Wolfhound CRIPs Vietnam Gary White was part of the Recon unit of the 2/27th Wolfhounds, 25th Infantry Division with the main base camp in Cu Chi.
Gary served in the Wolfhounds Recon Unit from February 1968 to February 1969. He was stationed in two primary remote outpost locations along the Cambodian border.
Gary may be the only Recon CRIP member (Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Platoon) to complete the Recondo School Vietnam. He was asked by the captain at the time, and a Staff Sargent TEX Robinson, wonder where he was from, to attend Recondo School! “Ringo” (Mike Ringenberg) thought his last name was Robinson. I don’t remember. I do remember he was an honorable guy and kept his word, as I did mine. He made me a bargain the day he asked me to volunteer for Recondo School. He would get me promoted to Sargent E5. More pay; more money to send home. I graduated Recondo School #1207. A little over 3500 soldiers from all branches of the service completed the school.
Gary’s first assignment was a former French compound that was an outpost located in Bao Trai, in Hau Nghia Provence. Gary spent approximately 9 months at this location. Later toward the end of his tour of duty his unit was moved from Bao Trai to a location closer to the Cambodian Border, Duc Hue. This was also known as the “Sugar Mill”. Across the Oriental River (Vam Co Dong River) was the Cambodian border.
When he first arrived he wondered what was going on, why was he assigned here? Many of the people at Cu Chi referred to the unit as a recon (reconnaissance) platoon. That all by itself was enough to let you know this was not going to be a normal infantry unit. I think the reason for the change from CRIP to Recon was the transformation of the platoon and it’s assignments. Within a six months of my arrival we had all but abandoned the joint patrols with the South Vietnamese Army. MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) took over a larger role in training and the advisory role to the South Vietnamese Army. Many of our regional assignments were directly delegated through MACV and our command channels.
Many of the assignments were patrols. 20 men walking assigned areas scouting for VC (Vietcong) or NVA (North Vietnam Army) movement. This was many times a grid search. If you use a map and break the region down into a grid system you can systematically search for your quarry. In this case it was the enemy. Many time they were farmers or even workers by day and lobbing mortars at you by night.
Tay Ninh was walking distance, anyway headquarters thought it was for us! My recollection of one such mission had us walk in during morning hours. An NVA flag was flying on a pole. We ended up calling in gunships, (helicopter units) to help us out. That was the first time I seen a chopper (helicopter) that was not much wider than the width of a man’s body. It was a weird looking thing, they called it a Cobra. I come to love those weird looking gunships!
The pilot top a quick fly-over and then lined up on the enemy targets and fired rockets over our heads, less than 25 feet above us, roaring as they went over. You could see the rocket come out of the tube, with a hiss and explosion some 50 feet from our position behind a large berm or log. I think log but it has been over 44 years you take your pick. All I know if was a welcome cover. The “firefight” was over just as quickly as it began.
Rockets, mortars, gunfire was an everyday occurrence. Hearing the big guns, Howitzers showering an area before, during and after troops had engaged the enemy was also part of everyday life.
Mortars came into our little camp sometimes like clockwork and other times once or twice a week. Charlie just let us know he was still there. In one mortar attack we had 5 to 7 injured with shrapnel. Several were dusted off for removal of the shrapnel, stitched up and sent back to us. Dean was one of the worst hit that night. Sammy was hit in the leg, can’t remember who else was wounded anymore.