Battle Of Hamburger Hill During The Vietnam War

Battle Of Hamburger Hill During The Vietnam War

6/12/2006 • Vietnam

Information on the Battle of Hamburger Hill during The Vietnam War, also known as Hill 937. The battle, which was fought on May 10-20, 1969 was a direct assault against a heavily defended and strategically insignificant hill, resulted in over 400 U.S. casualties and caused an outrage back home.

‘Don’t mean nothin’. That was the refrain of the powerful 1987 movie about the battle for Hamburger Hill, more correctly called Ap Bia Mountain or Hill 937. Many veterans of that May 1969 fight would no doubt agree, since the hill was abandoned to the enemy soon after it was taken. But the truth is that it was one of the most significant battles of the war, for it spelled the end of major American ground combat operations in Vietnam.

The Hamburger Hill battle had run afoul of a fundamental war-fighting equation. Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. He went on to say, Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced. And that’s exactly what happened. The expenditure of effort at Hamburger Hill exceeded the value the American people attached to the war in Vietnam. The public had turned against the war a year and a half earlier, and it was their intense reaction to the cost of that battle in American lives, inflamed by sensationalist media reporting, that forced the Nixon administration to order the end of major tactical ground operations.

This was not the first time the American public had stopped supporting a war. Contrary to widespread belief, Vietnam is not the most unpopular war in American history. The Mexican War in 1848 was far more unpopular, as was the 195053 war in Korea. The majority of Americans supported the war in Vietnam from the landing of the Marines in Da Nang in March 1965 (64 percent supporting, 21 percent opposed after the first U.S. combat engagements) until October 1967, when for the first time a plurality (46 percent opposed, 44 percent supporting) turned against the war. Those 30 months equaled the period of time the American people supported the ground war in Europe in World War II, from the landing of U.S. forces in North Africa in November 1942 until the end of the war in May 1945. Public opinion had turned–not on ideological grounds, as the anti-war movement would claim, but for pragmatic reasons. Either win the damn thing or get the hell out! was the prevalent sentiment, and when the Johnson administration seemed unable to do either, the American people’s patience ran out.

American public opinion turned against the war in Korea after only five months, percentages of those in favor falling precipitously after Chinese intervention in the war in November 1950. The war became stalemated after the U.S. Eighth Army’s defeat of the 230,000-man Chinese Spring Offensive in April 1951 (as it did in Vietnam with the defeat of the enemy’s 1968 Tet Offensive), degenerating into a series of bloody outpost skirmishes.

The last of those skirmishes was the battle for Pork Chop Hill between July 6 and 10, 1953. Officially Hill 255 (from its elevation in yards), it was dubbed Pork Chop Hill because of its geographic shape. One of a series of outposted hills along the Iron Triangle in the western sector of the line of contact, it had long been contested by the enemy. Earlier, in November 1952, the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division’s Thailand Battalion had come under heavy Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) attack there, but the assault was beaten back.

On March 1, 1953, then defended by the 7th Infantry Division’s 31st Infantry Regiment, Pork Chop Hill came under an 8,000-round CCF artillery barrage. Then on March 23, the CCF 67th Division, under cover of an intense mortar and artillery barrage, made a ground attack on Pork Chop Hill. After some initial gains they were beaten back, only to resume the attack on April 16. Once again they were beaten back by counterattacks from the 31st Infantry, reinforced by a battalion from the 7th Infantry Division’s 17th Infantry Regiment. But it was artillery that made the difference, as the 7th Infantry Division massed the guns of nine artillery battalions and fired 77,349 rounds in support of the two-day battle.

On July 6, 1953, the CCF made yet another attempt to capture Pork Chop Hill. This time they gained a foothold on a portion of the crest. After repeated attempts to dislodge them were repulsed, General Maxwell D. Taylor, the Eighth U.S. Army commander, ordered the hill to be abandoned on July 11, 1953. Two weeks later, with the signing of the armistice agreement at Panmunjom on July 27, the hill became part of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Ever the politician (as he would prove to be again in the Vietnam War), General Taylor had made his decision based on his perception of American public and political reactions to the high numbers of U.S. casualties. During the month of July 1953 alone, the United States and its allies along the line of contact, including Pork Chop Hill, had suffered 29,629 casualties both from enemy ground attacks and a record 375,565-round CCF artillery barrage. Chinese and North Korean casualties were estimated at 72,112, most from allied airstrikes and a 2-million-round artillery barrage.

The battle for Hamburger Hill, like the Vietnam War itself, was less intense than the battle for Pork Chop Hill in Korea. A body count confirmed that 633 NVA soldiers had died in the battle, but as Samuel Zaffiri noted in his definitive history of the fight: There is no telling how many other NVA soldiers were killed and wounded and carried into Laos. No telling how many were buried alive in bunkers and tunnels on the mountain or ended up in forgotten graves in the draws or along the many ridges.

Final U.S. casualties were 46 dead and 400 wounded. While these losses were high, Hamburger Hill was not the bloodiest fight of the war, even for the 101st Airborne Division. In the earlier November 1967 battle of Dak To in the Central Highlands, 289 U.S. soldiers were killed in action and an estimated 1,644 NVA soldiers also perished, victims of the 170,000 rounds of artillery, the 2,100 tactical airstrikes and the 228 Boeing B-52 sorties that supported the operation. Later, during the week of February 10-17, 1968, in the midst of the Tet Offensive, 543 Americans were killed in action and another 2,547 wounded without causing any outcry from the American public.

The Hamburger Hill losses were much smaller, but they set off a firestorm of protest back home. The American people were growing more weary of the war. A February 1969 poll revealed that only 39 percent still supported the war, while 52 percent believed sending troops to fight in Vietnam had been a mistake.

Politicians were quick to seek advantage in those numbers. Most prominent was Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose brother John F. Kennedy had been the architect of America’s Vietnam involvement. As Zaffiri related: In the early afternoon of May 29 [1969]…Senator Kennedy [who had served as a draftee military policeman in Paris during the Korean War] stood up on the Senate floor and angrily denounced the attack on Dong Ap Bia, calling it’senseless and irresponsible…madness…sympathetic of a mentality and a policy that requires immediate attention. American boys are too valuable to be sacrificed to a false sense of military pride.’

Kennedy would escalate his attack on May 24 in a speech to the New Democratic Coalition in Washington, referring to the battle as nothing but cruelty and savagery, as well as saying that the Vietnam War was unjustified and immoral. He was soon joined by other senators, including South Dakota’s George S. McGovern, a decorated World War II bomber pilot, and Ohio’s Stephen M. Young, an infantryman in World War I and an Army staff officer in World War II, who carried the attack to a new level.

In a lengthy speech on May 29, noted Zaffiri: Young described how during the Civil War the Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee attacked the Union forces at Chancellorsville from the rear and flanks simultaneously and routed them. ‘Our generals in Vietnam acted as if they had never studied Lee and Jackson’s strategy,’ Young concluded. ‘Instead, they fling our paratroopers piecemeal in frontal assaults. Instead of seeking to surround the enemy and seeking to assault the hill from the sides and the front simultaneously, there was one frontal assault after another, killing our boys who went up Hamburger Hill.’

What set off this wave of criticism was a May 19 dispatch by Associated Press war correspondent Jay Sharbutt. While reports of the Hamburger Hill battle had been appearing in newspapers since May 14, most were innocuous descriptions of the fight in routine terms. But Sharbutt’s dispatch struck a nerve: The paratroopers came down the mountain, their green shirts darkened with sweat, their weapons gone, their bandages stained brown and red–with mud and blood.

Many cursed Lt. Col. Weldon Honeycutt, who sent three companies Sunday to take this 3,000-foot mountain just a mile east of Laos and overlooking the shell-pocked A Shau Valley.

They failed and they suffered. ‘That damn Blackjack [Lt. Col. Honeycutt’s radio call sign] won’t stop until he kills every one of us,’ said one of the 40 to 50 101st Airborne troopers who was wounded.

The day after Sharbutt’s story hit the newspapers, Hamburger Hill fell to the troopers of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade. But that victory was short-lived, for on June 5 the decision was made to abandon the hill to the enemy, further exacerbating public outrage. Adding fuel to the fire, the June 27, 1969, issue of Life magazine featured photographs of the 241 servicemen killed in Vietnam the previous week, including the five who had been killed in the assault on Hamburger Hill. The feature was titled, The Faces of the Dead in Vietnam: One Week’s Toll, and it was prefaced by a quote from a letter written by one of those five soldiers during a break in the fighting. You may not be able to read this, it said. I am writing in a hurry. I see death coming up the hill. The erroneous impression was thus created that all 241 pictured had been killed during the Hamburger Hill assault, increasing public disgust over what appeared to be a senseless loss of life.

Underlying that disgust was the fact that the war in Vietnam did not fit the model of war that was fixed in most American minds. Except for the 19th-century Indian wars on the Western plains, most of America’s wars had fixed geographic boundaries, and progress could be measured by movement on the map. But Vietnam was different. As MACV commander General Creighton Abrams tried to explain: We are not fighting for terrain as such. We are going after the enemy. At a news conference following Hamburger Hill’s capture, the 101st Airborne Division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Melvin Zais, reinforced General Abrams’ words.

