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OP: Liberty Canyon

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These are the newest pictures (more to come) from Battlesim and MACV's latest Operation Liberty Canyon. It was a realy great game and if anyone wants to know more, read up about it on Vietnamairsoft.com or battlesim.com or macvairsoft.com. Pictures by David Hintze of GWAG designs, gwagdesigns.com














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I'd have to say one of the great things about our events is that you don't come to play airsoft, you come to be engrossed in a roll where you feel like you part of it, not playing a scenario emulating it. It's like being in a movie where you can determine the outcome.

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“Welcome to fire support base Kathy, she’s not much but she’s all we got”, Sgt. Olson said wearily to the FNGs who had just arrived. He’d spoken these same words to dozens of GIs over the last few weeks and was getting tired of being the cruise director. Many of these cherries would end up in a black bag and metal case; packed into the back of a transport ride home. Best not to make too many friends until they'd sorted out who was who and what was what.




The fresh faces seemed to get younger and younger, thought Sgt. Olson. One of them was barely taller than the VC they were fighting. There were about two dozen new recruits in camp and they were going to get their tour of the FSB and then it was time for work. The base had been hastily constructed over the last couple of weeks and it had some serious security issues. The back perimeter had a hole in it almost big enough to drive the deuce that had just dropped these cherries off. A rag tag group of Marines had been assigned to the base just a short time before. They were fixing up the western bunker position, but the other positions still needed sand bags and more wire. Those Marines sure liked to look good. Hopefully, they would have as much fight in them as they had groovy gear. Maybe some noise makers on the wire could help alert the base before the next sapper attack, maybe not.




The recruits were directed to their new home, a large cavernous GP Medium with a dirt floor and streams of water running smack through the middle. One of their first tasks would be to dig a trench around the tent to ensure that the rains wouldn’t flood them out before they got to go on their first mission. The LRRP team and MIKE Force were already in camp, walking around like they owned the place. They had set up their hooches on the Eastern side of camp and generally ignored the new cherries. Again, some of these guys wouldn’t be around too long the way Charles was operating.




Someone up at higher thought it would be a good idea to place FSB Kathy just 200 meters from Cambodia, smack dab in the middle of the *suitcase*. It was reported that NVA (North Vietnamese Army Regular) were doing training exercises in the area and recent patrols had discovered weapon caches, camping sites and small bunker positions. Col. Robison briefed the new comers on some items that had been found, including brand new NVA booties and a ruck sack belonging to an NVA Colonel. “We’re *fruitcage* with them guys. What do you think it means when an NVA Col is humping a ruck,” Col. Robison informed the wet and bedazzled FNGs.




FSB Kathy was setup with triangular bunker layout. There were three main bunkers on the points of the triangle. In the center was the mortar pit, which had been built up to double as a bunker in case of a raid on the base. Directly behind the mortar pit was the Tactical Operations Center, where all movement outside the wire was coordinated with S3 (Operations). It was a 3 sided dug out position with a hard roof to protect from the rain and elements. It flew the colors for both country and unit. Behind the TOC and in front of the rear bunker was the S4 (Supply) tent. This is where the command who were not in the TOC slept including Sgt Olson, Maj Tewilliger and Capt Warren. In addition, all food supply and extra supplies needed for the camp were housed here. From the S4 Tent the rest of the tents were arranged in a circle. Going in a clockwise direction, there was Hunter 2-0 (the LRRPS), Mike Force and then the rest of the line doggies in the GP Medium. The Marines lived in a small pup tent next to their foxhole, apparently thinking they were too hoorah for their Army counterparts! Above the GP Medium was a raised position where the .50 Cal was placed with a sweeping view of the western perimeter of the camp.




Some Washington Post reporter was milling around camp, all golly gee whiz. Ernest something-or-another, he had a fancy camera and was honestly just kind of an odd bird. He kept wanting to go out on patrol with the men but no one wanted to take the white shirt and black suit out into the bush with them. Lord knows the LRRPs and MIKE force steered clear of him. Some of the new guys who wanted to be in Life magazine or Newsweek tried making friendly with him. He wandered around the camp and stuck out like a sore thumb, a constant and frequent reminder of “the World.”




