LIEUTENANT COLONEL SNYDER ASSUMED COMMAND OF the Gimlets on 1 February 1968. They were based at the time on FSB Center and operating in the Hiep Due and Song Chang valleys of Quang Tin Province. It was Snyder’s first infantry assignment in twelve years, and he decided to visit each of his companies in the bush. The first time that Capt. Dennis A. Leach, CO of C/3-21 (and recognized as the best company commander in the battalion), saw Snyder, the new colonel stumbled as he jumped from his Huey. Leach concealed a grimace. He knew that Snyder was a West Pointer with a Ph.D. from Princeton, but he also knew that the new battalion commander had no combat credentials. Leach saw Snyder as another of the Army’s fair-haired boys sent to get a minimum of six months of battalion command time and the basic load of hero medals as he got his ticket punched on the way to full colonel.
Captain Leach, who was on his second tour, knew that Lieutenant Colonel Snyder was going to be a disaster. Snyder had chosen to visit Charlie Tiger at that time because Leach had reported a body count. When alerted that the new colonel was on his way, Leach had grinned and said, “Well, guys, dress ’Em up a little bit. Lay ’Em on the rice paddy dike and gun ’Em a couple more times so we’ll have a nice little picture here for the colonel.”
Lieutenant Colonel Snyder looked at the thoroughly blasted Viet Cong as Leach had the squad leader involved describe how they’d originally bagged them. Snyder was a thin, medium-sized family man with eyeglasses and a soft-spoken manner; as he walked back to his helicopter with Leach he remarked, “You know, those are the first dead people I’ve ever seen.”
Jesus Christ, thought Captain Leach. Here we go again.
Leach could not have been more wrong, however, as he himself soon recognized. “Colonel Snyder turned out to be just a prince of a guy and a good commander,” Leach said later. “He didn’t come in with a big ego, and he learned fast.” Thoughtful, intelligent Bill Snyder, age thirty-nine, may have been in combat for the first time, but he’d been around the Army since he was an eighteen-year-old private. The son of a railroad man, he’d grown up poor on a farm outside Xenia, Ohio, and had enlisted primarily to qualify for the GI Bill so he could go to college after his two years in uniform. Snyder began basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, in September 1946, and was assigned as an orderly room clerk with Headquarters, Atlantic Section, at Fort Davis, Panama. A year and a half later he had three stripes and was selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy prep school.
Snyder graduated in the top 15 percent of the USMA Class of 1952 and wound up as a platoon leader in I Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg. A year later, he joined the 5th Regimental Combat Team in postwar Korea for a 1953-54 tour as a platoon leader and battalion adjutant. He redeployed with the regiment to Fort Lewis, Washington, where he spent a year as a company commander and another as a platoon leader with the regimental tank company. From 1956 to 1958, Snyder was aide to the commandant of cadets at West Point, and he spent the next year at the Infantry Officers’ Advanced Course at Fort Benning. After being promoted to captain, Snyder was a semicivilian from 1959 to 1962 as he pursued his doctorate in political science at Princeton University. He finished his dissertation in 1963, and it was published as a book, The Politics of British Defense Policy, 1945-1962, by the Ohio State University Press. He started his next book, Case Studies in Military Systems Analysis, during a 1962-66 tour as an economics and political science instructor at West Point. By then he was a major, and he finished that book while at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth in 1966-67. The book was published by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, as was a chapter-length contribution he made to another book, Issues of National Security in the 1970s, during his year in Vietnam.
Upon graduation from CGSC, the freshly minted Lieutenant Colonel Snyder began his Vietnam tour in July 1967 with the G3 section at Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam (USARV). Snyder spent six months with USARV in Bien Hoa near Saigon, then six months with the Gimlets. That was his last assignment with a maneuver unit. After Vietnam, he went to the Pentagon, then graduated from the War College, where he remained as an instructor. He rounded out his career heading the ROTC unit at Princeton. Snyder had sandwiched in those six months with the infantry in Vietnam during this mostly academic career because “if you’re a Regular Army officer and you don’t command something, you’re out of luck. This was my chance. This was something I had to do and wanted to do. I was green in the sense that there were a lot of new weapons and radios I didn’t know anything about, but everybody pitched in. If you told people you didn’t know, they were glad to explain it to you.”
