Bong Son – The 2nd Battalion, 35th
Infantry "Cacti Blue", under the operational control of the 4th
Division, encountered two North Vietnamese Army battalions west of the Se San
River near Plei Djereng while participating in Operation Sam Houston.
The action began on a Sunday morning when Company A of the
"Cacti Blue" left its base camp on a southwestern course to
investigate a recent B-52 strike.
About 9:30 a.m. the 1st Platoon made contact with NVA
snipers in trees and fortified bunkers. The 2/35th troops shot one NVA and
became pinned down by automatic weapons fire from a bunker position.
The 3rd Platoon maneuvered left and also made contact, but
was unable to penetrate the enemy defense.
Company A withdrew to call in artillery and air fire, but
was still pressed by the NVA.
Companies B and C were helilifted to nearby landing zones
to support Company A. Artillery fire was called in to block the enemy’s
The next morning Company A conducted a sweep of the
battlefield which revealed 61 NVA bodies and numerous small arms and assorted
An extensive bunker system uncovered by the "Cacti
Blue" was actually interlocking base camps with handrails connecting the
bunkers so the NVA could move from one to the other at night without straying
outside the perimeter.
The gear the NVA left behind was new, indicating Charlie
was either a new unit or had recently been completely resupplied.