operation report information
187 AHC was a US Army unit
for 187 AHC
3 BDE 25 INF
For date 681127
3 BDE 25 INF was a US Army unit
4/9 INF was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Operation TOAN THANG II
Incident reference: 68112700.TXT This information is available on CD-ROM.
Tay Ninh Province, III Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Cau Khoi Rubber Plantation
Description: As part of TOAN THANG II, the 187th AHC had a normal morning of CAs until the 2/22d Infantry staff riding in the C&C learned that an enemy battalion was a few miles southeast of Tay Ninh City and decided to assault this position. The 187th had 10 ships extract elements of A/4/9th Inf, OPCONed to the 2/22d Inf, at 1332 from XT309386 for an insertion at 1355 at XT302408. Ron Timberlake wrote: "My personal helicopter was undergoing its 100 hour inspection and I got to fly a brand new, 30 hour old UH-1H. I was Chalk 6 that day, sixth bird in the flight of ten or leading the First Platoon on any lifts where only five birds were needed. The LZ was only about 15 miles southeast of Tay Ninh and it was huge looking from a few miles out. The RATPACK had expended about half their ordnance already, but C&C put in a short artillery prep, and we turned inbound as the lasts rounds were hitting. As we got closer, we saw that the huge field was actually planted with young rubber trees, about ten feet high, so we had to pick our spots. We were in an Echelon Left formation, to be able to put the troops closets to the wooded position where the NVA were supposed to be, and I tucked my five behind Second Platoon, so they'd thin out the small arms hits for my platoon, and save our ground crews a lot of work. They did. The Crusaders were justifiably proud of being very cool under fire. I never saw them break a formation in the year I was with them. Al Duneman and one other bird called 'receiving fire from the woodline.' Crusaders didn't say "Taking fire!" like mosst people. We just received fire, rather calmly. The calls weren't even really a complaint, but were more to tell the RATPACK where to suppress. As we took off, two of the Second Platoon birds called that they had taken hits, and were breaking for Tay Ninh with damage or wounded on board. Al Duneman went with them, but he didn't make or answer any radio calls. That put me up to Chalk 3.
I was feeling pretty good that no one in my platoon had taken a hit, but was wondering why Trail hadn't told lead the flight was off the LZ. Then the RATPACK reported "Ya got one burning on the LZ." My roommate, Bob Trezona's, ship had been hit by an RPG and was totally engulfed in flames. I went back for him and found that the crewchief, Brady, was dead in the fire and both pilots were badly burned. We were able to get the nine survivors a couple of miles before my engine quit from bullet damage. I made a lucky autorotation with no damage other than a lot of bullet hotes. The first bird in for us took off the wounded and another came for the rest of us a few minutes later.
Ron's narrative continues and is recorded in the memo field in Al Duneman's KIA record.
Bob Calverley was the 187th Company Clerk during this period. He published an article "Face to face with The Wall" that describes the people involved in these events. Those details are recorded in each individual's memo KIA record memo field.
Comments: SP4 Calverley, Bob; company clerk; ;
CPT Timberlake, Ron N.; platoon leader; ;
The source for this information was various docs from Tom Pienta, see VHPA memo field
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address: email@example.com
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