Than Phong 7 Operation Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam
(18 November 1965 - 25 November 1965)

Following are entries pertaining to Than Phong 7 Operation extracted from the Daily Journal kept by G3 General Staff of the US I Field Force Vietnam, stationed in Nha Trang.

18 November 1965

- 02:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Loc of Abn units. Abn 3 at Bde Hqs. ZA 1029, Abn 5 at Duc Co, Abn 8 at Duc Co, Abn 6 1/3 at Duc Co 2/3 in Pleiku.

- Delayed entry 11:00H: II Corps Maj Easterling - Ref ARVN Abn opn to Plei Me area: 5th Abn Bn - Duc Co, 8th Abn Bn Duc Do, 1 Co 6th Abn Bn Duc Co, 2 Co's 6th Abn Bn at Pleiku. A C-130 lost landing gear on runway at Pleiku. Units may have to be lifted by helicopter from Pleiku to Duc Co. 3d Abn Bn location unk. Rumored to have left Saigon at 0500. Abn Bde HQ Adv Party loc at Stadium.

- 13:30H: II Corps Sgt Minney - (encoded) - Abn TF HQ cleared Tuy Hoa 171900H.

- 13:40H: II Corps Capt Elliott - LZ time is 1500 for Abn TF A is 3d and 6th Abn Bn (TF B is 5th and 7th Abn Bn).

- 16:30H: FFV Adv II Corps Maj Boyle - Unit loc: LZ Crook - 2/5 Cav, s/17 Arty Fwd CP, C/2/17 and C/1/21 Arty. Psn Columbus - 1/5 Cav, B/1/21 Arty. Psn Falcon - 1/21 Arty Fwd. 9/1/21 Arty and C/1/5 Cav. Psn Albany - 2/7 Cav.

- 18:10H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Want to know strength of Abn Bns involved in Plei Me opns by Bn. Ans: don't know by Bn, however, total on ground will be 1600. Will get by Bn if possible.

- 18:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - LZ #2 is located at YA 841092.

- 18:30H: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor - Abn TF cleared LZ #2 last lift closed LZ 1806 hrs; neg contact, on the last lift.

- 18:45H: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor - 1st lift was in LZ #2 at 1506 hrs. Very light contact on SE corner of LZ. Lift #5 picks up at 1740H. Lift #5 will complete one task force plus one (or 3 Bn's)(TF A plus 5th Bn). One more lift may be required.

- 20:00H: II Corps (Maj Boyle) PW Pvt cap vic YA 943038 fr 8th Bn 66th Regt states Bn strength at 620 when started down from DVN. 565 strength in RVN. All well equiped well prepared food last saw unit vic YA 919148 1711700H. Mission to break contact and move NW. States Air atks 17 Nov inflected 30 KIA. 50 WIA 50 deserters. Moral unchanged after air atks. Men were not allowed to pick up Psy/war leaflets. II Corps feels this is same Bn that atk on 16 Nov vic YA 937011.

- 26:00H: 1st Cav (Capt Parham) Ref: Red Hats: Abn base in vic LZ #2, Red Hat and red hat 6 are at YA 831099 Red Hats had 1 VC KIA and 3 VC WIA. At 1900 hrs were in contact with VC.

19 November 1965

- Delayed entry Fr 18 Nov 182104H: 1st Cav (Lt Temple) It is believed that the VC elem to be west and north of LZ Albany consists of 490 troops of the 8th Bn 66th regt and 571 troops of a possible VC Bn which may be the 604th Bn of the 250th Bn infiltration Gp. Total VC strength in this area is est 1061. The VC maybe armed with AW rifles, 82mm mortars, 40mm R/L and light mg. Other loc unk.

- 00:09H: II Corps (Sgt Reens) (encoded) 3 ABn Bn YA 835101, 5 Abn Bn YA 840090, 6 Abn Bn YA 840090, 8 Abn Bn Duc Co, no contact as of 182300H 3 KIA, 5 WIA frdy total cas.

- 00:40H: 1st Air Cav (Sgt Saliba) Unit Locations: Holloway: C/1/7 and C/1/9 Cav. Stadium: 3 Bde CP, 1/7 CP, D/1/9. C/8 Eng Bn, a/229 AH Bn. At Falcon: 1/5 CP, A,B, & C. 1st 21st Arty A,B, & C. At Albany: 2/7 ABC-CP. At Crook: 2/5 CP, C/2/17 Arty, C/1/21 Arty.

