battalion spent the month of July on special duty at Camp Radcliff, the base
camp of the 1st Cavalry Division located at An Khe. Our primary
task at Camp Radcliff was providing base security and conducting combat
operations in the area surrounding An Khe. This special duty coincided with
a change of command of our Battalion Commander, with LTC John Stannard
replacing LTC Jack Dashiell.
We returned to Bong Son on 2 August and a few days later our battalion was placed under the operational control of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Our new mission was to deploy north to Quang Ngai Province, I Corps Tactical Zone, and conduct a reconnaissance in force in the Song Re Valley.
The Song Re Valley is
located 32 miles southwest of Quang Ngai City, and was known as a Viet Cong
stronghold. This operation was to be the first major reconnaissance in force
into this valley and recent reconnaissance aircraft had been subjected to
heavy antiaircraft fire. The reconnaissance in force operation commenced on
at 0737 hours, 9 August with the air assault of Bravo Company into LZ Lou.
The mission of Bravo was to secure LZ Lou for use as a forward base for our
battalion command post and firebase for C Battery, 2nd Battalion
(105), 19th Artillery. C Battery was operational on LZ Lou at
approximately 0900 hours and they provided preparatory fires in support of
the air assault of Alpha Company into LZ Pat at 0935 hours.
Alpha Company came under intense enemy fire from the moment they landed in what has been described as “in the middle of a hornet’s nest”, and this lasted for four hours. Enemy antiaircraft fire quickly destroyed two Huey helicopters and damaged five more. In addition to helicopter crew losses, Alpha Company had six men killed and twenty wounded. Enemy forces were subjected to a heavy pounding with a total of 42 tactical air sorties delivering a large number of bombs, napalm and aerial rockets. In addition, C Battery fired over 900 rounds of 105mm shells, and gun ships expended 576 aerial rockets. Two of our helicopters were shot down and the command and control helicopter with our Battalion Commander and Operations Officer, which was circling overhead to help coordinate artillery and air fire support, was hit by enemy fire and had to withdraw from the battle area. For a complete report on the LZ Pat operation, see the Alpha Company web page http://mysite.verizon.net/k8mia
The battalion conducted combat operations in the Song Re Valley until 18 August, and on this date we were air lifted to LZ MOBERLY, a Special Forces camp in the valley south of the combat area where we spent the night. The camp had a small airstrip and during the morning of 19 August, our battalion was air lifted by Caribou to LZ English.
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