Ripcord Association

Day by Day Report
April 1 – 10, 1970

by Lee Widjeskog

April 1, 1970

The weather finally co-operated and 2/506 started their second attempt to establish FSB Ripcord.

By 1030 hours Bravo 2/506 had units on the Ripcord LZ and immediately started receiving mortar fire and getting their first WIA.   The mortar fire came from Hill 805.  Regardless, the rest of Bravo Company and the forward TOC, landed and three more were wounded.  The medevac chopper was hit and had to shut down.  Air strikes and ARA were used in the area to reduce the mortar fire.  Bravo received additional mortar fire at 1645 killing Sgt. Ratcliff as he positioned his men.  Three others were wounded.  Whenever a helicopter came in, the mortar fire followed it.  At 1800 three more men were wounded.

With Bravo was Major Law (Battalion Executive Officer), a forward observer team, Lt. Darling, the commo platoon leader, Engineers, pathfinders and other forward TOC personnel.  They were hit with mortars sending Law to the hospital and killing the FO Lt. Wall, his RTO James Miller, Milton Swain of B 236 Eng., and pathfinder Donald Ragsdale. Lt. Darling took command of the TOC and directed the incoming traffic and medevacs during the battle.

Alpha Company 2/506 was inserted between Ripcord and Hill 805.  They too, received mortar fire and had one wounded

1100, Delta 2/506 Landed two klicks north of Hill 805 and proceeded to move towards Hill 805 and the mortars.

Around 1500, Recon 2/506 landed on Ripcord and was quickly met with mortar fire over the fire base. Two men died (Don Heimark and Carl Barnett) and 10 more were wounded.

Charlie 2/506 was located on FSB Gladiator providing security for B 2/319 Field Artillery as they provided artillery support for the Ripcord assault.

Elsewhere, Alpha 1/506 was securing FSB Rakkasan while sister units Bravo, Charlie and Delta 1/506 patrolled the hills north of the Rao Trang river, not far from FSB Maureen.  They spotted NVA but in small groups and scattered.  None were killed.

The 2/501, using Delta Company, secured FSB Jack and patrolled around Camp Evans and Rocket Ridge.  No contact was made.

The supporting artillery units were listed as

      Alpha 2/319 at Rakkason,

      B 2/319 at Gladiator,

      C 2/319 and A 1/39 at Evans,

      A 2/11 at Jack

      B 1/39 at Barbara

      C-34 was on FSB O’Reilly.

April 2, 1970

The day started out with bad weather for helicopters.

At 1650, Recon 2/506 moved to retrieve two bodies killed yesterday.  They received RPG rounds and had two men wounded.  Later they received mortar fire but no injuries.

Gladiator is secured by Charlie 2/506 and has a mortar section on it.  With the artillery and other units 192 men are on the fire base.

Alpha, Bravo and Delta 2/506 continued to patrol around the Ripcord hill.

Charlie 1/506 used an ambush to kill one NVA but had 4 WIA as a result.  Later a second NVA was killed.  The medevac took fire as they left, but no hits.

The other units for 1/506 continued to patrol without incident north of the Rao Trang.  The 2/501 continued to work the area near FSB Jack and Camp Evans.  No contact.

April 3, 1970

Dense cloud cover once more kept resupply from happening to those on Ripcord.  The air force will try to parachute supplies today.

The 2/506 TOC has moved to FSB Gladiator.

1000:  4/1 Regiment, ARVN at 289198, hit three NVA with small arms. One ARVN KIA and three WIA.  25,000 pounds of rice captured.

1120: At 343194, Recon Platoon 2/506 moved back to the yesterday position to search for a lost code book.  They were fired upon by NVA with small arms and RPG.  This resulted in the death of Lt. John Wilson and 3 WIA.  After more shooting, there were 3 NVA KIA.

1220:  at 351202, Delta 2/506 discovered bunkers and equipment for an observation unit.  It had been hit by artillery and skeletal remains of one was found.  The results were destroyed.

Bravo 2/506 sent coordinates to the air force for a re-supply drop.  They also found two un-usable SKS rifles.

1305:  Recon moved towards Alpha 2/506 to get a medevac.  Continual low clouds prevented the helicopters from getting to them till the next day.

1430:  The air resupply did not work so Bravo 2/506 is moving to Delta 2/506 to get food.

A 1/506 secured FSB Rakkasan.  B, C & D continue patrolling without contact.  2/501 continues around Camp Evans.

Artillery Units were as listed:

      A2/319 FSB Rakkasan,

      B2/319 FSB Gladiator

      B1/39 FSB Nancy,

      A 2/11 FSB Jack

            & FSB Gladiator

      A 2/94 FSB Barbara

      C/34 FSB O’Reilly

April 4, 1970

Cloud cover a problem below 1000 feet restricting helicopter assistance.

0630:  A break in cloud cover allowed a medivac for Recon and a resupply for Alpha 2/506.  Past KIA bodies were removed.

1320: Delta 2/506 received an air force supply drop.  It was not found.

1/506 units worked their AO.  Charlie 1/506 found a 20 foot tunnel and destroyed the same at 486160.

2035:  at 453158, Delta 1/506 received small arms fire and grenades.  Three men WIA.

2/501 units secured the area around Jack and Evans.  Artillery unit locations unchanged.

April 5, 1970

0735:  Alpha 2/506 at 349194, received mortar fire.  No injuries.

0935: 2/17 Cav landed on Ripcord.  They soon received mortar fire leaving two men wounded.

1149:  Downed helicopter from 1 April has been extracted.

