Firebase Improvements at LZ Dottie 1971

[Note:  the following document was found in the Unit History Files for the 1st Bn 6th Inf at the
National Archives II, College Park, MD]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Release No. 56-71
25 March 1971 (Date of Action: 21 Mar)                                      198th Inf Bde IO
FIREBASE IMPROVEMENT                                                       Phone:  Chu Lai 3197

                                               By Spec. 4 Thomas F. Boehler

LZ DOTTIE, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM (23rd INF DIV IO) -- If a soldier from the 23rd
Division's 198th Brigade were to return to Fire Support Base Dottie after an absence of two
months he would be in for some pleasant surprises.  The firebase has undergone some rather
drastic changes.

     The changes at FSB Dottie, field home of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, can largely be
attributed to the efforts of Lieutenant Colonel James W. Sawey (Sandia Base, N.M.), battalion
commander of the 1-6th Inf.  Since infantrymen are now spending a larger percentage of their
time out of the filed, Sawey decided that a few improvements were in order.

     "The things the men want most when they come in from the field are a hot shower, a cold soda
and some good food," said Sawey, "and that's what we've tried to provide them with.  This was
mostly a self-help program, but we did have a great deal of help from Bravo Company, 39th

     The new mess hall was the first improvement completed.  The mess hall can feed 300 men in
an hour, and also provides hot food for two smaller bases, OP Shaw and LZ Chippewa.  Hot and
cold running water were installed in the mess hall by the engineers.  The "Regulars: stand in line for
chow beside palms and eat while listening to their favorite stereo tape recordings.

     An additional feature of the mess hall is a pizza concession operated in the evenings.  The pizzas
cost one dollar.  "The pizzas are really great," said Specialist 4 Richard Anderson (Meridian, Kan.),
a rifleman with Company C.  "They are a little taste of the world."

     The old mess hall has been converted into a recreation facility.  It contains a 2,400 book library
and books are free for all members of the 1-6th Inf.  The shelves for the library come from discarded
ammunition boxes.  Also inside are two ping pong tables and many board games, and adjoining the
area is a "country store" which sells soda and beer.

     For further recreation the men have a basketball court and a volleyball court with the basketball
court doubling as an area for formations and awards ceremonies.  For less formal gatherings there
is a newly constructed outdoor theater, used for movies, floor shows, classes and chapel on Sundays.

     Another project built by the men at Dottie was a new main gate replacing two older ones.  The
new gate provides better security and allows for tighter control of civilians entering and leaving the
fire base.  Another popular aspect of the gate is that a soldier who has only a short time left in
country gets to come to Dottie as gate guard.

     Health and hygiene weren't neglected in the improvements either.  In addition to the hot showers,
the "Regulars" also have a barber shop which is free for their use.  The barber was formerly a licensed
civilian barber.

     Fire Base Dottie also has a completely new aid station, manned by a complete medical platoon.
The "Regulars" tore down the old aid station and built the new one from scratch.

     Near the aid station are two so-called "shammer" hooches.  These serve as living quarters for men
recovering from injuries which are not serious enough to require hospitalization.  The "shammers" did
the work on a major portion of the improvements at Dottie.

     Still not content with what they have, the 1-6th Inf. has further plans for their fire base.  A day room
with pool tables has been planned, and a request for a PX has been submitted.

     "The changes here at Dottie are really impressive," said Specialist 4 George Greenwood (San Jose,
Cal.), an infantryman with Charlie Company.  "It really has surprised me, everything they've done for us."

[End of article]

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