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POSTED ON 5.28.2021
POSTED BY: Lucy Micik

Thank You

Dear PFC Wayne Podlesnik, Thank you for your service as an Airborne Qualified Field Artillery Basic. Saying thank you isn't enough, but it is from the heart. Memorial Day weekend when our nation those of you who paid the ultimate price. Time passes quickly. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness, especially now. Rest in peace with the angels
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POSTED ON 4.23.2019

Attack on Hill 407 – October 15, 1967

On October 15, 1967, A Battery, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 320th Field Artillery (105mm), and C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery (155mm) were occupying an unnamed fire base on Hill 407 on a ridge line in support of elements of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, during Operation Wheeler. The fire base, which had been occupied for almost a month, was located halfway between Tam Ky and Thien Phouc in Quang Tin Province, RVN. To assist in the defense of the base, a force of 75 civilian irregular defense group (CIDG) personnel manned the perimeter bunkers. For further security, A Battery nightly posted guards at each howitzer, the Fire Direction Center (FDC), and the ammunition section. Due to the difficulty in distinguishing them from the enemy at night, the irregulars had been instructed to remain within their bunkers during the hours of darkness. The perimeter bunkers were on the edge of a steep drop-off along the narrow ridge line. The steepness of the slope made it impossible to observe activity directly below the bunkers. It was up these steep slopes that a platoon of Viet Cong sappers crept during the early morning hours and prepositioned themselves for an attack on the 105 battery. Their objective was to capture the weapons and turn them on the 155mm battery and infantry battalion headquarters, which were located on either side of the 105mm battery position. At 3:20 AM, in extreme darkness, mortars, rockets, and recoilless rifles unleashed a devastating barrage on the area in conjunction with the sapper attack. Every position within the battery area was known to the enemy before the attack. The radios in the FDC were destroyed immediately. A sapper tossed a grenade into the center and then reached in and placed a satchel charge directly on top of the two VRC-46 radios. The enemy so effectively infiltrated the battery area that the artillerymen had no chance to repulse the initial attack; instead, the fighting began within the parapets. That the crewmen of the weapons were able to return fire with their howitzers testified to their discipline and courage. Although the enemy seemed to be everywhere in the battery area, the battery commander, executive officer and first sergeant, though wounded, moved from weapon to weapon, helping the more seriously wounded and assisting in the delivery of fire. Each weapon parapet had its own private war going by this time. All the men of Number One section had been wounded by the initial mortar attack; nevertheless, the section chief, SSG Webster Anderson, and his men moved into the parapet and directed fire upon the enemy. Grenades fell all around them, but neither Anderson nor his men faltered. Two mortar rounds landed at Anderson's feet and severely mangled his lower legs. Although in great pain, he managed to move around in the protective parapet and continued to inspire his men. When a grenade landed next to one of his wounded cannoneers, Anderson grabbed the grenade and threw it from the parapet. In the process, his hand was blown off. The executive officer came upon Number One weapon at this time, and seeing SSG Anderson's condition, moved him to medical aid. For his action, SSG Anderson later received the Medal of Honor. By now the battery commander had retrieved the sole remaining radio and directed defensive fires upon the enemy weapon positions. These fires, in conjunction with direct fires from the 105mm howitzers, silenced the enemy. The Viet Cong were finally driven from the battery perimeter after more than two hours of close combat. The infantry battalion headquarters and the 155mm battery had not received a single enemy round during the battle. Because of the unknown nature and size of the enemy force, these two units were forced to man their own defenses and were initially unable to assist Battery A. Because of extremely bad weather, the only aircraft flying that night were medical evacuation helicopters, and even they had to be directed into the fire base by the battalion Q-4 radar, which was collocated with the 155mm battery. A total of three medevac aircraft evacuated the wounded and dead from the battery area under the worst possible flying conditions. Morning found Battery A with seven killed and 28 wounded out of an initial strength of 49. Twenty-two of the wounded required evacuation. The lost Americans included SGT Nathaniel Dabon, SGT Archie J. Maple Jr., PFC Larry T. McBurnett, SSG James F. Morrow, PFC Wayne A. Podlesnik, SSG Burnell Simmons, and PFC Robert S. Walsh. The civilian irregulars lost six killed and five wounded. Fifty-six craters from enemy 82mm mortar rounds were counted in the battery position. At least five mortar rounds had landed in each section parapet. Rocket and recoilless rifle flashes had been observed and fired upon by the 105mm and 155mm batteries. Although the 105mm battery was hurt badly during the attack, the objective of the enemy force was not realized. The field artillerymen stood by their weapons in the face of overwhelming odds and repulsed the enemy from the battery area without losing a single howitzer. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and an article by MG David E. Ott in “Field Artillery Journal,” November-December 1975 issue]
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POSTED ON 12.20.2018

Attack on Hill 407 - October 15, 1967

In April 1967, General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, sent a number of Army units north into I Corps in order to reinforce the Marine Corps forces based there. U.S. intelligence suggested an imminent North Vietnamese Army (NVA) offensive and Westmoreland wanted to have enough troops in place to repel it. The Army units sent to back up the Marines were called Task Force Oregon. The 60 men of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery of the 101st Airborne Division on Hill 407 in Quang Tin Province, RVN, was among them. In the dark morning hours of October 15, 1967, an NVA force estimated at 30-40 attempted to take the 2nd Artillery Battalion by surprise and overrun their position. The attack began when the enemy hurled mortar, recoilless rifle, rocket, and automatic rifle fire at the firebase. The NVA troops were able to disarm all early warning devices and overran the battery's defensive perimeter. At one point, the artillery’s inner perimeter was penetrated. Nevertheless, the Americans fought back, using howitzer and artillery strikes against the enemy. Because of bad weather, no air support was utilized against the attackers. Contact was broken at 5:30 AM, and the enemy withdrew. Seven U.S. were killed in the engagement and another 20 were wounded. The lost personnel included SGT Nathaniel Dabon, SGT Archie J. Maple Jr., PFC Larry T. McBurnett, SSG James F. Morrow, PFC Wayne A. Podlesnik, SSG Burnell Simmons, and PFC Robert S. Walsh. Six enemy were confirmed killed. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org, vietnamwar50th.com, and Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Period Ending 31 October 1967]
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POSTED ON 10.15.2017
POSTED BY: Carol Biats

50 years ago...

On October 15, 1967 you lost your life in Vietnam. Your courage, valor, and bravery will never be forgotten. Half a century later, you are still loved and missed every day by your family and friends. I will honor your sacrifice and decorate your grave as long as I am able. You will always be remembered, dear cousin!
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POSTED ON 7.14.2016
POSTED BY: Dennis Wriston

I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

Private First Class Wayne A. Podlesnik, Served with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 320th Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
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