The hill was in my area of operations, Zaffiri quoted Zais as saying. That was where the enemy was, and that was where I attacked him. If I find the enemy on any other hills in the A Shau, I assure you I’ll attack him there also. Asked why he had not relied on Boeing B-52 bombers to do the job, he said, I don’t know how many wars we have to go through to convince people that aerial bombardment alone cannot do the job. When criticized for the high number of casualties involved, Zais testily replied: It’s a myth somebody perpetuated that if we don’t do anything, nothing will happen to us. It’s not true….It’s just a myth that we can pull back and everything will settle down. If we pulled back, and were quiet, they’d kill us in the night. They’d come on and crawl under the wire, and they’d drop satchel charges on our bunkers, and they’d mangle and maim and kill our men. The only way I can in good conscience lead my men is to insure that they’re not caught in that kind of situation.

Zais was reiterating a truth that military commanders throughout history have known–offense is the very best defense. But war is first and foremost a political act, and in the view of politicians in Washington the 101st Airborne Division’s assault on Hamburger Hill had been a disaster. As Hedrick Smith reported in the May 23, 1969, New York Times, a number of civilian officials in the Nixon administration were afraid such Pyrrhic victories would undermine public support for the war and thus shorten the administration’s time for successful negotiations in Paris. As one official privately told Smith: Now clearly the greatest limitation is the reaction of the American public. They react to the casualty lists. I don’t understand why the military doesn’t get the picture. The military is defeating the very thing it most wants–more time to gain a stronger hand.

What the military did not realize was that the American public had always been the greatest limitation on the use of military force. As General Fred C. Weyand, General Abrams’ successor as MACV commander, wrote after the war: Vietnam was a reaffirmation of the peculiar relationship between the American Army and the American people. The American Army really is a people’s army in the sense that it belongs to the American people who take a jealous and proprietary interest in its involvement. In words particularly applicable to Hamburger Hill, he wrote, When the Army is committed the American people are committed, when the American people lose their commitment it is futile to try to keep the Army committed.

Given the public and political reaction to Hamburger Hill, a change in war-fighting policy was not long in coming. In order to hold down casualties, what had been a policy of keeping maximum pressure on the enemy was changed to one of protective reaction–fighting only when threatened by enemy attack. As Lewis Sorley wrote in Thunderbolt (Simon & Schuster), his 1992 biography of General Abrams, when Henry Kissinger, then special assistant to the president for national security affairs, was asked whether Abrams ever received any instructions, written or otherwise, to hold down the level of U.S. casualties, Kissinger replied, ‘Not from the White House.’ General Alexander Haig [Kissinger’s deputy at the NSC] provided a different answer to the same question: ‘Of course.’

Sorley continued: On June 19, just a month after the battle at Ap Bia Mountain, President Nixon cleared up any uncertainty there may have been about the existing policy. He had given explicit orders to General Abrams, he later said: ‘They are very simply this: he is to conduct the war with a minimum of American casualties.’

Vietnamization of the war had begun. At the same time Nixon gave his orders to General Abrams, the president also ordered a 25,000-man U.S. troop withdrawal by July 8 and removal of 35,000 more by early December. The U.S. military was on the way out of Vietnam, and the fighting on the ground would gradually be turned over to the ARVN. At the strategic level of the war, time had run out. As State Department Foreign Service Officer Norman Hannah, author of The Key to Failure (Madison Books) and one of the more insightful critics of the war, observed, This is the tragedy of Vietnam–we were fighting for time rather than space. And time ran out.

Because time had run out at the strategic level, battlefield successes that had been won at the cost of so much blood and sacrifice were also rendered meaningless. In Hanoi a week before the fall of Saigon, I told my North Vietnamese counterpart on the Four Party Joint Military Team (set up by the Paris Peace Accords to deal, unsuccessfully as it turned out, with the POW/MIA issue), You never beat us on the battlefield. He thought about that for a moment, then replied: That may be so. But it’s also irrelevant. And that irrelevance is what made Hamburger Hill so frustrating.

Previously, battlefield successes had been relevant indeed. Operation Apache Snow, of which the battle for Hamburger Hill would be a part, was designed by the U.S. XXIV Corps to keep the NVA forces in the A Shau Valley off balance. The goal was to prevent them from using the valley as a staging area for an attack on the old imperial capital of Hue and the coastal provinces, as they had done the previous year during the Tet Offensive.

The 45-kilometer-long A Shau Valley, located in rugged country in southwestern Thua Thien province along the Laotian border, was the site of Base Area 611. This base area was a terminus of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a series of roads, trails and pipelines along the Chaine Annamitique mountains that begin in North Vietnam and continue southward along the Laotian and Cambodian border areas to some 60 kilometers from Saigon.

The valley had long been a staging area for NVA units preparing to attack the coastal provinces, and U.S. Army Special Forces established a camp there in 1963. On March 9, 1966, the NVA 95th Regiment launched a major attack on the camp, and the next day, after hard fighting, it fell to the enemy. There they would stage their capture of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive. After Hue was retaken, a counterattack into the A Shau was mounted on April 19, 1968, by the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), the ARVN 1st Division and an ARVN airborne task force. Called Operation Delaware/Lam Son 216, it ended on May 17, 1968, after stiff resistance and meager results. On August 4, 1968, two battalions of the 101st Airborne Division, with two ARVN battalions, launched an airmobile operation into the valley. Named Operation Somerset, it had no better luck than Operation Delaware and withdrew on August 19.

On January 20, 1969, after a hardened road into the eastern part of the valley was constructed, Operation Dewey Canyon was launched into the A Shau. Led by the three battalions of the 9th Marine Regiment, the Marines not only advanced to the Laotian border but also launched a battalion-sized raid into Laos itself. They discovered that the NVA had built major roads in the area, and as many as 1,000 trucks were moving east from there. After capturing enormous enemy arms caches, including 73 AAA guns, 16 122mm artillery guns, nearly 1,000 AK-47 rifles and more than a million rounds of small-arms and machine-gun ammunition, the Marines withdrew on March 13, 1969.

The immediate prelude to Operation Apache Snow was an operation by the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade on March 1, 1969, into the southern end of the A Shau Valley. Labeled Operation Massachusetts Striker, it uncovered massive North Vietnamese supply depots that the enemy had abandoned in their flight northward, ironically right into the path of Operation Apache Snow, which began on May 10.

A 10-battalion operation, Apache Snow’s initial assault force consisted of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division under the command of Colonel Joseph B. Conmy, Jr., with his 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry (3/187); the 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry (2/501); the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry (1/506); and two infantry battalions from the 1st ARVN Division. Also part of the operation were the three battalions of the U.S. 9th Marine Regiment; the U.S. 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry; and two additional ARVN infantry battalions. The operation was supported by some 217 airstrikes as well as fire from four 105mm artillery batteries, two 155mm batteries, one 175mm battery and one 8-inch battery.

The main action of the operation was the 10-day assault on Hamburger Hill, which was defended by the entrenched NVA 29th Regiment. The assault was led by the 3/187 Rakkasans under the command of Colonel Honeycutt. A detailed firsthand account of that battle by Colonel Conmy, the 3rd Brigade commander and a combat infantry veteran of World War II and the Korean War, appeared in Vietnam Magazine (Crouching Beast Cornered, in the August 1990 issue). Several of his observations bear repeating, however.

First is his defense of the 3/187 commander Honeycutt, who has been severely condemned as being a heartless butcher. He was my classmate at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the previous year and was known even then for his abrasive personality.

Enlisting in the Army at age 16 as a sixth-grade dropout, Honeycutt advanced from private to captain in five years and in the Korean War ended up commanding a rifle company in the 187th Regimental Combat Team, then commanded by Brig. Gen. William C. Westmoreland. Earning the nickname Tiger for his aggressiveness, he drove his subordinates hard and some would say mercilessly.

Conmy saw him in a different light. If I ever go to war again, I want him on my team, he said. He’s a real fighter. Here’s an indication of his type of leadership: In the first few days, 3/187 had sustained 50 percent casualties and there was talk of replacing the battalion. However, the troops and Colonel Honeycutt wouldn’t have any part of it. They had started the thing and they wanted to finish it. And they did just that, joining forces with the 2/501, attacking from the northeast, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd ARVN Regiment, attacking from the southeast and the 1/506, attacking from the south. Reinforced by the 2/506’s Alpha Company, the 3/187 would attack from the west. After the other three battalions had fought their way up the mountain, Colonel Conmy ordered them into blocking positions and gave the 3/187 the honor of making the final assault. By nightfall on May 20, 1969, it was all over.

Conmy also commented on the negative publicity: Well, people wanted the war to end. This was a battle; maybe if it had been fought a couple of years earlier, it would have been noted–but probably wouldn’t have received the attention that it did. In 1969 there was an uproar in the United States. In their eyes we were committing mayhem and murder. Our mission was still to save South Vietnam from communism and give it back to them. If nothing else, this battle certainly helped at the time [and] it was very instrumental in aiding in the eventual withdrawal of our troops from South Vietnam. The enemy had lost his Sunday punch, so to speak.

