83rd Battery Moves
69-70

 

 
 

I recently posted a video on FSB Roy in a weekly update. This prompted the following discussion among several of the guys. It discusses where various firing Batteries were in 1969-1970. Start at the top and work you way down to see how this dialogue progressed. It starts with a clarification from Dan O-Brien (69-70).

Dan O'Brien (69-70)
"A" Battery

The ROY videos dated March 69 are of B Battery as A and C Battery were in the A Shau Valley.

Ron Cox (69-70)
"HQ" Battery

Beg to differ with Dan O'Brien , but in 69-70 when I was there, A Battery was at Roy, B Battery was at Birmingham, and C Battery was at Blaze. That's where they were when I arrived in July of 69, and that's where they were when I left in Aug. 70. Birmingham and Blaze were several kilometers from the A Shau. We did take one 8" from Blaze to a firebase in the A Shau around May of 70 and pulled it out of there a month or so before I left. We never had a complete Battery in the A Shau.

Dan O'Brien (69-70)
"A" Battery

I made this list up in 1970 while at Ft. Sill. Paul Picciuto corrected a date of September when A Battery moved to Roy. And June 15th, I and three others were evacuated off Cannon to Gia Le, so it was two weeks or less when we received a march order to leave Cannon at 0200 hours because of a large threat less than an hour out. We returned to Blaze as a convoy under cover of two Cobra's while in blackout drive. As the song says, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As C Battery was at Bastogne in May when Fred Paddleford was KIA and 17 wounded, Blaze had no 8-inch Arty so we vacated Cannon and moved back. We continued on RIF's until September when relocated to Roy because of oncoming monsoon season. Our one gun [THE ACE] at Currahee returned to Blaze also. Neil Schwartz was XO for B Battery and he can tell us who was at ROY in March of 69. It was not A Battery and C was at Bastogne. Neil took the aerial shot of B Battery gun emplacements. A troop was killed in A Battery while at Bastogne in Feb or March of 70.

Neal Schwartz (68-69)
"B" Battery
 

March 1969 "B" Battery was definitely at Roy. We were there from Feb 05 at least until early August (?? I thought). Even though I was still TDY assigned to "C" Battery according to my paperwork, I recall leaving at the end of my tour from "B" Btry. I could be wrong.

Our documented moves were as follows (there might be some one day raids that are not in the list):

(“>” = “moved to”)


Oct 31, 1968 – “B” Gia Le > FSB Sally (new Home Base)

Dec 10, 1968 – “B” > FSB Bastogne (Eagle Gunner)

Dec 10, 1968 – “B” > FSB Boyd

Dec 11, 1968 – “B” > FSB Sally

Dec 15, 1968 – “B” > FSB Jack

Dec 24, 1968 – “B” > FSB Sally

Dec 27, 1`68 – “B” > FSB Anzio (new Home Base)

Jan 06, 1969 – “B” > FSB Quick I > FSB Anzio

Jan 12, 1969 – “B” > FSB Quick II

Jan 13, 1969 – “B” > FSB Anzio

Feb 05, 1969 – “B” > FSB Roy (“B” Battery Home Base until I left Nam )

Apr 12, 1969 – “B” > FSB Quick II > FSB Roy (1 day raid)

Apr 21, 1969 – I went TDY to “C” Battery to assist as FDO because they were shorthanded. I stayed here for a couple months then back to “B” Battery just before DEROS although my paper work shows I remained with “C” Battery until the end of my tour.

Apr 25, 1969 – “B” > FSB Quick II – Ruong Ruong Valley (2 day raid)

Apr 27, 1969 – “B” > FSB Roy

May 13, 1969 – “C” 02:00 FSB Bastogne Mortared, Rocketed, RPG’d

May 14, 1969 – “C” > FSB Blaze – Apache Snow - Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill)

Jun 19, 1969 – “B” @ FSB Roy Mortared – Located close to Phu Loc (VC village)

Sometime after August, 1969 – “B” moved to Birmingham and stayed for about a year. I believe Roy was unoccupied for awhile, enough time for the rats to move in and someone to tear it apart. Then “A” Battery moved in sometime in late August or early September 1969 as I was traveling home.

Paul Picciuto (69-70)
"A" Battery

I was in A Battery in 1969 and we were not yet at Roy in July of 1969. So, with respect, I disagree with Ron Cox.  I have letters I wrote home to confirm this.

