Lam Son 719--Living & Transporting

atankersdad

New member
1,881
13
0
Location
Glen Arm Maryland
Great job of show and tell. Thank you Driver for taking the time and putting forth the effort to pull all of this together for us. I can only imagine the firepower that they could provide.
I wonder how many are still in use, that were abandoned, when we pulled out?
 

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Thanks for the positive comback and the PMs, This just needs to be told--It may be the dirtyest, nastyest, worst time in transportation in VietNam, and undoubtedly ranks up there for all of transportation history--------

Other companys began moving up north--the 563rd moved its 57th Bat. and brought with them six gun trucks, The Preacher, The Lifer, War Monger, Peace Maker, The Private, and Smiling Death--They were in Phu Bai for awhile but the first night there the enemy probed the wire, I'm sure all were real happy to have those gun trucks on the perimeter, cept maybe those that were on the otherside of that wire, they then began some night convoys---nights on the road were always a frightening experience to say the least----here's what I have for photos of their gun trucks--you'll see I'm missing some-----Driver ----Well--only one photo will take--I'll work on it later-----Here's the only one I can post-----
 

Attachments

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
The 363rd "Road Runners" left Da Nang and moved north to Red Beach, Camp Haskins--They had three gun trucks--The Colonel, Pallbearers, and Canned Heat--The Colonel had problems running at speed up the pass and with maintence, being a APC truck it was terrible heavy, they soon built another gun truck named Mercenary, shortly thereafter the 363rd went back to its regular mission of supporting the Americal Div.-----Driver
 

Attachments

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Thats about all I know about some of these units, but now there were other units that supported our troops during this push, four of them that were with the 39th trans Bat. were the 515th (page 1) the 585th at Gia Le, the 666th at Camp Evens, and the 805th at Phu Bai, I am sure there were more and hopefully we'll learn more about them as we go, I'm no historian just fortunate in knowing some vary great people, I'll now start posting the stories I have been privy to--there will be some mistakes made but they won't be on purpose and I will not embelish these stories-they are just too amazing in there own right------------------Driver
 

M813rc

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,531
326
83
Location
Near Austin, Texas
Driver, for this and the V100 photo thread I deeply thank you. We really appreciate you taking the time and effort required to record the stories and share those fantastic photos.

Cheers
 

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
I'm going back through my papers, photos, and will be making some phone calls, I'll be back at this thread with a vengence real soon, but for now I'd like to tell you all a little of what I have heard about the lifestyle these drivers went through---most the time they slept behind the wheel of their truck as it was being loaded or off loaded, and then they hit the road again, at the other end it was the same thing--grab what you can when you can, The gun trucks were always being put on the perimeter where ever they went and those forward operating bases, LZs, and fire bases were always real glad to them, the crew could then grab alittle sleep but they always left one guy on a gun---Convoys ran 18 to 20-hour days and now this was under combat conditions on narrow two or one lane roads often with the elephant grass hitting the mirrors on each side of the truck, that along with a long streach of one lane uniproved road that had a bank one one side and a drop on the other side of 50 to 100 foot to a river below---I've been told that at one point you had to stick your bumper into the bank to be able to make the turn---huh---everyday stuff-----Here's some photos from Danny Cochran--they are a little blury but you can imagine bouncing along at 10 er 15 MPH on the back of an APC truck trying to take pictures--Danny was on King Kong--------Driver
 

Attachments

Srjeeper

New member
1,506
35
0
Location
NE, Pa.
Moderators, Please

I'd like to suggest the Mods move this thread to the 'Gun Truck Forum' so as not to be lost in less relivent topics here in Conversations.

There's a great deal of priceless information and pictures in here that should be saved in the correct forum.

2cents - Thank you - :!:
 

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Let me back up just a little--The info on the Protector and its driver Charles Soule being killed (page 1) that night should be at this point, here's some more about that night---Some EMPTY pol tankers were sent out see if they could navigate the narrow roads around Vandergrift, they showed up at the Khe Sanh check point, the drivers were not liking this at all, they talked about all the maintence problems that would be going on, and the roads--all knew the turns were to tight for their wide loads, sometime after midnight a MP radioman was heard saying "you gotta be kidding me" everyone knew what he ment--they couldn't understand why those POL tankers were out there at night, why not during the day when they could have air support----troops on an APC with the 1/77 scouts woke up to a thunduring blast and huge fireball toward the area of the Rockpile, they could hear the explosions and shots of the small arms, they took off in that direction to lend any assisstance they could, when they arrived there was one fuel tanker over an embankment burning as were two others in the roadway, they reported people running evidently the drivers after abandoning their trucks were running back to Vandergrift, the crew on the APC began firing up the area, they moved across the bridge where the Protector had ran passed those that tried to stop it and beyond the burning tankers they could see the gun truck, burning with its guns hanging down and no one to be seen on it---1 KIA--8 WIA and six tankers destroyed-------------Charles Soule was only 19---Feb 8th 1971---RIP---------------------------------------------------Driver

