Larry W. DeWitt
Memory of Kontum-1970
I served with the 52nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 52nd Security Detachment (Infantry), and assigned to the 170th Assault Helicopter Company (Bikinis & Buccanners) at Kontum. I spent eleven months at our basecamp east of Kontum (Rocket City) during 1970. The thirty plus members of my infantry platoon were the last Americans to serve at that basecamp before it was turned over to the ARVN's in late 1970. After the 170th left for Pleiku, my infantry platoon was kept there for almost another month to hold the base camp until the ARVN's showed up to take it over. There was one American grunt and two South Vietnamese Guardsmen from Kontum City assigned to each bunker around the dirt berm perimeter surrounding the basecamp. As a precaution for being overrun, we had built another inside perimeter around the old ammunition bunker in the middle of the basecamp. As one of three platoon sargeants, it was one of my duties to go around the perimeter day and night to make sure each man was remaining awake on their watch. Too often we found the South Vietnamese Guardsmen sleeping on their watch, so our guys were afraid to go to sleep. To this very day I do not know why the Viet Cong or NVA did not attempt to overrun us during that thirty day period. Of my eleven months at Kontum, I remember vividly the daily rocket attacks for a week at a time, daytime recon patrols, night ambush patrols, snipers, VC saper attacks stopped in the wire, drinking Black Label beer out of rusty cans, playing touch football against the aviation guys, and the comradship we felt for each other.
Larry W. DeWitt <email@example.com>
Des Moines, Iowa USA - Monday, October 15, 2007 at 21:12:48 (PDT)