New Men Spoil VC Ambush

VOL. 1, NO. 5 16 September 1968 AN KHE - Two Sergeants who have been in Vietnam less than two weeks helped foil a Viet Cong ambush recently near An Khe.

Sergeant First Class Edgar Irizarry of Bravo Company, 1/50th (Mechanized) Infantry, from Corpus Christi Tx, spotted three Viet Cong spider holes in the underbrush as his column of Armored Personel Carriers moved through a valley. "In the third hole I saw a Viet Cong," said SFC Irizarry who opened up with his newly acquired M16 rifle and alerted the rest of his Platoon.

Elements of Bravo Company and the Scout Platoon of the Mechanized Unit had been conducting a Recon in Force Operation eight miles west of An Khe just south of Highway 19. The VC lay in wait, but Irizarry triggered the ambush before the Mechanized Infantry men had moved into the killing zone.

Charged Enemy. When the lead vehicle was knocked out almost immediately, Sergeant First Class John A. Kaszuba of Olphant Pa, who had just taken over as Recon Platoon Leader grabbed an M-60 machine gun and charged the enemy yelling to the men in the vehicles to regroup. "The RTO had been hit in the lead track and our radio communcation was out temporarily," said Kaszuba "so I tried to get us organized. Kaszuba then ran from track to track setting up a defense and directing fire against the enemy who were trying to flank the APC's.

Air strikes and Helicopter Gunships were called in and pounded the enemy positions while a reaction force from Charlie Company, 1/50th Infantry, combat assaulted to a nearby area and linked up with the beleagured column. The two units then swept over the enemy area and found five VC KIA, two B-40 rockets a Russian made machine gun, personal equipment and heavy blood trails. A further search into the area uncovered a Platoon-sized outpost with three bunkers and eight foxholes.