16-Sep-69 Combat After Action Report
On September 16, 1969 Alpha Company and a platoon of ARVN's located a bunker complex. While they made preparations to destroy the bunkers enemy forces were maneuvering to flank and ambush the group. This is a report of that action.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 2D BATTALION 14TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCFM-SA 6 October 1969
SUBJECT: Combat After Action Interview Report.
25th Infantry Division
ATTN: 18th Historical Detachment
APO SF 96225
1. Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry
2. 16 September 1969
3. XT609247 (map coordinates)
4. 2nd Bde, 25th Infantry
5. FIELDING, Craig, 2LT PLT LDR
SHIELDS, Patrick W., SGT PLT SGT
RYKEN, Darrell, PFC RTO
6. OLSON, Darrell B.
7. Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry.
8. Interviews enclosed.
Anthony S. Baron
Incl 1 - 2Lt FIELDING
Incl 1 - Sgt SHIELDS
Incl 1 - PFC RYKEN
2Lt. Craig Fielding
3rd Plt. Leader
Alpha Company 2/14
0900 hours Alpha Company, along with one platoon of ARVN's, left the combined patrol base Dong Tien. We traveled in column formation on an azimuth of 70 degrees N.E.-E.
Our sweep went one click, then we turned North for two clicks. At this time we turned West for 300-500 meters; the ARVN's found a bunker complex in a hedgerow. The time was about 1145.
The CO had five 40 pound shape charges flown in and a six man party took the charges forward into the hedgerow.
At 1230 hours, as the engineers began placing the shape charges, small arms fire erupted to our front. B-40 rockets began exploding and more small arms fire was received from the N.E. and N.W.
The NVA were well camouflaged in bunkers that were in another hedgerow. As suppressing fire was laid down the ARVN platoon withdrew. Shortly thereafter the US forces, who were planting the shape charges, were able to withdraw.
When all elements were together, the whole formation withdrew about 200 meters. All this time gun ships were engaging the enemy.
The gun ships were so close that we had to keep constant smoke on our flanks for protection. After this we received a one-half resupply of ammo by helicopter.
105mm artillery from Cu Chi was called in on the enemy positions, and three TAC Air missions were delivered. In addition, two Flame Baths, each with three 55 gallon drums were dropped by helicopter onto the NVA forces.
After all indirect fire and air strikes were lifted, we swept back through the area. The ARVN's were on line with the US forces on line behind them.
The ARVN's found AK magazines, four B-40 rockets, one NVA hat and one NVA flag. There were no bodies found.
A heliborne came in on the other side of the contact area and flew us back to Dong Tien.
Alpha Company 2/14
On September 16, at 0900 hours, 3rd platoon of Alpha Company 2/14th, left the combined patrol base Dong Tien, located in the southern portion of the Ho Bo Woods with a platoon of ARVN's. The ARVNs were the point element with Alpha Company CP in the middle and the 3rd platoon in the rear of the file. At 1200 hours the ARVNs found a large bunker complex, and Alpha Company's CP radioed for explosives to blow the bunkers. The ARVNs remained at point to secure the frontal area with the 3rd platoon pulling flank security and the CP keeping the rear area secure. PFCs Mike Myers, Robert Ryken, Dennis Schultz and Sgt James Overbey being point element of 3rd platoon remained in front to help the engineers set the explosives.
At approximately 1300 hours, the front elements received AK-47 fire and B40 RPGs could be heard going off around them. The ARVNs and 3rd platoon point element returned fire. The ARVNs then maneuvered back to the 3rd platoon's left flank leaving the point element cut off from the rest of the patrol. The 1st squad then put out covering fire so the point element could rejoin the main body of the platoon. When they got back, PFCs David DiBiaso and Edward Legerski noticed the NVA attempting to come up on the right flank. Lebski immediately opened up with his M-16 and dropped one NVA, then Dibiaso started putting out with his M-60 and got 2 more. Sgt Patrick Shields then opened up with his M-16 killing yet another NVA troop running along the hedgerow. The 2nd squad then concentrated all their fire power to the right hedgerow where the movement was spotted. Gun ships finally came on station and both the ARVNs and the 3rd platoon were able to pull back. Setting up security, we watched with relief as artillery started coming in and F-104s came on station to completely flatten the area.
SGT Patrick W. Shields
Alpha Company 2/14
On the 16th of September my platoon was on an operation 2000 meters north of the combined patrol base Dong Tien. At 1300 hours, on a sweep through a thick hedgerow, we received light weapons fire along with B40 rocket fire. We returned fire immediately and pulled back 50 meters to take up a defensive position. While setting up in the defensive position, myself, PFCs Leberski and M-60 gunner Dibiasio spotted 4 VC pulling out of the area. Putting the M-60 into effective fire it killed 2, and myself and PFC Leberski killed one each. After letting the rest of the platoon pull back, we pulled back and with Lt. Fielding, CO Branch and FO Canava air strikes, artillery, gun ships and flame baths were called in. After this we went back into the hedgerow and found a good size enemy element had been destroyed.
(Interview with Darrell Olsen)
16 September, Company A, 2nd Bn 14th Infantry, had started its daily combined operation with ARVN troops out of combined patrol base Dong Tien, north of FSB Patton II. We had moved north approximately two clicks when we swung to the west with the ARVN's in the lead, starting our return to the patrol base. We approached a hedgerow to our front carefully, the ARVN's reconning with M-79's, then sending in a recon team. Hearing some excited voices, myself, PFC Dennis Schultz (RTO) and four other GIs went up to investigate. The ARVN's had found two fighting bunkers about 150 meters into the brush. It was decided that the bunkers should be blown. Shape charges were flown in. As the demo man was preparing to plant them, I found a trip wire. It was left alone, figuring the explosion would detonate whatever was attached to it.
Without warning, we received small arms fire to our front. Then we received two RPGs. We hit it. I called the CO to explain our situation. The ARVN's had pulled back and we were caught in a cross fire, unable to move. We five US troops ere together in a trench, and by this time the ARVN's had gotten back to the main body of our force.
I again radioed the CO, requesting the ARVN troops be advised to cease fire so that we might withdraw. In past operations with the "little people", communications had been a problem and this was now my major concern - that the ARVN forces know we were withdrawing and that they hold their fire.
We had to move soon, for the last RPG had landed about 20 feet from the shape charges, and we were within 12 feet of them. At this time I received word that the ARVN's had been notified that were were withdrawing. We were only receiving light AK fire now. We laid down a base of fire and started our withdrawal.
Two of our people had started back when the gun ships arrived. They came down to my frequency. I gave them a target from my location. The first rockets were right on target.
The rest of us moved out on the run for the Company's position 150 meters to our rear. After reaching their location, the combined forces withdrew. Air strikes and artillery were called in while the gun ships worked out overhead.
After an hour's air and artillery bombardment, our two elements grouped again, preparing to sweep the area. The ARVN's set up in an "On Line" formation with US troops as support.
The day proved successful with no casualties, and with the finding of a large assortment of NVA equipment; AK magazines, web gear, one NVA flag. It had been a long day and heading back to the hardspot was a good feeling.
This After Action Report has been reproduced to appear like the original. The copy was obtained by and has been generously contributed by Paul North, Echo Co., 2/14th Inf.
16-Sep-69 Combat After Action Report
Copyright © 2008 Kirk S. Ramsey
Last modified: February 07, 2008