199th light Infantry Brigade
B4/12 Vietnam 1968-1969
Home Page

This Impression is dedicated to my Father, William Shoemaker, who served with B 4/12, 199th LIB in Vietnam.
It is also dedicated to the 755 men killed in action (183 men from 4/12) and 4679 wounded in action.

Event Photos
M-16A1 Manual of Arms
199th Re-activated


History and Lineage
On the anvil of Vietnam the hammer struck down to forge a new separate Brigade. From the sparks, the new 199th Light Infantry Brigade was shaped around three elite Infantry units with a glorious past. Re-designated 23rd March 1966, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, and the 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, were assigned to the newly formed 199th (Separate) Light Infantry Brigade out of Fort Benning Georgia.

The Motto was, Light, Swift, and Accurate. The Brigade would live up to this Motto from the very start. Pressed for rapid deployment in November 1966 for Vietnam, the unit was swiftly formed and rushed into training before it's ranks were fully filled, truly making the unit light on personnel. After a brief period of training at Kelly Field in Fort Benning, Georgia the unit was moved by ground transportation to the World War II training camp of Shelby, Mississippi in September 1966 for advanced jungle training.

Following the intense training in Mississippi, on November 28, 1966 a 280 man advance party of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade arrived in Vietnam at Long Binh, the site of what was to become their Main Base camp. After final review, the majority of the Brigade was flown to Oakland California, where they boarded the USS Sultan and USS Pope for the more than two-week trip across the Pacific Ocean to South Vietnam. On December 10, 1966 the USS Sultan docked at Vung Tau. And on December 12, the USS Pope arrived.

The 199th Light Infantry Brigade took up permanent residence at the north east corner of Long Binh. Faced with a rotation of personnel problem, the Brigade switched many of its original members with other combat units in Vietnam adding experienced combat veterans to its ranks. Along with the infantry units, the 2nd Battalion 40th Arty and 7th support Unit rounded out the Brigade.

Once in Vietnam, the Brigade continued its wartime preparation on the battlefield. Six days after landing, and despite not being fully equipped, its Battalions were farmed out immediately in Operation UNIONTOWN to secure the defenses of the Long Binh complex. Its first airmobile mission was an actual combat air assault conducted December 17th by the 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry.

The Brigades Main Base officially named itself Camp Frenzell-Jones in honor of the first two casualties from the unit. The ceremonies took place on September 18, 1967.

The 199th LIB's responsibility was to secure the main infiltration routes into and around Saigon, Long Binh, and Bien Hoa. The units’ special training in counter intelligence help turn the tide of the TET offensive in 1968. For a unit rapidly formed without proper training, the courage and spirit of the men who filled the ranks of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade helped stop the 274 & 275 VC regiments dead in their tracks during TET 68. The units’ importance in the defense of Long Binh, Bien Hoa, and Saigon earned it the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Valorous Unit Award, and the Presidential Unit Citation. After the Tet offensive, the Brigade was enhanced with the addition of another infantry unit, the 5th Battalion 12th Infantry activated out of Ft. Lewis, Wa, and assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade April 7th, 1968.

The distinctive patch worn on the shoulder of the men of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade depicts a flaming spear with a red ball of fire in the middle giving the appearance of a REDCATCHER, which was descriptive of the units purpose in Vietnam, and the name stuck. It soon became apparent to VC and NVA units working in the areas of War Zone D, Xuan Luc, Bien Hoa, the pineapple plantation, and Saigon to fear the spear.

Lineage

4th and 5th Battalion
12th United States Infantry Regiment
(Warriors)
4th Battalion 12th Infantry
5th Battalion 12th Infantry

The field is blue for infantry. This regiment took part in the Civil War; its great achievement was its first engagement at Gaines' Mill Virginia, on 27 and 28 June 1862, where its losses were almost 50 percent. The Moline crosses, which represent the iron fastening of a millstone and recall the crushing losses, sustained show this.

The wigwam stands for the Indian Campaigns in which the regiment took part.

The chief is for the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection, yellow and red being the Spanish colors, red and blue the Katipunan colors. The embattled partition line is for the capture of the blockhouse at El Caney, Cuba, and the sea lion is from the arms of the Philippine Islands.

