VOL 2, No. 1 Camp Holloway, Pleiku, Vietnam 25 Jan 67
HOLLOWAY MORTARED BY VC -
SMITHEY PRAISES TROOP REACTION
PLEIKU----At 0130 on 7 January a communist sapper unit struck the Camp Holloway Complex with mortar, satchel charges, grenades and small arms fire. Troop casualties have been termed light by official sources while extensive damage was done to the supply center maintained by the 88th Supply and Service Battalion. Damage to the Holloway Airfield and aircraft was light. This was the second major attack on Camp Holloway, home base for the 52d Combat Aviation Battalion, in almost two years. On February 7, 1965, Holloway was subjected to a communist assault in the first major enemy attack on U.S. troops of the war. The same day, American planes were ordered to bomb North Vietnam and shortly afterward the big U.S. troop deployment started.
Impressed with the manner in which men of the 52d Bn responded during the attack on 7 January, LTC Paul C. Smithey of Treasure Island, Fla., battalion commander, forwarded the following letter of commendation to his companies:
"I wish to take this opportunity to express my recognition of the outstanding manner in which all members of this command conducted themselves during the attack on Camp Holloway, 7 January 1967.
Between 0130 and 0200 hours on 7 January, this installation was subjected to one of the most concentrated mortar barrages in the history of the Vietnam conflict. However, because of the immediate and exceptional reaction of this battalion, the enemy did not achieve the results he desperately sought. I am convinced that the self-control, which was demonstrated, and the courageous and aggressive actions taken by the officers and men of Camp Holloway were directly responsible for preventing a potential catastrophe. Many individual acts of valor have been reported to me, and the actions of the entire command were valiant.
I desire that all unit commanders pass on to each individual of his unit my appreciation for an outstanding performance while under fire. It is a privilege to command men of this caliber."
The Dragon News staff is proud to bring you the story of the men of the 52d during the early morning hours of 7 January 1967.
The men's names that will appear are heroes. As a direct result of their valiant actions, lives and untold dollars worth of valuable equipment were saved. We may not have recognized all of the soldiers who so unselfishly risked their lives. To those men we also offer our sincere appreciation.
When the first enemy mortar rounds started falling on the Holloway complex, flare and gunship crews were in the air immediately and within minutes the area was illuminated. With their sights aimed at the blazing enemy mortar muzzle flashes, the gunships started their firing runs. Three tubes had been silenced and 16 VC were dead, when the smoke cleared.
Credit for this outstanding response while under enemy fire goes to the following crews of the 155th Assault Helicopter Company and to the 119th Assault Helicopter Company:
WO Doyle, F. Courts, WO Nelson F. Perez, PFC John Poston, PFC Harold Hobi.
1LT George B. Harrison, WO Albert W. Fizgerald, SP4 Roger Brewer, and SP4 Elvin Allen.
1LT Richard H. Silva, WO Tom M. Harsh, PFC Robert Loutzenhiser and PFC Donald A. Corry.
CPT William B. Terwilliger, WO Anthony Rosa, SP5 Wayne F. Murray Jr. and CPL Albert F. Prevost.
WO Jimmie West, WO Lyman Gaude, SP4 Dwight Strahan, and PFC Pete Forchini.
WO David Ware, WO Reid K. McQuinn, SP4 Leonard Jonas, and SGT Frank Sweeney.
WO Emery C. Fisher, WO John J. Heath, SP4 John C. Mayfield, SP4 Francis Tiner.
How do you fight fire when you are under fire? It is doubtful that the Camp Holloway Fire Department even asked the question. Initial blasts in the supply center from enemy satchel charges set off many large fires throughout the area. Although continuously exposed to enemy mortar and small arms fire, these men moved their fire-fighting equipment into position and were successful in saving huge amounts of supplies and material from further destruction. Hats off to SP4 Robert Taylor, Mobile, Alabama; SP4 Charles Craig, Downey, California; Sp4 Pino Martinez, Sante Fe, New Mexico; SP4 Louis Robert, New Orleans, Louisiana; SP4 William Parkingson, Gustin, California; and PFC Denver Dutill, Coatsville, Pa.
Initial enemy mortar rounds resulted in numerous friendly casualties. The Camp Holloway Dispensary was not only charged with the responsibility of treating the wounded, but also operated the ambulances which were sent to pick up these men. Although completely vulnerable to the falling mortar rounds, the ambulances unhesitatingly came to the aid of stricken soldiers throughout the attack. Seeing that medics were needed desperately in the Dispensary, the battalion chaplain took over the duties of ambulance driver on one of the vehicles and plunged into the night with an aidman to gather wounded soldiers.
One enemy mortar round could have wrought destruction, but the dispensary continued to function until each patient had been treated. We salute CPT (Doc) John Heilman, Chaplain (CPT) William Sampson and the following medics: SGT George Watson, Philadelphia, Pa.; SP5 Edward Phillips, Pittsburg, Pa.; and PFC Edward Keogh, Astoria, N. Y.
Racing to their mortar positions, men of the 52d Security Detachment aided in the task of illuminating the surrounding country side and placing effective counter-mortar fire on enemy positions. Wounded by an enemy mortar round, PFC Howard Hart continued to run his mortar position and perform his duties rather than seek medical aid. Continuously exposed during the attack, the mortar section aided tremendously in halting the VC attack on Holloway. A "Well Done" to the following members of the Security Detachment: SGT Vernon Gavote, Des Plaines, Ill.; SP4 William Kahanu, Honolulu, Hawaii; SP4 Luis Cruz, Ciales, P. R.; SP4 Benny Anderson, N. Y., N. Y.; SP4 Charles Kindrex, Greenville, Miss.; SP4 Wesley Jantz, Greensburg, Kansas; SP4 Harold T. Walker, Greene, Iowa; PFC Howard Hart, Berkeley, Calif.; PFC Dennis Kueter, Bellvue, Iowa; PFC James Gedminas, Kansas City, Kansas; PFC Thomas Oder, Fort Worth, Tex.; PFC Claudie Chandler, Muldroen, Okla.; and PVT Roger Moore, Boulder, Colorado.
To all these men the DRAGON NEWS wishes to simply say "THANKS" for an oustanding job.
THOSE BOOTS ARE COMING
Nancy Sinatra, national singing sensation, is scheduled for an appearance at New Pleiku AFB on February the 11th.
The performance will be aired in the new amphitheater which is nearing completion at this time.
Watch for Special Services bulletins on this event and make plans to attend now.
(page last revised 08/10/2003 09:03 AM -0400 )