By Talmadge Cain
Ray, when I took over Scouts from Jim Edge, he took over S5. Scouts was also called
Recon and we were stationed at LZ Action, west of An Khe. We were set up to have 56
personnel, 13 tracks, and patrolled from Mang Yang Pass East to LZ Schueller. We were big
enough that we manned 2-3 strong points, and had two groups patrolling (Search and
Destroy) going every day. We also responded quickly to any contact within 25 Klicks. At
night we reinforced 4-5 bridges, provided security to LZ Action, and sent out at least one
ambush patrol. We did not have much contact with SRAP-they worked out of An Khe and sent
ambushes out at night. Once we moved back to LZ Uplift, we did a lot of CA's and day and
The Brigade and Batallion tended to send us malcontents and troublemakers but they were
great soldiers for me. We rode fast and hard and had a lot of contact. My guys thought
that we were invincible so they designed the Scouts standard that we all flew from our
tracks (I'll send some pics). After we started flying the standard, most everybody called
us Scouts instead of Recon.. The rest of the batallion rarely saw us unless we rode up
when they were ambushed or had contact, then they were glad to see us.
We had contact every Sunday, every holiday, and days with a 3 in it. LZ Action had the
best mess hall around and Hanoi Hanna once said on the radio that she intended eating
Christmas Dinner at LZ Action (she never made it, though).
We were part of HHC when I was there. The Scout commander was never a new lieutenant
but transferred from a line platoon. Most officers in the battalion stayed 6 months in the
field then in the rear 6 months. By the time I had 8 months in, my replacement took over
but was wounded trying to disarm a booby trap. Good old LTC Woodall sent me back to the
Scouts where I stayed until DEROS. I had a great bunch of guys and it's a shame I don't
have contact with any of them. I'll tell you more later.
Note: Talmadge Cain's letter is a great tribute to our Scout Platoon. I was a Scout
P.L. in Germany before coming to Nam myself, and I know that the powers-that-be often sent
people they considered "trouble-makers" to Scout Platoons - but I also know that
they often make the best soldiers if allowed to get on with their job!