1/14th Daily Journals for AUGUST 1966.
1 AUGUST 1966 – Company C was lifted into LZ 28F before noon. The Command Group, Reconnaissance Platoon, Mortar Platoon and Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery followed. When LZ 28F was secured, Bravo Company lifted into LZ 28B. All moves were made with no enemy opposition.
Reconnaissance of the area showed that the enemy had been using it, recently, as part of a route toward the west and south. The terrain was irregular, with steep, sloping hills and extremely dense undergrowth. The LZ itself (28F) was located on a slope, with high ground on the northern side. In to the hilly and irregular terrain, as well as the dense overgrowth of bamboo bushes, vines and young trees, a really good defensive position was almost impossible to develop. The cluttered vegetation and high grass also served to conceal extensive fields of punji stakes. Some of the Golden Dragons found these punji stakes the hard way.
2 AUGUST 1966 – Many signs of the presence of enemy troops were found by the aggressive patrols of Alpha and Bravo Companies. The 2nd platoon of B Company located 2 punji stake pits, while the 1st platoon of A Company found 3 hooches, with well used trails in the area. Two Viet Cong type packs containing a book, a diary, and miscellaneous items were discovered, and later on, a bag of maps was found in the same area.
An old Golden Dragon, now flying, Major James Hayes, did the battalion a great service of evacuating 5 men from Company D. These men fell victim to an accident which happens all too frequently in wartime: the shelling of troops by their own artillery.
3 AUGUST 1966 – Just before noon, Alpha Company reported contact with the VC forces at coordinates YA 984096. Suffering 2 minor casualties themselves, the men of Alpha Army counted 11 dead enemy soldiers when the shooting stopped. 8 were in khaki uniforms, 1 was dressed in the traditional black pajamas, and 2 were in Montagnard dress. 14 brand new bunkers, very strongly built, were found and destroyed. The unit received 30 to 40 rounds of enemy fire during their fight. At coordinates YA989055, a newly built bridge was found, and the unit commander felt that this was part of a communication link, was used last night by enemy forces, and again served the VC as an escape route during the recent fight. The offending bridge was destroyed.
The Golden Dragons also entered a new AO, with Company C, the Command Group. The 4.2 inch Mortars, the artillery and the recon platoon moving into LZ 36_ (YA 938692). Bravo Company moved to LZ 36K (YA 939037) and Alpha Company moved into LZ 36L (YA 935062). All of these moves were by helicopter... combat assaults were routine, yet the tension was always there as the first elements went in.
4 AUGUST 1966 – the Dragons spent the greater portion of the day getting established in AO 36. This new area was bounded on its southwest corner by the Chu Pong Mountain Masiff, while the Ia Drang River divided the area running northeast to southwest. With the Ia Drang River at an extremely high level, the Dragons knew it would be difficult to reinforce friendly troops on either side should a heavy attack be launched by the enemy. Therefore a rope bridge was constructed across the river by elements of the Recon Platoon and Company B. It was a two strand bridge consisting of four one hundred and fifty foot nylon ropes.
During the afternoon, changes in orders were received altering the exact boundaries of responsibility. Coordination was a problem the Dragons had to contend with since the beginning of operations of Paul Revere. There usually were friendly units on both flanks and secret type Recondo Teams of Special Forces personnel and their famous Nung counterparts complicating the situation. After the boundaries of the AO were finally fixed all Dragon units prepared for saturation type coverage of the area. With the defensive concentrations covering the area, the night was quiet.
5 AUGUST 1966 – the day’s action started with the 1st and 3rd platoons of Company C lifting on an Eagle Flight from LZ 36M into the north corner of AO 36. Landing against no opposition, they moved south toward the Ia Drang River. On reaching the river, remnants of fresh cut logs and a large log bridge that crossed the river were found on both sides of the river, and there was a group of "spider holes" and fighting trenches. As Captain Simcox said, "It would be a hell of a spot to get caught in an ambush".
Because of the change in boundaries, Company B was lifted from LZ 36K to a new LZ at YA 942095 (LZ 36N). The assault met no opposition and the area was immediately secured and a perimeter was rapidly established.
At 1800 hours, one of the helicopters returning Company C’s Eagle flight teams hit a large stump with its tail rotor. The chopper landed hard and collapsed one of its ground runners. None of the passengers were injured and a large Chinook soon landed and extracted the disabled bird.
