Move from I Corps to III Corps
Around the middle of October 1968 rumors starting flying that the 1st Air Cav was moving. Where or when, the
rumors did not say, but we were still moving according to the rumors. The Army lives on rumors and the troops
love to guess about what is happening.
Still hearing rumors of the move, 1st Bn 8th Cav starting getting replacements, FNG's (F*****g New Guys) or
Cherries, into our companies like no one had ever seen in the past, EVER! Most of the companies in the field,
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta, operated with about 70 to 85 men tops. Now the companies were growing to 100
men, then 120, and at last count Charlie Company was up to 150+ men. This meant we had more FNG's than guys
that had been in firefights. That was scary, because if we were going into a BAD place, say cross border, we did not
have enough battle-hardened troopers to train the new guys.
On October 24th @ 1900 hours "C" Company went Opcon (operation control) to the 2nd Brigade, but only the
Headquarters, 1st Platoon and 4th platoon. On 25 October @ 1010 hours 2nd & 3rd Platoons went Opcon to 2nd
Brigade. Then on 26 October we went Opcon to 2nd Bn 8th Cav. On October 27th we came back to 1st Bn 8th Cav
control. Why the move is a good question. No one seems to know. The 1/8 Cav continued operations in and
around LZ Anne thru the 1st of November: finding bunkers, trails and getting into small firefights, 2-3 NVA.
On November 1st we were surprised to learn that LZ Anne was being turned over to "A" Company 1st Bn 9th
Marines. The 1/8 Cav continued to turn over responsibility of our operational area to the Marines. Then on
November 3rd, 1968 the 1st Bn 8th Cav started their move to a new location. The rumors had come true, we were
moving, still did not really know where, but we were moving. We knew it was some place BAD because the supply
sergeants started issuing extra ammo, grenades and even flack vests, which we NEVER wore in the field. Guys were
getting nervous. All this extra gear meant some place BAD and probably had lots of hard-core NVA in the area.
Maybe back into the A Shau Valley to set up a permanent base camp.
We loaded on planes, not choppers, to our new location so we knew it was a long way away. The Air Force
loadmasters on the planes did not take our weapons, ammo or grenades, or even tell us to remove the magazines
from our weapons. Unheard of in every other airplane ride I took in Viet Nam. We landed at Ben Hoa airport in
III Corps. It was kind of funny in one respect. Here is a bunch of grunts fresh out of the Bush, dirty, smelly, torn
and sweat stained jungle fatigues and loaded for bear with our extra ammo, grenades etc walking thru Ben Hoa
airport. Check out the picture of me at the top of the page to see how we looked. This airport was for guys going
to the WORLD, R&R and new guys just getting in country. That day and time it was full of replacements. There
was a line of MP's, Military Police, about 10 feet apart in their fresh uniforms, shined boots and pistols keeping us
away from the replacements. I guess they didn't want us to mingle with them. But we still yelled at them anyway. I
will leave it to your imagination to guess what we yelled.
Outside we loaded up on either Duce &½ trucks (2 &½ ton trucks) or "cattle trailers", 40-foot trailers with wood
sides and benches on either side and a row down the middle. Next stop our new home. It turned out to be Tay
Ninh, and we moved in with units of the 25th Infantry Division and took over some of their old barracks. I can
remember November 5, 1968 very well. It was my 20th birthday and we celebrated by getting drunk. 1st time we
had been drunk in Viet Nam. We had to go to the Philippino PX to get our beer because the 25th would not sell
any to us.
There were four of us that night and we lay out on the sand bags in front of the barracks and drank the beer and
talked. Some time that evening after dark, we heard mortar tubes go off in the distance. You can tell a round had
just left the tube by the sound it makes as it exits the tube. The 1st ones starting hitting the flight line where the
CAV had parked all our choppers, Lift birds, Gun ships,Cobras, Chinooks, Medevac and Scout birds. In about
3-5 minutes after the 1st round hit, every bird was in the air and looking for the source of the mortar rounds. We
were so drunk that we did not even move to cover, especially when we figured out they were after the choppers.
The mortar rounds were coming from cross border, Cambodia. The Gun ships and Cobras went after them. The
sight of a solid red line from up in the black sky to the ground is a very pretty sight to a grunt, but not the enemy.
Every 5th round is a tracer that burns red, and that is what the solid red line is made up of. Lots and lots of
7.62mm rounds hitting the ground. One of the guys with us that night was a RTO, Radio Telephone Operator, that
worked in the Tactical Operation Center, TOC, and had his radio. He tuned it to the aircraft frequency and we
listened to the chatter of the pilots and the control tower. The control tower was telling the pilots they could not
shoot cross border and the pilots telling the tower to repeat last transmission as it was garbled and then breaking
radio contact and hearing static. We were laughing so hard our sides hurt. The 25th and the NVA in the area had
not seen the CAV react to being attacked or how our birds worked. The rest of our time on Tay Ninh Base Camp
the flight line never got mortared again.
Then on November 7, 1968 we got the word to saddle up and get ready to CA, Combat Assault, to the bush of
War Zone "C". And as expected, it was a BAD place. Thus ended the Move South as we moved out to build our
first LZ, LZ Mustang, and find and fight the NVA. We knew the enemy had to be Hard-core NVA because
NOBODY in I Corps had mortared our choppers. I guess the NVA did not know about the CAV and how much
death and destruction we rained down on the enemy when we were attacked. It just got us p****d off and mad and
we went after the enemy that much harder.
Continued on November 1968 pages.
Quang Tri Airport
Loaded up, ready for the move to Tay Ninh