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3rd Brigade Fetes Montagnards

Bearing gifts of soap and candy, members of 3rd Brigade recently moved into Dak Ri Lang, a remote Montagnard village about 65 miles northwest of Pleiku, to show the villagers there how Americans battle the other war.

Based five miles east of the village on operation Longfellow, the reconnaissance platoon from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, mounted, their gun jeeps for the trip.

Other jeeps from the battalion carried not guns but supplies for the villagers. One bore the cases of soap and candies contributed by Zonta International Club, of Meriden, Conn., while another was laden with medical supplies.

After a 20-minute ride, the group pulled up outside the village. Security guards moved into position and Captain John F. Field, battalion intelligence officer, from Cromwell, Conn., entered the village.

Battalion Surgeon Captain Jack P. Baldwin and his assistants immediately set up shop. Through interpreters, they explained they were there to help the sick and diseased Villagers. In an hour, the medics had treated more than 30 villagers, who were suffering with anything from infected sores to mild pneumonia. Treatment ranged from swabbing with soap solution to massive doses of penicillin.

PFC Joseph H. Peavey, of Bangor, Me., and Specialist Five Alford B. Childres, whose family is living in Korea during his tour in Vietnam, handed out vitamin pills to the crowd.

Meanwhile, Capt. Fielding asked his interpreters to have the village chiefs gather the rest of the more than 350 Montagnards in the village square, where be distributed gifts of soap and candy to the assembled villagers.

According to Capt. Baldwin, the disease and infection rate in the village would be halved if the people had soap available and used it regularly.

 

Cpt John Fielding handing out candy to Montagnard villagers

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