Duty Log, 1/14th Inf Regt - Action at LZ St George: 6Nov69


Another account of the night of horrors when “Charlie” decides to overrun
 LZ St George and the redlegs of “A” Battery have to defend their firebase.

That night in November, 1969 will never be forgotten.

What started this whole onslaught was several days prior, the Battalion Commander (1/14th) was on a recon mission in his Loach (LOH) flying around looking for whatever…when he came upon 3-4 Dinks in the open.  He had just left St. George and around 15 minutes later, we got a call for a fire mission. It was very unusual because we never fired in the opposite direction and had to turn the guns 180 degrees and shoot over are bunkers and right across the entire base towards the FDC Bunker etc. We were all very perplexed but we followed orders anyway. I remember cause we were usually the lead gun on the open side of the perimeter and they use us to adjust fire before they fired for effect. This time the No.# 1 gun positioned near or closest to the gate got the order and we did not have any idea what the hell was going on. In any event the BnCO spotted those Dinks and had the chopper pilot chase them down and ran them into a cave, or so we were told. Let the games begin.             

The BnCO called in the fire mission and we adjusted and let them have it big time for around 10-15 minutes. We then got the order to cease fire and all was quiet for a while until he came flying back and told the story to our Captain & XO and they later told us. We all thought it was cool but, then again, who knew?  So, we just took it as a job well done, so they told us.  

A day or two later word came down from the locals and our ARVN/Kit Carson scouts that we indeed did kill 3-4 Dinks and one was a VC Colonel and a few of his aides. Then, things started to change. Most of the Dink cart vendors as well as the whores suddenly stopped showing up at the gate as usual everyday to sell their wares and a bit of tail for the guys who would take a chance.  They were no where to be seen or found. Word was we were going to get a visit from Charlie for knocking off the Dinks. In any event, I remember them beefing up security with doubling up guards at night as well as calling up a 155mm SP battery who were right down the road due east of us. I remember there was another firebase…maybe the quarry…cause they also had an engineer unit assigned there and they came along as well all.  Together there were two ACP's and two 155's rolled up at our gate and we let them come right in front of our position since we had the clearest field of fire. Then the bulldozer, grader and their heavy equipment showed up and opened up the whole perimeter in front of us for at least 500 yards of clear killing field. Thank God they did or we would have been toast the night of the attack. I remember they cleared it so well including tree stumps you could not hide a cat let alone a man. It was wide open and then halfway between the outer perimeter bunkers, they dug a trench in a “half moon” circle about a 100-150 ft in front of us from our left.  It was situated from “10 o’clock to 2 o’clock” and approximately 2-3 feet wide and about 4-5 feet deep. This was supposed to be a so-called “fall back position” for the grunts in the outer  bunkers that were farthest out in front of us on the outer perimeter; they were isolated, so to speak. In any event, after the construction was done and the heavy equipment went back, we sat there with the extra armor and 155's for three days and nights and “nada”.  Nobody came a’calling, so they decided that it was a hoax and the next morning they sent the ACP's & 155's back to their location.                                                                                                                                     

 BIG MISTAKE!  That night was the night they probed us and nobody seen or heard anything. They tied up all the tripwires as well as the claymores; they pulled the detonators out and laid them down.  They cut a clean hole through the wire in 2-3 locations; one was directly across from are gun pit. Holy Shit. If you bent down you could see a clear hole in the wire like a tunnel. We found leaflets all over the place as well as in the mess tent where they walked throughout as well. It was real scary and everyone was on pins and needles. Now I remember why it was an early night for us. Most of the guys use to party at one of our bunkers and no one came around that night which was very unusual. We just figured everyone was on edge and wanted to stay close to their own bunker once it got dark just in case the shit hit the fan. What an understatement now as I think back. 

