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Provided by: Daniel P. Gillotti, MS, MA, First Sergeant, USA Retired.
supporting a successful infantry assault which drove the enemy from the valley (temporarily). Another example of a C-1-30th FA Fire Mission was told by CPT (later COL) Stephen C. Hustead. He said, "when the weather cleared our FOs were able to quickly find plenty of long range targets to shoot at. One of our FOs called in a fire mission on a well camouflaged and slow-moving truck that was slowly creeping down through the valley. I guess the driver thought they would not notice him. The FO gave us a set of coordinates that turned out to be at the very end of our max range. Because of the high elevation of our Firing Position, we were able to squeeze out some extra range. We quickly shot a White Phosphorous (WP) shell as a marking round and damned if we didn't hit the back end of the truck. Talk about a lucky shot! The FO first reported the truck on fire. Then it suddenly blew up into several big pieces and he quickly changed that to "Truck Destroyed-End of Mission-Out". {Note: CPT Hustead went on to serve as the Bn XO of the 1-30th FA, 30th FA as a Major in 1977 when the unit was stationed in Germany.}

It was during this period that most of the personnel at CAMP EVANS were afflicted with amoebic dysentery that caused severe stomach cramps and uncontrollable diarrhea. It also brought a new meaning to the acronym TOT (Time on Toilet) (Note: Toilet paper was a premium item, and when that ran out, it was the Stars and Stripes newspaper, or the old standby, DA Form 2404 for Daily Maintenance}. It was also during this time period that we were inundated with hundreds of pounds of Australian Mutton. The Mess Sergeant prepared that mutton every way you can think of for about two straight weeks. He baked, barbequed, boiled, braised, broasted, broiled, charred, roasted, stewed, and toasted it. Yet no matter what he did to it, it still tasted greasy, and it smelled bad. I don’t think anyone who was there at the time can stare a lamb chop in the face even today. During these exciting days the 1-30th FA's Ace Air Observer, 1LT Stephen R. Esh, was presented with a Silver Star for his heroic actions during Operation PEGASUS (back on 7 April 1968).

Additionally, the Pilot was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Crew Chief was awarded the Bronze Star Medal w/"V" Device. These awards were presented by MG (later LTG) John J. Tolson, CG, 1st Air Cav Div, at a ceremony held in the HHB area. The story of 1LT Esh’s exploit unfolds as follows: After spotting an estimated NVA Regiment moving toward the Marine Combat Base at Khe Sanh, he called in a 14-Battery Time on Target Mission. The combination of HE rounds with Variable Time fuses and Firecracker rounds devastated the NVA troop formation. Later, his pilot flew the LOH-6A Light Observation Helicopter low over the target area so 1LT Esh could assess the damage.

MAY 2016 - 4
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