Cacti Blue's Role
Big In Mountains
By SP4 Michael Tousey
OASIS-In a month long battle, the 2nd Battalion,
35th Infantry, drove a NVA regiment from the Chu
Prong mountains on the east side of Highway 14 about 23
kilometers north of Pleiku.
Intelligence reports indicated that the enemy regiment moved
into the area in an effort to interdict vital Highway 14 which
links the Famous Fighting Fourth Division headquarters and
Pleiku with forward units in the Kontum area. The area was also
being used to stage rocket and mortar attacks on the Pleiku
The operation began on March 1 with Bravo and Delta Companies
moving into the mountains. The Chu Prong mountains, about 5,000
feet high and many with slopes approaching 45 degrees, were
covered with double and triple canopy vegetation and thick
stands of bamboo. This was perfect terrain for defensive
operations by an entrenched enemy familiar with the area.
Contact was first made on March 2 by Delta Company. In the
following weeks two or three firefights in one day by different
elements of the battalion was not an unusual occurrence.
On the 7th, Alpha and Bravo Companies combined to defeat an
unknown size enemy force which left 11 enemy bodies. In two
separate fights, Delta and a Recon Platoon each accounted for
one NVA kill. The Recon Platoon then ended the first week of the
battle by finding an ammunition cache containing 300,000 AK47
rounds, almost enough ammo to supply two battalions with a basic
The Recon Platoon was again instrumental in an action which
brought the battle to an end on the 29th. Ten NVA bodies were
found after the fight.
The impressive statistics for the month are indicative of the
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantryís aggressiveness in the Chu Prong
mountains. The Cacti Blue accounted for 65 enemy bodies.
The battalion captured 25 AK47 rifles. Also recovered were
111 60mm and 19 82mm mortar rounds with 126 ignition cartridges
for 60mm mortars and 164 fuses for mortars.
In addition to the destruction of a battalion command post
and battalion-size aid station, the month saw the Cacti Blue
destroy eight tunnel and cave complexes and numerous bunkers,
foxholes and fighting positions.
But most important, the NVA regimentís sanctuary and base
of operations were damaged and complete use of the area was
denied to the enemy. The attempt to cut Highway 14 never
materialized and pressure was lessened in the Pleiku area.