February 3 to February 21, 1967
25th Div Major Gen. Frederick C. Weyland 3rd Brigade, 4th Div (OPCON 25th Div), Col Marshall B. Garth 2/12 Inf,
4th Div, Lt. Col. Joe F. Elliott, commanding . Operation Gadsden was a nineteen day operation in Western War
Zone C near the Cambodian border. The brigade's forward TOC was established at FSB TRAI BI (Trai Bai, Tay Ninh
Province), south of the Dogs Face, off highway QL-22. Some 10 months before, the American Army had been
here before - the 1st Division's 1st Brigade had fought a pitched battle at Lo Go during Operation Birmingham in
10 FEB 67
While participating in Operation Gladsden, the 2/12th air assaulted into "Objective 2" (Obj. 2) - an LZ 1 klick
north of Trai Bi at [vic XT1171]
13 FEB 67
Co. A moved to a blocking position in the vicinity of WT9977 and also captured 6,790 rounds of small arms ammo
14 FEB 67
Elements of the 2/22 Mechanized Infantry linked up with the 2/12th Inf. and continued Search and Destroy
operations to the vicinity of Objective 1 (Obj. 1) at vic XT0278. [NOTE: One thousand klicks south of "the Dogs
Face" and near the Cambodian border.]
15 FEB 67
"The 68th AHC Top Tigers conducted twelve combat assaults and extractions while supporting the 2/12th
Infantry Division [sic] in the area of Trai Bi."
16 FEB 67
C Co KIA
PFC Lawrence R. Kusilek (21) from St. Paul, MN perishes in Tay Ninh Province.
Lawrence is killed while riding as a passenger in a convoy when his vehicle hits a mine.
According to Roddy Moore who served with Lawrence. "Larry, as we called him, was killed as he was riding in an
ambulance on his way from Dau Tieng to Tay Ninh to see a dentist. The ambulance hit a mine. I know that he was
awarded the CIB but I am not sure about the PH."
21 FEB 67
Operation GADSDEN ENDS.
Sometime around now, CPT Edmund "Cris" Stone is replaced by CPT John E Napper who was serving as S-3 Air
Operations officer. John is the first "replacement officer" in the BN since deployment.
OPERATION JUNCTION CITY
February 22 to May 14, 1967
22 FEB 67
OPERATION JUNCTION CITY (22Feb-14May67) begins.
Operation Junction City was the largest operation mounted in Vietnam to that date.
SURROUNDED: The Ordeal of Company B February 25-26, 1967
25 FEB 67
B Co. KIA:
SP4 Leon D. Eckhart (21) of Lehighton, PA perished in Tay Ninh Province.
Medic SP4 William "Doc" Coggeshall (20) of Marshfield, MA perished in Hua Nghia Province
On the 24th FEB Recon got hit - losing one KIA and one WIA. We were dispatched on the 25th to go and check
out the area. Triple canopy jungle.
EYEWITNESS: Co. B's K. C. Kramarczyk relates this eyewitness account to the author;
We found the bunkers where Recon got it, the VC had their camp farther to the rear. As I climbed a tree to cut
their commo wire [leading] from the bunkers, B Company moved forward. Eckhart and Lindsey were on left
flank point. Eckhart [never saw] them. He never knew what hit him. VC took his gold medal that he got for
Christmas and his gear. But one of the other guys see them and open up - no dead VC. We dueled it out with
the rest and Rubin got it through his arm - he was next to me. Put Eckhart and Rubin on the Bubble Chopper.
We went back in. Instead of going straight at their camp we flanked them and started digging in for the night.
Within 15 minutes we went at it again. ...the 3rd platoon had their backs to the 3 VC, with AKs, that walked out
the jungle. No one saw them and [the VC] opened up and killed Coggeshall, Pelz and someone else, and
wounded four (if I remember right). I was given a machine gun crew and told to go get them - I'm crazy, but not
that crazy - I knew where they were at. I went out 100 meters and stopped and sat there. They were watching
us, but wanted the whole company. Called back in [and] lied about what I found and came back. They tried to
draw fire all night on the 25th.
26 FEB 67
B Co. KIA's:
SSG John K. Davis (23) of Fort Jackson, SC
SP4 Edward J. Ginter (20) of Greensburg, PA
PFC Warren F. Muhr (21) of Chicago, IL
SGT Donald L. Pender (25) of Tacoma, WA perished in Tay Ninh Province.
