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VIETNAM HISTORY OF THE 2ND BATTALION 94TH ARTILLERY
The 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery Arrived in Vietnam on 18 October 1966 and was under operational control of the Third Marine Amphibious Group. The 2/94th provided artillery support for the Third Marine Operations from Laos to the South China Sea.
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their Nation"George Washington
THE EARLY BEGINNING
In a continuation of a long history of valorous and meritorious service the Second Battalion 94th Artillery was reactivated as a 175mm (SP) unit on 1 June 1966. Formal ceremonies were held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on 9 July 1966 at the Old Post Quadrangle. The activation was attended by Major General Harry H. Critz, the Fort Sill commander and later the 4th Army commander. The battalion colors were passed to the new battalion commander, LTC Richard G. Trefey. The activation marked the beginning of what was to be a long stint of service in which the battalion would face problems few artillery units had known in the past. Not only was there the hot Oklahoma summer months ahead, filled with the task of building and training an entire battalion on a relative new weapon system, but looming more ominously was the prospects of combat duty in a tropical climate of the expanding Vietnam conflict. All the training and organizing of the summer months ahead would be in preparation for fielding a combat ready unit ready on the beaches of Vietnam nearly 10,000 miles away.
LTC Trefey took command of a skeleton battalion previously commanded by LTC Eugene L. Adouo during the planning stages. The problems of organizing and training a unit of over 600 men were many. On 9 August after an eight-week intensified Combat Training Program, the battalion satisfactorily passed the Army Training Test.
The battalion began preparation for the overseas assignment movement immediately upon completion of the test. The most serious problem at the outset was the severe shortage of equipment. Their TO & E was being delivered piece meal fashion and half their training period passed with only one gun per battery. Most of the equipment arrived prior to completion of the ATT. However some items arrived barley in time to be shipped to the port for loading. A short seven weeks after the completion of the ATT the entire battalion had been crated, loaded and transported from Oklahoma to Oakland, California. There they loaded on ships and departed the United Sates for the Republic of Vietnam on 24 September 1966, less then four months after activation.
The ocean voyage must have seemed a well deserved vacation to the men who had worked hard and fast to launch their new fighting force. The pace of work and necessity for cooperation throughout the battalion created a pride and unity few organizations have duplicated. Pride in their swift and sizable accomplishment of a few short months and thought of the larger tasks for which they were headed accompanied them across the Pacific.
The 2/94th was accompanied by the 1st Battalion 40th Artillery, a 105mm SP outfit, and another battalion. All on the same ship to land in and unload in the Saigon area. 2/94th was the last to be scheduled off the ship so it’s equipment was loaded first. On the ship they had to learn the new fire mission procedure as everything changed from "on the way, over" to "shot, over" along with some other refinements.
Finally, after twenty-one days of crossing the Pacific and South China Sea, the USNS Eltinge and the USNS Perdue Victory arrived at Da Nang Harbor, Vietnam. The process of off loading took five days.
Actual Account from one of the first 2nd Lieutenants assigned to the 2/94th, A Battery:
The ship docked outside Saigon, or somewhere South and we found out the 2/94th was going North to I Corps to be OPCON to the Marines. It took forever to get everyone else off-loaded so the 1/40th and we could go north on LST’s and unload in Chu Lai. We then discovered we were to keep A Battery in Chu Lai OPCON to the 11th Marines while the rest of the Battalion went to Dong Ha where there was another 175 battery (B Battery 6/27th) waiting for them to be OPCON to the 12th Marines as D Battery 2/94th. At that time 2/94th had four firing batteries. Bastard A Battery in Chu Lai while B, C and D batteries were in the Dong Ha area.
We then started to join the "infusion" program with each battery shipping out and getting back in from other in-country units about half of our people so everyone did not rotate back home at the same time.
A Battery stayed with the 11th Marines and was located in a compound with the Korean Marines south of Chu Lai. We never understood "firebases" as the Marines never called them that. I rotated a month with A Battery and a month with the 11th Marines as an Air Observer in the daytime and Regimental FDO at night. I was "Black coat 13" as an air observer. I ran as FO on a couple of "Rough Rider" convoys up or down the coast from Dong Ha to Quang Ngai. There were days when we had to lay on the floor of a H34 helicopter with a PRC 25 to call in air missions.
The Marines had A, B and C batteries made up of 105's, then one battery of 4.2 mortars mounted on old pack 75 frames (called Howtars). I think H Battery and M Battery were a battery of 155 towed. Then they had a battery of 155 "long toms" from WWII assigned to each Arty Regiment. Don't recall the range, but they were long shooters until the 2/94th got there. Based on the distinction made between a howitzer and a gun, technically those long-toms and our 175’s were rifles.
Then later when the Army came in with the Americal Division we oriented their air observers before we went up to the 12th Marines. That was when there were more choppers available than we ever saw before. With the Marines we were usually with the C model Birddog fixed wing.
We had a tube blow up at our initial site when A Battery was assigned South of Chu Lai. When we were down south and the Americal division was formed, we immediately had to change two tubes into 8 inch and send some folks to Korea to get nuclear training which we all thought was dumb, but then they didn't ask us! The Marines had their 155 rifles, which was why they always called our guns "rifles" which always raised Army eyebrows. We did need the range which many times were the only thing that could reach to support Special Forces camps, or Khe Sanh later on.
I stayed with A Battery and, I think, in Sep/Oct 67 moved up to Dong Ha with the 12th Marines and convoyed to Camp Carroll and our A battery occupied the extreme Western part of the hill. I later took a platoon of guns to the Rockpile to better support Lang Vei and Khe Sanh.
The 175 battery assigned as D Battery 2/94th was B Battery of the 6th Battalion 27th Artillery.
NOTE: The 6th Battalion of the 27th Artillery was originally an 8-inch self-propelled M110 howitzer battalion but was converted to the dual 8-inch self-propelled howitzer and 175mm self-propelled M107 gun configuration. It arrived in Bien Hoa and became part of the 23d Artillery Group at Phuoc Vinh in November 1965, and was posted to Saigon in June 1966. The battalion went back to Phuoc Vinh and on to Quan Loi in January 1968. While at Quan Loi it became part of the II Field Force Vietnam Artillery on 21 October 1969. In March 1970 the battalion was posted to Phu Loi and there in April 1971 was reattached to the 23d Artillery Group. It primarily reinforced the 1st Infantry Division while in Vietnam.
From Red Beach staging area, the battalion, minus A Battery, conducted a road march north to the town of Dong Ha, and West to Camp Carroll. Camp Carroll was to be the permanent base camp for the battalion until the end of 1968. This position was strategically located five miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). From their positions at Camp Carroll the 175mm guns of the battalion could cover the I Corps area of Vietnam from Laos to the South China Sea, the entire width and length of the DMZ and well into North Vietnam itself.
The unit was on the beach for about a week and then moved out to the Marine Firebase Camp J.J. Carroll (formally called artillery plateau by the Marines). The Firebase was located at YD 063-547 about 18 miles west of the 9th Marine Combat Base at Dong Ha along Highway 9 between the refugee village of Cam Lo and the 3rd Battalion 9th Marine Firebase at the Rockpile.
The 2/94th would operate in the northern I Corps area for the next 6 years in what was called "Leatherneck Square". Hills, valleys, and mountains most from 4,000 to 7,000 feet peaks characterized the terrain. Some of the mountains were up to 8,000 feet high.
Temperatures and conditions would be from extremely hot and dusty to rainy, wet and cool conditions. At Christmas in 1967 the Carroll temperature would drop to 37 degrees with 15 to 20 mph winds and rain. In addition the plateaus and peaks were often enveloped in a heavy fog, which would preclude some air operations.
Highway 9 or QL9 was the only all weather road for supplies and ammo from the 9th Marine Combat Base at Dong Ha to Camp Carroll and areas West of Carroll.
Camp Carroll was built after Operation Prairie by the 3rd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment early in October of 1966. Named Camp Carroll in honor of Marine Captain J.J. Carroll who was killed on hill 400 or 484 during Operation Prairie.
(Note from a Marine FO with 3/4,"We went back to Carroll in 1994, and it's now a pepper tree farm with a NVA statue right about where the tower use to be.")
The move from Da Nang to Dong Ha went smoothly, with out any enemy contact. The move was conducted completely during daylight, since the enemy usually employed night tactics. The men of the 2/94th found that there was a lot more to being artillerymen than loading projectiles, powder, and pulling a lanyard.
They left Red Beach staging area on 19 October 1966 and set up tents on 20 October 1966 amid torrential rains. The position they occupied was little more than a plateau when they arrived, and there was the huge task of digging in and building up.
The unit set up base camp in ankle deep mud. They had to build latrines, showers, and started building the wooden frames to pull the tents over to call home.
Tents were the only shelter for the first three months, and the monsoon season was just beginning. By December of 1966 the first "hardback billets were erected for Headquarters battery. Most of the battalion still occupied tents, but were beginning to get tent frames and wooded floors. The first priority of course was gun positions. The soil at JJ Carroll was clay, and the heavy rains combined to cause many guns to get stuck in the mud. Gun pads were eventually constructed, which alleviated the problem.
The Seabee’s came in to build platforms for the artillery pieces as they were buried in the mud.
It is thought that the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines had the duty at this time and there were Marine 105 Howitzer batteries there from the 12th or 13th Marines along with Marine tanks from B Company 3rd Tank Battalion. Shortly after this time a company sized unit of the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines moved in as perimeter and area Marines. It is thought that this Marine unit(s) were there until the end of 1968, early 1969 when Camp Carroll was closed and the 3rd Marines were rotated home and the 2/94th moved to other locations in I Corps.
On 23 October 1966, the battalion became completely operational with C Battery firing the first round.
To add to the problems, A Battery was in the Chu Lai area, approximately 225 miles to the South, in support of the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. The increased load on the logistical and supply sections was enormous.
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Counteroffensive, Phase II. (07-01-66 to 05-31-67)
Report from the Associated Press 26 November 1966: The war in South Vietnam has come to a standstill because of the build up there. One of the newest arrivals in country is the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. It has been credited with bringing the war almost to a standstill in the areas in which its batteries are operating. End of Report.
While the war in Vietnam may have slowed down for a time, the enemy would show that he was far from beaten. The US Forces and the 2/94th would not find peace that easily.
Article from USARV-IO:Camp J.J. Carroll, U.S. Marines are fighting three North Vietnamese Army (NVA) divisions in Quang Tri Province with the aid of the Army’s 175mm guns.
This camp, just six miles from the demilitarized zone (DMZ), is the base for the big guns of the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. Since the first rounds was fired by the battalion on Oct. 23, 1966, over 70,000 projectiles have been fired.
The artillery unit is the only Army unit of its type supporting the Marines. All fire missions in the area go through the 3rd Marine Division.
The battalion has supported ten Marine operations. Including Operations Hastings and Prairie and the recent fighting in the DMZ.
The 175’s move around the province so that their 22 mile range can support the Marines, Special Forces, or the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) as they are needed.
Batteries have gone to Con Thien and Gio Linh to fire deeper into North Vietnam.
The big guns have fired across the DMZ since February 22. Forward observers in Bird Dog spotter planes flown by Army, Marine, or Air Force pilots give the targets.
