Challenge Coin
Challenge Coin

 

Battle of Suoi Tre (Fire Support Base Gold) - March 21, 1967

Battle of FSB Burt - January 1, 1968

Battle of Dau Tieng - February 22 - 23, 1969

Battle of the Crescent - May 12 to 14, 1969


 

Suoi Tre - March 21, 1967

The Recommendation of a Presidential Unit Citation below has significantly more information that the actual Presidential Unit Citation.

Audio tape of TV report + Takes a long time to load so be patient

 [the text below has bee n reformatted for economy, for the actual text in the recommendation see the li nk above]

HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE

4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

APO SAN FRANCISCO 96268

 AVDDC-CO                                                                                                    1 April 1967

 SUBJECT:   Recommendation for the Presidential Unit Citation

 THRU:         Commanding General

                     25th Infantry Division

                     APO SF  96225

  THRU:        Commanding General

                     II Field Force

                    APO SF  96266

 TO:             Commanding General

                   United States Army, Viet Nam

                   APO SF  96307

             1.  The Presidential Unit Citation is recommended for the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and all assigned and attached units (see Enclosure 2), for their actions on 21 March 1967.

             2.  On 19 March 1967 elements of the 3d Brigade made an opposed airmobile assault into a small clearing near the abandoned village of Suoi Tre in central War Zone C, Republic of Viet Nam, at coordinates XT385708.  Their mission was to establish a Fire Support Base at the location of the air landing to support further offensive operations.  The Fire Support Base was code named “Gold” after the code name of the landing zone.  By late afternoon on 19 March the 2d Bn 77th Artillery (105mm) had been airlifted into position.  On 20 March the 2d Bn 12th Inf, under the command of LTC Joe F. Elliot, had moved west on a search and destroy mission against Viet Cong forces suspected to be in the area.  Less than two battalions of U. S. Troops now remained at Fire Support Base Gold, the 3d Bn 22d Inf (minus Company C), commanded by LTC John A. Bender, and the 2d Bn, 77th Artillery, commanded by LTC Jack Vessey.  Total complement of U. S. troops at Fire Support Base Gold was less than 450.  To the south, the 2d Bn 22d Inf (M) under the command of LTC Ralph Julian, and the 2d Bn 34th Armor (minus company B) under the command of LTC Raymond L. Stailey were attempting to cross the Suoi Samat River and join the 2d Bn 12th Inf in an offensive sweep to the west.  During the afternoon of 20 March the Brigade Commander observed 30 – 35 Viet Cong 2,000 meters southwest at Fire Support Base Gold.  The enemy was engaged with artillery and all units were alerted to the possibility of enemy activity.

             3.  At first light on 21 March 1967, in accordance with standing operating procedures, a stand-to was conducted in FSB Gold and a security patrol from 3d Bn, 22d Inf began a sweep of the perimeter.  This action prematurely triggered an attack on FSB Gold which subsequently proved to be the largest single attack and the most catastrophic enemy defeat of the war to date.

             4.  As the security patrol moved to sweep the perimeter, the enemy force began a heavy mortar attack at 0640 hours followed minutes later by a ground assault from the north, east, and south.  This enemy force was later determined to be approximately 2,500 men strong, composed of three battalions of the 272d VC Main Force Regiment reinforced by two attritional battalions, and supported by the U-80 Artillery Regiment.  The mortar attack consisted of some 500-700 rounds of both 60mm and 82mm.  At Brigade Headquarters, thirteen thousand meters southwest, an alert that FSB Gold was under attack was relayed to all elements of the Brigade.  B Btry, 3/13 Arty (115 SP), C Btry 1/8 Arty (105mm), B Btry, 2/32 Arty (8-inch and 175mm), B Btry, 2/35 Arty (155 SP), all located within supporting distance of FSB Gold, commenced firing preplanned defensive fires into every clearing large enough for the enemy to use as a mortar position around Fire Support Base Gold.  The Brigade Commander, Colonel Marshall B. Garth, and the Brigade Sergeant Major, AMG Bill V. Woods, boarded the only available aircraft, an OH 23-G helicopter, and flew from Soui Da to the scene of the battle.  Simultaneously, the Forward Air Controller from Dau Tieng and fighter pilots from Bien Hoa Airbase scrambled their aircraft.  Less then 20 minutes from the impact of the first mortar round, the small force at FSB Gold was engaged in a bitter, hand-to-hand struggle with the enemy.

