I, Sp/4 Pisarski, was with Tracer-5, and saw the following actions
take place on the 12th of March, 1969. On the 12th
of March, I, myself, was walking point with Sgt. Chrietzberg, the
team leader behind me. He was in turn followed by Sp/4
Robinson, our compassman, Sp/4 Joslin, flank security, and Sp/4
Franklin, who was our rear security. At approximately 1130
hours of the 12th, the team was in contact with enemy
At the initial contact, being the point man, I could not see, nor
was I in a position due to my sector of fire to see the immediate
reactions of everyone. When time finally permitted a look at
the situation at hand, everyone was pretty well settled in fighting
position. The following is what I saw of each individual’s
At this time Sgt. (E-5) Chrietzberg, the team leader, was near my
side. He gave the command to stop firing. At this time
he took a look at our situation. He knew it was bad, but he
took the initiative to try to being our morale up. He made
sure that everyone was safe and unharmed. If anyone of us
needed water, a cigarette, or gum, he would pull some out from
somewhere. He also aided some Cobra’s and platoon from Co. A
in the annihilation of some NVA troops.
Approximately at 1600, he was notified of a choice he had to make.
It was either spend the night there at our location or try to reach
the company. He then asked us of our choice. We said we
would take the chance if he wanted to. He then decided to give
it a try to return to the company. About 5 minutes later we
were on our way with Sp/4 Franklin walking point. We made our
way down part of the trail we came up on. Chrietzberg engaged
an enemy position, by throwing a frag into it. This silenced
the fire from it. We moved a little farther when we were
ambushed by machinegun and small arms fire. This was the last
time I saw him. We were then separated.
When Sp/4 Franklin’s came into my view he was in a fighting position
near our team leader’s side. He was protecting our team
leader’s right flank. He offered encouragement and any help he
could give. Hen the Cobra’s came in for their gun run, he
aided our team leader in adjustment of them. After we had
decided to move to Co A, Franklin offered to walk point. Since
he had the vast knowledge and experience of point, he was chosen to
walk it. We made our way towards 61’s location. When
Franklin stopped and opened fire into an opening of a bunker, the
result of his action caused the death of a NVA. As he walked
he brought to the team leader’s attention signs of the enemy.
At this moment we discovered that we walked into the enemy.
The last time I had sight of Franklin, is when I saw him throw a
grenade into a machinegun position. This was the very last
time I saw this man.
Sp/4 Robinson, who was our compassman on the start of our mission,
was already in place above and to the right of me when I saw him.
It was from this position that he saw 12 NVA soldiers. During
the time that we were on the side of the hill, he was real easy and
constantly checking his actions. When the gunships were trying
to locate our position it was Rocky (Sp/4 Robinson, Rocky was his
nickname) who took upon himself to flash the panel for the pilot to
see. It was his effort that made our position known to the
As we got ready to move to 61’s location, Rocky took up the position
just in front of me. At this time I was rear security.
He was very alert, looking on both sides of us for signs of the
enemy. At the time we got ambushed Rocky noticed a NVA firing
from a bunker. He crawled to it and placed a grenade inside.
He successfully silenced it. It was also at this time that he
threw another at a spider hole. He downed the NVA in this one
too. He then proceeded to make his way towards the top of a
bomb crater with myself following. A concealed machinegun
position opened up and prevented further advancement. He told
me to go back down the hillside and he would give cover for me.
Well, Robinson fired he knocked out that position. Then under
protection of fire he made his way back to Sp/4 Joslin and myself.
When he got to us, he noticed 5 more NVA carrying a machinegun and
ammo. He relayed this to me. Both of us successfully
ended their careers. At this time we started towards a
different hill with Rocky in the rear security position. He
then told the two of us to move faster because of enemy movement in
our direction. That night in our night location he practiced
very excellent noise and light discipline.
In the morning he looked kind of ragged and very tired. I knew
that sleep didn’t come easy for him. He showed a few signs of
nervousness, which he did his best to control. Throughout the
day he was very much alert. When he had discussions on what to
do, he offered very fine and sound judgement and reasoning.
The morning and part of the afternoon went without any action.
When we were at our night location he himself kept a very vigilant
watch. When we had a conversation, trying to keep our minds
off the thought of capture, he talked of the USA and how nice it
was. That night passed without enemy action.
