Cleaveland Floyd Bridgman
Captain
B BTRY, 1ST BN, 77TH ARTILLERY, 1ST CAV DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
South Dartmouth, Massachusetts
August 21, 1946 to April 01, 1970
CLEAVELAND F BRIDGMAN is on the Wall at Panel W12, Line 65

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Cleaveland F Bridgman
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During the period immediately prior to the Cambodian incursion, United States and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) units conducted extensive operations along the South Viet Nam/Cambodian border. During March and April of 1970 the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) opened and closed seven fire bases to support these operations.

Fire Support Base Illingworth, located on Route LTL-20 about 35 kilometers northwest of Tay Ninh City, opened on 17 March, and was assaulted by a battalion of the 272nd NVA Regiment in the early morning hours of 01 April 1970. The Base was closed on 04 April by the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, as the focus of US operations shifted.

When the Fire Base closed, a total of 16 howitzers moved to FSB Wood (4 x 8 inch and 12 x 105mm howitzers from 4 different units) which was a large concentration of artillery weapons for a relatively small Fire Support Base.

While the assault on FSB Illingworth cost the North Vietnamese nearly two hundred dead, the Americans paid a high price too. US losses were 25 known dead and 54 wounded in action. The United States soldiers killed in action were:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB), 2nd Battalion, 32nd Artillery

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Silver Star

Department of the Army
Headquarters 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
APO San Francisco 96490

General Orders
Number 6980                                                                        1 May 1970
Award of the Silver Star

1. TC 439.   The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

BRIDGMAN, CLEAVELAND F. (SSN) FIRST LIEUTENANT FIELD ARTILLERY
United States Army, Battery B, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 77th Artillery


Awarded:
Silver Star
Date of action:
01 April 1970
Theater:
Republic of Vietnam
Authority:
By direction of the President, under provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918
Reason:
For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam.  First Lieutenant Bridgman distinguished himself by valorous action on 1 April 1970 while serving as fire direction officer on Fire Base Illingworth in the Republic of Vietnam. When the base came under intense rocket and mortar fire the Tactical Operations Center took a direct hit, knocking out all communications with the firing elements of the Battery. First Lieutenant Bridgman picked up a radio and moved through the impacting area to a position where he could communicate with the firing elements and adjust their fires. He continued to adjust the artillery fires even when an enemy round impacted near-by, wounding him. His gallant action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

              FOR THE COMMANDER:


OFFICIAL:                                      E.C. Meyer
                                                      Colonel, GS
(Signature)                                    Chief of Staff
BRUCE B. BINGHAM
1LT, AGC
Asst AG

During the months preceding the attack on FSB Illingworth, CPT Bridgman was assigned to Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Artillery Regiment. First as a Forward Observer (FO) and later as a Fire Direction Officer.

As FO, he first supported Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 5th, Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) until late January or early February. Attached to several other First Cavalry Division units, He then participated in several artillery 'raids' and Rome Plow (land clearing) Operations in Tay Ninh Province of South Vietnam.

Sometime in February he was attached for support to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment along with his Radio Telephone Operator Robert Lane, who was also killed during the battle of Illingworth when Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry was the base perimeter defense company.

Finally on 4 March, CPT Bridgman came in from the field and was assigned to the Fire Direction Center of B/1-77 Artillery on FSB Heather. On the 19th of March, the battery moved into FSB Illingworth and were attacked in the early morning of April 1, 1970.

First Lieutenant Bridgman was posthumously promoted by Department of the Army to Captain, at the request of the family, on 12 October 2000, effective 1 April 1970.

His former Infantry Company Commander noted Cleave made a lot of friends during his 6 months in Vietnam, especially with members of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry. He stated, 'Cleave Bridgman, was my friend' and also referred, to him, as a 'smiling giant, of a man... our country has lost a truly remarkable man and I have lost a friend.'

He may be gone, but I know he will never be forgotten by his friends and his family - February 2, 2009.

Cleaveland F Bridgman's Final Resting Place

CPT Bridgman was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts in a maternal family plot (Lot No. 6987, Range D, Betany Path No. 8). Resting there are his maternal grandfather (Dr. Cleaveland Floyd) and grandmother (Harriet Goodwin Floyd), as well as many other maternal relatives. His parents, Howard A Bridgman (July 5, 1996) and Esther Floyd Bridgman (October 16, 2001) are buried in South Dartmouth Cemetery, Bristol County, which is about 57 miles southeast of Boston. At the time of his death, Lt Bridgman was survived by his parents, grandparents, three brothers, Howard Allen Bridgman Jr. in Australia, James Campbel Bridgman in California, Timothy Phelps Bridgman in New York and a sister, Marion Bridgman Billings in Massachusetts.

Finally, Charlie Brown, from Cleave's war time Infantry unit was present at the dedication of a memorial bench for CPT Bridgman in March of 2010. Charlie provided the following to Tim from the ceremony:

Cleaveland F Bridgman's Memorial Bench

A Bench For You

Dear Cleave,

Today (3/10/10) a beautiful stone bench was dedicated to you in Darthmouth, Massachusetts. It's at the head of the harbor within sight of your former home. It's got your name and honors inscribed on it. A very beautiful bench and location. There were probably 80 people present including politicians and serviceman past and present. Quite a few flags from many of the service organizations. A very honorable presentation. I was honored to represent the men of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry Division with whom you served as Foward Observer. You served with with honor and the friendships you developed remain to this day. As soldiers we often refer to our 'Brothers', a band of brothers. I want you to know that no soldier has a better brother than you have in your brother Tim. Tim loves and misses you very much to this day. His speech in your honor today, showed his love, respect and enthusiasm for you. You must have been a special role model and big brother to Tim. Thank you for this. You may rest in peace knowing you are loved and missed and will never be forgoton by your friends and family and military brothers. Rest in Peace.

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