Blackhorse Hoofbeats

Echoes from the Regiment’s Service in Vietnam 1966 – 1972

Don Snedeker, 11th ACVVC Historian

2nd Qtr 2015


·         Lima Troop to the Rescue.  From an article entitled “Tracks Across Vietnam” that appeared in the August 1968 edition of Army Digest:  “Critics predicted it just wouldn’t work in Vietnam because of the thick jungles and boggy rice paddies, but by now Army armor units have proved themselves in battle… After being called to the defense of the Bien Hoa-Long Binh area during the [February 1968] Tet offensive, armor proved its worth in still another environment as it routed the Viet Cong from towns and villages.  On short notice, L Troop, 3d Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, was called as a reaction force near Tan Son Nhut Air Base.  After convoying down Highway 1 and through Saigon, the unit set up in a nearby rice field.  An estimated battalion of Viet Cong attempted to overrun the position, but was beaten off by the .50 caliber and M60 machineguns.  As tracer bullets and flares cut through the darkness and machineguns caught the enemy in deadly crossfire, a platoon of ‘tracks’ routed the enemy while they were attempting to set up rocket-propelled grenade launchers.  Surprised by the sudden counter-attack and firepower, the VC fled their bunkers, leaving behind many weapons.  Next morning, the cavalrymen confirmed at least 40 enemy killed.”


·         Chaplains Know Best.  From the June 1969 edition of the Blackhorse Newspaper: “Regimental Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) R.H. Hawn’s message on Sunday, April 20, centered around the biblical verse ‘Seek and ye shall find.’  A man to follow his own advice as well as to give it, the chaplain after his services were finished rode off and found a gift somewhat less than heavenly – a brand new anti-tank mine.  Following his service at an 11th Cav field unit the chaplain was motoring back to the Regimental CP [Command Post] when he yelled at his driver to ‘stop the jeep!’  The chaplain moved to the center of the road and marked a pressure detonated anti-tank mine.  ‘We were driving along when I happened to glance at the road.  I looked at one patch of ground and I knew that the mine was there.  Don’t ask me how I knew that mine was there.  It’s just a feeling that you get after being around armor and enemy mines a lot.’  Within minutes 919th Combat Engineers arrived and detonated the mine.’”


·         Flying PX.  From the April 1970 edition of the Blackhorse Newspaper: “It’s called the ‘Chopper Shopper’ or the ‘Flying PX.’  Whatever its name, the helicopter laden with PX goods gives the troops in the field a chance to shop at least once a week.  The ‘Flying PX’ concept was initiated last November by PX officer Lieutenant Thomas Nesbitt.  The Blackhorse supplies a chopper three days a week which PX personnel load with soap, toothpaste, cameras, various food items and dozens of other goods.  Troops can even order stereo, photo and other equipment from the PACEX [Pacific Exchange] catalog.  ‘Unless they’re on the move, each squadron gets the ‘Flying PX’ one day a week,’ said Staff Sergeant Lavin ‘Tiny’ Summers, S-1 NCOIC [Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge], coordinator of the PX bird.  The chopper makes several trips back to Quan Loi to insure a full load for each squadron.  The ‘Flying PX’ seems to be a great success.  Daily sales range from $900 to $2800 right after payday.  Second Squadron holds the single day record with the $2800 figure.  What seems even more amazing is that the next day the squadron spent another $1800.  Seventy-five percent of items such as radios, cassette tape players, watches and cameras which cost less than $50 are held back from the PX shelves and sold in the ‘Chopper Shopper.’  ‘We feel it’s our obligation to the field trooper to give him a chance to compete with the men stationed in the rear who can go to the PX anytime,’ said Lieutenant Mitch Robinson, PX officer.”


·         Days & Nights Over a Hot Typewriter.  From the 11th ACR redeployment after action report, dated 5 March 1971: “The processing of some 3600 awards during the period December 1970 to February 1971--each typed, submitted, followed up, returned after action by a IIFFV [II Field Force Vietnam, the Regiment’s higher headquarters during this time] awards board and then presented to the individual--represents thousands of hours of work by the awards clerks of the Regiment.”

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