Camp Everett
Nui Dat

 
 
Some reminiscences of the early days at Camp Everett in Nui Dat.
Jimmy Hales (66-67)
HQ Battery

"I was on the advance party that went to Nui Dat to help string up the wire around the compound. Spc. 5 Wilkins (Will) wanted to shoot somebody, so he volunteered me go with him. Up until that time, I thought he liked me. I do not know how many guys were on this assignment, must have been 20 or more. We spent the first night at the 155 compound and the next 2 nights sleeping on the ground until we got cots and tents. I have a copy of the Army appendix map that was given to us while we were putting up the wire and when the mines and claymores were put in. I do not remember who did the mines and claymores. I am sure it must have been some ordnance section of the Army. Attached you will find a copy of the appendix. Whether everything was done according to the sheet as far as the mines and claymores, I do not know. The wire was put up according to the sheet.
I also was on guard duty at the 24 hour post at the ammo dump when we were mortared. I will get my memory together and put it on paper and send that to you in a couples of days. I hope this helps.
Jimmy"

Here are links to the Map and Security Plan.

Bill Taggart (66-67)
HQ Battery

"That map was a great map Jimmy, it clears up a few things, thanks. A question on the map, I am a little confused with type of wire. It shows 1 & 4 as Double-Double Concertina and 2 as Triple Strand Concertina. What was 3, seemed that might be the second side of the Triple Stand? I was on the detail helping to drive the stakes for erecting a barbed wire fence where the mine field was going to be, I guess that would be the 2 fence. Can you clear this up for me?

From my many times on guard duty, I know the claymores were there but the map show a much higher concentration than I recall.

Bill"

Jimmy Hales (66-67)
HQ Battery

"I believe you are right about wire 3 as being the third strand. I was pulled off this duty when the Metro equipment started arriving and did not keep up with the wire installation after that. You are right, the claymores and mines were not as plentiful as the layout indicates. I remember the claymores were like two of each placed in front of each guard post with a couple maybe in between each post.
Jimmy"

Rich Webekind (66-67)
HQ Battery

"Hi Bill,

I didn't know a security diagram existed. As a member of the Advance Party, I wonder how widely it was circulated. I remember arriving at Nui Dat late in the day and spending the first night sleeping on the floor at the 35th Artillery. Next day was spent stringing wire and pulling KP. Although I remember the claymores, the anti-personnel mines are not a vivid memory. Initially we used to do sweeps around the outside of the compound every morning so I'm wondering exactly where these mines were located and when they were installed. I do remember there were warning signs posted on the barb wire to alert anyone as to the presence of mines, but I don't know whether these signs were referencing the claymores or anti-personnel mines. Two things strike me in looking at Rex's photo. First is the amount of land cleared on the south side of the compound. I don't remember that area being that clear although my remembrance may be from early on in our tour and more clearing may have been done later. Second is the appearance of the ammo dump. It looks rather empty and there appears to be several vehicles parked inside. Too bad he didn't take the picture during one of our football games!

How detailed do you intend to make your layout? Maybe you could use Rex's photo as a basis for identifying what is inside the compound. Ask our folks to identify what they remember from the picture."

This is the photo from Rex Hon (66-67) that Rich mentions.

Bill Taggart (66-67)
HQ Battery

"Jimmy was good buddies with "Will" Wilkins the Metro Section Chief, maybe that is how he got the security layout. I know you must remember Will from our football games at Sill and from other things. He was the leader of that wild bunch!

I kept a diary for a while when we were in Nam (I could kick myself for not keeping at it the entire time). I was re-reading it the other day and I really found it interesting on a few levels. Several things I had forgotten about and I had some actual dates on a few events that have come up as questions from the group:

1. The Mine Field was completed on January 18, 1967.

2. The last night patrol was on February 11, 1967

3. The Mortar attack that really hit the Motor Pool hard was on March 23, 1967

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I did not keep up with it and March was my last entry.

I was on several details where we put up the posts and wire for the minefield. I remember specifically working on the south side of the camp many times. There was a smaller group that laid the actual mines after us. Where the mines were is in red on my layout while the claymores were along the berm.

I am pretty sure the signs warned against the minefield and not the claymores since they required an electronic triggering whereas the others were contact mines.

The patrols came out the main gate, turned south on Hwy 2 and went beyond the last set of barbed wire (see my layout). We then proceeded west beyond the end of the west side of the camp and set up in the woods out there. The crazy thing was this route never changed. I knew that but several guys have mentioned taking that same route as well. Really fooled them, didnít we?!!

Regarding Rexís photo, a few things there:

I sure wish we knew for sure if the guns were there at the time. Rex said they were not but I see something where they would be, either the guns or perhaps APCís as suggested by one of the guys from ďAĒ Battery.

I agree, I donít remember that much open space on the south side but, like you, I was only over on that berm on guard duty in the very beginning of our tour. On the flip side of that however, this picture had to be later as you can see that the tents are gone and the buildings are seen throughout the camp.

I am having a hard time with the Ammo Dump. The dump does look kind of empty and I canít figure out what the area directly behind it (west) is. I can see guard post # 5, behind and left of the dump and I canít see post # 4 probably because that was kind of out on a point on the northwest corner.

That area looks like it has some structures and vehicles and that really has me stumped. I was on post #4 a lot and only recall a long walk out to it but nothing else.

I will take your suggestion and put the photo out and see what turns up. I would hope that someone would know these things.