Most considered the 196th LIB, known as the “Chargers,” to be head and shoulders above the other two brigades, the 11th and 198th, with which the 196th had been melded to form the Americal Division. The Gimlets saw themselves as the best battalion in the best brigade, so when Snyder showed up from USARV with his transparent career intentions, no one had been much impressed at first glance—to include Major Yurchak, the S3, who served an incredible five tours in the war zone. “The guy he took over from was a rompin’, stompin’ mean-ass, and here comes smiling Bill Snyder—and the guy was fantastic,” said Yurchak. “He was sort of a nice guy, and he smiled a lot and laughed a lot, but he was a wonderful, strong-willed combat commander. He knew what the hell was going on, and he never, never lost his cool.”
Lieutenant Colonel Snyder came to be regarded as a breath of fresh air. His predecessor had been known by the call sign Steel Gimlet, and though Yurchak had considered him a “very strict, very good battalion commander,” he added that “it was almost impossible to deal with the guy because he was always angry.”
Steel Gimlet’s command style had been dictatorial and verbally demeaning. He had also been relentless in his career-building determination to bring home the bodies, especially after the 3-21st Infantry moved out of Chu Lai (where the pickings had been slim) and up to FSB Center. Center was situated atop a ridgeline northwest of Tam Ky that overlooked NVA infiltration routes and populated valleys known for guerrilla activity.1 Contact, however, was infrequent. To catch up with this enemy that seemed to be everywhere but nowhere, Steel Gimlet, who was under pressure himself from brigade and division, began taking enormous chances. Captain Leach had just moved Charlie Company into a night laager, and was in the process of establishing his listening posts and night ambushes, when the battalion commander called him. Steel Gimlet had a “hot intel report” indicating that an enemy unit would be moving into a certain location at dawn. That location was ten klicks from Leach’s current position, and Steel Gimlet wanted Charlie Tiger to conduct a night march so as to be in place by 0500 to ambush the enemy. Such a schedule did not allow for proper planning or a cautious, cross-country approach, but demanded that Charlie Tiger make use of the trails that the enemy often booby trapped or ambushed. Leach later commented:
I used to beat up on the platoon leaders not to use trails, and I told the battalion commander, “Hey, I can’t get there by oh-five-hundred unless I sacrifice security.” There was only one trail, I’m talking about two feet wide, that went down into this area. “Goddamn you!” Steel Gimlet said. “You’re going to do what I say!” “Roger, I want to talk to the TOC duty officer.” I had been in command of my company about a month. I was starting to feel good, I was getting my feet on the ground, so I got the TOC duty officer and said, “I want it put in the record that I’m sacrificing the principle of security to go on this wild goose chase.” I was so goddamn angry I got on point and we moved down that trail. We got there, put out our security element, set up our fire support element, and attacked the location with our assault team. Nobody had been there in ten years.
Steel Gimlet rewarded GIs who got a confirmed kill with a three-day pass to the division rear in Chu Lai, where the beach was beautiful. When positive reinforcement did not work, however, he applied the stick. First Lieutenant Roger D. Hieb, whom Leach rated as his best platoon leader, described how Steel Gimlet refused to promote him to first lieutenant with the battalion’s other second lieutenants who shared the same date of rank “because my platoon didn’t have a high enough body count. I will never forget because then lo and behold—and it was not something we went out looking for—but we had contact and we killed some VC, and he flew out and promoted me and it was disgusting. It was really disgusting.”
Such pressures had their consequences. “We didn’t cut no slack on any of ’Em. There were no civilians,” explained one Charlie Tiger NCO. “If there was any doubt—shoot, fire it up. If they didn’t run, we didn’t fire ’Em up. If they ran, they was going to get fired up. I’m sure more than one innocent person died.” While moving down a well-vegetated hill, Charlie Company’s point element spotted movement in the brush and fired. One Vietnamese male of military age was killed outright, and three men in their twenties were captured. They had neither weapons nor military equipment. They could have been farmers. The officer in charge decided they were probably local guerrillas, and an M60 machine gunner and a squad of grunts formed up in front of the three prisoners, who were in a squatting position. The grunts opened fire on order. The body count was thus four instead of one.
