Truoi Bridge

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The Battle at Truoi Bridge, Hwy 1

Damian Rippberger – October 1, 2012

After the heavy fighting in the Citadel at Hue City, the Battalion sustained so may killed and wounded, that it was in danger of becoming understrength. They soon received new recruits to replace the many marines lost in the Citadel battle and were immediately assigned security duties at various bridges all along the infamous Highway 1 between Hue City and Phu Bai. One of these bridges was The Truoi River Bridge. It was an old railroad bridge and a major “Choke Point” usually guarded by the indigenous South Vietnamese. On March 31st Alpha’s second Platoon and HQ group, which included Alpha’s commander set-in at the bunkered south side of the bridge and ordered at ease. Approximately 30 members of the platoon, assigned duties for the next day, and moved into the small buildings that made up the compound at the bridges entrance. It wasn’t till the end of that day when the bridge started getting hit from enemy fire. The south end of the bridge was now under heavy attack. The battle at Truoi Bridge lasted all through the night and into the next morning. At dawn, through the heroic efforts of the tiny forces, the south end of the bridge was still in Allied control. The second platoon of Alpha Company held its ground and only through the desperate efforts of the suicide “Sappers” of NVA, the bridge was blown and partially destroyed. The NVA paid a huge price trying to take the Truoi Bridge. The enemy casualties were confirmed a sixty-four, but those were just the ones not recovered by dawns first light. Fifthteen Marines and one Corpsman were killed in action during this engagement, and fifty-eight wounded, mostly those of the Marine CP guards.

Nine of these Marines were with Alpha Company

A Co. 1/5 Marines

Cpl Walter W. Rosolie, Rosedale, NY
LCpl Charles D. Miller, Wewoka, OK
Pfc Richard Garcia, San Antonio, TX
Pfc Robert K. Horspool, Ogden, UT
Pfc Gerald L. Johnson, Mojave, CA
Pfc Richard F. Links, Noank, CT
Pfc Kevin W. Moore, Milwaukee, WI
Pfc William R. Neal, Amarillo, TX
Cpl. James J. Tedesco, IA

B Co. 1/5 Marines

Pfc Edward T. Stone, Dorchester, MA

H&S Co. 1/5 Marines (with A/1/5)

Cpl Arthur C. McLellan, Terryville, CT
HM3 Steven R. Wolter, Hilo, HI
LCpl Erasmo Palos, Eagle Pass, TX
Pfc Thomas J. Kovacevich, Detroit, MI
Pfc Walter R. Riggs, Moorpark, CA
Pfc Thomas P. Sweeney, Ashburnham, MA

The Truoi Bridge Compound

Taken from the large tower located in the middle of the compound. Lookin NE, Overlooking 81mm Martar and two bunkers. Bunker on top right is ARVN Machine Gun.

Taken from the large tower located in the middle of the compound.The building on the left with the sugar cane laying in front was where Alpha Co set up its command center. When that attack started one of the first motar rounds to hit the compound hit the roof of the command post. That’s where we lost the corpsman and I believe 3 marines. The blast knock out at least one radio and severely hampered communications.

Taken from the large tower located in the middle of the compound. Lookin NW, Overlooking the old tank at the Main Gate of the Compound. Also HWY 1 North in Background.

 

 

Gerald L. Johnson

Three Alpha squad leaders and best friends Jimmy Tedesco, Walter Rosolie, and Vic Walker, Hoi An late 1967

Richard Garcia

 

 

Kevin Walker Moore

William Richard Neal

Robert K. Horspool

James Tedesco

PFC Richard “BIG RED” Weaver awarded Bronze Star at Truoi Bridge, KIA May 20th 1968

Cpl. Walter Rosolie, Jr. awarded Siver Star in Hue, KIA March 31st 1968

Truoi Bridge POW

There was one NVA POW captured 2 days after the attack. He was a sapper and had been shot in the leg. He was hiding in the weeds on the edge of the river. An old mama-son went down to the river to wash some clothing and spotted him hiding in the weeds. She came running back yelling “VC”, “VC”. We thought another assault was coming and everyone was taking up positions. After the arvins spoke with her a group of us went down to the rivers edge and found him hiding in the weeds. He was young, about my age (18 or so) and wearing only a pair of shorts and armed with only a knife. The corpsman attended to his wound then he was taken away and questioned by the ARVIN ‘s.

A few months later, I think in July we pulled an operation in the mountains not far from the bridge. We located a large NVA base on the side of a mountain. It was something to see, they must have been there for some time. It was well constructed with bunkers dug into the side of the mountain. At one clearing on the mountain you could look out and have a clear view of the Troui river and the bridge. I don’t know if it’s true, but word had it that plans were found for the bridge. We stayed there several days then blew the place up when we left…………….Ray Gallagher

 

Map of Truoi Bridge & Compound cunstructed by a map hand drawn by an A1/5 Raymond Gallagher

 
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Comments (18)

