FIRE SUPPORT PATROL BASE CAMP PANTHER
2/47 PANTHER Mechanized Infantry Battalion Headquarters
Binh Phuoc - Long An Province - III CTZ

3RD BRIGADE GUIDON

HOLD CURSOR ON THUMBNAIL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
ACAVS PARKED IN THE COMPANY MOTOR POOL - 21 JUL 69  REAR SECTION OF AN XM-571 UTILITY VEHICLE PARKED IN MOTOR POOL - 21 JUL 69  M-548 AMUNITION CARRIER IN MOTOR POOL - 21 JUL 69  
1970 MAP OF BINH PHUOC AREA
The headquarters of the 2/47 Panther Battalion was in Binh Phuoc. The base was first inhabited by the 5/60 Mechanized Infantry and named Camp Robert Bethune in memory of their first KIA. When the 2/47 Mechanized Infantry moved in from Bearcat during October 1968, they renamed it Camp Panther. To most it was know simply as Binh Phuoc.
 

BATTERY B - 2/4 ARTILLERY - IN ACTION - 26 JUN 69  BATTERY B - 2/4 ARTILLERY - IN ACTION - 26 JUN 69  2/4 ARTILLERY TRUCK IN GUN PIT AREA - 26 JUN 69

When the 2/47 Infantry arrived in Vietnam on January 31, 1967, they were one of two mechanized battalions in the Division. The other, the 5/60 Infantry, was dismounted in September 1968 leaving the 2/47 the Division's only mechanized asset to operate in the Delta. Left - A couple of M-113 ACAV (armored cavalry assault vehicle) tracks sit in the company motor pool. Center - The back section of a two-unit, XM-571, 1-ton, articulated, utility vehicle rests to the left of a M-548, 6-ton, ammunition carrier. The crest on the sign that has caught the eye of the troop at the right displays the red shield and Viking long boat of the 86th Combat Engineer Battalion. Right - This ammunition carrier has been adorned with the inscription FORD meaning, in this instance, FIX OR REPAIR DAILY. The M-548s were manufactured for the US Army by the Ford Motor Company.

FIRE MISSION! The ground trembled when the 105s  of Battery B, 2/4 Artillery, went into action. Being so close to the source was a thrilling experience similar to being very near a Fourth of July fireworks display. The resonance of the cannon's bark bounced off your stomach and stirred your soul. Yet, it was a sad occasion. The artillery fire meant someone out in the bush was in trouble. Artillerymen knew this and responded with utmost alacrity. They accepted the responsibility that soldiers' lives were in their hands. A late or inaccurate fire mission could mean dead comrades. The Army purposefully placed small infantry units in harm's way to draw out the enemy. Squads were not expected to engage superior Communist forces. Overwhelming firepower was the key to supremacy in the field. This was the theory of small unit engagement in Vietnam, although the theory didn't always work out so well for those  engaged.

"SAY A LITTLE PRAYER" M-578 RECOVERY VEHICLE  PLATOON READYING TRACKS FOR DEPARTURE - 21 JUL 69  BEYOND THE WIRE WEST PERIMETER - 21 JUL 69

 

WELCOME SIGN AT CAMP PANTHER - 26 JUN 69

  SNOOPY IV - M-106A1 MORTAR TRACK OF HQ COMPANY - 26 JUN 69  TRACKS PARKED IN THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF CAMP PANTHER - 21 JUL 69  SP-5 FISCHER & MILLS WITH BASS DRUM - 21 JUL 69

Left - SAY A LITTLE PRAYER!  Forever buddy. An M-578, light, armored, recovery vehicle has enough crew messages painted on it to occupy a few moments reading time. WIDOW MAKER! YOU CALL - WE HAUL! Center -  A platoon prepare their tracks for an operation. Right - Beyond the wire one never knew what to expect. Route 207 ran between Tan An and Binh Phuoc. It literally ended at Camp Panther's front gate. Route 207 was also known as Thunder Road.

 

WELCOME TO BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN BINH PHUOC - That's what the Bravo Battery, 2/4 Artillery, greeting sign said. Well, at least someone had a sense of humor! Binh Phuoc was anything but beautiful. Battery B's six, towed, 105mm howitzers were emplaced on the north side of the base.

