47- Deadly attack – Firebase Mary Ann in Vietnam
In this episode of the H21 Southern Chapter, Division 4, of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association podcast, we deliver to you the audio narration of an article in the March, 2011, issue of VFW Magazine, called “Sixty Minutes of Terror at Mary Ann” by Al Hemingway.
As you may know, the Combat Infantrymen in Vietnam were the ones who pulled SECURITY for the fire bases (usually situated on top of hills or mountains, in order to provide the maximum range of artillery and mortar support for the “grunts” down in the adjoining valleys, jungles or rice paddies). They were usually situated on the slopes of the hills, or at the base of the mountains or elevations. Their mission was to prevent the enemy from frontal attacks or infiltration and protect the artillery bases on the top from being compromised or attacked. There was usually a helipad at the top of the fire base, in which resupply choppers could come and deliver needed items. And, in truth, the fire bases were actually little cities or villages within themselves.
In this article, 20 of the 30 soldiers killed, and over 82 wounded, were Combat Infantrymen, defending the base. In fact, one of the fatalities fought so fiercely that he strangled one of the enemy sappers (that had brought in satchel charges and explosives to kill the soldiers) with his bare hands.
As you will hear in the audio podcast, the media and the authors of books “got it all wrong” and delivered the same, agenda-filled and sensationalist message that the soldiers were “dope-addicts” and other negative images of these soldiers that had already had a history of bravery in combat.
One of the officers of the Americal Division Veterans Association, Gary Noller, is coordinating a memorial service at Fort Benning, Georgia, on 28 March 2011. For information, contact Gary Noller at
gnoller @ aol.com [to prevent spam]
Yes, even though historians may agree that “the war was beginning to wind down,” the constant threat of the enemy for the Combat Infantrymen was still there, and it still presented the worst nightmares for everyone — enemy attack.
Copyright (c) 2011, Matrix Solutions Corporation, the Combat Infantrymen’s Association and VFW Magazine at www.vfw.org. All rights reserved.