Posted on Oct 17, 2020
CWO3 Dennis M.
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Good Morning RallyPoint on this October 17, 2020. Here is your history for the Vietnam War on this day 17 October. I also have the honor of presenting another Vietnam War Vet whom earned the Medal of honor. Welcome home all Veterans and those that gave their all may you all rest in peace...!

Today, 17 October in Vietnam war History

17 October 1964 – 19 October 1964, Operation Dan Chi 80, ARVN operation, Ba Xuyen Province, 123 VC & PAVN KIA

17 October 1965, Operation Bushmaster Bravo, 3rd Brigade 1st Infantry Division search and destroy operation, Bình Dương Province

17 October 1965, The first successful American attack on a North Vietnamese SAM site was accomplished when four A-4 Skyhawks struck a site near Kép Air Base northeast of Hanoi

17 October 1966, U.S. President Johnson left Washington for a 17-day trip to seven Asian and Pacific nations. He also attended a conference in Manila.

17 October 1967, The Battle of Ong Thanh saw the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, ambushed by a well-entrenched VC regiment. U.S. losses were 64 killed and 2 missing, VC losses were at least 22 killed

17 October 1967 -20 October 1967 Operation Don Ched I, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment and Royal Thai Army Volunteer Regiment search and destroy operation, III Corps

17 October 1967 - 24 October 1967, Operation Formation Leader, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines amphibious and heliborne search and destroy operation, coastal region east of Route 1, Thừa Thiên Province

17 October – 1 November 1967, Operation Shenandoah I, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division road-runner operation, Lai Khe–An Loc–Dầu Tiếng area, 97 VC & PAVN KIA

17 October 1967, Medal of Honor earned by 2d Lt. Harold Bascom Durham, U.S. Army, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division. (See below for details)

Today is Saturday, October 17, 2020
Vietnam War memorial facts
153 Names on the wall were born on 17 October
147 Names on the wall died on 17 October
245 men earned the Medal Of Honor in the Vietnam war and 160 of those men are listed on the wall

Memorial Wall facts:

Women on the wall;

Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander - On the Wall at 31E 008
Capt. Alexander of Westwood, NJ, and Lt. Orlowski of Detroit, MI, died November 30, 1967. Alexander, stationed at the 85th Evac., and Orlowski, stationed at the 67th Evac. in Qui Nhon, had been sent to a hospital in Pleiku to help out during a push. With them when their plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon were two other nurses, Jerome E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI, and Kenneth R. Shoemaker, Jr. of Owensboro, KY. Alexander was 27, Orlowski 23. Both were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars.

2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba - On the Wall at 05E 046
Lt. Drazba and Lt. Jones were assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a helicopter crash near Saigon, February 18, 1966. Drazba was from Dunmore, PA, Jones from Allendale, SC. Both were 22 years old.

Other facts of interest:
The last SEAL platoon departed Vietnam on 7 December 1971. The last SEAL advisors left Vietnam in March 1973. Between 1965 and 1972 there were 46 SEALs killed in Vietnam. They are forever remembered on the Navy SEAL Memorial at the Museum.

Note: Three U.S. Navy SEALs were recipients of the Medal of Honor during Vietnam. They were: Lieutenant Bob Kerrey, Lieutenant Tom Norris, and EM2 Mike Thornton. Mike Thornton was awarded the Medal of Honor for the rescue and exfiltration of Lieutenant Norris under withering fire on the night of 31 October 1972. There is no other recorded instance where two Medal of Honor recipients are known to have been involved in the same combat operation.


