In Memory of Captain Thomas Hewitt .... Charlie Co. Commander from June 15th to July 2nd of 1970
Thomas T. Hewitt, Captain O3 ..... 25 Years Old KIA July 2nd, 1970 on Hill 902 during FSB Ripcord Siege Cause: Hostile Action, RPG Blast Born: April 21, 1945 in Topeka , KS Survived By: Wife Diane and Brothers Ron & John Vietnam Memorial Wall Coordinates: 09W 0111
THOMAS T. HEWITT
Thomas Theodore Hewitt was from Topeka, Kansas and attended the University of Kansas on an Army ROTC Scholarship. While at KU, he served as the Jayhawk Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer; President of the sports parachute club; participated in Pershing Rifles and was selected for the Scabbard and Blade, the ROTC honorary society. At ROTC Advanced Camp before his senior year, Tom was selected as the #1 Cadet in his platoon.
Tom graduated from KU in 1967 with a geography degree and received a Regular Army commission. Tom attended the Infantry Officers Basic Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School. As a First Lieutenant, he served as an advisor to the 39th Vietnamese Ranger Battalion from May 3, 1969 to April 6, 1970 where he received a Bronze Star Medal. After a month’s leave, Captain Hewitt returned to Vietnam where took command of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in about May 1970. The Battalion Commander, LTC Andre C. Lucas, had taken command in early March and was told to take the fight to the enemy. The 2nd Battalion seized control of a NVA stronghold on a hilltop where they set up Fire Base (FB) Ripcord.
During June 1970, CPT Hewitt’s Charlie Company achieved the most success of any of the companies while on patrol. The Battalion received intelligence that Ripcord would receive an attack no later than July 1. At this time, only D Company was at FB Ripcord while C Company was bivouacked SW of Ripcord at Hill 902. The 2nd Battalion had spent 2 ½ months of hard labor securing FB Ripcord including laying over $50,000 worth of defensive wire.
On July 1, the NVA attacked Ripcord with 60mm and 82mm mortars, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), and small arms. Charlie Company could see the attack from their higher position and throughout the day, CPT Hewitt directed accurate artillery and helicopter gunship fire down on the enemy. CPT Hewitt also had his M60 machine guns fire at the mortars located between Hill 902 and FB Ripcord. Due to the fog of war, an intelligence report stating that Hill 902 might be attacked did not reach C Company.
In the early morning hours of July 2, NVA soldiers only wearing shorts and with their bodies painted black launched a sapper attack with satchel charges against Hill 902. Initially, C Company did not know if they were under mortar or direct attack. CPT Hewitt was mortally wounded by an RPG explosion while rallying his men to defend the NVA’s follow-on attack. In a battle that lasted over an hour and even after his death, CPT Hewitt’s well-trained company held off the enemy attack and the NVA left at least a couple of dozen dead on the slopes of Hill 902. There was also numerous blood trails indicating that the NVA had carried off many more wounded and dead.
CPT Hewitt’s leadership, encouragement, and personal example prevented the loss of Hill 902. CPT Hewitt and his C Company comrades’ actions on the July 1st and 2nd ensured the survival of FB Ripcord. His actions bring great credit upon himself, C Company, the Currahee Airborne troopers, and the Jayhawk Battalion. CPT Hewitt is indeed deserving of a place on the Jayhawk Wall of Fame.
The Charlie Company 2016 Memorial for Tom Hewitt
To our fallen Brother! We will never forget you. . "Together, Then, Now, & Always!!"
"Thank you brother for a job well done". Until we meet again my friend ..... "Currahee"......"Stands Alone"
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