Operation Texas Star*
By Gen John J. Hennessey
1-14 April 1970
Operation TEXAS STAR commenced with renewed efforts in the Vietnamization of combat operations in northern Military Region 1.
Significant Activities. On 011003 April at YD 343198, the battalion forward Command post and Co B, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf received small arms fire on their landing zone at RIPCORD from an enemy force at a range of 40 meters, followed by 82mm and 60mm fire. The element returned organic weapons and artillery fires. The contact continued intermittingly throughout the day, increasing in intensity when Medevac and other aircraft attempted to enter landing zone.
At 1430 hours the recon platoon 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf was inserted during a heavy mortar attack to patrol north of the firebase. After extensive deployment of Artillery, air strikes and aerial rocket artillery (ARA) contact was broken at 2230hrs. Sweeps were conducted throughout the day. Seven US personnel were KIA and 21 WIA; enemy casualties were unknown.
On 3 April, the 4th Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) discovered a cache containing eleven Tons of rice in AO Pear, vic YD289198.
Troop A, 2d Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav, employing pink teams (1 AH1G and 1 OH6A) throughout the day killed a total of 16 NVA in five separate contacts on 4 April.
On 060033 April, at FS/OB ARSENAL (YD 812080), Co C 1st Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf received RPG fire followed by the attack of approximately 50 enemy Sappers from the south. A flare ship and ARA were on station in ten minutes.
Artillery fires were employed on suspected enemy escape routes while the defenders repulsed the attack. A search revealed six NVA KIA and two POW’s. US casualties were four WIA.
On 10 April a bulk CS-2 drop was conducted in the A SHAU valley to interdict resupply operations of the 6th NVA Regt along route 9222; a total of 58 drums of the agent were dropped by two CH47 aircraft.
On 11 April, FS/OB RIPCORD was occupied and secured by Co C 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf, with no enemy encountered.
On 12 April, ARC Light strikes were conducted in the vicinity of ZULU (YD5216) and KATHRYN (YD4611) to disrupt enemy activity in these areas. An immediate aerial bomb damage assessment (BDA) was conducted of the strikes dropped in the vic of KATHRYN, followed by ground BDA by an aero rifle platoon of the 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav.
On 13 April, enemy indirect fire attacks increased in the AO. The command post and Co B 1st Bn (AMBL), 327th Inf at FS/OB BASTONGE received three separate 82mm mortar attacks resulting in 4 US personnel KIA and 16 WIA.
Significant Activities. At 160825, the CP, 1st and 3rd Companies 2nd Bn, 1st Regt. (ARVN), vic YD328198 received small arms and RPG fire from an estimated enemy squad. Organic weapons, artillery and ARA were employed. A search of the contact area revealed nine NVA KIA and 250 RPG and 500, 82mm rounds, captured. ARVN casualties were three KIA and four WIA.
On 17 April, heavy and accurate ground fire from enemy small arms, RPG, 12.7mm, and reported 23mm weapons rendered eleven aircraft of the division Non-flyable. Continued sporadic enemy indirect fire attacks in AO Spear resulted in the decision to move, on 18 April, an AN/MPQ-4A radar from FS/OB STRIKE to FS/OB GRANITE to increase counter battery fire.
At 181355 ranger team “CICADA” was inserted at YD105435 to conduct sensor readout activities. This was the first employment of ranger teams to monitor sensors.
In response to enemy activity monitored by the rangers, the 2nd Squd (AMBL), 17th Cav initiated combined US/ARVN recon operations on 21 April. Two teams were inserted along the Quang Tu River in vic of FS/OB HENDERSON. Each team consisted of five personnel from Co L (Ranger), 75th Inf, one Kit Carson Scout and four ARVN from 2nd Regt. (ARVN).
The 21st of April was the first day of Operation Texas Star on which the enemy did not employ indirect fire.
On 230345 at YD362165, Co A, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf received RPG fire and satchel charges in their NDP. The attackers were quickly silenced, but resumed the attack at 0610 hrs with RPG , small arms, and 60mm mortar fire. Artillery was employed on suspected enemy locations and escape routes. A first light search revealed seven NVA KIA, two RPG launchers, one SKS and five AK-47’s. One US soldier was killed in action and eleven wounded.
On 24 and 25 April, gunships of the 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav and ARA from the 4th Bn (ARA), 77th Arty responded to USAF and Army recon aircraft sightings by destroying four 12.7mm machine guns, four trucks and one bulldozer in the area bounded by YD213137, YD303093, YD315069, northwest of the A SHAU valley.
On 280500, the 2nd Platoon, Co B 2nd Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf which had been inserted on 27 April to conduct patrol and ambush operations, engaged an estimated enemy platoon moving toward their NDP at YD510072. The enemy returned RPG fire and satchel charges resulting in one US KIA and 18 WIA. A search of the contact area revealed 12 NVA KIA. At 0830 at YD5008, the 2nd Plt. Co B 2nd Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf., discovered three enemy bunker complex’s, all heavily damaged by artillery, ARA, and air strikes which had been employed on 27 April. A thorough search of the area revealed 50 enemy KIA.
30 April 1970
Significant Activities. At 291400 at YD505077, the 2nd Plt, Co B, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf received mortar and intense small arms at a distance of 10 meters. Their platoon, employed organic weapons, cannon artillery and ARA, and was reinforced by the remainder of the company, and by Co C and the Recon Platoon. At 1515 hrs, as the US elements maneuvered against the enemy force supported by air strikes, ARA and cannon artillery, the enemy fled to a second bunker complex. At 1549 hrs the enemy fled to a third bunker complex. The contact terminated at dusk. A sweep revealed 15 NVA KIA, two RPG launchers, one AK-47, one M-60 machine gun, one M-79 grenade launcher and one AN/PRC-25 radio. Twenty-six US personnel were wounded in the action.
