I am a retired United States Air Force Security Policeman. The history of the USAF Security Police is full of men and women who sacrificed their lives in the defense of this nation. This is one of those stories.
January 31st, 1968, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam.
0320: Call Sign Echo 37, bunker 051 calls in and reports and reports mortars and grenades are being fired at the western perimeter, but are falling short. Security Forces are dispatched.
0327: Echo 37, Sgt Fischer, who was badly wounded reports that several hundred men were attacking the bunker and heading toward the airfield. Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) ran away and left Sgt. Alfonzo Coggins, Sgt. William Cyr, Sgt.Louis Fischer, Sgt. Roger Mills and Sgt. Charles Hebron to attempt to hold the defensive bunker. It was discovered that 12 North Vietnam Army companies were attacking the base from eight directions.
0330: A Helicopter Light Fire Team under the control of the 53rd Bn, 3rd Company was dispatched to strafe the areas where the enemy was concentrated.
0340: Bunker 051 (Echo-37) reported two injured. one hit by a mortar or rocket and that mortar or rocket rounds were landing on base. CSC dispatched an ambulance to the 051 Bunker to evacuate the wounded. The ambulance, however, was unable to reach the bunker due to the heavy enemy fire.
0344: The 051 Bunker (Echo-37) reported the west perimeter fence was being breached near 051 Gate (75 meters north of the 051 Bunker) and that enemy forces were coming onto the base. The Echo Quick Reaction Team and two platoons of Task Force 35 were dispatched to the area and deployed as the initial blocking force.
0354: Echo-37 (Sgt. Fischer) reported: ” They are completely inside the base, they’re all around this position, we’re running low on ammo, one man dead and two badly injured”.
0354:, Security Control: 10-20 “What’s your call sign?”
0354: Echo 37: Echo 37
0355: Security Control: “Copy Echo-37”
0355: Echo-37: “That’s 10-4”
This was the last transmission from Sgt. Fisher. Of the five Security Policeman whose post that night was bunker 051, only one survived. Sgt. Alonzo Coggins either emerged or was found at approximately 1100 Hours. After his comrades were dead and running out of ammo, he lay severely wounded and survived throughout the night, even during the 10 hours that the North Vietnamese had control of bunker 051, Sgt. Coggins remained inside. He was eventually airlifted for medical treatment. Six months later he was discharged and was awarded the Silver Star as were his four comrades that fell.