16 Feb 1969

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‘Cacti Blue’ Bags Huge Rice Store

By SP4 Michael Tousey

BAN ME THUOT — An abandoned Montagnard village northeast of here turned out to be a major enemy supply center and yielded 56 1/4 tons of rice to men of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry.

The second platoon of Delta Company, led by 1st Lieutenant Melvin J. Grevstad of Roosevelt, N.Y., cordoned off the village of Buon Trang, and search teams found the huge cache in bins and sacks throughout the village.

"We thought the village was occupied and just went over to check it out. The rice wasn’t hidden or anything," said Captain Vaughn D. Brauer of Twin Falls,. Idaho, company commander of Delta.

"The village chief was brought out. It seems the VC were giving the villagers a rough time so they abandoned the village about four months ago," continued Captain Brauer.

Ambushes were set out on approaches to the village the evening after the discovery of rice, but there was no contact with the enemy.

The following morning the rice was removed and turned over to the Darlac Province Chief to be distributed to the refugees in the area.

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Sulenski of Chicago stated that this rice was stored by the Viet Cong. "One village could not consume that much rice, and the villagers left before the rice harvest. This was a way station for the VC."


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