On 282140, at YD438190 (FS/OB GRANITE) received five separate mortar attacks which resulted in 34 US WIA. ARA, and cannon artillery were employed on suspected enemy positions while air cavalry elements and ground forces searched for enemy mortar positions.
On 1 May, enemy indirect fire attacks continued on FS/OB GRANITE and GLADIATOR. A total of eleven enemy attacks were directed at the fire bases.
On 2 May, sixty-four 55 gallon drums of Napalm were dropped in the vic of FS/OB HENDERSON to improve fields of fire. The 2nd Bn 54 Regt (ARVN) made heavy contact south of the fire base, resulting in 18 NVA KIA.
On 031130 at YD511063, the 1st Plt, Co C 2nd Bn., 502nd Inf., while conducting patrol activities received RPG and small arms fire from an enemy force at 40 meters. The element returned organic weapons fire and employed ARA, cannon artillery and air strikes on the enemy positions. A sweep of the area revealed 27 NVA KIA. US casualties were one KIA and 13 WIA.
On 5 May, contacts by units of the 1st Bde, south of the THREE FORKS area of the SONG BO (river) resulted in 18 NVA KIA. US casualties were six KIA and 26 WIA.
At 051000 at YD044364 (4 KM NW of FS/OB TUN TAVERN) the 1st Bn 54th Regt (ARVN) engaged an estimated two enemy platoons in bunkers 50 meters from their position. The enemy returned small arms and withdrew. ARA was employed and a sweep revealed 29 NVA KIA. ARVN casualties were five KIA and 26 WIA.
Significant Activities. At 060505, FS/OB HENDERSON received RPG, small arms, satchel charges, recoilless rifle fire and mortar fire, followed by a well organized and coordinated ground assault by the 8th Bn, 66th NVA Regt. Fires ignited by the flamethrowers employed by the NVA caused approximately 1000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition to explode. Defending forces supported by ARA, cannon artillery and gunships, accounted for 29 NVA killed. The enemy withdrew at 0720. Total US casualties were 32 killed, 33 wounded, and two missing in action. ARVN casualties were 19 KIA and 45 WIA.
On 7 May, FS/OB HENDERSON continued to receive sporadic mortar and recoilless fire throughout the day, resulting in four US and three ARVN WIA.
At 070450, at YD429122 (FS/OB MAUREEN), the 2nd Plat, Co D 1st Bn (AMBL) 506th Inf received 60mm mortar fire, small arms fire, and satchel charges from an estimated enemy company. The platoon returned fire while a flare ship and ARA were employed. Elements of the company, moving to reinforce the platoon, received small arms fire from an enemy force at a range of 20 meters. The element returned small arms fire and the enemy withdrew. ARA, gunships, and air strikes were employed on suspected enemy locations. 60mm mortar fire was received by the company at 0800 and again at 1500 hrs. Six US soldiers were killed in action and 12 were wounded. A search of the contact area revealed four NVA KIA.
On 7 and 8 May, the 1st Bn 54 Regt. (ARVN) continued to engage the enemy forces in the FS/OB TUN TAVERN area, accounting for 36 NVA KIA. At 080900 at YD043360, the battalion discovered 30 graves containing 97 bodies apparently killed by AF air strikes during the previous week.
At 091030, at YD495054, Co A 2nd Bn (AMBL) 502nd Inf received small arms, RPG fire and fragmentation grenades from an estimated 12-15 enemy in bunkers. The company returned fire and withdrew in order to employ artillery, ARA, gunships, and air strikes. A search of the area revealed 18 NVA KIA. US casualties were one KIA and 12 WIA.
Significant Activities. At 160428, at YD487065, Co A 2nd Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf received RPG fire from an enemy location north of their NDP. Seven minutes later the company received RPG, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from the enemy east and west of their position. The company returned organic weapons and cannon artillery fire. A USAF flare ship was employed to provide illumination. At 0521 hrs the Recon Plat. engaged enemy movement at YD490068. A first light search of both contact areas by the Recon Plt. revealed five NVA KIA, two AK-47’s and one RPG launcher captured. US losses were four KIA and 22 wounded.
At 160650, vic YD918236, while supporting the insertion of Recon Team 3, Det B-52, 5th SFG (A), an AH1G from Btry C, 4th Bn (Aerial Arty), 77th Arty (AMBL), received 23mm anti-aircraft fire. Directed by the UH1H command and control aircraft, the Cobra engaged the area, killing 35 enemy and destroying two 2 ½ ton trucks. The 1st Plat., 2nd Co, 81st Abn Ranger Bn (ARVN) was inserted near target area to conduct further assessment of the ARA fires. The element made contact with an estimated 30 enemy, killing three and sustaining one US and one ARVN WIA. The Plt. was unable to reach target area and was extracted under fire at 1820 hrs by Co B, 158th Avn Bn (AMBL).
At 171035, at YD417398, a CH47 from Co B, 159th Avn Bn (AH) (AMBL) was hit by enemy ground fire, crashed and burned. The aircraft was a total loss and five US soldiers were killed.
At 181845, a UH1H aircraft from Co C, 158th Avn Bn (AH) (AMBL) was reported missing with four crew members and two passengers aboard. The Aero Rifle Platoon, Troop B, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav was inserted at YD355238 on 19 May to conduct a search for the aircraft. The platoon was unsuccessful in locating the aircraft and was extracted prior to darkness.
