"SC 660636 Members of B Co, 1st Bn 6th Inf, 198th Inf Bde, prepare
to move out along a hill side
while on patrol northeast of LZ Dottie. 19 August 1970." Official US Army photo. The original
3" x 5" B&W photo is at College Park, MD, in the National Archives II, Still Picture Reference, Box
422, III-SC 660638, post WWII.
In the summer of 1970, soldiers in the 1st Bn 6th Inf were wearing steel
helmets. They stopped
doing so, however, as the units began moving exclusively at night. The steel pot was too noisy for
night movement, could not stop an AK-47 round at close range, and offered little protection against
booby trap fragments blasting upwards from the ground. Note the number of canteens carried during
the dry season. The fourth soldier from the left has 12 M-16 magazines in two bandoleers draped
across his rucksack.
"SC 658745 Vietnam. Members of B Co, 1st Bn 6th Inf, 198th Inf Bde, AMERICAL carry sacks
of captured rice which they have found during search operations south of Chu Lai. 25 June 1970"
The original 3x5 B&W photo is on file at the National Archives II, Still Picture Reference, III-SC
658745, Box 421, post-WWII.
The AMERICAL Operations Report - Lessons Learned for the period ending
31 Jun 70, notes that
on 26 June 1970, B Co., 1st Bn 6th Inf found and evacuated a cache of 15,000 lbs of rice at grid
BS 684 824. One of the specific missions of the battalion was to protect the rice harvest for the
civilian population while denying the Viet Cong food supplies. 198th Inf Bde OPORD 6-70 titled
GOLDEN FLEECE dealt with rice denial and protection of the rice harvest. Captured rice was
provided to resettlement hamlets operated by the Government of Vietnam.
The Chaplain for the 1st Bn 6th Inf (CPT Lafayette T. Wilkins) used
some of the captured rice to help
support a Catholic orphanage for children north of Chu Lai. He made every effort to become friends
with the kids there -- including one little girl with only one arm. Her other arm had been amputated as a
result of wounds. When he dropped off one delivery of rice at the orphanage, the hamlet where it was
located was unusually quiet and devoid of activity. The child he had befriended told him "Da Wei
[Dai uy - "Captain" in Vietnamese] -- VC here." Chaplain Wilkins and his driver quickly departed
in their jeep. As they raced back to Chu Lai, the bridge behind them on highway QL-1 was blown up.
They could have been cut-off and captured or killed if the little girl had not warned them of the VC.
Unlike the child, the Catholic Nuns at the orphanage had carried on as though nothing was amiss.
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