Juan Maldonado's Memory of July 11, 1967 Quan Loi Ground Attack


Note:  Juan F. Maldonado served with Battalion Maintenance, Co. E 701st Maint Bn.,  1st Infantry Division from 3 May 1967 to 2 May 1968.  He was at Quan Loi in the early morning hours when a  reported 1060 men of the 4th Battalion, 141 NVA Regiment  and a company of local NVA/VC forces attacked Quan Loi.  What follows is his memory of that raid.  Only minor edits have been done to clarify and allow for easier reading.
I’m Juan F. Maldonado and I survived an attack on Quan Loi when it was overrun on the 11th of July 1967. Actually, I wasn’t the only survivor. Seven other GI’s did survive that darn disaster. My buddy Robert Bisner and I volunteered to go to Quan Loi. Our home base camp was at Phu Loi with Co. E 701st Maint Bn., 1st infantry Division. Both of us were flown to Quan Loi. On our arrival we were met by a Sergeant (E5) and taken to a tent beside the airfield. Six other GI’s were at the tent. I believe they were also volunteers. The Sergeant told us to place our belongings on any cot and to follow him.

He took us to a pit filled with empty artillery canisters and ordered us to start loading empty canisters on to a trailer parked beside the pit The next morning we were in route to An Loc, to a nearby rubber plantation to police all trash left behind by, I believe, an amour unit . We buried all trash and we were told if any batteries were found to smash them and bury them.

In the early hours of the 11th July, 1967 we all were asleep when I heard an explosion. I headed out of the tent to see what the hell was going on when a second mortar round landed nearby. I hollered “In-Coming, run for cover".  G.I.s ran toward a bunker about 50 ft. from the tent we were in. I stood at the exit of the tent to be sure that no one stayed behind. I saw a black soldier crawling on all fours. I grabbed him by shirt collar and took him to the bunker. At the bunker, I asked if everyone had their weapons. No one did, just myself. I positioned myself at the entrance of the bunker and heard the 50 caliber still going and a lot of small arms fire. I heard some movement close by, but it was so darn dark I couldn’t see a damn thing. I did fire a few rounds, but didn’t continue firing so as to not give our position away. Suddenly all the firing stopped. I told everyone to stay quiet and not to make sound.

Some morning light began to grow, I heard some groaning nearby. I asked if someone wanted to go with me to check it out. A soldier named Rico said that he’d go with me. I told Rico that we had to lay low, so we low-crawled all the way to the groaning sound. We found an MP, a Sergeant (E5), with his belly ripped open and his guts lying on the ground. A mortar round had landed near his tent. Jesus Christ!, I felt so helpless that we couldn’t do anything to keep him alive. The only thing I could say to comfort him was “Sarge, you’re going to be alright”. He died in my arms.

We heard someone coming; it was a Lt. wearing a bloody shirt. I couldn’t read his name cause of the blood stains. It might have been Steven or Stevens. I asked him if he was alright. He answered yes. He said that we were the only survivors. Rico and I told him that six more soldiers were at the bunker. He ordered us to gather everybody and each of us should grab two sandbags. We all followed him to the open airfield. He ordered us to place sandbags on the ground and all of us to lie in a prone position at the center of airfield. I looked toward the East side of the airfield and noticed that a CH-47 helicopter had some damage. We all laid there for about 20 to 30 minutes.

The Lt. ordered us to follow him. We walked toward this house that had a bamboo fence around it. We made our way through the bamboo fence; the first thing I saw was a huge swimming pool. The Lt. ordered us to search the building, [probably the Frenchmen’s Clubhouse]. We entered the building and killed two VC inside the building. We all headed back to the swimming pool area and the LT. positioned each in different areas. I can’t recall how long we stayed there, but to me it seemed for years.

I can’t recall if that was same day or next day. We heard the sound of tracks coming toward the compound. The first tank we saw, everyone ran to it for water and rations. We were all happy see the Armor Unit. Finally we had a good night sleep that night. The next day we helped to gather bodies. I looked inside an APC and saw the remains of solders all messed up and in pieces. We piled VC bodies onto a 2 1/2 ton truck. I had an instant camera with five exposures left, so I took some shots. I still have those pictures.

Finally, two days later our choppers came to pick us up. I recall on our way to the chopper Robert Bisner saying that he was going ask for the C.I.B. [Combat Infantry Badge] to be awarded to him. My answer was, “Robert I don’t give a shit about medals, all I care is that we survived this damn attack.”

We got back to our base camp at Phu Loi and our First Sergeant and Company Commander did not give a shit for all the hell we had gone through.

What saddens me is that I didn’t look at the name tag of the MP Sergeant whom died in my arms. It still bothers me that I couldn’t save him.

Who cares! Robert Bisner, Rico and the other soldiers, whose names I never knew, care. We survived The Raid on Quan Loi on July 11, 1967
I only had 3 months and 8 days in-country when this took, place.

Juan F. Maldonado  Then and Now
May 1967 to May 1968

Co. E 701st Maint. Bn., 1st infantry Division
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