The Attack on LZ Betty, May 3, 1970!

Edited by Ray Sarlin

Copyright 2003, www.ichiban1.org, Ray Sarlin and Contributors as noted below. All rights reserved. (Copy permission at bottom)
(Please send all errors or omissions or new contributions to the Editor at rws@173rdAirborne.com)

Webmaster's Introduction On April 30th, 1970, President Nixon announced a U.S. and South Vietnamese "Incursion" into Cambodia, triggering a wave of protests across university campuses in the United States that culminated on Monday, 4 May, with the death of four students at Kent State University. While those well-known activities were screaming from the media headlines around the world, a desperate battle was being waged at LZ Betty , Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province that will never be forgotten by those who were there, but will never be known by those who weren't. At 0145 hours on 3 May 1970, LZ Betty, the home base of IFFV's Task Force South and the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry came under intense mortar and rocket fire, and five companies of VC sappers attacked the wire, achieving penetration in two places. The men who fought off this assault were mainly the battalion's rear troops from Headquarters and Delta companies, who were no less brave (or confused) than line infantrymen were in battle, and whose blood was just as red.

Contents

Contributors
Introduction
Phan Thiet
LZ Betty
The Big Picture
Lead-up to the Attack
The Attack on LZ Betty
The Following Day
Aftermath
Other Official Record(s) Not Referenced in Text
Bibliography / Endnotes

Contributors (see also endnotes)

Gus Allbritton. HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Walter (Happy) Gilbreath. Scouts, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Dave Hess B Company, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Dennis Knickerbocker 3rd Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)
Ray Lack Maintenance Platoon, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Bryan Lagimoniere B Company, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Chuck Nelson HHC, 1/50 (M), Supply Sgt. Company Armorer
Dave Parker B Company, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Don Rainwater Maintenance, B. Company, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Ray Sarlin. Duty unassigned awaiting DEROS (ex-C Company) 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry
Jim Scully Whiskey Mountain
Bill (Little Bill) Wright FO/RTO, B Battery, 5th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery

Introduction.

Many Vietnam Veteran Combat Infantrymen tend to see our individual wars as isolated tapestries of unrelated and unconnected combat activities and events, tied together by often boring periods of non-combat. We might see most battles in Nam as one-off here-today and gone-tomorrow; an ambush, a booby trap, a mine, a short sharp contact, a mortar or rocket attack, searching a cave or hooch, or attacking a position.

But afterwards, some battles seemed clearly different - like part of something much bigger. Tet '68 was different, but so was 3 May 1970. The attack on LZ Betty wasn't as big or significant as many other battles, but for us who were there it was every bit as desperate. At the time it seemed isolated, but then we learned that it was the largest of nine night attacks in our province. And later, when we could put it in perspective, it was clearly connected to other well-publicized events of May 1 to 4, the May Day weekend.

At 0145 hours on 3 May 1970, LZ Betty, the home base of IFFV's Task Force South and the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry came under intense mortar and rocket fire, and five companies of VC sappers attacked the wire, achieving penetration in two places. The men who fought off this assault were largely the battalion's rear echelon troops from Headquarters and Delta companies, who were no less brave (or confused) than line infantrymen were in battle, and whose blood was just as red.

This article examines this battle from official records, news headlines, media articles and the first-person accounts and photographs of some of the men who were there.


Phan Thiet, the Capital of Binh Thuan Province.

Phan Thiet, the capital of Binh Thuan Province, is a fishing town on the South China Sea that is located about 120 miles northeast of Saigon. It was located at the southeastern point of Military Region II (II Corps) which covered the Central Highlands, whose mountains rose sharply to the north and west providing good cover for the NVA.


Phan Thiet had two main claims to fame. It is the nuoc mam capital of the world, a fact that was readily apparent when the wind came from the wrong direction and blew in the malevolent odor of fermenting rotten fish sauce. Also, a young Ho Chi Minh taught school in Phan Thiet, which imparted a significance it might otherwise not have had.

Phan Thiet looking north. 25

A Phan Thiet scene. 1


LZ Betty.

Some four miles southwest of Phan Thiet along the top of a high bluff overlooking the South China Sea lay LZ Betty, the home of Task Force South. Task Force South was responsible for military operations in the four southern provinces of II Corps, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Tuyen Duc, and Lam Dong. It controlled two American battalions paired with elements of the 23rd ARVN Division. From September 1969 to December 1970, one of those battalions was the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry. The central feature of LZ Betty was the airstrip above the bluff that paralleled the sea; the middle third of the runway actually ran uphill, making takeoff and landing interesting as attested by the wrecked aircraft accumulating along its southern end.

LZ Betty Medivac Helipad and Main Apron. 25

Units were scattered on both sides of the landing strip with most valuable assets such as helicopter pads, ammunition dump and the PX east of the runway between it and and the bluff. Several French colonial buildings dotted the east edge of the runway apron and chopper pads at the top of the hill overlooking the bluff; they housed the emergency aid station and Task Force South's headquarters.

LZ Betty Main Gate, 1970. 26

Task Force South HQ. 1

Main Aid Station. 1

LZ Betty "Greenline". 26


Outside the main gate on the northwest of LZ Betty and along the western perimeter was a huge cemetery, the scene of a major battle during Tet of 1968 and a favorite location for sapper attacks, snipers and, together with the beach under the bluffs, mortar and rocket fire that harassed the base during the years that followed.


The Big Picture (Strategic and Historical Background).

Richard Nixon campaigned in 1968 on a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam. After taking office in January 1969 the new President introduced the "Vietnamization" policy which provided for American troop reductions while encouraging South Vietnam to assume more responsibility for fighting the war. A major television address on 3 November 1969 introduced the terms "peace with honor" and "silent majority" even as he called for unity, "Let us be united for peace. Let us also be united against defeat. Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that." In the end, of course, he was proved correct.

On February 21, 1969, the North Vietnamese invaded Laos and Cambodia and defeated the Hmong army and captured the Plain of Jarres, and the Khmer Rouge formed. Also in February 1969, Le Duc Tho replaced Xuan Thuy in Paris for the second round of talks that lasted through April 1969. The North Vietnamese demanded nothing less than the end of the Republic of Vietnam.

In June 1969, President Nixon announced the first of the US troop withdrawals. The 540,000 US troops were to be reduced by 25,000. Another 60,000 were to leave the following December.

The Cambodian coup on March 18, 1970 resulted in the neutralist Prince Norodom Sihanouk's replacement by by his pro-Western Defense Minister, General Lon Nol. Among Lon Nol's first actions were demanding that Communist forces leave Cambodia and closing the port of Sihanoukville to supplies destined for Communist forces in the border bases and in South Vietnam. He also accepted Saigon's offer to apply pressure against those located near the border. A few weeks earlier, American B-52 bombers had begun in secret to bomb enemy bases in Cambodia. By late April, South Vietnamese military units, accompanied by American advisers, had mounted large-scale ground operations across the border.

To both support the Cambodian Government and to buy time for Vietnamization by destroying the enemy's sanctuaries, President Nixon decided to carry the U.S. ground war into Cambodia on April 26, 1970. It has been reported that he saw the film "Patton" the day before his decision was made.

On 1 May 1970, 32,000 troops from the 1st Cavalry Division, the 25th Infantry Division, and the 11th Armored Cavalry attacked enemy forces, command facilities, and logistical depots in the Fishhook and Parrot's Beak in Cambodia.


