18th Brigade, 45th Group, 39th Engineers, Company D


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April 1

Worked with Sgt Riley spreading dirt at a place in the road that was falling off at the shoulder.  Spent most of our time sitting around talking. Had guard at outpost. Heard something around 11:00pm. Tom pulled flare and woke me up. We didn't see anything but Lt. Carlson had to stay up there with us the rest of the night.

April 2, Sunday

Had to spend the morning burning brush in front of the outpost.  Probably because the Lieutenant was mad.  It didn't work to well. In the afternoon I got to go to the PX in Tua Hoa but their was a line and we didn't have that much time so we had to come back.

April 3

Stood road guard at excavation site again and ate C rations for lunch. Finally got my jungle fatigues and boots. The fatigues didn't fit.

April 4

Worked with Sgt Lanphier standing road guard while they poured concrete for a culvert but then was sent back with Sgt Dedmond shoveling dirt. Shoveled dirt in afternoon too.  Got off at 3:30pm because the road grader came in and they only needed two people to work with it. Sgt Riley came down with what some thought was Malaria but was actually some kind of ear trouble.

April 5

Stood road guard in the morning at the by-pass at new bridge site. In the afternoon I rode shotgun in the dump truck. The bulldozer got stuck and the front-end loader got stuck twice trying to dig out the dozer. The dump truck pulled them out. A local's pony cart turned over also.

April 6

Watered down the by-pass and tried to level off road bank. Mostly just wasting time. At 3:00pm several of us got to go to the Korean PX.

April 7

Pulled daytime guard in machine gun bunker and pulled guard at night on outpost. Rumor began that we will be moving out soon.

April 8

The C.O. wasn't back from battalion yet so we spent the morning cleaning equipment. Just before lunch we were told we would be moving out but it was a secret as to where. We spent the afternoon doing nothing.

April 9, Sunday

We began packing our personal gear and putting up our pup tents. I could not find another pup tent button-half so the Sgt sent me out looking for one. I forgot to tell him I couldn't find one so when the lieutenant inspected the tents mine and Lanham's was not up. The Sgt got chewed out and Lanham and I walked guard for an hour that afternoon in the sun and the sand for punishment. Later we took all the pup tents down.

April 10

Put pup tents back up after taking squad tent down. We surrounded the pup tents with sand bags. Spent most of the day goofing off.

April 11

Began to load-up the trucks. We took up all barbwire and caved in all bunkers. At 4:00pm we left the beach for Von Roll Bay where the ship was waiting. We messed around here that night on shore.

April 12

Had a gear inspection and loaded all our equipment on the ship [LST ... I think]. Left port at 11:00am headed north. It rained tonight and the ship got to swaying but I didn't get sick. (Photos property of Gregg Heacock)






April 13

Got to port [Near Duc Pho] at about 8:00am but didn't dock until 10:00am. Got squad truck off at about 2:30pm. We set up our tents on the beach and relaxed.

April 14

Began to build road to airfield (LZ Bronco). Got shot at where we were pulling security around a building. No one was hurt. Mine blew up in front of dozer. No one hurt. I had to carry radio. We are still eating C-rations.

April 15

Had day guard and we began to pull up our camp on the beach.  It was about 5:00pm when we reached our new site and we worked to midnight putting up concertina wire and digging foxholes. While moving to our new site one man was wounded in the leg by a sniper near the village where I was shot at. We found out later he lost the leg due to infection and was sent home.

[View Map of Duc Pho area that shows the road and bridge we built from the beach to airfield at LZ Bronco. The map also shows the location of our first camp in the area. This is a large file and may take several minutes to open if you are using a slow modem.]

April 16, Sunday

The village where we were receiving the sniper fire was leveled today with C-4 explosives, fire and bulldozers. Company A lost two men from a large mine in this village. One was killed instantly. The other died on the way to the hospital. We worked in our Company area till noon and then went out on road security down by the bridge that was under construction. Worked on guard bunker till 11:00pm.

April 17

There was a dead VC soldier in front of the demolished schoolhouse in the village we leveled. He caught a M79 in the stomach and was full of bullet holes. The 1st Cav lost one man last night because of this VC soldier while waiting to ambush Charlie. This solider was left there all day for another ambush set up for tonight. I sat in the shade all day and kept an eye on the squad's C- rations and water, etc. Had to go into the beach with the grader to get the blade fixed. That afternoon the 1st Cav evacuated 3 Vietnamese for questioning. One man was very old. One old woman was also evacuated for medical care. It appeared shrapnel had hit her in the left side of her face.

April 18

Stayed back and pulled day guard with Swander. It rained and most everything got soaked. We found one of our claymore mines had been moved during the night so the explosion would be directed back toward us. We relocated all these and tied them to trees.

April 19

We had the morning off to clean our rifles of rust caused by the rain. We left about 9:00am for roadwork. I pulled road guard with grader as it dug drainage ditches.

April 20

Worked with Sgt Sapp pulling security while the dump trucks dropped dirt along the road and graders spread it out. I mostly just planed with ants.

April 21

Pulled day guard again. Got about five letters written and received my packages (sun glasses, mirror, blades, etc) in the mail along with some Readers Digests.  Rest of squad was at burrow pit. Swander backed truck off road into rice paddy and it took three bulldozers to get the truck out. Two colonels and a major and the captain observed.

April 22

Worked with graders on road again. Had to sit in the sun most of the morning and then got to carry radio in shade. We were called in at about 10:30am because we couldn't get the scrapers we needed and then five minutes later we were sent back out because the scrapers were available.

April 23, Sunday

Pulled guard with Lanaham. Some of the squad stayed in camp today but most were sent out on some detail. I also washed my clothes.

April 24

Worked at burrow pit pulling security up on hill. It started to rain about 5:00pm and our shelter got a little wet inside but it stopped about 9:30pm and we slept dry. Two guys messed up on guard duty tonight.

April 25

Stayed back with Chris, Buckley and Hall to clean and inventory tools. We were missing a lot. I got stuck with cleaning the tools. Hall and I fixed our shelter so it wouldn't leak anymore, we hope.

April 26

All the squad stayed back. We went on police call and built a new bunker because Brennen came into the squad yesterday. We cleaned our weapons using diesel fuel this morning. The 25th infantry left the hill about 3:00pm.

April 27

Swander and I stayed back. We didn't do much of anything all day except write and read. Supply Sgt ran over a Vietnamese woman with 2 & 1/2 ton today. I don't know her condition.

April 28

Stayed back again. Buckley was going to stay back but they needed a M-70 man for security on the bulldozer. Bryant made me come down to the bridge site and help his squad. Parker was also waiting to go to the hospital about his arm. Later Bryant made me go and clear some brush from the side of a curve so the trucks could see around it. Did this from 2:00 to 4:30pm. About 6:15pm our company was ambushed as they were coming back in off the road. No one in our company was hurt but one jeep driver was killed and two infantry were wounded. Cassias Clay (Mohammad Ali) was supposed to join the Army today.

April 29

Worked with Sgt Dedmond until lunchtime guarding grader. Then got stuck with trying to clear a culvert that collapsed. We finally put in another culvert.

April 30, Sunday

Was on radio security with Brennen. Got pulled off to go get the mail but it turned out we were supposed to pick up a culvert and not the mail. We returned at 12:00 with nothing and I went back to the radio.

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