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After Action Report 58
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
18TH MILITARY HISTORY DETACHMENT
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCMH 26 September l968
SUBJECT: Small Unit After Action Report
APO San Francisco 96375
1. Reference: USARV Regulation 870-3
2. Enclosed please find an information copy of an After Action Report involving an action of C Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mech.) on 21 August 1968. The original copy of this report with interview taps, battlefield sketches and photographs was forwarded to OCMH this date.
1 Incl. RICHARD A. BAUN
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
18TH MILITARY HISTORY DETACHMENT
25TH MILITARY HISTORY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 962225
AVDCMH 21 September 1968
SUBJECT: Small Unit After Action Report
1. NAME AND TYPE ORGANIZATION: C Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized).
2. INCLUSIVE DATES OF OPERATION: 21 August 1968.
3. LOCATION: XT461444, map reference: Standard 1:50,000, VIETNAM,
map sheet 6231 I, series L8020
4. CONTROL OR COMMAND HEADQUARTERS: 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized),
5. PERSONS BEING INTERVIEWED:
a. 1LT. John F. Snodgrass, 05334618, Commanding Officer, C Company
b. 1LT Harold Metzger, 05334114, S-2, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized).
c. 1LT Arthur B. Cook, 05337058, Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon, C Company
d. SP4 Ronald Grim, US51916741, Track Commander, Headquarters, C Company
e. SP4 A.G. McSwain, US67092887, Rifleman, 3rd Platoon, C Company
6. INTERVIEWING OFFICER:
a. Major Richard A. Baun, 085402, Commanding Officer, 18th Military History Detachment.
b. Sgt. Dennis A. Smith, US54961693, 18th Military History Detachment
7. TASK ORGANIZATION: The US force involved in the contact covered in this report consisted of C Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized) with its First, Second, Third and Fourth Platoons, the Scout Platoon, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized); the Combined Reconnaissance and Intelligence Platoon (CRIP) of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division; and a 40mm SP (Duster) gun section of B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 5th Artillery.
8. SUPPORTING FORCES: Supporting artillery for the contact were provided by 105mm Howitzers of the 7th Battalion 11th Artillery and 155mm Howitzer of the 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery and the 1st Battalion 27th Artillery. These guns fired from Fire Support Base Rawlings (XT2948) and the DAU TIENG Base Camp (XT4947).
9. INTELLIGENCE: Concluding a battlefield lull within the 25th Infantry Division tactical area of interest, which commenced in mid June, main force NVAVC units had launched major attacks into the areas surrounding TAY NINH City and DAU TIENG on 17 August. These attacks were conducted by the 5th and 9th VC/NVA Divisions. Towards DAU TIENG, the enemy concentrated his forces in the BEN CUI Rubber Plantation where the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized) made initial contact on the morning of 18 August. This battle was followed by major contacts on 19 and 20 August. The reasoned objective of the enemy in staging the attacks in the DAU TIENG-TAY NINH areas was to draw Free World Forces away from SAIGON-CHOLON. The BEN CUI Rubber Plantation lies directly west of DAU TIENG. The main supply routs (MSR) between DAU TIENG and TAY NINH runs east and west directly through the plantation. The rubber trees are 25 - 30 feet in height and the underbrush has been cleared in most sections of the plantation. The terrain is generally flat. To the north of the plantation lies WAR ZONE C. The enemy have used the plantation extensively as a major line of communication for the infiltration of men and supplies from WAR ZONE C into the Saigon area to the south.
10. BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized) had been operating out of DAU TIENG Base Camp since late July under the operational control of the 1st Brigade. The battalion had concentrated on company size daylight reconnaissance in force and night platoon size ambushes in the MICHELIN Rubber Plantation to the east of DAU TIENG and the BEN CUI Rubber Plantation to the west. It also assisted in the daily opening and clearing of the main supply route between DAU TIENG and TAY NINH. On 18 August the enemy launched heavy attacks in the vicinity of TAY NINH and in the BEN CUI. The battalion had experienced heavy contact with battalion size enemy forces moving through the BEN CUI on 18 and 19 August. The 1st Brigade with headquarters in TAY NINH was responsible for the defense of that city and DAU TIENG, and its units had been in heavy contact on 18, 19 and 20 August along the TAY NINH - DAU TIENG axis.
11. MISSION: See Enclosure 1 for the explanation of the mission of C Company on 21 August 1968.
12. CONCEPT OF THE OPERATION AND EXECUTION: See Enclosure 1.
a. VC KIA (BC) - 182
b. US KIA - 15
c. US WIA - 23
1. Combat Operations Report w/map and sketches. RICHARD A. BAUN
2. Audio tape MAJ. SIPC
COMBAT OPERATIONS REPORT
1. At 210640 August 1968, Company C, 1st En. (Mech), 5th Infantry departed Dau Tieng base camp with the mission of sweeping from Dau Tieng to XT420445, staying approximately 1000 meters to the south of Route 239. The scout platoon with the 3rd brigade equip. and two twin 40mm self propelled weapons attached, departed Dau Tieng at 210640 August 1968 to secure and outpost the MSR from Dau Tieng to XT------. The plan was to move abreast on parallel routes in order to provide additional security for the units.
2. At 0813 hours the Scout Platoon was located at XT463468. Company C had moved to the south and at XT473456, both units reported no enemy contact. Company C was moving with two rifle platoons abreast. The 1st platoon on the right was led by SSG Lang, while the 3rd platoon on the left was led by 1st Lt. Cook. Each platoon personnel carriers followed the dismounted elements of the platoon. The company commander, 1LT. Snodgrass, moved on foot, and alternated his position between the lead platoons. Enclosure 1 shows the detailed formation of the unit.
3. At 0831 hours the scout dog with the point element of the company alerted. The handler stated that he thought that there might be a large number of personnel to the southeast. The battalion S-3 in an OM-23 helicopter made a low VR of the area reported, but could find nothing unusual. It was concluded that the dog had probably alerted to the presence of the civilians in the village at XT464448. The company commander then adjusted 81mm mortar fire into the rubber plantation to ----------- with negative results.
4. Two enemy soldiers were engaged by the security elements of ------0906 hours. The enemy soldiers were at a range of 200 meters and withdrew to the south without returning fire.
5. At 0913 hours the scout platoon was located at checkpoint 180 and was conducting a search of the village at XT464448. This search netted nothing except for the information that three buildings in the southern edge of the village had been used by the enemy---------------------------------
6. Company C located and destroyed a mine at XT15---------. The company then shifted to the west to move out of the open area into the rubber. The company continued moving south until it made a turn to the west astride the trail leading from XT4704-to XT46044. The company then moved to the west with one lead platoon on each side of the trail. The scout dog with its security element was moving ahead of the platoon security by approximately 30 meters. The weapons platoon and 2nd platoon shifted to the left as shown on Enclosure 2.
7. At 1012 hours, the combat platoon and the-------cluster in the vicinity of the village at XT-460. The Scout Platoon continued searching the village at XT473448. At 1055 hours company C called in a negative situation report and gave XT462440 as the current location of the unit.
8. At 1110 hours, company C reported receiving sniper fire at XT462444 and reported one US KIA and one US WIA. The report stated that the fire was coming from the west and southwest. The unit requested gunship support. At this time the ---int and security elements were approximately 40 meters west of the road which extends south from route 239 to XT463440. At this point, the lead platoons were crossing the road while the personnel carriers were still approximately 30 meters east of the road. The second platoon and the mortar platoon were following the 3rd platoon, south of the east-west trail.
9. As the enemy increased their volume of fire, the lead elements returned fire and remained west of the north-south road for approximately ten minutes. The enemy continued to advance, with elements attempting to move along the south flank of Company C. The enemy advanced from the west on the dismounted elements of company C. Most of the enemy soldiers were wearing green and camouflaged uniforms, and were moving from tree to tree in short rushes, and advancing rapidly toward the north-south road, while some of the enemy were occupying camouflaged positions. The volume of fire initially was low, but soon reached an extremely high rate. During this period, SSG Lang, the 1st platoon leader was killed.
10. The company commander, realizing he could not effectively employ his cal. 50 machineguns over his own troops, withdrew his troops to the line of personnel carriers, now dispersed along the east side of the north side road. Further, since enemy soldiers had been observed while attempting to envelop his right flank, the company commander ordered his reserve, the 2nd platoon to displace to the right rear of his 1st platoon. He then displaced his mortars to the rear to obtain overhead clearance in order that they could be employed. During this period the unit employed all available weapons to include M-72 laws to break up the enemy attack.
11. At 1135 hours the battalion S-3 urgently requested the gun-ships which had been previously requested, but had not arrived. The artillery Sgt. On the ground was attempting to get required clearances to employ artillery. At this time company C marked the unit position with purple smoke, and a few minutes later with yellow smoke. The unit at this time was still defending along the road with the troops deployed with the ----eps personnel carriers. The company continued to fire in this position for approximately 30 minutes.
12. During this 30 minute period, the Scout Platoon deployed along MS239 with the lead element at XT461448. The Scout Platoon leader engaged enemy troops moving to the southeast in the vicinity of XT58446, and took these units under fire with cal.50 machine-guns and lt. arms. Shortly he moved a twin 40mm weapons into a firing position and this weapon fired in excess of 500 rounds. The scout leader was engaged by small arms and RPG fire. At the scout leader observed and reported at least an enemy company moving west out of the village at XT450450.
13. Company C continued to remain in position along the north =-south until approximately 1150 hours, at which time 3 personnel carriers on the left side of the company position were hit by RPG weapons. The weapons were apparently fired from extremely short range. The company commander then decided to withdraw approximately 150 meters and organize another defensive position. The unit withdrew taking with it the wounded personnel and the body of SSG Lang. During this period, 2 more men were killed.
14. Upon order, the 1st and 3rd platoons withdrew. This movement disposed the company with three platoons abreast, since the 2nd platoon held in place. At this time eight personnel carriers were on line, and all 50 cal. Machineguns were operating. In addition, dismounted personnel were firing with their rounds impacting near the 2nd platoon. The artillery forward observer, Lt. Ramsy, was adjusting the artillery which was impacting 200 meters west of the friendly elements. At this time, the rest of the personnel carriers sustained RPG hits. These ----------killed the 4.2 mortar forward observer and one of the company radios.
---------(1” of copy unreadable)
thus the FDC check fired the artillery. Some minutes passed prior to the artillery resuming fire.
15. At 1154 hours the forward air controller reported an estimated time arrival of 20 to 25 minutes for the first air-strike, and the 1st brigade announced an ETA of 15 minutes for a light fire team . This light fire team arrived at 1201 hours and was immediately employed along the ---ern flank of the unit.
16. Now commanded by Lt. Cook, Company C reported at 1200 hours that the situation was extremely critical and that he planned to withdraw. All wounded were loaded on personnel carriers and the unit withdrew over the same route taken on the advance. The last element to withdraw was the 2nd platoon. The company moved into and secured a landing zone at XT473455.
17. At 1200 hours the scout platoon was heavily engaged from the south and observed an estimated enemy platoon maneuvering to block route 239 to the north of the scout platoon. At this time the scout platoon was engaged to move east through the village of XT463448 and to link up with company C at the landing zone. This movement resulted in a lost advantage by the enemy, followed by a halt of his advance Following the additional evacuation of casualties, all units were ordered by its commanding officer. 1st brigade to return to Dau Tiang to regroup, repair and to return to the Ben Cui plantation to continue the contact. The scout platoon was subsequently ordered to return to the eastern side of the rubber plantation. At 1600 hours, 12 elements were ordered to
(2/3's of page unreadable -probably blank)
1. Drawing of area of contact, showing routes of company C and the scout platoon.
2. Route of C Co while moving south
3. Position of C Co while moving west.
4. Area of contact and immediate deployment.
5. ---------defensive formation
6. ---------defensive formation
7. Routes of withdrawal.
8. Plot of area of engagement.
9. Location of US KIA
10. Estimated enemy casualties.
11. Photos of company C personnel taken by battalion FIO on 21 Aug. '68.
Perilous Days, Vietnam May 1968
(25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Division)
1. Name: Task Force Daems (Operation Toan Thang I, “Complete Victory”)
2. Date: 03-May-1968 to 25-May-1968
3. Location: Primarily the Southeast Quadrant of the 25th Division's Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR).