The late General Abrams, the MACV commander at the time, should have the last word on the battle for Hamburger Hill. His biographer, Lewis Sorley, related: Shortly after the battle and its immediate aftermath, Abrams had several people over for a game of poker. They had dinner beforehand, and Abrams told his guests: ‘Today we had a congressional delegation in, including Teddy Kennedy. They were complaining about the loss of life at Hamburger Hill. I told them the last time the 29th NVA Regiment came out of North Vietnam it destroyed Hue, and I heard from every antiquarian in the world. This time, when they came out again, I issued orders that they were to be intercepted and defeated before they could get to Hue. We drove them back into North Vietnam, but I was criticized for the casualties that entailed. If they would let me know where they would like me to fight the next battle, I would be glad to do it there.’ Then they dealt the cards.

This article was written by Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., U.S. Army (ret.) and originally published in the June 1999 issue of Vietnam Magazine.

For additional information, see Hell on Hamburger Hill, plus a timeline of events in the battle, and Samuel Zaffiri’s article about his book, Hamburger Hill, a Featured Selection of the Military Book Club and a Pen/Martha Albrand Award nominee, all from the June 2009 issue of Vietnam Magazine.

For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Vietnam Magazine today!

140 Responses to Battle Of Hamburger Hill During The Vietnam War

  1. Joel Trautmann says:

    Just read this for the first time and very much appreciate the perspective. I was the 1st Lieutenant Platoon Leader for Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon, 3/187, on Hamburger Hill. I never made the top of 937 as I became a caualty on the last major assault on May 18th before the final assault on the 20th. I am one of a number of Hamburger Hill veterans now reuning in May every year at Ft. Campbell, Ky in conjuction with the annual Dong Ap Bia commemorative ceremony conducted each year by the active duty 3/187. This commemorative is put on every year even when the unit is deployed, such as it was this year for the 4th time since 9/11/2001. It is significant to note that the 3/187 Battalion’s moniker “Rakkasans” is now worn by the 101st Airborne Division’s entire 3rd Bridade.

    • Michael R. Fordham says:

      Hello Mr. Trautmann,
      I’m the son of SFC Russell C. Fordham who was with the 3/187 Battalion
      Bravo Company. My father died on the 4th of September 1969 in Nam.
      Perhaps You knew him?

      Regards from Michael R. Fordham
      Berlin – Germany

      • Meredith Fordham Hughes says:

        Hello Michael,

        My name is Meredith, I am from Albany, Ga. There are some people in town looking for information on Vietnam Vets from Albany and your father’s name has come up. Can you email me? Thanks!

    • Ross Lewis says:

      Hello Joel, I am an Army Veteran (’67/’68) who has been working on an extensive book about honoring the Vietnam veterans. To date I have traveled to 11 states (12th coming up soon) to inteview and collect photographs and documents from 40 veterans including two1954 veterans, Gulf of Tonkin USS Maddox officer and two marines who particpated in the ’75 evacuation. In addition I have met with many Army,Navy, Air Force and women veterans. Now I am focusing in on veterans with specific missions and experiences. I would appreciate your assistance in helping me locate veterans who served in the battle of Hamburger Hill. For the most part I travel in the Southeast states to meet veterans. At times I do expand that range. Please email me. I would like to contact you directly.
      Thank you, Ross Lewis, Jacksonville, Fl.

      • connie greer says:

        I have a Marine who was at cunningham and apache snow, 1 Sept 1968 to 15 July 1969. He received the Navy Achievement Medal with the V. I am helping him by showing him the computer. We have spent two weeks of crying trying to ge two incidents written down. He wants to find the family if any of Micheal Robert Ross 0-3 CPT, died My 13, 1969 wth 4 other Marines, he has their names. He will cry, so maybe me typing could pass information. He is haunted by much, but mostly he wants to tell someone how CPT Ross saved his life.

      • cynthia Gerke Gray says:

        Just saw this site. I am looking for anyone who served with my husband Master Sgt James Gray (Graywolf). Jim does not speak of
        his service and is presently living in Swansea, Ma

    • Alex F. says:

      Mr Trautman,
      Do you remember a SFC. Stephen Lewis? He was my JROTC assistant instructor ,and was one of the few survivors.
      Respond to this at :

    • Brandon Vongrasamy says:

      Hello sir, me and my friends want to thank you for your service. By any chance we are doing a history fair project on the battle of hamburger hill. We’d like to interview you or ask you a couple of questions over the phone this would help us alot in trying to compete in nationals. Thank you and my email is Thanks if you can if not its alright or this goes for anyone else to. Thanks for your time hope we didnt waste it.

      • calvin eversole says:

        I know this is going to sound alittle crazy . But i was killed on hamburger hill . I remember it . I was the first guy on the hill in 1968.
        I thought i could ambush them. But i was wrong.
        So when they started shooting I slid down the hill & got on the Island
        that already had two guys on it. which made me the third guy on it.
        I shot a few time and stopped shooting cause whats the sense in wasting bullets when you can’t see what your shooting at .
        The reason of all of this is cause I would like to know who I was.
        That if you can help me find out. After I was killed I did go to HEAVEN
        For two days thats in HEAVEN . On earth is two years .
        I’m 40 years old now but I was 21 when i was killed .
        And 21+40=61+2=63 which I was gone for 2 years. So it adds up .
        cause i was born in 1948 . Not only that but i remember the knife I had.
        We was sitting in the jungle somewhere & the srgent came up to me and another guy and handed us our knife.And said we ranout of the other knives we decided to give you these knives that the CIA uses.
        And those knives were the RANDALL MODEL 1 Knives.
        And the reason I know that is cause I found it in a magazine. when I thought it was all in my head. The way I figured it all out was by the Movie in1987 Ive had the memorys since I was very younge.
        My soul is 63 years old. The way I figure it. I TOLD YOU IT SOUNDED CRAZY! SO WHO AM I OR WHO WAS I ? IN 1968.
        PLEASE help me. This is very IMPORTANT to me.

    • Scott D'Ornay says:

      Dear Sir, Thank you for your service.
      In October 2013, I climbed Hamburger Hill with a guide. I made the top. It is not a hill, it’s a mountain. It was hot, misty, raining & that mud gets stuck to everything. How those boys did that all while getting shot at is beyond me. It damn near wasted me. Up the top there is still barbed wire & a fox hole. I’m trying to locate any photos taken of Hill 937 during the battle. If you have any or know where I can find some, it would be much appreciated.
      Sydney, Australia

    • Matt Carte says:

      35 Xray 101st, 187th, D company, callsign. Richard Carte or aka. Rip.

      Does anyone remember him? he wore glasses.

    • marc says:


      I am currently writing a paper for my captains career course over a analysis of mission command from LTC Honeycutt’s perspective on the battle of Hamburger Hill. I would greatly appreciate if i could have a discussion with you over the phone and ask questions concerning his mission command during the battle. thank you for your time.

  2. SP 4 James Baylor says:

    Lt. Trautmann –
    Your last words before you were hit were,”Hey, Baylor, get over here.” A second later I watched you get hit. Immediately after, SP4 Crutch was hit then me. Above is my email address. Welcome home, let’s talk.

  3. Joel Trautmann says:

    SP4 James Baylor, good to hear from you It was SP4 Ralph Crutts, not Crutch. We need to connect, but email addresses are not posted, so call me at 417-443-0017.

  4. Matt Renfro says:

    I am now an inactive Marine who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I recently read the book Hamburger Hill. This book touched me deeply. After reading the book I cried for about 20 minutes. I cried because I felt as if I was there with each of you and that each of you were my brothers. I know that Iraq is not half the combat enviornment that Vietnam was, but I still felt a slight connection. I enjoyed the book due to the fact that it was not about some big time hero that everybody has heard of, yet it was about grunts doing what grunts do. To me yall are the real heros of Vietnam. This story of each one of you is proof that heros and brotherhood really do exist. I think that this book should be required reading for all military personel. Mainly the Army and the Marine Corps, to teach individuals that a little bit of intestinal fortitude can accomplish amazing things. I hope I have said nothing that would affend you, the remaining survivors or the heros that gave their life from Bravo Company. Each of you have set a extremely motivational example for all service men to follow.


    Matt Renfro
    Sgt USMC

  5. Ney Carey says:

    To Joel Trautmann and James Baylor,

    Ralph Crutts was a friend of our family. I new him when I was young boy and we would eat at the burger place that he helped manage before going into the service. He is buried in Oak Hill Cementery, Owosso, MI. When I get back to Owosso I stop and visit his grave. It is a very peaceful place.

  6. Brian Sellers says:

    Mr. Trautmann or Mr. Baylor,
    I am writing a research paper on Hill 937/Operation Apache Snow and would like to talk to you about the event if you are willing. I want to get as close a representation as I can. I have talked to two others: SSG (Ret) Eugene McNeal and MG (Ret) Weldon Hunnicutt about the event as well. Anyone else that might read this that was actually there, please feel free to contact me if you. My name is MSG Brian Sellers and I am attending the US Army Sergeant’s Major Academy and would like to interview anyone associated with this operation.

    Brian Sellers
    MSG, USA

  7. William Archer says:

    Mr Trautmann or Mr Baylor,

    Iam currently doing my thesis on an analysis of John Irvin’s film Hamburger Hill. It would be great to have a reaction to it from someone who was there.
    My email is

    William Archer

  8. Lenard Blachly says:

    I was wondering if any knew of a Curt Rhoton from Yakima
    Washington. I believe he was with 3/187.

