Attack on Ngok Tavak information
for A-105 SF DET

For date 680510

A-105 SF DET was a US Army unit
CIDG was a Vietnamese Army unit
13 MARINES was a US Marine Corps unit
HMM-265 was a US Marine Corps unit
Primary service involved, US Marine Corps
Incident reference: 68051065.BAT This information is available on CD-ROM.
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Ngok Tavak
Description: Ngok Tavak was attacked by an NVA infantry battalion at 0315H. The base was pounded by mortars and direct rocket fire. As the frontal assault began, the Kham Duc CIDG soldiers moved toward the Marine artillerymen yelling, "Don't shoot, don't shoot! Friendly, Friendly!" Suddenly they lobbed grenades into the Marine howitzer positions and ran into the fort, where they shot several Marines with carbines and sliced claymore mine and communication wires. The defenders suffered heavy casualties but stopped the main assault and killed the infiltrators. The NVA dug in along the hill slopes and grenaded the trenches where the mobile strike force soldiers were pinned by machine gun and rocket fire. An NVA flamethrower set the ammunition ablaze. When it was learned that the CIDG mortar crews had abandoned their weapons, CPT Silva tried to operate the main 4.2 inch mortar but was wounded. By 0500H most of the SF and Marine artillerymen were either wounded or dead. The NVA advanced across the eastern side of Ngok Tavak and brought forward more automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. In desperation, the defenders called on USAF AC-47 "Spooky" gunships to strafe the perimeter and the howitzers, despite the possible presence of friendly wounded in the gun pits. The NVA countered with tear gas, but the wind kept drifting the gas over their own lines. After three attempts, they stopped. A grenade fight between the two forces lasted until dawn. At daybreak Australian Warrant Officers Cameron and Lucas led a CIDG counterattack. The NVA pulled back under covering fire and the howitzers were retaken. The Marines fired the last nine shells and spiked the tubes. Later that morning medevac helicopters supported by covering airstrikes took out the seriously wounded, including CPT Silva. At this point HMM-265 sent two sections (four CH-46As in all) loaded with the 12th Mobile Strike Force Company to Ngok Tavak. The first CH-46 took heavy automatic weapons fire and had an hydraulic line shot out. This CH-46A, 152505, was flown by 1LT Horace H. Fleming, "Bud" in Bruce Lake's book "1500 Feet Over Vietnam." They were forced to remain on the landing pad. The second CH-46A, 151907, was flown by Frank (last name unknown). After dropping off the CIDG, Frank waited to rescue the downed crew but his plane was hit by an RPG and exploded. Frank later related that the gunner was burned and the crew chief had shrapnel in his back, arm and legs. Even though he had all these injuries and two broken legs, Frank said that the crew chief ran many yards to a foxhole. A third CH-46A tried to extract all of them but took so many hits that they were driven off and made a forced landing at Kham Duc. They hoped to make some repairs to their aircraft and go back to get the first two crews but they started drawing mortar fire. Somehow this section managed to get their wounded birds back to Marble Mountain. Two CH46s were able to land 45 replacements from the 12th, accompanied by SF CPT Eugene E. Makowski. The mobile strike force soldiers were exhausted and nervous. Ammunition and water were nearly exhausted and Ngok Tavak was still being pounded by sporadic mortar fire. They asked permission to evacuate their positions, but were told to "hold on" as "reinforcements were on the way." By noon the defenders decided that aerial reinforcement or evacuation was increasingly unlikely and that night would bring certain destruction. An hour later, they abandoned Ngok Tavak. The Australians organized the withdrawal. All equipment that could not be carried was placed in the command bunker and set on fire. CH-46A 152505 was destroyed with a LAW. The column fought and moved for several hours and literally climbed up a hill over scorched earth where napalm had been dropped to clear a path for them. Around the hill top helicopters began extracting them. About 1900H, an Army Huey hovered over them just long enough to pick up several from HMM-265, including 1LT Fleming, and two CIDG who grabbed onto the skids as the Huey flew away under heavy fire. Three individuals, included Fleming, fell from the skids. 1LT Fleming would be listed as MIA and was eventually promoted to Major prior to being declared KIA. Casualties: US 32 KIA or MIA

The source for this information was GOLDEN VALLEY summary

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

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

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Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023