In any event, being bored, we sacked out earlier as I remember it and it was around 2300-2330 hrs. I was asleep around maybe 1/2 hour when I woke up to what I thought was a mad minute that we use to do on a random basis every night just to scare Charlie off. Next thing I know, the corner of our bunker lights up with a big orange flash and a thundering “BOOM” in the left front, closest to the perimeter. At first I thought it was a motor, later I found out it was an RPG that hit the bunker right behind us but caught the corner of ours. Lucky for us or I probably wouldn't be writing this.  Next thing I know, I am jumping into my boots and putting on my flak vest & helmet, grabbed my M16 and went through the opening of our bunker. There were 3 of us in there and I do not remember who went out first but as I stood up outside the entrance, someone running at full speed ran right into me and spun me around. As I came to bear and looked, all I remember was a guy in dark shirt & shorts carrying  what looked like a medic's bag with the strap in hand. It took me a few seconds to get my bearings but I knew then it was a Dink with a satchel charge. I couldn't get off a shot since he was between me and our guys in the next gun pit as well as the bunker on the perimeter. Our Section Chief then came running in from the gun pit next door that had taken the RPG round and said one of their guys was dead. I asked “how are you sure?” and he said cause his head and arm is missing. Holy Shit, the battle was on. He then ordered us to lower the tube and put in a Beehive round. We then all crouched around the parapet wall facing the outer perimeter. We could now see something since they were all kinds of flares and illumination rounds going off over head. Charlie was everywhere. They had taken over the whole sector between our ten o’clock to two o’clock bunker. The one that was almost directly in front of us at one o’clock still had some of our grunts trapped in it and they were pinned down from all sides. Remember that “fall back” trench between us and them? Ya you guessed it….Charlie was using it to move back & forth as well as shoot at us and them. It was a real “free for all”. This went on for what seemed like forever, until like 0400 hrs. Every time they tried to make a run on that bunker, we opened up and  killed everyone of those MF'ers . That clear cut killing field saved the guys in the bunker cause there was no way the Dinks could run in the open without us seeing them and putting them down.

Around that time a medic and another guy came running into our parapet and said the guys radioed in from the bunker that they were running out of ammo and they had one guy wounded and they needed to get to them or it was all over but the crying. I remember cause they were carrying a folded up litter and we filled it with ammo on the way out to try and rescue the wounded guy and bring in the rest of them. They said they would need an extra guy to help cover them.  So…guess who? Sgt Crane, our Section Leader, looked at me and I said OK, I'll be the idiot. He took my M16 and gave me our M60. Off we went running like rabbits. I dropped off at the half way point near the trench and did not want to get in it fearing I would get trapped or would not see anyone coming through it so I stayed in the open laying flat as possible. I knew my rear was covered by my guys, so all I had to do was watch my front for the most part.

 Soon as those guys made it to the bunker, Charlie spotted them and tried to rush the bunker. I opened up with the sixty and just sprayed there asses the best I could. Within a minute I heard the medic yell “We’re coming out!”,  so I got ready to haul ass. Charlie made one more attempt to rush the bunker but my guys saw them and blasted them all (along with me) before they even got close enough to do anything. Next thing I knew, here comes the medic & other guy and carrying the wounded guy back towards me.  I got up on one knee and watched for movement from anywhere. As they passed me, I got up and did the fastest backwards walk you ever seen. We all got back to our parapet and the guys took the wounded guy to our Aid tent and that was that. We had sporadic fire the rest of the night and once daylight came around we were still taking sniper fire till about 0830 which was silenced by Cobra gun ships strafing are perimeter. 

The other thing that saved are butts that night was we had just sent out two of the guns on a hip shoot a few miles down from us. I remember because the XO or one of the Lt's/FO's came into are parapet and was directing fire on the front of the outer perimeter in front of the bunker where those guys were trapped. They were banging away with Willy Pete & Fire Cracker rounds, What a show! Somewhere in between, we had Puff laying down fire in the same area as well as the mortar section on the other side of the LZ and I believe another battery from far off was shelling around us.

 Well, finally like I said, daylight came around and it looked like a slaughterhouse all around us, especially in front of us. There were dead Dinks just a few yards from our pit as well as on our left flank closest to the outer perimeter. That's when we discovered two more guys who didn't make it but they killed the three Dink laying in place just outside there bunker who had RPG's and AK-47s in hand ready to do us in, Thank God for that or we might have not made it either. The rest of the day was just trying to screw your head's back on. No one had much to say and all we did for the most part was clean up all of our empty brass from are M16's & M60 as well as restock our ammo bunker for small arms. A lot of lead went out that night from are position. Thank God our CO was very stern about having lots of extra ammo. He always said you could not have enough…and he was right.  

Submitted by Sp5 Rick Ericksen

(A Donut Dolly was on LZ St George during a fire mission)

I remember being on a firebase, can't remember which one, when there was a firefight and the artillery went in to action.  It happened really quickly and I was walking around from gun to gun just chatting when they started to shoot.  I was coming up to the side of a 105 howitzer, unaware they were about to shoot, when they suddenly yelled "hold your ears".  From the way they yelled it I knew to act and just got my ears covered when the exhaust came out the side and literally throw me up in the air and onto the ground.  Pretty scary but I was okay.  I still wonder how much it will effect my hearing but so far seems okay (except I do have ringing in my ears - who knows if it's related).


