Just A Little Walk In The Woods
with the Delta Raiders
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)
"From the soul that has given you life, you have honed your skills well, proven your gallant spirit and moulded a character of strength and the willingness to show compassion and love for your fellow soldier.
With your blood you have forged a tradition of valor and pride; and through this a brotherhood is born.
Thus, you are bound forever, one to another, by this, your baptism of fire.
Arise RAIDER, no longer the bastard child."
PK 17 (outside Hue)
15 Feb. 1968
The above words are from notes made following the first major engagement of the Delta Raiders which took place in I Corps, RVN, during the 1968 enemy Tet offensive. Over time many words have been spoken and written about the unit during this phase of their proud history. However, these words keep coming back to me in summarizing what I observed and felt about the Raiders as its first Commander.
It's with a great deal of pride that I find that the spirit that was born on the parade fields of Ft. Campbell, that took roots in the founding of its name and insignia, and matured in the rice fields of Vietnam, continues on today. It's hoped that for those that shared that time, and for those that followed, that the following background will put into perspective some things and events that took place during this very special period of our lives. Some things maybe known, some things maybe unknown, or simply, some things maybe forgotten.
In Sept. 1967 I was assigned to the 101st Airborne Div., Ft. Campbell, KY. I had already served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967 with the Army's Special Forces. During the end of this period I was listed as M.I.A. following a long range reconnaissance mission in Cambodia. After returning to "friendly control" I had been assigned to Ft. Sill, OK to recover and serve as an infantry instructor at the Artillery School. It was during this time that I was contacted by the Infantry Branch in D.C. to see if I was ready for a special assignment. My answer was yes!
The 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 101st were being brought up to full combat strength in preparation for deployment to RVN. Within the 2/501st a fourth rifle co. was to be formed. My mission: To organize, equip, and train an Airborne Infantry Company, from scratch, and then to deploy that unit into combat. I was given less than 90 days to accomplish the task.
When we talk about "from scratch" I mean SCRATCH! We had 4 empty offices (no tables, chairs, filing cabinets or even files) & 2 empty Company bays (no beds or wall lockers). A, B and C Co. had to each provide 5 men to "help" start us off (several of which came straight from the stockade). From the start it was clear that in their eyes we were the "bastard child" of the Bn. We could never, in the time allotted, come up to the organizational standards required of a Combat Infantry Company and established within their units over many years of concentrated training and effort. As such, there was no great emphasis on providing us with, what they considered, their better "talent".
There was however some good points to the situation. LTC Richard Talman, who commanded the 2/501st, had come up through the ranks. He had been an enlisted infantryman during WWII, graduated from West Point, served as a Plt. Ldr. during Korea and already had one tour in Nam. LTC Talman knew the importance of leadership and the ability to relate to the situation of the common soldier. Aside from my combat experience, I had been selected because I also had come up through the ranks and had been an NCO for several years before I was commissioned. "We had both been there". To assist me in this mission I was assigned one of the finest 1st Sgts. the Army ever produced, 1st Sgt. Arthur Scott (Scotty). Scotty had been moulded in the "Old Army". He was a Soldier's Soldier. Aside from myself he would be one of the few combat vets in the Co. and would prove an invaluable asset to not only the unit but the tasks that lay ahead.
During the next two weeks we prepared for the arrival of the rest of the replacements who were due by the first of Oct. We ordered equipment (much of which would not arrive until time for us to deploy), put wall lockers and beds together and generally "scrounged" any basic equipment we could find that wasn't nailed down. Some of the more less appreciated "talents" of our initial group, significantly contributed to the accomplishment of those tasks.
Then, during the first part of Oct. our "infantrymen" arrived. We had cooks, bakers, clerks, artillerymen, engineers, drivers and a small segment of what was termed infantrymen. 96% of the unit was non-infantry. We had more of a Combat Service Support Co. than a rifle Co. The only thing they had in common was basic training and a pair of Jump Wings. While the overall general IQ and attitude of the men was a lot higher than the average Infantry Co., more than that was going to be needed to get them into shape for what was to come. From the beginning both Scotty and I recognized that we needed something to draw them together as soon as possible. Not just as a unit or team. Something stronger.
Shortly there after, while in discussion with the Bn. CO one day, he referred to the "raiding" of one of the other Co's supply rooms, allegedly by members of Delta Co. and that such a reputation was unbecoming. I left after assuring him that there must have been either some mistake in identification or the possibility of an over zealous interpretation of instructions and dedication to the needs of the unit on the part of my men. The rest of the Bn. didn't know it, but they had given us just what we needed, a unique sense of identification. The Delta Raiders. To mould that identification into something of pride was the next step.
