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01Sep69-Reds Execute 4 Children
S&S Vietnam Bureau
LANDING ZONE ROSS, Vietnam - Seven Vietnamese civilians, four of them children, were apparently executed in mountains near here by North vietnamese soldiers who have been fighting for two weeks against U.S. Forces in this area, according to U.S. Marines.
The atrocity took place near the site where the Marines captured a .51 caliber anti-aircraft weapon. The area is a series of hills separating the Hiep Duc Valley from the Que Son Valley.
Col. Gildo S. Codispoti, commander of the 1st Marine Div.'s 7th Regt., said that his 3rd Bn.'s K Co. found the seven bodies Thursday lined up in a courtyard. The bodies were "riddled with bullets, each with at least one bullet in the head.
"They were definitely executed," said Codispoti. "One of them was a baby in its mother's arms. I mean that literally. The found the dead baby in the mother's arms."
The Marines report that the three other children were approximately seven to twelve years old. The other two dead were men, one of the elderly.
01Sep69-Marines Race to Spring Trap
On Fleeing N. Viet Regiment
By SPEC 4 BOB HODIERNE
S&S Staff Correspondent
HIEP DUC VALLEY, Vietnam - U.S. Marines were attempting to trap the remnants of a fleeing North Vietnamese regiment near here Friday as fighting slowed down after two weeks of heavy contact.
Marine officers now believe that what is left of the 1st Viet Cong. Regt., a unit almost exclusively made up of North Vietnamese and a part of the NVA 2nd Div., is attempting to flee northwest from a mass of hills that separates Hiep Duc Valley on the south from Que Son Valley on the north.
The base of this rugged finger of land, 30 miles south of Da Nang, was the scene of fierce fighting in the previous seven days between the 7th Marine Regt. and the NVA. Enemy prisoners said that within the hills lie an NVA R & R center and a 200-bed hospital.
In a massive airlift Friday morning, a battalion from the 51st ARVN Regt. and a battalion of U.S. Marines were placed in blocking positions north and west of the mountain hideaway. Other Marines, as well as elements of the Americal Div., were placed to the south. Marines hope their speedy maneuver will enable them to trap the escaping communists.
Along with the approximately 3,000 men who are blocking the escape routes from the mountains, the U.S. Army and Marines have six fire support bases capable of putting artillery fire into the area.
01Sep69-'A' Co. GIs Say None of Them Wanted to Go Into Combat
By HUGH VAN ES
SONG CHANG VALLEY, Vietnam (AP) - A group of GIs from A Company said Friday that the whole company was together when it refused an order to go into combat last Sunday.
Newsmen flew to the company operating in the Song Chang Valley this afternoon to get the men's reaction to their former company commander's statement that the refusal was by only five men and that most of the company was prepared to move.
As newsmen questioned the company, none of the soldiers contradicted the view that the entire company shared in the decision.
"It's probably right that there were five who said they wouldn't go," declared Pfc. Fred Sanders of Aiken, S.C., a medic present with the company last Sunday.
"But when they stood up and said they wouldn't go either. I reckon it was moral support because nobody . . . we didn't want to go."
The former company commander, Lt. Eugene Shurtz Jr., 26, of Davenport, Iowa, who was relieved of command Monday, told newsmen earlier today that "there were five men who desired to see the inspector general rather than move with the company at that particular time. The remainder of the company was ready to go."
Pfc. Carl Morton of Elmsford, N.Y., told newsmen in the field: "The whole company definitely was behind the refusals. None of us thought we would withstand being pinned down another day or spend another night out there.
"So we decided somebody had to the I.G. (inspector general). Everybody couldn't. So those five men volunteered and everybody agreed that they would represent the entire company, to try to get someone out there, that could do something about what was going on."
Sanders and other men in A Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, agreed that Shurtz, in command for three weeks, was "a good officer."
Asked why the company refused to move when ordered, Sanders replied: "Everybody was afraid we'd get somebody more killed and wounded. I felt we should wait for more support. We didn't know what they (the enemy) had out there. When we tried the first time we couldn't see anything. They were just shooting at us, firing in on us."
Sanders said the company had repeatedly attacked the enemy troops dug in bunkers, and had taken casualties, and that on the day of the revolt the men believed there was another bunker complex ahead of them.
"We thought we'd be making the same mistake twice," Sanders said. "I think that's what it was, making the same mistake twice. Everyone was scared. It was not a matter of discipline.
We'd been fighting pretty hard and we were afraid we might be doing the same thing again."
In the interview earlier, Shurtz was asked if the company's refusal to move out was a failure of his leadership. Shurtz replied: "No, I think it just stemmed from fear."
Pfc. Morton agreed with this assessment.
"Fear? Yes," Morton declared. "We'd all been through it, quite a bit. It was a green company and most of us had not seen the hard core NVA (North Vietnamese troops) in any kind of numbers. Everyone knew we didn't have the numbers to stay out in the field much longer."
A Company was continuing to sweep the floor of the Song Chang Valley Friday, a task it has been engaged in since last Sunday. The large North Vietnamese force that engaged it last week appears to have moved about three miles away to the north and the northwest.
U.S Marines are now finding themselves involved in the tough fighting that wore down A Company's morale last week.
SAIGON (UPI)-The several thousand Allied troops trying to close a noose around 900 North Vietnamese soldiers in the Que Son Valley were unable to make a single contact with the enemy Sunday, U.S. military spokesmen said.
The Allies, including U.S. Marines and Army infantrymen along with South Vietnamese troops, did not draw even mortar or sniper fire in and around the 10-mile-long valley west of Tam Ky, the spokesmen said.
It was the first time in 14 days that the rugged, thickly-jungled valley had been quiet. More than 1,000 North Vietnamese and at least 80 Americans have died in the Que Son since fighting erupted Aug. 18.
