Lam Son 719--Living & Transporting

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Driver523

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I have a ton of photos of the convoys---I'll start to post some showing the area from convoy---in this first one look real close in the background--on that ridge you'll see a convoy stretching around the curve on the road--this is one of my favorite shots-----Driver
 

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Driver523

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Looks like I got a double in the last two posts--sorry-----Here's some more shots from convoy-----Driver
 

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EZFEED

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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
Sure wish I could get my buddy Julius to post some of his pics here, he did this and I want to say was an engineer or something?
 

Driver523

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Here's a few more photos of some convoys---looks like one of the bridge above being used, check out the approach and how close the wheels are to the middle and edge of the bridge-----enjoy------------------Driver
 

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Red523rd

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Driver,
This is a very good thing you are doing here !!!! Can you here all the stories that goes with all these pictures ????? WOW !!!! I could tell a few,,,but not here,,I have set here and looked at this and things are just running thru my mind,,,,,,It means a lot to me....
Bring back memories, some good and funny ,,,,some bad ones also,,,,,,,,
And some very scary nights,,,, RUNNING IN THE BAD LANDS ACROSS THE DMZ (RT. 9)
They Called and We Hauled !!!!!!
Thanks for the History of our friends,

Chester (RED) Israel
NCOIC Satans LiL Angel
Destroyed 2/20/71
XD 980-517
523rd Trans. Co.
Vietnam
 
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vtdeucedriver

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Driver,
This is a very good thing you are doing here !!!! Can you here all the stories that goes with all these pictures ????? WOW !!!! I could tell a few,,,but not here,,I have set here and looked at this and things are just running thru my mind,,,,,,It means a lot to me....
Bring back memories, some good and funny ,,,,some bad ones also,,,,,,,,
And some very scary nights,,,, RUNNING IN THE BAD LANDS ACROSS THE DMZ (RT. 9)
They Called and We Hauled !!!!!!
Thanks for the History of our friends,

Chester (RED) Israel
NCOIC Satans LiL Angel
Destroyed 2/20/71
XD 980-517
523rd Trans. Co.
Vietnam
Dont forget chester, you are part of that history. Looking foreward to chatting with you again!!!!! Jeff in vt.
 

linehaul7071

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There's that bridge over the river again. It was on a hairpin curve and had to be approached at just the right angle with a tractor trailer. Immediatly after crossing that one the bridge in the second picture had to be crossed and that put us up into the area we called Sherwood Forest which continued into KheSahn. This area was sprayed with defoliate, then bombed by the B52s, and then burned by using napalm or foogas. I remember the road would wind around the craters that were left by the bombs as we approached KheSan.

Driver....these are the best collection of pictures and stories about the transportation during LamSon 719
 

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linehaul7071

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There's that bridge over the river again. It was on a hairpin curve and had to be approached at just the right angle with a tractor trailer. Immediatly after crossing that one, the bridge in the second picture had to be crossed and that put us up into the area we called Sherwood Forest which continued into KheSahn. This area was sprayed with defoliate, then bombed by the B52s, and then burned by using napalm or foogas. I remember the road would wind around the craters that were left by the bombs as we approached KheSan.

Driver....these are the best collection of pictures and stories about the transportation during LamSon 719 I have ever seen. Thank you
 

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Driver523

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Here are some photos of the 523rd at Vandergrift from Capt. Voightritter, even though he is no longer with us he will not be forgotten, he was a great comanding officer and looked up to by his men ---------------------------------RIP Capt.------------------Driver
 

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linehaul7071

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The first picture is the east perimeter of Vandergrift as QL9 comes in. As I wrote in an earlier post 3rd Plt 444th Trans was moved from Quang Tri to Vandergrift to be shuttle drivers between there and KheSan. The next picture is the tent we were assigned to live in. We asked about a bunker and were told "There's the shovel and there's the bags." We decided to use a bunker that was about a 100 ft away, which ended up being a daily event. Earlier, Driver said the nights were sleepless, he wasn't kidding. There was a battery of 155mm cannons very close to our tent and they would fire anytime day or night. The first night there we all decided to sleep with our boots on hugging our 16s, which we did every night after. I took the picture of the flares one night after being awakened by action on the east perimeter. Apparantly sappers were trying to get threw the wire. Just then an APC pulled up to our tent and the guy in charge told us to get in. I yelled back "Wrong tent, we're not infantry, we're JUST truck drivers." The other drivers quickly nodded in agreement. The APC guy said the infantry was tied up on the east and that sappers were spotted on the north perimeter near the showers and we were needed. We got in and took off. There's no windows in those things so did'nt know were we were. At one point we stopped for a minute and then took off for a short distance. When we stopped and got out we could see that we were on the wrong side of the wire. We were told to fan out on both sides of the APC and to clear this field of elephant grass....which means the APC and the truck drivers shot the hell out of the elephant grass....didn't see any sappers, but another night sleep lost.
 

