By SGT Michael Tousey
HIGHLANDER HEIGHTS — The point element of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion,
35th Infantry interrupted a group of five North Vietnamese (NVA) relaxing at
breakfast ten miles southwest of Kontum City and killed one.
The action began when the scout dog working with the point element of Bravo
Company alerted the Cacti Blue soldiers, and before the action subsided 21 NVA
"After the dogs warning we all got down and carefully surveyed the
area," said Specialist 4 Charles Tanner of Campbell, Mo., the point man.
"We saw a poncho hanging in a tree, and some packs and gear on the
First Lieutenant John Barbeau of Sparta, Ill., and Sergeant Dale Eagle of
Newberry, S.C., opened fire killing one. The four other NVA who were eating
breakfast fled the area when the firing began.
Then we moved out again with my platoon on line," said Lieutenant
Barbeau. "We found several open packs containing 60mm and 82mm mortar
rounds; apparently they were trying to get the rounds out of there but did not
have the time."
The company began to receive heavy fire again and pulled back to call in
additional artillery and air strikes. More than 500 rounds of artillery were
poured into the area.
"The enemy mortars were approximately 200 or 300 meters away after we
pulled back," said Captain Stanley E. Traeb III of Detroit, Bravo company
commander. "It took about 24 seconds from the time the round left the tube
for it to reach us, so we moved by counting to 20 after the shot and then
hitting the ground.
"As soon as the round went off, we would get up and move for another 20
seconds. There were NVA on our right side, and I would guess they had a forward
observer from the way the rounds were coming in."
Bravo Company pulled back to allow room for the artillery, gunships and air
strikes to work and prepared to return for a sweep of the area the following
The sweep uncovered 21 NVA bodies.
Stan Traeb - Bravo Company 1969
The action described did occur on 6/10/69.
We actually surprised a Heavy Weapons Company from the 24th NVA regiment as they
set up their defensive perimeter for the day and the 5 man group initially
engaged was their OP position. The main body was about 25-50 meters further in
and they had fighting positions dug behind Bamboo clusters. A prisoner was taken
the next day with the assistance of Recon and he identified the unit we had
We were actually able to overrun their position and occupy it for a short period
of time before they cranked up their 82's (3 tubes) and started pounding the
daylights out of us. We took about 75 -100 mortar rounds and 36 casualties
later, I ordered a withdrawal to a casualty evacuation point some 200 meters or
so to our rear and called in TAC Air.
Delta Troop 1/10th Cav was monitoring our push and sent their entire slick
section (6 Huey's) to Dust-Off our casualties. Once the casualties were safely
away, we were in a position to direct an air strike, but were ordered to fall
back to our previous night lager by Big 6 as he indicated that he would spot for
the Tac Air.
There were some standout performances that day let me tell you! Lt William
Wallin from 2/9th Arty was our FO and what a job he did! He did a little number
called "Three Quads, Three Deflections" and we ended up having a 105mm
round hit their position about every 5 meters apart in an area of about 150
meters by 150 meters.
Lt John Barbeau performed in his customary Heroic nature while leading the 1st
Platoon (which incidentally came out of the field on 6/13/69 with 7 men). Bill
Delaney, CP security, took care of an NVA who had decided that he was personally
going to take out the entire CP by himself. The heroism that all members of
Bravo 2/35 Inf displayed that day had to be seen to be believed. Nothing in this
life has ever impressed me as much as what Bravo showed me at LZ Penny between
May 8th and June 13th of 1969. We had well over 65% casualties in a 35 day
period and came out of the bush with a 39 man Company. This also included the
Weapons Platoon which had been detached from the Firebase and sent out to the
bush as replacements.
In all, we had been in 6 Major firefights, had been responsible for over 15,000
of artillery fire, and were officially credited with killing over 120 NVA. The
KIA count was a figure determined by S2 as opposed to physical count. Bravo
never reported more than what we physically found. We knew we hurt them since
the 24th NVA withdrew back to Cambodia while we were still at Penny, however,
Bravo had also paid a price. God must have been watching over us then since we
only had 1 confirmed KIA from Bravo. A Dog Handler had been critically wounded
also but we never got a follow-up report so I pray that he survived.
This article was accurate in every detail except the confirmed NVA body count.
Bravo Company 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry
May - Sept 1969
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