             5.  The situation inside FSB Gold had by this time become so critical that howitzers within the perimeter were lowered to fire directly into the waves of advancing enemy soldiers.  The tenaciously held perimeter of the Fire Support Base had been penetrated in the north and southeast by 0751 hours.  During this penetration the enemy succeeded in overrunning and destroying one M-55 Quad .50 caliber machine gun and actually penetrating one of the howitzer positions.  The other Quad .50 MG had been destroyed by an anti-tank round during the initial attack.  In all, two howitzers were totally destroyed by mortar and anti-tank rounds, and nine others were damaged.  In addition, many of the more than 500 RPG-II anti-tank rounds which were fired into the support base landed in the ammunition stores.  In spite of the withering small arms fire and the exploding stores of 105mm ammunition, the gun crews remained at their guns, cannibalizing the destroyed howitzers to keep the damaged ones firing.  Crew members from destroyed guns carried ammunition and steeped in to fill vacancies as casualties occurred in the operation crews.  All cooks, clerks, and other available personnel of the artillery battalion which had been formed into a preplanned reaction force, now moved to block the penetration of the infantry’s perimeter.  By this time the infantry soldiers on the perimeter of the FSB who were subjected to the brunt of the assault were fighting from isolated positions as the determined enemy force penetrated and encircled the U.S. defensive positions.  Small elements of the U. S. soldiers fighting fiercely in hand-to-hand combat continued to resist the assaulting enemy.  As the fighting intensified and ammunition stocks depleted friendly troops reacted quickly to the situation, seizing weapons and ammunition from the dead and wounded enemy.  During the course of the action, the penetrating Viet Cong threatened the Command Post of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry and the Fire Direction Center of the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery.  These positions were successfully defended, however, and the enemy assault was repulsed after suffering numerous casualties.  Twenty-six dead Viet Cong soldiers were found within 50 meters of the artillery Fire Direction Center.  By the time the relief force reached the scene of the battle it was estimated that over half of the troops on the eastern portion of the perimeter had exhausted their own ammunition and were using captured AK-47’s and Chicom carbines.

             6.  Meanwhile, two defensive ambush patrols from 3d Bn, 22d Inf, composed of 15 men from Company A, 3d Bn, 22d Infantry at XT384709 and 12 men from Company B, 3d Bn, 22d Infantry at XT388702 reported “hundreds” of Viet Cong all around their positions.  The patrols were told to remain in their ambush sites and move back to the perimeter at the first opportunity.  Prior to their withdrawal they reported enemy carrying parties pulling “hundreds” of dead and wounded VC to the rear.  Both patrols eventually made it back to the perimeter, however nearly half their original number were either dead or wounded.

             7.  Air strikes were called in on the outskirts of the perimeter and all supporting artillery units were firing final protective fires around the support base.  Nearly 4,100 rounds of varying caliber were used in the accomplishment of their mission.  When the Forward Air Controller directing U.S. fighter planes was shot down by enemy antiaircraft weapons, another plane was made available at Dau Tieng and a replacement FAC was on station within minutes.

             8.  Alerted at 0655 hours and ordered to move to the aid of the beleaguered defenders of FSB Gold, the 2/12 Inf, 2/22d Inf (M), and 2/34 Armor pressed on from positions as far away as 3,000 meters.  As they started to move, the 2d Bn 12th Inf was subjected to heavy concentrations of enemy mortar fire in an attempt to delay their progress.  Treating their wounded on the move, the 2d Bn 12th Inf continued to push on through 2,500 meters of heavy bamboo and underbrush toward their objective at FSB Gold.  Harassed by sniper fire and blocked by security elements of the enemy’s main attack force, the 2d Bn 12th Inf continued to advance, moving the 2,500 meters overland through dense jungle against a determined enemy in less than two hours.  The first elements of the 2d Bn, 12th Inf entered the southwestern part of the perimeter minutes before the mechanized elements arrived at 0900 hours.

             9.  For the 2/22d Inf (M) and the 2/34th Armor, the order to reinforce meant crossing the Suoi Samat River which had already halted their advance for 24 hours while they searched for a suitable crossing site the previous day.  The success of the enemy effort was dependent upon this natural obstacle to prevent the reinforcement of FSB Gold.  Realizing the urgency of the situation, a personnel carrier was quickly brought forward with the idea of sinking it in the river to serve as an expedient bridge for the remaining elements.  Meanwhile, A Co, 2/22d Inf (M), attached to the 2/34th Armor, located a possible crossing site and had pushed one APC across.  The first armored vehicle reached the far side of the river at approximately 0745 hours.  The lighter Personnel Carriers were pushed through first and the heavier tanks of the 2d Bn, 34th Armor brought up the rear.

