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Vietnam "A Shau Valley" 3rd Platoon Photo


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I purchased this photo last week. It is an 8x10, which I believe is pretty unique considering most of the photos in my collection are much smaller. Written on the back is a letter from the soldier. He mentions he is on patrol in the "A Shau Valley". He also says he has just been changed to HQ Section in his unit. The photo was taken June 10th, 1968. Written on it is "3rd Platoon" and what looks to be "L-Z D????e". I'm trying to find out which unit this is or what L-Z it is, but haven't had much luck. If anyone knows where I could find this information, please let me know.

 

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Could start with Stantons Order of Battle.

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


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You may be able to find something on the Texas Tech's 'Viet Archive'. This is an amazing resource, but can at times be a real pain to find exactly what your looking for. It's WELL worth the effort though. SEE: https://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/

Try your very best using magnification to discern the named IS referenced on the photo's reverse. Then, try searching for it. Also, PM me with the LZ's name, as I too have an extensive volume on RVN era locations & related. Let me know,

 

Best, dpast32

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Operation Delaware was being conducted by the 1st Air Cav in April-May 1968 as well as elements of 1st Brigade 101st Airborne Division and the ARVN Airborne Task Force. It may be a platoon from either 1st Cav or 101st.

 

I will continue to search for Landing Zone designations for that operation

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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UTT OHH, I got I really should have looked at the back of your photo prior to commenting !! I can see that it will be extremely tough to factor in an LZ name with just the 1st & last letters. BUT, it can & has been done before, so don't despair, & keep trying. I'll see what I can turn up.

 

dpast32

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I will guess (somewhat wildly) that the pictured unit is an element of the 23rd ID (“Americal”).

 

My rational is that the LZ naming options I found, that match that word structure, are as follows:

 

Debbie - there were multiple LZs by this name. 23rd ID, 4th ID, and 1st Cav occupied those, all at different coordinates

Deeble - 7/8th Field Artillery

Denise - 173rd Airborne Brigade

Dottie - 23rd ID again

 

Both LZs - Debbie (only the 23rd ID one) and Dottie - also occupied by the 23rd ID - were in the I Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ), which encompassed the area south of the DMZ, to the northern area of the Central Highlands.

 

The other LZs were in II or III CTZ, which is mid-Central Highlands, and south to Saigon and the Mekong Delta; far from the A Shau Valley.

 

Again, there could be other LZs that match, that I couldn’t find, so I would consider this inconclusive.

 

Great photo by the way.

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Thanks for all the information guys!!! ?

I didn't realize how many LZ's there were. It's too bad none of the guys in the picture are wearing a unit patch, so I could ID them. I'll keep researching and see if I can find anything. It does appear that it could be a Platoon out of the 23rd Infantry Div...

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I do not believe the Americal ever went into the A Shau Valley. To add to what Leigh said, the 101st and 1st Cav were in there repeatedly.

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List of FSB,LZ,Camps...may not be complete.

 

https://www.stlawco.org/data/files/Departments/Veterans/AgentOrangeData/Firebases%20(FB)%20and%20Landing%20Zones%20(LZ)%20in%20Vietnam.pdf

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

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To the OP: Your source for the photo doesn’t by chance have the scrapbook this was taken from do they?

 

That would make solving this caper much easier - even if they just had the brown backing page, with the scrap of paper with the rest of the LZ name on it.

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Other thoughts:

 

1. As Patches said, that D could be another letter, although I have no guesses.

 

2. He says he is in the A Shau but maybe he is just nearby, especially since he writes that he will be there two months and searching villages. There were not many villages in the A Shau and that is not the type of fighting that went on there.

 

3. As awesome as the Kelly and Bows books are they almost certainly do not have every LZ listed.

 

4. I am having fun trying to figure this out.

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Member:

ASMIC

OVMS

Primary interests:

The United States Army in WWII

The United States Army in Vietnam
 

My YouTube patch channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxXvNiUvwbB-e4i0gl-RrFA

 

WANTED:

WWII:

551st PIB pocket and shoulder patches

504th PIR real deal pocket patch 

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Other thoughts:

 

1. As Patches said, that D could be another letter, although I have no guesses.

 

2. He says he is in the A Shau but maybe he is just nearby, especially since he writes that he will be there two months and searching villages. There were not many villages in the A Shau and that is not the type of fighting that went on there.

 

3. As awesome as the Kelly and Bows books are they almost certainly do not have every LZ listed.

 

4. I am having fun trying to figure this out.

The photo looks like it's actually at a Fire Support Base, our presence in the A Shau in that time, 1968, was always tenuous at best, any OPs and major resupplies where ran out of LZ's in the Valley, this looks too well built up for that it seems, kinda sprawling, given the dates on the back, perhaps one really taken after Delaware when back at their FSB or BC.

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There was a LZ Vicky opened up during Delaware, would of it had been spelled Vickie,the D or B being actually a V, then I think we would have had a winner, but again, still feel this is a either a FSB or CB.

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I think it is a great point about build-up of the position behind them.

 

Definitely see some tents, and small buildings of some type.

 

Also looks like dozer / road prep had been done.

 

And please correct me, as I am out of my lane a bit here, but wasnt the A Shau valley some 25 miles long?

 

The photo looks like it's actually at a Fire Support Base, our presence in the A Shau in that time, 1968, was always tenuous at best, any OPs and major resupplies where ran out of LZ's in the Valley, this looks too well built up for that it seems, kinda sprawling, given the dates on the back, perhaps one really taken after Delaware when back at their FSB or BC.

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I think it is a great point about build-up of the position behind them.

 

Definitely see some tents, and small buildings of some type.

 

Also looks like dozer / road prep had been done.

 

And please correct me, as I am out of my lane a bit here, but wasnt the A Shau valley some 25 miles long?

 

 

Yes it was 22-25 miles long

 

I agree there seems to be tents,supplies and ground work done in the photo.

 

The area seems well cleared with the tree line in the distance

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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I am on my iPhone so I had not even noticed the background detail. It certainly looks like an FSB or base camp of some sort.

 

Sometimes an FSB was called an LZ as well, or had been before expansion.

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Member:

ASMIC

OVMS

Primary interests:

The United States Army in WWII

The United States Army in Vietnam
 

My YouTube patch channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxXvNiUvwbB-e4i0gl-RrFA

 

WANTED:

WWII:

551st PIB pocket and shoulder patches

504th PIR real deal pocket patch 

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Yes it was 22-25 miles long

 

I agree there seems to be tents,supplies and ground work done in the photo.

 

The area seems well cleared with the tree line in the distance

Yes in those four OPs into the Valley, Delaware (1st Cav and the 101), Somerset Plains (the 101), Dewey Cayon (the USMC) and Apache Snow (the 101). the Valley was Charlie's Country, except for the now abandoned Green Berets base at A Luoi, no permanent FSB was built or maintained apart from expanded LZs to land Arty in support, and the brief reoccupation and rebuilding a bit of the old A Luoi base's runway for the landing of USAF Transport planes during Delaware, and this and any LZs were abandoned after each operation.

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There were two FSB located near the Valley, over looking it, built in spring of 1969 but they were not located in the Valley, these being FSB Berchtesgaden and FSB Airborne, both of the 101. Airborne was famously hit hard by the NVA on May 13 1969, an ill omen for the upcoming Apache Snow operation. Believe these two where closed up by the mid summer of 69, not sure on dates.

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