A combined sweep team consisting of Companies A, B, and C, linked up and began a sweep of the AO to uncover any enemy who still possessed the desire to engage the Pioneer Battalion. On 18 September 1968, Company B drew blood - engaging a strong NVA force, vicinity YD 129723. "Battling Bravo" stormed across the enemy defenses, putting him to rout, and decimated his ranks by killing twenty-nine (29) of his sorely needed troops. Additional benefits were reaped as the enemy in his haste to disengage abandoned valuable documents and weapons which provided a wealth of intelligence information. An aura of calm and serenity seemed to follow this engagement.


The "easy days" for the Pioneers were extremely short in duration however, as the battalion relinquished control of A-4 and A-3 and assumed control of another firebase designated as C-2, vicinity YD134645, to include the vital C-2 bridge connecting both firebases. Although the sudden move was somewhat hectic, the new area of operation was lucrative in nature as Companies C and D contacted an enemy force hidden in bunkers west of C-2, killing thirteen (13) enemy with the usual capture of weapons and equipment.


September drew to a close with the battalion patrols uncovering numerous enemy arms caches made up mainly of hidden ammunition, rockets, and mines, obviously stored for future utilization against allied forces. The discovery of caches continued throughout the month of October and typified the activities of the battalion during the month. Small enemy contacts were made on occasions as sweeps of the AO and ambushes were effected. October closed with the warning order that the battalion would move south and assume control of LZ Sharon with its adjacent AO.


On the 1st of November 1968, the move to LZ Sharon (our first home away from home) commenced and on 2 November 1968the battalion closed LZ Sharon and assumed control of the base and the adjacent AO, now designated as AO Red. A new type of warfare was in the offering for the Pioneers as the Viet Cong forces replaced the NVA as main opposition to the battalion. Cordon, search, sweep, ambushes, became the word of the day. Fortunately the battalion was familiar with area and no time was lost in an all out effort to secure the AO. Sniper teams were organized to help deal with small groups of VC (and at times NVA) attempting to infiltrate into local hamlets to terrorize the inhabitants.


Pacification became an inherent element of the over-all effort and a vital program to engender good will and a sense of security among the local populace. Medical assistance, engineer projects, orphanage support, establishment of schools, plus many more endeavors were vigorously pursued and immediate results were forthcoming. Information of intelligence value was willingly offered to the battalion and various items of enemy equipment and ammunition was turned in by the people.


Numerous VC were captured or killed during the months of November and December. Contacts were also made with isolated NVA forces and the enemy body count continued to mount. On 3 December 1968, the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Selby F. Little, Jr. was wounded and evacuated to CONUS and temporary command was assumed by Major Robert L. Clarke, Executive Officer of the Pioneers. Although the loss of the commander was keenly felt throughout the battalion, the Pioneers continued their efforts to perform all assigned missions in the best possible manner. Therein lies the key to the Pioneer make-up. Regardless of adversity - no matter the objective - duty is their watchword - truly keeping with the battalion motto "Semper Fidelis" - Always Faithful.




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