1 January 1967 - 31 December 1967
Early 1967 found the “Workhorse of the Blackhorse involved in several operations in Central Long Khanh Province, III Corps Tactical Zone, to include War Zone D. The impetus created by the troopers of the “Workhorse” continued in the traditional cavalry spirit as the effects of mobility, firepower and shock effect drove the Viet Cong from his rest and supply areas. By the late months of 67, the Workhorse had traversed the entire length and width of Long Khanh Province, and they completed the year with security and reconnaissance operations in the northern sector of the III Corps Tactical Zone.
During the initial weeks of 1967, the 3d Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, commanded by LTC Arthur Cochran, participated in 3 different operations.
Operation GLEN BURNIE was conducted during the first part of January. Intelligence reports indicated that BINH LOC hamlet, LONG KHANH Province, was a Viet Cong dominated supply center as well as a safe haven for Viet Cong political personnel. Thus, it was decided to cordon and search the hamlet. Prior to completing the seal at 030710 January 1967, elements of the 52nd ARVN Ranger Battalion were airlifted east of the hamlet to establish a blocking position. A systematic search and interrogation of the villagers followed without significant results. Operation GLEN BURNIE was a success in that it removed the village from Viet Cong domination and opened it for Revolutionary Development. To facilitate movement the Squadron used a CH-47 Chinook to airlift and emplace a section of bulk bridging at a critical crossing site.
On 8 January, 1967, the Squadron road marched from Blackhorse into BINH DUONG Province where the Squadron became OPCON to the 173d Airborne Brigade and initiated Operation CEDAR FALLS. CEDAR FALLS was a reconnaissance in force operation intended not only to seek out Viet Cong locations and equipment, but also to deny the Viet Cong further refuge in the Iron Triangle area, The Iron Triangle was sealed by the 25th Infantry Division to the west and south along the SAIGON River, by the 1st Infantry Division along Route 13, and by the 173d Airborne Brigade to the north. After Searching Route 13, elements of the Squadron traveled southwest from BEN CAT and entered the northern sector of the Triangle on the road from BEN CAT to Route 14. For the remainder of the operation the Squadron secured convoys on these routes and assisted in route clearing operations. In addition, elements of the Squadron made trails into the southwest sector of the Iron Triangle and uncovered several bunkers, trenches, and tunnels, and captured assorted weapons, food, documents and equipment. Night ambush patrols and daylight sniper patrols accounted f or ten (10) enemy dead. Some friendly casualties resulted from anti-personnel and anti-tank mines as well as from sniper fire. Operation CEDAR FALLS terminated on 24 January.
Three days later the Squadron, minus Troop I, became OPCON to the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division to participate in Operation COLBY. The CP and Howitzer Battery road marched to an area south of the ONG QUE rubber plantation to establish a fire support base. On the same day Troop I became attached to the 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry and established a blocking position north of PHU MY, Teans K, L, and M laagered in an area northwest of PHU MY. During the next three days elements of the Squadron discovered 340 bunkers, 12 huts, and captured some documents and medical supplies. Operation COLBY terminated on 30 January. On 31 January the Squadron still OPCON to the Ist Birgade, 9th Infantry Division, initiated Operation IOLA by securing a portion of Route 15 from BA RIA to PHY MY, The purpose of Operation IOLA was to secure the move of the main body of the newly arrived 9th Infantry Division from VUNG TAU to their base camp at BEARCAT.
4 February marked the beginning of Operation MUNCIE in which the Squadron (minus Troop I) conducted a road march south on Route 15 to BA RIA and then north on Route 2. That night the Squadron laagered at DUC THANH. This was the first tine that any allied force had traveled north on Route 2 from BA RIA to DUC THANH. The Squadron conducted reconnaissance-in-Force operations east and west of Route 2 from DUC THANH north to CAM MY. The Squadron continued to maintain responsibility for a section of the perimeter of the regimental base camp. Troops were periodically rotated to blackhorse to assume the base camp security mission and the security of Route 2 from Blackhorse south fo CAM MY.
