Noisy VC squads reap deadly rewards

LZ Bayonet -- Two separate elements of Viet Cong violated the age-old principle of noise
discipline over a period of several days and infantrymen of the 23rd Infantry Division's 198th
Inf. Bde. capitalized on the mistakes by killing five and detaining four in an area south of Chu Lai.

Co. B, 1st Bn, 6th Inf., was only a short distance from its previous night's defensive position when
members of the Regulars heard loud voices coming from the far bank of a nearby river.

After the platoon leader had halted his men, SGT Dennis Linn and two others went to the river
bank to investigate.  Using the heavy undergrowth as concealment, the infantrymen were able to
reach the river's edge without being detected.  After observing several Viet Cong with weapons,
Linn sent one man back for the rest of the element.

"When the rest of the men reached us," Linn recalled, "we spread out on line and opened up on
the enemy.  For some unknown reason, the enemy began to throw their weapons into the river."

A short time later, Bravo sent an element across the river, and found two Viet Cong killed and one
wounded.  The wounded enemy was evacuated to a Chu Lai hospital.  Found in the river were
four rifles, and on the bank nearby, one AK 47 and 10 Chicom grenades.

The Regulars then followed a blood trail and found two more Viet Cong wounded from the contact,
hiding under water using bamboo shoots to breathe with.  The two were evacuated to a Chu Lai

Several days later, the enemy's carelessness in noise discipline again took its toll.  Co. B was
setting up an evening perimeter when the members of an element spotted a woman heading
toward their position.  About 600 yards from the perimeter, the woman passed some food
and other items to a Viet Cong who appeared from the brush along the trail.  Then the woman
continued toward Bravo's location.

"When she came right up on us, all we had to do was reach out and grab her," said Linn.  Later in
the evening, the Regulars again heard voices, this time coming toward them from the south.
"There was a large sand dune between us and the enemy and we couldn't see them.  We just
heard them coming," said Linn.

But the enemy soldiers kept advancing and stopped just short of Bravo's position, chatting and
lighting up cigarettes.  The Regulars then opened up on the enemy, killing two.  At first light, the
company swept the area and found a blood trail and a knife. [End of newspaper article]

[Note:  the article fails to mention that the incident on the bank of the river also involved the
crash of an OH-6A, with the loss of the pilot, company commander, and forward observer.
See The Rest of the Story and photos]

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