RAMRODS

Second Infantry Regiment
 
 
 


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Bruce Swander
Reply with quote  #1 
Looking for anyone who remembers the circumstances surrounding KIA of LTC Mortimer O'Connor on 01 April 1968 - he was the CO of 1/2 at the time.

Pls email me at bruceswander@hotmail.com


Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Bruce, I was there during this Operation Quyet Thang, the day that Lt. Col. Mortimer O'Connor, Lt. Robert A. Lulu, Dejesus Munoz, Alejandro, there were others that were KIA but I could be wrong I had thought that the Col. RTO's were killed that day to. 
The Recon. 29er Platoon that I was in, stood down that day for ambush that night I believe, so we did not go out on patrol that day with the Battalion.  It was a real sad day for us one and all.
I have been in contact with Col. Mortimer O'Connors sons Brian, and Brendon.  Brendon is in special Ops and was awarded a medal for his Bravery under fire saving the lives of other men in his outfit in Afghanistan.  I'm all so in contact with other men who were out on patrol the day that the Col. and the others were ambushed. And I have their stories from what they can recall on that fateful and sad day.
If you would like to discuss this more, send me an e-mail.
And on another note welcome Home Brother.
My e-mail is as follows: Recon2niner@yahoo.com 
Black Scarf Battalion 1/2 June 0f 67- June -68
Delta Company, November Platoon RTO, H.H.C. Recon 29er Platoon. RTO, Point Man
NOLI ME TANGERE 
Mike Ogden
Reply with quote  #3 
  Hi Bruce, I want to take this time to Welcome You Home!
                                                                  Mike Ogden
                                                     1/2 HHC Recon Plt.
                                                     Big Red One
                                                     '68' - '69'
Gerald O'Hare
Reply with quote  #4 
The Battalion commander was shot in the chest by a VC who popped up out of a tunnel. Contact was made with this VC unit and they were using tunnels to their advantage. Col O'Conner was near the entrance to a tunnel although he was unaware of the tunnel. Col. O'Conner stood up to look around and survey the field and that's when he was shot in the chest. Lt. Lulu who was a good friend of mine was killed that day also he was in my company. After the operation there was a big ceremony on the airstrip at Quan Loi and we were all lined up and the people from headquarters company talked about Col O'Conner but didn't mention the others who died that day like Lt. Lulu, my friend. We were all very angry that no one mentioned Lt. Lulu at that ceremony that day. I liked Col. O'Conner a lot. I remember when we had a huge battle at Bu Dop and there were VC bodies all over the place. I think Col. O'Conner was the happiest man I ever saw on that day.
Right after Bu Dop Col. O'Conner pinned 1st Lt bars on my fatigues right there in the NDP. He was a great man and I'm not surprised that his son showed courage also. ... Lt. Gerald O'Hare Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry 
John (JJ) Adams
Reply with quote  #5 
LT O'Hare,

I just sent you an e mail on the back line. Glad to see you found the board. Hope you can help me clear up some dates and events.

JJ
DRAC96R
B Co Sep 67 - Jun 68

John (JJ) adams
Reply with quote  #6 

Forgot to attach my RAMROD certificate.

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Bill Hearn
Reply with quote  #7 

Welcome Lt O'Hare.  I have emailed you and would love to hear from you.

 

Bruce,

I had left the field when Mortimer O'Connor was killed but had served as CO of Bravo Company under him.  I was working a twelve hour night shift in the Division Tactical Operations Center (DTOC) that day.  When I reported for duty that evening, I was told of his death.  I greatly admired Colonel O'Connor and turned so no one would see my reaction.  When I did I spotted an envelope in my cubby hole where mail was placed.  It turned out to be a personal letter from Mortimer O'Connor thanking me for my service and stating that he hoped we would serve together again in the future.  The letter was hand written and smudged with Quan Loi red dirt.

 

I saved and treasured that letter all these years but lost it in the Hurricane Ike flood in 2008.

Bill Hearn

 

Ron Benedict
Reply with quote  #8 
I was a platoon leader with A Company, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry in 1967/68.  I remember when LTC O'Conner took over command.  He stood atop a First Division NDP bunker and talked about what Noli Mi Tangere, the Latin written on the 2d Infantry Regiment patch, meant.  The true meaning of the Latin is "Touch me not."  But Colonel O'Conner said it meant, "None dare touch us."  He went on to say that he wanted a body count and promised us that if we got one he'd drop them over in "that village."  It was a village not too far from our NDP.  I thought he was a bit over blown when he said it, but we got him the body count and he did exactly what he said he would do.  I admired him greatly and thought he was a great officer.

By the way, does anybody remember when Bob Lula was bit by the cobra? 

