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I arrived at Cam Ranh Bay and made my way north over the next few days to Đông Hà on the DMZ, where I reported for duty with the 1st Battalion, src="http://www.war-stories.com/images/bruce-geiger-dwcrew-big.jpg">Khe Sahn Napalm 44th Artillery (Automatic Weapons/Self-propelled). I was assigned to Bravo Battery as a platoon leader and spent most of the remainder of 1967 with Duster sections or squads at Marine firebases at Con Thien and Cam Lo.
      Although the purpose of this article is to recount ADA unit involvement during the siege of Khe Sanh, it is important to note that some of the heaviest combat engagements of 1967-1968 took place in and around the hill at Con Thien. For those of us who fought at both combat bases, Con Thien was in many ways a more hellish and miserable place than Khe Sanh. Duster sections from Bravo Battery played a significant role in the defense of Con Thien and operations to support the firebase.
(Click for big picture)


Early in January 1968, I was reassigned to Alpha Battery. I remember spending a couple of weeks in Đông Hà where we were placed on air defense alert after intelligence reported that the Chinese were scrambling Russian Illutian fighter bombers to test our air defenses on the DMZ. The thought of tracking state-of-the-art jet aircraft with our twin 40mm guns was quite sobering, and I remember being very relieved when we stood down from our air defense mission.

(While I was at Đông Hà, NVA rockets scored a direct hit on the
ammunition dump, which exploded in geysers of flame and smoke.)

DumpIn mid January I took a section of Alpha Battery Dusters to a newly constructed combat base called A3 located just below the southern boundary of the DMZ between Con Thien and Gio Linh.  A3 (or Tan An Van Giap, as it was identified on the map) was a rock-hard patch of dirt hurriedly scratched out by the engineers, surrounded by barbed wire and minefields and defended by a company of Marines, some engineers and two Dusters.  As enemy activity increased with the Tet offensive in late January, we fired harassment and interdiction (H & I) missions every night into the DMZ. We also used night illumination devices to detect and target NVA infiltrators as they moved through our area of operations. Early during the Tet offensive, the Citadel at Hue and the combat base at Khe Sanh came under heavy NVA attack.  As if that were not enough, the North Koreans captured the Pueblo, and several units of the 3rd Marine Division were placed on standby alert.


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