1/14th Press Release
Front page of Official 1/14th Press Release dated 22 January, 1968.
1ST BATTALION, 14TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96355
22 January 1968
At approximately 0915H 17 January 1968, B Company, 1st Battalion, l4th Infantry (Golden Dragons) and Fox Force, the Reconnaissance Platoon, all of the 3d Brigade Task Force, Operation Muscatine, participated in a Combined combat assault which resulted in one of the most decisive military victories in the battalion's recent history. The outstanding success of the operation can be attributed to the sound tactical coordination of elements of the battalion by the battalion staff, the insight and flexibility of the Ground company commander and most of all to the personal bravery and exceptional courage of the individual soldiers who executed their assigned mission in the best tradition of the military service.
In its initial phase, a concept of operation was developed on l0 January. At this time, the Golden Dragon Tactical Operations Center analyzed reports from higher headquarters, available intelligence agencies and airborne personnel detectors. The combined staff determination was that enemy Local Force guerrillas were present in strength in the vicinity or the Village An Thinh(2) located near the battalion's north boundary line. Lieutenant Colonel George L Ball, the Battalion commander, reviewed the recommendation and made a positive decision not to exploit the area under consideration until maximum tactical advantage could be afforded. It was at this time that the Golden Dragon Battalion commander conferred with Lieutenant Colonel Paul A Roach Jr. of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry, located to the north, and they mutually concluded that 17 January should be the date of the planned mission.
The basic concept of operations involved a combat assault of one Golden Dragon company onto the Batangan Peninsula on the 16th of January with a later deployment to the south of the objective area. Simultaneously, the 1st of the 52nd Infantry would occupy blocking positions to the north while elements of 1st of the 14th Infantry air assaulted and swept through the suspected energy position. The enemy would in effect be surrounded by blocking forces to the north and south, the South China Sea to the east and the assaulting elements moving from the west.
On 16 January, as enemy activity in the area increased, two platoons of "D" Company combat assaulted onto the Batangan Peninsula, east of An Thinh(2).
They encountered light enemy contact and towards evening, proceeded to blocking positions on high ground northeast of the village. In the meantime, Major James T Campbell, the Battalion Operations Officer, effected liaison and coordination with elements of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry, in conjunction with current concept of operations, blocking positions were selected by Lieutenant Colonel Paul A Roach Jr. north of AO GRANT in the vicinity of An Thinh(l), An Thigh(4) and Lac Son(7). Detailed coordination and planning were made with attached artillery and supporting gunships of "Aloha Airlines", "Dolphin and Shark" army aircraft.
In the early morning hours of 17 January, A Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry reported receiving heavy enemy contact including light machinegun fire in the vicinity of one of their planned blocking positions. Based on a recommendation of Lieutenant Colonel Paul R Roach Jr. and concurred on by the 1st of the 14th Infantry staff, the Golden Dragon Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel George L Ball, changed the landing zones for B Company to a more appropriate location closer to the contact area. A quick aerial reconnaissance was made by the Battalion S2 (Captain Charles L Cosand) and Artillery Liaison Officer (Captain Jack Jones) to pinpoint the new landing zone. Prompt, but exact adjusted coordination was then made by the battalion commander with ground forces, the artillery fire support, airlift aircraft and support of armed helicopters. Quick, effective response was given by all concerned.
Upon entering the landing zone, all elements were deployed as planned. Under the control of B Company Commander, the forces consolidated and were approaching the objective area on four individual axes. However, within minutes, they began receiving intense hostile fire from fortified bunker positions that were expertly concealed in trenches and high brush. Fox Force was the first to initiate contact with the enemy; one friendly casualty was incurred from VC hand grenades. At this time, supporting armed helicopters of "Aloha Airlines" detected enemy emplacements in an elaborate tunnel complex surrounding a nearby village. They delivered deadly suppressive fire on the fleeing enemy, thereby holding them in place until they were thoroughly overcome by assaulting elements of B Company and the Reconnaissance Platoon. The supporting fire fell close to the advancing troops and effectively neutralized much of the resistance in B Company's path. The Company Commander, First Lieutenant Bruce Shipley, exhibited brilliant organizational and tactical ability in successfully coordinating his platoons, Fox Force and an element of D Company, sweeping from the opposite direction. Noteworthy assistance was rendered by First Lieutenant Terry E. Bender, the Battalion Recon Platoon Leader, whose courage and inspirational leadership were clearly instrumental in the ultimate destruction of the enemy force.
Weapons captured from enemy positions within the village.
Members of Fox Force secure civilians during village sweep.
Resting enemy soldiers captured
by Fox Force during assault on the village.
Hours later, after extensive mop up operations consisting mostly of searching out the tunnel complexes, the results of the battlefield sacrifices and the meticulous detailed planning were assessed in the Battalion Tactical Operations Center. More than eighty of the hostile forces were killed. Eight were captured, thirty-six weapons seized, while only three light casualties were sustained by friendly forces.
1LT Bruce Shipley interrogates prisoner in Bravo Company's blocking position west of the Village.
17 January 1968 Battalion Journal Summary
1/14th Infantry continued operations in AO GRANT. Bravo Company and Fox conducted CA to a LZ vic of AN THINH(2). 1/52(-) occupied blocking positions along the AO boundary and made contact prior to LZ time. The LZ was changed and Bravo Company and Fox swept into AN THINH while Delta Company(2 platoons) blocked to the South along the coast. As Fox made contact, Aloha and Sharks engaged the VC in hedgerow/trench systems. The enemy broke into the open in several instances and were easy shooting. Others hid in caves located in the trench rows and tunnel rats were employed. 2nd Platoon of Delta Company was CA to beach in order to sweep to the blocking positions occupied by 1/52nd. After Sweeping the area the results were noteworthy.