Targets have been SAM missile sites, anti-aircraft emplacements, staging and assembly areas of troops, and convoys.End of article.
Information Office, US Army Vietnam -"U.S. Army units In Vietnam back the Marines with Action - The artillery men of these units along the DMZ don’t talk much about how they live in mud-filled bunkers and brave the incoming rocket and artillery rounds. They are too busy keeping the enemy busy ducking the shells and small arms fire they throw at him day after day". End of article.
The US Forces opposing the North Vietnamese Army was a composite unit. The US Marines were the first to be committed. As the enemy force threat developed, the US Army deployed some of its Artillery units to reinforce the Marines and counter the growing threat. These Army Artillery units came under the operational control of the Commanding General of the III Marine Amphibious Group. The 2/94th and 1/40th was part of that commitment to the Marines in October 1966.
The enemy had grown from 23 main force battalions to 51 Battalions in I Corps. The US Forces were only seven (7) Marine Battalions along with the two (2) additional Army Artillery Battalions supplied to the Marines. It is believed the 1/44th Dusters and Quads were already in support of those Marine units.
On 2 December 1966, C Battery fired the battalion’s 10,000th round in Vietnam.
The battalion celebrated Christmas and New Years in Vietnam with a 48 and 72 hour cease fires, respectively. Toward the end of January 1967 the battalion began a series of platoon and battery displacements, which increased the firing load and consequently increased the burden of ammo resupply. B Battery was the first to be called upon. On 26 January 1967, B Battery displaced a platoon of guns to a position just Southwest of the Rockpile, to support an operation near the Laotian border. The movement occurred at night, the most dangerous time for movement in Vietnam and was the first such night movement of 175mm guns to date.
Account from a Marinehelo pilot: I remember you guys!!!!!!! I was a UMSC helo pilot from spring '66 to spring '67. You guys had the 175's there at Camp Carroll. But, I never took any photos because we never stopped there. We were always going from Dong Ha to somewhere west.
I remember the night of Jan. 26, 1967. Our squadron had two H-46s down in Laos, just across the border west of Khe Sanh. There were 31 Marines trapped and surrounded on Phou Loutoukou Ridge. You guys moved two 175s to the base of the Rockpile so that you could reach the ridge in Laos. Once you got to the Rockpile, you fired in support of the men on the ridge all night long. THANKS-A-MILLION.
From 8 - 12 February 1967, the US Forces declared cease-fire in honor of the Lunar New Year (TET) but the piece was broken on the third night when B Battery fired in support of a surrounded Marine platoon.
On 25 February 1967 General Westmoreland finally gave permission for the Marine and Army Artillery units to fire at military targets across the DMZ into the enemies homeland.
The NVA responded with heavy artillery barrages against Carroll, Gio Linh, and Con Thien.
B Battery was the first to displace to Gio Linh YD 218-732 just two miles South of the DMZ along Route 1, as part of Operation High Rise. Their mission was to fire pre-planned, unobserved targets in North Vietnam and the DMZ. The battery was accompanied by Battery C, 1/12th Marines, a towed 105 battery and I company, 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, Infantry. They arrived at Gio Linh on 26 February 1967 and were hit with hostile mortar attack the first night, numbering 300 to 400 rounds. The nights of 28 February and 1-2 March 1967 saw attacks numbering over 750 rounds in seven attacks. Intermittent mortar rounds hit for the next two weeks, with the next large scale attack occurring on 20 March 1967 when the enemy hit with increased firepower of 105mm and 152mm artillery and 122mm rockets. An estimated 927 rounds fell that night and the battery sustained only one causality, the Number 3 Gun Chief, SSG Neal received a shrapnel wound in the head. The entire battery performed courageously under heavy enemy fire by returning much of the incoming with outgoing, and by exposing themselves to possible injury extinguishing fires on their guns.
While at Gio Linh, the battery forward observers, Lt. Smith and Lt. Beard participated in seven Recon patrols. While on patrol near the village of Tan Lich, Lt. Smith’s patrol made contact with an estimated company size enemy unit of the NVA. During a ten-hour period Lt. Smith called in over 2500 rounds of 105mm artillery fire.
Account of a 2/94th Artilleryman that was part of the B Battery contingent:We were proud of what we were doing during Operation High Rise. We battled the NVA 304th NVA Division and took the fight to him. We hit long NVA convoys coming down Highway 1. This red hair war correspondent comes in on a Huey late one afternoon and stays overnight in the Captains tent. I was also occupying the Captains tent. The red hair guy was easy to speak to and would listen most intensely. I had been instructed to look after this person by the Captain. I will never forget this genuine person who was friendly, spoke openly, and asked a lot of questions. This correspondent was Ted Kopple who eventually became a network news anchorman.
Account of a 2/94th Member that was part of the Camp Carroll Headquarters Battery contingent:
I joined the unit at Carroll on the last day of February 1967. On the night of, I believe 6 March; we took around 1000 rounds of 102mm rockets. These were called "Kartuchis" or "Stalin's Organs". In WWII they were fired in banks but the NVA used single tubes to fire the 102mm rockets. A total of six men were killed on Carroll and I believe at least one was from the 2/94th. (May have been the first KIA suffered by the 2/94th. Any info on this please notify the author.)
Later on and until the end of the war the NVA used 122mm Rockets against the firebase. Some were delayed fuse type.
On 6 March 1967, C Battery fired it’s 10,000th round and by 31 March 1967 they had fired 14,115 rounds.
On 24 March 1967, B Battery was replaced at Gio Linh and returned to base camp at JJ Carroll. The entire battalion had been involved in Operation High Rise, the first Operation involving heavy artillery firing at targets in North Vietnam. The firing into North Vietnam proceeded with an intense rate in an effort to stifle the enemy supply channels from the North.
During late February - April of 1967 the 2/94th guns on Carroll fired support for the provisional Artillery units at Gio Linh YD 218-732 and Con Thien YD 113-703. Like Gio Linh the Marine base at Con Thien was under heavy artillery barrages from the NVA. During these artillery duels it is estimated that 7,500 rounds were fired from J.J. Carroll by the 2/94th.
Both Con Thien and Gio Linh were thought to be manned by contingents of the 9th Marines and A Company 3rd Tank Battalion. Elements of the 12th and/or 13th Marine Artillery were also present. And of course the Army unit on the DMZ that became synonymous with perimeter defense the 1st Battalion 44th Artillery’s 40mm Dusters and the Quad 50 caliber Machine Guns.
The increased ammunition output required the battalion ammunition section to work from dawn to dark delivering ammunition to all the batteries, with priority going to B Battery at Gio Linh. During the attack on B Battery on 20 March 1967, much of their powder was destroyed. The 12th Marine Regiment directed a resupply convoy to be organized at 2400 hours. Service battery contributed six 5-ton trucks with trailers, one ¾ ton truck, and the battery commander’s jeep. Five hundred meters from Gio Linh the convoy was ambushed with a resulting loss of four 5 tons and trailers and the ¾ ton truck. As a result of the professional competence and the valor of the personnel of the battery no lives were lost. Capt. R. Powell, SSG W. Fernandez and SGT R. Zovistowski were awarded the bronze star with V device. SGT’s Seale and Poolo, along with PVT DR Woods were awarded the Army Commendation Medal with V device. SGT Seale was also awarded the Purple Heart along with SP4’s Kramb and Kerns.
The Mission of Service Battery Ammo Section was as follows:
To provide an adequate amount of ammunition to our firing batteries. Neither weather, terrain, or Charlie will stop our delivery. ‘They Call, We Haul’ the 147 lb Cong Buster, which enables Charlie to give his life. For our service is guaranteed. We accept all challenges! For we are the best.
B Battery 6th Battalion 27th Artillery (attached as D Battery) was rotated on 24 March 1967 to Gio Linh, which continued to come under enemy rocket, mortar, and artillery attacks. On 27 April 1967, D Battery underwent the heaviest single attack at Gio Linh, withstanding over 1,000 rounds of incoming. During the attacks the gun section returned the fire and destroyed two enemy artillery pieces and caused numerous secondary explosions. The attacks continued nightly, and on 30 April 1967, PFC Leonard Martin was killed in action while manning his gun. C Battery 2/94th replaced D Battery (B Battery 6/27th) at Gio Linh on 28 May 1967. During the sixteen days they occupied the position they received 38 attacks.
Once again during this period the personnel of the ammunition section distinguished themselves in maintaining ammunition resupply of 100 to 300 rounds per day. The enemy had begun shelling Gio Linh during the daylight hours and the ammunition section started out each day with the certain knowledge that they would be off-loading under fire.
They sustained several injuries and on 3 June 1967, SP4 Fleming was killed and PFC Honkon lost an arm and leg while off loading ammunition.
Meanwhile, B Battery back at JJ Carroll continued in Operation Prairie IV in support of the Marines, in action near the DMZ, Laotian Border, and for RECON elements in the field. From 16 May to 28 May 1967, B Battery fired in support of operation Hickory. In one instance during the operation, 9th Marines had been fighting for 3 days to take Hill 117. B Battery massed fires with another battery, each firing 124 rounds enabling the infantry to walk up the hill without firing a round. During the period, B Battery fired 8,942 rounds. 8,576 of which were fired into North Vietnam. They wore out 19 gun tubes in the process.
As the activity increased in the Northern I Corps area the bulk of the Third Marine Division was moved to the I Corps area. The 2/94th supplied artillery support for Vietnamese Army as well as the Marines in their operations and perimeters around the DMZ. The 2/94th supplied Forward Observers and Radio Operators to the South Vietnamese Army. One combined major operation during this time was called HASTINGS.
Ground forces were denied authority to conduct reconnaissance patrols in the northern portion of the DMZ and inside North Vietnam by the US Government. Confined to South Vietnamese territory U.S. ground forces had to fight a war of attrition against the enemy, relying on body counts as one standard indicator for measuring successful progress for winning the war. This set the rules of the war as decreed by Washington politics.
Vietnamese Army and other Marine Corps units conducted Operation HASTINGS against enemy infiltrators across the DMZ.
During this time period the 2/94th took part in four Campaigns against the NVA.
Counteroffensive, Phase III (06-01-67 to 01-29-68)
TET Counteroffensive (01-30-68 to 04-01-68)
Counteroffensive, Phase IV (04-02-68 to 06-30-68)
Counteroffensive, Phase V (07-01-68 to 11-01-68)
On 30 July 1967 the battalion had fired 84,940 rounds in RVN, out of which 47,425 nearly half of the total, had been fired into North Vietnam as part of Operation High Rise. Most of the missions fired into North Vietnam and the DMZ were unobserved and it was therefore difficult to obtain surveillance or battle damage assessments. The only way an artilleryman gets to know what effects for his hard work is having is by having surveillance, and the battalion had an excellent record in those few missions that were observed. Observers confirmed 240 enemy KIA and another 230 probable, 79 secondary explosions, 7 artillery pieces destroyed and 7 damaged, 40 bunkers destroyed and a long list of other targets destroyed or damaged.