Motto:
Ducti Amore Parriae
(Having Been Led by Love of Country)


LINAGE

1861...Constituted 3 May as Company D and E, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, Regular Army; organized at Fort Hamilton, NY
1866...Reorganized and redesignated 7 December as Company D and E, 12th Infantry
1917... assigned 17 December to the 8th Division
1927...Relieved 15 August from the 8th Division and reassigned to the 4th Division.
1933...Relieved 1 October from the 4th Division and assigned to the 8th Division.
1941...Relieved 10 October from assignment to the 8th Division and reassigned to the 4th Division.
1946...Inactivated 27 February at Camp Butler, NC.
1947...Activated 17 July at Fort Ord, CA.
1957...Relieved 1 April from assignment to the 4th Infantry Division and reorganized as a parent regiment under CARS Inactivated at Fort Lewis, WA and relieved from assignment to 4th Infantry Division; Redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th and 5th Battle Group, 12th Infantry.
1966...Redesignated 23 March as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, assigned to the 199th Infantry Brigade; activated 1 June at Fort Benning, GA.
1970...Inactivated 15 October at Fort Benning, GA

UNIT HISTORY CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION:

4th Battalion 12th Infantry

Civil War:

Peninsula...Manassas...Antietam...Fredericksburg
Chancellorsville.... Gettysburg...Wilderness...Spotsylvania
Cold Harbor...Petersburg...Virginia 1862...Virginia 1863

IndianWars:

Modocs...Bannocks
Pine Ridge...Arizona 1881

War With Spain:

Santiago
Philippine Insurrection:
Malolos...Tarlc
Luzon 1899

World War II:

Normandy...Northern France...Rhineland
Ardennes-Alsace...Central Europe

Vietnam:

Counteroffensive...Phase II... Phase III
Tet 1968 Counteroffensive
Counteroffensive...Phase IV...Phase V...Phase VI
Tet 1969 Counteroffensive
Summer-Fall 1969...Winter-Spring 1970
Sanctuary
Counteroffensive...Phase VII

DECORATIONS

4th Battalion 12th Infantry

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered LUXEMBOURG (12th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the ARDENNES (12th Infantry cited)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in BELGIUM (12th Infantry cited)
Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered SAIGON-LONG BINH (4th Battalion, 12th Infantry cited)
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968 (4th Battalion 12th Infantry cited)
Company D additionally entitled to: Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SAIGON (company D 4th Battalion 12th Infantry cited)

Crest

The Blue and White denote the Infantry. The Spear, an early Infantry weapon, in flames symbolizes the evolution and firepower of the modern Infantry. It represents early Infantry's use of thrusting weapons and projectiles thrown or shot from bows, ballistas and catapults.

Contrary to popular belief, the RED BALL in the center of the patch represents man's splitting of the atom, the Nuclear Age in which Infantry fights side by side with weapons of sophisticated warfare.

The Yellow flame signifies the advent of gunpowder and the new trend in Infantry warfare. Fusillades through the centuries echoed from reports of the matchlock, the flintlock, the percussion cap and repeating rifle.

Infantry warfare becomes more massive in the face of these weapons, but the repeating rifle dominates, with modifications, to this day.

The overall patch is symbolic of the development of Infantry and Infantry support through the ages. The oblong blue shield of the patch is a depiction of the shields used by the forerunners of modern Infantry, namely the Greek Phalanx and Roman Legion



   
William Shoemaker's Story

My father, was born in Chicago on July 27, 1948. He spent his childhood moving around Chicago as the neighborhoods changed from white to black. Racism ran high during this period of American history and my fathers’ family was no different than anyone else’s.

My fathers’ first military experience came at Calumet High School. He was in the Army ROTC. Where he advance to the Sergeant Major Cadet rank. He moved to Evergreen Park his senior year, where he met my mother, Cecilia O’Toole. At first they did not like each other, but eventually started dating.

By this time the war in Vietnam had been waging for several years. My Uncle Rick, my dads’ brother, fought with the Marines in Vietnam in 1967-68.

My fathers’ life would change on July 8, 1968, when his number was picked. “I wanted to join the Navy, but I waited to long and was drafted into the Army.” His first few days of service at Fort Polk, Louisiana were confusing. “They put us in a reception center for about three days. This was where we were processed in and received our shots, hair cuts, and uniforms.”

I cannot imagine the situation he was in. Here he was twenty years old and in a place with hundreds of other guys from around the country; every religion and race represented. “It felt scary at the time because you didn’t know what to expect. You had to get use to them yelling at you all the time and you tried to steer clear of the race riots”.