The two-month long operation was militarily successful in setting back North Vietnam's plans to invade South Vietnam by two years and thus gaining valuable time for Vietnamization (and compensating for the bombing halt over North Vietnam): however, it was a political disaster in the United States due to the hostile media and violent demonstrations. In response to the public outcry, Nixon imposed a geographical and time limit on operations in Cambodia, enabling the enemy to stay beyond reach. At the end of June, one day short of the sixty days allotted to the operation, all advisers accompanying the South Vietnamese and all U.S. Army units had left Cambodia, leaving the South Vietnamese Army (backed by U.S. air and logistical support) in a race against the Communists to secure the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Northern Cambodia and southern Laos became a major part of the Indochina battlefield.


Lead-up to the Attack.

30 Jan 68

1968 Tet Communist Offensive

On January 30, 1968 the Tet Communist Offensive began.  The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong launched a countrywide surprise attack against the US and South Vietnamese forces.  They begin with over 100 major attacks that included 36 of the 44 provincial capitals.

31 Jan 68

Phan Thiet was a strategic provincial capitol and a cultural center located on the South China Sea.  In the early morning hours of January 31, the Viet Cong 482nd Local Force and the Viet Cong 840th Main Force Battalions attacked the city of Phan Thiet, LZ Betty and outlying Fire Support Bases and ARVN posts.  The Tet offensive continued until February 23.  Over that 24-day period, the region saw some of the heaviest fighting in South Vietnam

18 Feb 68

At approximately 03:00 on February 18, the Viet Cong 482nd launched an attack against an ARVN compound just north of Phan Thiet.  At the same time the companies from the Viet Cong 480th, 430th and 899th launched attacks from the southwest.  The 840 Main Force Viet Cong Battalion overran an ARVN outpost and took over the prison, freeing 500 prisoners.  This was approximately 200 meters from the Province Chiefs Headquarters.  The enemy's objective was the Province Chief's compound and they attacked aggressively.  The 3-506 Airborne Infantry's Shock Force (101st Airborne Division) was able to hold the Province Headquarters and kill or repel the enemy.

23 Feb 68

At the end of the Tet Offensive in the Phan Thiet area, the enemy losses were put at 1,256 KIA and 48 POWs.  Friendly losses were 91 KIA and 569 WIA.  Civilian causalities were reported at 36 KIA and 664 WIA.   Additionally some 13,500 civilians were made homeless.

22 Feb 69

Enemy Launches All Out Attack on LZ Betty.

A year later, during Tet 1969, at 0200 hours (2:00 a.m.), the enemy launched an all-out mortar, rocket and sapper attack on the TF 3-506 Base Camp at LZ Betty.  Enemy sappers breached the defensive perimeter at Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Company E (Combat Support) locations.  Enemy B-40 rockets detonated a 4.2" ammunition bunker inside the 4.2" mortar section, which resulted in a detonation and caused several Currahee casualties.  The attack on LZ Betty resulted in three Currahees KIA and 29 WIA.  

One 4.2" mortar and 1,200 rounds of 4.2" ammo were destroyed, and several buildings were also destroyed and/or damaged. Enemy losses were 21 KIA, one POW, eight AK-47 Assault Rifles, one US caliber .45 pistol, 45 Chicom grenades, six satchel charges, seven Bangolore torpedoes, one B-40 rocket launcher and seven B-40 rockets captured.  Three Currahees, SGT. William John Allen, 22, of Greenville, Michigan, PFC Kevin Edward Tweedle, 22, from Wharton, Texas, and CPT Gerald Wrazen, 27, from Buffalo, New York were killed during the attack.

18 Mar 70
Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia was deposed by General Lon Nol while out of the country.  In exile in China, Sihanouk aligns with Cambodian Communists led by Pol Pot, known as the Khmer Rouge, in an effort to oust Lon Nol's regime.  Pol Pot capitalizes on Prince Sihanouk's prestige and popularity to increase support for the Khmer Rouge.  Pol Pot will later oust Lon Nol and begin radical "reforms" that result in the deaths of 2,000,000 people (25 percent of the Cambodia's population) from starvation, overwork and systematic executions. 14
19 Mar 70
Cambodians Call For Viet's Help in Border Clash 14
19 Mar 70
Many Marines Due Early Out 14
19 Mar 70
Americans Evacuate Laos Base 14
20 Mar 70
Plans Exile Regime - Cambodia Ends Sihanouk Rule 14
20 Mar 70
Denies Aid to Cambodia 14
30 Mar 70
Reds Advance on Capital - Cambodia Mobilizes 14

1 Apr 70

Battle of Song Mao.

Three battalions of NVA sappers launched an attack on the MACV compound and the base of the Blackhawks (2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry) at Song Mao, with over 100 81mm mortar rounds destroying the ammo dump and 50% of the fuel depot. 2-1 Cav and 44 ARVN Regt (-) engaged the enemy in a day long contact, killing 151 enemy and capturing 14 at a cost of 8 KIA (2 US, 2 ARVN and 4 civilians) and 39 WIA (14 US, 5 ARVN).  At the time of the attack Company C, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Inf was patrolling some 40 kilometers away with an OPCON company of the 44th ARVN Regiment and saw the night sky over Song Mao light up and heard a rumble like distant thunder.  As the closest U.S. combat unit, C/1/50 executed a night movement to contact to relieve Song Mao and establish a blocking force in the Le Hong Fong Forest to wipe up enemy survivors. 24

3 Apr 70
Reds Step Up War; U.S. General Slain 14  (Note: BG William Ross Bond, 199th Infantry Brigade, Panel 12W - Row 065)

15 Apr 70

LZ Betty.  While standing near Tower 7, Harvey Hummell and Bryan Lagimoniere observed two papasans pacing off the bunker line, with each repeating what the other had done. They went from Tower 7 to Bunker 6, Bunker 5 and all the way to the cemetery.  Every time they went the distance of one bunker they made a note of it on a piece of paper.  This was reported it to the S2, but it appeared that nothing was done.  "Years later Mr. Wayne Earley also from my home town who was working in MI at the time and told me the info was handed to his commanding officer. He also said that he and other MI members had gathered enough information in the weeks before the attack to ascertain the actual unit supposed to attack, its size and the approximate date, but the info seemed to go nowhere." 1

Phan Thiet Cemetery as seen from
LZ Betty western perimeter road. 28
20 Apr 70
In a televised speech, President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 150,000 Americans from Vietnam within a year. 14   The speech reviewed the progress of the Vietnamization policy and announced the withdrawal of 150,000 American troops, the third and largest announcement of troop withdrawals since Nixon took office.
21 Apr 70
U.S. War Role in Laos Disclosed For The First Time 14
22 Apr 70
150,000 Cutback ...‘Just Peace' in Sight : Nixon 14
22 Apr 70
Hopes for S.A.L.T. Success14; Laird: Russian Threat Too Big to Delay Nuclear Systems 14
22 Apr 70
LZ Betty.  "I remember May 3rd. I remember that about two weeks before that happened, we were ordered to put our M-16's in the arms room when we weren't in the field". 2
30 Apr 70
President Nixon announced a U.S. and South Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia in response to continuing Communist gains against Lon Nol's forces.  The incursion is also intended to weaken overall NVA military strength as a prelude to U.S. departure from Vietnam 14

