The History of
The History of 267th Signal Company
The Viet Nam Years
This page is also under construction.
This page is my attempt to tell the story of 267th Signal Company in Vietnam. I was only with the unit for one year (July 1967 thru July 1968) and could use some help in putting this together. If you were a member of the 267th and could help please let me know. A special thanks to Charles Lay, Clell G. Creek, LTC Glenn Dean (Ret), Gary Schmidt, Howard Truitt, Nolan Logan and LTC Leo Charron (Ret) for their help in putting this together. Check on underlined words for picture.(BLB)
The 267th Signal Company was a heavy cable construction company, one of only two signal companies designated "Cable Construction" in Vietnam. The troop strength in Vietnam as of 1968 was almost 500,00, of that number, 532 were classified heavey cable construction personnel, that's 0.1% of all troops. We were a very elite group. Responsible for construction and maintenance of telephone cable rangeing from 25 pair to 400 pair cable, both aerial and underground. We arrived in Vietnam, November 27th 1965 and remained there until we were deactived April 15th 1970, a total of 3 years 4 months. Our area of operations was the Third and Fourth Corps; an area the size of Florida. We supported the 1st, 4th, 9th and 25th Infanty Divisions, 11th Cavalry Regiment, the 101st Airborne, 173rd Airborne and the 5th Special Forces Group, these units inspired our unit motto of ""Above the Best". In such places as Long Binh, Bein Hoa, Vung Tau, Phouc Vinh, Quang Loi, Dong Tam, Chu Chi, Lai Khe, Song Be, Phu Quoc Island just to name a few. Our unit installed more than a million feet of cable while in Vietnam, and was twice awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation, along with a Presidental Unit Commendation.
The 267th Signal Company was
formed from B Company, 314th Signal Battalion after it's move from Camp San
Luis, California to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. July 1st 1955, Company B
became the 267th Signal Company while on TDY at Fort Hale, Colorado. In
September of 1955 after completing work at Fort Hale, Colorado, the company
moved to Fort Riley, Kansas in support of the 1st Infantry Division. Later it
moved to Fort Carson, Colorado.
(The following account was provided by Leo Charron from his personal files, at the time he was a 1st Lt with the 267th and the Unit Historian.) As the fall of 1965 opened up the 267th Signal Company was alerted for overseas deployment to serve in the Vietnam Theatre of Operations. The months of September and October were busy ones in which the company became fully equipped and prepared for its new assignment. On 15 October 1965 an impressive Change of Command Ceremony was held where the old and the new Company Commander and First Sergeant changed places. Captian Chester L. Rautenstrauch and Fiirst Sergeant Wilbur Whittet took the proud 267th from Captian T.F. Davis and First Sergeant Garry Clark.
After this change the company
continued to prepare itself. With the completion of many hours of POR
processing, trips to the dispensary to get shots, preparing vehicles for
shipment, and obtaining numerous orientations on Southeast Asia the 267th
Signal Company was rated by General Wilson, ADCO, as completely ready to go.
And go it did! On 9 November 1965 the company moved out of Fort Carson, 220
Strong, and flew to Oakland, California where on 10 November 1965 it sailed
underneath the Golden Gate Bridge aboard the USNS
General D. I. Sulton.
The journey across the Pacific Ocean (not always calm) was made non-stop in nineteen (19) days. The company was off-loaded on LCMs at Vung Tau, Vietnam on 30 November 1965. From there it flew to Ben Hoa, Vietnam to set up its initial compound. For three weeks it was tent city life awaiting the arrival of the company's equipment.
During this three weeks wait, an unfortunate incident produced the company's first casualties at the hands of the enemy. On 17 December 1965 a hand grenade was thrown into the bed of two and a half ton truck of the Second Platoon in the city of Saigon. Of the fourteen (14) men in the truck nine (9) were wounded and four (4) of the nine sustained serious enough injuries to be evacuated back to the United States. All nine were awarded the Purple Heart, and SP/4 O.F. Van Nest (Serial Number Omitted) was put in for the Army Commandation Medal with "V" device for sounding the alarm, "Grenade" when the device was thrown. Had the alarm not been sounded it is certain that the casualty toll would have been higher. This incident by the Viet Cong initiated a two week campaign of terrorist type tactics in the Saigon area.
On 21 December 1965 the Headquarters, First and Third Platoons of the company, now assigned to the 39th Signal Battalion (Support)(serving under MACV) were moved again to the Vung Tau area to set up a perminent compound. Second Platoon under 1st Lt Joseph J. O'Brien remained in Ben Hoa to support that area with cable capability. The company now began work in earnest under the most capable guidance and leadership of the "Old Man" and "Top", Capt. "Rocky" and First Sergeant Whittey. Placing in many perminent multi-pair cable systems and temporary SP-4 lines the men of the 267th Signal Company were never wanting for work.
