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After Action Report 18
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCSBA-C 10 December 1966
SUBJECT: Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32)
TO: Commanding Officer
2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
APO U.S. Forces 96225
1.NAME OF OPERATION: Operation ATTLEBORO.
2. DATE OF OPERATION: 062140NOV66-252400NOV66.
3. LOCATION: Tay Ninh Province, South Viet Nam.
4. COMMAND HEADQUARTERS: 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry.
5. REPORTING OFFICER: LTC Victor F. Diaz.
6. TASK ORGANIZATION.
1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, LTC Victor F. Diaz, Commanding.
Scout Plat, 1LT R. A. Szarek
Hvy Mort Plat, 1LT L. H. Wickman
1 Plat, Co B, 65th Engr Bn
Company A, 1LT J. E. McQuinn, Commanding
Company B, CPT R. G. Vanneman, Commanding
Company C, CPT W. A. Blair, Commanding
7. SUPPORTING FORCES.
a. 6th Bn, 8th Arty
b. 2d Bn, 33rd Arty
c. Btry C, 2d Bn, 13th Arty
d. Btry B, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
e. 1st Bn, 8th Arty
f. Avn Sec, 2d Bde, 25th Inf Div
a. Intelligence Prior to the Operation: The VC 9th Div continued to avoid contact with U.S. Forces operating in Tay Ninh and Binh Dong Provinces. 2d Brigade elements had encountered very light contact since their commitment on 10 November 1966. The 101st NVN Regt was believed to be withdrawing NE toward Phuoc Long Province. Although the main force regiments of the 9th Div received a severe setback during their engagement with U.S. Forces they still retained the capability of attacking at a time and place of their choosing. Brigade units were also expected to make contact with the three battalions of the 70th Regt, which has the mission of security of COSVN in War Zone "C".
b. Enemy Situation During the Operation: Only sporadic contact was made during the entire operation. Significant contact was made near the Cambodian border with elements of the 70th Regiment. Captured documents indicated that a radio station had been operating in the area. The battalion encountered isolated incidents of small arms fire and AT mining. The mines were emplanted on existing roads and in areas that afforded the easiest access for tracked vehicles. Numerous base camps and cache sites were located just south of the Cambodian border; however, there was a lack of complex fortifications, trenches, or tunnels.
c. Terrain and Weather: Thunder storms were often encountered in the afternoon and evenings. Ground fog on several occasions delayed aircraft in the morning hours.
9. MISSION: 1Bn (Mech) 5th Inf moves by road, 071000NOV66, to vic Soui Da (XT 3458) for attachment to the 3rd Bde, 1st Inf Div and provides security for the 3rd bde Hq, forward supply base, and two fire support bases. On 100600NOV66 the battalion, detached from the 1st Div, conducts a reconnaissance in force and search and destroy operations in War Zone "C", attached to 2d Bde, 25th Inf Div.
10. CONCEPT OF OPERATION: The operation consisted of two major phases.
a. Phase I - The battalion organized two fixed bases and established perimeter defenses to secure the facilities consisting of four artillery batteries, 3rd Bde Hq forward supply airhead, a Special Forces compound and a Popular Forces compound. Patrols were dispatched throughout the AO to prevent VC infiltration and buildup.
b. Phase II - The battalion conducted reconnaissance in force in an attempt to locate VC forces, bases and cache sites. Successive fire support bases were secured and established to facilitate continuous and mutually supporting artillery fires through the axes of advance. Search and destroy operations were conducted in all areas of probable VC activity.
6 November 1966
The battalion departed Go Dau Ha (XT 3825) at 1005 hours for Soui Da (XT 3458), and was attached to the 3rd Bde, 1st Inf Div upon entering the area of operation. The battalion (-) established a base vic XT 340583 and provided a perimeter defense for the 3rd Bde Hq, forward supply airhead, two artillery batteries, a Special Forces compound and a Popular Forces compound. Company A was dispatched to vic XT 394622 to reinforce an infantry battalion which was securing a fire support base consisting of two artillery batteries.
7 November 1966
The battalion (-) continued to secure the base vic XT 340583 and reinforce Co A with the scout platoon to assume responsibility for the fire support base vic XT 394622 due to deployment of the Inf Bn. Patrols were dispatched throughout the AO but no contact was made. Trp B (-), 1/4 Cav and 1st Engr Bn (-), 1st Div Engr was placed under OPCON 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf for perimeter defense.
8 November 1966
Company B was dispatched to fire support base vic XT 394622 to relieve the Scout Platoon and the Bn(-) remained at the base vic XT 340583. Extensive patrolling was conducted throughout the AO but with no significant results. Another fire support base, consisting of one artillery battery, was established vic XT 305535 and the 4th Bn, 31st Inf was placed under OPCON 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf to secure the base. The 4/31st Inf was reinforced by a scout section, 1/5th Mech to secure the base. Night ambushes made no contact and returned at first light.
9 November 1966
Throughout the day all elements remained in their respective positions, conducting local patrols in sector. No contact was made except for Co B. During the morning hours two platoons from Co B were sent on local patrols North and SE of the destroyed bridge vic XT 393628, to locate a crossing point for track vehicles. A crossing site was found; however, eight VC were spotted and engaged vic XT 393628 at 1110 hours. The VC quickly broke contact and fled the area. A search of the area was fruitless. One ambush and two OP/LP's were established during darkness and at 2037 hours two VC were seen approaching the company perimeter. The VC were engaged with mortar and .50 cal MG fire but results could not be determined.
10 November 1966
Trp B 1/4 Cav, 1st Engr Bn and 4/31 Inf reverted to OPCON 1/4 Cav Sqdn. The battalion reverted to OPCON 2d Bde, 25th Inf Div and displaced to vic XT 274686 to secure the Bde base and to conduct reconnaissance in force in zone. At 1314 hours four hooches and three bunkers were destroyed vic XT 248694 and a VC company size overnight base was found vic XT 277703 at 1455 hours. Numerous foxholes and camp fire sites were found and the area appeared to have been used within the last three days. Three OP/LP's were established. None made contact and all returned at 0600 hours, (Incl 1).
11 November 1966
Throughout the day the Bn conducted reconnaissance in force north of the base up to the road junction vic XT 271772. Night ambushes made no contact and returned at first light.
Co A departed the area at 0730 hours moving north to check the trails from XT 279280 north to XT 269760. A trail leading east was found at 0755 hours vic XT 274720. At 0819 hours eight ox carts were found and destroyed vic XT 273722. Destroyed at 1005 hours vic XT 269752 were one steel helmet, one poncho, fifteen rice bags and five lean-to huts. A small VC base camp was found at 1200 hours vic XT 269753. Found and destroyed in the area were five Chicom grenades, 200 pounds of rice and 150 gallons of acid-type fluid which was buried in the ground. Three WIA's were sustained from acid burns as a sample was extracted. The area appeared to have been used as recently as 10 November 1966. Five bunkers, with three man capacity, were destroyed vic XT 270755 at 1220 hours. A Chicom claymore, rigged with wires for command detonation, was found and destroyed at 1302 hours vic XT 270755. Between 1359 hours and 1500 hours the company destroyed 9 Chicom grenades, one ton of rice, one concrete bunker and 240 pounds of canned foods vic XT 270756. The company then moved to vic XT 269757 and established its perimeter. One rifle grenade (dud) was fired into the company's perimeter at 1830 hours.
Co B departed the battalion base following Co A to reconnoiter trails leading north. While exploiting a trail vic XT 274729, at 1006 hours, two live pigs, a hut and several signs of recent activity were found. Other trails leading east were found vic XT 280725 and vic XT 273727. The company then established two platoon sized blocking positions in conjunction with Co C's operations on the west. One platoon reconnoitered a trail west from XT 268726 to XT 257729 with negative results. At 1630 hours the company departed the area to return to Bn base camp.
Co C departed the Bn base at 0730 hours to check the trails leading north, east and west between XT 270690 and XT 256760. A well used trail which appeared to have been used on 10 November 1966 was found vic XT 264704. Fresh ox cart tracks were found at 0915 hours vic XT 254715. A large east to west trail was found at 1013 hours vic XT 256723. At 1110 hours a bunker complex was found vic XT 262737. Upon approaching the complex one VC was flushed from the area and escaped to the east. At 1207 hours five more VC were flushed from vic XT 263734 and also fled to the east. At 1435 hours two trails were found vic XT 261722. One of the trails ran from south to north and the other ran from east to west. The east to west trail had been heavily traveled recently. After exploring these trails and finding nothing, Co C returned to the Bn base (-) one platoon which repaired a damaged vehicle and spent the night in Co A's base area.
12 November 1966
During the day the battalion conducted reconnaissance in force in the areas vic XT 286780, XT 279790 and XT 277776. The Bn CP displaced at 1100 hours to secure and establish the Bde Fire Support Base #1 vic XT 273785. Night ambushes were employed but no contact was made, (Incl 2).
Co A departed the company base at 0750 hours to secure the LZ vic XT 286780, for the 1st Bn, 27th Inf. Co A then returned to its base area at 1040 hours and at 1423 hours the company moved to the 2d Bde forward base, vic XT 274686, to provide security in conjunction with two Inf Bn's.
Co B departed the battalion base at 0600 hours to conduct a reconnaissance in force of the area vic XT 279790. Heavy footprints were found on an east to west trail vic XT 265784. A north to south trail, with the grass heavily beaten down, was found vic XT 257784 at 1000 hours. A VC base camp, which could accommodate 50 VC was found at 1015 hours vic XT 253782. A search of the area revealed nothing of importance; however, the camp site appeared to have been used within the last three or four days. Found and destroyed at 1202 hours vic XT 255786 were seven two-man shelters. The company then moved down a small trail leading south where ten foxholes were destroyed at 1300 hours vic XT 255794. One CBU bomblet was destroyed at 1420 hours vic XT 271794. The company departed the area and closed into the base at 1435 hours.
The company departed at 0618 hours on a reconnaissance in force mission in vic XT 277776. No contact was made; however, 12 CBU bomblets were destroyed and several trails were found in the area vic XT 239772. Co C then returned to the battalion base at 1430 hours and prepared its defensive positions.
13 November 1966
During the day Co's A and B exploited the B52 airstrike bordered by XT 1476-XT 1478-XT1576-XT 1578. Co C remained the vicinity the battalion base securing same. An artillery battery was airlifted in to complete the establishment of Fire Support Base #1. No contact was made during darkness.
At 0730 hours Co A departed the Bde base to exploit the B52 airstrike and at 0904 hours arrived vic XT 196768 where it found Co B for a joint movement into the strike area. Numerous bomb craters and destroyed houses were found in the area but there were no signs of recent VC occupancy within the area, before or after the airstrike. Co A completed its check of the area by 1350 hours, and returned to the battalion base. While enroute, at 1520 hours automatic weapons fire was received from XT 230772. No casualties were sustained and fire was returned. At 1527 hours one APC hit an AT mine vic XT 239773. Four minor WIA's were sustained and extensive damage was done to the vehicle. The vehicle was towed into the battalion base and the company closed at 1820 hours.
Co B departed the battalion base at 0820 hours to exploit the B52 airstrike. While enroute, at 0843 hours fresh ox cart tracks were found on a trail vic XT 236771. At 0902 hours a pile of scrap metal was found vic XT 206769. Co B then proceeded to vic XT 191769 where an ox cart track and two sets of fresh footprints were found since the rain during the night of 12 November 1966. The lead element observed a road block consisting of trees placed across the road at 0926 hours vic XT 188767. Upon approaching the area a large claymore was detonated against the vehicle by the VC. One minor WIA was sustained but no damage was done to the vehicle. Arty fire and airstrikes were also placed on the area. A check around the road block site two claymores complete with wire and ready for command detonation. Co B then departed at 1050 hours for its objective area. At 1202 hours one APC hit an AT mine vic XT 175764. No casualties were sustained but extensive damage was done to the vehicle. During the search of its objective area numerous bomb craters and 15 houses were found destroyed by the airstrike vic XT 150770 to XT 153770. Co B also destroyed 15 houses in the same area. A close check revealed that the area was probably a VC way-station. Co B then returned to the battalion base.
14 November 1966
Throughout the day the battalion conducted local patrols in sector and secured Fire Support Base #1 during resupply of the artillery battery by CH-47 helicopter. Three ambushes were established during darkness but none made contact.
Co A (-) departed the battalion base at 0842 hours to reconnoiter the area SE of the battalion base. A company base was established vic XT 256761 at 0955 hours and from this location platoons were dispatched to XT 251762, XT 263764 and XT 267757. One rice milling machine was found and destroyed vic XT 270756 at 1206 hours. By 1342 hours the search was completed and the company (-) returned to the battalion base leaving one platoon SE of the battalion base as a stay behind until the CH-47 resupply was complete.
At 0828 hours Co B made a search of the area north of the battalion base vic XT 265810, XT266815 and XT 273817. Found and destroyed vic XT 270817 at 1035 hours were 1,900 pounds of bagged rice. At 1201 hours vic XT 261809 a VC base camp which could easily accommodate 300 VC was located. The camp was completely ringed with foxholes and early warning positions on a trail leading into the area. The camp site appeared to have been used approximately one week prior. A small way-station, of a 30 VC capacity, was found at 1400 hours vic XT 278828. There were five foxholes around the area. After a thorough search Co B left the area and moved to the battalion base leaving one platoon north of the battalion base as a stay behind until the CH-47 resupply was complete.
At 0842 hours Co C reconnoitered the area west of the battalion base to vic XT 244806, XT 258979 and XT 257805. Found at 0930 hours vic XT 252798 were 300 rounds of ammunition approximately the same diameter of a .50 cal round with four small fins on the tail. The ammunition was evacuated for evaluation. At the same time a three man bunker was found and destroyed vic XT 257801. At 1040 hours 44,200 pounds of rice was found vic XT 255807. The rice was covered from the weather and in good condition. With permission granted from higher headquarters the rice was destroyed. A command detonated claymore was set off against the company at 1212 hours vic XT 252797 but no casualties were sustained. A VC base camp was found vic XT 243800 at 1431 hours. The camp could easily accommodate 100 VC and consisted of bunkers with overhead cover, several fire places and a stream running east to west approximately five feet wide and five feet deep. At the same time the platoon located vic XT 246798 engaged four VC. One VC was observed falling; however, he was assisted by the remaining VC and escaped toward the east. At approximately the same time an element engaged two VC vic XT 251797. They also escaped but to the south. Co C then called for and adjusted Arty fire throughout the area and returned to the battalion base leaving one platoon west of the battalion base as a stay behind until the Arty resupply was complete.
Scout Platoon departed the battalion base at 0959 hours escorting damaged APC's back to 2d Bde forward base vic XT 274686. While enroute, at 1037 hours, one APC hit an AT mine vic XT 278702. Two WIA's were sustained and evacuated. Extensive damage was done to the vehicle. After evacuation of casualties the platoon continued to the Bde forward base and returned without incident.
15 November 1966
The Bn displaced to establish the Bde Fire Support Base #2 vic XT 275863. Co A conducted a reconnaissance in force of objective 2, XT 2585 with negative results and closed into the new base at 1416 hours. Co B conducted a reconnaissance in force of objective 1, XT 2786, then secured a landing zone where an artillery battery was lifted in, to complete the establishment of Fire Support Base #2 without incident. Co C displaced after the Bn Cmd Gp and moved to the new battalion base. While enroute, vic XT 266852, five vehicles became mired and remained in that vicinity during the night. The battalion employed two ambushes and seven OP/LP's during darkness. None made contact and all returned at first light, (Incl 3).
16 November 1966
Throughout the day the Bn conducted local S&D operations in zone and all elements returned to the battalion base by 1605 hours. Co C's element destroyed twelve bunkers at 0904 hours vic XT 283864. Scout platoon made a route reconnaissance for future operations. While on the reconnaissance, at 0915 hours, two VC, dressed in black uniforms, were engaged vic XT 290890 but escaped to the east.
17 November 1966
Throughout the day the Bn conducted patrols in zone. Co A dispatched elements to the area south, southwest and west of the battalion base with negative results. Co C also dispatched elements on local patrols in zone and at 1145 hours they destroyed 29 MG positions with aiming stakes for sectors of fire, vic XT 285841. The area appeared unused for at least three or four days. The Scout Platoon departed the battalion base at 0800 hours to make a reconnaissance of the area vic XT 286900. Found and destroyed at 1046 hours vic XT 285897 were 3 huts, 3 bunkers, 1 khaki uniform and 1 large VC classroom. Several documents were found in the area also. Numerous bunkers were found along the trail. While returning, at 1105 hours, four WIA's were sustained from incoming VC mortar fire. The platoon closed into the battalion base at 1124 hours. At 1351 hours the platoon again departed to make a reconnaissance of the stream vic XT 284870 for trafficability and a crossing site. A log bridge was found vic XT 306850 and one APC was sent across with no difficulty. The platoon then returned to the battalion base. The battalion employed three ambushes and six OP/LP's. None made contact and all returned at first light.
18 November 1966
During the day the battalion conducted reconnaissance in force to vic XT 275925 and established a new base, (Incl 4).
The company departed the area at 0730 hours following Co B and C to the new battalion base. No contact was made while enroute and the company closed at 1700 hours.
Co B departed at 0700 hours and while enroute, engaged an estimated two VC vic XT 302908 at 0956 hours. In the ensuing fire fight one VC was killed (BC). A search of the area disclosed a command detonated claymore, two freshly dug firing positions, one gas mask, one first aid packet and one dozen dry cell 1.5 volt batteries, made by the Cambodian Battery Company, which were connected in series.
Co C departed at 0700 hours and at 0910 hours arrived at a VC base camp vic XT 286896. Upon entering the clearing in the area several firing positions were found on the west side of the clearing. A mess hall to accommodate 40 VC was found and destroyed along with two showers, 300 meters of electrical wire, six bicycles, one pair of legs for a claymore and miscellaneous clothing. Several documents were also taken from the area. The documents were checked by interpreters and one described a large VC base camp that existed in the general area. The document further stated that the base had a radio station, a hospital, was a political training center and was outposted with guards and telephones. Another VC base camp was found at 1106 hours vic XT 283895. This camp site also had a mess hall with the capacity of 40 persons, one large class room, two showers and six buildings. At 1335 hours, several APC's became mired vic XT 278912 which could not be extracted before darkness and the company remained in that vicinity over night.