About 900 Communists were believed still in the valley and some 3,000 Allied troops were positioned on its approaches in hopes of trapping them. U.S. commanders said the operation would continue at least through Monday.
To the north, Americal Div. soldiers aided by artillery strikes mowed down 30 Reds in light scattered actions..............
04Sep69-Stratoforts Drop Tons Of Bombs
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Air Force B52s unloaded tons of bombs on Communist targets throughout the Republic of Vietnam late Monday and early Tuesday.
The heaviest strikes were flown against Communist infiltration routes and troops concentrations near Rach Gia, 132 miles southwest of Saigon. The eight-engine jets raided the province five times.
Other Strategic Air Command bombers hit Red base camps, supply depots and bunkers in Binh Thuan, Long Khanh, Quang Tin, Binh Long and Phuoc Long provinces. The closest strike to Saigon was flown near Xuan Loc, 57 miles northeast of the capital.
Meanwhile, Air Force tactical fighter bombers flew 218 missions Monday, wiping out 297 bunkers, 167 fortifications and 11 sampans.
04Sep69- 42 Reds Wiped Out Near Cambodia
By PFC. STEPHEN WARSH
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - ...........................
Meanwhile, in the northern section of the Republic of Vietnam a North Vietnamese platoon opened fire on Americal Div. armored cavalrymen near Duc Pho Monday. The Reds pulled out, leaving six dead behind, when the U.S. troops called in artillery fire. U.S. losses were one killed and one wounded.
Marines of the 7th Regt. killed five Communists and detained nine suspects 25 miles south of Da Nang.
Marine losses for the three clashes were three wounded.
04Sep69-Buried Wounded Comrades Alive, Says Ex-VC
SAIGON (UPI) - A Viet Cong defector has described how he and several others in his unit were ordered to bury four of their wounded comrades alive.
Allied sources Tuesday said Nguyen Van Phe, an ex-Viet Cong deputy company commander, reported the burial took place March 23, 1968, near Ban Me Thuot in the central highlands.
The 27-year-old former Viet Cong officer told officials a number of men in his unit had been killed and 19 of them wounded in skirmishes with South Vietnamese government forces.
As Phe's unit started to pull back after the fighting, he and three other trusted Communist Party members were summoned by the company commander, Phe said.
He said the company commander told them they did not have the manpower to transport all 19 of the wounded. An ambush was feared along the way and some of the troops would have to keep their hands free.
According to Phe, the commander said the Viet Cong military commander for Darlac Province had ordered that four of the wounded be left behind and buried alive to cover an trace that the unit had suffered any casualties.
The province military commander's thinking, apparently, was that if any of the wounded were left behind and seen by the local people it would have a disastrous effect on the image of invincibility the Viet Cong were trying to maintain in the area.
When the rest of the unit moved out, Phe and the three other party members stayed behind.
"We placed the wounded in sitting positions in combat trenches and began shoveling," Phe said. "Though wounded, they were still alive.
"I will never forget the eyes of one as he stared up at me with every shovelful of dirt. I kept thinking: "here were brave men I fought together with, and now I am ordered to bury them alive."
Phe said he nevertheless went ahead with the gruesome task because "I was told it was in the interest of the party and must be done."
When it was over, Phe said he and others caught up with the rest of the unit.
The ex-Viet Cong officer said the incident was one among several which led him to defect.
Another incident which he said he greatly resented was when he was severely criticized for failing to commit his men to an attack under unfavorable conditions that would have cost them many casualties.
Phe said he joined the Viet Cong at the age of 18 in his native province of Phu Yen and later became a member of the Communist party. After nine years with the Viet Cong, he defected to the Allied side last late may.
05Sep69-ARVNs Capture 109
Marine Artillery Wipes Out 30 Reds
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - U.S. Marine artillery killed at least 30 Communist troops 20 miles southwest of Da Nang Tuesday evening, U.S. military officials said, after Leatherneck reconnaissance patrols had spotted three groups of armed Reds moving through the area.
The 1st Marine Div. troops first sighted 20 Reds wearing packs about 6:30 p.m., then minutes later spotted 15 black pajama-clad enemy nearby. Thirty minutes later, 75 Reds were spotted on a trail about half a mile from the original sighting.
About 105 miles down the coast from Da Nang., Americal Div. GIs backed by armored tracks and tanks killed 22 North Vietnamese troops in 3 1/2 hour of jungle fighting four miles south of Duc Pho. Four Americans were killed and six wounded.
05Sep69-645 Reds Die In Viet Sweep
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Vietnamese 2nd Inf. Div. troops have reported 645 Communist soldiers killed and 174 other Reds captured in a recent 12-day operation 75 miles southeast of Da Nang. Wednesday.
05Sep69-Gen. Pats Que Son Fighters
CHU LAI, Vietnam (UPI) - The commander of American infantrymen who fought the recent battle of Que Son Valley declared Wednesday, "These are the greatest soldiers the Army has ever had."
"I fought for three years in World War II and those were fine men, but these are better," said Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey, commander of the Army's Americal Div.
The division gained a measure of notoriety during the Que Son fighting when five men of an infantry company refused to advance against North Vietnamese troops after a week of bitter fighting late last month. The incident received worldwide publicity.
Ramsey, 51, defended the typical ground trooper.
"You tell him something and he may not want to go - hell, I don't want to go into battle myself-but by God he'll go and he'll do the finest job in the world.
"There's nothing you can say that's good enough for these men. They showed tremendous courage going into battle and tremendous pride coming out of it."
Ramsey, who was wounded three times during World War II, has responsibility for a 22,000-man division, largest in the Army.