One member of the crew, who had walked from the crash site to a landing zone, was extracted at 191400 hrs. by a UH1H from Co A, 101st Avn Bn (AH) (AMBL) which was on a mission for the 501st Signal Bn (AMBL). The injured crew member stated that the aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, attempted to make a forced landing on a landing zone, crashed and rolled down a hill into a canopy covered area. He had no knowledge of exact location of the aircraft or the other crew members.
On 19 May, the 2nd Co, 81st Abn Ranger Bn (ARVN) was inserted at XD907234 to conduct an assessment of the ARA attack conducted on 16 May. The company photographed two destroyed 2 ½ Ton – 5 Ton type vehicles and was extracted on 20 May. Sporadic contact with the enemy resulted in 13 ARVN WIA during this operation.
At 201135, at YD496069, the Recon Plt and Co A, 2nd Bn (AMBL) 502 Inf received intense small arms and RPG fire from three sides at a range of 15 meters. The element returned fire, employed ARA and maneuvered against the enemy. The contact terminated at 1230 hrs, when the enemy fled, leaving one KIA. US casualties were three KIA and nine WIA.
Throughout the period 13-20 May elements of the 2nd and 3rd Bn 1st Regt (ARVN) made contact with the enemy in the area of FS/OB BARBARA, resulting in 63 NVA KIA and 11 ARVN WIA.
21 May 1- June 1970
Significant Activities. On 21 May, two OH6A helicopters from the 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav were hit by groundfire, crashed and burned, at 1353 and 1625 hrs, at YC493839 and at XD781248, respectively. Both aircraft were total losses and three crew members were WIA.
At 230940, vic YD499069, Co A 2nd Bn (AMBL), 502nd Inf discovered twenty 4’x3’x4’ bunkers containing the bodies of twelve NVA who had been KIA.
At 231655, at XD912271, a UH1H from Co B, 158th Avn Bn (AMBL) while conducting visual reconnaissance in support of Operation BARBER GLADE, received ground fire crashed and burned. Six US personnel and two ARVN were KIA, including the commanding officer, Det-52, 5th SFG (A).
At 231800 and again at 2000 hrs, at FS/OB KATHRYN, CO A 1st Bn (AMBL) 506th Inf was attacked by fire with 60mm and 82mm mortar fire which impacted inside the perimeter, two to three 82mm mortar rounds which were received during the 2000 attack contained the agent CS. ARA and cannon artillery were employed against suspected enemy locations. Results of the two attacks were three US personnel KIA and 25 WIA.
At 240600, vic YD075394 (two KM S of FS/OB HENDERSON), the 4th Bn 54th Regt (ARVN) received RPG and small arms from an estimated enemy company surrounding their NDP. The element returned organic weapons fire and employed ARA and cannon artillery. A sweep of the contact area revealed 45 NVA KIA. ARVN casualties were four KIA and 16 WIA.
At 261010, in support of a contact which involved elements of Co C 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf and resulted in two US WIA, a UH1H MEDEVAC helicopter from Co C, 326th MED Bn (AMBL), while lowering the jungle penetrator at YD328226, received one RPG round in the fuel cell, crashed and burned. All four crew members were KIA.
At 271048, at YD436124, the Recon Plt. 1st Bn (AMBL), 506 Inf , while conducting patrol activities near FS/OB MAUREEN, received RPG and small arms fire from an enemy force at 35 meters. The element returned organic weapons fire and cannon artillery. The enemy broke contact and fled. ARA arrived on station at 1105 hrs; a Pink Team arrived at 1145 hrs. One NVA was killed by ARA fire. At 1808 hrs the platoon engaged two enemy with small arms fire at a range of 75 meters. An enemy force of undetermined size returned RPG, automatic weapons and small arms fire. ARA and gunships engaged several enemy. The contact terminated at 1915 hrs. A sweep of the area revealed six NVA KIA by helicopter, six by ARA fire, and seven by small arms fire. Two US soldiers were WIA.
At 280130, FS/OB O’REILLY, the 1st and 2nd Companies, 1st Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) received mortar fire followed by a ground attack. Elements of the firebase returned organic weapons fire and cannon artillery. A flareship and ARA were requested and were on station at 0155 and 0205 hr, respectively. The enemy was repulsed before daylight and a first light search revealed 77 NVA KIA, two PW, 29 AK-47’s, eight RPG launchers, three Soviet LPO flame-throwers and two CHICOM radios. Three ARVN soldiers were killed and 15 wounded in this action.
At 281930, vic YD581309, the PHONG District Chief was killed while driving to his home when he was attacked by Viet-Cong who employed B-40 rockets.
During the period of 29 May to 1 June, 15 enemy were killed in sporadic activity throughout the division AO. Seven were killed by helicopter fire, four by small arms fire, two by tactical air strikes and two by artillery fire. An additional five NVA KIA were discovered in graves.
2-9 June 1970
This period was marked by increased enemy contact with ARVN units and light contacts with the division. ARVN and territorial force units accounted for 232 NVA and 20 VC killed in action. Thirty-seven enemy were killed in light contact with units of the division during this period.
On 9 June, Det B-52, 5th SFG (A) extracted all teams from the AO and conducted stand down at MAI LOC. During the period 16 May – 9 June the detachment accounted for 50 enemy killed in action, while sustaining seven US KIA, eight US WIA, four ARVN KIA and thirty-six ARVN wounded in action.
Significant Activities. At 020430, at TUN TAVERN, the 2nd Bn, 54Regt (ARVN) received an attack from all sides of the firebase by the 9th Bn, 66th NVARegt. employing 82mm mortar, 75mm recoilless rifle, RPG and small arms fire.
Elements of the base returned organic weapons fire and employed flareships, ARA, cannon artillery, and air strikes. The enemy penetrated the perimeter and was able to occupy bunkers on the east side of the firebase. The situation was static at 0645 hrs.