One the morning of the 14th, I awoke to find him standing
guard. In a short while we started to move. When we
sighted Firebase Swinger he offered some encouragement about our
finding friendlies. When we met a group of NVA sitting in a
valley, he operated like a fine machine. After contact was
broken, very little was said by anyone. He was doing fine.
He looked a little sick, which later proved to be correct. He
drank some water at a stream and vomited. All this time he
refused anything to eat. I guess he thought that the two of us
needed food pretty bad. After we got water at a seasonal
stream we once again made contact. Rocky during this time did
not fire in the same direction I did. He noticed some NVA
packs to my left and opened up on them. As I turned and passed
Rocky, he was still firing. He was the last one to stop.
I ran to the right of the trail. I saw him run down it with AK
rounds pounding the dirt behind him as he ran. This was the
very last time I ever saw him. He wasn’t hit when he ran out
of my view.
The last man of the team, and the other survivor, besides myself,
out of the three is Sp/4 Joslin. I will refer to him as Jocko,
his nickname. I didn’t know too much about him, being he was a
new man in Recon. But, when I saw him after the initial
contact he was sitting directly above my position. During that
time he was doing real good. He made use of what was taught
and explained to him. When we were moving off of the hillside
he took up the compassman’s position. When we got separated
from the team leader and assistant team leader, he proved to be
quite a good guy. He held his head at all times. He
tried to find a path to the team leader and assistant, but was cut
short due to enemy machinegun and small arms fire. He then
returned to a safer position. While Rocky and myself were
pinned down by a sniper, Jocko proceeded to fire on him. No
more shots came from the dangling figure. Once we were all (3
of us) together again, he led the way up the hill we just left
moments before. We searched for a night location and with
success found one. The rest of the night passed without enemy
activity around us.
In the morning of the 13th, Jocko offered to us
information concerning the location of friendlies to our east.
He then took the middle position was acting as our compassman.
Nothing happened to alert any reactions of danger. Throughout
the day very little was said. In the afternoon we proceeded to
our night location. When we got there, Jocko took an inventory
of what he had in the way of food. This amounted to two rolls
of Lifesavers and two packages of chewing gum. We ate a couple
of lifesavers and some bushes. He offered the idea of having
one man awake at all times for guard during the day. The rest
of the day passed without anything to alert our senses.
On the 14th Joslin caught sight of Firebase Swinger, and
asked if we wanted to go in that direction. We took an azimuth
and started in that direction. When we were down in the valley
and made contact, Jocko was on my right side and performed
beautifully. We then retreated back up the hill. He was
still in the compassman’s position.
Roughly a couple of hours later while taking an elephant trail, we
walked into the NVA. I was momentarily blinded by the belt
buckle of an enemy. So, Jocko opened fire first. We both
got the same NVA soldier. Then I stopped firing and turned to
run. I passed Joslin, then he stopped and followed.
Since I did not go up the trail, I saw Joslin starting to follow
Sp/4 Robinson up the trail. At that moment about three AK’s
opened up. Joslin came to the concealed position that I was
occupying. After this it was just the two of us.
Joslin followed up the hill and stepped on a bunker and informed me
about it. As we made our way through the bunker complex,
Joslin and I both saw a NVA soldier digging. He then said to
hurry and move out. No shots were fired at this time.
Joslin suggested to look for a hiding place. In a little while
we were in one. For the rest of the day we could hear the NVA
walking around. No words passed; none had to.
On the morning of the 15th, I awoke to find Joslin up.
He asked if I was ready to move. A sound was heard coming in
our direction. It burned out to be one NVA soldier.
After waiting for a while Jocko asked again about moving. So
we departed our location. While we were moving, Joslin was
acting as rear security and compassman. He noticed many signs
on the trails we crossed and brought them all to my attention.
Towards the afternoon we entered the bombing area. He walked
with all his senses alert. When we came across some G.I.
rucksacks, Jocko looked for food, water and ammo. After he had
what he could carry, we proceeded to leave. We found a trail
and followed it for a short distance. Joslin noticed that it
was marked and suggested that we get off of it. We did and
found a place to sit down and eat. It was during this time he
heard a chopper take off. He saw it and stated the direction
it came from. He said it sounded like it was very close.
We then proceeded in the general direction from where he saw the
chopper take off.
We came upon this hill and were looking for some more food and
water. It was at this time we found out we were among
friendlies and were reunited with our unit.
/s/ John L. Pisarski
Sp/4, 1/8th Inf
19 March 1969