During TET, (8—12 February), the Squadron maintained a series of troop size strong points along Route 2 in an attempt to prevent enemy re— Supply through the area. While not violating any of the truce agreements, it is felt that the Squadrons presence in the area hampered Viet Cong resupply as well as denied the Viet Cong the opportunity to enjoy holiday visits with their families and friends. During this period the Squadron had PSYOPS speaker missions flown with the intention of inducing the Viet Cong to rally to the government.
The TET truce period ended on 12 February, at which time the Squadron resumed Reconnaissance-in-Force operations along Route 2 until 15 February When Operation MUNCIE Terminated. While on Operation MUNCIE, the Squadron conducted aix (6) MEDCAPS, treating a total of 500 peop1e.
On 19 February the Squadron commenced a road iaarch from Blackhorse to ThY NINH Province in order to participate in Operation JUNCTION C1TY The Squadron arrived at a laager position south of TAY NINH city on the following day. On 21 February the Squadron moved north to a forward assembly area in preparation for an attack further north. On 22 and 23 February the Squadron attacked north, making no significant contact during the attack nor during subsequent reconnaissance operations. In early March Team L commnanded by CPT Mengal, captured a Chinese radio complete with generator and antenna, This radio was only the second of it's kind to be captured by US Forces, and the only one to be in operational condition. On the morning of 7 March the Squadron attacked west in sector as part of a regimental attack just south of the Cambodian border. The Squadron then provided a b1ocking force south of the border. The Squadron returned to base camp on 15 March, thus terminating its participaticn in Operation JUNCTION CITY. During the operation, three PSYOP missions were flown in TAY NINH Province.
Upon termination of’ JUNCTION CITY, the Squadron immediately resumed Operation KITTY HAWK, the continuing mission of securing the Blackhorse base camp and surrounding area. The mission required a troop size force at GIA RAY rock quarry and another troop to secure the base camp perimeter and provide convoy escorts. The Howitzer Battery provided fire support for the base camp.
On the morning of 21 March, Troop I dispatched a platoon to reinforce an ARVN unit which had been overrun by an estimated Viet Cong battalion south of GIA RAY. The Squadron spent the remainder of the month alternating it’s troops between base camp security, convoy escort, and securing GIA RAY rock quary. The Squadron was relieved of the KITTY HAWK mission on 31 March,
On 1 April the Squadron initiated participation in Operation JUNCTION CITY II by marching from Blackhorse to LAI KHE; The Squadron assumed the mission of securing Route 13 from LAI KHE to CHON THANH, and escorting convoys to QUAN LOI. After the convoys had passed each day, the Squadron managed to conduct local reconnaissance operations. Throughout the entire operation there were no incidents of enemy interference with the convoys in the Squadron’s sector along Hwy 13. On 6 Apri1, Team L became OPCON to the 2nd Squadron for operations west of Hwy 13. While OFCON to the 2nd Squadron, Team L had minor enemy contact and captured several tons of rice, On 10 April, Team M, commanded by CPT Gerald Warner, conducted a Cordon and Search of a Vet Cong controlled hamlet northeast of CHON THANH in conjunction with an RF Company from CHON THANH District. The following day Team I sprung a Viet Cong ambush as a result of their reconnaissance by fire. In the ensuing combat the troop killed four enemy and captured several weapons as wel1 as a quantity of ammunition, Operation JUNCTION CITY II terminated on 18 April.
On 19 April 1967, the Squadron moved to an assembly area in LAI KHE, in order to prepare for Operation MANHATTEN. The Squadron initiated. MANHATTEN with an attack north, astride Hwy 13. Only token Viet Cong resistance was encountered during this move. During the period 24 April-11 May the Squadron conducted Reconnaissance-in-Force operations with each team making extensive use of stay-behind patrols. Enemy contact during this phase was light, however the operation did uncover 18 small base camps, all of which were destroyed., On 28 April Team L made contact with the enemy and in a short fire-fight the L Troop Commander, CPT James Stephens, was killed. Operation MANHATTEN terminated on 12 May; and the Squadron returned to Blackhorse Base Camp south of XUAN LOC.
