Dai Loc Pacification
efforts at Dai Loc (3) BS 590 809 began in Oct 69, while the area was under
control of the 1st Bn 52nd Inf. Although their efforts were not officially part of the Americal Division CUPP,
similar policies were in place to assist the PF soldiers in defending the ville. When the program began,
the ville was uninhabited. The population rose to over 700 as security was provided by US and PF forces.
The commo bunker at Dai Loc, Dec 1970. The pacification ville they were defending lay on three sides of the hill.
View is looking westward. Photo from Wayne R. Johnston.
Map, Vietnam 1:50,000 AMS Series L7014, Sheet 6739 II, Quang Ngai. Carried in the field
and furnished by Bryan Beaderstadt, A/1-6 Inf Aug 69-70 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Units of the 1st Bn 6th Inf
began rotating through the ville at Dai Loc late in 1970. A typical ammunition
supply report showed that the 81mm mortars were supplied with 145 rounds of HE, 25 round of WP and
72 illumination rounds for use in defending the site. In addition, all the artillery batteries at LZ Dottie could
provide fire support if needed.
Dai Loc (3) at BS 590 809 six km SW of LZ Dottie. In Dec 70, 1LT Wayne R. Johnston (on left holding
map) inspected the 81mm mortar position of the Mortar Platoon, C Co. 1-6 Inf. The soldier standing is
John Hackman. Mark Hoplin is seated next to 1LT Johnston. [If you can identify the other soldier
holding the plotting board, please contact email@example.com]. View is looking southward.
The two soldiers to 1LT Johnston's
left are plotting the location of the target, calculating the powder charge,
and determining the angle of elevation for the tube. They were attempting to hit the top of the pointed hill
(BS 593 790) several thousand meters directly south behind the tube. Ultimately, the test was successful,
with rounds on the target. The ridge line on the left is part of Hill 103, seven km SW of LZ Dottie.
Soldiers from 4/C/1-6 at Dai Loc in December 1970. If you recognize these men, please contact the
Soldiers from B Co. 1st Bn
6th Inf also pulled security duty at Dai Loc.
4th Plt, B Co, 1-6 Inf at Dai Loc. Top row standing-Michael Barbara, Kelly Sharp, & (?). Second row seated -
John Foster, (?) Barheight, James Morris(on?), Thomas "Dutch" Schieb. Fron row - (?) Sommars, Steve Letson,
Hector Molina, and (?) Ball. Photo provided by Ray Findley 4/B/1-6 1971 and names furnished by James Foster
(firstname.lastname@example.org) 4/B/1-6 Inf 70-71. If you recognize anyone in these photos, please contact Ray Findley
at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of 4th Platoon, B Co. 1-6 Inf at Dai Loc in 1970. Only a few of these soldiers have been identified --
Frank Morsoff (standing in front of bunker doorway); sitting next to him on the bunker is SGT Thomas (Tom)
Hamilton, the platoon sergeant; next to him with hat on is Kelly Sharp; Gene Yelverton top center; front row -
Michael Baker, Billy Roden, Steve Letson (w/hat in hand), Rick Ricari (in sun glasses), Hector Molina (partly hidden).
Here Sergeant Tom Hamilton and two other soldiers from the mortar platoon pose with an 81mm mortar.
The weapon could shoot High Explosive (HE) rounds 4,737 m. The area to the NW of the position is
evident in this 1971 photo from John Foster 4/B/1-6 Inf (email@example.com). If you recognize these
soldiers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The area to the NW of Dai
Loc (just behind SGT Hamilton's shoulders) was the scene of significant
involving the US Marines in 1966. In Operation Utah, on 4 & 5 March 1966, three Marine battalions (2/7,
3/1, & 2/4) and a Vietnamese airborne battalion killed 150 NVA near Chau Nhai (just west of Dai Loc) and
captured three 12.7mm anti-aircraft guns. During one two hour period of the battle, Marine artillery fired
1,900 rounds in support. The Marines lost 98 KIA and 278 WIA, one F-4 aircraft and several helicopters.
Operations Texas and Indiana
followed in the same area that same month. On 28 March 1966 in the
area around Vin Loc (4 km W of Dai Loc), the 1st Bn 7th Marines killed 69 enemy from the 21st NVA
Regiment and captured two 12.7mm anti-aircraft guns. Eleven Marines died and 55 were wounded. One
Medal of Honor and two Navy Crosses were awarded during the fighting.
Finally, in April 1966, Operation
Hot Springs in the same area involved the largest helicopter lift of Marines
up to that time in the war. Units from the 3rd Bn 7th Marines remained at Dai Loc until early in 1967.
At 0415 on 9 Sep 70, Dai
Loc was attacked by the VC with 20 mortar rounds, B-40 rockets, and SAF.
The VC entered the hamlet and burned houses.
On 15 Sep 70, the 48th VC
Battalion occupied the western part of the Dai Loc, while Vietnamese forces
Bad Blood at Dai Loc
Although the CUPP efforts
in 1970 were successful in protecting Dai Loc from VC attacks, relations
between the US troops and the PF soldiers were not always cordial. This was understandable, as the
soldiers were in close quarters in a small position only about 100m across for several weeks at a time.
Depending upon which unit was on duty at the ville, Vietnamese sometimes wandered freely through
the US positions. Cultural differences created tensions.
On 8 Dec 70, one US soldier
from C Co. 1st Bn 6th Inf went to the PF soldiers along with a local interpreter
to raise questions about a stolen lighter. The PF platoon leader became indignant and departed. The unit
NCOIC, SSG Frank Quientero, sensed trouble and ordered all US soldiers to place their weapons in the
bunkers to get them out of their hands. The PF platoon leader returned with two other PF soldiers, armed
with grenade in hand. He pulled the pin, threatened the interpreter, and knocked him down.
The American soldiers remained
calm and did nothing. The PF leader then threw the grenade outside
US perimeter. He also drew his weapon and fired over the head of the US soldiers. The 1st Bn 6th Inf
Battalion Commander arrived shortly thereafter along with the Vietnamese District Chief and the American
Senior District Advisor (MACV). The PF leader was disarmed and returned to District Headquarters.
As noted in the official 1st Bn 6th Inf operations log, "The incident was well handled by SSG Quintero."
Although the grenade incident
ended peacefully, on 10 Dec 70, the US forces moved their latrine to a
spot on the side of the small hill that was crowned by their mortar tube. Apparently the location was
near an old grave site, as some of the PF soldiers became enraged. About noon, while a medic was inside
the latrine, one PF soldier placed a directional claymore mine near the latrine with a tripwire. Fortunately,
the mine was discovered in time and disarmed. The Vietnamese District Chief arrived later that day and
took the PF assistant platoon leader to Son Tinh. The entire PF platoon pulling security at Dai Loc was
replaced shortly thereafter. [This report was based on the S2/S3/S5 log maintained at LZ Dottie at the
time. The original report is now located at the National Archives II, College Park, MD.]
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