             10.  Having been repulsed on their first attempt to overrun the FSB, the enemy mortared the objective once again and launched a second determined ground assault.  This second assault was interrupted as mechanized columns of the 2/22d Inf (M) and foot elements of the 2/12th Inf almost simultaneously broke into the clearing at 0900 hours, trapping the enemy in a murderous crossfire.  The 2/34th Armor was trailing, and swept in immediately behind the mechanized battalion.  Both the mechanized and armored elements passed through the 2d Bn, 12th Inf and swept around the southern and eastern half of the FSB while enemy troops swarmed over the APC’s.  The heavy guns of the tanks were firing direct fire at point blank range into the teeming mass of troops as the enemy panicked and attempted to flee.  After the mechanized units assisted in breaking the force of the attack in the eastern and southern flanks, the 2d Bn, 12th Inf moved in on the west and northwest, sweeping the entire perimeter and neutralizing the small remaining pockets of resistance.  The full force of available air and artillery support was brought to bear against the Viet Cong force which was now desperately trying to break contact.

             11.  At 0931 hours, during the first lull in the fighting, with dazed VC still wandering inside the perimeter, the Brigade Commander directed his UH1-D Command ship to land in the center of the battle area.  Without hesitation, Colonel Garth directed that his helicopter be used to evacuate the wounded while he remained at FSB Gold to personally direct the conduct of the action.

             12.  Behind the scene of the fighting in Suoi Tre there was another kind of battle going on, one that drew on the resources and ingenuity of all support personnel in the Brigade.  All available ammunition stores for both howitzers and small arms were rapidly being depleted.  Thousands of meters away, at Dau Tieng Base Camp, at Suoi Da, and at Tay Ninh, the support and service elements of the Brigade were moving and loading tons of ammunition on UH1-d and CH-47 helicopters which flew, in spite of a heavy could cover, to begin the tedious and dangerous task of resupplying ammunition to the engaged units.  At FSB Bronze, the primary support base for FSB Gold, the first resupply of howitzer ammunition was airlifted in minutes before the last on-hand round was slammed into the breech of a howitzer of C Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty.

             13.  By 1145 hours the intensity of the fight had tapered off and there remained only the slow task of clearing the battlefield.  The scope of the battle was so vast that five days later security and ambush patrols from FSB Gold found weapons and bodies, and captured wounded prisoners up to 1500 meters away.

             14.  In just over five hours of intense fighting the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division used the following amounts of ordnance:

                         2/77 Arty                                          2,200 rounds of 105mm He

                                                                                40 rounds of 105mm Beehive

                         C, 1/8 Arty                                          1,008 rounds of 105mm HE

                         B, 3/13 Arty                                          357 rounds of 105mm HE

                         B, 2/35 Arty                                          357 rounds of 105mm HE

                         B, 2/32 Arty                                          22 rounds 175mm; 20 rounds 8 inch

                         7th Air Force (14 immediate                   34 tons of ordnance, not including

                        missions consisting of 31                     20mm used in strafing runs

                        sorties along the perimeter

                        of FSB Gold; additional

                        missions were flown in        

                        pursuit of the withdrawing

                        Viet Cong)

            15.  The infantry units in contact used approximately 90% of the two basic loads, carried by all the units, of small arms ammunit8ion, grenades, claymores, 81mm and 4.2 inch mortar ammunition.

             16.  Total U. S. casualties for the battle of Suoi Tre were 31 KIA and 187 wounded in action, 92 of which were evacuated.  The remaining wounded were treated on the scene and returned to duty.  By mid-afternoon of 21 March all U. S. personnel were accounted for with none missing or captured.

             17.  Enemy killed numbered 647 by body count.  Ten prisoners, to include one wounded prisoner found two days later, were captured.  Two of the prisoners later died of wounds.  From the patrol reports of the 2d Bn 22d Infantry and interrogation of prisoners and defectors, it was conservatively estimated that at least 200 more of the enemy were killed and evacuated.

