Story of a Mortar Attack on Det 3, Pleiku

Received from Bob Wilford, September 2018.

In response to an aerial photo of Dragon Mountain, one of the group posted a comment “looks like a good target-did anyone ever try to mortar the site”, the answer is, “Yes, on at least one occasion someone DID try to mortar the site. The photo doesn’t quite capture the steepness of the slope, the height of the summit, or the narrowness of the area at the top. Certainly our “attacker did not understand these. It was a hot summers afternoon, in the middle of the afternoon, when we heard the first unmistakable sound of the round leaving the tube. Several off- duty AFVN’ers rushed to the “perimeter of the mountain to determine the scope of the attack and reached the bunker line in just a few minutes. And just in time to listen to another round “incoming”. Impact was about a quarter of the way  up the side of the slope. We were all pretty amazed as we watched a third round impact. It was quickly evident “he” was never going to reach the top of the mountain, let alone be lucky enough to land inside the narrow strip of land at the top. But it was enough to piss off our CO, Lt. Homer S. Cutlip. LT ordered some of us to grab our rifles and return fire. When  several magazines had been emptied we all paused for a response. Another round. The bored assailant was walking the round up the mountain. Lt. Cutlip was not amused. He ordered the M40 to join the riflemen in a volley or two. The response was yet another round. Cutlip order the M60 to the line.  Another Round. Now somewhat pissed off, Cultip order Gunny Johnson to the line with our 105 Howitzer (Yessiree, we had one that had been traded to who knows who or what, but we had one.) Several of our rounds now went down the mountain.   And a Cobra  gunship from the 4th division provided the finale with a sweep of the gulch with full miniguns firing. That shut him up. Later patrols found no trace of a firing position, not a single blood trail. Our lone assailant clearly had access to a tunnel. And, P.S. Gunny Johnson later acquired a mini gun we mounted on the back of a deuce-and-a-half.

Youtube Video of Det 3, Pleiku, in 1967

By SSgt Cedric  Williams, USAF

Consists of still photos plus  captions.

[Received from Michael Goucher in November 2018.]

Please note that in the captions, Michael's last name should start with a "G" not a "B."


 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Unknown

 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Unknown

 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Melody Patterson

 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Karen McQuirk

 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Chris Noel

The Pleiku Detachment 3 staff in 1967. [left to right, rear]  Robert Young, SSG, USA; Bob Adams; Charles D. Bertsch, Jr.  SP5, USA; Unknown

[left to right, front] Bob "Ricky" Nitzburg, SP4, USA (Medic); West G. Miller, GySgt, USMC (NCOIC);
2LT Joseph L. Cook, USA; Cedric H. Williams, SSgt, USAF;  Randy Anderson. SP4. ISA

Received from Robert C. "Bob" Young, SSG, USA with some names added/corrected by Michael Goucher, SP5, USA

and Cedric Williams, SSgt, USAF


One of Cedric Williams' memories of Bob Nitzburg is that Bob had "two very accurate Bulova Acutron watches that

'kept perfect time' however he was constantly frustrated by the fact that neither one of them kept the same time."

AFVN Detachment 3, Pleiku

AM  10,000 watts              560 KHz

FM  25,000 watts             99.9 MHz

TV   40,000 watts           Channel 11

More photos of Detachment 3, Pleiku are shown at--

Photos & Stories

Michael R. Goucher  SP5, USA  Pleiku 1967-68

Bruce A. Wahl  1LT, USA (Infantry)  OIC, Plieku  1970

Louis A. Waters  SP5, USA  Saigon / Pleiku  1968-69

Cedric H. Williams  SSgt, USAF  Qui Nhon / Nha Trang / Pleiku  1967


The story of Det 3 being nearly overrun is in the Group Conversation titled:

Book about AFVN / Navy with AFVN / Attack on Det 3 - Marc Yablonka 

(Scroll down or search for "Det #3".)

 Pleiku Promo ID (Slides) -- Unknown