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5th SFGA
SOG 1968
FOB-3 Khe Sahn
During Tet of 1968 Khe Sahn came under seige from the NVA.  Special Forces occupied a small corner of the base.  This was FOB-3.  In April I was sent to FOB-3 to relieve some of the troops who had been there  from the beginning.  You will notice from the photos that there was a total lack of vegetation around the base.  At one time this was triple canopied jungle. By the time I got there the NVA  had, for the most part withdrawn into Laos.  They had a fire base at a site called Co Roc from which they continually fired 122 mm and 152 mm rockets and artillary.  Almost all of the base was underground.  We could hear the guns fired and knew exactly how long and how far we could move before the rounds hit.  We spent a lot of time in the trenches and bunkers.  Most of the casualties in the FOB were head wounds to people who just had to see what was going on.  We played a lot of cards, constantly improved our positions and attempted to run recon missions.  One type of mission we ran was wire tapping missions.  We didn't have far to go to tap NVA wire lines. I was assigned to RT Bear.  A friend of mine from Germany, Ronnie Marr, was the team leader but had no time "on the ground".  I was assigned as co-team leader.



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This is the view from my bunker.  If you enlarge the pictures you will notice some smoke and a flash.  That is a marine tank which was hit by a B-40.  I saw all of the marines escape the tank before the ammo detonated.



Recon Team Bear.  I don't know where the puppy ,"Pitard" came from.  I do know we didn't keep him since rabis was very endemic and no animals were allowed in the compound.  He was too small to eat (I think) so I guess we just released him back into the village.


We were constantly improving our positions.  Here we are emplacing a CS grenade launcher. 
Khe Sahn Combat Base was located at the Western end of the DMZ.  The mountains you see in the background are actually in the DMZ.  It seems that almost every operational runway in Vietnam had a skeleton of a downed aircraft.  The picture on the right shows ours.

I believe that our fortifications were as strong as any similar positions could be.  One RT covered about a 15 meter section of the wall.  This was pretty close to shoulder to shoulder.  We had two machine guns, two M-79 grenade launchers and plenty of ammunition.  In addition everyone the wall had some sort of automatic weapon.  The perimeter was cleared out to almost 300 meters.  There were hundreds (if not thousands) of anti-tank mines on the ground.  There was no reason to bury them.  We had three bariers of wire each backed up with claymore mines and CS gas cannisters.  The white dandbags you see in the pictures are supporting the claymores.  We could see if the mines were reversed -- the NVA were industrious.  We constantly made improvements as we could scrounge PSP , plywood or additional timbers and sandbags.  We almost wished for a ground attack.  We were ready and I guess the NVA realized that.


SFC Ronnie Marr was the original Team Leader of RT Bear.  He never led the team on the ground.  While boarding for an insertion we took incoming and the chopper lifted off without us.  Ron jumped into the first hole he could find.  Unfortunately it was an ammo pit.  He fell about 10 feet onto a pile of crates and fractured his leg pretty bad.  He was med-evaced to the Hospital ship "Repose" and eventially returned to the States.  He was my radio supervisor for a while on ODA-2 in Germany.  People had a problem with losing valuables while in hospitals so I took his watch and wedding ring and had it locked up in the S-2 safe.  I went to visit when I got back to Ft. Bragg and the first thing his wife asked me was where was his ring.  It seems he never got it.


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A scenic view from our bunker.



Khe Sahn was not a Special Forces Base.  We were part of it but the Marines were the primary tenants.  We had fire support from the marines as well as Army Artillary units.  The vehicles you see are marine "Ontos" anti-tank weapons.  Each vehicle consisted of six 106 mm recoiless rifles.  They were basically anti-tank weapons but also had anti-personnel rounds.  After the SF Camp at Lang Vei (just west) was over run by NVA armor, the "brass" was finally convinced that the NVA had armor and would use it.



Practice makes perfect.  Here we have set up a perimeter and are preparing to plant an anti-vehicle mine.  Not very glamorous but "on the ground" it's too late to get the bugs out.
Some may wonder why we were rehearsing right in the compound.  We went to Khe Sahn village twice to train.  Both times we coordinated with our S-3 who in turn notified the Marine S-3.  Both times we were mortared by the marines and I said : "@#@#@#@# IT!"  Somebody was always after us, if it wasn't Mr. Charles it was the Jarheads.
I stayed at Khe Sahn until the camp was closed down.  I was reassigned to CCN Special Projects and sent right back to Kontum.  This time I was at the "Yard Camp" just north of the FOB.  This will be the subject of my next section.