335th Radio Research Company
Dong Tam Operation Story
Courtesy SFC Schollenberger
Subject: More Lies . . ..
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 21:45:39 -0400
From: "Earl W. Shollenberger"
You handled that "ambushed" "thang" perty well - especially the exclusion of the 'straight day boobs" and Johnny Stegner. Be interesting to see how many responses there are to my misdirected "humor".
Okay, I don't need to go into the mission of ASA - and I don't suppose I needa tell you that when the Geneva Convention met in the 20's, it was considered VERY ungentleman-like to snoop in people private business like their phone-calls and their messages. So all communications intercept was determined to be "spying" and of course punishable by death. That's the way it was in WW2, Korea and Vietnam. Shit - maybe it STILL is! So inoccuous "cover names" were assigned to our units in combat zones. i.e., WW2 (Signal or Signal Service Companies) the "Occupations" and Korea (Communications Reconnaisance Companies [Comm Recon - or R/C Companies) and "Radio Research" in Nam. (Maybe all this is "old hat" to you - but like I said, "I'm a bull-shitter" . and you can edit it all out.
Anyway, during all three of those instances we WERE known by the supported units as the ass-holes who wrote up the CommSec violations (phone-calls, voice security during operations, etc.). Thus we weren't the local "good guys" In fact, during the Colonel's daily briefing of all his commanders at Dong Tam, we were allotted time to list all violations for the period, as well as identifying the number and types by unit. They didn't like that - expecially since they thought it was a lotta bull shit during hairy operations. (But Harry Baker Det. [Comm/Sec Analyst] was able to show me most of the details of a 9th Div PLANNED minor operations purely on the basis of friendly troop security violations) G2 was informed and they were impressed to abort (or modify??) it.
But only a VERY small group was aware of our intelligence mission.. As I recall on Dong Tam our liaison was limited to the Colonel, his deputy, the G2 officer and his NCO (four people) and maybe only the first two may have been aware that our little 3/4 ton truck was tied in with the whole world's SIGINT intelligencet network.
So, we did tactical DF (and if we could get enough bearings to bring the triangulations down to ( I don't recall how small - maybe 200 meters) and within artillery range, we could actually inform G2 and they'd put artillery or gunships on it.) Never did hear how successful we were, but they always seemed to welcome what we brought them.
Anyway . .. My usual contact at G2 was its NCO (whose name escapes me) or Captain Carpenter (whose name DEFINITELY doesn't). I hope your ex-9th Div officer (Vet) can verify the following story.
I got to know those guys pretty well, and when I spoke with Capt. Carpenter he was always frustrated cause he had a "desk" job and wanted a combat company. After I left country for a direct transfer to Germany, I picked up a Newsweek (Time??) magazine and it headlined the worst ambush in Nam (until then). Apparently Carpenter did get his company and quickly took casualties in a Rung Sat (sp??) swamp operationss . . . but later his entire company was ambushed from both sides as he brought the company through a rice paddy. Iit described how guys actually tried unsuccessfully to go under water and swim forward to through the cross fire to dry ground . . . and ground fire was so heavy choppers and gun-ships couldn't get in to help them. He survived both actions but was a completely broken man after that. It sure would be nice in my old age to have that confirmed or refuted cause he was one helluva class guy (Maybe you or Larry could check with.