Company A and B had ambush teams both situated to the west of their LZ areas. With the surveillance mission being continued to the east by sister units, the men of the 14th were now involved in a search and destroy mission, a familiar one at this stage of their work.
During the night, no enemy contact was reported.
6 - 8 AUGUST 1966 – Major Hoyt ordered each unit leader to establish blocking positions at the most favorable avenues of approach in their area.
Patrols then were to sweep the area and flush any enemy forces into the trap. During this 48 hour period Company B discovered a platoon sides base camp and while searching the area, the "Can B Done" troops suffered two punji stake wounds. Company C reported enemy movement to their front. After encountering the large enemy force, they netted three adult elephants dressed in gray uniforms escorting one baby elephant. Chargin Charlie’s enemy contact was quiet for days.
Company C’s 1st platoon moved out to conduct a search and destroy type mission. Company A (PAVN Hunters) sent two platoons south to destroy two previously reported bridges on the Ia Drang River.
At approximately 1300 hours the 1/7 Cav, from the 1st air Cav located to the east of the Dragons, reported they had a company in contact with a possible NVA heavy weapons company. By 1430 hours, it was reported that Company A 1/7 Cav was surrounded and taking heavy losses. Soon thereafter, the Brigades S-2 reported that a POW recently captured in the area claimed there were three NVA Battalions in the area where the 1/7 Cav was in contact.
The Dragon’s Company C was immediately put on standby and Company B was immediately put on standby and Company B departed on foot from LZ 36N to LZ 36M to assume Company C’s task of CP security. Company C at 1800 hours began to lift into LZ 36Z and immediately went into blocking positions along the northern border of the Ia Drang River. At 2120, Colonel Procter received a warning order from General Walker to move one Company into LZ 28A and to position the Recon Platoon between LZ 28A and LZ 36Z on the next day. The remainder of Company B closed LZ 36M at 2210 hours. With AO 28 due north of AO 30, the future positioning of the Dragons presented a wide blocking force for the fleeing NVA troops that were battling the 1/7 Cav. The night was one of preparation for the move.
9 AUGUST 1966 – with Company C maintaining its blocking positions on the river, the 1st platoon spotted 12 NVA that appeared to be carrying two M-60 Machine guns. During the initial contact Lt. Ward Thomas was seriously wounded and SP/4 Glenn Fiddle killed instantly. The enemy immediately fled north with the first platoon in hot pursuit. Scout teams and gun ships were called in to support Company C. Contact continued with the 1st platoon receiving a great deal of sniper fire. Soon the 3rd platoon of Company C was committed to the action. The enemy forces were held up and were found to be well entrenched. The position of the enemy was extremely difficult to locate due to the extremely thick bamboo undergrowth. While the men received effective automatic fire from their front they also received sniper fire from invisible positions in the rear. Medevac was unable to evacuate Lt. Thomas from LZ 36Z. Our good friend Major Hayes, despite heavy fog, got it done under fire. During the latter evacuation, the enemy followed the men out to the LZ and set up a machine gun at its edge. The men of Chargin Charlie were again pinned down. After the machine gun position was destroyed the men charged a complex of positions but were forced to withdraw due to the ground and air support which was on its way. Meanwhile, Company A was moving to the rear of the enemy hoping to catch him in retreat. After artillery pounded the positions, Company C tried to flank the enemy from the right. They got as far as the wood line before they started taking more casualties and were once again pinned down. They pulled back and the Air Force paid Charlie a call. The enemy bunkers were saturated with Napalm and 20 mm cannon fire. It was now 1600 hours and Company C withdrew to LZ 36Z. Company A, still about 5,000 meters away, was also forced to stop for the night. During the night 105 mm and 155 mm artillery was plastered the area.
During the day’s activities, Company C had 12 men wounded and one KIA. Also when the Command and Control ship landed near the battle site, Captain Morin, the artillery adviser, was shot in the foot. The ship received extensive automatic weapons fire and Colonel Procter counted a few holes in the plexi glass to his front. The night brought reports of no more contact with the well entrenched enemy.