The Que Son fighting west of Tam Ky, 340 miles north-north-east of Saigon, cost Americal and U.S. Marine units at least 80 dead and several hundred wounded. The North Vietnamese lost an estimated 1,000 men.
06Sep69-Photo Caption 'OK, You Tell the CO'
(USA Photos by Spec. 4 Michael Sullivan)
Two GIs of the Americal Div's 1st Sq., 1st Cav. sit and ponder the plight of their tank after it bogged down in a rice paddy northwest of Tam Ky. But shortly, aided by another tank and a chain, the metal monster was out of the muddy hole and back into action. (Two photos)
06Sep69-Captured Documents - The Paperwork War
"It seems that Hanoi has turned over the responsibility of manufacturing and distributing captured to the 101st Captured Enemy Document Brigade. The headquarters of the 101st CED Brigade is located five stories underground somewhere near the Chinese border. There . . . the Soviet-built mimeograph machine turns out an average of 10,000 enemy documents a day . . " - Humorist Art Buschwald
By ROBERT G. KAISER
The Washington Post
SAIGON - Captured enemy documents - the very phrase evokes arguments and opinions. expert judgments and memories of official optimism in Vietnam. Documents are more than fodder for Buchwald (and Alsop) newspaper columns: They are a crucial ingredient of the war, a novelty that has become a necessity.
Processing documents - hundreds of thousands every month - has become an industry here. More than 300 people, most of them Vietnamese civilians, work at the joint U.S-South Vietnamese "Captured Document Exploitation Center," a small factory on a military base near Tan Son Nhut Airport in Saigon.
They work around the clock, seven days a week evaluating, summarizing, translating, printing and distributing captured documents.
Qualifications for the title "captured document" are easily met. Any piece of paper with writing on it found on a live or dead enemy soldier or in an enemy camp or bunker makes the grade - be it a love letter or a secret battle plan. About .10 per cent of the material captured is said to have intelligence value.
But a document's value depends entirely on the skill with which it is weighed and evaluated.
Before the devastating Tet attacks of January, 1968, documents were captured with information about what was going to happen, but they were ignored or treated lightly. The entire Communist program for Binh Dinh Province was captured in advance for example.
According to one of the officials who was reading this material at the time, the U.S. intelligence community simply could not accept the possibility that the enemy would try something as dramatic and unprecedented as the Tet attacks. (The warnings gleaned from intelligence were half-believed: extra guards were on duty at the U.S. Embassy until 1:30 a.m. the night the attacks began. Viet Cong troops attacked the Embassy shortly after 3:00 a.m.)
Even when the students of captured documents are prepared to believe what they read, they have to decide what is believable." "You can find what you want to find in the documents," one analyst said recently."
"In the best Communist tradition, "he added, "they often list the other side's strong points and weak points - you can take your pick. So you have to decide what or who a particular document is aimed at, and that isn't easy."
A typical problem is how to evaluate documents taken from low ranking enemy soldiers or political workers. "They often try to stoke up their lower-level forces with talk of a new offensive or new attacks." another U.S. official notes. Such "stoking up" gets recorded in the buck private's notebook, which may soon become a captured document.
At their best - and in the hands of the best analysts - captured documents provide invaluable information. Douglas Pike wrote his definitive work on the organization of the Viet Cong largely from captured documents. Films captured by allied forces have shown which North Vietnamese generals have been operating in the South. Thousands of enemy agents and undercover operators have been captured or eliminated as a result of information found in captured documents.
Units in the field have often been able to take decisive, short-run military advantage of documents captured in battle that reveal specific enemy plans. But such immediate use of captured documents depends on very speedy translation and a lot of luck.
Finding the good information in the documents requires digging through mountains of bad. The average daily output of the exploitation center is 300 pages of translated documents. Officials on the center's mailing list may find six inches of new material on their desks in a single day.
The analysts who take documents seriously say they can only be used with other intelligence - agents' reports, prisoner interrogations, ralliers' revelations, etc. "Documents are usually only useful when you check them out with live, walking, talking sources," contends one analyst. His view is not universally shared.
Is Buchwald right - does the enemy forge documents and plant them with U.S. and South Vietnamese authorities? Absolutely not, according to Lt. Col. Thomas H. Lynch, U.S. director of the exploitation center. But civilian analysts suspect that a clever forgery may slip by occasionally, though not often. It is undeniable that many predictions based on "the documents" have proven dramatically wrong, but these aberrations are due to more than forgeries.
The Communists apparently are embarrassed that so much of their material is captured. Enemy commanders are often warned to take good care of their documents - according to captured documents. One recently captured prisoner, said that he had been ordered not to take any notes at one of the last Viet Cong meetings he attended, contrary to normally procedure. In general, the enemy cooperates by committing a great deal of information to paper.
08Sep69-Sgt. Major's DSM Revoked
Senators Widen GI Club Probe (Note- I recall that this somehow involved the
Americal Division at some time in the
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate subcommittee investigating operations of servicemen's clubs at military bases plans to question Carl C. Turner, who resigned last week as chief of U.S. marshals, and Sgt. Maj. William O. Wooldridge, sources reported Saturday.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, said a Distinguished Service Medal awarded Wooldridge for his service as the first sergeant major of the Army has been revoked because information became available that he "did not merit the award."
Turner, 56, resigned the marshal's post after holding it for only five months. It was learned that the resignation came after the Justice Department had checked with the Pentagon his performance as Army provost marshal general from 1964 to 1968.
During that period, official sources said, the Army's investigation of alleged irregularities in the operation of noncommissioned officers' clubs was conducted on a stop-and-go basis.
These club operations now are under scrutiny by the Pentagon and the Senate permanent investigations committee headed by Sen. John L. McClellan, D-Ark.
