Charlie Rangers at War: An Infantry Soldier’s Journal Vietnam 1968-1969


Charlie Co. (Rangers), have a proud tradition of combat excellence dating back to WW II, and earlier in WW I, as one company in the U.S. Army’s 1/16 Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Div. In Vietnam, the Charlie Rangers fought well in jungles, rubber plantations, and rice paddies against a very aggressive and determined Communist army which included local Viet Cong forces, as well as large numbers of North Vietnamese Army units flowing into South Vietnam from the North. 1968 – 1969 saw some of the fiercest fighting, and produced the highest American casualty totals of any two year period in the 10 year Vietnam conflict. This book is based primarily upon the hand written journal kept by one Charlie Ranger infantry soldier, who served in this front line combat unit, during June 1968 to June 1969. All names, events, dates, and other information recorded here, are authentic, as remembered and recorded by the author, and other Charlie Rangers who witnessed and participated in these events. In an effort to “keep it real”, no attempt has been made to glamorize or create heroes (or villains) of the participants. Rather, every effort has been made to include the bad as well as the good; and to just record what happened, and what actions were taken. Of course there is a bias from the American point of view. At this early stage in the war, most American soldiers still held to the “rightness” of our efforts to stand against unwanted aggression from a very corrupt and brutal totalitarian system in the North. The South Vietnamese clearly wanted to be “free”, and choose their own government through democratic institutions. In fact, more than a million North Vietnamese had fled South before the conflict, to escape the dictatorship that enslaved their relatives in the North. By comparison, there was a modest trickle of groups or individuals that moved from South to North during this period. Unfortunately for the freedom seeking people of Vietnam, every elected government in the South turned out to be nearly as corrupt as their counterparts in the North. This made it increasingly difficult for the South Vietnamese military and their allies (including the US) to make ever greater sacrifices for their leaders. This book does not deal with the political issues, but focuses on the day to day operations and happenings experienced by the Charlie Rangers in Vietnam. From helicopter assaults, to operations with tanks and armored vehicles, to tunnel warfare, to cutting through thick jungle vegetation, to night ambush patrols, to attacks on well-fortified enemy bunker systems, to monsoon rain storms and flooded rice paddies, to Riverine operations in the Mekong Delta with the US Navy; the Charlie Rangers had to adapt and cope with a broad range of combat conditions to find and defeat the enemy. Our goal in writing this book, is to communicate and document to our families and loved ones what we experienced in Vietnam, as Charlie Rangers.

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