Arc Light Strike at Chupong-Iadrang Viewed From G3/IFFV

November 14, 1965

- 18:50H: 1st Air Cav Div (Lt Col Buham) Gen Kinnard discussed with Gen Larsen the possibility of having a B-52 strike in the Long Reach area “X” Gen Larsen was in favor of this. The following info is furnished. On 4 Nov Enemy Bn confirmed vic YA8205, assumed to be moving south. Know secret base “Chupony” vic YA 9000. On 6 Nov had secondary explosion vic YA 8703 as result of Air strike. 12.7mm AA fire received from these guns vic YA 8803. On 14 Nov from line YA 9399 est 1 VC regt ID elem of 2 Bn attaching to W in determined effort using human wave tactics. This confirms Cav to believe they are defending something big – something Cav should hit – such as supply base a hold up forces. VC cap in this area were wearing steel helmets-POW have ID their unit as 66th Regt 304th Div. Cav would like to get going in request for B-52 strike knowing the time frame. If Cav can help to develop target they are ready and will provide the help we need. This has been passed to G2 and G3 air. G3 Air (Capt Green) recommended CG consider requesting a div of a planned strike to bring in a strike.

- 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Coord for B-52 strike in Code – YA 870000, YA 830000, YA 830070, YA 870070.

- 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Alt Target for B-52 strikes (in Code) YA 8607, YA 9007, YA 9000, YA 8600. Target area approved by Col Barrow and Col McCord.

November 15, 1965

- 06:00H: MACV Capt McCabe – Ref Arclight tgt, TOT is 151600H.

- 10:30H: MAVC J3 (Gen DePuy) Gen DePuy called Col Barrow and asked if Arc Light had been cleared with CG II Corps. Col Barrow replied yes, CG II Corps has approved Arc Light. Also Gen DePuy wanted to know if the elem of 1st Cav had received the 151600H restriction on not going west of YA grid line. Col Barrow informed Gen De Puy that the 1st Cav had acknowledged receipt of the restriction and would comply. Gen DePuy personally changed target configuration. Gen DePuy stated that this is the fastest a strike of this nature had ever been laid-on.

- 11:45H: To: 1st Cav (Capt Coller) 1st Cav inquired on whether 1st Cav has any objections on new target area as changed by J-2 MACV. Ref: Secret Message AVCGT 1511651XF DT 6417052Z. 1st Cav stated they are quite satisfied particularly with the reaction time.

-18:15H: FFV Adv (Maj Boyle) Passed fm 1 Cav (Gen Kinnard): Elements of 1/9 Cav Sqdn went into the airstrike (arclite) target area this afternoon.

- 18:55H: 1st Cav (Lt Temple) Arc light bombing strike 1602H-1632H, area YA 8607, 9007, 8600, 9000; all aircraft on target except one whose load dropped in general area, YA 8015, 8215, 8212, 8412, results being investigated.

- 19:00H: 1st Cav (L/C Buchan) Target completely covered; best coverage he had seen; one rack of bombs out of target area vic YA 820122-808142, cords not accurate. Between 1700-1730 had Mohawk photo coverage and aerial recon, smoke too thick to observe target area; 1st light 16 Nov will have recon in area. Cav plans to request another strike, will call info to FFV by 2000. Not an immediate, II Corps will make similar request for same area. Mohawk photo now in lab.

- 19:25H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Photo interpretation of area bombed is currently being processed as of 1900H, will give final wrapup of interpretation NLT 160700H Nov.

- 20:15H: 1 Cav (Maj Crawford) Post strike report: Aerial recon conducted 151700-1800. VC due to strike, no bodies visible, no fires found, no installation observed, no civilian or civilian structures observed. Bom craters appeared 20-50 ft in diameter and 5-10 ft deep. Many trees blown down, Trees close to bomb craters leaning and stripped of foliage. Unit at scene reports seeing 3.50 cal MG psn that had been firing at aircraft were directly in path of strike. Psns apparently destroyed. Will be checked further when ground recon is made. Post strike conducted by the unit resulted in camera malfunction. No photos. Another msn will be flown early tomorrow.

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Request for arclight NLT 17 Nov, preferred 16 Nov. Primary YA 830050, YA 850050, YA 843000; Alternate: YV 890980, YV 910980, YV 890950, YV 910950. In approx. 2 hrs a FLASH TWX will follow request.

November 16, 1965

- 07:15H: To: 1st Air Cav (Capt Brady) Question: If second B-52 strike approved does Cav plan to exploit? – 0715 Answer from Capt Brady. – yes if not overly committed and if sufficient day light left.

- 08:30H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) 1. What are plans for Exploitation of yesterday’s strike? 2. Does 1st Cav plan to commit another Bn. For a total of 5 in Plei Me area? If so we need to know ASAP. 3. If primary tgt for today is approved what are plans for exploitation? Approval of plan is pending on above answers.