Basic training during that time in history was not the same as it is today. Back then the Drill Sergeants were allowed to assault you as they saw fit. “My drill Sergeant in basic was pretty cool. He was getting out of the Army when my class graduated, so he was not as strict as other platoons’ Sergeants. Although, there was this one Sergeant, who was nineteen years old and from Georgia. He used to grab me during the marches and tell me to stop doing the Chicago bop. He really hated the way I bounced when I marched.

Another Drill Sergeant would make you put on your dress uniform and do the low crawl in the mud.”

“Basic training was hard at first. You realize just how out of shape you are. There were a lot of forced marches and PT (physical training). I think the low crawl was the hardest for me, at first. Basically, you got out of it what you put into it.” I asked my father how he made it through. “I think my ROTC training helped. I certainly helped with the drill. I also had the love of my family and girlfriend. I remember the first day we had a mail call. I received twenty-eight letters. I had to keep running up there; the Sergeant finally made me stay there. I thought I was in a world of shit, but he kept teasing me and said I must have a gold dick. Plus I had it in my head that nothing was going to stop me. Although there were times I had my doubts, but I figured as long as I am here I was going to be the best that I could be.”

After basic training my father stayed at Fort Polk to undergo Advanced Infantry Training, A.I.T. “The instructors here were a lot different than in basic. They treated you with more respect, almost like you were a human being. We had a sense of pride for ourselves and for our country. I was placed in Tigerland and if you ended up there you knew you were going to Vietnam. Those of us who had our basic at South Fort could run circles around the guys who trained elsewhere.”

The training my father underwent was more specialized and intense. Some men broke under the pressure. “We had this one guy go nuts on the machine gun range. He was shooting at everything until they finally subdued him. The funny thing is on November 18, 1968, while in A.I.T (Advanced Infantry Training) he was a witness at my wedding.” During his training my father said he liked the weapons training the best.

After graduation, my father was then sent on an eighteen-hour plane ride to Vietnam with stopovers in Alaska and Japan.

“When I first arrived I remember it was like walking into an oven. It was so hot and the humidity was unbearable. We were put on a bus that had wire over all the windows and armed guards. It was scary because I did not know what to expect. We were taken to Long Bihn, where there was a replacement center. I was there three days before I found out what unit I was assigned to.

” My fathers’ M.O.S. was 11B40, light weapons infantry. He was assigned to 199th Light Infantry Brigade, whose main base was at Long Bihn. “I was an rifleman, but also carried the M-60 machine gun with B Company, 12th Regiment, 4th Battalion.”

During the war my father stayed in touch with his family by letters, when they were able to send or receive them. Most of the time they had enough supplies, but sometimes they didn’t. As for the food, “It sucked. Most of the time we had C-Rations, mainly because we were out in the field for months on end. When we came to a fire base we may get a hot meal, but it was nothing like the food back home.”

The war placed the men under constant stress. “We felt pressure and stress all the time. You never knew where the enemy was because there were no front lines; there was no safe area. So, you never really got to relax. We were always standing guard. After a while though you became numb to it and developed the famous thousand mile stare.” “To kill time we would have target practice, strum on a guitar that had only one string, or write letters home. I kept a journal for the first six months, but lost it one time on a patrol. I never started another one.

We would put smoke grenades in the outhouses and make animal sounds while on ambush. Once on our way back from a patrol we hijacked a bus; we were tired.” “There were also our R&R breaks. I had one in Australia, which was with four other guys. Then I had one in Hawaii, where your mom came to meet me.”

During the war many entertainers visited the troops. “We never saw any, the regular grunt never did. And if they did it was usually a Vietnamese band at the E.M club.” Most of the time my father was in the field. “The longest time I spent in the field was two months, but if you count the fire bases then it was longer. We only returned to the Brigade base about three times during my time there.” “The shortest time would be our ambush patrols. We would leave just before dark and the return in the morning.”

My father spent time on the following fire bases: Nancy, Joy, Barbara, Bin Chan, Vo-Dat, and Blackhorse, the home of the 11th Armor Division.