- 12:50H: II Corps Sgt Minney - Abn TF, next position YA 837095. 3d Abn Bn YA 827092. 5th Abn Bn YA 833081. 6th Abn Bn had light contact at 191115 hrs. Results 1 VC WIA, 1 wpn captured.

- 14:20H: 1st Cav Capt Cook - C15 closed LZ Golf (YA 841092) at 1330H. All of 2/7 cleared Albany at 1330H for psn Crook. Casualty figures sent at 1235 com fm Fwd CP and are not yet confirmed with G1.

- Delayed entry 15:25: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Ref Abn with 1st Cav opn now called (ARVN) Than Phong 7. Todays opn consists of S and D in area A. Results of contact yesterday (18 Nov) between Abn and VC: frd cas 1 KIA, 9 WIA. Enemy unk. At 191115 Abn element killed 1 VC and captured 1 M1 rifle vic YA 835085. At 191400 hrs Abn element captured 1 VC and 1 Soviet made rifle vic YA 837080.

- Delayed entry 15:25: II Corps Maj Sandburn - 191515H Abn TF confirmed capture of PAVN soldier fm 635th Bn 32d Regt. vic YA 837080. It is not possible to evac PW at this time.

- 16:25H: FFV Adv Maj Boyle - Info passed fm 3de Bde to Maj Boyle - 2/12 goes to general vic area Crook, 20 Nov. 1/5 and 2/5 Cav remain in psn. 2/7 Cav will come out of area and move to Holloway. 2d Bde (Fwd) moves to Stadium tonight (19 Nov). 2d Bde and 3d Bde exchange responsiblities at a mutually agreed upon time. (Probable 1400, 20 Nov). It has not been decided yet whether 3d Bde will go to Holloway or return to Div base area.

- 16:30H: 1st Cav (Fwd) Maj Sandburn - At LZ Crook and LZ Golf units are conducting S and D will tie in tonight for security. No contact at this time.

- 16:55H: 1st Cav (Rear) Capt Parham - Fwd CP states the elem's in Abn TF area was coordinated at higher levels than Fwd G3. The Abn TF knows about it. No other info available.

- Delayed entry 19:50H: II Corps Sgt Reints - Ref Red Hat. Accumulative cas up to 20 Nov. Abn Bde frd cas 22 KIA, 52 WIA. Unit locations - 5th Bn (-) and 6th Bn on obj 32. 3d Bn on obj 61. TF CP and 8th Bn and 1 Co 5th Bn on obj 51. 1 US WIA.

- Delayed entry 21:55: II Corps Maj Boyle - To Col McCord Abn (ARVN) alledged rec'd arty fire fm Cambodia. Absolutely unconfirmed by G2 1st Cav, DTOC 1st Cav, G-2 II Corps, G3 Opns, DASC II Corps, A-E unconfirmed. DASC II Corps has permission fm TACC for VNAF to bomb if it happens again. 14 PAVN PW at II Corps, 2 interrogations completed. 12 - very slow PW's ill.

- 22:15H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Ref Abn opn (Than Phong 7) VC cas for today (20 Nov) 86 VC KIA (US body count). 1 VCC. Total since opn began. 117 VC KIA (US body count). 3 VCC (1 later died). VNAF chopper that went down at Du Co (2030). There were 5 people aboard, believed to be 3 crewmen and 2 Vietnamese reporters from UPI. Rescue opn: Patrol has been sent out, a US Advisor sent along. Question: Was there ever any confirmation on Arty or mortar fire rec'd from Cambodian border. Ans: No one will confirm.

20 November 1965

- 0030H: II Corps (Sgt Sawson) Msgs fr II Corps concerning Abn Opn today: ARVN KIA 8, WIA 25, VC: KIA 23 (BC) WIA VCC 1. Weapons Cap: 2 rifles, 500 lbs rice destroyed. Unit loc: 3 Abn Bn YA810095 6 Abn Bn YA817100, TFA & 5 Abn YA827077. Tomorrow Abn units will continue Opn. 3 Bn to obj R 6 Bn to Obj 52, 5 Bn & TFA same Position as yesterday.

- 1100H: II Corps – Msg fr II Corps 5 Abn Bn 200 Met South obj 51, 6 Abn Bn on obj 52, 3d Abn Bn obj R. No Contact.

- 1311H: II Corps Sgt Minney – Red Hat 3 – Has contact pos R. 5 VC KIA, size of force unk. Frd 2 WIA.

- 1400H: 1st Cav Lt Carliton – Silver (2d Bde) has assumed responsibility for opn in Pleime/Pleiku as of 101200 hrs Nov. Subordinate elements have had no contact, and conducting small unit patrols.

