Combat Operation After Action Report, LZ MIKE SIERRA (B6281271)
HEADQUARTERS, 25TH INFANTRY DIVISIONAPO San Francisco 96225
THRU: Commanding Officer 27th Reg, 25th Inf Div ATTN: AVDDA_BRC
1. (c) Name or indentify and/or type of operation: OPERATION YELLOWSTONE (III): Search and Destroy operation? 2. (c) Date of Operation: 311700 July1968 to 051400 August 1968. ? 3. (c) Location: LZ MIKE SIERRA (B6281271), BAO TRAI area (B6301270)
11. (c) Execution
311700 TF Raleigh was delivered by helo to LZ Mike Sierra. The perimeter and OP Butter Diesel were established and secured.
311730 1st Platoon began to move forward to water spring having orders to secure it and provide security.
311800 Water spring secured, 1st Platoon proceed with water resupply. 311830 1st Platoon during radio conversation with TF HQ received orders to move to Hill 122 at B627412735 to proceed with a recon mission.
311900 2nd Squad leading, 1st Platoon was attacked at Hill 122 by heavily armed and well dug enemy forces 100 men strong.
311920 2nd Squad on the right flank was pinned down with enemy fire.
311930 1st squad led by Platoon Sergeant SSG Popov performed a left flanking move which successfully made the enemy leave fortified positions. 1st squad KIA – 1 (PVT Borsak, Tim), 2nd squad WIA – 3 (SGT Stotski, SP4 Horn, PVT Box). Enemy KIA – 30 personnel appr., more than 40 wounded. No bodies recovered. Multiple enemy equipment recovered by SGT Torres (registration form attached).
311940 1st Platoon secured the position, Medevac requested. 311945 Recon group led by SP4 Van York got a visual contact with the enemy downhill. Recon group performed the right flanking maneuver to search for an exit point and set a helo landing site. 311955 Landing site found and secured. 1st platoon began to move to the site. No enemy presence spotted.
312020 KIA and WIA evacuated
312030 Recon group sent to provide exit route back to water spring though the swamp areA. 312045 1st Platoon ordered to establish NDP on the north side the Hill. 312230 NDP setup position established at Hill 150 B628212722
312350 NDP established. Guard duty set.
010630 Orders received to proceed to resupply point.
010800 1st Platoon secured resupply point B627712723 and provided cover for LRRP teams encountered in the area
010830 Water and rations resupply, OP Butter Diesel shift assigned 011000 1st Platoon ordered to secure Hill 141 B627512717
011030 Enemy bunkers encountered on the lower slope of Hill 141. 1st squad provided recon. No sights of enemy presence found. Defensive structures destroyed with hand grenades and C4.
011130 1st platoon secured Hill 141 and established defense perimeter.
011230 TF HQ updated orders to proceed to secure Hill 135 B6274127215 and eliminate enemy presence in the area.
011400 Hill 135 secured. Old French fortifications (dugouts, trenches) found. 1st and 2nd squads ordered to swipe the fortifications. 10 booby traps secured and destroyed.
011430 1st squad recon team ordered to establish river crossing at the Hill 88 B627412721
011520 Recon team leader SGT Torres reported river crossing at the point, no sight of the enemy presence or mines. 1st Platoon ordered to cross the river and proceed with the attack on Hill 122 from the N side. 011600 River crossing completed, defense perimeter established on the NW slope of Hill 122
011615 Recon team (3 EM’s) ordered to provide search for the enemy presence on the Hill 122.
011730 Forward observation post reported SP4 Sawyer return. SGT Swarowski and PVT Frungelmann reported MIA during surprise flanking attack on the recon team. SP4 Sawyer reported that 30 VC personnel were destroyed in the engagement. Enemy presence in the area is heavy. The weather conditions (low heavy clouds) do not allowed to provide any type of air support.
011800 1st Platoon ordered to search for the MIA’s and attack enemy positions on the top of Hill 122.
011900 1st Platoon proceed with the attack in two line formations, securing heavily fortified position of Hill 122.
011915 SP4 Sawyer and PVT Corsak WIA while attacking the bunker on the right flank in attempt to destroy heavy machine gun nest
011915 The enemy attempts to regroup and flee through SW slope
011920 SSG Popov WIA while leading 2nd squad on the left flank encircling the enemy forces in the strength of a company.
011955 Hill 122 secured, TF HQ informed on the condition of the troops and results of the engagement. 120 enemy troops destroyed during the engagement, more than 200 presumed to be wounded.
012015 Search party recovered SGT Swarowski and PVT Frungelmann KIA in the WN sector. The remains were transferred to the defense perimeter. 012030 Medevac requested.
012100 2 KIA 3 WIA evacuated from the area.
012115 1st Platoon ordered to establish NDP at Hill 135 B6274127215
012200 1st Platoon arrived in the designated point.