Clark Mollenhoff, former "Washington correspondent who is now deputy counsel to President Nixon, confirmed he has taken a role in the case as part of his job protecting the administration from potential scandals.
He said he helped the various agencies involved get the information about what the other departments were doing and added "The government departments, when apprised of the facts have taken the proper action."
The investigation, which has been carried on for several months by Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff, D-Conn., is expected to culminate in public hearings later this month.
Donald F. O'Donnell, chief counsel of the subcommittee, replied "probably so" when asked if Wooldridge would be called as a witness.
Asked how he might be involved in the case, O'Donnell said "This I can't tell you."
The Pentagon became involved in the inquiry when Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird on Aug. 12 issued a statement saying he was deeply concerned about "alleged irregularities in the operation of officer and noncommissioned officer clubs:"
H directed the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy to submit reports by Sept. 19.
There is no accusation that either Turner or Wooldridge was personally involved in irregularities. Presumably the subcommittee wants to determine whether they have pertinent information gathered in the course of their duties.
Neither man was available for comment. Wooldridge, 46, was reported en route from Vietnam to a new assignment at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
As the highest-ranking enlisted man in the service, Wooldridge was adviser to the Army chief of staff, Gen. Harold K. Johnson on the enlisted man's point of view.
12Sep69-Photo Caption - Instant R and R
A weary trooper from the Americal Div. rests his head on his arms as his unit takes a break during a sweep by armored personnel carriers about 40 miles south of Dan Nang. (UPI Radiophoto)
13Sep69- Photo Caption - Vietnamese Rangers question Viet Cong suspects captured in the Vu Gia valley south of Da Nang. Two U.S. B52 strikes hit the area Thursday after the cease-fire (AP Radiophoto)
One Hour After Cease-Fire
Allies Kill 80 in Renewed Fighting
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - Allied forces killed 80 Communist soldiers early Thursday in enemy assaults on a Vietnamese military training center in the Mekong Delta and a U.S. base in the Hiep Duc Valley south of Da Nang, military officials said. Both attacks were launched an hour after the three-day enemy cease-fire in honor of Ho Chi Minh ended at 1 a.m. Four Americans died in the fighting.
In Hiep Duc Valley-the scene of two weeks of fierce fighting last month-Communist troops attacked an Americal Div. landing zone 33 miles south of Da Nang, but were driven off by 196th Brigade GIs. The infantry men were backed in the 3 1/2 hour battle by a mass of air power - including helicopter gunships, jet bombers and an Air Force AC119 gunship.
The enemy left behind 31 dead and 18 weapons. U.S. losses were four killed and 12 wounded.
Wednesday, Communist gunners shot down a U.S. UH1 Huey helicopter 240 miles northeast of Saigon. Two men aboard were killed and three were wounded. .............
14Sep69- Viet 'Smoker'-Reds Invited
U.S. ARMY HELICOPTER RINGS A LANDING ZONE WITH SMOKE JUST BEFORE AN ASSAULT DROP OF U.S. TROOPS NEAR CHU LAI, VIETNAM RECENTLY IN PURSUIT OF A RED FORCE (U.S. Army Photo Via UPI) (This sight of this photo raised the hair on the back of my neck. Usually the smoker was only brought in if the assault was done in an area with a clear field of fire for the enemy gunners. Ouch!)
15Sep69-1st Amphibious Assault
ROK Marines Storm VC Island Stronghold
By SGT. SONG JUNG II.
BARRIER ISLAND, Vietnam - The first amphibious landing in the 20-year history of the Korean Marines met heavy resistance Friday after the Marines stormed the beaches of Barrier Island 34 miles south of Da Nang.
Spokesmen reported 42 Viet Cong had been killed during the first phase of the operation as heavy fighting raged across the northern part of the island.
Initial reports said Korean casualties had so far remained light. One Marine was killed and six wounded.
The amphibious operation dubbed Defiant Stand, began with one battalion of Leathernecks from the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade wading ashore while another Marine battalion air-assaulted onto the opposite side of the island.
The Leathernecks also collected 25 weapons and 127 suspected Communists Friday. The operation was continuing as the Marines tightened their cordon toward the center of the island.
Barrier Island 70 square miles of wedge-shaped land, has long been a VC sanctuary. The Viet Cong were reportedly threatening Da Nang and Hoi An with rockets and mortars.
Several U.S. Navy assault ships and helicopters from a helo landing ship took part in the operation.
The Koreans took only 10 days to plan and refine the operations while working with U.S. Marine and Navy officials.
Twelve tracked landing vehicles (LVTS) brought ashore the first wave of troops. They were followed by numerous mechanized landing craft carrying flame and gun tanks and more troops.
15Sep69-Gen. Quit? 'Pure Bunk'
WASHINGTON (UPI) - Gen Creighton W. Abrams, U.S. military commander in Vietnam, Friday squashed rumors of his pending resignation with two words--"pure bunk."
Stories had circulated recently that Abrams was dissatisfied with the administration's handling of the war and was threatening to step down from his post.
Daniel Z. Henkin, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs said Friday "there is no substance whatsoever to these rumors."
15Sep69-Red Kidnap Raid Backfires, Viets Catch Up, Kill 51
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - Vietnamese Regional Force troops killed at least 51 Communists Saturday after chasing down a Red force that had raided a hamlet 65 miles southeast of Da Nang before dawn and kidnapped 13 children, Vietnamese military spokesmen said.
Officials said eight of the children had returned to the hamlet just north of Binh Son by afternoon. Government casualties were light in the battle, which occurred eight miles southwest of Binh Son.