The battalion celebrated their first anniversary since activation with organization day activities in June of 1967. A steak fry was held and awards were presented to the many men who had displayed their courage and fortitude during the past nine months in Vietnam. On 26 July 1967 a change of command ceremony was held. LTC Robert H. Kamstra accepted the battalion colors from LTC Richard G. Trefey. LTC Trefey, who had seen the battalion through activation, training, overseas transport and the first months in combat was reassigned to Headquarters, First Field Force Vietnam. The new battalion commander would see the battalion continue to receive constant enemy contact by mortar and artillery attacks, and would see the individual batteries and separate platoons displace to various locations to fire in support of several operations at once.
A Battery occupied Cumberland Fire Base on 1 August 1967 and fired the first round into the A Shau Valley, an NVA and VC stronghold. In seven days the battery fired 639 rounds in the A Shau Valley in support of Operation Cumberland. The battalion continued to fire into the Valley and North Vietnam throughout the summer months. Casualties remand surprisingly low considering the number of incoming rounds the battalion underwent. This was due in part to the poor training of the enemy and the inaccuracy of their weapons. However, it is due in part to the skill and hard work of the personnel of the battalion.
Account from a Marine that was a visitor to Carroll during 67:In June 1967, my outfit, Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion 26th Marines traveled by truck convoy from Phu Bai to Khe Sahn. We stopped off at Camp Carroll for the night. I will never forget how happy I was to be able to spend the night - to be able to sleep all night - while Carroll's Marines manned the perimeter. We felt like guests. Well, it was around midnight, and I was fast asleep lying out in the open approximately 20 yards, as I recall, from a 175 mm long gun. It received a fire mission and fired off a round.
BOOOM!! The noise and concussion lifted me off the ground and scared the crap out of me. My only thought wasWOW! Get Some!
Anyway, we headed out the next morning for Khe Sahn where at that time things were relatively quiet. We remained there for approximately 1 1/2 months then headed down to Con Thien in August 1967.
You can't imagine how much we Marines on Hill 861 appreciated your 2/94th Arty support. Frankly, the closer to our lines your rounds hit the better I liked it. That meant you were killing close-to-the-perimeter gooks.
On 2, 3 and 5 September 1967, Camp JJ Carroll received incoming enemy artillery fire, totaling 18 rounds. There was no damage, nor were there any casualties.
On 22 September 1967, General William Westmoreland visited the battalion and was escorted through the battalion area by the Battalion Commander. General Westmoreland visited battalion FDC, Metro section, B Battery FDC, and one gun section in B Battery. General Westmoreland departed the area apparently pleased with what he had observed.
On 24 September 1967, the battalion received 35 rounds of incoming artillery fire, but sustained no casualties and or damage.
On or about September/October 1967 A Battery rejoined the Battalion at Carroll and occupied the Western part of the hill.
NOTE: It is assumed that on or about the same time frame B Battery 6th of the 27th Artillery assigned as D Battery 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery was released. It is assumed the battery returned to the South and was under the OPCON of the 23rd Artillery Group in the Quan Loi area.
On 23 December 1967, General Johnson, the Army Chief of Staff, visited the battalion. The battalion commander escorted General Johnson through the area. He was shown the battalion headquarters area and B Battery where he observed a fire mission, fired by 175mm guns.
On 20 January 1968, the battalion received 27 rounds of incoming artillery fire. There were three WIA in C Battery, two buildings destroyed, one damaged, a 1-½ ton truck and an M-548 damaged, 6 M-14 rifles destroyed and 9 M-14 rifles damaged.
On 21 January 1968 the NVA began its attacks against Khe Sanh. Eight days before he was to launch his TET 68 offensive. The Base at Khe Sanh was defended by three Marine regiments from the 26th Marines, a newly arrived 2nd Marine Battalion, 13th Marine 105mm and 155mm Artillery, Marine Tanks from the 3d Tank Battalion, G Battery from the 65th Army Artillery a Quad unit, elements of the 1/44th Army Artillery a Quad and Duster unit. The 2/94th supplied fire support from outside the base area from its positions on Carroll and the Rockpile.
On 22 January 1968 the Marines also moved the 1st Battalion 9th Marines outside the Khe Sanh area where they took up positions at the rock quarry. This unit was to suffer extreme heavy casualties later at that position.
On 23 January 1968, the battalion VTR hit a mine while traveling along QL 9. There was one man wounded, the VTR was heavily damaged.
On 24 January 1968, the enemy ambushed an ammunition train enroute from JJ Carroll to Dong Ha Combat Base. Two men from B Battery along with several Marines were wounded and MEDEVAC’d. The threat of mines along the roads increased with several vehicles sustaining damage from mines along with several wounded as a result.
On 29 January the TET 68 offensive began. The Marines and Army Artillery were facing in I Corps: The 325C (which had been decimated early in the war by the Marines), the 304th an Elite NVA Division from Hanoi, the 324th Division, and the 320th Division was just North of the Rockpile. The 325th and the 304th were known to have supporting Armour units from the 203rd Armored Regiment. In addition the 68th and 164th NVA Artillery Regiments supported these attacking divisions.
On the morning of January 30th, 1968 elements of the 320th closed down Highway 9, which led to Dong Ha and out West to Khe Sanh. Camp Carroll started receiving incoming fire from an estimated 4 to 6 NVA firing batteries. Batteries consisted of 130’s and 122mm Rockets.
The next morning a B52 strike was ordered against the 320th to the North and the North West. In addition fighter aircraft and the C130 gun ships (Puff) were called in to strike in the same general areas. During the B52 strike the NVA started shelling Camp Carroll and the men who told not be in their bunkers for fear of collapse during the B52 strike, did indeed use their bunkers.
Also during this time heavy spraying of the defoliant Agent Orange was used around Carroll and the perimeter. Unknown to the Marines and Army personnel this was an enemy they could not see or fight no matter how much bravery was shown.(See note at end of history)
Account from a Marine that was part of the Marine contingent on Carroll during TET:I was with E Company 2nd Battalion 9th Marines. In order to drive the NVA away from the Carroll perimeter and out of the valley our company moved down into the valley below the day after TET began (Feb 1st or Feb 2nd). Intense fighting took place that day near Highway 9 and on Mike’s hill west of Cam Lo near the bridge and creek. There was a squad that had been assigned to the CAC unit at Cam Lo the night before TET broke out that was hit pretty hard. Casualties were sent back to Camp Carroll or Dong Ha depending on severity of their wounds.
Account from a Marine that was part of the Marine contingent on Carroll during TET:You may recall a situation where a Marine recon patrol ran into big trouble one late afternoon (March 5, I think). E/2/9 was pulled off the front of Carroll’s line to go fetch the dead officer who had been left behind when the patrol was extracted out. But darkness fell before we could lift off the LZ. You guys fired all night to keep Uncle Ho's Finest away until morning.
You guys on the guns were always Johnny-on-the-spot when it came to fire support. Thank you very much. I recall a day when my squad escorted a FAO out northwest of Cam Lo. He called in an air strike up in the DMZ and then we just cooled our heels awhile. His radioman carried 2 PRC-25s (wow!) so he could hear both sides of a conversation. Somebody who was awfully excited called in a fire mission. He really rattled it off fast. The FAO said his call sign put him in Khe Sanh. He had to say it all over again because he spoke too fast to get it all. He was asked what his target was and he said, "I got a battalion o' gooks in the open and running." When asked how far away they were, he said, "Fifty meters and closing!" It seemed like only a second before we heard guns open up and the FDC announced, "They're on their way!" Now that's service.
There was one night, though, that y'all really annoyed me. We got the word that Carroll was going to be overrun. So we were pulled back from our front line and placed in a tight perimeter along dirt "road" directly in front of the 175s. I mean directly in front of the muzzles...about 20 feet!
Every time a gun captain would yell, "Stand by!" I'd cover both ears, open my mouth wide, and lay flat on the hard-packed adobe. Then the damned thing would explode, scooting me back 6-8 inches, knocking all the wind out of me. And of course the first gasp only sucked in burnt cordite. Gag a maggot! Even my helmet, set alongside me, would tumble a foot or so. The ground was so hard it broke our E-tools trying to scratch its surface. No joy there.
I must have dozed and missed a warning order because one cannon went off without my preparations. I think it popped my eardrum, 'cause I got a little blood from it. At that, I just picked up my gear, sat behind the gun, and the NVA and USMC be damned! Of course, nothing happened that night. All plans and intelligence must first be cleared through Hanoi!
Personal Greeting of Thanks from an E/2/9 Sergeant to the men of the 2/94th.Thank you for being there for a whole bunch of us when we needed it most. Even if at the time we didn't know exactly who were the agents of our deliverance. You and your boys were often our literal "saviors". I believe God puts us where we need to be at the times we need to be there. He sure put your outfit where I needed you at the right time. Thanks!
You know the last stanza of the Marines Hymn? The part that goes, "If the Army or the Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines"? What isn't said there is that we'll be pulling guard duty while the 2/94th Boys are busy knocking down the gates of Hell with precision fire!
A sincere "Semper Fi!" to you, and God bless you all.
The 2/94th artillerymen on Carroll can never express in words the witnessed bravery shown, dedication to duty and each other the perimeter Marines at Carroll exemplified. With men such as these on our perimeter the hill was always secure. To borrow the slogan of the 108th they did indeed perform, ‘Deeds Above Words’.)
The NVA 320th also had two 79mm antiaircraft gun emplacements to the North of Carroll.
A Battery was occupying positions at the Rockpile and was coming under constant harassing fire from the enemy. On 23 February 1968, in the early morning, Gun #1 exploded during a fire mission. The gun was completely destroyed, but none of the crew was injured. Four Marines were reported injured by shrapnel over three hundred meters away.
About 5 February a 175mm from B Battery at the Rockpile was lost to a projectile and powder explosion. One cannoneer received shrapnel wound to the cheek and several Marines were treated for smoke inhalation. The accident happened when the crew had to fire one gun over the top of another. There was a fireball and that blew the projectile and powder pit of the destroyed gun section. That gun crew ended up with a 81mm mortar for a while. Also a 175mm from B Battery at Carroll lost a tube due to an explosion. (It is thought sometime in December)
The 2/94th supported the Third Marine units involved in the hill battles around the combat base at Khe Sanh; Especially those major battles for hill 861, 861A, 881S, and 881N. The 2/94th defended the Khe Sanh combat base perimeter with effective fire support. Especially when bad weather kept the aircraft support to a minimum or the suddenness of the attack precluded aircraft intervention.
The 2/94th is credited in holding the NVA at bay until reinforcements could be sent out to the Khe Sanh Combat Base area.(History Channel)
In addition the news reports from that time reported that the final push on Khe Sanh would not come until the 175’s at Carroll and Rockpile had been silenced.(Walter Cronkite Report on Khe Sanh)
B Battery fired in support of Hill 861 near Khe Sanh while under hostile attack. SSG Brum, CPL Robinson, PFC Hillis, PFC Willard were wounded while manning their guns. The support was well appreciated by the Marines near the hill and the enemy KIA was estimated at 130.
Accounts from Marines, Marine Forward Observers, and other Army Unitsat the hill battles and on the Khe Sanh perimeter report the 175’s devastating toll on the two NVA divisions operating in the area. One of which was the 325th NVA Division.