    From a 2/501 grunt

  9. Herm Eichstaedt says:

    Mr Trautman; Mr Baylor

    Thank you for your service to our country. My cousin was at Hamburger Hill His name was William Zdaniewicz. Did you know him?


  10. Bob Shaw says:

    Does anyone remember Rich Langley from Hill 937/Hamburger Hill? I was never there but he was a friend of mine. He was from my hometown, Millville New

    Rich was a Combat Seargent. He passed away last year from cancer of the spine. It took him over 30 years to get his disability pay from the
    government. He only lived a few years after he got it.

    It amazes me how the politicians love to call veterans hero’s but treat them like crap when they get back home.

    Rich was a great man.

    Thanks for any memories or photos you might have. I am sure his family would love to know more.


    • Ida Dutton says:

      My Husband Steven L Dutton was in the battle of Hamberger Hill also 101st Airborne he developed cancer and lived with inoperable cancer for over three years before he passed away 14 years ago. Once again the VA turned him down when he put in a claim. It is a shame that the Government turned their backs on these guys when their second battle with Agent Orange much worse than the first Hamberger Hill. Two wars in one lifetime and no one seemed to really care. At 19-20 years of age and believing that no harm was beeing done to them only to find out in years the chemical which lays dormant would rear it’s ugly head. Steve was a squade leader and maching gunner (infantry) got two bronze stars and $627 dollars from the class action suit because he was gonna die.

      • SSG Dan O'Brien USA/RET says:

        Ida, You need to fill out forms 21-534 which you can download on line.
        Fill them out and with a DD-214 and death certificate, send to your state VVA representitive who will fight in your behalf for compensation for you. I was at FB Cannon with the 8inch howitzers pounding Dong Ap Bia for 10 days.

  11. Chris Hill says:

    To Lt. Trautmann, and Spl. Baylor, thank you and all Vietnam
    Vets as well as all vets current and former for your service and
    indeed for our freedom. From the son of a Rakkasan with 2nd
    Platoon, Delta Company 3rd/187th Vietnam 1971. One of my
    instructors in ROTC in high was a captain on Hamburger Hill,
    man the stories he told, you guys are amazing, and like one other
    person mentioned a true inspiration to all of us. Thank You!! and
    Welcome Home!!


  12. Gregg Doc Gannon says:

    Dear Screaming Eagles,

    I’m looking for Archie Moore who was a medic with the 101 st Airborne at Hamburger Hill. He was wounded in the upper arm and evacuated to our Vietnam evac -the 249th General- in Tokyo in May’69. We became friends and I worked hard to get our doctors to keep him with us because he was a solid medic and we needed experienced guys on our amputee ward. I was also trained as a combat medic and all of us who were corpsmen at the evac liked Archie and were very happy when he got to serve out his tour with us. I also spent some time in VN.

    Does anyone know Archie? He was around 6′, well built, black, E-4 I think and was a great person and a hard working medic. I think his wound was to his upper left arm. Does anyone remember him?

    If so, please let me know at

    Thanks and by the way, my uncle was a Maj. MASH surgeon with the 101 st from D-Day 1944 all the way through the camp liberations and stayed to do medical work after V-E Day. His name is Ted Tangalakis-still living in Michigan. My brother is
    was a Marine in VN from Mar 68 to Mar 69.

    Thanks again,


  13. Dan Allen says:

    Anyone remember Tommy McKeithan from Southport, NC? Email me…

  14. Lonny B Lester says:

    My name is Lonny Lester, I was a Crash Rescue Fire Fighter with the 7th US Air Force, out of Bien Hoa, during the battle for Hamburger Hill. They pulled a lot of 101st out of there to go and reinforce those who were trying to take the hill.
    I ran ,in operation’s ,out of Bein Hoa, in 1968-1969.
    Welcome home gentlemen! I know it’s been a long time, but sometime’s it seem,s like yesterday. I was 19yrs old when I went
    over there and turned 20 there, as well as some of you did, that made it.
    For those who didn’t, God has taken them to a better place, as
    for there suffering and dedication to their brother’s in arm’s and
    country, he has forgiven them for that they had to do.
    May God bless you all and may you have found peace, Love and harmony, in your live’s, since those terrible day’s.

    Your Brother in Arm’s
    and Christ,
    Sgt. L.B. Lester
    7th USAF/3rd Crash Rescue
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN, 68-69

  15. Lanny Alan Roedel says:

    I was with 2/9th Marines on Apache Snow, and 5/10/1969 was my 20th birthday. I was near Hamburger Hill, and my heart goes out to those brave men that fought to take that hill. To the brothers we lost, you will never be forgot, and to the ones that returned home, worriers like you are why this country is Free, and you too will be remembered always. Thank you for your devoted service and may life be good to you. SEMPER FI, THE BAMBOOVIPER

  16. Daren Snay says:

    Thank you all for your incredible hearts and soles. You are all my heroes, and should be considered by all, the heroes of the world today.
    My Father in law (Donald Kruszka) was over there in the Marine corps, not sure what unit he belonged to, however he is a survivor of the Hill. He is approximitely 62 years of age. If anyone who was there remembers him, please e-mail me at ( ). He has been trying to concact all who survived, to catch up. Well I hope one of you might remember him and contact me so I can send him the message.
    Thank you again’
    Daren Snay USMC

  17. Johnny says:

    Daren, the battle for Hamburger Hill was fought by the Army 101 airborne Div. 5-10-1968. Your father inlaw may have fought on the hill earlier or at a later date. He have been one of the many on alert ?? Troops of the 3/5 Cav. waited to block any reteat at other side of the hill. There were other units on the ready also. However this battle and glory goes to the 101 Airborne, With all respect and honor due them. No glory should go else where. The Marines that fought in Vietnam have their on battles and glory to be proud of.
    I did not fight on the hill either. For I was a helicopter door gunner for a recon. unit. My missioon was to protect the helicopter and support the infantry. I only wish I had did a better job. Good luck to all–

    • SSG Dan O'Brien USA/RET says:

      Correct dates for Hamburger Hill is May 10 1969 and not 68

    • CW2 Ingram (BW 14) says:

      I flew for the Blackwidows, a slick company in 101 AHB. We were dedicated to the 101st Division and had the privilage of putting in and taking out of many LLRP missions. So I have met many hero’s, ask any of them and they will tell You, The Hero AND the coward exist in everyman and when I heard my Gunner Fat Fred open up with his m-60 out the right door while Crew Chief Langly’s laid down the law out the left side, I felt safer, much safer.
      I feel very lucky to be able to have seen such bravery from so many on both sides. I stand and salute All the warriors no matter what flag they fought under, and I hope and pray God allows me to do it again.

      • Lester "Doc" Wilson says:

        My husband PFC Lester “Doc Wilson” was in 101 st Air Borne Jan-Sept 1969
        HHC 2 BN 506 Inf USARPA C. He was a Medic, and they would call him Doc and some would call him Gramps cause he was 28 and the other soldiers were 18 to 20.
        He was taking a hill 2 miles from Hambuger Hill that same day. I am looking for anyone who served with him.
        He is now fighting the Agent Orange Battles of the Diseases and I am helping him with his search.
        Thank you to all and God Bless.

    • Diane Padett-Lesure says:

      My father John E Padgett, Jr was also somehow associated with being in a helicopter during the battle for hill 937. I thought he fought to take the hill though, he does not speak of his tours. He was in the 101st Airborne. Retired in 1971, i believe as an E8. He lead a battalion as a Srgt Major even though he did not have the actual rank. My father is my hero. Somewhere, somehow I will find someone who knew him. Would that someone be you?

    • Diane Padett-Lesure says:

      My email is
      Am looking for anyone who may have known or known of my father John E Padgett, Jr who somehow was in the battle for hill 937

  18. Sarah Perry says:

    My father was a Rakkasan at Hamburger Hill. His name is Marvin Perry but was always known as “Butch”. He now suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is in a nursing home. If any one has any information about him, as he did not discuss his time at war very often, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if anyone knows how I can obtain a copy of his DD214 for my own personal use would be nice to have as well. My email address is an place Hamburger Hill in the subject line so I know not to delete it. Any information you might have, I would apprecite greatly. Thank you for your time and know that each of you are heroes.

    With the Utmost Respect,
    Sarah A. Perry, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class USN

  19. Ed says:

    I hate the way Vets are treated. Praised as heros in Iraq, but when they dissent, are called cowards and traitors by those who never served. Mostly politicians. I will not fight to put money into the banks of these leeches. Grew up in CA during Vietnam and heard many stories. I say its time to end wars.

  20. cgerke says:

    My friend Master Sargent James Gray “Graywolf” as with the 101
    Screaming eagle. He does not tell about his six years in Vietnam, but I do know he received 3 purple hearts and 3 Silver medals. I know he was a tunnel rat and served with his dog Sgt Rusty. His e-mail is

  21. Larry Richins says:

    I was with 1/83 artillery at firebase cannon all the time the battle for hamburger hill took place. We fired a lot of 8″ howitzer ammo at that hill on several ocassions, and I later flew over it when I was flying with the xxiv corp artillery commander. It is great to hear from some of you who were actually there on the hill. We weren’t very far away from the hill but I didn’t really know what took place there until several years after the fact when I could read about it. I also spent time at FSB currahee, in the A Shau valley, on one of our 8″ howitzers in about July and August of ’69.

