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Chapter 4: Unit Operations
Troop D was OPCON to A Troop on 4 March 1968, and was inserted into a Viet Cong village and rest area. The ground elements destroyed 20 hooches, 50 baskets of food, 40 chickens, 35 pigs, 50 pounds of corn, 30 pounds of cotton, and some miscellaneous cooking equipment. They also captured some small arms ammo and two POWs of which one was a First Lieutenant. The scout ships were sweeping around the village making sure no one would escape. They received heavy automatic weapons fire out of a tree line, two air strikes were called in, resulting in three VC killed. The next day while the Scouts were checking out a bunker complex, they spotted two NVA, took them under fire, and filled both of them.
Ban Me Thout was the area of operation on 7 March 1968. The Scouts were observing a small system of 20 bunkers, when they noticed some people in the bunkers. Artillery was called in and D Troop was inserted, resulting in 4 POW’s. After this action, the Scouts were enroute to refuel when they spotted approximately 10 NVA carrying stretchers along a trail. They took the NVA under fire killing one and wounding one. The next day A Troop was reconnoitering an area northwest of Kontum. The Scouts observed five to ten individuals taking evasive action and killed one of the NVA. A and B Troop inserted their Aero Rifle Platoon’s. They swept into a bunker complex and came in contact with an estimated company size enemy unit. The firing was so intense that the medevac ship could not land. With the support of the gun ships, the ground element advanced through the bunker complex killing fifteen of the enemy. Contact was broken by the enemy and the infantrymen were extracted. On 9 March the Scout and gun teams went back into the same area. While following a fresh trail, the Scouts received automatic weapons fire and one LOH was shot down. The Aero Rifle Platoon was inserted to secure the downed aircraft and the injured crew. All elements were pulled out without further contact.
The next significant contact with the enemy was made on 15 March, north of Pleiku. D Troop was engaged with an estimated company size unit. Contact was broken late in the day and a sweep was conducted the next day. This revealed 3 NVA killed, 2 AK-47 rifles, 400 rounds of Ak-47 ammunition, one case 30 caliber ammunition, 5 B-40 rockets, several documents, and one to of rice were captured. Troop A worked southwest of Dak To for the next three days. This resulted in two North Vietnamese soldiers being killed, one by the scouts after they took fire and the other by a ground element making a sweep of the area of contact. The remainder of March was spent west of Kontum and around the Special Forces Camp of Polei Klang. Sporadic contact was made and sir strikes employed, however no enemy KIA’s were confirmed in this period.
On 4 April 1968, A Troop was working west of Kontum. The Scouts were reconnoitering around a fresh trail when they noticed an NVA soldier hiding in a foxhole. Firing into the area, they confirmed 7 North Vietnamese soldiers killed. The troop received a change in mission t che3ck out another area. When the ships returned to the area of contact, four of the bodies had been removed and the striped of their equipment, indicating the presence of a larger force, however further contact was not made.
Working north of Ban Me Thuot on 9 April, the Scouts spotted a North Vietnamese soldier in a foxhole in the vicinity of an abandoned village. They spotted two more, and the gun ships rolled in, killing all three of the enemy. The next day A Troop’s gun ships were called on to cover the extraction of a LRRP team who was in contact and had one of it’s members wounded. After the extraction was completed, the gun team made firing runs into suspected enemy locations. They received heavy automatic weapons fire, downing one of the armed helicopters. D Troop was inserted to protect the downed aircraft while the injured crew was evacuated. Due to the enemy situation in the area, the aircraft was stripped and destroyed in place.
The Scouts were checking out a small bunker complex west of Pleiku on 16 April. Receiving intense automatic weapons fire from the area, they returned fire killing one enemy. An air strike was called in destroying the small complex. The remainder of the month was spent in the Kontum area. Signs of recent enemy movement in the area were reported daily by the scout teams with only light contact being occasionally made. On 26 April the command and control ship received 50 caliber fires from an unknown location. The fire wounded four of the crew, knocked out all communication equipment in the ship. However, the pilot maneuvered the disabled ship safely to Kontum.