- 1400H: 1st Cav Capt Cook – A, B 12th Cav closed 201301 at Stadium. 2d Bde Fwd CP located at YA 850250.

- 1455H: To MACV Sgt Henry – 2d Bde assumed control of Silver Bayonet at 101200H. Elements on Silver Bayonet have had no contact as of 1400. They are conducting small unit contact patrols. A and B of 2/12 Cav closed Stadium at 201301. 2d Bde CP loc (Encoded) YA 850250, closed 191730H.

- Delayed entry: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor – At 201600H Nov. Red Hat 6 is in contact vic obj 52 with unk size VC force info to follow.

- 1635H: MACV Maj Kirby – Request verification of loc of Abn Bn not committed (Duc Co). Request for movement has been rec’d. Called II Corps - Major Easterling (1640) Dragon has been tasked to move Red Hat 8 to vic of Red Hat 5. Abn Chief is considering moving 1st & 7th Bn’s to Duc Co area.

- Delayed entry 1455H: 1st Cav Capt Cook – Wrap up no change, except 2/7 lifted off fm area Crook at 200845H and are now at camp Holloway no closing time.

- 1655H: MACV Maj Kirby – Col Hagerson fm 2AD ops has reported that arty is in position on Cambodian side of border. Request is in from SA II Corps to hit it.

- 1702H: II Corps Maj Easterling – II Corps isn’t aware of this info. G3 II Corps knows nothing. (MACV called 1705 – Maj Kirby – Three way hook up) Maj Kirby II Corps DASC reported that ARVN units in Abn Bde area are receiving mortar fire (Chu Pong area). Maj Easterling (Check w/II Corps G3) II Corps ARVN knows nothing about it. Maj Kirby reports msg came thru DASC channels. We need confirmation through Army channels before we can act of request to hit target. Maj Amey II Corps check out situation and call back ASAP (1710).

- 1725H: II Corps Maj Easterling – Request for info on firing fm Cambodian side of border. Ans: I told you I’d call back when I got some infor. (Some language omitted). Question: Have you been able to contact the unit. Ans: Yes, they will let me know when they get some info. MACV notified that no confirmation is available as yet (Sgt Freeland) 1735H.

- 1745H: II Corps Capt Martin – 1st and 7th Bn’s will arrive at Duc Co on 21 Nov to reconstitute for Abn center. 8 Bn move now by helicopters to reinforce 6 and 3.

- 1755H: 1st Cav Maj Sandburn – Unconfirmed reports that 6th Bn is receiving arty fire fm across Cambodian border due West of their psn which is YA 798080. 3d Bn at YA 799097. 5th Bn moving West to psn with 6th in contact or between 3d and 6th Bn. 8th Bn being committed by air, supported by 7 a/c from Cav into psn half way between 5th and 6th Bns. TWX being sent to Sgn requesting 2 additional Bn’s, New boundaries between Cav and ARVN is 83 grid line.

- 1820H: 1st Cav Rear Capt Parham – 3d and 6th Abn are in heavy contact. 5th Bn maneuvering into psn vic of 6th Bn. Will come in between the 3d and 6th Bns. The 6th Bn is reserve. ARVN elements have requested through ARVN channels for two more Bns to be in support of opns. Current loc of units – 6th Bn at YA 798080, 3d Bn at YA 799097, 5th Bn at YA 822078.

- 1850H: II Corps Reintz – Arrow reports – 1) Than Phong 7. 5) YA 801081, 6) 13 KIA (Frd), 20 WIA (Frd), 7) 180 (ARVN BC) 8) Unk in unit.

- Delayed entry 2000H: 1st Cav Capt Parham – Request locs of following units: C/2/17 Arty – LZ Crook. 1/7 Cav – Base area, 3d Bde HQ – Base area.

- 2055H: II Corps Capt Neary – Abn Bde and VC disengaged approx 1830 hrs, no contact at present. A VNAF H34 crashed at 2030 hrs on takeoff approx 800 meters North of Duc Co runway, apparently mechanical failure, aircraft burned and all 4 ARVN on board believe dead.

- 2225H: II Corps Sgt Reintz – (Encoded) Frd cas today, 8 KIA, 28 WIA, 1 US WIA. Total cas 18 KIA, 44 WIA, 1 US WIA, ref Red Hat.

- Delayed entry 1950H: I Corps Sgt Reintz – Ref Red Hat. Accumulative cas up to 20 Nov. Abn Bde frd cas 22 KIA, 52 WIA. Unit locations – 5th Bn (-) and 6th Bn on obj 32. 3d Bn on obj 61. TF CP and 8th Bn and 1 Co 5th Bn on obj 51, 1 US WIA.