Air Force,American flags,Armed Forces Day,caskets,coffins,dead,flags,formations,funerals,holidays,honors,Memorial Day,military aircraft,remembrance,special occasions,Veteran's Day,war,government

A Fantastic and Touching Epilogue

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Burney [mailto:burneyhounds@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2011 5:35 PM
To: firemen281ret@sbcglobal. net
Subject: Firebase St. George 

Hello.  I came across your blog and am hopeful that you might have been with Raymond C. Foerster at Firebase St. George.  I grew up with Raymond, he was my first love, and I am still keeping alive his memory when and however I can.  We knew each other all our lives but his ended on November 6, 1969 in that slaughter nighttime attack.   We (the family and loved ones) were never told the true story.  I just in the last few years when the after action report was declassified learned that he should not have been there that night with a cast on his leg.   I do not want to intrude but if you did know Raymond and might have anything to share, I still honor him to this day.  His sister and I found one another again and are close again, just as when we were children in Texas.  

  Thank you.  Carol 

 My Reply to Miss Burney.

Dear Carol;

I can't believe this. If you had not mentioned the fact that he had a cast on his leg, I would have not know who you were talking about. I cannot put a face to his name, but I'll never forget the cast. I might have talked with him, but being it was so very long ago, I cannot doing that.

I clearly remember as if it was yesterday. After the battle had ended and we started getting our heads back together, I remember the guys/medics etc., going from bunker to bunker and checking for anyone. I remember going over to the bunker directly on the side of our gun pit which was right on the line.  It had taken a direct hit; it looked like it was an RPG from the damage. There were so many bodies all over the place...mostly enemy soldiers but in and under that bunker/sandbags was the body of one of a few of our guys and that's when I saw the cast on his leg. At first I wasn't sure, but when they took off more of the sand bags, it was clear as day that it was one of our guys and he had a leg cast on.   For the record, I do not know what or why he was there,  when he probably should have been back at base camp or the hospital. I do not know how he got out to the firebase other then he was in base camp and decided to come in on a truck which was there almost everyday with supplies. If memory serves me right, they returned every day, but I do remember them staying one night and I think that this was that fateful night. I was just looking at an e-mail from another guy who was there and it confirmed what I said...they were one of the first bunkers to get hit as they were the only thing that separated us from the wire and the dinks. They were hell bent on getting to us, but had to go through the guys in the perimeter bunkers first, so they got hammered. I am truly sorry to have to confirm this but this is the gospel truth. I often wondered what and or why he was there. The only thing I can think of is that he got bored hanging around base camp and decided to take the ride but had no way knowing he was going to spend the night.  So, he decided to stay with his buddies in their bunker. I just want you to know that my heart goes out to you and his family. We lost several guys that night and it could have been a lot worst  if wasn't for him and the brave guys who stood their ground. I would have not be here to write you this e-mail.  I am proud to say that after that famous battle, I volunteered a few days later to go out with the 1st/14 Infantry and was the Artillery RTO/Radio Telephone opperator/Recon Sgt.  After my FO,  Lt. Joe Hannigan got wounded, I took over for a while as acting FO/Forward observer for B company. These guys were the best of the best...no fear, hard core soldiers.  I am forwarding an e-mail  from Herb Ables who was right next to us and just the other side of the bunker Ray was in. We have been in touch like a few other guys who were there. 

Please stay in touch and let me know if I can be of any further help or if you would just like to chat, that's ok to. 

Kindest regards, 
Rick Ericksen Sr



Raymond Carl Foerster

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
01 February 1948 - 06 November 1969
Dallas, Texas
Panel 16W Line 039


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Raymond Carl Foerster

06 Nov 2003

On this date in 1969, Raymond Foerster died at FSB St. George, Pleiku.

I knew him throughout childhood;
he was a gentle, decent, quiet young man.

In honor of Raymond on this date.

Carol Burney

10 Jun 2005

To a cousin I never knew but I am honored to be related to.

Thank you for your service and may you rest in eternal peace.

From a distant cousin,
Janice C. Buker
1361 Chapman Rd, Castle Rock, Wa 98611

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 06 Nov 1969 the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, lost eight men at Firebase Saint George:
  • A Company:
    • SP4 Charles W. Lowery, Chicago, IL
    • SP4 Larry W. Robison, Winfield, AL
    • PVT Thomas A. Putman, Toledo, OH

  • B Company:
    • PFC William C. Ray, Marietta, GA

  • D Company:
    • SP4 Raymond C. Foerster, Dallas, TX
    • SP4 Donald G. Hedgecock, Cahokia, IL
    • PFC Bradley J. Logan, Dearborn, MI

  • HQ Company:
    • CPL Ronald L. De Long, Collegedale, TN