10 AUGUST 1966 – at 0730, Company A moved south to strike the enemy positions from the northwest while Company C hit from the southeast. At 1010 hours, Company A discovered a north-south trail showing extensive recent travel to the north. About 100 meters south of the trail, Company A found some commo wire which they began to follow. While following the wire, they immediately found an enemy soldier who died after their first volley. Still following the wire, they spotted another enemy soldier who became another victim of the "PAVN Hunters". Near the body, Company A discovered one Chicom NG and 5 spools of commo wire.
At 0930 hours, Company C moved out of LZ 36Z and prepared to assault the objective again. At 1110 hours, Company C without contact, was atop the objective only to find the remains of a deceased enemy. Two dead NVA soldiers were discovered in the area and puddles of blood covered the hill. Bits and pieces of what were once living men were found hanging in the tress and strewn over the gore soaked ground. Once again, the NVA had paid the price of opposing the 14th.
Company A soon located another well used trail with blood stains on the trees and ground. The trail had been used about five hours prior and by a large force. By the signs left behind, the enemy had suffered severe casualties and were probably dragging many dead and wounded comrades with them.
With Company C atop the objective, Company A started back to LZ 36A guiding on the blood soaked trail they had discovered.
General Walker, accompanied by Colonel Danniles of the 1st Air Cav, visited Colonel Procter with the order that the Dragons would be under the operational control of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cav.
With all Dragon units closed into their LZs, the night was a quiet one.
11 AUGUST 1966 – at 0830 hours, the 3rd platoon of Company C and the 3rd platoon of Company B moved out on patrol to the west of their LZ. They were to parallel each other with about 500 meters between elements. At 0940 hours, Company C’s 3rd platoon sighted NVA soldiers moving in a careless manner towards them. After the initial volley of fire, one enemy soldier lay dead with the other two fleeing to the N-NW with Company C’s 3rd platoon in hot pursuit. During the pursuit, they located an enemy hospital site. At this site, they located thirty-six M-16 magazines, and other items including twenty rounds of M-16 ammunition, three pounds of TNT, and assorted medical dressings.
With Company C’s 3rd platoon screening the hospital site, Company B’s 3rd platoon had moved into a blocking position hoping to entrap the two other fleeing enemy. After negative contact they moved out and discovered a company size bivouac area that had been recently abandoned. Both platoons eventually linked up and continued their mission with negative contact.
Company A sent out two patrols, one to the north and one to the southwest. The northern patrol reported negative findings. The patrol moving to the southwest reported finding a _TA-312 Field telephone hidden under a poncho. Near this location they also found a French type grease-gun and seven rolls of commo wire. Captain Boss departed the area leaving the Recon platoon in an ambush site covering the area where the equipment was policed up. Captain Boss then returned with his troops to LZ 28A
Company C established two ambush sites in the late afternoon with the 1st and 2nd platoons near a recently used foot bridge. At 1922 hours the 1st platoon spotted one NVA coming down the trail into their kill zone. When the enemy trooper spotted the men of the 1st platoon, immediately surrendered. He was soon discovered to be a 2nd Lt who was from the hospital site recuperating from malaria. The men tied him up and put a gag in his mouth. They continued to man the ambush site. The night was quiet with no reported enemy activity.
12 AUGUST 1966 – the POW officer that was captured by the 1st platoon of Company C indicated that he was from A16, K5 Battalion of the 66th Regiment. When the 2nd platoon was moving back to LZ 36Z from their ambush site, they spotted one NVA soldier who dropped his weapon and ran. They recovered his weapon but were unable to pick up his trail. The search was discontinued and they returned to their LZ. At LZ 36Z while the men were taking a break, a wounded NVA soldier walked into Company C’s area and surrendered while another ship landed and evacuated the seemingly sick soldier. All POWs were evacuated to 3rd Brigade Headquarters of the 1st Cav for interrogation.
Company B also picked up three NVA soldiers who seemed to be sickly and slightly dazed. Two of the POWs were sent back to the rear while one would remain with Company B to guide on future patrols.
The Dragons were visited by General Larsen, General Walker, and General Norten. They came to view the progress and get the initial enemy situation. Additional visitors included Colonel Webber, the Battalion CO of the 2nd Bn, 8th Inf of the newly arrived 4th Division. He was accompanied by his three Company Commanders and spent the day with the Dragons.