“We had one of our guys step on a mine, wounding him and two others,” remembered Sp4 William W. Karp, a platoon medic in Alpha Annihilator. The Steel Gimlet’s helicopter diverted toward the platoon to conduct the medevac. The only clearing in the area was a waist-deep rice paddy. As the Huey hovered inches above the water, Karp tried to carry the soldier who had tripped the mine to the chopper. The man was the most seriously wounded of the three. “I carried him as far as I could. I thought I was going to pass out, but just then a sergeant took the man from me and struggled the rest of the way to the chopper. The wounded kid was white and the sergeant was black, but that didn’t matter.” The Huey banked off with the casualty. The man did not survive. As the patrol continued, they caught a Vietnamese male in a free-fire zone—a place where he should not have been. “The black sergeant—who was later killed himself—went into a rage and started beating the shit out of him, hollering that he was probably the dink that planted the mine the kid stepped on. We all got caught up in the rage and almost killed the bastard. We finally let him go, beat up but still alive.”
“We all had borderline incidents,” stated Capt. Hal Bell, who commanded A/3-21 after the Gimlets returned to FSB Center from the DMZ. “You never knew if the ‘civilians’ were friends, foes, or neutrals. It would depend on what kind of day or week we’d had as to how we would treat civilians. It really was awful, but that was the case.”
The Gimlets’ nomadic patrolling around FSB Center neither secured nor protected the villages of the Hiep Due and Song Chang valleys, for that was not the stated mission. The Gimlets’ only goal was to kill dinks. That was what the grunts called the enemy. It was also what they called most Vietnamese. The Gimlets killed a lot of dinks. The production of bodies was a demeaning mission and, given the virtually inexhaustible manpower available to the Communists, an unintelligent one. Success, as noted earlier, lay within the hearts and minds of the villagers, and their allegiance was won only through the protection offered by a permanent presence with an emphasis on civic action. As it was, one squad leader could observe only that it was “heart wrenching” to see the civilians killed and wounded by their arty preps of suspected enemy hamlets. “Terrible, terrible…”
The villagers had no reason to shift their allegiance away from the VC, who were that permanent presence (and who offered more than Saigon and the ARVN did). The Gimlets, with no connection to the people or the land, came to hate those they thought they had come to save. Charlie Tiger was approaching a lone hootch when a VC suddenly emerged from it. The VC cut loose with his AK-47 before turning to run away through the monsoon rain that was crashing down. Private First Class Gregory B. Harp recounted:
The point squad and the lieutenant hauled ass after him, and caught him and killed him. In their haste, however, they and everybody else had forgotten to check the hootch the dink had come out of. When our squad got up there, I and another guy immediately went in to check it out. There were two draft-age males, two women, and three or four children—another bunch of peace-loving Vietnamese who just happened to be in a free-fire zone and liked having people over for tea who carried AK-47s.
Harp lined up the Vietnamese and demanded to see their government identification cards. As they produced them, Harp heard something move inside the family bunker under the hard-packed earthen floor. He readied a fragmentation grenade while the GI with him trained his M16 on the entrance. Harp continued:
Any VC who was armed would have opened up by now for all the noise he was making, so I took a chance and yelled, “Lai day, lai day, lai day, you dumb motherfucker, or I’ll blow your ass off!” At that point, one of the women screamed something in Vietnamese down the hole, and suddenly this old guy stuck his head out of the hole. I reached down and grabbed him by his pajama shirt and snatched him out of the hole. I said, “Can cuoc, motherfucker!” He babbled something in gook, but he had no I.D. There was so much adrenaline flowing I had to do something, so I made them all go squat in the mud outside where it was raining like hell. The fifteen year old pointed to a shirt in the hootch he wanted because he was cold, so I threw it in the mud and hit him in the face with it. Stupid thing to do, but I was pissed, scared, and relieved all at the same time. I just lost it for a minute, but the lieutenant grabbed my arm and said, “That’s enough, Harp.”
Another day, Charlie Tiger was moving down a trail when Private Harp saw movement to the right of their column. A Vietnamese was sliding down an embankment, and he saw Harp at the same time Harp saw him. The Vietnamese took off like a jackrabbit down another trail, and Harp, concerned that the man was a VC scout, tapped his team leader on the shoulder and pointed. The two moved out in hot pursuit. Harp, well in the lead, caught up with the Vietnamese as he crawled away through a tapioca field, and stopped him with his M16. Harp ran up and rolled the body over. The dead man had no weapon and no military gear. Harp rejoined his team leader “and when we made it back, the company called in one VC body count. Of course, he could also have been an enemy deserter, or a civilian, or your great Aunt Sally.”