Farther inland in Quang Ngai Province, a second Communist raid hit a military outpost and nearby refugee camp. Fifteen enemy were killed in the pre-dawn attack on the hilltop outpost. Vietnamese losses were light. But officials said eight civilians were killed as the enemy destroyed 80 per cent of the refugee camp at the base of the knoll.
Ten miles south of Da Nang, 22 rounds of 82mm mortar fire hit Dien Ban district capital and a nearby refugee camp an hour after midnight, touching off a fire that destroyed 70 civilian houses. Eighteen civilians were injured.
ARVN spokesmen also said Hiep Duc, 32 miles south of Da Nang was shelled overnight after ARVN 2nd Div. soldiers killed 13 Reds in sporadic fighting in the town's outskirts Friday afternoon. The Vietnamese who also captured a pair of enemy soldiers, suffered light losses.
16Sep69-Enemy Toll Heavy After Hamlet Attacks
By SPEC. BOB HODIERNE
SAIGON U.S. and Vietnamese troops killed 116 North Vietnamese Saturday after the Communists had taken a heavy toll in civilian lives and homes during attacks on a refugee camp and a group of hamlets 65 miles southeast of Da Nang, the U.S. military command reported Sunday.
Two Communist companies began the attacks by storming a Marine Combined Action Platoon night camp and a Vietnamese regional forces outpost near An Hoa at 4 a.m.
The besieged allied posts called in Marine jets and Air Force Spooky gunships, spokesmen reported while Americal Div. troops and 2nd Div. Vietnamese soldiers were sent up an reinforced the defenders sometime later.
The Reds reportedly breached the wire of the night position but were repulsed in what was called "heavy" fighting.
While the attack against the allied units was underway, more Communists, estimated by the Vietnamese government to be the balance of a larger-than-battalion-sized force, attacked a refugee camp at the foot of the outpost. The Communists also overran several nearby hamlets.
The Reds burned 260 homes in the refugee camp and Vietnamese spokesmen reported that eight civilians had been killed. It was not certain if the civilians were popular force troops or not .
Fighting continued until about 3 p.m. when the Communists finally withdrew to the west - the same direction from which they had attacked.
U.S. casualties in the fight were listed as two killed and three wounded, all from the Combined Action platoon, which normally consists of 12 Marines, a Navy medic and about 30 Vietnamese militiamen.
16Sep69- ROK Forces Kill 21 VC
SAIGON (S&S) - Leathernecks of the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade killed 21 Viet Cong and captured 10 weapons Saturday during the second day of their amphibious assault on Barrier Island, Korean military spokesmen reported.
Six Marines were wounded but no deaths were reported, as ROK forces continued to close the circle of troops moving inland toward the center of the island.
The operation, called Seung Yong 15-1 (defiant stand), was launched Friday when ROK marines, supported by U.S. Marines and Navy gun fire, hit the beaches of the 70-square-mile island 21 miles south of Da Nang.
16Sep69-2 Hueys and C46 Down
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Ten Americans were wounded Saturday when Communist ground gunners shot down two U.S. Army helicopters, and 25 Korean soldiers were slightly injured when their cargo plane made an emergency landing near Tan Son Nhut AB.
Seven of the U.S. troops were wounded after a UH1 Huey chopper was shot down 65 miles northwest of Saigon in Tay Ninh Province. The other three were hurt when a second Huey crashed in Quang Ngai Province 65 miles southeast of Da Nang.
According to ROK spokesmen, the 25 Koreans injured included Col. Lee Jin Keun, chief of troop information and education at ROK headquarters in Saigon.
16Sep69-Photo Caption - U.S. Marines move cautiously up a rocky knoll in the Hiep Duc region south of Da Nang where they are rooting out elements of two North Vietnamese regiments. Army infantry and Vietnamese militia cleared Hiep Duc village of NVA regulars Sunday after three days of house-to-house fighting in which at least 35 Reds, two refugee and six government troops were killed (AP).
Allies Slay 35, Clear Hiep Duc
SAIGON (UPI) - U.S. Army infantrymen and government militiamen Sunday drove North Vietnamese regulars out of the Hiep Duc refugee village in the Que Son Valley 350 miles northeast of Saigon after a three-day fight which killed at least 35 of the NVA, UPI correspondent David Lamb reported.
Two civilians were killed and 22 wounded in fighting which at times raged house-to-house in the village, Lamb said. At least six government troops were killed and 23 wounded in the action, spokesmen said.
Hiep Duc houses about 4,000 refugees and is considered a "model" village in the allied resettlement program. It was overrun by the North Vietnamese and recaptured by U.S. and government troops a year ago.
Last month, more than 1,100 North Vietnamese and at least 80 American Marines and Army infantrymen were killed in bitter fighting which swept across the Que Son valley, 16 to 23 miles west of coastal Tam Ky.
Communists prisoners said the commander and executive officer of the North Vietnam's 1st Regt. of the 2nd Div. were relieved in the past few days because of their failure to liberate Hiep Duc in August.
17Sep69- First Time in the War
NVA Unit Operating in Delta
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON- A regular North Vietnamese Army unit is operating in the Mekong Delta for the first time in the war, the U.S. command said Monday......
To the north, Americal Div soldiers and armored tracks 30 miles south of Da Nang were hit with enemy rocket grenades and automatic weapons fire early Sunday. The 196th Brigade troops drove off the Reds, but 14 Americans were injured in the pre-dawn raid.
About 70 miles down the coast from Da Nang, a Sunday morning shelling and ground attack on Phu My outpost caused heavy casualties to the platoon of Vietnamese provincial force troops manning the camp. ARVN officials said a sketchy report of the attack had given the extent of government losses and enemy casualties were unknown.
