~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association Vietnam History Project ~
Ambush & Reconnaissance
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This was the first time in the history of the U.S. Army that a Military Police Battalion was assigned to fight as light infantry to perform a counterinsurgency - pacification mission in their own Tactical Area Of Responsibility.
18th MP
89th MP
720th MP
Last Updated ~ 14 March 2014
Dedicated to our brother MPs that humped the TAOR, worked ambush and gave their all. Your memory will burn eternally in our hearts.
     The Battalion's ambush duties involved two separate and distinct missions. The first began on 19 November 1966 and involved static security posts outside the wire of the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot, finally ending on 15 April 1967.
    The second began in September 1967 and ended in July 1970 involving a combination of village outpost's liaison duties, river patrol and security duties, and counterinsurgency ambush and reconnaissance patrols in the new 22 square mile Battalion Tactical Area Of Responsibility under Operation Stabilize.
    This section is an overview to give you an understanding of how this unique mission came to be. Daily details of the ambush and reconnaissance teams assignments and how their mission eventually changed is included in the pages of the Battalion Time Line Vietnam Era, September 1967-July 1970 denoted by "TAOR."
Ambush Duty at the 3rd Ordnance Battalion Ammunition Supply Depot

   Within weeks of the Battalion's arrival at Long Binh Post on 19 October 1966, the three organic companies received their primary mission assignments. The Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Ammunition Supply Depot on Long Binh Post was probably the most lucrative target in Bin Hoa Provence, III Corps Tactical Zone (III CTZ) at the time.


   Just prior to the Battalion becoming mission capable, local Viet Cong forces successfully attacked the depot two times, 28 October and 18 November. During the construction of the post in early 1966 the depot area was part of the post perimeter that bordered the jungle.

   Perimeter security at that time was less than adequate consisting of a single row of coiled barbed wire backed up by antipersonnel mines, and a few static watchtowers and security bunkers staffed by elements of the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog), 18th MP Brigade (Rifle Security) unit and members of the ordnance battalion.

19 November The 720th MP Battalion was tasked with assigning a platoon of MPs to hinder enemy movement along the outside of the perimeter beyond the depot service road.
   Their mission was to provide additional security as preparations were being planned to improve the perimeter defenses by pushing the jungle back 300 meters, adding additional watch towers, bunkers and two additional rows of barbed wire.
   In later years as the post quickly grew in size and with the addition of new combat support commands and support units in III CTZ, the ammunition depot was soon situated more securely within the confines of the post improving its overall security.

   The initial assignment was given to C Company, and later reassigned to A Company.

   The assigned platoon was form into three man teams and load up into their jeeps for convoy to the exterior perimeter road to take up their assigned positions.

The Uninvited Visitor One night we were on ambush and just as it was getting dark we all saw a panther come out of the jungle. He lazily walked down the edge for a ways and then slipped back into the underbrush. We used to take turns catching a little sleep out there but that night, nobody slept. We were more worried about that cat than we were the Viet Cong. SP/4 Ronald F. Kidder, 1st Platoon, C Company.

   Unlike the ambush patrols conducted in the Battalion Tactical Area Of Responsibility (TAOR) from 1967 to 1970, when the enemy had no idea where they might encounter an ambush team, at the 3rd Ordnance site the approaching enemy knew the MPs were somewhere just outside the perimeter area.

   The early ambush assignments presented some major problems due to the standard logistical TO&E of an MP company verses that of an infantry company. Each ambush team consisted of 4 to 6 men. Lacking enough proper pack radios for communication between themselves and the Tactical Operations Center (TOC), the MP teams would take a jeep with a fixed radio out with them to their designated area. The ambush team would position their jeep just off the outside perimeter roadway and set up their ambush sites in the brush a short distance in front of it.

   This was done to eliminate the possibility of enemy forces looting or booby trapping the vehicles. If a team engaged in the firing of their weapons, TOC would hear about it from another ambush team or a perimeter guard tower nearby.

   TOC was not able to directly communicate with the team that fired until the team could send a man back to their jeep to give them a situation report, or "Sit-Rep." Another problem was the tower guards and MP K9 patrols could not communicate by radio with the ambush teams, and had to rely on TCO to relay any Sit-Reps.

   When the team fired at movement within their kill zone they didn't want to place a man in jeopardy by having him immediately return to the jeep alone to report the details of the incident. And, those of us that worked on ambush all know how impatient the people at TOC could be!

   The procedures in 1966 were, if radio contact wasn't established quickly TOC would contact the team nearest to the position from where the firing occurred and ask them to go over and make an inquiry as to the nature of the firing. Unfortunately this policy of having an ambush team member moving around in the area in the darkness would eventually contribute to an unfortunate incident and casualty on 8 December.

