treating the casualties.

Our Captain, James B.Hansard, walks in the center of the road with his RTO (radio telephone operator) Ron DeVries at his side.

Our Captain, James B. Hansard

A model of courage, he shows no sign of fear.  He is intent on doing his job and taking care of his men in Charlie Company. As Sr Medic for his company, I walk with him, but near the ditch trying to keep a low profile.

Death and Destruction

To my horror, as we approach the village, we see bodies of civilians lying along the road. Parts of their bodies blown away. Civilians, caught in the crossfire, while trying to flee their village.

The ambushed convoy’s trucks sit on the road, their drivers dead in the cabs, they appear to be sleeping, no longer aware of the battle raging around them.

My eyes focus on the bullet holes in the thick metal rims of the trucks, which bear witness to the fact that my fragile body is no match for the penetrating power of a machine gun bullet.

It ll seems so unreal. But it is real. Death and destruction. No one is safe. The deadly bullets have no respect for who you are, medic or infantryman, officer or private, soldier or civilian.

The reality of the situation slowly soaks into my mind.  I am in a life and death situation.  I might be the next dead medic!

‘Doc’ Katzenmeier, Sr Medic – Company C

The tragedy of the situation intensifies as I see terrified villagers, walking and running towards us, screaming and crying in anguish, with children in tow along with a few meager possessions in their hands.  It is the most awful scene I have ever seen. I feel their terror, and know I can not help them.

A lieutenant and an infantryman come toward me and for treatment their head wounds.  Flying shrapnel hit them in the face.  I examine their wounds, which are not life threatening and continue on towards the village.

As I gaze down the village street, I see a man on a motorcycle race out of the Buddhist temple onto the street, trying to escape. I am not sure if he is a civilian or the enemy.

Someone calls, ‘Doc over here.’  I am at the edge of the village, and a soldier leads me to his buddy, with a bullet wound in the neck.

There is little I can do to save him from bleeding to death.  ‘Am I going to be O.K. Doc?’  ‘Yes,’ I reply, but know deep in my heart, his chances of survival are not good without a surgeon.

He is bleeding and spitting blood.  I start an IV and hope he can be evacuated soon.

Next a man is hit by a falling limb,  shot off a tree by an enemy rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

Four more wounded come to me for help, I treat them and send them on their way to be evacuated to a med-evac (air ambulance) helicopter.

An armored vehicle roars up next to me with another wounded soldier. He has bullet holes through his leg and hand.

I climb aboard the armored vehicle, and start treating his wounds.

Dan Orozco, a new medic, is with me now.



I ask the armored vehicle driver to head down the road toward the evacuation area where the wounded can be picked up by helicopter.

We arrive at an ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Viet Nam) compound where I jump off the vehicle and begin treating wounded lying in a ditch.  My supplies of bandages are running out.

A soldier runs to me and asks for help.  A soldier is on the ground.  It is obvious from his pale face and shallow breathing he is going into shock. I begin CPR.

The enemy begins firing mortars at us from the tree line.

We move the man into a shallow ditch to provide a little more protection and continue CPR.  Our goal is to keep him alive until  a helicopter can transport him to a hospital.  Even though we thought he had died several times we keep up the CPR.

Evacuating  Wounded Under Fire

In an instant, I feel red hot metal shrapnel hit my back, head and elbow, and then several loud bangs.

The shrapnel travels faster than the sound waves! This isn’t like the movies, where you here the gun fire, and then the bullet hits the victim. In real life it is the bullet that hits you first before sound of the gun firing reaches your ears!

Several enemy mortar rounds have found their targets – us!  The enemy is trying to kill me and my wounded soldiers!

I assess my wounds.  Am I OK? Am I mortally wounded?

My right elbow feels as if something slammed into my ‘funny bone’ with a hammer.  I have pain in my right forearm.  I am not sure if I need to be bandaged, or how bad I am losing blood.

The wounds seem to be not life threatening.  The tissue around the shrapnel in my elbow is swollen, causing pressure on the ulnar nerve, and numbness and pain, making my right hand and arm impossible to use.

In a panic, my mind races, I must move these wounded to safety.  They are wounded, not able to fight.  Frantically, I look around for help.

Parked near us is an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).  “Get on the APC.  No one can help you, you have to get off the ground and climb up to the top of the APC.’ I yell at the wounded, lying around me.   ‘We have to get out of here before more mortar rounds find us.’

Regretfully, we leave the dying man in the ditch. We are unable to help him due to our own wounds. I climb on the Armored Personnel Carrier with difficulty, as do the others.

‘Take us to the med-evac.’ That is all driver needs to hear, and he begins driving us away from the battle, to an area where helicopters are transporting the wounded to the hospital.

My right arm is useless, but with my left arm, I am able fire repeated short bursts from my M-16 rifle at the the tree line.

The tree line is far enough away, it is impossible to see the enemy mortar crew.

My rifle jams and from inside the APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) a crew man hands me another rifle.

The APC’s 50 caliber machine gun mounted on top, is useless.  All the wounded soldiers on top of the vehicle are blocking it’s use.

At the helicopter landing area, we wait for a helicopter to evacuate the wounded.  Although I am wounded I am undecided whether I should evacuate myself or stay and assist the other medics.

I am wounded, in pain and nearly out of supplies.  I also have a new medic with me, and that makes the choice even more difficult.

In a few hours it will be night, the clouds are heavy with rain.  The battle is not over, it will go on through the night.

Do I stay and face the terror of battle, certain death for many, wounds for others, lack of supplies, and a cold lonely night in this hell of a battle, or do I leave for the safety of the hospital?

Those not wounded, have no options but to stay and fight.  I have an option, but with a price!

I leave a new medic on his own, to face the terrors of battle. The terrors I no longer want to face.

I think of my family, and my wife.  I recall being told by a seasoned warrior, ‘it is better being a live coward than a dead hero.  A hero’s medal won’t buy a cup of coffee in the States.’

I rationalize, I am wounded, I need medical treatment, but should I leave with the other wounded?

There is no one in authority to ask permission to leave, except myself.  Sometimes we are harder on ourselves, than others are on us.

I make my decision and climb aboard the helicopter, with intense mixed emotions of condemning guilt, and selfish relief.

A few days later, pon my return to Charlie Company, I am welcomed by several soldiers from my unit.

‘We put you in for a Silver Star, Doc.’

I am at a loss for words!  My deepest fear is that they would label me a coward for leaving the battle.   Instead, they tell me I am a hero!

I was not awarded the Silver Star, but was awarded a Purple Heart for my wounds and a Bronze Star for heroism in the Battle of Ap Nhi.

As most medal recipients will tell you, we don’t consider our actions in combat heroic.  Circumstances dictate what you do.

But it meant a lot to me that day to have the respect of my combat unit.   Their kind words were better than any medal!

Long after my physical wounds have healed, I will be haunted by ‘survivor’s guilt,’ that only another who has survived the trauma of intense combat can understand.

25 August 1968  has been the worst day of my life!


The following narrative, is an eyewitness account of the battle by Marvin E. Branch:

This is my recollection of the battle, (August 25, 1968) some 44 years later; I was in the 4th platoon (mortars) that was the platoon at the north end of the village. There were only 3 of our 4 platoons on what we called convoy duty. The platoons were split up along the highway for a presence and in the event a convoy was ambushed we could react.

Shortly before noon we were radioed that one of the other platoons was ambushed at the other end of a village and we immediately loaded and rolled to assist. As we approached the town we saw several truck drivers headed our way. A few were wounded but able to walk. One was missing most of his right hand and in shock.

Their was an ARVN post at the entrance to the village; that is where we were stopped. We were close to the burning and disabled trucks blocking the road. There was also a jeep of MPs by the post who were at the lead of the convoy.

I sat up my 81 mm mortar on the ground next to the post and waited for a fire coordinate. Shortly after that time Charlie began to launch 60 mm rounds by pairs towards our position at random intervals. Each pair was getting closer as he walked them in our direction. We could not see his mortar flashes so I put the gun site on direct fire and fired back in what I viewed as likely locations in an attempt to knock them out. We did this throughout the afternoon.

In late afternoon some wounded drivers were being brought to our end of the village on APCs and later some wounded infantrymen. The 4th platoon had no medic so I directed the loading of the medevac choppers. Most of these men were able to walk without help. One driver was on a stretcher having been shot through a lung. The MP medic and I tried to keep him alive until the next chopper landed. At the same time the 60 mm rounds were getting closer and more frequent. Two landed near us and wounded one of the other mortar men. I told him to get under a nearby duce and a half and wait for the next evacuation.

I looked at my watch, at 5:58 PM the last two 60s landed as I turned around to help the medic. He was wounded in the arm; my wounded buddy was hit in the forehead as he attempted to climb into the truck bed (and later died of that wound). The concussion must have killed the driver. I was wounded in the right trapezia and just below my left shoulder blade. As the rounds explode gravel went up my back and back of my head and knocked me over. I believe if I hadn’t turned when I did I would have been blinded by the debris.

By this time the medevac was further up the road and the three of us walked to it. I was told later that those were the last rounds fired and contact broken.

I tell you this as a witness; nothing more or less. I am, however, grateful that the story has been told. I know more of the action than I ever knew. I am humbled by the actions of the individuals who were there that day.

Marvin E. Branch
C 4/23, RVN 9/67 – 9/68


The following narrative is a continuation of my edited version of Ron Leonard’s story of the battle. These guys are real heroes!

12:40 PM
The 1st Brigade commander, Colonel ‘Duke’ Wolf,  receives a radio message from the squadron commander of the 3d Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry offering to send his Troop B to assist the brigade. The offer is gratefully accepted and Troop B was ordered to speed north along Main Supply Route  22 to reach the southern end of the ambush.

1:05 PM
The Combat Assault troops (Company C, 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division) is inserted north of the Buddhist temple without incident, but have to fly in at 200-300  feet elevation to be under the cloud cover.

While supervising the Combat Assault troop’s  insertion ‘Little Bear’s crew chief is wounded in the lower leg by small arms ground fire and flown to the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi.

1:10 PM
Troop B of 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry arrive and are ordered to attack and destroy an enemy position in the farmhouse,  200 meters south of the Little Rubber Plantation.

Troop B charges the farmhouse.  The enemy directs heavy rifle and RPG
(Rocket Propelled Grenade)  fire at them.

After a 20-minute intense fire fight the lead platoon and  company commander, reaches the enemy occupied farm house. The company commander and four of his men are killed and eleven others wounded during the assault.

Approximately fifty enemy soldiers run from around the farmhouse and retreat north into the Little Rubber Plantation.

1:30 PM
The 1st Brigade Commander gives orders to the new acting Troop B Commander, who had just replaced his  commanding officer because he had just been killed.  He is to leave the farmhouse’s assault platoon in place, since they had suffered heavy casualties.  The remainder of his troop is to pursue the retreating enemy.

Troop B (less one platoon) pursues the Viet Cong through the Little Rubber Plantation.
After 15 minutes the enemy disappears among the rubber trees.

Next, the 1st Brigade Commander directs this force through the center of  The Little Rubber Plantation to a position approximately 100 meters to the rear (east) of the Buddhist temple.  They prepare to assault the temple.

In the meantime, the platoon of Company C, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry (Mechanized)
(consisting of eleven men and two Armored Personnel Carriers), which had been trapped in the extreme southern end of the Little rubber Plantation, has taken advantage of Troop B’s successful route of the enemy and joins up with the assault platoon of Troop B.

2:30 PM
A 155-mm howitzer battery (big cannons) is repositioned from Trang Bang and begins firing in direct support of 1st Brigade units. With this added fire power, the tide of battle begins to turn in our favor.


CWO Robert Spitler remembers the flying difficulty.

He couldn’t climb up and roll in on a target, due to the low cloud cover.
Flying low and firing flat at a low angle with very little forward air speed is not a good fire angle.  Rockets easily go over the head of the enemy or fall short.


A steep dive angle from 1500′ is much more accurate. Eventually, they depleted enough fuel and ordinance to hang low over the convoy and fire at point blank range into the tree line.

He was  nearly hovering at some points, as couldn’t afford to lose the time it took to go out and make a full run back in again. They were everywhere.

The helicopter gunships fired  door guns, rockets and miniguns from all sides at the same time, until the ammo ran out.

CWO Robert Spitler remembers the flying difficulty.

He couldn’t climb up and roll in on a target, due to the low cloud cover.
Flying low and firing flat at a low angle with very little forward air speed is not a good fire angle.  Rockets easily go over the head of the enemy or fall short.

A steep dive angle from 1500′ is much more accurate. Eventually, they depleted enough fuel and ordinance to hang low over the convoy and fire at point blank range into the tree line.

He was  nearly hovering at some points, as couldn’t afford to lose the time it took to go out and make a full run back in again. They were everywhere.

The helicopter gunships fired  door guns, rockets and miniguns from all sides at the same time, until the ammo ran out.

3:00 PM
After Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, had been moved by helicopter into the northern end of the ambush site to reinforce the two platoons of Company C, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry (Mechanized), the platoons of Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry advanced to a position 200 meters to the rear of the Buddhist temple.

The 1st Brigade Commander (from his Huey helicopter)  directed the infantry unit’s fire against the front of the Buddhist temple as Troop B assaulted the rear.

The Troop B platoons advanced in a line, firing all its weapons. When the assault reached the Buddhist temple, over 100 Viet Cong evacuated the temple and retreated southward through the trench in the Little Rubber Plantation.

3:30 PM
At 1530 the 1st Brigade Commander directed a “roll-up” attack operation down the axis of the enemy ambush positions in the village and the Little Rubber Plantation.

Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry moved along the edge of the village, and Troop B platoons moved just inside the Little Rubber Plantation but parallel to the trench.

The enemy began moving southward through the trench in the Little Rubber Plantation while the enemy along the edge of the village also retreated southward through the village.

After advancing approximately 800 meters, the Troop B platoons receive rifle and  and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) fire from approximately three hundred Viet Cong in a very large trench located 200 meters to their front.

This trench, approximately ten meters wide and two meters deep, ran perpendicular from Main Supply Route  22 in an east-west direction through the center of the Little Rubber Plantation.

4:20 PM
Troop B forces begin to assault the enemy-held trench, but after ten minutes reported that enemy resistance is very strong and that they are unable to move forward without more infantry support.

To bolster the assault on the trench the 1st Brigade Commander directed Company C, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, to move across Main Supply Route  22 and proceed into the Little Rubber Plantation to join Troop B in an assault on the enemy-held trench.

Unfortunately, Company C was almost out of ammunition.  It had only enough for two platoons; thus it left one platoon in the village, and joined Troop B with two platoons.