  1. Dave Schulting, August 20, 2013
    I served at this compound 6 months in 1970. It was CACO 3-5. 101st airborne had two 81 tubes for support of our units in the area. 3-5-3 and 3-5-4. Other support came from Phu Bai and firebase anzio up the road. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the Marines who lost there lives back in 68. Reply
  2. Dave Schulting, February 3, 2014
    45 years this year. The Troui bridge and area will be with me forever. Good Marines died here. Reply
    • James K Harwood II, March 7, 2014
      Dave, Hi...thank you for your service sir. Did you know my Dad, James Keith Harwood? Your name sounds familiar to me. Reply
  3. James K Harwood II, March 7, 2014
    I can remember hearing my Dad tell me about this battle. He was wounded there. I just want to personally salute all the men who fought in the battle at Truoi Bridge and in Vietnam. I sure wish Dad was alive to see this site. He would have been very pleased. I know he would have liked to find and reconnect with people he served with. Thanks so much. Reply
  4. dennis kluesener, March 10, 2014
    Walter Rosolie was KIA at the bridge after earning silver star at Hue. I did not know him but I tend his grave along with the 6 others who gave all from our hometown of Rosedale, NY Semper Fi to all Marines everywhere Reply
    • J Mack, January 12, 2015
      Sir Thank you for your service, Walt was not only a hero, he was a beautiful person as well. His best friend Jimmy Tedesco was KIA when he went to try and help him. Two great guys who will forever be remembered by those who served with them. Reply
      • Ray Gallagher, January 14, 2015
        I was close friends with both "Rosie & Teddy." I first met them at The "Horseshoe" in Oct.'67. I was with them the day before the battle at the bridge. We spent part of the day together and were all going out to the bridge that night. At the last second I decided to stay in the compound with the 81 gun. I told them I better stay with the gun since it was our first night there. I left them at the front gate and told them I would see them in the morning and would go out with them the following night. That decision has stayed with me all these years. Reply
    • Kevin Molloy, May 22, 2017
      I was an SSG US Army in I Corps only arriving after Walt was killed May 8th 1968. We went to a catholic grammar school together and I hung out with him and his younger Gene. Walt was good looking, very smart, nice but not to be messed with. Another dear friend, my best friend Mickey Wash was KIA December 19th 1968 and even though I was in the Army I was his official military escort. When I came home from Vietnam as an escort and went to Mickey's parents, Walts parents were there as well., along with another friend and school mate Tommy Mceilin USMC KIA in late 67. All three KIA in one year, we all knew each other very well as did our parents. All three very young Tommy still 19 and Walt and Mickey 20, all in the 1st Marine Division. When I came home to all three parents along with mine waiting for me I just wanted to die. I will never forget. I was happy to go back to Vietnam to try to not have to deal with the guilt but it is still there every day. Walt, Tommy and Mickey may you RIP and may we meet again some day. All great guys. Reply
    • Kevin Molloy, May 22, 2017
      Where is his grave? He was my friend for a long time from "The World" before we all ended up in I Corps. I remember the last time I saw him just before he shipped out. I knew his family very well. I would like to visit his grave. Reply
  5. Steve Cramar, October 6, 2015
    I was a combat engineer and stayed in that tower my partner and I along with a sniper team. It was after the bridge was blown and the new put in next to it. I had to put c-4 charges linked with det. cord from one side of the river to the other on both sides of the new bridge. I went on so many different ops. with 1/5,2/5 and 3/5 if I remember right it was either Delta or Charley Co. I was on the bridge with. Reply
    • JB MacCreight, December 25, 2015
      Steve do you have any photos of the bridge or the surrounding area... I was there that night and would love to see anything you have. Semper Fi JB Mac Reply
      • Steve Cramar, January 1, 2016
        I wish I did I lost all my pics. years ago. I can remember little snippets of Nam But I can only remember 3 names all 3 were combat engineers , Epps,Hooks and Lawrence. Epps was KIA on An Hoa road on a routine sweep(land Mine) Hooks was my partner for almost an entire tour and Lawrence was my new partner and through a dumb ass BOOT mistake KIA Booby Trap Reply
        • Larry See, February 3, 2017
          I was there at that time on Navy River Patrol Boat(PBR). We did convoy protection, fire support and rescue/Medevac duties for a couple of months until Hue was re-captured. I have some before-and-after photos of the bridge. Reply
  6. Steve Cramar, January 1, 2016
    I am trying to find one of you guys that was in the 5th Reg.that remember right after Hue I think I was with Delta Co. they sent us across the river on that long bridge and we met up with 2 tanks & 1 Ontoses. We were supposed to link up with another unit at this old French Fort. One of the tanks had Ho Che Minh sucks on the barrell of the 90mm gun. Along the way we came across a amtrack that had run over a 250 lb bomb . If that sounds familar get back two me. Semper Fi Reply
  7. JB Mac, April 2, 2016
    To the families, friends, and combat brothers… This day lays heavy on our hearts and minds… April 1, Troui River Bridge was a sad day for the Corps. A very sad day for the families and friends of those that perished. May they who knew them use their sacrifice as an inspiration for when you are weak or challenged, for we the lucky ones were sparred. Let their spirit lift you when you are sad. Let the memory of their smiles brighten your days. Tell a friend about them, keep their spirit alive… Reply
  8. Donna Derry, April 17, 2016
    CPL James Tedesco's sister. A rose was sent to my brothers funeral in memory of Walter Rosolie. My brother Jimmy and Rosie we best friends and both went to heaven that day. God Bless all of those brave men. Reply
  9. bob long, April 12, 2017
    on the bridge I believe on Easter Sunday 1968. Small arms fire erupted ,and I saw a brother go down. Pray to this day he made it . God Bless to all who served. Lost a good friend and platoon mate. there as well . Tom Sweeney. Reply
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