             18.  Analysis of the enemy actions of 21 March 1967 indicate an intent to conduct a ground attack against the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry immediately following the mortar attack on that unit.  Only the early commitment of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry prevented the ground attack.  The entire movement of the battalion was subjected to continuous sniper fire from the north flank.  The presence of the great numbers of anti-tank weapons further indicated that the Viet Cong expected a quick “roll-up” of Fire Support Base Gold followed by an engagement with the mechanized forces.  In spite of a heavy preponderance of automatic and anti-tank weapons, the Viet Cong force was so thoroughly defeated that the mechanized forces suffered only two slightly wounded personnel.  Not one M-113 armored personnel carrier or M48A3 tank was struck by anti-tank fire during the course of the engagement.

                                                             MARSHALL B. GARTH

                                                            Colonel, Infantry

                                                            Commanding

 HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE

4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

APO San Francisco 96268

AVDDC-A                                                                                            29 March 1967

            1.  Significant enemy weapons and ammunition captured during the battle of Suoi Tre:

                        a. WEAPON                                                        NUMBERED CAPTURED

 

                            RPG-2                                                                         50

                            LMG                                                                             30

                            AK-47                                                                          49

                            US Browning Auto Rifle                                                         13

                            US M-14                                                                                    5

                            SKS Carbine                                                               12

                            Chicom 7.92 Rifle                                                                 13

                            US M-79 Grenade Launcher                                               2

                            US 12-guage shotgun                                                             3

                            Pistol P-38                                                                                3

                            US Rifle, M-1                                                               10

                         b. AMMUNITION

                             31,000 rounds of small arms ammunition

                              1,900 stick grenades

                                 580 rounds of RPG-2 ammunition

                                   40 rounds of 75mm Recoilless Rifle ammunition

                                   28 rounds of 57mm Recoilless Rifle ammunition

                                   21 DH-10 claymore mines

                                     8 DH-2 claymore mines

             2.  Intelligence summary of enemy situation at time of the battle:

                         a. Approximately 2,300 pounds of assorted Viet Cong equipment and web     gear were collected and destroyed during an after battle police of the battle area.

                         b. Based on information from captured documents and statements from prisoners of war, it has been determined that 3d Brigade forces were attacked by the 27d main force Viet Cong Regiment and two additional Viet Cong battalions.  This attack was supported by elements of the U-80 Artillery Regiment.  Prisoner of war interrogation reports revealed the average strength of each battalion to have been approximately 400 men.  The attacking VC force was well armed and possessed large quantities of ammunition.  Captured weapons were in excellent operation condition, and in many instances, were new.

HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE

4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

APO San Francisco 96268

 AVDDC-A                                                                                            29 March 1967

             1.  Enemy and friendly casualties sustained in the battle of Soui Tre:

                         a. FRIENDLY:

                             United States troops killed in action:             33

                            United States troops wounded in action:           187

                            United States troops missing in action:                        0

                         b. ENEMY:

                             Viet Cong killed in action (body count):             647

                            Viet Cong killed in action (possible):                 200

                            Viet Cong captured:                                             10

                            Viet Cong suspects detained:                                   0

 HEADQUARTERS, 3D BRIGADE

4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

APO San Francisco 96268

            AVDDG-A                                                                              30 March 1967

                        Supporting Units during the battle of Soui Tre:

                                    ARTILLERY:

                                                                                    ROUNDS            COMMAND

                                    UNIT                POSITION       FIRED             RELATIONSHIP

 

                                    B Btry, 2d            XT281684      357                  General Support

                                    Bn, 35th

                                    Arty

                                    (155mm SP)

                                    B Btry, 2d            XT344577      8” – 20

                                    Bn, 32d                              175mm – 22            General Support,

                                    Arty (8” &                                                          Reinforcing

                                    175mm)

                                    US AIR FORCE:

                                    7TH Air Force – 14 immediate missions consisting of 31 sorties.

                                    OTHER AIRCRAFT SUPPORT:

                                    Light Fire Team – 335th Combat Assault Helicopter Company

                                    Light Fire Team – D Trp, 3d Sq, 4th Cav (4 AC)

                                    116th Combat Assault Helicopter Company (9 AC plus 1 Light Fire

                                    Team)

                                    3 – CH47 – 178th Combat Assault Support Helicopter Company

                                    1 – CH47 – 213th Combat Assault Support Helicopter Company

                                    Co A, 25th Avn Bn (2 Aircraft)

                                    Dustoff (Exact designation unknown)

HEADQUARTERS, 3D BRIGADE

4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

APO San Francisco 96268

 