SP4 Robert J. Gold (20) of Sidney, OH perished in Tay Ninh Province. Gold was a mortarman - formerly with Co.
A - and died serving as a 4.2" mortars' Forward Observer for Co. B.
EYEWITNESS: Co. B's K. C. Kramarczyk relates this eyewitness account to the author;
"....the day we got surrounded was 2-26-67. [The next day] Captain Mayer decided to go around them and come
straight in. I told Lieutenant Haxton "listen. What do you hear?" "Nothing." "That's the problem!" So Captain
Mayer sends me out again with the crew. This time I did not go so far and sat there and found a fresh foxhole.
Went further and found more fresh holes. Called in. Came back. Told Mayer we're walking into a trap. They
wanted the company. I told the guys to "watch it, they're waiting." Went back on point flank. After we got in
their noose, Mayer stops us so he can call in artillery close to us - in case we need it. Spent a good 1/2 hour in
this small opening with a hut that was their old camp - trenches included. We didn't even get 50 feet and all
hell broke loose. [The enemy] got the RTOs, leaders, etc., cut weapons platoon from us and wiped them out.
They did not care about us in the front, we only had a handful. Lucky it was a dud grenade and a bad shot VC [or]
I wouldn't be writing this. Mayer realized we were surrounded - no where to run. The only thing that saved us
was the trench line, lucky for us they didn't booby trap it. We had to call in artillery on top of us to try and break
contact. [The artillery's] first salvo stopped their mortars - lucky for us. After the 3/22nd [Mechanized Infantry]
reached us, they just walked by and disappeared into the jungle. We had bodies everywhere. After we cleaned
the WIAs and KIAs out I was told to take a head count. [I] report back to Lieutenant Haxton that I make 39. ....2
platoons, 1st had 20 [and] 2nd had 19. And that's how we operated 'til now and then we'd get a replacement or
two. When we got there in '66 we had 148 in the company." [KRAMARCZYK]
IVY LEAF newspaper: The following is an account of the February 25 & 26 Company B battle that appeared in the
4th Divisions newspaper the IVEY LEAF, Vol. I No.18, March 10, 1967: 3/22nd TROOPS, 2/77th ARTILLERYMEN
ASSIST BESIEGED 2/12th COMPANY DAU TIENG - Accurate close supporting artillery fire, quick response of
nearby friendly forces, and calm professionalism of members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, saved
their unit from being over run in a two-hour battle during Operation Junction City. Company B of the 3rd
Brigade, 4th Division battalion was conducting a search and destroy mission in the northwest portion of War
Zone C when It was attacked by two reinforced companies of Viet Cong. As the Ivey company approached a
clearing near the suspected site of a sizeable VC base camp, the Ivymen were taken under fire from six
machine guns, an equal number of automatic weapons, and small arms and grenades from at least a company-
size force to their front. They returned the fire and began to receive fire from the rear by an equal size force.
Captain Leon R. Mayer, Company B commander, radioed for fire support and within minutes a rain of 105mm,
155mm and eight-inch shells ringed the surrounded company. During the fire fight, supporting units poured in
over 1000 rounds, hitting the attacking Viet Cong in their ground positions and knocking snipers from trees.
This close, extremely accurate fire which had been placed within 25 meters of the trapped company was
described by Colonel Marshall B. Garth, 3rd Brigade commander, as "the finest I have seen to date." The enemy
was repelled long enough to allow Company B of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, to come in and reinforce the
2/12th company and help drive off the Viet Cong. Captain Walter Shugart, commander of the 3/22nd company,
moved his men through 1500 meters of dense jungle in just 30 minutes to assist the defending unit. The Viet
Cong fled during the night leaving 12 dead. Colonel Garth told both company commanders that they had done
an outstanding job. He personally congratulated members of the division's 2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery.
[Source: IVY LEAF (from Kramarczyk)]
From 25th OP REP: "On 26 February... Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry engaged an estimated Viet Cong
Company. The ensuing fire fight resulted in 11 Viet Cong KIA by body count and 19 WIA.
