Although the heavy contact with NVA
troops on the 13th
of November was still fresh in the minds of the men, today they would
relive this struggle with an even more determined and large enemy
Innumerable incidents of personal heroic actions, and the valiant fighting
team spirit of out units brought us through on top. Every man who faced
the enemy did so in an outstanding manner, and reflected
the highest credit on the Golden Dragon tradition.
planned to patrol on an axis parallel to our attached
CIDG personnel from Plei Me to LZ
"Rio" and then south to the previously discovered bunker complex.
Lt. Col. Procter,
knowing that such a complex existed so near to
determined to destroy it. In the vicinity of the bunker complex, a LZ was
to be cut so that an Engineer Platoon could be helilifted in to destroy
the heavily fortified area. Company B was to act both as a security force
for the Engineers and a reaction force for the sweep of Company C and the
CIDG Company to the south and west of the bunker complex. They would then
close back to LZ "Rio" during the night of 18 November. Their plan was to
patrol south to the bunker complex in front of Company B and the CIDG
squad of engineers that accompanied them, Company C was to initiate
the clearing of a LZ near the complex. After Company B and the CIDG
Company closed into the bunker area, Company C
was to patrol in conjunction with the CIDG to south,
west, and then to the north, back to LZ
"Rio". They were to go to within 1 1/2 Km of the Cambodian-Vietnamese
border, keeping the CIDG on their right flank as they made a sweep
clockwise around the bunker complex.
The CIDG Company
planned to patrol on an axis parallel to Company B to LZ "Rio", and then
south to the bunker complex. From the bunker complex they planned to
patrol on an axis parallel and on the right flank of Company C, in their
sweep of the area around the bunker complex.
The Recon Platoon was attached to the CIDG
Company and planned to work with them.
The movement went as planned during the morning
of 19 November 1966. Company C moved out to the bunker complex with
Company B and the CIDG moving up behind two axis. Soon Company C reached a
fairly open area and broke for chow while Company B and CIDG moved through
them toward the bunker area. The CIDG were on the West, Company B was on
the east and the Recon Platoon was in the center as they moved south.
At 1207 hours, Company B's right flank began to
receive small arms fire and grenades from the Southeast at YA605500.
Shortly thereafter, the "point" of the CIDG began receiving heavy
automatic fire from the front and right flank. The point fell back and the
rest of the Company immediately came up on line. This put Company B, Recon
and CIDG on line in that order from east to west.
The entire line began to advance under heavy
small arms fire and were hit extremely hard from the west, on the Recon
Platoon's right flank. Company B was also receiving heavy fire from the
front. Col. Procter decided to use Company C as the maneuver element and
move them up on the west to come in on the Recon Platoon's right flank and
relieve the pressure.
Company C started to move up from the west when
they were hit hard and were slowed considerably in their advance. The
enemy occupied positions in the bunkers as well as covering all approaches
and dead space by well-concealed snipers. The enemy force at times looked
like walking trees due to the expert use of natural foliage to conceal
themselves. The Recon Platoon, most heavily engaged, found themselves butt
stroking and bayoneting fanatical enemy troops. The NVA were individually
maneuvering and twice charged the Recon Platoon and were twice repelled.
The Dragon machine gunners were ripping the trees
to shreds looking for the well-concealed snipers. The enemy force
controlled their fire proving that they were a well-trained and
disciplined unit. Our men fought for their fallen comrades.
The evacuation of the wounded became extremely
hazardous, but was carried out w1th extreme courage. A force, including
Pfc Miles D. Cooper,
was mustered when it became necessary to evacuate the seriously wounded in
Co B. Displaying great devotion to his men and his unit, and with
complete disregard for his own personal safety, he provided covering and
suppressive fires long after the evacuation force had withdrawn. While
attempting to withdraw himself, he was shot and killed by a hidden sniper.
Specialist Four Dwight L. Basey,
A member of the 3rd Platoon, Company B, while personally
carrying casualties from the perimeter was shot from an enemy position.
Disregarding his wound, he continues to advance under fire to retrieve
fallen comrades from exposed positions. While attempting to resupply a
machine crew, death overcame him.
Specialist Four Robert
G. Rudolph, an RTO in the 1st Platoon, Company B, while
attempting to maintain inter-company communications, was also shot and
killed by an enemy sniper.
Specialist Four Michael B. Swangin, a gunner in the 3rd
Platoon, Company B, while maintaining a commanding firing position, was
shot and killed while giving suppressive fire for the evacuation force.
The Recon Platoon
contributed to a huge number of the acts of heroism during the intense
Specialist Four Herbert Carson Shupe
and Company C's Robert
medics, while tending the wounds of
Capt. Audley M. Federline,
were both shot to death by direct automatic weapons fire.
Jesse L. Harris was immediately wounded while leading his men in an
assault on a series of well-concealed bunkers. While receiving aid from
one of the other members of his team, he was shot again and died in the
arms of his men.
Specialist Four Lewis R. Kirby and
Pfc James Ohlinger,
while acting as point men in the aggressive assault, were killed instantly
by an incoming mortar round.
Pfc Gregory Bielicki, while laying an extremely effective base of fire
down for the assaulting team, was shot and killed by a sniper.
Specialist Four Frankie L. Priest was cut down by a machine gun while
attempting to bring his radio up to the squad leader.
Specialist Four Edmund
V. Dlugokinski and Pfc
James Kennard were both killed by machine gun fire while attempting to
retrieve a fallen comrade.
Company C's acts of valor included
Sgt. Ted Belcher's falling on an
enemy grenade; Ssgt
Robert Machado and
Pfc Joseph McCown trying to aid the torn soldiers, were both cut down
by enemy snipers.
Capt. Audley M. Federline, Company
Commander of Company C, was wounded in the chest by an enemy sniper. Later
that night, this new but highly distinguished officer died of the wound.
After the wounded and dead were evacuated, all three companies pulled back
to an LZ and spent the night.
The enemy accounted for the death of a total of
18 Golden Dragons; however, the Golden Dragons killed an estimated 280
enemy troops and 166 of their bodies were left in the field. The day was a
hard fought battle in which the Dragons, once again, proved themselves too
much for the enemy to handle. The enemy force the men encountered was
believed to be two battalions from the 33rd Regiment, LE LOI
Division. None of the Dragons will ever forget this savage fight or any of
their fallen comrades.
There were men awarded the Distinguished Service
Cross in this action:
1 Lt Frank G Primmer
Sp4 Ronald K Westfall HHC
PSGT Wm J Wickward HHC
Wickward was later killed during another tour,
8/27/69 with the 1st Division.
Dwight Basey was killed on Nov 19th
but under different circumstances than described. He spent some time
assisting wounded but was a machine gunner along with Michael Swangin, his
loader. During the middle of the fight Basey and Swangin brought
their machine gun up on line next to me. We were in danger of being
overrun and both placed themselves in the line of fire from the VC in
order to assist us. After only 2 to 3 minutes of firing at the VC at
close range, both were hit by automatic fire from the same burst.
Both were mortally wounded. I retrieved their gun and someone else
continued the machine gun fire at the VC. I believe that their
getting that gun on line was instrumental in our ability to defend that
section. This is a small correction after all these years, but I
appreciate your doing what you can on this . I know we can't change
the official record but these guys were something of a hero that day so I
want it as accurate as possible.
Alan Quale, B Co., 1st Bn, 14th Inf.