Troop B reduced to about 50 armored cavalrymen, and Company C, reduced to about forty infantrymen, with the assistance of helicopter gun ships from Company B, 25th Aviation Battalion’s “Diamondhead’s” attempted a valiant assault against this naturally defensible position held by many times their number.


After twenty minutes of intense fighting, both company commanders report the enemy is in great strength in the trench to their front, and in ever increasing strength on their flanks;  enemy firepower is too strong to permit them to close in and destroy them; and that both units are almost out of ammunition.

5:00 PM
Permission is requested to withdraw, regroup, resupply ammunition, and attack.

Due to darkness approaching and the impending monsoon rains adding to the enemy’s advantages permission is granted to withdraw and move to a defensive position astride Main Supply Route  22 just north of the Little Rubber Plantation.

They will attack again as soon as ammunition is resupplied.

5:15 PM
Back at Cu Chi, an additional light fire team from B Company 25th Aviation Battalion “Diamondheads” was scrambled to assist the withdrawal.

An A Company “Little Bear” helicopter is scrambled to the resupply point for the needed munitions, and an additional “Little Bear” helicopter is put on 3 minute strip alert loaded with CS gas.

5:30 PM
Our troops withdraw  as a very heavy monsoon storm hits the area., bringing total darkness and heavy rains which force all helicopters from the sky, preventing the evacuation of the wounded and resupply of ammunition for several hours.

5:40 PM
Both “Diamondhead” Light Fire Teams and the “Little Bear”, and resupply helicopters return to Cu Chi because of poor visibility and to wait out the storm. Diamondhead 174 is grounded after suffering several bullet holes in the rotor blades and had some structural damage in the forward cabin. CWO Spitler and his crew have to change ships to get back into the fight.

As we wait for the storm to subside in the scramble shack, we discuss strategy the enemy’s battle field strategy.  The enemy doesn’t want to blow up the convoy or they would have They wanted to steal the ammunition.

The drivers, some still pinned down at the north end of the convoy with little ammunition is a real concern. The large Viet Cong force in the Little Rubber Plantation is another.

Our main concern is to support the assault troops, protect the convoy from pilfering and looting, and to support the pinned down drivers. To do this successfully we needed the rain to stop and the clouds to lift some to give us room to work.

7:30 PM
Outside it is a torrential downpour.  I run back to my ship and dial the radio’s ground frequency.  The best I can tell is the fighting is continuing,  but mostly sporadic sniper fire, and the .50 Cals from the Mech Armored Personnel Carrier’s with their searchlights is keeping the looting of the convoy down.

The artillery unit from Trang Bang is doing a job on the Little Rubber Plantation, so the Viet Cong in the trench are at least frozen in place for the time being, and hopefully thinned out some.


7:45 PM
A Little Bear Flare ship is scrambled to the convoy. The Little Bear ship got on location at about 1955. The weather was still atrocious and they could not see the ground from their elevation of 2500 feet. They dropped a few flares, but it was a lesson in futility since the ceiling on the ground was too low to be effective or accurate.

8:15 PM
Due to no visibility the Little Bear flare ship returns to the Bear Pit to wait out the storm further, as the artillery unit continues to pound the battlefield around the convoy and inside the Little Rubber Plantation.

10:05 PM
An emergency call is received an emergency resupply of ammunition. The assault units and drivers are in dire straights without it.  Since the Little Bear resupply helicopter is already loaded, they vote to take a try it. At worst they wil be forced to return.

As they approach the convoy they duck under the low cloud cover, the artillery unit fires illumination rounds and somehow they find the drop zone, illuminated by a strobe light.

The conditions are much too treacherous for the gunship helicopters to work, or any other aircraft for that matter.  Unloading quickly, they take on some of the wounded and return to Cu Chi’s 12th Evacuation Hospital to deposit the wounded and then on to the sanctity of the Bear Pit and safety to wait out the weather.

11:06 PM
At 2306, again the Little Bear flare ship is scrambled. According to the ground commander the sky is starting to clear some, and the ceiling improving. It will prove to be a very long night for the flight crews.

Jay Marion, the crew chief on the Little Bear flare ship remembers the night all to well.

‘We took turns “rotating on station” with the Diamondhead flare ship. While we were reloading, Diamondhead was dropping flares and visa versa. That way we could constantly have the battlefield lit up. It was one very very busy night.’

‘We were flying with NO LIGHTS on anywhere and we didn’t have monkey straps on, so one wrong step, or you get hung up on an out going flare and you went with it. It was not one of the better missions that I would want to repeat.’

‘We were flying quite high and worked our butts off tossing out flares… hoping like you would not believe that we would NOT get hit. I still don’t want to think about what it would have been like to get rounds into that pile of flares and see it catch on fire. Things would have been very nasty.’

‘From the elevation we were at we couldn’t see things very clearly, but I do know the action was quite intense down below. Tracers were going everywhere, red ones from the gunships going down, green and white ones going up, and all of them going sideways on the ground.’

Within minutes of the arrival of the flare ship, the 1st Brigade  “Little Bear 120″ with the 1st Brigade Commander aboard was back on station above the convoy to direct the attack and recon the battlefield.

The Viet Cong again were beginning to assault the trucks in the convoy and the supporting drivers.


Since the weather is beginning to break up, and the ceiling lifting,  “Diamondhead” gunships are called to return on station to assist in the battle.

11:29 PM
At 2329 the phone rings in the scramble shack on the Diamondhead flight line. We are off within five minutes enroute to Ap Nhi to assist in the protection of the besieged convoy.

I remember just before we arrived on station we were monitoring the radio listening to the ground commander “Noble Corners”, situated at the south end of the convoy talking to his counter part at the north end of the convoy, “Bristol Kites”, about the developing situation.

There are pockets of drivers and other convoy personnel still engaged with the Viet Cong along the roadway, and a pocket still pinned down at the north end.

At the south end Viet Cong are unloading munitions from the trailers, but there isn’t the manpower to totally stop it.

As we arrive above the convoy.  The weather still isn’t great, the ceiling is about 900 feet with patchy clouds and a foggy mist hung in the air.

The flare ship is dropping flares, which cast an eerie almost surrealistic glow to the battlefield.

The artillery shells impacting in the Rubber Plantation create a noticeable amount of smoke drifting back towards to the convoy.   Add to this the tracers flying all over the place, green and white ones coming from the west side of the road, and red ones answering them from the east.

While our fire team leader is figuring out the location of our troops, and the bad guys, I noticed a little Lambretta scooter, one of those three wheeled jobs with a small cargo box on the back leave the south end of the convoy and disappear into an old barn or farmhouse. In a couple of minutes he returns and repeats the trip. My aircraft commanders (CWO David Stock)  and I decide to let him make one more trip before giving him a wake up call.

By now the ground commander had briefed us on the situation, and the  location of, our  troops and the bad guys.  From the 900 foot ceiling we make one rocket run at the trench across from the convoy at the south end.

As we start our run all hell break loose.  A a wall of tracers comes to greet us on the way down.  We punch off 4 sets of the 36 rockets we have with us. I covered with machine gun fire as we break west away from the roadway.

As we circled around, there was our little buddy and his Lambretta heading back to the little barn a couple hundred yards south of the convoy.

I opened up on him with the door gun and walked the rounds into him just as he cleared the door.

CWO Stock was already lined up and rolling in. He punched a set of rockets off as a barn-warming present.


They went right in the door behind the Lambretta. At this point I estimate we were about 200 feet off the ground, and due to the intense ground fire we broke pretty hard and gained altitude quite quickly.

I don’t know how many trips that Lambretta had made into that barn, but now it was quite apparent what he had been hauling; it had been howitzer rounds!

The secondary explosion that went off in that barn was totally incredible!  The fireball went up into the clouds. We were back up to 900 feet and the bam parts were up there with us. We barely missed a piece of roofing tin and some other miscellaneous building materials.


My mind flashed to the morning headlines “Diamondhead 085 Shot Down By Exploding Barn!” That would make for a really shitty day!

After getting our composure back we use the rest of our rockets and machine gun ammunition in the trench across from the drivers, and into the edge of the Rubber Plantation.

This stops the attack on the convoy for the moment. We are out of  ammunition and head back to Cu Chi to re-arm and refuel. We were in battle  more than an hour.

26 August 1968
12:41 AM
The Little Bear also left the battle to change crews, those guys had been going since 6 A.M. yesterday and are exhausted.

At Cu Chi’s refueling point we top off the tank with twelve-hundred pounds of JP-4 and then hover over to the rearming point to begin the arduous task of loading thirty-six more rockets and re-arming the mini-guns and door guns of our ship and our wing ship.

12:55 AM
While we are refueling, our secondary team is scrambled back to the convoy. The battle continues.  They were under attack by an estimated battalion size enemy force. At least we  get a little break until the secondary team needs to re-arm and refuel.

After finishing the task at hand, and inventorying the aircraft for damage we fly back to the “Beach”, the “Diamondhead” portion of the flight line, and enter the scramble shack to await our next mission. We had acquired a couple of holes from enemy bullets, but only punctured the helicopter’s skin and hit nothing vital to our safety. A piece of duct tape will hold it for now.

01:35 AM
As we enter the scramble shack, the phone rings and we are on our way, back to the battle.

One of our helicopters is shot up pretty bad for the second time in 24 hours and will leave the fight.

The rest of the night was not real eventful, save ducking some ground fire.
Re-arm, re-fuel, return to the convoy, shoot up some ammo and a few rockets when we found proper targets.

06:30 AM
At 0630 the 1st Brigade Commander directed a “roll-up” attack operation down the axis of the enemy ambush positions in the village and the Little Rubber Plantation, a repeat of the operation the previous afternoon, while the team at the southern end of the ambush site acted as a blocking force.

Company C. 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry will moved along the edge of the village, and Troop B platoons will move just inside the Little Rubber Plantation but parallel to the trench.

Main Supply Route  22 will be both the axis of advance and the boundary between the two attacking units.

The Troop B Commanding Officer is designated team leader. During this sweep the gunships will fly overhead in case they are needed, and as a safety precaution.

During this time frame all of the wounded will be med-evaced to 12th Evacuation hospital in Cu Chi.

10:00 AM
The entire ambush area has been swept clear and the evacuation of the disabled convoy vehicles begins. The enemy left before dawn.

Five of the ambushed trucks are total losses, but the trailers with the artillery ammunition are in good shape with little loss of ammunition

About one hundred four enemy killed and twice that number wounded.   Our losses are nineteen killed and forty-nine wounded.

Seven of the dead and ten of the wounded being truckers.  The 25th Aviation Battalion sustained one wounded. There were also two MlA’s.

10:30 AM
Two helicopters are sent to pick up our nineteen dead soldiers. This is the most gruesome job any aviator could have.

Two Americans taken prisoner by the Viet Cong during the ambush.

Specialist 4th Class Bobby Louis Johnson of Detroit and Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Gregory of Altus, Okla., both of the 62nd Transportation Company, were captured late in the fight. Both were held in a Viet Cong prison camp NW of Tay Ninh City.

(The following information is from:

Bobby Johnson and Burt Kinzel were riding in a truck. They
stopped and went into a mud hut realizing the enemy
was approaching from all sides. 

Kinzel ran, barely escaping the grasp of a VietCong. 

Bobby Johnson was captured and not released till 1973.
The POWs were kept on the move; some held in groups,
and some held alone. 

It was a mental challenge to try to keep track of
their location, and the POWs report that they believed
they were in Cambodia some of the time, and at other
times near the Ho Chi Minh Trail. During rest periods
on the journey they were held in cages or in deep holes,
or chained to trees.
Johnson remained in captivity for five years. In February 1973
he was released with most other knownPOWs and sent to Ft. Knox Ky.

Nine months later (after the 25 August battle)  a 1st Cavalry Division helicopter was flying over northern Tay Ninh Province near the Cambodian border.

Twelve miles northwest of Tay Ninh the crew sighted someone  waving from a trail in the bamboo below.


When the pilot descended for a closer look, he decided that the man looked like an American and brought the chopper down to pick him up.

It was Sergeant Gregory.
“When they picked me up, I was actually crying,” Gregory is quoted saying.

He escaped four days earlier and wandered in the jungle ever since – praying that a helicopter would fly over.  Gregory was taken to the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh.

The seven men known to have died in the ambush are


  • 86th Transportation Company
    • SP4 William C. Lawson, Happy Camp, CA
    • SP4 Claude F. Vaughn, McRae, GA
    • PFC Paul H. Pirkola, Calumet, MI

  • 10th Transportation Company
    • PFC Arden G. Sonnenberg, Kenosha, WI

  • 62nd Transportation Company
    • SGT William W. Seay, Pensacola, FL (Medal of Honor)
    • SP4 Eugene Turner, Los Angeles, CA
    • PFC Danny J. Mitchell, Marmet, WV

Convoy Ambush At Ap Nhi-Stephen C. Tunnell, Vietnam Magazine The Infantry Brigade In Combat



US forces in the area responded rapidly and violently, with two infantry companies and an armored troop arriving on scene. The ambush became a day-long fight that ended after night fell. Nineteen US soldiers were killed in the incident, eleven from the convoy personnel and nine from the reaction force. They were

Convoy personnel: 

  • 86th Trans Co, 6th Trans Bn, 48th Trans Group
    • SP4 William C. Lawson, Happy Camp, CA
    • SP4 Claude F. Vaughn, McRae, GA
    • PFC Paul H. Pirkola, Calumet, MI

  • 10th Trans Co, 7th Trans Bn, 48th Trans Group

  • 62nd Trans Co, 7th Trans Bn, 48th Trans Group
    • PFC Danny J. Mitchell, Marmet, WV
    • SGT William W. Seay, Pensacola, FL (Medal of Honor)
    • SP4 Eugene Turner, Los Angeles, CA

  • 75th FC Co, 506th Field Depot
    • CPL Jerry L. Simmonds, Sacramento, CA

  • 556th Trans Co, 64th QM Bn, 53rd GS Group
    • SFC Thomas E. Richey, Atlanta, GA
    • SSG Byron J. Mitchell, New Paris, PA

  • C Co, 720th MP Bn, 89th MP Group
    • SP4 Guy A. Davison, Everett, WA

Reaction force: 

  • C Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Infantry
    • SP4 Robert J. Dorshak, Michigan City, IN
    • SP4 Cornelius F. Murphy, Northport, NY
    • PFC Leland E. Radley, Boscobel, WI




  • C Co, 4th Bn, 23rd Infantry
    • SP4 Earl S. Bazemore, Baltimore, MD
    • CPL Patrick J. Mc Cormick, Richmond Hill, NY
    • CPL Jeffrey W. Pohjola, Southfield, MI CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE


  • B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cavalry
    • CPT James B. Westbrook, Memphis, TN
    • SSG William T. Anderson, Statesville, NC
    ~Distinguished Service Cross ~
  • The following article is from:

    Captain Henry R. Phillips commanded C Co. ~ Tomahawks ~ 4th Battalion (Mechanized) / 23rd Infantry Regiment/25th Infantry Division, during this combat encounter and for his actions earned the Distinguished Service Cross.