1967 OVERVIEW - This was the year of big operations - JUNCTION CITY (Feb. to Apr.), MANHATTAN (Apr to June), CAMDEN
(Dec.), and YELLOWSTONE (Dec.) - and it was the year of the historic BATTLE OF SOUI TRE / FSB GOLD (March 21).
There were two main events in 1967 that effected the battalion:
1.) The August 1967 transfer of the battalion from assignment to the Fourth Infantry Division to the Twenty fifth Infantry
2.) In September 1967 one platoon each from Alpha, Bravo and Charlie were used to form the (new) Delta Company.
1967 was the year that the 2/12th's Specialist Fourth Class Donald "Doc" Evans earned the Congressional Medal of Honor
(CMH) - giving physical evidence to the words 'no greater love than he that lays down his life for his fellow man.'
3 JAN 67
B Co. KIA:
SP4 Fedrico Perez (20) of San Diego, TX
perished in Binh Duong Province.
C Co. KIA:
SP4 Ronald L. Arrigoni (20) of St. Paul,
MN perished in Binh Duong Province.
5 JAN 67
C Co. KIAs:
SP4 Jimmy A. Miller (20) of Los Angeles, CA
SP4 Martin W. Moreno (26) of Newark, CA
SP4 David L. Pearson (20) of Maxwell, IA and
PFC Harvey R. Parker (20) of Fulton, KS perished in Binh Duong Province.
PFC Roger C. Mitchell (20) of Delano, CA Died of Wounds (DOW) he received in Binh Duong Province.
"On January 3rd we were moving way too fast and got Ron Arrigoni killed due to incompetent
leadership. On January 5th we landed at the LZ and immediately started moving extremely fast which of
course was foolish. We were crossing a rice paddy in the open, the whole company was exposed. We
heard one shot and saw 2 Vc's on bicycles who were making sure we saw them. (1LT Cris) Stone ordered
the lead platoon to send 2 squads to chase them. They did not walk into an ambush, they ran in to it. It
lasted only a couple minutes and Charlie was gone which was his style. I was standing close to the C.O.
and a medic when he radioed the count - rag and cold they called it. Then we had to load 5 dead and all
the wounded on the Evac chopper. Of the 5 dead, 3 had cleaning rods in their rifle barrels trying to
unjam and one had a rifle that would not fire because he had cleaned the trigger mechanism and did
not get it back together properly. This is something we were never trained to do but some of us taught
ourselves to do because the M-16 was so undependable. The guy who died with the bad trigger
mechanism had watched me and decided to do his. That is what I have to live with. . - Eyewitness -
Written by a former platoon member
9 JAN 67
ELSEWERE IN VIETNAM:
1st DIVISION SIEZED BEN SUC
The 1st Infantry Divisions plan for the seizure of Ben Suc village ["Mushroom" area of Saigon River.] fell
behind and caused a change of plans that put the 2/12th Infantry into the fight much earlier than planned.
[Source: MacGarrgle COMBAT OPERATIONS pp102-103 & p. 111]
13 JAN 67
B Co. KIAs:
PFC Fordham E. Finch, Jr. (20) of Columbia, SC
2LT Richard M. Cummings (26) of Wilkes-Barre, PA perished in Binh Duong Province.
14 JAN 67
A Co. KIA:
SP4 Joseph D. Noel (20) of Providence, RI perished in Binh Long Province.
C Co. KIA:
PFC Richard A. Erickson (20) of Naguabo, P.R. was killed in action.
MEDAL OF HONOR AWARDED
27 JAN 67
A Co. KIAs:
PFC. Armand J. Aufiere (22) of Landsdale, PA;
SP4 John C. Faidley (20) of Mt. Savage, MD perished in Binh Duong Province.
Medic SP4 Donald W. "Doc" Evans (23) of Covina, CA
Co. A veteran Bill Comeau wrote ".... Faidley was the point man when we hit a bunker complex...." Porter
Harvey said "[I] saw my first real action on January 27,1967. Eight of the eleven in my squad [were] killed
or wounded. Donald Evans - he was our medic. I held him as he died. My platoon was the second
listed in the write-up on Don."
MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
SP4 DONALD W. EVANS
....[Evans] left his position of relative safety with his platoon [3rd] which had not yet been committed to the
battle to answer the calls for medical aid from the wounded men of another platoon which was heavily
engaged with the enemy force. Dashing across 100 meters of open area through a withering hail of enemy
fire and exploding grenades, he administered lifesaving treatment to 1 individual and continued to
expose himself to the deadly enemy fire as he moved to treat each of the other wounded men and to offer
them encouragement. Realizing that the wounds of 1 man required immediate attention, Spc.4 Evans dragged
the injured soldier back across the dangerous fire-swept area, to a secure position from which he
could be further evacuated. Miraculously escaping the enemy fusillade, SP4. Evans returned to the forward
location. As he continued the treatment of the wounded, he was struck by fragments from an enemy
grenade. Despite his serious and painful injury he succeeded in evacuating another wounded comrade,
rejoining his platoon as it was committed to battle and was soon treating other wounded soldiers. As he
evacuated another man across the fire covered field, he was severely wounded. Continuing to refuse
medical attention and ignoring advice to remain behind, he managed with his waning strength to move
yet another wounded comrade across the dangerous open area to safety. Disregarding his painful wounds
and seriously weakened from profuse bleeding, he continued his lifesaving medical aid and was killed
while treating another wounded comrade...
- Department of the Army Citation
8 MAR 67
Co. A's artillery forward observer (FO) lt. "Joe" Kirkup is wounded in action (WIA).
15 MAR 67
A Co KIA:
SP4 Thomas C. Nickerson (20) of Chatham, MA and
SP4 Clinton A. Smith (21) of Oakville, CT perished in Binh Doung Province.
Bill Comeau said "Clint Smith and Tom Nickerson were killed at the Dau Tieng dump where they were taking out the company
trash in an area which was no longer being used. We weren't told of the change and there was no security there."
The two Warriors were ambushed on a truck just out of Dau Tieng Base Camp.
The Presidential Unit Citation
is awarded by direction of the President of the United States to
THE 3D BRIGADE, 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION and Assigned and Attached Units FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM
The 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and the Attached and Assigned Units distinguished themselves by extraordinary
heroism while engaged in military operations on 21 March 1967 in the vicinity of Suoi Tre, Republic of Viet Nam. The
members of this Brigade and the foregoing units demonstrated indomitable courage and professional skill while
engaging an estimated force of 2,500 Viet Cong. During the early morning hours of 21 March 1967, an estimated force
of 2,500 Viet Cong launched a massive and determined ground attack against elements of the 3d Battalion, 22d
Infantry and 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery located at Fire Support Base Gold near Soui Tre, Republic of Viet Nam. Opening
the engagement with an intense mortar attack, the enemy force, later identified as the 272d Main Force Regiment
reinforced by two additional infantry battalions, struck the perimeter in three separate locations.
Due to the ferocity of the assault and the overwhelming number of enemy troops, untenable positions in the north and
southeast were overrun within the first 30 minutes of the battle despite determined resistance by friendly forces. As
the enemy penetrated the perimeter, the American troops set up an internal perimeter and continued to direct
withering fire on the enemy. When the Viet Cong directed anti-tank fire upon the artillery positions, heroic gun crews
cannibalized parts from damaged guns, and, at several points, fired directly into the advancing enemy including the
firing of "bee-hive" ammunition through gaps in the perimeter.
While the battle continued to rage and grow in intensity, the Brigade Commander was directing the 2d Battalion, 12th
Infantry, the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry (Mechanized) and the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor, to the besieged fire support base. At
the same time, the support and service elements of the brigade began a furious aerial resupply of ammunition and medical
supplies from the Brigade Rear base camp at Dau Tieng.
As the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry began its overland move to the fire support base approximately 2,500 meters distant, a
heavy concentration of enemy mortar fire was directed upon their position, killing one man and wounding 20 others.
Undaunted, the battalion moved nearly 2,500 meters in less than two hours despite constant blocking and harassment efforts
by the enemy. Concurrently with the movement of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, mechanized and armor elements began
moving across the Suoi Samat River at a ford which had only recently been located and which previously had been thought
Driving towards the fire support base, the mechanized unit followed by the armor battalion, drove into the western and
southern sector of the engaged perimeter passing through engaged elements of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry. Striking the
Viet Cong on the flank, the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry smashed through the enemy with such intensity and ferocity that enemy
attack faltered and broke. As the fleeing and now shattered enemy force retreated to the north-east, the 2d Battalion, 34th
Armor swept the position destroying large numbers of Viet Cong who were now in full retreat.