19 November 1966
The battalion continued its reconnaissance in force and established a new base vic XT 274962, (Incl 4).
The company departed the area at 0706 hours for objective QUEEN (XT 265944). A search of the area revealed nothing and the company then coiled in the vicinity to wait for the battalion. At 1230 hours the company departed the area and, at 1306 hours vic XT 273975, the company engaged an unknown number of VC. The VC delivered automatic, small arms and mortar fires against the company. In the ensuing fire fight 11 VC were killed (BC) and captured, were two Chicom assault rifles, one U.S. BAR, one U.S. M1 rifle, three Chicom grenades, one 60mm mortar, 11 Chicom hand grenades, 4 60mm mortar rounds, fifteen magazines for Chicom assault rifles, seven magazines for a BAR, 7 rifle grenades, 300 rounds SA ammunition and one bag of assorted documents. Co A sustained three WIA during the brief encounter. The company departed the area at 1520 hours and closed into the battalion base at 1610 hours.
Co B departed at 1230 hours and moved to objective JACK (XT 270950). At 1325 hours, a VC base camp was found vic XT 277955 and destroyed were four huts, seven bunkers, fifteen foxholes and miscellaneous clothings and one 500 pound bomb. The company closed into the battalion base at 1600 hours.
By 0948 hours all vehicles were extracted and repaired and at 1230 hours the company joined the Bn (-) vic XT 275925. Co C then maneuvered to the west of Co A, who was in a fire fight vic XT 273957, and remained in this blocking position until 1520 hours. Upon entering the battalion base at 1535 hours three VC suspects were seen running NE from vic XT 274963. The suspects were hailed to stop but refused. Co C then fired a burst over the suspects heads but they continued to run and were engaged. Two of the suspects were captured vic XT 274965 and the other escaped to the NE. One of the captured suspects was armed with a hand grenade.
20 November 1966
The battalion continued the reconnaissance in force at 0745 hours to Fire Support Base #3 (XT 336924). By 1405 hours all elements had closed into the new base area without incident. During darkness three ambushes were established. None made contact and all returned at 0600 hours, (Incl 4).
21 November 1966
During daylight hours elements conducted local patrols in zone and performed maintenance of equipment. Co B remained to secure the LZ for the airlifting of the Arty battery into the base.
Co A departed at 0719 hours to establish a company base vic XT 315923 and from this location foot patrols were dispatched to the north and southeast. At XT 319910 a foot bridge was found which could sustain travel by heavy loaded ox carts and a docking site which could handle ten sampans at one time. A recently used VC base camp was found at 1318 hours vic XT 329919. Destroyed in the camp site were two AT mines and two CBU bomblets. One APC was hit by an AT weapon, believed to be an RPG-2, at 1413 hours. Two WIA's were sustained and evacuated. The company returned .50 cal MG and M79 fires in suspected locations, then called and adjusted artillery fire throughout the area. After this encounter Co A returned to the battalion base closing at 1638 hours.
Co C departed at 0755 hours on a patrol NW of the battalion base. At 0800 hours a 75 foot roll of #4 gage wire and fresh tracks (foot, boots and bicycles) were found on an east to west trail in the area. A search disclosed a VC base area consisting of a bunker/tunnel trench complex which could accommodate 400 to 500 VC. The structures in the area were old but had been recently used. The area was then saturated with artillery fire. Co C then made a deep penetration into the area but nothing of significance was found. A house and two bunkers were destroyed at XT 349040, at 1517 hours. Found within the structures and also destroyed were nine Chicom grenades, 500 pounds of rice, 100 pounds of peas and 100 pounds of salt. Miscellaneous documents were recovered from the area. At 1644 hours small arms fire was received from XT 348948 causing one WIA. Fire was returned but no results were obtained and Co C then returned to the battalion base. During darkness one ambush was established vic XT 343938. At 2140 hours the ambush received three rounds SA fire. 81mm mortar fire was called in on the VC location and a secondary explosion was observed. The ambush returned at 0630 hours.
22 November 1966
The battalion conducted local patrols and performed maintenance during the day.
Co A departed on a local patrol at 1106 hours. At 1125 hours one APC was hit by an AT weapon vic XT 326918. Three WIA's were sustained and evacuated. While in the same area at 1139 hours small arms fire was received which caused one WIA. After adjusting Arty fire throughout the area the company then moved to XT 326918 at 1622 hours where twelve bunkers were destroyed. Co A then returned to the battalion base.
Co B departed at 0800 hours to conduct local patrols in zone. A platoon located vic XT 346922 received small arms fire from the west at 0855 hours. Fire was returned with no results obtained. Three huts were destroyed at 0942 hours vic XT 348925. Found vic XT 347922 was a docking site with heavy ox cart tracks indicating loading and off-loading activities. At 1226 hours the company found miscellaneous documents in a hut, which the company destroyed vic XT 347918. Co B then returned to the battalion base.
Co C departed at 0816 hours on its patrol. Destroyed vic XT 348935 at 0850 hours were one hut and three fish traps. Small arms fire was received at 1027 hours from vic XT 352927 causing one KIA. Fire was returned and while sweeping the area one rifle grenade and small arms fire was received from XT 358938. No casualties were sustained and a heavy volume of fire was returned. Three bunkers were found in the same area at 1148 hours. A check of the area disclosed wires leading out from the bunkers and at the end of one set of wires was a new type mine. All bunkers and the mine were destroyed. Also found and destroyed in the same area were one bunker, 350 feet of blasting wire (Cambodian type), two Cambodian blasting caps and five 7.62mm rounds. Co C then returned to the battalion base.
23 November 1966
The battalion displaced to return to Fire Support Base #1 vic XT 275785, (Incl 4).
Co A departed at 0730 hours and while enroute, at 1315 hours, a command detonated mine was employed against the company vic XT 315868; however, no damage was sustained. Two VC were observed fleeing the area and were engaged but they escaped. Co A then closed into the new battalion base at 1735 hours.
Co B departed at 0825 hours but due to mechanical difficulties and problems encountered navigating the various crossing sites the company did not close into the battalion base until 2225 hours.
Co C departed at 0800 hours and while enroute three VC were engaged vic XT 335897 at 1007 hours. The VC quickly moved into a nearby wooded area and escaped. Co C then moved to the battalion base closing at 1820 hours.
The platoon departed at 0730 hours as lead element of the battalion. At 0746 hours the lead APC hit an AT mine vic XT 329892 resulting in minor damage but no casualties. At 1506 hours another APC hit an AT mine vic XT 308855 and again, no casualties were sustained and minor damage was done to the vehicle. At 1635 hours the platoon was diverted to spend the night at 2d Bde Fire Support Base #2 and closed at 1800 hours.
24 November 1966
Throughout the day Co's A and B remained in base and outposted the local area. Co C departed at 0700 hours to establish Fire Support Base #0, vic XT 185765. At 0812 hours, one APC hit an AT mine vic XT 188768 resulting in minor damage but no casualties. Another APC hit an AT mine at 0822 hours vic XT 183765. Heavy damage was done to the vehicle and five WIA's were sustained and evacuated. Co C then closed into its planned base at 0925 hours and prepared defensive positions. An Arty Btry was airlifted in, completing the fire support base.
25 November 1966
The battalion conducted reconnaissance in force to vic XT 147685 and established a new base. Co A departed at 0800 hours and moved to the new base without incident closing at 1715 hours. Co B departed at 0755 hours as lead element of the battalion and at 0952 hours, one APC hit an AT mine vic XT 234771. Extensive damage was done to the vehicle and three WIA's were sustained and evacuated. Co B then closed into the new battalion base minus three vehicles which were mired on the edge of the base. Co C secured the LZ for the artillery extraction and upon completion departed at 1400 hours for the new battalion base closing at 1700 hours. Heavy Mortar Platoon's Command Post (M577) was extensively damaged by an AT mine at 1410 hours vic XT 160752 and was destroyed in place. Three WIA's were sustained and evacuated, (Incl 5).
Operation ATTLEBORO terminated 252400NOV66.
(1) 471 personnel participated in the operation.
(2) 61 WIA (29 of which were treated and returned to duty) and 1 KIA were sustained (Incl 6, casualty list).
(3) Two APC (M113), one carrier, 81mm mortar (M125A1) and one command post (M577) were damaged beyond repair by AT mines and destroyed in place.
(1) Killed: 12 VC (BC), 1 (est)
(2) Captured: 2 VCS
1 U.S. M1 rifle
1 U.S. BAR
3 Russian carbines
1 60mm mortar
2 Chicom assault rifles
2 VC notebooks
100 NVN "5" Dong notes
2 VC payment books
1 VC flag
Assorted VC ID cards
(3) Destroyed: 34 Chicom grenades
7 rifle grenades
4 Chicom claymores, complete
5 rounds 7.62mm Russian SMG ammunition
4 60mm mortar rounds
15 CBU bomblets
1 500 pound bomb
17 firing positions
2 bunker/tunnel complexes
8 ox carts
150 gallons acid (type unknown)
300 meters electrical wire
350 feet of blasting wire
2 blasting caps
7 magazines (BAR)
PAGE 11 and 12 of the CAAR are missing. Continuing at the top of page 13:
f. Medical Evaluation: Company Commanders, Platoon Leaders and Squad Leaders should insure that their troops always maintain a high state of body cleanliness. Failure to do so, especially in the high heat and humidity found in this area, causes rashes to form on any portion of the body that is covered by clothing.
14. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES: None.
15. COMMANDER'S ANALYSIS: there was no significant contact made which required any change to pre-planned actions.
a. On future operations of this nature the minimum engineer support for a mechanized battalion is one platoon. Due to mobility and spare requirements it is recommended that the engineer platoon be provided with organic M113 APC (4) or sufficient helicopters to transport all personnel and equipment into the work sites as needed.
b. 105mm Howitzer (towed) are too restrictive when placed within the base of a mechanized battalion. Units are restricted to the range of the 105mm Howitzer and the battalion must maintain a stationary base for the artillery. It is therefore recommended that artillery support be provided by 105mm Howitzer (SP) for all mechanized battalions.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
6 Incl KENNETH W. LUCAS
as Captain Infantry
CASUALTIES INCURRED DURING OPERATION ATTLEBORO
NAME RANK UNIT DISPOSITION
HOUSEBERG, Sammy SP4 E4 HHC 45th Surg
GARBACZ, John H SP4 E4 HHC 45th Surg
GILLIAM, Harold SGT E5 HHC Rtn to dty
LACEY, Carl E. SGT E5 HHC 45th Surg
CAINES, Larry D SP4 E4 HHC Rtn to dty
McCLOSKEY, David PFC E3 HHC Rtn to dty
BEARD, Harley SSG E6 HHC Rtn to dty
BUTLER, Clyde R SGT E5 HHC Rtn to dty
SZAREK, Raymond 1LT HHC Rtn to dty
WILLIAMS, Chester SP4 E4 HHC 196th Med Bn
WICKMAN, Lance 1LT HHC 25th Med
HALE, Paul E PFC E3 HHC 93rd Evac
SHORT, Franklin SP4 E4 Co A 196th Med Bn
McGUIRE, Peter J 1LT Co A 196th Med Bn
WARD, Richard O 1LT Co A 196th Med Bn
RODRIGUEZ, Rodolfo SSG E6 Co A Rtn to dty
SULLIVAN, Donald L PFC E3 Co A Rtn to dty
FRIDAY, John B PSG E7 Co A Rtn to dty
STEVENS, Paul SP4 E4 Co A 7th Surg
FLYNN, William SP4 E4 Co A 7th Surg
WARDEN, T. O. SGT E5 Co A 7th Surg
McQUINN, James E 1LT Co A Rtn to dty
JUNGKURTH, Doyle SP4 E4 Co A 7th Surg
HAMPTON, Ronald SP4 E4 Co A Rtn to dty
HALE, Richard M SGT E5 Co A 93rd Evac
GILBERT, James 1LT Co A 93rd Evac
ESPINOSA, Atansio PFC E3 Co A Rtn to dty
DOTSON, Terry SSG E6 Co A Rtn to dty
BARTLETT, Dennis L SGT E5 Co A Rtn to dty
KEENER, William F PFC E3 Co A 7th Surg
SPOONER, Vincent J SGT E5 Co A 7th Surg
ALLEN, Garnett Jr SP4 E4 Co A Rtn to dty
LINDEMOEN, Robert D SP5 E5 Co A 7th Surg
McLANE, Richard SGT E5 Co A 7th Surg
FRY, Gerald F SP4 E4 Co A Rtn to dty
LOSEY, Ronald SGT E5 Co B Rtn to dty
MUCKER, Ronnie E SGT E5 Co B Rtn to dty
TERHARK, James G PFC E3 Co B Rtn to dty
SANTOS, David J PFC E3 Co B Rtn to dty
MELTON, Leon SP4 E4 Co B Rtn to dty
NAME RANK UNIT DISPOSITION
LOSEY, Ronald SGT E5 Co B Rtn to dty
CAPOZZOLI, Peter M PFC E3 Co B 45th Surg
LEE, Terry M PFC E3 Co B 45th Surg
RIVERA-GONZALES, Luis PFC E3 Co B 45th Surg
ARIAS-SANCHEZ, Francisco PFC E3 Co B 45th Surg
DOWELL, Thomas G SP4 E4 Co B 8th Support
OWENS, Walter Jr SGT E5 Co B 45th Surg
LOWE, John D SGT E5 Co B Rtn to dty
LUNDQUIST, David C PFC E3 Co B Rtn to dty
COLEMAN, John (Paul) PFC E3 Co B Rtn to dty
RUSSELL, Darrell J PFC E3 Co C 196th Med Bn
CAMMERON, Robert PFC E3 Co C 196th Med Bn
PINION, Dock J SP4 E4 Co C KIA
SCHUTTER, Allan F SP4 E4 Co C Rtn to dty
LINTON, William Jr PVT E1 Co C 196th Med Bn
BUCHMASTER, Carl F SP4 E4 Co C 8th Support
BARR, Thaddeus F PFC E3 Co C 196th Med Bn
KNOOP, Charles P PFC E3 Co C 196th Med Bn
BELL, Thurman L SP4 E4 Co C Rtn to dty
WARD, Carlos PVT E1 Co C Rtn to dty
NORTHCUTT, Michael N SGT E5 Co C 196th Med Bn
HAUN, Henry W SGT E5 Co C Rtn to dty
During the period of 6 Nov 66 through 30 Nov 66 there were a total of 61 WIA's of which 29 returned to duty. There was one KIA. 24 Officers and 459 EM started the operation and 22 Off and 428 EM finished the operation.
Inclosure 6 (Casualty List) to Ltr, HQ, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, subj Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32), dtd 10 Dec 66.
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
TIMAA-C 10 April 1966
SUBJECT: After-Action Report
TO: Commanding Officer
2d Bde Task Force
25th Infantry Division
APO U. S. Forces 96225
1. Operation CIRCLE PINES, search and destroy.
2. Date: 29 March - 5 April 1966.
3. GENERAL: The operation started in the rubber plantation west of Phu Hoa Dong (XT 7119) and continued through the Ho Bo Woods (XT 6229). The Bn OPORD 15-66 was issued 271000MAR66. The operation was conducted with the 2d Bde Task Force. Lt Col Greer is the reporting officer. Task organization and commanders were as follows:
a. 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf: Lt Col T. U. Greer, commanding.
(1) Co A: Capt J. A. Renner, commanding.
(2) Co B: 1/Lt F. G. Trenery, commanding.
(3) Co C: Capt J. G. Andress, commanding.
(4) Recon Plat: 1/Lt D. T. Schou.
(5) Hvy Mort Plat: 1/Lt J. E. McQuinn.
b. Recon Platoon was attached to Co A and Co C was detached to the 1/69th Armor.
a. One Main Force Battalion, the 307 Bn of the 165A Regt, has been reported in the operations area. The 048 Heavy Weapons Company was reported supporting the 307 Bn. Exact locations and dispositions of the VC forces were not known. It was believed that when the VC determined that a major U.S. attack was underway they would attempt to withdraw and exfiltrate in small groups to safe areas in the Ho Bo Woods (XT 6228) and the Iron Triangle (XT 7025). It was expected that the same general harassing and delaying tactics, sniper fire, and boobytraps would be employed by the VC. The VC were known to have anti-armor capability through the use of the Soviet RLRPG-2, which is capable of penetrating 6-7 inches of armor and is effective up to 150 meters.
b. During the operation in the plantation, no large VC force was encountered. The primary mission of the Bn was to seal off all routes of escape out of Phu Hoa Dong while the 7th Regt (ARVN) conducted search and destroy operations throughout the entire village area. This mission was accomplished, but only two- and three-man VC groups were encountered by our blocking position. Upon deploying into the Ho Bo Woods with objectives in the area of XT 6527 and XT 6526, no major enemy contact was made, although ambushes around company perimeters engaged and killed small groups of VC attempting to probe the unit defenses or bypass and depart the area. Co A was ordered into an area vic XT 629305 which reportedly was occupied by small elements from the VC 7th Regt. Co A met heavy resistance in the area from an estimated two VC platoons, but they succeeded in securing the objective. The VC encountered in this area were wearing complete black uniforms, helmets, web and harness equipment. The VC also employed 175mm duds as command detonated mines triggered from well concealed bunkers. A complete battalion attack into the north-western side of the Ho Bo Woods resulted in the following:
Co C completely searched a heavily wooded area within which the Recon Platoon had located a large rice and military equipment cache (XT 598265). There was some enemy contact in the area, but these VC were believed to be only guarding the cache area. Co B and Recon Platoon encountered light to heavy resistance when they moved in the attack vic XT 585290. These VC elements were not identified and throughout the entire operation the battalion did not encounter any VC elements larger than two platoons. Specific identification of units was not made, although several documents, maps, photos, ect., found in tunnels referred to units which had been in the area recently.
c. Terrain and Weather. The weather caused no significant changes in plans throughout the operational period. The terrain in the plantation area consisted of sparse to heavily undergrown rubber plantations and open flat fields. Observation in this area is good to excellent and fields of fire are excellent. There are no obstacles to tracked movement in the plantation area. The streams and bordering marshy fields are obstacles to tracked movement. The Ho Bo Woods area consists of rubber plantations, sparse to dense woods and open rice paddies with some extremely large dikes in the area of XT 605215. Some were approximately four feet high and four feet wide but did not present an obstacle to tracked movement.
d. Fortifications: Extensive three and four level tunnel complexes were located and destroyed in the vic of XT 658247. Small tunnels were also located and destroyed in the vicinity of XT 630303 and XT 658258. The following were recently used by VC for bivouac areas, storage, or both: XT 598265, XT 590270, XT 590275, XT 585305 to XT 598326 to XT 615312. All of the above were reported to Bde S-2 as continuous H&I targets.