Actual accounts from Marines on 861Areports that an undersized company of the 26th Marines (E/3/26) had not been set up long enough to have their defenses the way they wanted them to be. Early in February 1968 about 3:30 AM two Battalions of NVA regulars contested the Marines for the hill. 175mm supporting fire was called in immediately and continued until 7:00 AM. The 175mm fire support broke up the attacking Battalion and in the words of one of the Marines describing the action stated, "A bunch of pissed off young Marines took care of the rest." In addition to the attacking Battalion the Marine FO then turned the fire to the reserve Battalion of NVA and all but destroyed them. This combination of devastating 175mm fire support and bravery of the young Marines on 861A preserved the integrity of the hill so important to the defense of Hill 881N and Hill 881S and the Khe Sanh Combat Base. If 861 and 861A had fallen this would have left both 881 hills totally isolated.
A Marine FO from Kilo/3/26 actual account about 861 and the 175's from Carroll is as follows:
On 18 or 19 January 1968 (a day or two before the siege started) my Commanding Officer asked/ordered me to register targets in the ravines and likely approaches around 861. I registered and got target numbers from the 105's, 155's and the 8 inch guns at the base. In addition, I registered some targets on the northern slope of 861 using the 175's at Carroll. To this day, I still remember their call sign -- it was Colorado 1/9 -- and I never did speak directly to them because of the distance -- 18+ miles. My words and theirs were relayed from the base.
We got all friendlies out of the northern end of the trench line and then I registered the targets. Must have been three or four targets in all. In each case, the final rounds hit less than 50 meters outside our last strand of wire and that's when I cease fired and asked for Target Numbers. Man, those bad boys certainly crunched into the hillside less than 75 yards from my position! I knew the rounds were on the way from the "shot" and "splash" calls, but they still made my teeth rattle.
They fired in support of us again on the night of 20 or 21 January 1968 and I remember 861A using the 2/94th in that early February NVA attacks. (Referenced above.)
One night in mid to late March, the NVA launched rocket after rocket into the base. These 122's were fired from behind 881N and they had to travel almost directly over 861 on their way to the base. I called Colorado 1/9 (through the relay) and gave them the grid squares of the two launch sites behind 881N. My request was that they saturate both grid squares in order to stop this huge, on-going barrage. These grid squares were 1000's of meters from us and would have been max range for the 175's but I felt that just reaching out there would cause the NVA to stop.
Less than three minutes later I was told that the first rounds were on the way. Within seconds, WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!
Three or four rounds impacted less than 50 yards outside our wire! Scared the living hell out of all of us in the bunkers and the trench line. We even had a Listening Post right outside the last strands of wire, and those three guys must have shit their pants. Immediate "Check fire" on my part...one more round hit...then all was quiet.
Somehow, the 175mm people thought I had called for my target numbers to be fired, and they responded. Imagine, two and a half months after they were registered, and with no adjustments, and with cold tubes, and from over 18 miles. Those shells hit right outside our wire! A phenomenal display of shooting that I have never, ever forgotten even 32 years later. We got the Check Fire...corrected by a half a dozen grid squares, and they resumed firing. That's my memory of the big guns at Camp Carroll. I just realized that it was 32 years ago today or tomorrow that I registered those guns.
A 13th Marine FDC member actual account about 861 and the 175's from Carroll is as follows:
I can tell you one more thing, having been in the FSCC center that night. The night the NVA tried to take hill 861, they blew a few big holes in the wire and were inside the wire before anyone new it. The radioman up there was screaming at the top of his lungs to get some f___ing arty up there, that they were being overrun. Our 05's and 55's were shooting all kinds of missions that night so the Colonel had the 175's concentrate all their fire on one side of the hill that had a big hole in the wire. The fire from the 175's kept the NVA off that side of the hill so we could deal with another side and push the NVA out, which we did. When it was over the Colonel said the 175's, by denying that flank to the enemy probably saved the hill.
I know a lot is said about air power and I sure saw a lot of it during the siege but I will go to the grave knowing it was artillery that saved our Asses. I will take a battalion of artillery over an air wing anytime, anywhere. Artillery is with you 24 hrs a day and is still KING of the Battlefield!!
Actual accounts from Marinesposted on the East Perimeter of the Khe Sanh Combat Base document a heavy ground attack that was turned with 6 rounds from the 175’s on Carroll and Rockpile. Unconfirmed body count was 76. The Marines that were under the attack report smiles on their faces when they saw the 175’s heavy destruction of the NVA Regulars that were trying to over run their positions.
Army perimeter defense units of the 1/44th at Khe Sanh also reportthe importance of the 175mm perimeter support when needed expeditiously and were relied on heavily. " We relied heavily on the big 175mm guns at Camp Carroll and the Rockpile to lay in their fire missions at predetermined coordinates and suspected NVA positions".
Actual account of a C Battery 2/94th gunner -We were always in a rush when we had a fire mission for Khe Sanh. We knew that they were in a very bad spot when they called for us to help them out. That was our job, and we knew that if we were in their place that we would want the most help possible as quick as we could get it, so we always pushed ourselves to see just how fast we could get the rounds out and on the way.
Actual account of a Marine that was around Carroll and Hill 881 -I was a 0311 with "F" 2/3 from 11/66 to10/67. I was at Carroll from 11/66 to 3/67 my company would rotate between Carroll and the Bridge down on Highway 9, I don't know if you remember the Bridge? On Feb 28,1967 we were involved in a battle at Cam-Lo my squad became surrounded and we had to call for fire support from Carroll. I don't know if you were there then or you may have heard that we had to call the 175 rounds on our own position. The guys up at Carroll laid those four rounds right between us and the NVA, which was only a matter of 20 feet or so. Laying on the ground and hearing Carroll launch those 175’s knowing they were coming right at us makes me numb to this day. Having those shells rip through the trees and impact right in front of us was the most amazing, scary, bone chilling experience you could imagine. I guess the NVA figured we were crazy because the broke off from us. There is no doubt in my mind that without those well-placed rounds my name would be on the Wall. We depended on you guys at Carroll many times to get our butts out of a jam and you were always there.
Excerpt from the S&S Vietnam Bureau:A Marine convoy carrying supplies from Carroll to Khe Sanh was hit three miles from the Rockpile by 200 to 300 NVA Regulars. Many of the 109 communists that were killed were hit by air strikes and 175mm artillery fire. End of excerpt.
By reports from supported troopsthe NVA hated the big guns at Carroll, Rockpile, Gio Linh, Con Thien and any other places the big guns were assigned in the I Corps area. The big guns could target anti-aircraft firing on U.S. planes, fortifications, and infiltration routes in North Vietnam.
During September 1967 to September 1968 the 2/94th Service battery was at Dong Ha, Headquarters battery was at Camp J.J. Carroll YD 063-547.
Located with the 2/94th on Carroll were elements of the Army’s 1st Battalion 44th ADA (Dusters and Quads), Kilo Battery 4th Battalion 12th Marines, and Charlie Battery 1st Battalion 12th Marines.
The Marine Tank unit assigned to Carroll and the Carroll area, including the refugee village at Cam Lo, was B Company 3rd Tank Battalion.
The perimeter defense Marine contingent during this time was the E and H company of the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines (Although units of the 4th and 26th Marines were also present at various times)
Mortar units that supported the hill are unknown at this time.
The 2/94th men from Service Battery (Mother Truckers) continued their dirty dangerous job of hauling the ammo, powder, and supplies for the 2/94th guns and 2/94th personnel to all the firebases. From Dong Ha and sometimes Camp Evans they delivered their precious cargo along Highway 9 to the outposts along the DMZ; Con Thien, C2, C1, Carroll, Rockpile, LZ Stud, etc. In addition they made the dangerous trip up Highway 1 to Gio Linh. These convoys were constantly under duress from land mines, mortars, small arms and ground attacks, and the enemies other Allis the Vietnamese weather and road conditions.
There were some 2/94th artillery pieces located at the remote Rockpile XD 979-559 with the 3rd Battalion 9th Marine Regiment. Number of pieces and battery units are unknown. It is known that that the ‘Bodacious Bastard’ B Battery, 2nd gun section, (red section) was at the Rockpile for a short while in November of 1967.
One of the B Battery guns at Con Thien was named the ‘Bodacious Bastard’ from 2nd gun section, (red section). This is the same gun that has the picture taken on Carroll with the Buccaneer sign. The Buccaneer Mission Statement was:
"THE MISSION OF THIS SECTION,
IS DESIGNED TO GIVE THE ENEMY SOLDIER
THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY
TO GIVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY"
The 2/94th sent guns from B Battery to LZ Stud YD 002-493 (Vandergrift) for a short period. This move to LZ Stud was thought to be a strategic move to enable the 2/94th guns to silence the NVA Artillery that was hitting Khe Sanh from within the Laotian border.
The 2/94th sent guns from B Battery to C1 (Charlie 1) YD 213-672.
During this time some 2/94th 175mm guns were converted to 8-inch guns.
The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Colonel Kamastra and the XO was believed to be Major Riddel or Major Fleming.
In March of 1968 the 2/94th joined the newly formed 108th Artillery Group under 1st Field Forces Command.
On 19 February 1968, SP4 Williams of B Battery was killed in a heavy artillery and rocket attack. During the same attack Headquarters Battery received two KIA’s, PFC Hornbaker and SP4 Wright, and one serious WIA. (Note: It is thought the author remembered the WIA’s last name was DeCosta. He had severe head wounds and later wrote back that he was recovering from those wounds.)
Enemy attacks continued to be very heavy throughout February and March 1968, resulting in a great deal of damage to equipment and positions, but without further casualties.
During Operation PEGASUS the 2/94th at Carroll and the Rockpile supported the 1st Air Cav’s breakout convoy along its way and during its operations.
About 25 Mar 1968 the relief column was observed by the Marines and Army units on Carroll down on Highway 9 on its way to the Rockpile and LZ Stud and on to Khe Sanh.
On the morning of 1 April 1968, the Marines started moving north along Highway 9 towards Khe Sanh from LZ Stud. Several Fire Missions were shot in support of the Marines to protect their movement. The clap of thunder of the artillery could be heard coming from Camp Carroll, the Rockpile, and LZ Stud. Fire Missions were being fired to clear a path for the infantry assault elements and close support artillery units.
After many weeks of siege, the enemy was finally driven back from Khe Sanh. The defense cost a great many American lives, but the enemy was hit even harder. The next few months would see a substantial drop in enemy activity as he regrouped and avoided confrontation in order to build up his forces. The successful defense of Khe Sanh was a significant page in the Vietnam chronicle. While the outpost itself would later be abandon, the success proved that the determined US Forces would not accept defeat in Vietnam. Though militarily superior, the US Forces had been sustaining heavy causalities as a result of the excellently deployed guerrilla forces of the VC and NVA. There was growing opinion that the guerrilla force could never be overcome. Though the war was far from over, Charlie’s reputation as an incredible fighter was beginning to suffer.