Throughout the battle, fighters of the United States Air Force, directed by the Brigade's Forward Air Controllers provided close
support to the fire support base and hammered enemy concentrations outside the perimeter. As the FAC aircraft dived
through heavy anti-aircraft fire to mark enemy positions, the plane was hit by ground fire and crashed, killing both occupants.
After securing the fire support base, a sweep of the area was conducted, revealing a total of 647 Viet Cong bodies and 10
enemy captured. It is estimated that an additional 200 enemy were killed as a result of the aerial and artillery bombardment.
Friendly casualties were extremely light, resulting in only 33 killed and 187 wounded of whom approximately 90 were
returned to duty.
Through their fortitude and determination, the personnel of the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and attached units were
able in great measure to cripple a large Viet Cong force. Their devotion to duty and extraordinary heroism reflect distinct
credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States.
1 APR 67
B Co KIA:
PFC Wayne M. Rockenbaugh (20). 2nd Plt, of Baltimore, MD perished
OPERATION MANHATTAN BEGINS
23 APR 67
It ends on 11 MAY 1967.
28 APR 67
Co. A's SP4 Gary Barney WIA.
29 APR 67
Co. A's SP4 Ron Orefice WIA. Gunshot wound to the mouth and jaw.
30 APR 67
C Co KIA:
SP4 Jose I. Garcia-Maldonado (20) of Naguabo, PR perished in Hua Nghia Province.
3rd Bde: 2/12th, 2/22 (M), 3/22 - 4th Div OPCON'd to the 25th Division until August
The Battle of Suoi Tre (LZ / FSB Gold)
18th MAR 67
The start of TS Fullback (Junction City Phase II) and its initial operation plans were for the assault to take place on 18 Mar 1967,
several miles further north of the actual landing zone. However, obstacles prevented the 2/22 Inf (Mech) and the 2/34th
Armor from securing the landing zone as planned. On the evening of March 18th, the assault was rescheduled for the next
day, with LZ Gold moving to a new location. The armored and mechanized elements were still unable to meet this new
schedule but, it was decided by the overall mission commander that the assault would be conducted into an unsecured LZ
with the armored and mechanized elements to reinforce the inserted infantry at a later time.
19 MAR 67
As a part of the movement of TASK FORCE FULLBACK, the 2/12th Infantry is airlifted into Landing Zone (LZ) Gold - later Fire
Support Base (FSB) Gold - following the 3/22nd Inf (minus Co. C), and the 2/77th Arty (105mm). The 68th and 118th AHC supply
the lifts from PZ Trai Den, just east of Nui Ba Den. The "airstrip" is a section of HWY, LTL 13 which has been widened and
painted with a center line. The first lift leaves the PZ for LZ Gold carrying members of the 3/22nd Inf at 1038H. Coming into the
LZ, the flight receives SA AW fire. The second lift encounters 5 command detonated arty rds in the LZ. 3 UH-1's are destroyed
and 13 UH-1s hit by arty fragments or ground fire. Friendly casualties: 15 KIA 28 WIA. Day's results: 61 EK. Company B of the 3d
Battalion, 22d Infantry, was assigned the east portion of the defensive perimeter, Company A the western half. Later that
afternoon the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, landed at Fire Support Base GOLD. Its last lift drew enemy fire, and another seven
choppers were damaged.
TASK FORCE FULLBACK:
2/22nd INF (Mech) (minus Co. A)
3/22nd INF [at FSB Gold]
Co. A, 2/34th Armor
44th Independant Scout Dog
Co. C, 4th Engineer Battalion
25th Division, Major General C. F. Tillison III commanding
3rd Brigade, 4th Div. (Opcon to 25th Div.) Colonel Marshal B. Garth, Commanding.
2nd Bn, 12th Inf, LTC Joe F. Elliott, Commanding.
NOTE: Rumor had it that the 2/12th was tagged to be the lead element going into LZ Gold. LTC Elliott was hand picked by MG
C.F. Tillison to replace LTC "Red" Fuller with designs of grooming him for advancement. When Tillison was told by Elliott that
he would be in the lead flight going into Gold, Tillison ordered COL Garth to put the 3/22 in first and have the 2/12th follow.
