554th LEM Radar Detachment '67-'68


I served with the 554th LEM in 1967 and 1968 - I was assigned with the detachment who supported from Ahe Khe Until Jan 1968 and then the detachment went north to Hue with the 1st Cav. We supported counter mortar and anti-personnel radar for all the units deployed in I Corps…. Spent my year as a contact team repairman visiting LZ after LZ up and down the Highlands & Coast.

In May 1968 our detachment was replaced by a direct support maintenance company and half of our detachment convoyed down to Da Nang to wait on an LST - I received a 10 day drop and got a hop back to the 554th and two days later was on a jet back to the states. Looks like I missed the deactivation of the 554th by about 30 days. -

I was also at the 554 th the evening they hit the company On our left…. I and a Sp/5 McCoy were down on R&R from Hue and did not bring our weapons - so we spent the night handing out ammo from the bunker.

When I arrived at the 554th there was two detachments that worked counter mortar radar.... One at Dong Ha - SSGT Henry, and the second one was at An Khe..Sgt Davis. During the first 6 months they would not send any married guys up to Dong Ha because they were hit by rocket fire from across the DMZ almost every other day. An Khe was better until the TET offensive... And then the 1st Cav was sent up to help the Marines and we found out what Air Mobile was all about. SGT Davis refused to go up north so we got lucky and drew SSGT Henry... From Jan 68 until May 1968 our detachment was at Hue (LZ Hell Paso) and then moved down to the Helo Pad at Phu Bi. In May our detachment was replaced by another Maint Co and 5 or 6 of us convoyed down to Da Nang to catch an LST. I got a 10 day drop and took a hop out of Da Nang rather than wait on the LST......................... Richard D. Colbert

When they dis-banded the radar support group, I was the only one left for a while, SSG Henry had left and they didn't know what to do with me.  I was with the 526 only for a short time.  Eventually I was attached to MSC and my working orders came from Battalion Headquarters until they finally got a Warrant Officer in charge.  I had two Warrant Officers, one was John Namath, Joe's brother, the other didn't know anything about what I did.
Unfortunately I did piss off the commanding officers of MSC a few times because they had no direct control over me and I had an 02 fly priority. One tried to have me court-martialed but the 4th inf and the 101st  Air Calvary Bn commanders stepped in.  I pulled guard duty only twice in the 19 months there and that was in the first few months I was in Vietnam.  I was usually away or exempt.
Even though I was with the MSC, I spent most of my time in the Central Highlands, sometimes in Cambodia as well.  When I was short handed Russ would come along on some of the trips.  I was in the 5th Maintenance from early March 1968 until early December 1969.  After Russ left in early 1969, traveled mostly alone.  I worked on all kinds of radar and was responsible for figuring out where artillery or mortar came from when the radars could not pick them up.  Hence spending time at Ben Het during the siege.......William "Kourdt" Howell