Page-1 Page-2Page-3Page-4Page-5Page-6Page-7Page-8Page-9Page-10 • Page-11


This was my first trip on Route 9 east of Cam Lo village.
The grueling read 40-50 mile adventure to Dong Ha took over five hours along the winding, rebuilt roads and makeshift pontoon bridges. The devastation caused by the continual carpet-bombing was never more evident than it was along the first five miles of winding roadway to the Marine outpost at Ca Lu. The once dense foliage was burned out or blown away for miles around the roadway, and the ground was pockmarked with huge bomb craters for as far as the eye could see. Despite this carnage, it was an exhilarating experience for my men and I, who were ecstatic to finally be out of Khe Sanh and on our way back to Dong Ha.

On a recent Veteran's Day visit to Washington, DC, my friend and squad leader at Khe Sanh, Sergeant James "Smitty" Smith, helped me remember some of the names of the brave men who served with us during the siege. Among the names were Alpha Battery, 1-44 Duster squad leader Sergeant Manuel Floyd Martinez, who was killed in a subsequent action in early June 1968; Sergeant Dewey Thornton; Sergeant Norman Shank, Private First Class James Earl Pavey; Private First Class Arthur Mortman; Private First Class Lloyd Washington; Private First Class James J. Smith, Specialist 4 Hen and Private First Class Nelson.

First Lieutenant Lynn Grace also added a few names of men from the Quad 50 section of G Battery, 65th Artillery, who had served earlier at Khe Sanh. These names included Sergeant Hollis Ray Hale, a section chief who left the base prior to the siege only to be killed in an ambush in early February 1968; Specialist 4 Bowman; and Specialist 4 Steven Allen Guthrie Jr., who died as a result of a non-hostile weapons discharge at Khe Sanh on January 31,1968 prior to my arrival.

Some soldier's names I no longer remember, but they are nevertheless deserving
of recognition for their courageous service during the siege of Khe Sahn.
Troops and Viet woman

My friend Sergeant Joseph Belardo and Charlie Battery 1-44th Artillery, Duster/Quad section relieved us at Khe Sanh after the siege was lifted. Belardo's Duster track led the Pegasus Relief column onto the combat base. His Duster crew enjoyed an emotional reunion along with his platoon leader in Washington, D.C. last November. I apologize to the many other Duster and Quad 50 personnel whose names I have been unable to remember, but who are no less deserving of recognition for their courageous service at Khe Sanh.

Colors: Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery


Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery, in formation for an awards ceremony. The heroism its soldiers displayed during the long struggle in Vietnam made the battalion one of history's most decorated artillery unit.

(Click on photo to see larger image.)

Bruce Geiger
1LT US Army (Ret.)
A Btry. 1/44 Arty.(AWSP) "Dusters"
"First To Fire"
"Last Of The Great Gunfighters"


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author, Bruce Geiger After nearly 25 years incorporate America as a sales and marketing executive, Bruce M. Geiger embarked on a new career as a teacher. He began his first year of teaching in the New York City Public School System in 1993. Geiger is currently in his fifth year as a teacher at PS112 in the Bronx, an inner city public school. He teaches all elementary subjects including Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. He has been married to his wife Dianne (also a school teacher) for 25 years. They have two sons. Their older son David is 21 and a senior biology major at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. Their younger son Andrew is 18 and a freshmen at Boston University.
     Bruce Geiger would like to hear from veterans who served with the 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery.

ADA Vietnam Veterans - Check out Vietnam Memoirs, a website dedicated to the Association of Dusters, Quad 50s, Searchlights, Hawk and Vulcan Vietnam Veterans units.

 


War-Stories.com Logo

© War-Stories.com 1995-2014. All Rights Reserved.