Given the shortness of the time available before deployment we needed to find out as quickly as possible who was going to make the grade and who wasn't. Our training program developed as sort of a cross between AIT, the NCO Academy and pre-season football. Individual training was long and hard, sometimes 20 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Early on I had a cot put into my office. There was neither the time or reason to go to the BOQ. This now was my family and this was my home.
Whatever the Bn. requirements, the unit always strived, and usually succeeded, to do better. They were after all, Raiders. If the Bn. ran 1 mile, the Raiders ran 2. If the Bn. ran 2, the Raiders ran 3. Push-ups and the front leaning rest, in formation, was a part of the daily routine. When called to attention in Co. formation or when being dismissed, all would sound off "Raider Sir". While initially this brought a few chuckles from some of the other Co's, especially when in Bn. formation, it was not long before the Raiders were showing that they had what it took to back it up and that they were more than just a "rag tag" collection thrown together to boost the numbers within the Bn. More than the "bastard child". Our weapons Plt., under the guidance of SFC Robert Benoit, showed that it was the best in the Div. by beating all other units in local competition. At the same time our medic's, radio operators and admin. personnel were also proving their high level of efficiency during the many inspections we had to endure during this period. The Raiders were coming together as a smooth and aggressive fighting machine. They were also starting to prove a bit of embarrassment to the other Company's within the Bn. in the quickness that this was taking place.
While its easy sometimes when you're recounting such events to overlook some of the important contributions, I would at this point like to highlight the tremendous job done by SSG Charlie Wyatt as Mess Sgt. and his team of cooks. There is no doubt it played a special part in our unit given our daily training schedule. Our food, as prepared by Charlie, was at all times, excellent. It should be noted that all Officers and NCO's ate in the Mess hall on a daily basis along with the rest of the men. This was part of our effort to continue to forge that brotherhood noted earlier.
While the individual requirements within the Raiders were much higher than those in the rest of the Bn., it was also one of the easiest to get out of. All you had to do was quit and a transfer could be arranged to another Co. in the Bn.
No one did!
In fact, by the end of Nov. 67, there was a long list of people requesting transfers to the Raiders from other Co.'s, not only within the 2/501st, but the rest of the Div. It was at this point we "snared" one of the shining lights at Bn. Hq., 1st Lt. Cleo Hogan. Cleo had been banging on our door for several weeks. I needed a XO but I had a responsibility to the men to ensure they got the best. For the XO is just a heartbeat from Commanding the unit. Cleo more than measured up to the responsibility. He was born a Raider.
The Raiders were already starting to make a proud name for themselves even while still at Ft. Campbell. It's difficult to fully appreciate the esprit de corps that was now existing within the Raiders. A good example was SFC Hines, Plt. Sgt. 2nd Plt. He was just over a year from having his 20 in and he could have been excused from deploying with the unit but wouldn't even entertain the thought of the unit deploying without him. That was pride! (Even Cpl. Joe Hooper was coming back from pass on time. I'd have to give consideration to making him a Sgt., again.)
It should, at this point be noted that discipline within the rest of the Bn. was going through some rough times. Court Martial's and Art. 15's were all too common an occurrence. I wouldn't say that a Raider never did anything to warrant an Art. 15 or worse, but, having been there, I knew that a soldier, even a excellent soldier, may sometimes stray a bit. I didn't like to "paper" anyone for something I felt was out of character. The first time, depending upon the infraction, would usually cop a severe warning. The second time, discipline of a more "restricting and physical" nature would result. Although discipline was usually handed out with the same severity as required under Art. 15, nothing was ever recorded. It was just a "gentlemen's" agreement between a soldier and his CO. As such, there was never an incidence of the third time.
In early Dec. 1967 our training was over. Key equipment had already been shipped to RVN and an advance team deployed to assist with the arrival of the rest of the Co. On the 11th of Dec. 1967, on a dark and winters night, the Raiders moved out of the barracks and turned the lights off for the last time, assembled on the parade field & checked their individual equipment and weapons. Shortly we moved to the Airfield where two C-141's were waiting to airlift the entire unit.
The Raiders were as ready as they would ever be. Their training more demanding than many had ever known. They had all come a long way in a very short time. They had all met the test. Christ, I was proud of every one of them. That pride was to increase even more over the coming period. Next stop, Vietnam.
