1969 July RVN - FIREBASE BLAZE
"A Btry 1/83rd Arty occupied Firebase Blaze for the second time after
the MARCH ORDER from Cannon in June 1969 The infantry also occupied
Blaze while preparing for a CA [COMBAT ASSAULT] into the A Shau Valley.
The stand-down involved the infantry doing RIFís [RECON IN FORCE] using
A Btry troops 50/50 on each patrol. We were the augmentees to the
infantry and the original ARVN were left at Blaze during each evening
patrol. We forded the river on foot, checking under the Rt 547 bridge en
route to the other shore where we would search out enemy or tunnels. The
Infantry chose not to take the ARVN with them as it had been a bad
experience. All A Btry troops including cooks, supply and FDC
participated in the RIFís. The CA took place within two weeks with many
UH1B helicopters headed with infantry to the A Shau Valley. A Btry
continued the RIFís using all our troops and without ARVNís. Walking
through the river caused may of us to have RINGWORM within an hour after
the patrol started. Doc Paddleford gave us Tinactin to cure the Ringworm
back in March at our first time to Blaze.
A Cobra helicopter came in yawing to the left and right from the
southwest. It was evident that he had mechanical failures and was
determined to land at Blaze and not out of our perimeter. The aircraft
hit the fuel bladder where I was standing 30 seconds before. I and two
others went to the Cobra and took off the damaged door and unlocked the
seatbelt of the pilot while the engine was still at full throttle. We
removed him safely from the aircraft and away from it as it seemed like
it was about to blow. A few minutes went by and a captain and a few
others came and helped the pilot to a tent and medical treatment.
Our outposts were set up outside the wire to monitor and prepare for any
attacks that might occur during the night. We had a sensor device that
ran four wires out a hundred feet in out forward direction of the dug in
foxhole. Our M-14ís had STARLIGHT SCOPES on them and our ammunition was
7.62 tracer rounds from the M-60 bandoleers. A few times we spotted a
light on the other side of the hill and four NDPís sent tracer rounds to
that target. The mortars on the hill would get a bead on that target and
lob more out there. One of the mortar rounds that was to be illumination
was substituted for a HE[high explosive] and it landed in our area
wounding some of our troops."
A/1/83rd Arty 1969
MINDBLOWER 3rd section.