Vietnam war quotes:

"If I left [the war in Vietnam] and let the communists take over South Vietnam, then I would be seen as a coward and my nation would be seen as an appeaser, and we would both find it impossible to accomplish anything for anybody anywhere on the entire globe."- President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

"Everything depends on the Americans. If they want to make war for 20 years then we shall make war for 20 years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to tea afterwards."
- North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, December 1966

Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile ... can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy.' - President John F. Kennedy, 1963, Annapolis MD


DURHAM, HAROLD BASCOM, JR.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division . Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 17 October 1967. Entered service at: Atlanta, Ga. Born: 12 October 1942, Rocky Mount, N.C

Durham joined the Army from Atlanta, Georgia in 1964,[ and by October 17, 1967 was serving as a second lieutenant in Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. During the Battle of Ong Thanh, Durham repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire in order to direct artillery fire despite severe wounds. He was killed during the battle and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Durham, aged 25 at the time of his death, is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Tifton, Georgia

On October 17, 1967, elements of the U.S. Army 2d Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division engaged a large force of Viet Cong fighters along a small stream named the Ong Thanh. Two understrength American companies found themselves outnumbered by a well-prepared enemy force in an intense firefight that lasted over four hours. By the time the Viet Cong troops withdrew from the battlefield, the large majority of Americans in the fight had been either killed or wounded. The Battle of Ong Thanh was one of the costliest battles of the war for U.S. troops, one of whom, 2nd Lieutenant Harold B. Durham, Jr., earned a posthumous Medal of Honor during the battle.

The Ong Thanh River runs through a thickly forested region between Binh Duong and Binh Long Provinces, north of Saigon. In late 1967, despite significant American gains in previous months, it remained heavily occupied by the Viet Cong insurgency. One day earlier, on October 16, an American patrol had stumbled into a brief firefight with a sizeable force of Viet Cong before withdrawing. Now, Companies A and D, 2d Battalion of the 29th Regiment were assigned to re-locate the spot and destroy any enemy forces found there. Both infantry companies were far under field strength, each consisting of about 70 men. A handful of forward artillery observers from 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery Regiment, had been attached to both infantry companies. Their task would be to relay firing coordinates of enemy positions via radio to the artillery batteries far to the rear.

Just after 10:00 a.m., the Americans located the Viet Cong troops, who were prepared and waiting for them in concealed bunkers scattered through the jungle. A frenzy of rifles, machine guns, and grenades erupted in a devastating ambush while the Americans attempted to form a defensive perimeter. The U.S. soldiers were getting hammered, and scattered groups of Viet Cong fighters began rushing them in an attempt to overrun their position. Artillery support, among many others things, was needed urgently. The 15th Artillery’s forward observers, however, were already on the spot.

As one artillery spotter who fought in the battle later reported, the observers immediately found themselves with two jobs: relaying firing coordinates into their handsets and fending off charging enemy soldiers with their own side arms. One observer was 2nd Lieutenant Harold “Pinky” Durham, who was in the middle of his second tour in Vietnam. He took up a forward position—exposing himself to hostile fire from several directions—in order to communicate the most exact firing coordinates he could. He did so with composure and extreme accuracy, often calling down howitzer shells on his own position in order to halt insurgents who were rushing the Americans’ perimeter.

A brief lull in the fighting did not convince 2nd Lieutenant Durham to take a breather. He raced around from man to man, assisting with the wounded and encouraging others, all while sniper fire zipped around his head, torso, and legs. Then, while running to the next position, Durham was struck by an enemy Claymore mine—a device that explodes rather like canister shot, spraying shards of metal in a swath over 180 degrees wide. Durham was severely wounded and lost his sight in one eye. As the battle picked up steam once again, however, he refused medical attention and continued relaying artillery coordinates with his radio.