During these artillery battles the 2/94th suffered causalities from all batteries on Carroll. From a Battalion Surgeon that was with 3rd Battalion 9th Marines information indicates there were casualties in the 2/94th crews at the Rockpile as well. (Batteries unknown)
Final Statistics for the Defense of Khe Sanh
The enemy had retreated so completely from the area that rocket attacks were weeks apart rather than just hours as they had been. B Battery displaced to Thon Son Lam (Rockpile) and received only four rocket attacks, without any damage sustained. The only damage was cause by an accidental fire, which destroyed gun 4, and injured nine men. More significant was the fact B Battery displace to Ca Lu on 8 June 1968 without incident. A year previous they convoyed to Ca Lu under heavy security in an attempt to reach Khe Sanh. Due to enemy ambushes the plan was canceled and battery returned to base camp. From the 19th until the 26th of June 1968, B Battery occupied LZ Hawk, received only light scattered rocket attacks. While at LZ Hawk the battery fired approximately 600 rounds in support of Task Force Hotel.
The majority of the missions were counter battery or suppression fires. Though enemy activity had lessened, there was still sufficient contact capable of producing causalities. On 2 and 4 May 1968 incoming artillery wounded three cannoneers from C Battery. PFC Thomas Schofield, C Battery, from Layton, Utah was killed in the attack of May 2 1968. Also wounded in the attack on May 2 1968 was CPT Jablonsky from Headquarters Battery. CPT Jablonsky was medevac’d but died as a result of his wounds on 3 May 1968. He was the first officer killed in the battalion since the unit’s reactivation.
The 2/94th supported two battalions of the 4th Marine Regiment that were engaged in Operation SCOTLAND II. Initiated on 15 April 1968, this multi-battalion search and clear operation was centered in and around the Khe Sanh combat base. (4th Marine Battalions are unknown at his time)
On 17 June 1968, LTC Alan A Bristor accepted the battalion colors in a ceremony marking his assumption of command. Major General Steadwell Deputy Commander, 3rd Marine Amphibious Force was present for the occasion.
From 1967 to 1968 the ammo dump at Dong Ha, where the 2/94th Service Battery resided, was hit three times and could be readily seen from Carroll some 18 miles away.
On 1 July 1968, Operation Thor began. A Battery convoyed from Camp Carroll to Mike Battery, 4/12th Marines, just West of Dong Ha. Operation Thor was a joint artillery, air and navel operation to saturate the enemy artillery, rocket, and air defense positions in and North of the DMZ. In the six days of operation Service Battery hauled 2,0000 rounds. B Battery occupied Charlie at Cam Lo and C Battery moved to LZ June. There were no incidents on any of the road marches.
At the completion of Thor, 8 July 1968, A Battery moved west and occupied an unimproved position. They begin digging in to provide protection from the weather and possible enemy activity. After four days of hard work building bunkers by day and firing by night, the battery was given March Orders and proceeded West to a 105mm position. Fortunately personnel bunkers and hooch’s were already constructed and battery went right to work firing in support of ground troops.
An actual account of a cannoner with A/2/94 during operation Thor from a newsletter.With the month of July nearing a close and August coming steadily on, we all just sit and wonder if next month will be as this month has been. On the first of July Alpha Battery was given March orders. On 2 July we convoyed east on highway 9 to Mike Battery 4/12 Marines, 155mm gun position, which is just west of Dong Ha. The guns were laid and FDC set up and operation Thor had officially begun. Experiencing a lot of mechanical trouble, the hard working gun crews and arty mechanics still managed to throw 594 rounds in 6 days. At the completion of the operation the battery moved west approximately ¼ mile west. After the guns were laid and FDC set up, the work had just begun. As the day progressed you could observe the housing facilities go up one by one until everyone had a place to rest. After a couple days of eating dust we were on the move again. Our next move was to A Battery, 1/40th 105mm gun position. Everyone was quite overjoyed by the last move, as our present position is most outstanding in every respect. The mess hall is real homey, hutches are well constructed, and last but not least, a state side shower, with 20 showerheads. WOW!
The report from FDC showed our guns were right on target this month. They completely wiped out 2 villages and took a total of 4 KIA’s. Along with that they knocked out 2 Arty pieces, a rocket position and numerous trucks.
This month we pay special tribute to SP5 Paul Meyer, our senior track mechanic and SP4 Lowell Hill our Arty mechanic. Through their tireless efforts they keep the guns up; therefore, helped complete the mission. Not to be forgotten are the hard working gun sections.
Coming to the close of the month we thank the Lord for the safekeeping he has brought upon us and pray for the well being of each and every individual in the battery in the months to come.
On 18 August 1968, A Battery fired the battalion’s 200,000 round. LTG Stiwell, Commanding General, XXIV Corps, visited the battery and helped pull the lanyard.
On September 10 1968, the communications bunker in B Battery was hit by NVA 152mm artillery during a shelling of Camp Carroll killing seven enlisted 2/94th personnel and wounding two. SP4 Michael Stoffers was one of the wounded. The other wounded enlisted man was the switchboard operator, name unknown at this time. Two of the 2/94th personnel killed were SP4 Harold Moseley from Arkansas and SGT Preston from Kentucky. The other five names are not known at this time. SP4 Moseley was awarded the Army Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor as he tried to keep the communications open.
On October 4 1968, A Battery road marched to Ca Lu and occupied a firing position there in order to support the Marines during Operation Nanking. They remained at Ca Lu until 14 October 1968, when they returned to Dong Ha. Through out the rest of the month the battery relentlessly pounded enemy positions in North Vietnam and received praise from the 108th Group as being the most effective heavy artillery in the Group.
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Counteroffensive, Phase VI (11-02-68 to 02-22-69)
On 1 November 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson imposed a halt to the bombing of the North, which also curtailed the use of heavy artillery. The cutback in firing allowed all the batteries to improve bunkers, living areas, and their positions in general. The improvement in the facilities helped the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas to pass more comfortably and pleasantly.
On 30 November 1968, command was passed from LTC Brister to LTC Thomas E. Courant. In a few weeks the new battalion commander would see the entire battalion move to new positions, beginning with Headquarters moving to LZ Nancy on 3 December 1968.
In December 1968, A Battery retubed from a 175mm battery to an 8 inch battery. On 28 December 1968 they road marched 40 miles to the their new base camp at LZ Sally, five miles North of Hue on QL1. B Battery had already moved to C1 on 12 December 1968.
December 1968 marked the closing of Camp JJ Carroll by the Marines of the 3rd Marine Division. The abandonment of the base was not a de-escalation but rather a shift in power. Since the closing of Khe Sanh in June of 1968, the push had been toward the establishment of mobile mountain top artillery bases rather than static positions.
During this time period the
2/94th took part in TET/69 Counteroffensive (02-23-69 to 06-08-69)
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Winter-Spring (11-01-69 to 04-30-70)
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Sanctuary Counteroffensive (05-01-70 to 06-30-70)
The New Year and early months of 1969 would see a continuation of the light enemy contact by the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. Much of the firing was in support of the 101st Airborne Division, who was coming in contact with the enemy on their search and clear operations. In January 1969, all batteries underwent CMMI’s and passed satisfactorily. On 28 February 1969, C Battery joined B Battery at C1. While operating from C1, C Battery was the second Army artillery battery to fire into the northern portion of the DMZ since the bombing halt of 1 November 1968. On 31 March 1969, C Battery returned to LZ Nancy. Previously on 15 March 1969, Headquarters Battery came under ground attack at LZ Nancy, receiving 80 to 90 rounds of RPG and mortar fire.
After moving from C1 to Dong Ha, B Battery became the second battery to retube and become an 8 inch howitzer battery.
The battalion continued to receive very little enemy contact. The pace of the war was gradually slowing and the first troop level reductions were being planned. The battalion was receiving numerous commitments for forward observer parties to accompany troops on their operations. There was a minimum of enemy activity throughout the beginning of the year and on into September. The batteries spent most of their time strengthening defense perimeters with increased work on perimeter concertina barbed wire and trip flares. Cyclone fencing was added to many perimeter bunkers to protect against enemy RPG’s. Roofs were added to the bunkers to protect against rain and fighting positions were enclosed also. Additional employment of Fougasse and claymore mines completed the improvements.
During the summer and fall of 1969 the battalion position received rocket and mortar rounds once or twice a week. Only a few rounds were received each time and damage was negative or minor with no casualties.
On 14 July 1969, LTC William H. Krueger assumed command from LTC Courant. Fourteen days later the new battalion commandeer saw the battalion receive their Annual General Inspection. All batteries received superior ratings in all areas.
Enemy rockets continued to be sporadic with a few rounds impacting in and around positions every few days. On 23 October 1969, one rocket hit a Marine area, resulting in two KIA’s, eight WIA’s seven of whom were evacuated in critical condition.
On 31 October 1969, Gun #4 of A Battery fired the battalions 300,000th round. Present for the ceremony were LTG Melvin Zais, Commanding General XXIV Corps, BG Allan G. Pixen, Commanding General XXIV Corps Artillery, COL R.C. Cartwright, Commanding Officer, 108th Artillery Group and COL Moore, 101st Division Artillery.
On 14 November 1969, SP5 O. Thompson, chief computer operator for Charlie Battery was killed when the APC he was riding on overturned and crushed him.
At the beginning of November 1969, Headquarters Battery began preparing for movement to Camp Evans on 5 December 1969. Service Battery would also move to Camp Evans where the two batteries would be co-located. The would remain in this position until 24 February 1970 when the would move into joint location at Dong Ha Combat Base.
On 2 January 1970, LTC James N. Hale replaced LTC Krueger as Battalion Commander. LTC Kruger was reassigned to G-3, USARV. LTC Hale’s stay with the 2/94th was short lived. On 3 February 1970 he departed and was reassigned to the 1/5th Infantry while Major Ferguson took command of the battalion.
The battalion was receiving almost no enemy activity, except for the ever present danger of land mines. Several injuries were received in various incidents and road travel was very hazardous. On 29 April 1970 the breach block of a 175mm gun in A Battery blew off during a fire mission, killing two and wounding three others. The battery fought for six hours to put out the flames and move powder and projectiles which were in close proximity of the burning gun.
Since the first of the year B Battery participated in three artillery raids, at LZ Anne (7-10 January 1970), LZ Bastogne (23-25 January 1970), and the Rockpile (10-15 March 1970). The unit suffered one causality when Gun #3 struck a mine returning from the raid at LZ Anne.
On 10 February 1970 B Battery received a CMMI, and received a 94% the highest score for any unit in I corps. Three days later B Battery displaced to the old Marine base camp, JJ Carroll.
On 1 March 1970 the battalion received it’s eighth battalion commander since reactivation. LTC Edward G. Brantley assumed command of one of the finest artillery units in the US Army.
Rocket and mortar attacks occurred with frequently during the period 1-8 may 1970. JJ Carroll, C1, and Dong Ha Combat Base all received incoming during this period. On 17 May 1970, an NVA platoon was sighted outside the perimeter at JJ Carroll. The platoon fired approximately 10-12 RPG rounds and 75-80 mortar rounds during the action. Dusters and M79 fire dispersed the platoon and no serious damage was reported.
On 18 May 1970, the battalion participated in a 24 hour cease fire in honor of Buddha’s birthday, commencing at 1200 hours.
An actual account of a cannoner with A/2/94 during an operation to Barbara.During April or late May we hit a land mine going back up to FSB Barbara. The gun was totaled and one of our E5’s was severely wounded, possible KIA, (name unknown at this time). He had only been in country a short while.