    Quoted below are excerpts from the DSC citation which provide additional details of the action:

    “…his company and a convoy that it was supporting were ambushed by two North Vietnamese Army battalions…Captain Phillips flew to the scene of the battle and jumped to the ground from his hovering helicopter amid intense enemy fire. Finding that his first platoon was in danger of being overrun, he quickly gathered a force to assist the threatened element and halted the advance of the communist.

    As he was leading a counterattack to secure a landing zone for an ambulance helicopter, he and his men came under heavy rocket-propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire from the flank. Grabbing four light antitank weapons, he moved through the hostile fusillade to a point from which he was able to destroy a rocket-propelled grenade team and an automatic weapons position. Once the casualties were safely evacuated, Captain Phillips led a small group of volunteers into the killing zone of the ambush to extract several remaining dead and wounded personnel. He then organized a withdrawal as darkness set in and although wounded by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade, succeeded in leading his men to an allied command…”

  • Note: see   ~ KIA September 22, 1968 ~ for the story of this brave warrior’s final battle, go to:


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2008 by ivankatz

His and Hers Prayer Room Queen Alia Airport Amman Jordan

JOURNEY FROM CHICAGO TO AMMAN VIA LONDON 4/25/08 Friday 11:45 PM At last I am at OHare, Chicago. Due to stormy weather in the Chicago area, my flight from Wichita, Kansas was late. FIRST MISSED FLIGHT I missed my direct flight from Chicago to Amman Jordan on Royal Jordanian Airlines by an hour. Tomorrow at 10 PM, I will be on the next flight to Amman if there is room on the plane. I have about 20 hours to enjoy myself in the airport. Since the delay is due to weather, the airline is not obligated to pay for a hotel room. So I will find a comfy place to sleep in the airport and relax. Flight delays are to be expected. 4/26 Saturday Napped in the airport. It is a good time to read my Middle East travel book at a table in the food court, where I can people watch, eat and read. This is great! In The Royal Jordanian  Standby Line It is 8 PM. I am in the standby line at the Royal Jordanian Airline counter with about a dozen others. Royal Jordanian doesn’t have any idea how many seats will be available on the next flight to Jordan. The flight leaves at 10 PM. Hope there is room on this flight for us. ALABAMA As I talk with others in line, I learn there are several traveling to Iraq, via Amman, Jordan. Two are employees of contractors in Iraq. One is a truck driver. A rather quiet, intense young man. Not too talkative. It is his first trip to Iraq. The other man, is very tall, a mid-60ish Alabaman, with blond hair, white western style shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots. I will call him ‘Alabama.’ THE STARING MATCH Alabama, while waiting in line, is quite talkative. Very extroverted and opinionated. In the line next to us is a thirtyish black gentleman talking to an older distinguished looking man, who may be from India or Pakistan. Alabama is listening to their conversation. The man leaves, and the black gentleman comments to Alabama about the other person, something about the person being a Dr. Alabama responds with an edge in his voice, ‘Do you have a problem with that!’ The black man says a quick ‘no!’ Emotional electricity is in the air! Alabama exchanges a few more words with the black gentleman, and their eyes meet, locked in anger, each staring at the other person’s eyes . A test of wills. Both know the game. The first to look away is the loser. The black man realizes this is a no-win contest, and to relieve the tension, makes an apology, not to Alabama, but to a lady at the front of our line. The confrontation is over, and I feel embarrassed, for both of them. It has been a long time since I experienced a racially loaded confrontation. Court at The Royal Jordanian Ticket Counter An elderly Jordanian, in a wheel chair is holding ‘court’ next to the Royal Jordanian counter. I leave my place in line and position myself within hearing distance of the group and the person in the wheelchair. He is surrounded by several persons, discussing the ‘state of affairs’ regarding their chances of flying to Jordan in the near future! The Jordanian in the wheelchair, mentions to the Royal Jordanian employee behind the counter, that a family member works for Royal Jordanian, and suggests, because of his relative, he is entitled to special considerations. The employee stares blankly at him as if he does not exist. The Standby List Behind the counter, a Royal Jordanian employee, with an air of authority, is writing names on an informal standby list. I hand him my tickets and passport.  ‘You are third on the list’, he states matter-of-factly. SECOND MISSED FLIGHT – NO ROOM  – TEMPERS FLARE! It is 10 PM, departure time for Jordan . It is announced there are only 3 seats for standby. They have been assigned, but not to anyone in our group. The standby list has been ignored. There are no seats on the flight for any of us. As it sinks into our brains we have now missed two flights to Jordan, a feeling of hopelessness, frustration and anger descends on the group, like a dark, heavy cloud. A US Passport is Torn UP It is after 10:30 PM . We are tired and tempers are short. A teen, with a small group of friends is shouting obscenities and tearing up his US passport. The angry teen storms past his friends, out of the ticketing area. Several teens follow, trying to reason with him.  Emotions are intense. There are angry exchanges of words, one teen tries to order him to return. He hurls more obscenities into the air and exits the terminal, announcing he is going home. Alabama negotiates with Royal Jordanian Alabama is at the counter making his best plea for a hotel room paid for by Royal Jordanian. The supervisor is not sympathetic. ‘It isn’t our airlines fault that weather caused you to miss the flight,’ is his cold response. Alabama changes his approach, trying to shame the employee, by mentioning that I am traveling to Jordan to build Habitat for Humanity houses for needy Jordanians. ‘Doesn’t he deserve any special consideration?  Alabama asks. The employee ignores Alabama, without comment. The $150 Deal Finally Royal Jordanian announces they are re-ticketing standbys for a flight to Amman Jordan by way of London, for $150 fee. No credit cards accepted -hard cash only. I am last in line.  They offer me the same deal, but American Airlines must endorse my ticket over to Royal Jordanian, first. It is close to midnight. Royal Jordanian staff are leaving the counter. One employee, seems to be more helpful than the others. ‘Have American Airlines endorse the ticket over to Royal Jordanian and bring the ticket to me tonight, and I can re-ticket you,’ he offers. He then tells me how to find him at the Royal Jordanian office on the upper floor, since the ticket counter is now closed. MY AIRPORT BUDDY While in line, I am befriended by a young man (twentyish) who is now now my ‘airport buddy.’ It is midnight. The Re-Ticketing Process We must locate the American Airlines counter. Of course it is in another terminal. Off we go – hopping on and off the airport tram. It is late. We are sleep deprived. We are lost and traveling in circles on the airport tram! With the help of my new buddy, we find the American Airlines counter which is closed until 3 AM – yes 3 AM! LOST AND FOUND While we scurry around O’Hare on the airport tram, my airport buddy finds a cell phone on a tram seat – it is about 1:30 AM. Being very concerned about it being returned to its owner, he locates an airport employee, to place in the airport’s Lost and Found. THE ROYAL JORDANIAN CHANGE OF ADVICE We return to the Royal Jordanian terminal and locate the Royal Jordanian office. It is a small, unimpressive office. Inside two people are counting money. The person I talked to at the counter earlier, recognizes us. Then he tells me what he should have explained earlier – American Airlines can re-ticket me for the flight to Amman through London, WITHOUT endorsing my ticket over to Royal Jordanian! At the ticket counter, in the presence of his supervisor, his job is to to sell me a Royal Jordanian ticket for the $150 re-ticketing fee.  Now that he is no longer under the scrutiny of his superior, he is able to give me advice that is in my best interest, rather the company’s best interest. So my new airport buddy and I return  to the other terminal to wait for the American Airline counter to open. Three AM isn’t too many minutes away. 2:30 AM My goal is to be first in line, but first I must locate an ATM for more cash.  I expect to pay extra for the ticket, since Royal Jordanian required $150 CASH for the re-ticketing fee. I try to use the ATM and it rejects my card.  My mind is in a fog, due to the late hour and lack of sleep.  I realize, I attempting to use a credit card in the machine, instead of an ATM card! Mike gives me some common sense advice about not showing my cash in public.  ‘Always go into a restroom booth, when taking large amounts of cash out of your money belt’ he advises.’  Then shows me a wad of bills, ‘this is my ATM!’ American Airlines Counter At 3:00 AM the American Airlines staff are slowly readying the counter waiting area for customers, by setting up a portable ‘fence’ for the waiting line. They appear less than happy to be on duty at this hour in the morning. No Re-ticketing Fee !!! Finally at 3:30 AM they are ready to talk to me. I am re-ticketed for a Royal Jordanian flight to Amman through London, and American Airlines charged me NO re-ticketing fee!  Go figure! MOHAMMAD – MY GUARDIAN ANGEL !!! As we talk, I learn that my new airport buddy is a Jordanian.  ‘My name is Mohammad, but you can call me Mike,’ he states.  I think, ‘After 9/11, this is a good decision on his part.’ Mike is a citizen of Jordan and the US, having acquired US citizenship while a student in computer science at a N. Carolina University. He ponders whether he will be able to keep both his US and Jordanian passports. Mike is anxious to contact his family in Jordan. I offer my cell phone. He calls, speaking to them in Arabic, he tells them his flight is delayed. Mike can’t sleep, so he watches our luggage while I sleep. COVERT MARINE OPERATIONS IN IRAN In our conversations, our talk drifts to the war in Iraq, al Queda, Osama bin Laden and Islamic radicals.  He states his disapproval of Islamic radicals terrorists actions using Islamic Jihad as the rationale.  “Jihad (a holy war against the infidels) is only authorized by the proper authority, and only in certain situations, the radicals are misusing Jihad,’ he confides.  He is a little vague about when a Jihad is appropriate, but his clear message to me is that he is not a radical Muslim. Mike explains that while in college, he moonlighted as an interpreter for the Marines in Iran – yes Iran, not Iraq. According to Mike, the US Marines have a covert presence in Iran, and they summoned Mike four times to Iran to interrogate ‘persons of special interest to the US.’ I am very curious about his interrogation procedure.  ‘How do you interrogate people,’ I ask. ‘While in a room, I question the person, using various techniques to determine if he is telling the truth.’ is his short reply.  Although he seems willing to entertain my questions, I am not  getting any in-depth information from him.  His replies are very matter-of-fact. I don’t know what to make of his comment that he worked for the U.S. Marines’ covert operations as an interrogator/private contractor in Iran. I forgot to ask him if he interviewed in Persian (Farsi), or Arabic, since only about 2% speak Arabic in Iran.  I doubt he speaks Farsi.  Is he spinning a wild story to impress me?  Mike doesn’t strike me as dishonest, nor does he seem to have a need to impress me.  In fact, he impresses me as being very honest. US VS JORDANIAN LAW As Mike and I discuss the incident of the teen tearing up his US passport Mike states that, ‘In Jordan, such an act of disrespect against a government document means imprisonment.’ Several times Mike asks, ‘are you certain the US does not have a law regarding such behavior?’ MIKE’S OPINION ABOUT OUR MISSED FLIGHTS Mike is not at all sympathetic toward Royal Jordanian Airlines.  He says they have many flights that are not full, arriving in Amman.   He implies that Royal Jordanian Airlines just doesn’t care about providing good service to its customers, and could try harder to accommodate its passengers. JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II AND FORMER KING HUSSEIN King Abdullah’s government (the current government of Jordan) is not as repressive as his father’s (King Hussein’s) prior government, according to Mike. It is interesting to note that King Abdullah II was educated in the USA and England.  Born in 1962, he became King after his father’s death, in 1999.  He is a direct descendant of Muhammad, founder of lslam, who is  revered by Muslims as God’s last prophet. KING ABDULLAH II King Abdullah’s great grandfather, King Abdullah I, was assassinated in Jerusalem, after prayers on the Temple Mount.  A Palestinian extremist fired the shots. King Abdullah II’s father,  witnessed the assassination, and was saved when the assassin’s bullet was deflected off a metal pinned to his chest earlier that day, by his great grandfather. A year later, at age 16, King Abdullah II’s father, Prince Hussein, became King Hussein of Jordan. ————————————————————————– Now, back to the flight story.   Initially, I was due to arrive in Amman at 5:30 PM today (Saturday). I have a hotel room reserved in Amman for today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) – but won’t make it due to the flight delay.  I am glad I purchased flight delay insurance, which will help pay for some meals and missed  reservations. 4/27/08 Sunday Flight to London Our flight from Chicago leaves at 10 PM tonight and arrives in London tomorrow at 3 AM. Then at 5 PM I fly from London to Jordan. I am now on the flight to London. My Conversation With Alabama Alabama is sitting several rows ahead of me, on the row next to the exit door. He is at least 6 feet tall or taller, and needs the extra leg room the exit row seats provide. Although, I do not approve of his racist behavior at OHare, I want to find out more about his job in Iraq. I walk to his row and sit down next to him. Alabama Tells His Story From earlier conversations at the airport, I know Alabama’s background is in law enforcement, and he is on his way to Kirkuk, Iraq. He is an employee of a US contractor. I ask, ‘how long will you be in Iraq and what do you do?’ Alabama explains, ‘I have an obligation to complete the last 3 months of a two year contract. My assignment is to train Iraqi police recruits on crime scene investigation techniques.’ Alabama’s Pay and Bonus ‘I am paid $180,000/year, plus a $10,000 bonus for signing up plus an additional $10,000 when I complete my tour.’ ‘If I fail to complete the last 3 months, I forfeit $20,000 (the $10,000 initial sign up bonus, and the $10,000 completion of duty bonus).’ Iraqi High School Diplomas for $12 ‘It is difficult training Iraqi police recruits, since some can’t read and write.  Recruits are required to have a high school diploma, but for $12 anyone can obtain a high school diploma  in Bagdad, without attending school,’ Alabama laments. Iraqi Murder Investigations Alabama describes a typical crime scene investigation.  ‘After a murder, an Iraqi family’s priority is burial, as soon after death as possible, since they don’t embalm the body. Then a few days later the murder is reported to the police. The victim has been buried and the crime scene compromised.  This makes it very difficult to investigate the crime scene.’ M-4 Automatic Rifle Stocks Discarded by Iraqis Alabama continues, “The Iraqi’s take the stocks off the M-4 automatic rifles, because they want to look ‘cool.’ So there are piles of new M-4 stocks in Iraq.” The 2008 Presidential Elections Conversation turns to the elections. Alabama states matter-of-factly, ‘there will be riots if a black is elected president.’ The Conspiracy ‘Our nation is slowly being desensitized to mixed (white and black) relationships, by the advertising industry,’ according to Alabama’s world view. Alabama’s Home Arsenal Then his mood lightens as he describes his arsenal of automatic weapons and ammunition in his Alabama home. He is prepared for anything. Alabama is married. ‘I am doing it (working in Iraq) for the money,’ he repeats several times. He stares into the distance, as if a vision of his home and family is passing before him. Traveling Through Danger ‘How,’ I ask, ‘will you travel from Amman to Kirkuk?’ ‘Another employee and I will travel by Humvee, with no armor on the vehicle, or armed escort, from the Jordanian border to Kirkuk. We will have flak jackets and automatic weapons, driving as fast as possible,’ is his terse reply. Obviously he is not relishing the thought of the dangerous road trip to Kirkuk. ‘My hope is that we will not be ambushed or hit an IED buried in the road.’ He then recounts the statistics on the number of contractors killed in Iraq, that the news never reports.  ‘Only the military deaths are newsworthy to the press,’ he states. I know there is danger waiting ahead of him. Facing Terror Before I left the States, I read ‘Facing Terror,’ a true story, by Carrie McDonnall. The book describes survival after an ambush on the road to Kirkuk. Unfortunately she lost her husband, and two dear friends, also a missionary couple, in the ambush. I know Alabama is heading into a very dangerous region of Iraq. Don’t read the book without a box of Kleenex and a fistful of antidepressants. It is a sad and frightening book. Ask me for my copy, borrow one from your local library, or purchase it on the Internet  for $10 London 4/28/08 Monday We arrive on schedule in London at Heathrow Airport. It is 3 AM.   Alabama is at the tourist information desk, pricing hotel rooms. He plans to check into a hotel room no matter the cost. At $350/night – A hotel room is too pricey for me and not close to downtown London. I will stay in the airport. As Mike and I walk through the airport, we notice many others sleeping on the floor. We are searching for the Royal Jordanian counter. After exploring the airport several times, and asking directions, we finally find the Royal Jordanian ticket counter in a ‘hidden’ area.  It was not really hidden, but not in plain sight to us, because there was a stairway blocking our view. Sleeping At Heathrow Airport I roll out my sleeping bag, and fall asleep immediately while Mike watches over me. Mike hasn’t slept for 3 days, and I could tell. His short term memory was gone! He would ask me a question and a few minutes later ask me the same question. I slept until Mike awakens me – alerting me to the fact that Royal Jordanian staff are arriving at the counter. We have our tickets, so there is no reason to stay in this area which will soon be filling with customers. Next Stop Downtown London It is around 6 AM. I need some English money, so I can buy breakfast. Then I must figure out how to get to downtown London. I invite Mike to go with me, but he is not interested in leaving the airport. He is only interested in going home, not touring London. The bus ticket office is located right outside the airport. I am pleasantly surprised tickets are half price for me, since I am over 60! For only $16 round trip, I take the bus to downtown London! At London’s Victoria bus station, bus tours of downtown London are for sale. For about $40 I will take a several hour tour of downtown London, with a real live English tour guide. London EyeThe London Eye click image to enlarge Ivan the London Tourist! From the tour bus I see Buckingham Palace , Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Houses of Parliament/Big Ben. The bus ticket allows me to get off, tour each site, and re-board on the next bus, anytime during the next 24 hours. But I have a flight to Amman Jordan leaving at 3:10 PM, so I must return to Heathrow Airport.  At noon, before returning, I eat some chicken nuggets at the London Victoria Bus Station, home of the Angry Whopper! The Burger King sign – home of the ANGRY WHOPPER AND DOUBLE ANGRY WHOPPER! At the London airport, I meet Mike, and board the plane for Amman Jordan. He offers his assistance, if I should have any problems getting my Jordanian visa, or going through customs at the Jordan Airport. He expresses his anxiety about returning home. His parents have moved to a home outside of Amman, and he forgot to ask for directions to their home. He has been unable to contact them by phone, since his last call on my phone.  He tries to use my phone again, but hears only a busy signal. I do not see Mike again. …………………………………………………………….. After several days of flight delays and detours, my Middle Eastern adventure is about to begin. Thoughts are running through my mind about the first time I tried to journey to the Holy Land. My wife and I wanted to take a special trip to Israel to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. It was 2006 and Hezbollah paramilitary force in Lebanon attacked Israel. Based on advice from our travel agent, earlier in the year we changed our plans, and took a Mediterranean cruise instead. …………………………………………………………… Amman to Jerusalem Tuesday April 29, 2008 Arrival at Queen Alia Airport – Amman Jordan It is a few minutes before midnight. I am at Queen Alia Airport, Amman, Jordan. I purchase a multi-entry visa, since I plan to travel to Israel and return. The Jordanian customs line is moving along smoothly. In the line next to me, is the teen who tore up his US Passport. He calmly explains to authorities that he does not have his passport and is in the process of replacing it. They smile and pass him through. After exiting immigration, I realize I am a stranger in a strange land! amman-jordan-airportAMMAN AIRPORT(click photo to enlarge) It is after midnight. I am three days behind my planned travel schedule. I am tired, confused, and on my own. I must decide what to do next. The choices seem to be , 1)Attempt to get to my hotel in down town Amman, or 2) stay at the airport until I can catch a bus to the Israeli border. If I go to my hotel, I will be arriving in the middle of the night with no guarantee of a room, since my reservations were the prior two days. I decide to catch a bus to the Abdali bus station in Amman where buses and taxis will be leaving for the border. Looking around the airport, I spot the opening to a hallway. Above the entrance I see the following sign: His and Hers Prayer Room Queen Alia Airport Amman Jordan These are the signs in the Airport for those who need to pray. Maybe I need to pray! I enter the hallway, and to my right and left are empty carpeted rooms. Not too much demand at this time of night! The Queen Ali Airport has two terminals, with a street separating them. They are identical in appearance, except one is marked terminal 1, the other terminal 2. One is for arrivals, the other for departures. Simple enough, right? Wrong!  Since they are identical, after walking back and forth between them, searching for the bus to downtown, eventually I become confused, which terminal I am in. Outside the airport terminal, The air is pleasant temperature. Several taxi drivers offer their services. ‘Where is the bus stop for the Abdali bus terminal,’ I ask. The reply is always, ‘No Abdali bus!’ I walk back and forth between the two terminals, in search of the bus stop, and ticket counter. Finally one helpful Jordanian, indicates I should cross the street to the departure terminal to catch the bus. This I do, but still can’t find the bus. Then another helpful Jordanian escorts me across the street and asks for a tip. I give him a Jordanian Dinar, then discover I am at arrivals terminal. I am going in circles!  It is like a bad dream! Outside the arrivals terminal is a sign on pillar, with the bus schedule. It indicates there is a 3AM and 7 AM bus to the Abdali bus station. Sleeping at the Airport – Again! I lay out my bed role find a quiet secluded spot in the airport, lay down and sleep until 3 AM.                                                                    INSIDE THE AMMAN AIRPORT  – above is the inside of the terminal – below is the cafe menu – multiply prices by  1.4 to convert to US Dollars. (click photos to enlarge)

