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Histories for 76th Engineer Battalion

"Lest We Forget"
Co "C" 76th Engrs was sent TDY from Camp Eiler to the DMZ in March of 1967. We went up there to the Joint Security Area to build a camp to live in from which we would then go into the DMZ to repair roads and bridges as well as do some work at Panmunjom. I was with the advance party that went up to begin work on the camp. We stayed at first in the JSA compound while we worked on the Camp soon to be named Camp Liberty Bell (as we were the Libert Bell Battalion). We had no knowledge, nor were we told, of the continuing war going on up there nor of how much it had heated up in the second half of the sixties. Within a month myself and another guy were sent up into the DMZ to guard a 'dozer that had thrown a track. It was left on the side of the road just down from an OP. In the early morning hours we heard a noise up the road, soon gunfire erupted and the OP was under attack. Before we knew it we were taking fire from both sides not only from the NK's but also from the GIs manning the OP as they had never been notified that we were going to be there and thought we were part of the attacking force. Only by getting under the dozer were we able to stay safe. This was the first of a number of incidents. The worst however occured on August 28th 1967 at about 5pm. The company was finishing up for the day many had come in from the field and some were still in the motor pool pulling maintenance on their vehicles. The chow line had formed and was already long out the door of the mess tent. It was then that the North Korean infiltrators opened up with over 3000 rounds of AK-47 fire. They started in the motor pool and the chowline. They walked their fire down the chow line and into the mess tent. PFC Curtis Rivers was serving chow and was hit in the chest. He died the next day. SP/4 Michael Vogel was leaving the motor pool when the fire erupted. He started to run but was stitched from the back of his head down across his back and into his legs. He died immediately. They walked their fire all the way down the tent line. By the time it was over we had 4KIA and 27 WIA out of an understrength company of 92. (the build up for Vietnam was in full swing) Our weapons were locked up in the arms room and we had to break down the door and grab weapons and ammo to fight off the attack. From that night forward we were engineeers by day and infantry by night. We manned sandbagged postions around the camp and in the hills above our camp. The worst part of this story happened afterwards. The sacrifice of these men was ignored and hushed up. There was only one story in the Stars and Stripes because the reporter happened to be in Seoul and heard of the attack. It was not reported elsewhere and certainly not in the US media. (There was I think a story in the Readers Digest later on but I can't find it.) We were warned not to speak of it due to "National Security". We were told that we were awarded a unit commendation but I don't know if that's true as I've never seen it. The very worst cut of all however came when the battalion yearbook came out for that year. Not only was the incident not even mentioned but the names and pictures of the men who died or had been shipped home due to wounds were not even in the book! It was as though they had never existed! This is shameful! These men gave their lives for freedom just as any soldier on "The Wall" gave theirs but their sacrifice has been not only forgotten but totally ignored. They have added to the great history and legacy of herosim of the 76th Engineers. Please don't forget them. I won't. Bob Monahan (Sp/5) Co "C" 76th Engrs.

Posted by Robert Monahan
Jun 07 2005 04:22:36:000PM

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