Upon its return to Blackhorse, the Squadron resumed Operation KITTY HAWK. On 21 Nay the 1st platoon of K Troop, commanded by LT Michael Boyd, was escorting an engineer resupply convoy along Hwy 1 from GIA RAY to Blackhorse. At 0850 hours, approximately 300 meters west of SOUI CAT, the platoon was ambushed by a reinforced battalion from the 274th Viet Cong Regiment. Several hours of heavy fighting ensued before the Viet Cong broke contact and fled from the battle field. A sweep of the ambush site turned up 30 Viet Cong bodies as well as numerous blood trails. The Squadron had 16 men killed and 26 wounded during this encounter.
There were many acts of individual heroism,, the nest notable being that of PSG Homer Pittman. PSG Pittman’s ACAV was hit In the initial burst of RPG fire and was set on fire, He immediately dismounted the weapons and ammunition and continued to engage the enemy until he could get to another ACAV. He then moved up and down the road, through the ambush, evacuating the wounded. PSG Pittman was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Vice-President Humphrey for his actions
The Squadron initiated Operation TULSA on 30 May, deploying along Hwy 1 in the vicinity of SOUl CAT. It’s mission was to conduct local Reconnaissance-in-Force operations and to secure the GIA RAY rock quarry and engineer work parties along the highway. On the 2nd and 4th of June the Squadron cordoned and searched SOUl CAT and AP BAO MY respectively, neither search having any significant results. Operation TULSA was terminated on 6 June. The Squadron returned to Blackhorse and began to prepare for Operation AKRON I.
On the morning of 9 June the Squadron initiated Operation AKRON I with an attack south along Hwy 2. The Squadrons mission included local Reconnaissance in Force operations in the HAT DICH area, as well as providing engineer security along Hwy 2. Many of the civilians in the vicinity expressed a desire to resettle in a more secure area but had been prohibited from moving out by the Viet Cong. The Squadron’s presence reduced the effectiveness of the enemy’s intimidation and many of these civilians took advantage of the opportunity to mova to the “new life” hamlet of NGAI GIAO.
Three hamlets within the Squadron’s area of operations - LANG LOM, XA BANG, and HOUNG LA - were cordoned and searched with the assistance of local officials without significant results.
At 1900115 June, two vehicles on the Squadron CP perimeter were hit by anti-tank fire. Imediately following came an attack by the first and second battalions of the 274th Viet Cong Reginent, reinforced by the regimental heavy weapons company and the 5th Viet Cong Division anti-aircraft weapons company. The attackers were armed with small arms, machine guns, mortars, recoilless rifles, M79 grenade launchers, and RPG-2 anti-tank weapons. The perimeter was attacked from three sides and subjected to an intense volume of fire. Team K and Headquarters Troop, who were manning the perimeter, reacted quickly and laid down a heavy volume of suppressive fire. Mortar fire from the provisional mortar battery laagered with Team M, and 175 MM and 8’’ artillery from NUI DAT were requested and fired within 100 meters of the perimeter. By 0145H Light Fire Teams from lackhorse had arrived on station and were providing suppressive rocket fire. A flare ship and two armed CH-47’s also supported the defense. At 0200 hours the enemy fires subsided and the attackers began to withdraw. Prior to the attack, the ambush patrols and listening posts, which were approximate1y 400 meters and 75 meters outside the perimeter respectively, reported enemy movement in their vicinity. These patrols remained in position and continued to inform Squadron Hq’s of the direction and scope of the attack. A sweep of the battle field at first light revealed 56 Viet Cong Bodies. In addition 2 wounded prisoners were taken, Nine (9) troopers in the Squadron were killed and 32 were wounded. This battle was known as the battle of “Slope 30”.
Aside from the platoon from the 919th Engineer Company destroying 15 mines along Hwy 2, and the discovery of numerous base camps, the Squadron had no significant activity throughout the remainder of the operation, which concluded on 27 June.
Between Operations AKRON I and EMPORIA I, the Squadron resumed Operation KITTY HAWK. During this period the Squadron continued to improve its relations with the village of CAM MY, especially with the day school operated by Father John.