AVDDC-A                                                                                            30 March 1967

 

Task Organization, 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division – 21 March 1967

 Bde Control

            HHC, 3d Bde

            Co C, 4th Engr Bn (-)

            2d Plat, Trp C, 1st Sq, 10th Cav

            4th Section, 1st Platoon, Btry D, 5th Bn, 2d Arty (Duster)

 TASK FORCE TANKER

            2d Bn, 34th Armor (-)

                        Co C, 2d Bn, 34th Armor

                        Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf (M)

 2d Bn, 77th Artillery (Reinforced)

            Btry C, 1st Bn, 8th Artillery (105mm)

            Btry B, 3d Bn, 13th Artillery (155 SP)

            1st & 4th Squads, 4th Section, Btry D, 71st Arty (Quad 50)

            3d Section, 1st Platoon, Btry D, 5th Bn, 2d Arty (Duster)

 Bde Rear

Troop C, 1st Sq, 10th Cav (-)

44th Infantry Platoon, Scout Dog (-)

3d Platoon, 4th MP Co                                     TASK FORCE FULLBACK

20th Public Information Det                                          2d Bn, 22d Infantry (M)  (-)

10th AA Plat, 24 CA Company                                Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf (M)

Tm, 246th Psyops Co                                                      Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf (M)

3d Support Bn (Prov)                                                  Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf (M) 34th Armor

            3d S&T Co (Prov)                                                Squad, 44th IPSD

            Co B, 704th Maint Bn                                     3 Teams, Co C, 4th Engr Bn

            Co D, 4th Medical Bn

                                                                                    3d Bn, 22d Infantry

                                                                                          Squad, 44th IPSD

                                                                                     2d Bn, 12th Infantry

                                                                                         Squad, 44th IPSD

                                                            The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded by direction of the President of the United States to:

 THE 3D BRIGADE, 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

AND

ASSIGNED AND ATTACHED UNITS

HEADQUARTERS COMPANY, 3D BRIGADE, 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION

2D BATTALION, 12TH INFANTRY

2D BATTALION, 22D INFANTRY (MECHANIZED)

3D BATTALION, 22D INFANTRY

2D BATTALION, 77TH ARTILLERY

2D BATTALION, 34TH ARMOR

            HEADQUARTERS COMPANY, 2D BATTALION, 34TH ARMOR

            COMPANY A, 2D BATTALION, 34TH ARMOR

            COMPANY C, 2D BATTALION, 34TH ARMOR

44TH INFANTRY PLATOON, SCOUT DOG

COMPANY C, 4TH ENGINEER BATTALION

BATTERY C, 1ST BATTALION, 8TH ARTILLERY (105mm)

BATTERY B, 3D BATTALION, 13TH ARTILLERY (155 SP)

1ST AND 4TH SQUADS, 4TH SECTION BATTERY D, 71ST ARTILLERY (QUAD 50)

3D AND 4TH SECTIONS, 1ST PLATOON, BATTERY D, 5TH BATTALION,

     2D ARTILLERY (DUSTER)

C TROOP, 1ST SQUADRON, 10TH CAVALRY

TEAM, 246TH PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS COMPANY

3D SUPPORT BATTALION (PROVISIONAL)

            3D S & T COMPANY (PROVISIONAL)

            COMPANY B, 704TH MAINTENANCE BATTALION

            COMPANY D, 4TH MEDICAL BATTALION

20TH PUBLIC INFORMATION DETACHMENT

10TH AA PLATOON, 2D CIVIL AFFAIRS COMPANY

3D PLATOON, 2D CIVIL AFFAIRS COMPANY

3D PLATOON, 4TH MILITARY POLICE COMPANY

COMPANY C, 588TH ENGINEER BATTALION

19TH TACTICAL AIR SUPPORT SQUADRON

                                                                  FOR

EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM

            The 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and the Attached and Assigned Units distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroism while engaged in military operations on 21 March 1967 in the vicinity of SUOI TRE, Republic of Viet Nam.  The members of this Brigade and the foregoing units demonstrated indomitable courage and professional skill while engaging an estimated force of approximately 2500 Viet Cong.  During the early morning hours of 21 March 1967, an estimated force of 2500 Viet Cong launched a massive and determined ground attack against elements of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry and 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery located at Fire Support Base Gold near Suoi Tre, Republic of Viet Nam.  Opening the engagement with an intense mortar attack, the enemy force, later identified as the 272d Main Force Regiment, reinforced by two additional infantry battalions, struck the perimeter in three separate location.

