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Our Honored Dead: Vietnam

Charlie Company

Tribute for Pfc Tommy Dixon

Age 21
Osceola, Arkansas
Kontum Province

Tommy Joe Dixon was my best friend in Nam. We served together in the same squad of the 1st Platoon (the Apaches) 
of C, 1/14.   The following personal narrative supplements the Daily Staff Journals for the last few days of his life.

On 7 March 1969, A 1/14 and C 1/14 commenced BDA operations in Arc Light areas west of Kontum in the general 
vicinity of Polei Kleng. The first three days of the mission were uneventful for our company, and I believe likewise 
for A 1/14.  But the situation would change on the fourth day.

According to the journals, On March 10 A 1/14 started to patrol from grid 978914 and we moved out from 976960.
About mid-day on March 10, A Company came under enemy fire. What initially was reported as sniper fire would 
escalate to incoming B-40 rockets and mortar rounds.  C 1/14 was sent to reinforce. As I recall, it was about a 
two-hour hump to their location.  Enroute we received a little sniper fire but I don't recall anyone being hit.  We linked
up with A 1/14 at grid 992992 about an hour or so before dark. By the time we got to their location, they had 5 KIAs
and multiple WIAs. Dustoffs had been completed for most of the wounded. We helped load the dead into an APC 
from theA 1/69 Armor element that was on location.

According to the information provided by this web site, the five men from A Company killed in action that day were:

SP4 Jesse Archer

SGT James Cameron

SP4 Leon Coit

Sp4 Arthur George-Pizarro

PFC John Lortz III

Not long after we linked up, Charlie greeted us with incoming mortar rounds. The journal indicates 10 incoming rounds
with C 1/14 receiving 4 WIA.  I recall only one WIA in our platoon, a fellow who received a bad looking abdominal

One of the incoming was a dud round; it hit the rucksack being worn by another fellow in our platoon. I believe it was
an 82mm mortar round. A tremendous amount of artillery and air fire was placed on the suspected enemy positions
and this continued through the night. According to the journals, we received artillery support from LZ Mile High, 
LZ Bass, and LZ Bunker Hill.

That night, Tom and I dug one hell of a foxhole. The thing was some deep. That night we also talked about the possibility
of joining the REMFs by signing up for an additional year of service. We decided that we would pursue the possibility
with 1-6 the next day.  During the night there was movement and lights at several points outside the perimeter, but no
incoming fire as I recall.  The next morning our company was told to move out. As we were policing up our gear, Charlie
started peppering us again with 82 mm rounds.  Despite the previous B-52 strikes during the Arc Light operations and the
tremendous amount of artillery and air fire laid on Charlie the previous day and night, there he was still out there and 
sending us shells. He sure was one formidable foe!

Several of us were hit in the attack. I don't know the numbers, but there were quite a few WIA.  Tom Dixon took
the worst hit.  I didn't see him but I was told he had severe facial and head wounds.

I was on the last dustoff that morning. When I arrived at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, I was placed in a preop
room that was accommodating several other guys from C 1/14. I was told that Tom was the guy in the bed at the end 
of our row of beds, the guy with his head and face completely wrapped with tubes sticking out.  I couldn't understand 
why he wasn't in OR; he arrived a good while before we did. For the hour or so that I was in that room before
surgery, nothing was being done for Tom other than being checked occasionally by a nurse, and I couldn't understand 
that.  I knew nothing about the treatment of Category 4s.

I don't know if Tom eventually had an operation, but I doubt that he did. His injuries were probably too severe, he was 
probably classified as a 4.  He died a few days later.

Tommy Joe Dixon was a damn good soldier. I know that because we were side by side most of our time in Vietnam.
He was alert and careful, much more so than I ever was.  Yet, when it came time for us to leave that country, and we
left at about the same time, possibly the same day, Tom left in a body bag and I left with a million-dollar wound. 
There is something wrong with that.

                                                                                                        Submitted by Charlie Koon, 11B4H, C 1/14, RVN 11/68-03/69