Dean Reisch
Alpha 2-7 Cav
NAM 1971

2018-2019 Email Communications Between
Dean Reisch
Kenneth Bergquist,
Brigadier General U.S. Army (Retired)

Sent Dec 27, 2018, at 10:42 PM
From: Dean Reisch
To: Kenneth Ber

I turned 18 years old Nov 1,1970. I went on my second mission in Feb 1971. I was a
cherry. My job was assistant 60 gunner. I learned how to set up an automatic ambush.
On Feb.10, another squads AA went off that day and my squad leader took me and
some other guys on what he called burial detail. That was the first dead guys I saw.

The next morning, my squads AA went off. I grabbed 3 bandoliers of 16 ammo,200

rounds of 60 ammo and stuck a grenade in my pocket. When we got to the AA site I
clipped on to the 60 starter belt and we were all shooting. Recon by fire. I gave my
grenade to my squad leader and he threw  it. The 60 gunner and I were were told to
stay and cover them while they went in. Then I heard someone yell, "Frag out."

Thats when all hell broke loose. I ran toward the guys yelling, "I’m hit." I hooked up
with the RTO. At that point, I realized it was just he and I. I didn’t see anyone else
except for wounded. We were alone and most of the shooting was coming from the
NVA.Then what seemed an eternity but, was really only a minute or two, I thought sure
we were going to die.

You guys showed up. I remember you standing in the middle of the AA site on the
radio. I thought sure you were going  to get killed. At that point, I felt like a lost soul
with no one to tell me what to do. I remember helping to put a couple guy on the
hooks on the cable so they could be medevaced.

I remember guys blowing up trees so a helicopter could land. I helped a couple

guys get on the medevac bird. I remember one guy that put himself on. He was just
nicked in the corner of his eye .He gave me a thumbs up, like he was ok. He was your
RTO, I think, Vernon Rainey. That was the only name I remembered all these years. I
don’t remember my LT’s name. I don’t remember him being there. Then I hooked up
with guys for basically an on-line assault.

I remember running out of ammo. I remember regrouping and walking all night. I
remember getting steaks and ice cream. I don’t know why I wrote this. Maybe a part of
further healing. I know your name now sir, you were, CAPT  Bergquist.  
Thanks for listening. Dean Reisch  A/ 2-7 Cav    

P.S.  I earned my CIB that day. I was and still am very proud of that!

From: Kenneth Bergquist
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2018 2:05 PM
To: Dean
Subject: Re: Feb. 11, 1971


I very much appreciate hearing from after all the years since the events you described
in your 27 December email occurred. Let me first state, that I am most thankful to have
served with soldiers like yourself in the 1st Cavalry Division who unfailingly did their
jobs and took the initiative when the bullets are flying their way.

Thank you for your exemplary service and know that you well earned your CIB that day,
February 11, 1971. You prevented a superior NVA force from over-running your squad
until I could run with two additional squad (sans rucksacks) to the scene from the
platoon I was with about a quarter of a mile away. Even then, it was touch and go for a
while until we achieved fire-power dominance.

My job that day was to get all available company resources to the scene as quickly as
possible and to assure that artillery and gunship support were alerted and came on
station. Unfortunately, the NVA were in such close contact that we could not
immediately use the fire-support we had available.

Meanwhile the battalion commander (LTC Vesser) comes on station in his C&C bird
and immediately orders the commitment of the battalion quick reaction force (QRF), a
company minus size force, and requests of the brigade commander (COL Stevenson)
the lift support get them into the fight. The brigade commander gets the lift support
from division and the commitment of Pink Teams (scout helicopters teamed with
gunships) and a Blue rifle platoon from other division assets.

As well, the division staff monitors the action on the company, battalion and brigade
internal radio nets and begins planning for deployment of a battalion sized QRF. All of
this transpires because you and a few of your squad mates are deeply engaged in a
very close fight and in need of assistance. God I loved being in the 1st Cavalry
Division! You always had the back-up you need when you needed it.

When the reinforcements started coming in, the enemy saw the writing on the wall,
broke contact and scattered into the surrounding jungle. By this time, the company
medic had collected the wounded, treated them and prepared them for medevac.
Vernon Rainey bled-out from internal injuries while aboard the medevac. He was not
my RTO. He was a rifleman like your self with a few months more experience. Vernon
was the only soldier KIA in A Company during my command tenure. It hit me hard
because I had the hubris to think that I could possibly get everyone home alive as all
of you who served so well deserved.

The all night march started on February 16, 1971, and concluded before first light on
February 17, 1971. Later that afternoon we had an AA resulting in three NVA KIA and
the capture of two AK-47s and one K-54 pistol.  

Yes we got steaks and ice cream by air drop in the field from COL Stevenson, I think
on February 18, 1971. The only time I authorized cooking fires in the field was that
afternoon. I have a picture from that day which I will share with you as soon as I get
home on January 8, 2019. I am. In Vietnam at the moment seeing for myself what 50
years later looks like. I will send you my impressions of the changes also when I return.

Kenneth P. Bergquist
Brigadier General U.S. Army (Retired)

From: Kenneth Bergquist
Sent Jan 16, 2019 at 11:55 AM


As promised, here are all the pictures I have
from my tour with A/2/7 Cavalry. I did not carry
a camera in the field, so the collection of
photographs I have from my time in the field is
limited to those taken by others and shared
with me. Included is this small collection is a
picture of Vernon Rainey, who was KIA on 11
Feb 1971. That photograph was given to me by
his sister the last time I visited New Orleans. I
keep it as a reminder of the human cost of my
chosen profession.

I also have a picture of the “Field Steak Fry”
which is the only time I allowed open fires to
be employed in a tactical environment. This
event occurred in late February or early
March of 1971; and there is a back story to the
event known by very few. The brigade
commander liked to drop ice cream to
companies in the field when they had a
particularly successful engagement or series
thereof. In this case Colonel Stevenson sent
his Sergeant Major to get ice cream from the
brigade mess hall to make a poncho-
parachute drop to A Company. The Sergeant
Major grabbed the wrong frozen packages
from the freezer and the brigade mess went
with spaghetti in lieu of steak that evening.

I went to the National Archives in December
and got the Official Operational Report of the
1st Cavalry Division for the last three or four
months before the division stood-down. I
have extracted and highlighted all the A/2/7
Cavalry’s enemy engagement reports for the
time period. I have also produced annotated
maps showing the location of each such
enemy contact. It should jog your memories of
events with dates, times and locations. I
presume that you were reassigned to a
battalion in the third brigade when the rest of
the division stood down in mid-March 1971.

Garry Owen
Kenneth P. Bergquist
Brigadier General, U. S.  Army (Retired)
Click on any photo to enlarge
This webpage designed and posted by request and with
permission: January/February2019/JFB
Click Links below to view 1st Cav Div Operational Reports
and all of the A/2-7 Cav enemy engagement reports for the
last 3-4 months before the division stood down
And also for the
Annotated  Maps showing the location of each enemy contact
From Dean Reisch
I had many Captains through
my military service and I
know that Kenneth
Burgquist did some amazing
things in his life including
being Brigader General. But,
I’m sorry he will always be a
Captain to me.
My Captain!
The best there ever was!  
Posted: February 11, 2019/JFB    
Kenneth Bergquist
Brigadier General
U.S. Army (Retired)
From Dean Reisch
Vernon Rainey
I think of you almost every day.
The sacrifice you made gives
me the strength to face the
challenges of daily life.  

Peace be with you brother!
Hopefully, I’ll see you again

Garry Owen

Posted February 11, 2019/JFB