- 09:15H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) Ref: exploitation of Arclight Tgt. Commander on the ground had plans to send in 1st Cav however at present all units are engaged. When En vic Points X Ray and Lime are defeated. 1/9 will make recon of area. If a stronger force is needed another unit will reinforce. No results of the first light recon. No results.

- 11:35H: 1st Cav Maj Turner – (Encoded) – Present plan extract 1/7 and B/2/7 today, then pull back 2000 meters to defensive position. After ARC tomorrow will follow plan TURNER gave you last night.

- 12:35H: FFV TOC Maj Murray to 3d Bde Adv 1st Cav – Ref your last msg. 3000 meter withdrawal. My 6 called your 6 who said no such plans, plans to remain and also to go into yesterday’s strike area. If the situation has changed and withdrawal necessary suggest you contact your 6 as “He is on the spot” notify this HQ ASAP of decision.

- 12:53H: MACV Maj Kirky – Kirby – I have just talked to the big 6 (Gen Westmoreland). He wanted to know if everything was ok with the Cav, did they have enough air and are troops ok. Ans: To the best of our knowledge and believe yes. Should anything occur you will be notified.

- 12:57H: 1st Cav Maj Turner – The last info (3000 meter w/d) was correct it is a long range plan. We have so much on the ground, that it will take a little time but they plan to move up on high ground to the east (from the bottom of the saucer to the eastern rim) but, whatever our 6 said we will do. I have not talked to 6 yet, perhaps he is unaware of these plans. The Bde also plans to send an element to MACON. Maybe I should not pass any more info to you. I am in the way here and tie up commo. But these are the plans as of now, will let you know outcome.

- 14:00H: Fm G3 TOC SP Howell to 1st Cav Capt Cook – (Encoded) Ref MAC msg – Pull back 3000 meters. General Larsen spoke to Gen Kinnard. Kinnard said no plans to pull back. Elements are going to investigate arclite area bombed yesterday. Suggest you touch base with Kinnard for verification of plans. Notify this HQ ASAP of plans.

- 15:35H: MACV Maj Oneil – What is the status of arclight #1745 Sphinx 160325Z. Ans: Currently being staffed at MACV 237. II Corps CG concurs with msg number 1745.

- 15:35H: 1st Cav Maj Custer – Request fm Gen Kinnard Status of Arclite requests? One in processing at MACV. CG has approved. Most recent (161520) being processed in this HQ. Gen Kinnard request the latest be afforded highest priority although previous request stand. Hunter is with Kinnard and concurs on target and priority.

- 16:25H: Fm TOC to MACV – Arclight request YV 932985, YV 936996, YA 898005, YA 898019. TOT 171300, Not later than 171700.

- 18:50H: II Corp (Capt McConnell) CG II Corps does concur with Arclite.

- 20:25H: G-3 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Ref Arc Light MACV advises 3 KM minimum separation target area and frdy troops. Request info this HQ ASAP if 3KM separation can be guaranteed and minimum lead time necessary to provide separation. Fr TOC Lt Bol Benton.

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) CO 3d Bde 1st Cav can meet 3KM separation necessary Arc light and frdy troops by time specified in Msg.

- 22:45H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Call to say that B-52 Targets Number 34, 35, 36 are OK and Troops will meet 3km safety limits -1st Arc Cav will notify this HQ Units move not safety limit.

- 23:10H: II Corps (Maj Sanabria) Maj Sanabria call to pass concurrence of CG ARVN II Corps on B-52 targets 34, 35, and 36 for 17 Nov.

November 17, 1965

- 09:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Ortner) Arc light for 1300 TOT 18 Nov requested NLT 1300 Nov 65: Priority 1. 9201-9401-9208-9408. Priority 2. 9009-9209-9006-9206. Priority 3. 8306-8506-8303-8503.

- 13:45H: fm MACV Maj Morris – Question fm CG: Were all the bombs in the designated target areas. Was TAC Air used in conjunction with the air strike. Ans: Will have to wait for results fm 1st Cav Div, will call as soon as we know.

- 14:10H: 1st Cav Maj Sandburn – Arc light complete at 1212 hrs. All A/C bombed within 3 designated areas. BDA being conducted by Cav elements. Will notify TOC as soon as info is available. No immediate exploitation planned, CG will conduct a conference at 1500 to plan exploitation.

- 17:35H: 1st Cav Lt Brown – Debrief for Arclite post analysis. TOT – 1330. 2000 ft altitude. Post strike analysis. Tgt 1 – 100%, coverage, large craters and tree blowdown, no bodies observed. Tgt 2 -100%, coverage. Tgt 3 – 75% due to irregular terrain, pilot remarks A/C rec’d AW fire vic YA 9101, YA 8995, helicopter no hit.

Nguyen Van Tin
30 June 2010
(G3 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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