Letters From War Wednesday: Vietnam War – Dennis Black.

Hump day, and time for Letters From War Wednesdays.  This October 1965 note comes from trooper, Dennis Black, who served with 1st Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cav Division in Vietnam.  Black had just returned to the field at the time of this writing, having healed from shrapnel wounds.  The letter was addressed to his family.

Dennis Black - 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cav Division

“I am OK and back in the scrap.  …Right now I am in a foxhole with my team leader.

“…I’ve been up every night the last eight days waiting for Charlie, but he hasn’t shown up. …We came back to base camp yesterday at noon, from the boonies.  …To give you an idea, we started with over 40 men in the platoon.  Now there is less than 25.  Some got malaria and other crap you catch in the tropics—bad feet from being wet.  …They told me I get a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge.  Big deal, huh?  I got 9 months and 3 days left here in this crapper.

“…I can get several English speaking stations that play late rock and roll – also Hanoi Ann.  She sells bullshit to anyone who will listen.  She seems to dislike the U.S. imperialists.  I get a bang out of how many planes they shoot down and crap like that.

“…The platoon was bathing in a river when a VC sniper opened up on them.  He missed.  A good friend of mine who is the gunner on a 106mm rifle saw the sniper.  He fired one anti-tank round and got a direct hit… .  Needless to say there wasn’t much left of that VC.”

Only weeks later, not unlike Custer tracking the Sioux, the 7th Cavalry hit the Ia Drang River Valley in search of an ever-elusive enemy.  On November 14, 1965, they found them.  The 1st of the 7th engaged a sizable enemy force at LZ X-ray. Black and his 2nd of the 7th prepared for deployment into the hot landing zone as reinforcements.  Billed as the “battle that changed the war in Vietnam,” the four days of fierce fighting surrounding LZs X-ray and Albany not only inspired the best-selling book, We Were Soldiers Once … And Young, by Lt. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, but also spawned the like-titled motion picture, starring Mel Gibson.

Alpha Company’s 1st and 2nd Platoons would suffer massive casualties at LZ Albany, with only eight known survivors.  Sadly, Dennis Black died fighting from multiple gunshot wounds.  Today, his remains rest at Garrett, Indiana’s Cedar Creek Cemetery.

One Response to “Letters From War Wednesday: Vietnam War – Dennis Black”

  1. Dennis looks like a fine young man.I wish I could have met him.I know I would have liked him. A fine soldier.

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