012330 NDP established, guard duty assigned.
020600 Morning report: all men present and feeling well. No sights of the enemy during the night.
020630 Resupply point arranged at B628112721
020800 Ammunition, water and rations resupply, OP Butter Diesel shift assigned
020930 TF HQ updates orders to move out to Hill 196 and secure an OP at the road junction.
021015 1st Platoon secures a perimeter at B628512715. Recon team sent to search for a possible OP site.
021040 Recon team returns and reports secure passage through the rice paddy to the OP site.
021140 1st Platoon secures the tree line on the edge of Hill 196. Few destroyed farm houses of the French origin found and checked. No sight of the enemy presence. TF HQ ordered 2 hour monitoring duty of the sector.
021200 2nd Squad monitoring duty shift.
021300 2nd squad reported no general activity in the sector. SGT Stotski reported in some unknown language later identified as Polish by PFC Polakowsky. See LESSONS LEARNED for the further analysis of the incident. 1st squad shifted to the OP
021400 1st squad reported no activity in the area.
021415 TF HQ informed that the enemy forces passed the monitored sector. 1st platoon ordered to engage and report enemy activity at Hill 134.
021430 1st Platoon moves out 2nd Squad leading.
021515 Dried river bed leaning down Hill 159 found. 2nd Squad proceeds to move down 200 meters.
021545 2nd Squad pointman ordered to climb left slope to secure higher ground for the troop’s rest.
021600 Designated point reached. 2nd squad recon team sent to establish visual contact with the water basin and update current location.
021620 Recon team spotted large unpassable marsh area on the hill’s downside. Estimated position stated as the N slope of the unmarked hill NW to Hill 134
021630 1st Squad recon team sent to continue location update mission. ETA set to 1730.
021715 PFC Bruster reported AK47 firing SE to the location. After a brief meeting the rest of the 1st Squad was sent to a rescue mission.
021730 Both recon team and 1st Squad returned to the defense perimeter without any losses. The recon team explored a safe passage Hill 134.
021745 1st Platoon moves out to it’s primary objective. 021840 VC camp found and surrounded. No current enemy presence spotted. Firewood dump, mess equipment searched and destroyed with hand grenades and C4 by PVT Schweiger.
021850 2nd Squad detected defensive VC structures within 50 meters from firewood dump. After a search, 2 bunkers were detected and destroyed. 021930 Recon team lead by SGT Torres detected secure flat top on Hill 134 to establish NDP.
021950 1st Platoon secured the hill top at Hill 134. TF HQ ordered to setup NPD and to proceed with the S&D orders on the next day.
022200 NDP established, guard duty assigned.
030600 Morning report: all men present and feeling well. No sights of the enemy during the night.
030630 Resupply point arranged at B628112721 030830 Ammunition, water and rations resupply, OP Butter Diesel shift assigned
030900 1st Platoon leader requested to attend a meeting in the 1/27 Bn HQ in respect of controversial intel provided by the LRRP team on the subject of MIA extraction on August, 01. SSG Popov assigned to command the 1st Platton. Stars and Stripes photo-correspondent M. Vasquez is attached to the platoon HQ.
031000 TF HQ updated the orders. The primary objective was to clear the Hills 156, 132, 104
031200 1st Platoon reached Hill 156. Recon team sent to search for secure passage to Hill 132.
031400 Hill 132 secured. No enemy presence in the area.
031600 Hill 104 secured. Assorted enemy structures detected. Old French military cemetery located. All enemy structures destroyed.
031700 TF HQ ordered 1st Platoon to secure Hill 164 where heavy enemy presence was spotted by FAC.
031835 1st Platoon established visual contact with the enemy fortifications. Estimated 300 VC personnel reported in the area. Platoon leader requested 155mm howitzers suppressive fire on the enemy fortifications.
031900 3 barrages fired, destroying all military equipment and personnel in the targeted area.
031930 Further observation showed no enemy activity or presence.
032010 1st Platoon advised to leave Hill 164 and move to Hill 134 to setup NDP
032030 Hill 134 secured and searched for the enemy mines and booby traps.
032130 NDP established, guard duty assigned.
032330 FSB BEAUREGARD infiltrated and attacked by large VC force of the unknown strength. Supply dump destroyed, SSG Aushan KIA, SGT Wilkinson WIA.
032340 Water supply at B627712723 is reported to be blown up and poisoned by the VC force.
040600 Morning report: all men present and feeling well. No sights of the enemy during the night.
040630 Resupply point arranged at B628112721
040700 Platoon leader aware of heavy enemy presence in the area decides not to follow the rice paddies route and leads his men through the marshes on the water reservoir banks.
040850 Ammunition, water and rations resupply, OP Butter Diesel shift assigned. All water is purified by the medical team. Malaria treatment provided at the same time. Short Combat Infantryman’s Badge and rank promotion ceremony held.