Rockpile below
 

Attachments

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Here's some photos of the way these truckers lived, at least the few times they could get back to their camp---most these photos are from the 523rd area, up around Vandergrift I believe, sorry I don't have an expanded knowledge of all the trans units most of what I know is from my 523rd brothers, but please don't think they were an exception, across the board it was nothing any trucker would want to go through again---here ya go--a life style--the better side-------------Driver
 

Attachments

papabear

GA Mafia Imperial 1SG
Steel Soldiers Supporter
13,312
1,381
113
Location
Columbus, Georgia
I salute and support your efforts Driver...keep up the fire!!
Without guys like you and uglyranger some of us would never have known Guntrucks existed, nor would we have know what the transportation folks went thru trying to support everyone else.
I'll tell ya this...as a retired grunt I have a whole different view of transpo folks and others after meeting you, ugly and the others.
I agree with whoever said this threat needs to be moved to the Guntruck section.
Your comments, pics etc. need to be seen and not be lost in the shuffle!!
 

butch atkins

New member
398
1
0
Location
Fountain Inn SC
Lam Son 719

just a footnote to this thread,interesting reading for this topic,THE PRICE OF EXIT,by Tom Marshall,published by Random House publishing,covers in pretty good detail about the helicopter units that participated in this little excurssion into Laos,of 659 helos assigned to this operation,444 would be shot down,American casualties would be 215 KIA,1402 WIA,i know this is not about ground transport,but really gives an insight into what kind of effort the American forces tried to do for the ARVN during this time,really good reading ,and i read a lot,thanks to all who served our country
 

Uglyranger

In Memorial
In Memorial
303
1
0
Location
Waverly Hall, Georgia
The South Vietnamese government claimed that 13,341 NVA had been killed against 5,000 ARVN KIA/WIA. American estimates put the ARVN losses at 10,000 which amounted to half of ARVN forces committed to the operation.
The losses to US Helicopter Forces were 65 Helicopter Crewmen KIA, 818 WIA, and 42 MIA. 618 US Helicopters were damaged, including 106 totally destroyed, from 30 Jan - 24 Mar 1971.
 

butch atkins

New member
398
1
0
Location
Fountain Inn SC
Operational losses

wont get into a pi##ing match about these figures,the numbers i posted are a direct quote from the afore mentioned book,pg 171,however would like to read where these figures were obtained from,so lf you could help me out by telling me what books you read ,i would appreciate it ,fascinating subject ,the war is winding down due to US policy of Vietnamazation ,but we invade Laos and Cambodia,doesnt minimize in ANY way the contribution of our armed forces to a completely assanine political and military policy from Washington DC ,again thanks to all who served,and those who continue to serve this great country of ours,GOD BLESS THE USA
 

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
After loosing the Protector the 57th began rebuilding it, this time it would be called The Executioner, then after only a week the 39th Trans Bat. suffered another loss, The Ace of Spades went over the side of the road after the road gave way, the Truck tumbled way to far for anybody not to get hurt, the crew I believe was McGuire as NCOIC, Dan Powell, Jack (Rabbit) Turner, and Michael Ray Hunter driving, they also had Tina with them, she was Mikes monkey and she went everywhere with them, the Ace was her home as it was for its crew--the gun truck crews were real personal with their trucks, not only was it home but also a huge source of pride, they would go through the gates of hell in these trucks for their convoys and felt their trucks would always bring them back, leaving a truck was at best the last resort, the Ace tumbled down that embankment throwing the gun crew from the box, the box then began coming apart, sheets of armor were scattered around the truck number 114, The Ace will be back, but not for awhile, and not before terrible hardships by more then one crew---its not going to get any better for any of the trans units and especially for the 523rd---Lamson was terrible in all respects, this is only the truckers side, there should be a movie made of this whole operation, I don't believe that one book or all the reports can do justice for what these soldiers went through-----crews went out and picked up what they could of the equipment from the Ace--the truck was never recovered, during the recovery hours after the accident they found Tina, in true crew fashion she stayed with the truck, she was the last one off----Michael Ray Hunter from Elberry Mo. died on the Ace that day, he was 20 years old---RIP Mike--------Driver---------oh yeah---I THINK Powell went home, Turner went home both from injuries, McGuire I have seen pictures of after the accident and Tina was takin back to the company area and well takin care of by everyone---again-------Driver
 

Attachments

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
A lot of switching around of trans units was going on--evedently they were trying to figure who would do what, the Gyspy bandits (572nd) were attached to the 39th trans Bat. and started line haul missions to Vandergrift, the 585th was moved from Gia Le north to Tan My Ramp--the 585th would pick up cargo at Tan My and deliver it to Camp Eagle near Quang Tri, As things are being moved around its about to get ugly---real ugly-------Driver
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks