I realize that I am a month early as the Anniversary that I will speak of here is not until Nov. but, as it is on my mind, as it always is, I post it now.
In Nov. 1967 I was in the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a 19 year old boy from Tennessee who had volunteered for the Army, the Paratroopers and Vietnam. I had been in country since June of '67 and had seen some action but nothing prepared me for the Battles of Dak To, located in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, a major hot-spot for NVA activity coming across the borders of Laos and Cambodia. As a build up had begun, in preparation for the TET Offensive, which we didn't know about at the time, Gen. Westmoreland sent the 173rd Airborne into the mountains of Dak To.
Our first major battle Hill 830 was costly as was or 2nd one on Hill 823 but nothing compared to our next battle, the Battle for Hill 875. Involved in that battle was the 2nd and 4th Battalions of the Herd, as the 173rd Airborne was called and over 2000 dug-in and heavily armed NVA.
I will not bore you with all the battle descriptions, but if you ever get the opportunity to watch on either the History or Learning Channels, "A Soldiers Story, The Invisible Enemy", produced by ABC you can see for yourself as that documentary contains actual combat footage of the Battle for Hill 875. Suffice it to say that there were not many of us left from that battle and most of us were wounded at least once, most more than once. out of my platoon of 36 there was 6 of us left standing on the Hill on Nov. 23rd, Thanksgiving Day of 1967 after the 5 day battle.
It is in memory of those who fought in the Battles of Dak To that I make this post. We lost 158 KIA, 352 WIA and 10 MIA during those 5 days and we started out with less than 600 men initially, having suffered loses on the other Hills I spoke of at the beginning of this post.
I lost many brothers during this time but the few of us that remain are still close and see each other when we can. We survived but the memories survived with us, to bad, but, yes, good memories as well. To the men who served in the 173rd I salute you, to those who serve in the 173rd today I salute you and thank you for your service and for carrying on the proud heritage of the Herd in Iran and Afghanistan. To all those who did not make it home, know that we honor you and remember you each day, and especially on Thanksgiving Day when with you with us in spirit we took that Hill.
Rocky on top of Hill 875 Thanksgiving Day 1967
Dedicated to my Herd brother James Worrell KIA 21 Nov. 1967 and all those who, living and dead were a part of this battle.
Rocky, State Commander, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Assn. MI Member: Combat Veterans Motorcycle Assn. U.S. Paratrooper Motorcycle Assn 173rd Airborne Brigade Society, Chapter XVII VA Rep. E/20 LRP-Charlie Rangers Assn., VA Rep. 75th Ranger Regim