Sp4 Milton Pounds
Spec 4, MOS 13E20
HSB 2/9th, Attached 1/35th
RVN, 1969


I was HSB 2/9th attached to 1/35th as Artillery Liaison from April 1969 to approximately August 1969 and “C” Battery was the direct support for the 1/35th at that time.  Col English was the CO of 1/35th.


I can provide documentation for this, but it will take digging out some 4th Div newspaper articles on the hit at LZ Oasis on 11 May 1969 – Mother’s Day.  The 1/35th was on stand-down (the 2/35th had been there earlier) when we were hit.  “C” Battery set up at the Oasis for the stand down.  Anyone there will remember the attack on Mother’s Day.  “A” Btry. was direct support for 1/14th Inf. and “B” was the 2/35th direct.   I was transferred to liaison between “A” Btry the 1/14th on +/- October 1969 after a stay in the 71st Evac (See "Memories" below).


I had the 2400 to 0400 radio shift in the 1/35 TOC beginning with the first incoming on 11 May 69.  I hit the incoming horn and directed the counter mortar and rocket fire for several nights.  As liaison I had also set up the night fire and counter programs while we were at Oasis.  Hope this is acceptable for “C” providing direct support for 1/35 Inf.  As I remember, “C” was the direct support battery from April ’69 through at least 12-28-69.


It seems that the Liaison people are slipping through the cracks.  My group was Capt. Wheeler, Sgt. William Billy Williams (that is actually his name) of Hurricane, WV, Ricky Mayeda (Japanese American decent from Orange County, CA, Miller, and myself.  I should be able to identify most of the FOs at that time because we worked closely and I was the one who usually delivered the codes.  I do remember Ken (Mad Dog) Jones and a few others.  I’ll have to dig out my small book with the names, etc. of the guys and will send a list of 2/9 an 1/35.


I was fortunate to have a wide experience in Nam.  My MOS was 13E20 and I worked with HSB a couple of weeks at the Oasis before joining liaison at LZ English.  The HSB Sgt. Major wanted me to stay at HSB Oasis, but I told him I “wanted to be in the field” – first time I saw him turn purple.  While at Oasis I also worked with the 1/35th S-2, Cpt. Knight – who wanted me to transfer to 1/35th S-2 – the first of several offers, but I had enlisted and asked for Artillery.  As liaison, we shared the 1/35 TOC, ate with the 2/9th – better food - , handled recon and different missions, etc. I had less restrictions and a greater freedom (two different things) than most redlegs – and took advantage of the situation.  After spending 28 days at the 71st Evac, I was placed in charge of several convoys while recuperating and then headed back to the field.


Some guys will remember the painted cartoons in the mess hall at Camp Enari .  I did these while recuperating.  With the blessing of Sgt. Newell (Mess Sgt.) I took some wonderful shots at the brass, senior NCOs (second time Sgt. Major turned purple) and WOs.


Here are some of the 2/9th and 1/35th men in 1969:



2/9th Arty

Thom Dolsky
Everett , WA  

Sp4 Ralph C. Gibbs

Coochella , CA  


Sp4 Dwight Glidewell

Seattle , WA  


Sp4 Michael W. Hughes

Fort Gibson , OK  


George Healy  Sgt (hard 5)        

Baltimore , MA

FO team: was 1/35 RTO at Chu Pa battle, held onto radio – received 3 day IC R&R, transferred to 2/9

Dennis R. Moser

Pembroke , VA  


Denis Oleck

Massapequa Park , NY  

Robert A. Palenske     
San Diego , CA

A drafted “legally blind” gun bunny 
in “C” Battery that is a very special man.


Earl “Smitty” Smith     

Dallas , NC

Sgt. FO team and one of the 
truly great characters of 2/9th.

Sgt Billy William Williams     

Hurricane, WA

Liaison attachment: “C” to 1/35th  

Sp4 Jeffery C. Woods, Jr.