            Due to the ferocity of the assault and the overwhelming number of enemy troops, untenable positions in the north and south-east were overrun within the first 30 minutes of the battle despite determined resistance by friendly forces.  As the enemy penetrated the perimeter, the American troops set up an interim perimeter and continued to direct withering fire on the enemy.  When the Viet Cong directed anti-tank fire upon the artillery positions, heroic gun crews cannibalized parts from damaged guns, and, at several points, fired directly into the advancing enemy including the firing of “bee-hive” ammunition through gaps in the perimeter.

            While the battle continued to rage and grow in intensity, the Brigade Commander was directing the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry (Mechanized) and the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor, to the besieged fire support base.  At the same time, the support and service elements of the brigade began a furious aerial resupply of ammunition and medical supplies from the Brigade Rear base camp at Dau Tieng.

            As the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry began its overland move to the fire support base approximately 2,500 meters distant, a heavy concentration of enemy mortar fire was directed upon their position, killing one man and wounding 20 others.  Undaunted, the battalion moved nearly 2,500 meters in less than two hours despite constant blocking and harassment efforts by the enemy.  Concurrently with the movement of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, mechanized and armor elements began moving across the Suoi Samat River at a ford which had only recently been located and which previously had been thought impassable.

            Driving towards the fire support base, the mechanized unit followed by the armor battalion, drove into the western sector of the engaged perimeter passing through engaged elements of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry.  Striking the Viet Cong on the flank, the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry smashed through the enemy with such intensity and ferocity that the enemy attack faltered and broke.  As the fleeing and now shattered enemy force retreated to the north-east, the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor swept the position destroying large numbers of Viet Cong who were now in full retreat.

            Throughout the battle, fighters of the United States Air Force, directed by the Brigade’s Forward Air Controllers, provided close support to the fire support base and hammered enemy concentrations outside the perimeter.  As the FAC aircraft dived through heavy anti-aircraft fire to mark enemy positions, the plane was hit by ground fire and crashed killing both occupants.

            After securing the fire support base, a sweep of the area was conducted, revealing a total of 647 Viet Cong bodies and 10 enemy captured.  It is estimated that an additional 200 enemy were killed as a result of the aerial and artillery bombardment.  Friendly casualties were extremely light, resulting in only 33 killed and 187 wounded of whom approximately 90 were returned to duty.

            Through their fortitude and determination, the personnel of the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and attached units were able in great measure to cripple a large Viet Cong Force.  Their devotion to duty and extraordinary heroism reflect distinct credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States

Text of Presidential Unit Citation

taken from the award.

Award of the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) by The President of the United States of America to the following unit of the Armed Forces of the United States is confirmed in accordance with paragraph 194, AR 672-5-1.  The text of the citation, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on 23 September 1968, reads as follows:

            By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United Stated and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I have today awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for extraordinary heroism to:

3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

Brigade Command and Control Party at FSB Gold

3rd battalion (less Company C), 22nd Infantry

2nd Battalion (less Company B), 34th Armor

2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery

2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry

2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry

             The 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and the attached and assigned units distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroism while engaged in military operations on 21 March 1967 in Suoi Tre, Republic of Vietnam.  During the early morning hours the Viet Cong 272nd Main Force Regiment, reinforced, launched a massive and determined ground attack and overran elements of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery, located at Fire Support Base Gold near Suoi Tre, Republic of Vietnam.  As the enemy penetrated the perimeter, the American troops set up an interim perimeter and continued to fire on the enemy.  When the Viet Cong directed anti-tank fire upon the artillery position, heroic gun crews repaired their damaged guns and, at several points, fired directly into the advancing enemy.  While the battle continued to rage and grow in intensity, the Brigade Commander was directing the 2nd Battalions of the 12gh Infantry, the 22nd Infantry (Mechanized), and the 34th Armor, to the besieged fire support base.  At the same time, the support and service elements of the brigade began a furious aerial resupply of ammunition and medical supplies from the brigade rear base camp at Dau Tieng.  As the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, began its overland move to the fire support base, a heavy concentration of enemy mortar fire was directed upon their positions.  Concurrently, mechanized and armor elements began moving across the Suoi Samat River at a ford which had only recently been located and which previously had been thought impassable.  The mechanized unit, followed by the armor battalion, drove into the western sector of the engaged perimeter passing through engaged elements of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry.  Striking the Viet Cong on the flank, the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, smashed through the enemy with such intensity and ferocity that the enemy attack faltered and broke.  As the fleeing and now shattered enemy force retreated to the northeast, the 2nd Battalion, 34gh Armor, swept the position destroying large numbers of Viet Cong.  Throughout the battle, fighters of the United States Air Force, directed by the brigade’s forward air controllers, provided close support to the fire support base and hammered enemy concentrations outside the perimeter.  As the Forward Air Controller aircraft dived through heavy anti-aircraft fire to mark enemy positions, the plane was hit by ground fire, and crashed.  After securing the fire support base, a sweep of the area was conducted, revealing a total of 647 Viet Cong bodies and 10 enemy captured.  It is estimated that an additional 200 enemy were killed as a result of the aerial and artillery bombardments.  Friendly casualties were extremely light, resulting in only 33 killed and 187 wounded.  Through their fortitude and determination, the personnel of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and attached units were able in great measure to cripple a large Viet Cong force.  Their devotion to duty and extraordinary heroism reflect distinct credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States.  