On the 13th of Dec. 1967 we landed at Bien Hoe, came off the aircraft with a full basic load and three days rations, we were loaded on trucks and proceeded to our new home at Cu Chi in III Corps. Over the next few weeks the Raiders would get their first taste of combat and the life of a "grunt". Operations at that time were primarily around Cu Chi and the Hobo Woods area. It was during this time that the Raider Patch come into being.
I was seeing a lot of changes in the mood of our forces from that of the early injection of combat troops in 1965. We were beginning to become too "base camp bound". The Army in its strive to ensure that the "troops" got the best available were in fact developing a "cancer" of dependence that was robbing the soldier of his confidence, spirit and general self esteem. Pride and esprit de corps were basically being discarded. Evidence of this was the increased use of subdued unit patches, all in the name of camouflage. It was like robbing a soldier of his soul, his identification, his respect. I was not going to let that happen to the Raiders. They had worked hard and deserved better. I discussed these things on several occasions with Scotty and he was of the same mind. So on Christmas eve 1967, while having a quiet Xmas drink with Scotty I drew a rough sketch of what was to be the Raider Patch. A clear message to the enemy on the battlefield that this was a unit to be respected, and a clear message to everyone else that this was a Company of special soldiers. A Patch that was not to be subdued but worn with pride. To be kept in the forefront of their minds, who they were and what they were, Raiders.
In early Jan. we were on a joint operation with the 17th Cav. outside the Minh Tanh rubber plantation. I had promoted Joe Hooper to Sgt. and replaced him as my radio operator because every time the shooting started he would drop his radio, leaving me with two to carry, and move forward to the action. So I promoted him and assigned him as a squad ldr. with the 1st Plt. I knew that Lt. Lee Grimsley, who commanded the 1st and his Plt. Sgt., George Parker, would appreciate the extra "help". This was later to prove one of my better decisions. Anyway while on this Search and Destroy mission we received orders that we were to be extracted immediately for another mission. The mission was in I Corps. The entire 2nd Bde. was being airlifted from the south of the country, north to relieve the Marines at Khe Sanh.
During this period the Marines were being hit pretty hard several times a day by 122 rocket fire from a large NVA force that completely surrounded the camp. The only way in or out was by air. They were like bottled up "rats". How could our leadership allow something like this to develop? None the less our mission was clear, or so I thought.
We went by C-130's to Phu Bai, just outside of the old imperial capital of Hue. There we were lifted by chopper to the Bde. staging area located in a large ancient graveyard. It had a bad feel about it, but the many large concrete headstones and tombs offered excellent natural (or in this case, un-natural) cover. The unit took its place in the Bde. perimeter and awaited its turn to be airlifted further north into combat. Over the next few days, one by one the Company's of the Bde. were extracted. For those of us left we would adjust the perimeter which was getting smaller and smaller. Up to this time our NDP's and patrols had received little contact. Then on 30 Jan. things changed. We were now down to only two Companys left in the Graveyard. The day started with the reports that several of our lift choppers had been shot down while in route to our position. Under normal circumstances we would have dispatched a patrol to the area, but we were starting to come under both mortar and sniper fire. It was clear that something big was happening. Radio communications were being jammed, and when you did get through it was clear that things were becoming confused and critical. The situation at this time was that part of the Bde. was somewhere between Quan Tri and Khe Sanh, the Bde. Hq. was in Quan Tri under fire. The 2/501 Hq. was located at a place called Camp Evans, located halfway between Hue and Quan Tri, and C and D Co., Raider, were on their own in the graveyard.
The NVA Tet offensive could not have been better timed as far as catching the Bde. all strung out. It was taking a big bite of I Corps. Everyone was being hit at the same time. Thus our ability to regroup quickly was greatly reduced. However, it was to prove too big of a bite for the enemy to digest.
Given the severity of the situation as well as the poor defense our position provided should a large force engage us, the decision was made to try and reach the Marine camp at Phu Bai where the airstrip would provide a ready means for us to link up with the rest of the Bn. That was, if any choppers were still flying. At least 12 were reported lost in that first day within the local area.
The Raiders then performed one of many admired feats to come. Under constant sniper and mortar fire they led the rest of the Bn. in a daylight extraction from the Bde. staging area, 8 miles back through the mountains to the camp at Phu Bai. The unit arrived in tact, no casualties and no equipment lost.
