1969 APRIL RVN - FIRE BASE ARROW
"It was in early April that A Btry 1st Bn 83rd Arty convoyed from FSB
Blaze to FB Arrow, six clicks west. As we entered into AO, we noticed a
Rome Plow dozer climbing a steep hill and attempting to take down a
tree. The angle was too steep and the dozer somersaulted down the hill
and the driver exited out the right side after the first flip. We set up
gun emplacements using the spade as a plow to make a burm around each of
The next order of business was to set up night defensive positions
[NDPís]. We dug foxholes big enough for two men so we could alternate
two hours guard and two hours sleep. A few 2 by 4ís were jammed into the
holes to form a seat for two soldiers who guarded and slept in the same
position. We put out trip flares and Claymore mines down the hill
leading to the Rao Nai River below. When daybreak came, I noticed my
left hand was three times the normal size. Doc Paddleford said it was a
scorpion or spider bite and if I did not get sick, then it was
non-lethal. It cleared up in 3 days.
The water from the Rao Nai was pumped into the water buffalo for
drinking. It was loaded with such bacteria that maximum chlorine and
iodine used was more than used in a stateside pool. Lime Kool Aid was
added to kill the stench and the order to not shave was given. Arrow was
in a valley covered on three sides by mountains. Rt 547 was still being
carved out through the Roung Roung Valley to make Fire Base Cannon, just
up the hill from us. Being low exposed us to more than the usual night
firing from the VC.
After a few days, a deal was made with the US NAVY SEABEES to build us a
four-holer crapper in exchange for 4 cases of poncho liners. A Chinook
[CH-47A] brought it in to the area and put it about 50 feet outside our
wire. That night another firefight ensued and the morning light revealed
a crapper that was three feet high with the top half shot off by our
M-60 machine gunner. There was no hot food brought in to Arrow and mail
was thrown out from 50 feet as the UH-1 flew by. Anyone who received
food from home had a mix of crumbs. C-Rations were limited to one meal a
day in the second week as there was no resupply. The infantry that was
with us gave us LLRPS, which was dehydrated food that just needed hot
water to become a meal. It was our first experience with the LLRP meals.
The LLRP stands for LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROL.
A pair of M-48 Dusters was also at Arrow along with two Quad 50ís gun
trucks from the 65th Arty. One night during firing, our 3rd section was
called to REAR OF THE PIECE, FALL IN. That is usually the command for a
shell fired into a location not called in by the forward observer. The
deflection and quadrant were checked and found to be accurate. Our XO.2
LT Lloyd was determined to jack somebody up for this mistake. It turned
out to be his mistake as he laid the battery from the tail light of an
M-548 cargo carrier and the aiming stake flashlight was OFF and not ON.
Shortly after, the Army issued a ruling that no second lieutenants would
be allowed in country. Lt. Lloyd complained about our lack of experience
in setting up trip flares and proceeded to set three off after his mini
walk down the hill. He failed Warrant Officer aviation training and was
put in artillery. He was gone after the aiming stake incident and we had
some decent officers after that.
An M-60 tank became disabled in a ravine and was dragged up a hill
sideways by the winch cable on an M-88 VTR assisted by a Rome Plow.
Our unit stayed about three weeks at ARROW, as it was that long before
WALLY, William L. Walling needed an impaction, as he didnít have a bowel
movement for three weeks while surviving on Date Pudding from C-Rations.
The weather was rainy most of the time."
Dan OíBrien SSG US ARMY RETIRED
A/1/83RD ARTY 1969