Highway Cleared By 1/50th

By 1Lt John Emmert

VOL. 1, NO. 10 25 NOV 1968 AN KHE- Winding its way through the hillsides between An Khe and Mang Yang Pass, the 25-mile segment of Highway 19 has been a formidable target for enemy activities while the 173d has been based at Camp Radcliff. "If we weren't on our toes," said SFC Kenneth J. Caudill, Field First for Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, "it is conceivable that a quickly executed ambush could result in highjacking several tons of critical supplies on convoy to the interior of Vietnam." "But, we've never lost any part of the road to the enemy," added Caudill whose home is in Canton, Ohio.

Only the weather was successful in closing down the road when a bridge was washed away in a monsoon rain. At first light, the Mechanized Infantrymen of Charlie Company ready their equipment and Tracks for a reconnaissance and mine sweep patrol from their base at LZ Schuller 10 miles west of An Khe. "We recon the road every morning before the first convoys pass through," said SP4 K Heaton of Nicholls, Ga. "That can be risky business" he added, "because pulling the same mission along the same route daily, increases the chances of enemy ambush."

Nearly 100 mines have been discovered in the last two months on 15 strongpoints west of LZ Schuller left in the night for the mech teams that occupy the posts throughout the day. The Infantrymen who man the hillside outposts maintain a constant watch on all avenues of approach to the highway so they can provide quick reaction and early warning in the threat of enemy attack.