30 Apr 70

LZ Betty.  "Word goes around the 1/50 that the 2/1 will be withdrawn to go into Cambodia and the 1/50 will have to cover the whole A.O". 1

1 May 70 May Day, the traditional Communist holiday. A combined force of 15,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers attack NVA supply bases inside Cambodia. However, throughout this offensive, NVA and Viet Cong try to avoid large-scale battles and instead withdraw westward, further into Cambodia, leaving behind their base camps containing huge stores of weapons and ammunition. 14
1 May 70 President Nixon calls anti-war students "bums blowing up campuses". 14
1 May 70 LZ Betty.  "I was on Tower 7 the night of May 1st and 2nd and we were getting activity in the wire.  Charlie was probing the perimeter, and I didn't get any sleep that night." 1

1 May 70

On the evening of May 1, 1970, Kent State University antiwar protests turned violent when the ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) building was torched. In response, the Governor of Ohio, James Rhodes, dispatched the National Guard to Kent State23

2 May 70 Nixon Orders Sweep ...G.I.'S Attack in Cambodia 14
2 May 70 A.R.V.N. Push 3-Prong Drive 14
2 May 70 Troops Alerted For Connecticut Trial 14
2 May 70 American college campuses erupt in protest over the invasion of Cambodia. 14
2 May 70 LZ Betty.  "There was this stupid arms inspection that was about to take place the next day". 1
2 May 70 LZ Betty.  "For some unknown reason they decided to have a battalion arms inspection and locked most of the weapons up". 2
2 May 70
LZ Betty.  "Charlie Company had pulled into LZ Betty for a quick stand-down.  Before noon we had a change of command formation, and I turned over Charlie Company that day for my DEROS and was "hanging around" that evening.  I remember having to check in my M16; it seemed strange to have only my .45 pistol after being in the field, but I figured since I was leaving in a day or two and Charlie Company owned my M16 that it was okay.  I also went to the PX and bought a Teac tape deck and Sansui stereo with two humongous speakers, which I took to the S4 hooch to have packed and shipped home." 24
2 May 70
2030
A Hoi Chan rallied to Thien Giao District HW.  Claimed to be a member of 700 Unit (probably 452A) which is expected to hit An Phu or Binh Lam at 2400 tonight.  Battalion is now located 1-2 km north of FSB Sandy at present artillery is being fired and B/1-50 is in the area. 4
2 May 70
2050
AN 844160.  213RF initiated contact with estimated VC squad.  Swept area with negative findings. 4
2 May 70
2115
BP 217197 Ambush element from the 302 RF initiated contact on 3 VC with artillery support.  Contact was broken at 2120.  Friendly casualties none. 1 Enemy KIA, 1 bangalore torpedo captured. 5

The Attack on LZ Betty, 0145 - 0600 hours, 3 May 1970.

3 May 70
0100
LZ Betty. "Due to the My Lai Massacre then hitting the States, we were told you could only shoot if you where authorized by the OD. Tower 7 reported sappers in the wire and the guys called for permission to open fire, but the OD said, 'No!'  He came out to Tower 7, and had apparently been drinking.  He looked out and couldn't see the sappers in the wire, so he wouldn't allow any firing.  After the OD got into his jeep and drove off two mortar rounds hit where his jeep had been". 1
3 May 70
0115
445 RF Company at BN 291415 reported that an estimated 4-5 VC fired two B40s and AK47 fire from outside the perimeter.  The VC withdrew in an unknown direction. 4
3 May 70
0130
PF Training Center ambush position reported 1 civilian female walking down LTL 1B through Lien Hisp triggered friendly ambush and was seriously wounded.  Female wearing black PJs.  She had IS saying she was from Tung Nghia. 4
3 May 70
0132
Phan Rang Air Base at 0132 hr received 8-10 82mm mortar rounds and at 0150 5 more 82mm mortar rounds. 4
3 May 70
0145
At 0145, LZ BETTY (vicinity AN800067) was attacked by a force thought to be the 482B Local Force Battalion.  The attack consisted of approximately 125 rounds of 60mm and 82mm mortar fire, an unknown number of B40 and B41 rockets, and sapper probes in four separate locations of the perimeter.  All five companies of the battalion appear to have participated in the attack.  Approximately seven sappers penetrated the perimeter at two separate locations.  All others were repelled.  Enemy elements were repulsed by separate ground reaction forces supported by gunships, artillery and Seahorse. 5
3 May 70 0145 "I had my radio on and just as the DJ said, 'Good morning Vietnam, it's now 1:45 am....' the first mortar hit.  It was Sunday.  As the mortar rounds fell we were pinned down in our tent.  2 sappers went by one dropped a home made grenade in my lap that failed to go off." 1
3 May 70 0145
"I remember May 3 about as well as most guys that are scared almost out of their minds.  When the first attack hit the towers and the wire areas my FO SGT Pierce and myself FO/RTO SP4 Wright were at the Arty Command Bunker.  Pierce and I grabbed our weapons and headed out for the Duster Bunker to the right of Tower 3.  We never made it.  We ran head first into a full blown fire fight just about 30 yards short of our objective.  Pierce took a round in the upper leg which made him fall over backwards into me.  I was not about to leave him there by himself.  I managed to get him and myself behind some sand bags and propped him up so that he was able to fire his weapon in one direction while I sat with my back to his and covered the other direction.  We seemed to be holding our own when everything turned to shit.  From this point I don't remember a lot.

LZ Betty defenses (MP Tower). 26


I do remember that about 5 or 6 guys from the 1/50 pulled our fat out of the fire.  Which it was about the time I took two rounds, one in the back right side and the other in the right upper leg.  I must have passed out because when I woke up I was in Phan Rang and Pierce was in the bed next to me." 8