5. Mission: 1/5th Mech attacks 290700MAR to seize Obj 1 and conduct search and destroy operations in assigned area of operation.
6. Concept of Operation: Task Force attacked rapidly through the plantation to seize Obj's 1 and 2 and establish blocking positions A, B, C and D to prevent VC movement in and out of Phu Hoa Dong. Preplanned fires were on call (Incl 1).
7. Execution: The Task Force departed the LD on time and secured Obj's 1 and 2 by 0900 hours. All blocking positions were established and occupied by 0935 hours. Upon securing Obj 1, Co A shot one VC attempting to swim the river from the south to the north and detained several indigenous personnel they spotted leaving the area. Co B killed two VC's and captured one, together with several documents, weapons, ammunition and miscellaneous equipment. Co C made no contact. During the afternoon sporadic contact was made by each company, and four VC kills (conf) and one VC wounded were made while the battalion suffered two WIA's. A POW revealed the location of a rice cache which was investigated and confirmed by Co A and turned over to the ARVN for disposition. Co A also located a second rice cache, as well as miscellaneous weapons, ammunition and equipment. Co B also located various small arms, ammunition and equipment. Recon Platoon located several tunnels, weapons and documents, as well as several sampans, which were sunk, and a landing site. The companies coiled for the night in company perimeters and established nine ambushes to augment the security and increase the effectiveness of the blocking positions. By 1945 the task force had killed a total of ten VC (conf) and captured three VC. In addition, six suspects were detained. On the following day all units conducted extensive searches in their areas, resulting in Recon Platoon finding and destroying a tunnel complex and Co A finding two large stores of ammunition, grenades, documents, tng equipment and a considerable amount of penicillin, heroin and miscellaneous medical supplies. Extensive damage was done to one Recon Platoon APC by a command detonated mine. Ten ambushes were established that night, making negative enemy contact. On the third day the Task Force area of operations was enlarged by an additional 12,000 square meters for search and destroy operations. Search and destroy operations commenced early that morning and seven tunnels were destroyed, one M-1 rifle and various documents captured, plus two VC killed (conf) and one VC wounded. One friendly WIA was sustained, and one track suffered moderate damage from an AT mine. That night seven ambush sites were established which accounted for four VC kills confirmed and six estimated in three contacts. One friendly WIA was sustained. On 1 Apr 66 the Task Force continued to occupy blocking positions in conjunction with the ARVN search of Phu Hoa Dong, which was completed that afternoon. At 0915 hours, a new order was received from the Bde CO to move to and occupy a new assembly area in preparation for the continuation of the attack into the Ho Bo Woods (incl 2). At 1330 hours the Bn CP departed the original assembly area, closing on the new assembly area BOBCAT at 1625, with one APC sustaining extensive damage from an AT mine enroute. Shortly thereafter, Capt. E. B. Vickery returned to duty, resuming command of Co B. Upon closing into the assembly area, an attachment of A Trp, 3/4 Cav, commanded by Capt J. R. Monahan, was effected. Eight ambushes were established that night, one of which made enemy contact, reporting one confirmed VC kill and one estimated, as well as one rifle and a small quantity of ammunition and miscellaneous documents captured. The attack was launched at 0730, 2 Apr 66, along assigned axes. The Objectives PAM and KIM were seized at 0901 and 0912, respectively. Objective CAROL was seized by 1200 hours. No enemy contact was made, though A Trp, 3/4 Cav had three vehicles damaged by AT mines. Due to reported VC activity north of the Bde TF objectives, the Bn was given the mission to seize a new blocking position vic OP D (XT 628304). Co A was dispatched to the area at 1450 hours and arrived at 1545 hours. Upon arriving in the vicinity of OP D, they encountered an estimated VC force of two squads and in the ensuring fire fight killed six VC (conf). The objective was secured by 1632 hours. One APC was destroyed by a command detonated mine and resulted in four KIA and six WIA (which included two National Policemen). The mine was later determined to be a 175mm Arty round rigged for electrical detonation. During the search of the TF's area of operations, many weapons, munitions, documents, maps and pictures were captured. Two 100 lb bags of rice and two tunnels were also found and destroyed. Recon Platoon suffered two WIA's in the day's operation while killing one VC (conf), destroying many tunnels and capturing one carbine and a large supply of arms, munitions, and miscellaneous equipment. Eight ambushes were employed by the battalion to supplement the security of each company base. One of the ambushes was sprung at 1955 hours, resulting in eight VC killed (five conf, three est). Several weapons and some munitions, equipment and documents were taken from the bodies. On 3 Apr 66 all units conducted a systematic search of their respective areas, resulting in the capture of several weapons and a quantity of munitions, equipment and documents. Co B suffered two WIA's due to boobytraps. One of the boobytraps captured by Co A consisted of a 175mm shell, fuzed for command detonation and wired to a bicycle generator affixed to a rotary grindstone. Co B dispatched a platoon to check on reported ground fire from vic XT 657273. One of the tracks was destroyed by a mine which ignited the gas tank. One KIA and four WIA's were suffered. The unit suffered another WIA due to small arms fire in the same area. One VC suspect was captured. Recon Platoon estimated killing two VC in tunnels. Eight ambushes were established during the hours of darkness, but none made contact. Final instructions for the continuation of the operation were received at 1900 hours. All units were alerted and at 2300 hours the TF Frag O was issued (Incl 3). The next phase of Operation CIRCLE PINES commenced at 040700APR66. Co C returned to Bn control at 0630 and A Trp, 3/4 Cav reported to the 1/69th Armor at the same time. At 0819 hours the Recon Platoon discovered several large rice caches in a well concealed and fortified area. Co C was diverted from its preplanned mission to conduct a thorough search of the area vic XT 600265. The remainder of the Bn continued on its preplanned operation. At 0855 hours a heavy volume of rifle grenade fire was received while passing through CP 6. Co B suffered three WIA's. The VC were engaged by artillery, gunships and small arms fire. The initial sweep to the north was supported by artillery, Tac air, and gunships. Light VC contact was made by each unit. During the southeast sweep, Co B and Co C were diverted to vic XT 598259. Air and artillery supported the sweep. By 1800 hours Co A closed into a base area. The Bn(-) closed into a new assembly area at 2400 hours. During the day 23 VC were killed (6 conf and 15 est). Several tunnels, five tons of rice, and four rifles were destroyed. Over four tons of rice, a large amount of military equipment, munitions and arms were captured. The Bn suffered 19 WIA's and 1 KIA. At 051610APR66 the Recon Platoon was committed to the 2/27th Inf to assist in securing the area which was attacked earlier that morning. By 0900 hours Co B was also committed to the 2/27th Inf. Co C was placed under Bde OPCON to assist the return movement of the Bde complex. All elements closed into the Bn base camp by 1621 hours. No enemy contact was made.
8. Supporting Forces:
Btry C, 1/8th Arty (DS)
1/8th Arty (-) (GS)
25th Inf Div.
a. VC killed (Confirmed and estimated):
(1) 40 VC killed (body count).
(2) 57 VC killed (est).
(3) 3 VC captured.
(4) 6 VC suspects detained.
(1) 1,420 rounds, Russian, 7.62mm.
(2) 90 carbine rounds.
(3) 60 .45 cal rounds.
(4) 40 crimped cartridges.
(5) 4 .45 cal SMG magazines.
(6) 74 hand grenades.
(7) 19 rifle grenades.
(8) 11 AT mines.
(9) 3 AP mines
(10) 1 175mm command detonated mine.
(11) 1 155mm command detonated mine.
(12) 30 bobbytraps.
(13) 2 81mm boobytraps.
(14) 2 small Claymores.
(15) 6 houses.
(16) 71 tunnels.
(17) 8 bunkers
(18) 4.7 tons of spoiled rice.
(1) 5 tons of rice.
(2) 3-55 gal drums of miscellaneous military equipment, including 90 flashlights, web equipment, ammo pouches and gloves (all new).
(3) 10 pistol belts.
(4) 13 packs.
(5) miscellaneous maps, narcotics, penicillin and tng manuals.
(6) 1 medical aid kit.
(7) 5 large bags of documents.
(8) 1 SMG.
(9) 1 RPG-2 rocket launcher.
(10) 6 Russian 7.62mm rifles.
(11) 4 bolt action rifles (destroyed).
(12) 3 M1 rifles.
(13) 3 bolt action rifles.
(14) 1 pistol, homemade.
10. Administrative Matters:
a. Supplies: Resupply was accomplished by two methods. Primary method was aerial resupply by helicopter from base camp. The other method was the positioning of Class III and Class IV at OP Ann Margaret while operating in the plantation and then positioning the same supplies in a Bn trains located in the Bde trains area vic Trung Lap. During the operation, 126 sorties delivered the following supplies: Class I - 21,862 pounds; Class II and IV - 8,900 pounds; Class III - 46,000 pounds (5,750 gallons); Class V - 22,198 pounds; and water - 23,925 pounds (2,981 gallons). The largest problem encountered in resupply was receiving the attached unit, A Trp, 3/4 Cav, on the fourth day of the operation and being informed at approximately 1600 hours that they needed 1,000 gallons of MOGAS and 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel to accomplish their mission. The fuel was delivered despite a shortage of daylight time. Another problem encountered was water resupply at base camp. During the first two days of the operation, a 5,000 gallon water tanker was positioned at the helipad; however, its pump was inoperable. It was removed on the third day. Then, and continuously afterwards, the water points were either closed or a long waiting time existed. Recommend that if a completely operational water tanker is not positioned on the helipad that one of the water points be designated for use only by vehicles involved in resupply by helicopters. The availability of helicopters in the early morning and late evening still caused some problems in resupply. Helicopters were never available earlier than 0800 hours and at most times were released at 1700 hours. The tactical operation required constant or considerable movement before 0800 hours and after 1700 hours. Therefore, it is essential that helicopters be available for resupply missions, especially during the periods of 0700-0900 and 1600-1900 hours. The Bn expended 46,000 rounds of 5.56mm, 62,000 rounds of 7.62mm, 22,200 rounds of cal .50, 858 40mm grenades, 180 81mm mortar rounds, 803 hand grenades, 43 incendiary grenades, 195 smoke grenades, 30 M18A1 mines, 1440 pounds of demolitions, and 720 pounds of C4 demolitions.
b. Maintenance: The Bn started the operations with two APC's short due to vehicles being inoperable and turned into support maintenance. During the operations, nine APC's, M113, were damaged by mines; one APC, M113, was slightly damaged by a rocket launcher round; one APC, M113, was damaged by a claymore mine; one Carrier Command Post, M577, was damaged by a mine; and one mortar SP track 4.2", M106, was destroyed completely by fire and secondary explosions. Two of the APC's, M113, which hit mines were further damaged by fire.
c. Transportation: The Task Force consumed 8,058 gallons of MOGAS and 1,700 gallons of diesel fuel.
11. Special Equipment and Techniques: None.
12. Commanders Analysis: Co C was diverted from its preplanned objective on 4 April due to the Recon Platoon's findings. The area was too large for a platoon and showed every indication of being a VC stronghold.
13. Conclusions and Lessons Learned:
a. Ambushes again proved to be most effective. Of five ambushes making contact, a total of 20 VC were killed (11 conf and 9 est).
b. Operating with ARVN was very difficult. The major problems were:
(1) ARVN would not stay on line.
(2) After the first day they did not follow their plan and hence did not asequately clear the village.
c. Cross attachment of mechanized and armored elements created a distinct recovery problem. This unit does not have the capability to recover a damaged tank.
d. Every TC must constantly be aware of his location by frequent reference to the map and through use of the compass.
e. Women and children would leave the village during artillery fires and move toward or through the CP areas.
f. A helicopter pad can be cleared in lightly wooded areas in less than 15 minutes for a single helicopter. This enhances the unit's flexibility in selecting an assembly area.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
4 incl D. M. SNODGRASS
as CWO (W-3)
Inclosure 4 to After-Action Report, Operation CIRCLE PINES
CASUALTIES INCURRED ON OPERATION CIRCLE PINES
NAME RANK UNIT MOS DISPOSITION TYPE WOUNDS
BEARD, Harley E. SGT E5 HHC 11B40 93rd Evac GSW neck; shrapnel in face
SHIPP, Keith L. PFC E3 HHC 11C10 - - - - Crushed by APC -- KIA
NICHOLS, Larry J. SP4 E4 HHC 11B20 - - - GSW (L) side of back and abdomen-KIA
BLISS, Harvey L. PFC E3 HHC 11B10 93rd Evac Puncture wound (L) leg and (R) knee STOCKER, Clemon SGT E5 HHC 11C40 25th Med Concussion w/strain (back)
COFFEY, Jesse J. SGT E5 Co A 11B40 93rd Evac GSW in chest - WIA to DOW - KIA
FRANKLIN, George S. SP4 E4 Co A 11B20 -- - - - Crushed by APC - KIA
THORNELL, Lester J. SP4 E4 Co A 76K30 -- - - - Crushed by APC - KIA
DORRIS, Curtis E. SP5 E5 Co A 94B20 -- - - - Crushed by APC - KIA
DE JESUS, Miguel SP4 E4 Co A 11B20 93rd Evac Shrapnel in foot and buttocks
(traumatic partial amputation of both feet)
STURGES, Scott L. 1st Lt Co A 1542 93rd Evac Cut on scalp and broken leg
SULLIVAN, Harold A. SSG E6 Co A 11B40 93rd Evac Mult shrapnel in (R) hand and body
HARRIS, John M. SP4 E4 Co A 11B20 25th Med Shrapnel (L) side of back
COFFORTH, Alfred PFC E3 Co A 11B10 Rtn to duty Shrapnel in (R) arm
JOHNSON, William D. PFC E3 Co A 11B10 Rtn to duty Shrapnel in (L) hand
PARKER, James R. PFC E3 Co A 11B10 Rtn to duty Shrapnel in back
BRANCH, Walter A. PFC E3 Co A 11B10 93rd Evac GSW(R) thigh (R) hand (R)wrist
CASTRO-CRESPO, Anidal SP4 E4 Co B 11B20 93rd Evac Shrapnel (R) side of body
GOEHRKE, Lance M. PVT E2 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) leg and arm
HOLMAN, James A. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) ankle
PRILLWITZ, Walter SGT E5 Co B 11B40 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) leg
BAY, Donald E. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel of scrotum
MCMILLAN, Thomas PFC E3 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel in chest and (R) arm
JOHNSON, Ronald D. PFC E3 Co B 11C10 93rd Evac Mult wounds back, arms, shoulder ARNOLD, Robert E. SSG E6 Co B 11B40 93rd Evac Shrapnel (R) eye forehead and arm
JOHNSON, Donald K. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 3rd Field 85% burn over body
SMITH, Steven M. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 - - - - - GSW in face and neck - - KIA
OWENS, Walter Jr. SGT E5 Co B 11C40 93rd Evac Shrapnel in jaw w/hematoma
KAVANAUGH, John SP4 E4 Co B 11B20 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel in (R) side of head
MARTIN, Guy W. SSG E6 Co B 11B40 3rd Field GSW (L) arm
MCGOUGH, John W. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel in (R) side of neck
BALDWIN, Donald D. PVT E1 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel in (L) leg
MURDOCK, Anthony W. SGT E5 Co B 11B40 93rd Evac Shrapnel in (L) arm and (L) leg
SYKES, Hapt J. Jr. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 - - - - - 3d degree burns - KIA
BRAY, Dillard R. Jr. SFC E7 Co B 11B40 25th Med Shrapnel (L) arm (R) heel
MEDGETT, Dewey PVT E2 Co B 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) arm and (R) leg
GOODMAN, James R. SP4 E4 Co B 11B20 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel (R) arm
FLYNN, James PFC E3 Co B 11B10 3rd Field Burns over body
HARLER, Ashby W. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel (L) arm
NAME RANK UNIT MOS DISPOSITION TYPE WOUNDS
MILLER, Jerry D. SP4 E4 Co B 11B20 3rd Field 60% burns over body
COLLIER, Gerald SP4 E4 Co B 11B20 25th Med Shrapnel wounds (R) arm
MORRIS, Arthur C. SGT E5 Co C 11B40 - - - - - GSW in head - KIA
JARRELL, Roger D. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 - - - - - GSW in head - KIA
TAYLOR, Jimmy B. SGT E5 Co C 11B40 - - - - - GSW in abdomen - KIA
BRASHER, Daniel E. 1st Lt Co C 1542 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) arm, chest, (L) foot
SEXTON, Dennis W. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 93rd Evac Concussion of (L) elbow
MCCARTNEY, Samuel SSG E6 Co C 11B40 93rd Evac Shrapnel in (R) arm
WONG, Paul A. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) hand (R) arm
DUVALL, Ernest F. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 25th Med GSW in back
HOPKINS, Charles R. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 93rd Evac Shrapnel in (L) cheek
SMITH, Donnie R. SGT E5 Co C 11B40 93rd Evac Shrapnel (L) arm
TORREY, Edward L. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 25th Med Shrapnel in (L) side of head
BARNEY, Ernest E. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 93rd Evac GSW (L) arm
DECOT, Michael E. PFC E3 Co C 11B20 93rd Evac Shrapnel in both arms
BISSONNETTE, Don W. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 93rd Evac GSW (L) shoulder, frac (L)humerus KNOTT, Elvin V. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 93rd Evac GSW (L) arm frac (L) arm
Shrapnel in chest
HAROLDSON, Jerry L. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 93rd Evac GSW (L) wrist
PEAL, Jerry C. SSG E6 Co C 11B40 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel (R) side of back
WELLS, Anthony D. PFC E3 Co C 11B10 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel in (R) arm
MASON, Wesley J. 1st Lt Co C 1542 93rd Evac Shrapnel in back (L) elbow
BEVIS, Reynolds R. PVT E2 Co C 11B10 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel in back
MELVIN, Clyde D. SP4 E4 Co C 11B20 Rtn to Duty Shrapnel in (R) arm
ROGERS, Fred L. SGT E5 HHC 11B40 93rd Evac Burns over body
ADKINS, Herbert A. PVT E2 HHC 11C10 93rd Evac Burns over body
SAGONIA, John P. PFC E3 HHC 11C10 93rd Evac Burns over body
GRAHAM, Thomas D. PFC E3 HHC 11B10 93rd Evac Burns over body
BROWN, Donald H. SGT E5 HHC 11B40 93rd Evac Burns over body
HOUSLEY, Leonard D. PFC E3 Co B 11B10 3rd Field Burn (R) arm
CARLYLE, Billy S. SP4 E4 HHC 11C20 93rd Evac 2d and 3d degree burns over body
Page 2 to Incl 4 to After-Action Report, Operation CIRCLE PINES
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
AVTLSBA-C 13 July 1966
SUBJECT: Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS/J3-32)
THRU: Commanding Officer
2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
APO U. S. Forces 96225
THRU: Commanding General
25th Infantry Division
APO U. S. Forces 96225
U.S. Military Assistance Command, Viet Nam
APO U. S. Forces 96243
1. NAME OF OPERATION: "COCO PALMS."
2. DATES OF OPERATION: 250630JUN66 - 011935JUL66.
3. GENERAL: The 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry conducted this separate battalion operation in the area of the Boi Loi and Ho Bo Woods, Hau Nghia and Binh Duong Provinces (Incl 1, TAOR Overlay).
