Operation ALAMO

Nolan Nunnery (NAstrolo@aol.com)
Mon. 27 Oct. 2003

In the after action reports, it says we were flown in by choppers, but for strange reason, either some/most of us were trucked in or I don't remember. What I remember about that first day was being position with binoculars seeing the enemy movement in the village that was before us. Between us and that village was first a river which we were able to cross via a dirt bridge. There were dry rice paddies, then some grave mounds and then a long stretch of open ground before reaching the village. 1st platoon was the first to cross that river and the first to have a KIA. We came under intense heavy fire and became unable to move about. I was standing up grabbing at the FNG's who should have been returning fire and was suddenly forced to jump in the river with my A-gunner Donald (Whitey) Thurston. I rip my pants on some hidden punji stakes and had two slices across my left leg. Climbing out of the river, I found a gully to crawl along safe from the enemy fire until I came to a Marine dragging his dead squad leader. He had been shot in the left side of neck. He asked me if I would take over and drug the dead Marine back until I was relieved of his body. I went back to my little gully (trench) and tried to open fire with my M-60. As soon as I opened up, it seemed like the enemy was concentrating all their fire towards me, forcing me down. I recall Jets and napalm, because we were so close I could see the hairs on my arms curled up. That was not the first time for me and I had no idea it would be my last time.

This Lt. I had never seen before came up to my left and got behind this rice paddy dyke and open fire. He was almost immediately shot I believe in his left shoulder or arm and managed to take himself back to some first aid. Next came this heavy set corpsman who happened to get himself exactly in the position as the Lt. I warned him that a Lt. had just been shot there and that the enemy had that spot pin pointed. He ignored me and the enemy dropped a grenade right in his back pocket. He screamed and I asked him if he could move towards me. He screamed he couldn't move and I was not about to exposed myself to help. I moved about firing from one position to another to keep from being pin pointed and when I looked, the corpsman was being taking care of.

I don't know when or how I lost my A-gunner, but there was this Hispanic guy with me now. I told him we were going to move towards this grave mound for a better firing position and for the first time in my life, I trip and fell heavy after only going a few feet. It felt as though someone had grabbed my ankle causing me to fall. I heard the "Crack" of a bullet and turned to see if the guy behind me was okay. He was. I'm positive that had I not tripped and fell, I would have been killed. We moved back into the trench and waited
or orders.

There was this staff sergeant by the name of King, who yelled out for 2nd platoon to charge. They charged right into that village losing Mississippi (Robert "Pete" Peterson), who was shot in the chest and died in the arms of Alabama (Brooks). You see Pete and Brooks had become real close because they were two real Southern Boys from the South. It tore Brooks up to have Pete go the way he did. Brooks was later transferred for psychological reasons.

After 2nd platoon had secured part of the village, it was starting to get late in the day. Lt. Duckworth came around placing us in positions to dig and once again, it was done where the enemy could see our positions before dark sat in. As soon as it was dark, me and Whitey moved our position to a more safe position, but not far from the original position. 1st platoon as I saw it was spread out along the river. I don't know what time it was when this black guy named Priest called out to me if I could see the enemy congregation to attack. The mass of enemy was to my left front about 11:00 O'clock. I stood up and open fire with a long burst and the enemy fired a rifle grenade right behind us and it did no damage. When I tried to fire again, my gun had jammed. I took it apart 5 times that night. I found a whole round in the barrel and one in the chamber. The gun was useless, but my ammo would fit the M-14 rifle Priest had. As the fighting increased all around in front of us and in the village, guys started drifting in on my position. Washington, another black guy with an M-14 was all alone behind the only little tree in the area. From the illumination, I saw this VC leaped right over Washington and Washington turned onto his back and shot and killed the guy. He soon joined in on my position and before I knew it, there was eleven of us. We were in the mud behind this dyke that gave us excellent cover, but didn't prevent the enemy from
crawling up on us. We fought until all the M-16's either jammed or stopped working. My .45 was empty and we were out of grenades. It was the two M-14's that kept us going. I remember that as soon as most of our rifles quit working, a few of the guys wanted to cross the river, but I told them we would hold our position and we did.

About 5 or so in the morning, one of the guys noticed the shadow movements on the other side of the river. It was still too dark to see and not long after that, Priest whispered that he heard movement from his left. He asked me what he should do and the only thing that can to my mind was to tell him to challenge whoever it was, by softly calling out "Halt, who goes there."