Sergeant Alejandro de Jesus was my platoon sergeant.  I have numerous stories of this good man if anybody wishes to hear about them.  There are other Black Scarves that I fought along side of whose names are on the wall.  I still have my patrol leader's notebook that contains dates, times, and a lot of interesting stuff.

Bill, whatever happened to the XO, Major Lowry?
Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Ron,
Major Lowery lives in Houston, Texas. A great leader as well. He was our Company Commander when we first arrived in Viet Nam on the USNS Geiger out of Port Tacoma, Washington.
Luther Patton
Black Scarf Battalion 1/2
Nam June 67' June 68'
John Adams
Reply with quote  #10 
I have copies of the Staff Duty Logs for 1/2 for 1 April 1968. Both the field log and the rear log (Quan Loi).
The field log:
item 48 1212 - Aco in contact 2 VC
                    Aco 64 NS grid line Adjust mortat fire - 635410
item 49 1220 - Aco adjust mortar fire
item 50 1225 - DRAC enemy at 637 411
item 51 1223 - VC broke contact - DRAC
item 52 1250 - 29er closed
item 53 1252 - Blackhawk 6 on station
item 54 1300 - B AP3 recon closed
item 55 1310 - B AP 2 recon closed
item 56 1315 - DRAC receiving fires from left flank several casulities
item 57 1320 - Aco report incoming RPG
item 58 1330 - Aco report getting 1 VC KIA still receiving fire
item 59 1340 - "DRAC 6 report KIA".
item 60 1345 - "4 WIA DRAC
item 62 1353 - "DRAC - 2 KIA 4 WIA
item 63 1445 - Report dustoff WIA complete
item 64 1502 - 642 406 A co back in contact
item 65 1510 - replacement 6 on station

The duty log continues for several days.
I was with B co that day but we were not out with the
S&D.

JJ
B Co 1/2 67 -68



Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #11 
Hi John,
I know that Recon. 29er did not go out on patrol that day like I have mentioned in my earlier post.
So Bravo did not go out on S and D the day the COL. was KIA? 
I know that Delta Company and Bravo Company was in that NDP. But which one was the third Alpha or Charlie?
I have the After Action Reports for the Operation Quyet Thang and it says that there were three companies', but does not give which ones.
When we Air Assaulted into this AO, Recon. 29er was the first to hit the LZ. I was on Point. My squad Leader Tom Mculley gave me the azimuth to shoot. Which I did.. and it took me right through the area where our NDP would soon be.
After Recon29er reached the end of the clearing and secured that part that would be part of the NDP. I look out to my front. And there was a trail that consisted of white lose sand. And all I could see were Ho Chi Minh Sandal foot prints all  over the place, and a cold chill went straight down my back. I'm thinking this is a BAD ASS PLACE. One could feel the eyes of the Viet Cong on you watching every move we made.  The Viet Cong were probably saying to themselves. " OH sh....t!!!!! the Black Scarf Battalion has just landed in our back yard."  That whole hole area was booby trapped from one end to the other. I ought to know. I was the first one to go into three of them, while on Point.  Including the Regimental Base Camp, it was unbelievable. Our NDP was completely surrounded by Viet Cong bunker's.  One had  an in ground  prison.  I have a lot of grey hairs from that Operation.  Sorry to ramble on.
Luther Patton
Black Scarf Battalion 1/2
Delta Company, November Platoon, RTO
Recon. 29er Platoon RTO, Point Man
Nam June 67' June 68'
 
John Adams
Reply with quote  #12 
Hi Luther,

I do not mind the ramble. Helps me fill in some blank spots. Hope we can meet up one of these days.