3 May 70 0145 "I was on Whiskey Mountain the night LZ Betty was hit. It was a very helpless feeling watching in total disbelief at what was going on and not being able to help. I remember seeing the choppers blowing up one after another on the tarmac, it seemed like it lasted for ever." 6
3 May 70 0145 "I was there but I wasn't there.  B Company was out in the Field and as I remember it I don't think we were to far from LZ Betty.  We heard over the radio that the LZ was under attack.  I have always wondered why we were never pulled back in for support of the LZ." 7
3 May 70 0145 LZ Betty began taking incoming.   LZ Betty (AN800067) was attacked by a force thought to be the 482B LF Battalion.  The attack consisted of approximately 125 rounds of 60mm and 82mm mortar fire, an unknown number of B40 and B41 rounds, and sapper probes in four separate locations of the perimeter.  All five companies of the battalion appear to have participated in the attack. 5  LZ Betty received 100-125 rounds 60mm and 82mm mortar, unknown B40 and B41, unknown satchel charges and simultaneously a sapper attack.  6 KIA, 35 WIA, Enemy 14 KIA. 4
3 May 70 0145 "When the attack occurred we were scrambling to get our weapons out of the arms room." 2
3 May 70 0145
"The mechanics ['Juicers' Hooch'] had our 16's. When we were supposed to keep them under lock we made a gun rackout of metal fence posts. One good kick and it would fall apart. We were told to stay outside the hooch and watch for sappers that were on the runway. A little later we went to the Green Line on the ocean side." 29
3 May 70 0145 "Around midnight LZ Betty was shook by incoming mortar and rocket explosions.  A siren sounded and everyone grabbed weapons and headed towards the Green-Line.  I was in a sandbagged bunker in the battalion area on the south end of the LZ.  I had my M-16 and two bandoleers of ammo and my boots were untied.  As I ran to reinforce the west side under attack. I was advised to head towards the battalion headquarters area towards the north end of the LZ.  I ran as fast as I could.  The entire LZ was exploding, fires were erupting on the west side of the LZ and helicopters were exploding and burning on the runway." 11
3 May 70 0145 "When the attack started, I threw on my clothes and gear and scrambled to the TOC to see what was happening.  I felt naked without an M16, especially since just hours before I was commanding a Mech Infantry company in the field.  Things were hectic and I didn't have a job to do and wasn't doing any good there so I grabbed an M16 and two bandoleers of ammo and ran down the road to the part of the greenline I was familiar with on the east side overlooking the bluffs." 24
3 May 70 0145 overwritten This morning C Co, 1-50(-), 2 RF Co's, Scouts and Provisional Platoon conduct sweep, C Co .(-) still in AO. 4
3 May 70 0146 "And 1 minute later I was hit with a Chicom grenade in my flak jacket that also failed to go off.  And to make the night even more fun a mortar round went off just in front of me knocking me unconscious for a about a minute.  As I waited with the 4 of us for the opportunity to help, the shit house behind us was hit, graves registration was hit, they leveled the orderly room, our tent was riddled with small arms fire the supply hooch across from us was hit and the list goes on." 1
3 May 70 0147 "The Scout Platoon had the airstrip and landing pads behind our bunks.  My buddy Rick Garrett and I had just come back from the club feeling no pain and had just stumbled into bed when it all started and we had to make a run for the arm's room.  We sobered up pretty fast when the choppers started blowing behind us.  I do know that they had taken the bunker on our side of the compound... well a couple of bunkers because we received fire from them.  We did take them back with only one man getting a small wound from a frag." 10
3 May 70 0150 AN 838094.  Phan Thiet City received 5 rounds 82mm mortar.  Two civilians KIA.  Counter mortar fire employed.  Contact was broken at 0200. 4
3 May 70 0150 Approx. seven sappers penetrated the perimeter at two separate locations. All others were repelled. 5
3 May 70 0150 Phan Rang Air Base at 0132 hr received 8-10 82mm mortar rounds and at 0150 5 more 82mm mortar rounds. 4
3 May 70 0150 "Yes, I was at LZ Betty on 3 May 1970 when all the weapons were locked up.  It was ordered and man was I just as mad as all the guys when we were attacked that night.  I only had about 10 days left in country then and it was only by chance that I was not driving the truck that was struck by a B-40 rocket when we were reinforcing the green line during the attack.  I don't remember any M-16's being reported missing and didn't pay attention to serial numbers when issuing the weapons that night as each person came to me for one.  It was a crazy idea and I hope that no one was killed because of it." 12
3 May 70 0151 "As I ran by the battalion headquarters building, LTC Luck stopped me and another soldier, SP4 Randy Buchanan, and told us to take a jeep loaded with M-60's to the west side of the LZ that was under assault, to reinforce the perimeter and bunkers. I jumped behind the wheel and Buchanan rode "shotgun".  As we rounded the northwest comer dirt road, I could see the entire area ahead was exploding from incoming rounds tracer rounds were going across the roadway.  Within 50 yards from that point, there were rounds coming from both sides.  We didn't know that the VC were on the right side, between the wire and the perimeter all along the bunkers and the GI's were on the left side, both areas were firing at each other and Buchanan and I were driving on the road between the gunfire.  Buchanan was firing his M-16 towards the right side of the Jeep towards the VC, who were firing back.  When a flare would pop I would notice if I was still on the small dirt road.  When this one flare went, I saw gooks everywhere and I tried to back out, but too late.  In a split-second one of them turned and fired a RPG at us.  I could see the projectile coming in slow-motion and as I leaned towards the right, the RPG exploded in the grill of the jeep.  As the vehicle went airborne, I was thrown from the jeep onto the ground.  I lay there a few seconds and everything went silent.  It seemed like minutes, but I'm sure it was only a couple of seconds." 11
3 May 70 0155 D Troop reports 5 ships burning (2 Hueys, 3 LOH) at this time.
3 May 70 0155 Enemy elements were repulsed by separate ground reaction forces supported by gunships, artillery and Seahorse. 5
3 May 70 0200 44th ARVN received 4 unknown type mortar rounds, vicinity BN 541426.  PF OP received 2 rounds unknown type mortar fire at Vic BN 466454 1 VC squad entered Tuy Tinh and assassinated one ex-soldier.  As the VC withdrew at 030210 the 966 RF Company initiated contact with artillery support. 4
3 May 70 0200 AN 793083.  74th PF outpost received 6 rounds 82mm mortar at Phu Khank.  The 74th swept the area and contacted an unknown number of VC who fled south.  Contact broken at 0205.  1 PF slight wound.  1 Enemy KIA, 1 B41 rocket launcher captured. 4
3 May 70 0200 FSB Sherry started taking incoming.3  FSB Sherry received 5 rounds of 82mm mortar all outside perimeter. 3, 4
3 May 70 0157
