News from the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry in 1968

[The following newspaper articles were written concerning the activities of the 1st Battalion
6th Infantry in Vietnam during 1968.  They appeared in either the Americal Division newspaper
or the Pacific Stars and Stripes.  While these articles are undated, the events happened between
April and November 1968.  Articles provided by Bill Kelley, HHC /1-6 Inf,  Apr-Nov 68]

VC 'Turnpike' Yields Rice

LZ Center -- Soldiers of 198th Inf. Bde. recently uncovered a tunnel system that "looked
like a turnpike" and contained enough hidden rice to feed all the citizen of a nearby hamlet

The find was made by members of Co. C of the brigade's 1st Bn 6th Inf. operating about
20 miles west of Tam Ky as part of the Americal Div. Operation Wheeler/Wallowa.

The food was evacuated through four miles of enemy territory through a joint American-
Vietnamese effort.

                                              Halted for Lunch

Company Commander CPT Carl A. Gruggel, of Pittsburgh, PA., had just halted his men
for lunch when the discovery was made.

"One of the men sat down on what he thought was a soft spot in the grass, and it turned
out to be the tunnel entrance," Gruggel said.

"Compared to most tunnels we've found, this one looked like a turnpike."

"There was a room at the end of the tunnel that contained 132 bags of polished rice.  The
bags were too heavy to carry, so we used buckets to move the rice out," he said.

                                                2 Tons Total

MAJ Frederick W. Tonsing, brigade civic action officer, said the tunnel contained a total of
two tons of rice.

There was enough to give each resident of three-hamlet complex in the Ni Lac Son area,
near where the rice was found, two pounds.

A "convoy" made up of two squads of the 1/6 Inf. company, a platoon of Popular Force
soldiers and about 600 of the villagers carried the rice back to the village with only minor
resistance from the enemy.

[end of article]

Sleep By Light, Fight By Night

LZ Bayonet -- "Know the enemy so that you may beat him at his own game." is a proverb
that has gained much credence lately with one unit of the 198th Inf. Bde.

Using VC - NVA tactics of resting during daylight and moving at night, 1st Bn., 6th Inf. has
denied the enemy the use of a former stronghold in the division AO.

The Ky Sanh Valley, northwest of here, had often been the scene of extensive activity by
Viet Cong rocket teams.  By maintaining security during the day, companies saturated the
"rocket pocket" with ambushes and night patrols.

"By using saturation patrols we have denied the VC their night activities," said LT Alphonso
Ramieres, a platoon leader with Co. D of the "Regulars"."  "We've actually been able to
seal off the valley."

These night operations have netted seven enemy killed, seven weapons captured, including
a sniper rifle with scope, and nine VC have been captured, including a platoon leader, squad
leader, and nurse with medical supplies.

"The VC know we're here, but we vary our routes and ambushes so much they can't keep
track of us," PFC Lorne White, a Co. D machine gunner, said.  "Once it gets dark the Viet
Cong just don't know where we've moved."

[end of article]

Refugees Build Hamlets With 198th Support

Chu Lai --  With the help of 198th Inf. Bde. soldiers, 2,000 refugees are building their own
village just south of Tam Ky.  The refugees have come voluntarily or have been moved for
their own protection from as far south as Duc Pho and as far north as Que Son Valley.

Using materials supplied by the 198th, the Vietnamese are building tin-roofed houses, wells,
and defense bunkers.

An American-built school is being run by teachers from Vietnamese Revolutionary Development
Teams for the hamlet.  Also, German Red Cross nurses and MEDCAP teams assisted by a
resident Vietnamese nurse treat more than 100 patients a day.

While the refugees constructed their homes, men of the 198th have supplied more than 8,000
pounds of food, milk, resettlement kits, and tools ranging from farming implements to sewing

[end of article]

Recon Platoon Routs Enemy

LZ BAYONET -- Ordinarily, the primary function of a reconnaissance platoon is to obtain
information about enemy activities.  When actual contact is made with enemy forces, however,
more often than not the recon platoon initiates it.

Although the informational aspect of the recon platoon's mission comes first, a chance to destroy
the enemy is never passed up.

Such a time was Aug. 5 for 1LT Michael Cooper and his reconnaissance platoon ot the 1st Bn.
6th Inf., 198th Inf. Bde.

                                                        Chow, Then Action

The location was the southern Dragon Valley, approximately six miles northwest of Chu Lai.  The
lieutenant explained that the platoon had set up a defensive perimeter and were relaxing after chow.

The serenity was suddenly broken by the cracking of automatic weapons fire.  Twenty-three-year-
old SP4 Boyd Rader from Harrisburg, PA., had spotted an NVA soldier and had "opened up"
on him.

The NVA force, an estimated two platoons in strength, responded with automatic weapons fire
and grenades from two directions.  As the heavy fire continued, the NVA attempted to flank the
platoon's position.

                                                            Artillery Support

LT Cooper made a hurried call for artillery support and helicopter gunships.  In describing the
ensuing battle, the platoon leader said, "The helicopter gunships came within 25 to 50 meters of
our position, and that's closer than you like to bring them."

But the gunships brought down a hail of firepower in the form of grenades, rockets, and mini-gun
rounds that proved too much for the enemy force.  The NVA force withdrew, leaving behind three

Six hours later, the recon platoon was extracted from the area a bit unnerved, but otherwise unscathed.

[end of article]

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