At 0930 hrs a renewed assault was made on the firebase from the north and northwest, but was immediately repulsed. The enemy was driven from the firebase at 1115 hrs, although 75mm recoilless rifle and 82mm mortar fire continued sporadically throughout the day.
A sweep of the contact area revealed 81 NVA KIA and one PW. Three US soldiers from the 501st Sig Bn (AMBL), in support of the 1st Bn, 54th Regt (ARVN) were casualties. Two were killed and one wounded in action. ARVN casualties were 50 killed and 119 WIA. Two US and one Australian advisor were wounded in action.
At 031453, at YD022354 (one KM W of FS/OB LANGLEY), the 1st Bn, 54th Regt (ARVN) discovered 20 NVA KIA by AF and two overhead bunkers with overhead cover destroyed by air strikes.
At 041500, ( in vic of TUN TAVERN YD058328), the 3rd Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN), while conducting search near the firebase, discovered 45 NVA KIA by air strikes within the previous 72 hours. At 1640 hrs the battalion engaged an enemy force with organic weapons fire, killing 10 NVA while sustaining two KIA. On the following day elements of the battalion killed four more NVA (that had attacked them with 82mm and small arms fire) one kilometer southeast of TUN TAVERN.
At 060550,, the 3rd Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Regt. (ARVN) engaged an estimated force of two enemy companies with small arms fire at a range of 150 meters at YD043331.
Cannon artillery and ARA were employed and a search revealed 11 NVA KIA.
At 1410 hrs, at YD035343, elements of the 1st Bn, 54th Regt (ARVN) discovered the bodies of 12 NVA KIA.
10-16 June 1970
On 10 June, elements of the K4C Bn, 4th NVA Regt. Launched attacks by fire against units of the 2nd Bde occupying FS/OB LOS BANOS, PHU LOC District HQ and the NUOC NGOT Bridge. Simultaneous ground and mortar attacks were directed at FS/OB TOMAHAWK. As part of the reaction to this contact, the division provided aviation assets to the HAC BAO Company and to territorial forces for movement and assault into PHU LOC District to regain contact with the enemy after his withdrawal.
The 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf completed battalion refresher training and redeployed in the AO moving by air from CAMP EVANS to FS/OB RIPCORD to assume responsibility for AREA QUEBEC. The battalion provided security for the firebase and for reconnaissance in force operations in the area.
The 1st Bn, 3d Regt (ARVN), operating in coordination with the 1st Bn (AMBL), 327th Inf, conducted a combat assault on 15 June into the area north-east of FS/OB GEORGIA, near YD4406, and began reconnaissance in force operations to the south on two axes.
(b) Significant Activities. At 100140, the 4th NVA Regt. began four separate attacks on US units located in PHU LOC District. Co D (-), 2nd Bn (AMBL), 327th at FS/OB TOMAHAWK, received a ground attack by 82mm mortar, RPG and small arms fire by the 71B Sapper Company. Cannon artillery, ARA, 81mm mortars, foogasse, and organic weapons fire were employed against the enemy. Contact was broken at 0218 hrs, although sporadic mortar fire continued until 0550 hrs. None of the enemy penetrated the perimeter. Twenty-eight NVA were KIA and three POW’s captured. One US soldier was killed and two were wounded in action.
At 100144, PHU LOC District Headquarters and the command post, 2nd Bn (AMBL) 327th Inf received two RPG’s, one 122mm rocket and 20-25 82mm rounds, resulting in eight US personal WIA, including two MACV advisors and one US Marine.
Between the hours of 0150 and 0445, Co B 2nd Bn (AMBL), 327th Inf, at FS/OB LOS BANOS, received 15 mortar rounds, which were followed by three more rounds at 0540 hrs. The element employed 81mm mortar fire on suspected enemy locations.
At 100158, Moble Training Team 10, located near the NUOG NGOT Bridge (ZD152010), received 15 mortar rounds, which were followed by three more rounds at 0540 hrs.
At 100520, the 1st Co 4th Bn 54th ARVN Regt , at FS/OB ROY received 10-20 82mm mortar rounds. Counter battery fires were employed; no casualties were sustained.
The period 11 – 14 June was marked by light activity in the division AO. Two US personnel were KIA and the division accounted for 19 NVA KIA. The bodies of 12 NVA, killed in earlier contacts were discovered. The bodies were found in graves or hidden from view in heavily vegetated areas. Gunships from the 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav engaged an enemy force at XD869365. At 1034 hrs the Areo Rifle Platoon, Trp A 2nd Sqdn (AMBL) 17th Cav was inserted to sweep the contact area and confirmed that twelve NVA had been killed by the helicopter. The Platoon engaged and killed one enemy at a range of 50 meters at 1215 hrs.
On 16 June in Area Oscar in the vic of GEORGIA, the 1st Bn 3rd Regt (ARVN) made contact with an enemy forces which employed small arms, RPG and 60mm mortar fire at 0945, 1030 and 1430 hrs. The 1st and 2nd Companys employed small arms and artillery fire, resulting in three NVA killed by artillery fire, and eight killed by small arms fire. One ARVN was killed and 20 were wounded in the contacts.
17-25 June 1970
On 17 June at YD898316, elements of Trp A 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav, while conducting visual reconnaissance in the LEATHERNECK area, observed 10 NVA in the open, 150-200 log reinforced bunkers, 15 pup tents, two burning camp fires, numerous lean-tos, 10 latrines and a network of trails leading into the area.
Extensive visual reconnaissance of the area by elements of the squadron throughout the day on 18 June revealed heavy enemy activity and a large number of additional bunkers. The area was engaged by gunships, artillery and air strikes throughout the afternoon. Two incidents of ground to air fire were reported in the area.