During the war my dad had several close calls. Once on patrol a guy in front and behind him were hit. He said he could hear and feel the bullets zing past his head. Sometimes these deaths occurred from the officers sent to lead them. “Most of the officers we didn’t like. They were just ninety-day wonders, but there were exceptions. As for my fellow soldiers, they were my brothers. You trusted them with your life, we were a breed of our own.”

More to come. I have many pages of information to get typed up on my Fathers' Vietnam Tour

Men of B 4/12

Dad
    
(L) Jim Story and Dad (R) Dad and Joe Machado
    
(L) 1st Squad
    
(L) Jereback, Joe Machado, Jim Story, Sgt. Ship, Robert Reel (R) Jim Story and Dad
    
(L) and (R) Dad
    
(L) Glen Klevens, Gail Bosworth, and Dad (R) Dad
    
(L) Jerebeck (R) Consa (dog) Boyce, and Moore
    
(L) Jim Story and Boyce (R) Joe Machado
    
(L) Dave Apgar (R) Robert Reel and Han
    
(L) Steve Palmarie KIA March 1969 (R) Joe Machado
    
(L) Jerebeck (R) Barnes
    
(L) Boyce (R) Gail Bosworth and Dad
    
(L) Robert Reel and Charleston (R) Glen "Kip" Klevens and Dad "Shoe"
    
(L) Kip Klevens and Joe Machado (R) Art Borchers and Dave Apgar
    
(L) Sgt. Ship, Barnes, and Joe Machado (R) Kip Klevens
    
(L) Joe Machado (R) Robert Reel, Dad, and Jerebeck
    
(R) Sgt. Ship Catching a ride
   
(R) Dad

Olin Walker



(Above) Enroute to a mission

My father was a member of Company B, 5th Bn., 1st Training Brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana from July to September 1968.



     
     


More photos of Dad

199th Combat Action 1968-1969
1968 was the worst year for 199th. The unit suffered 236 KIA's. This was followed by 1969 with 220 KIA's.

5/6/68
During the day, the 4th battalion, 12th Infantry, killed 44 enemy and detained seven. They captured 17 AK-47's, two RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 17 RPG-7 rounds, four RPG-2 rocket launchers, and 20 RPG-2 rounds with boosters, 10 B-40 rocket rounds, 3,000 AK-47 rifle rounds, seven 57mm recoilless rifle rounds, two 60mm mortar tubes with sights, 35 60mm rounds, 41 Chicom grenades, a light machine-gun, 59 AK-47 magazines, 13 sets of web gear and a .38 caliber pistol.

5/8/68
"B" Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, teamed with "D" Company 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, to meet substantial enemy opposition three miles west of Saigon Wednesday morning. Supported by eight USAF air strikes, the Redcatchers continued their assault against an estimated NVA battalion in heavily fortified village positions. Early reports listed the enemy losses at 44 killed, while US casualties were two killed and 12 wounded.

5/11/68
Early Saturday, a recon element of "A" Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, fought an unknown-size enemy unit, killing 5 VC. The Redcatcher troops captured six AK-47's, one light machine-gun, -a rocket cache, and detained three suspects. "B" Company troops captured a B-40 rocket launcher and rocket near Saigon.

5/12/68
Early Sunday morning, "Warriors" of the 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry spotted a group of VC attempting to avoid contact. Artillery and helicopter light fire teams and "Spooky" dragonships fired on the enemy. Initial sweeps or the area netted the Redcatchers one VC KIA, one AK-47, one new RPG rocket, clothing and a rucksack. Three Redcatchers were wounded and dusted off during the day's action.

5/19/68
“B” Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, found and destroyed eight shell casings.

5/29/68
A recon patrol from "B" Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, took one sampan with four VC under fire in a pineapple grove southwest of Saigon. The action resulted in four VC killed in action and one sampan destroyed.

5/30/68
Elements of the 199th’s 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, under the operational control of the 25th Infantry, killed four VC in a four-hour firefight five miles west of Saigon. Prior to the engagement, the infantrymen killed a VC sniper in the same area.

5/31/68
On Thursday, the 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry contacted an unknown-sized enemy force southwest of Saigon resulting in six VC KIA.

6/2/68
Shortly after noon, a company reconnaissance patrol from 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry engaged an enemy company-sized unit in a firefight five miles southwest of Saigon. As the action continued, the enemy fired small arms and automatic weapons. US elements killed 15 enemy. One US soldier was killed and six wounded in the action.