4. Control HQ: 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Colonel Leonard R. Daems, Commanding Officer.
5. Task Force Organization:
4th Battalion, 9th Infantry “Manchus”
4th Battalion, 23rd Mechanized Infantry “Tomahawks”
2nd Battalion, 34th Armor “Centurions”
Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Mechanized Infantry “Bobcats” (on OPCON to 2/34th Armor)
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment “Black Horse”
2nd and 3rd Battalions of 22nd Infantry “The Regulars”
Other battalions and support units were assigned to the task force for portions of the operation.
For the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry “Manchus”… This journal was assembled to recount our perilous days in the Republic of South Vietnam during the month of May 1968. Like most of you, my memory of those days has faded. But subconsciously, Vietnam, and having been a Manchu, is very much a part of our history. We are bound by it, so I wanted to share what I had found with my Manchu family of friends.
Not long ago, Al Baker shared the following with the 4/9 Manchus here at our website. What Al shared was for another purpose, but it struck me as being appropriate in remembering those who had fallen in battle and those who returned home safely or wounded-and to recall their feats today and forever more-for they brought honor onto themselves and to their families:
“Whoever does not have the stomach for this fight, let him depart. Give him money to speed his departure, since we wish not to die in that man's company. Whoever lives past today and comes home safely will roust himself every year on this day, show his neighbors his scars, and tell embellished stories of all their great feats of battle. These stories he will teach his son, and from this day to the end of the world, we shall all be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For whoever has shed his blood with me shall be my brother. And those men afraid to go will think themselves lesser men, as they hear of how we fought and died together.”
“Martial Speech” from William Shakespeare's “Henry V”, Act IV, Scene III
Today, my fellow veterans, I remember how we fought and died together. And so to my surviving brothers and to their families who sacrificed so much, I say again, welcome home heroes, welcome home….”
Al Baker, February 2004
“Keep Up the Fire”,
Going On At The Time
During the month of the May 1968, the 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Division was continuing its participation in Phase 1 of OPERATION TOAN THANG, “Complete Victory”, which had begun on April 8th.
Note: Prior to Operation Toan Thang, from March 11th to April 8th, the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry “Manchus” were on Operation Wilderness (except for Charlie Company who was on OPCON to the 3rd Brigade in Dau Tieng, on Operation Quyet Thang, from March 31st to April 8th). The Manchus were enjoying a much-needed stand-down, and they were re-equipping for future operations, receiving new recruits, conducting refresher training and pulling one-day missions out of the 1st Brigade's main base camp at Tay Ninh.
Until then the Manchus had been in continuous combat. They had been out in the field, and on the move, since early December 1967-a total of 94 days without a break while on Operation Yellowstone (08-Dec-67 to 24-Feb-68) and Operation Saratoga (25-Feb-68 to 11-Mar-68). The Manchus had incurred heavy losses (approximately 115 soldiers killed and 475 wounded), and the start of Operation Toan Thang marked the beginnings of a new phase of operations.
Alerted in late April by intelligence sources of an impending enemy attack into the Saigon Capital Military Region, the 25th Infantry Division maneuvered the bulk of its combat forces into the southeastern quadrant of its tactical area of operational interest (TAOI) to establish a screen beyond the western environs of the Saigon-Cholon region.
During the first few days of May, the Division executed its mobile defense plan to block the enemy's avenues of approach from the north, northwest, west and southwest, by deploying its combat forces in depth in southern Bing Duong Province, western Gia Dinh Province, eastern Hau Nghia Province and northern Long An Province. Beginning on May 2nd when the enemy units committed themselves to these approaches, the Division moved in force to intercept and destroy the advancing enemy before it could reach its assault positions into the Saigon-Cholon area.
On May 4th and 5th a new wave of attacks, less severe than those of the Tet Offensive, hit 109 cities, towns and bases all across South Vietnam. This was the start of the Viet Cong (VC) and the North Vietnamese Army's (NVA) “2nd Phase Offensive”-the 1st Phase Offensive being the 1968 Tet Offensive of January 31st to February 18th.
On May 1st, contact with enemy forces was relatively light and scattered throughout the 25th Division's Tact Area of Operational Interest (TAOI). The Division had established a virtual 24-hour a day screen, by mounting intensive daytime battalion- and company-size reconnaissance in force missions, airmobile combat assault operations, and at night dispatching platoon-size and squad-size night ambush patrols-both stationary and roving.
Despite these blanketing maneuvers, only the 3rd Squadron 17th Air Cavalry “The Red Horse” ran up against significant contact with the enemy. Flying armed-aerial reconnaissance east of the Oriental River (between the “00” east-west grid line and the town of Duc Hoa) and flying similar missions in the southern Boi Loi Woods and northeast of Trang Bang (along Route 237), Troops B and C detected and engaged small groups of enemy forces on five separate occasions during the day. The Cavalrymen's armed helicopters put an end to 15 VC and destroyed one sampan.
On May 2nd, the 25th Division's maneuver battalions and supporting aviation units continued their hunt for the enemy along suspected avenues of approach into the Saigon-Cholon area. Again, only the 17th Air Cavalry was successful in spotting the enemy.
Troop-B, continuing its aerial reconnaissance of the area it had flown the previous day, caught sight of the enemy moving north of Duc Hoa in the vicinity of XT5310. In the process of engaging the area with machine gun and rocket fire, the Cavalry's gunships drew intense ground fire from enemy gun emplacements. Supporting artillery and jet fighter strikes were placed into the area. Afterwards the air cavalrymen flew back into the area on low-level reconnaissance and counted 25 dead enemy bodies and four destroyed .50 caliber machine guns. Intelligence sources later identified the enemy force as being elements of the 271st VC Regiment.
Meanwhile, Troop-C turned its attention to reconnaissance of the Iron Triangle and the Ho Bo Woods in Bing Duong Province. At 1700 hours, the Troop caught approximately 60 VC positioned in a tree line along a canal. The armed gunships engaged the enemy force with machine gun and rocket fire, and called in artillery and air strikes. A subsequent search of the target area turned up 23 VC killed in action (KIA) and numerous blood trails leading out of the area to the north. The dead were identified as elements of the 101st NVA Regiment.
Air Cav Slays 48 In Two Fights
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
CU CHI-Two troops of the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, flying in support of the 25th Inf. Div, killed a total of forty-eight Viet Cong in two separate engagements late in the afternoon of the same day. The Red Horse troopers, flying armed, aerial reconnaissance southwest of the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi, utilized rockets, mini-guns, artillery and tactical air strikes to assault the enemy positions.
The discovery of Viet Cong anti-aircraft positions by a Hunter-Killer team of B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, resulted in the destruction of four .50 caliber machine guns, a 12.7mm antiaircraft gun and body count of 25 VC in two hours of heavy contact.
The action started when an OH-6A Cayuse, piloted by 1LT James “Pop” Ingrahani of Madison, Ind., was flying at tree top level along the Oriental River between Duc Hoa and the 25th Inf Div's base camp at Cu Chi.
“I was flying recon toward a tree line when I saw a .50 caliber barrel poking out of the undergrowth,” Ingraham related. “There was something about that `stick' that didn't look right. When I realized what it was I started looking for, Charlies, but didn't see any at the time,” he added.
“The VC anti-aircraft positions look almost like doughnuts from the air,” Ingraham explained. “Charlie digs a circular trench and mounts a machinegun on a dirt pedestal in the center. That way,” he continued, “Charlie can walk around the trench and fire the machinegun in a 360 degree arc.”
Under the command of CPT James J. Mills of Lavale, Md., the three gunships arrived on station and Ingraham explained the situation while his observer marked the area with yellow smoke.
As the gunships prepared to make their run the Cayuse sprayed the area with mini-gun fire and as Ingraham pulled the ship out he received fire from automatic weapons but escaped undamaged.
Mills made a run on the target and fired rockets and machine guns into the positions without receiving fire but from then on as Mills described it, “Things got pretty rough.”
Emerging from concealment, Viet Cong gunners manned the anti-aircraft weapons and opened up as the gunships started another run.
“We dove straight into those guns,” said Mills. “There were fifty caliber slugs snapping by on both sides. I couldn't ziz-zag. We had to go straight in to fire the rockets and just a few feet to either side and the slugs would have cut my ship in half,” he observed. “Those tracers looked as big as footballs as they came up at us.”
After several more gunship passes, Ingraham went down to assess the damage and counted 15 enemy bodies in the tree line and around the destroyed machineguns. The 3.75-inch gunship rockets also destroyed a 1.27mm gun that was disassembled and concealed in the tree line.
When darkness fell it became impossible to spot any movement on the ground so the Red Horse troopers returned to base while the 25th Div Arty and tactical air strikes pounded the area late into the night, bringing the final body count to 25.
A “Hunter-Killer” team supported by a light fire element of C Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, supported by artillery and tactical aircraft, engaged an enemy force estimated at 60 Viet Cong and killed 23 VC before darkness and bad weather forced the UH-1C gunships to break contact.
The Hunter-Killer team, operating from the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi, was searching a suspected VC supply route 48 kms northwest of Saigon when one of the pilots, CWO Joseph Koch of Mineral Wells, Tex., spotted movement.
“I was flying my Cayuse about 25 feet above the ground when I saw two VC; one was ducking into a camouflaged bunker and the other one just crouched down at the edge of a rice paddy hoping that I wouldn't spot him,” recalled Koch.
Things started happening fast after the first sighting and for the next hour and a half the OH-6A Cayuse and gunship team observed over 60 VC around bunkers and fighting positions.
A Forward Air Controller (FAC) for the Vietnamese Air Force was operating in the area and according to Koch the Bird Dog and the Cayuse made an effective team.
After all the positions were recorded, the FAC called in Vietnamese air strikes while Koch scrambled a light fire team from Cu Chi to attack the enemy forces.
Led by MAJ Steenson of Columbus, Ga., the gunships rolled in for a run along a tree line pointed out by Koch. The gunships strafed the VC position with rocket and machinegun fire killing several Viet Cong.
While the Cayuse returned to Cu Chi to refuel, the FAC called in the waiting Vietnamese Al-E Sky Raiders for a bombing run.
“Those pilots really did an outstanding job,” observed Koch when he returned to the battle area. “They dropped their ordnance right on target.”
“As I flew back to the area the FAC directed me towards a small clump of brush that he saw eight VC run into,” said Koch. “I spotted the one he was describing and sent in the gunships,” he added.
“We made a run from north to south,” Steenson recalled. “I dumped eight rockets right into the area and no Charlies ever came back out of those bushes,” he emphasized.
As darkness fell a total of 23 enemy bodies had been counted before the Red Horse cavalrymen returned to home base.
From the Cu Chi base camp Btry C of The Clan pounded the enemy bunkers through the night with more than 150 rounds of 155mm howitzer shells.
On May 3rd, enemy movement within the Division's TAOI became more apparent. At 1000 hours, a large VC force (of approximately 200) was spotted by Troop-B of the 17th Air Cavalry while flying reconnaissance over an area east of the Oriental River. The Troop promptly radioed for additional gunship and artillery support.
The 4th Battalion 23rd Mechanized Infantry “Tomahawks”, which was on a search mission a short distance to the south of the enemy's position, was directed to engage the VC force. By 1040 hours, the battalion had moved into blocking positions along an axis from XT5904 to XT5906, which fixed the enemy's position-trapping them in place. By 1520 hours, the 2nd Battalion 34th Armor “Centurions” and the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry “Manchus” reinforced the 4th of the 23rd Infantry. This combined force was designated TASK FORCE DUNLOP-and was later changed to TASK FORCE DAEMS.
The armored Centurion tank battalion took up blocking positions along an axis in the vicinity of XT5807 and the Manchu infantrymen occupied blocking positions from XT6005 to XT6105 to XT6206. In addition, Troop I of the 3rd Squadron 11th Armored “Blackhorse” Cavalry Regiment, who had earlier been placed under the operational control of the 25th Division, was operating in the vicinity of XT607148 and joined forces with the task force. The enemy was thus surrounded on three sides against a vast 5-mile wide swamp to its rear. The multi-battalion task force had 400 to 500 Viet Cong soldiers pinned down 8 kms southwest of the 25th Division's Cu Chi Base Camp. Fires of four artillery batteries and eight air strikes were placed on the enemy throughout the day. By nightfall, 35 enemy bodies and one prisoner of war were confirmed. Throughout the night a barrage of 5,000 rounds of artillery and four tactical air strikes pounded the illuminated enemy positions, as helicopter gunships patrolled the swamp to prevent the enemy from escaping.