8 December PFC Charles Chuck" DeWayne Damsgard   age 20 of 1st Platoon, C Company, became the Battalion's first casualty in Vietnam. PFC Damsgard was killed by small arms fire while performing night ambush duties outside the perimeter of the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot at Long Binh Post.  Chuck Damsgard was the first Battalion casualty in Vietnam, and one of seventeen American servicemen to die that day in Vietnam.

1966 Photograph Index

15 April The Battalion'S ambush and security assignment at the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot was terminated. The twenty-six enlisted men and one officer assigned to the detail were reassigned to other duties, thus ending the first Battalion ambush assignment.

15 July To reduce the U.S. command footprint in Saigon, under Operation MOOSE (Move Out Of Saigon Expeditiously) General William C. Westmoreland, Commanding General, MACV previously ordered the United State Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV), Joint General Staff Headquarters, and 1st Logistics Command to move from Saigon to their new complex on Long Binh Post (Operation PISTOL).

   With USARV headquarters security in mind MACV decided it needed to eliminate the enemy close-in-strike capability that existed along the southern perimeter of the post where the headquarters building was located. MACV called on the 18th Military Police Brigade to handle the assignment under a Letter of Instructions, AVCG-O dated 9 October 1967.

   The 18th MP Brigade issued a Letter of Instructions (undated) to the 89th MP Groups, 720th MP Battalion to perform a pacification program within a 22 square mile Tactical Area Of Responsibility (TAOR). The counterinsurgency infantry mission which would involve enemy suppression and civil pacification utilizing ambush & recon, river patrol & security, local level civil & military liaison (outpost duty), and civic action quality of life programs. The first year of the mission would involve all three organic companies of the Battalion and the 615th MP Company (subordinate).


    The ambush assignment would be formed to eliminate and suppress Viet Cong influence in the TAOR that bordered the southern perimeter (Highway 317) of Long Binh Post on the north, the Dong Nai River on the west, Highway QL-15 on the east, and the Buong River in the south.

   The plan involved three primary operational phases. Phase-1 to clear and secure the TAOR; Phase-2 to conduct counterinsurgency operations to eliminate guerilla activities and provide security screening; Phase-3 return control of the TAOR to the local and national governments.

   In preparation for the reconnaissance, ambush and combat patrols they were to conduct, 40 men from the three organic companies (A, B, & C), and the entire 615th MP Company (subordinate), attended refresher classes on recon and ambush patrol methods and techniques taught by instructors from the 5th Special Forces Group Headquarters out of Bien Hoa.
5th Special


Phase 1 ~ Operation CORRAL

11-15 September It began with Operation CORRAL a seventy-two hour cordon and search of the four primary villages within the TAOR. It was conducted by the Battalion’s organic companies to include the 615th MP Company, with assistance from elements of the 2nd Battalion, 39th Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, their 9th MP Company, local and regional Vietnamese National Police, their specialized National Police Field Forces (NPFF), and the local village Popular Forces (PF) militia supported by their Regional Forces HQ, ARVN and U.S. Military Intelligence units. The 9th Infantry Division (Bearcat base camp) was called upon to assist because the new TAOR was carved out of their original Area of Operations (AO). Time Line Link - September 1967

9th Infantry

   The villages of An Hoa Hung, Long Binh Tan, Long Hung and An Xuan were cordoned off and thoroughly searched. The Battalion provided a total of ten officers and 229 enlisted men for the three-day operation. It began at 1800 hours after the return of the transient populace at the end of their workday.

   The troopers of the 9th Division cordoned the entire area and performed perimeter security, as the Battalion MP’s established roadblocks and water borne checkpoints leading into and out of the TAOR. The MP's and their Vietnamese allies conducted joint sweeps of each village and the surrounding jungle and rice paddies in search of the VC, their weapons and supplies. It continued throughout the night under the light of artillery flares and the spotlights of supporting helicopter gunship's. Over sixty suspected VC guerrillas and sympathizers were apprehended and turned over to the U.S. and ARVN military intelligence teams for interrogation. Weapons, documents, food and medical supplies, including a variety of back market contraband items were seized. The mission was successfully conducted without suffering any casualties, and once the initial searches were completed some of the Battalion assets remained in place while plans for Phase-2 Operation STABILIZE, were initiated.

   The 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) (subordinate), was also called upon by the 89th MP Group to organized and train a Scout Dog Unit that would be used to augment the Battalion ambush and recon teams throughout Operation STABILIZE.

15 September Under Operation STABILIZE the 720th MP Battalion had to effectively disrupt and eliminate the long existing Viet Cong infrastructure within the four primary villages within the TAOR with the end result being pacification to a degree where all operations could be turned over to local Vietnamese civil and military authorities.

MP's Don't Go On Ambush Patrol!