After arriving at Phu Bai we set up our NDP while I tried to arrange some sort of transport to Camp Evans where the rest of the Bn. was located. During the next 48 hrs. the unit was subjected to constant 122 rocket fire. But once again our luck held and there were no major casualties. Finally, we were able to get a chinook driver from the 1st Cav. to ferry us to Camp Evans where we rejoined the Bn. on the 2nd of Feb.
The situation was not good and I knew that soon the Raiders would have to face the ultimate test. I thought I'd learned during my previous tours how not to become too close to your men. Every casualty is a part of yourself and when one of them dies, a part of yourself dies with them. I had lost all of my classmates from Special Forces early in the war and had no close ties by the time I'd joined the Raiders. I had been determined not to let anyone or thing get too close, to tune out any feeling of emotion in order to maintain some form of sanity. It didn't work. By now the Raiders were a part of me and I of them. These initial fears were finally realized when our first major casualty occurred. While on patrol outside Camp Evans, PFC Brad Gagne "kicked" a mine and lost his leg. While it hurt, that one of my men was so seriously injured, I knew it was not to be the last. However, that hurt was offset to a degree by the pride showed in Gagne's parting words. Disregarding the seriousness of his wound, he made but one request as he was put on the medivac chopper, "don't forget my CIB and Raider Patch". A Raider with class.
The next day we were moved to a small Vietnamese checkpoint called PK 17, located just outside the city of Hue. 1st Plt. was positioned on the first highway bridge north of the city. Their mission was to keep it out of enemy hands at all costs. The 2nd & 3rd Plt.s would run patrols to try and intercept any reinforcements coming into Hue which by now was under complete enemy control. Both the bridge and the outpost were hit on a nightly basis but we were there to stay. On the 14th of Feb. the first Raider lost his life.
While on a sweep east of the bridge, Sp/4 Harold Begody, who was point man for 1st Plt., triggered an enemy ambush, and was killed in the first volley. The fact that the Raiders were able to quickly overcome the enemy position without a further loss, was directly attributed to Sp/4 Begody's actions in forcing the enemy to prematurely launch their attack. He had learned his skills well. Rest well Raider.
The next day, Feb. 15th 1968, was to be the first major "trial by fire" for the unit. It would be where the brotherhood of the Raiders was truly forged. It was to be their first major action. It would not be their last.
Intelligence had reported the sighting of an enemy Plt. moving towards Hue just south of the checkpoint. Our mission was to intercept. The area south of the checkpoint for about 1 KM was open rice fields. It then turned into heavy woods that offered good concealment. I left PK 17 at first light with 2nd Plt. under the command of 2/Lt. Dave Loftin and 3rd Plt. under the command of 2/Lt. Bob Brulte. The Hq Sec. consisted of 2/Lt. Michael Watson (Arty. FO), Sp/4 Lawrence Marunchuk (RTO) and myself. Total field strength, 56 men. It was shortly before 7am when we entered the woods. Within a hundred meters Lt. Brulte notified me that Sgt. David Cash, who was on point, reported sighting several NVA regulars. We then moved forward to further assess the situation but were short of Sgt. Cash's position when the entire unit came under extremely heavy fire and Sgt. Cash was hit immediately. He was lying in a small clearing and from our position it was hard to tell if he was still alive. None-the-less we had no intention of leaving him. 2nd Plt. came on line and we established our position. I was soon concerned as to the steadily increasing volume of fire being received as well as the area of coverage. This was a awful large Plt? Lt. Watson was instructed to call Arty onto the enemy position. The first volley of rounds hit home but seemed to have little effect on what was fast becoming a major enemy assault. Lt. Watson then called for a second "Fire for effect".
There are some things that are forever etched on ones mind. Like the sound that a volley of rounds from a 105 Btry makes upon impact. It's a very distinct sound. The second "Fire for effect" sounded different. And in that moment my fear was recognized. The first 5 rounds were on target, a split second delay then the sixth round landed in the middle of the 3rd Plt. "Short round, short round". "Cease fire, Cease fire". One of the rounds had "cooked off" and was slow and late coming out of the tube. Its one of the tragic things that sometimes happens in combat. It was unavoidable and no one was to blame. The results however, were devastating. Lt. Brulte, PFC Emanuel Burroughs and PFC Henry Tabet were killed. PFC's John Wheat, Barry Rainey, Donald Hendricks, Robert Gould, Sp/4's Gene "Raider Rob" Robertson and Glenn Pechacek, SSgt Joe Dunlap and Sgt. Michael Kopay were all wounded.
