155th Team 6

MORTARS AT HOLLOWAY Our aircraft availability had become a lot better and we could muster 12 to 15 slicks now after a long struggle where our availability had dropped to 6 or 7 on a daily basis. Our weather was such that the Battalion wanted our ships to RON at Camp Holloway in order to insure that they were available for early morning missions. As much as I complained, every time we had the Falcons RON at Holloway, they were given the emergency stand by duty at night. This particular night was no different. Since I had no part in the next days mission, I did what every Stagecoach and Falcon would do, I headed for the Corral leaving just about all our flyable aircraft at Holloway. As fate would have it, "Charlie" made the night exciting by lobbing a few mortar rounds into the area. The report I got next day was that the Falcons were off the ground and had the target in sight within minutes, but were called off by the Pleiku Area Defense Control Center. The Artillery would handle this problem. Their first round landed in the Pleiku Air Force Base area which was 180 degrees away from the target. By the time they had adjusted their fire, "Charlie" had left his marks on 9 or 10 of our ships. We were again almost out of business." PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON. In August, the 52nd was supporting the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry and Elements of the 4th Infantry Division had arrived in the Pleiku area. The 3rd Brigade was bivouacked in the field at a place called the Catecka Plantation about five miles west of Pleiku along the road to Duc Co. Our crews would RON there sleeping in tents. I went to the Plantation and flew some of the missions to get an idea of what the work consisted of. Missions included hot chow runs, basic re-supply operations ie: mail, ammo, water, soda pop and beer, and repositioning troops from one LZ to another. I am not sure but I think the troops gave us a welcome by blowing up a tree just as we were on final approach. It was loud and the tree fell away from the landing spot. This was their method of enlarging their field site. My comments home were that this is undoubtedly the wettest, muddiest place in the world and the tent had a leak right above my head. The camp was situated on a hillside which gave an excellent view to the south. We knew the general areas of the companies out in the field and on one clear night, we heard that one company had reported enemy in the wire and some incoming mortar fire. There was a "Puff" on duty and we watched as he provided fire support over the company. It was surreal in that you couldn't see the C130 but when he opened up with machine gun fire there was a bright puff of light. "Puff" stayed on site for most of the night and I bet the VC or NVA unit wished that they had not ventured out on that night At some intervals, the 155 MM Howitzer Battery, located too close to my tent, would fire off several salvos. I'm sure the troops in the field appreciated the help but each time they fired my tent would expand outwardly and then it would almost collapse. The blades of the helicopters parked nearby would bounce around and we had to continually check on the tie-downs.   FALCONS. Around this same time, I had been observing the Falcons in their "B" models struggling during take off particularly at mid-day on those very hot days. It was so bad that they hovered to the runway and bounced along on the corrugated steel until they were able to get airborne. I decided to inspect one or two just to see what loads they carried. Needless to say, I was surprised at the arms and ammo that I found. Most had two personal weapons for each of the four members plus an assortment of ammo but my biggest surprise was that each had a case of "c-rations" in the storage compartment. I realized that an order to carry certain items only would be impossible to monitor so I offered what I thought was a reasonable approach. Why not reduce the rations to one meal each since we would surely pull a downed crew out after one meal. On a more serious note, I found that the Gun Ship Platoons really didn't get much information or instructions on missions and particularly during the period between the first and succeeding troop landings. I had the sad duty of attending an after action critique for Commanders at Pleiku in November after several ships had been shot up and two gun ships shot down near a landing zone. The gun ships were orbiting near the LZ and went to investigate a report of anti-aircraft fire. They were shot down and one crew killed. No one could tell me what the gun ships mission was at the time and whether they were the best weapon to employ at that time. My questions caused the Battalion Commander to get hostile and in a round about manner made it look like I didn't want to engage the enemy. After the meeting, several others who attended said that they appreciated the fact that I raised the questions but they were from Camp Holloway and knew the CO better than I did. My instructions to the Falcon Leader was for him to insure that our ships made every effort to break off their pattern on approach so that they did not over fly the target area. In addition, after the lift ships had departed, the Falcons were to find an area at some distance from the LZ and at an altitude where they could react to any fire mission. At least they would stand a good chance of not orbiting at a low altitude over an enemy gun position. In reading the book "SOG", I noted that the armed helicopters were on station at a point where they could maintain radio contact and not betray the location of the friendly troops. This is exactly the method of operation that I wanted the Falcons to employ.   