Author's Name: William Kaseberg
Title: "The best year of my life"In July 1969 I was a 23-year-old Infantry Army officer (ROTC @ Westminster College, Fulton, Mo) sent to Vietnam. I was assigned to the 5th Bn., 46th Inf., 198th Bde., Americal Div., at LZ Gator, a few miles South of Chu Lai, in I Corps., as an Infantry platoon leader (2d Platoon, Bravo Co.). The platoon leader position was open because the platoon had wounded its platoon leader because of his incompetency and lack of care and the platoon, for their own safety, wanted to get him out of the field. During the next 6 months, we became the best platoon in the battalion and were heavily relied on by both our company commander and battalion commander. In that time we lost only two men, both in situations in which my decisions were overruled by superior officers for silly reasons, despite my strenuous objections. Still, when on our own, we never had a man wounded, but inflicted serious losses on the VC and NVA in our area (more than the rest of the battalion all together). We prided ourselves on the fact that our platoon had never mistreated or caused injury or pain to any non-combatant. My job as platoon leader ceased in late December 1969, shortly after we had been subject to a night attack while defending a re-settlement village of My Lai (4) survivors, on the eve of a visit by Americal Division VIPs charged with investigating reports of the Lt. Cally / Capt. Medina massacre of about 800 civilians at My Lai (4) in 1968. In the few days that we were stationed there we killed 42 armed enemy and 3 VC from the night attack force surrendered later that morning and turned over their weapons.
I finished my 1-year tour in July 1970 as a company executive officer in that battalion and returned stateside, was discharged and entered law school on the GI Bill. I will always be very proud of my men and the job that we did together in Vietnam.
In about the Spring of 2006, I was contacted by David Taylor, a former officer of our Battalion who was wounded and returned home in 1969, a few months before I arrived in the battalion, and I provided him with material for, and assisted him in the editing of, his subsequent book about our battalion, entitled "Our War."