704th Maintenance Battalion

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704th Maintenance Battalion - Headquarters and A Company
4th Infantry Division
An Khe Vietnam 1970
Unit Photo Album

Click on Photo for to go to the photo gallery.

15_6970
Front Cover.



There are 76 pages in this book with hundreds of photos of the men of Headquarters and A Company, 704th Maintenace Battalion.
It was published in An Khe, Vietnam in 1970. Some photos were cut out of my copy. If you can supply the missing images, please do.

If you would like a CD with the restored images, suitable for printing, contact me at the Swamp_Fox email address at the bottom of the page. I will also include on the CD this website in a format you can review with any computer browser.

Due to the cost of production of the CD and the 100+ hours it took to scan and restore the images, I must ask for a donation of $20.00 for the CD. Part of the money will go to the increasing cost of maintaninig this website. Any other donations are most welcome.

I would like to personally offer up my sincere thanks to all you hard working support troops, who kept us supplied with the equipment we needed to do our job in the jungles. Having spent two months as Headquarters Company commander for the 1/8th Infantry, in basecamp at Pleiku, I know first hand the hassles of life there. I think I actually preferred the honesty and simplicity of the jungles. We grunts do appreciate all you did for us.


MSG Henry Gettman
Headquarters and Company A
704th Maintenance Battalion
4th Division, RVN

1966-1967

My dad, Master Sergeant Henry Gettman at the time, was assigned to Headquarters and Company A, 704th Maintenance Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA, on 31 July 1965, and went to Vietnam with the 4th Inf Division on 8 September 1966. He was easy to spot, as he was only 50 tall. A veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, he was 55 years old when he went to Vietnam with the 704th. He was awarded a Bronze Star for having his section up and running within 48 hours of arriving in country. Hopefully someone who knew him then will see this and respond.

Best wishes,
Dave Gettman

Posted 06 17 2023

If you knew Master Sergeant Gettman, contact Dave through the swamp_fox email address at the bottom of this page.

PS: Found more at this link:

 https://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/128587-discharges-etc-for-henry-gettman/

You will have to cut and paste the link.


Thomas P. Lessard
S4 OIC, 704th BSB
2SBCT, 4ID

Good afternoon, sir.

I am the Battalion S4 at 704th Brigade Support Battalion and I am in the process of assembling Unit History in order to create a Regimental Room for our unit. I stumbled upon your website while doing some rudimentary research on the unit's history in Vietnam (when it was the 704th Maintenance Battalion) and noticed you had a fair few veterans that had reached out to you through the site. I would appreciate any help reaching out to those individuals to see what they could contribute to our organization's efforts to invest in the history of the unit. Thank you in advance for your help with this.

Posted 10 OCT 2022

If you want to contribute to 1Lt Lessard's project, you can connect with him through the swamp_fox email address at the bottom of the page. In country photos, printed materials, etc...help them connect with the unit's Vietnam era.


PFC Robert G. Stanko
HQ & Service Battery
Company C, 6th Bn, 29th Artillery
4th Inf Div, Vietnam

Hello sir. First of all thank you for your service in Vietnam. I am seeking information on PFC Stanko, who was the best friend of my brother. He was killed under unusual circumstances in Pleiku. He was at a firebase and in a bunker with other soldiers. An altercation took place, and as PFC Stanko attempted to break up the altercation, he was fatally shot by one of the other soldiers. The incident took place on 10/31/1968. His death was confirmed as an intentional homicide. I am wondering if you could possibly find anyone who served with PFC Stanko and knew him. PFC Stanko was in Vietnam for less than a month before he was killed.

Thank you.
Dean Rosan

Posted 22 SEP 2022

You can make contact via email to the Swamp_fox address at the bottom of this page. I will forward your email to Dean.