13 AUGUST 1966 – the Battalion was notified that a B-52 strike would commence at 0920 hours close to A and C. Company C. while moving away from the bomb targets sighted 2 NVA and pursued them fruitlessly. They located a village (YA 959105) of 12 huts and 14 storage bins, which were destroyed. Another village at YA 965105, with 6 huts and 3 small storage bins was burned. Secondary explosions were heard – there had been something besides rice in those hooches.
Company A, also moving west received fire from a gun ship belonging to the 1st Cavalry Division. The tail number of the ship was noted, and relayed to the Cavalry headquarters. Appropriate action was swiftly taken. Luckily no one was wounded.
The men of Alpha Army then struck and followed a trail which led to a crossing site of a river at YA 975144. Two platoons crossed and contacted 5 NVA soldiers. The fight produced 1 enemy killed and 2 more probably wounded. The NVA fled and were pursued to a village. Two women and a baby in poor health were found in the village. The C&C chopper extracted the women and child. The PAVN Hunters had 1 man slightly wounded in their engagement. They withdrew back across the river to spend the night.
Company B sent a 2 platoon size patrol southeast, then north to LZ 36N. They were ferried from 36N to 36M by chopper. No contact with the enemy was reported.
At 1805 hours, the battalion received some welcome news – as of 0001 hours on the next day, the Golden Dragons would no longer be under the control of the 1st Cavalry Division. Furthermore, the Golden Dragons would be returning to one of their old haunts – the Cambodian border, called the "Big Red Line" by men who longed to cross and engage the enemy.
14 AUGUST 1966 – in the early hours of the day, the Dragons were preparing to move to a new area of the operations. At 1555 hrs Company C helilifted into LZ 35D. The Command Group and Company B remained in LZ 36M. Company A and Company C, due to their area of operation, come under the control of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf. During the night negative activity was reported.
15 AUGUST 1966 – the early morning activity was somewhat slowed due to heavy rain. Colonel Procter and Major Hoyt were alerted that they would send an element of the Dragons to LZ 27Q to secure the site for the incoming troops of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry. A platoon from Company A and the Recon Platoon were selected for this mission. Both elements were lifted from LZ 35D and closed into LZ 27Q with negative contact.
During the late afternoon, the ceiling lifted and movement became possible. Company C remained in LZ 35H while Company A moved from LZ 27Y to LZ 27D and Company B and the Recon Platoon moved to LZ 35X. By 1810 hours, all units of the Dragons had closed into their respective areas and no contact with the enemy was reported during the night.
16 AUGUST 1966 – all units of the Dragons sent saturation type patrols from the LZ positions. Company C captured one NVA soldier who was dresser in the typical Khaki uniform. The man seems to be extremely weak with Malaria. Company C evacuated the prisoner back to Brigade for medical treatment and interrogation.
While working to the west of LZ 35X, Company B’s 2nd platoon spotted two NVA soldiers about 300 meters to their front. They immediately called in artillery fire to block their route of escape. However, due to the rough terrain, the NVA were able to escape leaving no visible trail behind. With extensive patrolling in the areas of concern, no other enemy activity was reported throughout the day. Each unit, before darkness, has a minimum of one ambush party set in. The night was quiet with no reported enemy activity.
17 AUGUST 1966 – today was an uneventful day in the history of the Dragons. Company B moved by foot to LZ 35K. The Mortar Platoon was lifted from LZ 27Y and joined Company B at LZ 35K.
The day’s saturation type patrolling resulted in negative activity.
Company A established four surveillance posts to the west of their LZ. During the night, no enemy activity was reported. As usual, it rained intermittently throughout the night.
18 - 19 AUGUST 1966 – at 0812 hours in the morning, Company A’s #4 surveillance post spotted four to five NVA soldiers moving west. As this report came in, surveillance post #3 spotted 2 NVA soldiers moving in a similar direction. Artillery was immediately called in on the enemy locations. However, after checking the area the "PAVN Hunters" were unable to find any significant results.
Company A’s 2nd platoon moved from the LZ toward surveillance post #1, one of the men stepped on what seemed to be an anti-personnel mine. The individual was not seriously injured due to a delay in the explosion. It was reported later that the man did not actually step n the mine, but accidentally pulled a well concealed trip wire.
After this incident, a thorough search of the area was accomplished by the men to see if there were any more mines. Near the area, the 2nd platoon discovered one NVA pack which contained 13 blocks of TNT, 6 concussion type hand grenades, 3 AK-47 magazines, 120 rounds of 7.62 short ammunition, pills (believed to be narcotics) and miscellaneous clothing.