Multiply Menu Prices by 1.4 to convert to US Dollars At 3 AM, I awake- and there is no bus. So I return to my spot on the floor and sleep until 6:30 AM.  There is a bus, but the driver indicates I can ride it only with a ‘transfer.’ Finally I locate a person in a car rental office, with good enough English, that we can communicate. No Abdali He explains that the Abdali bus terminal had been replaced 3 months ago.  It is no longer a working bus terminal! That is why everyone kept telling me, ‘No Abdali   Bus!’ ABDALI BUS TERMINAL  Demolition In Progress -> It is almost 7 AM, and I am outside again. A bus is waiting for passengers. The Bus to Downtown Amman The bus driver exits the bus. ‘Is this bus going to downtown Amman? is my hopeful question? ‘Where I do I buy a ticket?’ Amman Jordan\'s Queen Alia Airport  Tourist Police He motions to come inside the airport terminal with him. The Argument Between Bus Drivers Before he enters the terminal, another bus driver approaches him on the sidewalk. A very heated argument ensues. A small crowd gathers. One man attempts to stand between them like a referee at a boxing match. He has a hand on each man’s shoulders, keeping them physically separated. A Tourist Policeman in a helmet with a silver spike on top, is aware of the argument but looks the other way.  These two aren’t tourists, so are not his concern. Tourist Police

Tourist Policeman (click photo to enlarge)

Tourist Policeman (click photo to enlarge)

Walking toward the bus I see a person open the side cargo bay, put in his suitcase, close the cargo bay door, then enter the bus. All writing on the bus is Arabic, so I don’t know if it is a bus to Amman. Another person exits the bus, and indicates by gestures and Arabic, that I put my luggage into the cargo bay and board the bus, which I do.   It is almost 7 AM, and time for the bus to leave. In a few minutes, the man who confronted the bus driver enters the bus, sits in the bus driver’s seat and starts the engine. I realize it must be the 7 AM shift change, and he is the replacement driver. In a few more moments, a person walks down the aisle and takes my Jordanian coins for a ticket, less than a dollar. I had changed US Dollars for Jordanian Dinars when I processed though Jordanian immigration. A money exchange  booth was open, so travelers could change their foreign currency for dinars, in order to pay for their visas ($10 for single entry and $15 for multiple entry visas). On the road to Amman Finally I am on my way to Amman. The landscape looks very arid. The highway is modern. People are standing and walking along the highway. The women are covered from head to toe in head coverings and long dresses. The men are wearing shirts and jeans. Some have Arab head coverings.  We are traveling north to Amman about 20 miles away.  The bus stops to pick up and drop off riders on the way.


Coming into Amman, I see no slums, but do see a large resort called ‘Everest’ on a hill on the outskirts  Amman.                                                    Everest Resort —–> The New Bus Station Arriving at the new bus terminal, I see it is a bus parking lot on the edge of Amman. Taxis are parked like vultures waiting for their unsuspecting prey, or passengers. Mohammad the Taxi Driver I depart the bus. The bus driver retrieves my luggage suitcase from the cargo bay of the bus.  Immediately, a taxi driver eagerly offers his services. I indicate I am traveling to the Jordanian border. He offers a fare of 30 Dinars, about $35.00. After some haggling, and the driver consulting with another driver, he agrees to my offer of 20 Dinars, about $28 for the trip. I enter  the taxi’s front seat. Jordanian Hospitality in a Taxi He offers me a hot cup of sweet tea. I hadn’t eaten since the flight to Amman, yesterday afternoon, so the tea is very welcome. Is mee Ivan, is mak? I quickly look at my Arabic phrase book, and say, ‘is mee Ivan, is mak?’ Translated, ‘my name is Ivan, what’s yours?’ THE OTHER MOHAMMAD ‘Mohammad,’ is the reply. As we travel through the streets and city traffic, he asks the usual questions, with a heavy Arabic accent, ‘Is this your first trip to Amman? Where are you from? Do you like Amman? We leave the city limits and he turns on the radio. Arabic music blares. Then an Arabic call in talk show begins, very loud. Mohammad is intent on driving and listening to the radio.  We are headed west toward the border Israeli border. The countryside is very hilly and desolate. There are crude shelters on the side of the hills. Click photo to enlarge –  ROAD SIDE SCENES.

JORDAN COUNTRYSIDE (click to enlarge photo to see shelters)

JORDAN COUNTRYSIDE (Click Photo to Enlarge – to see shelters)

They appear to be makeshift structures, made out of boards. Possibly sheep and goat herders live in them. Mohammad is talking about the Dead Sea, and offers to take me on a side trip. I decline, since I want to get to Jerusalem, and will visit the Dead Sea later. Mohammad is now speaking in his broken English about taxi fares not being enough to cover expenses. It is difficult to understand him, but I get the feeling he is laying the ground work for more money. He stops at a gas station and says he needs money for gas. Jordanian Gas Station I hand him the 20 Dinars, our agreed on taxi fare. He accepts the cash, puts some gas in the taxi, then shows me 5 Dinars change left from my 20. He demands 15 more Dinars. DUMPED IN AN ARAB VILLAGE As he drives out of the gas station, he continues his demands for more Dinars, while talking to Allah.  As our taxi enters the small town’s intersection, he turns right onto the main street. He waives at a taxi sitting across the street, as if they are expecting each other. The other taxi makes a u-turn and pulls in front of our vehicle. Mohammad opens the trunk and drops my suitcase onto the street and at the same time informs me the other taxi is taking me the rest of the way to the border! ‘You agreed to take me to the border for 20 dinars,’ I protest. I realize , I do not have a strong negotiating position. I feel trapped, helpless, and victimized. I look around and see no tourist police, to ask for assistance. Mohammad is determined to dump me. ONWARD TOWARD THE ISRAELI BORDER I enter the other taxi and away we go.  According to Mohammad, the driver will take me to the border for 5 Dinars. This taxi driver speaks no English, so I tell myself I have to trust that he is an honest village taxi driver, and not interested in kidnapping me for a ransom. To my relief, we arrive at the border crossing, called the King Hussein Bridge in Jordan, and the Allenby Bridge in Israel, I exit the taxi, pay the driver. JORDANIAN CUSTOMS OFFICE There is a Jordanian customs terminal, where luggage and visas are checked. the main purpose of the terminal seems to be the collecting the Jordanian exit fee, which I had paid when I purchased my plane ticket to Jordan. They waive me through, telling me I have nothing to pay. A Jordanian Express Transit (JET) bus is waiting outside, to carry me to the Israeli side of the border for a small fare. The bus stops at 3 check points, a short distance from each other, and each time our passports are checked.