On 19 June elements of the squadron while conducting BDA of the tactical air strikes, located a 600-man hospital complex west of LETHERNECK. Trp D was inserted and discovered medical supplies, rice, grenades, and miscellaneous equipment.
On 21 June, Trp D and the reconnaissance Company (HAC BAO), 1st ARVN div conducted a combined assault into the LEATHERNECK-ROBIN area to find and destroy enemy bunkers and cache sites. Continues air cover was provided by the 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav.
24 June Significant Activities. At 170340, at YD441066 (Area Oscar), the light CP, 2nd and 3rd companies, 1st Bn, 3d Regt (ARVN), operating in coordination with the 1st Bn (AMBL), 327th Inf, engaged an estimated enemy platoon near their NDP. Organic weapons, cannon artillery, ARA, and a flareship were employed and resulted in 32 NVA KIA. ARVN casualties were four personnel with minor wounds.
On 18 June The 3de Bde combined task force, inserted into the vic of LEATHERNECK on 22 June, located and destroyed enemy installations and foodstuffs until they were extracted on 25 June. Operational totals for the period 17-25 June in the area were 69 NVA KIA, two POW, 52 tons of rice, three tons of salt, ten cases of misseleaous foodstuffs, one crew served and three individual weapons, 19,500 AK-47 rounds, 4,600 12.7mm rounds, 310 RPG rounds, 40 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, and 15 122mm rockets captured. A total of 283 bunkers were destroyed.
At 221600, at vic YD84256, (1.5 KM SW of JEROME), the 1st Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) discovered a training area consisting of a rifle range, 50 huts with underground bunkers, and an ammunition bunker containing 10,000 AK-47 rounds. 200 RPG rounds and 40 NVA uniforms which bore no markings.
At 231045, at YD184256, (2 KM SW of JEROME), the 1st Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) engaged an estimated two enemy platoons with organic weapons, gun ships and tube artillery. The enemy returned small arms fire and fled. A search of the contact area revealed 47 NVA KIA, and a large enemy base camp which contained 10 individual weapons, 11 crew served weapons, 158,450 AK-47 rounds, 30,000 12.7mm machinegun rounds, 780 RPG rounds, 30 anti-tank mines, 160 bunkers, two animal cages and two POW cages. Four ARVN were wounded in the action. This area South of FS/OB JEROME is a know rear area which supports the 812th NVA Regt and the 7th Front.
On 25 June, Det B-52, 5th SFG (A) resumed Operation Barber Glade with the insertion of the 2nd Plt, 44th Ranger Co. (ARVN) at XD8344
Significant Activities. At 170340, at YD441066 (Area Oscar), the light CP, 2nd and 3rd Regt (ARVN), operating in coordination with the 1st Bn (AMBL), 327th Inf. engaged an estimated enemy platoon near their NDP. Organic weapons, cannon artillery, ARA and a flareship were employed and resulted in 32 NVA KIA. ARVN casualties were four personnel with minor wounds.
On 18 June, in the Vietnamese salient area (XD8831), gunships, ARA, and air strikes were employed, resulting in 26 NVA KIA. Weather precluded the insertion of Trp D, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav into the area to conduct patrol and surveillance operations.
The weather cleared the following day, permitting the insertion of Trp D, which resulted in the discovery of a recently evacuated hospital complex. Nine enemy were killed in the area by air cavalry elements. On 20 June gunships and air strikes accounted for 19 additional NVA killed in the area.
The insertion of Trp D and the ARP of Trp B, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav and the HAC BAO into the vic. of ROBIN on 21 June to perform BDA and to exploit B-52 strikes, resulted in the discovery of 62 bunkers, 50 tons of rice, miscellaneous medical supplies, six NVA killed by air force, a shirt identifying elements of the 7th Bn 66th Regt, and the capture of two POW’s. Three US soldiers were wounded in action when the ARP of Trp B received small arms fire and fragmentation grenades from three to five enemy at a range of 15 meters. The element returned fire, but the enemy withdrew and a search revealed no enemy casualties.
The 3rd Bde combined task force, inserted into the vic., of LEATHERNECK on 22 June, located and destroyed enemy installations and foodstuffs until they were evacuated on 25 June. Operational totals for the period 17-25 June in the area were 69 NVA KIA, two POW’s, 52 tons of rice, three tons of salt, 10 cases of miscellaneous food stuffs, one crew served and three individual weapons, 19,500 AK-47 rounds, 4,600 12.7mm rounds, 310 RPG rounds, 40 75mm recoilless rifle rounds and 15 122mm rockets captured. A total of 283 bunkers were destroyed.
At 221600, at YD184256, (2 KM SW of JEROME), the 1st Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) engaged two enemy platoons with organic weapons fire, gunships and tube artillery.
The enemy returned small arms fire and fled. A search of the contact area revealed 47 NVA KIA, and a large basecamp which contained 10 individual weapons, 11 crew served weapons, 158,000 AK-47 rounds, 30,000 12.7mm machinegun rounds, 780 RPG rounds, 30 anti-tank mines, 160 bunkers, two animal cages, and two POW cages. Four ARVN were wounded in the action. This area, west and south of JEROME, is a known rear service area, which supports the 812th NVA Regt and the 7th Front.
26 June- 7 July 1970
The division continued to provide aviation assets to the 1st Inf Div (ARVN) and the 1st Bde, 5th Inf Div (Mech) throughout the period. Assets were provided to Det B-52, 5th SFG (A) until termination of BARBER GLEN on 30 June. There were a total of 117 incidents of aircraft receiving ground fire. One aircraft was shot down by 12.7mm machinegun fire and crashed. Nineteen other aircraft were deemed unflyable by enemy fire.