  22. Loyal Yocum 69-70 says:

    This is Loyal Yocum;I was with the 1/83rd.Artillery during the battle of Hill 937. Good to know there are still Survivors of this Action and I Pray You are not as Physically Ill from Your Service as I am. The Battle Scars are Deep inside but the Physical Problems from Our Time in Country ar Devistating a L:ot of Men Who Served in Our Areas. Hope to hear from someone from Our Artillery Unit before I am Gone,God Bless ande Keep You Safe.69-70

    • Dan O'Brien says:

      Read your posting on Hamburger Hill. I finally got a hold of FOOTS Psillis after 42 years just two days ago. Before this posting I found Paul Picciuto’s email address. You can email me at Dan O’Brien A/1/83rd Arty 3 section MINDBLOWER Can also email at or

    • PAUL PICCIUTO says:


      • Donny Dicharry says:

        Hi Paul,

        If you were with The Judge you must have been in “B” Btry 2/11 155mm arty. Yes? If so, I was with you also. I was in the Fire Direction Center. Remember Cpt Clyde Dent? Helliva soldier.

        Several years ago I ran across a statement from one of the generals involved with Hamburger Hill. He explained that our battery was the most accurate and most valuable support for the grunts. He explained that the reason we did not receive a Presidential Citation was because of an administrative error. Ain’t that a kick in the mouth.

        I hope to hear from you.
        Donny Dicharry

  23. Chad Abbott says:

    I am an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran serving mostly in Kuwait on the border of Iraq and later in Saudi Arabia whith The U.S. Army. I am 3rd generation Army my grandfather Clifton Cole Abbott Jr. was at the Battle of the Bulge WWII 6th armor Div. My dad served in Vietnam 1971-1972. He told me he fought on Hamburger Hill. I see the big battle was in1969 clearly before my dad got to Vietnam. I don’t want to insult my father with this question. Was there other battles on Hamburger Hill in 1971-1972 he might be refering to.

    • Dan O'Brien says:

      I served with Gary Abbot in the 83rd Arty 101DIVARTY in 1969 in the AO of Hamburger Hill. He was from Troy NC.

  24. Hugh Brown says:

    I had a very good friend name Tim Ard. He was from Denison, Texas and served as a medic with the 101st on hamburger hill. He returned to the US and taught art and computers at a local community college. Tim died about 10 years ago from intestinal cancer, (believed by family to be result of agent orange). He has written a fantastic account of the struggle for Hamburger Hill that has not been published. I am trying to find out all I can about this true patriot and man.

    by Hugh Brown 05/05/2009

    • Ann Ard Atnip says:

      I am Tim Ard’s sister. I have the book he wrote about Hamburger Hill. I would love to get it published…..

      • Brian Walsh says:

        I would love to read that book.I served with Tim Ard in Vietnam and talked to him many times about the battle. On Tim’s last night before he left to go home we had a party for him,5 or 6 guys drinking beer in a hooch and wishing him luck back in the world. He was suddenly called over to the First Sargent’s office and didn’t come back for an hour and a half. When he finally did come back he told us he was interviewed by Samuel Zaffiri who was writing a book about Hamburger Hill. Tim told us about the attempt to save the wounded helicopter pilot,and sure enough the story appeared in the book 16 years later,exactly as related to us. Tim was a good man and a good soldier.

      • Brian Walsh says:

        I would love to read that book. I served with Tim Ard in Vietnam and spoke to him many times about the battle. I remember when he was interviewed by Samuel Zaffiri for the book about Hamburger Hill. Tim was a good man and a good soldier.

  25. Chris a.Hale says:

    I am so tired of the U.S. death count stats.War is hell and it is death!! some things never do change..The press running the war !!These men did as they were told and trained to do.they fought for eachother more then anything..and that also can be said for the officers on the hill too.As a former trooper my heart goes out to all who were (really)there..God bless you all.

  26. Bin Gram says:

    I flew for the Black Widows, 101st AB, ’68 ’69 on MANY missions into the A Shau Valley and of course supported our grunts before during and after ‘Hamburger Hill’ …I believe our troop commanders did the job they were ordered to do. We never knew where the NVA were going to stand and fight, it was a tough job.
    Most men both US army and NVA fought bravely. ..So if your looking for somebody to blame I think the real bad guys were those bastards selling the guns /bombs.
    Black Widow 14

  27. BOBETTE MATTER says:


  28. Rolland Gerard says:

    My Father SGT 1st Class Roland Gerard from California was in Hamburger Hill. If anybody remembers him and has any info about his war record please send me a email at It took him a long time to tell me anything about the war. He has passed now but would like to get more info about his life. Thanks to all the Veterans for all they have done for our country.

  29. Bob Lund says:

    My best friend George Pickel was killed on Hamburger Hill on May 13th 1969.I was serving with the 587th signal co. MACV at Tay Ninh when I found out days later. I have read & researched on an off for many years now and still can’t make any real sense of it.I remain so proud of those that went through that horrific event.If anyone knew George , I would greatly appreciate any personal comments,before or during that terrible mission. George was seriously wounded and was being evacuated by helicopter when it was shot down by an RPG in the valley.George was loaded into the basket and crushed on impact. In the book Hamburger Hill by S. Zaffiri pg 135 it states 20-30 men watched in horror.I miss him everyday and hope to learn more. Thanks again for your courage. Bob Lund

  30. Larry Richins says:

    Mr. Yocum!
    I think you and I were in the same unit. Were you at fsb blaze and fsb cannon in april and may of 1969? I was in A battery and went to fsb currahee with SSG Scoggins in june or july of 1969. I was looking at the pictures on the 1/83 page and saw your picture and I am pretty sure I recognized you. I was no longer with 1/83 when the pictures were taken as I was working with General Pixton and later Col. Hixon who were the xxiv corp artillery commanders. Sorry to hear about your health problems. So far I have had no problems associated with my service in Vietnam. Would love to hear from you if you see this note. My email address is: Take care!

  31. joe revell says:

    to abbott la batalla que dió cine famosa fue en la second & third weeks en mayo 69. pero yo tener SSG TIM ABBOT 3/5 cav en principios 1971 luchar en LAOS frontier.

  32. Dwight Lovejoy A 3/187 says:

    Forty years ago I was a 19 year old kid with Alpha 3/187 ..I had almost 11 months in country and thought I had seen it all until the battle for the Hill..
    I was wounded on May 20th ,the day of the final assault and never stepped on top of the mountain ..
    I lost many close friends , and pay my respect to the fallen every chance I get …

  33. SSG Terry Bryan USA(Ret) says:

    I was with Detachment B-52 Project Delta, 5th Special Forces Group(Airborne) who was doing the recon of the A Shau Valley for the 101st Airborne Division. I was a team leader of a 6 man combined USSF/VNSF who located a North Vietnamese(NVA) base camp, in the resulting intense firefight, I lost half my team and the three who survived sustained multiple gunshot wounds from AK-47 fire. Had it not been for the ten Cobra helicopter gunships from the 101st raining heavy ariel artillery down on the NVA, all six of us would have been KIA. I spent a total of 29 months in Vietnam, 1965-1967, 1968-1969. A Special Forces A Camp was located in the A Shau Valley, it was destoyed by a large NVA/VC force in 1965. After that the A Shau was controlled by the enemy. That is the reason the 101st withdrew from “Hamburger Hill” after suffering heavy causulties taking it. The A Shau was fogged in most of the year and being located on the Laotion border, where a endless amount of NVA would attack and destroy any military force trying to hold ground. I spent 11 months in a army hospital and was medically retired from the GSW’s. Airborne All The Way!!!

    • B.Ingram says:

      Terry Bryan I believe You are right ! .. and it also makes sense to leave b4 the enemy can amass and return, which ‘IF’ it fits their ‘political’ plan they would have done.
      I believe America would have done much better if we would not have drafted Young men and then send them into combat.
      What our Gov. should have done was to educate America to the reasons we were fighting there. I trust Americans to go face an enemy when we are told the truth and the enemy needs to be faced. If there are NOT enough reasons to wage a war, let the Young Men stay in the USA, drive Chevy’s and date the girls.

    • Todd Miller says:

      Did you have a MSG Donn Parsons on this operation?

    • Dave Weakley says:

      My father was in the SF A Team camp at A Shau the day before the attack. He choppered out and the attack began the next day. He was CSM 5th SF. He said it was weeks (months?) after the attack before they could go back in for the bodies. All were KIA. I have seen the pictures of the camp he took after the battle. Black and whites of skeletons in fatigue pants, sandbags, and debris. Must have been hell.

  34. Joy Shepherd says:

    My Uncle Terry Wender was part of the 101st Airborne and was killed on Hamburger Hill on May 13, 1969, 5 days before his 20th birthday. My mom and his other sisters still search for someone who might have knew him during his time of service. For any of you who fought this terrible battle or any others, you are owed so very much.

    • John Bianchi says:

      Hi Joy,

      I served with Terry. Charlie Company, 3rd Platoon, 3/187, 101st Airbourne Division Nov,1968 last time wounded Oct.21,1969 sent to 249th General Hostpital, Japan.

