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After Action Report 26
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
18th Military History Detachment
25th Infantry Division
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCMH 5 October 1970
SUBJECT: Small Unit Combat After Action Interview Report
THRU: Commanding General
United States Army Vietnam
ATTN: Command Historian
APO San Francisco 96375
Department of the Army
Washington, D.C. 20315
1. (U) NAME AND TYPE OF OPERATION: Unnamed; Visual and Ground Reconnaissance.
2. (U) DATE OF OPERATION: 19 September 1970
3. (U) LOCATION: Crescent (XT397496); Sheet Number 6231, Map Series L607, 1:100,000; Khiem Hanh District, Tay Ninh Province.
4. (U) CONTROL HEADQUARTERS: 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
5. (U) PERSONS BEING INTERVIEWED: See Inclosure 1.
6. (U) INTERVIEWING OFFICER: Division Historian.
7. (U) TASK ORGANIZATION:
a. Troop D (-), 3rd Squadron, 4th cavalry
b. 1st and 2nd Platoons, Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry
8. (U) SUPPORTING FORCES:
Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery (155mm howitzer)
9. (U) BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The primary mission of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division is to destroy VC/NVA forces and their bases of operation; assist the Republic of Vietnam in rural development, pacification and civic action programs; assist in training and provide support to RVNAF; and be prepared to reinforce US and ARVN forces within the TAOI as directed. The Brigade is continuing Phase IV of Operation TOAN THANG.
10. (U) INTELLIGENCE:
a. Enemy: Intelligence indicated that elements of the 101st NVA Regiment were operating in the area. Documents found in a base camp approximately 8 kilometers southeast of the contact area (XT487375) on 15 September 1970 by A/3-4 Cav indicated that an important political meeting was to take place in the near future consisting of staff members of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 101st NVA Regiment, members of the Political Staff, 101st NVA Regiment and possibly officers from COSVN headquarters. The air and ground reconnaissance undertaken by D/3-4 Cav and A/3-4 Cav in the contact area were initiated to try and detect this meeting and/or locate enemy infiltration routes or supply points in the area.
The prisoner-of-war captured at 1700 hours by A/3-4 Cav on 19 September in the vicinity of XT395496 identified his unit as the 3rd Company, D14 Battalion of Tay Ninh Province which had been inactive during the last few months. The PW stated that the 3rd Company's headquarters was located about 4 kilometers northwest of his place of capture. He did not know the whereabouts of the D14 Battalion headquarters but had heard it was located in the jungles of Duong Minh Chau, Tay Ninh Province.
b. Terrain: The Crescent is a flat area, heavily wooded along the Saigon River but turning into flooded rice paddies with clumps of trees, bushes and hedgerows as one moves west toward Tay Ninh City. The hedgerows and wooded areas around the flooded paddies provide excellent meeting and storage areas for the enemy. Although the paddies were flooded, the tracked vehicles of A/3-4 Cav had no trouble operating in the area.
c. Weather: Weather remained clear during the contact period with temperature in the 90's. Due to the Monsoon Season, the low lying paddies were flooded, typical for this area of Vietnam. The weather facilitated both air and ground reconnaissance of the area.
11. (C) MISSION: The mission of the LOH, as part of a Light Scout Team (LST), was to visually recon the general area around the Crescent (XT3949) to detect enemy movement along trails which showed signs of recent activity. The Aerial Rifle Platoon from D/3-4 Cav was on an insertion mission to the northwest into a suspected enemy base camp. A/3-4 Cav was engaged in searching for the meeting area of political and military personnel of COSVN, which was supposed to have been in the area, as well as searching for enemy supply and infiltration points.
12. (C) CONCEPT OF OPERATION AND EXECUTION
On 19 September 1970 at approximately 1325 hours, the crew of a light observation helicopter (LOH) from Troop D, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry was conducting a low level reconnaissance flight over the area of the Crescent (XT397496) when signs of enemy activity were detected (see Sketch Map 1). Reconning as part of a LST, the LOH was accompanied by an AH1G Cobra gunship. The LOH was piloted by CW 2 Loren McCoy, SP4 John Adams was the crew chief and SP4 Milan Lee the observer. Two and three man trails were spotted. Visual reconnaissance was conducted for approximately 20 minutes, during which time no sign of the enemy was observed. To make a determination of how recent the enemy activity in the area was, Mr. McCoy decided to land and check out the water jug and trails.
As the LOH made its final approach, approximately 10-15 feet from the landing site, an unobserved enemy opened fire on the aircraft. The initial burst sprayed the front of the aircraft (18 rounds total, 13 rounds hit the front of the LOH) wounding CW 2 McCoy in the right arm and killing SP4 Lee. As McCoy and Adams exited the aircraft, they began to return fire toward the suspected enemy position with an M16 rifle and an M60 machine gun. While McCoy was firing, Adams crawled back into the aircraft and confirmed that Lee was dead. During this time, the accompanying Cobra engaged an estimated three to four enemy 100 meters to the southwest of the downed LOH. Responding to the emergency call from the Cobra, a mini-cav of three UH1H helicopters and two AH1G Cobras was diverted from another mission, 15 kilometers to the west, and inserted the Aerial Rifle Platoon (ARP) 25 meters south of the downed LOH. The time elapsed from the call for assistance and the insertion of the ARP was less than 10 minutes.
