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This is a test question for those of you who were in B/2/2 in November 1968. Who recalls the date of a fire, out in the bush, we were in at the end of November in 1968? Our company was acting as security for a fire support base in the middle of the bush around I believe An Loc. We had circled a number of 105s that was acting as fire support for a larger operation. From what I recall, the artillery folks had cut down a large area of dry elephant grass. As resupply choppers were coming in, someone was marking the LZ with smokes. You guessed it! The grass caught fire and everything went up that day. The fire lasted well into the night. Artillery and mortar rounds were going off like it was the 4 th of July. A few men were injured. We were moving ourselves and the tracks around so they wouldn’t get caught in the fire. That night we had gunships, choppers, and artillery from Lai Khe keeping us safe while flairs lit the area. It was a mess and after that night, all the bad guys knew we were in town. The reason I ask is that I’m reading a book titled “War Paint” written by Bill Goshen who was a LRP working out of Lai Khe during this time. In his book he mentions a large brush fire at a FSB at the end of November in 1968. I’m guessing that was us. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks much, Ackerman
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Don't remember the date, but remember the fire. It was at Fire Support Base Oran and sometime in Nov. The was a chopper clearing on one side of the perimeter. But the arty guys were tired of humping the ammo across the perimeter and decided to land a resupply nearer their parapets. The reason that the original chopper pad was were it was, was because of the breeze blowing beyond the perimeter. The arty's pad was down wind or down breeze. The smoke they popped started the fire that was then pushed across our entire camp. My platoon, the fourth was nearest the arty. We went into the parapets to haul out the guns and as much ammo as we could. They arty shells didn't really detonate. I guess they had been fused yet. But they'd cook off and the shell would blow apart along the seem. So instead of hundreds of small pieces of shrapnel zinging through the air, you'd have two halves of a 105 shell going CHUNG, CHUNG, CHUNG over head. Scare the hell out of us at first. Latter we figured what the...and just kept crouched. It did go on most of the night. I remember a water bladder being dropped by a Chinook on the fire. I figured we didn't get hit that night, because Charlie thought we were being hit, and he was trying to figure out WHO was attacking us. My GUESS is we were a ways EAST of An Loc as it was pretty heavy bush and flat. I don't think we had been there more than a day or two when fire broke out. If you didn't get your gear on a track and out of there it was lost. Our mess hall and at least one of the artillery's were write offs. In the hectic few minutes we forgot our water cans. After the whole camp and been reset, Al Okler and I walked back over to get water. I think we carried four five gallons cans each (two grabbed by each hand) back to our new area. Scary as hell with the CHUNG, CHUNG, over head. One half hit not too far from us. No explosion but a lot slap like sound when it hit the ground. But when we realized we had left our water there, you realize how much you'd need it we just figured go get it. By March I was at Ft Mead and I spent a week in HQ processing guys in. I only processed ONE guy and it took me a day and a half. My typing sucked and I had to keep redoing each form. The guy was a red leg who had been wounded at Fire Support Base Oran. I almost laughed at him as I figured it was the arty's own fault. But later I heard Oran had been hit a few times and pretty hard, after B/2/2 had moved on.
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Looks like I was wrong about the location of FSB Oran. Just read a blurb about an attack on it in Feb 69. That article put's Oran's location near Michelin Plantation, SW of An Loc. So about as north as Chon Than and a good bit WEST of Highway 13