1st Platoon, A Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade Gia Dinh Province – June 19, 1967
These excellent photos were contributed by David Bertolino – if you recognize any of these fine troopers, please contact us (click at upper right).
I remember Lt. Fred Bertolino very well. One evening during our training at Fort, Riley, Kansas, we were out in the field on bivouac exercises – the hills were dry with tall grass. Our Alpha Company had set up a perimeter for the night, we were in our pup tents. Lt. Bertolino and Lt. Zum Mallen, both West Pointers as I recall (and both died in the June 19th battle) came to my tent and called me out saying “Estrella… bring your M-14″….. we went outside the perimeter about 200 yards. One of them had gotten hold of a rifle flair, and they wanted to see what it would do. I don’t remember which one shot it, but he aimed the rifle up into the air at a high angle and the other Lt. said wait… they will see it. So, he aimed parallel to the ground and fired away from the perimeter. It only took minutes before that part of Kansas was ablaze. We ran back to the perimeter and as soon as we got inside, turned around shouting Fire, Fire… The battalion spent the next couple of days dealing with that fire and we never got caught!
Regards, Milton Estrella