Back Up NVA Battalion
To Swamp, Capture Cache
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
CU CHI-More than 350 enemy soldiers were killed in three days of heavy fighting when elements of four 25th Inf Div battalions and one troop of the 11th Armored Cav Regt supported by helicopter gunships, artillery, and tactical aircraft drove a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) battalion against a swamp.
The enemy force, believed to be the Delta 267th NVA Battalion, was first spotted by helicopter crews from the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, as they flew armed aerial reconnaissance over the area eight kms southwest of the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi.
At 10:00 a.m. the crews saw an estimated 200 enemy soldiers wearing green uniforms and pith helmets and carrying AK-47 assault rifles.
CWO Sterling Holbrook, pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse, said, “I went along one tree line and saw about 20 VC below me. I banked around and followed the tree line on the other side of the rice paddy and saw about 25 more.”
“I decided that there was a whole slew of them in there,” he said, adding that he promptly radioed for additional gunships and artillery support.
As the gunships and artillery began devastating the enemy, a multi-battalion task force consisting of elements of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf.; 2nd Bn, 34th Armor; 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.; and 11th Armored Cav Regt moved into a semi-circular blocking position pinning an estimated 500 enemy soldiers against a large open swamp.
Throughout the night a barrage of 5,000 rounds of artillery and four tactical air strikes pounded the illuminated enemy positions as helicopter gunships patrolled the swamp to prevent the enemy's escape.
The next day, the ground forces began an aggressive drive closing in on the enemy. The NVA battalion was entrenched in fortified bunkers in a massive hedgerow complex several hundred meters in depth.
According to 1LT John LaRoche, S-3 air operation officer for the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, “Once he left his bunkers, Charlie could only run into our blocking force or out into the swamp.”
By the end of the third day, the U.S. soldiers had pushed through the enemy stronghold finding additional bodies and bringing the toll to over 350.
Elsewhere in the Division's TAOI: (a) The 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” caught sight of a platoon of Viet Cong in bunkers. At 1045 hours, the target was attacked by gunships and a subsequent assault on the bunkers turned up 6 VC KIA bodies. (b) At 2215 hours, Company F of the 50th Infantry's Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol launched an attack on several sampans at coordinates XT783105. The following morning 6 VC KIA was discovered in the vicinity of the ambush.
A Noisy Woman Tips Off Recon Patrol; Sampan Hit
Tropic Lighting News; Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
CU CHI-“If it hadn't been for that noisy woman, the VC might have slipped right through our ambush patrol,” remarked SGT Rodney D. Tavares, of Co F, 50th Inf, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), 25th Inf. Div.
The assistant team leader of the recent night ambush patrol established his position along a canal junction in the Hobo Woods, where Viet Cong movement had been spotted earlier.
Fog rising off the swampy water made visibility very poor. “About 10:30 p.m. we heard a woman's voice chattering from an approaching sampan,” continued Tavares. “When the boat got to the center of our kill zone we opened up with automatic weapons and hand grenades.”
The sampan was destroyed.
An hour later the ambush patrol engaged five more enemy sampans, destroying one. The following morning a search of the area uncovered two 100-pound bags of rice, various personal enemy equipment, and debris from the destroyed sampans.
“Guess maybe Charlie will think twice about sending a woman out on night maneuvers,” smiled Tavares.
On May 4th, the Task Force continued its mission of vanquishing the enemy force, which it had backed up against the swamp. The ground units slowly tightened its vice on the besieged VC, while artillery, gunship and air strikes pounded the enemy position. By the end of the daylight activities, the task force recovered an additional 26 dead enemy bodies and 3 prisoners of war. Elements of the task force remained in their blocking positions during the night, as supporting fires continued hammering the enemy.
At 1730 hours, as Company A of the 4th Battalion 23rd Mechanized Infantry was sweeping 4 kms northeast of Duc Hoa, it received fire from an unknown number of VC at coordinates XS623987. The Company's armored personnel carriers (APCs) attacked into the enemy's position, killing and recovering 15 dead bodies and securing one POW (prisoner of war). The enemy force was determined to be an element of the 273rd VC Regiment.
Letter dated May 4, 1968, written by PFC David Young (4/9 INF, Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon) to his parents: “…We moved for the sixth time since this operation (Complete Victory) started. I guess it's been extended a month too! Darn! This is the roughest we've had it! Our Bravo and Charlie Company have a regiment of VC surrounded about 2,000 meters [1.24 miles] from this base camp. They are putting in an air strike to my left right now and [our base camp has] been mortared two nights in a row. A few have been killed right here in the base camp. We received about 40 mortars last night and about 50 the night before. It's really exciting around here! Today is my “day off!” The rest of the company is being used as a blocking force against a possible VC attack on the camp….”
As the task force was continuing its mission, other units of the 25th Division encountered light and widely scattered contact with the enemy. Earlier during the day, gunships from Company B “Diamondhead” of the 25th Aviation Battalion-flying area reconnaissance along the Oriental River between Go Dau Hau and Tay Ninh-engaged an unknown size force. This action resulted in 33 VC KIA and 2 VC POW. This enemy force was later identified as a Local Force VC Company from Tay Ninh Province.
The next day (May 5th) the task force began an aggressive drive, closing in on the enemy's fortified position, which was entrenched in reinforced bunkers in a massive complex of hedgerows several hundred meters in depth.
At 1222 hours, TASK FORCE DUNLOP was re-designated TASK FORCE DAEMS and continued its operations in the vicinity of XT5905 to XT5906. COL Leonard R. Daems, Jr., commanding officer of the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade, now headed-up the newly named task force. As the Task Force's ground units swept into the enemy positions, they found 40 dead enemy bodies, most of who had been killed by artillery and air strikes. Large numbers of abandoned individual and crew served weapons, along with ammunition, supplies and food, were discovered. Contact with the enemy was kept alive by continually using supporting helicopter and artillery fire, and tactical air strikes, in heavy volume.
At 1245 hours, Company C of the 2nd Battalion 22nd Mechanized Infantry “The Regulars” engaged a platoon of VC while sweeping the road along Route 1 approximately 3 kms southeast of Cu Chi Base Camp. The contact lasted until 1800 hours, at which time the Company with the aid of gunships killed 22 VC of the 7th VC Local Force Battalion.
Elsewhere that afternoon while searching an area 3 kms southwest of Phu Cong, Company B of the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry discovered a large ammunition cache, in addition to finding a large number of RPG (rocket propelled grenade) rounds and hand grenades, seventy-two 122mm rocket launchers and 21,500 rounds of small arms ammunition.
On May 6th, the Task Force completed its operations in the general vicinity of XT6005, XT6006, XT6105 and XT5907. The total enemy body count, in four days of engagement, was 213 dead. From five prisoners taken in battle it was learned that a battalion of the 271st VC Regiment was intercepted and blocked by Task Force Daems, and that the survivors were fleeing north through the swamp.
Letter dated May 6, 1968, written by PFC Richard “Craig” Stevens (4/9 INF, Charlie Company, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad): “…I've been here in Nam for 8 whole days now! A long ways from 365 isn't it? I don't mind it too bad. I was at Cam Rahn Bay for 5 days because I missed my flight out of there. When I finally left there, the plane stopped in Saigon and spent the night there. The next day I came to Cu Chi, main base camp for the 25th [Infantry Division], where I am now. Tomorrow I'll draw a new M16, canteen, helmet, etc., and start a 5-day training course. When that is over with, I have to report to the 4th BN of the 9th brigade [4/9 INF Regiment]. Their main base camp is about 60 miles north of Cu Chi. It is called Tay Ninh. The company I'm going to was completely wiped out during the TET offensive [Craig is referring to the March 2, 1968 ambush of Charlie Company at the Hoc Mon bridges, a short distance south of Cu Chi].
Cu Chi is a pretty hot spot right now. They [VC] throw rockets and mortars in frequently. They haven't killed anyone yet. There has been injuries however. There has supposedly been a dead body count of VC and NVA in the amount of 400 since yesterday. I saw some jets really laying the air strikes into them about an hour ago. All day and night you can hear our artillery and feel them shake the ground. I was sitting with an MP in his jeep talking to him. A copter radioed in and said he was bringing in 3 prisoners, and the MP was to pick them up. About 5 minutes later they called in and said they only had one. When they got in, they said that 2 of the VC kept griping and rattling on. So they just shoved them overboard!…”
As the 4th of the 9th Infantry “Manchus” and the 1st of the 5th Mechanized Infantry “Bobcats” prepared for their mopping up activities, the 4th of the 23rd Infantry “Tomahawks” and the 2nd of the 34th Armor “Centurion” tank battalion was sent south into the vicinity of Bao Trai to reinforce the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) garrison of that town. In the early morning hours, a three-battalion sized enemy force was attacking the garrison and the town. At 0730 hours, the Tomahawks closed in on an enemy unit. Supported by gunship and artillery fires, the battalion cut-down and accounted for 44 VC KIA and captured one prisoner in an all day running battle to the west of Bao Trai.
Tomahawks Smash VC In Long Fight
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No. 25, June 17, 1968
1ST BDE - The 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, and a Trp from the 11th Cav substantially aided the beleaguered town of Boa Trai, 12 kms southeast of Cu Chi base camp, from being overrun while on a reconnaissance in force operation.
It was by the direct support of the 25th Inf. Div force that the besieged town was saved.
The 4th Bn, 23rd Inf Tomahawks were informed of the precarious condition of Bao Trai just after midnight, and were dispatched to relieve the pressure. By dawn, the Tomahawks were in contact with an estimated VC battalion.
LTC A.S. Fullerton, CO of the Tomahawks, a firm believer in the use of fire support, directed Alpha and Bravo companies to pull back as he directed an artillery barrage and tactical air strikes onto the enemy positions.
Then with Bravo on one flank and the 11th Cav Trp on the other, Alpha Co and the reconnaissance element spearheaded an assault.
The advancing unit had moved only 20 meters into the wood line before the enemy opened up with a heavy volume of automatic weapons and RPG fire. The .50 caliber machine guns barking and elements dispersing on line between the armored personnel carriers, the determined Tomahawks overran the poorly dug in enemy.
During the height of the firefight, LTC Fullerton, flying over the battlefield by helicopter, noticed an enemy squad retreating into an adjoining wood line. Having swept over the first objective, the Tomahawks proceeded to the noted wood line.
CPT Gordon R. Lam, Alpha Co. CO detained one VC for questioning and the company found 10 enemy bodies in the immediate area. A sweep of the entire battle area netted 35 enemy dead in addition to those already found.
The day's work completed and the threat to Bao Trai eliminated, the Tomahawks moved on to other activity as a matter of course, but taking with them the knowledge of the safety of the village and remembering the relieved looks on the faces of the villagers.
At 1435 hours, Troop-B of the 3rd Squadron 17th Air Cavalry-while following up on the Tomahawk's earlier contact-spotted 50 VC soldiers moving west away from the area of contact. The Cavalry's “Red Horse” gunships intercepted the fleeing soldiers and cut-down an additional 15 VC, trampling them with mini-gun and rocket fire.
During the day, Manchus and the Bobcats swept through the area of contact east of Bao Trai and discovered an additional 113 dead bodies and a substantial number of weapons, ammunition and supplies.
Elsewhere in the 25th Division's TAOI, two of its combat battalions made contact. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 22nd Infantry “The Regulars” claimed 30 VC KIA in two separate battles: (1) near Cu Chi and (2), the other, one-kilometer north of Route 1 midway between Cu Chi and Trang Bang.
Colonel's Chopper Hits Fleeing VC; Kills Five
Tropic Lightning News, Edition, Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
3RD BDE-In a blazing exchange of gunfire, the gunners on the command helicopter of COL Leonard R. Daems Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde killed five Viet Cong fleeing across a rice paddy.
The five VC killed were credited to SP4 Louis R. Beam, Jr. of Lufkin, Tex. and SP4 Tony Grosso of Derby, Pa.
