Summary of LZ Professional 1969

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Charlie Battery come to LZ Professional untested for what it was about to be faced with. When we first arrived, we started getting mortared ever day about the same time every day or when a chopper came in. As time went on, things started to heat up some what. When we started getting mortared, small arms fire and 51 cal. rounds shot at us on the hill. In March, when the gun that I was on, knocked out the mortar implacement, things were getting serious. The morning of Mother's Day 1969, as the sun started to come up, after a night of hell, it was very quiet. I remember when we took off our helmets and flak jackets, and layed down our M-16's, we were looking at dead gooks in the wire and I remember laughing at them and feeling good when I did. I remember thinking that we had just kicked the NVA's ass. Then all hell broke loose. Mortars and recoilless, you name it, started coming in. I have never been so humbled in my life. This pounding from the NVA lasted for most of the day. Charlie Battery could do nothing at this time to defend itself. When the smoke cleared, things were not in very good shape. The dead gooks that were in the wire stayed there for, I think, three days before they were removed. One can imagine what those dead bodies might have looked like after that long in the heat. They were taken to the lower chopper pad and placed in a pile and burned. In the days to come, we would loose some of our people. The NVA would send in mortars and recoilless at will. Any thing that flew was shot at. The hill was lit up at night from Spooky and the mini-guns were blasting. On the ridge line the NVA had a place that they would shoot a recoilless from. And at night they would leave a light on just to let us know that they were still there.

The 1-46th had serious losses of men defending the bunker line on LZ Professional.

All I can say is the fighting spirit was alive and well on LZ Professional at this time. I know the NVA wanted to over run LZ Professional like they had done at LZ Stinson but this didn't happen. I do believe the NVA was surprized at the American will power to survive and come out on top. I can close my eyes and hear the bloop of a mortar coming out of the tube and the scream of those recoilless rounds, a sound that I can never forget.

When it came time for Charlie Battery to leave LZ Professional, we were replaced by B Battery 1-14th. I met a Black E-6 in B Battery just before we left. His name was SSgt. Bobbie Gene Wooten from Harviell, MO. The tension was high for Charlie Battery as well as Bravo Battery. I heard that after we left, that SSgt. Wooten had been KIA on June 14, 1969 by mortar fire.

Charlie Battery had suffered 80% casualties during this time. We had lost two guns of the four-gun battery. They were destroyed by recoilless. Gun number 2 was knocked out twice during this time. We lost a total of four 3/4 ton trucks during this period. The 3/4 ton truck was used to bring ammo from the chopper pad on the lower end of the hill up to the guns.

Charlie Battery had a total of four people killed while it was on LZ Professional. They were Spec. 4 Clifton Dennis Potts, April 11, 1969, Sgt. John Edward Ray, May 13, 1969, who was the Chief-of-Smoke, Spec. 4 Daniel Simon Behar, May 20, 1969, and Pfc. Raeford James Gerald Jr., on May 20, 1969. Sgt. Ray was killed by in coming recoilless fire. Spec. 4 Behar and Pfc. Gerald were killed by mortar rounds.

I would like to mention the 1-52nd 198th Infantry. These guys were on Professional in the months before 'Operation Lamar Plain'. I knew a lot of those guys as well. I also had met LTC. Stinson who was killed in the first part of March 1969. To me, he was a man's man. From what I saw and can remember, he was there for the troops. He was killed while picking up the wounded and dead troops as well as dropping off ammo. He died en route to LZ Baldy. His death was a loss to all who knew him.

I remember very well when Cpt. Cox and his men were just about wiped out in March, 1969. If my memory holds correct, the men that were able to walk out, had to do just that. I remember the feeling of being very upset when I heard that they weren't flown out. I might be wrong with my last statement but, that is what I remember.

Cpt. Cox and I have communicated via email several times since I started this project. His web site is on the links page.

While I was on LZ Professional, I met a lot of people from the 1/52nd and the 1/46th. We used to trade c-rations for learp rations for a change. Some of those people that I knew then are gone. I can't remember the names but, I see the faces.

I was friends with the guys on the Quad 50 just out of our gun pit. I think they were from southern California. The Quad 50 was hit when all of these things were happening but, the guys from the Quad 50 lived through it all. I don't know what happened to them after I left LZ Professional.

There hasn't been one Mother's Day since 1969, that I haven't thought of what took place in May 1969. I, like most men my age, left home young and naive. Anyone who went through the things that happened during this time, came back a different person when they returned home. I know the reality of the words "a life can be over in a blink of an eye".

I left LZ Professional either the last day of May or the first day of June 1969. I never returned to LZ Professional again while I was serving my tour of duty in Vietnam.


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Letter of Commendation

The letters you are about to see came from Dave Lewis who was in Charlie Battery, August 1968 to August 1969. Dave was in FDC and he had these letters. Everyone in the battery should have gotten one but some of us didn't.
 
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