The Gimlets’ first major encounter with enemy regulars occurred when Alpha and Delta Companies were placed opcon to the 4-31st Infantry in response to an offensive by the 2d NVA Division. The battle took place in the misty, monsoon-soaked Hiep Due Valley, and it was a real shock to the system. The action began during the night of 5-6 January 1968 when another attached company was partially overrun in its night defensive position. In the morning, Captain Belcher’s Delta Company was airlifted into the valley, where it worked in tandem with B/4-31 during a battalionwide sweep of the battle area. The NVA had melted away and it was not until 8 January, when Delta was north of the stream that cut the valley, that B/4-31 regained contact on the south side. Captain Belcher, a reckless, superaggressive black company commander, immediately joined Delta’s lead platoon with his forward observer, first sergeant, and two radiomen, and they started across the shallow stream. They were mortared when they reached the opposite bank. Then, as the platoon hastily advanced across an open paddy toward the cover of a wood line, it was ambushed. Captain Belcher was one of the first to be killed. He was shot in the back as he ran toward the stream to rejoin the main body of his company. The two platoons on the other side were unable to push forward and join the pinned-down platoon. Meanwhile, the NVA, who were camouflaged to resemble walking bushes, began maneuvering across the paddy toward that platoon. It was the company’s first real firefight, and one grunt who had been with the outfit less than a week described the panic of the moment:
A soldier with an M79 grenade launcher was lying beside me. We knocked off an AK position. He and I yelled for the others to shoot back. No one was firing except us. They were crying and hollering. The VC started flanking us, moving around to our right. I could hear them yelling to each other. Me and the M79er were keeping our heads down, shooting back when we could. Suddenly three VC stood over us. Before we could fire they shot and killed my buddy—I never knew his name—and one of them jumped down on me. They tied me with commo wire, my hands bound behind my back to my feet. Then they tied some wire around my neck and started dragging. I said my last prayers. Blood spurted from my mouth—I was strangling to death. When we reached the woods they untied my feet and pushed me into a bunker.
Black Death suffered fourteen KIA in the debacle in the pouring rain, and had four men taken prisoner. Among the captured GIs was the company first sergeant, who had killed one NVA with his M79 before having his hand shattered by enemy fire. The first sergeant, who did not survive captivity, was trying to keep the grenade launcher in operation one-handed when the enemy overran his position.
The next afternoon, 9 January, Captain Yurchak and Alpha Company started across the same terraced, water-filled rice paddies. American bodies lay where they had fallen. The day was hot and muggy, and a misty rain was falling. The NVA were still in position, and they ambushed Alpha Annihilator. “A GI near me stood up and fired his M16 to cover men retreating from exposed positions,” recounted a grunt who did not fire his own weapon. “I could see bullets kicking puffs of dust from his clothes as he was hit. He crumpled slowly to the ground, firing till he died. A general panic took over. We seemed to be without leadership. I didn’t know whether to run or stay hidden behind the paddy dike.”
This confused grunt was captured, as were two other Alpha Company GIs. Thirteen were killed. One of those who barely escaped was Private Karp, who sought cover behind a dike when the ambush began. One of his good friends, a machine gunner, was shot in the legs on the other side. Karp fired his M16, then crawled out to his buddy. He was lying beside him, trying to figure out what to do next, when the machine gunner tried to push himself up. He was instantly shot in the chest, and red bubbles came out of his mouth. Karp asked God to bless and keep his friend, then heaved the dead man’s M60 to the ammo bearer behind the dike and shouted for covering fire.
The ammo bearer froze. He said the weapon was jammed. He would not raise up to fire. Feeling naked, Karp rolled back over the dike and flattened himself behind the ammo bearer. Karp heaved two grenades to cover their retreat, but as they crawled back, bullets smacked into the mud around them. When hit, the mud looked as if an invisible finger had been drawn through it. An M79 man silenced an NVA machine gun, and Karp and the ammo bearer made it to the cover of a muddy pool. The platoon leader was there, but instead of giving orders, the panic-stricken lieutenant simply blurted that they had to get out, grabbed his radioman’s harness, and disappeared with him over the edge of the pool. Karp spotted an enemy soldier crawling toward them and flung his last grenade in that direction. It fell short because the medic’s water-soaked flak jacket had sapped his energy. It was a lucky thing, because the man crawling toward them was actually a light-skinned black trooper. Unscathed by the friendly fire, he made it into the muddy pool.
