FIRE SUPPORT BASE DANGER
4/39 Hardcore Infantry Battalion Headquarters
Giao Duc (Ap An Tri) - Dinh Tuong Province - IV CTZ

1ST BRIGADE GUIDON

ANATOMY OF AN INFANTRY BATTALION

HOLD CURSOR ON THUMBNAIL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
AERIAL VIEW OF FSB DANGER US ARMY PHOTO - MAR 69   1965 MAP OF FSB DANGER AREA   INTERIOR BASE ROAD FSB DANGER - 20 JUN 69

In March 1969 the Division erected their final fire support base to be constructed in Vietnam. It was the westernmost installation in Dinh Tuong Province and housed the battalion HQ of the 4/39 Infantry, Company B, and a battery of six, 105mm, towed howitzers from the 1/11 Artillery. The base was ideally situated between the Rach Ba Lam and the Rach Chanh in a wide expanse of inundated rice paddies with clear fields of fire on all perimeters. The helicopter pads were outside the fortifications. - US Army photo

When the band played a concert at FSB Danger on June 20, 1969, the base radiated a moonscape aura of bulldozed mud that was, thankfully for the moment, drying out. In this view taken on the base interior road, the tall red and white commo (communications) tower is out of view to the right and the TOC (tactical operations center) bunker straight ahead in the distance. Of the ten infantry battalions operating with the 9th Infantry Division, the 4/39 was the most fortunate having suffered the least fatalities (130 KIA) during the Division's 985 days in Vietnam.

GUARD POST AT MAIN GATE FSB DANGER - 14 JUL 69     HARDCORE RECONDO - FTA, SIR! 14 JUL 69  

Elements of the 4/39 Infantry Battalion were deployed in four separate locations along Route QL-4 north of the village of Giao Duc. The District HQ, kitchen, and mortar platoon were in town while A Alert Company  was at a location called Tombstone, B Battle Company at FSB Danger, and C Claymore Company at a small compound named Claymore. (The position of D Dagger Company alternated with B Company between Dong Tam and FSB Danger.) The original name selected for FSB Danger had been FSB Dickey. This did not set well with the outspoken 4/39 battalion commander. To promote Esprit de Corps amongst his troops he renamed it Danger and, then, in a flair of drama, designated his unit The Hardcore Battalion.

  VIETNAMESE CEMETERY WITH GIAO DUC IN BACKGROUND - 14 JUL 69    HUEY AH-1G "COBRA" -  - 14 JUL 69    LOH-6A "LOACH" WITH TEMPLE AT GIAO DUC IN BACKGROUND  - 14 JUL 69
Left - An angled, 55-gallon, sand-filled, steel drum with a CLEAR ALL WEAPONS sign attached sat at the entrance to FSB Danger. This was a common accessory at all 9th ID base entry points. Even though a troop removed his weapon's magazine, one round remained in the chamber and had to be ejected manually. If he forgot to eject the cartridge it could unknowingly lead to tragedy. The idea was to point your weapon into the barrel and pull the trigger. Hopefully, it didn't go BANG! This photograph was taken on the day that the base was turned over to the ARVN. Although US troops are present, the flag of the Republic of Vietnam is already flying over the fortification. Right - Visitors to FSB Danger could read some interesting graffiti scrawled above the guard house entranceway as they waited for the gate to be raised.  Hardcore with ATTITUDE!

Elements of the 4/39 Infantry Battalion including the kitchen staff (and kitchen) and the battalion mortar platoon were emplaced in the village of Giao Duc at district headquarters. This area was north of town off of Route QL-4 and was accessible by dirt road that led past a series of helicopter pads. The two views on the right are of a Hunter-Killer Team (the Loach is the aero-scout Hunter and the Cobra the Killer) from the 3/17 ACS, an air cavalry squadron flying in support of 9th Infantry Division operations with companies stationed at Di An and Dong Tam. The village of Giao Duc is visible behind the view of the Loach.  In February 1969 the replacement commander of the 4/39 ordered that military courtesy be observed in the field and demanded that a greeting accompany each salute.* Soldier: Hardcore Recondo, Sir! Officer response: No f_ _king Slack!

*Steel My Soldiers' Hearts, COL David H. Hackworth and Eilhys England, Rugged Land 2002, page 54.

 

One of the Division's ten Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients (Edward A. Devore, Jr., March 17, 1968, Binh Tuy Province) was from the 4/39 Infantry Battalion.

SCENE OF GIAO DUC FROM DISTRICT HQ AREA   SCENE OF GIAO DUC FROM DISTRICT HQ AREA   SCENE OF GIAO DUC FROM DISTRICT HQ AREA   SCENE OF GIAO DUC FROM DISTRICT HQ AREA 

At the end of 1967 the 4/39 Infantry had assisted the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of II CTZ by participating in Operation Macarthur. Their mission had been to provide security for FSB Martz near Ban Me Thuot.

Scenes of Giao Duct from District HQ area.

INDICATED MONTHS OF COMMAND ARE APPROXIMATE

4/39 INFANTRY BATTALION COMMANDERS

 

Sadly, the 4/39 suffered it's highest rate of fatalities during the five months preceding its redeployment back to the USA.* At a time when the Division had been planning its withdrawal, a total of 37 Hardcore Recondos (34 hostile, 2 non-hostile, and one murdered) forfeited their lives, including the unprecedented battalion loss of three junior officers -  all within a period of weeks (March 13 -  April 17, 1969).

*Calculated from Mobile Riverine Force Association causality data.

JAN 1967 - AUG 1967 LTC Clyde B. Bell, Jr.
AUG 1967 - FEB 1968 LTC Daniel L. Baldwin III

Battalion re-assigned to the 3rd Brigade in February 1968

FEB 1968 - JUL 1968

LTC Robert L. Adcock

JUL 1968

LTC William Berzinec KIA*
JUL 1968 - FEB 1969 LTC Franklin A. Hart
Battalion re-assigned back to 1st Brigade in December 1968

FEB 1969 - MAY 1969

LTC David H. Hackworth
MAY 1969 - JUL 1969 MAJ James R. Taylor

JUL 1969

MAJ Ronald W. Crooks
      *July 31, 1968 (date provided by COL Franklin A. Hart)

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