Houston , TX  


Cpt  Wheeler               

Liaison attachment “C” to 1/35th

Sp4 Ricky Mayeda               

Liaison attachment “C” to 1/35th

Lt  Ken (Mad Dog) Jones


SFC Willard. Newell 

Mess Sgt. HSB, Camp Enari  

SSG Alex Blount         

Dennis G. Grigonis,  “G”  

Chicago , IL

Heavy weapons.  Several great stories of
 “G” including him getting an NVA tank 
with his RR – that was claimed by 1/69th

Cpt Knight 1/35th S-2  "Red"             

4.2 section chief, KIA shortly 
before Christmas ‘69




I have photos of the following LZs:  


The following LZ were 1/35th base with “C” Btry direct support:


Oasis   (the, 1/15th 155 SP at the Rock Quarry provided direct support to LZ Oasis – photo)

Buzzard  (SF camp at Plei Me)







Following LZs: I do not remember the battery and might not have photos:


LZ (name?) at Edap Enang

Joan at Duc Co

St. George



LZ name?: New Plei Djereng





LZ (name?) at Plei Mrong





I also have photos of a mission to retrieve a LRRP team from the Cambodian border (I was the arty control).  After Oct. 1969, consisted of 1 APC, 1 ¼ ton truck (mine), 1 105mm from “C” (we were out of range of any batteries), a platoon of infnatry and a couple of Deuce-and-a-halfs.  Went west on Hwy 19 from the Oasis and set up night defense position on road.  Next day proceeded to near the border, turned onto path to right until halted by a running grunt warning of ambush.  Backtracked and set up a defense position.  I have several photos.  I have some drawings that I made while in Nam. When I returned to LSU to finish my MFA, I did a series of paintings on Nam.





That CONEX must have been a portable PX?


There was this CONEX that was dropped in mid to late 69.  They asked everyone who had personal items lost in it to file for replacement cost.  Seems like that after all the filings were made, that CONEX had almost more in it than the Enari PX.  No claims were paid.


I do remember that moving from one LZ on a mountain – not the direct support for the 1/35th – the grunts left to protect the last gun that was slinged up, were ordered into a choppers to ferry to the new LZ.  When the shit-hook arrived about 20 minutes later for the last gun - it was gone.  When the NVA saw that the grunts left, there ran in and carried the gun away.  I don’t know how it was covered up, or explained, but too many of us heard about it to be a rumor.  I do know that after that, I (liaison) stayed with the grunts on one mountain LZ until it was empty.





A Grunt dies...A man walks on the moon

Tuesday, July 21, 1969  

I had been in the 71st Evac Hospital , Pleiku, RVN, for about two weeks.  The afternoon before, they had wheeled in an unconscious grunt and gently lifted him off the gurney to the second bed on my right.  He looked to be about 19, maybe 170 pounds, couldn’t tell his height, but they must have sponged him down and cleaned him up.  He was completely naked and had no bandages with disinfectant and blood seeping through.  They pulled a sheet up to his neck and made sure the IVs were flowing.  There were maybe forty of us in the ward, so he didn’t attract much attention in our little corner of paradise.  

Paradise?  Yes, everyone reading this knows what I mean by “ Paradise".  I had been bathed, cleaned, and I was completely dry.  I was actually lying on a sheet in a real bed – a clean white sheet.  The nurses spoke English and addressed you as “Sir” regardless of your rank.   

We even had two or three TV sets that were mounted on the sidewalls right where the metal roof of the Quonset hut construction curved over your head.  I don’t remember the programming but it must have been reruns for a couple of hours each day.  I only remember one thing I saw on TV during the four weeks there at the 71st.  

The next day, I was watching a remarkable thing, something that was a total surprise because it was not part of my world. It was about 10AM on July 21, 1969.  

Actually, I remember seeing two things simultaneously.  Neil Armstrong was climbing out the lunar module and two beds over; a couple of nurses injected stimulants and a doctor was pounding on the new grunt’s chest trying to get him to breath again.  The sound was on the TV, but the only thing I remember was the frustration one of the nurses expressed because they did not know why he had died - they had no idea.  He had been med-a-vac'ed from the field in a coma.  He was in a coma for about 24 hours before he simply quit breathing.  His was not the not the only death I had seen.  His was the quietest, the most passive, the cleanest.  His death had no smell, it was sterile, no sizzle from hot shrapnel, no screaming, crying, or choking on blood.  He was whole, all the parts where they should be, all of his blood was contained within his body - none shared with those around him.  His eyes were closed and didn’t open even when they pounded on his chest.  

We landed a man on the moon and the new grunt died.  The knowledge to cross space, but the ignorance of a simple death.  

I had enlisted – I was not drafted - and feel today as I did then, that what we did in Nam was honorable.  I served my country as needed. I am not making any moralistic pronouncements on war, no myopic intellectual’s “mans inhumanity to man” crap or any political statement.  I am simply saying that I saw one man step on the moon and another man die – one the result of the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of man, the other in spite of it – nothing more – nothing less.