Lam Son 719--Living & Transporting

Driver523

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Cloverdale Mi
Here's a few scenes from Paul Baders album, Paul was with the 57th, thats him on the 50 in the jeep----again--the dust and dirt--a life style--------enjoy----------------Driver
 

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halftrack

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Also, were the men on trucks primary job transportation or infantry? I guess what I am asking is this. Were the gunners on the trucks specifically infantry trained or were they truck drivers forced in a gunner type roll. I still hear this crap in the Marines about your a nobody unless you are infantry when in fact the transportation folks get just as much trigger time as the infantry. Did infantry look down on everyone else in the Army in other words?
 
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chvss65

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In my mind, eveybody wore green, even the Navy guys and rode in green trucks with a white star on the door when the man told ya to do something you were now trained.
Everbody was infantry
 

Driver523

Member
528
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Cloverdale Mi
Jason--It just depended on what the crews wanted to carry--except--when I was there in 70 one of the mucky mucks in charge of something decided there was too many gun trucks, evidently this clown didn't do convoys--anyway to combat this move someone else came up with the idea of maintenance trucks, so what we did is just move the rear wall forward to carry tires for those that may need them, then other things began to be carried, I see on some trucks the tow bar across the front bumper, about the best idea for a maintenance truck I've seen was the rebuild of the Ace of Spades, They put a triangular piece in the tailgate that allowed them to move the rear wall back some--maybe one more row of ammo boxes----ya know----one never has enough ammo unless its unfire----Ace carried 154, 100 round boxes for just the 50s--------Weight??? Dick Jamison the NCOIC of Ace down in Cha Rang run it over the scales---- 34,000 pounds--------good thing it was a five ton-----Driver
 

Driver523

Member
528
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Location
Cloverdale Mi
Primarily most were transportation folk, but some did have infantry training, when picking a gunner it helped if he knew the 50 already, but most were trans guys-----Driver
 

Driver523

Member
528
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Location
Cloverdale Mi
The ARVINs were getting whooped and bad, the retreat turned into a route, the NVA took full advantage of this and stepped up their pace, Rich Killblane states that the perimeter at Khe Sanh was penetrated destroying two choppers and damaging four, that along with 22 casualties, the NVA knew they had hit the mark, Route 9 was no longer secure, with the stepped up attacks the fire bases were called in to help--it was during this time that the 523rd and Lt. Fuller was again called on for support, the projectiles a fire base needed called for a convoy to go farther west then any other, and at night--then if that wasn't enough he was told that if they didn't get through the fire base would be defenseless, with a huge convoy for this area and at night a gun truck was placed as usual every ten trucks with the Eve of Destruction in the rear with Fuller, One of the gun trucks called Fuller and told him they thought a truck had made a wrong turn, the Eve caught up with the truck but in trying to back up over a bridge (at night) part of the truck went off the bridge, the driver jumped out and was put in another cargo truck, where they were going was just short of the border, They made their way through the night and arrived just in time, they unloaded their cargo and the fire base continued their fire support, the convoy began to make their way back to where they had come from with Uncle Meat in the front and Eve again in the rear-- then up front there was an explosion, it was Meat--they had run over a mine and it had taken out the intermediate duels on the drivers side, those in the gun box were shook up but ok, the crew were told to strip the truck of guns and ammo but like I have said--these guys will not leave their trucks unless they absolutely have to, One of the crew remembered an old Bonanza movie where a covered wagon had broken down and they roped up the axle and continued, so that's just what they did--they chained up the axle and Uncle Meat was towed back to Khe Sanh and then on to Vandergrift, Later on the gun box was removed and placed on another truck then back in service.-------In the photos below the crew is Mike Cameric left, Logan Werth, David Rose, and NCOIC Danny Jones------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Driver
 

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Uglyranger

In Memorial
In Memorial
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Waverly Hall, Georgia
HalfTrack: The gun truck crews were all volunteers and Transportation with a primary MOS 64B. Three (3) Infantry officers had been assigned to the 523rd Trans Co three or four months before Lam Son 719. 1LT James (Pig Farmer) Baird, 1LT Thomas (Tom Terrific) Calahan and 1LT Ralph (Ranger Ralph) Fuller. Two (2) Transportation officers: 1LT William E. Dougherty and the C.O. was Captain Donald (Captain V) Voightritter. The First Sergeant was Lewis E. Knecht.
Captain Voightritter had enough foresight to send the lone surviving gun truck from the Vietnam war to the U.S. Army Transportation Museum. The Eve of Destruction.
 