BORDER GUARD TOWER  (click photo to enlarge)

ISRAELI BORDER We arrive at the Israeli check point. All luggage is unloaded and x-rayed. Inside there are lines at the money exchange booth. Our passports are checked. We enter another room with lines for questioning by Israeli immigration. The Israeli female immigration employee questions the purpose of my trip, where I am staying, asks if I am traveling alone, whether I have friends or relatives in Israel, and if I will be traveling to Gaza or the West Bank. After clearing immigration, I pick up my suit case, and change Dollars for Shekels. ONWARD TO JERUSALEM Outside the building, are minivans waiting to taxi us to Jerusalem. they don’t leave until they are full. They hold 10 passengers, each paying about $7.00.  The first taxi is almost full except for one seat. A couple wants on, so I offer my seat, so they can travel together. Then I wait for the next taxi to fill. I wait 30 – 45 minutes, and we are on our way.   In a few minutes we are traveling on a road south of Jericho, which we can be seen from the road. Then the road climbs the hills leading into Jerusalem. The driver seems to imagine he is a race car driver, as we careen on the curves. JERUSALEM – AT LAST! Jerusalem’s elevation is 2,577 feet above sea-level, 13 miles west of the Dead Sea, 32 miles east of the Mediterranean Sea, and about 80 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The city is almost surrounded by small mountains. We arrive at the eastern edge of Jerusalem, passing through the Arab part of the city. It is run down and not too prosperous. A little farther down the road on our left is a huge wall, on the right Arab school children play on the sidewalk. We are on the north side of the Old City of Jerusalem near the Damascus gate entrance.Palestinian Neighborhood - East Jerusalem into the old walled city of Jerusalem! The bus driver announces the stop, and then pulls over to the curb for me to exit. At last, I have arrived at my destination, the Old City. For an internet tour of Jerusalem and a summary of its history go to jerusalem-bread-vendor-in-arab-section Arab Street Vendor across the street from the Old City (click to enlarge photo) ENTERING THE ANCIENT CITY OF JERUSALEM I cross the street, and head toward the Damascus Gate, which I know is a block or two west. Entering the ancient gate, I find myself on a long narrow Arab souk (market) street, full of merchants and their shops. This is the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. I follow the street called Souk Khan El-Zeit, heading in a southerly direction.  My hostel is in this direction on the opposite side of the city. The street ends in a ‘T’ and I head right (west), and exit the walled city. LOST IN THE OLD CITY I am a lost tourist. I know I must find the Jaffa Gate and King David street. A man approaches and asks, ‘can I help you?’ ‘I am  looking for the Citadel Youth Hostel.’ ‘I know it, I will walk with you to the hostel.’ ‘How much will this cost?’ I ask and he replies, ‘nothing.’ What a nice guy! I think sarcastically, since I am very skeptical.   But I am lost and need direction, so I decide to accept his offer to lead the way. JOSEPH TO THE RESCUE He introduces himself as ‘Joseph,’ and calmly states he respects all religions and believes in one God. We walk through the narrow winding streets of the Armenian Quarter, and shortly, we are standing in front of the entrance to the Citadel Youth Hostel. THE CITADEL YOUTH HOSTEL

CITADEL ENTRANCE click photo to enlarge

CITADEL ENTRANCE click photo to enlarge ->

I had reservations for Monday through Thursday night. Or so I thought. Joseph offers to wait outside, while I check in. He indicates he will make me an offer to be my guide, when I return. Entering the hostel, I find myself at the reception desk/computer room/lounge area. The man at the desk, asks my name. ‘I have reservations.’ NO ROOM AT THE INN? ‘Since you did not show up the night before, I am not obligated to honor your request for reservations Citadel Youth Hostel Front Desk (Click Photo to Enlarge) DORM (click photo to enlarge) ‘This bed is yours.’ There are at least 16 beds in the room, some are bunk beds.  Although this is a youth hostel, there is no age limit, but most of the guests are college age, travelers of  the world. I pay for the bed, only about $11/night. A real deal! I put my suitcase on the bed and head out to the street where Joseph is patiently waiting. I had reviewed a tour brochure, while checking in at the hostel, so I had an idea of the cost of tours. ………………… The Citadel (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) Some may think I stay in youth hostels because I want to save money – The cost is only  $12/night for a dorm room . That’s true, I not only save money, I enjoy meeting people from all over the world who love to travel. They are easy to talk with, and share experiences. Jamil,  the hostel manager, calls me ‘the other Ivan’ ( referring to a 1950’s or 60’s wrestler with the name of Ivan). The Citadel youth Hostel is a 700 years old cave-like building, with uncut stone walls,  two upper floors with small rooms and a roof to sleep on. Each floor has its own dingy shower and toilet. The bathrooms are not attractive, and there is a kitchen for guests to use, but no dining room. The Citadel offers free internet, and a TV lounge, where guests share their adventures,  and travel tips. I love this place! JOSEPH’S OFFER Joseph offers to show me around Jerusalem for 2 1/2 hours for 150 shekels, about $50. He will show me the ‘Wailing Wall,’ a synagogue, Mary’s Tomb, the Upper Room, and the Mount of Olives. Since I arrived a day later than planned, I decide to accept his offer, since I reason, with his help I can see more of the city in less time, than I could on my own. SEPHARDIC SYNAGOGUES We walk to a Sephardic Synagogue in the Old City, which is actually four synagogues, connected by door ways. The Sephardic Jews were Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492, and Portugal in 1497. The buildings all date back to the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s. The names of the synagogues are the Ben Zaki, Prophet Elijah, Istanbuli and Central.

Sepahardic Synagogue

Sephardic Synagogue

The Ben Zaki Synagogue once held a reception for Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, in 1870. This is the synagogue where the Chief Sephardic Rabbis are given their official robes and title. The Prophet Elijah Synagogue, is so named, based on an ancient tradition.  An interesting story that goes like this. The Sephardic Jewish community, at first was so small, it didn’t have enough men to make a minyan ( A minyan is a Jewish requirement to have a minimum of ten men for a prayer service) . According to tradition, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) at the beginning of the prayer service there were nine men, and then an old man suddenly appeared to make the tenth. And then at the end, he disappeared. Then the worshipers realized they had been visited by the Prophet Elijah, and named the synagogue accordingly. The Istanbuli Synagogue, is so named since it was built by immigrants from Istanbul, Turkey. And finally the Central Synagogue is in the middle, and was formerly the Ben Zaki Synagogue’s women’s section. This is where the Chief Rabbi ( Hahambashi ) of Palestine was installed. Joseph and I approach the ruins of the Tiferet Yisarel Synagogue.  The history of this Hasidic Synagogue is very interesting.  For its history go to:

Tiferet Synagogue Ruins

Tiferet Synagogue Ruins

‘What is the meaning of tiferet?'(see ), I ask Joseph. His reply, ‘fringes,’ (that hang down from the four cornered Jewish garments). I know that fringes are tzizits, not tiferet so I ask him again, vaguely recalling that the term is used in Kabbalah. Joseph has a blank look on his face, and repeats that tiferet are fringes. ………………………………… To learn about tzizit go to: For an explanation of tiferet go to: ……………………………………… Near the ruins of the old synagogue is a scenic overlook of the Mt of Olives, on which Jesus will return.  The wailing wall can also be seen from here.

View looking east from the Jewish Quarter

View looking east from the Jewish Quarter click photos to enlarge

JOSEPH AND THE BLIND MAN Joseph comments that if I see a blind man ( a friend of his) please give him a shekel. And sure enough, a blind man comes walking by and I offer him a shekel. THE TOUR IS ABOUT TO END – SOUVENIR AND LUNCH TIME Joseph is a welcome companion and pleasant tour guide, although we had not visited Mary’s tomb or the Upper Room (supposed Last Supper location), the 2 ½ hour tour is about over. ‘There is one last stop, a souvenir shop managed by a friend of mine, would like to look?’ asks Joseph. I am not too interested, but did find a small souvenir plate, which I purchased. It had been the day before since I had eaten.  and Joseph, invites me to dine with him at an out door restaurant in the Old City. We agree to share a large Tuna salad ( my treat, since I paid for both of us, a total of 100 shekels with tip – about $30). It is huge. More than either of us can eat. I had not eaten anything substantial since the flight, it is past time to eat. JOSEPH’S BACKGROUND Joseph talks about himself, his family, with whom he didn’t get along, and his former job as a language instructor at the university. Joseph reminisces about his background, his family problems, and reveals he is a recovering alcoholic. According to Joseph he has lived in the US and has applied several time to immigrate to the US, but was turned down for a Permanent Resident Card, due to having served prison time, related to his alcohol and family problems. His brother, on the other hand, was allowed to immigrate to the US, and has a Permanent Resident Card. He expressed bitterness toward the US Immigration authorities, and felt he had been treated unfairly. Joseph confesses ‘I am not a licensed tour guide,’ but the government doesn’t bother me since I am self employed.’ All tour guides in Israel must be licensed, to be employed by a tour agency. He admits he is a Muslim, and states ‘I have a very open mind, and am very accepting of others.’ Our discussion turns to Palestinian and Jewish relations. ‘Our leaders are the biggest problem, both Palestinian and Israeli.’ He continues to discuss the politics of Israel and based on his comments, it is obvious to me that he has some bias against the Israelis and some sympathy toward the Palestinians, but not the extremists, such as Hamas, who are ‘very dangerous and violent’ in his opinion. JOSEPH’S SECOND OFFER Towards the end of the day, Joseph offers his services for a second day. ‘I would like to accompany you on a trip, tomorrow to the Sea of Galilee.’ ‘Rent a car. You will pay for my meals and time (300 shekels worth or about $90 ).’ His plan seemed to be worth exploring, so we walk outside the walled city to an area near the King David Hotel, which had several car rental agencies. We checked rates at  Avis, Hertz and Budget.  Budget has the best rates, at about $78 for 24 hours including insurance and unlimited miles. I reserve a car but give no credit card or cash deposit, so have no commitment. The plan is that we meet me at 8 AM and then travel by rental care to the Sea of Galilee area. ‘I will accompany you. Why take a group tour, with set schedules, everyone doing the same thing, ‘ he rationalizes, ‘we will set our own agenda and pace. I will not be explaining any history or background information of the area. I will be your companion and we will just enjoy the trip. ‘ As we return to the Old City, along the way, Joseph excuses himself.  He indicates he has the urge to relieve himself, out of sight, in some bushes along the side walk. I am slightly paranoid, I guess, but I am not sure what he was doing in those bushes. Since he admitted to an alcohol problem, he may have a drug habit and needs to medicate himself out of my sight.  Or maybe he really had to relieve himself. Or he may have been calling a friend, since, a few minutes later, we meet another of his ‘down and out’ friends.  Joseph asks me to give him a shekel to help during a difficult time. As we continued our walk toward the Jaffa gate on the west side of the Old City wall, I am having second thoughts about the next day. I CHANGE MY MIND At the hostel, Joseph asks for 150 Shekels ($50) for his services for the day, and a 50 shekel ($15) tip or about $65.00 total, ‘If you are happy with my services’. I respond, ‘but we did not see Mary’s Tomb, or the Upper Room, so I am a little disappointed, but I do not want any hard feelings, so I will pay what you ask.’ And then I add, ‘I am not interested in your offer to accompany me tomorrow for 300 shekels ($90,) plus meals, plus car rental (another $78).’ ‘A licensed tour guide on a group tour costs only $82. For that fee, I don’t have to drive and the guide will tell me the history of the historical sights around the Sea of Galilee.’ Joseph had disappointment written on his face, but didn’t argue. ‘Did you give the car rental agency any down payment or credit card?’ He inquired with sincerity in his voice.  He seemed truly concerned, that I was not obligated for a rental car. I assure him all is well, since I had gave neither cash nor a credit card. Joseph  offered an Islamic blessing for me and my family, as we said our good-byes.  Looking over his shoulder as he walked away on St Mark’s street… he repeated his question again, ‘are you sure the rental agency doesn’t have your credit card number?’ ‘They don’t have my credit card number, I am sure,’ I replied. It was the last time I would see my Muslim friend and guide. I entered the hostel, and immediately I sign up for the Sea of Galilee tour. The tour leaves from several major Jerusalem hotels at 5:45 AM. THE SHOWER AND LOST BILLFOLD I climb the ancient stone steps to the second floor showers, and proceed to hang my clothes and a traveler’s billfold (a wallet which hangs on a cord around my neck), containing my cash and passport on a hook protruding from the wall. The shower stall has no place to sit or lay anything, such as shoes, watch or billfold, except for the toilet (without a lid over the seat) and the wall hook.  The floor of the shower  is flat so the water spreads all over the floor, rather than sloped toward the drain.  A squeegee, with a long handle is a gentle reminder that unless one likes standing in a pool of dirty shower water, it needs to be used to push the water towards the drain. After the shower, I return to the main floor dorm area, to relax, and visit with the other guests, in the TV area.   A little later in the evening, the desk clerk hands me my billfold, with all the cash and my passport still in it.  Someone found it in the shower and turned it in.  Yes there are honest travelers in this hostel!! 4/30/08 Wednesday  THE SEARCH FOR THE KING DAVID HOTEL I awaken early, since I want to get to the King David Hotel where I will meet the tour group. Yesterday, while shopping for a rental car, Joseph pointed to the King David Hotel, nearby, so I am fairly confident I can find it. I estimate it is only about a 15 minute walk. JERUSALEM BY MOON LIGHT I exit the Old City though the Jaffa Gate.  The wall of the Old City is on my left.  The early morning sky  boasts a crescent moon hovering over the old city wall like a jewel lying on dark blue velvet.  The wall appears to golden in the moonlight. As I walk down the hill, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it all.  I stop, pull my camera from its carrying case on my belt and take several photos. JAFFA GATE – OLD CITY WALL OF JERSULAEM LOST IN NEW JERUSALEM After walking about 30 minutes, I realize I am lost. The streets are deserted. No taxis, no pedestrians. Just me alone in Jerusalem. Then I spot a young man walking ahead of me. ‘Sir, excuse me sir,’ I shout, hoping he understands English. “Where can I find the King David Hotel?’ KIDNAPPED OR RESCUED? Immediately he hails a passing car, which stops abruptly. He enters the front and motions for me to get into the back seat. My mind races, here I am, lost in Jerusalem, in a car with two strangers, and at their mercy. Is this a taxi? Or a private car? Or am I being kidnapped by some extremist crazy?’ These thoughts are flying through my mind. If this is a taxi, I am probably going to be a victim again of an unscrupulous taxi driver who will charge a huge fare, since I had not agreed on fare when I entered the car.  If I am being kidnapped – I don’t have time to finish the thought…. The car stops, the young man jumps out, and opens my car door . ‘How much do I owe you?’ I ask the driver. ‘Nothing,’ is the reply. I don’t believe my ears! but I am relieved, and little uncomfortable that he doesn’t ask for any payment. On the street, I question the young man, who hurries toward a door in the side of the building. ‘I work here, at the King David Hotel, and the front entrance is just around the corner.’ I will show you.’ He walks to the corner of the building and points. I am in shock! The car must have been a King David Hotel taxi. THE KING DAVID HOTEL Entering the hotel, I explain to the reception desk employee, ‘I am here for a tour.’ ‘Please wait in the lobby.   That is where the tour groups meet,’ she replies confidently. It is almost 5:45 AM, so I am right on time, thanks to two helpful Israelis. While I wait I explore the lobby, and admire the hallway. In the floor of the hallway, are signatures and dates of world famous persons who stayed at the King David. It is very impressive. Click photo to enlarge.