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linehaul7071

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Another quick story to go with my earlier post. I wasn't going to tell this one....just don't try it.....but heck, it was life on a firebase and we were young and dumb. Anyway, after arriving that first day and hauling our duffle bags from the trucks into the tent and deciding not to fill sand bags and use a pre-existing bunker for cover, it was around 5pm and dinner time. We were standing in the road to the side of the tent looking down the road, which had about 4 large company size bunkers on each side, and at the end was the mess hall that was also in an underground bunker. After deciding, "let's go and try it out", we took about 2 steps and a mortar or rocket whistled over out heads and hit at the entry of the messhall. We stopped ran to a bunker and decided never to go there. So it was C-rations from there on. If you ever tried cold beef stew or speggitti and meat balls...well it's much better hot. The infantry taught us what to do......we got some clay-more mines and took a bayonet and popped out chunks of the C-4. Put that between a couple of rocks to hold the can and hold a lighter to it and it would lite and burn long enough to heat your can of rations. We were told if you took that same chunk of C-4 and hit it with a hammer, it would indeed explode. Like I said, we were young and dumb.
Gary...444Trans (attached to 64thTrans for LamSon 719)
 

Driver523

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Rich Killblane states that an average of 80 sorties a day ran from Vandergrift to Khe Sanh and reached as high as 265, and after Proud American was destroyed the gun box was again put on another truck and renamed the Ace of Spades, it had returned to the 523rd.
Lam Son ended April 4th 1971, Capt. Lavin in his APC and the 515th were the last to leave Khe Sanh, but the dust, dirt, and convoys to those fire bases was far from over, about the only thing that is to change is the ARVINS will not continue to die by the thousands, the 515th and 523rd went back to Phu Bai and had a regular compound and even toilets that flushed, the troops finally got a rest, King Kong was retired after returning from being loaned out to the 173rd, Truckers from all these many different units had dealt with some of the worst times military transportation has ever experienced, these drivers and gun truckers were involved in 23 ambushes with 40 vehicles being lost or damaged---12 of our brothers were killed in action and 35 wounded, these guys earned 4 Silver Stars, 20 Bronze Stars with the "V" for Valor, 37 Bronze Stars, 10 ARCOMS with the "V", 108 ARCOMS, and 36 Purple Hearts, 7 of the gun trucks were damaged or destroyed, all in a little less then three months---Now I also must add here that I have been told that many "other awards" were given out but even after being pinned on those brave men they were never formally awarded the awards on their paperwork (DD 214) therefore they are not counted in the figures above, there are even photos of Gen. Sweeny pining these awards on soldiers that never reached those DD 214s.
Please remember that I probably did not mention all the units involved let alone write about all the heroic actions these units and soldiers were involved in, what you have read here is just the tip of what went on, and after Lam Son, even with these great truckers in better living conditions--even with slightly fewer ambushes they continued to face those roads, that dirt, and the enemy every day and still--those tons and miles, and please try and remember when you drive your Steel Soldiers down our roads the pilots of those steel soldiers of Lam Son 719--Operation Dewey Canyon II---I'll continue to post stories as I get them and the photos, I'd also like to invite those that took part in this operation to tell the members here what they experienced, what they felt as they traveled those roads day and night, I cannot,-----I have only tried to pass along what I have read, learned, and have had the honor of being told to me by my Brothers that lived it----God Bless All These Brave Men----------------------------I hope you all have enjoyed this thread----------U'r Driver
 

WillWagner

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Driver and all the others that have contributed, this has been a great thread to follow. Thank you.

You guys ever thought about getting together and doing the book thing? The books on Bud Day, Delta Force and the Band of Brothers were all great reads.
 
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TedG

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Not to detract from Driver523's posting but I have to say that I was fortunate enough to have Driver523 visit me last weekend. I fully enjoyed his visit and he was able to kick some tires on an M37 and a few Deuces. Keep up the informational posting Larry!
Best regards,

Ted
 
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