QuarterHorse Bulletin Board

BATTLE of BONG TRANG, 26 Aug 66

as experianced by Hank Stewart


One platoon of A troop made it in to the main battle area on 26 August. We were the only platoon able to cross a river to the rear of the battle. The other platoon turned around and proceeded to a blocking position near the village of Phouc Cuong. My platoon continued on. We were ambushed about 700-800 hundred meters from where the heavy fighting had been going on. Our lead tank was hit with RPG and Platoon Sgt Richey was wounded. My driver, Roy Weakland and TC, SGT "Ski" were also wounded as were a large number of infantry we had been transporting. Sgt Robles took over as TC on my track and SP4 Schaller took over as driver. I was the machine gunner. The VC broke contact after about 20 minutes and we moved forward after the wounded wereevacuated. We encountered heavy fire in the main battle area. 2 tracks from C Troop had been knocked out by RPG and 57 recoiless. The crews were all dead. We took up forward positions and our one tank began fireing cannister into the base camp. We returned fire with .50 cal and M60s. The platoon leaders TC, Sammy Larkin was killed. Lt. Klippen shouted over the radio to "burn the piss out of those treetops". He was killed right after that. SP4 Stempel was the only crew member left alive. I left my track and went to 16 and took over the .50. Our two tracks were full of dead and wounded and we were ordered to and LZ to have them evacuated. We were supposed to return to the battle but some officer ordered us to provide perimeter security for the LZ. This was about dark and we remained there all night. The one tank from our platoon and 2 other ACAVS remained in the main battle area all night. In addition to the Air Force chopper, one of our dust-offs was also shot down as it tried to evac wounded from the main battle. This happened about 30 minutes after we arrived. Sp4 Schaller was wounded the next morning by spent 20mm cartridges from our air force. They were firing into the base camp well before they came over our positions. Thats how close we were. There was also a unit of LRRPS that first encountered the camp. They were trapped inside the base camp for the entire battle. They took several KIA and wounded. SP4 Larkin and Lt Klippen received the Silver Star posthumously. The rest of us got chicken salad sandwiches after the battle. Lt. Daley took over the platoon until a new Plt Ldr was assigned.


William John - Memories

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