HACKENSACK, N.J., May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- 50 years ago, on Mother's Day 1967, the command company of the First Battalion of the 327th Airborne, 101st Airborne Brigade, was engaged in a search-and-destroy mission in the mountains above the Song Ve valley of Vietnam. When they were out-numbered in a North Vietnamese ambush, it was officially listed as a small-unit combat during OPERATION MALHEUR-1 but to the soldiers, it was the Battle of Mother's Day Hill.
With the Vietnamese only yards away, the captain called for "danger close" artillery strikes—only yards from his own lines. One volley of 105mm shells hit the tree line and blasted into the command bunker, wounding several soldiers and killing the captain, the forward artillery observer, and both radio operators. Filming this carnage was a crew for ABC News, including a "green" 26-year-old cameraman named Yasutsune "Tony" Hirashiki.
He remembers the aftermath of the artillery rounds:
"…a crazy confusion of blood and screams. 'Medic! Medic!' 'Oh, my leg! My leg!' I was crazily filming everything—just operating on unthinking reflex. After a few minutes, [my soundman] tapped on my shoulder and yelled, 'Tony! Stop filming! Let's stop and help!' …I put my camera on the ground, and we moved to do what we could for the wounded soldiers."(from "On the Frontlines of the Television War")
The ABC correspondent, Ken Gale, was already working on the injured:
"At one point, a wounded soldier asked me to re-insert the needle of the serum drip bag he'd had hooked up. ... After several failed attempts, the soldier hollered, 'G*****it. Just stick the f***ing needle in the vein!' or words like that. I concentrated and got it in right." (Ken Gale, in a 2007 email quoted in "On the Frontlines of the Television War")
The Battle of Mother's Day Hill is only the first chapter in this electrifying new book, "On the Frontlines of the Television War" by Yasutsune "Tony" Hirashiki (Casemate Publishers, 2017, Hardback $32.95). There have been very few books written about the reporters, technicians, and executives who invented TV News on what Tony calls the "journalism school" of the battlefield, and there are none with the passion and empathy of this award-winning author.
Additional details on the battle, an interview with Mr. Hirashiki, color prints of the battle reproduced from the original 50-year-old film, and film clips are available. Any publication or TV station wishing to do a story for the anniversary, Memorial Day, or other dates should contact Terry Irving at firstname.lastname@example.org. Terry is the book editor for author Yasutsune "Tony" Hirashiki.
Hirashiki chapter One.pdf
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SOURCE Yasutsune "Tony" Hirashiki