Tillison didn't want Elliott getting killed.
20 MAR 67
A Co - CPT Allyn Palmer
B Co - CPT Leon Mayer
C Co - CPT John Napper
In the morning, the 2/12th moves northwest of FSB Gold on a 'Search & Destroy' operation into AO Silver with each company
running a separate azimuth. The 2/22nd is operating southeast of LZ Gold along with the 2/34th tankers about a click away and
south of the Suoi Mamat river.
Co. C veteran SGT Les Cooper recalls, "Prior to us going in to the LZ [on the 19th] we had lost a couple of choppers. There were
command detonated mines (or least that was what we were told). We finally arrived at the LZ; dug in; spent the night and
then moved out the next day."
Charlie Co commander CPT John Napper recalls, " After spending the night at LZ Gold the BN headed out early in the morning.
Yesterday, Bde commander Col Garth had spotted a group of 40 VC on the move from his command chopper and today want
the BN to pursue this activity. As we moved out toward that area, we discovered a fresh base camp with cooking fires still
going, hot rice ready to eat and a water buffalo that was left behind, LTC Elliott, the BN Commander order us to take the
buffalo with us. He had some idea of exchanging it with some village to gain favor. A G.I. From Wyoming, a cowboy at that,
was assigned to drag the buffalo along with us. After failing to find the enemy at the end of the day we set up a night laager
with the rest of the BN out near a wooded area NW of FSB Gold about 2.5 clicks away. The BN builds their night defensive
positions. There is no concertina wire. All is quiet that night, including the water buffalo which has survived the journey".
SGT Earl Nobel Jr, Bravo Co recalls, "we had been out on a sweep and stopped to rest. Off to our right, there was a TAC Air
strike taking place. They were hitting a "base camp" in the distance. As I was watching I heard a "swhoosh, swhoosh, swhoosh"
coming closer and louder. A G.I. Sitting about 10 feet from me all of a sudden gets hit in the head with a chunk of shrapnel. He
had to me medavac'd out".
21 MAR 67
A Co KIA:
SP4 Larry D. Barton (21) of Millersburg, OH
perished in Tay Ninh Province.
At dawn, LTC Elliott holds his morning briefing on the operational plans for the day. The company commanders head back to
their respective assigned areas of the laager site. At approximately 0631, the VC fire a number of rockets or some type of HE
rounds at the laager site about the same time as they begin their attack on FSB Gold in the distance. There are wounded and
SP4 Larry Barton is killed from the volley.There seems to be some dispute by the guys in various companies whether the
rounds that hit the laager site were fired by VC or whether it was done by our own artillery. You could clearly hear the firing in
the distance from the southwest which is the location of the nearest supporting FSB and moments later, the rounds hit.
Maybe they had their fire mission coordinates wrong and they should have been firing support toward FSB Gold. By 0655, the
day's orders get changed, the laager site is broken down and the Bde Commander informs LTC Elliott to make haste back to
FSB Gold as they are under a heavy attack. Charlie Co which is occupying the SE section of the laager takes to lead heading out
in single file with flankers out. Just prior to this, according the CPT Napper " two machine gunners are assigned the duty to
taking care of the buffalo. They say the hell with this, and as they company is leaving the perimeter, they buffalo becomes a
casualty of the war". Alpha Co follows after Charlie Co at 0735 with HHC and LTC Elliott as part of the formation. Bravo Co
remains behind along with HHC Recon to tend to the dead and wounded, then they move out toward FSB GOLD about 0840.
On the way toward FSB Gold, A and C Co.'s are mortared twice, but the rounds fall short.
Around 0900, A Co arrives at the southwestern edge of the clearing 600 meters from the edge of the FSB and CPT Palmer
directs his men to assault the VC in a cross fire. They move forward and provide relief to the beleagured B 3/22nd with
everyone firing away at the enemy. To their left and SW is "fullback" C 2/22 which has arrived from it's night laager site to the
south. As A 2/12th moves forward, the 2/34th bursts out of the tree line to the southeast with cannon and machine guns
blazing, about the same time as the 2/22 passes through the ranks of the 2/12th. The enemy is hit hard from two sides. CPT
Palmer and his company teams up with B 3/22 then they counterattack the enemy and retake their forward positions around
the southern perimeter.
