The Army Reporter

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Broncos Return To Base After Weeks In The Field

PLEIKU, (25th INF DIVIO) — After almost seven continuous, dusty weeks of combat operations, the "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade, have returned to their Pleiku base camp.

Following a massive airlift of most of the brigade south to Ban Me Thuot on February 25th, the men of the brigade fought to the north and west on operation Garfield.

Garfield ended on March 24th. At that point the brigade’s base was located at Buon Brieng, a small Montagnard outpost 60 miles north of Ban Me Thuot.

Without a break, the "Broncos" linked up with the 1st Cavalry Division for operation Lincoln on March 25th. The "Tropic Lightning" soldiers Continued to strike at the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.

On March 31st, the. brigade again shifted its base north. The new base of operations was a Special Forces camp, 100 miles northwest of Buon Brieng, at Duc Co, five miles from the Cambodian border.

The moves from Ban Me Thuot to Buon Brieng to Duc Co were made by road. This was the first time highway 14, the north-south route through central Vietnam, had been opened by US Forces.

During the two consecutive operations the "Broncos" posted an impressive record of communist harassment.

On operation Garfield the brigade accounted for 103 North Vietnamese and eight Viet Cong killed. Air and artillery strikes in support of brigade operations accounted for another twenty North Vietnamese killed.

Twelve Viet Cong were captured and 78 suspects were also detained by the brigade.

The brigade posted one of the highest captured weapons-to-enemy killed ratios to date in the war. A total of 65 weapons were taken, including 47 small. arms, 16 automatic weapons, one American M-79 grenade launcher, and one 75mm recoilless rifle.

Large quantities of ammunition were captured during Garfield. This included 102 hand grenades, 38 B 40 rockets, 1200 12.7mm rounds, 27,300 small arms rounds, and 3 Claymore-type mines.

A complete field hospital was also captured by an element of the brigade. The find resulted in over 100 pounds of drugs and a large assortment of surgical instruments captured.

A total of 400 uniforms, 234 rucksacks, 11 telephones, a switchboard, and 150 pounds of documents and photographs were also captured. Three hundred enemy structures were destroyed.

After Lincoln, Colonel Everette A. Stoutner, the 3rd Brigade Commander said, "I think the greatest benefit to us on this operation was the fine experience we gained working with the battle-tested 1st Cavalry Division."

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