On Saturday, July 27, 2019, (3:00 PM) at the Hill 411 Reunion in Columbus, Georgia I will be talking about our Vietnam trip along with photos of Chu Lai, Duc Pho, Debbie and FSB 411 (then and now) and other sites in our A/O.
It’s been a little over a year since Mike (Dankert), and I completed our "second tour” in Vietnam. We were lucky to be together for the first tour in 1969. Our paths crossed a couple of times through seemingly random circumstances before we were finally linked together and became “Dankert-Haynie” - nearly inseparable, for our time in the field with the 1st platoon.
There was nothing accidental about our second tour to Vietnam. Mike and I have been friends for 50 years. I asked Mike to join me and my son David, and Mike immediately agreed. In March 2018 operation “Enduring Friendship” began. I handled the logistics, and on June 14 we boarded a plane bound for Korea and then Vietnam. As best we could, we visited sites important to us from our 1969 experiences, took photographs, and recalled our time together as young infantry soldiers.
1st Platoon Company A 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment 11th Infantry Brigade Americal Division
NVA Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Team
Fifty years ago this day, July 11, 1969, (three days after we secured the Hill) Mike Dankert and I sat at our position on Hill 4-11, with John Meyer on guard duty. Out of nowhere, we heard songs playing from the jungle 800 meters away. Everyone on the Hill got quiet. The three songs played were “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Peter, Paul, and Mary, “Oh, Susannah” by James Taylor and “North to Alaska” by Johnny Horton. The sound quality was excellent. Then the broadcast changed to someone speaking in English, asking us why we were fighting in Vietnam. He told us to surrender, come over to their side, or get wiped out.
This “Hill” soon defined our platoon and the AO we patrolled.
On this day, July 8, 1969, first platoon, in a column of two’s, entered the rear of the Chinook helicopter, and the Chinook lifted off to take us to secure the new firebase location on a hill seven miles west of Quang Ngai City. The Chinook landed without receiving enemy fire, and we exited through the rear door as soon as it dropped.
We got on line to sweep the hill for booby traps. We found booby-trapped grenades, 2.75-inch rockets, and a canister full of napalm with a firing device planted in the ground.
Captain Tyson erected a sign on top of the hill that named the hill Fire Support Base Kelley-McCoy. Kelley and McCoy were two NCOs killed one day apart in the Rice Bowl a week earlier. However, the name Hill 4-11 became the official name of the firebase. The companies would take turns building the FSB. Alpha Company took the first 30-day rotation while the other companies patrolled the new AO along with the ARVNs.
When I Turned Nineteen Soldiering After the Vietnam War.