The Squadron commenced Operation EMPORIA I on 21 July 67. EMPORIA was designed as a land clearing operation along Route 20 from GIA TAN to the LA NGA river bridge. The 3d Squadron’s mission was to provide security for the engineer land clearing teams and to conduct local reconnaissance operations.
At 0936 hours the lead troop, Troop L, was ambushed along Highway 20 approximately 4.5 km north of the hamlet of IA BINU HOA, The ambush was staged by elements of the 275th Viet Cong Regiment and the 1st Bn of the DONG NAI Regiment reinforced. The L Troop commander CPT William Abernathy was killed in the initial volume of fire and LT George W. Powers the 3d Platoon Leader assumed temporary command. LT Powers reported that there was numerous casualties and requested all available support. Light fire teams had been dispatched on initial notification of the ambush and were soon placing suppressive rocket fire into the ambush area. One gunship was subsequently shot down and four others received hits, The Squadron Commander, LTC Hillman Dickinson, ordered Teams I and H to flank the ambush and to sweep thru the ambush site. They were deployed on the flanks at 1100 hours, Team I on the east and Team M on the west. Team K was moved into the killing zone to relieve the pressure on Team L. Enemy resistance finally ceased at approximately 1400 hours. Sweeps of the ambush sites revealed that 96 Viet Cong had been killed; in addition numerous crew served and individual weapons were captured. The squadron had 14 men killed and 57 wounded. There was no other enemy contact on Operation EMPORIA I. Operation EMPORIA I terminated on 2 August with the completion of a class 60 engineer float bridge.
On the 3d of August the squadron crossed the bridge thus initiating OPERATION EMPORIA II. The purpose of this phase was to clear the jungle away from both sides of Highway 20 north to the northern boundary of LONG KHANH Province. The operation ncluded joint operations with the 52nd ARVN Ranger Battalion. The cooperation and efficiency of the Squadron, Engineers, and the 52nd Ranger Bn was outstanding and the operation was completed in less than half the time originally estimated. During Phase II, the attached engineer platoon from the 919th Engineer Company continued to evaluate and upgrade the RF/PF compounds. In addition, a new outpost was constructed in the vicinity of the LONG KHANH Province boundary. EMPORIA II terminated on 18 August. The Squadron returned to Blackhorse and again resumed Operation KITTY HAWK.
Operation VALDOSTA I was initiated on 1 September to preclude Viet Cong interference with the Vietnamese National Elections on 3 September. During the initial phase of the operation Troop K found and removed several roadblocks along Route 1. It later provided security for an engineer work party while repairs were made on a culvert destroyed by the Viet Cong in an attempt to disrupt traffic along Hwy 1.
On 3 September the 2nd platoon of Troop K established contact with a small force of Viet Cong just south of HUNG NGHIA, killing two of the enemy and discovering food, weapons, and the local finance center. The following day Troop K, lead by CPT William Boice, engaged a 40 man Viet Cong force in the same area, resulting in 8 Viet Cong killed. Two troopers from K Troop were killed in this action. Operation VALDOSTA I terminated on 6 September.
Operation EMPORIA IV was also initiated on 1 September and did not terminate until 15 September. The Squadron’s mission was to secure engineer work parties along Highway 2 south of Blackhorse. During the operation the Squadron had several light contacts in the BA BIEN region east of base camp. In addition five supply caches were discovered, the most significant containing an ARVN jeep and trailer which had been stolen by the Viet Cong.
On 15 September the Squadron commenced Operation ARKANSAS CITY I, which was a reconnaissance-in-force in an attempt to locate and destroy elements of the 274th Viet Cong Regiment. The squadron established blocking positions along Highway 2 from Blackhorse to DUC THANH. From these locations patrols, both mounted and dismounted, were dispatched in an attempt to locate enemy base areas. Several base camps were discovered and destroyed. Operation ARKANSAS CITY I terminated on 21 September.
During the period 13-20 September Troop K was OPCON to the 11th ACR and secured an ARVN fire support base 10 kilometers east of GIA RAY on Operation Quicksilver III.
