A long time ago on an LZ far, far away, Fire Support Base Louis was also referred to as LZ Louis. We probably landed on February 16, 1970. This is the day when the battalion Tactical Operations Command (TOC) moved to FSB Louis. There was an emphasis on getting the mortars set up as soon as possible. We moved our equipment out of the Chinook quickly. There were enemy bunkers in the hills around FSB Louis.

We dug foxholes and put canvas over the top. It rained. As the days passed, we built our bunkers.

The 105 mm cannon were on top of the hill. The artillery generally went with the TOC. The 105s were in the Fourth Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, Battery C. Each gun had a name on it. One of the guns was named "Cool and Calm" This is in the photo on page 4 of the print out from http://1-22infantry.org/4-42/4-42pagetwo.htm.

Notice that the hill drops off sharply in front of "Cool and Calm." The sand bags in the left background are the roof of another bunker. It was probably the roof of the Fire Direction Center (FDC) for our 4.2 mortars.

At first, we had C rations for most meals. The hot food was set up and we waited in a line each day. The line went past "Cool and Calm." There were some days when the artillery battery said they were just practicing. They went through a drill and aimed directly at the line, but never fired.

On February 21, 1970, we were in line as usual. Orders came to fire. This was not a drill. I was standing directly in front of the gun.

One of the artillery men, Thomas Beardsley, was not there when the orders came. He came running back from the direction of the shower. The men called out their procedures like they always do. Beardsley changed direction and ran in front of the barrel. He stopped. I had to think to long before I ducked. I did not get hit. Beardsley was killed by the concussion of the firing.

The battalion records report that Beardsley died of a concussion while trying to jump over the gun. Look closely at how high these guns are. Even a track star would not have tried to hurdle a 105 mm cannon. Beardsley was an experienced artillery man. He knew exactly when they were going to fire. Beardsley came running from one side. He did not have to run in front of the gun to get to his usual position. The men were quite capable of operating the gun without Beardsley.

Beardsley was posthumously promoted to staff sargent.

Photos of an unidentified soldier

At Camp Radcliff, An Khe, Central Vietnam, II Corps region
A Montagnard friend
With a friend at Camp Radcliff
Work party not long before he was assasinated
With another friend at Camp Radcliff
Was this his child?

Letter requesting investigation of war crimes, August 1, 2006

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