A/3/21-- They Said No

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 182
    (7/24/01 7:08:37 pm)
    | Del All A/3/21-- They Said No
    23 August, 1969
    Alpha Company 3rd of the 21st, 196thLIB made history accidentally on this date.
    A Company consisted of 98 men mostly green with all green officers. The average infantry company should have 120 men mostly experienced. 120 men are required to launch company size infantry assaults. If you are 22 people short you lack the firepower to stay alive and the manpower to carry your wounded.
    Alpha Company was mistakenly sent directly into a NVA base camp. Their opponent was the legendary 2nd NVA division. An NVA Division normally consists of 6400 men, but the 2nd had been heavily reinforced with several extra batallions.
    The company had been led into a horseshoe shaped ambush. Surrounded by camoflauged bunkers and a large tunnel complex. This was the Area of operations of the 2nd NVA. Alpa Company got mauled. Many of the EMs suspected incompetent leadership. Recon had deceived them before about enemy troop concentrations.
    The was incredible heat even for Vietnam. There was little water for EMs but some officers had two or three fresh canteens. The EMs believed that when water was brought to the field the officers ordered the men to hold their positions, while the officers took the water. The EMs suspected the officers of malfeasance. Most newbies had no water. It was a grueling and punishing fight. A Company was finally able to withdraw. They were grateful for the medevac. In the past few days their requests for medevac were simply declined. Men were left groaning all night long, some died in agony.
    One medic was dragged to the platoon leader for his own safety. He had been caught hiding with his fingers in his ears. He refused to treat the men. He was placed under the protection of an officer for his own safety. Most of the senior NCOs and officers had been killed or relieved of command.
    There were only 57 men left alive and fighting. The 57 survivors of Alpha Company were ordered to go back into the horseshoe of bunkers and tunnels and retrieve two bodies from a crashed chopper. They were incredulous! The most experienced men were stunned by the suicidal orders to re engage the 2nd NVA with 57 men without food, water or ammo. They requested reinforcements, ammo food and water. Their request was declined just as their request for medevacs were declined a few days before. There would be no reinforcements, no support at all. They demanded to speak to the IG. They were denied.
    They said No.
    The CO ordered them and they refused. He called batallion for advice. This had happened before in WW2 and in Korea. Usually the men had been mistreated or had lost confidence in the command. A/3/21 had both of these factors. Battalion Tactical operations Center or BTOC (beetok) had a number of reporters listening to the exchange between the CO and BTOC.
    History was made. A/3/21 had no idea the reporters were there. The EMs had actually requested an IG investigation before continuing, the green LT simply logged it in as insubordination. Their request to speak to the IG was declined.
    The men resented the fact that BTOC officers refused to join them in the field. Usually only LTs or lower had to hump the boonies. Sometimes an entire Company went out to fight with a Spec 4 in command.
    They eventually, grudgingly went back to the horseshoe and retrieved the bodies after the NVA had left.
    This was the Company that said No!

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 134
    (7/24/01 10:20:18 pm)
    | Del Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    This corellates with what I have said before here. So many of the officer corps of that time were only interested in two things: there careers and their ass.

    "nuff said from me!

    Stan H

    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 433
    (7/25/01 6:49:07 am)
    | Del Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    Another example of Vietnam going wrong...along with all the f*ck-ups in Washington.

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 939
    (7/25/01 9:10:18 am)
    | Del
    Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    While I don't argue the point that the junior officer corps was weak in Vietnam, there are reasons for that. The massive build up for Vietnam was such that an inordinate number of junior officers needed to be trained to fill many slots. Most came from the civilian ranks to either OCS or through ROTC and therefore had virtually no military experience upon reaching Vietnam.... a sad reality. As for more senior officers, a few had seen combat in Korea but those were in the minority. Overall, our officer corps was very unseasoned.
    As for the assertion that "many" were simply trying to further their careers...........I would say you would be more of a judge about that, Stan, since most senior remf officers had nothing much more to do than shuffle paperwork and plot career moves. But, I doubt the senior NCO's were much different.
    Let us not forget that while many of the officers were the shitbums you suggest.......many were not and many were and are very fine and brave men. A credit to the Army (in this case) and to this country.
    nuf said.

    Edited by: dap22 at: 7/25/01 9:08:03 pm

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 136
    (7/25/01 10:52:39 am)
    | Del Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    I would in no way mean to take anything away from those people, both officer and enlisted, that acted and served honorably. The troops on both sides of this topic know who they are, and what they did.

    Posts: 1263
    (7/27/01 11:16:25 am)
    | Del Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    Mike...sometimes I don't know how to respond to incidents that are posted here. Yours is one of these...all I feel like saying this is Fubar shit...Breakdown...Breakdown...Breakdown.

    Breakdowns start at the top of the chain. Enlisted are usually the ones that suffer...evident by the casualties.

    Damn war.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    Edited by: homer4 at: 7/27/01 10:42:49 pm

    Posts: 25
    (7/27/01 7:26:13 pm)
    | Del Re: A/3/21-- They Said No
    You said it brother, I met shitheels on both sides of the payline and I met some men I'm proud to know on both sides too. We had incompetent people that had to be utilized regardless, jobs were found for them. We had unrecognized heroes in plenty, not all of them carried a gun everyday. We had an incompetent first shirt for a while so our field first ran the company and the battalion XO found busy work at HQ company for our useless E-8. 1968 was extremely busy for us linedogs.

    I've been talking a lot to some of my linebrothers lately, there ain't many of us that did the whole year, and in some ways it's been uplifting. It still feels incredibly good to hear their voices and know they're alive.
    A love tempered in the crucible of war.
    The point of the spear