from Cavalair, January 10, 1968
DATELINE: PHAN THIET.
Eleven soldiers were killed and 36 wounded when a 1st Air Cavalry Division unit ran into an estimated Viet Cong Battalion near here. The second platoon from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, air assaulted for a routine search-and-destroy mission in an area 20 kilometers north of Phan Thiet. Just 100 meters from the landing site, the platoon began receiving fire.
Enemy weapons poured bullets at the platoon, almost defenselessly pinned down on the edge of a rice paddy. Elements for Company B, and Company C were flown into assist the stranded second platoon. As intelligence reports filtered into the battalion command post, it became apparent the 2/7th had made contact with an estimated battalion-size element. Commanders believed it to be the 482nd Battalion of Viet Cong, known to be working in the Phan Thiet area.
The battle, which would last 18 hours, dragged on. Medical evacuation and troop transport helicopters trying to get into the area were harassed and hit with small-arms enemy ground fire. Several were hit while moving in and out of the fire zone. Enemy fire hit the Battalion commander's ship but no one was injured.
Artillery and tactical air support poured heavy explosives on VC position. More than 1,500 rounds of artillery pounded the entrenched enemy throughout the battle. F-104 fighter jets flew fifteen sorties over the area dropping 500-pound and 750-pound bombs. "Practically every man available from this isolated battalion, from cook to office clerk," said one of the units officers, "was volunteering to be flown out to the fire zone to assist their fellow soldiers. Every mother and father who has a son in this operation would be proud of him." No final enemy body count has been taken in this battle, considered the most significant and important since the 2/7th participated in the November, 1965, Ia Drang Valley battle.
*** NOTE FROM ROLANDO SALAZAR:
This action occurred on November 22, 1967. All of Company D was subsequently sent out to the fire zone.