Army Reporter information
for 18 ENG BDE

For date 3-15-71


18 ENG BDE was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Quang Tri Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Cam Lo


15Mar71- Road opened into Laos On QL9-Before it was possible for the ARVNs to push an armor column into southeastern Laos, more than 25 miles of QL9 between Cam Lo and the border had to be made passable after three years of nonuse and heavy aerial bombardment. That job fell to the 59th Engr. Co., 45th Engr. Gp., 18th Engr. Bde. "We started with 10 dozers on January 29 from Vandegrift and pushed through clearing the brush off the roadbed," said Lt. Harry Prince Jr., company commander. Those first three nights, the men didn't even take time to sleep. They just kept pushing ahead he continued. "We took a breather after the third day and after three more days of hard work we got near the border." With huge craters every few feet and a heavy layer of dust accumulating almost everywhere, QL9 looks as if it could be used by NASA as a moon testing location. "We stopped only long enough to push to fill in those craters that made the road impassable," Prince stated. After opening the road to the Laotian border, the company returned to Khe Sanh, where half the company started leveling ground for helipads and the other half went to work cutting a 50-yard swath on either side of QL9 from Khe Sanh to the border they had just left. After the pads were cut, the entire company was back on the road. A contented smile on his face, Prince wiped a layer of dust off his forehead and took a brief survey of his men's work. "Morale has been real high," Prince said. "These men work from dawn to dusk and then have to pull maintenance on their machines. They eat dust all day and have to sleep in it at night under their machines and pull their own security to boot," he said. "And yet they never complain." "I don't think I would rather be anywhere else than working with them out here," he said. "You really learn to respect them.

The source for this information was 7103AR.AVN supplied by Les Hines


Lt. Prince was KIA the day before this report was made.