Attribued Special Forces Embroidered Beret
Where to start? This is perhaps the most impressive embroidered beret I've encountered. Ex-Jason Hardy collection and comes with letter from him noting the vets history and acquisition of the beret and an FOB card (no longer with the beret).
Features a mean looking Green Beret parachuting down to stomp out a VC!
This beret belonged to Sgt. Dennis Lansing. Lansing was at FOB Forward Operations Base 3 at Khe Sahn with Hornet Force El Dorado in support of the embattled Marines.
Details of one of the actions Sgt. Lansing was involved in follows the images.
ACTION ON HILL 471, JANUARY 29, 1968
by H. E. Van Winkle U.S. Army (Ret) & F.J. Taylor USMC (Ret)
In July 1967, Operational Detachment A-221 from Company B, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Okinawa deployed to Da Nang, RVN for duty with CC Detachment, MACV-SOG. CPT Lee Dunlap was the Detachment Commander, and I was the Team Executive Officer. Our mission was to, with members of the Bru Montagnard tribe, reconnaissance and combat operations in Laos and North Vietnam. Our "A" Team was relocated shortly after arrival to Forward Operational Base 3 on the southwest corner of the Marine Combat Base on the Khe Sanh Plateau.
In January, 1968, a major enemy buildup in the NW corner of South Vietnam and Laos erupted in the Tet Offensive. President Johnson instructed Gen. Westmoreland not to lose Khe Sanh at any cost.
About 1000 hrs on 29 January, a helicopter picked up a wounded American, MSG W. S. Wood, and one of his team members, Don Voorhees about 1200 meters from the combat base. He was the leader of the recon team that had inserted with us on 26 January. MSG Wood's team had been ambushed while moving through a saddle on the east side of Hill 471 about 2500 meters from the FOB. One American had been killed, and one was believed captured, and to his knowledge, he and Voorhees were the only members of the team to escape.
Hornet Force was selected to recover the bodies and rescue the missing American. The decision was made to go in with eight Americans and sixteen Bru. The Americans were:
CPT H. E. 'Rip' Van Winkle, XO, "A" 221
lLT Grenville Sutcliffe, FOB 3 Assistant S-3 Officer
SFC Robert Scully, Medic, FOB 3
SFC Charles N. Tredinnick, Senior Combat Engineer. "A" 221
SGT Dennis C. Lansing, Junior Communications NCO, "A" 221
SGT Donald R. Rumph, Junior Medic "A" 221
SP5 John L. Frescura, Junior Combat Engineer. "A" 221
PFC Freeman J. Taylor, USMC, CAC O-2
We lifted off at 1135 hours and inserted on the southeastern point of the ridge line of Hill 471. We set up a hasty perimeter with Sgt Lansing, Sgt Rumph and four Bru covering the north. Tredinnick took three Bru and moved forward, down into the saddle and relayed that he had spotted a large force of enemy ground troops attempting to encircle us from the east. A short time later lLT Sutcliffe received a wound in the throat. I turned my attention to getting fire support. We received fire from every point except the north, with the heaviest coming from the west and southeast.
A literal storm of enemy hand grenades were then thrown into our position. Some After Action Reports stated the sky literally turned "black" with grenades. PFC Taylor shouted a warning and gave me a "friendly" shove. For as many grenades as were thrown, there seemed to be a lot of "duds". Others did not explode with nearly the force of US grenades.
I heard the distinctive sound of a bullet strike someone behind me. I turned and saw Tredinnick lying on the ground. The volume of enemy fire was such that I felt we were in danger of being overrun at any point. Fire support was limited to our helicopter gunships, unable to do much because of the close proximity of the two forces.
SGT Lansing had turned his attention to the threat we faced from the south and west, focusing on a small gully that led from the south slope directly into our position. While positioning his Bru machine gunner, Pa Lang, to cover this approach, the gunner was shot dead, and the entire element was pinned down. By then, the only Americans still on the hill and carrying on the fight were SGT Lansing, SP5 Frescura and myself. The others were either wounded or assisting with the wounded. Perhaps ten or eleven of the Bru were also still firing.
We started to ease back from the south slope trying to put a little distance between us and the enemy. The width of the ridge line where we were was less than sixty meters and the enemy owned at least a third of that. By getting my force down below the crest on the north side, I was finally able to call in some air strikes. We had been on the ground over an hour.
Forward Air Controller (FAC) USMC with the call sign of "American Beauty Delta" (Colonel James Stanton). This gentleman deserves a lot of credit for getting the rest of us off the hill with little further damage. We were able to gain some fire superiority with the help of gunships and some pinpoint bombing from USAF "fastmovers" in the area. One USAF pilot stated his ordnance was napalm and cluster bomb units, and that we were too close to the impact area for him to drop it. I told American Beauty Delta that without the support, we would have more serious problems. The air strike came in on target.
We were finally able to get two medevac helicopters in. One was a US Army Medevac and the other was one of MACV-SOG's King Bees (H-34), SFC Sweezy, the Senior medic on A-221, had offered his assistance and came in with the US Army medevac ship. He stated that he couldn't understand why we were having such difficulty loading the wounded. The ship he was in crash-landed at the FOB, with over two hundred bullet holes.
I estimate the unit which initiated fire on us was at least a reinforced platoon, and there were much larger units (estimated at one to two battalions) seen during the fight in the near vicinity, the number of enemy engaged was at least a company, with battalion-sized elements closing fast.
After the fight started, Lansing maneuvered his people to cover more of the west and south sections of the perimeter, thus placing him at the opposite end from Frescura.
That day on Hill 471 was less than a blip in the course of the American involvement in Vietnam, but to those of us that survived it will always be a part of us.