The 20-minute engagement with an estimated force of 50 VC took place 30 kms northwest of Saigon. It was part of a daylong action by elements of Task Force Daems, which netted 183 enemy bodies.
The task force consisted of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf; and the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor.
On a reconnaissance flight near the village of Bao Tre, COL Daems and crewmembers of his command ship spotted the enemy force. The door gunners of the “Little Bear” chopper of Co A, 25th Aviation Bn, opened fire on the enemy, as the pilot, WO Clay Maxwell of Midland, Mich. and aircraft commander WO Alan E. Gould of Stroudsburg, Pa., maneuvered the ship into position.
The VC answered with volleys of small arms fire and RPG rockets, while racing toward jungle cover nearby. Numerous tracers whizzed by the command chopper. While the enemy force fled in the direction of the jungle, COL Daems called in a cut-off force from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf., in an effort to head off the VC.
On May 7th contact throughout the 25th Division's TAOI became increasingly more frequent throughout the day. Most actions were with small infiltrating units, but there was one exception.
In the predawn hours, Company A and B of the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” and Troop C of the ¾ Cavalry “Mackenzie Raiders” kicked-off a reconnaissance in force operation approximately 10 kms northwest of Saigon-Cholon. At 1115 hours, the combined US force came up against a large NVA unit-later identified as the 3rd Battalion 88th NVA Regiment. After a heated knock-down-and-drag-out battle, lasting throughout the day and night and into the following day, the US forces (supported by gunship, artillery and air strikes) mauled and reduced the size of the NVA battalion by slaying 199 of their soldiers. Afterwards the survivors, along with their wounded, fled for their lives to the west of their location.
On May 8th, at 0936 hours, Company C of the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” was sweeping the area at coordinates XS743925, when it ran into an unknown size VC force. Engaging the enemy in battle with only organic weapons, the Wolfhounds mauled 32 VC (KIA) and captured two prisoners before contact was lost.
Later in the day, at 1155 hours, the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry's night defensive position (NDP) engaged an unknown size VC force that had moved into its location. In the firefight that took place, another 32 VC were killed and two prisoners of war were captured. The two actions were believed to have involved the same battalion of the 271st VC Regiment-the later fight, taking place as the VC sought to evade the Wolfhounds.
Meanwhile a short distance away, to the northeast of there, the VC battalion was fighting its third battle of the day. Company D of the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry was engaging a VC company. With the support of gunships, the Wolfhound's again drove off the enemy who left 24 dead and two prisoners behind.
Further to the north, the 2nd of 34th Armor tank battalion was sweeping Route 1, south of Hoc Mon, in an area where it had light contract the previous day. At 1245 hours, the tankers came under enemy gunfire. Returning fire, and supported by gunship, artillery and air strikes, the Armor unit chased the enemy all day and into the night. Contact was lost at 0200 hours on May 9th. Forty-four enemy KIA bodies were recovered and one prisoner was taken.
Throughout the first week of May, many of 25th Division's base camps, artillery fire support bases and battalion night defensive positions had come under light (but harassing) mortar and rocket attacks. In the darkness of the early morning hours of May 9th, this tactic was intensified with two heavy ground assaults.
At 0100 hours, 30 rounds of mixed 122mm and 107mm rockets struck the 25th Division's Headquarters at Cu Chi Base Camp. All the rockets fell into the camp within a span of two minutes, resulting in 7 US soldiers killed and 48 being wounded. Damages to the base camp installations were light.
An hour later, at 0200 hours, Fire Support Base Maury came under heavy mortar and rocket attack, which was followed by a battalion-sized human-wave ground assault. Company A and the Scout Platoon of the 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry were securing the three artillery batteries of the 7th Battalion 11th “Dragons” Artillery and 3rd Battalion 13th “Clan” Artillery. All artillery beehive ammunition was expended in defense of the firebase. Enemy RPG fire destroyed three 105mm and one 155mm howitzer(s), along with two M548 ammunition vehicles. Enemy sappers also breached the perimeter defenses and destroyed two other 155mm howitzers including two 105mm howitzers. Because of the speed and accuracy of the ground assault, less than ten rounds of 155mm ammunition had been fired before the howitzers were destroyed. Flare and gunships arrived by 0330 hours, and Air Force fighter jets by 0500 hours. At 0530 hours, two relief elements (B Company of the 23rd Mechanized Infantry and Troop I of the 3rd Squadron 11th “Blackhorse” Cavalry) arrived and battered their way into the beleaguered base. The attack was finally repulsed. In the fight that lasted until 0600 hours, US casualties were 11 KIA and 66 WIA. Eighteen enemy bodies were counted the following morning and one POW prisoner was taken.
VC Ground Attack Turned Back
Tropic Lightning News, Vol.3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
1ST BDE-While securing a fire support base 14 kms south of Cu Chi, 25th Inf. Div forces repelled a determined enemy ground attack. It was through the sheer courage and the combined efforts of the 4th Bn (Mech) 23rd Inf, three batteries from the 7th Bn 11th Arty, and a battery from the 3rd Bn 13th Arty, that the fire support base was saved.
Just shortly after midnight the fire support base began receiving a heavy volume of enemy mortars. Within 30 minutes trip flares were illuminating sectors of the perimeter and everyone realized that a ground attack was in the making.
With the mortars still dropping, now at a heavier rate, the “Tomahawks” still remained on line and countered with a heavy volume of fire. The 50 calibers on the armored personnel carriers glowed in the night along with muzzle flashes from the other weapons, a shield of lead was established with interlocking fire.
MAJ Jeff M. Tuten, the Tomahawk XO, realizing the precarious situation of the fire support base, directed artillery pieces to be put on line where the enemy concentration was the greatest. With their tubes lowered to point blank range, rounds were fired at the charging enemy.
The fierce fighting of the enemy forced the perimeter to be altered. At this point, Tuten radioed Bravo Co and a troop from the 3rd Sqdn 11th Cav to come from their temporary night location to reinforce the perimeter.
At one time there were six gunships and four F-105's on station. But the enemy was determined to overrun the fire support base and kept pressing his attack.
When Bravo Co arrived at the besieged fire support base, they came under heavy automatic weapons and RPG fire. Realizing how badly they were needed inside the perimeter, CPT James P. Hales organized the company on line and charged through a hail of fire over the enemy positions into the perimeter.
The gunships still peppering the area around the perimeter, Bravo and the Cav element were deployed within the perimeter and slowly but surely the enemy began to retreat. Finally at dawn the enemy broke contact and the fire support base was saved.
A morning sweep of the area outside the perimeter revealed nine enemy bodies but speculation was that many more were killed because of the blood-stained ropes that were found outside the perimeter. These ropes were fashioned in such a way that they were probably used to drag away the dead. In addition to the many blood trails, numerous RPG and expended recoilless rifle rounds were found.
On the same day, at 1450 hours, Company A and B and the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry made an airmobile combat assault into a swamp 5 kms east of Duc Hoa. Intelligence sources reported that a large concentration of enemy forces were in the area. Immediately making contact upon landing, the Wolfhound infantrymen swept through the area with the support of gunships. The ensuing battle lasted into the night, until 2100 hours. The infantrymen and gunships killed 66 NVA soldiers and captured three prisoners. Three 122mm rocket launchers and numerous weapons, ammunition and other war materiel were recovered. The prisoners identified their unit as being the 208th NVA Rocket Regiment.
NVA Artillery Wrecked
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No.23, June 3, 1968
2ND BDE-Operation Toan Thang infantrymen of the 25th Inf. Div chopped up an enemy artillery battalion that had poised within striking distance of the Saigon-Tan Son Nhut area, 20 kms west of Saigon.
Two companies and the reconnaissance platoon of the 2nd Bde's 1st Bn, 27th Inf “Wolfhounds”, and helicopter gunships killed 66 enemy in a battle that started during an airmobile operation.
The action began about 3 p.m. when helicopters of the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav spotted movement in a suspected rocket site. Soon after the helicopters began exchanging fire with the enemy troops, the Wolfhounds recon platoon airlifted into the battleground to secure an observation chopper downed in the fight.
As the platoon closed in on the fallen helicopter, North Vietnamese gunners opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket launchers. 1LT Frank F. Calvin, 26, of Southeast Mableton, Ga., swung his platoon into an assault line and attacked the enemy positions.
Two more units, Co A and B, joined the fight and with the help of supporting gunships swept over the enemy fortifications.
Inside the base camp, they discovered three complete, new 122mm rocket launchers, six AK-47 assault rifles, an RPG-2 rocket launcher and numerous documents.
The Wolfhounds also detained three North Vietnamese who later said they belonged to the 208th NVA Rocket Regiment.
According to SP4 Joel D. Goodwin, 18 of Texarkana, Tex., many of the enemy “just lay there playing dead” during the waning moments of the fight.
At one point, recounted SP4 Sherman E. Piggott, 21, “I noticed something waving in a tree.” The Williamsburg, Va., rifleman flipped his weapon on automatic and shot a sniper out of the tree.
PFC Dan V. Lindholm, 19, of Lindsborg, Kan., also saw his share of enemy playing dead. “I saw one NVA officer lying in the bushes. I noticed he had a pistol belt and holster, but no pistol. Just then he turned over and I shot him. He had that pistol pointed right at me.”
Elsewhere, on this seventh day of action, another 118 VC were killed in the vicinity of the Cambodian border.
Continuing the widespread search and pursuit of enemy units west of Saigon, the 25th Division's maneuvering battalions established numerous small contacts on May 10th. The most significant of these involved Company C of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry. At 1035 hours, the Company located elements of the 271st VC Regiment approximately 9 kms west of Saigon (XS700914). Pursuing the enemy to the north, the Manchu infantrymen claimed 26 VC KIA and captured one POW in an all day fight that broke off at 2118 hours.
Significant contact with the enemy west of Saigon continued to be light and scattered throughout the day of May 11th.
A Chronicle Being Told
The Manchus of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry's pursuit of the VC took us west and northwest of Saigon to the Duc Hoa and Hoc Mon area, chasing them across the two provinces of Hau Nghia and Gia Dinh. The following account contains the collective recollections of four Alpha Company Manchu soldiers: SGT Willie Gin, PFC David Amatore, PFC Jim Howarth and PFC David Young.
Thirty-six years ago our paths touched, intertwined in many battles for however short of time that it was. This one firefight, on May 11th, wasn't a major battle by any means. It was only a small one-one of many perilous firefights that we had encountered. Most likely you will not find any official after action report, mention of, or reference to this day. But the time, place and people are real.
Day Nine, 11-May-1968
It's a bright sunny morning. Days before, contact with the enemy was brief and scattered throughout the Battalion's area of operation (AO). Our AO was flat open grassland interspersed with patches of woodlands, thickets, narrowly brushed tree lines, rice paddy fields, swamps and semi-drier areas. The battalion had been conducting company-size, and battalion-size, reconnaissance in force sweeps from a temporary base camp.
Shortly after sunrise, Alpha and Delta Company left its night operating position (NOP) for their day's mission: a two-company reconnaissance in force patrol. Less than two hours into it, Delta was pinned down by VC gunfire and a tall M60 machine gunner was killed by a fatal shot to the face or upper body.
Alpha Company-three platoons commanded by CPT Elcie Adams, an African American who had recently replaced CPT Jerry Weigand
The Alpha Company's 1st and 2nd Platoons (the 2nd commanded by platoon leader 2LT Herbert Robinson) moved out to help the 3rd Platoon by flanking the VC's position. The 2nd Platoon was in the lead, followed by the 1st. The two platoons were in a semi-dry grassy wooded area; interspersed with narrow thickets, hedgerows, rice paddy fields and scattered bodies of water.
It was shortly before 0900 hours. The 2nd Platoon's lead element was midway through a rice paddy field, pointing the way in, in a flanking maneuver to help out the 3rd Platoon. PVT David Young and an M79er were ordered to move out ahead of the group. The M79er was visibly upset about having to go forward and PVT Young was afraid they were getting themselves into a mess. His senses were right.
Suddenly the VC opened-fire. Their AK rifles spitting fire and hot lead from their concealed lair of bunkers dug into the thicketed rice patty embankments. The men quickly hit the ground seeking cover and began returning the gunfire to suppress the attack, while others maneuvered into position to counter the attack.
