A Note from The Virtual Wall
During early May 1968 elements of the 198th Infantry Brigade had several engagements with NVA forces in Quang Tin Province, particularly along the east-west axis formed by LZs EAST (Hill 488), CENTER (Hill 348), and WEST (Hill 440) along the Hiep Duc Valley.
At 1030 05 May 1968 a UH-1D (tail number 66-17075) from the 176th AHC was shot down at BT069246 while carrying troops for a recon patrol southeast of LZ CENTER. The aircraft was hit by .51 caliber fire while at 2,500 feet, lost its main rotor, crashed and burned, killing ten men:
Fifteen minutes later UH-1C tail number 66-00510 from the 71st AHC was shot down at BT075248. Although all four crewmen were injured, none died. Soldiers from Bravo 1/6 Infantry were picked up by helicopter at LZ Center and combat assaulted at 1435 hrs to secure the area near the downed aircraft. At 1750 D Company, 1/20 Infantry were inserted to reinforce Bravo 1/6. At 1824 Bravo 1/6 and Delta 1/20 received incoming 82mm mortar fire at BT083247, killing one soldier and wounding six others from Delta 1/20. An immediate air strike was called at BT083246, only 100 meters distant from the friendly troops. Three US soldiers were wounded by bomb fragments - and one of them died from his injuries. These two men were
- Aircrew, 176th AHC:
- CWO David L. Blattel, Scott City, MO, pilot
- 1LT Samuel R. Gardner, Wichita, KS, copilot
- SP4 Gordon L. Terrell, Gervais, OR, gunner
- PFC Gary M. Meier, Lake Crystal, MN, crew chief
- Passengers, E Co, 1st Bn, 6th Infantry:
- SGT James P. Freeman, Masterson, TX
- SGT Robert E. Quick, Elkhart, IN
- SGT Barry T. Reinhardt, Minneapolis, MN
- CPL Russell W. Eggert, Cleveland, OH
- CPL Duane M. Normandin, Gentilly, MN
- CPL Robert G. Weddendorf, Inglewood, CA
As night fell the two rifle companies formed a defensive perimeter, and on 06 May recovered the bodies from the burned out hulk of 66-17075.
- SGT Larry F. Gleason, Harleysville, PA, A Co, 26th Eng Bn, and
- SP5 John L. Vories, Booneville, AR, medic, HHC 1/20 with Delta 1/20.