Bull Run II -- with 2nd Battalion
by Jim Sorensen

 
I was on that operation -- Bull Run II -- with 2nd Battalion. It was 1st Battalion that found the big cache. We found several small, but still significant, caches on the same operation. There were no major contacts during that operation, but numerous and frequent small contacts. Couldn't figure out why there was not a larger force guarding all the materiel the NVA had brought in. The big cache totaled 165 tons of arms, ammunition, food, medical supplies and other supplies. In the spring/summer of '69 the 3rd MSFC tangled with a regiment from the 9th VC (Main Force) Division in the same area.

 War Zone D has been a sanctuary for the Viet Minh, Viet Cong and NVA in turn for many years. It was used as a staging area for the numerous attacks on Saigon. The materiel we captured in early '70 was undoubtedly meant for a spring offensive against Saigon and environs.

 Rang Rang proper is located on a tributary of the Dong Nai River, which in turn is tributary to the Song Be. Our FOB was located at the site of an emergency landing field built by the Japanese during World War II.

 I don't know that War Zone D was any more ominous than anywhere else, but there were some things that made it seem so. Much of the zone was outside the artillery fans of supporting friendly units, although we had an ARVN 105 battery with us during Bull Run II. There was a lot of unexploded ordnance throughout the area -- booby traps (from both sides), bombs, artillery shells, mines and so forth. I remember one place where there were those little CBU bomblets scattered all over the place. Much of the zone had been sprayed with defoliants, which mostly just killed the tall trees and let light into the understory. The understory then grew thick, and visibility was low. In some places it would take all day to move the battalion 500 or so meters unless we took to the trails. The maps were bad, sometimes a click or more off. The terrain for the most part was gently rolling, and nearly devoid of prominent landmarks, but broken up by numerous gullies and gulches. Combine low visibility, relatively flat terrain and bad maps, and it was
almost impossible to figure out a position without the help of a FAC. From October until April, the place was damned dry. The only water was in the larger streams, save for stagnant pools in old bomb craters. We had to have water flown into us once, and had a near riot on our hands once the choppers set down the blivets, as our Cambodes had been without water for nearly two days.

    List members David Whitten, Gary Lamberty and newcomer Mike Barkstrom were also on that operation. David and Mike were with the 3rd Battalion, and Gary was with the 403rd SOD.

            -- Jim S.