MAIL: The most often heard complaint that I received was about the mail delivery or lack of same. Ban Me Thuot depended on air for mail delivery and often we were bypassed due to inclement weather. One comment in my reports to "Atkinson Headquarters" in California was that several men got their mail returned because they had forgotten to put their serial number in the return address. This seemed to me to be petty but the postal service was under heavy criticism and they were taking out their anger on the troops. Other mail items, in early 1966, first class mail stamps were 5 cents and air mail was 8 cents. I found out that all mail was coming by air and advised my wife to send mail to me using the first class stamp. I still have a lot of letters with those 5 cents stamps and we saved 3 cents on each one. One pleasant report about mail to California occurred on May 18. I had heard that the Dentist at Camp Holloway had written his wife about all the mail problems. She wrote General Westmoreland a letter with her complaint. We began receiving mail more frequently however the Battalion Deputy Commander had to answer a letter from USARV (Westmoreland's Headquarters) inquiring about the problems in mail delivery. His answer was to include an acknowledgment that the Dentist had received his package of home made cookies from his wife. Three cheers for the Dentist's wife. It would be interesting to know if "Westy" did indeed answer the Lady's letter.   RUMORS. The whole time I was at Ban Me Thuot, a recurring "rumor" existed. The 155th was going to move to Pleiku, or that the 10th Aviation Battalion would take operational control of the Stage Coaches and Falcons with duties through out the area. One rumor was that the 155 would be relocated and be replaced by a fixed wing company. In as much as I had spent some time with the 33rd Advisory Group and knew that the Commanding General of the 23rd ARVN Division owned a house not far from the western end of the city runway, I really didn't think he would agree to having "CARIBOU" outside his door everyday. It seems that the rumor of the 10th taking over won out in the "RUMOR WAR" and I couldn't help but wish it had happened when I was there. I enjoyed the few time I went to Nha Trang for meetings. They sure had better night life and better accomadations.   THINGS YOU DIDN'T WANT THE "OLD MAN" TO KNOW   NO. 1-HOW TO MAKE THE LZ LARGER. You are a Platoon Leader as a Major and really want to impress the Company Commander, who is also a Major, but there are some things that you would prefer that he did not hear about. The main one was your demonstration on enlarging the LZ with the main rotor of your helicopter. The mission is to support a real "gung ho" group of Americans located at a strange place called Dak To. You and your platoon have been in the area numerous times and live with these Special Forces types for weeks at a time. On this particular day, you have to insert some of the troops in a country that we don't know exists since our war is supposed to stop at the border. The landing zone is on the side of a mountain which has a rather tall stand of bamboo. You realize that the only way to get the right skid on the ground is to chip away at the tops of the bamboo, which you do. As you leave the area you notice that there is a very high frequency vibration through the whole helicopter. Arriving back at Dak To, you see that the demonstration didn't go to well as the tips of the your main rotor are gone. After consulting with your crew, you decide that if you got the chopper back to Camp Holloway you could talk youy old "ring knocker" buddy to exchange the blades and no one would be the wiser. You buddy is the Commanding Officer of the Field Maintenance Company at Holloway. His name was Dick Stephenson and his Executive Officer was also named Stevenson. What a coincidence. Your plan works like a charm, the flight to Pleiku wasn't as smooth as you would have liked but you arrive at dusk and most of the people are at chow. Your friend replaces the main rotor system and at dawn the next day you are on your way back to Dak To. You have been assured by your friend that he would tell no one. You swear your platoon to secrecy and all was well. Old "Bo", Stagecoach 6, will never know about the demonstration that went wrong.   