For the longest time it seemed no one said anything until we heard the word "Marines." We couldn't see, so I told Priest to let one person to come forth and be recognized and if there was more than one to open fire. It was a Marine. It was reinforcements sent in to relieve us. We were not only out of ammo, but cigarettes and water also, which the reinforcements was glad to share with us as they took over. As soon as daylight was upon us, we went out to check on the bodies out in front of us. There was this one VC who laid on his belly, with one arm under his body and his left arm stretched out as though he was crawling. As I bent over to pulled his body over to check for bobby-traps, this guy named Hunter shot into his back. The guy let out a grunt and Hunter shot his head off, splattering me with brain matter. I'll never forget that picture and I cursed Hunter out for not letting get back before killing the guy. I told him I didn't need to be that close and watch a man get his head shot off. We checked a few more bodies, when the wounds from the punji stakes began to hurt. Fighting in the mud all night had set infection in.

I grabbed my useless M-60 and went off in search of a corpsman. On my way I came across the body of this black guy by the name of O'Neal "Sleepy" Wright. He had left a blood trail from his machine gun position and it looked like he was trying to get to where we were when the enemy caught up to him, killed him and stripped him of his equipment. When I went to his position following his bloody trail, I immediately saw his mistake. He and his A-gunner (who survived) had dug their position where they had no clear field of fire and too close to the rice fields that allowed the enemy to crawl right up and toss a grenade in their hole. Sleepy took the brunt of the grenade and his A-gunner was knocked out. He was just coming around when I got to his position still in their hole. The enemy had taken their M-60, all the ammo and Cherokee's (the A-gunner) rifle and cartridge belt. I say to this day, if only they had known not to dig where there was no field of fire, Sleepy would have survived that day. He had only been in Nam about three months I believe and knew next to nothing about machine guns and how they should be placed. I blamed our leadership.

After that operation, I couldn't function anymore like I was used to doing. I felt totally drained all the time not knowing anything about "Combat Fatigue" or what is now called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It became that when I heard the wind blowing through the trees, I would take off running thinking it was incoming. Even while sleeping, if I heard a whoop, I was gone and others usually followed me without thinking. Out of all the operations, battles, firefights, patrols and ambushes I had been on, Operation Alamo was my crucifixion. I'm alive today because Lt. Duckworth and the Marine Corps made it possible for me to be sentenced to four months hard labor in the Da Nang Brig for disobeying a lawful order. I was seen by a psychiatrist, who stated that nothing was wrong with me. The next time I saw the same psychiatrist was two months or so after I had been in the Brig. When he asked me if I was ready to go back to duty, I replied yes. He then asked me what my duty was and I told him it was to kill. He recommended my immediate discharge from the Marines Corps and a bunch of other recommendations. I was discharged Under Honorable Conditions on 21 April 1969.


Curtis Eidson (Jarheadnam@aol.com)
Wednesday, December 3, 2003

"Bortscheller, Jacob C (Research)" <bortsjc@crd.ge.com>
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Hey my friends. I got this and wanted to get your opinion. This goes no further but I need your input. I know where I was and you too. Yall know more than I do because my brain fried this day. This just don't, well you tell me. If you will respond "Reply All" that way we can see what we are thinking. I don't want any riots here now just opinions. The author wants is published and I have been asked to say if this happened. Just don't know what to say. Need input from you. Later my friends


Jake Bortscheller (bortsjc@crd.ge.com)
Wed, 3 Dec 2003

We were trucked out.
I don't recall any of the officers getting hit. The only one I recall seeing out in the rice paddy was Lt. Campbell as we retreated to a different entry approach at the southern end of the village. He looked shaken, very uncharacteristic for him, maybe he was hit. Does anyone remember?
I don't recall anyone loosing an M-60. It would have been big news.
I don't recall reinforcements.
Ran out of cigarettes on an operation that lasted less than 24 hours !!!!!! Someone had time to do a lot of smoking.


Earl Schultz (eschultz@nvc.net)
Wed, 3 Dec 2003

I agree that we were trucked in. Yes, I remember a Staff Sergeant yelling charge when we were pinned down in the rice paddies. He was my replacement and yes we charged into the village. It was my idea to dig in and then move after dark. They charged and tried to break through our line three times that night but this was in the tree line that had an open area in it. I don't
remember any M16s or M14s jamming ( M14s were replaced by M16s in 1967) but the M60s and M79s saved our butts that night. Hernandez (1st) Washington ( 2nd) and Hurley ( 3rd ) were the squad leaders in my Plt. that were in position and yes the M60s fired until they ran out of rounds. But I and one other person took turns running down the line with ammo that we borrowed from the other PLts. I believe this other person was Larry Porter or Ed Groves or maybe both. Jake was right -
there no reinforments that night. The next morning, I with Hurley and three or four others went out front to check the dead enemy. They had taken their wounded with them. We ( the PLT) then swept through the rest of tree line but it looked like they had gotten away. We pushed to the river. I laid my rifle ( AK47) down and took off my gear including my boots as I was going to soak my feet in the water. I noticed some camo floating in water. Someone opened up with their M16 on auto into the water and we had enemy jumping up and surrendering. We swept the river and found their weapons. This is the way I remember it and this is the first time I have ever talked about it. Dutch