10/22/68
Air Force tactical air strikes were directed onto a position 15 miles west of Saigon. Following the air strikes, elements of the 2nd Bn., 3rd Inf. were inserted. They found the bodies of four enemies in heavy brush along with five individual weapons. The infantrymen also destroyed 16 bunkers in the same area.

About 100 meters east of this position, elements of the same battalion destroyed another four bunkers, while soldiers from the 4th Bn., 12th Inf. destroyed a large punji pit.

10/30/68
During recon-in-force operations south and west of Saigon yesterday, Redcatchers killed two enemies and detained five suspects. An element from 4th Bn., 12th Inf. killed two enemy and detained 3 suspects during a sweep 8 miles south of Saigon. 2nd Bn, 3rd Inf. while securing the Binh Dinh Bridge on Route 4, detained the other two suspects

11/21/68
While operating 17 miles southeast of Xuan Loc today, elements from the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. moved quickly to surround suspected enemy cache sites. The Redcatchers during their search also destroyed fifteen bunkers.

11/22/68
Redcatchers of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. discovered another significant weapons cache containing 28 automatic rifles, 19 bolt action rifles, and 14 sub-machine guns. Discovery of today's cache raised the total number of weapons captured by the Redcatchers since Nov 22 to 20 crew-served and more than 130 individual weapons.

12/6/68
Redcatchers destroyed 16 enemy bunkers and several booby traps while operating 10 miles southwest of Saigon. Elsewhere, 'Warriors' from 4th Bn, 12th Inf. destroyed 69 bunkers and found 24 Chicom grenades, 300 rounds of small arms ammunition and some cooking and field equipment during operations 50 miles east of Saigon.

1/14/69
Elements of 4th Bn. 12th Inf., during a cordon and search operation 10 miles southwest of Saigon, today found one complete 122mm rocket with four additional warheads and three fuses. The rocket was discovered in a cylindrical container buried 6 inches in a dike. Also found and destroyed were 5 booby traps, 18 bunkers, and 19 "L"-shaped fighting positions.

1/22/69
Early today, a company of 4th Bn. 12th Inf. conducting a sweep 3 miles northwest of Binh Chanh, uncovered a cache containing 52 rounds of 60mm mortar ammunition, one 60mm mortar sight, one can with 25 blasting caps, a can of assorted charges and fuses, and 12 cans of Chicom hand grenade handles. All of the items were in good condition.

1/24/69
In other action, Bravo Co. 4th Bn. 12 Inf. killed one Viet Cong along the Ben Luc River a mile north of Ben Luc.

1/25/69
Units of 4th Bn. 12th Inf. operating 3 miles west of Can Giuoc killed one Viet Cong and recovered two individual weapons.

1/28/69
Elements of 4th Bn. 12th Inf. operating 8 1/2 miles southwest of Saigon detained three suspects, found 136 bags of rice weighing 175 pounds each and 14 bags of ammonia nitrate in 100-pound bags, and destroyed two hootches, four "L" shaped fighting positions, two bunkers and a booby trap. The hootches were hidden under haystacks and could each accommodate six persons.

2/18/69
In other action, 4th Bn, 12th Inf. "Warriors" destroyed a 20 bunker complex during recon-in-force operations 10 miles southeast of Due Hoa.

2/26/69
Elsewhere, elements of 4th Bn, 12th Inf. held 2 detainees and destroyed four bunkers and one Chicom Claymore mine 8 miles southwest of Saigon.

2/27/69
Elements of 4th Bn, 12th Inf. discovered the body of a Viet Cong that had been killed in previous fighting involving the battalion 9 miles southwest of Saigon.

3/11/69
Infantrymen of Bravo Co. 4th Bn, 12th Inf. found a cache of one hundred thirty-eight 82mm mortar rounds. The rounds were found in small holes about 3 ft. deep along the edge of a dike. They were in excellent condition and had been in place no more than a week. The cache was located 6 miles southwest of Duc Hoa. The Bravo Co. "Warriors" also destroyed 117 bunkers.

3/12/69
Other "Warriors" from Bravo Co. uncovered eight large ammo boxes 8 miles southwest of Saigon, containing 48 prepared Chicom grenade booby traps ready to be used.

