1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

Cambodia

LZ Valkyrie

 

LZ Valkyrie, Cambodia May 1970

 

Cambodia------May 7 -- 13, 1970

By James Henderson B 1/22, 2nd Platoon

 

-----On the nights leading up to the night of May 12th and the early hours of May 13th, Bravo Co, on the bunker line of LZ Valkyrie, observes flashlights and movement on several occasions. Employing M79 fire on one occasion.
-----On the early evening of May 12, at 1730 hours, LZ Valkyrie receives sniper fire and the bunker line responds with small arm, M60 and M79 fire. First Platoon, Bravo Company is sent to check out the area, returning just before dark and reporting negative results.
-----Beginning in the early morning hours of May 13, at approximately 0230 hours, Valkyrie begins to receive mortar, small arms and heavy machine gun fire. NVA sappers are observed attempting to breach the perimeter wire. Over the next couple of hours approximately 14 rounds of 82mm incoming mortar fire is received.
-----


Sketch of LZ Valkyrie - compiled from memories of several participants in the action described in this article.
Complete accuracy is not guaranteed - but is a good "unofficial" representation of the Firebase.

 

The official totals the next morning were 10 US WIA, 1 US KIA. An unknown number of NVA wounded and 2 KIA sappers, one with his satchel charge still on him.
-----Five US WIA dusted off, completed at 0450. Richard Alan Patterson, C 4/42 Arty, died of his wounds, giving the ultimate sacrifice.
-----During that long night C 4/42, having already fired 450 rounds of HE in support of C 3/506, fires 226 rounds of HE and 84 illumination and then lowers their tubes to fire 4 beehive rounds in direct response to the assault.
-----A 4/42 also fires 50 HE rounds in support of the counter attack.

Howitzers of Charlie Battery 4/42 Arty at LZ Valkyrie

 

Personal Recollections of Cambodia

By James Henderson B 1/22, 2nd Platoon

 

The following narrative is based on handwritten S3 Daily Journals, 1-22 Unit History, 4th Div Operational Report Lessons Learned, both Infantry and Artillery, my own personal memory, faulty as it may be and the memories of my platoon buddies that shared that fateful week.

             My personal journey towards the invasion of Cambodia started on 5 May 1970 in An Khe, at Camp Radcliff,   and for two days entailed convoys, C130 rides and chopper combat assaults. We stayed   one night on a football field, or perhaps it was a parade field, at the large Air Force base at Pleiku. We passed through or stayed at, along the way, such places as Plei Derang and Jackson Hole. Finally, on the morning of 7 May, we saddled up one last time and CA’d into Cambodia. Bravo Company lucked out, or so we thought, and drew the duty of breaking ground on the new firebase, LZ Valkyrie. The name Valkyrie derives from Norse Mythology. The Valkyries were warrior maidens who rode through the air in brilliant armor, directing battles and conducting the souls of slain heroes to the hereafter. Major Rabin, the Battalion CO chose the name.       

On that first day it was Delta Company that jumped from the frying pan into the fire while sweeping a bunker complex and engaging in a fierce firefight that left 1 US WIA and 1 US KIA. 1LT Terry Don Baxter, from Tulsa Oklahoma, paid the ultimate price that day. NVA casualties were 2 WIA, 4 KIA.

Lt Terry Baxter

  Later that night on our first night at LZ Valkyrie, Bravo Company observes flashlights and movement from the bunker line. It was to be an omen of things to come.

             On the second morning it was to be Alpha Company that discovered a six foot wide road cutting through the jungle. Shortly thereafter they engage in a bloody firefight that results in 2 US WIA and 1 US KIA. Sgt Patrick Ernest Hennen, from Watkins Minnesota had paid the ultimate price on this day. Enemy causalities were 4 NVA KIA.

Later that same day Alpha Company discovers what appears to be huge sapper training camp or compound. Again, an omen of things to come.

  Later that same evening, our second in Cambodia, at 1614 hours, in a monumental foul up, our Recon Platoon is shot up by one of the yellow scarf   hunter/killer teams. The result was 4 US WIA.

  At 2220 hours that night, flashlights are once again spotted by Bravo Company on the bunker line. We respond with M79 HE fire and the lights go out.

  In the wee early hours of 9 May, beginning our third day, at 0045 hours, Delta Company hears screams within their perimeter and fires shots at what is believed to be some type of cat.