Neal Schwartz (68-69)
"B" Battery
 

Paul,

I know absolutely that "B" Battery was at Roy in July of 1969, the whole month. The soonest "B" battery could have left permanently from Roy would be very late August 1969. I left Viet Nam on August 22nd, 1969, and "B" had not moved when I left the battery. I'm the most familiar with Roy as it was the first base that we designed and built with the heavy equipment assistance from the engineers. Prior to that we never had any heavy equipment to help us. They actually cut the top off that mountain and made it lower in altitude to get it flat. I sure hope we calculated that into our firing data. Now I'm wondering if we used the original altitude or the new one when we fired all those rounds... Ah, I guess it doesn't matter much now...

I wish I had the letters I wrote home. My wife from those days passed away about 5 years ago and my (our) son said there were no letters in her home when he cleared it out and sold it. I've been working for years on putting together a chronological record of where we were when, and what the operations were at the time, the kills reported, etc. I don't know why as it's quite difficult to find all that data, but it has kept me off the streets and out of trouble most of the time.

Tony Georgakis (69-70)
"HQ" Battery

On your website, one of your folks was concerned about the correct altitude settings on FSB Roy. He believed that because the engineers had bulldozed the hill (lowered its profile), the altitude “used” for “shots out” might have been questionable. When 1/83rd met (on Roy) forwarded/radioed its data to receiving FDC’s (and others), the “correct” altitude above MSL (mean sea level). was built into their “baseline check” before each balloon flight. It was barometrically derived and chart-driven. A sylphon cell in the rawinsonde (balloon box) monitored barometric changes and sent back the data.

As I recall, the first line of the “MIKE ECHO TANGO CHARLIE MIKE” radio transmission was the “station identification line” which contained station location and its “baseline data”. Each subsequent line reflected changes in relation to the baseline… so “NO worries” (if FDC actually used the met data… firing “cold stick”, a different story). Your member can now sleep peacefully again (lol). I transmitted the finished product many occasions. Worked with John Ward (another 1/83rd site member). I have to laugh about the site’s SP-8 inch “fireball” story. After Nam I tanked (M48, M60, M1A1) for about 18 years. One of our guys put a roll of toilet paper on the end of a HEAT round and sent it down range… an “equally” flaming sight to behold.

Paul Picciuto (69-70)
"A" Battery

Neal, you bring up some interesting points about the altitude of Roy.  My calculations have a Battery going to Roy the second week of Sept. I was on the gun called The Judge, and when we left Blaze to go to Roy our gun broke down and had to be towed back to Blaze. We did not know what was going to happen before we got towed back to Blaze. My letters say when we got to Roy
we got a new gun and kept the old tube.

Dan O'Brien (69-70)
"A" Battery

Hi Neal,

Thanks for confirming my hunch. Ron showed up in June or July and disputes B Battery wasn't at Roy in March. I don't know how that works. Must be my PTSD making me say dumb things. But now you confirmed that B Battery was at Roy in March so I am now in recovery mode.

Thanks, I love your aerial shot of B Battery at ROY.

Johnnie Pearson (68-69)
"B" Battery

I left B Battery in March 69 from FSB Roy.

Ron Cox (69-70)
"HQ" Battery

B Battery may well have been at Roy before my arrival. Just knew that A Battery was there when I did arrive and B Battery already at Birmingham.

Neal Schwartz (68-69)
"B" Battery
 

Dan and Paul,

That confirms what I believe. "A" Battery moving to Roy in September '69 would fit into everything I have records of. I wasn't there anymore in September, but was there until near the end of August. "B" Battery would have moved to Bastogne then in September. I only remember hearing about the poor condition of Roy when "A" moved there. It must have been attacked and messed up. I can't believe "B" would have destroyed it when they left unless they were ordered to.

We all should to do a time line with dates as accurate as possible, then see if they merge together. But then again, at this time in our lives who really gives a hoot? I just feel grateful and honored to have served with the best. We did what our country asked us to do, got punched in the kidneys when we came home, but managed to survive anyway. At least that was for most of us. Now it is someone else's responsibility to keep the freedom in this country, and if the country elects to go in another direction I just hope that I'm long dead before that happens.

Take care,
Neal

Dan O'Brien (69-70)
"A" Battery

Hi Ron,

I have Paul and Neal who also agree with me on the dates and locations of A and C Btry. Welcome home and like me, seek treatment, we all need it.


 

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