      I may have some pictures of him and others, will be attending the Hamburger Hill 43rd reunion at Ft. Campbell, TN May 8 – 11, 2012

      I know he was awarded the Silver Star (posthumous). We were young and having as much fun as we could.

      Sorry for your loss.

    • Roy says:

      Joy, I knew your uncle Terry. He was in Charlie Co. I was with him the night before we moved out, I told him I would see him on the top! I had heard that he was KIA I am sorry for your loss. His platoon took heavy casulties as did ours I was in Bravo co. I hope he is at peace!!


  35. Michael R. Fordham says:

    My father SFC Russell C. Fordham was with the 3/187 Bravo
    Company on “Hamburger Hill”.
    Unfortunatly he got killed 4th of September 1969…
    My german mother decided to go back to Germany 1971, where
    we still live in Berlin-Germany. War is always a very sad story to tell, so I hope all those good soldiers who got killed, rest in peace!
    God bless all American Soldiers…

    Michael R. Fordham

  36. Michael R. Fordham says:

    My father SFC Russell C. Fordham was with the 3/187 Bravo
    Company “Rakkasans” on “Hamburger Hill”.
    Unfortunatly he got killed 4th of September 1969…
    My german mother decided to go back to Germany 1971, where
    we still live in Berlin-Germany. War is always a very sad story to tell, so I hope all those good soldiers who got killed, rest in peace!
    God bless all American Soldiers…

    Michael R. Fordham

    • Gary A Green says:


      Your dad died in my arms on the way to the hospital at Camp Evans.

      We were hit with mortars at Camp Evans.
      We hijacked a jeep nearby and transported him to the hospital.
      There were three of us. The driver and a shotgun on the passenger side. Your dad was in my arms. I forgot the other two soldiers names. it was night time.

      He always talked about his three kids.

      We stayed with your dad at the hospital until the Doctor told us he had passed.

      Gary A Green
      9141 Somerset RD
      Thornville, Ohio


  37. R. Warner says:

    Lt Traughtman (sic)
    Just to set record straight… That was not Crutts near you when you were hit. That probably was your radioman, Billy McGowan (KIA). Crutts was on my left shoulder when he was hit and I pulled him off the field along with Bell and a couple of other guys before I was hit. We had already sent you to the rear for medivac.
    Last time I saw you, you were deaf as a cob from RPG.

    • Bill Owen says:

      I went to high school with Ralph Crutts. He lived just a few blocks from me, and I went to his house to hang out. He was a very quiet and very smart student. I joined the Air Force in 1969 and served 27 years.

      I can still picture Ralph!

  38. Roy Bartlett says:

    Warner I don’t remember you biut I know crutts & McGowan. I was 3/187 Bravo company, it’s been a while. Welcome home brother. A few of us meet every year to let off steam. We are old now but still in the fight.

    I would love to hear from you 239-825-5611 Call me.

  39. octaviano espinoza says:

    today is sunday nov. 22 2009 and for some reason i really don,t know i found myself on this page, so i started to read on. I too was on the hill, I was with b. company 3rd battalion 187th infantry 101st airborne division. On the 2nd day of the assault I was the very frist person order to go up the hill, by my platoon leader. anyway here are some of the brave that were there with me. derby,denean,dobard, dunning, eli, clang, griggins haynes, jacobs, jones, kenzy, mcgeough, mckethan, miller, rodrigues, olson, pitre, rogers, stewart, taylor, thorntom, thourot, villanueva, walton, white, whitfield, wright, perez, book. To tell you the truth I really only remmeber ELI and PEREz,but if anyone remmebers espinoza, let me know .

  40. Joel Trautmann says:

    R. Warner,
    Hello Warner. I don’t remember you by name, but perhaps I should. If you were with Crutts when he was hit on 18 May 1969, then you were also in the group of 8-10 who charged up the bald face of the hill that day with me. It also means you were in SGT Tom Valentine’s 3rd Squad. Valentine was also in that charge. I’m not sure I understand your point about Crutts though. My RTO on the 18th was Larry Acker. Acker took over that position from William (Bill) McGowan on the 14th when McGowan was killed by an RPG. The 14th was the day my hearing was lost when my 1st Platoon, (Charlie Company) went forward to rescue 2nd & 3rd Platoons, which had been pinned down and taken 50% casualties during their assault.

  41. Joel Trautmann says:

    Joy Shepherd,
    Your uncle, Terry Wender, was in my Platoon. He and two others were manning a foxhole when they were surprised and shot up by an enemy soldier with an AK-47 rifle. Terry Wender and Galen Brown both died and the third, McCarthy, was severly wounded and cripled as a result. Terry actually died in my arms on 13 May 1969 as we tried to rescue him. I have been in contact with two of your aunts in the past, Kaye (Wender) Light and Anita Wender. You may want to speak to them about this.

  42. NamVet says:

    You OIF pussies don’t post on this sight anymore.

  43. Val Wuthrich says:

    Joy Shepherd,

    My name is Val Wuthrich. I was in the same squad as Terry Wender, 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company. I was just up the trail from him on a western ridge of Hill 937 ‘Hamburger Hill’. We had just stopped on the trail when we were fired upon by the enemy. Three men were hit, Brown, McCarty and Wender. Brown was killed instantly, Terry was hit in the chest and McCarty was hit in the leg and hip. I was beside Terry as our medic tried to save him. He passed away within minutes of being shot.

    Val ‘Woody’ Wuthrich

  44. r warner says:

    Lt Trautmann
    If you visit this site again I’d be interested in talking, on a less public venue. Email me at I haven’t spoken of this event in years, not even to family. Maybe now

    Regarding your post of Nov 22 2009. There’s no reason you should remember me by name, we didn’t interact much. Maybe a memory jog may help. I was your third man from point, with the M-79, right behind Jensen and Schonichnie (sic) and yes Val was squad leader.

  45. jmr says:

    My gpa was on hamburger hill he is still alive XD WOW!!!!!

  46. Doc Child says:

    I was on Hamburger Hill in June or July of 1989 with the 1st of the 387th. There was still some resistance at that time. We crossed the Rao Lao river to the south along the Laotian border, and took some casualties there, as well. The battle on Hamburger Hill did go on, there and everywhere in the A Shau Valley … I’m just glad that I wasn’t there at the height of the fighting. To this day, I can’t find a valid excuse for the government to send young men into battle.

  47. travis brown says:

    first thank you all for the grit in your gutts to fight for a country not behind you morally in a war. second does any of you know a cliffard koslo i may have spelled his name wrong but it sounds like i have spelled it if so e mail me .

  48. veronika says:

    Would he possibly be related to the US Army Air Corp Liet. Roy Langley of Orange, Texas whom my mother dated when he was an officer in training at Texas A&M? That would have been in 1939. Dad, a former pilot and navigator with these European missions died 15 years ago and she (residing in Texas) finds herself looking back to the past before they married (in her teens) and trying to locate ROY LANGLEY….he was from Orange, Texas and in training as a “Flag Man” for the corps and went off to war …she never heard from him again. If anyone has info on Roy Langley (Langly) from Orange, Texas who was in training at A&M during 1939~ please contact me..
    Veronika Krejci-Taylor.
    English Professor
    Prague, Czech Republic – EU

  49. Sgt. Green says:

    SFC Russell Fordhom was my friend.
    He talked about his kids. I beleive he said three. If my memory is correct. I have some information that may be shared with you.

    Contact me at
    or calll 740-973-4128

  50. Haven Hemmings says:

    I was with the 319th Artillery (105’s) C btry. I left in Nov 68 and received a letter that they had been overrun and suffered casualties on FSB Airborne on 13th May 69. Arlen Miller was killed along with about 24 others that day. They were arty support for Hamburger Hill.

  51. Dan O'Brien says:

    I was on FB Cannon with Larry Richins and Loyal Yocum, A/1/83rd Arty XXIV CORPS 101DIVARTY Also Jim FOOTS Psilllis, Paul Picciuto, Tom Sellars, Rick Ploetz., Otto Villias, Bill Webb, Don Quinty, Lynn POPS Foss, Steve Potter, Jimmy CHIEF Cesspooch

  52. Nguyen Hoang says:

    Just a note on Jay Sharbutt: I knew Jay. He was a fine journalist. He called things as he saw them. He was not a liberal flack, he was simply doing his job, and he was good at it. A lot of vets give the media a bad rap for what happened in Vietnam. They shouldn’t. The media were doing their job, and they were professional.

    As for the military men in charge of the operation, if you want my personal opinion, Honeycutt was an A-hole.

    Oh yeah, I was on the Hill too. Barely missed having my name on the Wall. I’ll never forget it.

    The war was the most intense time of my life. The good people that died there — it breaks my heart.

    Even now, I love and hate the Vietnamese. Love them more than hate them. War is strange that way.

  53. Johnathan says:

    Thank you for what you did in vietnam.

  54. William says:

    I have a story to tell, but that will come later. I am interested in finding out about a soldier named Alvin Barnes known as spoon. He told me he was on hill 937. If anyone remember him contact me at 240-353-9189.

