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Bronze Star at Dong Ha

The following is an experience of Allan Gardner Pixton in Vietnam on 30 October, 1968:

On 30 October I was in the Vietnamese village and American base camp of Dong Ha, just south of the DMZ.  Suddenly Dong Ha was subjected to intense artillery fire from enemy 152 cannon.  Everyone ran for cover and protection.  I had been in the underground artillery fire control bunker of the 108th Artillery Group, but immediately went outside to see what damage was being done.  Also I was trying to determine the exact direction from which the enemy fire was being directed at us.  I called to my aide, who was under protection of the bunker, because I told him to stay there, to get a compass and bring it to me, on the double.  He did this and then I sent him back to the protection of the bunker.  Using the compass I was able to get an exact azimuth (line of direction) on the enemy firing and reported it to our fire direction center.  Not too long thereafter we were able to silence the enemy guns.  In the meantime the enemy artillery fire had hit our damaged ammunition dump and set it on fire.  This dump consisted of our artillery and mortar shells of all sizes, including white phosphorus and inceniary shells, which had been damaged and were unusable, and which we destroyed periodically, under controlled conditions.  When the enemy artillery hit this dump and set it on fire, not too far from where I was standing, it created a spectacular fireworks display.

Unknown to me, this entire episode was reported officially.  I was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, at a surprise ceremony conducted by the XXIV Corps Commander.

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