Durham’s accurate call for artillery fire continued to foil attempts by Viet Cong troops to rush the American position, but Durham also lay exposed and bleeding. He was next hit by machine gun fire. Eye witnesses report that as he lay dying Durham managed to point out to a nearby U.S. soldier two Communist soldiers who were killing wounded Americans in a clearing where they lay helpless, which allowed the soldier to shoot the enemy insurgents. Harold Bascom Durham, Jr., 24 years old from Tifton, Georgia, then died on the battlefield. He was posthumously presented with the Medal of Honor.
The Viet Cong ceased contact and slipped away just over four hours after the shooting had begun. The battle of Ong Thanh was extremely costly for the United States. Out of the approximately 150 Americans in the battle, 56 had been killed, 75 were wounded, and 2 were missing. Durham was far from the only man to exemplify the values of service, valor, and sacrifice that day. Others included Private First Class Richard William Jones, 19 years old from Cairo, Illinois; Specialist 4 Arturo Garcia, 19 from Mercedes, Texas, who earned a Bronze Star; Private First Class Allan Vincent Reilly, 24 from Los Angeles, California; Specialist 4 Stanley Donald Gilbert, 22 from Dexter, Minnesota, who also earned a Bronze Star; and so many others. Each man who died at Ong Thanh is memorialized on Panel 28E of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Citation: 2d Lt. Durham, Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to Battery C. 2d Lt. Durham was serving as a forward observer with Company D, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry during a battalion reconnaissance-in-force mission. At approximately 1015 hours contact was made with an enemy force concealed in well-camouflaged positions and fortified bunkers. 2d Lt. Durham immediately moved into an exposed position to adjust the supporting artillery fire onto the insurgents. During a brief lull in the battle he administered emergency first aid to the wounded in spite of heavy enemy sniper fire directed toward him. Moments later, as enemy units assaulted friendly positions, he learned that Company A, bearing the brunt of the attack, had lost its forward observer. While he was moving to replace the wounded observer, the enemy detonated a Claymore mine, severely wounding him in the head and impairing his vision. In spite of the intense pain, he continued to direct the supporting artillery fire and to employ his individual weapon in support of the hard pressed infantrymen. As the enemy pressed their attack, 2d Lt. Durham called for supporting fire to be placed almost directly on his position. Twice the insurgents were driven back, leaving many dead and wounded behind. 2d Lt. Durham was then taken to a secondary defensive position. Even in his extremely weakened condition, he continued to call artillery fire onto the enemy. He refused to seek cover and instead positioned himself in a small clearing which offered a better vantage point from which to adjust the fire. Suddenly, he was severely wounded a second time by enemy machine gun fire. As he lay on the ground near death, he saw two Viet Cong approaching, shooting the defenseless wounded men. With his last effort, 2d Lt. Durham shouted a warning to a nearby soldier who immediately killed the insurgents. 2d Lt. Durham died moments later, still grasping the radio handset. 2d Lt. Durham’s gallant actions in close combat with an enemy force are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
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SFC Contract Administrator
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Edited 1 mo ago
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CWO3 Dennis M. good morning and thank you for the read/share of Vietnam History of October 17. This stands out to me:

Three U.S. Navy SEALs were recipients of the Medal of Honor during Vietnam. They were: Lieutenant Bob Kerrey, Lieutenant Tom Norris, and EM2 Mike Thornton. Mike Thornton was awarded the Medal of Honor for the rescue and exfiltration of Lieutenant Norris under withering fire on the night of 31 October 1972. There is no other recorded instance where two Medal of Honor recipients are known to have been involved in the same combat operation.

SPC Margaret Higgins COL Mikel J. Burroughs CPL Dave Hoover Lt Col Charlie Brown Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen SCPO Morris Ramsey PVT Mark Zehner Sgt (Join to see) SSG Michael Noll SSG Robert Mark Odom CPL Douglas Chrysler PO1 Tony Holland SGT Steve McFarland SPC Mark Huddleston CW5 Jack Cardwell PO1 William "Chip" Nagel PO1 Lyndon Thomas PO3 Phyllis Maynard Maj Kim P.
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SSG Michael Noll
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Thank you for the Vietnam share brother Dennis.
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CWO3 Dennis M.
CWO3 Dennis M.
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Your welcome Michael, have a great day!
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SPC Randy Z.
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The account of 2nd Lieutenant Durham’s battle was riveting.
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CWO3 Dennis M.
CWO3 Dennis M.
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I thought the same thing Randy.
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