  55. Shelli Godinho says:

    My Uncle Robert VandenBerg was with Co B 3/187. He was wounded on April 25 1969 at the top of Hamber Hill. His helicopter was shoot down and he was ejected. He broke his rifle on the way down. He broke both of his legs and a branch went thru his legs, He rolled down the hill, alone and he could hear the emeny talking. One of the guys from his troop called and ask if he was ok, That brave soldier found him and sat protecting him until they could get resue. I have been searching for month trying to find any info and have come up with nothing, If anyone could give me more info or if they recall this please email me I would love to hear anything and so would my Uncle. Good bless all that made it home and the fallen .

  56. Jerry Hadley says:

    My dad, Jerry Hadley was at Hamburger Hill as part of the 101st. He is still alive, and doesn’t talk much about his time over there. I was wondering if anyone on this forum served with him.

  57. Jay Long says:

    First off thank you for all themselves brave souls who fought in Vietnam. My father was in the 101st Airborne and was over there 67 thru 69 and was on Hamburger Hill. I would really like to hear from someone who might have served with him or knew him His name Donald Long im not sure what his rank was during Hamburger Hill but I know he was a Sergeant before he left Nam in ’69, I know he would love to speak to guys he served with but is unsure of how to find anyone from the his unit, if anyone knows him please contact me at and I willows on numbers and or e mailthe addresses. My father talks about it at times and always says he’d love to hear from one of the guys in his unit.
    Thank you, Jay Long

  58. calvin eversole says:

    WHO WAS I ? I have clear memory of it .This is “NOT” a JOKE
    I WAS THERE !!! eversole.calvin1@

    • rick says:

      Had a dream about a guy killed on Hamburger Hill-The name in the dream was Mcgonacle. Looked on the internet, but the closest I found, so far, was Elliot McDaniel-A Sgt. and granade launcher.

  59. Tom Lough says:

    I was one of the engineers who helped cut the LZ on May 12. I would appreciate contact from anyone else who knows about that.
    Tom Lough

  60. Sean Vila says:

    I appreciate everything you guys did for our country during those difficult times, I was reading some of these post and couldn’t help to cry Im very touched by your bravery and heroism that was displayed on that hill. Thank you for everything you guys are hero’s to me..

  61. Pinckley says:

    My grandfather was in Vietnam, but I am not not sure if he was on Hill 875 or Hamburger Hill. My granny always talks about Hamburger Hill. If anyone knows a David Schartiger please email me. I would appreciate any information. Also, if any has any pictures I would love to see them.

    Also, Thank you guys so much for your sacrifices.

    My email is

  62. SGM Taras Szczur says:

    While Christmas shopping I ran into Dennis Arnold who claims to have been on Hamburger Hill, anyone out there remember him?

  63. Keon H says:

    My father SSG Michael Higgins recently passed away, I knew he served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne, (that was also his user name for aol cairborne101). However, I am unsure what company or brigade. Unfortunately, the VA can’t locate his DD214 from that era & the info I received from them doesn’t list it either. He didn’t speak much about his time there (Hamburger Hill) but he was there (@ the time he was a private). I am holding a memorial service for him in a few days & would like to know if anyone served w/him & could share anything you could remember.

  64. Raymond Laznovsky says:

    I am searching for Michael Vogel who served as honor guard at Aaron Lieb Rosenstreich’s funeral. Aaron died May 1969 on Mother’s Day on Hamburger Hill.

  65. CW2 Bobby Ingram says:

    I flew for the 101st AHB, slick pilot, Black Widow 14. My first hot combat I was Right seat my hands resting 1/2 inch away from the control as I listened to Honeycutt directing his Gunships to “Kill that S.O.B”….”Put a rocket through his head” while we circled at 1500′ waiting to swoop in and move a blocking force…this would be Oct. ’68 near the coast, northeast of Hue.
    Hunnycutt obviously knew his Gunships pilots well as he called them by their first names as he directed their action.
    I respected his command decisions.
    To ALL warriors, of All flags who went through their baptism of fire,
    … I stand and I salute You.

  66. MCPO Jay Powers says:

    Looking for anyone who served with Emil Hoffman during the assault on Hamburger Hill. Please email me at I plan to honor him at my upcoming retirement ceremony after serving 30 plus years with the USN. Any help you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks to each of you for your Service to our Nation.

  67. […] Battle of Hamburger Hill. Troops of the 101st Airborne finally secure Ap Bia Mountain/Hill 937- Hamburger Hill | Battle Of Hamburger Hill (a.k.a. Hill 937) During Vietnam War Regards, Gordon Reply With […]

  68. Florian Berends says:


    I’m a first Lieutenant in the Dutch Marine Corps,
    Currently I’m writing a paper on the battle of Hill 937.
    It is all comming together, but does anyone of you got any links to the
    battle schematics? Or any pictures of movements of forces that 10 days?

    much thanks,

    Florian Berends

  69. cindy laurell says:

    Thank all of you for service!
    While I am in my 50’s I don’t know anyone who served in Vietnam. However, I have read about it, heard a few stories and this string has been heart warming and heat wrenching- mostly the ladder. I’m so sorry you all experienced what you did- there are no words – only love for you all!
    My oldest son is in the Army and was over in the middle east about 10 years ago. He came home uninjured, but I know he experienced trauma- he is not the same and sufferers from PTSS.

    Today, this memorial day, the local park had a memorial service for about 260 soldiers that have died in this current war. They are all just young kids- like my 2 sons. It breaks my heart. You know, a mother just wants to protect their children (no matter how old they are) from all kinds of hurt and pain and we can’t do anything about what you experienced except love you all and pray for your peace and respect the brave men you were and are. God bless you all and know there is a special place and healing for you when your time here is done. It wasn’t your time to go then- you had a job to do here and a story to tell. Thank you!

  70. BRUCE D ANSTEY says:

    served with 45th engineers 27 engineers bravo co was in region at the time of hamburger hill i believe at a shau at that time .worked on route 547 to a shau worked on building fsb for 155 &8in cannons welcome home to all

  71. Heber Hammon says:

    Lt. My brother, Spec 4 Arthur L. Hammon was a machine gunner with Bravo, 1/387, on Hamburger Hill. He received a Bronze Star there for rescuing a wounded soldier caught out in the open. He was one of a very few of Bravo who made it to the top without being killed (obviously) or wounded. He will not talk about the battle. Does anyone remember him and can talk to me. I was a Sp4 with the Old Guard when he got home. We went up to Battalion HQ to talk to CSM Robert Chilton a command sergeant major with 101st. When we came into his office he saw me and said, Hammon. Then he saw Arthur and said, I know you. Art said, yes, last time I saw you we were fighting together. If anyone knows Art, I’d appreciate a line.

  72. Darlene Strzala says:

    I don’t remember very much about the Vietnam war, however I am a widow that is in love with a Vietnam Vet. He was a medic and was on Hamburger Hill. Doc Milburn (Paul B. Milburn). To this day he continues with nightmares and remembers all that lost their lives. He visits the “wall” a couple of times a year. It still difficult everytime he goes, but he believes he owes it to his guys. My heart goes out to all our Vets and Hero’s. God Bless you all.
    Darlene from North East, Maryland

  73. Richard J. Carlton says:

    I have the still vivid visions of Hamburger every day, The battle was really a story of determination and guts. As a Crew Chief with C/158th, I watched a lot of it from a birds I view. The media as usual pumped up the fight to list this as the most horrible thing that had occurred to date, forgetting about the 173rd and 187 and the Idrang. The media made it possible for us to be shamed and wrote off as baby killers which rolled over to the public. My generation, the Baby Boomers saw this as a chance to raise hell and smoke more Dope, as well as smoke their draft cards. My Love of the 101st will never die, my hatred of the Media and my generation will not die either. All the Way Screaming Eagles.

    • Brendan Ilnitzki says:

      Dear Mr. Carlton,
      I am an 8th grade student doing a research documentary on the Battle of Hamburger Hill and the media’s covering of it. I am sorry for the way you and the other soldiers were treated by the media and the public. I was hoping you would be able to help me on my project and discuss the events of the Hill and how the media portrayed it. Thank you for any help you could give and thank you for your service to our Country.

  74. CW2 Bobby Ingram says:

    I agree Richard, the ‘news services’ are to bigoted to trust even with the knowledge they blow everything out of proportion and create ‘screaming’ headlines to get more readership.

    Check out their coverage of the ‘Trayvon Martin ‘ killing, The news services ALL got behind lynching the OLD guy for the justice of the Mountain dew drinking skittles eating choir singing Youth we saw during the first 2 weeks of the investigations.

    Our news services LIED and LIED without regard to the damage it was doing to race relations… The same kind of lies the public was shown during the VN war.

  75. Michael sS. Motyka says:

    My 1st cousin, John Bianchi was one of the 400 wounded May 10-20, 1969 Hamburger Hill, a.k.a. Hill 937, part of Operation Apachi Snow, in the A Shau Valley. I had the opportunity to visit with John and his wife this past few days and we discussed the 101 Airborne, 3/187th., Charlie Company and “RAKKASAN.” John, and all of the rest of his unit have my eternal respect and appreciation for their countless, thankless efforts, when called upon. John makes me proud to be an American, as do all our service men and women. Their true reward, for their accomplishments and service, awaits them. “GOD BLESS!”

