VFW Magazine May 2011 : Page 6

mail call Engineers Up Front “Hounding the Taliban: 203rd Combat Engineers in Afghanistan” (March) is a great tribute to the unsung heroes in the counter-IED fight. I worked as the Task Force Timberwolf counter-IED intelli-gence NCO and the 203rd (TF Houn Dawg) was one of our units. I rode, walked dismount and observed on many route clearance missions with the Missouri and South Dakota National Guard sol-diers. They did the work the active component wouldn’t or couldn’t do and constantly put themselves in danger to ensure the safety of the maneuver units. Experience from their civilian careers was invaluable to the mission. Sgt. 1st Class Dave Spalding, 372nd Eng. Bde. PHOTO BY RICHARD KOLB / VFW Several other engineer units earned the Valorous Unit Award in Vietnam. Among them was the 168th Engineer Battalion (Combat) for its service in the Iron Triangle during the first half of 1967. Thanks for recognizing the importance of the combat engineer. Ric Jennings, Ankeny, Pa. More than 1,500 engineers and those assigned to engineer units died in Vietnam if accidental deaths are includ-ed. On July 22, 1968, along Highway 1 near Tam Quan, 12 engineers of the 137th Engineer Combat were KIA, making it one of the single greatest engi-neer losses in Vietnam. On March 13, 1968, three companies from the 937th Engineer Group had a combined 12 KIA and 19 WIA in a convoy ambush on Highway 14. Also, the 19th Eng. Bn.’s claim of the largest number of total KIA for an engineer unit seems valid. Adrian Traas, author of Engineers at War (Center for Military History, 2010, available at www.history.army.mil ) Editor’s Note: D Company, 554th Engineer Battalion (Construction) sus-tained 14 KIA on Jan. 3, 1969, when a VC booby trap (planted by a “hootch maid”) exploded in its mess hall. This appears to be the single deadliest loss for engineers in Vietnam. Then on Feb. 26, 1969, at Cu Chi Airfield, A, C and D companies of the 554th lost a combined 10 KIA during a sapper attack. For the record: Tennessee’s 212th Engineer Company crossed from Saudi Arabia directly into Iraq while con-structing MSR “Montana” on Feb. 18, 1991, six days in advance of the ground campaign. Steve Brady, E-mail Editor’s Note: During the Iraq War in 2003, the 814th Bridge Company and 478th Combat Engineer Battalion (attached to the 1st Marine Expedi-tionary Force) earned the Presidential Unit Citation. Continued on page 10 Thank you for the article on combat engineers. Little recognition of them has come from the media or popular histo-rians. Recipients of our work always express gratitude. I am proud to have served in the 35th Combat Engineer Battalion in Vietnam, 1968-69. Dan White, Columbia, Mo. Current members of the 203rd might be interested to know about their WWII forerunner. I was a mem-ber of B Company, 203rd Engineer Combat Battalion, and participated in the battalion’s landing at Omaha Beach and on to Central Europe, earning five battle stars. Robert Hunt, Avon, Conn. During WWII, the 203rd was one of three engineer combat battalions attached to the 6th Engineer Special Brigade. A monument at Omaha Beach includes a plaque naming the 203rd. William J. Miller, Dodge City, Kan. Thanks for highlighting the work and courage of combat engineers. As a vet of the 20th Engineer Battalion in Pleiku province of Vietnam, I really appreciated and enjoyed the coverage. Bill Roscoe, Caldwell, Idaho As a member of A Co., 326th Eng. 6 • VFW • May 2011 Bn., 1st Bde., 101st Abn. Div., I can attest to the fact that engineers were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. My platoon was attached to the 2nd Bn., 502nd Inf., and Special Order 194 (dated July 13, 1966) awarded it to many members of my unit. Joe Morell, E-Mail To clarify the Valorous Unit Award for the 19th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam: every company of the battal-ion received it, not just the 137th. Also, the 105 KIA the 19th sustained was over its entire service, 1965-70. A memorial in their honor is located at Brooks Field, Ft. Knox, home of the 19th. Robert D. Hammack, E-Mail ➲

Mail Call

