LOG BOOK ENTRIES, SEPTEMBER 16, 1969
I thought I’d write about a typical day inside the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) of an Infantry Battalion in combat. I will be using the daily log and like most days, you may find this one a little boring, but I hope you find the entries informative and interesting.
PICTURE TAKEN NEAR THE TOC, LZ GYPSY. I BELIEVE THE MAJOR STANDING NEXT TO ME IS THE XO AND THE CAPTAIN ON THE LEFT, THE FIRE DIRECTION OFFICER . I WAS THE OPERATIONS OFFICER FOR ABOUT 5 MONTHS. .
The events were taken from incoming and outgoing calls recorded from midnight to 10:05 the following morning on the 16th of September, 1969.. I was the Battalion Operations Officer and SGT Dill was the Communications NCO.
A log book recorded the activities within our Area of Operations (AO) including activities of units in the battalion, eg. Three infantry companies of approximately 150 men each. Each company has 4 platoons of 3 squads. The squad is the smallest maneuver element. Other units under the control of the Tactical Operations Center included a weapons company and a reconnaissance platoon.
The following entries was orginally classified. Subsequently, log books were declassified and are available online for those who are interested. I’ve included comments which were not in the log sheets to help the reader better understand the entry. My comments are in parenthesis.
LOG BOOK, THE 1/35th INFANTRY BATTALION, SEPTEMBER 16, 1969
01. 0010 HRS DUST-OFF COMPLETE (A Soldier with a stomach ache was evacuated by helicopter. Doctor later determined it was appendicitis).
02. 0100 HRS Bde informed of MAD MINUTE (On order every man on the perimeter of LZ Gyspy fired his weapon for one minute. A Mad Minute was not a scheduled event. The irregular firing of individual weapons had two purposes. First, it served as a warning to attackers and also allowed soldiers to ensure their weapons were firing properly.)
03. 0200 HRS Neg Situation report to Bde. (sit rep) (No action in units of the battalion).
04. 0205 HRS Fr Bde – request Snoopy box#4 (OK ‘d Request for aircraft (AC) to fire saturation fires on a predetermined target within our AO, box #4. The US Air Force AC-130A , Snoopy, aka Puff the Magic Dragon, is a side-firing gunship, primarily for night attacks against ground troops. The AC-130A or C-47 were equipped with three 7.62 mini-guns capable of firing 900 rounds a second at an altitude of 3000 feet with pinpoint accuracy. It is said that Snoopy can fire a bullet in every square meter of a football field in 10 seconds. (see You tube, Snoopy).
05. 0210 HRS Request approved Snoopy box #5. (Checked to confirm area was clear of friendlies before approving).
06. 0300 HRS Neg Sit rep (No action in units of the battalion).
07. 0340 HRS C Co to cordone village AM (VC were known to be in village, described mission for next day, gave location and support needed, air support on standby, artillery, etc.).
08. 0400 HRS Neg Sit (No action in units in the battalion).
09. 0410 HRS From Bde – request Snoopy box (OK’d Request for AC to fire saturation fires in AO, box #5, preselected boundaries marked and distributed to all units involved ).
10. 0500 HRS Neg Sit rep (No action units in battalion).
11. 0600 HRS Neg Sit rep (No action units in battalion).
12. 0720 HRS From Bde-request 2 Snoopy Boxs (OK’d Req for AC to fire saturtion fires in AO, boxes 6 & 11).
13. 0750 HRS From S-1: Did you put SGT……in for Army Commendation Medal? (Yes recommended SGT Collins for Medal, gave supporting details).
14. 0800 HRS To S-4: get recount of # 90 & 91 (Got headcount of two units and gave to S-3 by 1100 hours. Supply Officer needed headcount to calculate resupply of rations, water and other needed items).
15. 0813 HRS from D Co: LP’s (listening posts) returned to CP ( Co gave ID of 3x Listening Posts rtn to command post (CP).
16. 0830 HRS From A Co: 451 sweep, neg findings (# 451 identified a particular squad within the Platoon and Company) Squad swept perimeter, rtn to Command Post).
17. 0840 HRS From 07: need 2 day of H2O,.… (Recon req supplies, ammo, mines, flares, C4 for ops lasting 2 days).
18. 0850 HRS From 07: depart for 23BM, then NE (Recon departed for LZ, pickup supplies, then depart on ops).
19. 0853 HRS From C Co: 45B departed for sweep (Squad sweep of perimeter, return to Command Post).
20. 0855 HRS From 25 to D Co: Line 39 return to Bn Send (#39 is name of man) to Bn for reassignment).
21. 0910 HRS Recon at 23BM awaiting resupply (Chopper on the way).
22. 0910 HRS From S-3 to BN CDR: prep needed? (Asking: do you need artillery fires on LZ BUFF to clear possible booby trps?
23. 0910 HRS 3rd plt, C Co, found arms cache, gave loc of en cache and hosp complex, will search & report findings.
24. 0935 HRS LZ BUFF insertion complete, NE. (CO D landed at LZ BUFF and moving NE).
25. 1005 HRS 4.2 testing 50. cal to S Gypsy (Mortar plt testing Hvy MG, 50. cal).
Approximately 100 entries were rerecorded on the September 16, 1969. Many more when units were in contact with the enemy. Two men were on duty at night and three or more in the daytime. Most of the time I slept on a cot in the TOC a got about four hours of sleep.
Keeping an accurate log book was the reponsibility of SGT Dill and the TOC radio operators. I could always depend on SGT Dill to keep good records and to keep me informed of important developments.
As reflected in most of the entries, things were pretty slow. Most of the stories I have written have been action stories. However, for every one day of action, they’re many days of boring inaction.
The task before the soldier was to stay alert and be ready for what could happen in a blink of an eye. Boredom is the natural enemy of readiness.