 

Dau Tieng - February 22 - 23, 1969

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

(view or download this document in PDF format)

HEADQUARTERS, 2D BATTALION (MECH) 22D INFANTRY

APO 96268

1.  IDENTIFICATION AND TYPE OF UNIT:  2d Battalion (Mech) 22d Infantry

2.  TIME:  222330 Feb to 230800 Feb 69

3.  LOCATION:  Dau Tieng Base Camp

4.  COMMAND AND CONTROL:  Headquarters, 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division

5.  TAS ORGANIZATION:  2d Battalion (Mech) 22d Infantry

6.  SUPPORTING FORCES:              a. USAF (Tac Air)

                                                            b. Artillery

                                                            c. Gun Ships

                                                            d. Flare Ships

7.  INTELLIGENCE:  Various reports had been received that the enemy was grouping in the area with the mission of attacking the Dau Tieng Base Camp and fire support bases throughout the 3d Brigade are of operation.

8.  MISSION:  2d Bn (M) 22d Inf was to have one platoon of Co B and the scout platoon present in Dau Tieng as the base camp reaction force, 2d Bn 22d Inf was also to occupy 12 bunkers along the north and east of the perimeter and 2 on the south side of the perimeter.  The personnel occupying the bunkers were members of the rear detachment to include cooks, supply personnel, clerks, and mechanics.  Co A was to remain ready to react from Fire Support Base Wood II and Company B from their night defensive position.

9.  CONCEPT OF OPERATION:  The rear detachment of 2d Bn (M) 22d Inf would occupy 12 bunkers covering the north and northeast of the base camp perimeter.  They would also occupy 2 bunkers on the south.  Companies A, B, and C would be prepared to move into blocking positions and to react to the base camp.

10.  Execution:  At 2330, Dau Tieng came under extremely heavy mortar and rocket attack.  Within 15 minutes, the enemy shifted their indirect fires inside the perimeter and made a ferocious attack on the berm line.  Although almost the entire perimeter was receiving very heavy RPG, recoilless rifle, machine gun, and small arms fire, the main attack came from the southeast and south.  Moving into the wire in waves, the enemy was able to breach the wire on the east end of the active runway.  At the outset of the attack the scout platoon from Co B was alerted and was ordered to reinforce the perimeter at the east end of the runway.  Arriving only minutes later, three of the APC’s moved on line 100 meters north of the runway and began placing heavy fire to the are a of the breach.  The other two tracks in the platoon moved directly to the runway to attempt to reinforce the bunkers on each side.  Bunker 65 was on the north and 66 on the south.  The enemy had managed to breach the wire in front of bunker 65 and were in the drainage ditches along the sides of the runway and were attacking the bunkers from the rear.  As the tracks approached, the enemy in the ditches were firing RPG’s.  As the APC’s arrived at bunker 65 it was struck with an RPG round and was on fire.  Those who were able returned fire and on one occasion a man who had been blown off the tracks had jumped two of the enemy in the ditch.  As his weapon had been destroyed in the explosion, he fought them with his hands.  He was mortally wounded in the fight but he delayed the enemy long enough for his fellow soldiers to move out of the open.  The personnel of the track at bunker 66 seeing this immediately assaulted across the runway.  Receiving RPG fire from both front and rear they placed suppressive fire on the enemy long enough for the men of the disabled track to get their wounded to safety.  Despite 2 RPG rounds that had pierced the APC, it was able to pull back with the remainder of the platoon and support by fire.  Bunker 66 was still in need of assistance.  Disregarding a warning that it would be suicidal to take another track back across to bunker 66 the men volunteered and moved one track across the runway to bunker 66.  Braving extremely heavy fire from both front and rear the APC was able to hold off the enemy until it was whit with an RPG round and burned.  The driver of the track although wounded and shaken was able to locate a 2/4 ton truck with three of the tires flat.  Knowing the necessity of getting medical care for the wounded he drove the track to the vicinity of bunker 66 and transported the wounded to the hospital.  Throughout the night he drove to and from the airstrip evacuating the wounded.  At this time gunships were firing rockets down the runway and artillery was firing beehive to attempt to keep the enemy out.

