Back to A Troop
Chapter 4: Unit Operations
During the first ten days of January 1968, Troop A worked in the area around Kontum. Troop D, while supporting Troop A, killed two NV soldiers in a fire fight on 4 January. The next day while sweeping a bunker complex Troop D engaged an estimated platoon size NVA unit, killing four. By the 7th of January A Troop's operation with D Troop had resulted in eight NVA killed and one POW.
Dak To was the area of operations for the next ten days. On 11 January, the scouts were reconnoitering the hills west pf Dak To. Receiving heavy automatic weapons fire, the LOH's returned fire, killing two NVA. One ship took nine hits and had to make an emergency landing at Dak To. Troop A's Aero Rifle Platoon, supported by one platoon from D Troop were inserted. Heavy contact with the enemy ensued. By the time the battle had ended, 15 NVA had lost their lives. On the 15th, A Troop's gun ships went to the rescue of an armor column that was being ambushed. Swooping down on the enemy, they broke up the ambush, killing 12 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later in the same area the scout ships located a reinforced North Vietnamese platoon hiding in a bunker complex. Suddenly the enemy opened up with heavy automatic weapons, wounding the pilot of one LOH. Air strikes and artillery were employed to silence the enemy guns. This action resulted in seven North Vietnamese killed in action and two recoilless rifles destroyed. The remainder of the month was spent around Pleiku. While performing a visual reconnaissance mission northwest of Pleiku on 20 January a team of scout ships saw six North Vietnamese soldiers taking evasive action. Taking the enemy under fire, the scouts confirmed four enemy KIA. Suddenly one of the LOH was shot down. The Aero Rifle Platoon was inserted to protect the crews. In the action that followed, the infantry killed five more North Vietnamese soldiers, and captured some medical supplies and one weapon.
On 22 January, the gun ships rolled in on five North Vietnamese soldiers in a bunker, killing three. While checking the area after the gun ships had finished, the scouts received intense automatic weapons fire. One LOH was destroyed killing one crew member and wounding two others. During this action the command and control ship received fire wounding the commanding Officer. The following two weeks were marked by finding evidence of enemy activity, but no contact was made. This was broken on 5 February 1968, when the scouts were flying over a bunker complex and spotted a Viet Cong hiding in a foxhole and killed him. Troop A's guns ships were called in to cover an extraction at Kontum. They received heavy automatic weapons fire, with one ship taking several hits. The next day the scouts observed two suspicious persona traveling on a trail. The individuals took evasive action and hid from the aircraft. The scouts fired into the area killing one
Viet Cong. After finishing its mission on the 15th of February, Troop A received word of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol which was in contact and had one POW. Troop A inserted its Aero Rifle Platoon to assist the LRRPS. After everything was under control, all elements were pulled out by the lift ships.
Operating southwest of Pleiku on 21 February, the scouts observed a network of caves with clothing lying outside. The Aero Rifle Platoon was inserted and made contact with an unknown size unit. Air strikes were called in and the enemy broke contact. The results of the action were two NVA killed, two small arms and twelve packs captured. The next day A Troop was inserted with B Troop and D Troop northwest of Pleiku. Sweeping the area, the grounds troops killed one NVA and captured twelve land mines, seventy-eight B-40 rocket rounds, forty-two 82mm mortar rounds, twenty-four 60mm mortar rounds, twelve claymore mines, seven 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, 3200 rounds of AK-47 ammo, seven boxes of hand grenades and one B-40 rocket launcher. While covering the ground troops, the scout ships spotted two NVA trying to escape and killed them. The next day Troop A inserted the Aero Rifle Platoon to check out a suspected enemy position. They soon made contact with an estimated NVA Battalion. D Troop was inserted to reinforce the rifle platoon. The ground unit remained in contact throughout the day. Six air strikes were employed against the enemy as well as A Troop’s gun ships expending their ordnance several times. At 1815 hours, other 4th Division units were inserted to further develop the situation; however up this time 23 NVA had been killed, 7 captured, 31 packs, two B-40 rocket launchers, ten 60mm mortar rounds, one thousand AK-47 rounds and several land mines has been captured. Troop A’s Rifle Platoon remained on the ground over night. While covering the ground troops the next day, the Scouts received heavy automatic weapons fire. One aircraft was forced down, crashing, burning and killing one crew member, wounding two others. Since A and D Troops were already on the ground, they started a sweep to the downed aircraft. B Troop’s Aero Rifle Platoon was inserted to reinforce A Troop. Enroute to the aircraft the ground element received heavy fire. Returning the fire, Troop A filled 4 NVA and destroyed one machine gun. Contact was soon broken and all elements were lifted out.
The next day, Troop A was checking out a report of two hundred NVA southwest of Kontum. The Scouts received small arms fire out of a bunker complex. Artillery was called in, however an assessment could not be made due to a change in mission. On 27 February 1968, Troop A was called on to support another unit in contact. The Scouts were firing into a suspected enemy location then they received small arms fire. The gun ships notice one Viet Cong taking evasive action in this area, and they rolled in and killed him. In a deserted village close to the contact area, the scouts killed one VC who was hiding; secondary explosions resulted when some of the deserted hootches were burned.