Company F was reactivated in Vietnam on 30 June 1971 as a rifle security company
guarding the Da Nang installation under the command of the U.S. Army Support Command, Da
Nang. It was inactivated on 16 November 1972. (Source: Stanton, Shelby L., 1986,
"Vietnam Order of Battle", Galahad Books, New York, page 151).
HISTORIANS NOTE: I have "nailed down" the locations of both
"E" and "F" Rifle Security Units. From the two sources we have
thus far, it appears the two units were very close to one another...yet, strangely, each
did not seem to know of the existence of the other! "E" Company apparently was
based at Camp Baxter while "F" Company, also in the Da Nang Area
was based at Camp Horn (BT 041-789). Shannon Nichols (Company "E") offered
a solution; He suggests that the unit began as "E" Company at Camp
Baxter...then... at some point early in 1972, the unit "stood down" at Baxter
and moved to Camp Horn...where it became "F" Company and continued guarding the
same installations! We have no "proof" of this... but this explanation makes the
most sense...given the circumstances. Following are excerpts from my correspondence
with a former member of "F" Company, John Ryan.
|Most of the members
of Company F, 50th Infantry (Security) came from a battalion from the "burning
rope" Infantry Brigade (196th Infantry Brigade) which was the last Infantry
Brigade to leave Vietnam in 1972. Company F was headquartered at Camp Horn in the Da Nang
area (BT 041-789...grid is from T. Cochran's DaNang Web Page). Below left is Camp Horn as
it appeared in the late 60's...and below right is a photo of the old French buildings that
still stand on the site today.
We provided security to the deep
water port, 95th Evac Hospital and some other Military Posts I was not familiar with. The
unit "stood down" in Oct-Nov of 1972. 13 members of the Company were KIA as the
Chinook Helicopter they were taking from Saigon to their new duty Assignments in Can
Tho... (Possibly with the 9th Infantry Division)...was shot down by a "SAM"
(Surface to Air) Missile. We were being reassigned to rifle security teams throughout
Vietnam. Their names are on the next to last tablet on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
The 9K32M Strela-2 (SA-7
Grail) Surface to air missile
This missile was a shoulder fired
missile that began to show up in the NVA Inventories in the South in 1972. This weapon
caused much consternation in RVN...Huey Helicopters were modified with a scoop that sent
hot engine exhaust into the rotors as the SA-7 was a "Heat Seeking" Missile.
The Security Company did prevent an
attack at the deep water port by sapper swimmers during the spring-summer of 1972 which
resulted in some enemy swimmers killed while attempting to place magnetic explosives on a
ship in the harbor.
An account of this action was provided by Jay Potter
who served on the ship that was to be mined by the enemy swimmers:
Potter wrote: "The ship was the Patrol Gunboat USS Crockett (PG-88);
and the incident occurred on the night of 14 July, 1972. As part of the
Navy's response to the Easter Offensive, we had been operating out of Da
Nang between there and Haiphong. We typically didn't spend much time in
port; and the attack occurred after we had been tied up at the pier for
several days making repairs to our main engines." Jay potter
also supplied a copy of the U.S. Naval Forces Vietnam Quarterly
Historical Summary which stated:
14 JULY -
- AT 2330H, U.S. Army Sentries in a tower in the vicinity of the deep
water piers of Da Nang Harbor reported sighting three swimmers on the
North side of Pier #1. Small arms fire and concussion grenades were
utilized by pier sentries and VNN Harbor Defense personnel, and the
sentries reported two swimmers killed. Attached to the body of one
sapper was an 85 pound mine consisting of C-3, C-4 and TNT (Explosives).
At ____H (Time not legible...possibly 17 July at 0345H ), a body was was
sighted floating near the Da Nang Deep Water Pier #1. Two grenades were
found attached to the body on a belt.
The only other threats during that period were errant 122MM rockets
aimed at the Da Nang Airbase that overshot their marks and hit near Camp Horn and the 95th
Evac. Hospital. The enemy attacks were directed at B-52s that occasionally landed in Da
Nang after being damaged on missions over North Vietnam and could not make it all the way
back to their bases in Guam and Thailand. It was a sure bet that if you were in the Da
Nang area and knew that a B-52 was at Da Nang...there would be a rocket attack
forthcoming...usually the night following a B-52 arrival. Rockets took out the Da Nang PX
and a favorite Korean restaurant on the base.
In August of 1972, myself and two
others (all of us with multiple tours in Vietnam) were sent to Hue to guard General
Cooksey's (Assistant Division Commander of the 23d Infantry Division (Americal) and
the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, U.S. Army, Republic of Vietnam) CRYPTO van near the old Citadel.
John Ryan: Monument, Colorado
Another "F" Company man heard
|We have confirmation
that "F" Company also had a circular patch as did "E" Company...so I
have reinstated the patch to the top center of this page.
Retired SFC Belford "Glen" Vaugh
wrote: "On January 31st, 1972, the Engineer outfit I belonged to "stood
down" and me and Joe Howell (or Howe....I'm not sure of the spelling) were sent to
"F" Company, Security Police in Danang. I recall the 1st Sergeant was none
too happy that they sent him 2 Engineers! I checked my 201 file and see I was in an
11 Bravo duty MOS for my stint in Rifle Security. We guarded various places in and
around DaNang, including China Beach but I was mostly on Monkey Mountain. We also wore a
round patch like the one you show on your "E" Company Security Web Page. I
do not recall the names of the bases where we were headquartered, but our barracks were on
the edge of Danang and the Compound was all Quanset Huts. At some point we moved to
Barracks near the Airfield. I would love to find Joe. He was injured and sent
home when he was accidently shot while on guard duty".
Pictured above is
Glen Vaughn at China Beach Gate
Headquarters, United States Army Vietnam/MAC Support Command:
US Army Vietnam, Meritorious Unit Commendation--15 May 72-28 Mar 73, DAGO 13, 74
US Army Vietnam, Headquarters and subordinate units:
RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm--20 Jul 65-28 Mar 73, DAGO 8, 74
Headquarters & Headquarters Company, USA Support Command, Da Nang:
RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm--1 Mar-9 Oct 71, DAGO 6, 74
|Co. E (Rifle Security), 50th Inf.
Vietnam Counteroffensive, Phase VII, 1 July 1970--30 June 1971.
Consolidation I, 1 July 1971--30 November 1971.
Consolidation II, 1 December 1971--29 March 1972.
Vietnam CEASE-FIRE, 30 March 1972--28 January 1973.