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Memories of LZ Kate. Back to Home Page. By Kenn Hopkins. Deployment to LZ Kate. I was in country for 6 months when, at a staging area in Ban Me Thuot, we finally received word where our next location would be and what configuration the battery would be in. My gun, a howitzer, along with another gun from Charlie Battery would be going to LZ Kate; there would also be a howitzer from another outfit. Man, I was no longer happy. Picking Shrapnel. Up towards the top on the steep side, West side, of our location, where I thought it was too steep for a ground attack, there was a ground attack taking place.
Then Capt Albracht called for gunship support and they would rank the area with gun fire. Then as the gunships passed we would pop up and fire. I was so confused and scared that I popped up at the wrong time and received pieces of shrapnel in my arm. When some of the pieces bounced off my arm one of the Montagnards patted me on the back and said, 'You Number 1, I stay next to you'. I had to laugh, if he only knew how confused and scared I was he would not want to be within a mile of me.
Doc told me the wounds on my arm were worth a Purple Heart, which I thought was silly. Two years later I was still picking out pieces of shrapnel. Spooky in the Night. That night Capt Albracht came around to provide us with some strobe lights to place around the perimeter. He told us to dig a hole and to place the strobes in the ground so the lights would shine up, but not out.
We were going to be supported at night by 'Spooky' and other types of Night Air support. They needed to know where the perimeter was so they would not hit us when support was required. That was the first night I was able to get a little sleep, what with 'Spooky' burping its mini guns throughout the night; but any sleep was better than no sleep. The ArcLight Strike. The next morning was the worst yet, the third. The NVA had us zeroed in and we started to take a large number of incoming rounds.
I understood we would not have chopper air support because too many choppers had been shot down, but that a B ArcLight would take place. During that strike we were told to take cover, while the ground shook, pieces of shrapnel were falling around us, and the air was filled with the deafening sounds of the strike. That provided a little reprieve, but it did not last for long. I knew I needed to do something else or I was probably going to perish, which I did not look forward to.