LZ Center (Hill 348, I Corp Tactical Zone, BT 052 250, Tien Son, Tien Phuoc District, Quang Nam Province, 15° 35´ 19.29" N, 108° 24´ 56.98" E)
LZ Center originally was a fire base for the 101st Airborne, and then the 3/21st infantry. B Battery, 3/82 FA, took over the base when the 196th LIB moved into the area in the autumn of 1967 to link up with 1st Bde 101st and 3rd Bde 25th to form Task Force Oregon, which eventually led to the forming of the Americal Division.
During the Vietnam War, the 3rd Battalion arrived as part of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade in 1966, and participated in Operation Attleboro I and II, Operation Ceder Falls, Operation Gadsden, and Operation Junction City. Later in the war, elements of the 82nd Field Artillery Regiment participated in Operation Clean House, Operation Pershing, Operation Sheridan Saber. B Battery was the last artillery unit to leave Vietnam in 1972.
In November, 1967, my father, Rudy Shotts, began his tour in Vietnam. He was the Gun Chief for Gun #2 of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Artillery, B Battery, and served primarily on Hill 348 or "LZ Center," including supporting the Marines at Khe Sanh, and the 82nd Airborne and 1st Cav in the Quang Tri Province. LZ Center was a Fire Support Base (FSB) located just south of the Que Son Valley, about 15 miles west of Tam Ky, in the Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, and a few kilometers east of the Hiep Duc Valley. Among those he served with are Ed "Doc" Den Braven, Danny Jordan, Mike Smith, Larry Headley, Don Thomas, Pete Polifka and others.
This site was inspired as a tribute to those who served on or near LZ Center, and to all Vietnam Vets who fought elsewhere during the Vietnam War. After consulting on numerous occasions with those who served with the 3/82nd Artillery and 3/21st Infantry of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, it is a pleasure to pay my respects to all who served.
LZ Center photo courtesy of Chuck Hitzemann, May 2002
Tribute to the Helicopter Pilots in Vietnam, "God's Own Lunatics" is the phrase coined by noted reporter, Joe Galloway, as a description of respect and admiration for the helicopter crews, and their willingness to go anywhere, anytime, in support of ground combat forces. Joe Galloway was a reporter at the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in 1965. He co-wrote, "We Were Soldiers Once, and Young" with Col. Hal Moore, the US commander of the battle. This battle was the initiation of the airmobile concept and the US force was the First Air Cav.