By Col. (Ret) Tom Furgeson
18 Jun 66
Late in the afternoon, I was ordered to the Battalion CP for a warning order. It seemed that a U.S. Marine Corps Regimental Landing Team was going ashore for a training exercise North of Tuy An, (Map Sheet 6835 IV, Series L7014, coordinates 100790). Our Battalion was to go into an area Southwest of their AO to see what they might flush out. It was also noted that the Special Forces Camp at Dong Tre (coordinates 900700) had been hit fairly hard the previous night and that “maybe” several NVA units with main force back up were in the area. No information received in that warning order indicated that our Battalion (-) could not handle the impending operation. In fact, I went back and briefed the platoon leaders on the operation and requested that no one harass the Marines when and if we run into them. The Company immediately set about preparing for this operation by briefing on LZs, formations to be used and order of movement. The Senior Aidman, Sp5 Cotton, checked those individuals that most likely would not be able to accompany the unit on this operation. Due to their medical conditions, two individuals specifically come to mind….Lt. Roberts, Platoon Leader, and Sp4 Salazar, Machine-gunner. During the evening, helicopter chalks were determined, and the order of movement into the LZ was established. The command group with FO party would land immediately behind the lead Platoon and the FO’s Recon Sgt was to go in with the lead Platoon. Three LZs were picked out and the terrain studied by all. The primary LZ was Hill 96 (coordinates 023672), and the touch down time was 1230 hours 19 Jun 66. We knew the temperature during this time would be around 100 deg. F and water was of the essence. Therefore, salt tablets and at least 3 quarts of water per man was established. Double basic load for all weapons systems was the norm and four grenades per individual would be carried. Morale and spirits were high and all were ordered to get a good nights sleep. Major Hinkle and I would fly out to the Marine Corps CP on board a helicopter flattop early on 19 Jun to receive a final update on their situation and any additional intelligence they might have.