(Operation Green Lightning Log) is a real eye was a stunning perspective that the "grunts" on the ground, and the "cannon-cockers" in the gun pits seldom, if ever, see.

The Log indicates that the A/2/9th Arty (and the other artillery units) shot nearly 1,100 rounds in prepping and providing close in support for the 1-14th, 1-12th, &  1-35th.
At that time, only very few Fire Direction Center crews were on the "sticks" (as opposed to FADAC).  The fastest, and the oldest was a coarse, rough, and very accurate guy named "SKI" (PFC Dennis Mrowczynski)  "Ski" had been around...he knew his job and every other job in the FDC....he was much faster than "Freddie Fadac".   I never knew if the FADAC really ever worked, especially at firing so many rounds at "danger close". I don't know if 'Ski' ever really got any kind of thanks for his work, but it was a real, in your face, hard, sweaty, and heart stopping application of what Ft. Sill had trained him to do, and then some!!!!  

I know firsthand that Sp4 Clint Curry and Sp4 Bob Burnett, and some I have forgotten were right there also...taking their turn to fire those rounds on the outside of a 150 meter to 300 meter circle. The Battery Commander, Capt. Williams, never missed a beat...he never assumed....he double and triple checked the data when firing "danger close". The Chief of Smoke was busy building, resupplying, rotating crews, and guns.  Oddly, who would've realized his biggest threat was all those powder do you get rid of 5-6 thousand bags of powder and not start the fire base on fire.....much less all the other ordinance.  

If it was "karma" that the four CO's of the 1/14th had 4 FO's that were up to the task, then so be it.    To me, it all came down to the "boots on the ground".  All those CO's, including the attached 1-12th & 1-35th...had to know where ALL their troops were at all times.  My god, just look at the terrain, those PRC-8 radios that the point and a few others had, the coordination it took for Lts (Richard) Pearce, (Gilbert) Atha, (Hermie "Rucksack") Rucker, and Paul Baumgarter to watch their companies and the rounds each of them were shooting near the other units.  Lt Atha running two fire missions, and sitting on top of 2-500 lb unexploded bombs...and then two NVA coming down the trail at him, and he takes one of them out with his M-16.

 The 1-14th Bn CO wanted the Bn Surgeon to check out some of the wounded on LZ Tommie (close by to the Chu Pa). They walked down the steps to the FDC bunker and rested a little.  What do you say to the "walking wounded", what words do you have to say that can compare to what they have seen or done to bring them here, from that god-forsaken hill that will always be remembered in the minds and hearts of those who fought on the Chu Pa.

 To this day, I am in awe of those very brave men....the faces blur, the names shift in my head, the dates are sometimes unclear....but I will never forget looking down the barrel of a 105 mm howitzer, seeing that hill less than a 1000 meters away, and knowing the men of the Golden Dragons were paying a dear price for that piece of Vietnam.  

LZ TOMMIE: If you go to the "Military Links" of the 2/9th website and then to the Red Warriors website for maps, check out map 6537 III, (YA952678)  the Polei Yome map, you can then shift to the site of the CHU PA mountain, and across a very small ravine, you can find LZ TOMMIE at 955 665.  

PFC Jim "Tex" and I took a hike down the mountain to fetch some water.  We carried at least two five gallon cans, and every canteen we could find.  Our Advance Party got there on LZ Tommie near the 26Jan69, and we left on the 17th or so of February.  Maybe seven of us went down for the water (we were nuts).  Why that NVA element near the base of the mountain didn't see or hear us is the "dumb luck" we all tell stories about.  Most of us were in country for a few months or so...what were we thinking?

 Joseph Sleevi
A Btry 2/ 9th
FO Party B-1st-14th Inf. 1969