"It has been very difficult for me to read the "memories" of 3 May 1970 through my tears.  I lost a great deal of my memory after getting hit but I remember very well men lined up at the supply "hooch" drawing weapons while all hell was breaking loose all around us.  I was with HHC Maintenance Platoon, and we had refused to turn in our weapons as ordered.  I was very short by that time and getting very anxious.  When the satchel charges started going off all over we jumped into a 3/4 ton truck and headed for the perimeter.  We took what I thought was a rocket in front and bailed out onto the road.  Robert Haney was next to me when he was blown up.  There were "gooks" coming in human waves as far as you could see in every direction.  I couldn't understand why we weren't blowing the Claymores so I crawled up on a nearby bunker to blow them just as a flare lit up the top of the bunker.  There were gooks on top and they immediately opened up with AK's.  I stopped a number of rounds with my flak jacket and the impact threw me off the bunker backwards.  I hit the ground firing and within a second or maybe two, four mortar rounds landed with a few feet of me.  One severed my right leg.  I was pretty messed up but still remember the NVA standing next to me firing at our guys.  Every time he fired his expended cartridges landed on my exposed skin and burned.  I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a Black man, possibly a medic, who took out the NVA soldier next to me.  He threw me over his shoulder, handed me my leg and ran for what seemed like forever to a jeep.  He took me to the base infirmary where they took one look and tagged me for Medivac." 9
3 May 70 0158 "I remember hearing Randy scream as the jeep was hit and we went airborne and landed beside a bunker.  Buchanan was nowhere to be seen.  I had to lay still and play possum until the gooks, who were running all over me, were forced out of the LZ after a couple of hours, seemed like forever I just prayed, cried and shit.  I had lost my M-16 and rounds were landing everywhere.  When an illumination flare would "pop", I could see the VC dragging their wounded and dead through the wire towards the cemetery, I had a perfect view, just no weapon." 11
3 May 70 0200 "Larry Joiner from Davenport, Iowa was shot that night entering a bunker on the greenline, unfortunately the bunker was already occupied by a couple of VC.  He survived, but was very seriously wounded.  Anyone that may know him please have him contact me (through this website)." 2
3 May 70 0200 MAJ Albino reports Phan Ly Cham under some sort of contact.
3 May 70 0200 "When I regained my composure I noticed that the jeep was on fire, my M-16 was missing and the entire area around me was being riddled with gunfire.  As an overhead flare began to flicker, I saw my M-16 behind the jeep, I crawled and grabbed it.  As the flare went out, I began to crawl along the ground towards a bunker and electrical generator on the left side of the roadway.  As another flare popped, I jumped up and began to run, gunfire and explosion were still all around me.  As I jumped through the door of the bunker a RPG exploded against the right side of the bunker door.  The force sent me flying inside the bunker." 11
3 May 70 0202 "I began to fire from the doorway of the bunker as the flares revealed VC running from the perimeter line and bunkers towards hooches and tents on both sides of my location.  As a hooch exploded from a satchel -charge, I could see someone running towards my bunker from it. I aimed, but held my fire and I could see that he was a GI.  I yelled for him to run, "Come on man, RUN, RUN!!"  The guy jumped into the bunker and started to fire towards the VC as they continued to run across the dirt roadway towards the airstrip, which was located behind our bunker.  He was Charles Churchwell of Dublin, GA." 11
3 May 70
0205
"The buildings were on fire, the choppers had been satchel-charged and sappers had thrown charges into every hooch and bunker that wasn't defended." 11
3 May 70
0205
"The east side of the greenline seemed okay so I ran towards the explosions on the west and south.  I ran past the S4's hooch.  When it took a satchel charge in the first moments of the attack, the S4 Clerk's bunk with him in it was blown out over the sandbagged wall.  The bunk sitting upright about 10-15 feet outside the wall and as I recall I was told that he was battered and bruised but not badly hurt.  The day before the raid, I had given him my Teac tape deck and Sansui stereo with speakers to pack and ship home.  When I saw the mess at the S4 office, I figured that my stereo was a combat loss; I didn't find out until a crate showed up in the States after my DEROS that he had already crated and shipped them out.  I never saw him to thank him." 24
3 May 70
0210
Tuy Phong taking incoming at this time.
3 May 70
0211
"Heading southwest from the S4 hooch I spotted some people off to the left (south) exchanging rounds.  Two GIs in full gear were on the ground shooting around a Conex container at another Conex container a short distance away.  Against fires in the background, I saw a hazy figure rise from the second Conex and shoot back, so I fired a burst at him and he dropped.  I went and reinforced the greenline, by luck where it hadn't been overrun because I didn't have a clue about the tactical situation." 24
3 May 70
0212
SP Johnson (D) ambulance going to D Troop.
3 May 70 0215 "Finally we got to our ammo truck.  We made 2 passes up and down the perimeter.  After the first pass we had to make our way to the ammo dump through Charley's waiting ambush to get more supplies.  The scary part was the return, We saw them satchel charge the choppers, and then realized that we had to go back through Charley's waiting ambush.  The second resupply went off ok." 1
3 May 70
0219
SP Ingles (1/50) to send medics to Bunker 7.
3 May 70 0220 L.S. taking ground probe.
3 May 70 0224 OP says perimeter firing small arms at ARVNs.
3 May 70 0235 Two 192d birds relief for D Troop.
3 May 70 0236 Report S4 and 1/50 area had penetration in area of Bunkers 5 and 6.
3 May 70 0240 AN 772092. 127 PF platoon received 3 60mm mortar rounds. 4
3 May 70 0240 At 0240 in the vicinity of AP996042, SERIGNAC received 3 unknown type mortar rounds. 5
3 May 70 0245 Bunkers 13 to 16 are firing at ARVNs.
3 May 70 0245 FSB Sandy received 7 rounds of 82mm mortar. 4
3 May 70 0250 Give sector call when Gunships come down so PFs can sweep graveyard area.
3 May 70 0255 D Troop 1 KIA, 6 WIA (1 serious), 5 LOH destroyed, POL out.
3 May 70 0255 FSB Sherry received 8 rounds of 82mm mortar 6 inside and 2 outside perimeter. 4
3 May 70 0256 1st Chemical Detachment reports 1 WIA.
3 May 70 0300 SERIGNAC. At 0300 an unknown number of VC initiated contact on the 54 PF command post with small arms and an unknown number of mortars.  The VC then advanced towards SERIGNAC but were blocked by the PFs.  Contact was broken at 0330. 5
3 May 70 0304 Artillery started firing in graveyard 795075.
3 May 70 0327 CPT Lopez took D/2-1 aircraft damages.
3 May 70 0330 LZ Sandy took 8 mortar rounds (4 rounds twice).
3 May 70 0330 Serignac contact was broken at 0330h.  Negative friendly casualties. Enemy casualties unknown. 5
3 May 70 0335 EOD notified to report to D/2-1.
3 May 70 0350 1st Chemical Detachment took a direct hit, 2 WIA (1 serious); 1 mortar round.
3 May 70
0400
"We took turns reloading magazines with the ammo from the bunker and continue to fire for what seemed like days.  Finally the firefight began to die down as the sun began to rise.  The entire area in front of us was littered with debris.  The VC had withdrawn leaving their dead and wounded.  The VC bodies were lying all along the roadway in the bunkers and in the wire.  The dead VC inside the bunker was an old Papa-san who operated the generator, I felt really bad about that and still do." 11
3 May 70 0400 "I remember lying on that litter (in the base infirmary waiting for Medivac) with my head just below the sandbags, watching the tracers go over.  They had a lot of trouble getting a Medivac in and when they did, we were just thrown in and were airborne almost instantly.  They ‘stacked' us up after we were in the air.  Our chopper took some rounds as it lifted off but we made it to Cam Ranh Bay safely." 9
3 May 70 0400 Lift birds won't be available (entry lined out).
3 May 70 0415 CPT Hall said ARVNs would work area for GIS.
3 May 70 0430 Request 1/50 AO from sector.
3 May 70 0435 ARVNs believe VC will be carrying guns south through 1/50 AO following stream beds.  ARVNs will check out all coordinates given to them.
3 May 70 0440 Passed 5 KIA 25 WIA (10 serious) to IFFV.