Bill"

Ken Skornia (66-67)
HQ Battery

"Bill, the air photo of the 83rd was taken after I went to the 7th& 8th arty. Iím thinking we still had four guns at Nui Dat, two 175s and two 8 in. The 175s were on the far side from the ammo dump. I help to lay the pads for the one 8 in. for some reason canít remember why but I do remember that. We use a t-16 laying it in.

I can also remember the long walk at night from post 4. One night I ran into the OD didnít see or hear him and neither he of me. One of those heart check moments.

I do not believe there was any guns outside the perimeter road. I remember damn near walking in front of the most eastern 175 at the time they started a mission. I love guns but not that big and close. Little large for squirrel hunting. I used to walk the perimeter road in the evening for something to do .

I was with the advanced group going to Nui Dat. We worked ourselves crazy getting ready for the Bn to show up. I think it was only about a week if that long. Seems like someone got worried about how few of us were down there and this may have got the rest to us sooner.

I have a letter to my wife which I wrote the evening after our big guns arrived. I think it was almost a month before they came in. Now to find the letter.

Funny how things fade over the years. I remember that we were always on black out at Nui Dat and when I went to the 7th and 8th they had street lights. Heck of a change. They even had a ice cream trailer where we could buy ice cream. We were really on the 9th I.D. Base camp. I never did get to see the whole base. I only stayed till Oct 67 and then home.

Take care.

Kenny Skornia"

Danny Sandoval (66-67)
SVC Battery

"Bill, Across The Road From Post # 1 Was The Dump. Richard Huggins Was The Heavy Equipment Operator.  I Was The VTR Operator. We Dug Out That Pit, The Camp's Trash Was Deposited There, The Pit Was Maybe 75 Yards Long, The Village Kids Would Scrounge Through It, The Powder That Would Sweat Would Be Scattered Through The Pit And Ignited. One Saturday Huggins And I Were Guarding The Pit As They Were Preparing Too Ignite The Powder, Sacks Of Powder Were Thrown In. There Were Children At The Far End In The Pit. We Were Yelling And Screaming At Them Too Get Out Of There. One Kid Maybe 7-8 Years Old Got Caught In the Flames. We Heard The Screams And Ran Toward Them , He Was Burnt Bad, Skin Falling Off He Was In Shock, We Took Turns Carrying Him Towards Post # 1 , No Gooks In The Compound Remember , They Tried Too Call The Officer Of The Day No One Responded. We, Huggins And I, Thought About Shooting Him He Was Almost Dead, We Stood Out There In Front Of The Gate Till He Died, Sorry Bill I Was Just Flashing Back."

Mike Kraus (68-69)
HQ Battery

"Bill, Thanks so much for what you are doing. I did not realize what an effect seeing a picture of Nui Dat would have on me. I arrived at Nui Dat at about 16:30 the day of the Tet attack so I was the FNG on the base that night. The Metro section defense sector was on the Baria side of the main gate. I donít have much to say but I read and appreciate what you are doing. I think that it was about 2-3 weeks after the Tet attack that we went to get on the boat. I never saw Vung Tau before the attack and only once after. The other guys told me that it had been a beautiful place.

Mike Kraus"

Bill Taggart (66-67)
HQ Battery

"Thanks Mike, I appreciate that. It must have been intense at Nui Dat during TET. I had left in Nov 67 but had many details on the Main Gate Guard Post right near Metro. It was one of the posts that I really did not like, the other being post 4. Did you guys get hit during TET or thereafter until you went north?

By the way, I still have a few aerial photos of Everett to post. I wish they were better but the one I got from my old XO, Rex Hon isn't too bad. I have another from Feb 67 that Bernie Dugan sent that shows the layout earlier in our time there, mostly tents still but a few bulidings. I am going to post them all.

I was to Vung Tau several times as a driver. It was nice enough, I suppose, but it was still Vietnam.

Bill"

This is the photo from Bernie Dugan (66-67) that Bill mentions.

Mike Kraus (68-69)
HQ Battery

"Bill,

Yes we did. The night of the Tet attack was my first night at Nui Dat. Solved all of my moral uncertainties in a rush. I was in a firefight in less than 5 hours from my time of arrival at Camp Everett. I think that it lasted for about 2-3 hours before they pulled back. I was the best shot in my company before I shipped out for Nam. I had good night vision and was able to see them moving in the dark and put out some effective fire. God how I loved that M14. It glowed a dull red that night. We were attacked most nights after that till we went north. The Aussies discovered a seven story deep field hospital someplace under a village near Nui Dat.

It got even better when we moved into firebase Bastogne in the A Shau valley about a month later. We came in a Chinook that took fire as we were landing. I was looking at the white lights that came on as we were landing. They were on the other side of the Chinook from where I was sitting and wondered what they indicated. DUH! White lights were holes stupid. We were into a firefight on the chopper pad as soon as we were on the ground. Bastogne stayed interesting.

I lost most of my hearing and got tinnitus with a near miss from a 122mm rocket. Shot at and missed is OK even if it wrecks the ears. The VA finally decided to pay for my hearing aids a couple of years ago.

Mike"

Bill Taggart (66-67)
HQ Battery

"That was very hairy. The village, just a bit south of Camp Everett, was Hoa Long. That is probably the one where they found the field hospital.

Bill"

Mike Kraus (68-69)
HQ Battery

"Bill

Thatís how I remember it; but itís been a long time. I remember how I loved to watch the Magic Dragon mini-guns work in our area. They were beautiful!

Mike"

 

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