Private Young and His M79er Companion
PVT Young and the M79er quickly moved out of the center of the rice paddy field. Making their way safely to a low-lying dike, they found cover for themselves in the wet grass of the rice paddy field immersed in surface water. Some areas were knee-high deep, other places deeper. PVT Young remained in position near a machine gunner as his M79 companion moved off to another dike approximately 30 feet in front of them. There were no other Manchu soldiers in front or to the right of them-they were in a precarious position-their right-flank was unprotected, they were it. As Young rose-up out of the water to fire his weapon in the direction of the enemy, his M16 exploded. Water had entered the barrel of his weapon and the explosion opened the M16's receiver-lacerating his hand, burning his face, temporarily blinding his left eye and breaking his left eardrum. He was now without an operative weapon and feeling helpless. The VC, armed with semi-automatic weapons, fired in his direction. Their bullets kicked-up the water's surface, seeking him out as the Private tried to sink deeper beneath the water's surface for protection and to conceal his location.
In a rush to suppress the VC's gunfire, two others in the platoon had their weapons blow-up in their face. Like PVT Young, in the heat of battle, they hadn't made sure their rifle barrel was clear of obstacles after being submerged in water.
SP4 Pete Roberge and SGT Willie Gin
When the VC opened fire, SP4 Pete “The Machine Gunner” Roberge and SGT Willie Gin immediately hit the ground, dropping in-place on slightly higher ground, seeking the cover of the high grass and moving behind the protection of a dike. Quickly recovering from the surprise attack, Pete swung his M60 machine gun into position and started blasting away at the concealed VC positions on the platoon's left flank-firing across a wide pool of water in front of a low-lying embankment covered with slim trees and thick underbrush.
In the meanwhile SGT Gin kept a watchful eye on a similar looking area to the front-right of them. Running perpendicular to the embankment that Pete was firing along, Gin thought gunfire had come from there. Seeing no movement or gunfire in that area, he crawled up alongside of Pete's machine gun. This move turned out to be a big mistake, then again maybe not. He had mistakenly positioned himself on the wrong side of the machine gun. Hot M60 bullet casings were being ejected at him at a steady rate-striking his face, neck and arms. Before Pete had gone through a belt of ammo, Gin rolled away from him to avoid being struck any longer by the hot casings. At that very moment, Pete was hit by a long burst of enemy gunfire. Wounded, Pete let out a yell and started cussing about being hit in the hand. The bullet(s) that hit Pete's hand also knocked out his M60-damaging the weapon's trigger handle and firing mechanism. Luckily, SGT Gin hadn't positioned himself on the other side of Pete. By chance he could have been wounded as well, or worst yet, killed by the burst of gunfire.
At the sound of the shots, Gin briefly noticed Pete rolling over and yelling, holding his wounded hand and cussing up a storm. Thinking that Pete was okay, and not seriously wounded, he returned the VC's fire with his M16 to suppress the shooting coming in their direction. Until then he hadn't fired his weapon yet; his full attention was now directed at the VC. That was the last he saw of Pete-thinking he was attending to himself or trying to make it out on his own.
A short while later the exchange of gunfire temporarily subsided. Gin caught a glimpse of another wounded soldier laying struggling beneath the high grass just a short distance to his rear less than 30 feet away. He turned and crawled off in the direction of the wounded man.
Rescuing “Pete the Machine Gun”
PVT Young who is without an operative weapon heard screaming coming from the left of him. Less than 30 feet away, Pete “The Machine Gunner” was wounded and making a ruckus. Without the use of a weapon, and to make himself useful, Young went to his aid.
Sensing or hearing that Pete is in need of help, the M79er came back from his forward position at another dike to cover and assist PVT Young with getting Pete pulled out to a safer place. Pete fought them as they were pulling him, yelling, “Just cut it off!”-Referring to his hand. All around them bullets were striking the water as they pulled him away from the rice paddy dike, through knee-deep water, towards the rear. The M79er, feeling that they were too close to an enemy bunker to fire his M79 grenade launcher, used his .45-caliber pistol to cover their retreat as they pulled Pete back through the paddy. Pete was out of control; struggling with his rescuers; and not wanting to be pulled out of the fight. They kept saying “Pete, we just want to get you out of here.”
By then everyone had pulled back leaving the three soldiers on their own, at the most forward section of the rice paddy. Eventually they reached a dike at the rear of the same field, where a medic and others took Pete off their hands. Both were lucky; they had escaped from getting killed out here. They discovered that three others were wounded as well. Not being out of the fight yet, PVT Young secured another operative weapon, and him and his M79 companion were directed further to the rear of the platoon.
PVT David “Doc” Amatore-Medic Wounded
It was shortly before 9:00 AM that the 2nd Platoon's point had made contact. A Lieutenant from the 1st Platoon told his medic, PVT David “Doc” Amatore, that the lead platoon's medic was pinned down and could not reach their point man that was hit in the wrist.
Doc Amatore dropped his gear (other than his rifle and medical kit) and went to find the wounded point man. Moving cautiously, Doc could not see the wounded man due to the thick grass. After moving a short distance (10 to 20 feet) from the Lieutenant, he was hit.
It wasn't until after SGT Gin reached the wounded soldier that he discovered it was a medic with a M16. It was Doc Amatore. He recognized the medic's face as being one of the fresh new guys in the Company. Unknown to Gin, the medic was coming to the aid of Pete the Machine Gunner.
The medic was lying motionless in the high grass. He didn't appear to be in any pain, other than he was not able to move any longer. When SGT Gin examined the medic, he found a small bullet hole (the diameter of a M16 round) in his lower back, located approximately waist-high and slightly below belt-level. There were no visible signs of blood or bleeding-either on the back or front of him, where Gin expected to see a large exit wound. At that moment Gin thought the medic was accidentally shot by one of their own guys while returning fire on the VC. He came to this conclusion based on the direction the medic's body was lying in, in the grass. His body (head to foot) was in direct line with the guys behind him. The medic was not lying toward or away from the VC gunfire coming from the left flank. Being of little help and thinking that this guy was seriously wounded, another soldier appeared on the scene. SGT Gin left the medic in the other soldier's care and returned to the fight.
It's thirty-six years later, December 17, 2003. To Willie Gin's surprise he meets David Amatore, the wounded medic. David had found the Manchu's Website at www.manchu.org and registered his name, company unit, MOS and tour date. Willie often wondered if that medic had made it out alive or dead; he found his answer. Doc switched careers and is now a school psychologist, semi-retired, and living near Portland, OR [where Willie resides] in the township of Lake Oswego. Here is part of what Amatore recalls after being wounded:
“…I think I was with Alpha for a week before being wounded… I was hit. I remember being immediately aided by an American, but I also remember a Vietnamese scout [he mistook Willie's identity, who is Chinese-American]. My watch stopped due to being submerged in the water at about 9:10 AM. I think I was evacuated about two to three hours later. It may have been a much shorter time, but it seemed like a long time. I would not let anyone administer morphine because I knew I had an abdominal wound and I was in shock. While my wounds were severe, I came out of it relatively okay. If I had to be shot in the back, the bullet placement was perfect. I was not paralyzed and the bullet missed reproductive organs as it tumbled through my abdominal cavity. I have some residual back and abdominal problems but nothing compared to what might have been.
An American soldier helped drag me out to the evacuation area…he was hit in the arm with a piece of shrapnel that also hit me in the thigh. I vaguely remember gun ships making runs that seemed to be over my head. I also think I remember on one of the gunship runs something falling from the gunship like a helmet. The American who helped drag me out was also evacuated to Cu Chi….”
After the platoons regrouped from the VC's attack, the Manchu-men tried to knock out the VC positions with LAWs that didn't work. A powerful weapon, the LAW was designed as a one-time use, one-gunner rocket launcher for uses as a light anti-tank weapon. However, in Vietnam it was used to destroy bunkers or for attacking an entrenched enemy.
Several guys were online firing the shoulder-held LAWs, across a deep pool of water, at the VC's concealed low-lying fighting positions. They were trying to hit the sides of the embankment; hoping to get a direct hit on a bunker or fighting hole. As the roar of the 66mm rocket warheads hit the water's surface and the thicketed areas-and striking no hard surfaces-the high-explosive rockets didn't explode. The rockets caused no damage whatsoever, other than a splash in the water or an unheard rustle through the brush. At least six were fired-all coming up short with the same result: no explosion. SGT Gin was pissed off about that and almost got up and walked off the battlefield because he was disgusted with the two LAWs he had fired. It's doubtful the LAWs were faulty; maybe the rocket projectiles were equipped with a distance mechanism for safety reasons, which prevented them from exploding within a certain range upon impact.
Eventually, all “Bloopers” (M79 grenade launchers, also referred to as “Thumpers”) were called forward to bring fire on the enemy's location. The M79 grenadiers were lobbing in high-explosive 40mm grenade rounds when the Light Fire Team (two gunships) arrived on station, and started their air attack on the wood-lined embankments. The gunship attacks were at close quarters to Alpha Company's men-firing off their rockets, mini-guns and M60 door guns. The attacks were coordinated, so that one gunship covered the other as it finished its gun run and turned outbound from its target. Then the other gunship began its concentrated attack on the bunkered wood lines-cutting a path of destruction through the trees and the undergrowth, and disrupting the VC's attack on the men in the field.
Just as PVT Jim Howarth (from the 1st Platoon) looked down to grab another M79 grenade round, a piece of shrapnel from a rocket fired by a gunship hit his steel helmet sharply. If he hadn't looked down in that instant, the hot shrapnel would have struck him in the face. It was during one of the gunship runs that Howarth looked up and he saw a helmet falling from a gunship. Its door-gunner had been struck in the face by an enemy bullet, knocking his flight-type helmet off of his head. Shortly after that, the gunship left the area with its wounded, or dead, door-gunner aboard.
After the gunships broke off their attack and left the area, in came an artillery strike. A massive barrage of artillery pounded the same brushed, tree-lined embankments. The artillery rounds penetrated deeply into the ground, and the delayed explosions up-rooted trees and underbrush, tossing aside dirt, branches and debris mixed in with muddy water in every direction. The pounding cleared the concealment of the hidden bunkers and fighting holes, inflicting a heavy toll upon the enemy.
Picking up from where the artillery left off, the gunships returned to finish off any VC in the target area. After the second gunship run was over, the Manchu-men cautiously approached the area of attack to assess the damages and to eliminate any remaining resistance. In the patch of area where SGT Gin had previously suspected that gunfire had come from, the Manchu-men were picking through exposed bunkers. Several dead bodies were discovered and dragged out into the clearing. They had been killed by the artillery and gunship strikes. PVT Young remembers one VC being in parts.
Having secured the area against a counterattack by the VC, it was policed for weapons, gear and other war materiel, and the injured evacuated to Cu Chi. Though wounded PVT Young was not evacuated with the rest of the wounded men. He had been checked out by a medic, but for some reason they wouldn't let him climb aboard the EVAC chopper. He went in the next day for medical attention. Not to Cu Chi, but to an aid station in Trang Bang or Trung Lap.
To the right of Alpha Company's position there was a roll of trees and undergrowth-a strip of woodlands-barely obscuring several large fields on the other side. Delta Company was in the closest field, and possibly a second company: Charlie Company who had come to the scene after Delta and Alpha's fight was over. They had moved into the area to link-up, as part of a larger reconnaissance in force mission.
After policing the area of contact and evacuating the wounded, the companies moved out. Now a much larger force, the men of the Manchu Battalion spread themselves out across the wide-open grassland. They hadn't gone far when SGT Gin heard an explosion and caught a quick glimpse of the ground erupt into a tall cloud of smoke, dirt and debris. A guy in the other company tripped a buried booby-trapped artillery round. It practically cut the soldier in half below the torso.
After a malady of discontent, the men of the Battalion moved out again, with artillery supporting their advance. Coming from their rear from a great distance away, an intermittent cadence of muffled booms could be heard. Then, shortly, the rumbling sound of arty rounds roaring overhead through low-lying clouds gave SGT Gin an eerie feeling as they marched toward the exploding shells in the distance, peppering the landscape ahead. The striking salvos were close-up. Close enough to hear the soft “whoop-whoop” whooping sound of hot pieces of jagged shrapnel flying back their way, splattering the shallow watery surfaces in the field. As the men of the Manchu Battalion trudge forward to their next objective, the artillery adjusted its firing range.
