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October 11, 2009 | Huntington Beach, CA
1LT James Marshall Hill and I, Timothy Richards, served in Bravo Company, 588th Engineer Battalion (C) (A), 79th Engineer Group, 20th Engineer Brigade that was base at Tay Ninh West, Vietnam. The 588th Bn. supported the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
I was with Jim when he was killed. Alpha and Bravo Companies were colocated at Thien Ngon on QL 22 about 4 miles from the Canbodian border and tasked with building a Special Forces Camp with airfield. On February 15, 1968, I was the Commander of Bravo Company and leading a mine sweeping patrol north from the river to the Camp with about 15 men. Unexpectedly, I observed Jim leading a mine sweep patrol south towards me and we were separated by at least 500 meters. Behind Jim's patrol was a tank, M48, and 4 APC. Suddenly his patrol come under NVA automatic weapons fire and one of the APC blew up. I deployed my men off the road and into two group. I lead these men, 45 pistol in hand, up to the ambush site and engaged the NVA who retreated back into the jungle.
After securing the ambush site, I found four engineers from Bravo Company killed, 1LT Hill, SP5 Bruce A Nelson, SP5 Rex F Tutor, and our medic SP5 Kenneth L Fulton. There were 6-8 Infantrymen killed also.
If you visit Google Earth and search for Thien Ngon located at the intersection of QL 22 and 783, you will see the outline of a 5 pointed star-shaped Special Forces Camp even today in 2009.