It is now 31 years later and I would like for Jack Doyle to know that he should have checked out the second Stevenson. The second Stevenson was a ROTC graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina where his ROTC Student Battalion Commander was none other than Bo Atkinson. I was having coffee with Major Mason Stevenson a few days after the secret flight and he just happened to mention that they had changed the main rotor systems on one of the 155 ships. He told me the whole story to include the statement that he didn't know how the crew managed to fly the chopper back to Holloway. I didn't bring the subject up at Camp Coryell nor did anyone else mention it to me. Even though I had known Major Dick Stephenson from our visits to Korea together, he kept his word to his school pal. My reason for not making a point of this incident at the time was two-fold, first, my instructions to all the pilots was that one of their first objectives was to get the helicopter back to the Corral, hopefully in one piece and with crew safe and sound. This Jack did although in a round about and unorthodox way. The second was that I wanted Jack to enjoy his accomplishment and his "secret" even though I knew all along.   NO. 2 HOW TO STRETCH THE CONCERTINA WIRE. Some of our pilots were assigned to duty that could become a bit boring and that duty was the Maintenance Officers in the Company and the Field Maintenance Detachment. When they could get away, the Maintenance guys would volunteer for missions, particularly, those single ship missions to re-supply various fire bases and units in the field. On one of these flights, the Pilot decided to demonstrate a high speed, low altitude take off for the benefit of the troops at the fire base. All went well until the crew suddenly felt the chopper come to a slow halt about 50 or 60 feet in the air. They discovered that the skids had picked up the concertina wire and the wire was now stretched to the full extent and was not going to go any further. Needless to say, the troops enjoyed the demonstration of stretching concertina and cheered when the Pilot backed the chopper up and parked it again on the pad. I assume that the Pilot swore his crew to secrecy and they all were very tight lipped when they got to Camp Coryell. At least, I didn't hear a peep at Camp. Again, they didn't consider that the "Old Man" also made the rounds to fire bases and camps in the field. Not long after the event, one of my friends at the fire base in question described the take off and again wondered how the pilot had been able to control the helicopter enough to safely land. Time has taken it's toll on me and I do not want to guess at the name. My reason for not discussing the event was again was the fact that the helicopter and crew were returned safely to the corral. I also felt that the incident would be a source of talk more so than if I got involved. They all thought that the "Old Man" wouldn't find out and now after 31 years they find that he knew after all.   NO. 3 HOW TO INCREASE YOUR FIREPOWER I must admit that this event came to me from within the Camp and was told to me by the Exec., Tom Ingram. We were at dinner and he told me that "someone" had been experimenting with a 50 caliber mounted in the door of his Huey. I didn't have much time to think this situation over since "someone" just arrived at the Officer's mess hall and was walking by the table where I sat. In a snap decision and, in a voice loud enough for all to hear, I told "someone" that I had heard that a crew had tried to mount a 50 caliber in one of the lift ships and wondered what he thought of the idea. As you could expect, the whole place immediately became very quiet because when the "Old Man" spoke to someone directly serious things could happen and I am sure most of them knew what he had been doing. He was also quick on the draw and, with a big smile, he said that he didn't think that would be a good idea. I said I agreed with him and went about my meal. There were a number of chuckles through out the mess. I think my point had been made with as little fanfare as possible and I am sure "someone" got a big ribbing from his fellow officers. Hopefully the idea died right there, at least I didn't hear of any more experiments on increasing the firepower of the HU-ID and I wish I could identify "someone". Maybe "someone" would come forward and be identified.   