“49 and a wake up,” Capt. Johnston mumbled. “Where’s my goddamn pliers!!”, barked Johnston. Sgt. Olson, who had been showing the cherries the camp, replied with “I’ll get right on it Sir!” "On it" is probably where there were, on the floor, on his chair – somewhere in easy reach. Olson continued briefing the men.




“Anyone know what these sticks are for?” Sgt. Olson asked the new grunts as they started at the mortar pit. Blank stares greeted him. “Well, don’t *fruitcage* touch the sticks. I don’t know what they are for but someone told me not to touch them, so we don’t touch them.” Truth was, they were plotting sticks for the mortar – without those there would be no accurate fire support. Two of the sticks got knocked over when a sniper started taking pot shots at the base and the men jumped into the pit. So much for following orders. . .



After the camp “tour” the men were tasked out to duty stations. Some of them would be digging trenches, some of them filling sandbags and others would just stand around looking confused and strikingly out of place. The ‘nam would eat them up and spit them out. They would become born again hard in the fires of combat. This war took all kinds. There was SSG Buck, obviously a combat vet. Likely he’d seen some combat in Korea – maybe even WWII. He immediately began to take command of the ragged troops. The men seemed to immediately know he was in charge even though he hadn’t been introduced as 1st Platoon sergeant. 2nd Platoon’s Sgt was a New York native who had a look of the streets on him. He had a no nonsense tone about him as he barked orders with his thick accent, Long Island or Brooklyn from the sound of it. SGT Dilligio had seen too much of this war and he walked the razors edge. He’d end up walking out of the firebase that very night and not coming back. No one was too sure why.



Funny thing, the ‘nam. It did all kinds of things to all kinds of people.




Maj Tewilliger wandered around the camp staring at the ground. He wore a black hat like most of the other command element but he had the most ridiculous neck scarf and was obsessed with the rocks he had placed around the camp stakes. He mostly went around muttering to himself about the state of the FSB and how rocks were the number one cause of causalities because men tripped on them when racing to the wire and “shot their buddies in the back”. The Col was heard telling a fresh group of men, “The Company commander is good people, but that Major. . . no one knows what he does. Maybe one of the S shops? Just steer clear of him and his rocks. Remember, you salute the rank not the person.“




After the troops got their tasks completed, it was time for some quick training. The LRRP and MIKE force teams were busy doing their own drills and training outside the wire. Capt. Warren took one of the platoons outside the wire and began to go over basic infantry formation and fireteam movement, while Col Robison briefed the other platoon on enemy uniforms, gear, weapons and procedures. He also conducted a small class on arm and hand signals as the skies opened up and poured down rain. Even though some of the line doggies (regular infantry) had disliked digging the trenches around their tents, they were more than glad they had.




Once the Platoons and squads were sorted and had some basic training, Capt Warren and Capt Johnston briefed the PLs, squad leaders, and RTOs on their missions. The LRRPs commanded by Lt. MacPherson (pronounced fir-son not fear-son as he had come down from Canada to join up with the US army a few years prior) were the first to go out and hit contact while Capt. Warren was briefing 1st Platoon. Their mission was to conduct a circular reconnaissance of the entire area of operations starting in the southern sector and working around in a counter clockwise direction of travel. MIKE Force was tasked with performing a route reconnaissance along the southern trail ending at Hill 281 and Second Platoon was sent on an assault mission at Hill 282 leaving 1st Platoon to conduct perimeter firebase patrols around the vicinity of FSB Kathy. They were tasked with keeping one squad on reserve for 2nd Platoon in case they ran into problems on Hill 282. There was good intelligence to suggest that the VC had been constructing tunnel complexes in close proximity to the FSB. Several of the rucks and equipment seized in prior patrols had found large quantities of wire cutters, suggesting the presence of a NVA sapper team and more importantly a likely attack on the base in the upcoming days.

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