A Battery moved from FSB Barbara to C1 on 23 May 1970 with two 8 inch howitzers and two 175mm guns. On 12 May 1970, C Battery retubed two 8 inch howitzers with two 175mm tubes to become a composite 8 inch/175mm battery until 23 May 1970 at which time they retubed again and moved to C2 with four 8 inch howitzers. On 3 June they displaced from C2 with two 8 inch howitzers to FSB Daytona. The battery supported an operation conducted by the 5th ARVN Regiment until 17 June 1970, at which time they left FSB Daytona.
The two 8 inch howitzers displaced to C1 to provide additional fire support for an operation to be conducted by the 7th ARVN Cavalry. This operation never took place and the howitzers returned to C2 on 20 June 1970.
On 8 June 1970, the battalion began it’s first week of classes at the 108th Artillery Group Firing Section Chief school. The battalion operated the school for the entire 108th Artillery Group, and by the end of July 1970 80 men were graduated from the course.
The battalion commander, LTC Brantley left the battalion on the fourth of July 1970, and left the battalion in command of Major James Laslie, Jr. LTC Brantley assumed the duties of senior artillery advisor for the I Corps Artillery (ARVN).
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Counteroffensive, Phase VII (07-01-70 to 06-30-71)
LTC John T, Oates assumed command from Major Laslie on 26 July 1970. LTC Oates had just arrived in Vietnam after having graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Major Laslie resumed his duties as Executive Officer.
The battalion MEDCAP program which was begun late in April to provide assistance to a Catholic Dispensary in Cam Lo was continued on a twice a week basis throughout May and June of 1970. The number of patients treated on these MEDCAPs averaged from 5 to 15.
On 29 August 1970, the battalion passed another milestone in it’s history when A Battery fired the battalions 400,000th round in RVN.
On 17 September 1970, the mission of the battalion changed to general support of the XXIV Corps, reinforcing the fires of the Quang Da Special Zone, with fires planned by the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
During September, the entire battalion was redeployed south of the Hai Van pass. Headquarters and Service Battery moved from Dong Ha to Camp Love, Da Nang on 10 - 13 September 1970. Battery C moved from LZ Nancy to Hill 65 on 16 -17 September 1970, A Battery moved from C1 to LZ Ross during 25-26 September. Both batteries road marched from their positions to Camp Love the first day and stopped over night before proceeding the next morning to their new positions. B Battery did not displace until 15-17 October 1970, moving to NAC.
From 14-18 September 1970 the battalion conducted the final course of the 108th Artillery Group Firing Battery Section Chief School. Twenty-two men graduated on 18 September 1970 for a grand total of 124 men who completed the school.
The battalion, on closing their new positions, began firing in support of the 1st Marine Division, with additional supporting fires to the Americal Division. The battalion also had the mission of supporting Quang Da Special Zone.
On 27 October, C Battery conducted an artillery raid to Hill 52 to support US and ARVN fires in the Thoung Duc area. The raid commenced at 1145 hours and terminated at 1755 the same day. During the raid the battery fired a total of 140 rounds in support of US and ARVN forces.
On 3 November 1970, the 250th Radar Detachment was attached to the battalion to assist in support of ARVN forces in the Thoung Duc area. The detachment occupied Hill 52. The initial move was by road. However because of enemy activity in the area, all further resupply was accomplished by air.
On 13 January 1971, elements of B and C batteries conducted an artillery raid to Hill 52 in support of US and ARVN forces in the area. During the raid 918 rounds of 8 inch and 175mm were fired. The raid ended on 17 January with no casualties, but on the way out of the area an M-548 hit a mine in the road, killing two and wounding six members of B Battery.
During this period 21-24 January 1971 the battalion displaced from positions near Da Nang to LZ Nancy and Dong Ha Combat Base. The battalion, minus B battery, closed at LZ Nancy on 24 January 1971 and was placed under the operational control of the 108th Artillery Group. B Battery closed at Dong Ha CB on 22 January 1971 and was placed under the operational control of the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery until 29 January 1971. All of the battalions tracked vehicles were moved by Landing Craft Mechanized from the deep water pier at Da Nang to either Dong Ha (B Battery) or Tan Mi, the battalions wheeled vehicles displaced by convoy on QL1. On 28 January 1971 the battalion (minus B Battery) displaced from LZ Nancy to Dong Ha CB. On 29 January 1971 (minus A Battery) displaced from Dong Ha CB to LZ Vandergrift and was assigned a mission of GSR 5th Battalion (155mm SP) 4th Artillery. A Battery displaced to LZ Vandergift the following day. The battalion, in conjunction with the 5/4th Artillery, conducted a raid from LZ Vandergrift in the Khe Sanh area and Route 616. While at LZ Vandergift the battalion fired 184 missions for 763 rounds, which included the first artillery round fired from LZ Vandergrift.
As fighting continued in Cambodia during early February before and after South Vietnam began its U.S.-aided drive in Laos, Lam Son 719, the most significant operation during this campaign in which the 2/94th and its’ companion Battalion the 4th took part in.
B Battery was thought to be part of the Artillery unit assigned to travel with this ill fated operation while it is thought that elements of C Battery were at the Rockpile firing support for this operation. A battery may have been also associated with the traveling convoy. It is known they were part of the operation. C Battery also had elements at Con Thien.
Lam Son 719 was conducted out of I Corps by Vietnamese troops with US fire and air support. Their object was to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail and to destroy enemy bases at Techepone, Laos.
The operation consisted of four phases.
In Phases I, called Operation DEWEY CANYON II, the 1st Brigade, US 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) occupied the Khe Sanh area and cleared Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. In the meantime, the US 101st Airborne Division conducted diversionary operations in the A Shau Valley. The US 45th Engineer Group had the mission of repairing Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. This lasted from 30 January to 7 February 1971.
An actual account of a cannoner with A/2/94 during this operation DEWEY CANYON II .We got hit almost every day for over a month in A Battery. We called QL9 "Ambush Alley"
During Phase II US forces continued to provide fire support, helilift, and tactical and strategic air support for ARVN units. This phase was 8 February to March 1971.
Phase III ran from March to 16 March 1971;
Phase IV was the withdrawal phase. Faced with mounting losses, Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Lam, the commander of the invasion forces, decided to cut short the operation and ordered a withdrawal.
On 1 February 1971, A Battery displaced from LZ Vandergrift to the vicinity of FSB Sheppard. On 4 February 1971 the entire battalion displaced to positions in the vicinity of Lang Bu and was given a new mission of GSR ARVN I Corps Artillery, with priority fires to the 1st ARVN Airborne Division.
An actual account of a Fire Control soldier with Hq/2/94 describing the moves and firebases. This battalion area was given the name of Firebase Flexible. 5/4 Artillery was at the old Special Forces camp at Lang Vei. Bare in mind that these were the names on our overlays and had the blessing of the Colonel. As all the firing batteries went out to the Laotian border when Lam Son 719 started that firebase was given the name of Styles. (also described below in history) After Lam Son we pulled out into an area near Mai Loc and established a Firebase called Cannonball. Cannonball was about five miles from Mai Loc.
On 7 February 1971, A Battery displaced to new positions in the vicinity of Lao Bao to afford maximum range capability in to Laos. At 0818 hours 8 February 1971, A Battery fired the first volley of US artillery into Laos in support of Operation Lam Son 719. During the period of 8-11 February 1971, the battalion fired LZ preps, and flak suppression programs for the ARVN insertion into Laos. On 26 February 1971, C Battery displaced to positions near Lao Bao in order to provide maximum range support of the ARVN operation in Laos.
An actual account of a cannoner with A/2/94 during this operation.A Battery lost four or five engineers early in the artillery duels on the Laotian border. (Names unknown at this time) Then during the pullout A Battery lost another man to an enemy RPG. (Name is unknown at this time) (nickname was Goosey)
On 27 February 1971, LTC Joseph Ganahl took command of the battalion at a change of command ceremony held at the Battalion Headquarters area. LTC Ganahl was one of the
Assistant S-3 officers at Corps Arty Headquarters before taking over the battalion. He was physically located at the Corps Forward in Quang Tri before assuming command.
On 1 March 1971 B Battery 1st Battalion 39th Artillery (4x175mm), hereafter referred to as D Battery, displaced from LZ Nancy to Lang Bu and was placed under the operational control of the 2/94th Artillery.
On 5 March 1971, the battalions two remaining 175mm gun batteries, B and D Batteries, displaced from Lang Bu to positions near Lao Bao to provide maximum heavy artillery support of the ARVN drive into Laos.
During the period 8-19 February 1971, A Battery received approximately 100 rounds of enemy artillery fire. During this period A Battery sustained no casualties, although one mess truck was destroyed by a direct hit. There were no enemy artillery activity in the Lao Bao area during this period 20 February through 11 March 1971, however, QL9 west of Lang Vei was periodically interdicted by mines and small arms fire.
During the period 12 -21 March 1971 the Lao Bao area received attacks by fire from 82mm Mortars, 152mm guns, 122mm rockets, averaging 100-200 rounds per day in and out of the battery area. Enemy activity along QL9 increased daily and reached a high point during the period 18-23 March 1971, when the road was virtually impassable to thin skinned vehicles. Although the enemy artillery attacks were very heavy, the battalion’s losses were light, with three WIA and two trucks destroyed through 17 February 1971.
At 1500 hours 18 March 1971, as B Battery began pulling out of position extremely accurate fire hit their position, wounding 16 personnel and damaging on M-587, one M-109, three 2 ½ ton trucks, and nine assorted trailers. Along with these major items of equipment the battery lost the majority of its FDC and mess equipment, supply and orderly rooms. The battery evacuated the area at 1730 hours the same day, taking any equipment that could be driven or carried. One 175mm gun had to be left in position. Enemy artillery continued to hit B Batteries position and destroyed all equipment that was left behind, except the 175mm gun, before it could be evacuated. The gun was recovered on 23 March 1971. B Battery returned to it’s original position at Lang Bu.
An actual account of a motor maintenance sergeant with B/2/94th during the pull out on March 18 1971.
Choppered into FSB Flexible, near Lang Vei. From there to Lao Bao. We built our firebase from scratch with some Engineers. It was called Firebase Style. A Battery was across QL9.
I was most definitely there for the pull out incident on 3-18-1971. The memories are not crystal clear but they are in living color. The order was given to tear down all the bunkers. As I remember there were only two bunkers that were not torn down, the one for the maintenance section and bunker close to the FDC. That maintenance bunker took at least three direct hits that afternoon. I fell into a crater left when one of the deuce and half’s left along with SP4 Mike Williams. I got Mike to the maintenance bunker and went back out between incoming rounds to assist the medivacs when they finally could land. I remember vividly it took 4 seconds from the initial round being fired until impact and that probably save me as I hit the ground each 3 ½ seconds. Loaded a bunch of guys into the dust offs. One was Country Boy with a badly broken leg and another FDC soldier with a deep thigh wound. When the rounds started coming in I was in the middle of the trail near a water buffalo trailer. The round left the trailer spewing water everywhere. No one I have spoken with quite understands the 3/18/71 incident.