Engineers Up Front <br /> <br /> “Hounding the Taliban: 203rd Combat Engineers in Afghanistan” (March) is a great tribute to the unsung heroes in the counter-IED fight. I worked as the Task Force Timberwolf counter-IED intelligence NCO and the 203rd (TF Houn Dawg) was one of our units.<br /> <br /> I rode, walked dismount and observed on many route clearance missions with the Missouri and South Dakota National Guard soldiers. They did the work the active component wouldn’t or couldn’t do and constantly put themselves in danger to ensure the safety of the maneuver units. Experience from their civilian careers was invaluable to the mission.<br /> <br /> Sgt. 1st Class Dave Spalding,372nd Eng. Bde.<br /> <br /> Thank you for the article on combat engineers. Little recognition of them has come from the media or popular historians. Recipients of our work always express gratitude. I am proud to have served in the 35th Combat Engineer Battalion in Vietnam, 1968-69.<br /> <br /> Dan White, Columbia,Mo.<br /> <br /> Current members of the 203rd might be interested to know about their WWII forerunner. I was a member of B Company, 203rd Engineer Combat Battalion, and participated in the battalion’s landing at Omaha Beach and on to Central Europe, earning five battle stars.<br /> <br /> Robert Hunt, Avon, Conn.<br /> <br /> During WWII, the 203rd was one of three engineer combat battalions attached to the 6th Engineer Special Brigade. A monument at Omaha Beach includes a plaque naming the 203rd.<br /> <br /> William J.Miller,Dodge City, Kan.<br /> <br /> Thanks for highlighting the work and courage of combat engineers. As a vet of the 20th Engineer Battalion in Pleiku province of Vietnam, I really appreciated and enjoyed the coverage.<br /> <br /> Bill Roscoe, Caldwell, Idaho <br /> <br /> As a member of A Co., 326th Eng. Bn., 1st Bde., 101st Abn. Div., I can attest to the fact that engineers were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. My platoon was attached to the 2nd Bn., 502nd Inf., and Special Order 194 (dated July 13, 1966) awarded it to many members of my unit.<br /> <br /> Joe Morell, E-Mail <br /> <br /> To clarify the Valorous Unit Award for the 19th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam: every company of the battalion received it, not just the 137th. Also, the 105 KIA the 19th sustained was over its entire service, 1965-70. A memorial in their honor is located at Brooks Field, Ft.Knox, home of the 19th.<br /> <br /> Robert D.Hammack, E-Mail<br /> <br /> Several other engineer units earned the Valorous Unit Award in Vietnam. Among them was the 168th Engineer Battalion (Combat) for its service in the Iron Triangle during the first half of 1967. Thanks for recognizing the importance of the combat engineer.<br /> <br /> Ric Jennings, Ankeny, Pa.<br /> <br /> More than 1,500 engineers and those assigned to engineer units died in Vietnam if accidental deaths are included. On July 22, 1968, along Highway 1 near Tam Quan, 12 engineers of the 137th Engineer Combat were KIA, making it one of the single greatest engineer losses in Vietnam. On March 13, 1968, three companies from the 937th Engineer Group had a combined 12 KIA and 19 WIA in a convoy ambush on Highway 14. Also, the 19th Eng. Bn.’s claim of the largest number of total KIA for an engineer unit seems valid.<br /> <br /> Adrian Traas, author of Engineers at War (Center for Military History, 2010, available at www.history.army.mil)<br /> <br /> Editor’s Note: D Company, 554th Engineer Battalion (Construction) sustained 14 KIA on Jan. 3, 1969, when a VC booby trap (planted by a “hootch maid”) exploded in its mess hall. This appears to be the single deadliest loss for engineers in Vietnam. Then on Feb. 26, 1969, at Cu Chi Airfield, A, C and D companies of the 554th lost a combined 10 KIA during a sapper attack.<br /> <br /> For the record: Tennessee’s 212th Engineer Company crossed from Saudi Arabia directly into Iraq while constructing MSR “Montana” on Feb. 18, 1991, six days in advance of the ground campaign.<br /> <br /> Steve Brady, E-mail <br /> <br /> Editor’s Note: During the Iraq War in 2003, the 814th Bridge Company and 478th Combat Engineer Battalion (attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force) earned the Presidential Unit Citation.As the former commander of the Engineer Brigade, 40th Inf. Div. (Calif.ARNG), I want to say thanks for the well-written and enjoyable article.Along with the numerous sidebars, it presents a great picture of the combat engineers and their mission. I lost three men from my brigade in Iraq, and I think the article does justice to their memory.<br /> <br /> Mike Herman, E-mail <br /> <br /> Enjoyed the engineer article, but I am a stickler for making the distinction between the Air and Army National Guard,which is abbreviated ARNG.<br /> <br /> Jeanette Anderson, E-Mail <br /> <br /> Remembering Vets of Laos <br /> <br /> Re: “KIA: Laos, 1961” (March). The C- 47 Skytrain shot down on March 23, 1961, was from the 314th Air Division based at K-55 Osan Air Base, Korea. I was there at the time and we were told the incident happened at Osan and to never tell anyone it really was in Laos near Xieng Khoang Airfield.<br /> <br /> Phil Conrad, E-Mail <br /> <br /> I was assigned to Laos from October 1961 to January 1962.My unit was Det. 2, Army Signal Corps, out of Okinawa attached to the Programs Evaluation Office in Vientiane. Our compound was hit on Dec. 13, 1961, with 81mm mortar rounds fired by the Pathet Lao, sustaining four wounded. If you told someone you served in Laos back then, you would be greeted by blank stares.<br /> <br /> Glenn E. Stover, E-Mail <br /> <br /> As a veteran of MAAG/Laos and later JUSTMAG, Thailand, from May 1962 to September 1964, I worked with Air America. Told that we did not even exist, we were forgotten. All information about my Laos service is deleted from my records.<br /> <br /> Bill McGlinchey, Columbus, Ga.<br /> <br /> FSB Mary Ann: ‘Rest in Peace’ <br /> <br /> “Sixty Minutes of Terror”(March) by Al Hemingway compelled me to respond. I assumed command of D Co., 1st Bn., 46th Inf., for most of 1968. With this experience in mind, I can say that those in authority in March 1971 ignored the principle of unit integrity and cohesion. This is said not to cast aspersions on any personnel on the ground that night, but to point out a significant breakdown in leadership from the highest level.<br /> <br /> Monte Wolff, Gold Canyon, Ariz.<br /> <br /> I arrived during the day after the attack on Mary Ann.What stuck in my mind most was the cross of about five feet high inscribed with the words, “God is a Grunt.” To me, it honored all the casualties. To all the men who died there, may you rest in peace.<br /> <br /> Fernando Sena, E-Mail <br /> <br /> Veterans Courts Expanding <br /> <br /> “Veterans Courts Offer Second Chance” (March) by Fred Minnick is very useful for our efforts here in Mansfield, Ohio, where the first court of its kind in the state is operating.As a volunteer veteran observer, I will be using this article as part of our information packet. Both the judges and the probation officer found it quite informative.<br /> <br /> Articles such as these help keep VFW magazine fresh and relevant to your readers. This is regardless of military experience.Well done! <br /> <br /> Tim S. Smith,Mansfield,Ohio <br /> <br /> Women Vets in Focus <br /> <br /> I felt the need to let your writers know what an excellent job they do with the magazine, especially this March issue. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the articles about the courageous women.<br /> <br /> Joyce Harris, Chattanooga, Tenn.<br /> <br /> Thank you for the excellent piece “Women in War,” as well as the other five articles related to women. This piece furnished more information in four pages than sometimes is in a book. I am making copies for distribution to get the word out about the important part women play in war.<br /> <br /> Dorothy Brandt, Alamosa, Colo.<br /> <br /> Re: “Women in War”(March).An allfemale medevac crew trained in 1986— the 24th Med. Co. (Air Ambulance) of the Nebraska ARNG. And in May 1991, the 126th Med. Co. (Air Ambulance) of the California ARNG deployed female crews to Honduras. Three women were killed there in a crash.<br /> <br /> Darrel Whitcomb, E-Mail

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