Wed, 3 Dec 2003

I'm probably no help again but I do remember staff.sgt. King, He took his 38 out of his shoulder holster and started waving it in the air. I new we were in trouble, we got up and charged across a grave yard. I remember that part for sure. A bullet came off a headstone and stuck in my flack jacket. haha When Doc Dixon stopped laughing and I got my wind back,well I got to walk the rest of the way. The next morning after counting body I remember the little river, I think in the afternoon. Were there tanks on the other side? I think I crossed in one. I got there by chopper I'm sue. That bullet was actually stuck in my jacket, I had one hell of a bruise. Yes, I remember that. 2nd sq 2nd platoon. later


Donald Thurston<hippiedon68@hotmail.com>
Thu, 4 Dec 2003

This is party good telling . I was the gunner not a gunner; That lt. that jump up was right in front of me and I would of got that bullet right in chest. I was out on the end of that dike and I shot that one out there and he was yelling for help and I was using for bate got in to get other . I know who is tell this story and I was right behind him when got hit on that dike I all got hit by the same round just above right knee, and did not know it tell my leg was hurting and bleeding but I did not stop but by the time we got back knee was in real bad ,spent two month in gum getting able to walk again. And that 45 was mine I gave to 45 to a nother guy because I could not wall rally good

donald thurston" <hippiedon68@hotmail.com>
Thu, 4 Dec 2003

We can out of chopper on the far side of the vile And there the averon on the side . We had to go down the trail to the vile. there was well out to the right of the trail and on the side was grave yard then there was a little drop and about 100 yard to the gate to the vile . all so there was a church off to the right look to a Franck church. Never did get in the vile tell the next day,


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To: bortsjc@crd.ge.com, dgcurrie@comcast.net, eschultz@nvc.net, hippiedon68@hotmail.com, ron.carson@elltel.net, pfcgunny@yahoo.com, tedd@nwlink.com, jkbain@yahoo.com, sherryandbill80@mchsi.com

I know we were chopperd in. I don't know about going out. Brain dead I guess. We didn't cross a river getting in but we did go through the ville to the river. I do remember Puff firing right on us because the gooks were right there. 155 (or some arty) also right on us close. I can remember the sound and the smell. I also know Pete got it right at the gates too. There was a grave yard or bagoda or whatever just before the ville. I know the gooks had our mens flight jackets and helmets. We were told not to move around because of this. Gooks were getting in our lines and trying to do what they could I guess. Dutch or someone getting a gook right there at us. I am guessing on Dutch may have been someone else. I also know that we were face to face with the gooks. They had no place to go. Either go over us or deal with them Iron Coffins or both. I know Gunny was right there too. Doc. Goss and Dixon helped Pete and Bolton as best they could. Nothing or no one could help either one of them. Clean shot on both. I know Jake and Bones had their hands full for a spell, 3 days worth I think. I don't remember anyone loosing a m-60 or anything else at all. No one lost anything that I know of. It seemed that the rice pattie was a long one for sure. It took me a bit to get Boltons body back to a place to send out. That may have not been very far because time and space kinda stoped at the moment. I just remember a large rice pattie that was almost dry. Still had water ankle deep or so but not as deep as most. These days I got brain dead from. I don't remember much after this. Just nothing in there you know


From: dgcurrie [mailto:dgcurrie@comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 2:29 PM
To: Bortscheller, Jacob C (Research)
Subject: Re: (no subject)

I remember that we were both trucked out and choppered out it happened so fast because the village was set in the y of the river Da Nang was straight ahead of the village across the river and the Navy Hospital was to are right across the river. The village was full of VC we had to get there fast Ted Duckworth was not with us on the 1st day he met back up with us the next day on a resupply chopper. I remember getting resupplied with ammo that morning thats when Ted Duckworth rejoined 1st plt. 1st Plt was assigned to Capt Ski when we went out on the choppers because Ted was not with and we had to get there. I remember we land at the far end of a very large rice paddy between us and the village. I remember the jets coming in and firing at the tree line to the village dropping their bombs. I also remember we moved up to rice paddy dike in front of the Village laying in the water. We moved along the dike to the right of the village there was a dirt path that went up to the gate on the river side. Peterson was shot just as he went through the gate. I remember working on him i think it was Doc Goss we got his jacket off he had a sucking chest wound I tried to get the amtracks that were across the river to come get him the Hospital was just across the river. He was shot one time that I could see it was right next to his heart. The rest of the squad moved into the village I think it was late in the day we set up on the right side of the trail for the nite the river was behind us. We were busy all nite with VC trying to get threw us. The next morning we swept the rest of the village I remember all the dead googs laying all over the trail.In a split in the trail is where Ed Liet was shot in the face we continued on to the river taking some Pow's. I remember watching the goog's in the river trying to throw gernades on to the amtracks in the river and they would run them over in the water. I had M16 that jammed all the time when I first got over their but I think it was in October of 1967 we got the knew M16 and I never had anymore trouble with mine. Don't remember ever seeing a M14 except boot camp. This is how I remember it but its been 35 years since that. I also remember Puff showing up very late that next morning does anyone remember this? Later Curtis


