By James Estep
A tender corporation commander tells what it was once prefer to inherit an air cellular rifle corporation of under-achieving infantry squaddies and mould it right into a profitable battling outfit within the rice paddies of enemy territory. Reprint.
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Extra resources for Comanche Six: Company Commander in Vietnam
In my mind, the drawback to this line of thinking was twofold: first, time spent preparing an NDP was time not spent looking for Charlie, and finding and destroying Charlie was the only reason the American infantryman had for being in Vietnam. Second, the longer a unit spent organizing its defenses, the longer the enemy had to ready himself for an attack. We of Charlie Company were proponents of the second school, believing it best to enter our NDP late in the day, thereby reducing the enemy's ability to react to our choice of site.
AO Tiger was located in western central Binh Dinh, encompassing portions of the province's Bong Son plain and the mountains beyond. The plain was sparsely populated, composed mainly of rice paddies and lightly vegetated, gently rolling terrain. The mountains were generally uninhabited--except for the enemy--steep and densely vegetated under double- and triple-canopy rain forest. LZ Daisy lay at the base of the mountains. Shortly after lifting off from the bridge, the number-four Huey's crew chief had handed me a headset, enabling me to monitor Major Byson on the battalion command net.
On activating the claymore's electrical detonator, he had instantly solved our problem of wounded runaways--you cannot run when you have no legs. Our hit man had obviously waited until the last possible moment before detonating the mine. The remains of the two enemy soldiers were less than ten feet from the base of the tree on which the claymore had been placed, a range at which the seven hundred steel pellets were concentrated horizontally in a pattern little greater than the width of the human body.