Alan Wayne Bonney
Private First Class
Army of the United States
Easton, Pennsylvania
January 04, 1948 to May 25, 1967
ALAN W BONNEY is on the Wall at Panel 20E, Line 100

Alan W Bonney
usarv.gif 101abnsm.jpg 327infrgt.gif

28 May 2007

Dear Friend

Your loss is burned in my brain forever.

Just so wish I could give you a hug and know everything is OK.

From a friend,
Paul Lupi
E-mail address is not available.

06 Oct 2007

Alan W Bonney
Photo courtesy of John Yeager

Operation MALHEUR

During the period 11-31 May 1967, Task Force Oregon, comprised of units from the 196th Light Infantry Brigade (Chu Lai), 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Duc Pho), and 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne (Duc Pho), conducted search and destroy operations in the southeast portion of Quang Ngai Province. The first objective of the operation was to clear the high ground immediately west of Duc Pho of VC/NVA (Base Areas 123 and 124)forces and installations.

To give the reader an idea of combat conditions faced by the US, the following entries from the Command Chronology of III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) who had Operational Control of Task Force Oregon, are listed as:

  • On 12 May, 1320H, Co B/1/327 ambushed 4 VC in the vicinity of BS672387 with 1 VC KIA (Confirmed), and 1 French smuggler captured. At 0630H the next morning, they engaged an unknown number of enemy in the vicinity of BS679390; 13 VC KIA (Confirmed). Their mission continued and at 1335H, near BS787315, they found a cache of 43 weapons.

  • On 14 May, between the hours of 0845H and 1020H, Company A/1/327 engaged unknown size VC force in the area of BD689305 with 9 USA KIA, 36 USA WIA and 27 confirmed VC KIA.

  • On 15 May at 1530H, Recon platoon of 1st Battalion, 327th in vicinity of BS673083 received heavy small arms and mortar fire. One platoon from B Company, 1/327th reinforced the defenders, resulting in 20 conf VC KIA.

  • On 16 May, 0950 hours, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry near BS703367 engaged unknown size VC force in bunkers; 6 VC KIA, 1 smuggler captured.

  • On the 18th of May at 0920H B Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne engaged 20 NVA near BS705322, resulting in 9 VA KIA, and capture of 1 NVA Nurse and 1 smuggler. At 1425 hours, the company was in the vicinity of BS703322 maneuvered and estimated VC company into a pocket resulting in 31 confirmed VC KIA.

  • At 0800 hours, 23 May 1967, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne, near BS 748363 apprehended 42 detainees carrying rice and other food stuffs. Interrogation indicated a VC Supply Company.

  • On 25 May 1967, at 0750 hours, Company B/1/327 near BS880372 engaged an estimated VC Company which resulted in 11 VC KIA. No mention made of where or when Company C lost their 8 men and the dog handler. Read more below.

  • On 31 May from 0825 until 1650 hours, Company C, 2/327th battled unknown number of VC near BS881382 resulting in 13 VC killed, 3 smugglers captured, and documents gained.

Over the May reporting period, recon units accounted for 18 separate engagements. Results for the period show the US Army lost 52 killed, 272 wounded with the enemy losing 369 confirmed deaths, 32 probable, 187 detainees, 9 VC POWs, 2 NVA POWs, 8 Civilian defendants, 163 innocent civilians and 158 weapons recovered.

Although the C Company contact was not noted in the III MAF Command Chronology, historical documents from the 101st Airborne Division noted the following occurred during Operation MALHEUR:

The 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry had two significant contacts. One company contacted an estimated 50 man VC force in well-fortfied positions with automatic weapons and M-79's resulting in 1 US Killed by Hostile Action (KHA), 11 US Wounded by Hostile Action (WHA), 1 Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) KHA, 1 CIDG WHA and 11 VC KIA (Conf). Another company contacted an unknown size VC force in well-fortified positions resulting in 8 US KHA and 10 US WHA.
The 10 men who were killed during the firefights of 25 May 1967 were:

In addition, Sergeant Rathbun's German shepard was killed in the action, and the dog's body was brought out with the men he served. According to one report, he was killed while mauling an NVA soldier - and had a piece of the soldier in his mouth when he was brought in. Some reports give the dog's name as "Thunder", but the Vietnam Dog Handlers' Association shows only one dog killed on 25 May 1967 - Rex, tag number 8X60.

As more US Army units arrived in Vietnam the two divisional brigades (1/101st Airborne and 3/25th Infantry Divisions were released back to their parent organizations and two arriving separate brigades were assigned to Task Force Oregon, which in turn, on 25 September 1967, was re-designated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). The division was composed of the 11th, 196th, and 198th Light Infantry Brigades and divisional support units. Both the 11th and 198th brigades were newly formed units.

Alan Wayne Bonney, the son of Dorothy M. Wagner Bonney (1925 - 2008) and Forrest Bonney Sr. (1923-2002), grew up with his brothers and sisters in Wind Gap and Easton Pennsylvania. He graduated from Easton Area High School in 1965. He began his tour in Vietnam on January 25, 1967.

During the week of May 30, nine Pennsylvanians were reported as killed in Vietnam. At that time, the family was living on 13th Street in Easton. In addition to his parents, he was survived by his paternal grandmother, Nettie Kresge Bonney (1885-1976), maternal grandmother, Edith M. Johnson Wagner (1907 - 1974). He also had brothers Dale and Barry and sisters Kathleen and Kimberly. A half brother Forest Jr (Peggy Wheeland) was born in approximately 1991-1992.

He was predeceased by paternal grandfather Earl C Bonney (1883 - 1933) and maternal grandfather William R. Wagner (1898 - 1966). PFC Alan W Bonney was buried in Hays Cemetery, Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania as is his mother. His father, a PFC in the Army in WWII from 25 Oct 1943 to 17 Jan 1946 was cremated with ashes to the family. His maternal grandparents are also interred in Hays while his paternal grandparents are in Fairview Cemetery, Pen Argyl, Northammpton County, Pennsylvania.

- - The Virtual Wall, December 10, 2014

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