A Note from The Virtual Wall
On 12 May 1969 a convoy moving from Landing Zone CHARLIE BROWN to LZ BRONCO was ambushed 13 kilometers north of Tam Quan City. According to the 11th Infantry Brigade's Operations Journal, four men were killed in the ambush - two from E Troop, 1st Cavalry and one each from the 19th Engineers and 63rd Transportation Company.
Casualty records show three men from Echo 1st Cav killed in action on 12 May, all in Quang Ngai Province. The III MAF Daily Summary indicates another element of Echo 1st Cav supported C Company, 3/1 Infantry in an engagement 9 kilometers south-southeast of Duc Pho - but also indicates all casualties in that engagement were from Charlie 3/1. It thus seems likely one of Echo 1st Cav's three wounded from the ambush died after evacuation. The five men believed to have died as a result of the convoy ambush were
There's another small mystery about PFC Baxter's assignment. While the 11th Inf Bde Ops log identifies him as assigned to the 63rd Trans Co, there is another record which says he was assigned to the 126th Supply and Service Company. The 126th S&S Company was an Illinois National Guard unit activated in early 1968. It arrived in Vietnam in Sep 1968 and was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Division's 23rd S&T Battalion. According to the Illinois National Guard's Vietnam history, the 126th S&S Company returned home in August 1969 - and "the unit had not suffered one casualty from enemy fire".
- E Trp, 1st Cavalry, 11th Infantry Bde
- SP4 Carl Thompson, Woodruff, SC
- SP4 Larry L. Thomure, Ste Genevieve, MO
- PFC Roy L. Nations, Bastrop, LA
- C Co, 19th Eng Bn, 45th Eng Group
- SP4 James Idlett, Albany, GA
- 126th S&S Co, 57th Trans Bn
- PFC Larry L. Baxter, Pierce City, MO
The Illinois National Guard history is wrong, though ... according to his service record, PFC Baxter was assigned to the 63rd Trans Co on arrival in Vietnam (17 Dec 1968) and was reassigned to the 126th S&S Co on 10 April 1969. Not only did the 126th suffer a combat casualty, but that soldier was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the ambush:
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY|
HEADQUARTERS, 1ST LOGISTICAL COMMAND
APO San Francisco 96384
16 July 1969
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.
BAXTER, LARRY L. Private First Class
126th Supply and Service Company APO 96325
||Silver Star (Posthumously)|
||12 May 1969|
||Republic of Vietnam|
For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations against as armed hostile force: Private First Class Baxter distinguished himself while participating in a line haul resupply mission with the 126th Supply and Service Company in the Republic of Vietnam. On 12 May 1969 the petroleum convoy in which Private Baxter was driving came under an intense attack by a heavily armed enemy force. Sustaining a direct hit by an enemy rocket propelled grenade, his trailer, loaded with five thousand gallons of petroleum, was set ablaze. Realizing the immediate danger to the remainder of the convoy if he abandoned his vehicle and left the road blocked, Private Baxter completely disregarded his own safety and continued to drive the vehicle forward into the intense small arms fire. Being struck several times by automatic weapons fire and although critically wounded, he succeeded in guiding his vehicle over a small embankment, thus clearing the roadway in order that the remainder of the convoy might pass to safety. Private Baxter sacrificed his life to assure that an avenue of survival was available to fellow soldiers. His extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior force was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918, AR 672-5-1 and USARV Reg 672-1.