Sampers, James William, IC1

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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
IC-0000-Interior Communications Electrician
Last Rating/NEC Group
Interior Communications Electrician
Primary Unit
1969-1969, IC-0000, River Squadron 51 (RIVRON 51), River Patrol Flotilla 5 (RIVPATFLOT 5)
Service Years
1961 - 1969
IC-Interior Communications Electrician
Two Hash Marks

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Gregory Ritchey, GMG3 to remember Sampers, James William, IC1.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Storm Lake, IA
Last Address
Storm Lake, IA

Casualty Date
Sep 07, 1969
Hostile, Died
Other Explosive Device
Gia Dinh (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Saint Marys Cemetery - Storm Lake, Iowa
Wall/Plot Coordinates
18W 056

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Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  1969, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry

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Operation Giant Slingshot
Start Year
End Year

Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT was the third SEA LORDS barrier established along the Vam Co Tay and Vam Co Dong rivers to interdict enemy routes leading from the Cambodian Parrot's Beak into the III Corps area of South Vietnam. 

Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT was officially born on 5 December 1968, when Captain Price transmitted the following message: YRBM-16 arrived Tan An 051700H December 1968, CTF 194.9 embarked. Final positioning and secure anchoring operations in progress with ETC 052400H …movement of boat assets a thing of beauty with all units arriving within minutes of YRBM at Tan An. RON for all boat units at Tan An with movement to secondary sites and commencement of patrol operations scheduled for 060800H."

final preparations for the change of command ceremony on 5 May, in which Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT would be turned over to the Vietnamese Navy, were being made at Ben Luc.

At 051000H May 1970, the ceremony commence, with Vice Admiral ZUMWALT and Commodore CHON, plus numerous other distinguished guests in attendance. Following the inspection of the colors and the invocation, Commander SIGMOND and his relief, Lieutenant Commander TIEU made their remarks. The GIANT SLINGSHOT Flag was then passed from the United States Navy to the Vietnamese Navy marking the turnover. ADMIRAL ZUMWALT and Commodore CHON, the Vietnamese Chief of Operations, each made remarks.

The turnover of operational control of Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT to the Vietnamese marks another giant step in the turnover program. The accomplishments and the successes are a tribute to those who have served so well during the past 18 months.

Along with the turnover came a new name for the operation "Tran Hung Dao II". Designated TG 214.1, under the command of Commodore Phong, CTF 214, with Lieutenant Commander TIEU designated as the on-scene commander.

During the planning and initial stages of the operation, changes were frequent. It was apparent then,that the business of interdiction is a fast moving type of operation and flexibility is the key to success. To be specific, the River LST was scheduled to be the USS Garrett County, which was to be relieved by the USS Harnett County. USS Garrett County was due for regular overhaul. The Harnett County was delayed in Yokosuka, however, and thus a gap existed between River LST's in the operation. A third River Patrol Division was scheduled into the operation but it was newly forming and arrived on 6 December 1968, commencing patrols on 8 December 1968. Since YRBM-16 was unable to support more than two river divisions, the third river division was primarily staged in Nha Be, and transited to their patrol area on a daily basis. They also used YRBM-18 as a staging point.

The units commenced patrols as scheduled on 6 December 1968 and River Division 534 was the first GIANT SLINGSHOT unit to engage the enemy. At 061915H December 1968 a U.S. Army helicopter flying surveillance patrol on the Vam Co Dong River received ground fire and requested that PBRs investigate the area for a possible sampan crossing. Two PBRs deployed to investigate and received heavy automatic weapons fire while enroute, XS 426086. The boats returned fire, made another firing run and suppressed the enemy fire. No one was injured in this first fire fight. On the 7th of December 1968 there were two additional firefights which were initiated by the enemy. It should be added here that this level of activity was considered high because PBR's had previously been engaged in the population and resources control mission of Task Force 116, where firefights with this regularity were seldom encountered. The enemy was engaged on numerous occasions, but seldom three times in two days. This level of activity for GIANT SLINGSHOT forces remained both high and above the average of other units operating in the Mekong Delta.

From the beginning the cooperation, assistance, coordination and support between GIANT SLINGSHOT forces and the U.S. Army, ARVN, Special forces and numerous other non-organic units operating in the area was excellent and ever increasing. The increased water mobility given to the ground units lured them into previously unguarded rivers. With land oriented and water oriented people working together, the operation became more and more abundant and efficient. The land troops enjoyed the mobility allowing them to sail into an area rapidly, disembark and sweep an area quickly before the enemy could hide caches or booby traps. The Viet Cong, long known to be transporting their arms and ammo down canals, streams and rivers in pony express point-to-point fashion, were caught short by the combined efforts in GIANT SLINGSHOT. They were suddenly unable to move freely about the rivers and were therefore unable to get their caches moved away from the river and in some cases unable to even cover caches lying in the open.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
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Last Updated:
Jul 7, 2014
Personal Memories
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  46 Also There at This Battle:
  • Akin, William, SCPO, (1960-1980)
  • Blankenship, Donald, PO2, (1967-1971)
  • Brown, John, PO3, (1967-1970)
  • Catt, Gordon, PO3, (1967-1969)
  • Gill, Monte, SCPO, (1959-1988)
  • Hagan, Joel, MCPO, (1958-1981)
  • Hare, Larry, PO3, (1968-1970)
  • Heinz, John, PO2, (1967-1972)
  • Jackson, Michael, PO3, (1967-1971)
  • Kermen, Robert, CAPT, (1967-2004)
  • Moss, Gary, MCPO, (1961-1980)
  • Rindy, John, PO2, (1967-1973)
  • Rosner, Joseph, PO3, (1967-1971)
  • Shelly, Henry, CPO, (1968-1994)
  • Sparrow, Billy, SN, (1967-1970)
  • Wright, Larry A., PO3, (1966-1970)
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