(Click To Enlarge Map)
The following letter was sent to us by
Chuck Hensler, with a map of his recollections, of the numerous area's of
operations (AO's), that the B/5/12 encountered. NOTE:
Read the letter below, then look for the red dots
and dates on the map. Thank you,
Jerry Swenson, for touching up, and making the map more readable!
In your letter you asked if we had any ideas to let you know. Well, I was thinking a map might be nice to have on the web page. I decided to try and come up with what I'm sending you. I made the map up from several other maps I had, to get the roads, rivers and towns located somewhat accurately. I added the items in red, from info I got from the redcatcher organization, some from memory, and some are just educated guesses.
Camp Frenzell-Jones is in the right place as well as FSB Choctow. Choctow was the First Battalion Fire Base in the field for the 5th/12th. The battalions first mission was to protect Bien Hoa and Long Bien from rocket and mortar attack. I drew the segmented arc about 5 or 6 miles beyond the bases, figuring that the range of enemy mortar and rocket fire would be within it.
So, I assume that our first few weeks in the field were spent patrolling inside this arc. I placed a red dot along the abandoned railroad east of Long Bien. I know we set up along a line, but the placement of the dot is just a guess. This is the location where two guys tripped the booby trap by accident. Another red dot is placed along highways one, also east of Long Bien. As before, I know we were along that road but not exactly where, so the dot is a guess.
A picture that Swenson sent you, shows some oxen pulling cut trees on a road below some bunkers. This is a picture of the location. We spent time in these locations during May. My location for June 2nd is a guess. I know it was north of Long Bien, and I thought north of the river, and if I remember right the area was Hillier than where we previously operated.
After the fire fight we were choppered to a base along the river. I made a red dot for that, south of the 6-2-68 dot. After staying there a while, we choppered to the dot 6-20-68. The date is not when we got there, but when we left there. That base was located in a hilly forested area. It was set up along an unused dirt road that led down to the river. We had our mortars there, and had a fire mission one night.
We left that base in a hurry as I remember. We choppered to Long Bien, then truck convoyed to our new AO south of Saigon. The 5th/12th set up their battalion base camp and called it Blackfoot. I think our platoon set up on the other side of the intersection from the battalion base, and a bit to the north. I guess this was about the time people started being infused and new people were coming in, so I don't know if you will be familiar with the places I mention from now on.
I would guess that July, August, and September was spent in the AO south of Saigon. We did a lot of patrols, night ambushes, bridge security, and cordon and searches. I don't remember any dates in particular. I remember one of the Shell Oil tanks being blown up one night_very spectacular.
We did a lot of missions from boats provided by the Army, Navy, and Vietnamese Navy. They would be taken down to the Rung Sat special zone (Mangrove swamps). Much of it was defoliated along the shipping channel. It was unpopulated except for red ants, and giant fruit bats hanging from bare trees. Spooky place.
We provided bridge security for several small spans in the area. GOOD DUTY! We stayed at Camp Davies once. It was a post for the 1st Logistical Command. Hot Showers! We guarded the "Y" bridge for a while. It crossed a large canal that bordered Saigon. I'm not sure when we started to go to the pineapple plantation. We would be sent there for a week or so, and then come back and guard a bridge for a while.
Finally, we left our AO south of Saigon, and moved west of the city. I'm kind of hazy about remembering particular dates during this time. I just remember going back and forth to the pineapple plantation a lot. So all those red dots south and west of the city don't pin point a specific location, but represent all the patrols, cordon, and searches, bridge security, and ambushes that were held through out the entire area.
I went to HHC 199th, toward the end of December '68. I'm pretty sure the 5th/12th stayed in the area south west, and west of the city through March of 69. The red dot Jan.27-29 represents a large fight involving elements of the 3-7, 4-12, and 5-12, so some of you guys could have been there.
So, thanks again for all your
work, I enjoyed the web site a lot.