3/21/69
"Warriors" from 4th Bn, 12th Inf. fond two 82mm mortar rounds and one 82mm white phosphorous round 10 miles southwest of Saigon. A unit of Bravo Co. also found an isolated fence stacked with dry leaves in the area running east to west for 250 meters. A gate made from two concrete pillars, 12 feet high and 12 inches in diameter was also discovered.

3/27/69
Elements of 4th Bn, 12th Inf. held one detainee and found and destroyed five booby traps and three bunkers while operating 9 miles southwest of Saigon. One of these bunkers had concrete walls covered with Viet Cong slogans.

3/28/69
A Binh Chanh Regional Forces company working with Alpha and Bravo Co.'s of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. "Warriors" received initial contact from a Viet Cong force 1 mile south of the strategic Binh Dien Bridge. The RG's returned fire with unknown results as air support arrived within five minutes.

3/29/69
Infantrymen from Bravo Co., 5th Bn, 12th Inf. killed two VC and detained one suspect 8 miles southwest of Saigon, while 14 miles southwest of the capital, Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. "Warriors" killed one VC and detained one suspect.

4/13/69
Elements of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. "Warriors" destroyed 40 enemy bunkers during sweep operations 5 miles southeast of Duc Hoa.

4/28/69
The pilot of a "Chinook" helicopter working in support of the 199th reported observing several rockets and makeshift launchers 19 miles west of Saigon. "Warriors" of 4th Bn, 12th Inf. were inserted into the area and found four 107mm rockets and eight launchers.

5/7/69
Elements of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. destroyed 22 bunkers and one booby trap in an area 2 1/2 miles south of Duc Hoa.

5/9/69
Elements of the Echo Recon platoon and Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. were inserted into the area in the morning after air strikes by the 604th Special Operations Squadron had worked the area over. In the sweep, Redcatchers destroyed 22 bunkers.

5/9/69
While searching Nipa palm lined canals 2 1/2 miles southwest of Duc Hoa, elements of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. and 3rd Bn, 7th Inf. came into a large burned off area. A through search revealed 30 fighting positions, three individual weapons, one mortar aiming stake, and one 82mm mortar fuse. Three B-40 rounds were discovered hidden in the thick palm along a nearby canal.

6/25/69
In other action, "Warriors' of 4th Bn, 12th Inf. found a cache of three 100 lb. bags of rice. Later they found a possible enemy hospital site consisting of about 25 bunkers.

7/19/69
"Warrior" infantrymen from Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. engaged an unknown number of enemies with small arms and 81 mm mortar fire resulting in two enemy soldiers killed in action. In addition, two AK-47 rifles, two B-40 rocket rounds, and three Claymore mines were recovered.

8/7/69
Warriors" from Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. were engaged by a well entrenched company size enemy force, 9 miles northeast of Xuan Loc. After a five-hour firefight, Bravo infantrymen swept the area, finding 20 enemy bodies.

Here is my fathers’ account of this action. “We had been in the field for a month walking through water most of the time. I was walking point in the jungle when I came face to face with a North Vietnamese soldier. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then I opened up. We went down that trail a few moments later, but found no body. My squad set up an ambush that night and waited. The next morning three N.V.A. were walking down the trail. We fired our Claymore mines. What we did not know was we were sitting on a company size force dug in. They were in their underground bunkers and tunnels. They were everywhere. We became involved in a five-hour fire fight, suffering five KIA (killed in Action) and numerous wounded. We killed about 30 of them before heading back to out LZ (landing zone).

We didn’t get picked up though. We had to rush to Fire Base Joy. The 1st Cavalry was there and was just about overrun the night before. We had to get there to relieve them. When we got there you could see the mass graves of dead enemy soldiers. There were arms and legs sticking out of the earth. The 1st Cav. had their big guns pointed directly into the field in an effort to keep the waves of Vietnamese soldiers at bay.

Not long after we were there my feet began burning. I sat down and took my boots off and noticed my feet were all infected. I figured I had stepped in some Napalm the night before when we were crossing a stream near the area where we had the big fight. I was sitting on some sandbags waiting for a helicopter, while counting the money in wallet. The wallet belonged to the professor; he was shot in the head.
A chaplain saw me and asked why I was sitting there. I told him about my feet and he told me to take his seat on the Generals’ chopper. So, I rode back with the General, an ABC reporter, a Colonel, and a Major.
Looking back on it, I always thought I had started that fight. I was walking point that day with Lacadonia from New York. I was the first to see the enemy and fire.