First five damage photos by Dennis Knickerbocker. 27, Lower right hand photo by Bryan Lagimoniere. 1


The Following Day (3 May 1970).

3 May 70
0500
"The next morning I flagged down a medic.  We were loaded into a first-aid truck and taken to the LZ Hospital where I was treated for wounds to my legs, feet, and upper and lower back.  I had been wounded in the initial RPG explosion too at the jeep and when another RPG hit the bunker doorway.  I never heard any more about Buchanan, I never saw him after that night.  I think he was from Kentucky.  Two days later I was DEROS'ed and came home."11
3 May 70 0500
After an air observer spotted an enemy force in the vicinity of AN795075, gunships and artillery fired, resulting in 14 enemy killed by artillery fire. 5
3 May 70 0600
A combined force consisting of two RF companies and elements from the 1/50 Mechanized Infantry and D Troop, 2/1 Cavalry swept the area at first light and found heavy blood trails, evidence of bodies being dragged from the site, and 1 PW. 5
3 May 70 0600 After an air observer spotted an enemy force in the vicinity of AN795075, gunships and artillery fired, results 14 enemy killed by artillery.  A combined force consisting of two RF companies and elements from 1/50 Mech and D/2-1 Cav swept the area at first light and found heavy blood trails.  Evidence of bodies being dragged from the site, and 1 PW.  Initial interrogation of the PW, Le Van Lien, identified the 482B LF Battalion and revealed that its base camp was located in the vicinity of Nui Ba Hon, AN730050 and that the enemy force planned to return to that location after attack. 5
3 May 70 0600
Friendly casualties: 6-KIA, 35-WIA; (12 dusted off); 5-LOH and 2-UH1H destroyed by either sappers or mortars; 1-LOH, 2-UH1H and 3-AH1G seriously damaged by mortar fire.  2 ton trucks and 1 5 ton truck declared combat loss; 1 ton truck damaged, 4-bunkers destroyed; and 45 55 gallon drums of napalm destroyed.  Enemy casualties: 14-KBA, 1-PW (NVA).  Captured were 10-B40 rounds, 2 B40 carriers, 1 B41 round, 20 lbs of Russian C4 plastic explosive, 31 homemade grenades, 1-Chicom stick grenade, 15-20 blasting caps, 10-15 small explosive devices, 4 satchel charges, 2 bangalore torpedoes, 2 booby trapped anti-personnel mines (pressure detonated) and 1 large pair of wire cutters. 5
3 May 70 0630 "On the sweep we spotted fresh mounds of dirt, indicating possible fresh graves, that were not present on 2 May." 1
3 May 70 0630
?overwritten
This morning C Co, 1-50(-), 2 RF Companies, Scouts and Provisional Platoon conduct a sweep, C Co.(-) still in AO. 4
3 May 70 0649 AN 805218.  2/A/1-50 found bunker 10'x3'x4' with 1-1/2' overhead cover, 1 hut 6'x8', a paper bag inside of which they found several papers with writing, an M79 bandolier.  Hut showed signs of recent use.  In the same area found a VC poncho, VC canteen cover, medical dressings, 4 canisters of B40 rocket propellant, 2 VC hats.  Hut and bunker were destroyed.  Other items evacuated to Thien Giao. 4
3 May 70 0650
One VC company was sighted at BN 040395.  Reaction force from 3/B/2-1 going to the area at present. 4
3 May 70 0700
"As the longest-serving officer in the battalion (i.e., the only single digit midget) as well as one of the few who had served in both HHC and D Company, I was asked to identify the bodies from that night.  Each body was laid out on a separate table in a row of tables in a tent.  The mind plays tricks, but for years I distinctly remembered examining bodies on seven tables but the records only list six men killed.  It wasn't easy identifying the bodies of the men whom I knew - one head was missing - but I was able to positively identify all bar one body by either appearance or some distinguishing feature.  For example, the headless man had written his name on his jungle boots."24 (Jim Sheppard's Note, 2008:  A new and improved Coffelt Database reveals that there were 6 KIAs and one was NOT a 50th Infantry man...but a 2/1st Cav man named LeClerc.)
3 May 70 0705
PF Training Center at BN 155006 received 4 75mm RR rounds from SEL BP 161041 and BP 161040.  Friendlies returned fire and swept area with negative findings. 4
3 May 70 0750
44th ARVN reaction force at BN 090395 advised one VC Company in area. 4
3 May 70 0750
At AN 778075, CP/C/1-50 found 2-3 man sleeping position used last night. 4
3 May 70 0800
Initial interrogation of the PW, Le Van Lien, identified the 482B LF Battalion as the unit that attacked LZ Betty, and revealed that its base camp was located in the vicinity of Nui Ba Hon, AN730050 and that the enemy force planned to return to that location after attack. 5
3 May 70 0840
SP Walker took update casualties, 5 KIA, 36 WIA.
3 May 70 0850
D/2-1 losses as of now LOH 5 destroyed, 1 damaged, H models, 2 destroyed, 4 damaged, AH1G 3 damaged.
3 May 70 0902
3/C/1-50 at AN 763050 found 1 M26 frag grenade with Ho Chi Minh sandal tracks around it.  It was intact and not booby trapped.  Will destroy. 4
3 May 70 0915
AN 821128. 2/B/1-50 found 16 B40 canisters, 25 57mm recoilless rifle canisters, 2 bunkers 2'x2'x4' with 1' overhead cover.  They found blood stains on bamboo stakes in the area.  Used last night.  Bunkers destroyed. 4
3 May 70 0920
1/B/2-1 at BN 438411 reported 2 foot high roadblock made of dirt and rocks with a cardboard box nearby with a paper with Vietnamese writing.  Road block was destroyed and paper extracted to Song Mao. 4
3 May 70 0930
At 0930 an unknown number of VC entered SERIGNAC and elements of the 215 RF initiated contact.  The VC withdrew. 5
3 May 70 0956
C Company 1/50 will check out regroup area vicinity AN 7305.
3 May 70 1000
7699 cleared; notified Miller of postponement of S.M. awards.
3 May 70 1015
Following PW interrogation and beginning at 1015h, US elements moved on the base camp and RF's assumed blocking positions. 5
3 May 70 1135
1/50 following footprints towards 7305.
3 May 70 1145
G-4 radar picked up rocket position at AN 82101287.  A/1-50 made sweep of area today and found the grid to be in a streambed.  Found 12 canisters from B40, 25 casings from 57mm recoilless rifle, and 3 hasty fighting positions with overhead cover.  Found evidence of artillery fire.  Found blood inside fighting position and blood on bamboo poles.  Followed tracks to trail about 1000 meters NW of rocket position.  Found 2 sets of sandals. 4
3 May 70 1155
Mini-Cav directed to change sweep to AN 7605 to 7606.
3 May 70 1203
AN 806085.  Scouts/1-50 found 2 empty 81mm mortar boxes, a shirt and a woman's blouse with blood stains. 4
3 May 70 1402
AN 820231.  1/A/1-50 found bunker 10'x4'x3' with 1-1/2' overhead cover. 4
3 May 70 1550
BN441412.  Convoy from Phan Rang to Song Mao (2/1) found 2 gallon can of TNT mined.  Crater size 2-1/2 feet deep 5-1/2 feet diameter.  Also found within 25 meters of mine 6-7 Ho Chi Minh sandal tracks going up road and returning south. 4
3 May 70 1556
AM7699 cleared for 193d gunships.
3 May 70 1556
Informed B.T. CPT Forbes that QL-1 cannot be opened on 4 May by 2-1.
3 May 70 1830
AN 899293. 1/B/1-50 spotted 2 VC in open called in 81mm mortar (8 rounds), will sweep at first light. 4
3 May 70 1918
AN 803027, LZ Betty Bunker 9 spotted two persons in hedgerow, engaged with M60 and M79 and 4 mortar rounds.  Enemy withdrew. 4
3 May 70 2100
BN 22840.  1/C/1-50 found bunker at BN 22840 15'x15'x7' with 1' overhead cover.  Destroyed.  At BN 23040 found bunker 3'x3'x3' with 1/2 ‘ overhead cover.  Destroyed.  At BN 214327 found bunker 3'x3'x3' with 1/2‘ overhead cover.  Destroyed. 4
3 May 70 2400 Per Task Force South INTSUM#123, total enemy losses for the period 3 May 70 0001-3 May 70 2400 May 1970 were 895 enemy KIA (31 by 1/50), 50 taken prisoner (6 by 1/50) and 361 small arms captured (26 by 1/50) by Task Force South units including 1/50, 2/1, C/75 Rangers, 44th ARVN, 53rd ARVN, and Regional Forces/Popular Forces. 13
3 May 70 2400
Search operations continue. 5
3 May 70
Plow Into Cambodia - Allied Tanks, Troops Slug Enemy 14
3 May 70
President, Congressmen in Showdown14
3 May 70
Nixon Praises G.I.'S, Hits Campus Bums14
3 May 70 Prayer Day For P.O.W.'s 14

Aftermath.