CSM W Mike Ralls
Engineer
704th Maintenance Battalion

Volunteered Jun 14, 1968, basic at Ft Polk, AIT at Ft Belvoir. 1968-1969 62B10-62B30 Engineer Equip mech, Engineer Equipment Senior Mechanic. First Assignment in Vietnam was Charlie Co, 704 maint Bn, 4th Inf Div Pleiku (LZ Oasis) March 1969-March 1970. Supported 1/10 Cav repairing APC, M-60 tanks, Ran convoy contact maintenance support from Pleiku to An Khe, Pleiku to Kontum, and Pleiku to Cam Rahn Bay. Drove a 5-ton wrecker with a 3/4-ton contact truck full of parts. Had one main incident Mother's Day 0 dark thirty 1969 right after I was in country. The attack on LZ Oasis made the Stars and Stripes. Participated in a skirmish later on during a sweep patrol. Sniper had us pinned down, Gunship called and flew over us with a screaming mini-gun - thought I was dead. Did not know pilot could swivel mini to point off to the side! Later saw tours at Ft Leonardwood 1970-1971 Sp5 in Million Dollar Hole training facility, FRG Germersheim Army Depot Sgt 1971-1972, FRG Bremerhaven TASCOM NCO Academy tactics/land nav instructor, Ft Lewis 1974-1975 SSG 11B Squad Leader Charlie, 2/47 INF, 3rd Bde 9th Inf Div, 1975-76 SSG Ft Bliss Field Fire Rifle Range NCOIC for BCT, 1976-1979. SSG Ft Greely Squad Instructor NWTC, 1979-1983, SSG-SFC Ft Belvoir 52E Prime Power Production Specialist School as student then senior instructor, 1983-1984 ft Belvoir MSG Eng School, 1984-1987 1SG FRG Karlsruhe Alpha and Charlie 249 Eng Bn CBT HVY, 1987-1991 Ft Lewis CSM 80th Ord Bn and 864 Eng Bn CBT HVY. Desert Storm 864th last assignment, retired Nov 1991. Here are some photos of Ralls.

Posted xx FEB 2020

If you wish to contact Mike send email to Swamp_Fox address at bottom of page and I will forward your email to him.


Robert Williams
D Company
704th Maintenance Battalion



Arrived in An Khe about Christmas 1969, last day town was on limits, as an E-5/SP-5 in the signal shop and returned to the states in late 1970. I got to drive "Fat Albert" around the the yard once. Guarded the satchel charges after we got hit one night...they said it was the Vietnamese barber. Pulled commander of relief for guard duty often. I watched the arms shop work on a Thompson submachine gun that someone found. Been through the Mang Yang Pass many times. Once I was headed to a firebase and I had to get off a Huey that was to heavy to take off, due of the density altitude because of heat and humidify and the altitude of the firebase...a common problem in the Central Highlands. I was in Cambodia (so I was told) the day of the Kent State University killings. It rained like Hell and we were told we would be hit during the night, so I tried to dig a foxhole, but the clay and rocks kept me from digging nearly deep enough to feel safe. Spent the night in rain and lightening with darkness in front of me...gotta hold the M-60, can't let go (to this day I'll hold a metal object up in the air when it's lightening out...talk about people scattering...I'll tell them why---I had to hold the M-60!). My ears still ring from the 105mm Howitzer to my right that lit up the perimeter every time it fired.

Posted 18 DEC 2012

Contact me at the Swamp_Fox address to get in contact with Bob.



Bob Bailey
A Company, 704th Maintenance Battalion

Hi Homer.

I found your website while looking for the 704th Ordnance Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA. I was drafted when the Berlin wall went up and sworn in on 1 December, 1961. After basic at Ft. Leonard Wood and Advanced Individual Training at Aberdeen Proving Ground, I was sent to the 704th at Fort Lewis. At the time I thought President Kennedy was getting even for my voting for his opponent by drafting me, but it turned out he did me a great favor as my hitch was up before Viet Nam heated up.

I was in A Company, assigned as a driver of an M62 5-ton wrecker and occasionally I got to drive the M88 tank recovery vehicle, which was much more fun than driving a wrecker. We didn't get to take the M88 off base much because it was too rough on the local roads. As I recall, the M88 had a 12 cylinder gasoline engine and magneto ignition. The most fascinating thing about it to me was the "neutral steer". If you put the transmission in neutral and turned the steering wheel right or left, when you gave it gas it would pivot in place, turning 360 degrees. The vehicle should be in soft sand when you tried this or you risked throwing a track. The other thing I remember is driving it on a gravel road was deafening because of the rocks and debris bouncing of the hull. The officers and NCO's were very protective of the M88 as it was the most expensive vehicle in the unit.

The most memorable thing I recall from my hitch in the army was the last week. I was clearing post on November 22nd, preparing for discharge on November 30th, when we got the news about President Kennedy's assassination. At first the info was pretty sketchy and disconnected, but as we drove back to the barracks for lunch, we passed 4th Division Headquarters and the flag was being lowered to half staff. That's when we all knew he was gone. The next morning I went to a coffee shop near the barracks and bought a copy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the entire front page was a black-bordered picture of the President. Sad days for all of us.

As I look back on it, my military service was good for me. I didn't think so at the time, but it made me a better person, I believe. I'm 73 now and often look back on my military service and wonder what happened to many of my army buddies. I hope you will hear from them and maybe post some of their stories.

I would also like to hear from my buddies.

Best regards,

Bob Bailey

Click on the thumbnail to see full image of M88.

Posted 22 JUL 2012

Contact me at the Swamp_Fox address to get in contact with Bob.


Terry Halladey
HQ & A Company, 704th Maintenance Battalion

I served with Hq & Co A 704th Maint Bn. 4th ID from 10/64 to 11/67. First at Ft. Lewis then Vietnam. I was a vehicle tech inspector and later shop supply clerk.