On the ground, the ARP swept the immediate area and formed a perimeter around the downed LOH as preparations for extraction were made. As the mini-cav was inserted, CW 2 McCoy and SP4 Adams were evacuated to Dau Tieng. The dust-off ship returned immediately and removed the body of SP4 Lee to Dau Tieng. The heavily damaged LOH was extracted by a UH1H helicopter at 1435 hours. The ARP then swept the area to the west, found one enemy KIA (BC) (see Sketch Map 2) and returned to the vicinity of the downed LOH at 1545 hours. The 1st and 2nd Platoons of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, who were on a ground reconnaissance approximately 6 kilometers to the east, joined the ARP at 1600 hours and together, the two units made a further search to the west (see Sketch Map 3) finding nothing. The ARP returned and was extracted at 1630 hours.
Captain Thomas Morgan, the Commander of A/3-4, continued the search, this time moving his two platoons farther south and west. An LST (Centaur 40 and 55) flying cover for A/3-4 Cav observed and engaged an estimated six enemy soldiers inside a bamboo hedgerow to the north of where A/3-4 Cav was sweeping (see Sketch Map 4). Captain Morgan moved the 2nd platoon north to the area of contact. They found one wounded enemy soldier and evacuated him to Dau Tieng. Movement was then detected in some bushes to the south. As the 2nd Platoon swung around and cordoned the area, Morgan ordered his 1st Platoon to check out the area due east where fishtraps, footprints and other signs of enemy activity had been reported (see Sketch Map 4). Dismounts from the 1st Platoon moved to the bushes where they received small arms fire. The dismounts pulled back and the tracks were brought up. The area was heavily fragged and swept with fire. Another dismounted sweep was conducted and one seriously wounded enemy soldier was found who later died of wounds. As the sweep continued, a third enemy fired and wounded one US dismounted soldier. The man was evacuated to Dau Tieng by Centaur 40 (LOH), while fire was returned into the enemy position. A final sweep uncovered another seriously wounded enemy soldier who died almost immediately.
As darkness closed in, a night laager site was set up and resupply arranged. The Centaur remained on station to recon suspected enemy positions. Later that evening, the Centaur was replaced by Diamondhead gunships and Shadow 67 (spooky) which placed illumination and fire on the wood lines throughout the night.
13. (C) RESULTS:
This operation was a successful air and ground reconnaissance carried out by 1st Brigade elements. Enemy personnel losses during the day were three killed and one wounded prisoner-of-war captured. US forces suffered one man killed and two men wounded.
14. (C) ANALYSIS:
This action demonstrated that close coordination between air and ground units can result in immediate and effective reaction to enemy initiated contact. The response by the Aerial Rifle Platoon was rapid and effective in dispersing the enemy and aiding the personnel of the downed LOH. The integration of the ARP with the cavalry proved effective in searching the area, preventing the enemy from taking further action, and ultimately capturing one and killing three of the estimated 15 enemy in the area.
/s/ Carter Morey
4 Incl CARTER MOREY
1. Sketch Maps Maj, INF
2. Persons Interviewed Division Historian
3. Enemy Losses
4. US Casualties
Sketch Map 1: General Area
Sketch Map 2: Initial ARP Sweep and Find of First KIA
Sketch Map 3: Linkup and Joint Sweep of ARP and A/3-4 Cav
Sketch Map 4: A/3-4 Cav Movement and Contact
Name Rank SSAN Job Title and Unit
Adams, John W. SP4 530449037 Crew chief, D/3-4 Caf
Beel, John A. SGT 267922311 FO, 3-13th Arty
Dunham, James 1LT 229682577 Ground Platoon Commander,
Grof, Robert L. MAJ 373363232 CO, D/3-4 Cav
Haggert, Michael J. CPT 454784691 Platoon commander, ARP/3-4 Cav
Mathis, Ted R. CPT 386444798 XO, Forward Operations
Mayer, Michael WO2 423684628 Pilot, ARP/3-4 Cav Command Ship
McCoy, Loren WO2 530449436 Pilot of Downed LOH
Morgan, Thomas CPT 463684628 CO, A/3-4 Cav
Enemy Personnel Losses
Unit Number Date Time Grid Location
D/3-4 Cav 1 19 Sep 1530 XT396495
1/3-4 Cav 1 PW 19 Sep 1700 XT392495
1 19 Sep 1730 XT394495
1 19 Sep 1830 XT395495
Totals 3 KIA (BC)
Killed in Action
Name Rank SSAN Unit Date
Lee, Milar SP4 315449037 D/3-4 Cav 19 Sep 70
Wounded and Hospitalized
McCoy, Loren WO2 530449436 D/3-4 Cav 19 Sep 70
Arenholz, Kenneth SP4 094403221 A/3-4 Cav 19 Sep 70
(Sketch Map 1 - General Area)
(Sketch Map 2 - Initial ARP Sweep and Find of First KIA)
(Sketch Map 3 - Linkup and Joint Sweep of ARP and A/3-4)
(Sketch Map 4 - A/3-4 Movement and Contact)
REPORTING UNIT: RANGER TEAM 24 DATE OF REPORT: 24 APR 69
DATE-TIME GROUP AND COORDINATS OF DATE-TIME GOUP AND COORDINATES OF INSERTION: 211300 APR 69 XT648218 EXTRACTION: 240850 APR 69 XT665196
TEAM MEMBERS AND POSITION METHOD OF TEAM INSERTION: 2/34th
1. TEAM LEADER SGT. LMARVICKA
2. ASST TL. SGT REGANTHAL
TEAM MEMBERS METHOD OF TEAM EXTRACTION:
KCS THOI SP4 DAMRON UH-1D
PFC JONES C. PFC EVANS
SP4 PORTER PFC MCKINNEY R. REASON FOR EXTRACTION:
PFC MCKINNEY G. SP4 MORELAND MISSION COMPLETED
MISSION: Team 24's primary mission was to gather intelligence, and if the opportunity arose to kill or capture enemy personnel.