3 May 70

On the May Day weekend from 1-3 May 1970 13,000 held a demonstration at Yale University to protest the murder trial of Black Panther party chairman Bobby Seale and seven other party members.  Normal academic activities were suspended and Yale opened its doors to demonstrators by offering shelter, food, day care, and first aid throughout the weekend.  The first day of rallies passed without significant disruption or disorder, fewer attended the following days, and academic activities resumed around campus by Monday 4 May. 16

4 May 70
0630
"B Company members assigned to the ammo section and other soldiers start early morning patrol west of LZ Betty. 1,500 meters west we found the remains of an enemy mortar emplacement, where four tubes had been hidden behind an erosion retaining wall about 30 feet below ground in a dried up creek bed. We followed the footprints northeast towards Phan Thiet searching houses with no luck." 1
4 May 70 "The day after the attack, I heard rumors about reports being called in to the TOC before the attack that weren't acted on, and had heard about the lack of permission to fire."24
4 May 70 At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen shoot and kill four student protesters and wound nine. In response to the killings, over 400 colleges and universities across America shut down. In Washington, nearly 100,000 protesters surround various government buildings including the White House and historical monuments. On an impulse, President Nixon exits the White House and pays a late night surprise visit to the Lincoln Memorial and chats with young protesters. 14
4 May 70
1700
"I was so upset about the attack that I wrote my congressman. A formal letter was sent to the unit requiring the brass to answer why our weapons were locked up... Captain Carl Abbot called me in to his office and showed me his response to the request. He told my congressman that the attack wasn't that bad and that I was just young and scared. I still have the letter and hope someday to meet Abbot." 2
4 May 70 On 3 May at 0149 (sic) hours, two NVA battalions of sappers launch assault on LZ Betty, Phan Thiet, to destroy assets of 1/50(M) and aviation assets of 2/1 Cav to prevent their use in Cambodian Incursion.  Greenline is penetrated.  Six US KIA.  NVA attacks fails to achieve goals. 14

4 May 70
1850

AN 536130, 2/B/1-50 50 cal machine gun blew up while being fired on APC during reaction to sniper fire at FSB Sherry. 19

4 May 70
2200

AN 982120 Unknown size VC element entered Tinh Hoa and kidnapped six women (MIA).  The VC were not engaged because the 290 RF were out in night location. 20

4 May 70

During yet another demonstration at Kent State University on Monday, May 4th, members of the National Guard began firing at demonstrators.  Four students were killed and eight injured.  In the wake of Kent State, all hell broke loose.  Two students were killed when Mississippi State police fired on a crowd of students at Jackson State University.  Some 450 colleges and universities went on strike; Governor Ronald Reagan closed the entire college and university system in California; within a week, the National Guard had been deployed in sixteen different states and on 21 different campuses.  A number of universities simply closed down for the year. 23

5 May 70
0645
AN 872295, Ambush of 1/B/1-50 closing their FOB as an APC was crossing a stream hit a mine.  One KIA was trapped inside when track blew up.  2 KIA (SP4 Charles Edward Aaron of Forge Village, MA, 11W-098 and SP4 Ramon Lee Grayson of Dixons Mills, AL, 11W-101).and 2 WIA dusted off.  Track was a combat loss. 18

5 May 70
1600

LZ Betty, 192d AHC detained a Vietnamese male who worked for PA&E (Pacific Architects and Engineers).  He was found in an unauthorized area and was acting suspiciously.  Interrogation continues. 22

5 May 70
2000

AP 995052 226 RF while searching area found one VC KIA who had been killed by small arms fire on 3 May 70. 21

6 May 70

4 Die in Clash on Campus 14

6 May 70

New Air Raids on North Vietnam Halted 14

6 May 70

Big Catch in The Fishhook: 500 Huts, Tons of Rice, Arms 14

6 May 70

In Saigon over the past week, 450 civilians were killed during Viet Cong terrorist raids throughout the city, the highest weekly death toll to date. 14

9 May 70

G.I.'s Capture 'Major Base' 14

9 May 70

Protests Shut 136 Colleges 14

9 May 70

Comb Massive N.V.A. Camp 14

15 May 70

"I was out of it for some time, I think about thirty days, the last I remember was the ward I was in, in Cam Ranh, was taking incoming rounds and they threw a mattress over me.  I woke up in Japan several days later.  As I stated earlier, I don't remember much more.  I relive that night all too often.  I wish I could just remember it all or at least forget all of it.  You would think 32 years would be long enough to forget wouldn't you?  A young Italian fella we called 'Wop' managed to get all my valuables to me but I can't remember his name.  I think he was from the Detroit area.  Maybe some of this info will help someone else. I'm just very thankful to be here. We all have to live our lives as a tribute to those who didn't come back." 9

30 Dec 70

The remainder of 1970 saw a continuation of the Vietnamization policy. By the end of the 1970, there were 335,000 American troops in Vietnam (down from 537,000 at the end of Johnson's term) with an average monthly casualty rate of 344 (down from an average of 1,200 during 1968).


Other Official Record(s) Not Fully Referenced in Text.

1. (C) OPERATIONS SUMMARY:
    A. GENERAL: TF SOUTH CONT OPNS IN AO SHERIDAN.

(1)

2-1 CAV, 1-50 IN, AND 44 ARVN REGT COMPLETED OPN HANCOCK LANCE.

(2)

2-1 CAV TERMINATED OPNS IN AO SHERIDAN...

(3)

1-50 INF (MECH): A CO CONT OPNS IN A CO AO. B CO CONT OPNS IN AO SHERIDAN WITH 1/B COMBINED AMB AND PATROLLING IN AREA NORTH OF THIEN GIAP AND AREA REACTION FORCE. 2/B COMBINED AMB AND PATROLLING VIC FSB SHERRY. 3/B COMBINED AMB AND PATROLLING VIC FSB SANDY. C CO SWEEP IN AO WEST OF LZ BETTY. RETURNED TO LZ BETTY AS REACTION FORCE.

Source: Task Force South Daily Sitrep 123 for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified), Pages 1-2.