Danny Kay's Signature in Lobby of King David Hotel

Danny Kay’s Signature in Lobby Floor King David Hotel – click to enlarge

See and NO TOUR GROUP No sign of a tour group. I return to the desk clerk and ask, ‘should I be concerned that no one from the tour agency has arrived?’ She phones the tour agency and then instructs me, ‘stand outside the hotel, not in the lobby.’ I exit the hotel, and in a few minutes, a mini-bus arrives.  There is only Hebrew writing on the side of the bus- no English. The driver has been waiting in front of the hotel on the street and I was waiting inside for an hour. THE TOUR GROUP – TWO GEORGIANS AND ONE PERUVIAN Inside the mini-van are three passengers. Two young female students (attending school in London) from the country of Georgia, dressed from Georgian Students head to toe in black dresses and head coverings (they looked like nuns),  and Carlos from Peru. Our tour bus heads out of Jerusalem for Tel Aviv, where we will meet the rest of the tour group. The three are interesting companions. The students have never heard of Machu Pichu, Peru, and of course Carlos thought that was really odd. Carlos is in the agricultural business, and works for a company with offices in Peru and the US. He is really interested in the trees in Israel, especially those he recognizes, that are also grown in Peru. About 8:30 AM we are heading north of Tel Aviv. The bus driver stops the bus in a median of the four lane highway, exits the bus, puts his cell phone to his ear, and stands next to the van. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME I am still experiencing flashbacks to Mohammad the Jordanian taxi driver, dumping me in the village three miles from the border, and demanding more money. A little ‘Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome’ I guess! So to relieve my tension, I joke, ‘this is where he throws our luggage onto the highway and demands 50 shekels each!’ The other three already heard my Mohammad The Jordanian Taxi Driver story, and laugh nervously at my attempt to be funny. ONWARD TO THE SEA OF GALILEE After a few minutes, a tourist bus stops, and we join the tour group from Tel Aviv – with a real licensed Jewish tour guide. The tour bus takes us to the sights of Jesus’ life and ministry – Meggido, the site of the future battle of Armageddon, NAZARETH – JESUS BOYHOOD HOME Jesus started his ministry in his home town of Nazareth, but was not accepted as the Jewish Messiah.  He then moved to Capernaum.  In Nazareth, There is the church of St. Joseph which we visited.  It is filled with mosaics from around the world.

Nazareth -Mary and Joseph's Mikvah

Mikvah (Jewish Bath for Purification) in Mary and Joseph’s Home – click to enlarge

St Joseph's Church

St Joseph’s Church

Click photos to enlarge CAPERNAUM His home for about twenty months of His three year ministry,  also Peter’s home, and the Synagogue built by the Centurion  (see Luke 7:1-5) who asked Jesus to heal his servant). It is interesting that the Centurion (a non-Jew) who was a Roman soldier, built this synagogue long before the request  to heal his servant.  The synagogue is right next to Peter’s home, where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (see Mark 1:29-34). This resulted in the whole city coming to his door. Capernaum Synagogue Click photo to enlarge.  Site of Jesus’ Synagogue Built on top of the black basalt foundation is a ‘newer’ synagogue, built after the time of Jesus.  It is constructed of white limestone.  The Francicans in 1864 decided to buy the property from Bedouin owners, to prevent the stones from being carted away for other construction.  It must have been a big rock pile, when they intervened.  Over the years they began putting the stones back together, like a giant jigsaw puzzle. SEA OF GALILEE SEA OF GALILEE Jesus spent three years of His ministry on and around this lake.  Some of his disciples were fishermen.  It was their source of food and escape from the crowds seeking physical healing. Present day fishermen go about their trade, probably in much the same way as in Jesus time, 2000 years ago.  At about sun down, they go down to the shore and enter their boats, rowing silently across the lake, listening for a possible whirlwind that might be developing in one of the gorges, which connect the mountains to the lake.  Their fear is to be caught out on the lake at night by a surprise storm, which are sudden and can create six foot waves.  See Mark 4:35ff when Jesus and his disciples were caught in such a storm. When they reach the far shore on the eastern side, they know where to find the swarms of fish that can be caught at night.     The spot the ‘sweet spot’ for fishing  has 20 mineral springs that boil up in the lake during the night.  These springs are a fish magnet.  The water’s depth is 700 feet.  Two boats, with a weighted net between them, drag for fish gathering beneath the two boats.  Smaller nets are used to take the fish from the larger nets. After the threat of storms is past, about 2:00 AM they row back toward the western shore. After day break, springs on the eastern shore, about a mile south of Capernaum, become active, again attracting fish and fishermen, who use a cast-net method to fish.  Rather than dragging a net between two boats,  they wade out into the water after throwing the net, and push it down with their feet, to tangle the fish in the net, and then pull the fish harvest from the lake. This is very likely the location mentioned in Mark 1:16-17 where  as ‘Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” A tour of Galilee isn’t complete without a fish dinner.As you can see in the photo, the chef didn’t have time to take off the head or fins! —> JORDAN RIVER BAPTISMAL SITE After leaving the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, we stop  at a baptismal site on the west bank of the Jordan River.  This is not a historical site, but does commemorate Jesus’ baptism and is set up to accommodate  believers who wish to be baptized in the Jordan river. The site of Jesus’ baptism is on the Jordan side of the river.  I will visit that site next month. Feeding of the 5000 at Tabgah – Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Note the rock under the table in the upper right of this photo – it may be the rock where Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes before feeding the crowd. This location is thought to  be where He appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the dead. The church’s mosaic floor tiles are restored, but some original tiles remain from an ancient church, possibility dating back more than a thousand years. Our last stop is at a diamond factory in Tiberius, where they cut and polish diamonds, and of course, sell jewelry to rich, very rich tourists.  It is a good place to use the rest room, and wonder who can afford the expensive jewelry on display! OUR BUS DRIVER IS LOST IN JERUSALEM We arrive after dark in Jerusalem.  The bus driver was confused, and lost.  How hard can it be to find the Old City of Jerusalem, I wonder.  But others in the van were staying  fancy hotels, and the driver has no idea of their location.  He calls several times on his cell phone asking for directions, but remains lost. Finally several of us exit the bus, several blocks from the Old City, and walk back to our lodging. 5/01/08 Yesterday was a good day.  Tomorrow I hope to be on a bus heading for the Jordanian border, at 7 AM. In preparation for tomorrow’s return trip to Amman, Jordan, early in the morning at 7 AM I walk north of the Old City in search for the Arab bus station.  After some searching, I locate a bus station in a parking lot across from the Damascus gate. The buses are all labeled in Arabic, except for the Bethlehem bus. I locate the ‘boss man,’ I know he is the boss man, because ‘BOSS MAN’ is written on the back of his shirt in large ENGLISH letters. Boss Man is helpful and directs me to another bus station, for ‘border buses,’ a half a block away.  after giving me a two minute lesson on how to ask for the bus in Arabic. I walk to the ‘border bus’ station, again a parking lot, and a man at the far end waives to me.  He is standing in the doorway of the ticket office.  He tells me ‘the buses leave starting at 7 AM every half hour for the border and the fare is 30 shekels – $10 US.’



THE DAMASCUS GATEnside-the-damascus-gate-facing-north-in-the-old-city-of-jerusalem Since I have accomplished my objective of locating the bus station for tomorrow’s journey to Jordan, I return to the Old City by way of the Damascus Gate (northern entrance to the Holy City).  I walk east and exit the Old City at St. Stephen’s Gate.  A cemetery is located on either side of the sidewalk with a view of the Mount of Olives in the distance.  Turning around, I re-enter through St. Stephen’s gate, on a Shaar Ha-Arayot street, which becomes the Via Dolorosa. THE TEMPLE MOUNT ENTRANCE I walk to the second street on my left, King Faisal Street, which should lead into the Temple Mount, my next objective for the day. The entrance to the Temple Mount is blocked by two black Israeli soldiers, with Uzis (machine guns) sitting at a table.  They don’t speak English, but are able to communicate enough to let me know I have to enter through the Jewish Quarter.  I am in the Muslim Quarter, thus only Muslims are allowed to enter through this entrance. The Temple Mount is the location of Solomon’s temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD, except for some foundation stones, known as the ‘Western Wall,’ or ‘Wailing Wall.’ TWO MOSQUES Today there are two mosques on this site, one with a gold dome (Dome of the Rock), the other with a lead dome (Al Aqsa Mosque). The Muslims believe Mohammad rose to heaven on this site.


temple mount – lead dome of Al Aqsa mosque in background

ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, According to Hebrew scriptures (Genesis 22) the temple mount (Mount Moriah) is also the site where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, and provided a ram as a substitute offering.  Muslims disagree and believe Ishmael, was to be sacrificed, although their bible, the Koran does not name Ishmael as the son to be sacrificed. WAILING WALL/WESTERN WALL Down below the temple mount is the court yard, with the Western Wall of the temple as the focus. Entering the section right of the Western Wall, I soon realize I am the only man in the area. I am in the women’s section!  There is a women’s section and a men’s section of the wall.

Western Wall

Western Wall

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

BAR MITZPHAS There are numerous Bar Mitzphas in process. The Bar Mitzpha is a Jewish coming of age ritual for Jewish boys. ORNATE TORAHS A large cave-like room to the left of the wall contains large cabinets each contains very large ornate Torahs.  A Jewish boy enters the room, reverently removes a Torah from a cabinet, surrounded by friends and relatives videotaping the event.

Two Domes

TWO DOMES! Interactive Map of Jerusalem (The Old City) Al-Aqsa Mosque (Lead Dome Mosque) Photo of the Dome of the Rock: History and Description of the Dome ofRock: Video of the Inside the Dome of the Rock on the temple Mount:–v6l_pw SHAWARMA After the visit to the Temple Mount, I return to Damascus street in the Old City.   My mouth is watering for a shawarma (roast beef) sandwich at an Arab restaurant. I locate a restaurant, in the Arab souk (market) and order.  The meat is skewered with layers of meat  sliced off and placed on pita bread.  It is delicious!    It is about noon, and the streets are rapidly filling with tourists from buses arriving by the hour. The Arab section market ‘s in the old city are called souks, in which the narrow streets are filled with shops and people. Early in the AM, I walked the streets and they are empty except for a group of Philippino pilgrims following a man carrying a cross and singing hymns – and a motorized street sweeper. GOLGOTHA AND THE EMPTY TOMB – FULL OF TOURISTS! After dinner it is time to find Golgotha and the empty tomb.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – click to enlarge

The church has a chapel on the main floor,with a lot of paintings on the walls. Note the skull at the base of the ladder.  According to tradition, Jesus was buried on top of Adams grave, thus the skull of Adam awaits Him.  Click each photo to enlarge. Golgatha and Slab of Unction C This photo (below) is a view of the crack in the rock of Golgotha through a window in the church’s wall.  The crack may have been due to the earthquake occurring at the moment of Messiah’s death.  Click photos to enlarge. The top floor of the church, according to tradition is the site of Golgotha, Messiah’s crucifixion site.  In the top floor chapel is an altar and a rock displayed through a window behind the altar.  The rock is the top of Golgotha. The church has three floors below ground, all with small chapels, but the main focus is the chapel one floor down which according to tradition, contains the empty burial tomb of the Messiah. See photo below.  Click photo to enlarge. The line of tourists completely circles the tiny room containing the tomb, at least seven persons across, five at a time are allowed to enter. DELAY ENTERING THE TOMB After waiting in line for an hour, a 2 o’clock service starts, with organ music, a choir, black robed clerics walking in and out swinging incense sensors. The line stops. Everything is on hold for the tourists. I can’t see much, due to the crowd. After half an hour, the service ends. Tourists are allowed people to enter.   Several push in front of me (which annoys me) – not a very Christian thing to do- I think – but the first shall be last in His kingdom, so I guess they are giving me a blessing! Inside the little room is a marble slab, covering a tomb below. The group of four I am with all are kneeling and kissing the slab. I respect their feelings and devotion, but I feel nothing.  I guess I have seen too many Easter movies on TV and was hoping to see a cave with a round rock in beside it. I am glad I stayed in line, it gave me time to read my guide book, and if I would have exited the line, I would have always wondered whether there was a cave opening in that little room with a round rock for its door. LOWER LEVELS OF THE CHURCH – A PLACE TO BE ALONE WITH MY MAKER I continue to explore the church and enter a chapel on the next floor below. This is a good place to have a little talk with God. I sit on the stone steps leading down to an underground chapel, and while meditating on the significance of this holy place, I ask Him to bless my family and friends. There is nothing historical in that dark little chapel to see, just an altar, some steps on which to pray, and a time to be alone with the Almighty, in a place that is Holy and special, away from all the commercialism, a few steps outside the doors of the church. In the afternoon, I leave the Old City and head west. A CHICKEN SANDWICH IN NEW JERUSALEM I explore a shopping district in the new city, find a McDonalds and order a chicken sandwich, for 12.5 shekels around $4.00. Then I return on foot to the Hostel. RETURN JOURNEY TO AMMAN JORDAN May 2 Friday Early in the morning I pack my suit case and back pack, and head out to bus terminal on the north side of the old city.  I am glad I scouted out the location, earlier.  It is an easy walk.  I arrive at the bus terminal, in a parking lot behind the Golden Walls Hotel. The bus driver waves me into a small office at the far end of the parking lot.  Several are wearing suits.  The women are wearing dark dresses with their heads covered.  Arabic is spoken. The men nod their heads at me in a friendly manner.  We are waiting for ten passengers to arrive, then we will leave for the border. It is around 7:00 AM and after a few minutes, we are invited to enter the bus.  I climb into the back. Two ladies sit in front of me.  One has a very loud rattley cough.  Not good, since we will be in a closed van for only thirty minutes to less than hour.  I have heard that cough before.  It sounds serious. Anyway there is not much I can do, unless I want to walk.  The men are well dressed in suits and greet me.  The designer label is still on the sleeve of one gentleman’s suit.  Evidently that is a matter of pride.  If it is a good brand, why not advertise! Although dressed in suits, the men have a poor look about them.  Kind of shabby/well-dressed. ISRAELI CHECKPOINTS In a short time we arrive at the first Israeli check point near Jericho.  the bus stops, the driver exits and visits with other drivers who are waiting for permission from the Israeli’s to proceed.  I see no reason for the delay, other than someone needs to give us permission to continue to the border. israeli-check-point-near-jordans-border-east-of-jericho ISRAELI CHECK POINT EAST OF JERICHO APPROACHING THE BORDER WITH JORDAN Finally all the drivers enter their vehicles and we continue toward the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing.Sheepherder's Shacks <—Click photo to enlarge. Above photo shows shepherd’s shelters in the desert between Jerusalem and the Jordanian Border. JORDANIAN REFUGEES

After the 1948 war with the Arabs nearly 1.7 million left Israel and became refugees in Jordan.  After 1991 Gulf War due to Saddam’s persecution of the Shiite Muslims, over 1 million Iraqis came into Jordan and again because of the uncontrolled violence during and after the U.S. lead invasion of  Iraq in 2003, another  700,000 Iraquis fled into Jordan.