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linehaul7071

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Redding, CA
I was a 5T tractor driver during LamSon 719. I arrived in Quang Tri on March 1st, 1971 with the 444th Trans Co and we were attached to the 64th Trans there. Two of the 444th guntrucks came up...Snoopy and Frustration. We hauled from Quang Tri to Vandergrift and Khe San. On March 15th my platoon was re-assigned to live at Vandergrift and we were shuttle drivers between Vandergrift and Khe San. I attached a picture of my truck at the Khe San ammo dump so as you can see the conditions of the vehicles after driving Route 9.
 

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Skip

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Alexander, Maine
Thanks

I looked at all 32 of the pictures, the emotion on the faces of some of the men speak volumes. On some of the pictures there are M37 gun trucks, if it is possible I would like a copy of them. :-D
 

Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
I apologise for being slow to post--just been busy and couldn't get in here---I'll hopefully be doing better------

The 57th transportation company was attached to the 63rd Maintenance Battalion and before Operation Dewey Canyon II it was the northern most truck company, they hauled fuel to everyone in I Corps but when this operation began they weren't alone any more, they were used to this area and its roads but it was going to get worse, they continued to run fuel to places like fire bases with names like JJ Carrol, Barbara, Charlie 1, Charlie 2, and Fuller.
That first morning they pulled out and along the road where all these other truck companies, they had no idea what was going on, there before them as they passed were all these gun trucks they had never seen before, trucks with yellow noses and truck companies from all over, You have read the story of the Protector and how it was rebuilt becoming the Executioner, this truck and the others (The Justifier and Assassin) will be called upon for more then convoy escort, like the day Assassin was called out to the Rockpile, this place had always been a bad spot, there just always seemed to be trouble around there, the enemy must have tunneled in below that thing and had the near perfect spot, anyway when they arrived there were a couple of MP jeeps with a couple M-60s on them firing at the rockpile--Assassin pulled up and began firing it up with the MPs, every time they stopped firing the NVA would begin firing back and what was coming at them were tracers the size of golf balls, they figured there was a 51 cal. dug in up there, this went on for awhile back and forth and then a CH-47 showed up with fuel bladders slung below it, hovering above the Rockpile it dropped the fuel bladders right where they wanted them placed, then when they began firing that ole Rockpile up again it turned into a firepile, when the fire finally went out everyone could see the top was blackened by the fire--it was like that for months but it wasn't months only days before the NVA again were firing at our troops---------Driver
 

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Driver523

Member
528
4
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Location
Cloverdale Mi
No Gary I sure don't--Please do---

Here are some photos od Hi Van pass, Covoys took alot of sniper fire in this area before they even got out to the badlands, as you can see it wouldn't take much to hide out and take shots at who ever passed-------Driver
 

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Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
These photos are from Capt Vs album as are the ones above---Like I said before, the men and officers of the 523rd got along real good, not only was Capt V on Proud American when it was destroyed but he was later wounded in May 71 while running the roads in his jeep------These photos are the area between Vandergrift and Khe Sanh-----Driver
 

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Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Entertainment in the badlands was everything from the old swimming hole, goofing off in front of the camera, to playing with guns and explosives--(always my favorite )--here's as good as it got---in the badlands--------------Driver
 

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Driver523

Member
528
4
18
Location
Cloverdale Mi
Maintenance was huge but it seems not many were taking photos of it, tires were the big deal, here's what I could dig up on maintenance its not much but it does show some of the conditions these guys worked in-------Driver
 

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