4. COMMAND HEADQUARTERS: 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
5. REPORTING OFFICER: Lt Col Thomas U. Greer, Commanding Officer, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf.
6. TASK ORGANIZATION:
1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf (Lt Col T.U. Greer, Commanding)
Recon Plat (Lt J. E. McQuinn)
Hvy Mort Plat (Lt L. Phillips)
Mech Flame Sec, 65th Engr Bn
Co A (Lt G. F. Smith, Commanding)
Engr Sqd (-), 65th Engr Bn
Co B (Capt E. B. Vickery, Commanding)
Demo Tm, 65th Engr Bn
Co C (Capt W. A. Blair, Commanding)
Demo Tm, 65th Engr Bn
7. SUPPORTING FORCES:
(a) First five days of operation:
B/3/13th Arty (155 How SP): DS 1/5th Mech
1plat D/3/13th Arty: Atch B/3/13th Arty.
(b) Sixth to eight days of operation:
C/7/11th Arty (105 How towed): DS 1/5th Mech
B/3/13th Arty: Atch C/7/11th Arty
1 plat D/3/13th Arty: Atch C/7/11th Arty.
(a) Phase I - The artillery support was not considered adequate due to a lack of accuracy during a critical mission.
(b) Phase II - The artillery fired a 10 minute preparation on Objectives C and A. A 155mm howitzer battery and one platoon 8" located at Cu Chi provided the preparation on Objective C while a 155mm howitzer battery and one platoon 8" located at Trung Lap fired the preparation on Objective A. 4.2" mortars were used to prepare blocking position Z and Objective B. The preparation was accurate and timely. On the second and third days of Phase II a roving preparation, controlled by the Arty LO from the air, was used on objective areas (GS XT 6528 and vicinity XT 657268). The artillery fire was extremely accurate and timely. All "will-adjust" missions during this phase were accurate and timely.
b. Air Support.
(1) Composition: 7th AF provided close air support.
(2) Comments: The Bde AF Lo traveled in the C&C ship and called for all "Immediate" air strikes. The required response time varied, but in all cases it was considered satisfactory. Eleven preplanned close air support missions were utilized in Phases I and II. A preplanned B52 air strike requested by the 25th Inf Div to precede the attack on 26 June was not flown. Due to the lack of information from the USAF concerning the approval or disapproval of the strike, H-hour, ect., the attack was unnecessarily delayed for 55 minutes.
a. Intelligence prior to the operation: Two main force battalions of the 165A Regt had been reported in the operations area. The Trang Bang Local Force Company was also reported in the area of operations vic XT 4932. USAF FAC reported light to moderate small arms fire was constantly received during the week of 17-23 June from along the streams (XT 610270 - XT 625306, XT 495318 - XT 520345) and the wooded areas on the northeast edge of the Ho Bo Woods (XT 663260 - XT 635307). Results of operations by this battalion into the Boi Loi - Ho Bo Woods on 29 Mar - 5 Apr (CIRCLE PINES), 16-21 Apr (KAHALA) and 15-27 May (WAHIAWA) revealed that the area contained several supply bases and the base area of the C320th Mobile Bn, Tay Ninh Province. Documents and PW's captured in the area indicated the Tay Ninh Provincial Committee was located in the Boi Loi Woods with subordinate sections as follows: Tay Ninh Military Intelligence sub-sections (XT 500316), Tay Ninh Provincial Armament sub-section (XT 511339), and Workers Proselyting Section, Tay Ninh Provincial Committee (XT 527338). The numerous caches, base camps and documents substantiated that the Boi Loi was a major COSVN rear service supply area. The Ho Bo has long been the base area for the Saigon-Gia Dinh Special Region Committee.
b. Enemy situation during the operation: Initial contact was made by Company B on 25 June when they wounded and captured a VCC who claimed to be the XO and political officer (but was probably a platoon leader or higher rank) of the 1st Co, 320th Bn, vic XT 506314. Co C determined through interrogation of civilians in the area, that a VC force of 10 to 15 personnel moved every day south along the trail at coordinates XT 482299, moving just after dark. This same force usually passed in the opposite direction each day about 1000 hours. After assaulting a bunker on 26 June, Co C wounded and captured a VCC vic XT 640304. Documents in his possession indicated that he was a member of the security element of the Saigon - Gia Dinh Special region Committee, which seems to be located in the extensive tunnel system in the area. Numerous documents found in the area indicated that the Political Staff, Military Affairs Committee, Saigon - Gia Dinh Special Region and agencies subordinate to COSVN were located in the area. Of particular interest were the large number of receipts for ammunition and weapons found in a tunnel which indicated the presence of an ammo and weapons supply point in the area. Documents captured in vic XT 634305 indicated the B103 Medical Section, Rear Service Staff, Saigon - Gia Dinh Special Region Committee was in the area. The documents included medical books, requests for medicine, medical expense records and related documents. Numerous letters of introduction to VC, dated 13 June 1966, from various medical sections stating that they would attend a medical class numbered B46 were also captured. One of the documents, a request to join the Communist Party, was addressed to the Security Section, Saigon - Gia Dinh Special Region. Additional documents also indicated the presence of the Propaganda and Training Section (many propaganda signs were in the area, some written in English and some in Vietnamese) and the 2d Co, 243rd Anti-aircraft Bn, U80 Arty Regt in the Ho Bo Woods. No enemy force of significant size was encountered during the operation. Enemy strength was estimated at 15-20 VC operating in two and three-man cells. Of significance was the fact that in several cases the VC fought from within the tunnels - a change to his tactics thus far encountered by this battalion. The edges of the Ho Bo are laced with trenches (Incl 2). Extensive defensive fortifications consisting of bunkers, trenches with overhead cover, tunnels and underground rooms were encountered during the operation. Some examples of the more significant ones are as follows:
(1) Area I (Incl 3): Fortifications in this area consisted of 29 large bunkers (20' X 20'), which had been constructed within the 60 days prior to this operation. (This unit had been through the area on April 21, during Operation KAHALA. At that time the bunkers were not there.) Unlike other bunkers found in the area, these were partially above ground with all-around 6"x12" firing ports approximately three feet above ground level (Incl 4). The bunkers were built in pairs connected by a tunnel. One trap door in the tunnel was the main entrance into each bunker pair and an escape tunnel led out of each bunker (Incl 5). All of the bunkers were concealed from aerial observation by rubber trees and dense woods. Excavations for five more bunkers had been completed but construction had not started. The bunkers within the complex were mutually supporting and on one of the main avenues of approach into the Ho Bo (Incl 6). Each bunker was capable of sleeping 40 VC. Once the bunkers were completed, the complex would have been able to house an estimated 1,360 VC.
(2) Area II (Incl 3): Fortifications in this area consisted of a series of 5'x6' mutually supporting bunkers interconnected by a trench and tunnel system (Incl 7). An unusual and well protected bunker was located in this area vic XT 621291 (Incl 8). In addition to its use as a fighting position, the bunker also served as the control center for several clusters of command detonated mines and bombs. The trench with overhead cover provided supplementary positions and a covered escape route. Strong points were located at both ends of this area at coordinates XT 629302 and XT 614276. The area across the creek from this area to the west contained many old houses, most of which were at least partially destroyed. However, these all contained protective shelters and small tunnels which showed signs of recent use by the VC.
(3) Area III (Incl 3): Fortifications in the area consisted of a complex system of bunkers and underground rooms connected by tunnels and trenches. The complexes were well concealed in heavily wooded areas overlooking open clearings (Incl 9, 10 and 11). In all cases except one, the tunnels began in a bunker. Large underground rooms within the complex were capable of accommodating six to eight persons. Most of the bunkers were constructed with large rubber tree logs (6" - 10" dia) for the supports and overhead beams. Two to three feet of dirt covered each bunker, many of which were concrete reinforced, thus providing excellent protection from artillery fires. Some of the bunkers were eight feet deep with firing steps (Incl 12) connected to sleeping quarters and cooking rooms (Incl 13). New construction was observed in GS XT 6528.
c. Terrain and weather. The terrain is generally flat with open areas south of the Boi Loi and south, central and north of the Ho Bo. Open areas to the south and north consisted of damp and wet rice paddies, some of which were cultivated. The central area of the Ho Bo consists of rubber trees and dense woods as depicted on the map. However, secondary growth throughout the area varies from light to thick with the center being the lightest area. The dense woods and areas of thick undergrowth restricted movement of track vehicles. Foot movement through these areas was also slow and tedious. B52 bomb craters presented a definite obstacle to track vehicles due to the depth and density of the craters. Thick vegetation provided excellent concealment for the VC and limited friendly observation. The stream west of the Ho Bo was impassible to track vehicles north of XT 612280. Can Ca Bay Stream was negotiable from XT 580278 to XT 588255. Rice paddies adjacent to this portion of of the stream were damp to wet but trafficable to tracks. Weather conditions during the operation presented little or no problems. Low ceilings prevented some helicopter operations but had no effect on ground operations. Average weather conditions during the operation were mostly cloudy skies with .59 inches of precipitation per day; temperatures ranged from a high of 91 degrees to a low of 71 degrees; winds were from the SW at 5-8 knots.
e. There were no Civil Affairs/Psy Ops activities conducted during the period.
9. MISSION: 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf moves 250630JUN66 to conduct independent search and destroy operations in the area of operations to locate and destroy VC units and base camps.
10. CONCEPT OF OPERATION: 1/5th Mech moved in two echelons from base camp commencing 250630JUN66 and conducted deceptive operations along the southern edge of the Boi Loi Woods complex to cover search and destroy operations in the Ho Bo Woods on 26 June. Bn(-) moved at 0630 hours with Co A, Co B and Recon Platoon to saturate areas 1, 2, and 3, respectively, with ambushes. Co C departed base camp at 0800 hours along Axis GREEN in an attempt to flush the VC into the ambushes. Co C then established ambushes on Obj 4. To develop the cover plan, extensive aerial recons, artillery and mortar registrations, H&I fires, and limited air strikes were placed on Obj X on 25 June (Incl 14, Operation Overlay). On 260725JUN66 the Bn attacked to seize Obj A, B, and C. Co A and C moved along Axes RED and Blue, through Obj A and C, respectively. Co B moved along Axis WHITE to establish blocking position Z and, on order, seized Obj B. All companies then conducted detailed searches in their objective areas. During this phase of the operation a mech flame track was attached to Co A and Co B. Recon Platoon screened the battalion's west flank initially and was placed under Co B's OPCON during the detailed search (Incl 15, Opn Overlay).
11. EXECUTION: The operation was conceived on 15 June 1966 and issued as OPORD 24-66 (Operation COCO PALMS) 171200JUN66.
Dday (25 June 1966)
The battalion moved as planned without incident until armed helicopters reported seeing 25-30 VC in a trench vic XT 539311. Five were estimated to have been killed after effective air and mortar fires were placed on the target. After completion of daylight deception activities, the battalion coiled into a night perimeter.
The company departed base camp at 0640 hours and closed into Obj 1 at 0950 hours. No contact was made until 1545 hours when a VC was killed (BC) by an ambush vic XT 544310. A thorough search of the objective area produced clothing, ammunition and a large AT mine. The company closed into the battalion perimeter vic XT 530288 at 1830 hours and established two night ambushes; no contact was made.
The company departed base camp at 0630 hours and closed into Obj 2 at 0800 hours without contact. Light contact was made throughout the day resulting in two VC killed (BC) and one captured. At 1900 hours the company closed into the battalion perimeter vic XT 530288 and established two ambushes; no contact was made.
The company departed base camp at 0830 hours and secured Obj 5 by 1028 hours. No contact was made and the company closed into the battalion perimeter at 1830 hours. Two ambushes were employed that night but none made contact.
The platoon departed base camp at 0650 hours and established blocking position 3 at 0910 hours. At 0940 hours two VC suspects were apprehended when they attempted to depart the area. The suspects were evacuated along with three other suspects apprehended by the command group vic XT 534285.
D+1 (26 June 1966)
The attack was scheduled for 0630 hours but was delayed by higher headquarters until 0725 hours. This delay was caused by a proposed air strike which was not conducted (see Para 7b(2) ). All companies secured and searched their objective areas and closed into a battalion perimeter for the night defense. Nine ambushes were employed during darkness but no contact was made.
The company reached its objective area at 1030 hours making light contact enroute. Intense automatic weapon fire was received from a bunker vic XT 62252956 and the ensuing fire fight resulted in two VC killed and the discovery of an extensive bunker-tunnel complex (Incl 7). The assault on the bunker produced 12 rifles, munitions and a mount for an SG-43 HMG. Several boobytraps, command detonated mines and explosives, to include four 25 lb frag bombs, were destroyed. The bunkers and tunnels were destroyed by demolitions and shape charges. Four VC were estimated to have been killed in the bunker-tunnel complex.
By 1000 hours the company had established its blocking position destroying two bunkers and capturing one VC enroute. Detailed search of the area produced several boxes of clothing, munitions, miscellaneous documents and equipment and a tunnel complex vic XT 616294. The met light resistance and destroyed 12 bunkers, 5,000 lbs of boobytrapped rice, and several grenades and CBU boobytraps.
The company's attack encountered boobytraps, AT mines and moderate small arms and rifle grenade fire from trenches and bunkers. By 1423 hours a large command bunker with an extensive tunnel complex was encountered vic XT 640301. By 1800 hours the company had searched out the objective area destroying two AT mines, twelve boobytraps, several bunker-tunnel complexes and captured one VCC with rifle, two Russian AT mines, claymore weapons and boobytraps. Three VC were estimated to have been killed in the bunker-tunnel complexes.
The platoon screened the battalion's west flank but made no enemy contact. While performing its screening mission, the platoon located and destroyed 2,000 lbs of boobytrapped rice, boobytrapped CBU bomblets, two bunkers and captured 1500 lbs of peanuts, one rifle and several documents.
D+2 (27 June 1966)
Co B, 2/27th Inf (Capt J.R. Paschall, commanding) was attached effective 270800JUN66 and the Battalion Task Force employed Co A vic XT 623297 (ALPHA), Co B vic XT 655285 (QUEBEC), Co C vic XT 645302 (NOVEMBER), Co B, 2/27th Inf vic XT 635305 (CHARLIE), and the Recon Platoon vic XT 655273 (TANGO) on search and destroy operations. An LZ was secured vic XT 636296 for the Co B, 2/27th Inf helicopter landing, and all companies conducted S&D operations in their respective areas following artillery, mortar and air preparations. Throughout the day units met light to moderate resistance and closed into the battalion perimeter vic XT 630288 by dusk. Ten ambushes were employed during darkness without contact.
The company departed the base at 0730 hours and encountered AT mines, rifle grenades and small arms fire from two bunkers on the edge of their objective area. The company overran the bunkers and estimated killing two VC. Two rifles and a 7.92mm ZB26 LMG were captured. A detailed search of the bunkers led into an extensive tunnel network which produced many documents, clothing, munitions and equipment. The bunker, tunnel and all munitions were destroyed.
The company conducted a detailed search of the area against light small arms fire, boobytraps, and AT mines. By the end of the day they had destroyed by demolitions 16 bunkers, two of which were concrete reinforced, a concrete reinforced room capable of seating 30 persons, 26 tunnels, 200-300 feet each, 12 CBU boobytraps and four AT mines.
The company arrived on the assigned objective area and met stiff resistance from several bunkers. The VC employed rifle grenades, automatic weapons, command detonated AT mines and claymore-type weapons from four different bunkers. Two VC kills were estimated in the ensuing bunker assaults which revealed a concrete reinforced bunker-tunnel complex. The company searched and destroyed these complexes and captured several grenades, claymore weapons, CBU bomblets, boobytraps, clothing fresh food and large mines wired for command detonation (155mm, 175mm, 8" and 250 lb bombs), 225 rounds of 7.92 ammo, a Chicom carbine, three sets of field equipment and miscellaneous documents which filled two sand bags.
Co B, 2/27th Inf
The company landed on the LZ at 0830 hours and moved into their area following an artillery preparation. They discovered and destroyed 11 tunnels, 79 yards of white cloth, fresh food and a bicycle. They also captured seven medical jackets, a mask and cap and approximately four pounds of miscellaneous documents.
The platoon secured the woodline south of Obj CHARLIE and assisted the passage of Co B, 2/27th Inf. By 1106 hours the platoon occupied blocking position TANGO to prevent enemy departure from the AO. The platoon made no contact but found and destroyed a 30 lb claymore type weapon.
