Jim Black's Web And Family History
Jim Black's Web                          And Family History

Vietnam Maps and Pics

A Battery 5th Bn 4th Artillery (M109SP) was a Direct Support unit for elements of the 1st Bde 5th Mech Div stationed at Camp Roberts Quang Tri RVN during My Command from Sep 1970 until Aug 1971. Only Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion in RVN. During that year we mainly supported elements of 1/61 Mech Inf and 1/77 Armor in the "Backyard" area around Quang Tri Main Combat Base. In Aug 1970 I arrived in RVN and was assigned as the Battalion S-2 and flew 16 hours as a Arty Observer with Barky FAC in OV-10 Broncos ( Only FACS armed with Rockets in RVN). We flew 4 hour missions on the Tri-Border area of the DMZ (Laos, NVN and RVN).  Our major Operation in Feb-Mar 1971 was Operation Dewey Canyon II when we reopened the Khesanh Airfield to support the South Vietnamese invasion into Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail - better know as Lam Son 719. My unit was the 1st 13 Tracked Vehicles into Khesanh that first day.  Near the end of that operation I had 3 guns at FSB C-Ration North of the Khesanh Airfield supporting 3/5 Cav as they cleared a backdoor route (Infamously called "The Yellow Brick Road" since their commander was Col Oz) out of Khesanh. I also had 3 guns located just 900 meters from the Laotian border supporting elements of 3/187 Inf from 101st Abn Div and shooting counter-battery at Soviet 130MM guns dug into the mountain sides in Laos that could range the Airfield at Khesanh.

As the South Vietnamese units were routed by the NVA in Laos and driven out a nine tank column of NVA T-54 Main Battle Tanks was stopped on QL-9 just SW of our position. We achieved back deck fuel cell hits on 2 of the tanks. Thus we were were the only Artillery Battery in RVN with 2 T-54 on their hulls along with body count.

In Aug 1970 the 101st Div elements took over Quang Tri and I was placed in charge of a 13 man stand-down detachment to deliver the Battalion Colors and Paperwork to Fort Carson Colorado. It was a 13 man detachment leaving RVN on Friday 13 Aug at 13:00 hours on Flight 13B4. What could possibly go wrong? I am saving that story for my Humor in Uniform story once they pay better!