The Last Seven Days
THE LAST SEVEN DAYS
March 27th - April 2nd, 1972
407th Radio Research Detachment
Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam
by G. Duane Whitman
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What can now be viewed as the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict, started with the North Vietnamese Army's Spring Offensive of 1972. The territory north of Hue, South Vietnam, which was lost during this massive push southward encompassed all of Quang Tri Province (the northernmost province of South Vietnam), and the majority of Thua Thien Province on the southern border of Quang Tri Province. Our unit, the 407th Radio Research Detachment (RRD), which provided intelligence support to the remnants of the 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Infantry Division, was headquartered just north of Quang Tri City on the Military Advisory Command, Vietnam (MACV) Three Star Compound, and was deactivated following the evacuation caused by the invading North Vietnamese forces. In addition to our Headquarters element at Quang Tri, we had elements located on two Fire Support Bases (FSBs): FSB Sarge, overlooking the Khe Sanh Valley from a mountain top west of Quang Tri, and FSB Con Thien ("The Hill"), also know as "Alpha Four", which was located on the eastern edge of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Everything seemed pretty
calm during the third week of March, 1972, almost too calm. Most
of us in the 407th, including the guys at both Fire Bases, were
short-timers, with less than two months remaining on our tour
in Vietnam. Johnny, one of our personnel at FSB Con Thien, had
recently returned to the hill after a few days of relaxation
with us at the Detachment. All was running smoothly in the 407th
Radio Research Detachment, Quang Tri, Vietnam.