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Weapons Cache In Cacti Blue Hands

OASIS — A soldier’s search to find the easiest way down a ridge netted a large enemy weapons cache in the Chu Prong Mountain area.

Specialist 4 John D. Grindle of La Mesa, Calif, was a member of a search patrol sent to scout an outlying area by the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, when the patrol was told to come down from the ridge to a stream bed.

On the descent, Specialist Grindle spotted an unnatural looking, partially covered hole. An examination of the hole, which was covered by logs, found a cave filled with enemy weapons and resulted In the uncovering of the first of four enemy weapons caches In the area.

Included in the caches were 300,000 AK47 rounds, 43 B40 rocket fuses, 78 60mm mortar rounds, 103 Chicom grenades and four SKS rifles.

Also part of the caches were four RPG7 rockets, 126 ignition cartridges for 60mm mortars, an NVA claymore mine, 164 mortar fuses, 11 AT grenades, an M16 rifle and 440 M16 rounds.

In discovering another cache one member of the Famous Fourth Division’s recon patrol was able to make a first hand observation of the enemy’s camouflage.

Private First Class David Peterson of Allendale, NJ., said he "saw two logs that had been cut and attached to a third log so they were shaped like an arrow pointing right toward the cache."

The discovery of the enemy caches came on the second day of the recon platoon’s mission and shortly after a contact which resulted in the death of one NVA.

Sergeant First Class J.F. Tibbit of Leesvillle, La., observed a group of 20 NVA soldiers walking near the Recon Platoon’s LZ and opened fire with his M16.

One enemy troop was killed instantly, and the remainder fled the area.

Alter guarding the weapons cache overnight in a rice paddy, the Recon Platoon needed the assistance of four helicopters to transport the cache to LZ Valentine, the battalion firebase.

Even with the cache out of the way the action wasn’t over for the Recon Platoon. The platoon accounted for three additional enemy deaths in a contact the following day.

"We saw about 10 NVA coming down the hill toward the blue line," said First Lieutenant Charles R. Winn of Anaheim, Calif., Recon Platoon leader.

"We were hoping they would keep coming Into the open but they were suspicious and began going back up the hill."

As the NVA started back up the hill the security element of the Recon Platoon opened fire.

The platoon stood fast the next day as artillery fire detonated seven secondary explosions on nearby Hill 881. The recon team then drove to the peak of the hill to become the first friendly force to accomplish the mission without enemy resistance.

The discovery of the weapons caches were the second of a sizable amount the Recon platoon has discovered this year.

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