Stories

The story behind The Attleboro, a true story of sacrifice and honor.

In 1966 the Vietnam War was escalating with operations every increasing.  The conventional war was intensifying with the largest battle up to that point in the war looming on the horizon.  In III Corps, Tay Ninh Province, along the Cambodian border just northwest of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) Operation Attleboro commenced.  Its general goal was to find, then destroy North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) logistical resources plus any enemy units operating in the area.   Attleboro would slow enemy support and infiltration into the Saigon III Corps area.   Among this conventional operation was a very unconventional unit, the III Corps MIKE (Mobile Strike) Force, led by an Army Special Forces (SF) Team and manned by ethnic Chinese Nung soldiers.  The “Attleboro” is named to honor and commemorate those SF soldiers who fought and died during this operation.   We recognized one heroic soldier who during this operation epitomizes the spirit of our knife, Master Sergeant William B. Hunt.  His heroic actions during the battle led to several saved lives but in the process causing his wounding then his loss.  He was declared missing in action for ten years with the Army declaring a presumptive death in 1976.   With this profound history in mind, we bring to you, the “Attleboro”.  


DAU TRANH NECK KNIFE

We at Attleboro Knives love a great knife with a great story. Our new Dau Tranh is such a knife with terrific quality and another outstanding story. There are two specific definitions for Dau Tranh: First, in Vietnamese Dau Tranh translates as “struggle” – to never quit and drive on until you succeed. Second, Dau Tranh is a theory of protracted warfare which combines a nation’s military and political focus to achieve victory. The Vietnamese realized that without political will in coordination with military requirements victory in war was generally doomed to failure, You may read more at www.AttleboroKnives.com.

“The Protracted War conflict model, Prosecution of the war followed the Maoist model, closely integrating political and military efforts into the concept of one struggle, or dau tranh. Dau Tranh was and remains the stated basis of PAVN operations, and was held to spring from the history of Vietnamese resistance and patriotism, the superiority of Marxism-Leninism and the Party, the overwhelming justice of Vietnam's cause, and the support of the world's socialist and progressive forces. War was to be waged on all fronts: diplomatic, ideological, organizational, economic and military. Dau Tranh was divided into military and political spheres: Political Dau Tranh: three elements, Dan Van- Action among your people: Total mobilization of propaganda, motivational & organizational measures to manipulate internal masses and fighting units. Example: Intensive indoctrination and total mobilization of all civilian and military personnel in North Vietnam.  

 Binh Van- Action among enemy military: Subversion, proselytizing, and propaganda to encourage desertion, defection and lowered morale among enemy troops. Example: contribution to large number of South Vietnamese Army deserters and draft evaders in early years.   

 Dich Van- Action among enemy’s people: Total propaganda effort to sow discontent, defeatism, dissent and disloyalty among enemy’s population. Involves creation and/or manipulation of front groups and sympathizers. Example: work among South Vietnamese and US media, activist and academic circles.

Military Dau Tranh: the three phases, The strategy of the communist forces generally followed the protracted Revolutionary Warfare model of Mao in China, as diagrammed above. These phases were not static, and elements from one appear in others. Guerrilla warfare for example co-existed alongside conventional operations, and propaganda and terrorism would always be deployed throughout the conflict.

Phase 1 - Preparation, organization and propaganda phase

Phase 2 - Guerrilla warfare, terrorism phase

Phase 3 - General offensive – conventional war phase including big unit and mobile warfare

As part of the final stage, emphasis was placed on the Khoi Nghia, or "General Uprising" of the masses, in conjunction with the liberation forces. This spontaneous uprising of the masses would sweep away the imperialists and their puppets who would already be sorely weakened by earlier guerrilla and mobile warfare. The Communist leadership thus had a clear vision, strategy and method to guide their operations.”

Translation of Dau Tranh doctrine into military action

Militarily this strategy translated into a flexible mix of approaches on the ground: Continued efforts to build the revolutionary VC infrastructure and weaken GVN forces via propaganda and organization - Broad use of terrorism and low intensity guerrilla warfare - Widening the field of conflict logistically by expanding bases and troop movement in Laos and Cambodia -

Small-unit mobile warfare using VC Main Forces and NVA regulars over the expanded space, especially during seasonal offensive thrusts - Limited conventional operations where overwhelming numerical superiority could be concentrated to liquidate the maximum number of enemy effectives or control strategic blocks of territory - A General Uprising by the aggrieved masses as the enemy weakened - Full scale offensives by conventional forces with secondary guerrilla support. Overall, this approach was generally successful. It did not occur in a vacuum however. It both shaped and reacted to events in the arena of struggle. To fully grasp NLF/PAVN strategy, it is necessary to examine the counter-strategies used by the opponents of the NLF and PAVN: the South Vietnamese and the United States.“

Source – Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viet_Cong_and_PAVN_strategy,organization.


