Attack on Plei Me SF camp information
for A-217 SF DET
119 AVN
498 MED CO

For date 651020

A-217 SF DET was a US Army unit
119 AVN was a US Army unit
498 MED CO was a US Army unit
PROJECT DELTA was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Incident reference: 65102010.TXT This information is available on CD-ROM.
Pleiku Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Plei Me
Description: The 33rd NVA Regt attacked the SF camp at Plei Me at 2200H on the 19th. At 0030H the NVA began their assault which was meet by the CIDG and A-217 Special Forces DET. Sappers blew gaps in the wire under covering fire from the assault infantry. NVA 57-mm recoilless rifles and B-40 rockets took out the blockhouse on the northwestern corner plus the communications bunker, aid station, and ammo storage bunker. At 0215H a 309th Air Commando Squadron flareship arrived from Bien Hoa and at 0345H jet and A-1E aircraft started blasting the NVA side of the camp. The weather was lousy. At 0600H the NVA destroyed the main northwest bunker and at 0800H shock troops blew in the main gate with satchel charges. But the daylight air support forced the NVA back into the jungle. At 0930H the first medevac helicopter flown by MAJ Louis Mizell of the 498th Med CO landed an SF doctor in the camp and took out about a half dozen wounded. One of the escorting gunships was shot down. (Editor's note: 119th AVN, UH-1B, 64-00135, 4 KIA's.) A rescue team was sent to reach the helicopter crew. The team leader, SF SFC Joseph Bailey, died from wounds before this team could get back into the camp. During the day, the Air Force pounded the NVA positions. One B-57 Canberra bomber was hit by 12.5-mm fire and crashed before it could reach Holloway. A second B-57 was also hit but was able to crash land at its Cam Ranh Bay base. By night fall, the camp's combat patrol, its third CIDG CO, had returned to help reinforce the camp. The media reported that the camp had been reinforced by helicopters but other than MAJ Mizell's dustoff ship only one other Huey had brought in some ammo and a relief radio operator, SSG James Bussard. Various allied commands were preparing to respond to this attack knowing an ambush was in the offering for any relief force. The SF headquarters ordered MAJ Charlie Beckwith, who commanded the SP's Project DELTA, to gather a reinforcing and reaction force. He gathered 15 SF soldiers and two South Vietnamese ranger companies and was able to move them to Pleiku late on the 20th. The ARVN II Corps HQ alerted the Armored Task Force (ATF), basically the reinforced 3rd Armored Cavalry Squadron lead by LTC Nguyen Luat, to be the primary reaction force. A bridge had been blown by the local VC, so the ATF only started their road march on the 20th.

The source for this information was Rand, We Were Soldier Once, Green beret P:133+, Pleiku P:78+

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address:

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Last updated 12/20/2000

Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023