NND 935678


APO San Francisco 96219

1 June 1968

SUBJECT: Combat Operation After Action Report (U)

TO: See Distribution
1. (U) Name of Operation: Defense of FSB Black Betty. Search-and-Destroy mission.
2. (U) Date of Operation: 261200 to 270500 May 1968.
3. (U) Location: FSB Black Batty (BT 644 603), Phuong Dinh (2) district, Chu Lai area, RVN.
Map references: Vietnam Scale 1:50,000, Series L7014, Sheets 6739 I, 6739 IV.
4. (C) Control and Command Headquarters: HEADQUARTERS 198th Lt Infantry Brigade (LIB)
5. (U) Reporting Officers: COs of 198th LIB; 1st Bn, 6th Inf

6. (C) Task Force Organization:
a. Co A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry (Americal)

7. (C) Supporting Forces:
a. 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light) - provided gunships employing suppressive fires to destroy the enemy and relieve enemy pressure on the Phuong Dinh District.

8. (C) General:
a. On 25 May 1968, the enemy initiated an attack against the Phuong Dinh (2) Military District compound (BT 640608), located approximately 1000 meters west of FSB Black Betty.
b. The Viet Cong attack on Phuong Dinh began at 250214 May and terminated approximately 250730 May. Rifle Company of 25th ID who was in the compound kept the Brigade TOC informed of the attack as it commenced, developed and terminated. This information was retransmitted to the Americal Division TOC as it was received. Per request of the ARVN Commander and 25th ID Commander, the Brigade requested division's approval to move elements into the Phuong Dinh area to assist the compound.

9. (C) Intelligence:
a. Weather:
(1) The weather conditions during the period of 26 to 27 May 1968 were: generally no cloudy skies without rain, high humidity and even temperatures averaging 96F maximum and 82F minimum.
(2) Effects on enemy operations: Periods of reduced visibility favored undetected movement by enemy units.
(3) Effects on our operations: Periods of reduced visibility which made it difficult to locate and identify enemy targets negated the employment of Air Force flareships and miniguns as well as Army gunships (armed helicopters) during all the operation.

b. Terrain: The terrain in the area of operations is generally flat and contains hard forrest of Asian pines.

c. Enemy:
(1) Numerous intelligence reports indicated that the enemy had improved his strength and increased his activities west of FSB Black Betty at Phuong Dinh (2) (BT 640608). The intelligence liaison officer of MACV reported several times that the Phuong Dinh (2) Military compound could be attacked by one or two companies of the 72nd VC Bn. Rifle Company of 25th ID at Phuong Dinh (2) acted on the intelligence reports and began preparation to increase the defensive posture of the complex; foliage was cut down and claymore mines were installed. Coordination with the 198th Bde was made for the employment of artillery defensive concentrations and H&I fires. Two nights prior to the attack the artillery provided the artillery fires.

10. (C) Missions:
a. Provide security for and defend FSB Picarelli against enemy attack.
b. Provide search-and-destroy mission in the northeastern portion of the Task Force TAOR at at east bank of Suoi Bao Ao River.
c. Per request of Phuong Dinh Advisor (while under attack): provide artillery and gunship support in defense of Phuong Dinh compound.

11. (C) Execution:

Saturday. 26.05.1968

At 12.40 2nd squad of 1st platoon Alpha Co. (SGT Torres, 6 EMs) received an order to leave at FSB Black Betty to provide security.

12.50 - 13.05 - FSB Black Betty received incoming automatic weapons fire as well heavy mortar fire from unknown location. No KHAs.

At 13.20 2nd squad was given the mission to conduct combat sweeps in the area of abandoned village at BT233145 with a goal to find presence of VC.

At 1410 hours 2nd squad found abandoned village at BT233145 and spotted tracks of enemy. In the village were found ID tags of several US GI listed as MIAs since 1967 (John Doe, William Smith, Jim Walker).

At 1440 2nd squad was released from village area and was air-lifted to FSB Black Betty.

2nd Squad arrived on FSB Black Betty at 1510.

At 1925 southwest bunker of FSB suffered a direct hit from unknown location one 82mm round, resulting in 2 KHA. (SGT Ramos, SP4 Van Horn).

2100 2300 2nd Squad Guard set up NDP and followed 1st Duty Shift. During the next few hours 2nd squad was receiving small arms fire from several unknown locations around NDP of FSB. Squad returned automatic fire and used some frags. No KHAs.

Sunday. 26.05.1968

At 0100 the enemy started their heavy mortar and rocket attacks on FSB Black Betty. Within the next couple of hours enemy mortar rounds as well as hand grenades landed on the firebase. At 0345 several enemy detachments tried to break through NDP. 5 KHAs. (PFC Devon, SP4 Canning, SGT Corrales, SP4 Sullivan, PVT Soul). The body of KHA was picked up at 0600 when FSB was resupplied with ammunition.

At 0700 A Co. was airlifted from FSB Black Betty into AO Manassas to continue combat operations as part of the WHEELER/WALLOWA forces.