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The following images were taken by Jim Hardy when he joined Alpha and Charlie Companies of the 2-3rd Infantry for a week on an operation in the jungles and rubber plantations outside of FSB Blackhorse and Xuan Loc in the latter part of October, 1969.  The following images and captions will form a short narrative of Hardy's time with the unit.  


 "Images bring back a lot of memories. I don't have names for many of the faces.  The photographs show the men who are still suspended in those moments, maybe forever, powerless to do anything else than try and hope."  Jim Hardy




Jim Hardy's ride out to the field to link up with Alpha and Charlie Companies operating in and near the rubber plantation.  Note the railroad tie in front of the driver to hopefully deflect any bullets or shrapnel.  Note also the GI web belt tacked on to hang smoke and frag grenades in case of enemy contact.



Jeeps from 2-3rd Infantry's "Rat Patrol."  This concept, named from the popular 1960's era television show, utilized heavily armed Jeeps with 2-3 men and M-60's that sped up and down the maze of trails and roads of the rubber plantations in Long Khanh Province, hoping to catch the NVA/VC off guard.



Lieutenant in charge of the of "Rat Patrol" detail calling in sit-rep after reaching Alpha Company somewhere in the rubber plantation.  Note that flak jackets are either worn or seen in close proximity to the rat patrol personnel as they were usually worn and extras put under the seats in case of mines and booby-traps that may be encountered.



Alpha Company preparing to move out and cover their expected zone of responsibility in the battalion's tactical area of operations.  Note that the men are beginning to get settled in to their gear, with the usual shrugging of shoulders and twisting/turning of the body so as to better settle the 60+ pounds of equipment that were often carried on patrol.



Alpha moves out on their azimuth in company column formation. Both sides of the road are covered with the officers and NCO's in the middle.  Tactical formations would depend upon the type of terrain being operated in.  In the deep jungle, the "line" formation was the usual, with one man following behind the other in something that resembled "a long green snake meandering through the bush."