  76. […] Panmunjom on July 27, the hill became part of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.This story continues at Historynet.comShare this:StumbleUponPinterestTumblrPocketRedditRelated posts: The True Story of the Battle of […]

  77. Anthony Barnes says:

    I Was in 3/187 B co I remember a guy named Dobard.I was a replacement so I didn’t see any action on the hill.He was very short by the time I met him and probably doesn’t remember me

  78. Anthony Barnes says:

    I think I knew him We called him Doc. I was in B co. 3/187, 1969

  79. Brian Smith says:

    I am doing research on a close friend who says he was in the Battle of Hamburger Hill. His name is Carl Anquoe; he was a member of the Kiowa Indian Nation. Please contact me, and we can share information.

    Brian Smith

  80. Scott D'Ornay says:

    Hi Guys,
    In October 2013, I climbed Hamburger Hill with a guide. I made the top. It is not a hill, it’s a mountain. It was hot, misty, raining & that mud gets stuck to everything. How those boys did that all while getting shot at is beyond me. It damn near wasted me. Up the top there is still barbed wire & a fox hole. I’m trying to locate any photos taken of Hill 937 during the battle. If anyone has any, I would love to see them. If you would like to see the photos I took last October, I’m happy to share.
    Many thanks,
    Sydney, Australia

  81. Scott D'Ornay says:

    Hi Guys,
    I’m trying to find any info on William Fettes 5 SFG Vietnam, as per the details I have below. Do any of you fine men remember him?

    USA ARMY –

    1) 101st Airborne Divison, Fort Campbell Ky
    To: Private William Fettes RZ166386862
    Date given: Nov. 9,1959

    2) The Bronze Star medal Nov. 7,1967

    3) Two Awards (Not in English)
    1) VIET-NAM July 22,1967
    2) VIET-NAM ??/15/1968

    4) Knife Award
    In appreciation SRC William Fettes
    SOA (CCC) 5th SFGA

    6) The Bronze Star medal Feb. 22,1971

    7) XVIIIth Airborne Cops Noncommissioned Officers Academy certificate of completion Nov. 29,1972
    William Fettes SFC

    8) Army Commendation Medal Sept. 18,1973


    10) SFC WILLIAM FETTES Instructor of the Quarter, ARCOM award March 1974.

    MSG E-8

    years of service: 20yrs 2 months 29 days


    Last Duty Assignment: HHD 558th USA ASAREUR, E3


    Many thanks,
    Sydney Australia

  82. Greggory Gannon SPC 5 91B20 says:

    I was a US Army medic at the 249th Vietnam evac, Camp Drake, Tokyo, Japan from ’68-’70 and we had a huge group of Hill 937 casualties in mid-May 1969. They were overflowing into the hallways on gurneys like Tet and the Cambodian Invasion of May ’70. One of our patients was a medic from the 101st Airborne named Archie Moore (just like the fighter).

    Do any of you know Archie? I’d love to find him again. He was wounded at Hamburger and in the upper arm and after we casted him, we put him to work, as we did many of you guys. I seems like we only had to ask the Marines to do something once, sometimes the Army took a couple of asks. I showed Archie how we did the wound and amputation treatments; we were a team. He liked working in a place where he could wear hospital whites and no one was shooting at him. We persuaded Dr. Eagle in psyche to cut orders for him to stay with us to help his \transition\ back to his home and family in the south.

    We had a fantastic group of combat and non-combat medics, doctors and nurses at the 249th and every now and then I run into a Hamburger Hill survivor who came and stayed at our hotel for few months. It’s always good to see old friends.

    Wherever you are Archie, thanks for the help with the blood and guts!

    Your buddy,

    Doc Gannon

  83. Richard Scott says:

    my father served in at least one of his three tours of Vietnam with the 101st. Sadly, on September 26 of this year my father lost his battle with throat cancer. The VA says the cancer was caused by my fathers exposure to Agent Orange. Anyway, I am reaching out to see if anybody served with my father. I would love to hear about him. I know he enlisted in Tallahassee, FL on 1/25/66, three days after his 18th birthday. I also know he was known as \Tallahassee\, \Baby Face\ and \Scottie\.
    Here is a link to his obituary!/Obituary

    my e-mail is

  84. julie payton says:

    My brother, Peter James Guigelaar, died Nov 20 1996 due to agent orange,Ptsd, and alcoholism. He was n 101st ban artillery. He spoke of being stuck in with all dead bodies in monsoons, and no food for weeks, he had written home regarding being in Ashau valley. This is not in his records that I know of.
    H’s records list him at Tet counter offensive n 1969.
    There is purple heart and silver star on his military gravestone but these are not on his dd 214
    He has other awards and medals listed on dd214

  85. Becky Burkhart says:

    My boyfriend was in the 2/506. His name was LoPresti. He was a Phoenix firefighter for 33 years and is now retired. He has many stories about the war. Does anyone remember him? Thanks to all of you for your service.

  86. Jeremy says:

    I am looking for anyone that was in Vietnam with my dad.His name was Richard Anthony Baraga.He is from Minnesota.He did 3 tours in Vietnam.66 to 67 68 to 69 70 to 71.He was in the 2nd Battalion 12th cavalry 1st cavalry division.I would really appreciate it if anyone that knows him can tell me some things about his service over there.Thanks.Here is a number call or txt 469-751-2235

  87. Brianna McCarthy says:

    The third man, McCarthy, was his first name Daniel?

  88. Charles Sturgeon says:

    Hi I had a brother named Ira Jackie Sturgeon that was in the 2nd Battalion , 101st Airbourne Division . He was killed on May 13th, 1969 at age 19. I was 11 years old at the time and still remember it like it was yesterday…would love to see if anyone knew of him or has some pictures they can copy and send to me….I miss him very much but don’t have many pictures of him..If you or anyone you were with on hamburger hill could email me at I would greatly appreciate hearing from you guys….Thanks for everyone for their service and God Bless You and The USA

  89. Lester "Doc" Wilson says:

    My husband Lester Doc Wilson was also 2/506 he was in Nam 1969
    I have been searching for the BRAVE men he served with.

  90. […] 1969: During the Vietnam War, during the Apache Snow operation,: the Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill, up to May 20 […]

  91. […] 1969: During the Vietnam War, during the Apache Snow operation,: the Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill, up to May 20 […]

  92. […] 1969: During the Vietnam War, during the Apache Snow operation,: the Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill, up to May 20 […]

  93. […] 1969: During the Vietnam War, during the Apache Snow operation,: the Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill, up to May 20 […]

  94. bubba says:

    I would like to know if anyone remember Alvin “Spoon” Barnes or Harold Williams both from DC, who was on hill 937. I was supposed to be in that unit but by the grace of the MOST HIGH I didn’t go on the hill.

  95. Diane Padgett-Lesure says:

    I salute all of who have surved. I am searching for anyone who may know or know of my father, John E Padgett, Jr. He does not usually talk about his tours. Although he has mentioned that he fought on hill 937, the details are sketchy. I believe he was an E8 at the time but lead a battalion (maybe on the hill, maybe not) as a Srgt Major without the official rank. He is alive, but I can not bring myself to ask him any specific questions regarding the hill. My father is my hero. I would be eternally grateful to learn anything anyone may remember about him. Please contact me with any information, thank you
    1664 Church St, North Adams, MA, 01247

  96. swile1978 says:

    I was once told that a now 73 yr old Canadian Man from Ontario named Brian Lanois who was Commander of 160 Canadian men in the Vietnam war, was the man who put the USA flag on Hamburger Hill. I was told that even though the Government would not admit that the Canadians were involved in this war, the Canadians came in and took Hamburger Hill in 32 hours without losing one man.

  97. Mike Craig says:

    Lt. Col . Honeycutt may have been the “airbone spirit” in person. I was Airborne and that meant your officers were on you all the time but you put up with it. We were on standby at Ft. Bragg for the “Cuban Missile Crisis” and it was “disjoint and ad hoc. The more i study the Tiger-I wonder. I had a big brother when I was a kid, Johnny Hay and he ended up with the 101st. I think General’s Melvin Zais’ radio call sign may have been “Bald Eagle”-Johnny’s Recon platoon was pinned down and “Bald Eagle” told him he had everything that division had but first he would have to shoot his way out!’ His guys were the best. They did. The area just didn’t give you a bird’s eye view. Johnny never complained about his outfit. I got out in 1964 but we were R.A. “all the way.” since you voulunteer for it you don’t have a legitimate bitch. Some say that Lt. Col . Weldon Honeycutt was “bucking for the bird” -others think he was doing his duty. I think the jury is still out. I hope History cuts the guy a break. All of our politicians shine in the sun of what should have been. What they are is a different matter. I think we ought to give the guy a fair shake. Airborne.

  98. outtolunch100 says:

    Hamburger Hill was a needles Meat Market for GI’s, Thanks to the Generals and the rest of the Brass in charge of our combat strategies …today all that Brass would be locked up and the keys thrown away. All the casualties that we suffered in Hamburger Hill were not necessary if they had bombed the fuck out of the hill

    day and night. Many other combat assaults were not necessary due to the fact that many young lives were needlessly lost. Besides the fact that the entire war was a glorious idea for the Generals in charge and their promotions as well, young GI’s were murdered by the enemy for the benefit of the “Brass”. I saw Majors and many others who got “Silver Stars” for doing nothing…I mean NOTHING !. The entire Commanders in charge should have been executed !

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