  Most of the 9th passes with us of Bravo conducting cloverleaf patrols around Valkyrie and working on the firebase. Everyday we ran cloverleaf patrols in all directions around the base. We always found more hootches, bunkers, equipment and supplies than I had ever seen before, as did all the other companies. There was undoubtedly tremendous enemy activity in the area.

  Later that night, Bravo observes what is thought to be flashlights, but apparently is a smoldering fire. But then at 0020 3rd Platoon Bravo has movement and employs M79 fire, still more movement and they pop illumination and employ small arms, finally movement ceases.

             Still in the wee hours of 10 May, Charlie Company and Recon both are reporting movement. There was not much sleep to be had by anyone while in Cambodia.

  At 0900 hours on the 10th Alpha Company is again in contact that results in 2 NVA KIA.

Meanwhile on Valkyrie, that evening, my buddy John Broussard is dusted off with a fever of 105.2. It proves to be malaria and we never see John again.

  At 2345 the bunker line again has movement and employs illumination with negative results.

             On the morning of the 11 May, Delta Company is sent to the grid coordinates where an air strike and gun ships had reported 21 NVA KIA the day before..

  At 1130 hours Charlie Company 1-12, which had been op-conned to the 1-22, receives sniper fire and engages in a deadly firefight that results in 4 US WIA and 2 US KIA. Enemy causalities were 2 NVA KIA. Later they also find 6 charred bodies that were evidently a result of an air strike.

  At 1300 that afternoon Lt General Collins, Commander of 2 Corp, visits Valkyrie.

  At 2130 that night Delta Company has movement and engages in a firefight resulting in negative casualties.

  I don’t recall if we did it every night or not, but we certainly did it on more than one night, everyone on the bunker line would open up with full firepower. We referred to this as a mad-minute. It was an awesome display, that hopefully would deter the NVA. Not so.

             At 0045 Bravo Co, once again, has movement and employs illumination. Negative results. Then at 0305 they have more movement and pop a hand flare, again negative results.

  That morning, as we do our perimeter sweep before leaving on the cloverleaf’s, we find a cut trip wire leading to a flare. In what has to be an all time record for naivety, we think it a one in a million chance that a round from our mad-minute the night before has cut the wire. It was indeed an ominous premonition of the night to come.

  At 1300 hours on 12 May Delta Company , in an effort to destroy a large hootch complex, sets fire to them. The NVA had hidden rounds in the thatch roofs and they began to cook off in the fire.

  At 1730 hours LZ Valkyrie receives sniper fire. We employ M60, M79, small arm and mortar fire. A patrol is sent out to sweep the area and finds negative results, returning to Valkyrie just before dark.

  As darkness closes in the night of 12-13 May begins to unfold, and that’s where my story started.

  By the time 1-22 leaves Cambodia, after 7 days, totals are 17 US WIA, 3 US KIA. And 33 NVA KIA and an unimaginable amount of weapons, equipment, bunkers and hootches. Thus ended, the 2nd week in May 1970.

 

Captured weapons and medical supplies being examined at LZ Valkyrie

 

Below is the 1st Battalion S-3 Log for May 13, 1970:

 

 

**********************

 

The following two photos are from the book

Tell It To The Dead : Stories Of A War

by Donald Kirk

Publisher: M.E. Sharpe; (March 1996)

 

ABC News correspondent Steve Bell and cameraman during Cambodian
invasion, May 1970, landing zone Valkyrie

 

G.I.'s take a break, LZ Valkyrie (could be anywhere in war)

[ The above photo is of Soldiers from 1/22 Infantry, Company B.
This photo was take just after we had landed in Cambodia.
It is of men from my squad ( 3rd platoon, machine-gun squad).
Far left is Nick Coraggio, center with crossed ammo belts is Ken Schatz,
3rd from left in back is "Drag" Jovanovich,
and in front facing to the left of the pic is Jerry "Cricket" Pryor ]

Identification by Fred Golladay Company B 1/22 Infantry 1969-1970

 

 

 


BACK

Home | Photos | Battles & History | Current |
Rosters & Reports | Medal of Honor | Killed in Action |
Personnel Locator | Commanders | Station List | Campaigns |
Honors | Insignia & Memorabilia | 4-42 Artillery | Taps |
What's New | Editorial | Links |