By now the enemy fire was increasing and many of those wounded by the "short round" were now coming under direct fire since they were unable to offer much resistance. An LZ was set up by SSgt Clifford Sims to medivac out the wounded, but this to was quickly under enemy fire. The unit was now completely surrounded. Later, intelligence reports would show that the enemy Plt. that we were supposed to intercept turned out to be the lead Plt. for a reinforced NVA Bn. on its way into Hue. During the next few hours the Raiders were to prove that they were no longer the "bastard child" of the Div.
Our problem was twofold, one to hold our lines and second to recover our wounded now almost completely exposed to the enemy attack. Two of our next casualties were as expected under the circumstances, our medics. With complete disregard for their own personal safety, Sp/4 David McKieghan, 2nd Plt. medic and PFC Alex (Doc) Spivey, 3rd Plt. medic, moved among the wounded, treating their wounds and were directly responsible for the saving of several lives. But this had its price. Exposed as they were it was only a matter of time before they both themselves became casualties. But in true Raider fashion others carried on.
The difficulty continued to be the recovery of those wounded by the "short round". At about noon I received word that two Co.s from the 1st Cav had been deployed to the enemy's flank to try and relieve some of the pressure on our unit so that we could possibly break contact. Two hours later I received word that they had been withdrawn due to heavy enemy pressure and the fact that command did not want them to become decisively engaged at this time. We were on our own again.
Our position was becoming difficult to defend against such a superior force and the Command Post at PK 17 was recommending I withdraw and cut my losses. Any withdrawal at this time would have meant leaving behind several of our seriously wounded to the enemy. My reply was short and simple; I refuse to leave any of my men on the battlefield. The decision was mine and mine alone and I except full responsibility for the fact we refused to retreat and the additional casualties that occurred as a result of that decision. They weren't just soldiers, they were family, Raiders. I had brought them here and I was damn well not going to leave them, wounded and dying, for the enemy.
During the next few hours the fighting continued at a heavy pace. The enemy continued to probe for weakness in our positions, but the Raiders held firm. Sgt's Washington and Gregory along with Lt. Loftin and PFC Thomas Miles were doing a magnificent job organizing cover for the wounded. Sp/4 Joseph Flores temporarily became the "acting Plt. Ldr for 3rd Plt following the death of Lt. Brulte. He along with PFC Ronald Hendricks stayed on the radio and provided a critical link with the 3rd Plt. while the Plt. Sgt., SSgt James Deland, moved among his men with encouragement and determination. There were many acts of gallantry and courage on that day. But the courage displayed that day was not limited to just the men on the ground. It was also during this time that our ammo was becoming critical. I had requested a resupply earlier but had been told the LZ was too hot for them to get in. Fortunately it wasn't too hot for everyone.
From out of nowhere Scotty showed up with a chopper he had "high jacked" and under heavy fire, brought us some badly needed ammo. Unconfirmed reports say he threatened to pull his 45 on an officer and pilot unless he flew him in. It was left as unconfirmed. The important thing was that we got our resupply. As the aircraft came in unannounced, it was unable to touch down because of the volume of enemy fire. While SSgt Sims and his men provided as much covering fire as possible the aircraft made a short and nervous hover and Scotty kicked the ammo off and left with an aircraft that had several new holes in it and, I'm sure a much relieved pilot.
Several times during the day the enemy tried to tighten the noose around our position but the Raiders just dug in a little bit more. By 5pm I was wondering how much longer we could hold. PFC Wade Thackery, 3rd Plt, had been killed and Sp/4 Billy Barnett, also of the 3rd Plt, wounded trying to recover one of their wounded comrades. PFC's Lorin Johnson, Glenn Williamson, James Jenkins, Sp/4 Kyle Tucker and SSgt John Gingery continued to repeatedly brave heavy enemy fire in attempts to rescue our wounded. These were not isolated incidents but part of a continuing display of the gallantry and unselfish sacrifice shown for a fellow Raider and repeated several times during this, our "longest day".
It was shortly after 6pm and starting to get dark when the last of our wounded were recovered. The last to be recovered was Sgt. Cash. He had died.
Enemy fire was starting to ease for the first time that day. We were able to clear a path through the enemy positions and while Lt. Watson and myself along with a few members of the 2nd Plt. provided covering fire, Lt. Loftin with the remaining survivors, and carrying our dead, moved out of the woods. The enemy tried to make one last assault on our position but once again was beaten off with the loss of several soldiers. Lt. Watson and myself were the last to leave the woods. Once clear, Lt. Watson called in a heavy Artillery barrage that finally silenced all enemy fire.