D+3 (28 June 1966)
The Tf continued S&D operations in the AO and employed Co A vic XT 616285 (GOLF), Co B vic XT 655285 (QUEBEC), Co C vic XT 655278 (UNIFORM), Co B, 2/27th Inf vic XT 652285 (OSCAR), and Recon Platoon along Axis SALLY (XT 638296 - XT 642305 - XT 633308 - XT 625304). During the search the VC put up stiff resistance from within the tunnels and in some cases prevented complete searching prior to destruction of the tunnels. Attempts to flush the VC out by use of tear gas were ineffective. The VC continued to fire from within the tunnels. Charges were placed as close as possible to the VC and detonated, collapsing the tunnels. Each company employed stay-behind ambushes before returning to the battalion perimeter. Only the Co B ambush at XT 651281 made contact, killing one VC (BC).
In searching their obj area the company encountered several elaborate bunker-tunnel complexes and by the end of the day had destroyed eight of these positions, three machinegun positions, a motar position, clothing, several boobytraps and dry batteries. Sleeping quarters in two of the large bunkers could comfortably accommodate four persons each. Rifle grenades were used by the VC in this area.
A thorough search of the area was continued throughout the day which resulted in the destruction of seven bunkers, an extensive tunnel complex, two AT mines and grenade boobytraps. The VC used rifle grenades, small arms and, from within the tunnel complex, an automatic weapon. Smoke was used to locate all entrances and the tunnel was destroyed.
Several tunnels were found in the company objective area. A ravine, 10-15 feet deep, 300 feet long and 12 feet wide was located vic XT 654280. Into the sides of the ravine were tunnels to provide shelter and storage areas. One of the tunnels located in the area consisted of several levels and eight passageways. An underground classroom with a seating capacity of twenty persons was also located and destroyed. By the end of the day the company destroyed two bunker-tunnel complexes, several boobytraps and munitions. New ammo pouches, web equipment, one carbine, a medical kit and miscellaneous clothing and documents were captured.
Co B, 2/27th Inf
The company objective area contained no trace of use by VC. Two boobytraps were located and rifle grenade fire was received from the south of their objective area.
The platoon conducted its sweep along Axis SALLY and by 0905 hours encountered a complex bunker-tunnel system vic XT 642303. Small arms fire was received from within the tunnels. The platoon spent the rest of the day searching and destroying the tunnels and bunkers and by the end of the day had destroyed five bunker-tunnel complexes, two well concealed tunnels, seven hand grenade boobytraps, and five CBU boobytraps. Ten thousand lbs of rice and four bags of cement were captured. Efforts to flush the VC out of the tunnels failed and the tunnels were destroyed.
D+4 (29 June 1966
The battalion task force continued S&D operations with light to moderate contact. The TF employed Co A on Obj HOTEL vic XT 655288; Co B returned to Obj QUEBEC; Co C on Obj ECHO vic XT 660260; Co B, 2/27th Inf on Obj FOXTROT vic XT 655274; Recon Platoon continued its sweep of Axis SALLY. All companies returned to the battalion perimeter at dusk and employed seven ambushes during the night, but no contact was made.
The company conducted their search under constant harassing small arms and rifle grenade fire. The area was heavily boobytrapped and the bunker-tunnel complexes encountered were well constructed and reinforced. By the end of the day six tunnels, two bunker-tunnel complexes, munitions and several command detonated mines were destroyed. six hundred lbs of boobytrapped rice was also found and destroyed.
With the exception of one command detonated mine, the company made no contact during the day. After thoroughly searching the area, 22 bunkers (several of which were reinforced with steel or concrete), 17 tunnels (two of which were three level), suspended 81mm boobytraps, 31 grenades and 60mm boobytraps, and many other munitions were destroyed. One rifle and several rounds of ammunition (20mm, 7.62mm and 40mm) were captured.
The company met no resistance during their search but encountered several boobytraps. A large three-level tunnel complex was found vic XT 638266 which led to several bunkers. One of these bunkers was reinforced with steel beams and a steel top. This entire complex along with three sampans and a boat were destroyed.
Co B, 2/27th Inf
The company met no resistance in their search which produced an extensive bunker-tunnel complex. The tunnel led to 12 different exits/entrances and a thorough search of the area produced clothing, documents, ammunition, medical supplies, 3,000 lbs of rice, a VC gas mask, a Chinese or Russian gas mask, 55 gals of kerosene and eight boobytraps.
The platoon completed its sweep of Axis SALLY and in the process received two rifle grenade rounds and hit one AT mine. A large bunker-tunnel complex, reinforced with steel beams, was discovered. Inside the bunker were several benches, stools, a blackboard, rifle grenades, and 500 lbs of rice. With the exception of the rice, the entire complex was destroyed. By the end of the day, a total of 3,400 lbs of rice and 100 lbs of salt were captured.
D+5 (30 June 1966)
The battalion TF continued S&D operations to complete the detailed search of the area. The TF was employed with Co A returning to Obj HOTEL, Co B with the Recon Plat attached returning to Obj QUEBEC, Co C to vic XT 595265 (KILO) and Co B, 2/27th Inf to Area LIMA, vic XT 625295 in order to saturate the area with daylight ambushes. Several AT and AP mines and boobytraps were encountered during the day while destroying extensive bunker-tunnel complexes and large reinforced bunkers in the AO. Co B, 2/27th Inf was released from battalion control at 1604 hours. All companies returned to the battalion base and employed seven ambushes but no contact was made.
The company completed their search of the revine vic XT 653280 and also found several fortified bunkers in the area. Nine bunkers, four tunnels, six buildings and several boobytraps were destroyed. Five hundred lbs of rice was captured by the end of the day. The company then conducted a reconnaissance in force vic XT 650286; results were negative.
The company completed the search of their objective area encountering heavily boobytrapped areas and AT mines. Two tunnels and twelve bunker complexes were destroyed along with numerous boobytraps. Several 81mm, 105mm and 155mm rounds, all of which were wired for command detonation, were found and destroyed. Two carbines were also captured.
The company's search in the new objective area was hampered by several AT and AP mines and boobytraps. Twenty-one bunkers, varying in size from 15'x15' to small concrete reinforced bunkers were destroyed. The company also captured 900 lbs of rice, clothing and miscellaneous documents.
Co B, 2/27th Inf
The company saturated their area with ambushes but no contact was made. Extracation by helicopter commenced at 1430 hours and by 1604 hours the last element was airborne and released from battalion control.
D+6 (1 July 1966)
The battalion terminated the operation and commenced its return to base camp at 0700 hours. Co A was required to secure a portion of an LZ for the 3d Bn, 49th Inf Regt (ARVN) helicopter extraction vic XT 638273. They were also required to establish a blocking position vic XT 625268 and destroy some large bunkers vic XT 597264. Co B secured the remainder of the LZ, Co C was given the mission to secure the road from Trung Lap (XT 5819) to Hwy 1 (XT 5616) and protect the engineer clearing party along the road. The Recon Platoon escorted the CP group, Hvy Mort Plat and all disabled vehicles to vic Trung Lap and then escorted the artillery group from Trung Lap to the base camp. Due to reports of ground activity vic XT 590270, Co C was diverted to investigate and at 1300 hours Co A(-), 2/14th Inf was airlifted into the AO to assist in securing the road from Trung Lap to Hwy 1. By 1935 all elements closed into the base camp, terminating Operation COCO PALMS.
The company established its blocking position and secured its portion of the LZ by 0803 hours. Eleven large, well constructed bunkers (Incl4) were destroyed vic XT 596263. No contact was made during the day, except for the detonation of one AT mine vic XT 580229 which moderately damaged an APC.
The company secured their portion of the LZ by 0800 opposed by light and sporadic small arms fire. Upon completion of the helicopter extraction, the unit conducted a sweep through a suspected VC occupied area vic XT 604264; no contact was made and the company returned to base camp.
While enroute to secure the road from Trung Lap to Hwy 1, armed gunships reported receiving heavy ground fire from vic XT 590270. The company was diverted in an attempt to close with and destroy the enemy. No VC were found in the area and signs of VC occupancy were not evident. The company then resumed its original mission and returned to base camp at 1935 hours.
(1) 634 personnel started the operation and 586 completed. The latter figure includes 39 WIA who remained with their units (Incl 16, casualty list).
(2) Fourteen APC's, M113, were damaged by mines. Six were repaired in the field and continued the operation.
(1) 25 VC killed (6 BC), 3 VCC and 6 VCS.
(2) Material, equipment and facilities:
(a) Captured: 2 M1 rifles; 13 Chicom carbines; 2 U.S. carbines; 1 U.S. M16 rifle; 1 German Mauser; 1 7.92mm LMG, 2B26 (BRND); 1 Springfield rifle (1903);
1 M72 LAW; 4 rifles, type unknown; 1 machinegun mount on wheeled carrier for 7.62mm HMG SG-43 (Goryunov); 1 carbine, type unknown; 10 combat packs; 1 cartridge belt; 2 pistol belts; 6 medical jackets; 1 medical cap; i medical mask; 1 medical kit; 31 ammo pouches; 4 bags (100 lb) cement; 20,000 lbs rice; 1 gas mask, Russian or Chinese type; numerous documents; miscellaneous clothing; medical manuals.
(b) Destroyed: 21 rifle grenades; 3 hand grenades (U.S.); 6 hand grenades (VC); 35 hand grenades (Chicom); 20 boobytraps (hand grenades, 81mm and 60mm type); 21 boobytraps (CBU bomb type); 3 boobytraps (2.75" rocket); 7 81mm boobytraps (suspended in trees); 1 boobytrapped antiaircraft rocket; 1 U.S. carbine (boobytrapped in a punji pit); 34 CBU bomblets; 35 AT mines; 1 AP mine; 3 81mm rds (rigged for cmd det); 4 105mm rds (rigged for cmd det); 7 155mm rds (rigged for cmd det); 2 8" rds (rigged for cmd det); 3 250 lb bombs (rigged for cmd det); 3 175mm rds (rigged for cmd det); 11 claymore weapons; 155 bunkers; 78 tunnels; 4 25 lb frag bombs (U.S.); 1 VC frag bomb; 1040 rds 7.62mm linked ammo; 40 rds Chicom 7.62 ammo; 300 rds 5.56mm ammo (U.S.); 50 rds 7.62mm (short); 725 rds 7.92mm ammo; 80 rds cal .30 ammo; 1 BAR magazine; 30 rds cal .32 ammo; 1 VC gas mask; 1 boat; 1 wagon; 7,600 lbs rice (boobytrapped); 11 M79 rds; 60 buildings; 6 sampans; 70 gals kerosene; 1 sugar cane processing machine; Miscellaneous clothing.
13. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS.
a. Supplies: All resupply was accomplished by UH1D helicopters flying from base camp to the forward CP area. During the operation, 131 sorties delivered the following supplies:
(1) Class I: 44,500 pounds.
(2) Class II: 11,000 pounds.
(3) Class III: 38,000 pounds.
(4) Class IV: 3,600 pounds.
(5) Class V: 24,300 pounds.
(6) Miscellaneous: 34,280 pounds (includes 6,832 gallons of water).
(7) Personnel: 14,000 pounds.
The battalion expended the following ammunition and demolitions during the operation:
Ctg 7.62mm ball 1,680 rds
Ctg 7.62mm 4+1 30,400 rds
Ctg 5.56mm ball 25,560 rds
Ctg 5.56mm tracer 1, 140 rds
Ctg cal .50 4+1 22,200 rds
Ctg 40mm, HE 1,296 rds
Ctg 81mm, HE 208 rds
Ctg 81mm, WP 6 rds
Ctg 4.2", HE 635 rds
Ctg 4.2", WP 37 rds
Grenade, frag 875 ea
Rocket, M66 7 ea
Mine, AP, M18A1 24 ea
Grenade, smoke, yellow 32 ea
Grenade, smoke, violet 96 ea
Grenade, smoke, HC 48 ea
Grenade, hand, CS 106 ea
Flare, trip 32 ea
Block, demo, C4, 2 1/2 lb 590 lbs
Block, demo, TNT, 1 lb 1,650 lbs
Cratering charge, 40 lb 43 ea
Cord, detonating 4,000 feet
Fuze, blasting, time 1,250 feet
Ignitor, fuze 170 ea
Blasting cap, non-electric 510 ea
b. Maintenance: The Bn started the operation short six (6) carriers, personnel, F.T., M113. The Recon Platoon was short three (3), the Medical Plat one (1), and Co A and Co C one (1) each. During the operation thirteen (13) carriers were damaged by AT mines and one (1) carrier was damaged by a large AP mine. Six (6) of these vehicles were repaired in the field and continued the operation. The other eight were evacuated to base camp at the termination of the operation. Of the eight (8) that were evacuated to base camp, seven (7) had to be towed; one returned under its own power. Six (6) of the above eight (8) carriers have, since their return, been declared not economically repairable. Twenty (20) carriers became inoperable for mechanical failures during the operation; however, twelve (12) of these were repaired in the field and continued the operation. The remaining eight (8) were evacuated to base camp at the termination of the operation. Seven (7) of the eight (8) returned under their own power; however, they were short-tracked. The major mechanical failure experienced was the separation of the idler arm from the hull of the carrier. There were seven (7) of these failures and all seven (7) carriers had to be evacuated. Two of the carriers with this failure had been rebuilt eight (8) months ago and since that time they have traveled more than 2500 miles. The other five (5) tracks with this failure were over five (5) years old and have traveled over 5000 miles. Because this Bn was short five (5) Light Recovery Vehicles, it became a major problem to evacuate the eight vehicles that required towing. In order for this Bn to accomplish the task of extracting the eight downed vehicles, ten (10) additional combat vehicles were diverted to tow the downed tracks. Two (2) tracks were so badly damaged they required four other vehicles to tow them. If the five (5) Light Recovery Vehicles had been on hand, they could have accomplished the same task as the ten carriers, with less wear and tear.
c. Treatment of Casualties, Evacuation and Hospitalization: The Bn Fwd Aid Station was staffed by one doctor and four medics. During the operation 156 patients were seen and treated, of which 73 were due to sickness or disease, 52 from wounds received in hostile action, and 31 non-battle injuries (sprains, cuts, bruises, ect.). Thirty-four of the 156 patients were evacuated by resupply helicopters. During the operation, 18 Dust Off helicopters were requested which evacuated a total of 43 casualties. These 43 patients were not processed through the Bn Aid Station, but evacuated to the 25th Med Bn.
d. Transportation: The Bn consumed a total of 8,837 gallons of MOGAS during the operation.
(1) The primary means of communication during Opn COCO PALMS was the FM radio. Wire nets were used at all times in the CP complex and to the companies whenever possible. During the periods of darkness the Bn command net maintained radio listening silence and used wire as the primary means of communications. The Bn maintained FM radio and RATT contact with Bde. There was no wire communication between the Bn and Bde. UHF air-ground communications were also available and used by the AF LO for air support missions.
(2) This Bn is equipped with the VRC-12 family of radios which is an excellent piece of equipment. It is believed that the intense heat (115 degrees) inside the carrier M113 has an adverse effect on the radio transmitters (RT524 and RT246). During the operation a total of eleven RT's either failed to transmit or receive or the fan (cooling system) ran continuously. This situation was partially corrected by periodically turning the sets off and permitting them to cool. This procedure was especially true at night when less radio traffic was required and nets could be monitored with the auxiliary receiver (R442) without sacrificing communications efficiency.
f. Medical Evaluation: Access to the Bn Aid Station during the operation was good. Overall medical care of minor complaints and casualties was good. However, it was not advisable to evacuate all injuries through the aid station because of the terrain, time factors involved and the seriousness of the wounds. Of the 83 injuries that were treated at the aid station, 54 were returned to duty. This fact alone demonstrates the value and necessity of a forward aid station .
14. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES.
a. Mechanized flame throwers. The flame throwers proved to be very effective during this operation due to the numerous bunkers encountered. The one major drawback was the wheel-mounted service unit which could not accompany the battalion over cross-country routes. Therefore, the flame throwers were of little value once their pressure was expended. Extensive use could be made possible by mounting the service unit to a full track carrier to provide the necessary cross-country mobility.
b. Tunnel destruction techniques. A technique has yet to be found which will adequately destroy a complex tunnel system. A special technique employing acetylene gas and detonator proved ineffective for many reasons, one of which was the depth of the tunnels encountered. This technique is stated to be very effective in depths of less than six feet; however, most of the tunnels in the area were well below six feet. Another technique applied which was quite successful was the use of several cratering charges placed at key levels and tunnel "T's," connected in parallel with detonating cord (Incl 10). When detonated, the parallel connection results in simultaneous detonation of all charges and the resulting blast completely caves in the tunnel. This method, however, would require a large amount of explosives for the extensive tunnel systems which were prevalent in the AO.
