Mines and Booby trap Incident, 28 May 1970, B Co., 1st Battalion 6th Infantry

[On 28 May 1970, 32 soldiers from B Co., 1st Battalion 6th Infantry, were killed or wounded
in a series of mine and booby trap explosions at BS 689 919, approximately 500m NE of Hill 43
on a small hilltop just north of the Lac Son (1) caption on the map shown below.  The following
narrative about what happened is from the Daily S2/S3/S5 Staff Journal created at the Tactical
Operations Center at LZ Dottie.  The original document is located at the National Archives II,
College Park, MD.  Pictomap furnished by Ray Tyndall (B/1-6 Inf 1970-71).]

28 May 1970, 0002 hrs. Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 6th Infantry, was in their night defensive
position on top of a small hilltop east of Nam Yen (3) at BS 699 922.  The plan for the next day was
for the command group to move to a daylight defensive position on the small hilltop at BS 690 915;
for the 1st Platoon to move to positions near BS 694 91?, BS 693 911, and BS 699 912; for the
2nd Platoon to move to day positions at BS 689 915, BS 684 911, and BS 689 911.  The 3rd Platoon
was to be moved in four lifts by helicopter approximately five km to the west to the fire support base at
Nui Pho Tinh, at BS 648 936.

0819 hrs to 0900 hrs.  3rd Platoon, B Company, 1st Bn 6th Inf, is moved from BS 699 922 to Nui Pho
Tinh at 0827 hrs, 0835 hrs, 0845 hrs, and 0855 hrs.  These repeated helicopter movements from the
pickup zone (PZ) at BS 699 922 probably were observed by the enemy.

0915 hrs.  B Co. (less the 3rd Platoon) requests urgent dust-off for seven soldiers who hit a booby trap.
The medical evacuation helicopter call sign Dustoff 57 was expected to arrive in fifteen minutes.  The
soldiers from the 4th Platoon were running a small day patrol in the vicinity of BS 689 919.

0925 hrs.  Dustoff 57 was on station with two helicopters.

0931 hrs.  Dustoff completed to 27th Surgical Hospital and 91st Evacuation Hospital in Chu Lai.

     Casualty records indicate that the following eight soldiers were air lifted to the 91st Evac

SSG Ducharme, David T.       Multiple fragment wounds right lower extremities.
PFC McMohon, Larry L.       Fragment wounds right ear and left side.  Treated and released.
PFC Levinson, Philip L.          Fragment wounds left leg.
PFC Smith, Willie J.                Fragment wounds right ear, left arm and back
SP4 Hutchins, James III          Fragment wound nose.  Treated and released.
PFC Dunn, Bobby L.              Fragment wounds both arms.
SP4 Rice, William O.              Multiple fragment wounds right foot and left thigh.
SGT Downing, David L.          Fragment wound left knee.  Treated and released

0935 hrs. B Co. requested another medical dust-off for two soldiers.  The 2nd Platoon Leader hit
another booby trap -- a  "toe popper."  The first booby trap was in a hedge row.  The large sized
element was spread out.

0945 hrs.  Second dust off completed.

     Casualty records indicate that 1LT Dodier, Jose A. was moved to the 27th Surgical Hospital in
Chu Lai with traumatic amputation of the right forefoot and multiple fragment wounds of his right leg.

0955 hrs.  Requested a third dust off for eight more soldiers who hit another mine near BS 689 919.
Dust-off 58 was to arrive in fifteen minutes.

     Casualty records identify six of these soldiers as follows:

PFC Bradley, John J.               Fragment wounds left forearm and left cheek.
SP4 Dvorkin, Bruce E.             Fragment wounds left shoulder and left back.
SP4 McRoy, Lee D.                 Fragment wounds left thigh
PFC Stewart, Robert H.           Multiple fragment wounds all extremities
1SG McNichols, Jack R.          Multiple fragment wounds face and left thigh
SP4 Johnson, Terry B. (HHC 1-6 Inf)  Fragment wounds left arm and right thigh

     Casualty records also identify two soldiers who were killed at this time as follows:

SP4 Monterrubio, Armando      Cause of death:  multiple fragment wounds chest and abdomen
PFC Myles, Anton C.               Cause of death:  Missile wound head,  traumatic loss of left eye,
                                                                       multiple fragment wounds and burns, entire body

1005 hrs.  Fourth dust-off requested.  Urgent for eight more soldiers.  Dust-off completed at 1015 hrs.