While the enemy killed was put at over 40 none of us cared too much about making a detailed count. Too much emphasis was always being placed on body count during the war. I had always been taught the final results of the battle were more important. The Raiders resolve and determination had been tested to the limit. They had withstood what another force of much greater size and strength could not. They had stood their ground against a much larger force and ended the battle with their honor intact. But it was not without its costs. In addition to those already noted, also wounded were Sp/4 Kurtland Walker, 2nd Plt., Sp/4 Julio Medina, 2nd Plt, Sp/4 William Hinz, 3rd Plt, PFC Dennis Simmons, 3rd Plt, and myself.
Nothing had been left on the battlefield for the enemy. Neither equipment nor most important, a Raider. The Raiders had shown the courage and compassion that would mark them forever as one of the most truly gallant units ever assembled. They, by their actions, had seriously damaged the effectiveness of a far superior force. They were bent but they refused to break. For those enemy soldiers who may have gotten close enough to see our patch and survive, I'm sure it would not be quickly forgotten.
During the next two days we continued to patrol but never again encountered a major force. Then on the 18th of Feb. the 2/501st were ready to make their assault into Hue. 1st Plt. was brought in from the bridge and LZ Sally was set up in the rice fields outside of PK 17, to receive the rest of the Bn. which arrived during early morning. Later that day, as we pushed through the same general area where the battle of the 15th took place, my luck ran out when an enemy sniper shattered my left knee cap. Moments later while trying to take the sniper out I was again wounded, this time in the groin. A few minutes later the sniper was silenced. As I was being loaded on the medivac chopper I turned command of the Raiders temporarily over to Lt. Loftin and requested that Cleo Hogan be put into command as soon as possible.
Because of the severity of my wounds I was medivaced out of country. I then spent a month in the hospital in Japan, just down the hall from several other Raiders, including Doc Spivey. After getting put back together enough to be medivaced to the states I was moved to the hospital at Ft. Ord for recovery. It was during this time that I received a letter from Cleo Hogan outlining the events that followed my departure. The actions of Joe Hooper and SSgt Sims, the death of SSgt Gregory and the wounding of Lt. Loftin and most important the continued gallantry by the unit as a whole. God, I loved them all.
After six months in hospital and several months of recuperation I volunteered for flight school, became a Cobra Driver, and returned to Vietnam as a pilot and commander of an Air Cav Troop in the 1st Cav. It was to be my last tour of duty.
A lot of time has now passed since then. And over the years as I look back to that unfortunate time in our Country's history, and I remember the times spent as an adviser and with Omega Project during the early years to the time when I finished my combat duty after flying 621 combat missions in Cambodia and Loas, there is but one time held most special. A time when a group of men with diverse backgrounds and skills, of different races and character, came together as one. A time when a brotherhood was formed that would bind us always, one to another. The time that I was fortunate enough to share with the members of the Delta Raiders.
The Tet Offensive was over by the end of March. Of the original 168 officers and enlisted men of Delta Company who had landed in Vietnam the previous December, only 16 remained. This rag-tag group of cooks, bakers, and clerks... the "bastard child of the Battalion", had become one of the finest fighting machines ever produced in Vietnam. Although most of the men who served as Raiders during the remainder of the Vietnam War were non-volunteer draftees, the high standards, pride, and sense of duty set by the original group was upheld, and the Raider Patch was worn with honor until the unit was sent home in July of 1972. During 1969 the Raiders were involved in the battle for Hamburger Hill. Later that year they were a part of a Battalion airlift to the DMZ to help the Marines, where they were greeted by crack NVA forces. In mid 1970 the Delta Raiders were placed under operational control of 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry and sent deep into the mountains near the Ashau Valley. Fire Support Base Ripcord was surrounded by a reinforced Division of NVA. The Raiders mission was to take and hold Hill 805, during what would become the last major offensive operation conducted in Vietnam by American ground forces. Although the fighting around Ripcord cost more American casualties than the more publicized Hamburger Hill, it went virtually un-noticed by the press. It would become the "forgotten battle". In April of 1971 the 101st Airborne Division once again attempted to enter the Ashau Valley to break up the NVA stronghold. The Raiders were among those involved and met heavy NVA resistance, resulting in the loss of many more good men. After Action Reports, log records and radio transmissions for the major battles that the Raiders were involved in are published on this website.
Original Raider Patch that 1st Sgt. Scott helped design and wore in Vietnam
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This page is dedicated to Wayne McMenamy (Raider 6) and Arthur Scott, the first Company Commander and 1st Sgt. of Delta Company.