15. COMMANDER ANALYSIS.
a. The several contacts made the first day of the operation along the southern edge of the Boi Loi Woods indicated continued extensive use of this area by the VC. Their continuous and rather careless movement to and from the southern edge of these woods makes the area ideally suited for saturation ambushing.
b. It was until one hour after the attack on 26 June was to begin that the battalion found out that the B52 strike would not be made. Then our opening plan was hampered by not knowing whether the strike would be made or the time the strike was to be made.
c. After the first day's operation in the Ho Bo Woods, it became apparent that the extent of the bunker/tunnel systems was such as to require either an extended stay to accomplish the mission or additional troops. Hence, when an additional rifle company was offered, it was readily accepted.
d. The evidence of new construction in the Ho Bo Woods plus the extensive fortifications encountered indicate the VC plan to continue extensive use of this area. In spite of the 78 tunnels which were destroyed, it is felt that only a small percentage of the total tunnels in the area were located and destroyed. This opinion is based on the ease with which the VC eluded our continuous search and on the fact that very few tunnels with concealed entrances were located.
e. The construction of most of the bunkers found and destroyed was such that they could withstand a direct artillery hit. Thus, as long as they remained inside their bunkers, the VC were immune to artillery fire and immune to all but direct hits by bombs.
f. It is believed that the extensive bunker system found in grid squares XT 5925 and XT 5926 provided a haven, safe from artillery fire and air strikes, for a large force moving through the area. Since this system was only recently constructed, it might be assumed it was constructed to support the monsoon offensive in this area.
g. Neither the ARVN nor the U.S. advisors with the ARVN understood the use of the No Fire Line. The ARVN battalion actually moved troops across the NFL before making any formal request for a change.
h. There has been some discussion of late among medical corps personnel that battalion surgeons should not be in the field. The Battalion Aid Station and surgeon moved to the field with the CP group. The surgeon treated 83 patients for injuries (both battle and non-battle) and returned 54 to duty. He also treated 73 men for sickness or disease and returned 68 to duty. The value of the presence of the battalion surgeon in the field is obvious.
a. Future operations employing saturation ambushes along the southern edge of the Boi Loi Woods should be conducted.
b. Periodic operations should be conducted into the Ho Bo Woods area to prevent rebuilding of the extensive bunker complex and eventually to convince the VC of the futility of using this as a major base of operations.
c. Extensive use should be made of H&I fires in grid squares XT 5925 and XT 5926 to deny the VC the opportunity to rebuild the bunkers destroyed in that area.
d. Information on B52 strikes must be made available at the earliest possible time.
e. Careful coordination on the use of supporting fires, to include a thorough explanation of the No Fire Line, should be made with ARVN forces operating in the vicinity of U.S. forces.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
17 Incl JAMES G. ANDRESS
as Capt, Inf
CASUALTIES SUSTAINED -- OPERATION COCO PALMS
NAME RANK UNIT TYPE WOUNDS MOS DISPOSITION
WEST, James L. PFC E3 Co A FW (r) upper arm 11B10 25th Med
CASTLEMAN, Ricky D. PFC E3 Co A GSW head --DOW 11B10 DOW
THOMAS, Michael R. PFC E3 Co A GSW (r) side 11B10 25th Med
SMITH, George F. 1st Lt Co A FW (l) hand 1542 Rtn to Duty
WAREHAM, Boyd D. SGT E5 Co A FW (l) ear lobe 11B40 Rtn to Duty
BARLETT, Dennis SP4 E4 Co A FW (b) hands and neck 11B20 25th Med
GOREE, Monty L. SP4 E4 Co A Frac (l) foot 11B20 25th Med
FERRARI, James F. SP4 E4 Co A FW (r) hand 11B20 Rtn to Duty
DIXON, Claude Jr. PFC E3 Co A FW (l) hand 11B10 Rtn to Duty
PUNDSACK, Terry L. PFC E3 Co A FW (r) face 11B10 Rtn to Duty
LOVE, John D. SP4 E4 Co A Tooth ext and nose lac 11B20 25th Med
WHITAKER, Charles C. PFC E3 Co A Back inj 11B10 25th Med
MORMAN, Thomas L. PFC E3 Co A FW (r) hand, (l) side 11B10 25th Med
BEAM, Hudson Jr. SP4 E4 Co A FW (r) arm 11B20 25th Med
BEALE, Richard D. PFC E3 Co A FW (l) knee 11B10 25th Med
MARTIE, Ernest T. SSg E6 Co A FW rear (l) shoulder 11B40 93rd Evac
FOSTER, Roland D. Sp5 E5 Co A FW (r) side 11C20 25th Med
SIMONELLI, Vincent PFC E3 Co A Head laceration 11B10 Rtn to Duty
FREEMAN, Kenneth L. Sp4 E4 Co A Back inj 11B20 Rtn to Duty
TEETERS, Billie W. PSg E7 Co A GSW (r) arm 11B40 93rd Evac
WHITE, Clinton K. PFC E3 Co A FW head 11B10 Rtn to Duty
GUSS, Samuel D. PFC E3 Co A Poss rupt ears 11B10 Rtn to Duty
MELTON, Griffin O. Sgt E5 Co A FW (r) arm 11B40 Rtn to Duty
KNOWLES, Michael A. Sp4 E4 Co A Burn on (r) arm 11B20 Rtn to Duty
GENTRY, William J. Sp4 E4 Co A Inj (l) eye 11B20 Rtn to Duty
GREER, Barry J. PFC E3 Co A Poss concussion 11B10 25th Med
SMITH, Sandy O. PFC E3 Co A Back inj and bruised chest 11B10 25th Med
HAYES, John F. Sp4 E4 Co A Head and back wounds - poss conc 11B20 93rd Evac
TOWNER, Ira O. PFC E3 Co A GSW in head 11B10 93rd Evac
FOWLER, Jerry D. PFC E3 Co A FW (l) leg 11B10 25th Med
BUNCH, Ivor E. PFC E3 Co A KIA 11B10 KIA
FLEMING, Otis R SP4 E4 Co A Cut lip and (r) leg 11B20 Rtn to Duty
QUIGLEY, James W. PFC E3 Co A Back Inj 11B10 Rtn to Duty
MOODY, Bill D. PFC E3 Co A Mult cuts and bruises 11B10 Rtn to Duty
HALL, David M. SFC E7 Co A Lac of (r) hand 11B40 25th Med
PATE, Marvin L. Sp4 E4 Co B FW both legs and head 11B20 25th Med
HENNING, Clifton L. 2nd Lt Co B Bruises (r) shoulder 1542 Rtn to Duty
RUEN, Donald PFC E3 Co B FW buttocks, (r) side, penis 11B10 25th Med
MC CULLION, Joseph R. Sp4 E4 Co B FW (l) heel and back 11B20 25th Med
JOHNSON, Donnie A. Sp4 E4 Co B WP burns on back, hands 11B20 Rtn to Duty
NAME RANK UNIT TYPE WOUNDS MOS DISPOSITION
CARDENES, Arnoldo PFC E3 Co B FW over body - DOW 11B10 DOW
HEMPHILL, Tommy D. PSg E7 Co B FW (r) arm 11B40 Rtn to Duty
ROLF, Gerald R. PFC E3 Co B GSW head - KIA 11B10 KIA
STEVER, Frank E. Sgt E5 Co B FW (r) arm 11B40 25th Med
TREMBLY, Ralph SSg E6 Co B FW lower lip 11B40 Rtn to Duty
COUSIN, Kenneth E. Sp4 E4 Co B FW in back 11B20 Rtn to Duty
IRVING, Earl E. Jr Sp4 E4 Co B Poss frac hand (r) 11B20 Rtn to Duty
BROWN, Samuel PFC E3 Co B Poss frac (l) shoulder 11B10 25th Med
JACKSON, David Ssg E6 Co B FW (r) leg 11B40 93rd Evac
DAWSON, Preston Sgt E5 Co B SW (l) arm 11B40 93rd Evac
LEWIS, Christopher PFC E3 Co B FW (r) leg 11B10 Rtn to Duty
SHARRETTS, David PFC E3 Co B FW chest 11B10 93rd Evac
MC GOUGH, John W. Sp4 E4 Co B FW (r) cheek 11B20 Rtn to Duty
EVELAND, Donald L. Ssg E6 Co B FW (l) leg and side 11B40 25th Med
COUSIN, Kenneth E. Sp4 E4 Co B FW back and legs 11B20 25th Med
HENSLEY, Larry F. PFC E3 Co B FW forehead 11B10 25th Med
FORD, Cleo Sp4 E4 Co C FW torso, front, back, groin 11B20 25th Med
VINCIENT, James D. Sp4 E4 Co C Mult FW lower abdomen 11B20 25th Med
MC KINNEY, James Sgt E5 Co C FW buttocks, legs, back 11B40 25th Med
IVEY, James W. Jr. Sgt E5 Co C FW both legs - sucking chest 11B40 25th Med
SMITH, Matthew R. PFC E3 Co C FW chest (r) leg 11B10 25th Med
NORRIS, Kibby S. PFC E3 Co C FW (r) temple 11B10 Rtn to Duty
SIZEMORE, James W. PFC E3 Co C FW (r) eye 11B10 25th Med
KIRKHAM, Terry L. PFC E3 Co C FW neck 11B10 Rtn to Duty
SCANTLIN, James N. PFC E3 Co C Punct of (r) leg 11B10 Rtn to Duty
NIXON, George L. Sp4 E4 Co C Knee effusion 11B20 25th Med
KAUTSCH, Tim P. Sp4 E4 Co C lac of (l) index finger 11B20 25th Med
ELLIS, Harold J. 1st Lt Co C GSW (r) leg 1542 93rd Evac
JOHNSON, John D. Sp4 E4 Co C FW (l) arm 11B20 Rtn to Duty
NUTT, Andrew A. PFC E3 Co C FW (r) elbow 11B10 93rd Evac
CASSELMAN, Rodney W. PFC E3 Co C FW (l) arm 11B10 93rd Evac
ORTEGA, Reynaldo Jr. PFC E3 Co C FW neck 11B10 Rtn to Duty
PEREZ-VELEZ, Rafael PFC E3 Co B Inj ear 11B10 Rtn to Duty
LUSK, Harold D. Sp4 E4 Co B FW (r) thigh 11B20 Rtn to Duty
LUND, Larry W. PFC E3 Co C FW (l) arm 11B10 Rtn to Duty
NORTHROP, James L. Sp4 E4 Co C FW head (r) hand and body 11B20 KIA
IMAE, Hachiro Psg E7 Co C GSW (r) side 11B40 KIA
WASHINGTON, James T. PFC E3 Co C Bruised (r) shoulder 11B10 Rtn to Duty
HICKS, Kenneth E. PFC E3 Co C Poss perf ear 11B10 Rtn to Duty
SCHOOLCRAFT, James H. PFC E3 Co C FW (r) leg 11B10 Rtn to Duty
EPPS, William M. PFC E3 Co C Cut above (l) eye 11B10 Rtn to Duty
BLEDSOE, Lowell D. Sp4 E4 Co C FW (r) arm, lip and gum lac 11B20 25th Med
NAME RANK UNIT TYPE WOUNDS MOS DISPOSITION
BROOKS, Otis J. Sgt E5 Co C Traum ampt (l) foot 11B40 93rd Evac
KYLES, Ben E. Sgt E5 Co C FW (r) cheek 11B40 Rtn to Duty
HENSEL, Jack W. PFC E3 Co C Punct (l) leg 11B10 Rtn to Duty
BLEVINS, Bill H. Cpl E4 HHC Lac (r) eye 11C40 Rtn to Duty
JONES, John E. PFC E3 HHC Scratch on forehead 91A10 Rtn to Duty
Inclosure 16 (Casualty List) to Ltr, HQ, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, subj Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS/J3-32), dtd 13 July 1966
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96225
TLMAA-C 23 MARCH 1966
SUBJECT: After-Action Report
TO: Commanding Officer
2d Bde TF, 25th Inf Div
APO US Forces 96225
1. OPORD 14-66 (Operation HONOLULU). Search and destroy.
2. 140700MAR66 - 191932MAR66.
3. 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, in conjunction with the 2nd Bde Task Force, 25th Infantry Division, conducted search and destroy operations in Hau Nghia Province vic Tan Phu Thuong (XT 4802), Hoa Khanh (XT 4800), (XT 5102), Loc Thanh (XT 4416) Ap Cay Queo (XT 5411), and Duc Ngai (XT 5608). The Bn OPORD No 14-66 was issued 130900 MAR66 after receipt of 2nd Bde TF OPORD 17-66 on 111200MAR66. Lt Col T. U. Greer is the reporting officer. Task Organization and commanders were as follows,
a. 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf: Lt Col T. U. Greer, commanding.
(1) Co A: Capt J. A. Renner, commanding.
(2) Co B: Capt E. B. Vickery, commanding.
(3) Co C: Capt J. G. Andress, commanding.
(4) Recon Plat: Lt D. T. Schou.
(5) Hvy Mort Plat: Lt J. E. McQuinn.
a. Intelligence estimates indicated that the area of operations was completely controlled and dominated by the VC and, in view of the extensive reported fortifications, VC unit dispositions, installations, bunkers, base areas and trench systems, it was evident that the area had been extensively occupied by VC units. The Oriental River, a known major logistical line of communication for the VC, was believed to have established along the banks and surrounding heavily vegetated areas, company, battalion and regimental size supply bases. Platoon size units were known to operate in the less concealed areas north and northwest of the Oriental River and Bao Trai (XT 5304). VC company and battalion size units have operated in the area north and northwest of the Oriental River and Bao Trai to attack lightly defended outposts, isolated small units or infiltrate to the north through the Ho Bo Woods (XT 6426) or the Bo Lai Woods (XT 5034). A detailed Order of Battle was provided in the 2nd Bde Intelligence annex which itemized the various units that are known to have operated in the area for the past six to twelve months. There are no specific locations or dispositions of enemy units available. Company or larger size units were expected to move to or remain near the more secure and fortified areas along the Oriental River. The VC were expected to use squad and platoon size forces to harass and attempt to delay advancing friendly forces.
b. Enemy situation during operation: During the entire operation there was no enemy contact which could be estimated as any larger than two VC squads. No main forces, local force, or elements thereof, were engaged. However, thorough questioning of the civilians indicated that within the past month several VC units had established overnight bivouac areas in the vic XT 5101, XT 5100, and XT 5199. A search of the area indicated that it had been utilized recently. One POW captured on 17 Mar 66 stated that he was from a local guerrilla unit of approximately 30 VC, he would not state the unit designation, but he did say that the unit departed the area at approximately 0100 hours 17 Mar 66 by crossing the Oriental River vic XT 414127. A thorough search of the wooded areas along the banks of the Oriental River indicated that the VC were not utilizing this area as previously reported but were operating extensively in the area approximately 800 meters from the river. However, heavy small arms fire was received from grid squares XT 5097 and XT 5098.
c. Terrain and Weather. During Phase 1 of the operation, southwest of Bao Trai, the terrain was sufficiently vegetated in various stages to offer concealment to small VC elements attempting to harass advancing forces with small arms fire. Because the specific location of any VC unit was not known, specific concealed routes to an area could not be used. This places the attacking or searching forces at a disadvantage when concealed movement is considered. There were many obstacles in the entire area of operation but there was a distinct difference in their type and effect. Phase 1 found track vehicle movement impossible beyond a general line of 1,500 - 2,000 meters northeast of the Oriental River. Inasmuch as this is the dry season, the fact is particularly significant. Foot movement beyond the untrafficable area for M113 personnel carriers was difficult but by no means beyond the capability of any infantry unit. Phase 2 offered different obstacles to tracked movement but in no way stopped mounted movement. These obstacles primarily consisted of large ditches or trenches which generally extended from north to south in the vic XT 4116 and XT 4117. These trenches averaged 6 to 8 feet wide and four to six feet deep. There were bypasses but their detection and utilization caused movement to be slowed considerably and in many cases caused canalization of entire elements. Observation in the Phase 1 area was fair to good. Fields of fire were excellent. Observation in the Phase 2 area was good to excellent and fields of fire were also excellent.
d. Fortifications: The Phase 1 area was extensively fortified primarily with fighting positions in all dikes. Positions were orientated to place fire in all directions from easily constructed but well protected and concealed positions. The Phase 2 area was heavily fortified, particularly in the area XT 417159. Tunnels including large underground rooms had waterproof paper ceilings. The area was heavily boobytrapped and several fighting positions were found surrounding the tunnel area. Civilians stated that the VC utilize this area quite extensively. It is recommended that the position be bombed to attempt maximum destruction to preclude further use by the VC.
e. CA/Psy Ops. The civilians in the area of operations were generally friendly and willing to give information. Particular success was noted among young children for their fears of the VC are not as deeply imbedded in their minds. Interrogation of prisoners indicated that the VC had previously stored rice in the hamlet Ap An Loi, XT 438155, by storing just a few bags in each house of the village.
5. Mission: 1st Bn(Mech) 5th Inf conducted search and destroy operation commencing 140900MAR66 to include disrupting VC infiltration routes along the Oriental River.
6. Concept of Operation: 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf conducted a road march to the attack position GUAVA 140730MAR66 as part of the 2nd Bde TF. Movement across LD 141000MAR was a coordinated attack with the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, airmobile assault landing on their assigned area of operation. The commanders concept visualized a rapid movement along two axes to Objectives 1 and 10 by Co A and Co B, respectively. Co C in reserve, occupied PSN 5 initially. If the terrain was such as to deny movement to APC's, dismounted operations envisioned Co A seizing Obj 1 and Co B seizing OBJ 2. Arty and mortar support on call. (Incl 1, Operation overlay #1).
7. Execution: The battalion moved along Route BLUE 140715MAR66 to the attack position GUAVA without opposition. The Recon Platoon moved as the Bn advance guard, followed by Co A, Co B, Comnd Op, Hvy Mort Plat and Co C. Upon arrival in the attack position, Recon Plat located several bunkers and two sampans vic XT 543022. A thorough search of the area disclosed nothing of significance. By 0931 hours all elements were in the attack position and crossed the LD at 1000 hours, assisted by the Recon Plat. First contact was made by Co B, when they received small arms fire from vic XT 476012. Fire was returned and contact broken by the VC with no known casualties. At 1045 hours, Co A discovered several documents in a hole vic XT 478010. Co B suffered three WIA's from enemy fire enroute to Obj 10. By 1330 hours it became evident that none of the units would be able to continue the mounted attack and the alternate plan (dismounted attack) was placed into effect. Co A continued the attack dismounted to Obj 1, Co B to Obj 2 and Co C (Bn reserve) was ordered to follow Co B by bounds. At 1230 hours a VC sqd vicXT 485017 started to deliver heavy small arms fire against Co B, which was attempting to extract mired vehicles. Co B engaged the VC and Co C was moved around Co B to seize Obj 2. After suppressing the VC fire by fire and maneuver, the VC immediately broke contact, leaving behind six packs, complete with clothing and equipment, ammunition, grenades and several documents. Co B was given Obj 3 as their new objective. At 1300 hours Co B again made contact and killed 7 VC (3 conf, 4 est) vic XT 483006. Recon Platoon was relieved of the mission of route reconnaissance from Obj 4 to Obj 3 and committed to search Obj 6. Co A seized Obj 1 by 1347 against light small arms fire and discovered many bunkers and a large cave on the objective area. At 1443 Co B captured a VC at XT 485017 hiding in a hole. He was unarmed but carrying linked ammunition and miscellaneous equipment. Recon Platoon found fresh diggings vic XT 497027 and two VC sampans during their search of Obj 6. At 1536 hours Co B was brought under fire from vic XT 474009 and sustained two WIA's. VC's were taken under fire and broke contact. By 1700 hours all units were coiled on their objectives. Recon Plat was brought forward to secure Co B's mired vehicles vic XT 488017 and the remainder of the battalion secured itself for the night in position 14.
