1st Platoon, C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade
Introduction Jim Dennison – here’s one of our finest, and most reliable, “Old Reliables”! Jim is another original member of Charlie Company who was also drafted on May 17th, 1966, when the Viet Nam War escalated. Our Nation’s most senior military strategists determined that a “Mobile Riverine Force” was needed to eradicate Viet Cong forces in the brown waterways of the Mekong Delta. Hence, the 9th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade, led by Colonel Fulton, was selected for this unique fighting force. Lt. Colonel Guy Tutwiler’s 4th/47th Infantry Battalion became an integral element of this newly created force.
Jim ended up in Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon as Basic Training began at Fort Riley’s famed Custer Hill and he stayed with his 1st Platoon buddies until late 1967. Jim endured all of the small unit patrols into the stinkin’ rotten Rung Sat swamp, battalion size search and destroy missions, miscellaneous firefights, and the large battles
that occurred in the Mekong Delta rice paddies during 1967. Most memorable to Jim are two events, with the first occurring during our May 15th battle, which resulted in the death of 1st Platoon’s most popular trooper, Don Peterson, and severe wounds suffered by Carl Cortwright. To this day, Jim and the other 1st Platoon soldiers, vividly recall how their substitute lieutenant callously ordered an unwise assualt across an open rice paddy into a tree line held by the Viet Cong. This action resulted in Carl Cortwright’s getting shot and becoming immediately paralyzed – the 1st Platoon soldiers will never, ever forget this. Jim’s Platoon Leader, Lieutenant Lynn Hunt was in the hospital at that time recovering from wounds; Lieutenant Hunt would have never ordered such a reckless and foolhardy attack. The second event that stands out in Jim’s memory occurred during a mid-July Company size patrol during which Jim’s squad set up a night ambush a short distance from the main body of Charlie Company. During the night, Jim and his squad members spotted approximately ten Viet Cong soldiers passing by out in the bush. Several hours later, Jim noticed a Viet Cong soldier walking rapidly straight towards his position. Thinking that this Viet Cong could be a point man for the others that they had spotted earlier, Jim held his fire to avoid giving away their position. Suddenely, this enemy soldier came right on top of Jim, whereby he immediately wrestled and captured the Viet Cong. As it turned out, the other Viet Cong did not re-appear. What an unnerving situation, eh! The next morning, Jim handed over the captured V.C. to his Platoon Leader and he was told that this action earned Jim a one day R & R to Vung Tau. Instead, to Jim’s dismay, he was soon transferred to the 4th/39th Battalion, where he ended his tour of duty in January, 1968.
As I stated at the beginning, Jim is one of our finest Old Reliables – this is true, as all former Charlie Company troopers will attest. Jim could be counted on to successfully carry out his duties back in those Fort Riley days and during our Mobile Riverine experiences. Still today, more than 33 years later, Jim can be counted on as he is chiefly responsible for organizing a number of Charlie Company reunions. For this, we are all greatly indebted to Jim! Many Thanks Jim and keep up the great work!
Of course, I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the superb assistance provided by 1st Platoon trooper, John Bauler, to Jim in setting up these ongoing, and much appreciated reunions. Bill Reynolds – February 10, 2001