HOLIDAYS AT CAMP CORYELL. Thursday, 24 November, 1966, Thanksgiving day was a busy day with lots of activities planned and lots of guests. The day began with flights departing at 0630 hours and at 0900 hours, we had a demonstration by the 212th Military K-9 Detachment, followed by an awards ceremony. Then the big event, grand opening of the swimming pool with the traditional ribbon cutting and a big splash by a number of swimmers. At noon, we had hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill by the pool, volley ball and swimming. At 1600 hours, we had a church service conducted by our friends from the Missionary Group. We then began our Thanksgiving Dinner where we fed over 300 including visitors from the Advisory Group, Missionary Group and from Battalion Headquarters. The Mess Hall was decorated with many of the Thanksgiving themes and menus printed by USARV which made for a homey atmosphere. On top of all this activity, we had helicopters on a mission to fly General Westmoreland to various sites in the area. Needless to say, we all had a great time. (A few days later we got word that we shouldn't send ships to fly Westmoreland's entourage that didn't have seat belts. It seems that we had a last minute request to fly his newspaper reporters and photographers. We didn't look to see if all the seat belts present. I told the Battalion that we would be more careful next time the next time "Westy" dropped by.)   MONTAGNARDS PAGEANT. As previously mentioned, the Missionaries presented a pageant with the Montagnard children depicting the Christmas theme and the birth of Christ on the Thursday preceding Christmas. All the words were in RADE, Montagnard language to include the carols and hymns. The age of the children was 7 to 12 years and everything was done from memory. Each child received a bag of candy plus cokes and donuts.   SATURDAY, CHRISTMAS EVE. I gave a Troop Information class at 0745, officers call at 0830 and at 0900 the Province Chief and his party arrived. In addition to the Chief, there were 25 men and 25 young college age girls. The Province Chief presented the company a beautiful plaque and the young ladies handed out souvenir handkerchiefs to everyone present. There were speeches which we heard explained by an interpreter and I made a short acceptance speech. We adjourned to the Mess Hall for cake and coffee. This group left at 10:15 and a group from the orphanage arrived at 1100. Santa Clause arrived by helicopter and we moved to the theater where the children performed a dance. The children received their gifts and the children were taken on a tour of the Corral where they were allowed into the helicopters. Each child had one of our men with them. At 12:30 we gave the visitors, Nuns and children, lunch and this group left the compound at 13:30. I had a short one hour break and at 14:30 the Bn. CO Ltc. Smithy arrived for the official opening of the EM/NCO Club. The ribbon was cut at 1500 hours while standing in a rain shower. A short time later a Montagnard group presented the Club with an enormous crossbow as a symbol of the Central Highlands. Hence the new name for the EM/NCO Club was the Cross Bow Inn. After more speeches, we had free drinks and food. The Senior Advisor arrived and spoke a few words to the crowd. The Montagnards gave me a gift which was a cloth used by the women as a skirt, just like the one I had received at the initiation. The dignitaries and guests left while the band played on at the Cross Bow Inn. The men danced with some local women that had been invited. The ladies left at 18:00 and my comment was that I was pleased with the way our troops behaved. They had let their "hair down" treated the female guest light gentlemen and only had a few arguments. The joint EM/NCO Club seemed to be working fine. The officers had a party after the Cross Bow Inn ceremony and cooked steak over charcoal accompanied by punch, shrimp and sauce. Our friend from USAID was invited along with two American ladies who were from a voluntary organization teaching the Montagnards. There was much singing and music until the curfew hour of 22:30 when all the guests had to leave. The singing continued all over the compound and a few brave souls crashed the pool. They swam around in the dark and I decided to let them have light. After the lights came on they apparently sobered up, or they didn't want to be identified, and they left the pool. It was a cold night and the wind was up a bit when they decided on a swim. We had no problems except probably head aches and sore throats, however, the Advisory Group had one man go berserk and they called upon the good old 155 for help. They wanted us to keep him in our "hospital" so he could sleep it off under the security of an MP who they provided. This was done and at 03:00 hours all was quiet and I went to bed. Later I found out that Camp Holloway had to use tear gas to break up the Christmas party at the Enlisted Club which made me even more pleased about our behavior.   