DUC PHO — Firing at a resupply helicopter proved to be a drastic
mistake by one Viet Cong sniper. Ground units were called to locate him and
a battle developed that led to the death of 53 VC soldiers on the coastal
plain north of Duc Pho.
The Reconnaissance Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry and Company
C, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor took the brunt of the fighting in a well
integrated tank and infantry assault.
The 2nd Platoon of the armor Company sped to the location of the
sniper fire after receiving a call from the chopper. When they arrived they
came under a heavy volume of enemy fire. The automatic weapons were answered
with blasts from the 90mm main guns killing at east two VC. More enemy were
spotted running for a hole which was immediately destroyed.
As the rest of the tank company arrived, a hasty perimeter was set up
from which the armor and infantrymen launched the organized assault.
Pursuing the enemy was made increasingly difficult by the dense
hedgerows and trenches that surrounded the rice paddies. The tankers and
infantrymen could not observe the fleeing enemy, but to their aid came a
Forward Air Controller. As Captain William E. Hocker, the tank company
commander, explained, "The FAC radioed the enemy’s direction of
movement to me and we caught the VC on the run."
Disrupted enemy on the run were engaged and brought down by the tanks.
It was a "hot and heavy" battle, related one tanker. With
the tracked monsters and recon troops routing out the enemy on the ground
and M-60 equipped helicopters flying overhead the VC had no chance, The
"Cacti Blues’" Companies A and B were helilifted to the action
when the fighting had died down enough to permit the choppers to land.
Company A was credited with five VC killed.
In addition to the 53 VC dead, 19 weapons were captured in the battle
that was termed a great example of coordination between the tanks and the
infantrymen of the Ivy Division’s 3rd Brigade.