17Sep69-Photo Caption - A U.S. soldier fans a wounded friend with a piece of cardboard during fighting about 30 miles southwest of Da Nang where allied forces continue to clash with North Vietnamese troops. Fourteen GIs were wounded in a pre-dawn raid in the area Sunday. (AP)
18Sep69-Gunships Drive Foe Into Trap
Photo Caption - APC Makes it Simple as ABC
Like a ship cresting a wave, an armored personnel carrier from the Americal Div. goes over a rice dike near Duc Pho, about 40 miles south of Da Nang. A cavalry unit from the division was sweeping the area in search of Communist guerrillas.
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - .............
Closer to Da Nang, Communists fired seven mortar barrages at Americal Div. soldiers of the 196th Brigade and three others at 1st Div. Marines of the 7th Regt. within 35 miles south of the city Monday and early Tuesday. Casualties were light with no fatalities.
Americal Div. troops got help from artillery and helicopter fire to kill 17 Reds in Que Son Valley action.
A Monday morning firefight between the 7th Regt. Marines and a group of 20 Reds 28 miles south of the city left at least 15 enemy dead. Two of the Leathernecks were injured............
18Sep69-'Dragons' Slay 35 More Reds
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON-Leathernecks of the 2nd Korean Blue Dragon Marine Brigade killed 35 more Communist soldiers in scattered firefights Monday, the fourth day after their amphibious landing on the beaches of Barrier Island about 18 miles south of Da Nang.
ROK military spokesmen also reported capturing 19 individual weapons in the actions.
According to the ROK spokesmen, the marines occupied the northern tip of the island. But details were not available on the size of the occupied area nor about ROK casualties on Monday. The ROKs have killed 166 Reds in the operation so far.
18Sep69-NVA Burn 170 Houses, Kill 24 in Village Assault.
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Communists continued their program of terror in Vietnam's I Corps Monday as they attacked and burned a fourth village in less than a week, according to the Vietnamese government.
In the latest incident, an estimated 200 North Vietnamese struck at Mai Linh Village, 85 miles south-southeast of Da Nang, killing 21 civilians, three People's Self-Defense Force soldiers and wounding six other civilians, according to the Saigon government. The Communists reportedly burned 170 houses in the village of 288 people. Enemy casualties were unknown.
Three refugee camps have been attacked in the past week. Late last week Hiep Duc village 30 miles south of Da Nang was the scene of a three-day fight that included reports of street fighting.
The Hiep Duc area was the scene of very heavy fighting last month and was once-considered a model pacification village.
Sunday, 65 miles south of Da Nang. Communists raided a Vietnamese outpost and attacked another refugee settlement. The NVA lost 116 killed in that fighting after they had burned 260 houses and killed eight civilians.
Saturday Viet Cong burned 45 homes in a refugee camp in Quang Nam Province wounding 12 civilians. Vietnamese National Police have reported an increase in terrorist activity in that province, citing seven incidents over the weekend.
18Sep69- Eyes and Ears for LRP
Viet Rangers Show 'Em How
By SPEC. 4 TONY SINDELL
LZ BRONCO, Vietnam (Special) - A new type of long range reconnaissance patrol (LRP) has taken to the field around the Americal Div's. 11th Brigade headquarters to integrate Vietnamese soldiers into the LRP mission here.
Eating, living and fighting together, the men of G Co., 7th Inf. (Rangers), and Vietnamese Rangers from the 2nd ARVN Div. so far have proven that the concept can work and work well.
According to 1st Lt. Harrison Jack of Woodland, Calif., "The ARVN Rangers have provided a sharpness to our patrols in the field that they didn't have before. They usually walk point and provide rear security on our missions because they have a real knack for spotting enemy activity or movement. Most of them can tell you the difference between an enemy soldier and a civilian just by listening to them walking through the jungle.
A the ARVN Rangers, all combat veterans, have received training which parallels that of their American comrades. Following service in the field with a regular line unit, they attended the Vietnamese Recondo School, Ranger and Air borne schools, and the special Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Recondo School
Developing mutual confidence is one of our goals, "1st Lt. Jack noted, "and I think we have made significant progress in the short time the ARVN Rangers have been here. The language barrier is a problem, but you don't need words to express the confidence as my men show to these Rangers in the field."
In spite of the language difficulty, the American-Vietnamese teams function smoothly with a set of hand signals.
19Sep69-Artillery, Gunships Maul Reds Trapped by Allies
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
SAIGON - ...........
Meanwhile fighting continued south of Da Nang Tuesday. Twenty-six miles southeast of the city, 16th Combat Aviation Bn. ([sic] this should be the 16th Combat Aviation Group that was made up of the 14th Avn. Bn. and the 123rd Avn Bn.) helicopter door gunners, working with the Americal Div., caught about 20 Viet Cong in a rice paddy and killed at least 12 with help from fighter-bombers.
Americal Div. troops of the 196th Brigade met Reds once in a morning engagement and again in the evening 32 miles south of Da Nang, but enemy losses were not known in either fight. One American was killed and 15 were injured. Nearby, GIs suffered light casualties in a brief evening mortar attack.
Farther north ...............
21Sep59-Photo Caption - Korean Marines storm ashore on Barrier Island 25 miles south of Da Nang to begin an Allied operation against the Red stronghold. Communists Wednesday wounded three civilians and a Vietnamese guard in an attack there on a refugee center where some 1,500 persons have been gathered for screening as the Allies tighten their cordon of the island. (S&S Photo by Sgt. Song Jung II)
21Sep69-GIs Chase Reds From Bunker Complex
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - Communist troops shelled a U.S. Army outpost in the Que Son Valley three times Thursday and later tried to overrun a nearby Marine camp, American military spokesmen reported, while in the central highlands U.S. helicopter and artillery fire killed at least 20 Reds in an attack on a heavily fortified North Vietnamese field complex.