This is a huge number of refugees for a country of less than 6 million.  Jordan has limited resources –  no oil, an inadequate water supply, and limited employment opportunities.  Much of the land is desert. By contrast, The United States has welcomed a mere 466 Iraqi  refugees from the start of the war in 2003 through  September 2006.  The U.S Administration set a goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqui refugees from October 2007 through September 2008 and are on target to meet that goal.  But this goal is far lower than other countries.  Sweden, for example, has taken in 40,000 Iraqi refugees since 2003. Most Jordanians survive on less than $5000 per year.  Refugees compete for scarce jobs and resources, thus become the target of much resentment from the people of Jordan. JORDANIAN RESOURCES In the desert there is an abundance of Potash and Phosphate, which is mined and sold to other countries to make fertilizer.  This is one of the main sources of hard cash for Jordan, in addition to tourism and financial aid from other governments. JORDANIAN TOURISM For tourists, especially those interested in Jewish history, Jordan has a wealth of locations of interest. For an excellent travel 43 minute video, hosted by King Abdullah, himself, go to AMMAN JORDAN The capital of Jordan, Amman, is significant in the life of King David.  As you may recall, in 2 Samuel 11, David’s army was attacking Amman. David recalled Bathsheeba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, from the battle, in hopes that he would have a conjugal visit, and thus cover up her pregnancy with David’s child. Being a good soldier, Uriah refused, since good soldiers, in those days, did not have sexual relations before battle.  So David ordered him into the front lines of battle, thus assuring Bathsheeba would become a widow, and David’s next wife. I arrive  in Amman as planned and the taxi drives directly to my hotel, named the ‘Canary.’   As you can see by the photo, I was prepared.  At the Israeli/Jordan border, I changed from the Jerusalem mini-van taxi to an Amman taxi. But before I got in the taxi, I took photos of his license tag, car door with his company’s name and phone number, and the driver’s vehicle sticker Information on the taxi’s windshield. I also asked the tourist police to interview him, and was assured he was an honest driver. It is interesting, that while waiting at the border, I was approached by a taxi driver, who, after a few minutes waiting for more passengers, was led away by  the border authorities.  I never found out why, but assume he was not legal. If you read the small print below the driver’s photo on the Vehicle Information sticker it lists the passenger’s Bill of Rights, and who to call with a complaint.  (click photo to enlarge and read it)



Jordan is moderate Arab country, at peace with Israel, and friends of the United States.  Islam is the religion of 95% of Jordanians, who are almost all Sunni Muslim.

One is constantly reminded this is a Muslim country.  You can’t escape the ‘call to prayer’ which blares from loud speakers at a mosque near you, Starting at 5:00 AM.

Muezzin Call To Prayer From A Mosque In Downtown Amman Jordan CALL TO PRAYER – THE ADHAN The adhan is the call announcing ritual prayer time for the faithful. Five times a day the adhan is broadcast from the mosque by the muezzin, the title of the person whose voice you hear on the video. The adhan is in five parts: 1)  an affirmation of the supremacy of Allah (God). 2) profession of faith- Unity of Allah (God) – there is no other deity but Allah (God) – Muhammad is Allah’s (God’s) Messenger 3) call to the Prayer 4) Call to success — our eternal home in Paradise — which also implies our return to the Creator. Each line is repeated for emphasis. The words of the adhan are as follows: Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.  Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.  Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah. Ash-hadu alla ilaha illa-llah. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah.  Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah. Hasten to the Prayer, hasten to the Prayer.  Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah, hayya ‘ala-s-Salah. Hasten to real success, hasten to real success.  Hayya ‘ala-l-falah, hayya ‘ala-l-falah. Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.  Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. There is none worthy of worship but Allah.  La ilaha illa-llah.

Prior to Islam, the residents of this part of the world worshipped several gods and goddesses.


The following newspaper article from the Jordan Times May 13, 2008.  It tells the chilling story of an ‘Honor Killing.’  Click article to enlarge-

In Jordan, there are about 20 ‘Honor Killings,’ a year.  This is not a prevalent cultural practice, and is not condoned by the Muslim religion. THE JORDAN TIMES – TUESDAY MAY 13, 2008 CRIMINAL COURT University student sentenced to 10-year prison term for murdering his sister By Rana Hussein! AMMAN — The Criminal Court on Monday sentenced a 23-year-old man to a 10-year prison term for murdering his older sister for reasons related to family honour in October 2006. The tribunal first handed M. A. the death penalty for shooting and stabbing his 33-year-old divorced sibling H. R, a mother of a 13-year-old child, in a tanker parking lot in Madaba on October 24. But the court immediately reduced the university student’s sentence to 10 years in prison because the victim’s father dropped charges against his son. Court papers said the victim, who had been married for 10 years, was divorced almost two months before the incident, after her husband complained to her family that she was unfaithful. The victim returned to live with her family and a few weeks before the incident, the defendant plotted to kill her to cleanse his family’s honour, claiming that he heard several people saying his sibling was involved in “illegitimate affairs”. On the day before the incident, the defendant said he rented a car, got hold of an unlicensed gun and a switchblade and drove around Mad-aba looking for a deserted area to kill his sister, the court said, quoting the defendant’s confessions in front of the police and the criminal prosecutor. “The suspect decided that the parking lot was the best location, so he got out of the car and fired two rounds from his gun to ensure it worked, then went home,” court papers said. The following day, the first day of the Bid holiday, the defendant told his sister he wanted to take her to their grandfather’s house. On the way, he parked in the parking lot and without uttering a word, drew his gun and fired four rounds at his sister’s chest and stomach, according to the court. “The defendant then pulled his sister out of the car, stabbed her 14 times in the chest with the switchblade, stomped on her face, and covered her body with a blanket,” the 21-page verdict said. He then called the police from his mobile, informing them that he killed his sister to cleanse his family’s honour and proceeded to give them his address, the court added. The victim’s 39-year-old husband, a truck driver, told the court he decided to divorce his wife because he was suspicious of her behaviour as she had two surgeries without informing him and would often leave the house without his permission. The husband also said his neighbours had told him that his wife was receiving men at home after he left for work, the court added. During court hearings, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the premeditated murder charges, informing the court that he did not plot to kill his sister and that the murder happened in the “spur of the moment”. “I had no idea why my sister was divorced. I was just giving her a ride when I received a call from a private number and the caller told me that I am not a man because my sister, who was sitting next to me, was a prostitute and had slept with all the men in our neighbourhood,” he told the court. The defendant claimed that he asked his sister about what he had just heard and she reportedly replied: “I am a prostitute and I am free to sleep with whomever I want… it is none of your business.” The defendant said he became enraged so he shot his sister with a gun he usually carries, court papers said. He also told the court that he was unable to recall anything after the shooting, including stabbing his sister, calling the police and confessing to premeditated murder. Instead, according to the court, the defendant claimed that he had a wild imagination often invented stories. He also told the court he once saw his sister in a car with a man, but he did not do anything “because he did not want to start any problems.” The court rejected the defendant’s claims that he killed his sister in a moment of rage as it was obvious from his statements in front of the authorities and in court that he had plotted to murder her. His lawyer had asked the court to consider the murder a fit of fury as stipulated in Article 98 of the Penal Code, which would reduce his premeditated murder charges to a misdemeanour. The verdict, handed down by judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Rizeq Abul Fool and Azzam Obeidat, will automatically be reviewed by the Cassation Court within the next 30 days. THE CANARY DESK CLERK

The taxi dropped me off in front of the Canary Hotel.  the desk clerk greets me and I inform him I have reservations.  He checks his reservation book and finds nothing.

I then mention Habitat for Humanity.  Many more from my group will be here tomorrow, I add. He still doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about. Then I pull out my reservations.  I also point out I had reservations for earlier in the week, and due to delays, was unable to keep  them.  So I owe him for those reserve days too. He hands me a room key, and offers to fix me breakfast, at no charge.  I am very grateful, since I had not eaten since the day before, and it was almost noon.  He went to the hotel kitchen and fixed me some scrambled eggs, toast, butter and jelly, and a cup of coffee.  What a treat! After going to my room and relaxing for a few minutes, I am ready for a walk down town.  I ask  the desk clerk to write ‘Citadel’ in Arabic on a piece of paper, and give me a hotel business card, in case I need to show a taxi driver.  Then I walk out the door, past the Abdali market, and down the hill toward down town.

Abdali Market Amman Jordan

Abdali Market Amman Jordan

Inside the Abdali Street Market

Inside the Abdali Street Market

Amman’s historical sites are close to downtown, at the bottom of four hills, or jabals. So I decide to walk to The Citadel, which towers over Amman on top of Jabal al-Qala’a.  From my hotel it is probably a 45 minute walk, if one knows the route. LOST IN AMMAN JORDAN It is downhill all the way to downtown Amman.  I miss seeing a very steep flight of stairs leading up  to the Citadel,  decide I am lost and need to take a taxi.



An empty taxi approaches, I waive and it to stops.  I enter the front seat and point to my paper with the Arabic word for ‘Citadel’ written on it.  He nods and drives away.  We are on our way to the Citadel, or are we? TAXI DRIVER DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHERE I WANT TO GO He stops, and with  limited English, makes clear he has no idea where I want to go.  I repeat ‘Citadel’ several times, each time a little louder, in case he had a hearing loss! He has a blank look on his face, then I remember I have a map in my guide book.  I pull out my guide book and open it to the map of Amman. al-Qala’a, al-Qala’a! Pointing to the Citadel on the map, I am surprised when he excitedly exclaims,’al-Qala’a, al-Qala’a!’ I reflect a second, what does that mean? I ask myself, then realize that the map shows the location as ‘al-Qala’a,’ the Arabic word for ‘high place.’  ‘Yes,’ I reply just as excitedly, ‘al-Qala’a!’ He drives past the Roman Amphitheater turns left on a steep winding road to the Citadel.  He asks for more than the agreed on fare, and I briefly protest, then pay him. I later learned that one should never negotiate taxi fares in Amman, always go by the meter, and be sure it is turned back to the minimum starting fare.  Taxi fares are very cheap in Amman, if the meter is used. I now only have enough money to pay my admission.  I will walk back to the hotel.  It is a down hill for the steepest part of the way. THE CITADEL AND KING DAVID Let me tell you about the Citadel. What is the Biblical Significance of the Citadel? The Citadel is the site of ancient city of Rabbath-Ammon.  This fortress was attacked by David’s army. As you may recall, David impregnated Bathsheeba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, while he was in battle at Amman.  David plotted to cover his sin, by summoning Uriah from battle, so that Uriah might have a conjugal visit.  But Uriah was a good soldier, and in those days, a good soldier abstained from sex prior to battle, so he refused to sleep with his wife. David then got him drunk and sent Uriah home to his wife, but he did not go, sleeping in David’s doorway instead. Then David gave him a note to deliver to general Joab, “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”   Uriah dies in combat and David marries  Uriah’s widow, Bathsheeba.  2 Samuel 11 tells this story. Though none of the ruins dates back to the time of David, they do date back to the 8th century. One such structure is known as al-Qasr “the Palace.” Its exact function is not known, but it includes a stone gateway, an audience hall and four vaulted chambers. A colonnaded street runs through the palace complex. To the north and northeast are the palace grounds. Near to al-Qasr lie remains of a small church.  Corinthian columns mark the site, dating to the sixth or seventh century AD. Not far to south of the church is a temple also known as the Great Temple of Amman. Possibly it was a temple for Roman god Hercules, built in the second century during the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 CE). The small Jordan Archeology  Museum houses a  collection of artifacts dating  from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The DEAD SEA SCROLLS exhibit,   an idol of the goddess of fruits and fertility, Artagatas, Statues dating back 6000 to 8000 BC.  The earliest know statues of civilization. and Gold jewelry May 3 Saturday Today I will explore downtown Amman and in the evening I will meet the Habitat for Humanity Global Village Team. Again, I head downtown on foot, carefully observing landmarks, so I can find my way back to the hotel.  Yesterday I realized how easy it was to walk downtown, but finding my way back was confusing because of the forks in the road, which I had not noticed. DOWNTOWN AMMAN JORDAN STREET SCENE AMMAN DRESS SHOP PHOTOGRAPHER WITH OLD BOX CAMERA NOTE THE DRESS PRICE ON THE RIGHT IS 0,000  (5.0 JORDANIAN DINARS) WHICH IS $7 US, THE ARABIC 5 IS A ZERO!  THE ARABIC ZERO IS A DIAMOND SHAPE.  THE DRESS PRICE ON THE LEFT IS ARABIC FOR 3,000  (3.5 JORDANIAN DINARS) OR ABOUT $5 US.

Saturday evening we met in front of the Canary Hotel, met our team leader, and teammates.  Tomorrow we travel to Habaka, Jordan.

HABAKA, JORDAN May 4  Sunday Amman to Habaka, Jordan -After breakfast, at 9am we meet for orientation.  The team leaders, brief us on the expectations and living conditions.  Water is a major concern,  we are warned to limit our water usage, especially showers.  ‘If it starts to feel good, then you have been in the shower too long.’  We will be sleeping on the floor, preparing our own meals.  We must ask before taking photos. Bathroom facilities will be a ‘squatter!’  What is a ‘squatter?’ SQUATTER We board our bus about 11:00 AM and travel to our  ‘Habitat Guest House’ in our build community of Habaka, Jordan  36 miles north of Amman. HABAKA JORDAN LOOKING EAST



We drop off our luggage, and check out the bath rooms. There is no ‘squatter.’  There is a conventional stool, tub and shower. There are three bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen on the main floor, and a shower and two rooms on the lower floor.  The men have one and the women share two. At the orientation we are seated in a room and introduced to the people with whom we will be working, the contractors.  A sweet tea drink is passed around, all drinking out of the same small cup.  This is an Arab custom to welcome their guests. I declined, since I have an a viral respiratory infection, and believed I am in the infectious stage.  No doubt I have been infected by the woman on the bus from Jerusalem to Amman. UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION I am running a fever, and my cough is deep and productive.  I am sick.  Prior to leaving Amman, I was asked if I wanted to see a Dr., but there was little time before we left, and I felt cough must run its course, since it is a virus. After orientation, we are driven to the work site, where we form a line and pass 30 lb concrete blocks from a pile to the building site. Monday, Tuesday and a Wednesday morning, I stayed in the guest house drinking liquids and resting.  Someone was required to stay back with me each day.  This was standard policy. Our Team Leader made me chicken soup, the first day.  I tried to drink fluids, and eat oranges.  I was shown our first aid kit, which contained a syringe, bandaids and pain relievers.  No cold medicine.  Since I was a former US Army medic, I was confident that fluids, Ibuprofen and rest were needed for my recovery. I borrowed the book, ‘Blood Brothers,’ by Elias Chacour, from a team mate, to read while recuperating. Read this book if you have a desire to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the view point of a Palestinian Christian who watched the destruction of his home town by the Israeli Defense Forces on Christmas Day, 1952. Borrow it from your local library, or purchase it on the internet for less than $6.00.  It is a controversial book, and some question it’s accuracy.  Read it and draw your own conclusions. Tuesday evening we  eat at a Shawarma restaurant in Irbid, Jordan.



