Pacific Stars and Stripes information

For date 680515

Primary service involved, US Air Force
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Kham Duc
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "NVA Cut Off Post, C130s Aid Pullout" by SP5 Ray Belford S&S Staff Correspondent. Saigon - Air Force transports evacuated nearly a thousand U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers from a Special Forces camp near the Laotian border Sunday after a large Communist force surrounded the camp during three days of heavy fighting, the U.S. Command reported Monday. More than 400 U.S. Green Berets, the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) soldiers they train and a battalion of U.S. infantrymen from the 196th Light Inf. Brigade, were picked up by C130 and C123 transports at the Kham Duc Special Forces Camp about 13 miles from the border. Heavy air strikes were aimed at enemy forces during the evacuation. A C130 was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed, killing six Air Force crewmen and an unknown number of CIDG and Vietnamese soldiers. The command said the camp was evacuated to avoid encirclement and enable tactical aircraft and B52s to blast the Communist forces massed around it. The command said the decision to evacuate the camp came after three days of heavy fighting that started Friday when elements of two North Vietnamese Army regiments attacked an outpost 2 1/2 miles away that was manned by Special Forces and CIDG troops. Unable to hold the small outpost in face of the massive attack, Special Forces and CIDG soldiers retreated to the Kham Duc camp under cover of napalm and high explosives dropped on communist positions by U.S. jets. Late Friday evening and during the day Saturday, a battalion of U.S infantrymen from the 196th Light Inf. Brigade was rushed into the camp to help hold it until it could be evacuated. Shortly after the evacuation, B52s dropped tons of explosives on enemy positions around the camp. The huge planes flew two missions Sunday night and five missions Monday morning. U.S. casualties were put at 19 killed and 89 wounded during three days of fighting. CIDG casualties were not reported. The command said over 300 North Vietnamese are estimated killed in ground action around the camp, but would not estimate the number of killed during air strikes.

The source for this information was 6805pss.avn supplied by Les Hines

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