2. (C) REMARKS:
    A. THERE WAS ONE SMALL UNIT CONTACTS.
    B. THE WEATHER HAD NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ON OPNS IN THE AO.
    C. THERE WAS ONE AIR STRIKE IN THE AO.
    D. THERE WERE FIVE NGF TGTS IN THE AO.
    E. TOT PERIOD CASUALTIES: FRD - 6KIA, 35WIA; EN - 14KBA, 1PW.
    F. OTHER ITEM OF COMMAND INTEREST:

(1)

030145H VIC AN800067 LZ BETTY WAS ATTACKED BY A FORCE THOUGHT TO BE THE 482B LF BN. THE ATTACK CONSISTED OF APPROXIMATELY 125 RNDS OF 60MM AND 82MM MORTAR FIRE, AN UNK NO OF B40 AND B41 RNDS, AND SAPPER PROBES IN FOUR SEPARATE LOCATIONS OF THE PERIMETER. ALL FIVE CO'S OF THE BATTALION APPEAR TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE ATTACK. APPROX SEVEN SAPPERS PENETRATED THE PERIMETER AT TWO SEPARATE LOCATIONS. ALL OTHERS WERE REPELLED. ENEMY ELEMENTS WERE REPULSED BY SEPARATE GND REACTION FORCES SUPPORTED BY GUNSHIPS, ARTILLERY AND SEAHORSE. AFTER AN AIR OBSERVER SPOTTED AN ENEMY FORCE VIC AN795075, G/S AND ARTY FIRED, RESULTS 14 KBA. A COMBINED FORCE CONSISTING OF TWO RF CO'S AND ELEMENTS FROM 1/50 MECH AND D.2-1 CAV SWEPT THE AREA AT FIRST LIGHT AND FOUND HEAVY BLOOD TRAILS. EVIDENCE OF BODIES BEING DRAGGED FROM THE SITE, AND 1 PW. INITIAL INTERROGATION OF THE PW, LE VAN LIEN, IDENTIFIED THE 482B LF BN, REVEALED THAT IT'S BASE CAMP WAS LOCATED VIC NUI BA HON, AN730050 AND THAT THE ENEMY FORCE PLANNED TO RETURN TO THAT LOCATION AFTER ATTACK. FOLLOWING PW INTERROGATION AND BEGINNING AT 1015H, US ELEMENTS MOVED ON THE BASE CAMP AND RF'S ASSUMED BLCOKING POSITIONS. SEARCH OPERATIONS CONTINUE. FRDLY CAS: 6-KIA, 35-WIA; (12 D/O); 5-LOH AND 2-UH1H DEST BY EITHER SAPPERS OR MORTARS; 1-LOH, 2-UH1H AND 3-AH1G SERIOUSLY DAM BY MORTAR FIRE. 2-3/4T TRUCKS AND 1-5T TRUCK DECLARED COMBAT LOSS; 1-1/2T TRUCK DAM, 4-BUNKERS DEST; AND 45-55 GAL DRUMS OF NAPALM DEST. EN CAS: 14-KBA, 1-PW (NVA). CIA WERE 10-B40 RNDS, 2 B40 CARRIERS, 1 B41 RND, 20 LBS OF C4 (RUSSIAN), 31 HOMEMADE GRENADES, 1-CHICOM STICK GRENADE, 15-20 BLASTING CAPS, 10-15 SMALL EXPLOSIVE DEVICES, 4-SATCHEL CHARGES, 2-BANGALORE TORPEDOES, 2-BOOBY TRAPPED ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES (PRESS DET) AND 1 LARGE PAIR OF WIRE CUTTERS.

(2)

030240H VIC AP996042 SERIGNAC (H) REC'D 3 UNK TYPE MORTAR RNDS. AT 0300H BP003035 AN UNK NO OF VC INIT CONTACT ON THE 54 PF CP W/SA AND AN UNK NO OF MORTARS. VC THEN ADVANCED TOWARDS SERIGNAC (H) BUT WERE BLOCKED BY THE PF'S. CONTACT WAS BROKEN AT 0330H. NEG FRDLY CAS. EN CAS UNK. AT 0930H AN UNK NO OF VC ENTERED SERIGNAC (H) AND ELEMENTS OF THE 215 RF INIT CONTACT. VC W/D....

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: The attack on LZ Betty was the largest of nine contacts that occured on the evening of 2-3 May 1970. Several involved ambushes of VC/NVA moving into position for the assault on LZ Betty. These other contacts resulted in 6 friendly KIA (4-RF and 2-civilian) and 10 WIA (RF); as well as 7 enemy KIA and capture of 1 bangalore torpedo, 1 B40, 2 AK47s and 1 B41 rocket launcher.

Source: Task Force South Daily Sitrep 123 for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified), Pages 3-5.

1. Operations: Significant Activities a. Intelligence.
    (5) Enemy Capabilities; vulnerabilities and probable courses of action.
          (a) Enemy Capabilities:    

3.

MR 6: In Military Region 6, the enemy is capable of conducting multi-battalion attacks against selected targets for a duration of 1-2 days as was seen during the tri-battalion attack against SONG MAO in April and the tri-battalion attack in DALAT in May. The enemy is also capable of utilizing 60 and 82mm mortars, recoilless rifles and B40, and 107mm rockets during the attacks by fire. The enemy can interdict traffic among the major LOC's in the region via small ambushes, sniping and mining.

Source: Operational Report-Lessons Learned Headquarters First Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 July 1970, RCS CSFOR-65 (R2), Confidential (Declassified), Page 4.


Bibliography / Endnotes.

1     Bryan (Frenchy) Lagimoniere, Vietnam, 3/70-3/71. B/1-50 and later D/1-50, email.
2     Dave Hess, B/1-50, email.
3     Task Force South Daily Staff Journal for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
4     Task Force South Spot Report, 3 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
5     Task Force South Daily Sitrep 123 for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified), Pages 3-5.
6     Jim Scully, on Whiskey Mountain, email.
7     David Parker, B/1-50, email.
8     Bill (Little Bill) Wright, B Battery, 5th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery, email.
9     Ray Lack, Maintenance Platoon, HHC Company, 1/50 (M), email.
10   Walter Gilbreath, Scout Platoon, HHC, 1/50 (M), email.
11   Gus Allbritton, HHC Company (formerly C Company), 1/50 (M), email.
12   Chuck Nelson, Vietnam, 6/69-6/70, HHC, 1/50 (M), Supply Sgt. Company Armorer, email.
13   Task Force South INTSUM 123 for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
14   Pacific Stars & Stripes.  As dated.
15   Operational Report-Lessons Learned Headquarters First Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 July 1970,
        RCS CSFOR-65 (R2), Confidential (Declassified), Page 4.
16   Guide To The Inventory of May Day Records, 1970-1972, 1976, Yale University Library, Manuscripts
         and Archives, February 1996
17   Task Force South Daily Sitrep 123 for Period 030001 to 032400H May 70 (U), Confidential (Declassified), Pages 1-2.
18   Task Force South Spot Report 5, 5 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
19   Task Force South Spot Report 7, 5 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
20   Task Force South Spot Report 8, 5 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
21   Task Force South Spot Report 14, 5 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
22   Task Force South Spot Report 15, 5 May 1970 (U), Confidential (Declassified).
23   Stephen Ambrose, Nixon: Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972; (New York: Summit Books, 1983).
24   Ray Sarlin, Captain, Duty Unassigned (had just turned over C Company for DEROS).
25   Photographs Copyright , 2003. Jim Magouyrk (3/506th, 101st Airborne Division). All rights reserved.
26   Photographs Copyright , 2003. Robert F. Dash (630th MP Company). All rights reserved.
27   Photographs Copyright , 2003. Dennis Knickerbocker. All rights reserved.
28   Photographs Copyright , 2003. Rick Leland. All rights reserved.
29   Don Rainwater, B/1-50, email.



Copyright 2003, Ray Sarlin and www.ichiban1.org. All rights reserved. (Copyright policy)
rws@173rdAirborne.com

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