The Perfect Operation
Now is the place I can brag a little bit about one of my operations in that War. So long as defeating Viet Cong, killing or capturing them - thereby driving them out of South Vietnam, so its people and its instruments of government, may live in peace was the measure of success that the chain of command up to the Commander in Chief, I can point to one Perfect Operation.
After 4 months of operations while I learned my military craft, at last my commanding the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment resulted in a perfectly executed military operation that met my standard of excellence. It was successful in destroying a Viet Cong unit which was intent on disrupting the fair and open Elections in Tay Ninh Province. All part of the Viet Cong strategy.
It took place on October 20th, west of Tay Ninh city, very close to the Cambodian border. That was the planned Election Day in Tay Ninh Province. A standard tactic by communist Viet Cong and NVA forces is to disrupt elections by the people, both to intimidate them into NOT voting, or to prevent the 'people' from holding fair democratic elections. All part of the effort to take over the country and impose a communist regime on them.
Combat operations in war that are not only totally successful against a determined and experienced foe, but also result in few or no casualties to one's side, are rare. In this case it was rare enough that I was ordered to write up a detailed report, which was read and applauded, not only at the Brigade and Division - 2 star - Command level, but also at Field Force - 3 star -(Corps) and MACV - 4 star - (Country Highest military) level.
Here is that report, complete with maps. It is in PDF format. I will discuss, and in some cases I can illustrate it. There are very helpful maps with sketches overlaying them attached to the 7 pages of text.
THE WHOLE REPORT
One humerous side note
Captain Wroblowski, the Navy grad who transferred to the Army to become a fighting Infantry officer, as I, tongue in cheek in my official report reported that he lost his Annapolis class ring when he fell in mud during the assault in 1967 still lives in Texas.
I learned from him a few months ago (2007), that about 3 years ago, the Annapolis Association of Grads sent him a letter that a farmer in Tay Ninh province had found his ring in the field (38 years later), took it to a Vietnamese jeweler who figured out what it was – with his name engraved in – wrote to the US Navy, who got the message to him. And offered to sell it back to him – for $5,000.
Since he had long since gotten a replacement, he declined.
The Battle Field
This was near the climax of the operation, as I had my command chopper drop me off right behind my small force that was already in contact with the enemy. The enemy is to the left, and I am getting ready to join the assault while the lead is really beginning to fly. It is not considered the proper - safe - thing to do for a Lt Colonel Batallion Commander (of 800 men) to plunge right into the middle of a firefight with only a handful of my soldiers - but it was now or never for us to overrun the enemy and I felt I needed to be at the 'point of the sword' to insure it was inserted perfectly.
|Below the assault that I joined (just beyond the furthest man, while a combat photographer who got off my chopper with me took this very rare shot, for the enemy infantry was just to the left, as we swept over them, killing all of them.|
|Below, is me with my Brigade Commander, who watched the entire operation from about 1,500 feet up above the fight. Here is some of the weapons we captured|
The Viet Cong were totally annhilated - no prisoners.
Thats how the Wolfhounds voted against the Communists on Election Day!