As 1965 ended and 1966 began, the 267th Signal Company had moved 10,000 miles over sea, land and air and was operating once again in its normal and ever efficient manner.
Logan Nolan gave this narrative of the first year: On or about 11 November 1965, we left Fort Carson, Colorado and preceeded to the Denver Airport to fly to San Francisco, California for movement by ship to Cam Ranh Bay, RVN. Our vehicles had already arrived and were loaded aboard the ship by the time we got to Oakland. All E-6's and above got Cabin Class berthings. We were at sea for about twenty days. When we arrived at Cam Ranh Bay, the Company Commander and First Sergeant went ashore, they were briefed that our mission had been changed to Long Bihn, We would be going on to Vung Tau to then fly to Long Bihn. After we arrived at Vung Tau, we sat at sea for about a week, ammunition was needed more than troops so we waited. The MP's came aboard our ship and dropped grenades off the side to keep VC frogman away. When we disembarked from the ship we went over the side using landing nets(mesh rope). The sea had 4 to 6 foot waves. We loaded on to LCM (Landing Crafts) and went ashore. We loaded all our trucks onto boats that travelled up the Mekong River to Siagon. The men boarded a C-7 Caraboo and flew to Siagon where they pick-up the trucks and drove to Long Bihn. Long Bihn was just beginning to shape up as a base, There was an Engineering Company that was building roads, ditches and moving the big Long Bihn Hill. A Medical Company, a Transportation Compnay and the 3rd platoon of the 267th for communications. Meanwhile, most of the Company moved back to Vung Tau. Second Platoon went down to the datla on a job with SFC Wilson in charge. The Third Platoon stayed on in Long Bihn, while Headquarters and First Platoons returned to Vung Tau. Long Bihn was still jungle in December 1965 so in early 1966 we moved to Bien Hoa . We lived in an old Vil (Villa), the building was old and built of bricks or blocks, but we had electricity and fans. We drew cost of living pay and had to buy our own meals, better than C-rations. Third Platoon went on to work in Quan Loc, Tan Ann, Cu Chi and a lot of fire support bases during the first year.
In May 1966, Captian Hugh Menking along with First Allen Byington took over the command duties in Vung Tau, later moving the company to Bien Hoa Army. In January of 1967, D company of the 40th Signal Battalion was reassigned to the 267th Signal company and formed the 3rd Platoon. By May of 1967 Capt. Menking rotated out and Lt Edward Blank took temporary command of the company for 12 days. Captian Frederick Eisele took command of the 267th Signal Company 2 July 1967.
Bruce Barcik gave this narrative of his year: I arrived In-country on July 17th 1967 and joined the 267th in Bien Hoa where I was assigned to the Second Platoon. We rebuilt the bunker system in the company area the first month I was there. Then in mid-August we convoyed down to Dong Tam where we built a multi-pair communication system. The water table at Dong Tam was very shallow, about A foot and A half, which made setting poles difficult, so a solution was devised. We took two 55 gallon drums, cut the top and bottom off one and the top off the other poking holes in the bottom, the two drums were welded together. Then using a power auger the hole was dug and the drums placed in the hole immediately, followed by the pole. Once the pole was aligned into the right position, we filled the drums with concrete. An "A" frame was built to hold the pole straight. We did this to all 144 pole we set. This construction not only made the 1st Signal Bridgades newspaper but also The Stars and Stripes. Second Platoon also had a job in Long Xuyen in which we travelled by an Army LCU. I spent the first few days of TET of 1968 in Quang Loi. The first night of Tet we took some 100 plus mortar and rocket rounds, we got hit every night until we left, though we didn't have it as bad as some of our guys in the Second who were at Song Be. In May 1968, we moved from Bien Hoa Army to Bear Cat, leaving the comforts of hot showers and flush toilets. Other jobs were in Phouc Vinh, Tra Vihn, in and around Bien Hoa. On June 14th 1968, while working a line to a MACV Post, Sgt. Robert Rodrick (My squad Sergeant) was killed. He accidently leaned into a Vietnamese 25,000 volt powerline, killing him instantly. Rodrick was well liked and his death was a shock to us all.
In March of 1968 Capt. Jefferson B. McCarthy took over command of the 267th. In March 1968 we joined the 1st Signal Brigade and became part of the 39th Signal Battalion. Along with a new Battalion we moved our company area from Bien Hoa to Bear Cat then home of the 9th infantry. In August 1968, the Second Platoon moved from Bear Cat to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.
Later the Company relocated to Long Bihn before the company was deactivated in April 1970.