"Bortscheller, Jacob C (Research)" <bortsjc@crd.ge.com>
To: "'dgcurrie'" <dgcurrie@comcast.net>
CC: "Curtis Eidson (E-mail)" <Jarheadnam@aol.com>
Thu, 4 Dec 2003 16:28:32 -0500

When you say we we trucked out do you mean to the site of the battle? I was referring to leaving the site of the battle. I remember being flown in distinctly. I was on the very last helicopter to land near the village. Jake


From: "Della Tschetter" <tschetter2@mchsi.com>
To: "Curtis Eidson" <Jarheadnam@aol.com>
Subject: Alamo
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003

Jan.30-31,1968 will be remembered forever by those of us who participated in Operation Alamo. I was with the 2ndPlt. and we were choppered to an LZ and then walked some distance to our position near the village. Ron's map is correct in that a river did surround the area making it like a peninsula. 2ndPlt. was pinned down by sniper fire for some time before we were commanded to "get on line" and charge. We all got up from our positions and started yelling and charging the tree line. I remember going through a mounded cemetery before we entered the trees. I do not remember anyone being hit during the charge. I was with Cpl. Rahmer and West. Our position that night was in the center of the village facing the land area of the peninsula. The CP as I recall was located to our front left and whatever Plt. Torrington was in was located to our right. They were actually set up in the rice paddies that night and experienced "hand to hand" combat. Our field of fire was a opening overlooking a trail. Most of what we killed that night was on that trail about 15 yard in front of us. I do not remember any officer being hit and any Marine replacements. We did sweep to the tip of the peninsula the next day and captured several people and took some out of the water. They were actually breathing through reeds while submerged. Like a snorkel. Some track vehicles arrived that day and helped transport some of the prisoners. We piled 102 bodies in nets for choppers to lift the out before we swept to the tip. I remember "puff" dropping illumination for us that night and how erie it would get when the lights went out. As soon as they came back on everything started to move until they went out. We all could write a chapter in a book about that time and find inconsistancies based on our memory. The fact is that it happened and our memories have no doubt been blurred over the years, but some parts are still very clear. Semper fi Craig

John Gundersen <pfcgunny@yahoo.com>

Hey there guys, Thats about the way I remember the overall picture, but at least the first platoon was choppered in. I don't know about the rest of you. I lost my helmet getting off the chopper. The guy behind me picked it up and gave it to me. Also, my memory says that it was the first platoon that secured the corner of the ville, and the second plt. stayed in the rice paddy
overnight. At least I was in the corner of the ville. I guess its possible that I don't remember which platoon I was in, but in my mind I'm absolutely sure the first platoon was in the ville. I don't remember any reinforcements, except the amtraks that came to get Sgt Leight, who had been shot in the face. Peterson was in the first platoon also. He was walking point up to that moment he was shot. Then my squad took over point and went through the gate into the ville. I think this guy was in the first platoon, or attached to the first platoon. The rest all sounds too familiar for him not to have been there. The digging in the path, and moving at dusk and redigging in a more secure place. What is it that we are trying to figure out here. Are we just helping this guy put his thoughts together, or is he trying for a disability, or what? I remember alot more, but have already written it down and it is on the 3/5 website. Let me know why we are doing this so I know what I'm doing. Gunny


Jerry Bain <jkbain@yahoo.com>

You are right Dutch we did sweep to the river the next morning as we did after all fire fights or ops. Curtis you have the company picture of India from the next day. This was TET everyone was geting hit so there couldn't of been reforcements sent to us. All the other companies had been fighting all day to. if you all remember Kilo went to Hue City! That open place that was in the tree line was where we put our wounded and troop carriers came over from the other side of the river to get them. The jets took off from DaNag cirle around and came in for their bombing runs. One Hell of a day and night. As for as smoking gos who had the time. You all was fighting for your life and helping your buddies all night.


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