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Provided by: Daniel P. Gillotti, MS, MA, First Sergeant, USA Retired.
A-1-30th FA remained in the PEGASUS AO in support of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Air Cav, and OPCON to the 3rd US Marine Div. During their operations with the 3rd US Marine Div, A-1-30th FA fired at NVA rocket and artillery firing positions in the DMZ and also across the DMZ into North Vietnam. Operation DELAWARE was launched into the A SHAU Valley which was about 45 Kilometers west of the city of Hue, on 19 April 1968. When the Sky Troopers of the 1st and 3rd Brigades of the 1st Air Cav entered the valley, they were hampered by poor weather that drastically restricted visibility. They referred to this type of weather as "Crachin" weather, which was a French term for very low ceilings and heavy cloud cover. To make matters all the worse the NVA were waiting with well-camouflaged 37mm AAA Guns and .51 caliber heavy machineguns that poured out a wall of tracers. They hit twenty-three troop carrying helicopters during the initial assault, ten of which crashed and burned. Still more went down trying to extract the original casualties. {Note: Your historian personally observed several Chinook helicopter loads of body bags delivered to the 15th Medical Bn's helipad that day. Their helipad was directly across from the HHB Motor Pool. These memories remain with me as grim reminders of what our infantrymen had to endure during this bloody battle.}


Then on 23 April 1968, C-1-030th FA was air assaulted into LZ GOODMAN with four guns. The other two guns were brought in on 24 April 1968. They encountered stiff resistance from a heavily armed NVA force in that area, but the 1st Brigade was finally able to secure the former Special Forces A LUOI airstrip which they quickly renamed as LZ STALLION. A few days later a radio call was received in Bn FDC from C-1-30th FA. The weak and crackling radio message was that they could hear the sounds of tracked vehicles approaching their position. Immediately a feeling of fear and apprehension gripped everyone standing in the Battalion FDC that day. Because of the prevailing bad weather, no tactical aircraft could fly, they could bring in no supplies, and no reinforcements could be flown in. C-1-30th FA was totally on their own. About 30 minutes later a call was received from C-1-30th FA that simply stated "Two enemy tanks sighted, two enemy tanks engaged, one enemy tank destroyed and one enemy tank disabled”, End of Mission, Out! Following this, the weather cleared just long enough for B-1-30th FA to be air assaulted into LZ STALLION on 30 April 1968, and then they were swallowed by the low ceiling. Because of the heavy NVA AAA encountered and continuing bad weather, the re-supply of water to drink and swab the gun bores reached a critical state. HARD CHARGERS had to resort to urinating in their swab buckets and using it to swab the gun bores. Thankfully, within a few days the weather began to clear and essential water, food, and ammo were flown in. B and C Batteries continued to add their fire power with a vengeance to those of the other artillery units. They assisted in


--Continued--

MAY 2016 - 3
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