Christmas Day, 1966: Christmas day schedule was light compared to the day before Christmas. We had a few flights and after they departed, we had lunch by the pool with a big dinner at 16:30. Colonel Marr came by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and joined us for lunch by the pool. Lt. Colonel Smithy joined us for our great Christmas dinner. We had a number of guests for dinner in addition to the Missionaries we had four ladies from the Red Cross at Camp Holloway. The Red Cross ladies joined in the fun by the pool, volley ball and helped in the serving line for dinner. Since the events of the day lasted longer than the ladies had planned, the Medic's "Hotel" was offered to them for the night. They agreed and the evening passed with no problems, except their clothing. They were not prepared for the cool evening but several of us offered clean flight suits and jackets to keep them warm. As usual when I was in camp, I decided to tour the guard posts and walk the grounds. The lady that had my clothes asked if she could accompany me and I agreed. I knew this would cause some stir and once the first guard post was "inspected by a lady", all would by alerted immediately, so we chose the bunker nearest the Officers area. The guards did their thing, "HALT WHO GOES THERE" when they heard footsteps approaching. I had coached the lady on how to respond and she did with a truly feminine voice, "IT'S ME." There was a definite pause in the response as if the guards were totally caught "off guard." Then the response in a strong voice, "Advance and be recognized." I am sure they got ribbed by their friends afterwards when they went off duty. We toured all the guard posts and the guard towers which took some time because each post wanted to talk with an American lady. I wonder if this story is repeated over and over to kids and grand kids, the "RED CROSS INSPECTION OF THE GUARD."   DECEMBER 29, 1966. The Bn. C0 called a meeting of Company Commanders to discuss the accident rate in the Battalion. My notes say we had two aircraft accidents since August 10 which was apparently very good. In addition, potential problems for the New Year's Celebration were discussed with Ltc. Smithy emphasizing that the officers should be on their best behavior. I had a discussion with Col. Smithy about our flying hour totals. We had 1300 flying hours by December 15 and on the 29th we had almost 2400 hours, 1600 hours more than nearest company. This made me feel good since former Bn. CO, Ltc. Rice, threatened to relieved me of command because of a flying hour report made by one of his staff officers who had been in country about one month.(I never did fine out who made the report). As a result of our flying hour totals, we were given a minimum of missions on Christmas and New Years where we were able to fully take advantage of our "home" away from home.   NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION. The day began with a briefing of the troops on their behavior that evening and apparently the talk worked. We had "Bingo" scheduled at the clubs and a buffet early in the evening in an attempt to delay the celebrations. We had a band at the Cross Bow Inn. My report to California was written at 0200 hours on Jan 1, 1967. Every one was at Camp except one Crew marooned in Pleiku by weather. I also reported that we had a number of troops that had "over imbibed" and an argument or two but nothing serious. On News Years Day, we had grilled steaks by the pool and cold cuts for the supper meal in an effort to give the Mess Hall a break. Recently, we had sent four or five helicopters to Nha Trang PX Warehouse and picked up a lot of stuff including a number of Polaroid cameras. We did over $4,000 in sales at the PX on New Year's Eve and the Camp was lit up all evening with flash bulbs popping everywhere. We also had 18 small refrigerators and I assume they were all sold immediately. TET 1967. The War was called to a stop from February 8 through February 12th for the Vietnamese New Year Celebration known as TET. There was a four day truce and our instructions were to be alert and engage the enemy only if our defenses were threatened. I had hoped that all our crews could return to Camp Coryell since we had so many "_NGs" and I wanted every one to get acquainted. We were still tasked to support the 4th Division troops in the field with supply ships and this was to be done from Pleiku. All personnel were restricted to the camp and on the first night there was a lot of fireworks in Ban Me Thuot. In addition to fireworks, weapons were fired in the air with some rounds landing in the camp. We had no one hurt and the holidays passed uneventful, unlike TET, 1968.   "STAGECOACH, COME UP COMPANY FREQ." One Company rule for all crews was to monitor the emergency radio frequency, at all times, when in the air. I am not sure that other companies in the Battalion had this rule but we were able to contact our crews at any time. One of the first uses of this procedure occurred when we received a notice from the American Red Cross that one of our pilots had become a father and his wife wanted him to be notified. Well, we knew that if he was airborne we could contact him. The Operations Officer and I got a Huey, climbed to altitude above Ban Me Thuot and gave Chief Warrant Officer Weimer the test. The incident made the Stars and Stripes News and Bob's comment was that he knew he was in trouble when the CO called him by name on the Emergency frequency. All he could say in response to my call was thank you, thank you when he heard the message that his wife Donna wanted him to know that