Posted 5 JUN 2012

Contact me at the Swamp_Fox address to get in contact with Terry.


SGT Mark Hedrick
D Company, 704th Maintenance Battalion

Homer, I served with D co 704th Maintenance Battalion, 4th ID from April 28, 1969 - April 8,1970. The account Linc sent is accurate. I would like to get in touch with our CO Cpt Mathew and 1st Sgt., however, I can't remember their complete names. I will attach some photo for the photo gallery.

Mark Hedrick Sgt
motor pool and later "Fat Albert's VTR TC"

If you want to contact Mark, email me at the swampfox address below and I will forward your response to him.

Posted 17 MAR 2011


Lincoln Walkley

Hi Homer,

If you feel my e-mails might be of interest to your visitors, please feel free to post them on your site. I've had your site on my favorites list for awhile now and just realized how many times you and I were in the same area in 'Nam, at the same time!

I enlisted in the Army in September of 1968. I'd completed a couple of lackluster years at Cornell and didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I planned to take a semester off, then see if Syracuse would consider me. My local draft board had other ideas for my future. I was approached after 3 weeks in Basic Training at Ft. Gordon, Ga. to see if I might be interested in signing up for the OCS course. I wouldn't be able to take the school I'd enlisted to get (small arms repair), and Infantry was the only OCS school available, so I declined. I was the "Distinguished Graduate" for my class in Small Arms Repair at Aberdeen Proving Ground and (not too surprisingly) received orders for RVN upon graduation. Where else were they likely to break weapons? I arrived in RVN 3/18/69 and was ultimately assigned to D Company, 704th Maintenance Battalion, who had just moved from Dak To and had set up at a tiny spot called Soi Doi. I believe it was between Pleiku and the Mang Yang Pass. We were only there for a couple of weeks after I joined them, then moved to An Khe. My company area and our shop area were at the base of Hong Kong Mountain. Shortly thereafter I was informed that the company hierarchy felt a classmate of mine from small arms school, who had attended Trinity State College for gunsmithing, might be a better repairman, but they needed an instrument repairman and wanted me to cross-train for that. I reluctantly agreed. This later became a very important incident during my year in 'Nam

After trying to learn instrument repair from a fellow who was totally unable to communicate his knowledge to me, I was allowed to return to small arms repair. Several months later my section chief came to me and told me they were sending me out with the HQ Company's "CMMI" (Command Maintenance Management Inspection) team. On the morning of the appointed day he told me it had been called off for some reason. A week later I was told to report the next morning for the same inspection. Again it was called off. A week later I was again told to report for the inspection team, then that was canceled - they needed an instrument inspector instead. The next day I was informed that the 2 jeeps and one pickup, loaded with a total of 13 inspectors, had driven off the main road to inspect a tank on "strong point". After completing the inspection, they returned to their vehicles and the pickup backed into the tank "turn-around" area. The right rear wheel on the pickup hit an anti-tank mine and the explosion killed everyone but the driver in the furthest jeep. If I'd continued with the cross-training, I'd most likely have been the one on the inspection team from my company (I very nearly was, anyway). There were several other hair-raising events during my year in 'Nam. One of the really close ones was the time I was sent to Qui Nhon to pick up parts for my shop. They had some parts that didn't have any labels and we hoped to recognize something we could use before the parts were "disposed of". The fellow I rode with had been in 'Nam for a couple of tours and had specific ideas of what was and wasn't safe. He expressed a desire to leave well ahead of a large convoy that was headed out the same direction that morning and I (very wisely, it turns out) deferred to his judgment. We arrived at the gate at Qui Nhon well before the normal 5:00 pm closing, only to find the gate already closed and the MP's hunkered down behind their M-60's. Much to our surprise, we were hailed with "HALT, WHO GOES THERE?". There is something very intimidating about having two M-60's pointed at you - especially when the guys behind them are really nervous! It turns out that the convoy had been attacked somewhere on the An Khe Pass and they'd had a long firefight. We were the only truck that made it through that day! I remember going down the pass, thinking something "felt" odd. I had my M-16 on full auto and I was leaning out the window trying to spot whatever looked out of place. I guess we were far enough ahead of the convoy, that the VC let us go by, in the hopes of a chance to cause more damage.

Have I mentioned yet, that I was (am) a very fervent pray-er? I've never won much of anything in games of chance or drawings or whatever, but I absolutely did the equivalent of winning the lottery several times in 'Nam. Way too many times to explain it away as being "lucky".