     While the above was taking place the mechanics who were in the bunkers on the south edge of the perimeter were under heavy attack.  The wire had been breached on both of the mechanic’s flanks; however, they prevented a break in their sector and they attempted to keep the breach closed with fire even though some of the enemy had managed to break through and were attacking bunkers 86 and 88 from the rear.  The mechanics knowing the importance of maintaining their position held out under overwhelming odds.  Many of the men were wounded and one man had been killed by an RPG which hit the rear of the bunker.  The platoon of Co B which had been moved to the airstrip was ordered to reinforce.  Co B was ordered to send another platoon to reinforce the Dau Tieng Bridge and Co A was ordered to move to the vicinity of the Ben Cui along Route 19 to block.

     Braving intense fire the reaction platoon inside the base camp was able to reinforce the bunkers.  The perimeter was once again restored.  As the platoon from Co B approached the Dau Tieng Bridge they were met with heavy RPG and automatic weapons fire.  Breaking through the enemy positions they were able to reach the bridge and help drive the enemy off.  The bunkers in the vicinity were becoming extremely low on ammunition; seeing this, the men began to re-supply them from the ammunition on the tracks.

     Throughout the night all elements bravely fought in the face of overwhelming odds and were able to hold.

     At first light, a Chinook which was to evacuate casualties was unable to land because the LZ was not secured.  Learning of this, mechanics, clerks, and supply personnel volunteered to take a VTR, a ¾ ton truck and a 2 ½ ton, all with machine guns mounted  to the LZ.  Moving through heavy sniper fire they were able to secure the LZ and the wounded were evacuated.

     Throughout the night, countless deeds of heroism and valor went almost unnoticed as the aggressiveness, devotion to duty, professionalism and complete disregard for personal safety appeared to be the rule rather than the exception.  From the moment of contact all the medics volunteered to assist in the area of contact although it was outside of the battalion area of responsibility.  Braving almost impossible odds they crawled, ran, and drove through enemy fire to assist and evacuate the wounded.

     Shortly after BMNT Co A was ordered to move from its blocking position and conduct a RIF around the outside of the perimeter while the platoon of Co B at the bridge was moved into the base camp to help find and destroy the enemy still remaining inside the wire.  At the same time Co C was ordered to move from Fire Support Base Wood II, through Dau Tieng and into the Michelin.  Five hundred meters east of Dau Tieng, Co C began pushing north along the Michelin truck route.  Receiving fire from snipers which the enemy had employed in an effort to delay the mechanized company, Co C courageously braved the fire and passed on to establish contact with the withdrawing enemy, eliminating the snipers as they passed.  Co C’s actions drove the enemy into friendly blocking forces in the northern Michelin.

     All elements were extremely successful in completing their mission and by 1000 hours the base camp was once again secure.

11.  RESULTS:  The enemy had attempted to overrun the base camp; however, they were once again handed defeat.  Although the wire was breached in two separate locations only about 25 enemy soldiers were able to get through.

12.  ADMINISTRATION: 

            a. Enough cannot be said for the courage and valor of all elements that participated in the defense of Dau Tieng that night.  The coordination was perfect in deploying men and equipment.

            b. Medical treatment could not have been better.  All medics of the battalion who were in Dau Tieng volunteered to assist.  The enemy had broken into the perimeter and the medics had to move under fire from all directions.  They did a fantastic job.

13.  VALOR AWARDS

           a. Medal of Honor – 1

            b. Silver Star – 6

            c. Bronze Star – 15

            d. Army Commendation Medal – 7

                                                                                                             David M. Norris

                                                                                                            Major, AGC

                                                                                                            Adjutant General