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POSTED ON 5.8.2022
POSTED BY: John Fabris

honoring you...

Thank you for your service to our country so long ago sir. As long as you are remembered you will remain in our hearts forever…..
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POSTED ON 3.5.2022

Attack on Patrol Base Diamond III - April 15, 1969

Patrol Base Diamond III was established on April 14, 1969, by the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment during Operation Toan Thang III, a U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) operation conducted between February 17 and October 31, 1969, designed to keep pressure on Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in III Corps. Diamond III was located six miles southwest of Go Dau Ha in Tay Ninh Province, RVN, and one mile east of the Parrot's Beak near the Cambodian border. It was a well-fortified duplicate of Patrol Base Diamond II. While manned by U.S Army infantry and artillery units, the base was actually constructed U.S. Navy Sea Bee Team 0913 from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 9 (NMBC-9). At 3:00 AM the morning following its construction, three battalions of NVA soldiers launched a heavy weapons and ground attack against Diamond III. The base received a total of 350 rocket-propelled grenades and 150 82mm mortar rounds. The two sections of howitzers at Diamond III fired 350 HE rounds (high explosive) and lowered their cannons nearly horizontal to fire twelve M546 anti-personnel Beehive rounds packed with metal flechettes directly at the swarming enemy troops. Nearby artillery units fired indirect support of more than 500 HE and 40 Firecracker antipersonnel fragmentation rounds with delayed-reaction detonations in an attempt to ward off the attack. Enemy losses were listed at 228 NVA dead with an additional estimated 200 additional casualties. Eight enemy were captured, one who told his American captors the Communist battle plan as he understood it: "We were going to overrun the base, then march to Saigon." Forty individual and forty-two crew-served enemy weapons were recovered. American losses were fifteen killed. They included (from 2nd Bn, 27th Infantry) SP4 Billy C. Alston, SP4 Stanley A. Carter, SP4 John G. Glassey, SP4 Michael E. Harr, SP4 Willie B. Jacobs, SP4 Lawrence O. Keller Jr., SP4 Jimmy D. Lester, SP4 Ralph Maynard, SP4 Anthony A. Proietti, SP4 Peter T. Rasmussen, SP4 John L. Smith, SP4 James W. Taylor, and SP4 Larry P. Tregre; and (from 1st Bn, 8th Arty) PFC James W. Derbyshire and PFC William F. Hitchcock. In the wake of the losses, several promotions occurred posthumously: Carter, Keller, Lester, and Proietti were advanced to Sergeant. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org, virtualwall.org, and wikipedia.org; also, “Charged-up Reds paying heavily.” Pacific Stars & Stripes, April 17, 1969 at stripes.com]
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POSTED ON 5.21.2020
POSTED BY: Dennis Wriston

I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

Private First Class James Wilbert Derbyshire, Served with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, United States Army Vietnam.
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POSTED ON 2.26.2019
POSTED BY: Bob Ahles, Vietnam Veteran, St. Cloud, Minnesota


PATROL BASE DIAMOND III - 4/15/1969- Dawn's first light shows sweat, dirt and exhaustion engraved on their faces. Some try to sleep, others stare blankly into the distance. A few talk. A deep weariness prevails over the sweet smell of gunpowder.

Four hours ago an estimated two battalions of North Vietnamese Regulars swept across the Cambodian border and hurled themselves at the Fire Brigade's 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry in this tiny patrol base on a dry open plain. The Wolfhounds fought for their lives and now it shows.

The men of Alpha and Delta Companies killed 198 NVA regulars in a battle they will talk about for years and remember for a lifetime. Twenty five hours ago they dismantled Diamond II and moved it, gun, beam and sandbag to this new position, a job which would normally require three days.

Working swiftly against time the entire battalion carved a defensive position which had to hold. The enemy had attacked on the first night in the previous position and would likely attack again here.

At midnight Patrol Base Diamond III was ready. Guards were posted and the infantrymen tried to rest.

As the guard changed at 0300 movement was detected 800 meters to the southwest of the perimeter. The command post was notified and the first of nearly 2000 rounds of artillery was called in. Gunships from B Company, 25th Aviation Battalion were called in and the battle began .

The mortars started at 0315. It was the most intense mortar attack that I have ever experienced, twice as bad as the attacks on Diamond I and Diamond II," said 1st Lieutenant James J. Sullivan, Chaton, N.J.

Specialist Five Eino Honkala, Vancouver, Wash., reported: "The shells really rained in. It sounded like automatic mortar."

Few were injured as an estimated 500 mortar shells exploded against the overhead cover constructed that afternoon. A lull fell on the battlefield. The NVA had lifted the mortar attack to allow their assault troops to move closer.

Earlier that evening, three listening posts had been established, one to the west, one to the north, and one to the south. Wolfhounds at the western LP took advantage of the lull to break for the patrol base.