First contact on 15 March came at 0400 hours when Co C received light small arms fire from XT 474015. There were no casualties and the VC broke contact immediately upon receiving return fire. At 0755 Co A sighted a sampan moving across the river at XT 463014 and engaged it with small arms fire. No estimate of casualties was made. Contact was lost due to undergrowth and fog. The recon Platoon continued their sweep of Obj 6 at 0900 hours and found an injured civilian whose cart had just hit a mine. The civilian was wounded, but, before being evacuated, he informed the platoon leader that the VC were located in Obj 8 vic XT 514016. However a search of the area revealed nothing. By 0955 hours all companies were on the move for the day's operation. Co A moved on to Obj 5 at 1055 hours and commenced their search, finding grenades and small arms ammo. At 1100 hours Co C discovered three rocket launcher rounds and Chicom grenades in a home, vic XT 485018, while enroute to Obj 4. By 1105 hours Co B completed the search of Obj 8 and continued their sweep to Obj 10. Recon Platoon commenced their sweep of Obj 9 at the same time. At 1117 hours Co C was brought under VC small arms fire from vic XT 479006 and suffered one WIA. Co A completed the search of Obj 5 and began movement back to Area 14 at 1140 hours. Co C located a cache vic XT 498005 at 1253 hours consisting of ammunition, weapons parts, combat packs and equipment. By 1334 Co B completed its search of Obj 10 and continued to Obj 11, receiving light small arms fire while crossing canals but sustaining no casualties. The recon Platoon completed the search of Obj 9 and reconnaissance of routes to Obj 13 at 1443 hours and was given the mission of guiding Co A along the route to Obj 13. Co A dismounted vic XT 496991 and started the sweep for Obj 13. At 1507 hours Co C received small arms fire from vic XT 484004 and at the same time a bobbytrap was tripped, resultiing in two WIA's and one KIA. Co C employed fire and maneuver to supress the enemy fire. At 1518 hours, during an aero-medical evacuation, small arms fire broke out, resulting in two more WIA's. Fire was returned and contact was immediately broken by the VC. By 1540 hours Co C completed the seizure of Obj 4. At 1646 Recon Platoon arrived at Psn 15 and started a detailed search of the surrounding areas and by 1750 hours all units were coiled for the night. By 160900MAR all units were engaged in their respective missions. Co A was sweeping south to Objectives 12 and 13, Co B was sweeping NW to Obj 8, and Co C was sweeping SE to seize the area between Obj 13 and the battalion left (SE) boundary. At 1000 hours Co B located a minefield vic XT 486989 and started clearing a path through it. At 1038 a boobytrap was tripped vic XT 490986, inflicting two WIA's on Co B. By 1130 hours Co A had secured Obj 12 and was enroute to Obj 13 with negative contact. Co C was taken under fire by approximately six VC with automatic weapons vic XT 495990. Co C maneuvered against the VC's who quickly moved into a bunker and exfiltrated through numerous tunnels. A tunnel search produced negative results. Co B started to receive small arms fire from XT 495991 at 1226 hours and contact was broken when small arms and artillery fire was placed on the target. At 1518 hours Co A completed its search of Obj 13 and started its sweep back to Obj 8. Co B closed into Position 15 at 1535 hours and the company commander was evacuated due to wounds received on 14 Mar 66. Lt F. G. Trennery, the executive officer, assumed command. At 1522 hours Co C was engaged by two .50 cal MG's and small arms fire from vic XT 506978 and XT 512981. The unit employed fire and maneuver, supported by mortars and artillery and by 1714 hours the VC's were neutralized and an estimated ten VC's killed. Co C suffered four WIA's from this action. Recon Platoon hit an AT mine, damaging one APC vic XT 518025 at 1750 hours, and suffered one minor casualty who was returned to duty at 1800 hours. By 2045 hours all units closed into PSN 15 and four ambushes were established to protect the perimeter. At 2213 hours ambush #1 at XT 522013 was sprung when two VC's entered the killing zone. One Vc was killed (conf) and one estimated wounded. The ambush remained in the vicinity in an attempt to ambush any recovery party. At 0107 hours the ambush returned with the body and a wallet. At 0700 hours one wounded VC, suspected to have been the second man seen by the ambush, was captured on the battalion perimeter. The battalion commenced to move to a new area of operations at 0710 hours and crossed the LD at 170900MAR in accordance with 2d Bde Fraq O #1 (encl 2, Operation overlay #2). Enroute to the LD Co C hit a mine at XT 471118, damaging one APC and sustaining six WIA's, four of which were evacuated and two of which returned to duty. Co A attacked along Axis POPPY to seize Obj FRED, Co C along Axis ROSE to seize Obj GEORGE and recon Platoon along Axis DAISY to seize Obj JACK. Co B, in reserve, was to occupy Psn M and conduct search and destroy operations in Positions A, B and C. By 1000 hours lead elements were along PL SUZY and Co B and Recon Platoon were just forward of PL MARGE. Recon Platoon located a classroom with trenches and tunnels leading out of the area at XT 448159. The classroom had a capacity to seat 25 persons and four feet of it was below the surface of the earth. A thorough search was conducted and the classroom destroyed. At 1014 hours Co A encountered boobytraps vic Obj D but suffered no casualties. At 1034 Co A hit an AT mine vic XT 421158, damaging one APC but sustaining no casualties. By 1147 hours Co C was on Psn GEORGE and searching the area. At 1230 hours Recon Platoon moved to the north edge of Psn JACK and Co A on Psn FRED. Co C found civilians hiding in holes on Psn GEORGE and also found some documents. Recon Platoon detained one civilian on Psn JACK who revealed that 20 VC had recently passed through the area wearing green uniforms, helmets and carrying one mortar. At 1430 hours Co B captured a VC vic XT 438155. Co A suffered two WIA's due to a boobytrap on Psn FRED at 1547 hours and at 1605 hours Co B encountered a heavily boobytrapped area vic XT 427177 (Psn 4). Co B proceeded slowly, destroying all boobytraps and mines in the area. Recon Platoon detained 26 civilians and 30 children on Psn JACK and, after interrogation by National Police, one was found to be a VC. The Platoon saw several signs which stated "Beware of Boobytraps and Mines," and destroyed three boobytraps which were found. By 1800 hours all units had completed their assigned searches and were establishing their night perimeters. Five VC's were spotted by Co C vic XT 401178 who engaged them with small arms fire. A later check of the area revealed several heavy drag marks and three VC were estimated to have been killed. By 180800MAR all units were engaged in their assigned operations. Co A was given the mission of searching and destroying VC facilities vic Psn FRED and the area vic XT 417159. Co B was assigned areas L, P and N and was also required to attach on a platoon to A Troop, 3/4 Cav. Co C was assigned to the area surrounding Psn GEORGE and the Recon Platoon to areas R and S. Co C located an extensive tunnel network with fortified fighting positions at XT 417159. The area was searched thoroughly and found to contain many boobytraps and mines. The boobytraps inflicted two WIA's and one KIA on Co A during the search. Attempts to destroy the area completely failed and an air strike was requested to hit the area after the operation was over. Co B also encountered a tunnel system on Psn P at 1101 hours and Co C located one vic XT 412175. A search of the tunnels disclosed a set of jungle fatigues with NCO chevrons imprinted on it and two CBU bomb pods. Co B evacuated two VC's and two VC suspects who were captured vic XT 467156. Recon Platoon discovered a 24 ton cache of rice vic XT 457160 (Psn S). Eight tons were bagged and evacuated along with a female VC suspect and her child. The platoon from Co B, attached to Troop A, 3/4 Cav, hit a mine vic XT 474127 and received no casualties; however, the platoon sustained two WIA's due to boobytraps vic XT 462130. By 1930 hours all units were in the assembly area and preparing for night operations. The battalion began the final phase of the operation at 190025MAR when Co C departed the assembly area for the dismount point (Psn 7) (Incl 3, Operations Overlay #8). One APC hit a mine enroute and one minor WIA was sustained, given medical attention, and returned to duty. The company dismounted in Psn T and moved along a prescribed route to Obj U where a reported 100 VC were in bivouac. The unit reported being in position around Obj U; however, at 0545 hours, a daylight check of the position revealed that the company was 1,000 meters west of Obj U. Co C started to receive small arms fire from vic XT 525106 and immediately returned fire. The VC broke contact and Co C resumed movement to Obj U without casualties. At 0715 hours the Recon Plat departed to establish blocking positions X, Y, and Z. Co A followed at 0725 hours to conduct search and destroy operations in Area BLUE. By 0857 Co A and Co C were sweeping through Obj BLUE.at 0937 hours 8 to 10 personnel were seen running into the NE portion of Obj BLUE. A detailed search by both A and C companies revealed only civilians in the area. By 1130 hours Co A proceeded to Obj GREEN, followed shortly thereafter by Co C. Before leaving, Co A found a VC blood-stained pack and several signs in the area which read "Beware of Mines and Boobytraps." A civilian was also found in the area but was released upon the advice of the National Policeman. The Recon Platoon was relieved of the blocking positions X, Y and Z and moved to provide the SE flank security for Co A at 1059 hours. Co B was sent to check area V but found the people to be friendly and conducting normal activities. Upon questioning 15 to 20 civilians they determined that no VC had been in the area for some time. A report was received of 100 VC located at XT 545105 as recently as 190700MAR and Co A moved to make contact. By 1433 Co B completed its search of Psn V and instructed to sweep the woods NE of and along the road to Obj GREEN. At 1528 Co A received small arms fire from a rice paddy vic XT 565094 and engaged the target with small arms, artillery and mortars. A total of ten VC were estimated to have been killed in this encounter. At 1635 Co A started its return to base camp followed by Recon Platoon, Hvy Mort Plat and Co C. Co B remained in the area of operations as the Bde reaction force and was released at 1730 hours. The last element closed into the battalion base at 1932 hours.
8. Supporting Forces:
a. Btry C, 1st Bn, 8th Arty (DS).
b. Co B, 65th Engr Bn, provided a two man demolition team for each company and Recon Platoon.
c. Each company and Recon Platoon was provided with one interpreter and one National Policeman.
a. Personnel Summary.
(1) Friendly casualties: KIA - 2, WIA - 30
(2) VC: Killed - 5 (conf). 31 (est), 4 captured. Suspects detained and evacuated : 6 men and one woman and child.
b. Equipment and material losses:
(1) Friendly: Five APC's were damaged by AT mines. One of these vehicles has been repaired and returned to the unit. The remaining four must be repaired at support maintenance.
(2) VC: (Items captured and/or destroyed)
(a) Ammunition and weapons.
(1) 7.92 Chicom linked rounds - 750.
(2) .30 cal loose rounds - 250.
(3) AT rockets - 5.
(4) Grenade launcher - 1.
(5) Chicom MG spare barrels - 2.
(6) Chicom grenades - 49.
(b) Miscellaneous VC equipment.
(1) Combat packs - 8.
(2) Medical kits - 1.
(3) Entrenching tools - 6.
(c) Mines and boobytraps.
(1) Mines, AT, detonated by vehicles - 7.
(2) Mines, AP, detonated by vehicles - 8.
(3) Boobytraps detonated -7; destroyed in place - 33.
(d) Installations destroyed.
(1) Bunkers - 30.
(2) Tunnels - 6.
(3) Classrooms - 1.
(4) Sampans - 14.
(e) Food supplies: 8 tons of rice were evacuated from the operations area.
(f) Documents: Approximately three boxes of documents were found or taken from POW's, which resulted in approximately 45 actual VC documents of varying degrees of importance. Many of the documents have been forwarded to MACV for further evaluation.
10. Administrative matters:
a. The battalion started operations with a strength of 761 and terminated with 732 personnel, six of which were WIA's returned to duty.
b. Supplies. Resupply was accomplished by two methods. One method was aerial resupply by helicopter from base camp. The other method was the positioning of Class III in a Bn trains located in the Bn trains area (Psn ACE). During the aerial resupply, there were two instances that items outloaded were not delivered on the second day (15 March 1966). One helicopter was unable to land at Co A due to enemy fire, and another helicopter was unable to land at the Bn CP due to darkness. The failure to complete delivery resulted in the loss of approximately 300 meals of "A" rations. Although only the two shipments were not delivered, several resupply shipments could not be made because the helicopter was diverted for use on heliborne operations, airlift of POW's and extraction of captured rice. The diversion of helicopters also hindered resupply in that the unit was never certain of when helicopters would be available. At times the unit had two or three helicopters for its use; however, due to the lack of available information until the last moment, time was lost getting supplies properly positioned. The uncertainty of available helicopters required water and hot rations to be prepared well in advance and kept sitting at the helipad. Operations were late starting in the mornings because of late arrival of helicopters to extract empty water cans and other equipment. Helicopters were never available earlier than 0800 hours and sometimes not before 1000 hours. The use of different helicopters during the day required more detailed instruction to each pilot as to location and call signs. The resupply of Class III was handled by the Bn trains by tactical vehicles returning to the position to refuel or provide escort for wheeled gasoline tankers to unite. Brigade's failure to move the trains forward on the 4th day made it more difficult to refuel. The battalion expended 30,000 rounds of 5.56mm, 3,700 rounds of 7.62mm, 7,500 rounds of cal. 50, 350 40mm grenades, 439 81mm mortar rounds, 8 rounds 90mm HE, 414 4.2" mortar rounds, 256 hand grenades, 223 smoke grenades, 22M18A1 mines, and 100 pounds of demolitions.
c. Maintenance. Five APC's, M113, were damaged by mines. Of the five damaged, one was repaired by Bn maintenance and the others were evacuated to higher support echelon. Seven other APC's, M113, developed maintenance trouble of some type; however, they were repaired on site or in the Bn trains and returned to using unit. The largest problem was the evacuation of damaged or inoperative tracks. The shortage of authorized VTR's required tactical vehicles to be diverted for use as recovery vehicles. The unit requested a VTR M-88 from Bde for use in evacuation; however, by the time the VTR was available, evacuation had been accomplished by other means. The brigade's failure to move the trains forward on the 4th day made the evacuation of damaged vehicles very difficult.
d. Transportation: The battalion consumed 4,657 gallons of MOGAS.
11. Special Equipment and Techniques: Aluminum balks for engineer bridges used as footing proved very helpful in recovery operations. 100 foot cables are also a necessity in recovery operations.
12. Commander's Analysis: At 2115 hours , 16 March, a report rated with an A-1 reliability was received stating that approximately 100 VC were located in the woods at coordinates XT 529113. It is known that the VC frequently move soon after dawn and it was felt that the best way to insure hitting the enemy was to have the area surrounded by dawn, thus the decision to move C Co at night. As it turned out, two things prevented success. First, the VC were in area BLUE but not in the woods at coordinates XT 529113. Secondly, the company went into position 1000 meters west of the objective. It is believed that we are definitely capable of maneuvering at night, especially between the hours of 2400 and 0500, in order to gain surprise.
13. Lessons Learned:
a. Resupply by helicopter is a real problem. Companies must stop movement by about 1630 hour to allow time for helicopter to bring in supplies and to permit reconnaissance of ambush sites and company perimeters. When a heliborne operation is in progress in the afternoon, it denies use of helicopter for resupply and caused one company to go without food or water for one night. Helicopters must drop in next morning to pick up empty water cans. On both mornings companies couldn't move until 0945 because choppers were so late in arriving.
RECOMMENDATION: Helicopters should be made available sooner and companies must leave a detachment to secure an LZ and catch up later with the company.
b. Platoon leaders themselves must call in artillery fire more. The arty FO is with the company commander and in close terrain the exact location of forward platoons is not known by the FO. Hence, the platoon leader of the forward platoon, who also knows the enemy location, must call in the artillery fire more often.
c. The VC are definitely employing AP mines with their AT mines. The operation proved that the VC can and will emplace mixed minefields, contrary to previous information received.
d. Broadcasts run all young men out of area. All young men moved out of the Phase 2 area prior to the arrival of friendly forces. All exits for VC, draft dodgers, ect, must be blocked. The exodus evidently started as a result of warning from heliborne loudspeakers prior to the operation.
RECOMMENDATION: It is believed that a much larger study of this technique of alerting all types of personnel in the area should be made. It is believed that through various means the VC that were in the area knew of the impending operation and chose to exfiltrate from the area.
e. VC hide in rice paddies rather than in woods when the paddy is thick. Searches must be extended into the rice paddies with equal emphasis.
f. System to indicate resupply items must be worked out. Bn S-4 will develop a line item list. This will permit units to order by line item (eg., Line Item #1 (which happens to be 7.62mm linked, unit-1 box) 6 boxes). This will also remind units of items most likely to be forgotten, like batteries and smoke grenades.
g. Companies need a "remain overnight box" to be brought in by helicopter in the evening and picked up in the morning. This should contain trip flares, Claymores, starlight devices, sniperscopes, ect.
h. S-4 with his M577 must be in the field with the battalion for all operations.
i. Mounted sweeps will seldom turn up enemy small forces unless they are willing to be found. A detailed house-to-house search is required to turn up anything.
j. Movement at night to surround a VC area at dawn will work. VC does not expect us to move at night.
FOR THE COMMANDER
D. H. SNODGRASS
Incl #1 (Operation Overlay #1)
Incl #2 (Operation Overlay #2)
Incl #3 (Operation Overlay #3)
Incl #4 (CASUALTIES INCURRED ON OPERATION HONOLULU 14-19 MARCH 1966.)