- Delayed entry 2155H: II Corps Maj Boyle – To Col McCord Abn (ARVN) alleged rec’d arty fire fm Cambodia absolutely unconfirmed by G2 1st Cav, DTOC 1st Cav, G-2 II Corps, G3 Ophns, DASC II Corps, A-E unconfirmed. DASC II Corps has permission fm TAOC for VNAF to bomb if it happens again. 14 PAVN PW at II Corps, 2 interrogation completed. 12 – very slow PW’s ill.

- 2215H: II Corps Capt Ushijima – Ref Abn opn (Than Phong 7) VC cas for today (20 Nov) 86 VC KIA (US body count). 1 VCC. Total since opn began. 117 VC KIA (US body count). 3 VCC (1 later died). VNAF chopper that went down at Duc Co (2030). There were 5 people on board, believed to be 3 crewmen and 2 Vietnamese reporters from UPI. Rescue opn: Patrol has been sent out, a US Advisor went along. Q: Was there ever any confirmation on Arty or mortar fire rec’d from Cambodian border. Ans: No one will confirm.

- 2245H: 1st Cav (1st Temple) At 1945H 2/5 Cav loc at Crook heard a clicking noise, rec’d 1 grenade 2315H returned 1 grenade. No frdy cas. Do not know what they did to the en. A CH 34 crashed at Duc Co by mechanical failure. Air Craft destroyed, Cas unk. Vic NW 5055.

21 November 1965

- 08:05H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - sit report - As of 210700 to present no En contact has been rept to the II corps headquarters. II Corps Senior Adv desires that the CG of FFV see the following secret message sent this AM to FFV Sight #144 MACEN-II Corps 3-C11-144, DTG 201530Z

- 09:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) First elem 7 Abn arrived Duc Co 210810H and Bn closed 210900.

- 09:30H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Reaffirm loc of 8th Abn Bn and TF CP. 8th at 822077. This was called in to FFV TOC at 1755H on 20 Nov and 1745H 20 Nov.

- 13:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima -No change in ARVN Abn Bde frd casualties. The VC body count (ARVN) is 204 as of 211300.

- 15:20H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Wrap up - Than Phong 7 - the VC KIA is 231, to date, (US BC). No change in frd. No change in wpns count. No contact. All else, no change from previous reports .

- 16:00H: 1st Cav Sgt Minney - encoded - TFA and 2 Co's of 8th Abn at YA 825080. 3d Bn at YA 810093, 5th Bn at YA 802088, 6th Bn at YA 802079, 7th Bn and 2 Co's 8th Abn at Duc Co.

- 17:00H: FFV Adv Maj Boyle - Abn TF captured a VC 21 Nov. (No time or loc available, at this time). Now in hospital at Pleiku with shot up lip. Will be taken to II Corps interr center tomorrow. He is fm the 32d PAVN Regt. More info will follow.

- 22:00H: II Corps Capt Neary and Capt Martin - (Encoded) Request time of Abn Bde atk on obj vic YA 810055. Is Abn Bde aware of Arc Lite #4 at 221210H.

- 22:50H: II Corps Capt Neary - Ref encoded msg (log item #60). This request for info is for confirmation that subject (arc lite) is well coordinated. It also pertains to II Corps sec msg, cite number 174, which affects some subj (Arlite msg, gives southern boundary of area of opns which falls within Arc lite tgt. No times are included for movement south). Confirmation of time of movement is required as well as confirmation that subj of encoded msg (Arc lite) is coordinated.

22 November 1965

- 01:00H: II Corps Capt Neary - Ref inquiry made by Maj Amey: The Abn Bde will not move south toward their objective area in the south until after Arc light. Actual time is unk, but will be coordinated with Arc light.

- 07:20H: Than Phong 7, no significant activity.

- 09:10H: II Corps (Capt Martin) 2d lift 7th Bn, Abn Bde closed LZ 0830H; 3d lift on the way, LZ to be reported (YA 819077).

- 09:40H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) 3d lift of 7th Bn Abn Bde closed LZ 220900, LZ to be reported.

- 11:20H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Ref msg inquiring for the location of LZ for 7th Bn Abn Bde. Still do not have plt. Also do not know, location of or who constitutes, the Abn Bde reserve.

- 13:17H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Red Hat closed 221200 hrs (correction) Resupply of Red Hats completed by 1320H. 7th Abn at YA 819077, closed.

-(...) Red Hat 7 is at YA 819077. Red Hat 6 moving at 1420H going into area B.