041000 1st Platoon ordered to secure the edge of Hill 162 041020 Civilian convoy spotted on the road by 1st Platoon. 041030 1st Platoon HQ contacted TF HQ. Orders received to conceal 1st Platoon movement. 041035 1st Platoon entered the woods to the left of the road
041050 No civilian presence reported 041140 1st Platoon secured Hill 162. TF HQ provided orders to hold the positions until LRRP team arrival. 041200 LRRP team reached Hill 162 by foot. TF HQ ordered to assign M. Vasquez to LRRP team.
041215 LRRP team proceeded with it’s mission and left Hill 162 in the unknown direction.
041230 1st Platoon ordered to continue S&D mission at Hill 146.
041430 Hill 146 secured. No enemy presence in the area.
041500 2nd Squad recon team assigned to monitor enemy activity in the area of Hill 104
041600 Radio transmission from the recon team stated enemy hospital found in the area. Further examination reported multiple sings of constant enemy presence
041630 Recon team joined the main force
041700 1st Platoon ordered to S&D explored facilities
041730 VC facilities reached by 1st Platoon. Examination team found multiple barracks, fortifications and signs of the enemy activities. The main building indented as sappers training centre. Due to lack of the proper ammunition and hazardous nature of the facilities Platoon HQ decided to leave the area and request the artillery fire to destroy the site.
041810 1st Platoon HQ requested 155mm battery fire support mission on the found VC encampment but was denied of such action due to some unknown reason. TF HQ was requested air support but there was none too. The only one available fire support appeared to be 8-in guns.
041825 Fire support mission started in 3 barrages. Multiple explosions of the enemy ammunition observed. 041840 2nd squad reconed improvised river crossing on the left slope of Hill 104. River crossing destroyed by the remaining supply of C4 explosive.
041910 1st Platoon reached Hill 104 top. TF HQ requested to move right downside to search for a river crossing in the marsh area. While moving down the slope, 1st Squad on trail, SP4 Van York spotted VC force right to the rear of the platoon in the attack formation covered by the direct sun light. SP4 Van York courageously opened fire and saved many of the men’s lives. Gallantry remaining on his post SP4 Van York covered 1st Squad climbing uphill in the counter attack on the superior (up to 150 personnel) enemy forces.
041920 Left flanking maneuver performed by SGT Stotski leading 2nd Squad encircled the enemy and forced VC to withdrew. More than 50 dead VC troops estimated.
041940 1st Platoon regrouped and moved out to the river crossing.
041950 VC observation tower spotted and marked on map at B628917218
042000 1st Platoon SP4 Van York on point secured slope of Hill 132
042100 1st Platoon secured Hill 134. TF HQ advised to establish NDP in same point. 042130 Search for enemy mines completed.
042200 NDP established, guard duty assigned.
050600 Morning report: all men present. PFC Spencer sick. No sights of the enemy during the night. 050630 Resupply point arranged at B628112721
050830 Ammunition, water and rations resupply, OP Butter Diesel shift assigned.
050900 Field equipment inspection. Most of the weapons found to be unclean and served poorly, mostly duty to foul weather conditions.
051000 1st Platoon ordered to secure old French positions at Hill 135 B6274127215
051030 Vast civilian presence in the area. Platoon HQ reported TF HQ. HQ provided the intel on VC reported to rapidly withdraw from the AO
051100 Hill 135 and positions secured and cleared of the enemy booby traps. 20 mines destroyed.
051130 1st Platoon performed defensive actions and destroyed three enemy companies 250 personnel strength trying to infiltrated the lines.
051400 TF HQ requested 1st Platoon to assemble at LZ Mike Sierra.
051430 1st Platoon encountered LRRP Team at B628112721 and provided security for them.
051500 End of operation. All units transported by helo to FSB BEAUREGARD.
12. (c) Lessons learned
a. Joint platoon formation proved to be effective under given conditions. No signs of leadership and/or subordination problems, great unit integrity and outstanding performance of NCO’s and EM’s could be seen as a reason for the further implementation of such formations on the fields of battle.
b. Chain of supply was horrible. THe NCO’s responsible for such mess with the rations should be questioned by higher authorities since the TF was provided with only 2 (two) meals choice instead on 12.
c. NCO’s should take English writing test at 90th RB. d. All infantry troops deploying to the BAO TRAI area should take additional mountain training.
13. (c) Commendations
a. Herewith I request Task Force RALEIGH Headquarters to award SP4 van York, Jan with the Bronze Star Medal for his brave and gallant actions during the attack on the 1st Platoon on the August 4, 1968 which led not only to non-casualties engagement, but granted 1st Platoon a possibility for an effective counter-attack leading to elimination of the enemy attacking force.
b. SP4 Sheffield, Jonh recommended for 3 day R&R leave at China Beach
14. (c) Inclosures
a. Morning reports of HQ, 1st Squad and 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon
b. Casualty Feeder Reports
c. War Trophy Registration Form
PAUL J. FOSTERS
STAFF SERGEANT1/27 INFANTRY