Delta 1/35th

26 January 1968

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Crossing Viet River Is Half of the Battle

DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) - It isn't often that the infantry has to worry about such things but 2nd Lt. Fred de Witt recently reported that no one in his platoon was seasick.

Just a few minutes before, D Co., 1st Bn., 35th Inf., had moved up to the Song Thu Bong River north of Chu Lai. They were to cross the river and pursue enemy troops known to be operating on the other side.

The mission was complicated though, when a bridge indicated on the map was found to be blown in half and impassable.

As Capt. George Davignon pondered the problem, he noticed six reed boats on a small island in the middle of the river. Summoning Sgt. Roger A. Smith, Davignon discussed his plan.

"The next thing I new," said 1st Sgt. Thomas C. Mathis, "the two of them were swimming the river, naked as a bird's tail and with no weapons."

The pair clambered onto the island and spotted five Vietnamese hiding in a bunker. Startled by the attire-or lack of it-of their discoverers, the Vietnamese emerged from their shelter. After haggling a while over price, D Co. had an amphibious assault force.

The river crossing was completed and D Co. moved out in pursuit of the enemy.

 

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