- 14:50H: G3 Air (Capt Green) Arc Light strikes were not on time. No results as yet.

- 15:10H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima) Than Phong 7 (Red Hats) Red Hats 6 moved out at 1420H moving south toward obj B-4 is Area B. Red Hat 5 will follow time unknown.

- 16:20H: FFV G2 LNO (Maj Boyle) ARVN Abn Bde rec'd a PAVN 2d Lts body this morning vic YA 810060. On the body was a citation for decoration issued to the individual for his participation in the Summer Campaign. He was assigned to the (... page too blurred...)

23 November 1965

- 07:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) loc Red Hat. 6 Bn Abn loc vic YA 825070. 8 Abn Bn Loc vic YA 826075. All other are about the same.

- 10:30H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Ref Than Phong 7. At 0900 Rd Hat 3 loc at YA 797097, loc abandon VC camp. At 0855 Red Hat 7 loc YA 801080. Loc abandon bn size camp. 231030 Red Hat 8 loc YA 826075. 231030 Red Hat A+5+6 obj B-4 vic YA 812068. Found one BAR, one rifle, 8 VC bodies, in contact at this time.

- Delayed entry 14:30H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Wrap up - Ref Than Phong 7. Contact at 0955 was light, no cas on either side. 7th Abn Bn made contact at 1150 with est 1 VC plt. No frd casualties. 1 VC KIA (BC), a VCC. 1 AW captured by frd also. Destroyed Bn size camp in same vic of 30 huts and 2 kitchens in vic of YA 795084. All ARVN elemts are at same locations.

- Delayed entry 18:15H: Fm CofS FFV, called Col Mataxis at 1805H ref apparent use of Army Avn to lift ARVN Abn Bde elems south of the support line. to follow up US Arty mission supporting ARVN (Ref item 46, this date). Col Mataxis said Army air had not lifted any Abn Bde elems today. The reference to capturing of 2 SA and 1 MG occurred not at YA 810015 (Arty psn) but at YA 809089, vic 5th and 6th ARVN Abn Bns. Wpns were captured by foot elems.

24 November 19 65

- Delayed entry 15:25H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima), rec'd Capt O'Neil - Ref 1100 hrs entry - Than Phong 7 no other contact other than Red Hat reported contact earlier today, no frd cas, VC cas - 20 VC KIA, 4 VCC, 1 rkt launcher, 6 automatic wpns captured, 1 MG (two barrels); 15 rifles, two submachine guns, 2 - 82mm mortar base plates, a number of medical supplies; no further contact as far as Red Hat elements concerned.

- 16:10H: 1st Cav Maj Durand - Ref contact of Abn this AM, was Cav Arty used to spt this contact? Ans: Yes.

25 November 1965

- 01:35H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Rec'd by Capt Elliott, Abn Bde TFA and 5 Bn YA 815073, 6th Bn YA 823079, TFB and 8th Bn YA 821076, 3 Bn YA 808093, 7th Bn YA 806085. Frd KIA 0 WIA 2, Red Hat 5 & 6 had contact 24 Nov PM Red Hat 1 & 5 at YA 820060, Red Hat 6 YA 815070 results of both actions: VC, 20 KIA, 0 WIA, 7 VCC. Wpn Cap: 2 MG, 2 spair barrels, 6 SMG, 15 Assault rifles, 34 rifles, 1 RL, 2 82mm base plates. Period 18 to 24 Nov Than Phong 7 Wrap up - 265 VC KIA (BC) 12 VCC. Friendy KIA 21, WIA 58.

The following operational map from Why Pleime - Chapter VI is a perfect illustration of the aboved account of Than Phong 7 Operation as recorded by US G3 General Staff/I Field Force Vietnam in its Daily Journal Logs. Furthermore, it gives a better visualization of the operation.


(Nota Bene: Log entry on 19 Nov 65 at 16:55H indicates that ARVN Airbone Brigade was under the direct control of G3 General Staff/II Corps Command while conducting Than Phong 7 Operation).

Nguyen Van Tin
03 March 2010
(G3 D/J, IFFV, National Archives, College Park, Maryland)

Documents

- Primary

- Books, Articles

* Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, J.D. Coleman, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988.

* We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, Random House, New York, 1992.

* "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General, Cochran, Alexander S.

* The Siege of Pleime, Project CHECO Report, 24 February 1966, HQ PACAF, Tactical Evaluation Center.

* Silver Bayonet, Project CHECO Report, 26 February 1966, HQ PACAF, Tactical Evaluation Center.

- Viet Cong

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