Skip to comments.Friendly Fire
Posted on 05/27/2018 9:45:05 AM PDT by DJ Taylor
Sergeant First Class Arno J. Voigt was killed by friendly fire near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam on June 4, 1970, and like all friendly fire accidents it was one of those things that shouldnt have happened but did. A Pink Team consisting of an OH-6 Cayuse Light Observation Helicopter (Loach) and three AH-1G Cobra Gun Ships from the 2d Squadron 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division mistook Arno Voigt and a company of ARVN Airborne Rangers for a company of NVA and fired on them, killing Arno Voigt along with two Rangers and wounding an additional twenty Rangers. This is the story of how and why some of us think this accident happened and whom we think was ultimately at fault in the sequence of events that led to the needless loss of good men that day.
(Excerpt) Read more at projectdelta.net ...
This story is very well written and quite accurate. I was a Recon Platoon Leader in an air cavalry squadron in the Highlands at the same time frame and all of this describes exactly how we operated. I went to extra effort to ensure that I had coordinated with the air cavalry troops, with the attack helicopter company, and the gun platoons of the assault helicopter company. Coordinating with the ARVN Ranger battalions was more difficult, but as a minimum we did so through Field Force Hq and ARVN II Corps. We did this face to face whenever possible. Since we had our own helicopters, we just needed time to do this right. When we didn’t have the time, we had to be careful and talk to them by radio. Again, the ARVN Rangers could be difficult, especially if they didn’t have US advisors with them.
I was never attacked by friendly air, but I was hit several times by friendly artillery and mortars. Not fun. Later, as a Rife company Commander we had to take a wide berth when working with ARVN regular troops. Every time they bumped into us, a fire fight started that we had to work to get stopped. They were always ignorant of our presence. When leaders weren’t paying attention, this sort of thing could happen.
Another reason we have JTACs today
In the first battles of the American Civil War, the War Between the States, many state regiments from the South showed up in blue uniforms carrying their regiment flags showing which state they hailed from, hoping that would be enough to distinguish them from the enemy. It wasn’t. The battles created a fog of war that had many on both sides, on the same side, shooting at each other.
Some of the Union Army of the North wore red bloomers while socialites from Washington DC sat on hills with a picnic lunch overlooking the battlefield.
The gross errors of those first battles were enough for the armies of the North and South to adopt the Blue and Grey as uniforms and for socialites to know better than to think war was a mere spectacle of entertainment.
The first battles were also a teaching lesson to the Southern Armies, to never drive your enemy from the field and think they’ve had enough and won’t be back. Had the Southern Armies chased the Union Army into Washington DC and captured Abraham Lincoln, that war would have been over in weeks.
Thank you for your service, thank you for sharing in a clear manner your experience. I served near the end of that conflict just when many were being brought back. I heard and felt their pain of that conflict. How I wish it had been carried out differently.
Veterans have cause to be proud of their Vietnam era service. It was the politicians who decided that the war was not worth winning. Within the big picture, this was just a part of the War Against Communism and the Cold War. We won. We are now facing the threat of communism in Europe and in the United States. We’ll win that one too.
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