JJ
B Co. 1/2
9-67 to 7-68
Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #13 
Hi John,
The Viet Nam War for the most part was an individuals' war, we all dealt with the War in our own way.
The Brother's that post on this message board has seen a lot more death and destruction,  than other's. As I look back 47 year's ago during my tour during the Viet Nam War. I ponder, maybe I could of or should of done it this  way or that way. Maybe things would of been different.
But one cannot go back in time and change things per say.  Only in your memories' can one do just that. But it still does not change anything of the past. So life goes on.
One cannot look back while walking down the road, if you do you will  trip on that thing that lies in front of you whatever it may be.  I for one has tripped so many times, until I said to myself enough is enough.  Shoot a straight and true Azimuth and follow that Azimuth and no matter what lies in front of you. You will be able to overcome that obstacle that lies beyond you. And  Life goes on.
Hopefully John we will meet one of these days and have a cold one, and talk about life.
Patton
Black Scarfs' 1/2
Nam June 67 June 68.
Glen Michaels
Reply with quote  #14 
Capt. Mortimer O'Connor was my
C.O. in the 7th Cav, (Korea) 1962-1963.
Thought about him and ended up here.
Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #15 
Hello Glen,
If this is your first time to post on the message board?  Welcome to the board.
I do not know if your aware of the Custom Chopper that I had built from the ground up in 2004 with the names of those I trained with at Tiger Land and served with in Viet Nam, Black Scarf Battalion. Those that were K.I.A. are listed on the back fender of the Chopper just like they are listed on The Wall in Washington D.C.  LT. COL. Mortimer O'Connor is listed.
The Chopper is the Second Infantry Regiment Chopper. It has won seven trophy's from bike contest. I dedicate the trophy's to those who are listed on the back fender.  
When I ride, they ride with me in the Spirt. 
The picture's of The Chopper are on the message board somewhere.  Hopefully I can find them. And post them.
LT. COL. Mortimer was a great leader and well respected from those of us that served under his command. 
Thanks for your service Glen. Sir.
Luther Patton
Black Scarf Battalion 1/2
Delta Company, November Platoon, RTO
Recon. 29er Platoon RTO, Point Man
Nam June 67' June 68'
Joel Leson
Reply with quote  #16 
LTC Mortime L. O'Connor was my mentor and friend while he was on the ROTC cadre at Temple University (1962-65). He was a soldier's soldier, smart as a whip, and worked hard at making decent officers out of us. I was stationed down in the Mekong Delta (Aug '67 - Sep'68) as an Infantry Advisor, MACV Tm 63. I had sent a letter to LTC O' up at the 1/2. I got it back marked "KIA." From what I read here, he was the type of leader in combat that we got to see in the peacetime enviroment.  To all the men who had the privilege of serving with him, I salute you. Losing him was a loss in so many ways, and at so many levels. Rest In peace, Sir!!!! This soldier misses you. Joel Leson, COL, US Army, Retired .
Joel Leson
Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Leson
LTC Mortime L. O'Connor was my mentor and friend while he was on the ROTC cadre at Temple University (1962-65). He was a soldier's soldier, smart as a whip, and worked hard at making decent officers out of us. I was stationed down in the Mekong Delta (Aug '67 - Sep'68) as an Infantry Advisor, MACV Tm 63. I had sent a letter to LTC O' up at the 1/2. I got it back marked "KIA." From what I read here, he was the type of leader in combat that I got to see in the peacetime environment.  To all the men who had the privilege of serving with him, I salute you. Losing him was a loss in so many ways, and at so many levels. Rest In peace, Sir!!!! This soldier misses you. Joel Leson, COL, US Army, Retired .
BRENDAN OCONNOR
Reply with quote  #18 
This is a son of Dracula. My father is Mort O’Connor. Temple University is dedicating a room in honor of my father’s service and sacrifice in VN. on 30 March, 2018. Strangely, it will be just a few hours shy of the 50th anniversary of LT Lulla’s, SFC De Jesus-Munoz’s and my dad’s deaths as brothers in arms.
I will be thinking of each of you, some who have befriended myself and my siblings over the years.
Noli me tangere
Brendan OConnor
SGM (Ret), US Army Special Forces
Distinguished Service Cross, Afghanistan 2006

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Eddie (Andy) Oliver
Reply with quote  #19 
What a well deserved honor. May he RIP and his legacy live forever. 

Andy Oliver  Co C 1/2 68-69
Joe Fair
Reply with quote  #20 
Awesome and most moving.

Joe Fair
A 1/2
April 1969 to March 1970
Luther Patton
Reply with quote  #21 
Brendan, what a great honor to your Dad.
As you well know, I was there the day he was Killed In Action. It was a very sad day for The Black Scarf Battalion.
May your Dad and the other's  Rest In Peace.  I will give a toast to all of those who were killed In Action on April 1st, 1968, in remembrance.

Best Regards,
Patton
Black  Scarf Battalion 1/2
Nam June 67' June 68' 
Gerald O'Hare
Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRENDAN OCONNOR
This is a son of Dracula. My father is Mort O’Connor. Temple University is dedicating a room in honor of my father’s service and sacrifice in VN. on 30 March, 2018. Strangely, it will be just a few hours shy of the 50th anniversary of LT Lulla’s, SFC De Jesus-Munoz’s and my dad’s deaths as brothers in arms.
I will be thinking of each of you, some who have befriended myself and my siblings over the years.
Noli me tangere
Brendan OConnor
SGM (Ret), US Army Special Forces
Distinguished Service Cross, Afghanistan 2006
Gerald O'Hare
Reply with quote  #23 
I'll will be there. It is a very Irish thing to remember heros during Easter.
brendoconnoran
Reply with quote  #24 
Mr O'Hare,
  All the Black Scarves were there in spirit. Were you at Temple U, and did I miss a chance to meet you?
Brian O'Connor
Reply with quote  #25 
Here's a piece published in the Courier-Post in South Jersey about the Temple ROTC classroom naming ceremony.