they were parents of a 7 pound 13 ounce baby boy and that both mother and son were doing fine. Another test came shortly after the 4th Division was assigned their own Helicopter company. As was the case with other newly formed companies, none of the pilots had been to Viet Nam before. The 52nd offered to cross train the pilots in order to orient them in the area but they chose to go it on their own. On this day, their mission was to insert a reconnaissance platoon into a secure Landing Zone. I was flying with a Battalion Commander of the 4th Division on a Recon and coordination flight when he got the word that the platoon had several injuries. This was a training mission in a secure area but the helicopter crews did not know the terrain and apparently came to a hover at the top of some bamboo or other foliage. The platoon exited as they had been doing for quite some time with the helicopter crews from the 52nd and the drop of 20 or so feet was a surprise. They had several sprained ankles and maybe other bruises. I called the 52nd CAB operations and got permission to get any Stagecoaches in the area to make the extraction. I got immediate response to our standard call on emergency frequency, "STAGECOACH COME UP COMPANY FREQ." All Stagecoaches in the area responded and they were told to drop what they were doing and to rendezvous at the coordinates of the LZ. The senior Stagecoach Officer took charge and with in a very short time the platoon was back at their home base nursing their injuries. The 155 was placed high on that Infantry Battalion Commander's list and from then on, he always requested us for his operations.   The use of the emergency frequency came up on at least two other occasions that I remember. We again were at Camp Holloway and all the ships were out in the AO on individual missions. It is mid morning when Group Headquarters in Nha Trang called in a mission to attempt an extraction of a Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP otherwise known as Lurp) that was evading a NVA battalion south east of Ban Me Thuot. I got the mission and out went the call for Stagecoach and Falcons to head for the Corral immediately. With my head start, I was able to coordinate with the Special Forces and Advisory Group. The plan was to reposition some of the ARVN units in the event the LRRP was pinned down and needed help before we could extract them. I was in route to the area of expected extraction when a problem of communication with the ARVN unit on the road below arose. I really didn't want to land and possibly lose radio contact with the LRRP but someone had to get the ARVN unit ready for Chinooks who were almost at the pick up point. It was then I again heard my favorite words and this time from the Deputy Bn. CO, Ltc. Smithy, which was ", is there anything I can do to help out." I suppose he deducted that from the chatter on the radio that things were a bit hectic. Now was my chance to tell the "Boss" where to go. He accepted my request to make a stop and brief the US Advisor on the Chinook pick-up. From this point on the mission went as if it had been rehearsed. The Special Forces LRRP team leader had succeeded in getting some distance between his unit and the NVA Battalion, plus he had found an excellent clearing for the extraction. We had enough time and security so that the Chinooks could make the major lift and we followed with the HUEYS for the final troops. To make sure all the troops had been lifted out of the LZ, I made a final pass and got a glimpse of the enemy troops on the south bank of the river adjacent to the clearing that we had just vacated. It was close and from our first notice of the mission until the lift off of the last HUEY was about 6 or 7 hours. This type operation is not significant in the world of Army Aviation in Viet Nam, but to many in the confines of a Headquarters building far removed from the scene, it could sound like a miracle. I am sure the Special Forces troops appreciated our efforts but again they face problems like this all the time. The news of the successful extraction gave the Group Commander, Col. Marr, another reason to keep the 155 at the top of his list of Aviation Units under his Command. One more comment on this day. All the pilots and crews on the operation landed at the Corral and since it was at dusk, they decided that they would "Relax Over Night" with us. This was great for the 155 Team since we could show the outsiders the reason everyone monitored the emergency frequency and headed for the Corral every chance we got   . The final use of the emergency frequency came on 24 February 1967. As usual, we were spending our nights at Camp Holloway when I received orders to gather the troops and report to the Senior Advisor at Bao Loc. The Stagecoaches and Falcons were spread through out the AO but responded rapidly to the call and we closed into Bao Loc in the late afternoon. The history section reported that we were in support of the 101st Infantry Division which is partially true. Upon