(NOTE: All map references indicated hereafter are extracted from standard military grid 1,000 meter UTM, grid zone designation 48 Q, 100,000 meters square identification YD. For purposes of brevity, all grid zone designations (48Q) will be eliminated).


The month of July closed with no major enemy contacts, although sporadic sniper fire was received, resulting in no friendly casualties, but an increased awareness that this was realistic training beyond question.


The early days of August gave rise to expectations of enemy contact as the Pioneer Battalion was granted an area of operations to exploit. The marriage of the soldier wit his equipment has been consummated, acres of rice paddies had been traversed during the initial shakedown, and orders were received to sweep towards, an occupy, LZ Pedro, YD 249485, the first of many combat outposts that would be the home away from home for the Pioneers.


Utilizing LZ Pedro as a control base, the maneuver elements moved out in force to search and clear the battalion AO. The enemy tested the mettle of the Pioneers with minor harassment by periodically firing mortar rounds, but with no effect. First notable contact was made when Company A captured a lone VC armed with a carbine, but this achievement was soberly tempered by the same unit encountering an enemy booby-trap which resulted in the first Pioneer dying from hostile activity. In addition, six other soldiers received minor wounds. This was a portent of things to come as countless numbers of enemy booby-traps were repeatedly encountered during combat operations.


On 24 August 1968, a fever of expectancy encompassed the Pioneer ranks as the order was received to deploy to the Demilitarized Zone of Vietnam and occupy the forward fire base located near Con Thien (YD 115702). Designated in military parlance as A-4, the first fire base became the focal point of what was to become an illustrious segment of an already distinguished combat history.


A two-pronged battalion move was conducted on 25 August 1968 as the main force consisting of Companies B, C, D, & E occupied A-4 and Company A was airlifted into another firebase designated as A-3, (YD 173723), the eastern anchor of what would termed (in conventional warfare) as the front line trace. The battalion CP was sited at A-4 and an entirely new type of environment greeted the Pioneers as they took up residence below ground in heavily sandbagged bunkers and with typical Pioneer humor and ingenuity the interiors of "Prairie Dog Village" were suddenly decorated with an assortment of provocative pin up pictures and humorous slogans, though questionable in taste, most certainly lent color to an otherwise dismal abode.


Humor wasn't one-sided however, as the enemy rendered an audible welcome by shelling both firebases with rockets, mortars, and long range artillery. The total effect resulted in a fierce determination of the Pioneers to personally confront the enemy as soon as possible to express their appreciation for the consideration shown by the enemy greeting committee.


This was accomplished in a striking manner on 31 August 1968 as a company size patrol of Company D received sniper fire. The resulting action found the unit in contact with a numerically larger enemy force, heavily equipped with automatic weapons. Supported by air strikes, Company D closed with the enemy and by the use of fire and maneuver killed fifty-two (52) of the enemy, captured




[Webmaster: 1968 Annual Historical Supplement Page 9]