 

 

A soldier returns to Temple, 50 years later

 

By Brian Wright O’Connor / April 18, 2018 / Courier-Post

My father left a teaching post at Temple University over 50 years ago on a journey to the jungles of Vietnam. He made his return, in spirit at least, over Easter weekend, when the Army ROTC classroom was named in his honor.

Mortimer L. O’Connor, a West Pointer and an Army brat, taught military science to Temple cadets from 1963 to 1966 in the ROTC center in an old row house off Broad Street while commuting from South Jersey. In addition to the classroom hours, he spent happy weeks with his charges during summer maneuvers at Fort Indiantown Gap, a garrison in western Pennsylvania dating to the French and Indian War.

The naming ceremony took place on Good Friday, two days before the 50th anniversary of Mort’s death on April 1, 1968. A lieutenant colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry of the 1st Division, he was killed during a search-and-destroy mission in the Iron Triangle north of Saigon – one of six former members of the Temple ROTC “Red Diamond Battalion” to die in the war. Mort left behind a wife and six kids, and bonds with Temple that endure beyond the grave.

The family ties became even closer at the unveiling. When the draping was pulled away from the Ritter Hall classroom door, it revealed not just my father’s name but that of his son, Sgt. Maj. Brendan W. O’Connor, a Special Forces veteran who won the Distinguished Service Cross – second only to the Medal of Honor – for crawling through Taliban machine-gun fire to rescue trapped comrades in Afghanistan.

Brendan has always carried a strong resemblance to our father. But never more so than after the unveiling, when he gathered the ROTC cadet cadre in attendance to quietly set forth their solemn duty to honor their uniform, cherish their comrades and love their country.

He also spoke movingly of the quieter heroism of those left behind, like our mother, who had to raise a brawling Irish platoon on her own during an era when single mothers in suburbia were a rare species – and war widows even rarer.

Elizabeth Wright O’Connor – “My darling Betsy,” Mort called her – ran the household while helping to edit and type Mort’s graduate school papers as he studied at Penn for a Ph.D. in English during the Temple years. We lived back then in Willingboro, with the Rancocas Creek running through the woods behind our house and a neighborhood full of kids.

Brendan’s invocation triggered a memory of Betsy sitting on the couch, face flushed, telling us that Mort would not be coming home. The men who had come to the door were too late, she said. She already knew. While vacuuming in the living room, she’d heard a single shot and knew whose heart had shattered. Decades later, our family inscribed lines from a Robert Hayden poem on the West Point tombstone she shares with Mort: “What did I know, what did I know/of love’s austere and lonely offices?”

How could any child fully understand a parent’s sacrifice or anyone who’s never served the bonds between those in uniform?

I think of the Temple cadets in their Army fatigues, preparing for war halfway around the world, in the hardwood forest of Pennsylvania, listening intently as my father plotted approaches to an occupied hamlet. For a 9-year-old, tagging along on the maneuvers was better than playing Army – it was the Army. He asked me to pick out the cadet camouflaged in the brush, but I saw no one until a smile revealed a friendly face. I crawled upside down on a rope suspended over a ravine, following the cadets, until Mort’s commander spotted the pipsqueak recruit and put an end to the misadventure.

For a moment there, I was one of them, an ROTC Owl, launching mortars, riding jeeps, a member of the corps so beloved by my dad.

As a further memorial to Mort, “Task Force Philly,” the Fort Dix spring field exercises for Philadelphia-area ROTC cadets, has been renamed “Task Force O’Connor.” Among others, it draws students from three schools with ties to my family – Temple, Penn and Valley Forge Military Academy, my brother Brendan’s alma mater.

Those like retired Capt. Marc Kantor, who actually was a Temple cadet, never forgot what they took away from Mort’s lessons in military history and warcraft. Lt. Col. Keith W. Benedict, head of the Temple Army ROTC unit, worked with Marc and the university’s leaders to christen the “O’Connor Classroom” and bring our family to the campus along with many of Mort’s West Point classmates and former students.

The day was rainy and the ceremony textured by Benedict’s moving tribute – shadowed by the ghosts of his own combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.

His breaking voice and flush of grief made me think again of that headstone and the words of Rudyard Kipling, taken to heart by Temple, inscribed beneath my father’s name:

Then it’s “Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ Tommy ’ow’s yer soul?”

O it’s “Thin red line of ’eroes,” when the drums begin to roll.

 

Brian Wright O’Connor, a Moorestown High School graduate, is a communications executive in Boston.

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