CASUALTIES INCURRED ON OPERATION HONOLULU 14 - 19 MARCH 1966
NAME AND GRADE UNIT DATE INJURY HOSPITAL SAUERS, Raymond D. PFC HHC 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel in both legs and both 93 rd Evac
TERRY, Cecil F. SP4 HHC 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel in both legs and left arm 93rd Evac
GARCIA, Joe N. SSG Co A 19 MAR 66 Superficial shrapnel wound in R arm Bn Aid
CROSBY, Henry D. PVT Co A 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel in both legs and nose 93 Evac
MC LANE, Richard SP4 Co A 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left eye and in head Bn Aid Stn
BUNCH, Jimmy D. SGT Co A 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in abdomen 93rd Evac
BROWER, Larry N. SP4 Co A 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left buttock and side 93rd Evac
SHONO, David D. SP4 Co A 17 MAR 66 Bruised knee 25th Med Bn
STANDS, Daniel G. PVT Co A 18 MAR 66 GSW in stomach - KIA 25th Med Bn
VICKERY, Ellison B. CAPT Co B 15 MAR 66 GSW right index finger 3rd Field
BROER, James 1/LT Co B 15 MAR 66 GSW right hand 93rd Evac
BROWN, Eugene SSG Co B 14 MAR 66 Shrapnel both eyes 93rd Evac
MC GULLAM, Dennis SP4 Co B 14 MAR 66 Shrapnel right lower abdomen 93rd Evac
GUSTAVUS, Theodore SP4 Co B 16 MAR 66 Shrapnel right shoulder 93rd Evac
KAPRAL, William MSGT Co B 16 MAR 66 Shrapnel right hand and left arm Bn Aid Sta
CORRERA-MORALES, F. PVT Co B 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in lower back 93rd Evac
RIVERA-SIERRA, E. PFC Co B 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in back and left arm 93rd Evac DAWSON, Preston SGT Co B 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel left leg 93rd Evac
SOUZA, Frank SSG Co B 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel in arms, face and chest 25 Med Bn
MILLER, Joe PVT Co B 18 MAR 66 Shrapnel in right shoulder Bn Aid Sta
TALON, Mariano SGT Co C 15 MAR 66 GSW in right knee 93rd Evac
CHIN, Robert C. SP4 Co C 16 MAR 66 GSW in right thigh 3rd Field
WILSON, John T. SP4 Co C 16 MAR 66 GSW in left thigh 3rd Field
RUFF, Joe E. PFC Co C 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left ankle 25th Med Bn
VINCENT, James B. Co C 17 MAR 66 GSW left forearm and right ear25th Med Bn
SZABO, Michael M. SP4 Co C 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left shoulder 93rd Evac
SNODGRASS, George SP4 Co C 15 MAR 66 Shrapnel in forehead - KIA
THOMPSON, John T. SP4 Co C 17 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left humerus 93rd Evac
POLK, Harry E. SSG Co C 15 MAR 66 Shrapnel in back 93rd Evac
KNOTT, Elvin SP4 Co C 16 MAR 66 Shrapnel in left shoulder Bn Aid Sta
NELSON, Guy SP4 Co C 16 MAR 66 Shrapnel in arms, legs and chest 93rd Evac
POWELL, Jackie A. SGT Co C 15 MAR 66 Shrapnel in right ear Bn Aid Sta
Inclosure 4 to Ltr, HQ, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, subj, After-Action Report - Operation HONOLULU, dtd 23 MAR 66.
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
TLMAA-C 29 April 1966
SUBJECT: Commanding Officer
2d Bde Task Force
25th Infantry Division
APO U. S. Forces 96225
1. Operation KAHUKU, search and destroy.
2. Date: 7 April 1966.
3. General: The operation was conducted in Phuoc Vinh Ninh (XT 6814). The Bn OPIRD 16-66 was issued 061400APR66. The operation was conducted with elements of the 2d Bde Task Force. Lt Col Greer is the reporting officer. Task organization and commanders were as follows:
1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf: Lt Col T. U. Greer, commanding.
Co A: Capt. J. A. Renner, commanding.
B Trp, 3/4 Cav: Capt C. R. Quickmire, commanding.
Co C, 1/69th Armored: Capt P. C. Gutzman, commanding.
2d Platoon, Co B, 1/5th Mech: 1/Lt T. Jagosc, Plat Ldr.
Hvy Mort Plat: 1/Lt J. E. McQuinn, Plat Ldr.
Attachments and detachments: Incl 1.
a. One platoon of local guerrillas had been reported in the area of operations. Exact location of the VC platoon was not known. It was believed that when the VC determined a major U.S. attack was under way they would attempt to withdraw to the safe areas vicinity Tan Hoa (XT 695145) and/or Dong Sao (XT 700105). It was suspected that the same general harassing and delaying tactics -- sniper fire and boobytraps -- would be employed by the VC. The VC were known to have several MG's and automatic weapons.
b. During the operation no platoon size force was encountered at any one time. The primary mission of the TF was to seal off all routes of escape with platoon size elements while the main force conducted search and destroy operations throughout the entire area of operations. The mission was accomplished, but only four - and five - man VC groups were encountered by our forces. Upon deploying into the AO, small groups of VC were engaged and killed in trenches, bunkers and spider holes.
c. The terrain consisted primarily of dry rice paddies, moderate to thickly vegetated woods and scattered marshy streambeds. Observation and fields of fire were both restricted by the numerous hedgerows in the objective area. The only obstacle to tracked movement was the low marshy stream areas, but these posed no obstacle to dismounted personnel. The weather caused no change in the course of action.
5. Mission: TF GREER attacks 070700APR to conduct search and destroy operations in assigned area of operations (Incl 1).
6. Concept of Operation: The Task Force established platoon size blocking positions on CP 6 (XT 690128) and CP 7 (XT 669132) to prevent VC movement in or out of Phuoc Vinh Ninh and attacked rapidly to conduct search and destroy operations in Phuoc Vinh Ninh.
7. Execution: The Task Force crossed the LD on time with the 2d Plat, Co B, 1/5th Mech moving rapidly to establish the blocking position on CP 6. The TF moved rapidly into the area and at 0750 Co C, 1/69th, operating the center of the area, received small arms fire from vic XT 676134. Automatic weapons fire was returned and contact broken but no results could be determined. At 0807 2d Plat, Co B, 1/5th Mech secured and established the blocking position vic XT 669132 without enemy contact. At 0811, B Trp, 3/4 Cav spotted nine civilians moving into a hole on the right of PL EGG (XT 686117). A small element was left to apprehend the civilians and the unit continued on its search and destroy mission. At the same time, Co A, 1/5 Mech sustained two WIA's from small arms fire from XT 675123. The casualties were minor and after treatment remained with the unit. At 0812, Co C, 1/69th Armored saw nine people moving into a hole vic XT 676118 and detached an element to apprehend the civilians. The civilians captured by B Trp, 3/4 Cav and Co C, 1/69th Armored were later turned over to the National Police. At 0813, Co A, 1/5 Mech received small arms fire and contact was broken. By 0817 all units had crossed PL CANDY (XT 678119). At the same time, the Bn Cmd Gp, which was to the rear of the forward elements, spotted five VC's getting out of a trench on PL CANDY vic XT 678119 with a MG and automatic weapons to engage the rear of the TF. The Bn Cmd Gp moved back and opened fire on the VC's who retreated into a trench with the machinegun. The VC's were pursued and killed and their MG and three carbines captured. Documents on one of the VC's disclosed that he was a squad leader of the C 306 Bn, Local Force, Cu Chi. Two WIA's were sustained by the Bn Cmd Gp. Co C, 1/69th Armored destroyed an enemy area with demolitions at 0841 and sustained one WIA from a falling tree vic XT 684127. At the same time, the 1st Plat, B Trp, 3/4 Cav seized and established the blocking position vic XT 690128. At 0851, Co C, 1/69th Armored spotted five VC's in a trench. The unit maneuvered and engaged the Vc's with automatic weapons and small arms fire, killing three (confirmed) and wounding one who died shortly thereafter. Intelligence received from the 2d Bde indicated that a VC company with a strength of 110 men with automatic weapons capability was in the operations area. At 0855 the Bn Cmdr aborted the Co C, 1/5th Mech planned mission in another area and committed Co C to assist in Operation KAHUKU. At 0902 a helicopter in support of Operation KAHUKU was hit by fire and forced down vicinity XT 695115. The pilot sustained serious wounds by burns and there were three ambulatory casualties. The WIA's were evacuated by Dust Off and the equipment was extracted by ground troops in the area. At 0909 another helicopter received fire and had to return to Cu Chi. No casualties were sustained. At 0922, B Trp, 3/4 Cav found a VC base camp vicinity XT 684123. A detailed search of the area disclosed no weapons or equipment and the area was destroyed. At 0925 a VC PW in the area stated that the VC's had moved out and were in the Bao Cap area and artillery fires were placed throughout the Bao Cap area. At 0933, Co A, 1/27th Inf was dispatched forward to augment the effectiveness of the blocking position vic XT 669132. By 0937 TF GREER had swept through the entire objective area and received the order to return to PL EGG and make another sweep through the area. At 0950, Co C, 1/5th Mech arrived in the objective area and was given the mission of conducting a detailed search of the area north of the LD up to PL CANDY attacking from west to east between CP 13 (XT 675120) and CP 17 (XT 677118). At 1000, Hvy Mortar Platoon, unable to fire due to the employment of friendly troops throughout the objective area, received orders to displace and establish a blocking position to the southwest, vic CP 3 (XT 677112). At 1027, Co C, 1/69th Armored reported the killing of nine VC's in a trench on PL BUNNY (XT 691124) and captured several documents and weapons. Co A, 1/5th Mech also killed two VC's in a tunnel at 1052 on CP 4 (XT 677124) and gave chase to a third who escaped with an automatic weapon. B Trp, 3/4 Cav located a house vicinity XT 677122 that was boobytrapped and destroyed the structure. By 1115 all units had returned to PL EGG and immediately started the return search of the area. The search progressed slowly and without contact and at 1132 Co C, 1/5th Mech found a 250 lb bomb that was rigged for command detonation vicinity XT 686125. The bomb was destroyed and the unit continued its search and at 1146 found an undetermined number of AP mines in a house vic XT 677118. A further search of the area revealed a cache of small arms ammunition. No enemy could be found and all munitions and VC structures were destroyed. At 1152, Co C, 1/5th Mech found a large cache of military equipment and documents in another house vic XT 677188. A check of the cache revealed that it was boobytrapped with CBU bombs. The house and the cache were destroyed. at 1201, B Trp, 3/4 Cav killed one VC and captured and destroyed an undetermined number of grenades on PL BASKET vicinity XT 693124. At 1215, B Trp, 3/4 Cav found a dead VC, female, in a tunnel in the same area. There were several boobytraps and hand grenades found with the body. The boobytraps and grenades were destroyed. Between1216 and 1430 sporadic and ineffective sniper fire was received from the southwestern section of PL EGG vic XT 658116 and at 1430 Co A and Co C, 1/5th Mech received the order to conduct a two company sweep through the Ap Dong Sao area (XT 700105). Both units made a NW-SE sweep through the entire area finding and destroying three boobytraps; however, no enemy contact was made and the units made a return sweep through the area and closed into base camp at 1620. The 49th ARVN Regt assumed the responsibility of the mop-up operation and moved in with dozers as the TF started a homeward sweep toward base camp. B Trp, 3/4 Cav sustained two minor WIA's from small arms fire from vic XT 689118 and killed one VC vic XT 689117 who was attempting to depart the area of operations. At 1613, B Trp killed another VC in a trench vicinity XT 689116. By 1800 all elements had closed to base camp with the exception of B Trp, 3/4 Cav, which was providing security for the downed helicopter.
8. Supporting forces. Co C, 1/5th Mech, Capt J. G. Andress, commanding, responded rapidly and greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the search and destruction of VC's and Vc structures in the area of operations. The Bde reaction force, Co A, 1/27th Inf, Capt L. J. Mayene, commanding, was committed into the area of operations by the Bde CO to strengthen the blocking position on CP #7 vic XT 669132. Light fire team, UH1B armed helicopters supported the TF.
a. VC's killed (confirmed and estimated).
(1) 26 VC's killed (body count ).
(2) 19 VC's killed (estimated).
(3) 18 civilians detained and turned over to National Police.
(1) 17 bunkers.
(2) 5 tunnels.
(3) 20 buildings.
(4) 18 boobytraps.
(5) 30 hand grenades.
(6) 8 CBU bombs (boobytrapped).
(7) 1 250lb bomb (boobytrapped).
(1) Miscellaneous papers and documents.
(2) 4 Russian carbines, 7.62mm.
(3) 1 U. S. carbine, M2.
(4) 2 U. S. BAR's.
(5) 2 Chicom 7.62mm assault rifles.
(6) 1 Russian MG 34, 7.92mm LMG.
(7) 1 Chicom 7.62mm carbine.
10. Administrative Matters:
a. Supplies: Operation KAHUKU was a one day operation and no resupply was necessary.
b. Maintenance: During the course of the operation the TF had several tanks and APC's mired; however, all were extracted and no major maintenance problem occurred during the operation as all vehicles returned to base camp under their own power.
c. Transportation: The TF vehicles consumed approximately one-half the fuel in their tanks during the operation and no refueling was necessary during the operation.
d. Medical: Casualty list, Incl 2.
e. Communications: No communications problems were encountered during the operation.
11. Special Equipment and Techniques: None.
12. Commander's Analysis: The commitment of Co C, 1/5th Mech into the area of operations was necessitated by the large number of tunnels, bunkers and buildings in the area which required a thorough search. The Tank Co and Cac Troop were not capable of nor prepared for conducting detailed ground or underground searches.
13. Conclusions and Lessons Learned: The success of the operation can be attributed to the following:
a. The speed and violence of the attack prevented most of the VC from escaping.
b. No air or artillery preparations were fired to forewarn the VC of an impending attack. Extensive preparations are habitually employed by both ARVN and U.S. Forces prior to any attack. Supporting fires were preplanned and on call for this operation.
c. The coordinated use of blocking positions and armed helicopters to seal off the area was very effective.
FOR THE COMMANDER
2 Incl BILLY J. HAMMONDS
as Captain, Infantry
CASUALTIES SUSTAINED DURING OPERATION KAHUKU
NAME RANK UNIT DISPOSITION WOUNDS MOS
JORDAN, Herman Maj HHC 1/5 Duty S/in eye 1542 BOX, Delbert PFC HHC 1/5 93rd Evac S/in wrist, R hand, 11B10 elbow, back
CROWLEY, Morris SGT Co A 1/5 Duty S (L) face 11B40 FRANKS, Mack H. PFC Co A 1/5 93rd Evac S/in chest 11B10
JEROLDS, James R. SSG Co A 1/5 93rd Evac S/left shoulder 11B40
FORMAN, Thomas G. PFC Co A 1/5 93rd Evac Cut (L) eye 11H10
MICHALAK, Stanley PFC B Trp, 3/4 Cav 93rd Evac S/ (R) arm 11E10
ROBINSON, William F. PVT E2 Btrp, 3/4 Cav 3rd Field S/ neck 11B20
Inclosure 2 (Casualty List) to After-Action Report, Operation KAHUKU
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCSB-C 1 December 1966
SUBJECT: Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32)
TO: Commanding Officer
2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
APO U.S. Forces 96225
1. NAME OF OPERATION: Operation KAILUA.
2. DATE OF OPERATION: 12OCT66 - 05NOV66.
3. GENERAL: The operation was conducted in the Hau Nghia Province, South Viet Nam. Throughout the operation no contact was made with a VC force larger than squad size. The following are results of the operation:
(1) 531 personnel participated in the operation.
(2) 48 WIA (31 of which were treated and returned to duty), 5 KIA and 1 DOW were sustained during this operation.
(3) Nine (9) M113 APC's hit anti tank mines, five (5) were repaired in the field and continued the operation, two (2) were evacuated to base camp for repairs and two (2) were combat losses. Three (3) APC's were damaged by anti tank weapons.
b. Enemy: Killed 12 VC (BC) 32 (est)
(1) Captured: 6 VCC
1 U.S. M3 .45 cal SMG
2 U.S. M1 rifles
1 U.S. BAR
4 Chicom assault rifles
1 Russian rifle (model unknown)
1 cal .30 MG
1 U.S. carbine
2 VC notebooks
2 VC payment books
1 VC flag
1000 pounds of rice
Assorted VC ID cards
(2) Destroyed: 8 tunnel complexes
154 bunkers (5 which were boobytrapped)
5 pounds of sugar
3 pounds of tea
5 pounds of coffee
4 carbine rounds
PAGE TWO OF THE CAAR IS MISSING
4. LESSONS LEARNED.
a. Discussion: Extensive Civil Affairs pacification operations were conducted over an extended period of time in the Tan Phu Trung area (Incl 1), with excellent results. During the daylight hours S&D operations were conducted with assistance from several Chieu Hoi's in the area. The Bn C/A team also conducted daily MEDCAP activities, taught English classes and rendered assistance in construction projects in the village area (i.e.) dispensary, school house and tactical defensive structures. During darkness saturation ambushes were employed. These operations were highly successful and resulted in 5 VC killed (BC) and 9 (est). Captured during this period were 6 VCC, 2 Chicom assault rifles, documents and 1 VCS detained. Also during this period 2 VC voluntarily turned themselves in to U.S. forces. One was a propaganda and intelligence officer from the NVN army who turned in a pistol. Valuable information was also obtained from the Chieu Hoi's which directly resulted in the capture of 2 Chicom assault rifles and numerous documents.
b. Recommendation: Rather than daily visits and MEDCAP activities, U.S. forces should conduct Civil Affairs and rural pacification type operations over extended periods of time. Units involved with these operations should remain in the area continuously for two months or more.
c. Discussion: On one occasion a U.S. mechanized company was engaged by a heavy volume of RR fire from well concealed positions over a ten (10) minute period of time. U.S. forces were unable to locate the enemy positions hence fire was returned on suspected locations and maneuver was greatly restricted. During the fire fight the Bn Cmdr's C&C helicopter was down for refueling and there were no gunships on station. Hence the VC were able to break contact and escape.
d. Recommendations: That commanders be furnished alternate C&C helicopters to ensure continuity in controlling and influencing the tactical situation. That whenever an alternative C&C helicopter is not available, gunships or other aerial observer be on station and available to the ground company commander in contact.
e. Discussion: On three different occasions U.S. forces located a boobytrap factory and two large arms caches, with the aid of Chieu Hoi's.
f. Recommendations: U.S. forces should use every opportunity to utilize Chieu Hoi's while on S&D operations and exploit their knowledge of VC locations and arms caches.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
1 Incl JAMES G. ANDRESS
as CPT INF