They made it. The post to the east suffered several casualties, while the post to the north held, kept low, and had no injuries.

Experienced troopers knew that the time had come to get out of their bunkers and fight from the prepared positions. "Getting out of that bunker," said Specialist Four Paul Gaither of Elkins, No. Carolina, "was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I kept remembering what could happen if I remained."

The NVA regulars proved themselves creatures of habit as, true to form, they launched the second phase of the attack with a hail of RPG's and small arms fire. The NVA Battalion had moved forward under the mortar fire and were launching their deadly rockets from within 30 meters of the perimeter.

Major Calvin Swenson, Diamond's Commander, from Wilson, No. Carolina, estimated that 400 RPG's struck around the base. Time after time positions took direct hits, but none were knocked out.

The men, fighting outside their bunkers, kept the enemy from getting close enough to accurately fire their weapons. Each bunker had an M-60 machinegun, and many had 90mm recoilless rifles. The Wolfhounds knew how to use them.

As the RPG's rained in, sapper squads closed on the perimeter's defensive wire armed with bangalore torpedoes and AK-47's in a desperate attempt to breech the line. Specialist Four William Baumgardner of Huntington, Pa., recalled: "They blew the wire to the front and right of my position. So we put a lot of fire in that direction. We were ready for them, and they never got inside."

Flare ships and night lighting aircraft circled above illuminating the scene as dust and debris rose from rounds impacting on both sides.

The beleaguered infantrymen were not alone here, last night. All the firepower the Tropic Lightning Division could call on was here in support. Artillery, gunships and air strikes broke the back of the advancing enemy as automatic weapons cut him down in front.

As the fight continued, eight gunships circled overhead constantly spitting their fire onto the plain below. The Air Force came in with jet air strikes on the staging area used by the enemy.

The two 105mm howitzers from C Battery, 1st Battalion Eighth Artillery fired an incredible 300 rounds and, during the height of the battle, lowered their tubes and fired point blank into the charging NVA.
The heavy fighting continued until the rising moon warned the NVA of the coming dawn. They broke contact and, leaving a few behind to continue the fire, retreated to their sanctuary across the border. The fighting subsided shortly before 6:30 a.m.
The gunships have returned to base, the guns are quiet. Patrol Base Diamond III is intact. The men have a right to be exhausted, they have fought hard. Victory does not come easily, or cheaply. Thirteen Americans lost their lives in the battle.
Drawing by 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry artist Specialist 4 Dennis Tupper.

"Patrol Base Diamond III was established on 14 April 1969. By nightfall on the 14th the patrol base (XT 327215), a duplicate of Diamond II, was well fortified and ready for action. At 0300 hours the next morning, three battalions of NVA soldiers launched a coordinated heavy weapons and ground attack against Patrol Base Diamond III. The Patrol Base also received a total of 350 RPG's and 150 82mm mortar rounds. The two howitzer sections at Diamond III fired 350 HE and 12 Beehive rounds while the remainder of the battery fired indirect support of more than 500 HE and 40 firecracker rounds in an attempt to ward off the enemy attack. Enemy losses were listed at 228 NVA dead and an estimated 200 additional casualties."

Although many reports mention only the 13 infantrymen who died at DIAMOND III, 15 Americans were killed in the fight:

A Co, 2nd Bn, 27th Infantry
SP4 Billy C. Alston, Brighton, TN (KIA) 69/04/15
SGT Stanley A. Carter, Moses Lake, WA (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 John G. Glassey, East Meadow, NY (Actually was with Delta Company) (KIA) 69/04/15 SP4 Michael E. Harr, Blountville, TN (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 Willie B. Jacobs, Augusta, GA (KIA) 69/04/15
SGT Lawrence O. Keller, Chicago, IL (KIA) 69/04/15
SGT Jimmy D. Lester, Eldon, MO (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 Ralph Maynard, Wilsondale, WV (KIA) 69/04/15
SGT Anthony A. Proietti, Chicago, IL (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 Peter T. Rasmussen, Paramus, NJ (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 John L. Smith, Canton, OH (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 James W. Taylor, Wilbar, NC (KIA) 69/04/15
SP4 Larry P. Tregre, Hahnville, LA (KIA) 69/04/15
(All of the 13 KIA above were killed at a listening post when their request to come back into the defensive perimeter was refused and they were told to blow an ambush on the advancing enemy. They really had no chance for survival against so many enemy troops without adequate defensive positions.)

C Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Artillery
PFC James W. Derbyshire, Bridgeton, NJ
PFC William F. Hitchcock, Middleboro, MA

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POSTED ON 5.6.2018
POSTED BY: Lucy Micik

Thank You

Dear PFC James Derbyshire,
Thank you for your service as a Field Artillery Basic. Your birthday is this month, happy birthday. It has been too long, and it's about time for us all to acknowledge the sacrifices of those like you who answered our nation's call. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.
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