Perilous Days and Places
We were fortunate this day. That we know of, our casualties were 3 KIA-two from Alpha Company and one from Delta-and at least 7 WIA. This was not counting the injured door gunner, or others wounded in Delta Company or in our 1st and 3rd Platoons.
The actual count of the VC's casualties is unknown, other than there were several dead bodies dragged out of bunkers. We didn't checkout the rest of the target area or the unsearched bunkers to our left. If we had tried to find out, we would have probably gotten into a bigger mess.
For sure there were more VC around, both dead and alive, spread-out over the immediate area-and those still alive, decide they had enough for today and stayed quietly hidden. You could never tell when or what you would come up against: a dangerous skirmish with a small force of VC or an outright battle? But what you could be sure of, were that more battles with the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army would follow:
The next day, May 12th, elements of the 272nd VC Regiment staged a battalion-size attack on Fire Support Base Pike VI (10 kms west of Tan Son Nhut Air Base). Defended by the artillery cannons of the 6th Battalion 77th Artillery and the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 13th Artillery and Company B of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry “Manchus”, the firebase's perimeter turned back several human-wave ground assaults. The battle began at 0138 hours. Approximately 400 rounds of mortars, recoilless rifle, RPG and 122mm rockets fell within a space of 30 to 60 minutes. Approximately 160 rounds fell on the southwest section of the perimeter-striking ground where the Manchus were well dug in guarding that section of the firebase. After the steady bombardment, the NVA moved in for the kill, launching a major ground assault on the west-southwest section of the perimeter, along with a smaller supporting attack from the southeast.
One of the Listening Posts (LPs) bore the brunt of the assault on their side of the perimeter. Surrounded on three sides, and refusing to give ground, the men unleashed a devastating amount of firepower that not one NVA soldier broke through-thus allowing the artillery batteries in that sector of the perimeter to fire their cannons.
Listening Post: September 5, 2003 letter written by Sofia Marquez, the daughter of Eduardo Marquez, Jr.: “…My father was awarded the Silver Star due to the actions that took place on May 12, 1968. He was serving as a rifleman on a listening post for Company B, 4th Battalion, and 9th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam:
"When the enemy began a massive mortar and ground attack against the battalion's fire support base, Private Marquez's position came under withering hostile fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, he held his ground and placed intense and accurate fire on the enemy. Devastating enemy fire killed three of the five men on the listening post and wounded Private Marquez and his remaining comrade, but he continued to fight valiantly until the enemy was disrupted and forced to withdraw."
One of his last wishes before he passed away was to find the only other survivor of that massive attack. He never got to fulfill that wish before October 23, ….”
As the main attack on the firebase perimeter was being launched, the 105mm howitzers covering the entire west sector of the perimeter fired round-after-round of beehive (an artillery shell containing 6,000 tiny dart-like steel flechettes) into the attacking enemy.
Beehive Round: An anti-personnel, direct-fire shell carrying several thousand small steel darts or flechettes. Each flechette is about one-inch long and has the appearance of a 1" finishing nail with the nail head stamped into the form of 4 fins, similar to an arrow. A typical 105mm beehive has 6,000 darts, 3,000 of which are loaded pointing forward and 3,000 pointing backward. The shell is fired directly at advancing enemy formations similar to aiming a shotgun. At 50 meters from the muzzle, the round ejects the darts toward the enemy with a medium-hard ejecting charge. The forward-loaded darts spread into a 45-degree fan traveling forward, while the rear facing darts are forced by their fins to flip around in flight. As the darts flip, they loop away from the GT line, forming a fan of about 60 degrees. Thus 6,000 darts fly in a 60-degree fan at about 2,000 feet per second toward the enemy. The effect on troops in the open is devastating. Enemy troops about 100 meters from the firing cannon may be pierced by 10 to 20 darts, those closer may receive 100 or more penetrating stab wounds similar to those inflicted by an ice pick.
A M42A1 Duster (a tracked self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicle armed with a turret mounted with dual automatic-firing 40mm cannons and one M60 machine gun) was positioned at the extreme southern tip of the firebase and had already began firing its M60 machine gun at 60 to 70 NVA soldiers crawling through the field 100 meters to its front. The Duster itself managed to fire only twelve rounds from its dual cannons before a RPG, fired from only 50 meters away, disabled both guns. The Duster crew fell back, leaving 16 NVA bodies around their empty machine gun. At the same time, three other cannoneers arrived at the Duster and killed 4 NVA soldiers in the vicinity, using small arm weapons. Meanwhile 155mm artillery fire support for the besieged firebase was called in from two batteries located at Hoc Mon and near Saigon, both within easy firing range of FSB Pike.
Manchu Battalion Commander, LTC Richard Simpson, diverted two fighter jets to the firebase that were on station for a nearby battle elsewhere. With flare-ships illuminating the battlefield, the fighter jets brought their wrath to bear on the enemy. Gunships of the 116th “Hornets” Assault Helicopter Company sounded the final notes of the fight by peppering the battle area with mini-gun and rocket fire. By 0407 hours, the NVA attack was broken off. At daylight, 98 enemy bodies were counted outside the perimeter wire. Friendly casualties were 5 US KIA and 30 US WIA, of which 1 KIA and 5 WIA were artillerymen.
Cong Ground Attack a Failure
Support Base Pike Kills 85 Foes
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
CU CHI-An estimated force of 200 to 300 Viet Cong recently launched an intensive ground attack on Fire Support Base Pike, 10 kms west of Tan Son Nhut Air Base. The Viet Cong hung on grimly for an hour and a half before retreating, leaving 85 dead behind.
The battle began at approximately 1:30 a.m. with a barrage of mortars, recoilless rifle rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and 122mm rockets. Approximately eighty per cent of the more than 200 rounds fell on the southwest portion of the perimeter, which was guarded by one company of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf. “Manchus”.
The infantry, however, was well dug in, preventing the rounds from claiming any lives inside the perimeter.
After 10 minutes of steady bombardment, the VC moved in for the kill-or so they thought. The main ground attack came from the southwest with a small supporting attack from the southeast. Listening posts from one company bore the brunt of the assault.
Showing no heed for personal security, the men of the listening posts refused to give ground. Surrounded on three sides, they unleashed such devastating firepower that not one Viet Cong broke through. This enabled batteries of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty and the 6th Bn, 77th Arty to fire.
Two tactical craft were on station for a nearby battle. The air strikes were diverted by Manchu CO LTC Richard Simpson and directed to the new battle area.
A flare-ship illuminated the battlefield as the high-performance jets brought their wrath to bear on the enemy. Anti-aircraft machine guns tried in vain to fend off the swift jets.
Gunships from the 116th Assault Helicopter Co sounded the final notes of the fight as they peppered the battle area with their mini-guns and rockets.
When asked about the battle, Simpson stated that the valor and courage shown by the men in the listening posts was the key factor in the decisive win.
The final toll at Fire Support Base Pike was 85 communists killed by the infantry, artillery, and tactical air strikes.
During the first 13 days of operations, following the NVA-VC May Day Offensive, TASK FORCE DAEMS killed more than 600 enemy soldiers attempting to slip into the Saigon-Cholon area. On May 13th and 14th, intelligence sources indicated enemy forces (who had moved towards Saigon beginning on May 3rd) were now attempting to leave the area back to the safety of their sanctuary areas. Divisional units were now being employed to hunt down the fleeing enemy units.
Task Force [Daems] Kill 600 In 13 Days
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No. 24, June 10, 1968
3RD BDE-In 13 days of operations northwest of Saigon, a task force of the 25th Inf. Div has killed more than 600 enemy soldiers attempting to slip away from the Saigon area following the May offensive.
The task force, consisting of four battalions, destroyed 94 bunkers. Over 60 Viet Cong suspects were detained for questioning.
COL Leonard R. Daems, Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf. Div, headed the task force, which included a mechanized battalion, two battalions of infantry and one of armor.
The operation began between Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, as first day action cost the enemy 159 killed. During the following days, Task Force Daems pursued the scattering Viet Cong across the division area of operations past Trang Bang, forcing remnants into the area of the Boi Loi and Hobo Woods.
On the seventh day of the action, 118 VC were killed in the vicinity of the Cambodian border. Three days later another 91 Communists were killed, with lesser body counts on the other days of the operation.
The capture of 77 AK-47 assault rifles and four 60mm mortar tubes as well as several enemy rockets was also accomplished during the action, a continuation of Operation Toan Thang. The task force also captured over nine tons of rice, 1,300 pounds of salt, two USSR flamethrowers and several Chinese radios, as well as medical supplies. Additionally, Task Force Daems turned up an assortment of mines, booby traps, enemy clothing and supplies.
Battalions comprising the task force included the 3rd Bn 22nd Inf.; 4th Bn 9th Inf.; 4th Bn 23rd Mech Inf., and 2nd Bn, 34th Armor. Companies from other battalions of the division were assigned to the task force for portions of the operation.
Troop-A of the 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry who was sweeping for the enemy in the northern Ho Bo Woods intercepted a large enemy force moving north. In an all day battle, Troop-A was reinforced by Troop-C and supporting gunships, artillery and air strikes were brought to bear on the enemy force. The combined forces killed 82 VC and captured 3 prisoners. The POW's identified their unit as being the 7th Battalion SR-1 Local Force. Their battalion had been in constant battle with US and ARVN forces and had lost 400 of its 500 men-either killed, wounded or missing-and its survivors were pulling back, trying to make it back safely to their sanctuaries in War Zone C in northern Tay Ninh Province.
Reconnaissance Beats Whole VC Battalion
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 24, June 10, 1968
CU CHI - The 15th of May marked a black day for the VC 7th Bn, Sub-Region, also known as the Cu Chi District Battalion.
On this day, the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav surprised the VC battalion in the upper Ho Bo Woods, 11 kms northeast of Trang Bang and just west of the “Mushroom” of the Saigon River.
During a routine reconnaissance mission, A Trp, commanded by CPT William Coomer spotted nine VC moving in the underbrush of an area cleared by Rome Plows.
Opening fire on the enemy, the cavalrymen downed three, when suddenly VC hidden in fortified positions opened up with RPG anti-tank weapons, small arms and machine guns. The battle raged all morning in the thick underbrush.
When additional ground support was necessary, C Trp of the 4th Cav, commanded by CPT William E. Shaffer, was moved in. In order to reach the area, C Trp made an excellent cross-country move, deploying rapidly to the north of A Trp. The VC defenses were split in two by Mackenzie Raiders of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav. A search revealed 99 VC bodies.
Aggressive action by numerous troopers was commonplace. 1LT Roger A. See and SP4 Roy A. Harbaugh led searches of tunnels that produced three VC detainees.
In addition to a high body count, the squadron captured 28 individual weapons, 3 anti-tank rocket launchers, 3 light machine guns, 2 60mm mortars and two flame-throwers. They detained six VC for questioning.
More than eight tons of rice were captured and turned over to division civil affairs personnel. One cache alone, found by C Trp in the lower Boi Loi Woods, produced six tons of polished rice.
PFC Lyall H. Chester of A Trp was rewarded for his thorough search of a tunnel by locating approximately 50 pounds of medical supplies.
It was a busy week for Mackenzie Raiders of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
On May 16th the pattern of contact with enemy forces, throughout the 25th Division's TAOI, continued to move away from the Saigon-Cholon-Tan Son Nhut area. This pattern was a further indication of the exfilration efforts of enemy units moving out of the area, which had attempted to close in on the Capital city early in the month.
At 1725 hours, Company B 2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry “The Old Guard” of the 199th Light Infantry “Redcatcher's” Brigade, engaged an unknown enemy force while searching an area one kilometer north of the King Sand Canal. Attacking the force, as it was moving west, the company caught up with the VC force and killed 20 of their soldiers before the VC was able to break contact.
Flying late-afternoon armed aerial reconnaissance missions over the Ho Bo Woods and Iron Triangle, Troop-C of the 3rd Squadron 17th Air Cavalry spotted 150 to 200 Viet Cong at coordinates XT732193. The armed helicopters, in addition to artillery and jet fighters, engaged the enemy force. A check of the target area, following this engagement, uncovered the bodies of 21 dead VC soldiers.
