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USS ROWAN (DD 782)
VOLUNTEER CREW FORWARD DEPLOYMENT
NOVEMBER 1971-JANUARY 1973

 I was in the 2nd Squadron of the 17th Cavalry 101st Airborne division in 1967/68.  Most of my chores were done on hiway 555. (La Rue Sans Joie.)  Whilst I was a platoon leader, I had occasion to call for fire during an assault on a villiage NE of Hue'  oriented east west and very near the coast. My troop Cdr. Lionel Ingrham gave me a freq and callsign and I called up for fires. Whoever was on the other end couldn't shoot my fire mission because I was too close to the GT (gun /target) line . The RPD's  were cutting the rice down in front of us. and slowly elevating. (A sure sign you are in for a real ass kicking contest with pro's)  I needed those Fires!  To double check the GT line/ troop location problem, I asked where the battery was located. When the vioice on the other end said "In the South China Sea" I knew what I had called. NAVY GUNS!  I'd been taught in OCS that you couldn't get Naval gunfire except thru an ANGLICO. My mind was racing. The RPD's were delivering effective fires now. ( In army talk that means you have to react NOW! or get hurt bad!)   I got into the declination diagram in the corner of my map and translated GN (Grid  North) to TN (True North) figuring the navy FDC (Fire Direction Center ) would be operating with gyro compasses using True North.  Lucky for the Cavalry the magnetic variation in RVN can vary by nearly 30 degrees. I recalled for fire using True North azimuths and in no time the village erupted in an inferno of smoke. this lasted till I called "Target, Cease Fire"   We walked into one of the quitest places I've ever seen. The trees had no bark, few branches, and no leaves. The hilly ground looked like fresh ploughed dirt in Nebraska. Scattered about were a few greasy spots. here and there were a few parts of weapons and an occasional arm or leg, maybe a hand or finger. Frankly Sir, it looked as thoiugh God himself had cursed those poor sons of bitches. We never had to fire a shot.  My RTO handed me a handset. Some Squid wanted a BDA. (Bomb Damage Assessment.) I gave the best I could . Then I asked which ship had supported us and was told the name couldn't be given but that it was a "Tin Can" .  I've always hated the navy for the pussies they are but those guys on that Tin Can are an exception to the rule. My heartiest thanks and utmost respect . Bill Fisher. 2d Plt, Troop A , 2/17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division