arrival at Bao Loc, the situation was rather vague. It seems that there had been a report of a VC road block early that morning and several US enlisted advisors had gone to the site to investigate. When they did not return, further investigation was done and the call for help went out as they determined that a NVA battalion was passing through and the Advisors had been killed. Since it was so late in the evening the decision was made that we would remain at Bao Loc for support of the 23rd ARVN Division on the following day. This was an interesting situation since we were at a lightly guarded airfield but the Advisors assured me that we would be safe. Nevertheless, we established our own inner ring of security using the machine guns from several of the Hueys. The next morning found us moving ARVN troops from one side Bao Loc to the other and back again. I decided to let the Company Executive Officer, Major Charlie Fleming take charge of the missions and I remained at the ARVN Tactical Headquarters. After a few moves back and forth, the Company returned to the local airfield to await further orders. Apparently, the local ARVN commander was satisfied to wait and hope that the NVA would disappear. This was the first time I was privileged to observe the war at this level and did not envy the Advisors who were trying to get some units to pursue the enemy. At mid-day, a US Army Lt. Colonel arrived by helicopter and was immediately briefed by the Advisors. The Lt. Colonel was a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division who had been sent over from Phan Thiet to look into the situation. One of his Infantry companies had been airlifted to a spot a mile or two north of Bao Loc and the transportation went back to Phan Thiet. Of course, the NVA was on the south side of the town and indications were that their mission was to move rapidly south. The Colonel's radio call sign was "Gunslinger" and he lived up to that moniker, He wore his pearl handled side arm slung low on the side and walked with a pronounced swagger. As he moved around the Operations Center he came upon me standing quietly on the outer ring of the group. He opened a conversation with the question, "And who the h--- are you?" After I introduced my self, he became quite excited and wanted to know how many helicopters I had and if I could move his company immediately. I replied that we were ready to do anything the Senior Advisor told us to do. It wasn't long before we had plans for the insertion of the Infantry Company to an LZ on the south side of town. During this mission, the Air Force Forward Air Controller had made a few passes over the LZ using his rockets to mark the area and hopefully put them into the NVA lines. Unfortunately, he got too low and was shot down. His plane crashed in the area of the NVA units and there was no way to get to him. The plane had crashed in a dive and our crews said that there was no possible survivors. In the meantime, as the first lift of Infantry was inserted, there was contact with the NVA, plus the dry grass in the LZ was on fire preventing further insertions. Confusion reigned briefly, but the close fire support by the Falcons relieved the pressure on the troops in contact while a second LZ was located. During this time, the NVA unit broke contact and disappeared to the south. It was assumed that the NVA troops were the rear guard of the larger unit. After we got the 101st troops consolidated, it was decided that there was no further need for our services and we were released to return to Ban Me Thuot. "Gunslinger" congratulated me on the performance of the 155 and in particular the Falcons. The bodies of the pilot and the Advisors were retrieved by the 101st troops. This was to be my last mission.   MY FINAL CEREMONY. On March 1, 1967, Camp Coryell was again fortunate to be able to have a formal change of command ceremony attended by the senior Army Aviators: General Seneff, Colonel Marr and Ltc. Smithy. We were fortunate to also have the Senior Advisor from the 33rd Advisory Group. I had come to the end of my assignment as Stagecoach 6 as the flag was passed to Major Charlie Fleming. I had received my orders and port call. It wasn't going to be too long before I was to arrive at Fort Wolters, Texas, to teach map reading and eventually become the Safety Officer. All that was left for me to do was complete those dreaded Officer Efficiency reports. I had six officers to rate and 14 officers to endorse since there was considerable turnover in March.   EPILOGUE: In putting this short history together I realized, once again, the feeling of pride for the accomplishments of the 155 TEAM during this period and again say, it was a great privilege to have served with those United States Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilians at Camp Coryell, Ban Me Thuot, Viet Nam, from August 10, 1966 to March 1, 1967. (If you have reached this far and find that there are corrections or additions you would like to make, please let me know.)