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11th Inf Bde Press Release, 23 Jul 69

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1th Infantry Brigade Press Release (1111-69-192)
July 23, 1969


In a recent day-long battle six miles west of Duc Pho, an old, fallow rice paddy became the graveyard for fifteen NVA soldiers who fell under an onslaught from AMERICAL Division soldiers of the 11th Infantry Brigade.

"D" Co., 3d Battalion, 1st Infantry had been on search and clear operations in the area for several days when an early morning mortar attack on their night Laager position triggered a counterattack by the "Always First" soldiers.

Leaving their positions, they moved out in search of the enemy, sweeping through hedgerows and dense brush, until they emerged into an open field where they met fierce resistance.

Captain (CPT) John S. Walker (Wakefield, R.I.), Battalion S-3 described what immediately confronted the company, "The NVA were in a trench line between two open fields with bamboo around the trench. They were equipped with an RPD machinegun, an RPG-7, AK47s and AK-50 and they weren't being niggardly with their ammunition!"

With nothing but tree stumps for cover, the company moved forward on line until they were forced to halt as the enemy beat out a steady tattoo of automatic weapons fire.

"I was within ten feet of that bamboo thicket and I still couldn't locate their positions," related PFC James A. Skapara [Skaparas] (Boston, Mass.). "Then all of a sudden a camouflaged trap door to a spider hole popped open, a burst was fired - and down went the lid."

Meanwhile, "B" Company moved west, forming a cordon around the well entrenched enemy.

Valuable assistance came form the air as helicopters from the 174th Assault Helicopter Company and "Warlords" of "B" Co., 123d Aviation Bn., made repeated strafing runs on the enemy positions.

Marine jet fighters, directed by “Helix” added to the fray as they performed pin-point bombing runs on the curtain of bamboo.

While under intense automatic weapons fire, two missions of mercy were flown as a LOH descended to pickup a wounded medic and LTC George V. Ellis (Kent, Ohio) Bn. Commander, ordered his ship down to evacuate a seriously wounded soldier.

Action began picking up as two members of a "B" company machinegun team, PFC Chris Osgood (Huntington Beach, Calif.), and PFC Richard Olson (Minneapolis, Minn.) moved far forward of the main element and began laying down deadly suppressive fire.

Light anti-tank weapons (LAWs) were brought to bear on the positions and SP4 David Schol... [unreadable], a squad leader, made repeated dashes to the enemy position, silencing them with hand grenades, one by one, as other member of the company gave him covering fire.

Late in the afternoon, the two companies converged on the enemy positions, destroying remaining resistance.

A search of the area yielded the bodies of 15 NVA soldiers, five packs, cases of TNT, numerous hand grenades, 5 AK-47s, 1 AK-50, 1 RPG-7, one RPD machinegun and several 60mm mortar rounds.

LTC Ellis stated, "As one might expect in this sort of operation, we took several casualties, but the soldiers did a fine job of pin-pointing the well concealed enemy positions and destroying them."