Community introductions – this photo shows the contractors and laborers, along with the future home houseowners Adil & Lubna to their left.  He is in Jordan’s military. – see Habaka, Jordan  map at May 6 Tuesday – Habaka, Jordan –  Work Camp – May 7 Wednesday – Habaka, Jordan – Work Camp On Wednesday my Team Leader urges me to go to the work site.  I am reluctant.  I know, I need to drink a lot of fluids, and fear I will not drink as much as I should on the worksite, nor have easy access to a toilet.  Drinking lots of fluids means a lot of trips to the bathroom.  The available toilet is in the future home owners parent’s home, not within walking distance, of the work site. IVAN TYING REBAR


The young boy (see above photo) in the white traditional Arab head covering, entertained us while we ate.  He recited poetry from memory, and played a musical instrument.

The following photo is Lubna, the lady, who along with her husband,Adil, will be the future homeowners.  Note her white gloves, head covering and long dress.  She sat beside us and her children, on the dirt, twisting wire ties for  rebar for her new home.

May 8 Thursday – Habaka, Jordan to Amman, Jordan -AM build HABAKA JORDAN HOME OWNER CEREMONY – for Adil & Lubna’s home


-Dedication Service ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. TURKISH BATH HOUSE EXPERIENCE Our visit to a Turkish Bath House in Amman Jordan. We enter the Turkish bath house and are seated , to wait our turn.  Before  entering the bath area, we are ushered into a changing room, where there are small booths  in which we change from street clothes to bathing suits.  Then we enter a dimly lit room, with high humidity.  We shower, and wait our turn for the next step in the process.  A man invites us, one at a  time onto a table.  He then scrubs me with a rough scrubber, all over.  We then enter a small steam room, which has two levels.  It is very crowded and the upper level is extremely hot. After exiting this room, we enter a hot tub, and then are greeted by a masseuse.  The masseuse, rubs, pounds, taps, and massages our muscles, for about 15 minutes.  We  exit to the clothes changing room and return to our street clothes, feeling very clean and relaxed! Click the following Turkish Bath photo to enlarge.

May 9 Friday Tour Day  -Overnight in Amman – Canary Hotel

Transport to the baptism site of Jesus by John the baptizer on the east bank of the Jordan River in Jordan JOHN THE BAPTIZER’S SPRING – see John 1:28 BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN – BAPTISM SITE OF JESUS This location is north of Jericho, on the Jordan side of the Jordan River.  It is the site of ancient church built on baptism site of Jesus – see John 1:28.  The Jordan River has over the centuries, changed course, and now flows a several hundred yards to the west.   This site is an archeological dig, which has unearthed the foundation and floor of the ancient church. MONK’S CAVES – ELIJAH’S AND JOHN’S WILDERNESS To the east of the Jordan River baptism site, are caves.  John the baptizer lived in the wilderness, and may have lived in these caves.   Elijah the prophet also roamed in this wilderness, and saw the chariot of fire and was taken to heaven in a whirlwind in this wilderness area.  See 2 Kings 2:11. -Transport to Dead Sea -Lunch – swim in Dead Sea THE DEAD SEA The Dead Sea is 45 miles/75 kilometers long and from 4 to 10 miles (6 to 16 kilometers) wide. Historically fed by the Jordan River, but no longer due to demands on water from the Sea of Galilee, no water is being released. The Dead Sea has no outlet. It is so salty, nothing can live in it, neither plants nor animals.  There are 350 grams of salt per kilogram of water, as compared to 40 grams in the oceans. The Dead Sea is “the lowest point on earth,” lying 1200 feet/400 meters below sea level. The Dead Sea’s minerals are valuable natural resource for agricultural and industrial use, as well as treatment of some medical conditions such as psoriasis. May 9 MOUNT NEBO – WHERE MOSES LOOKED INTO THE PROMISED LAND Mosaics of St. George Church in Madaba -Transport to Dead Sea -Lunch and swim in Dead Sea THE DEAD SEA The Dead Sea is 45 miles/75 kilometers long and from 4 to 10 miles (6 to 16 kilometers) wide. Historically fed by the Jordan River, but no longer due to demands on water from the Sea of Galilee, no water is being released. The Dead Sea has no outlet. It is so salty, nothing can live in it, neither plants nor animals.  There are 350 grams of salt per kilogram of water, as compared to 40 grams in the oceans. The Dead Sea is “the lowest point on earth,” lying 1200 feet/400 meters below sea level. The Dead Sea’s minerals are valuable natural resource for agricultural and industrial use, as well as treatment of some medical conditions such as psoriasis. THE SALT SEA EXPERIENCE Upon arrival, our group put on their bathing suits, and plunged into the water.  I am not a water lover, having failed two summers of swimming lessons, but I had no trouble floating on my back. BOBBING LIKE A CORK After bobbing like a cork, I crawled out onto the beach.  The shore had many smooth stones and salt crystal lying on the beach, which I began to gather as souvenirs.  I was a kid again, playing in the rocks, inspecting each pebble, looking for a treasure to bring home. After the ‘swim’ or in my case the ‘float,’ I walked back to the bathhouse to change into my clothes.  Assuming there would be a place to shower off the salt encrusting my body.  No showers, they were all on the beach.  I didn’t want to walk back, so put on my clothes and walked to the resort where we would meet for a buffet lunch.  The shower would wait until we reached our hotel. May 10 Saturday -Overnight in Petra at the Petra Palace (3 star) Petra Palace Hotel Wadi Musa  Ph. 079 526 789  e-mail Tour Day in Petra the Nabatean City – for an 8 minute video of Petra and Wadi Rum go to: ( ) -Breakfast -Transport to Petra in early am -Guided tour Petra -Lunch inside Petra 1.  On the road to Petra we see a lot of desert, a few shepherds and their flocks, and a few towns, 2.   and lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 3.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 4. and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 5.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 6.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 7.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 8.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns. 9.  and a lot of desert, a few shepherds, their flocks, and a few towns.

View from front of the bus on the Road to Petra

As we travel farther south, a mountain range is on our right.  Note the striations in the rock. As we travel farther south, a mountain range is on our right.


Petra is located adjacent to the town of Wadi Mousa in southern Jordan. It is 150 miles/260 kilometers from Amman via the Desert Highway and 170 miles/280 kilometers via the King’s Highway. The journey is all arid land with bedouin towns scattered in the desert. Petra was the Nabatean Arab capital during pre Roman times.  They were excellent craftsmen, carving temples, tombs and elaborate buildings out of colorful sandstone rock. For seven centuries, Petra’s existence was a guarded secret by the local Bedouins and Arab tradesmen until in 1812, when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt after mastering Arabic and the Koran, dressed as a Muslm,  gained the confidence of locals, who led him to the “lost city” in the Wadi Mousa mountains. The Nabateans grew rich by levying taxes on travelers to ensure safe passage through their lands. Petra was easily defensible  and as a result allowed the Nabateans to grow wealthy, controlling the  commercial crossroads between the Arabian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. The city may have had 20,000-30,000 people residents at its peak. By the time of the seventh century AD, Petra had slipped into obscurity. It was forgotten until Burckhardt rediscovered it for the outside world in 1812. Entering the path into Petra we first see the mysterious DJIN BLOCKS, there are 40 of these carved from solid sandstone rock in Petra.  No one knows their purpose.

It is a rush, walking the winding path, a 1 1/4 miles two 600 feet/200 meter walls of pinkish red sandstone.

We meet some tired tourists with sore feet who are returning from their Petra adventure on donkeys.

Faint ancient reliefs of camels carved into the colorful sandstone walls of Al-Siq can be seen as I walk along the path towards al-Khazneh.

The ancients were skilled in devising a water channel to divert life sustaining water in this desert.  Below is a photo of a water channel carved into the canyon wall.

Samir, our faithful guide, explained that there are flash floods in the desert.  

In fact he was with a tour group, when a flash flood came roaring through Petra without

warning.  They were able to save their lives by climbing high on the rocks to escape.

In 1963, according to a article, a flash flood trapped 26 French tourists,

and only two survived.  The article continues to describe how the ancient Nabateans,

were experts in hydraulic engineering, and built a dam to divert the flash flood waters into cisterns.

The path narrows  and the Siq suddenly opens upon the most impressive of Petra’s tombs al-Khazneh (Arabic for “The Treasury”). One of the most elegant remains of ancient times.

Al-Khazneh is carved into the sandstone mountain, standing over 120 feet/40 meters high. Although it served as a royal tomb, the Treasury’s name is derived from the legend that treasure is hidden inside an the urn above the entrance, filled with ancient treasures of the pharaohs.  Periodically, the Bedouins fired guns at it hoping the urn would burst open and release its treasure.  Proof of this can be seen in the bullet holes which are clearly visible on the urn.

Camel rides are an attraction, and Sanaa can’t resist a Bedouin’s offer to ride his camel.

And Ivan poses in front of al-Khazneh.

Treasury doorway, facade and colorful sandstone interior.

In front of al-Khazneh, is an excavation, of another tomb buried beneath the ground.

Looking down through the wire I can see a doorway into a tomb, which at one time was ground level, but over hundreds of years of flash floods roaring through the Siq, rock and debris gradual buried this tomb.

Following the tourists’ path that leads through the ancient city, number of and tombs increases, becoming a virtual graveyard in rock arching around an 8000-seat Amphitheater.

The amphitheater faces numerous tombs on the opposite canyon wall – the STREET OF FACADES. Above is the theater carved into the sandstone rock.  Below is the Street of Facades, the Silk Tomb and Urn Tomb. Close up of the beautiful Silk tomb. Camels and riders ride through the Street of Facades.

The colorful sandstone is fascinating.  What a beautiful scene on the Street of Facades!

Three more camels gallop through searching for tourists with sore feet, needing a ride.

The Urn Tomb – Street of the Facades.

After strolling through the Street of the Facades, several of us climb a steep path up the mountain to view the LION BICLINIUM TOMB.

As we climb the steep path, we arrive at al-Dayr (The Monastery) seen in the photo below.

There is a hollow sandstone rock across from al-Dayr.  It is large enough for several persons to climb inside, and has several openings, one is large enough for an entrance and from the other opening   one can view al-Dayr.

Ivan inside the sandstone rock across from al-Dayr.

The following photo is a composite showing the view of al-Dayr from the inside of the rock cave.

The following photo is of Carol and Sanaa entering al-Dayr.   There is a large step into the doorway!

The above photo shows Carol helping Sanaa enter al-Dayr.  This gives a perspective of the size of the doorway.

Below is a photo of al-Dayr.

The climb is steeper and higher than I anticipated. 

Looking down on the trail below.

May 11 Sunday

Tour day Wadi Rum -Breakfast -Transport to Wadi Rum early am -Guided jeep tour and lunch -Transport to Amman -Overnight in Amman – Canary Hotel May 12 Monday -Overnight in Amman – Canary Hotel -Breakfast – sight seeing in Amman and Jerash And Sanaa, Ivan and Kat and others, finally arrive at the top for a wonderful view.

It was a wonderful view for us, but not such a wonderful view in ancient times for those victims who were to be the sacrifice.

High Place of Sacrifice Overlook View. The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, we returned to Petra for one last climb to the High Place of Sacrifice.  Yesterday we climbed to the top of the mountain where we could view the High Place of Sacrifice. The following photo is the steps leading to the High Place of Sacrifice.

This is a steep climb, I have blister’s on my feet, which makes it very uncomfortable to say the least!

Below is a close up of the ‘gift shop’ which can also be seen in the above photo.

And Aaron’s tomb on the adjacent mountain top is shown in the next photo.

Photo below – Obelisks at the High Place of Sacrifice.

Scenic view from the High Place of Sacrifice, looking down on THE COLONNADED STREET OF PETRA. WADI RUM, JORDAN At noon we leave Petra and travel to Wadi Rum, which is south of Petra, not far from the Eilat and Aqaba, where the borders of Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan nearly converge. The Arabs, used this valley in 1917 to stage the ‘Arab Revolt’ against the Ottoman Turks.  For more information about this revolt go to and search ‘Arab Revolt,’ and read the book, ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom,’ by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who played a minor role in assisting the Arabs.

Our first stop is the Wadi Rum Visitor’s Center.

Above are the prices for various services and activities.  One JD = $1.40 U.S.

The bus driver parks and we get into jeeps for a desert tour.

Our Jeep trip into the desert.

We are in two Jeeps, I am in the rear Jeep.

We arrive at our first destination, a Bedouin tent.

We are welcomed with tea.

We are invited into the tent and offered a small cup of hot sweet tea.  It seems odd to be drinking hot tea in the hot desert.

Inside the tent.

Our guide Samir leads us over to a rock with drawings on it.

Then another Jeep ride into the desert and a hike across the sand.

Our destination is a large rock, with a cleft.  Samir has something to show us.

There in the cleft of the rock, is a pool of water!  A pool of water in the middle of the desert!

Evidently we are not the first to discover this place.  There are writings on the walls!

And petroglyphs – and foot prints in stone!!! After this adventure in the Jordanian desert, it is time to dine.  The Wadi Rum Rest House is our next stop.

The road north out of Wadi Rum.

Sign to Amman. JERASH JORDAN We arrived in Amman and the following day I traveled to Jerash to see the Roman ruins. First we asked for the bus to Jerash and were advised to board this bus. After waiting for 30 minutes, we were asked to board this bus. The following photos are self-explanatory. THE OVAL PLAZA JERASH JORDAN THE NYPHAEUM IS AN ANCIENT FOUNTAIN, COMMONLY BUILT IN ROMAN CITIES. The Roman theater is remarkable.  It has perfect acoustics!  A person can stand on the stage and whisper and be heard anywhere in the theater. After touring the ruins, we are treated to a gladiator show. And the chariots rush in to the stadium. And the cast of Roman soldiers, gladiators and charioteers. May 13 Tuesday – Return Home May 13 Tuesday – overnight in Wichita May 14 Return to Hutchinson Ks


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