Holloway, Michael Scott, CPL

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Signal Corps
Last Primary MOS
31B-Field Communications Electronics Equipment Mechanic
Last MOS Group
Signal Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1970-1971, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1970 - 1971


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This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Michael Christy (Six) to remember Holloway, Michael Scott, CPL.

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Casualty Info
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Casualty Date
Mar 28, 1971
Hostile, Died
Artillery, Rocket, Mortar
Quang Tin (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Rosedale Memorial Park - Tallmadge, Michigan
Wall/Plot Coordinates
04W 087

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196th Infantry Brigade (Light) 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment
  1970-1971, 111.1, 196th Infantry Brigade (Light) /HHC
  1970-1971, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment
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  1970-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)1
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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
BORN :May 10, 1949
UNIT: 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade
DIED: March 28, 1971
LOCATION: FSB Mary Ann Quang Tri Providence, Vietnam

I never met Michael. I went to the funeral home where he lay in repose to visit with his dad, who I had known when I was a little boy. Maynard Holloway and his wife Ruth lived three doors down from us. My first recollection of the family was seeing the flag with the blue star in their window. Maynard was in the army off on some battlefield in World War II. I then remember Maynard,who must have been discharged by then, washing his car wearing old army clothes.

I do recall that Maynard and Ruth ultimately divorced. Ruth became the family friend but Maynard was gone.

When I visited Maynard at the funeral home I was wearing my class-A uniform as I had just come from work (I was a National Guard advisor while finishing up college). He was terribly hurt and grieving and when he saw me in uniform, a spark of anger came into his eyes. Only when I told him who I was and that I was there to offer my condolences did he calm down. He felt strongly that his son died for nothing. I realized he was reflecting the pain any American who lost a loved one would feel at a time when the vast majority of American felt the war had gone on too long and was a war we never should have been waging in the first place.

I didn't even try to comfort him. He was in no mood for words like "honorable service," "the ultimate sacrifice," "For God and Country" or any of the stuff I normally said at a grave site during my SAO duties. I just let him know how sorry I was for his loss. We shook hands and I left. This was personal. SSgt. Warren Peter Ritsema was one of two Western Michigan men killed at FSB Mary Ann on March 28, 1971 when 33 Americans died. The other was Cpl. Michael Scott Holloway.

The Battle of FSB Mary Ann was fought when North Vietnamese Army sappers attacked the U.S. firebase located in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.

Fire support base Mary Ann was set up with the purpose of providing a shield for Da Nang and the surrounding hamlets, the base was also designed as an interception point against movements of enemy troops and materiel down the Dak Rose Trail. The base was manned by 231 American soldiers.

For months leading up to the attack the level of enemy activity in the area had been low and contacts were infrequent, although two weeks before the assault a large cache of enemy supplies was captured. The lack of significant engagements, plus the insignificant position of the firebase, had given the U.S. soldiers in the area a false sense of security.

FSB Mary Ann was similar to other U.S. firebases in South Vietnam, although it occupied a hilltop which looked like a camel with two humps. Running northwest to southeast the firebase stretched 500 meters across two hillsides with twenty-two bunkers. The headquarters consisted of the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and Company Command Post (CP), and was located at the south end of the camp. The northwest end of the camp consisted of an artillery position with two 155mm howitzers, the fire direction center and the artillery command post. Surrounding the firebase was a trench system protected by concertina wires.

On the night of March 28, 1971, 50 sappers from the NVA 409th Sapper Battalion approached the wires of FSB Mary Ann and took up positions to launch an attack on the men of 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. The NVA sappers were equipped with khaki shorts and soot camouflage, an AK-47 or RPG-7 strapped to their back, satchel charges to their chest and grenades around their belt. The sappers moved in small squads of three to six men, and with mortar support they attacked U.S. mortar and artillery positions at 02:30. The NVA had achieved the element of surprise as American soldiers were neither prepared or on alert.

Amidst all the explosions, the NVA managed to penetrate the south side of the FSB's perimeter. By the time the American soldiers inside the bunkers had recovered from the confusion, the sappers were already inside the camp, and hit half the bunkers using satchel charges and rocket-propelled grenades. The surprise attack by the NVA had the effect of immobilizing the camp's defenders, but those who survived the initial onslaught managed to mount resistance against their attackers.

The Tactical Operations Center (TOC) was struck by 82mm mortar shells, which awakened and subsequently incapacitated Lt. Col. William P. Doyle. Once Lt. Col. Doyle had regained consciousness, an order was made for helicopter gunships and illumination. At that point, the south end of the TOC was burning, after a sapper had set off a satchel charge that caused a case of white phosphorus grenades to ignite. Despite suffering from severe wounds, Doyle made his way out of the TOC and started firing his M-16 at the sappers, but he was knocked out again by a grenade.

At 02:51, radio telephone operator David Tarney managed to raise Landing Zone Mildred, when Lieutenant Thomas Schmitz requested artillery positions to adjust their guns and fire at Fire Support Base Mary Ann to save the surviving Americans there. Doyle then informed Schmitz that the TOC would be evacuated and they would lose radio contact. At around 03:30, the NVA disengaged and withdrew from the firebase trying to drag their dead and wounded comrades through the wires of the firebase, when a helicopter gunship turned up and began firing its guns at the sappers.

The wounded survivors of the 1st Battalion were finally airlifted out with the medevacs. The battle for FSB Mary Ann produced disastrous results for the U.S. Army, which suffered 33 killed and 83 wounded. It was the most deadly attack on a single U.S. firebase during the Vietnam War. The NVA casualties were largely unknown, but 12 bodies were left behind in the aftermath of the attack, and blood trails and drag marks indicated that the Viet Cong may have suffered more casualties.

Colonel William S. Hathaway, commander of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, was relieved of duty, and Lieutenant Colonel William P. Doyle was reprimanded. Doyle remained in service until his retirement but did not receive another promotion. He died of acute alcoholism at age 54. In July 1971, Maj. Gen. James L. Baldwin was relieved of command of the Americal Division, with military sources suggesting it was because of the attack on FSB Mary Ann
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