The 4th Battalion 9th Infantry conducted reconnaissance in force operations 8 kms north of Duc Hoa and located 22 VC killed by artillery and air strikes. They also found and destroyed in place, forty-three 82mm mortar rounds.
Searching for suspected enemy ammunition caches along the banks of the Rach Tra Canal north of Saigon and west of the Saigon River, Company C of the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry located and evacuated 98 rounds of 75mm ammo, 40 anti-tank mines, 120 RPG-2 rounds, 24 rounds of 60mm ammo, 5 complete 122mm rockets, 2 AK-47 rifles and 20 pounds of medical supplies. The Wolfhound infantrymen also destroyed in place 162 rounds of 82mm mortar ammo.
Chase Ends In Cache
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 NO. 24, June 10, 1968
2ND BDE-A 25th Inf. Div rifle company uncovered a major enemy supply point in northern Gia Dinh Province after a seemingly futile chase of three fleeing enemy troops.
Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf “Wolfhounds”, had touched down in open rice paddies during an Operation Toan Thang combat assault.
According to CPT Arthur E. Blackwood, Co C CO, his men had just begun to sweep towards the Rach Ong Phau Canal when the point elements spotted three enemy 300 meters away.
The trio managed to escape a fusillade of small arms and grenade fire, but Blackwood swung his company in pursuit across open rice paddies and marshland to the north.
The lead elements of the company reached the canal bank and discovered a sampan hidden in the tall grass, Blackwood, 34, of Rancho-Cordova, Calif., reported. Inside the boat were two AK-47 assault rifles and 15 pounds of medical supplies.
Within a 400-meter stretch, the Wolfhounds turned up a crew-served weapon ammunition supply point hidden in the grass along the canal.
Included in the find were five 122mm rockets, ninety-eight 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, 40 anti-tank mines, 120 RPG-2 rockets, twenty-four 60mm and one hundred-sixty 82mm mortar rounds, two more automatic weapons and several pounds of medical supplies.
At 1555 hours, while flying the Cu Chi Base Camp “rocket belt”, the 25th Division's Artillery Command and Control helicopter spotted a rocket position in the northern sector of the Filhol Rubber Plantation. Engaging the rocket position with its automatic weapons and calling in artillery, 10 Viet Cong soldiers were killed and ten 122mm rockets were destroyed. Earlier in the day, at 1220 hours, Troop-B of the 3rd Squadron 17th Air Cavalry flying reconnaissance in the same general area engaged another rocket site-resulting in 2 VC KIA and eight 122mm rockets being destroyed.
Pressing the search for enemy forces and equipment, Company D of the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry “Golden Dragons” located and evacuated 6 light machine guns, 20 AK-47 rifles, two 75mm recoilless rifles, five 82mm mortars, one 60mm mortar, one .51 caliber machine gun, one 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun, 5 PRC-10 radios, 2 anti-tank mines and 600 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Continuing its search for enemy forces north of Duc Hoa, the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry engaged an unknown size force. Contact was initiated when Delta Company (D-4/9) made an airmobile combat assault into a hot landing zone. During the ensuing battle it was reinforce by Alpha and Charlie Company, as well as being supported by artillery, gunship and air strikes. 18 VC KIA bodies were located after contact was broken late in the day. Documents found on the dead identified the enemy unit as being the 3rd Battalion 272nd VC Regiment.
Manchus Patrol Rivers, Canals
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 23, June 3, 1968
1ST BDE-A unit of the 25th Inf. has traded its flak jackets for life preservers.
The 3rd Pltn of Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf. “Manchus” has been assigned to patrol the Oriental River south of Duc Hoa in small patrol craft.
“We patrol the canals and the Oriental River in small patrol boats that are operated by members of the 65th Engineers,” said 2LT Fenley Stafford, platoon leader of the river force.
“Our duties are to stop and check the river traffic for Viet Cong supplies. Also we provide support for the main force of the Manchus while they sweep the area around the river. When necessary we ferry the main force across large canals or the river,” explained Stafford of North Augusta, S.C.
The river force has stifled the flow of VC traffic and supplies in the area. During these river operations the 3rd Pltn also found and destroyed numerous bunkers along the river.
Following up on its contact of the previous day, Bravo Company of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry searched the area surrounding the battle area. At 0955 hours the Company took a small VC force under fire, killing 9 Viet Cong and capturing numerous small arm weapons and ammunition.
Meanwhile 7 kms north of Tan Son Nhut Air Base, while on a search and destroy operation, Company C of the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry came across a VC platoon hiding in bunkers along the banks of a canal. The 27th Infantrymen destroyed the platoon in place, racking up 25 VC KIA with the help of gunship and artillery fire.
Stalking the 3rd Battalion 272nd VC Regiment for several days north of Duc Hoa, the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry finally found their prey at 0318 hours. The VC battalion attacked the Manchu's night defensive position (NDP). Turning back the ground assault, with the aid of supporting artillery and fighter jet air strikes, the Manchu infantrymen pursued the VC as they tried to disengage and pulled back. In the heavy fighting that ended late in the afternoon, the Manchus recovered 44 VC KIA bodies and captured 2 prisoners of war. US Air Force air strikes flown in support of the Manchu Battalion were credited with an additional 25 VC bodies that were located several kilometers north of their NDP.
MANCHUS Engage VC For 9 Hours
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 24, June 10, 1968
1ST BDE-The 25th Inf. Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf. “Manchus” killed 84 Viet Cong with the aid of helicopter light fire teams and air strikes, six kms northwest of Saigon.
The action started at 3:00 a.m. when a large Viet Cong force ran into one of the battalion's night ambush patrols. Withdrawing from the intense fire, the VC brushed a second night ambush patrol.
The Viet Cong, hurt from the two skirmishes, ran into the Manchus night perimeter. The VC mortared the night position with 60mm mortars and tried to break through the perimeter under the barrage but was repulsed by the Manchu infantrymen.
The Viet Cong crawled down a trench and tried to flank several positions. But SP4 Rick Bridwell spotted them and opened up with his M-16 rifle, killing one Viet Cong. PFC James Gilliland popped a claymore mine on the advancing enemy, killing five. Turning, Gilliland noticed an enemy soldier crawling off to his right flank. Fortunately, he reacted quicker than the VC and shot him.
The fight raged through the night and into the morning with the VC suffering heavy losses. Gunships and air strikes were called in on the enemy positions. Around noon the enemy broke contact and fled, dragging some of their dead and wounded with them. The Manchus swept the area around the camp and counted 84 dead VC.
The 1st Battalion 5th Mechanized Infantry moved into the southern Boi Loi Woods north of Trang Bang, to search for enemy forces in the area. At 0005 hours, the VC attacked the Bobcat's night defensive position. By 0345 hours, the enemy assault was repulsed and broken off. The enemy force withdrew leaving 29 of their dead comrades scattered around the perimeter wire. Two prisoners of war were also captured. The retreating VC left behind two machine guns, 6 RPG rocket launchers, 6 AK-47 rifles, 34 hand grenades and 57 RPG rounds.
5th Mech Snuffs Out NVA Attack
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No. 25, June 17, 1968
2ND BDE-Two battalions of the 5th North Vietnamese Regt lost at least 34 dead when they launched an abortive rocket, mortar and ground attack on the night location of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Standing firm behind a wall of artillery, gunship and tactical air support, the 25th Inf. Div soldiers took nine wounded in the heavy fighting 15 kms northwest of Cu Chi.
LTC Thomas C. Lodge of Deland, Fla., said ambush patrols set up around his unit's forward base also took a heavy toll on enemy attempting to join the battle, preventing any major ground assault on the defensive position.
Although patrols and listening posts had earlier reported numerous sightings and movement, the action first began when enemy gunners unleashed a 100-round mortar barrage on the battalion base.
Following the midnight bombardment, North Vietnamese who had lined hedgerows surrounding the battalion's location began pouring RPG rocket fire at the U.S. troops, although none of the 40 recorded RPG's managed to score direct hits either on bunkers or tracked vehicles.
When the first enemy assault came the 2nd Bde infantrymen opened fire with .50 caliber machine guns, automatic weapons, grenade launchers and mortars.
Air Force AC-47 flare-ships illuminated the open rice paddies around the 5th Inf's position, making easy targets of the 10-man enemy assault groups.
Gunships called in from the division base camp at Cu Chi encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire, but escaped damage during strafing runs over enemy positions.
One Bobcat ambush patrol positioned near the forward base engaged an enemy company moving into the attack, killing with small arms, grenades, and mortar and gunship support at least 10 enemy and blocking the route to the besieged Tropic Lightning battalion.
Heavy fighting continued for more than an hour, and then slacked off into sporadic exchanges of fire throughout the night.
At daylight, 5th Inf units sweeping the battlefield found 34 dead enemy, plus heavy blood trails indicating more enemy had been badly wounded in the attack.
The troops also captured eight RPG rocket launchers, one .30 caliber machine gun, six AK-47 assault rifles, 38 Chicom hand grenades and hundreds of pieces of web gear, gas masks and other equipment.
Later in the morning, at 0840 hours, Troops A and B of the 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry-while searching in an area a short distance to the northeast of the 1st of the 5th Infantry-came into contact with an unknown size force. In a running battle lasting all day, the Cavalrymen (supported by helicopter gunships, artillery and fighter jets) slaughtered another 29 VC.
At 0500 hours, far to the north of these two actions, a Viet Cong sapper unit attacked Tay Ninh Base Camp-infiltrated the perimeter and overrunning four gun positions of the 2nd Battalion 32nd “Proud Americans” Artillery. A barrage of 200 rounds of 82mm and 60mm mortars, 30 RPG rounds and 10 rockets hit the base camp. The infiltrators and sappers entered the perimeter firing AK-47 rifles, throwing hand grenades and setting off satchel charges. The defending artillerymen killed 7 sappers, but the infiltrators succeeded in destroying one 175mm artillery piece, one 8” howitzer and one M548 ammunition carrier of Battery B. The artillerymen of Battery B suffered 3 US KIA and 14 WIA in fending off the assault.
VC Halted in Dawn Attack
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No. 2, June 24, 1968
1ST BDE-Soldiers of the 25th Inf. Div repulsed an early morning ground attack on the 1st Bde's base camp by an estimated Viet Cong battalion.
Under the cover of mortar, 122mm rockets, and RPG fire, a small enemy force penetrated the perimeter but were quickly driven backs leaving seven dead and a variety of explosives and equipment.
After a three-hour fight, Tropic Lightning forces found 36 pounds of explosives, 2 AK-47 rifles with 100 rounds of ammunition, one RPG rocket launcher with two war heads, 8 grenades, 4 RPG boosters, and 20 electrical blasting caps.
The defenders were supported by artillery and helicopter gunships from the 2d Bn, 32d Arty; 7th Bn, 11th Arty; 3d Sqdn, 17th Air Cav.
Damage to the base camp was light.
The 4th Battalion 9th Infantry, continuing their pursuit of the 3rd Battalion 272nd VC Regiment in the Duc Hoa area, located a company of VC 3 kms south of the town. Between 0830 and 1915 hours, the Alpha Manchu Company engaged the VC force with organic weapons, artillery, gunship and tactical air strikes. After the enemy broke contact, the Manchu infantrymen recovered 19 VC killed in the action.
To the north, the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry continued is search for enemy forces, weapons and ammunition caches immediately north of Tan Son Nhut Air Base. At 1045 hours, they came across a VC platoon and engage them in a firefight. Artillery, armed helicopters and air strikes backed up the Wolfhound pack. The engagement racked up 23 VC KIA, as Wolfhounds swept through the area in pursuit of its prey.
Task Force Daems was disbanded on May 25th, after 23 days of operations. The 4th Battalion 9th Infantry “Manchus” was relocated from the Duc Hoa area to a new battalion area of operations northeast of Hoc Mon, where it established a new base camp.
Conducting a company-size combat assault and sweep to the northeast of the battalion's new base camp, Alpha Company engaged an unknown number of VC between 1005 and 1430 hours. Supported by artillery, armed helicopters and air strikes, the Alpha Manchus killed 23 VC in a 4-1/2 hour battle.