Soon after the above incident, Major Hoyt received word from General Walker to cancel his present mission and assemble Companies A and B in their LZs and await further instructions. After receiving the movement instructions, Company A lifted into LZ 27Y and Company B lifted into the Special Forces Camp at Duc Co. Company C was to remain in LZ 35H and go north tomorrow on foot. Company A was assigned the same type mission.
On the following day, the Command Group joined Company A at LZ 27Y and the day was extremely quiet with no reports of enemy activity in the area. As one can see, the Dragons were assigned the secondary mission of being ready to react if and when the strategic camp of Duc Co was attacked by the enemy. Another note of interest that Colonel Procter and Major Hoyt received was that an ARVN Airborne Brigade would begin to operate in the Ia Drang River Valley on a search and destroy type mission.
Company B, located at Duc Co, would remain there primarily as a reaction force and secondly to guard the artillery units located there in general support of the Dragons.
20 - 22 AUGUST 1966 – with the Dragons now operating in AO18, located NW of AO 27 and west of Duc Co, the men would be facing more difficult terrain than that of AO 27 or AO 36. The new area was characterized by an extremely high and heavy canopy that could create a problem in locating position and use of artillery support.
With a low ceiling and light showers, Company B’s Task Force Sierra, while moving to the north of LZ 18H discovered a well used trail marked with luminous material. The trail was oriented in a northerly direction. Task Force Sierra guided on the trail and moved out paralleling it.
The following day, Company C’s Task Force "Bravo Buster" departed LZ 18H in an easterly direction. Company B’s Task Force "Whisky" departed the same LZ in a westerly direction. Company A’s Task Force "Army" moved from LZ 18G in northwesterly direction. Task Force Army soon entered a village that seemed quite unfriendly. In the village, they discovered a wounded man who was not a Montagnard but possibly an NVA soldier seeking aid from the villagers. The wounded man was evacuated to Catecka for medical treatment and interrogation. A Civil Affairs team was also brought into the village with medical aid and other items of necessity. Other reports of negative activity were received as all Task Force elements returned to their LZs. Ambush teams were sent out and in position by 1700 hours. The night was quiet.
On the morning of 22 August, Company A lifted from LZ 18G to LZ 18M that was located to the north. As soon as Company A had secured the area, B Battery, 2nd of the 9th Artillery lifted into LZ 18M. With the artillery in place, the Command Group followed suit and closed the area by 1500 hours. General Norton, Commanding General 1st Air Cav, paid a call on Colonel Procter and Major Hoyt to discuss disposition of friendly troops and the present enemy situation. During the day, saturation type patrolling was the mission given to all units by Major Hoyt, but no enemy activity was reported. After all patrols returned they settled down for a quiet night.
23 - 24 AUGUST 1966 – in the morning hours, Company B completed an Eagle flight from LZ 18H into AO 10 to LZ 10A and the Recon platoon took on the same type mission and lifted into LZ 10E. Neither unit made contact throughout the day.
The following day was "good news" to the Golden Dragons. Today they would lift to Duc Co and from there be air-lifted back to base camp. Company B would be lifted from LZ 10A to Catecka where they would remain at Brigade security. The entire movement of the Dragons was completed by 1800 hours. The men were back at last for rest and some cold beer. The big question still remained "Man, when the hell is this rainy season going to end?".
25 AUGUST - 1 SEPTEMBER 1966 – during these few days of much deserved rest, the men were able to go on pass to Pleiku once their equipment was put in order.
Each company held awards ceremonies in their own company areas. Numerous awards were presents to the men who had been wounded or performed outstandingly during the past phase of operation "Paul Revere". Chaplain Charles Pratt held memorial services at the Golden Dragon Theater for those men that gave their lives during operation "Paul Revere". Lt Colonel G. Procter, Jr. gave a short speech praising the Golden Dragons outstanding accomplishments and expressing his grief for the loss of 7 men.
Because of the rain, movies were shown each night in Headquarters and Headquarters mess instead of the theater.
After a few days rest, Captain Thomas Simcox took Company C out to Catecka to replace Company B. Company B then returned to base camp for a few days.
Many of the men participated in volleyball and touch football games. A few men even set up horseshoe games.