“My brothers have my back”

Inside the November 1969 Battle on the Vietnamese DMZ

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About the Book

In November 1969, what Time Magazine called the “largest battle of the year” took place less than two miles from the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. Three companies of Task Force 1-61 met 2,000–3,000 North Vietnamese. American forces fought for two days, inflicting heavy casualties and suffering eight killed. Late on November 12, it became evident that the American position could be overrun. Alpha Company was airlifted in darkness to reinforce a small hill in the jungle. Three hours later, well past midnight, the Americans were attacked by 1,500 NVA.
There was a twist: A secret Vietcong document captured near Saigon urged intense action before November 14 in anticipation of the Vietnam War Moratorium Demonstrations set for November 15 in many cities in America. The Vietcong planned to inflict a stunning defeat in “an effort to get the fighting in step with the peace marchers.” The author, a member of Alpha Company who rode in on the last helicopter, offers unique insights into the story of the men who fought those three days in 1969.

About the Author(s)

Lou Pepi was drafted into the Army in March of 1968. Returning from Vietnam he worked in the construction field and then in building code and zoning enforcement. He lives in West Boylston, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Lou Pepi

Foreword by Sterling Eugene Kelly, Jr.

Afterword by Clyde “Bud” Wagner

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 225
Bibliographic Info: 63 photos, appendices, glossary, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7516-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3430-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sterling Eugene Kelly, Jr. 1
Preface 3

1. Three Generations of Military Service 7
2. The Train to Fort Dix 9
3. Fort Dix, April to July 1968 11
4. 52nd Ordnance Company, July 1968 to June 1969 16
5. The Drawdown 21
6. The First 100 Days 27
7. The First 10 Days of November 44
8. Overview of the November Battle 66
9. Veterans’ Day, 11 Nov 1969 (DAY 1) 70
10. 12 Nov 1969 (DAY 2) at the Jump CP 83
11. 12 Nov 1969, Mission “Bald Eagle” 119
12. 13 Nov 1969 (DAY 3) 128
13. Unfriendly Fire and Survivor’s Guilt 158
14. Going Home 161
15. Utah Mesa and Bravo Company—18 Jun 1969 165
16. Chris Martin and the Americal Division 171

Epilogue 175
Afterword by Clyde “Bud” Wagner 177
Appendix A: What They Are Doing Today 179
Appendix B: Awards Index 183
Appendix C: Valorous Unit Citation 186
Appendix D: Glossary 189
Appendix E: Communication Logs, 11–13 Nov 1969 192
Appendix F: The “Rules” of Engagement 213
Chapter Notes 215
Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“Lou Pepi’s book, My Brothers Have My Back, relates the story of one of the fiercest, yet relatively unknown, 3-day battle in the Vietnam conflict in 1969. It resulted in the elimination of three reinforced battalions of the 27th NVA regiment as effective combat units. This is a factual documentary which everyone can read and realize both the horror and the humanity of war….. The average “line doggy” (infantryman) never knows in detail why their unit is assigned to go to a specific area nor the strategy behind such a movement. Lou expands this by providing intricate details of this battle including the numerous units involved, the important roles they played, and a much wider view of the fight that took place over these three days. Only a last minute, late-night air insertion of another company of soldiers to reinforce an isolated mortar platoon prevented their position from being overrun and annihilated. I know… I was there.”—Russell Widener, Major, U.S. Army (Ret)