VC Bunkers Don't Stop Company A-4/9
Tropic Lightning News, Vol. 3 No. 25, June 7, 1968
1ST BDE-The 25th Inf. Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf. killed 23 Viet Cong with the aid of artillery and air strikes, nine miles northwest of Saigon.
Company A made an airmobile assault, and as they jumped from their choppers on the landing zone the Manchu infantrymen were greeted by a hail of heavy automatic weapons fire. Using the tremendous firepower at his disposal, CPT Elcie Adams called in artillery and air strikes upon the enemy positions. When the artillery lifted the Manchus quickly pushed into the wood line.
The Viet Cong were in well-fortified bunkers and still putting up strong resistance. SP4 Robert Tafoya of the 2nd Pltn firing his 90mm recoilless rifle blew apart several VC bunkers, killing three enemies. Raking the area with machine gun fire the Manchus killed several more VC as they fled their bunkers.
Encountering no more resistance, the Co A soldiers swept the area and found 23 dead VC, 4 AK-47s, 1 Chicom carbine, 2 sights for the 122mm rocket, and 500 rounds of AK-47 ammunition.
Combat action in the 25th Division's TAOI on May 27th was focused on an area 14 kms west of Saigon, where the 4th Battalion 23rd Mechanized Infantry “Tomahawks” was located in a night defense position (NDP). At 2250 hours, on May 26th, the battalion's NDP came under intermittent mortar fire until 0330 hours. Then the night position came under a massive ground attack by the 2nd Battalion 273rd VC Regiment. The Tomahawks held off the human-wave assaults with the aid of armed helicopters, artillery and air strikes. At dawn, they were reinforced by Troops A and C of the ¾ Cavalry “Mackenzie Raiders” Regiment. The combined US force moved out of the NOP at first light and pursued the enemy, which was attempting to break contact. Firefights in the vicinity continued until 1600 hours. Unable to outrun and overpower the APCs (armored personnel carriers) and their firepower, the VC Regiment was mauled by the Tomahawks, Raiders and their support units. The enemy body count, within the NDP and the surrounding area, was 243 VC KIA. Three prisoners of war were captured, along with: 28 AK-47 rifles, 11 RPG-2 rocket launchers along with 142 rocket rounds, 16 machine guns, six 60mm mortars and 49 mortar rounds, 58 hand grenades and 22,500 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Two 25th Battalions Halt
VC Push Into Saigon
Tropic Lightning News; Vol. 3 No. 24, June 10, 1968
CU CHI-Two battalions of the U.S. 25th Inf Div halted the thrust of a Viet Cong battalion two kms west of Saigon on May 27, amid reports that the VC were once again trying to send troops into the capital.
Initial contact was made by Co B, 4th Bn (Mech) 23rd Inf when it came under small arms, rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire shortly before midnight. The infantrymen, supported by Div artillery and gunships, kept the VC pinned down overnight. An Air Force “Spooky” kept the area of contact illuminated by flares until dawn.
The next morning, elements of the 25th Div's 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, commanded by LTC Glen K. Otis, 39, of Springfield, Virginia, advanced in tanks and armored personnel carriers, joining with the 4th Bn, 23rd Inf in engaging the VC.
The VC ceased resistance late in the afternoon and the attempt on Saigon was stopped.
In a complete sweep of the battle area by the 4th Bn, 23rd Inf, commanded by LTC Clifford C. Neilson of Mobile, Ala., and the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, 218 VC bodies were counted.
Captured in the action were twenty-seven AK-47 assault rifles, five light machine guns, nine RPG rounds, eight RPG launchers, one 60mm mortar and one 57mm recoilless rifle.
U.S. Air Force tactical aircraft were employed with devastating effect along with short-range artillery and tank gunfire. The cavalrymen and mechanized infantry also utilized an unprecedented number of hand grenades against the enemy in his hastily built open foxholes. U.S. casualties were light; a total of six were killed.
Meanwhile, northeast of Hoc Mon both Bravo companies of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry and the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry joined forces and engaged an unknown size VC force. The daylong running battle lasted from 0855 hours to 1700 hours. By the end of the day, the two companies racked up a body count of 15 VC and captured large amounts of ammunition and supplies.
The 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry searching for enemy weapons and ammunition caches in the western sector of the Filhol Rubber Plantation discovered and evacuated a supply of weapons, which included 67 small arms and 3 crew-served weapons.
The ground troops of Troop D of the 3rd Squadron 17th “Red Horse” Cavalry had been conducting road clearing and security operations on the road from Tay Ninh to Go Dau Hau for over two weeks without incident. Suddenly, at 0935 hours, on May 30th, the Red Horsemen found their enemy. Having drawn sporadic small arms fire along the road, elements of the Troop probed the area from which the gunfire had come and rode into a company of Viet Cong. The Cavalrymen called in supporting artillery, gunship and air strikes on the enemy position. After the supporting fires were lifted, they swept through the target area and discovered 14 dead VC bodies.
In the meantime, while sweeping an area northeast of Hoc Mon along the Saigon River, Company B of the 1st Battalion 27th Infantry engaged a small VC force heavily dug into a bunker complex. Supported by artillery, gunship and air strikes, the Wolfhound infantrymen overran the Viet Cong positions. They captured 5 AK-47 rifles, 2 RPG-2 rocket launchers and one pistol, and uncovered 11 VC KIA.
At 0055 hours Company B of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry encountered a unknown size enemy force while conducting a reconnaissance in force operation along the Saigon River, 6 kms northeast of Hoc Mon. Armed helicopters, artillery and air strikes were called in to the attack the enemy position. Sweeping into the location occupied by the Viet Cong, the Manchu infantrymen found 14 dead bodies, 2 AK-47 rifles, 1 RPG-2 rocket launcher, one 9mm pistol and two pounds of documents. At the same time, a short distance to the southwest of this engagement, Charlie Company detected two VC squads hiding in bunkers. Again, supporting fires were placed on the enemy position and the Manchu infantrymen assaulted the bunkers, killing 6 VC while the rest of the VC troops escaped in the darkness.
On May 31st, OPERATION TOAN THANG (Phase I) came to an end. For 60 days, 42 American and 37 South Vietnamese battalions had searched out the enemy near Saigon. The days in May 1968 were dangerous, and filled with perilous places. The 25th Division's operations in its Tactical Area of Operational Interest, between 01-May and 31-May-1968, revealed the following casualties for both TASK FORCE DAEMS and OPERATION TOAN THANG I:
? U.S. Killed in Action: 218 (41 belonging to the 4/9th Infantry)
? U.S. Wounded in Action: 1,156 (893 required medical evacuation)
? Enemy Killed in Action
(Confirmed Body Count): 2,275
? Enemy Prisoners of War: 77
? Enemy Detainees: 237
Forty-One Fallen Soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry “Manchu” Regiment:
Thu. May 2nd, 1968
Thomas Ira Long, E-3, Kinards, South Carolina, Age 20 (Charlie)
Fri. May 3rd, 1968
Richard M. Martin, E-3, Encampment, Wyoming, Age 20 (Bravo)
Willie E. Ponder, E-3, Washington, District of Columbia, Age 26 (Charlie)
Sat. May 4th, 1968
Sterling Banks, E-4, Newport News, Virginia, Age 23 (Bravo)
John T. Lane, E-3, Brewster, Washington, 20 (Bravo)
Samuel T. Neil, E-6, Detroit, Michigan, Age 21 (Bravo)
Donald Eugene Slater, E-3, Paw Paw, Michigan, Age 20 (Bravo)
Sun. May 5th, 1968
Chad David Meadows, 2LT, Dayton, Ohio, Age 20 (Alpha)
Ernest Rosado, E-4, Middletown, New York, Age 20 (Charlie)
Robert Springer, 1LT, Waco, Texas, Age 22 (Alpha)
Wed. May 8th, 1968
Victor L. Layne, E-4, Albany, Texas, Age 23 (Bravo)
Thu. May 9th, 1968
Sanford Thomas Allen, E-6, Smithfield, North Carolina, Age 39 (Alpha)
James May, E-3, Oakland, California, Age 21 (Alpha)
Sat. May 11th, 1968
Willie F. Garner, E-5, Town Creek, Alabama, Age 21 (Alpha)
George G. Kokosh, E-3, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Age 21 (Delta)
John M. Michalski, E-4, Hazel Park, Michigan, Age 22 (Alpha)
Sun. May 12th, 1968
Wayne W. Champion, E-3, St. Paul, Minnesota, Age 19 (Bravo)
Jerry Fletcher, E-3, Memphis, Tennessee, Age 20 (Bravo)
Joe J. Janak, E-3, Columbus, Texas, Age 21 (Bravo)
Michael Bruce Jones, E-3, Mohave, Arizona, Age 20 (Bravo)
Mon. May 13th, 1968
John Austin Anderson, E-4, Williamsville, New York (HHC)
Moses James Cousin, E-4, Detroit, Michigan, Age 24 (Bravo)
Gary Joseph Gilin, E-4, Detroit, Michigan, Age 21 (Alpha, 2nd Platoon)
Tue. May 14th, 1968
Roger D. Stephens, E-3, Manhattan Beach, California, Age 20 (Bravo)
Wed. May 15th, 1968
William L. Lamb, E-4, Hampton, Virginia, Age 21 (Delta)
Gary L. Shea, E-4, Ripley, New York, Age 21 (Delta)
Sun. May 19th, 1968
Melvin Arleigh Allen, E-4, Lakeside, Oregon, Age 20 (Alpha)
Joseph A. Bodnar, 1LT, Athens, Age 22 (Delta)
Robert J. Palenscar, E-3, New Hyde Park, New York, Age 20 (Delta)
Jaye A. Sharpe, E-5, Dermott, Arkansas, Age 22 (Delta)
Tue. May 21st, 1968
George E. Tongen, E-4, Walhalla, North Dakota, Age 20 (Alpha)
Fri. May 24th, 1968
Lynn G. Hiebert, E-5, Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Age 20 (Alpha)
Sat. May 25th, 1968
Gazzett Ben Brunson, E-3, Chicago, Illinois, Age 20 (Charlie)
Sun. May 26th, 1968
Terry Lee Broady, E-5, Cannelton, Indiana, Age 22 (Alpha, 2nd Platoon)
Mon. May 27th, 1968
Thomas H. Nerini, E-3, Lafayette, Indiana, Age 20 (Bravo)
Tue. May 28th, 1968
John Wesley McVey, E-3, Bartelsville, Oklahoma, Age 20 (Bravo)
Carroll R. Meier, E-3, Logan, Iowa, Age 20 (Bravo)
Bernell Taylor, E-4, Magnolia, Mississippi, Age 20 (Bravo)
Fri. May 31st, 1968
LeRoy Davis, E-3, Seagoville, Texas, Age 26 (Charlie)
Joseph Peter Misiaszek, E-3, Central Falls, Rhode Island, Age 20 (Charlie)
Joseph Smarsh, E-3, Orchard Lake, Michigan, Age 20 (Charlie)
4/9th Infantrymen, Alpha Company, Contributors:
David Young, 2nd Platoon, March 1968-69 (Wounded in Action several times)
David Amatore, 1st Platoon, April to May 1968 (Wounded In Action, 11-May-1968)
Jim Howarth, 1st Platoon, April to Nov 1968 (Transferred to the 25th Medical Battalion Psychological Team, in Nov 1968)
Willie Gin, 2nd Platoon, July 1967-68
4/9 Infantry Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Pages; Operational Report of the 25th Infantry Division for Period Ending 31-July-1968, RCS CSPOR-65 (R1); Tropic Lightning News; Operational Report of the 25th Inf. Div. Arty for Period Ending 31-July-1968, RCS CSPOR-65 (R1); Battle of FSB Pike VI and Battle of FSB Maury; Field Artillery Journal, May-June 1976, by MG David E. Ott, Command, USAFAS; Operational Report of the 11th Armored Cavalry for Period Ending 30-April-1968, RCS CSPOR-65 (R1); 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning” website; and shared letters, thanks to David Young, Ame Dittman (niece of Richard Craig Stevens, KIA 11/23/1968), Rita Adams (wife of a Manchu) and Sofia Marquez (daughter of Eduardo Marquez, Jr., Silver Star recipient, deceased 10/23/1995.)