Around the end of December or early January of 1970 I was part of a small detachment that was sent to LZ English as "forward support". I flew by chopper to visit most of the LZ's in the area. One time I hitched a ride on a chopper with a bunch of brass. As we approached the pad at one LZ, a 105mm howitzer shot a direct shot at a sniper position. The pilot veered away quickly, then came in again to drop off the brass (a full-bird Colonel, a Lt. Colonel, a couple of Majors and a Captain, as I recall). The pad-man came over to talk with the pilot and then we took off again. I thought they were going to take me to the LZ I was supposed to go to, but suddenly, a "Loach" flew under us and dropped a smoke grenade on the sniper's position. Then we started making passes on the position and the door gunners would alternately take a few shots at it, but their M-60's would jam after just a few rounds. On about the 5th pass, they failed to get any shots off. Suddenly, I heard 5 "thunks" (I swear there was a new hole in the floor about 6" from my foot), and the pilot threw the chopper on its right side to escape the area as quickly as possible. I was acutely aware that there was nothing between me and the trees below. I was trying to figure out if it would be ok to let my repair kit go to get a better grip on the canvas bench I was on. Fortunately, the pilot soon righted the chopper and we followed valleys and finally landed just outside the gate at LZ Hardtimes. The door gunner leaned over to tell me we'd been hit in the fuel tank and I should jump and run when we touched down because the fuel would ignite easily if the runners caused a spark. I swear, I was out and standing about 100 yards away watching them drop the final 10 feet to the ground. At that time, I had just 2 weeks left in country.

Is there any chance you were at An Khe the night we had the friendly fire? As I recall there were 105 howitzer rounds walking up towards the MP barracks. Four rounds landed and if the 5th had been fired, it would have landed right in the middle of the barracks, but it never came. I'd forgotten about that incident, but a fellow named Danny E. (don't know if I should give his full name) was an MSHA (similar to OSHA, but for mines) inspector, visiting my gravel pit awhile back. It turns out he was there the same time as I was.

My company had several towers and bunkers on the perimeter we had to man. One night I managed to notice movement in the wire to my right front. It was kind of overcast and I only saw them briefly. I called on the phone for permission to fire, but it was denied. They promised to "light up the area soon". Of course the VC sappers could hear the phones ringing when I called to report the movement and they made good use of the time it took the signal company on top of Hong Cong Mountain to light up my area. As soon as the spotlight came on my night vision was gone! As were the sappers. Half an hour later they were blowing up helicopters at the airstrip. In the Stars and Stripes account, they said the sappers resorted to throwing rocks thru windshields to keep the choppers from flying, after they'd exhausted their supply of satchel charges. I have to admit I failed to holler "Halt, who goes there", but I doubt they'd have obeyed anyway.

Once, I was on guard duty at a bunker that had originally been a tower. It was hit with a B-40 rocket so they decided it would be less of a target if it was a bunker. It was the last guard post on the far side of the Song Ba River at An Khe. One morning, just before dawn, I heard a rifle shot behind me and a "HALT", and I observed 3 infiltrators being pulled from the river. They'd floated down on inner tubes. I was amazed to see a whole string of jeeps lined up on the river bank with their lights on. They'd been moved into position without us ever hearing them. I was even more amazed that we, the guards on the far side of the river, had never been informed that such an operation was going to take place! The guard position on that side of the river was almost directly behind us, so maybe they didn't want us looking behind us when the sappers tried to float in. Good thing they didn't put up a fight - we were still under orders not to shoot!

Did you realize there was a sniper somewhere on the Mountain? Our mess Sgt. got chased into the mess hall once, by his shots.

Were you there when the guy decided to walk down the Mountain (cross country) instead of taking the truck from the communications area on top? When he failed to show up in his company area we finally lined up and swept the base - they found him half way up the Mt. with his throat cut.

Were you on base (An Khe) on 6/6/69 when we had a sapper attack in our shop area? They blew up the fuel tank for the base generators and then proceeded to do a pretty good job of blowing up our shop area - which was between the generators and the Mountain.

Hope everyone is healthy. That Agent Orange crap is sure thinning out the ranks!

Linc

PS: My company felt the same about the sniper. He never hit anyone to my knowledge.

If you wish to contact Lincoln, send the email to me and I will forward it to him.

Posted 21 NOV 2009


John Rochelle

Co. C, 704th Maintenance Bn
2nd Bde

I haven't read your report in its entirety but I wanted to send to you a "thank you." I stopped after reading about the incident at LZ Mary Lou with the disgruntled soldier. I remember that day well. I was a tech supply officer with Co. C, 704th Maint Bn at LZ Mary Lou. One of our trucks coming from Pleiku had been stopped by this guy at gunpoint after entering the firebase. The driver was an EM who only had a few weeks left in country. He was very shaken up by the incident. To think that he makes it through his tour unscathed and then possibly to die from a deranged friendly. Your encounter with him must have post dated this incident. Anyway, thanks a lot and welcome home!

(Ban Me Thout East, LZ Mary Lou)
Aug 68 - May 69

Posted 18 NOV 2004


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