OF THE ARMY
59TH ENGINEER COMPANY (LC) 39TH ENGINEER BATTALION AP0 SAN FRANCISCO 96325
EGD_LC 15 February 1971
39th Engr Bn (Cbt)
APO SF 96325
For the past three weeks, the 59th Engineer Company (Land Clearing) have been involved in it's most well known operation since Hamburger Hill. As you all know by now, this operation is known as Dewey Canyon II. One platoon of dozers, plus maintenance and communications personnel totaling thirty people from the 59th Engineer Company (LC), were the lead element in the reopening of QL9 from Quang Tri to the Laotian Border. The operation consisted of two phases. First, the construction of earth fill bypasses around some twenty odd downed bridges. Working as many as twenty hours a day for two weeks, the 59th "Bushwackers" reached the Laotian Border on the 4-th of February. After a one day stand down at Khe Sanh, the second phase began. This consisted of clearing land around Khe Sanh, plus clearing fifty meters on either side of QL9. This phase should take another three weeks to a month to accomplish.
The men of the 59th set the example for the other units during the operation. As most people try to get out of as much work as possible, the 59th couldn’t find enough. At every downed bridge they encountered, the lead dozers would get right to the task of building a causeway. The following dozers would then move to the sides of the road and begin to clear areas to be used as makeshift helicopter pads for resupply. When night approached the dozer operators would spread out and cut numerous NDP's from the dense jungles for the personnel involved in the operation. The operators of the 59th were exceedingly responsible and needed little prompting from their superiors to do a job. They saw what had to be done and did it.
In spite of the long hours and sleeping on the ground, the morale of the men was very high. When they reached the Laotian Border, the men of the 59th erected a concrete post that they carried with them from Chu Lai, on which was painted the names of the "Bushwackers" that participated in the operation. Next to this was a makeshift 59th guidon proclaiming to the world, that, in spite of popular belief, the Engineers are the Army's point-men, not the infantry or armor.
JOHN J. DOLAN