The division continued extensive employment of ground sensor devices to locate and monitor enemy movement and engage suspected enemy locations with artillery, helicopters, and marine, navy and USAF aircraft. In response, 3003 rounds of mixed caliber artillery ammunition were fired.
The period 1-7 July saw a marked increase in enemy activity in the 3rd Bde AO as elements of the 803rd and 6th NVA Regiments conducted daily attacks by fire on OB/FS RIPCORD. More than 160 rounds of 60mm, 82mm mortar, and 75mm recoilless rifle fire were directed at the firebase during the first seven days of July, resulting in 21 US soldiers WIA. In the area of the firebase, US units were involved in 23 contacts imitated by the enemy and eight friendly initiated contacts, which resulted in 30 NVA KIA, nine IWC, and two CSWC. US casualties were 18 killed and 104 wounded.
Significant Activities. On the morning of 26 June, CAMP EAGLE was attacked twice by fire. At 0900 hrs, approximately ten 82mm mortar rounds impacted in the area of the 2nd Bn (AMBL), 320th Arty abd the 4th Bn (Aerial Arty), 77th Arty (AMBL). One US soldier was killed and eight were wounded during the attack. Two UH1H helicopters and one seahut were damaged and one maintenance tent was destroyed. At 0247 hrs seven 122mm rockets impacted in the area of Co B, 159th Avn Bn (ASH) (AMBL); 4th Bn (Aerial Arty), 77th Arty (AMBL); 256th RRC; 801st Maint Bn (AMBL); Div Arty, and sector G of the CAMP EAGLE perimeter. Results were four US personnel WIA; one UH1G helicopter and one ¾ ton M37 truck destroyed; and one CH47, one AH1G, two 2 ½ ton M35 trucks, two ¾ ton trucks and two M151 jeeps damaged.
At 260235, vic., YD442118, the 1st Plt Co B, 1st Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf received RPG and small arms while in their NDP. The Platoon returned small arms fire and employed ARA and a flareship. A first light search of the contact area revealed six NVA KIA, two AK-47’s, two RPG launchers, two RPG rounds, and twenty five ¼ pound satchel charges. US casualties were four KIA and eight WIA.
On 1 July at 0708 hrs on FS/OB RIPCORD, the CP and Co D, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf received five 82mm mortar rounds and small arms fire from the southeast. At 0850 hrs, the firebase received 15 rounds of 82mm mortar fire which impacted inside the perimeter. At 1345 hrs, the enemy employed 16, 75mm recoilless rounds, 6-8 impacting inside the perimeter. At 1912 hrs, four rounds of 82mm mortar fire landed on the firebase. Artillery, air strikes, and organic weapons fire were employed on suspected enemy positions throughout the day. Fifteen US soldiers received minor wounds during the day all of whom were from Btry B, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 319 Arty which was located at the highest point of the firebase. Most of the casualties occurred as the battery was employing counter-battery fire.
At 02346 July at YD337172 (Hill 902), the CP and 1st and 2nd Platoons, Co C, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf., received RPG, and small arms fire and satchel charges in their NDP. An estimated NVA sapper company, in a well-organized and executed attack, was successful in penetrating the perimeter and occupying positions within the NDP.
The NVA enemy sappers and elements of C Co exchanged satchel charges and fragmentation grenades in a fierce battle with the enemy until the enemy within the perimeter were killed. The remainder of the enemy force withdrew at 0420 hrs.
The company commander was killed in the initial exchange of fire. The company medic immediately organized the defense of the position until relived later by the artillery forward observer. Sporadic contact and mortar fire continued until approximately 0530hrs. Results of the action were 15 NVA KIA, seven US soldiers KIA, six WIA and one MIA.
On 3 July between 1415 and 1520 hrs, in the vic., of XD7944, seven kilometers northwest of KHE SANH airstip, aircraft from Trp A, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav while conducting armed aerial reconnaissance, engaged approximately 14 enemy, killing twelve. The ARP of Trp A was inserted at XD790443 and engaged two enemy in bunkers, resulting in two NVA KIA, one US soldier KIA, and two US soldiers and one Kit Carson Scout wounded. The platoon was extracted at 1820hrs.
On 4 July FS/OB RIPCORD was attacked by fire for the fourth consecutive day. A total of nine attacks were directed at the firebase, three consisting of 82mm and 60mm mortar CS rounds. Three US soldiers were wounded.
At 050010, at YD377159, Co C, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st while in a NDP southeast of FS/OB RIPCORD, engaged three enemy with small arms fire and satchel charges.
The enemy returned small arms and satchel charges and appeared to flee. At 0500 hrs the company was attacked by an enemy force which employed satchel charges. The company returned organic weapons fire. The enemy again withdrew and ARA and a flareship were employed. A first light search failed to reveal any enemy casualties, three US soldiers were wounded.
At 0605 hrs the company received 8-10 RPG rounds and small arms again from the west. The search that followed this contact revealed five NVA KIA, five AK-47’s, twenty eight 1 lb satchel charges and two NVA gas masks. One US soldier was killed and 14 evacuated for wounds.
At 051240, vic. YD336161, three kilometers south of FS/OB RIPCORD, Co A, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf engaged 8-10 enemy with small arms fire and artillery, killing five NVA. Two US soldiers were wounded by RPG fire.
On 6 July, contacts in the FS/OB MAUREEN area which involved elements of the 1st Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf resulted in three NVA KIA and 20 US soldiers WIA.
At 1730 hrs, three kilometers southwest of FS/OB RIPCORD, 15 US troops of Co A, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf were wounded by small arms fire and fragmentation grenades delivered by an estimated enemy company located on all sides of the friendly position.
