Haymaker Echo on Mount Nui Ba Ra
In March or April, 1970, shortly after HHB 6/27th Artillery moved from Quan Loi to Phu Loi, and the “powers that be” were getting ready to start to move "Alpha" Battery all around, someone figured out they needed a way to stay in contact with all the far-flung batteries. It was ordered that a Como unit be sent to the top of Mount Nui Ba Ra - a good spot to be in radio contact with each of the batteries. However, I don't think they thought the whole thing through. If they had, the process would have been a lot smoother than it turned out. In true Army fashion though, they said “do it”, and we had to figure out how.
If I had been in charge I would have first sent someone up to the top of the mountain to see where we would set up, and I would have worked out a direct flight from Phu Loi to the top of the mountain, but as usual, no one asked me.
There were four of us that went to set the new Como post up, SFC Garrett, E5 Armsted, an E3, whose name is lost somewhere in my memory, and an E4 - me. We had to go from Phu Loi to Bien Hoa by ¾ ton truck, and then from Bien Hoa we had to find a flight to Song Be. Once at Song Be we sat around looking up at Nui Ba Ra until there was a chopper headed to the top of the mountain. This took several hours to say the least.
We finely caught a ride on a chopper to the top and the “fun” continued. When we landed we first unloaded all of our stuff on the pad but still had to carry it all the rest of the way up the mountain. We had two radios, two car batteries a small generator, coax cable, antennas and all of our personnel stuff – a heavy load to carry even on flat ground.
We’re carrying all this stuff up a pretty good grade on loose gravel and rock to reach the top and once there we still did not know where we would actually set up. We walked around searching for a good spot until we came to a cut out in the rock. We set the stuff down and felt betrayed. I'm thinking, “This can’t be the spot we’re going to set up. There’s no way to get out of the weather”.
By this time it started to get dark and we’re trying to get everything set out and hooked up when the Lieutenant in charge came over and told SFC Gerrett there was an empty room in one of the buildings we could where could set up rather then out in the open. Now that was “music to my ears”. We picked everything up and made our way back around the top of the mountain to the building the Lt. pointed to. When we got there we found we were only a few yards from where we had first started.
Well finally, after another couple hours we fired the radios up and “Haymaker Echo” was on the air. To me, that day could have been about five hours shorter if they had only put a little thought into it. Click here to see some views from Nui Ba Ra.
Roger Mallory Then and Now
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