An actual account of a Sergeant of the Guard with B/2/94th during the pull out on March 18 1971.
‘A charmed and lucky bunker’
We built the bunker when we got there next to the perimeter. It was a 5 x 7 by 3 foot deep with a steel roof and 5 foot of sandbags on top of that. I was short (60 days) and wanted to get out of there alive. As I was Sergeant of the Guard, I would make my hourly rounds and fill sand bags in between. As I remember, we always got hit from noon till 5pm so evenings were usually quiet so we built it at night.
Nothing much happened until everyone tore down and then all hell broke loose. People were just laying out in the open getting nailed. PFC Mike Williams did come to my bunker and sat with his back towards me directly between my legs. Fourteen of us crowded into that bunker and I know we took many mortar hits and for sure one direct 122mm rocket. Everything went completely black and for some reason we all started reciting the Lords Prayer. People were crapping their pants and throwing up on themselves but all 14 of us made it out alive. I am very proud of that bunker.
When we left, that bunker was not tore down as we didn't have the time. I was told a week later by Captain Faber that the bunker had also saved a Cobra pilot who had been shot down by our deserted area and had made it to the bunker until he could be picked-up.
‘A very charmed and lucky bunker for all involved.’
An actual account of a cannoner with A/2/94ththat participated in Operation Dewey CanyonII/ Lam Son 719 during Phase II follows:
The Laos operation was basically screwed. We had lots of incoming from NVA Arty units (they had 152mm gun howitzers which out ranged our 8 inch guns) and the 8th Bn 4th Artillery got smoked big time. B/2/94 basically got wiped out on 18 March 71 when they followed a screwed up order from battalion to line up on the road while under observed artillery fire. It wasn't a pretty sight. Interesting how they cover that screw up in the official unit history though.
A Battery was also extracted from Lao Bao, along with the 250th Radar Detachment, on 16 March 1971,with a loss of two trucks and four assorted trailers. The battery could not extract one 8 inch howitzer. The howitzer was finally recovered on 23 March 1971. A Battery displaced to positions near Lang Vei, while the 250th Radar displaced to Lang Bu.
The displacement of C Battery from Lao Bao, planned for 18 March 1971 had to be canceled due to enemy artillery fire and stiff resistance along QL9, between Lang Vie and Lao Bao.
On 20 March 1971 A Battery displaced from Lan Vei to the vicinity of the Battalion Headquarters at Lang Bu.
During the periods 18-20 March 1971, repeated attempts to clear QL 9 were unsuccessful, forcing C Battery to remain in position at Lao Bao,
At 1825 hours on 21 March 1971, elements responsible for the security of QL 9 reported the road passable and C Battery displaced. The battery encountered enemy rockets, mines, RPG and small arms fire along the route but managed to close to their new positions in the vicinity of Lang Bu at 1930 hours. The enemy resistance along QL 9 resulted in 6x175mm guns damaged or broken down along the route. The battalion organized recovery operations on 21 and 22 March 1971. However enemy interdiction of QL 9 West of Lang Vie precluded extensive recovery operations. On 23 March 1971 the battalion recovery operation successfully recovered the remaining 8 inch howitzer from Lao Bao, and the three 175mm guns from along QL 9. Three of the 175 guns extracted for QL 9 were determined to be combat losses as a result of enemy mines and RPG fire.
It is reported a Captain Fuentes, the Battalion Motor Officer, led the recovery effort. He and some of the recovery team were awarded decorations for their work. First name is not known, we all called him "Foonze" and he took it with good grace --- a fine fellow and one with a lot of nerve!
On 25 March 1971, A Battery was placed under the operational control of the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery and moved to a new location near Khe Sanh.
On 25 March 1971, Headquarters, Service, and Charlie Batteries displaced to new positions at LZ Vandergrift. B Battery attached two guns to C Battery and two guns to D Battery and displaced their remaining personnel and equipment to Dong Ha CB for refitting.
On 26 March 1971 the battalion’s mission was changed to GS 101st Airborne Division, reinforcing the fire of the 5th Battalion 4th Artillery.
On 31 March 1971 A Battery displaced from the Khe Sanh area to LZ Vandergrift and released from OPCON of 8/4th Artillery. At the same time the battalion’s mission was changed from GS 101st Airborne Division reinforcing the 6th Battalion 11th Artillery, located at LZ Vandergrift. On 5 April 1971 the battalion (minus A Battery) displaced from LZ Vandergrift to new positions in the vicinity of Mai Loc. Concurrent with that move B Battery 1/39th Artillery was released from OPCON and A Battery 8/4th was placed under OPCON of the battalion occupying positions near Mai Loc.
On 7 April 1971, A Battery displaced from LZ Vandergrift and moved to a prepared positions in the vicinity of Mai Loc. The battalion concluded it’s support of Lam Son 719 from the Mai Loc area.
On 8 April 1971, the battalions mission changed to GSR 1st ARVN Division Artillery. On the same day the battalion established liaison with the 258th VNMC and the 2nd Regiment, 1st ARVN Division.
During the period 9-18 April 1971, the batteries had two day maintenance stand down periods. On 10 April 1971, B Battery personnel returned to the battalion position at Mai Loc after their refitting period.
On the 10 April 1971 at 1200 hours, the battalion received official notification that Operation Lam Son 719 was terminated. During the course of the operation the battalion fired 5,554 missions in support of ARVN forces, for a total of 31,149 rounds. The battalion was credited with the following BDA: KIA 441, Bunkers destroyed 1, Machine Guns 4, Rocket Launchers (rockets) 13, Radios 1, AK 47 Rifles 35, 155mm Howitzers 3, Trucks destroyed 6, Mortars destroyed 1 and numerous secondary explosions. The number of causalities sustained by the battalion was slight when compared to the amount of combat activity encountered. The battalion suffered the following casualties: KIA 2, WIA 19, One KIA was suffered on each of the two 175mm gun malfunction incidents. One incident involved metal failure of the breech and the other was a premature in bore explosion. One WIA was a result of a gun malfunction.
Lam Son 719, though it was less than a signal success (safe to say, instead of screw up), forestalled a Communist offensive in the spring of 1971. Enemy units and replacements enroute south were diverted to the scene of the action. (Had to say something good about it.)
(Note: I also think it is safe to say the American support units like the 2/94th and the 8/4th would have been much better off supporting American troops on this operation. Just do not believe the Marines or any of the fine Army Infantry Units that served in Vietnam would have been run out. Next time Washington either DO IT WITH AMERICAN or DON’T GO.)
(Note: It is thought by this time the 175’s (M107’s) of the 2/94th and the 8/4th that ruled the DMZ, I Corps, the southern infiltration routes in North Vietnam area, and in some cases the fringes of the Laotian border when required earlier in the war had been converted to the much shorter range 8 inch (M110).
This change in operational policy is not clear at this time in writing the history of the 2/94th. It is reported this change started in 1969.
As indicated above by the A Battery Gunner this made the 2/94th and the 8/4th very vulnerable to the Russian made 152mm Artillery pieces.
(Note: The Official rational was the Army wanted a more mobile mountain top artillery. The author believes the Army and the Military in general did not realize how effective the 175’s with overlapping fire from the firebases on the DMZ would be on the enemy. Especially in a narrow country like Vietnam. With the 94th Battalion alone firing half a million rounds. The relatively new 175 inventory depleted rapidly. Including the tubes which had a change rate on the average of 600 rounds fired. If you can steel rain on the enemy from the sea to Laos, most of Quang Tri Province, and hit the enemies convoys in North Vietnam with 3 or 4 fixed positions why move, why more mobile? Not much fun being in an Artillery dual, but when all you can do is sit and take it this becomes a nightmare. These bases had the all the coverage Washington and the politics of the day would allow the American forces to fight in.
It is known however that the 175’s were vulnerable to short range attacks early on in the war as the 175’s could only shoot short about 5 miles. That is one reason why most provisional artillery units had Marine or Army 105’s to support the big guns. In some cases both 105’s and 155’s were used.
On 3 May 1971, the battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Battery, and Service Battery displaced to Camp Eagle, A Battery to FSB Bastogne, B Battery to FSB Rakkisan, and C battery to FSB Nancy. On 4 may 1971 the battalion received a change in mission, GSR 101st Airborne Division Artillery. A Battery closed into FSB Bastogne after spending the night at Camp Eagle. On 7 May 1971 C Battery displaced from FSB Nancy to FSB Birmingham. All batteries began maintenance stand down periods of two days each. To be from 17 to 19 May 1971.
By the month of June 1971 C Battery was back at FSB Bastogne and in July 1971 moved back to FSB Birmingham.
Account from a C Battery FDO- The rear area in Da Nang was terminated mid June 71. I showed up from my 2 week leave, and literally caught the last truck out, as Camp Love was being vandalized by Vietnamese civilians.
During September 1971, C Battery was selected to performed an Artillery Raid to Vandergrift. The battery moved from FSB Birmingham, to FSB Sally, to Quang Tri - Dong Ha Area to Mai Loc. At Mai Loc a lot of rounds were fired into the DMZ for a few days.
Account from a C Battery FDO- I remember at that point that LTC Ganahl, our Battalion Commander, was looking in on us about every day. I recall that the transmitting element on our RC 292 Antenna was physically broken and hanging by a thread electrically. As the blast of the guns knocked everything around, we were bound to lose the use of that antenna. I had not been able to get that part from anyone locally. I asked LTC Ganahl to get it for me. Next time he showed up he had the part.
From Mai Loc C Battery then moved to Vandergrift and went after NVA supplies, etc. in the very Northwestern part of RVN using Air Observers. C Battery shared the load with the Air Force, as the Battery stopped firing when the Air Force was dropping bombs. C Battery got it’s share of secondary explosions.
We fired about 1000 rounds. We actually had 2 guns attached to our battery from 1/39th FA. All tubes were 175mm giving us a six gun 175 battery. Not bad. At Vandergrift, we were the only ones there other than a ARVN 105 mm Battery just down the road. It was pretty lonely there. We were probably there about four days. As I was FDO, I was with advance party, back to FSB Birmingham. I believe that our mission to Vandergrift may have been the last westward deployment of 175mm in RVN in I Corps. I believe that JJ Carroll may have been abandoned at that point of time. The 8/4th was a month from stand down.
Just for the record, on the way back to the coast, a 2nd Lt, who I have not been able to locate, was promoted by LTC Ganahl, while enroute. LTC Ganahl, by helicopter, found us and stopped us to perform the promotion some where on QL 9.
During the late Summer of 71, C Battery was a show Battery to all sorts of dignitaries. I believe I had the Deputy Commander of Vietnam in my FDC at one time or another. They came with platoons of Lieutenant Colonels carrying briefcases. I guess the brass needed something to do, as there were a lot less people to look after.
During this time period the 2/94th took part in Consolidation I. (07-01-71 to 11-30-71)
LTC Ganahal was replaced by LTC Kirk in September of 1971 and he may have been the last 2/94th Battalion Commander since the unit came home in April of 72. (If anyone can verify that please let me know.)