At 061530, at XD745455, a ranger team from Co L (Ranger), 75th Inf made contact with an estimated enemy company located north and west of their position. Organic weapons, ARA, and a pink team were employed resulting in 13 NVA KIA. Six rangers were wounded.
At 070940, at vic. YD334194, west of FS/OB RIPCORD, while assaulting on Hill 1000, Co D, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf. received small arms fire and satchel charges
From an enemy force located in bunkers 30 meters from their position.
The company employed organic weapons fire, cannon artillery, ARA, and air strikes on the enemy positions. Contact was broken at approximately 1500 hrs as the company moved off the hill, having suffered three KIA and 19 WIA. Six NVA were killed in the action.
Other enemy contacts in the vicinity of FS/OB RIPCORD on 7 July, involving elements of the 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf and the 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf, resulted in one US KIA and 28 WIA.
8-16 July 1970
In reaction to intelligence information which indicated that the 9Th Regiment, 304th NVA Division was infiltrating into South Vietnam to reinforce or replace the weakened 66th NVA Regiment, reconnaissance and surveillance efforts were focused in the northwestern portion of the AO.
Efforts to locate the 9th Regt. culminated at approximately 1130 hrs on 8 July, as a pink team, from Trp A 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav observed 150-200 enemy in the open, at XD8236. This area was engaged by machine gun and rocket fire from the pink team and a command and control aircraft, which was accompanying the team.
Additional gunship and ARA support was on station within 30 minutes. At 1358 hrs, Trp D, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav was inserted into the contact area to make a ground search and capture a prisoner. The trop made contact with the enemy and was extracted at 1758 hrs having captured three prisoners and a large number of enemy documents, which identified the unit as the 9th NVA Regt. Pink teams, and sections of ARA from the 4th Bn (Aerial Arty), 77th Arty (AMBL) provided relief on station and continued to engage the enemy throughout the day, resulting in 139 enemy killed.
Significant Activities. At 081130 July, at XD826363, aircraft from Trp A 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav, observed 150-200 NVA in the open. The area was engaged by gunships and ARA, resulting in 50 NVA KIA. Air to ground contact continued throughout the day. At 1230hrs ten more enemy were killed by gunships. Trp D, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav was inserted at this location at 1358 hrs and captured three prisoners. While collecting enemy equipment, weapons and documents for extraction and searching the contact area, the troop was engaged by an estimated battalion size enemy force. During engagement, 24 NVA were killed and Trp D suffered 6 KIA and 5 WIA before being extracted at 1758 hrs. Aircraft screening the ground troop continued to engage the enemy in the area. At 1920 hrs, at XD825363, aircraft from Trp A, observed and engaged an active 12.7mm machinegun position, destroying the weapon, one RPG launcher, one, radio and four rucksacks. At 1745 hrs a command and control aircraft, flown by the CO, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav, landed and extracted one wounded NVA POW. The final contact of the day occurred at 1919 hrs, when aircraft from HHT, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav observed 10-15 enemy near an active 12.7mm machinegun position. The area was engaged with M-60 machine gun fire and AH1G gunships, resulting in the destruction of the weapon and 10 NVA killed in action.
Also on 8 July, in the vic. of FS/OB RIPCORD, the enemy again refused to be dislodged from Hill 1000. Companies C and D, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf were engaged with small arms and automatic weapons fire by an enemy in well fortified bunkers at 1050 hrs. Intensive fire from at least three mutually supporting bunkers pinned the companies down. One bunker was neutralized with M72 LAW fire, but the other two were not destroyed. The contact was terminated at approximately 1300 hrs, as the companies again moved off the hill. US casualties were two killed and four wounded.
At 091615 hrs, at XD826363, aircraft from Trp A, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav observed ten NVA bodies killed during the previous night by heavy artillery employed from CAMP CARROL by Btry B, 8th Bn, 4th Arty. Cavalry aircraft killed two other enemy in the KHE SANH Plateau area during the day.
On 10 July, beginning at 0735 hrs, FS/OB RIPCORD was attacked by fire on eight separate occasions during the day. The enemy employed 60mm, 82mm mortar and 75mm recoilless rifle fire, resulting in two US soldiers KIA and 17 WIA.
Also on 10 July, aircraft from Trps, A and B, 2nd Sqdn (AMBL), 17th Cav killed 26 NVA in scattered air to ground contact in support of Operation CLINCH VALLEY.
On 11 July, Trps, A and B killed 14 NVA is support of ARVN ground forces in the CLINCH VALLEY AO, and the 1st Bn, 3rd Regt (ARVN) killed five enemy while searching in the area XD823361.
At 110900 hrs, at XD833362, the 1st Bn, 3rd Regt (ARVN) discovered thirty enemy bodies killed by helicopter, and, between the hours of 1845 and 1920, discovered 100 enemy killed by airstrikes within the preceding 36 hrs.
At 122222 hrs, at YD362188 (Hill 805), Co D, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf while in their NDP, received 30 to 40 RPG rounds and small arms fire from an enemy force located 250 meters to the northeast. The company returned organic weapons fire, and ARA, air strikes and a flareship were employed. Sixteen US troops were WIA.
At 121355 hours at XD840359 (one kilometer north of SNAPPER), the 3rd Co, 1st Bn, 3rd Regt (ARVN) engaged an estimated 40 enemy with organic weapons fire. A search revealed 30 NVA KIA, one RPD machine gun, four RPG launchers, six AK-47’s, one 60mm mortar (complete), 100 rucksacks, 35 Chicom grenades, 60 RPG and 120 60mm mortar rounds, 60 Chicom gas masks, and 15 pounds of documents.
