Riv Div 552
RMC Norman Glenn Gage
In the evening of 23 February 1970, in Hau Nghia Province, 12 kilometers from Tra Cu City, Patrol Officers RMC Gage and BMC Wicklund with Boat Captains EN1 Girard in PBR-866, BM1 Cain in PBR-868, BM1 Studdsin PBR-870, and GMG2 Farley in PBR-706 were proceeding at idle speed to WBGP waiting for an artillery mission to be concluded when the boats were attacked by enemy unit using 75mm recoilless rifle. The first round fired by the enemy passed over the boats and exploded on the west bank of the river. One of the covering boats immediately opened fire on the east bank. As the attack continued, the lead boat, PBR-868, was hit by two, 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, one round hitting in the chief's quarters which damaged the radios and one round exploding in the coxswain's flat, which killed Patrol Office RMC Gage instantly and maimed Boat Captain Donald M. Cain.
The units continued to receive recoilless rifle and automatic weapons fire but this time from both banks. The wounded Boat Captain managed to turn his boat around and clear the kill zone. The Onboard Vietnamese gunner expended all his 50 Caliber ammunition, then manned an M-60 machine gun and took over the helm so that the rest of the crew could administer aid to the wounded Boat Captain.
The boats all cleared the kill zone but remained in the area.
A medevac helicopter (Dustoff) and artillery assistance was requested at 1937H, and Air Force Controller arrived on station and air elements worked over the area until 2120H, expending four , 5 hundred pound bombs, in addition to smaller caliber ammunition. Enemy Casualties were unknown.
During my year tour with RivDiv552 many men killed and wounded.
Born: Nov 14, 1937
Died: Feb 23, 1970 - Tra Cu, Vietnam
Chief Gage is the one I remember most vividly.
Primarily because it was a young mans war.
At the ripe old age of 32 chief Gage was an old man.
I remember thinking at the time that he was probably some-ones father or grandfather
and didn't deserve to be there
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