From RU Airborne’s Co-Founder, Ronny Ymbras:
The following is a story I held onto for almost forty years, just recently have I been able to find myself bringing it up again. All of us Veteran’s have some vivid memories that haunt us. The following story is mine. I was looking for an old vet’s phone number on the internet when came across my old battalions online forum which no longer is online. Long story short I got back in touch with some of my old buds and shared the story there for the first time in decades. The following was copied and pasted from that forum:
RonnyYmbras: March 26, 1968. It is late morning, we are on a trail in A Shau Valley, Quang Tri Province South Viet Nam searching for enemy bunkers, we found them. We took a few rounds from the point, at which time we were ordered a hundred meters back up the trail, to bring in artillery support. This would’ve taken an hour; we only walked for about 10 minutes if that. We were about one hundred men lined up on a trail with a constantly crossing stream as our point of reference. I then heard nine rounds coming out of the mortar tubes. That’s right, I counted them. What else do you do while sitting on a trail under triple canopy jungle with mosquitoes bugging you. An artillery volley followed from some firebase. We were sitting where the trail crossed the stream. The stream is low 6 inches deep, maybe 10 feet across by about 15 wide. The first round hit about 50 m away the second one walked in to about 25 m away, shrapnel was flying everywhere. I got up moved for cover and sat in a shallow dugout going up the bank. Someone sat next to me, the next round landed among us, I saw a flash and the last thing I heard was a tremendous blast and then saw a body part fall on the man next to me. A red smoke grenade was going off, he screamed like a crazy man. A few more mortar rounds landed, and then the artillery came in. I thought they were 155mm rounds, since then some of the living thought so too. I got up ran to the front of the line to the command group. I was about to jump across the stream when another body part fell in front of me I thought it was Scotties. I ran yelling check fire check fire, check fire when I got to the command group I saw a few men down not knowing who was dead or wounded and everything was crazy, moaning and screaming and dying. The 1st Sgt said things were under control so I went back to my platoon and saw my platoon leader Lt Phillip Benn dead, his RTO Roger Link dead, as well as my squad leader Sgt Phillip Krek and four other members of my squad dead Spec 4 John Barnes, Spec 4 Glen Hubbard, Pfc John Horton and Pfc Hoyle Terry and several wounded including me. At this time the word came to set up a perimeter the enemy was probing and sniping at us, yet we were trying to take care of the wounded, the dead would take care of themselves. A little later some choppers came and dropped in chain saws and patrolled the skies with their machine guns protecting us as we cut out a landing zone in the jungle. A few hours later we loaded the choppers with the wounded and then the dead. A few of them looked ok from that view point but were still dead. I was one of the last wounded out, ambulatory, concussion with loss of hearing and a small cut on my forehead. I was sent to the 86th Evac hospital in Qui Nhon. I later found out that the 2nd squad of the 2nd platoon, my brothers, took the worst hit. Altogether, 12 dead and some 22 wounded about one third of our outfit, from friendly fire. I lost a lot of my dear friends, that was a very bad day
These following excerpts were the above forum post’s replies taken from that forum. Some of these men I had just gotten back in touch with in the last two years. Here are their memories. and the Lord is working
HOBMAN 101: I remember it like it was yesterday and very little about anything else. I was in third squad, our squad leader Dennis Williams was hit here. I think this was his third time,( I kept telling him to duck).You and I discussed this before because you and I arrived at Sgt Krek at the same time. One guy was dead and the other guy was sitting very naturally but he was also dead. 3rd squad also had two new guys take a direct hit plus several more wounded. I remember body parts in the trees.
SHAWDEN: I remember all this.. I was the platoon leader for 2nd platoon D company and was behind you guys when all this went down. My platoon had to move through all you explained to take the point. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced,, I remember seeing the chest you talked about. I always thought that was your platoon leader. I had asked about a Lt Dean
SHAWDEN: I will have to dig out my records and check. My Parkinsons dosen’t help to remember things but, like this some things you never forget.
RONLONG68: Lt Dean was 1st platoon leader with Delta Co on that date. When the incident happened (our own mortars) Delta co under the command of Capt Greenhouse were patrolling in the same area as Bravo Co. We were sent to help Bravo Co Immediately. It was a horrible site, but the efforts of the Bravo men in clearing a landing zone for medivac choppers was nothing short of miraculous. They were felling huge tees with just their machetes and clearing triple canopy brush with their bare hands.
ASKKEITH: Where did you hear it was 155’s? C Co. was on the hill guarding the mortars, listening to the FDCs radios and your radios down in the valley. We listened and watched the fire mission as B Co was in contact with the NVA. We heard the frantic call to adjust the fire; our platoon sergeant was yelling it was too close to be accurate. The mortars went off, we waited and we saw and HEARD the impact at the same because the radio operator that was killed had his microphone blocked open. All the explosions, then silence and then the screams and yelling aftermath was heard by all
CTERRY108: From what I understand my father was one of those lost on March 26th, 1968. I would love to hear from anyone who might remember him. His name was Hoyle Terry Jr , might have gone by Junior. He was from Oak Ridge Tennessee. I was two years old at the time. Any help in honoring my father would be awesome. God bless you and thank you for your service. William Terry@.. if you would like to e-mail me
I wrote William about his father.
I know of no heart of the remaining survivors of B Company who has not forgiven, however we do remember and memorialize, There is some bitterness though. There are no after action reports, no daily reports and no other official documents that this ever happened. The only thing we have is a battalion historical supplement that is not really official. The dates March 26th, 27th are missing from this as well. Please pray for all involved to healed
Sgt Ron Ymbras
2nd squad,2nd plt
B Co 1/502 Infantry
101st Abn Din RVN 67-68