Charlie Co comes into the clearing about the same time as A Co, from the North of the FSB and swings around the perimeter
toward the east and south pinching down on the withdrawing VC which are now heading east away from the laager site. CPT
Napper meets up with LTC Elliott in the process. As C Co approached the firefight, CPT Napper noted "it was a hellacious
firefight listening to it from a distance. It was one of the most confusing 3-4 hours that morning. As we broke into the clearing,
the 2/34th was firing at everything. I needed to let them know there were friendly's out there. As I stood up, I saw the barrel
of a tank swing in my direction. As I hit the ground I stuck the barrel of my rifle in the ground and the cannister round took the
forward stock of the rife clean off. I was left with out a weapon".
Within 45 minutes of the arrival of the infantry and mech units, the attack has been crushed and mop up begins. There are
dead everywhere. The Mech units pursue the enemy into the woods. Bravo Co arrives soon after, but the shooting is over.
Co. C veteran SGT Les Cooper wrote "we were not mortared. They had spread each company out - we were the 'bait.'" "....we
did the drive as did 'A' company. I can remember a radio call to the 'LZ' notifying them we were coming in. I was the whole
weapons squad for the 1st platoon, we were so short of people I had volunteered to carry the M60. I remember entering the
LZ and tossing a hand grenade at the quad fifty - it had been over-run. Other than that I think I fired 4 or 5 hundred rounds, not
sure I hit anything but it was supportive fire. You might check the number of wounded, number was increased by 'friendly fire'
- no fire is friendly. I know the ones we had were."
In the aftermath of the battle, the BN Chaplin was upset about the treatment of the VC soldiers, both alive and dead according
to CPT John Napper " He didn't like the idea that the Mech and tanker boys had run over bodies in the heat of the battle, some
alive at the time. But what would you do when you're on a rescue mission trying to save U.S. Lives? He kinda softened his
statements after reflecting on the issue".
Co. A, 2/12th veteran Bill Comeau wrote of the reception that the "Warriors" received when they entered FSB Gold;
"Artillerymen... ran out of their foxholes and threw their arms around us with tears in their eyes."
[NOTE: Some casualty reports state Larry was "(A3) Hostile [action], died while missing. Reason:
Gun, small arms fire (ground casualty)." Larry was killed during the initial contact at Firebase Gold
(Soui Tre) when pre-plotted 'counter mortar fire' was shot by the artillery at Gold - who were under attack
and landed amongst the soldiers of Alpha.]
"On 21 March, 34 km northeast of Tay Ninh City at LZ "Gold", a battalion of the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division engaged an
estimated five enemy battalions. Two U.S. infantry battalions and an armored cavalry squadron reinforced. The enemy
attempted to withdraw. The battle resulted in 631 enemy killed. U.S. casualties were 31 killed, 109 wounded."
21 Mar (Tuesday - In the News)
"JUNCTION CITY. 27 km NE Tay Ninh City, 0640H-1200H, enemy attacked 3d Bde 4th Inf Div arty element w/82mm mort fire. At
same time, a 3d Bde bn engaged 5 en bns (3,000 men). US reinf the 3d Bde bn. Mid-morning and began withdrawl to NE and SE.
Arty and air attacked retreating enemy. From 1015H-1200H contact sporadic. 631 EK 196 wpns. Frd cas: 31 KIA 109 WIA. USAF 0-1
directing air strikes was downed by en ground fire and exploded on impact. Two crew KIA. USAF sptd opn w/117 direct spt
sorties. Late afternoon in another area, a direct spt air strike by 2 USSAF F-100s w/FAC control resulted in 2 US KIA 10 US WIA."
BATTLE OF SUOI TRE
When a massive NVA / VC attack was launched against FSB Gold (XT385708) the 2/12th fought
their way into the partially over-run firebase and counter attacked to restore its perimeter. For its
actions, the 2/12th was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
Lawrence Greenberg wrote this about the battle in the, June 1991, Vietnam magazine; ".... the 272nd
Regiment and U-80 Artillery attacked the base from all sides following a 650 round mortar attack. Waves
of attackers advanced under recoilless rifle and rocket fire and penetrated the southeast perimeter."
