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1967-1968

1968-1971

~~ Vietnam ~~

Special thanks to Ron Chesnik of the 35th LCT for supplying a bit of history for us!
    It was the 35th LCT--one of the first three formed at Ft. Lewis in the spring of '67.  While the other two went south--we landed at Phu Cat Airbase, just north of Qui Nhon, on or about the 2nd or 3rd day of July 67.  Attached to the 35th Combat Engr BN for about 2 or 3 months, drawing equipment, training, and doing odd jobs--including bunker clearing etc. in the An Lao valley in support of the 1st Cav.
     In October, moved to Dragon Mt. Base in the 4th Div AO.  Attached to the 20th Combat Engr Bn--in specific to the 517th or 584th LE Company.  Cleared the area for the Special Forces Camp at Ben Het-- and participated in the battles at Dak To during Nov-Dec 67.
     One team engaged.
     Were split into three teams -- 8 plows and 2 dozers each.  Cleared LOC's--QL 19 from Qui Nhon to Pleiku.  QL 1 from Phan Rang to Nha Trang (in support of 35th Engr Grp and 2/7th cav-1st Air Cav--Road from Nha Trang to Ban Me Thout--from Ban Me Thuot to Pleiku.  Pleiku to Duc Co -- Duc Co to Plei Djereng--Sea lifted one team from Qui Nhon in support of Marine Corp ops in and around Dong Ha--in addition to mine field clearance, and bunker destruction--what ever was needed.
     Had pleasure of meeting with J. T. Soule from the Rome Plow Company--to discuss operations to that point, and gather any pointers on proper employment of the equipment that may have been overlooked by Army planners.
     The 35th was indeed a unique group of individuals-the worst thing that could happen to an operator was to be taken off of his tractor for rest--nobody knew how to operate it properly except him.  And the worst threat imaginable was--do you want to be sent back to base camp?  Truly a pleasure to have served with them.

Ronald K. Chesnik   35th LCT ~ Vietnam  1967-68

 
The following is a short history of how the 538th LCC came to be.
        **(excerpts taken from
"The Army Engineer History-Vietnam   1964-1974")
    An integral part of the land-clearing operation was aimed at improving security along roadways.  Wherever a highway passed through jungle or heavy brush, the land had to be cleared on either side for distances up to a hundred meters.  The Rome Plow, was chosen to be the principle tool in these operations.
     By the summer of 1967, three landclearing platoons were operating in Vietnam. One of which was the 35th LCT, which  was assigned to the 18th Engineer Brigade.  A landclearing team consisted of sixty-four men.
      The 18th Eng Bde supported the I Field Force in Military Regions I and II of Southeast Asia which consisted of mountain terrain as well as some flatland.  It soon became apparent that the LCT did not have sufficient resources to operate as needed.
     In December 1968, three land clearing companies were activated.  The 35th LCT became the 538th Land Clearing Company which remained activated until December of 1971.  It consisted of five platoons:  Headquarters, 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Platoon and Maintenance.
     Although the Land Clearing Companies are mostly associated with the "Rome Plow" as their symbol, they were actually equipped with their own maintenance platoon.  Other vehicles used by the company were: a 548 Trak, Contact Trucks, 10 Ton Trucks, "Deuce and a half" (2 1/2 ton truck) Fuel Trucks, the CO's jeep, to name a few.
 

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