Just north of the Que Son Valley below Da Nang, the Communists drove a 1st Div. Marine ambush patrol back to its fire support base with a volley of 50 rocket-grenades, then attacked the camp itself. The patrol took no casualties, but two Leathernecks were killed and 11 wounded during the Friday morning assault, which was backed by about 40 rounds of mortar and recoilless rifle fire.
The Reds were driven off, but enemy losses were unknown.
The Americal Div.'s Landing Zone Siberia, two miles farther south was hit with quick barrages of 82mm mortar fire three times Thursday. The camp took six similar shellings the previous day. Only one of the attacks - all of less than five rounds - caused casualties, which military officials said were light with no
U.S. 198th Brigade soldiers Thursday found eight 122mm rocket launchers with tripods and aiming sights stored in bunkers hidden in huts about 30 miles inland from Chu Lai. Military spokesmen said it was the largest number of the enemy weapons ever found in one place. The launchers weigh 121 pounds each with the tripod, are five inches in diameter and eight feet long.
21Sep69-Hiep Duc: A Bloody Test of Wills in Vietnam
HIEP DUC, Vietnam (UPI) -
Hiep Duc village is one of those strange little nowhere places that suddenly finds itself in the limelight of the war.
The village doesn't even rate a dot on most maps. It has dirt streets, houses with tin roofs and about 4,000 inhabitants. But Hiep Duc, important mostly as a symbol, has become one of the year's bloodiest battlefields.
To the Allies, who have promised to protect it, Hiep Duc is a test of the seriousness on their intent. To the North Vietnamese who have promised to destroy it, Hiep Duc is a measure of their ability to discredit the critical pacification program.
The five clustered hamlets composing Hiep Duc rest amid the fertile fields of corn, pineapple and rice in Que Son Valley, one ridegline and 14 miles west of the South China Sea. The valley is 350 miles northeast of Saigon.
Last year the government moved to increase its control over the rural countryside. Hiep Duc was a likely target. It had been overrun by the North Vietnamese in 1965 and recaptured by the Allies last September. The region appeared to be secured again.
By March the refugees had completed their trek along dusty Route 534 leading from the coast to the valley. They had rebuilt their plywood and tin houses and had established security wia territorial militia unit.
Life was peaceful for only about three months. The 2nd North Vietnamese Div. swarmed back into the Que Son Valley in the early weeks of summer. Its members broadcast nighttime messages to the villagers that they would destroy the village soon and "liberate" the people.
In response, two battalions from the 101st Airborne Div. were flown to the valley to help out the Americal Div. Later the U.S. Marines and the South Vietnamese infantry came.
Throughout August and into September, battalions battled across the sweltering 10-mile-long valley floor. The region bristled with antiaircraft fire.
The surrounding mountains shook with artillery explosions and air-dropped bombs. And when the fighting subsided more than 80 Americans and 1,000 Communists were dead.
In the predawn hours of Sept. 11, about 100 North Vietnamese troops slipped into the northwestern section of Hiep Duc. But the war-weary refugees summoned their militia, and the Communists were driven out in a three-day fight that cost them at least 35 dead.
"It's really too early to assess the effect of this fight," said Col. Cecil Henry, 30, Rome, Georgia, whose battalion provides security for Hiep Duc. "But once we really get it over with, it should have an important psychological impact on the civilians here."
Scattered fighting continues around Hiep Duc. There are no indications either the Allies or the Communists are prepared to abandon their scenarios.
24Sep69-Photo Caption - Americal Div. troops scramble from their helicopters as a smoke screen hides them from a treeline south of Chu Lai. A North Vietnamese attack on an American night camp in the same area Sunday night killed 11 GIs and wounded 10. (USA Photo by Spec. 4 Lou Pearson)
24Sep69- Terror Raids Kill 19 In Refugee Camps
By SPEC. 4 ED CARROLL
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - Viet Cong terrorists killed 19 persons Saturday in three attacks on refugee camps in the Binh Son District of Quang Ngai Province, about 75 miles south of Da Nang, a government spokesman announced Monday.
Eight members of the family of a national police man assigned to the Binh Son district were killed by the VC during a pre-dawn raid on the Tu Van refugee camp. The Communists also destroyed the officer's home and killed a member of the People's Self Defense Force.
In another area of the camp a 14-man VC demolitions team killed nine refugees, wounded two and leveled 25 homes with satchel charges.
In the Chou O refugee camp in the same area, on militia man was killed and five civilians were wounded by the Communists.
24Sep69-11 GIs Killed As Reds Attack Night Position
By SPEC. 5 ERIC JOHNS
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - North Vietnamese troops killed 11 GIs Sunday night in a two-hour attack on an American camp in the mountains along Vietnam's central coast and early Monday shot down three U.S. helicopters as a new battle flared in the Que Son valley, military spokesmen reported.
Spokesmen said the attack on "hasty night positions in a jungle ridgeline" some 90 miles southeast of Da Nang began at dusk with a barrage of about 45 mortar rounds and was finally broken after helicopter and Air Force AC119 gunships were called in.
Ten other Americal Div. soldiers were wounded in the fighting, but initial reports listed enemy losses as unknown.
On the southern edge of the Que Son valley, 34 miles south of Da Nang where bitter fighting last month cost the North Vietnamese over 1,000 dead, a new battle erupted when Americal Div. troops of the 196th Inf. Brigade air-assaulted into the area at mid-morning.
One GI was killed and nine wounded in the 3 1/2 hour clash and three enemy bodies were found in a first sweep of the battlefield after fighting eased off. Damage to the three downed copters and the fate of the crews were not known, spokesmen said.
