08 Nov

8th of November ~ Raise a glass to the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne

The poster represents an original painting by Craig Bone, renowned wildlife artist, comemorating the 173rd Airborne’s heroic battle . Hill 65, 8th Of November, 1965 ……Sacrifice and Valor
On the 8th of November in 1965, one of the toughest Airborne battles was fought in the jungles of Viet

At about 0600 on the morning of 8 November C Company began a move northwest toward Hill 65, while B Company moved northeast toward Hill 78. Shortly before 0800, C Company was engaged by a sizable enemy force well dug in to the southern face of Hill 65. At 0845, B Company was directed to wheel in place and proceed toward Hill 65 with the intention of relieving C Company.
B Company reached the foot of Hill 65 at about 0930 and moved up the hill. It became obvious that there was a very large enemy force in place on the hill,C Company was getting hammered, and by chance, B Company was forcing the enemy’s right flank.
Under pressure from B Company’s flanking attack the enemy force—most of a Viet Cong regiment—moved to the northwest, whereupon the B Company commander called in air and artillery fires on the retreating troops. B Company halted in place in an effort to locate and consolidate with C Company’s platoons, managing to establish a coherent defensive line running around the hilltop from southeast to northwest, but with little cover on the southern side.
Meanwhile, the VC commander realized that his best chance was to close with the US soldiers so that the 173rd’s air and artillery fire could not be effectively employed. He attempted to out-flank the US position atop the hill from both the east and the southwest, moving his troops closer to the Americans. The result was shoulder-to-shoulder attacks up the hillside, hand-to-hand fighting, and isolation of parts of B and C Companies but the Americans held against two such attacks. Although the fighting continued after the second massed attack, it reduced in intensity as the VC commander again attempted to disengage and withdraw. By late afternoon it seemed that contact had been broken off, allowing the two companies to prepare a night defensive position while collecting their dead and wounded in the center of the position. Although a few of the most seriously wounded were extracted by USAF helicopters using Stokes litters, the triple-canopy jungle prevented the majority from being evacuated until the morning of 9 November.
The result of the battle was heavy losses on both sides—48 Paratroopers dead, many more wounded, and 403 dead VC troops.


Said goodbye to his mamma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do.
He was dropped in the jungle
Where the choppers would rumble
With the smell of napalm in the air.
And the sergeant said, “Look up ahead”
Like a dark, evil cloud
1,200 came down
on him and 29 more.
They fought for their lives
But most of them died
In the 173rd Airborne.
On the 8th of November,
The angels were crying
As they carried his brothers away.
With the fire raining down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standing that day.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November.
Now he’s fifty-eight
And his ponytail’s grey
But the battle still plays in his head.
He limps when he walks,
But he’s strong when he talks
About the shrapnel they left in his leg.
He puts on a grey suit
Over his Airborne tattoo
And He ties it on one time a year
And remembers the fallen,
As he orders a tall one
And swallows it down with his tears.
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
The 8th of November
The 8th of November
He said goodbye to his mamma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue.
He was nineteen and green with a new M-16
Just doing what he had to do.

Fort Bragg’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum exhibit honors 173rd Airborne Brigade
Jun 10, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – An exhibit honoring the service of the Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade was unveiled May 19 at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum on Bragg Boulevard.
The exhibit, called 173rd Sky Soldiers: The Legend Continues, highlights the airborne brigade’s history and Operation Hump, one of its most famous battles.
According to the exhibit, in 1965, the Sky Soldiers entered Vietnam to restore security against Viet Cong forces.
On Nov. 8, a day-long battled ensued that cost the lives of 48 Americans.
The story of retired Army Master Sgt. Niles Harris, a Soldier who participated in that battle, was captured in the song, “8th of November,” according to an ASOM press release. Country musicians, Big & Rich, recorded the song and a custom-built chopper paid for by them and given to Harris was on display at the museum.
Also displayed was an original 10 feet by 18 feet painting by artist Craig Bone.

“Because of the impact of the painting, coupled with the touching story in the song, we decided to weave an exhibit around the painting,” said Mary Dennings, curator of collections at ASOM.

After hearing Harris’ story, Bone said he was inspired and told the audience at the exhibit’s unveiling, “I’m trying to show the American people the best light of the American Soldier. I tried to capture Nov. 8 into one painting.”
2nd Lt. Gus Vendetti who served with the 173rd and spent three tours in Vietnam also attendedthe unveiling of the exhibit.

“These are my brothers and they were a very special unit. Anybody who has ever been a part of it … you can’t forget it,” Vendetti said.

Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Arthur Huff also served with the 173rd in Vietnam and says the unit still is very special to him.

“Every day I wake up, I wear the 173rd patch. I have a T-shirt or a jacket on,” said the 77-year-old Huff, of Fayetteville.

Barry Porter facilitated the showing of Bone’s painting with the exhibit, said ASOM executive director, Paul Galloway.
Porter serves as regional executive director of the Triangle Area Chapter, American Red Cross, which held a benefit concert in November 2008 that showcased the painting.
The painting is on loan and will return to the National Veterans Freedom Park in Cary, N.C. Porter said.

“To be a part of this exhibit by adding this painting and bringing attention is a great celebration,” he said.

Soldiers of the 173rd have answered the nation’s call to sacrifice, said Col. Mark Stammer, commander of 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division and a former 173rd combat veteran who was the guest speaker at the unveiling.
Stammer said it was an honor and a privilege to have served in such a storied organization.

“I’ve been all over the world,” Huff said. “I’m thrilled to be a member of the 173rd Sky Soldier.

The exhibit, 173rd Sky Soldiers: The Legend Continues, will run through Veteran’s Day, said Galloway.

Wild Thing’s comment…….
To those who served in the 173rd Airborne and to all our Veterans, please accept my thanks for your service and sacrifice. All, charge glasses, raise a toast. God bless the Sky Soldiers.
The “Sky Soldiers” in Vietnam received 13 Medals of Honor, 32 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1,736 Silver Stars and over 6,000 Purple Hearts. They have over 1,790 names carved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
They were deactivated in 1972 and reactivated in 2000 and in 2003 secured Bashur in northern Iraq, after receiving orders for same only 12 days previously.

TomR says:

The 173rd Airborne was not as acclaimed as some other units that served in Vietnam. However, it served exceedingly well and paid a big price. It was used by MACV and USARV as a fire brigade, being sent to hot areas in Vietnam.
Today the 173rd has been serving in Afghanistan. And again, with little recognition, it has served well and paid a price.

Jack says:

Thank you Chrissie, what Tom says is absolutely true.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade was activated on the island of Okinawa on 26 March 1963, maybe that is why it didn’t receive the recognition it certainly deserves. AKA ‘The Herd’, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was like the III Marine Expeditionary Force, both activated on the island of Okinawa. The 173rd Airborne Brigade was activated on the island of Okinawa on 26 March 1963, maybe that is why it didn’t receive the recognition it certainly deserves. Within the III MEF are several major subordinate commands, including the 3d Marine Division, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 3d Marine Logistics Group, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. These men from both branches served in some real shitholes in Vietnam that only those who have been there can appreciate. The larger divisions like the Cav and the 101st captured the media’s attention, the 173rd was used often as reactionary forces by both organizations. Yes, I’ll raise a glass to them. More: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/173abnbde.htm

Mark says:

Ahh they reactivated them in 2000. They deactivated 9th Marines about the same time, but they too were reactivated, they always need the best.

Wild Thing says:

Thank you for the information about the
Jack thank you too for the link.