By Ted McCormick
This is a story of the first battle faced by a nineteen-year-old infrantry soldier in the mountains west of FSB Vehgel, May 1970, one month preceding the seige of FSB Ripcord in the A Shau Valley.
Ted McCormick was a member of B Co., 1/327th Inf, 101st ABN Division. Ted's unit was combat assaulted to Hill 882 on a search and destroy op and ran into a sapper base camp. The operation was "Texas Star" and ran from Apr - Sept 1970.
"Unknown to us, we faced a full NVA division, who was beginning to assemble to attack Ripcord and keep us from the Valley that summer." -- Ted McCormick
Please feel free to contact Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A link to the Operation Ripcord Website is at the end of this story.
It has taken me a long time to write out the story of this battle. I have relived it many, many times. I hope I have done justice in recording the facts. I wrote the National Archives to recieve S-2 daily unit reports of my unit for research, and some copys are included in the photo section. I plan to include more. This is ongoing.
My unit located an NVA sapper base one month preceding the seige of FSB Ripcord 1970 that was a part of an NVA division that was moving in to surround Ripcord. We fought hard for four solid days and three nights against a superior, well-dug-in, NVA elete force. All of the members of 1st plt can be proud.
I have written this story to give us all credit and mention of this battle. We as Viet Nam vets never think we did enough. We always seem to think that we should have done more. In the heroism of the battle, both sides can be commended. A lot of the NVA choose to die in place.
Life has been good to me. I had a job at GM to come home to and a loving, supportive family. I will never forget my parents when they picked me up at Detroit Metro.
I was standing by the luggage counter waiting for my duffle bag to come down the shut; my parents in their excitement had failed to see me. I stood and watched them for a minute, thinking about the many times I had thought about them, lying in the jungle and staring at the stars, wondering what they were doing at that particular moment in time and if I would ever see them again.
I watched my mother, searching the crowd for her son in anticipation; she would be spared the trauma of losing a boy in this war, unlike so many other American mothers who quietly suffered in their losses, thinking that this conflict was in the best interest of our country. My heart will always go out to them.
I stepped forward, and they saw me. We embraced and greeted each other. My father's words were profound. He shook my hand, placed his left hand on my shoulder, and said, "You can put all of this behind you now, son; its all over. Glad to have you back; we missed you."
Tears swelled up in my eyes; he had no idea. I had never explained to my family what I was really involved in, trying to keep the ugly side of warfare from them. They knew that I was in an infrantry unit; but, in my letters, I was vauge about my role in this war.
Here I was standing in a daze, bewildered at the speed in which our culture functioned. I had forgotten and would have to relearn what seemed like...everything. After fighting in the jungles of Viet Nam and Laos for a year, living like an animal, I was in culture shock in my own country. I had been permanently changed by my experiences, and I had been afraid to come home.
I have located some members of my unit who are still around:
Travis Shattle; Tampa, Fla.
Ed "The Head" Wartsbaugh; Redington Shores, Fla.
Erick Miller; Salem, WI
Don Stoba; Bergenfield, NJ
Hugh Bussy; Dalton, GA
Looking to hear from Lt. Shultz and Capt. Mills or anyone else who was in this action.