 

Left - Snoop IV was one of headquarters company's four M-106A1 tracks fitted with 4.2" mortar tubes. The company was nicknamed 4-Duece. Center - It certainly looks like a junk yard but it isn't. Tracks churned up the Delta until roads were little more than quagmires and mud bogs. Right - Bandsmen Fischer and Mills enjoy the sodden ambiance of Binh Phuoc. If you added ed to Phuoc it sounded like what the Army did to the Queen of Battle.

   

   

   

ACAV TRACKS ALONG ROUTE 225 - 26 JUN 69  HELICOPTER PADS ALONG ROUTE 225 - 26 JUN 69  LOCAL KIDS WATCHING BAND WAIT FOR HELICOPTERS - 21 JUL 69

 

TRACK STUCK IN MUD OFF SIDE ROAD - 21 JUL 69  TRACK STUCK IN MUD OFF SIDE ROAD - 21 JUL 69

 

VIETNAMESE LABORER WASHING IN A DRAINAGE DITCH - 26 JUN 69  DESECERATING A BURINAL MONUMENT - 26 JUN 69  DESECRATING A BURIAL MONUMENT - 26 JUN 69

Left - Camp Panther's three helicopter pads (one fabricated and the other tow earthen) were outside the north berm along Route 225. In this view a Slick sits on the fabricated concrete pad (out of view to left) and a company of tracks occupy the earthen pads. A pair of M-113 ACAVs, parked side by side, have effectively blocked traffic on the road. Center - The monsoon season arrived during the month of May. It brought torrential rains to already inundated lowlands. Sudden downpours made unpaved roads barely passable. Right -  Kids were everywhere in the Delta. Here a bunch wait with the band for a helicopter pick up.

 

A side road off of Route 225 on the east perimeter led to several Vietnamese hootches and a company-size compound of the 15th Engineer Battalion. The platoon in these scenes got into trouble when one of their tracks slid off the road into a paddy. It had been quite exciting watching them churning up papa-san's rice paddies, not to mention the road itself. Lots of noise and exhaust smells!

 

Left - The Vietnamese peasant didn't understand the concept of sanitation. This contract laborer is washing in storm sewer water at Camp Panther's garbage dump. The orange and white cartons in the garbage heap are Foremost Dairies, Inc. quart milk containers. Center & Right - The Vietnamese always chose the highest and driest plot of land to bury their ancestors. The monuments offered good concealment and cover, not to mention a great background to take pictures. Desecratingly great ones!

VIEW #1 - BUDDHIST TEMPLE ACROSS FROM MAIN GATE - 21 JUL 69   VIEW #2 - "DOWNTOWN" BINH PHUOC - 26 JUN 69  VIEW #3 - SCENERY OFF SOUTH PERIMETER - 26 JUN 69  VIEW #4 - LAMBRETTA 550 SCOOTER-BUS - 21 JUL 69

View #1 - This distinctive Buddhist temple sat in an open field across Route 207, a short distance from the southwest corner of Camp Panther. View #2 - The village of Binh Phuoc was also south of Route 207 near that road's intersection with Route 225. This view of the village was taken from Camp Panther's main gate. View #3 - In the Delta what looked pastoral and bucolic during the sunlight hours often turned into a nightmare of evening flares, tracers, mortars, RPGs, and small arms fire. The Viet Cong were farmers by day and guerilla insurgents by night. Both friend and foe carried weapons. Our orders were not to fire unless fired upon. Black pajamas were the uniform of the peasant as well as the VC. You really couldn't tell the good guys from the enemy. View #4 - Lambretta 550 scooter busses were ubiquitous in the Delta. Their motors made a distinctive popping sound that could be heard quite a distance away.

 

INDICATED MONTHS OF COMMAND ARE APPROXIMATE

 
2/47 MECHANIZED INFANTRY BATTALION
JAN 1967 - APR 1967 LTC William B. Cronin KIA*
APR 1967 - DEC 1967 LTC Arthur D. Mooreland
DEC 1967 - FEB 1968 LTC John B. Leffler
FEB 1968 - JUN 1968 LTC John B. Tower
JUN 1968 - JUL 1968 LTC Frederick Van Deusen KIA**
JUL 1968 - JAN 1969 LTC James L. Scovel
JAN 1969 - JUL 1969 LTC Douglas S. Smith
JUL 1969 - JAN 1970 LTC James R. Rowe
JAN 1970 - JUL 1970 LTC John H. Claybrook
JUL 1970 - OCT 1970 LTC Gary C. Williams
* April 27, 1967
**July 3, 1968

 

Background Sound: "Tracks on the Move"                                                 RETURN TO VIETNAM TOUR 365