1025 hrs.  Requested gunships for B Co. (-) "to cover extraction."

1245 hrs to 1305 hrs.  Remaining soldiers in B Co. are moved by air from BS 689 919 to their position
the prior evening at BS 699 922.  Lifts are completed at 1245 hrs, 1250 hrs, 1305 hrs, and 1307 hrs.

1307 hrs.  The Battalion Commander, 1st Bn 6th Inf, is reported wounded and is going to Chu Lai to
the 91st Evac Hospital on a 176th Assault Helicopter Company aircraft, radio callsign Minuteman 25.

1348 hrs.  B Co. (-) confirms that 32 soldiers were dusted off in medical evacuations, including the
Battalion Commander (LTC Norman Schwarzkopf), the artillery liaison office, interpreter, dog handler
and dog.

     Casualty records identify other individuals who were dusted off as follows:

CPT Bratton, Thomas E. Jr. (HHB 1-14 Arty)    Traumatic amputation left leg and left arm.
LTC "Schwarzkops," H.N.             Fragment wounds left chest, right arm and right leg.
SP4 Shiloh, Charles                        Fragment wounds right chest and right leg
PFC Martinez, John A.                   Multiple fragment wounds face and left arm (NEOBD) 27th Surg
SGT Clyde Hall                              Fragment wounds right arm and head.
SP4 Rocha, Tony                           Fragment wound right arm.
PFC Ester, Walter                          Fragment wounds left hand and left thigh.
PFC Fulcher, Joseph A.                  Fragment wound right side
SP4 Williams, Rodney                     Multiple fragment wounds left leg and head
SP4 Shavers, Robert L.                   Fragment wounds left arm and hip
PFC Barr, James                             Fragment wounds left wrist and back
SGT Cook, Joseph                          Multiple fragment wounds face, chest, and left leg

     Casualty records also identify the following soldier as killed in action at that time:

SP4 Gatti, Dennis J.                         Cause of death:  multiple fragment wounds chest and abdomen

1500 hrs. [Summary of the incident from 2nd Platoon (B26) and 4th Platoons (B46)]

"While reconning a hill top for tonights NDP, B46 hit a mine /or booby trap in a hedge row.
Unknown type device believed elevated off ground.  Crater 5" x 10".  Requested urgent dustoff
for 8 US at 0915.  Dustoff 57 2 birds completed at 0931.  B26 in close proximity moved to
secure PZ. After dust off #1 complete, LT Dodier at 0935 stepped on an M14 anti-personnel mine.
Urgent dust off requested for 2 US.  Complete at 0945 by MM 17 with Lt Col Schartzkopf and
Capt Bratten staying on the ground.  Prior to 2nd dust off, B 1st Sgt and element were moving
up hill with ponchos to make stretchers. The dust off being complet they were told to move back
out of the area.  In doing so, moving out the same route they hit a trip wire booby trap 50 .cal
ammo can.  Requested urgent dust off for 8 US at 0955.  Dusted off by Dust off 58 and MM 12.
At 1002 while waiting for dust off, Capt Bratten was gathering sticks to make stretchers.  One
of the sticks had an unknown type booby trap near by - exploded wounding 8 US including
1/6 CO and Capt Bratten.  16 people were dusted off on MM 12 and D.O. 58 at 1015.  At
1025 mine sweep team requested.  Flown in from Nui Pho Tinh at 1045.  Also gunships to
cover extraction of remaining elements.  1st PZ at 1245.  Last PZ at 1305.  8 US with minor
wounds to 91st and 27th, including 1/6 CO."

[If you have additional information about this incident, please contact wr9r@aol.com]

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