8/28/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. held one detainee 20 miles northeast of Xuan Loc. Warriors" from a 4th Bn, 12th Inf. recon unit spotted two enemy moving down a trail 17 miles northeast of Xuan Loc. They engaged with small arms fire killing one and recovering one AK-47.

9/1/69
"Warriors from the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. working 24 miles northeast of Xuan Loc killed four enemy soldiers. The recon element sighted an estimated 30 enemy soldiers and engaged with artillery and a "Hunter-Killer" team in support, killing one. A Bravo Co. ambush patrol engaged five enemies with small arms and automatic weapons fire killing three and recovering one AK-47.

9/6/69
"Warriors" from Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. engaged an estimated enemy company in a base camp 23 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, killing one enemy.

9/18/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. surprised 10 to 15 enemy soldiers in a rest camp 20 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, killing one and recovering one AK-47 rifle.

9/19/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf., crossing a stream 22 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, received small arms and automatic weapons fire from enemy bunkers. Contact was immediately broken but after Bravo Co. detected movement to their front and rear, the unit called in air strikes on the enemy base camp. Two enemy bodies were found and the air strikes resulted in two secondary explosions and the destruction of 20 bunkers.

9/21/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. spotted five to seven enemy 20 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, killing two with small arms and automatic weapons fire.

10/1/69
In the same area, units of Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. found three graves with bodies, one old pineapple grenade and scattered civilian clothing. The three bodies, which were killed by small arms fire, were credited to the unit.

10/11/69
An element of Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. located one enemy soldier killed in action, two AK-47 rifles and one 9mm pistol

10/17/69
"Warriors' of Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. found a battalion size base camp containing 20 hootches. Each hooch had a bunker underneath it. The base camp also contained a training area with wooden mock-ups of US type fortifications.

10/21/69
The recon elements of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. engaged two enemy soldiers 11 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, killing one and capturing an AK-47, two NVA rucksacks and 15 pounds of rice.

11/10/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. engaged three enemy 8 miles northwest of Xuan Loc. Using automatic weapons and an M-79, the: Warriors" killed two enemy and captured a rucksack and one 50-gallon drum.

11/15/69
While sweeping an area, Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. found one NVA believed to be dead for one day and killed during a "Warrior" contact

12/6/69
A platoon of Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. located and destroyed a 43-bunker complex 13 miles northwest of Xuan Loc. Also found was one body. The KIA was credited to the 4th Bn, 12th Inf.

12/10/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. in a sweep of an area 11 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, destroyed a base camp consisting of eight bunkers and 27 fighting positions.

12/15/69
In action today Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. located and destroyed 15 bunkers and 25 fighting positions 12 miles northeast of Xuan Loc.

12/20/69
In a sweep of an area 15 miles northeast of Xuan Loc, elements of the 4th Bn, 12th Inf. engaged and killed an enemy soldier and uncovered a cache consisting of 550 pounds of rice, 600 pounds of corn, 50 pounds of beans, 20 hammock frames, medical supplies, assorted clothing and equipment and a possible ammunition factory.

12/23/69
My father arrived at Travis AFB, in San Francisco. He was then stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, where he was assigned to the 2nd Armor Division. He was a tank Sergeant and they didn’t do anything, but play war games and do riot training.

12/31/69
Bravo Co., 4th Bn, 12th Inf. located and destroyed three graves containing five bodies approximately 13 miles northeast of Xuan Loc. The five enemies KIA were credited to the 4th Bn, 12th Inf.

After four glorious years of Honor and Valor in Vietnam, the unit was transferred to Fort Benning Georgia to have their colors re-furled, and deactivated in 1970.

Information Courtesy of Bill Shoemaker and http://www.redcatcher.org/



Conger, John Edward Jr. - 27 January 1969 A 3/7
Driver, Dallas Alan - 9 October 1969 A 5/12
Garbett, Jimmy Ray - 9 October 1969 A 5/12
Gardner, Glenn V. - 25 November 1966 B 4/12
Lomax, Richard Eugene - 26 March 1968 A 3/7
Moore, Raymond Gregory - 9 October 1969 A 5/12
Roberson, John Will - 22 June 1969 D 4/12
Suydam, James L. - 9 October 1969 A 5/12
Thornton, William Dempsey Jr. - 28 January 1967 D 2/3

Information courtesy of Robert J. Gouge


  Doc's Patriotic Graphics