Battalions Seek Out Enemy Near An Khe
| VOL. II, NO. 4 2 FEB 1969 BONG SON - The remote jungled foothills of
the Central Highlands north of An Khe were the Brigade's prime area of interest
during the first weeks of January as elements of the 2nd and 4th Battalions,
503d Infantry assisted by gunships of Delta Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry
Regiment conducted Reconnaissance in Force missions throughout the region,
seeking out enemy base camps and staging areas. Both Infantry Battalions
made numerous light contacts during the period and turned up several caches
of rice and medical supplies.
However, the biggest single contact of the period was made by elements of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized) 50th Infantry when it met a Viet Cong Company along Route 19 and killed nine. A single APC from Alpha Company, l/50th accompanied by a Tank from the 1/69th Armor began the contact when they were engaged by enemy mortar and rocket fire. An hour long battle ensued when the remainder of Alpha Company and Helicopter Gunships quickly reinforced. In addition to nine VC killed, the Infantrymen found 7 AK47 rifles, 2 B-40 rocket launchers and an APO machine gun which the routed enemy left in their wake.
Elsewhere in Operation Walker, 4th Battalion Hawk Ambush teams had considerable success in turning up small encampments including one Battalion-sized VC camp which housed over a ton of rice and three banners with Fidel Castro's picture. Two Sky Soldiers from C/4/503d also killed seven VC and captured 7 weapons between them (see stories this page). The biggest single discovery, however, was made by A/2/503d which turned up an enemy tunnel hospital complex 40 miles northwest of An Khe. The discovery followed a short firefight with enemy snipers in which the Company killed two. Then, after searching the area, the Paratroopers found three large buildings with beds and a tunnel complex leading away from it. The tunnel complex turned into a hospital which contained three operating tables, a mess hall, sleeping area for 48 and large wheat storage bin.
The next day, Gunships of Delta Troop 2/1 Cavalry Regiment flying visual Reconnaissance in a nearby area, spotted two groups of VC moving across a valley and killed eight. In Operation Cochise/Dan Sinh, the 1/503d made light and scattered contact while operating along the coast north of Qui Nhon, while to the south near Tuy Hoa, D/16th Armor began a large operation with the 47th ARVN Regiment.