They were also joined by their black platoon sergeant, Sfc. Alan Dickerson, who had become separated from his weapon, helmet, pack, and web gear. All he had left was a bayonet. In fact, most of the grunts abandoned weapons and equipment while crawling to cover, and Karp had already given his .45 to another unarmed man. Dickerson decided that their best chance was to crawl rearward in small groups down a snaky little drainage ditch that ran from their pool. Dickerson had just shoved off with a wounded man and several others when an NVA jumped into the ditch with his AK-47. He put a killing burst into one GI just as the M79 man beside Karp fired at him. The round missed, but Karp had shouldered his Ml6 in that instant and he dropped the NVA with a head shot. Convinced that they were about to be overrun, the dozen men still in the pool crawled through the chest-deep water in the ditch to the point where it emptied into the rice paddy they would have to cross to reach the tree line the company had retreated to.
One of their guys lay dead in the paddy. Sergeant First Class Dickerson hollered for covering fire as his group ran toward the trees. Another man went down, hit in the head. Karp aimed his M16 at two NVA moving on their right and squeezed the trigger. The weapon blew up in his hands. The barrel was clogged with mud. The dozen grunts in the ditch decided to wait until dusk before crossing that open, fireswept paddy. It had just gotten dark when Karp heard voices. He looked up from the ditch and was astonished to see several NVA in position a stone’s throw away. The battle was over and the NVA were talking amongst themselves. Karp silently watched one of them pull on a sweater to ward off the evening’s misty chill. The NVA disappeared when U.S. artillery began landing, but after the barrage more Vietnamese appeared in the flare-illuminated night. Two with ponchos and conical hats walked along the edge of the ditch and right past the terrified, un-moving soldiers lying in it before disappearing back into the darkness.
The grunts in the ditch crawled back the way they had come to reach the cover of a closer tree line. There they decided to pair up to make it back any way they could. It was nerve-racking for Karp and his partner as they walked along the edge of the trees. It was raining, and the flares, swinging as they came down, made everything appear to move. They had reached the previous night’s laager site when an M60 machine gun suddenly opened up from fifty meters away. They realized then that the company had pulled back to the same location. Karp wanted to wait until dawn before they crossed those last fifty meters, but his partner wanted to keep going and said he would go first. When they got moving again, Karp was glad that his partner was a head-bobbing, lanky-limbed country boy. No GI on watch, no matter how uptight, could mistake that distinctive lope.
The 196th Chargers lost 66 men but claimed 429 NVA kills in the Hiep Due Valley. Three weeks after the battle, Steel Gimlet’s reign ended at the stroke of six months, and Lieutenant Colonel Snyder rotated in for his shot of career-building command duty with the 3-21st Infantry.
Being a history professor, Bill Snyder selected the call sign Cedar Mountain 6. Cedar Mountain was the site of a Civil War battle that was the first in the regiment’s lineage. Some of Snyder’s officers, comparing him to his predecessor, nicknamed him the Gentle Gimlet.
Snyder lost his first four men when the battalion deployed to FSB Colt during the Tet Offensive. The next major action began on 4 March 1968 when Alpha Company, by then commanded by Captain Osborn (Yurchak having been promoted and assigned to serve as Snyder’s S3), was attached to the division cavalry squadron and participated in the destruction of the 3d Regiment, 3d NVA Division, in the foothills near Tarn Ky. It was a three-day action. Wounds from enemy mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were numerous, and the cav unit had men killed, but Alpha Annihilator survived the battle without a fatality. The enemy, subjected to maximum arty, gunships, and tac air, as well as the cannons and machine guns of the cav’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, left behind more than four hundred bodies, according to the official after-action reports.