Caribou Mountain Series

 

For the last ten years several friends and I have been Elk hunting in the beautiful state of Idaho.  This state has been my emotional home all my entire life and it is hard to put into words just how beautiful the state truly is.    If all comes together in 2017, this will be our 12th year hunting together.  Our chosen hunting location is situated in south eastern Idaho – Caribou Mountain.  We hunt a “controlled hunt” area choosing either Bulls or Cows, commonly Hunting between 6000 and 8000 feet in elevation.  Generally cows are the chosen target – more of them and taste better anyway.  We have anywhere between four and eight hunters in camp at any one time staying for anywhere between ten days and three weeks.  Hunting always seems better in a nicely heated walled tent, you can get warm quickly, dry your gear, cook with some comfort and have a cold drink at the end of the day - “drinkin-em-up” (an old Team saying, ODA 096) is easier to recover from.   We have two tents, one for sleeping and one for eating, both heated so we’re set. 

The only problem with two tents, we need a lot of firewood – that’s where “Slash Pile” (we all have nick names) comes in.  He grew up logging with his dad and still thinks he is a logger, yup he has no fear with a chain saw at any angle even though he is a professor now.   Sometimes scares the hell out of the rest of us. The core of the group centers around “El Heffe”.  Seems like he is the one who all of us can draw a link to, kind of like six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  He’s a former Sergeant in Army Special Forces (SF), Ranger qualified then received an Infantry commission returning to SF as quickly as he could.  He was my commander in another life.   He is a successful businessman, doing the corporate thing now.  “Fubar 2” is my direct hunting partner (I’m Fubar 1) working together every day while we are on the mountain.   Our thinking is always the same, he works left I work left, I slow to listen he slows to listen.   We went to high school together playing football in Sandpoint, Idaho and have been very close friends since 1979.  He throws a football so hard it hurts to catch it.  One of those guys who is always upbeat – a great trait to have!  “Two Knives” would be the patriarch or our camp.  He is a retired Army SF Sergeant Major who spent his combat time with Ranger Companies in Vietnam.  Two Knives is our primary camp cook (along with Fubar 2) and general organizer for the group. He has the unique ability to never feel cold even in high winds and snow.  His general modus operandi is to peel cloths as he heats up, on at least one occasion going all the way down to his “whitey loosies”.  They could not really be called whitey tighties at that point and maybe not even all white. “Sky Diver” rounds out our core group.  He also spent his tour in Vietnam with Ranger Companies as an enlisted soldier and is SF qualified.   I have known him since 1983, when I was interviewed before joining the team as the medic.  He was my Executive Officer (commissioning with El Heffe) and I still call him “Sir” about half the time.  One of those guys who always has a smile.  His only weakness is the cold, sometimes he looks like the Stay Puffed Marshmallowman with all of his snivel gear on. Some guys come to camp from year to year and are always welcomed creating good stories as they go – Todd, Mark and David.

We were lucky enough to meet a friend on Caribou Mountain (The Trapper) who has been there every year with us.  His wife always makes cakes for us, which he brings into camp in trade for beer, dinner and a few good jokes.  He was a butcher and has a true way with cleaning an animal.  He has hunted on the mountain every year for over 40 years straight without missing a beat. He has become a welcome friend in camp and we look forward to seeing him each year. 

Our camp is named ‘Camp Balt”.  My father is Missing In Action from the Vietnam War, Balt was his  middle name.  We always post an American flag with a POW/MIA flag beneath it.  Once the camp is set we toast the hunt then generally have a good toast after each animal we bring to camp.  Jamison seems to be the drink of choice lately but it changes from time to time – beer is always a favorite!

All of us have gotten to be better friends over the last ten years and I can honestly say we have never had a cross word between us, not even a little argument.  Everyone chips in when needed.  They are all the kind of guys who you would want as a judge or teacher, all outstanding fathers and husbands with a spirit that makes you feel like a better person just for being with them.