CO, 15th Combat Engineer Battalion
30 September 1967 - 24 August 1968
The following letter and photos were forwarded by Tom Loper for posting on the web site. Since his input covers many companies it is posted separately on this page rather than post the information on the HHC page
From Thomas C. Loper - 21 November 2000:
I've attached a few photos, mostly taken when I was the
CO from 30 Sep 67 to 24 Aug 68.
During this time the 15th did a tremendous job
supporting the 9th Div. One thing that I changed that was rather untraditional,
was to provide Engr support to the Brigades on an as required basis, not
necessarily an entire company, permanently placed in support. This allowed the Bn as a whole to provide more general
support to the Div in their many engineer requirements, at the same time I could
provide more than a company to a Bde, if it was required for an operation. With
the maintenance of roads and bridges in our AOR and the construction of Bear Cat
and Dong Tam it was certainly more than "B" Company could handle.
"D Co. pretty much remained in direct support of the 2nd Bde, Riverine
Force, as the logistics of shuttling platoons around in the Delta was more than
we wanted to take on, just to have another platoon to work on the base camp
infrastructure. We were also supported by the 86th Engr Bn and at times others
from the Group. Gen Ewell also tried to get more Engr support, as he thought
that the 9th was short changed. I couldn't object, but was not too optimistic
about additional engineers being put in direct support of the Div. Gen Weyand
(III FF) just about threw Ewell out of his office, while I waited in the next
room. Actually, we had more Engr Support than any of the other Divs at that time
and Ewell knew it. Not sure how much of the politics that went on ever filtered
down to the troops. After almost a year in command, I was really bushed and
ready to head home, with no thought of returning. It was one of the most
rewarding tours, however, another was Korea where I commanded "C" Co.
11 Engr Bn (Combat Army) in
1957-1958. I liked working with troops, and of course was much closer to them as
a Co. CO than in the Bn. Rather than returning to RVN, I felt that Europe was
going to be more important in the future of the Army, and Country, so I
volunteered to command an Engineer District in Rhineland-Pfalz, and stayed in
Ger from 1972 to 1976, returning to Ft Meade, MD as Engineer, First US Army.
Retiring in FL in 1980, where I still live.
The other Bn Commanders, Bill Reed, MG (Ret) and Guy
Jester, Col (Ret), did fantastic
jobs, and most likely have some photos they would share with the 15th veterans.
Warm Regards, Tom Loper
Taking command from LTC Reed, September 1967
Operation Santa Fe
1. Clearing jungle - 2. VC grave marker
3. Security - 4. Bailey bridge
5. Promotion in the field
B Company building the DTOC (Division Tactical Operations Center)
1. Medcap, feeding the orphans
2, 3, 4. Awards ceremony