Memories of Firebase Illingsworth, Vietnam

We moved in to fabricate Illingsworth during March. The site was a lush clearing. We showed up after the expected time in the day and began building weapon pits for our mortars, hooches for dozing, and capacity for our ammunition. We had our mortars, 105’s, our radar unit, a line organization, and our legion central command (TOC). We were informed that we were unable to fall asleep until we had 3 layers of blockades on our resting hooches. It began pouring about twilight.

Filling barricades turned out to be extremely challenging. Around 11:00 pm we abandoned the blockades. I set down on a cote and set a sheet of plastic over me. I awakened at daybreak the following morning and thought I had lost my hearing. Then, at that point, I understood the cote was holding water which was up over my ears.

The following day we kept on building the fire base. We had been informed that we would fire on focuses in Cambodia. Charlie had been dropping down in Cambodia and afterward getting across the boundary to join our units. Illingsworth was known as a leap LZ. We would show up for a couple of days and afterward move to another area. By about the second day there, six 155’s were moved in. We were getting fire missions a few times each day. The 155’s were terminating constantly.

The 155’s were beating focuses consistently. We were getting such a lot of ammunition for the mortars every day that we could never fire it in one day. We were piling up boxes of mortar ammunition on the ground. At a certain point we just moved two beds of mortar ammunition off the donkey and let it lay where it landed. After we had been there a few days, two track-mounted 8 inch gunnery firearms were moved to the shoot base. You might have seen that I never referenced any wire or claymore mines. We didn’t have any. There was nothing among us and the wood line.

A long time before the finish of March Bobby Barker came to me and inquired as to whether I would consider allowing him to go to the back to sort his teeth out. He said you know sarge may only several days prior to I should return home. Bobby was an extraordinary person, he generally went about his business, and he had an incredible demeanor.

I let Bobby know that I would like for him to leave the following day. I composed a little note the first Sgt requesting that he send Bobby to have his teeth fixed. I proposed 44-40 ammo that Bobby ought to remain in the back since he just had a long time left in country. Bobby left on chopper after we as a whole let him know farewell and hoped everything would work out for him.

Close to the furthest limit of March, a youthful Lt named Mike Russell appeared on the firebase. He had a while in country with the fourth ID. The fourth returned home, yet Mike needed more time in-country to go with them.

The unfortunate person wound up with us. Toward the finish of March, Mike had been there long enough for us to turn out to be very old buddies. He was a settled up person. Several days prior to the furthest limit of March, Firebase Jay got hit truly hard. They were found a couple of snaps from us. The sky seemed as though it was ablaze. I didn’t have a clue about any folks on Jay, however I persistently asked during their assault that they would have the option to shield against the append and that we wouldn’t get a similar portion of medication.

On the last day of March, 1970, things appeared to be incredibly tense. I saw high positioning individuals leaving the firebase on choppers. I turn upward and see Bobby Barker strolling in from one of the choppers. Bobby approached me and said sarge’ I just needed to come out and allow you to perceive how great I look with my teeth fixed and I needed to tell everybody farewell.

Bobby gave me a major grin as he went on the defensive toward said, “My momma will be so glad for me and my teeth.” I advised Bobby to go see everybody and get back on a chopper and leave. I then, at that point, said Bobby weren’t you expected to leave today. He said yey I didn’t get on the plane, I got on a chopper rather to come see you folks.

Ammunition for the 8 inch weapons was continued on toward the firebase day in and day out. They had the very issue that we did just more awful. They had huge loads of ammunition and no spot to put it. They terminated at the wood line a couple of time during the day. Seeing the force of these weapons was genuinely amazing. Late in the day I saw Bobby was still on the firebase. There was a chopper on the ground. I advised Bobby to run out there and get on that chopper. He said sarge’, if it’s not too much trouble, let me simply stay over here with the folks I love only another evening. I said no Bobby, you want to leave. He left me.

At around 11:30 pm, our radar unit advised Lt. Russell and me that we had a great deal of development on the Red Ball which was directly across the boundary. The boundary was around 1 snap from the firebase. They had discovered that the NVA were dropping soldiers down in trucks and transforming west into a huge field. They would empty the soldiers and afterward return to get more. We terminated mortars, 105’s, and 155’s on their situation for about 60 minutes. I thought we had cleared them out. We snickered and said they would have the remainder of the night to drag their dead out of the area. I set down in FDC and Lt. Russell did likewise. At around 2:30 am the situation spun out of control. Mike and

We saw gooks on the 8 inch weapons attempting to turn them around. The 8 inchers were around 50 yards from us. A blast of little arms fire ejected toward the 8 inchers.

Sooner or later during the fight, I attempted to call FDC on the land line. It was dead. It had been working before when I conversed with them. They had attempted to call a fire mission to us. I had addressed the horn. They lit getting down on the fire mission. I said, “we needn’t bother with a bearing, charge, or rise, we can see them.” Looking back now I understand I ought to have advised them to get their butts out there to help us.



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