Oct 13th, 1971 8th Bn 4th Artillery In Vietnam stood down. The 8th Bn 4th Artillery (Companion175mm unit to the 2nd Bn 94th Artillery) unit colors were sent back to the states. Those men that stayed behind changed patches and became assigned to the 2/94th. One of these units was at Con Thien. C Battery 8/4th became C Battery 2/94th. As C Battery 8/4th the unit saw extensive action in the defense of Firebase Fuller and also the retaking of the overrun Firebase.
In September of 1971 the 2/94th was under the XXIV Corps. HHB was at Camp Eagle (home of the 101st ) just north of Phu Bai. The 2/94th at this time was at three different firebases. Rakkasan, Bastogne, and an unknown firebase, possibly Birmingham.
Camp Eagle YD Between Phu Bai & Hue, W of QL1, Originally named LZ El Paso when 2d Bde of 101st Abn landed there in Feb 68, en route Quang Tri, also 1st Cav
Bastogne YD 620-095 FSB Due west of FSB Birmingham along Highway 547, and approximately 25 km WSW of Hue. Built in 1968 by 2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. 175mm cannons here could just reach the North end of the A Shau Valley in support of the 1st Cavalry and 1st Brigade of the 101st during operation Delaware. Built-up for that operation by the 1st Brigade of the 101st in preparation for that operation . Was the scene of heavy fighting and overrun and occupied by NVA forces during 1972 Easter Offensive. 81MM, 105mm, 8", 175mm Arty and 40mm Dusters of 3d/5th Cavalry were here at various times. Also listed at 625-095? Thua Thien Prov, I Corps.
Account from a C Battery FDO- Bastogne was a real pit, about two feet deep in rats, real rats. I think that is why we left. I am not kidding. We left so the entire Fire Base could be put underground. It was subsequently overrun by the NVA in March of 72 and retaken in August.
Rakkasan YD 490-198 Hill 493, Dong Cung Cap.
Account from a C Battery FDO- During the wet season Rakkasan was only accessible by air. It is very high in altitude. Due to extensive difference in altitude between the target and the battery, the normal computation of "site" which compensated for the difference in the vertical interval (differences in altitude) did not work as it was too great. Therefore, the FDC had to do a separate calculation to compensate for the "nonrigidity" of the flight of the projectile under these circumstances. (The descending branch was too short or too long in civilian terms for the quick and dirty calculation)
Birmingham, FSB YD 704-101 FSB aka Hill 90, appx 12 km SSW of Hue City along Hwy 547 just N of the Song Huu Trach (W branch of the Perfume River) and appx 8 km? E of FSB Bastogne. Built by 326th Eng and 1/502d Inf, 2d Bde 101st Abn during Operation Jeb Stuart, Mar or Apr 68?. Named in honor of Plt Sgt Edward A. Birmingham, KIA 2 Oct 67, who drowned while trying to rescue a man caught in the middle of a river crossing & under fire. Overrun in 72 Offensive and 1975 Final Offensive. Built by the 326th Eng and elements of the 101st Abn Div's 2d Bde USMC Tac Air navigation unit, 326th Engs (326th Eng HQ?), 81MM, 105mm, 8", 175mm Arty and 40mm Dusters of 3d/5th Cav? Do not confuse with 1st Cav FSB, or Americal FSB with same name. Thua Thien Prov, I Corps. Not to be confused with Americal's LZ Birmingham NW of Chu Lai.
When the XXIV Corps stood down, the 2/94th was still part of the 108th Group and associated with the 101st.
When the 101st stood down, the 2/94th was associated with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. It is thought as this time the 2/94th was not part of the 108th Group which had been disbanded.
During that same time frame the 2/94th moved to Da Nang which was the home of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade.
Late in 1971, with the stand downs taking place, the 2/94th turned over some artillery pieces to the South Vietnamese Army as they took over the firebases up north which had been home to the 2/94th.
HHB was at an old Marine compound just below Hi Van Pass on Route1, right on the ocean.
The only battery left of the 2/94th was C Battery at Hill 34. The other batteries had turned their artillery pieces over to South Vietnamese Army or turned them in.
Early in 1972 NVA forces were being built up around Da Nang. Some B-52 raids on the outskirts were called in. The 2/94th fire support was called in to hit some bunkers in cliffs which the bombers could not get to with any results.
C Battery went on a two week Artillery raid with two LOACH spotter helicopters to spot and adjust fire. The 175’s destroyed NVA emplacements and gave 29 NVA Soldiers the opportunity to give their lives for their country.
This is thought to be the last major action the 2/94th was asked to serve in. Other than H and I or opportunity targets.
In April of 1972 the last heavy rounds were fired by C Battery of the 2/94th with the Commanding General of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade on hand to observe.
Account from a C Battery FDC-I was in the FDC section of HQ Battery of 2/94 from 10/71 and went out of the gate on Hill 34 exactly as the last round was fired in 4/72. During that time when the last round was fired, I remember that the Firing officer was Capt. Mike Hagen, night shift was Capt. Alan Walters. NCO IC was a Sgt. Williams up through 12/71 or so, replaced by Sgt. Roosevelt Walker (who I heard escorted the 2/94th colors back to the world). The FCD section at the end included myself John Purdy and Paul Diehl.
When the NVA came down in spring of 1972 and overran the South Vietnamese Army some of the old 2/94th guns were captured by the enemy.
The most infamous example of the dearth of ARVN leadership was the surrender of the 56th ARVN Regiment by Lieutenant Colonel Phan Van Dinh, its commander, at Camp Carroll after a short fight on Easter Sunday, 1972.
The old firebase Camp Carroll was the temporary home to many of the 2/94th as well as the 8/4th 175 guns during the six-year stay in Vietnam. The 2/94th and the 8/4th suffered casualties defending the old Artillery Plateau as well as the Marine defenders.
Many Marine casualties were received during the 67- 68 NVA offensives against the DMZ firebases, including Camp Carroll. Due to the tenacity of the Marine Forces and the overlapping artillery fire support the old Third Marine Combat Base never fell into enemy hands.
Many other examples of cowardice occurred during the Offensive, but none was so flagrant or damning as the surrender of Camp Carroll.
This artillery fire base was located on a flat topped hill and had a commanding view of the valleys around. This fire base provided a long reach with its 2/94th and 8/4th 175 mm guns, giving support to Khe Sanh and beyond. There is little left here except the history, and a gaudy marker commemorating the desertion to the enemy of its South Vietnamese Commanding officer, Col. Ton That Dinh, to the NVA in 1972. He now owns a hotel in Hue. The area of Camp Carroll (named for a Marine Captain killed here early in the war) is now a collective farm that grows Jack fruit trees in the killing zones, stripped bare and pre-ploughed by war. These trees grow fast and high with a straight trunk and no foliage for the first 75% of its height. Climbing hot pepper plants are supported by the trunks, and the lower coffee bush occupies the spaces in between the rows of trees.
Eventually the 2/94th personnel, those that were left in Vietnam, ended up at Hill 34.
The official departing date for the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery from Vietnam is 21 April 1972.
During its 6 year service in South Vietnam the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery, 108th Artillery Group was under Operational Control of the Third Marine Amphibious Group, the XXIV Corps, the 101st Airborne, and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, 1st Marine Division.
101st Airborne 196th Light Infantry Brigade 3rd Marine Division
XXIV CORPS 108th Artillery Group 1st Marine Division
The 2/94th served in both 1st Field Forces and 2nd Field Forces.
The 2/94th participated in 14 Campaigns.
The 2/94th was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation from the Department of the Navy.
The 2/94th was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation from the Department of the Army.
As part of the 108th Artillery Group the 2/94th was awarded the Vietnamese Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm.
Joseph Stalin during WW2 after he witnessed what artillery could accomplish; Fire day or night, fire in bad weather, fire at a minutes notice, stated:
"Artillery is surely the God of War"
The 175’s of the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery
and her companion Battalion
the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery were surely
‘The Long Arm of that God in I Corps’
Republic of South Vietnam
18 October 1966
21 April 1972
My personal thanks and appreciation go to the following Army and Marine personnel:
Army:Ed Moore, Bob Mahmood, Mike Stoffers, Gary Rafferty, Bob Donnan, Will Myers, Daniel Gillotti, Tommy Dorris, John Kelly, Fred James, Charles Adams, Bernie Joyce, Bob Matlock, Peter Marchand, James Elliott, James O’hara, Chris Cunningham, Robert Talley,
Charles Stephonson, John Purdy, Dean Shanklin, Doug Meredith,Mark Swearengen, Dave Rahbain, Patrick Lacher, Larry Stromberg
Marine: Dennis Mannion, Larry Mccartney, Earl Clark, Earle Breeding, Dave Byran, Tom Walker, Dennis Thun, Ron Durham, Charles Barnes, Al Moring, William Ryan, Jim Gutierrez, Charles Frugoni, Marion Sturkey
(Note: Since the 2/94th Vietnam history does not seem to be documented anywhere, a few of us have tried to put together some history based on personal accounts, articles, and any other sources we could bring in to play. Any additions, deletions, or corrections by all are greatly appreciated.We have only waited 34 years to document it and once in a while we are all struck by an attack of memory. So every one please participate.)
To see members of the 2/94th and some of their Vietnam photographs and personal stories see:
To see members of the 8/4th and some of their Vietnam photographs and personal stories see:
Sign in and wish them all a bigWELCOME HOME and JOB WELL DONE!
Agent Orange note:It is totally despicable the treatment of the Vietnam Veterans by the U.S. Government and particularly the Veterans Administration. And the military is complicit in this also. They did their share of cover up I am sure at the direction of the government. Shame on the Congressmen and Senators that stood by and let this travesty go on and is still going on while doing nothing.
The fact the Veteran’s Administration stalled, tried to cover up, and plausibly deny the pain and suffering the Veteran’s, the Veteran’s family, and the Veteran’s children suffered with this poisoning.
The fact that the Veteran’s had to have a law suit to even get the wonderful government to listen is despicable in its’ self. The fact when they did agree there was a problem the veteran’s wonderful lawyers got half of the settlement.
Yet the wonderful government gives out billions of dollars each year to people who do not want to work much less fight for their country. Then we hear these people are not even required to pick up a broom and help keep the country clean because it is below their dignity.
So I guess killing or being killed or being wounded for the rest of your life or having your children born malformed or sickly is OK. Dying a slow agonizing death from some sort of cancer is OK as far as dignity goes. At least that is according to the US Government and the politicians.
Now the Veterans Administration is not even helping the GI fill out all the paper work involved with any claim. Or to help in running the legal gauntlets the government has allowed to be put in the pathway.
So why is there a Veterans Administration? If they are not going to help the GI’s then terminate them and close down the Administration and let them find some real work for a change.
The 2/94th has an honorable past as being part of the 4th Armored Division during WW2 as the 94th Armored Field Artillery Battalion. The 94th was part of General Patton’s 3rd Army and was mostly in the lead elements of the 4th Armored Division. The 94th was part of the lead elements that broke the siege of Bastogne and relieved the valiant 101st Airborne soldiers that held the town.
World War II
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered ARDENNES
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered MOSELLE RIVER
French Croix de Guerre, World War II, Fourragere
You can check out the 94th past military service at:
Diary of a GI, 94th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 4th Armored Division
History of the 94th Armored Field Artillery by Sean Rafferty.