Two days later, Alpha Company lost a man in a minor skirmish. Two days after that, on 11 March, Lieutenant Colonel Snyder was involved in his first major contact when Bravo Company bumped into an NVA battalion in the Que Son Valley. Maximum use was again made of supporting arms, but, caught in the open, muddy paddies as they were, six Barracuda GIs were killed. It was Captain Corrigan’s baptism of fire as a company commander. When Corrigan reported that he was running out of ammunition, Snyder had his command-and-control (C&C) ship divert to FSB Center to take aboard an emergency resupply. Barracuda was under fire from the east, so Snyder’s plan was to have the chopper fly in from the west, kick out the ammo from a hover, and then spin around and zip out the way it had come.
The plan ran afoul of an NVA in a tree. The C&C Huey was just coming into its hover and was about twenty feet above the LZ when the undetected NVA emptied his AK-47 down the length of the helicopter from nose to tail boom. He put twenty holes in the chopper. The door gunner was shot in the foot, and Snyder was cut across the forehead by a piece of flying metal from one of the holes punched in the floor. The wound was minor but a terrific bleeder. A crate of ammunition had also been hit, and Snyder shoved the smoking time bomb out the side door along with the rest of the packaged ammo. The shot-up Huey made it back to Center, where it died just as the pilot was setting it down.2 Meanwhile, Corrigan’s company recovered all its casualties and withdrew to the hill where the mortar platoon had been left to provide support. The mortars were still there, but the crews were not. All but three of the crewmen eventually returned, explaining that an intense enemy mortar barrage had driven them from the position, and that they had become separated from one another while rushing down the jungle-covered slope. The three missing men were not recovered: They had been ambushed and captured.
The Gimlets’ next big contact—their last major one before the DMZ mission—began on 9 April when Captain Osborn’s Alpha Company killed four VC they caught running across a rice paddy in a little, horseshoe-shaped valley. The VC had been following them, sniping at the company ever since it had begun patrolling there. On the morning of 11 April, an Alpha GI tripped a booby trap, which blew off his hand and foot. During the day, the company killed three more VC who had been trailing it. To fully screen this active valley, the company spread out and established platoon patrol bases. Alpha One was joined in its position by Echo Recon, and they set up around a number of deserted hootches concealed in thick bamboo. Shortly before midnight on 13 April, the NVA assaulted this joint perimeter. Less than two hours earlier a ridgetop observation post from Delta Company had spotted NVA signaling each other with flashlights from one side of the valley to the other. The observation post had alerted the Alpha and Echo elements in the valley, but the joint perimeter was caught off guard nonetheless. In fact, neither the Echo Recon commander, who was seriously wounded, nor the Alpha One lieutenant, who was killed along with his platoon sergeant, had had their men dig in. Nor had they put out claymore mines or trip flares. Most of the grunts had gotten out of the elements by setting up inside the hootches. Away from the supervision of their company commanders, the platoons had basically taken a siesta from the war.
The NVA ran right through them. Their mortar crews and machine gunners opened up first to keep the grunts’ heads down, then the NVA assault element let loose a shower of grenades before charging through one side of the perimeter and out the other. The attack was over in moments. Thirteen Gimlets were killed, and almost everyone else was wounded. Six of the dead were from Alpha One, seven from Echo Recon. The NVA left four bodies. The rest of Alpha conducted a night march to reinforce the position while illumination rounds flooded the valley with light, and gunships worked out with miniguns and rockets until dawn. The medevacs began at first light. One stunned grunt wrote home that “it sure was a sorry sight. Dead and wounded GIs lying all over the place. I had to help wrap ’Em in ponchos for extraction/The whole inside of the perimeter was blown to shreds. Rifles, rucksacks, web gear, and everything else was blown to bits. Everything was full of blood. Most of the guys didn’t even have time to fire a shot. Some men were sleeping inside huts when the NVA hit. We pulled what was left of them out of the ashes.”
1. The 196th LIB operated in III Corps from its arrival in Vietnam in August 1966 until airlifted to I Corps in April 1967. Tasked with securing the Chu Lai airfield, the 3-21st Infantry established a fírebase astride Route 1 immediately south of Chu Lai. In late November 1967, the 196th was relieved by the newly arrived 198th, and the 3-21st Infantry was airlifted to FSB Center while other 196th elements moved into FSB East and West on the same commanding ridgeline.
2. In addition to the Silver Star and Purple Heart he got for this action, Lieutenant Colonel Snyder was awarded a Legion of Merit (LM), a BSM for meritorious service, and an Air Medal (AM) with oak leaf cluster for making more than fifty helicopter flights in a combat zone.