Military spokesmen also announced Monday that enemy ground fire had shot down an Army OH6 light observation helicopter Friday 23 miles south of Da Nang, wounding three men.
????69-Recovery Center Puts Blue GIs in the Pink By SPEC. 5 JON STEINBERG
S&S Staff Correspondent CAM RANH BAY, Vietnam -
The 6th Convalescent Center here is the Army's only rehabilitative and medical treatment care facility.
Rather than lose a man by medevacing him to the states following an injury which requires about a 30-day recovery period, an injured soldier is sent to this 44th Medical Brigade Facility located here on the South China Sea.
"We provide full, in-depth rehabilitative care for casualties so they can return to the combat commands rather than be lost to the total military strength in Vietnam," said Col. James Shafer, center commander.
The patients sent here are ambulatory - that is, they're up and around - but they're obviously not ready for duty. Because of the medical care and physical therapy given patients at the center, they return to their units in top physical condition.
This way, Shafer explained, "a man won't be a danger or hindrance to either himself or his unit when he returns to the field."
"As soon as I left here after my first injury," said Pfc. Bill Albright A Co., 1st Bn., 4th Inf. Div., "I was sent right back to the field, humping the mountains. I felt petty good and being in the field didn't bother me at all physically."
There are usually 750 to 850 patients at the 1,300 bed center and it requires only eight doctors to care for these men - around one-third of all hospitalized patients in Vietnam.
"Without this center it would either cause an overload of patients at the field hospitals - where open bed space is required in a case of a mass casualty situation - or it would force those hospitals to unload the patients on off-shore facilities or medevac them to the states. Once a man's medevaced out of Vietnam he's lost to the field commands," Shafer said.
By freeing badly needed medical personnel from caring for patients whose conditions do not require a doctor's constant attention and by relieving the field hospitals of convalescent care for patients who really need physical conditioning programs, the center performs a vital backup function to the remaining 18 44th Medical Brigade hospitals in Vietnam.
Two physical reconditioning experts, Spec. 5 Darrell Elliot and Pfc. Bob Plotner, put those men who are physically able through a rugged daily activity routine.
"Rather than let patients be responsible for their physical development, we monitor their progress so they'll be able to return to their units with no physical limitations," Plotner said.
As part of the reconditioning program, 1st Lt. Gary Smith, reconditioning officer and a former college football defensive safety at the University of Montana, explained that a man progresses from light to heavy activity until he's prepared to return to normal duty.
From the "daily dozen" organized exercise and mile run to weight-lifting, sports, swimming and surfing, a man's physical development is monitored so he won't over-exert or reinjure himself.
Elliot and Plotner even organized and prepared patients for the Friday night fights, a weekly event at the center in which patients fight patients in the ring while being watched closely by doctors. About 1,000 people from all area units usually see the bouts.
"While many of us gripe about the physical training here," said Pfc. Larry Dever, B Co., 1st Bn., 4th Inf. Div., none of us has any doubts about returning to our units able to do whatever they throw at us.
Photo Caption - They gripe about it a bit, but exercise like this will assure the good condition of a trooper when he returns to the field (S&S).
(Note: I wondered what my Americal buddies did at Cam Ranh, they didn't seem excited about coming back. Right after Tet some patients scheduled to be sent back to the states were sent to Cam Ranh Bay. Because additional manpower was needed
it was more likely that a casualty would be retained in country.)
????69-Caps for Hoa Khanh Nurses - Just What 'Doctor' Ordered
DA NANG, Vietnam (Special)
-Getting a new hat has always been a memorable occasion for a woman and it is no exception in Vietnam.
Take for example the Vietnamese nurses at the Hoa Khanh Children's Hospital at Camp Jay K. Books here.
A package containing six new nurse's caps recently arrived at the hospital, a gift from Judy Hill, of Champaign, Ill., a member of the Illinois State Department of Mental Health.
Nguyen Thi Khang, head nurse at Hoa Khanh Children's Hospital and a refugee from Hanoi, explained that in Vietnam nurses normally don't have caps with their uniforms.
"We have to make our own if we want to wear them" she said.
Delivery of the six new caps, now worn proudly at the hospital, was made possible by Mrs. Hill's brother, Navy PO 2.C Charles C. Spear, of Canton, Mass., who works at the hospital on a volunteer basis.
"I wrote my sister on behalf of the nurses here," Spear explained. "They knew she too was a nurse and asked if it would be possible to obtain a few of the caps. They appreciate them very much and they look real good."
The children's hospital, supported by contributions from Marines of Force Logistic Command and civic and business groups and individuals in the United States, is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Southeast Asia.
And now, sporting new caps from the United States, its nurses are among the proudest in Southeast Asia.
Photo Caption - Nguyen Thi Khang, head nurse at the Hoa Khanh Children's Hospital, checks the fit of the cap on a fellow worker. (USMC).
(Note: Some units of the Americal may recall that they too donated funds to this hospital.)
28Sep69(Sun)-Error Brings Death to 14
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Fourteen Vietnamese civilians were killed near Hiep Duc village about 30 miles south of Da Nang Tuesday when Americal Div. helicopter crewmen fired machine guns and rockets into a group of suspected enemy soldiers, U.S. military spokesmen said. Seven other Vietnamese, including two local force soldiers were injured.
The helicopter gunships mistook the civilians, dressed in black and green clothing for Communist troops and opened fire.
A nearby U.S. MACV advisory team later reported the error. The dead included two women.
The mishap occurred in the area where Americal Div. troops and units of the 2nd North Vietnamese Div. have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks.
It was the second such incident in eight days. Seven civilians were mistakenly killed and 17 wounded by army gunships Sept. 16 near Bac Lieu city in the Ca Mau peninsula. The American crews were working with Vietnamese regional force soldiers in that mishap.