Bull Run II -- with 2nd Battalion
|I was on
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
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.