Operation RICHMOND was a 6 day engineer security operation during the period 22-28 September. The Squadron secured engineer road repair efforts north of DINH QUAN along Highway 20. The Squadron also conducted Reconnaissance-in-Force operations in close cooperation and coordination with the 52nd ARVN Ranger Bn. There was no enemy contact during Operation RICHMOMD. Upon the termination of Operation RICHMOND the Squadron returned to Blackhorse and resumed Operation KITTY HAWK. Each troop also conducted a 5 day refresher training program.
During the period 20-23 October the Squadron participated in Operation VALDOSTA II. Operation VALDOSTA II was designed to prevent Viet Cong attempts to disrupt the Vietnamese lower house elections on 23 October. To accomplish this mission the squadron positioned reaction forces throughout the central portion of LONG KNANH Province.
From 23 October to 28 October the Squadron resumed Operation KITTY HAWK. Extremely successful Reconnaissance-in-Force operations were conducted in the KIEM TAM District. Over 500 bunkers were found and destroyed; in addition several pounds of documents pertaining to a Viet Cong village headquarters were captured.
During the period 1 November - 3 December the squadron participated in Operation SANTA FE. Operation SANTA FE was designed to open highway 1 from GIA RAY TO HAM TAN on the South China Sea. Phase I was the deception plan. During this phase the squadron moved two troops and its headquarters to a FSPB in the vicinity of GIA TAN. The purpose of the deception plan was to lead the Viet Cong into thinking the major operation would be conducted along highway 24 south of the DONG NAI River. The squadron initiated Phase II on 3 November as it attacked with troop M along Highway 1 to establish a fire support base 20 km southeast of GIA RAY. The Howitzer Battery followed Troop K., The remainder of the Squadron joined K Troop on the afternoon of 3 November. No enemy contact was made during the attack..
During Phase II the squadron established blocking positions along Highway 1 and conducted reconnaissance operations both east and west of the route in attempt to locate elements of the 5th Viet Cong Division.
On 16 November Team M, commanded by CPT Ivan Magee, round a Viet Cong base camp at the base of the MAY TAO mountain. At this location Team M captured a Viet Cong who stated that there had been a reinforced Viet Cong company in the area. On the following morning the Squadron directed its major effort toward the mountain. For the next five days the squadron, in conjunction with the 2nd Bn, 43d Inf Regt - (ARVN), conducted detailed dismounted reconnaissance operations on the mountain. Sporadic contact was made, resulting in 8 Viet Cong killed. Two helicopter landing zones were cleared on top of the MAY TAO for use in future operations.
On 21 November the Squadron and the 2/43 ARVN Inf extracted from the MAY TAO and continued to search the base for the remainder of the operation. A Viet Cong uniform factory, a small arms cache, as well as several small base camps and rest areas were located.
On 3 December the Squadron ended it’s participation in Operation SANTA FE and returned to Blackhorse. The Squadron resumed Operation KITTY HAWK and continued this mission until 28 December.
On 6 December the squadron was placed under direct control of the 9th Infantry Division with no change in its mission. To provide further security for Highway 1 the squadron established a troop sized patrol base in the vicinity of HUNG NGHIA
On 24 December a vehicle from K Troop was struck by an RPG anti-tank round, touching off three days of sporadic fire fights. During one engagement an OH-23 was shot down. WO James Carlton’s skillful maneuvering precluded any injuries to himself or to his passenger, 1LT Richard Maloy, the acting K Troop Commander. During these engagements, the squadron had one man killed and six wounded. One Viet Cong body was found in subsequent sweeps.
The Squadron was relieved of the KITTY HAWK mission on 28 December. It departed Blackhorse on 30 December to rejoin the regiment on Operation FARGO. The Squadron marched from Blackhorse to LOC NINH, a distance of approximately 140 miles, was accomplished in about 12 hours. The move was made without enemy contact,
31 December 1967 found the squadron occupying a squadron laager position approximately 14 km northeast of LOC NINH in BINH LONG Province.