211300 Team 24 was inserted by 2/34th in the vicinity of coordinates XT648218. The team moved on an AZ of 350 degrees for approximately 800 meters and set up an OP in an old tank trap, in the vicinity of coordinates XT647226. While moving to the OP the team spotted approximately 25 to 30 old foxholes, all were over grown with weeds and approximately two to three months old.
211615 Centaur Gunships spotted an unknown size enemy force in an open area approximately 500 meters from the team on an AZ of 270 degrees. Centaur Gunships engaged the enemy personnel with gun and rocket runs with unknown results.
211620 Team 24 stationed one man in a tree to better observe the area. The man in the tree spotted an undetermined number of enemy personnel drag six bodies into the brush on an AZ of 270 degrees approximately 500 meters from the team. Team 24 directed gun and rocket tuns on the enemy positions with unknown results.
211710 Team 24 spotted two VC on an AZ of 100 degrees approximately 300 meters, three on an AZ of 200 degrees approximately 400 meters, two on an AZ of 310 degrees approximately 400 meters from their position.
211720 Team 24 spotted four VC on an AZ of 090 degrees approximately 300 meters from them moving toward their position.
211945 Team 24 monitored seven flashlights on an AZ of 270 degrees approximately 500 meters from their position. The team called a fire mission, and all of the lights went out.
220907 Team 24's man in the tree spotted one VC body in an opening on an AZ of 270 degrees approximately 500 meters from their position. Team 24 directed artillery into the area of the body, as the artillery came in the team spotted seven VC running South to West on an AZ of 280 degrees approximately 300 meters from the team's position. The enemy personnel were wearing black PJ's, web-gear, and armed with AK47's.
221005 Team 24's man in the tree spotted two VC moving toward their position on an AZ of 020 meters approximately 50 meters from their position. The two enemy personnel were wearing black PJ's, and armed with AK47's. Team 24's position was compromised by the two enemy personnel. The team did not engage the enemy because of all the other movement around their position.
221045 Team 24's man in the tree spotted three VC on an AZ of 050 degrees approximately 300 meters from their position.
221051 Team 24's man in the tree spotted two VC on an AZ of 360 degrees approximately 300 meters, and one on an AZ of 180 degrees approximately 250 meters from the team's position. Team 24 requested gunships at this time.
221055 Team 24 spotted one VC on an AZ of 150 degrees approximately 250 meters from their position armed with an RPG. The team called artillery on the enemy position and no longer saw him.
221135 Diamond Head and Little Bear ships arrived on station. Diamond Head Gunships made gun and rocket runs on suspected enemy positions with unknown results. The Little Bear ships dropped C.S. gas on suspected enemy positions.
221233 Team 24 monitored a large explosion on an AZ of 090 degrees approximately 75 meters from their position. The team believes it was a mine detonated by a fire from the C.S. gas.
221530 Team 24 moved on an AZ of 110 degrees approximately 100 meters from their position.
221545 Team 24 was extracted by 2/34th in the vicinity of coordinates XT647227.
221640 Team 24 was reinserted by 2/34th in the vicinity of coordinates XT665197. The team set up an OP at their insertion point.
221730 Team 24 spotted two VC on an AZ ;of 090 degrees approximately 100 meters from their position moving East on a trail. The enemy personnel were moving very fast, and one was armed with an AK47.
221850 Team 24 spotted two lights on an AZ of 180 degrees approximately 300 meters from their position moving from East to West.
231714 Team 24 monitored three VC on an AZ of 050 degrees approximately 250 meters from their position. The VC were armed with AK47's and were wearing black PJ's.
240725 Team 24 monitored an oxcart moving on an AZ of 135 degrees approximately 500 to 600 meters from the team's position.
240805 Team 24 monitored an oxcart on an AZ of 135 degrees approximately 400 meters, and monitored one personnel chopping wood.
240825 Team 24 moved on an AZ of 180 degrees approximately 50 meters to an LZ.
240850 Team 24 was extracted by UH-1D in the vicinity of coordinates XT665195.