1150:  Engineers and Recon lifted from Ripcord and taken to FSB Gladiator.

      Alpha 1/506 secured FSB Rakkasan,

      Bravo went to Eagle Beach,  Charlie was at 479148,

      Delta at 445158,  Recon at 441152. 

      All are near the Rao Trang. 

      2/501 units secured the FSB Jack and Evans area.

      2/501 was op-con to the 2/506 and secured FSB                         Gladiator. 

Artillery did not move.

April 6, 1970

1250:   at 343192, 3Charlie 2/506 received small arms fire, mortar and RPG fire.  This lasted until they broke contact at 1415.  PFC Larry Christman and SP4 Carl Goodson were KIA when their squad was hit with a RPG and 8 others were WIA.

LZ cutting teams worked with Bravo 2/506 at 350201 completed a one ship LZ.

1845:  at 339191 1&3 Charlie 2/506 received a ground assault of small arms, M-79, and RPG. Results were four WIA and Sgt Steve Steward killed.

The other 2/506 units continued to patrol without contact.

Meanwhile, 7 klicks southeast of FSB Granite (482148), 1Charlie 1/506 engaged two NVA killing one while Doug Moniaci is WIA.

Delta 1/506 is at 445-153,

Recon at 444-153

A is securing FSB Rakkasan & Granite. 

B 1/506 enjoys Eagle Beach. 

2/501 continues to patrol about Camp Evans and FSB Jack. 

Artillery is unmoved.

April 7, 1970

0055:  at 445-158, 3Delta 1/506 received satchel charges and RPG fire.  This resulted in US casualties of 1 KIA (Sgt. Paul Frink) and 26 WIA.  One of the WIA (Lt. Jerry L. Smith) died of his wounds on 25 May.

0930:  at 358192, 2&3 D2/506 shot and killed a NVA who threw a grenade at them. He was found to be a squad leader of a 7 man unit.  No injuries for Delta however, a medevac was called later and a man flown to the 85th Evac. Hospital.

2/506 units continued to patrol around the Ripcord site.  1/506 continued their patrolling along the Rao Trang and south of FSB Rakkasan with Bravo near and at FSB Granite.  C 2/501 maintained security on FSB Gladiator while the rest of the 2/501 worked Rocket Ridge and FSB Jack.

Artillery was unmoved.

April 8, 1970

1400:  at 368163, Bravo 2/501 engaged and killed one NVA near what was to be known as “Re-Up Hill”.

1533: at 350187 Delta 2/506 was fired on by a Pink Team.  Fourteen men were WIA and Lynn Osborn was killed.

2107:  at FSB Gladiator, C 2/501, using a starlight scope, spotted an NVA sniper.  Small arms and fougasse were employed and the man was apparently wounded as he fled.

2/506 patrolled the same area near Ripcord as yesterday while C2/501 secured FSB Gladiator.  1/506 continued as the past day around FSB Rakkasan and FSB Granite seeking NVA.  2/501 has been attached to the Ripcord area and is now located south of Ripcord on the ridge running up to Hill 902 from the Rao Trang.

The artillery units are unmoved.

April 9, 1970

0655: at 372163, 1Bravo 2/501 was ambushed by an enemy force.  The fight that ensued left two NVA dead, three US KIA and 6 WIA.  The dead included Sgt. James Mace, PFC Charles Selman and new guy PFC Leroy Nelson.  Six others were WIA.  Thomas Gates was paralyzed and died of the wounds in 1986.

1033: at 332174, 1Delta 2/501, near Hill 902 engaged the NVA and killed one.

1055: at 372164, 1 Bravo 2/501 was hit by small arms fire.  PFC Allen Clay, who spotted the NVA and alerted his squad, killed one as he was also killed. Overall two NVA were killed.

1230: at 366165, 3Bravo 2/501 hit a booby trap wounding one GI.

1355: at 354192, Alpha 2/506 reported a WIA from shrapnel from an air strike 1,000 meters away.  Medevac was requested.

B 2/506 cut a LZ at 349189.

1625: at 332174, 1 Delta 2/501 was engaged by NVA using small arms, grenades, claymores, mortars and RPG.  They wounded 13 GIs.

ARVN units continue to work the west and north of Triple Hill, above FSB Ripcord.  1/506 secured FSB Rakkasan and Granite.  Their units patrolled south of Granite.  C2/501 secured Gladiator.

Artillery unmoved.

April 10, 1970

0055:  at 443163, 2Delta 1/506 received satchel charges while claymore wires were cut.  Six men were WIA.

0100:  Enemy movement noted around FSB Granite.

1605:  3 Alpha 2/506 completed a LZ at 360189.

0940: at 368163, 1 Bravo 2/501 received fire from one NVA.  His shot killed Sgt. Donald Sistrunk as he received his orders for the day.

1318: at 372194, 1 Bravo 2/501 was engaged by two NVA leaving the unit Kit Carson wounded.

1430: at 373162, 2 Bravo 2/501 ambushed three NVA killing one and wounding two.

1605:  Charlie 2/506 cut a LZ at 347191

1750: at 372180, Recon Team D and a NVA exchanged fire, leaving 1 WIA and a NVA running.

FSB Gladiator with mortars, artillery, infantry and TOC has 272 men on the base.

      A 1/506       Rakkasan                             

      B                 Granite                                 

      C                 468143                                 

      D                 Rakkasan                             

      Recon          435154                              

      A 2/501       328175

      B                 367165

      C                 Gladiator

      D                 322180

      Recon         337171

Artillery unmoved.