DUC PHO—It was the "Blue Team," a platoon of air
cavalrymen, from the 1st Squadron, 9th Air Cavalry who first collided with
units of an estimated North Vietnamese battalion.
The cavalrymen had been inserted shortly after noon to check out a
suspected enemy position. The helicopters had barely lifted off when they
were hit from all directions.
The "Blues" held their own but were running low on ammo and
being pressed by the NVA when the 1st Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion,
35th Infantry was airlifted into the battle.
"As we approached the landing zone I could see it was plenty
hot," said Second Lieutenant Walter Twyford, 1st Platoon leader.
"My chopper was hit arid missed the LZ by 200 meters. We were all able
to make it in and link up with the fighting cavalrymen, though."
The bitter fighting continued and an attempt to overrun the American
positions was repelled before more help arrived.
The remainder of Company B and the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry’s
Recon Platoon joined the fighting along with two platoons of armored
personnel carriers from the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry.
With the APCs and Infantrymen battling side-by-side, the NVA lines
"We really had the enemy on the run," said Lieutenant
Twyford. "Forced from the trenches, he couldn’t find enough holes to
hide in. As we moved through the area we started receiving fire from the
rear. Many were in spider holes and we had to sweep back through the
Darkness fell and contact continued throughout the night. The
infantrymen of the 3rd Brigade, 25th Division now had a new danger to
contend with as the NVA began firing mortar and recoilless rifle rounds into
"When the mortar rounds began to fall I was too busy to be
scared," said Sergeant Kenneth J. Hills of the 3rd Squadron, 4th
Sergeant Hills certainly was busy because during the night he fired 50
to 60 magazines of M-16 rounds, a case of M79 grenades, and 3,000 rounds of
50-caliber machine gun ammo.
Aided by air strikes, artillery and "Spooky," the
"Cacti" and 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry routed the NVA. A total of
87 enemy were killed and the 3rd Brigade troops captured numerous weapons,
including a 60mm mortar, a recoilless rifle, and a machine gun.