0631 hours FSB Gold attacked.
0655 hours 2/12th ordered to move to the relief of Gold.
"From the southwest, a company of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry braved enemy mortar fire and the risk of ambushes and
hacked its way through 1,500 meters of thick bamboo to reach the beleaguered camp at 0900. It charged into the base under
covering fire from Gold's defenders and assumed responsibility for the southwestern perimeter."
Extracts of the Recommendation and Award for the Presidential Unit Citation provided by Howard
S. Paris (Flame 3), 2/12th's S-3 at the time of the Battle of Suoi Tre. Howard said that CPT Chris Stone,
Charlie company's former C.O., did most of the preparation for the Recommendation:
HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE
4TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96268
AVDDC-CO 1 April 1967
SUBJECT: Recommendation for the Presidential Unit Citation
THRU: Commanding General
25th Infantry Division
APO SF 96225
THRU: Commanding General
II Field Force
APO SF 96266
TO: Commanding General
United States Army, Viet Nam
APO SF 96307
1. The Presidential Unit Citation is recommended for the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and all assigned and attached units
(see enclosure 2), for their actions on 21 March 1967.
Parts 2 through 7 deal with the early morning attack of 2,500 NVA / VC upon FB Gold - defended by a compliment of 450 U.S.
Soldiers - well documented elsewhere in history about Operation Junction City.]
8. Alerted at 0655 hours and ordered to move to the aid of the beleaguered defenders of FSB Gold, the 2/12th Inf, 2/22d Inf
(Mechanized), and the 2/34th Armor pressed on from positions as far away as 3,000 meters.
The Mech and Armor were working together some distance south of the 2/12th - who were working alone - some 1,500 meters
due west of FSB Gold.
As they started to move, the 2d Bn 12th Inf was subjected to heavy concentrations of enemy mortar fire in an attempt to delay
their progress. Treating their wounded on the move, the 2d Bn 12th Inf continued to push on through 2,500 meters of heavy
bamboo and underbrush toward their objective at FSB Gold. Harassed by sniper fire and blocked by security elements of the
enemy's main attack force, the 2d Bn 12th continued to advance, moving the 2,500 meters overland through dense jungle
against a determined enemy in less than two hours. The first elements of the 2d Bn, 12th Inf entered the south-western part
of the perimeter minutes before the mechanized elements arrived at 0900 hours.
10. Having been repulsed on their first attempt to overrun the FSB, the enemy mortared the objective once again and
launched a second determined ground assault. This second assault was interrupted as mechanized columns of the 2/22d Inf
(M) and foot elements of the 2/12th Inf almost simultaneously broke into the clearing at 0900 hours, trapping the enemy in a
murderous cross fire. The 2/34th Armor was trailing, and swept immediately behind the mechanized battalion. Both the
mechanized and armored elements passed through the 2d Bn, 12th Inf and swept around the southern and eastern half of the
FSB while the enemy troops swarmed over the lead APC's. The heavy guns of the tanks were firing direct fire at point blank
range into the teeming mass of troops as the enemy panicked and attempted to flee. After the mechanized units assisted in
breaking the force of the attack in the eastern and southern flanks, the 2d Bn, 12th Inf moved in on the west and northwest,
sweeping the entire perimeter and neutralizing the small remaining pockets of resistance. The full force of available air and
artillery support was brought to bear against the Viet Cong force which was now desperately trying to break contact.
18. Analysis of the enemy actions of 21 March 1967 indicate an intent to conduct a ground attack against the 2d Battalion, 12th
Infantry immediately following the mortar attack on that unit. Only early commitment of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry
prevented the ground attack. The entire movement of the battalion was subjected to continuous sniper fire from the north
flank. The presence of the great numbers of anti-tank weapons further indicate that the Viet Cong expected a quick "roll-up"
of Fire Support Base Gold followed by an engagement with the mechanized forces. In spite of a heavy preponderance of
automatic and anti-tank weapons, the Viet Cong force was so thoroughly defeated that the mechanized forces suffered only
two slightly wounded personnel. Not one M-113 armored personnel carrier or M48A3 tank was struck by anti-tank fire during
the course of the engagement.
Other websites and articles on the Battle. Click on any link.........Sarge