2nd Platoon

Pfc. Terry Paul Moore of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was number one Browning Automatic Rifleman in 2nd Platoon, Company ‘F’, 184th Infantry Regiment of the US 7th Infantry Division and is lighting his first cigarette of the day on the island of Okinawa soon after the dawn attack on the town of Yonabaru. In the early morning of the 22nd of May 1945.

Pfc Terry P. Moore of the 7th Infantry Division on Okinawa with a BAR, photographed by W. Eugene Smith for his story “24 Hours in the Life of a Soldier”. Pfc Moore, 23, was from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His unit was 2nd Platoon, Company F. 184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

flickr

150226-A-DP764-054 by The U.S. Army
Via Flickr:
A team of paratroopers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, practice a tactical halt with the brigade’s new Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle on Fort Pickett, Va., Feb. 26, 2015. The 1st Battalion, 325th AIR developed tactics, techniques and procedures for tactical movement with the new LTATVs. The battalion is currently assessing the LTATV as a platform to provide a rifle company with rapid mobility in support of airfield seizure operations.

10

The M42 Duster Appreciation Post

During the course of the Korean War, the U.S. Army decided to phase out all vehicles based on the M24 Chaffee chassis, such as the M19 Gun Motor Carriage 40 mm Anti-Aircraft, in favor of designs that utilized the chassis of the M41. Since the 40 mm guns were still seen as an effective anti-aircraft weapon, the turret of the M19 was simply mounted to the M41 chassis with few changes except a partial redesign to accommodate the larger turret ring of the M41 and designated as the M42.

Production of the M42 began in early 1952 at GM’s Cleveland Tank Plant. It entered service in 1953 and replaced a variety of different anti-aircraft systems in armored divisions. In 1956, the M42 received a new engine and other upgrades along with other M41 based vehicles, becoming the M42A1. Production was halted in Dec. 1959 with 3,700 examples made during its production run.

Sometime in the late 50s, the U.S. Army reached the conclusion that anti-aircraft guns were no longer viable in the jet age and began fielding a self-propelled version of the HAWK SAM instead. Accordingly, the M42 was retired from front line service and passed to the National Guard with the last M42s leaving the regular Army by 1963, except for the 4th Bn, 517th Air Defense Artillery Regiment in the Panama Canal Zone, which operated two batteries of M42s into the 1970s.

The HAWK missile system performed poorly in low altitude defense. To ensure some low altitude anti-aircraft capability for the ever increasing amount of forces fielded in Vietnam, the Army began recalling M42A1s back into active service and organizing them into air defense artillery (ADA) battalions. Starting in the fall of 1966, the U.S. Army deployed three battalions of Dusters to the Republic of Vietnam, each battalion consisting of a headquarters battery and four Duster batteries, and each augmented by one attached Quad-50 battery and an artillery searchlight battery.

Despite a few early air kills, the air threat posed by North Vietnam never materialized and ADA crews found themselves increasingly involved in ground support missions. Most often the M42 was on point security, convoy escort or perimeter defense. The “Duster” (as it was called by U.S. troops in Vietnam) was soon found to excel in ground support. The 40 mm guns proved to be effective against massed infantry attacks.

Most of the Duster crew members had their AIT training in the 1st. Advanced Individual Training Brigade (Air Defense) at Fort Bliss, Texas. Some of the Duster NCOs had received training at the Non Commissioned Offices Candidate School which was also held at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery was the first ADA battalion to arrive in Vietnam on November 1966. A self-propelled M42A1 Duster unit the 1st of the 44th supported the Marines at places like Con Thien and Khe Sanh Combat Base as well as Army divisions in South Vietnam’s rugged I Corps region. The battalion was assigned to First Field Force Vietnam (IFFV) and was located at Đông Hà. In 1968 it was attached to the 108th Artillery Group (Field Artillery). Attached to the 1/44th was G Battery 65th Air Defense Artillery equipped with Quad-50s and G Battery 29th Artillery Searchlights. The 1/44th served alongside the 3rd Marine Division along the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in I Corps thru December 1971.

The second Duster battalion to arrive in Vietnam was the 5th Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery. Activated in June 1966 it arrived in Vietnam in November 1966 and was diverted to III Corps, Second Field Force (IIFFV) and set up around Bien Hoa Air Base. Attached units were D Batter y71st Air Defense Artillery equipped with Quad-50s and I Battery 29th Artillery Searchlights. The “Second First” served the southern Saigon region through mid 1971. D-71st Quads remained active through March 1972.

The third Duster battalion to arrive was the 4th Battalion, 60th Air Defense Artillery. Activated in June 1966 it arrived in Vietnam in June 1967 and set up operations in the Central Highlands, based out of An Khê (1967-70) and later Tuy Hoa (1970-71). Attached units were E Battery 41st Artillery equipped with Quad-50s and B Battery 29th Artillery Searchlights (which were already in country since October 1965). Members of these units not only covered the entire Central Highlands, but assets also supported firebases and operations along the DMZ to the north and Saigon to the south.

Each Duster Battalion had four line batteries (A,B,C,D) and a headquarters battery. Each battery had two platoons (1st, 2nd) which contained four sections each containing a pair of M42A1 Dusters. At full deployment there were roughly 200 M42 Dusters under command throughout the entire war. The Duster and Quads largely operated in pairs at firebases, strong points and in support of engineers building roads and transportation groups protecting convoys. At night they protected the firebases from attack and were often the first targets of enemy sappers, rockets and mortars. Searchlight jeeps operated singularly but often in support of a Duster or Quad section at a firebase.

Between the three Duster battalions and the attached Quad-50 and Searchlight batteries over 200 fatalities were recorded.

The three M42A1 equipped ADA units (1/44th, 4/60th & 5/2d) deactivated and left Vietnam in late December 1971. Most if not all of the in-country Dusters were turned over to ARVN forces. Most of the training Dusters at Ft.Bliss were returned to various National Guard units. The U.S. Army maintained multiple National Guard M42 battalions as a corps level ADA asset. 2nd Battalion/263 ADA headquartered in Anderson SC was the last unit to operate the M42 when the system was retired in 1988.

Brother shielding brother, even in death.

Sgt. Ryan Pitts holds a bracelet he wears that commemorates the late Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Kahler, former platoon sergeant of 2nd platoon, which is taped over another bracelet (not visible) that commemorates the fallen of 1st Platoon, Chosen Company, who were killed Nov. 9, 2007, in an ambush. Commemorated on the second bracelet are: Capt. Matthew Ferrara, Spc. Joseph Lancour, Cpl. Lester Roque, Cpl. Sean Langevin and Sgt. Jeffrey Mersman. This bracelet prevented shrapnel from penetrating Pitts’ wrist.

Night Life

A U.S. Army Ranger from 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, provides security over a concrete wall during a operation exercise conducted at Fort Knox, KY., April 22, 2014. Rangers are constantly training to maintain the highest level of tactical proficiency. The training was to ensure all Soldiers are proficient in warrior skills and tasks in preparation for their upcoming deployment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Arthur Ruepong/Released)