83rd FSB Arrow
April 1969

 

 
 
 
Dan O'Brien (69-70)
"A" Battery

1969 APRIL RVN - FIRE BASE ARROW


"It was in early April that A Btry 1st Bn 83rd Arty convoyed from FSB Blaze to FB Arrow, six clicks west. As we entered into AO, we noticed a Rome Plow dozer climbing a steep hill and attempting to take down a tree. The angle was too steep and the dozer somersaulted down the hill and the driver exited out the right side after the first flip. We set up gun emplacements using the spade as a plow to make a burm around each of the howitzers.

The next order of business was to set up night defensive positions [NDPís]. We dug foxholes big enough for two men so we could alternate two hours guard and two hours sleep. A few 2 by 4ís were jammed into the holes to form a seat for two soldiers who guarded and slept in the same position. We put out trip flares and Claymore mines down the hill leading to the Rao Nai River below. When daybreak came, I noticed my left hand was three times the normal size. Doc Paddleford said it was a scorpion or spider bite and if I did not get sick, then it was non-lethal. It cleared up in 3 days.

The water from the Rao Nai was pumped into the water buffalo for drinking. It was loaded with such bacteria that maximum chlorine and iodine used was more than used in a stateside pool. Lime Kool Aid was added to kill the stench and the order to not shave was given. Arrow was in a valley covered on three sides by mountains. Rt 547 was still being carved out through the Roung Roung Valley to make Fire Base Cannon, just up the hill from us. Being low exposed us to more than the usual night firing from the VC.

After a few days, a deal was made with the US NAVY SEABEES to build us a four-holer crapper in exchange for 4 cases of poncho liners. A Chinook [CH-47A] brought it in to the area and put it about 50 feet outside our wire. That night another firefight ensued and the morning light revealed a crapper that was three feet high with the top half shot off by our M-60 machine gunner. There was no hot food brought in to Arrow and mail was thrown out from 50 feet as the UH-1 flew by. Anyone who received food from home had a mix of crumbs. C-Rations were limited to one meal a day in the second week as there was no resupply. The infantry that was with us gave us LLRPS, which was dehydrated food that just needed hot water to become a meal. It was our first experience with the LLRP meals. The LLRP stands for LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROL.

A pair of M-48 Dusters was also at Arrow along with two Quad 50ís gun trucks from the 65th Arty. One night during firing, our 3rd section was called to REAR OF THE PIECE, FALL IN. That is usually the command for a shell fired into a location not called in by the forward observer. The deflection and quadrant were checked and found to be accurate. Our XO.2 LT Lloyd was determined to jack somebody up for this mistake. It turned out to be his mistake as he laid the battery from the tail light of an M-548 cargo carrier and the aiming stake flashlight was OFF and not ON. Shortly after, the Army issued a ruling that no second lieutenants would be allowed in country. Lt. Lloyd complained about our lack of experience in setting up trip flares and proceeded to set three off after his mini walk down the hill. He failed Warrant Officer aviation training and was put in artillery. He was gone after the aiming stake incident and we had some decent officers after that.

An M-60 tank became disabled in a ravine and was dragged up a hill sideways by the winch cable on an M-88 VTR assisted by a Rome Plow.

Our unit stayed about three weeks at ARROW, as it was that long before WALLY, William L. Walling needed an impaction, as he didnít have a bowel movement for three weeks while surviving on Date Pudding from C-Rations. The weather was rainy most of the time."

Dan OíBrien  SSG  US ARMY RETIRED

A/1/83RD ARTY 1969


 

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