B Company 1966
Dennis gave all on Hill 86.
Dear Ms. Ganzer,
I am responding to your recent posting on the 101st Airborne 327 Web site. I served with your brother, Dennis, in B Company, 2nd 327th Infantry and was with him the night he was killed on September 17, 1966. We were on a hill (Hill 86) north of Tuy Hoa and were overrun by a large enemy force, which outnumbered us 10 to 1. The attack, which occurred in the middle of the night in a driving rain storm, was a complete surprise and resulted in numerous casualties to our unit. Dennis and I were two of only nine men that attempted to defend the perimeter against a force well over 100 enemy soldiers. Prior to the soldiers attacking the hill, the VC had bombarded our position with numerous mortar rounds and other explosive devices, killing and wounding many of our men.
Our company commander, Captain Joseph Mack, had used the hill as his command post during our operations in the area. Captain Mack and his command group were all killed in the attack. A total of 10 men, including Dennis, were killed and one man died 12 days later. The rest of us were all wounded. It is a miracle that any of us survived that terrible night. I recently wrote an article about this event and have attached a copy for you. The article was published in a magazine called The First Screaming Eagles In Viet Nam. I am going to order some additional copies of the magazine, and will send you a copy, if you would like one. Dennis and I arrived in Vietnam about the same time at the end of April, 1966. I arrived about a week earlier than Dennis, so I would imagine he went to Jump School at Ft Benning, GA around the same time I did in March, 1966.
He may have also attended Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Gordon, GA prior to that, again about the same time as I did. I did not know him in either place, as we were about a week apart in the training schedule.
We were both trained as mortar specialists, but because we did not use that particular weapon very much we were re-assigned to other platoons. I was in the 1st Rifle Platoon and Dennis was in the Weapons Platoon and was on an M60 machine gun crew.
Since B Company operated in small platoon and squad sized units, we did not have the opportunity to get to know the men in other platoons, so I did not know Dennis very well. But I will tell you he died a hero fighting for his country, and most importantly for his fellow 101st Airborne troopers. The night he was killed was the worst experience I had during 19 months in Vietnam. As I indicated earlier, it was by the grace of God that everyone on that hill was not killed.
Recently I have attended several 101st Airborne reunions and have become re-acquainted with some of the survivors of Hill 86. I mention them in my article.
I hope this information is helpful to you. I know the loss of your brother at age 19 must have been devastating to you and your parents. I hope that your memory of him was of a patriotic young American, who believed in Honor and Country, which was and still is the motto of our unit, the 327th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Dennis and I had the privilege of serving in the finest unit in the United States armed forces.
Best personal regards,
I have found comfort through the men that fought by your side and an understanding about the brother lost, so long ago. You will always be here with us. I would like to hear from anyone who might have known my brother, Dennis L. Bunting. KIA Sept. 17th 1966.
Charlene: [email protected]