Also on 12 July, at YD175240, 3 ½ kilometers southwest of JEROME, the 3rd Co, 1st Bn, 1st Regt (ARVN) discovered the bodies of 65 NVA killed by air strikes within the preceding 3-4 days.
At 140203 hrs, at YD362188, Co D, 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 501st Inf., while in their NDP on hill 805, again received RPG and small arms fire from an enemy force located 20 meters northwest of their position. The element returned organic weapons fire and employed M55 .50 caliber fire (Quad 50) from FS/OB RIPCORD, and 81mm mortar fire, air strikes and ARA. The contact terminated at 0307 hrs and a first light search of the area revealed five NVA KIA. The company suffered six KIA and nine WIA. At 2253 hrs, the company received small arms and RPG fire and satchel charges, and at 0159 hrs, received thirty-seven 82mm mortar rounds which impacted inside the NDP.
Organic weapons, ARA, tube artillery and mortar fire were employed against the enemy. One US soldier was killed in the action. A first light revealed numerous blood trails.
On 14 July, Companies A and B and the Recon Plt, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 501st Inf., in yet another attempt to eject the enemy force from Hill 1000, were engaged by RPG, small arms and mortar fire, resulting in on US soldier KIA and 20 wounded. Organic weapons, ARA, cannon artillery, and air strikes were employed against the enemy positions in well fortified bunkers on the hill. Partial searches of the area revealed five NVA KIA. Friendly elements withdrew to YD325189, where at 1715 hrs, they received 82mm mortar fire which resulted in no casualties. Artillery was employed on the suspected enemy location.
Operation CLINCH VALLEY was terminated at 151802 July.
17-23 July 1970
On 17 July, FS/OB RIPCORD received sporadic mortar fire throughout the day with light damage and casualties on the firebase. The enemy employed 120mm mortars in the division AO for the first time in 18 months. The planned extraction of the 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 501st Inf was postponed by high winds in the RIPCORD area.
On 18 July, the 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 501st moved by air from FS/OB RIPCORD to CAMP EVANS and then by vehicle to PHU BAI to begin preparation for refresher training. At 181330, a CH47 in logistic support of FS/OB RIPCORD, was shot down by enemy ground fire and crashed in the 105mm ammunition storage area, causing a major fire and extensive damage to the firebase. All six 105mm howitzers of B Btry, 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 319th Arty were destroyed. In response, the 1st Bn (AMBL) (-) 501st Inf passed operational control of the 3rd Bde, and assaulted into FS/OB GLADIATOR to secure the firebase for the insertion of Btry B, 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 320th Arty.
This move was made to insure adequate artillery coverage for the RIPCORD area.
On 19 July, FS/OB RIPCORD continued to receive sporadic mortar fire, causing light casualties. Damage repair and cleanup operations proceeded on the firebase.
Because of the buildup of enemy forces and the increased tempo of attacks in the FS/OB RIPCORD area, it became apparent that the cost and effort required for the defense of RIPCORD placed the accomplishment of future operations in the enemy’s rear supply and service areas, in the BRADLEY and AIRBORNE areas in jeopardy.
On 23 July, the 3rd Bde directed the extraction of the 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 506th Inf from FS/OB RIPCORD, and vic. Extraction from the firebase began at 0545 hrs and was completed, despite heavy indirect and 12.7mm machine gun fire, at 1214 hrs. Co B, 2nd Bn, (AMBL), 506th Inf was assaulted to a landing zone at YD363178 to assist the extraction of Co A, 2nd Bn (AMBL), 506th Inf. Extraction of companies A and D began at 1305 hrs and was completed without damage or casualties at 1401 hrs. Seventy-four air force, marine, and navy tactical air sorties, and continuous ARA and cannon artillery fires were employed in support of the extraction.
Significant Activities. On 17 July, beginning at 0704 hrs FS/OB RIPCORD received six attacks by fire from enemy forces which employed 60mm, 82mm and 120mm mortars. The last attack was at 1745 hrs. Artillery and tactical air support were employed throughout the day. Friendly casualties were 14 US soldiers WIA and one Kit Carson Scout WIA.
At 181330, a CH47 aircraft from Co A, 159th Avn Bn (ASH) (AMBL), carrying a sling load of 105mm howitzer ammunition to RIPCORD, was hit by 12.7mm machine gun fire while approaching the firebase. The aircraft crashed into the 105mm ammunition storage point, causing a major fire. Extensive damage was caused in Btry B, 2nd Bn (AMBL) 319th Arty, and to the bunkers and TOC on the southern portion of the firebase. One AN/MPQ4-A counter-mortar radar, two 106mm recoilless rifles, and one AN/GRC-163 VHF radio set were also destroyed.
The firebase continued to receive sporadic enemy mortar fire throughout the day, resulting in one US soldier KIA and four WIA. The crash of the helicopter resulted in one crew member killed and five crew members wounded. In spite of the fire, and exploding 105mm ammunition on the firebase, the perimeter remained intact, and by late afternoon the fires were under control and cleanup operations were underway.
FS/OB RIPCORD continued to receive sporadic mortar fire on the firebase throughout the period 19-22 July. A total of 34 stand-off attacks were conducted by the enemy during those four days, resulting in seven US troops KIA and 35 WIA. All but five of the wounded required evacuation. A total of 51 tactical air strikes were directed into the RIPCORD area between 19 and 22 July.
*Copied by Ted McCormick, B Co 1/327th Inf 101st Abn Div 101st Abn Div. (AMBL) 1969-70.
Some elements of Gen Hennessey’s After Action Battle Report have been abridged from original report such as non-combat information, routine troop movements, and division information that is not pertinent to the combat operation history of Operation Texas Star and the battle of FS/OB RIPCORD.
Ted McCormick 5/17/05.