Saturday, July 12, 2014

More from the "Hill"; A Sgt. Remembers

Don, I was an engineer and arrived in country in the middle of November 68 and assigned to MASS 3 at the Da Nang ASRT. At that time the ASRT was on Hill 200 (Some say 220) it was moved to 327 in April 69. On the night of Feb 22-23 we were on alert with extra people on the line and Division had sent a few to help with manpower. About 0100 hours I was playing back alley bridge with 3 others in a hootch near the road at the north part of our area. We heard a M-16 fired on full auto from the two man bunker across the road from us and grabbed our gear and ran for the lines. I was assigned to the .50 cal so I ran to the ammo bunker to get it and the tripod. After getting it set up it became quiet and word was passed that 3 sappers had tried to go through our wire west of the hootch where we had been playing cards. One of the extra guys that had been sent up had seen movement through a Starlight scope and fired getting two of them. A short time later the third sapper jumped up and made a run for it while many opened up on him. He disappeared into the darkness but I believe we got him since a body was found later in that area. It became quiet again until shortly after 0200 (if memory is right), when a large explosion happened at the bunker that was built against a large granite boulder west of the ASRT antenna. After the explosion I began to see people running from the boulder to the antenna. I was told to hold fire since the identity was unknown until a NVA flag was raised at the boulder. At that time I began firing at the boulder and the AK machine gun that was firing from there. After what seemed an hour, word was passed to hold fire due to a reaction force that was working its way to that area. The NVA apparently pulled back after blowing the antenna and with the approach of the reaction force. Later when it began to get light, gunships arrived and patrolled the hill and valley below us.
I don't remember if it was that night or the next that "Puff" came over and fired up the hillside and valley for us. We also used "Shadow" one night that week.
The next morning after the attack, we found two dead sappers in the wire where the first shots were fired and located the one that jumped and ran. Lt. Morgan speculated that they were intended to be a diversion by attacking the hootch area. The three had been carrying an AK-47, a basket of Chi-Com grenades, a B-40 rocket launcher with three(?)rockets and a satchel charge. Later that morning I was able to get up to the boulder where the bunker had been blown.
It was not a pretty sight and there is some confusion as to who had been in it. I had thought all these years that it had been three guys from the Division band since that was where the division's portion of the line began. After reading some of the comments I am beginning to doubt my memory. One person commented that he had found a NVA that had been blown up by his own satchel charge in or near the bunker, which may have been one of those I saw.
I had thought that it was the Division band that was
next to us on the line, so seeing the comments about 327 confused me. I have found the scuttlebutt that went around afterwards also was not very accurate after corresponding with a couple others that were with MASS 3 that night in different locations.
It would be great if anyone could find and had access to the 'after action reports'.
I stayed at the Da Nang ASRT until the end of March and then was assigned to the An Hoa ASRT before the Da Nang ASRT moved to 327.
I wish my memory was better on a lot of the particulars, but it has been many years. Many of the photos I had were water damaged, but I am going to search to see if some may have survived. I drew a map of our area (attached) as near as I could remember it, sure would like someone with a better memory to make any corrections.
Sgt. Terry Hammontree USMC 66-70
Thank you Sgt. Hammontree for sending me this great story maybe it will jog some minds. Semper fi

No comments: