24/25 April 1971

Gunz

Combined Action
Verified Military
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Jun 29, 2014
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7,489
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Decisive Terrain
This is for my Bros. That night, more than any other, we fought hard for each other. We gave better than we got and we all made it home. Here's the official after-action summary and breakdowns of what really happened. Apologies up front for a war story from long ago.

cap six rewrite.jpeg

...CAP 2-7-6 (Bravo), comprised of 5 USMC, 1 USN and 7 ARVN received SAF and grenades...the CAP returned SAF and grenades resulting in 4 VC KIA...

I was with the Bravo unit. We were mobile down a trail we called "Frag Alley" just before dusk, moving out in single file, 15 meters apart, on our way to a rendezvous with our Alpha unit, at a mutually supporting ambush sight along an infiltration trail some 2 klicks to our west. Rounding a bend in the trial we got hit with frags and rifle fire from the left and front. Five of us were hit in the opening seconds. After some confusion and delay, crawling into cover, some of us managed to return effective fire, eventually killing a number of our attackers. Our Corpsman was hit during this firefight and 3 of our counterparts were down, one blinded by a frag explosion. The worst casualty among the Marines was Gerard Henkle who'd taken a 7.62 round in the chest, between the opening of his flak jacket.

...CAP 2-7-6 (Alpha) diverted from objective and proceeded N toward area of contact as reaction force. Alpha element initiated contact on 6 VC withdrawing West from original contact site resulting in 6 VC KIA...

Sgt Bill Tanner, the CAP Actual, was leading the Alpha unit toward the rendezvous along a southern route, some 800 meters south of the Bravo team. When he heard the firefight he immediately tried unsuccessfully to comm with his Bravo unit. Unable to establish comm, he immediately ordered his small unit north as a reaction force. Upon approaching the area of initial contact, the Alpha unit encountered a number of VC withdrawing from that position across an open rice paddy. The Alpha unit opened fire on the enemy and shot down most of them.

...Arriving at 6-Bravo's position, 6-Actual requested priority medevac and foot react from USA/ARVN at Delta One...

Sgt. Tanner and the Alpha element reached our position and began treating our casualties. Tanner radioed 7th Company HQ for priority medevacs and requested a foot react from an Army Ranger/ARVN compound some 500 meters to the east. There was one Army Ranger Captain there and some 20 ARVN counterparts.

...At 242122H, CAP 2-7-6 Actual with 2 USMC and 2 ARVN proceeded to pursue enemy force west. Pursuit element received AWF and SAF from enemy at grid BT 040615...

Tanner led two Marines and two ARVNs west on Frag Alley and into open rice paddies in pursuit of the enemy force. Upon reaching open ground, this unit came under intense automatic weapons fire from the vicinity of a small hamlet some 200 meters to the northwest. Tanner and his four men returned organic weapons fire with accuracy, causing the enemy to withdraw; but during this exchange Tanner and his radioman, L/Cpl Marvin Hargis were hit. With the help of the counterparts, Tanner and Hargis were able to withdraw east toward Six-Bravo's position.

...At this time, USA personnel and ARVN counterparts also arrived 6-Bravo's position and helped secure area...casualties were transported to Redline...

The Army captain and his counterparts arrived at the point of initial contact about the same time as the wounded Sgt. Tanner and L/Cpl Hargis were being brought into the position. With the captain's assistance, the area was secured for withdrawal and transportation of the wounded to the nearest road, a 500 meter trek east back up along Frag Alley. Some of the wounded required carry on ponchos. Two Cobra gunships arrived at this time to provide cover and began circling overhead during the withdrawal. Three US Army Huey Dustoff helos also arrived and landed near the Thanh Quit Bridge on the road to the east.
___________________________________________


I've left out the smells, the heat, the weight, the flash and boom of detonating frags, the smoke drifting up through the trees, the shocking blast of near-point-blank AK fire from the surrounding vegetation, the absolute pertinent need to kill these fuckers no matter what, no matter how much it hurt, or die; the fear of being overrun and captured, the fear of losing a limb, the confusion, the wounded moaning, our Corpsman bleeding from an abdominal wound yet bent over Henkle trying to save him...and saving him; The hot wind and rotor wash blowing through the Hueys on the night flight to 95th Evac, Red Beach, Danang...tracers arcing up from the darkness. There were 10 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman in Combined Action Platoon 2-7-6, and 7 of us got hit that night (along with 5 of our counterparts) and we still managed to kill most of those motherfuckers and survive...something I chalk up to fire discipline and previous contact experience. This was my last firefight and the one I still dream about.

Henkel recovered from his grevious GS wound and eventually joined the Army and became a paratrooper. I saw Sgt. Tanner a year later, now a Staff Sergeant with a hefty ribbon rack, and I shook his hand. L/Cpl Hargis also recovered and went on to become a Marine MP.

Again, forgive me for a personal reminiscence...but it feels real good to unload it to people who can read between the lines and get what it was all about. My Brothers.
 
Last edited:

Viper1

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
2,459
Location
Cajun Land
This is for my Bros. That night, more than any other, we fought hard for each other. We gave better than we got and we all made it home. Here's the official after-action summary and breakdowns of what really happened. Apologies up front for a war story from long ago.

View attachment 17727

...CAP 2-7-6 (Bravo), comprised of 5 USMC, 1 USN and 7 ARVN received SAF and grenades...the CAP returned SAF and grenades resulting in 4 VC KIA...

I was with the Bravo unit. We were mobile down a trail we called "Frag Alley" just before dusk, moving out in single file, 15 meters apart, on our way to a rendezvous with our Alpha unit, at a mutually supporting ambush sight along an infiltration trail some 2 klicks to our west. Rounding a bend in the trial we got hit with frags and rifle fire from the left and front. Five of us were hit in the opening seconds. After some confusion and delay, crawling into cover, some of us managed to return effective fire, eventually killing a number of our attackers. Our Corpsman was hit during this firefight and 3 of our counterparts were down, one blinded by a frag explosion. The worst casualty among the Marines was Gerard Henkle who'd taken a 7.62 round in the chest, between the opening of his flak jacket.

...CAP 2-7-6 (Alpha) diverted from objective and proceeded N toward area of contact as reaction force. Alpha element initiated contact on 6 VC withdrawing West from original contact site resulting in 6 VC KIA...

Sgt Bill Tanner, the CAP Actual, was leading the Alpha unit toward the rendezvous along a southern route, some 800 meters south of the Bravo team. When he heard the firefight he immediately tried unsuccessfully to comm with his Bravo unit. Unable to establish comm, he immediately ordered his small unit north as a reaction force. Upon approaching the area of initial contact, the Alpha unit encountered a number of VC withdrawing from that position across an open rice paddy. The Alpha unit opened fire on the enemy and shot down most of them.

...Arriving at 6-Bravo's position, 6-Actual requested priority medevac and foot react from USA/ARVN at Delta One...

Sgt. Tanner and the Alpha element reached our position and began treating our casualties. Tanner radioed 7th Company HQ for priority medevacs and requested a foot react from an Army Ranger/ARVN compound some 500 meters to the east. There was one Army Ranger Captain there and some 20 ARVN counterparts.

...At 242122H, CAP 2-7-6 Actual with 2 USMC and 2 ARVN proceeded to pursue enemy force west. Pursuit element received AWF and SAF from enemy at grid BT 040615...

Tanner led two Marines and two ARVNs west on Frag Alley and into open rice paddies in pursuit of the enemy force. Upon reaching open ground, this unit came under intense automatic weapons fire from the vicinity of a small hamlet some 200 meters to the northwest. Tanner and his four men returned organic weapons fire but during this exchange he and his radioman, L/Cpl Marvin Hargis were hit. With the help of the counterparts, Tanner and Hargis were able to withdraw east toward Six-Bravo's position.

...At this time, USA personnel and ARVN counterparts also arrived 6-Bravo's position and helped secure area...casualties were transported to Redline...

The Army captain and his counterparts arrived at the point of initial contact about the same time as the wounded Sgt. Tanner and L/Cpl Hargis were being brought into the position. With the captain's assistance, the area was secured for withdrawal and transportation of the wounded to the nearest road, a 500 meter trek east back up along Frag Alley. Some of the wounded required carry on ponchos. Two Cobra gunships arrived at this time to provide cover and began circling overhead during the withdrawal. Three US Army Huey Dustoff helos also arrived and landed near the Thanh Quit Bridge on the road to the east.
___________________________________________


I've left stuff out. The smells, the fear of being overrun and captured, the fear of losing a limb, the confusion, the wounded moaning, our Corpsman bleeding from an abdominal wound yet bent over Henkle trying to save him...and saving him. The hot wind blowing through the Hueys on the flight to 95th Evac, Danang, tracers arcing up from the darkness. There were 10 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman in Combined Action Platoon 2-7-6, and 7 of us got hit that night (along with 5 of our counterparts) and we still managed to kill most of the motherfuckers...something I chalk up to Marine weapons training, fire discipline and combat experience. This was my last firefight and the one I still dream about.

Again, forgive me for a personal reminiscence...but it feels goddam good to unload it.

Never apologize about sharing these things. Never apologize for your experience. Never apologize for giving all of us a glimpse of what you went through. There is nothing forgive. I, for one, am grateful that you're here. There is a brotherhood forged in combat. You'll be reminded of it in MAJ Wharton's book, and I was reminded of it reading the report and your words. You guys are tough hombres. No bullshit.
 

Ooh-Rah

Semper-Fi
Verified Military
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
10,994
Those stories are history, important history.

I've expressed many times on this board the special place Vietnam Vets have in my heart, thank you for posting what you did.
 

Red Flag 1

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Messages
7,591
One hell of a day, A. As the others have said, no need to ask forgiveness; we owe you, amigo.

Thanks for remembering that day with us.
 

Gunz

Combined Action
Verified Military
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
7,489
Location
Decisive Terrain
Never apologize about sharing these things. Never apologize for your experience. Never apologize for giving all of us a glimpse of what you went through. There is nothing forgive. I, for one, am grateful that you're here. There is a brotherhood forged in combat. You'll be reminded of it in MAJ Wharton's book, and I was reminded of it reading the report and your words. You guys are tough hombres. No bullshit.

Thanks, sir, I'm about done with the book. Incredible parallels. I've been very busy highlighting passages that strike a chord with me, and there are many. I'll get back to you with my impressions in more detail when I wrap it up.
 
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