1st Cav Artillery: A First Team Magazine Feature - Summer 1969

155 firing

Artillery: the grunt's best friend

The whole idea of the fire support base (sometimes called LZ) was to have artillery support immediately available to any infantry unit in the field that came under fire from NVA units. These artillerymen called "Redlegs" were really nomads, moving from LZ to LZ to cover the areas necessary for current operations. One of my assignments was documenting the move of a 6 gun 155 battery from LZ Wescott to LZ Vivian (See newspaper photo spread). It took most of the day, but the guns were only "offline" for 6 hours. The 155 howitzer is so heavy it had to be moved by the giant "skycrane" helicopter.

155 muzzle blast

A Noisy Day at LZ Grant

First Team Magazine photos for the story on the following pages required me spending an entire day shooting at LZ Grant from many different angles on several rolls of film. It was a very busy day for the gunners not a lot of breaks. As you can see from the photo at the left, ear protection was really low tech. I tried shooting photos from in front of the gun but the unbelievable loudness and the shock wave made it difficult to get sharp photos (not to mention all the smoke gets in your eyes). Photos from this series ran in other publications besides the sequence in First Team Magazine.

The photo on the left actually has the muzzle blast of the 155, very rare since it happens really, really fast (milliseconds).