  I arrived in Vietnam in the latter part of August 1967 and was assigned as a squad leader to 2nd Platoon, C Company. I had been in the Army for fifteen years at this juncture, most of it in the military police, and had served all over the world including Germany and Italy as well as state side. Even a war zone was not new to me as I had served in Korea, in 1951.
   We had many different kinds of duty in the year I was there. For instance we were the reaction force for attacks on vehicles on Highway 1A. We also reacted to attacks on the camps ammo dump and assisted Vietnamese Police at road blocks in and around Saigon.
    The duty I was not prepared for began in November, 1967. There were two villages and a lot of open fields between Long Binh Post and the river. Earlier, the U.S. infantry had responsibility for the area but it was decided that the job should go to the 720th. I first became personally aware of the new responsibility when I was approached by Captain Edmonds, Commanding Officer of C Company. He said, "Sergeant Dennison, get your squad ready, you're going on ambush patrol tonight." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. SSG Charles D. Denniston, C Company.

Phase 2 ~ Operation SATBILIZE
   In addition, members of the local village Regional Forces/Popular Forces (RF/PF) were utilized to assist as scouts and interpreters. The ambush and night recon missions would be centered in around the areas of the four primary villages within the TAOR.
   The TAOR at this time consisted of all the area bordered on the north by the southeastern perimeter of Long Binh Post (Highway 317), on the east by the Ben Go River, on the south by the Buong River, and on the west by the Dong Nai River. The area later to be known as the "Finger Of Land" was assigned to the 615th MP Company.
   The 615th MP Company was given its own Area Of Operations (see map above) to conduct ambush and recon patrols east of the 720th TAOR in the area later known as the" Finger of Land".
   Most of the time the ambush areas were pre-selected by Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC) based on current intelligence information on enemy infiltration into the villages after dark. The focus was on preventing the night infiltration of the villages to prevent local Viet Cong from having a close first strike capability in attacking and harassing Long Binh Post, visiting their families, forced and voluntary recruiting, obtaining supplies and collecting war taxes from the villagers and farmers. The Battalion teams would be trucked to the edge of the villages at dusk or dropped off by River Patrol Unit boats, on occasion the 615th MP Company utilized helicopters for insertion.

   Daytime reconnaissance patrols were also a large part of the ambush mission and would provide the team members with a better knowledge of the lay of the land, trails and way stations utilized by the local Viet Cong.

   During the daytime patrols the squad leaders had the authority to select the specific ambush site within that patrol area.

   Any suspect activities or persons would be investigated by the squads while on the patrol. Numerous suspects using altered or false identification papers were brought in for further interrogation by US Military Intelligence and Canh Sat's (Vietnamese National Police). Some were later identified as VC, some civil defendants wanted for criminal law violations, and others innocent civilians who were released.

   For a brief period MPs were even assigned to work with the local Popular Forces ambush patrols. One MP with a field radio was assigned to the local village PF squad for the night ambush assignment. This assignment quickly became very unpopular and was ended just as fast. The reasons were varied and some were valid. Many of the MPs didn't trust the PFs believing many were Viet Cong family or sympathizer's; the PFs were not properly armed or trained for the missions; due to the fact that few PFs spoke English and none of the MPs Vietnamese, the language barrier was insurmountable. As time passed and the MPs discovered the dedication and abilities of their PF scour-interpreters, the trust improved.

   Another problem that the PF patrols presented in the early stages of Operation STABILIZE was the lack of coordination between their ambush patrols and the MPs ambush patrols. There were instances where both would meet unexpectedly in the darkness. Fortunately no loss of life resulted. This same problem would later develop between the different MP company ambush patrols. The ambush patrol coordination problem grew much worse in March 1968 with two separate company patrols (A & B) exchanging fire just outside of Outpost #1 at An Xuan Village. Several members were wounded before the mistake was discovered, fortunately no one died from the incident.

   Coordination and control was also problematic in other areas of the TAOR operations, such as the exchange of intelligence information. It would have to be disseminated on a daily basis between four companies of MPs and the local Popular Forces command, who's troops very seldom had any interaction unless their trails happen to cross when in the TAOR.

1967 Photograph Index
B Company, Joint Reconnaissance Team at the Old French Fort on the Dong Nai River.
A Company, PFC Rutherford, SP/4 Durden and unidentified MP at Outpost-4.
A Company, SGT Pete Dedijer and SP/4 Chuck Edwards at Outpost-4.
A Company, PFC Rutherford, SP/4 Durden, SP/4 Edwards and two unidentified MPs at Long Binh Tan.
A Company, PFC Henslee, SP/4 Durden, unidentified MP and two PF's.
A Company, SP/4 West and unidentified partner on day recon.

   The Tet New Years Offensive was focused to the north and northwest of Long Binh Post and left the TAOR unmolested, however, the remnants of the Main Force VC units left behind several operational base camps, a ready supply of arms, ammunition, explosives and equipment for the local VC units that performed their scouting duties.

    Although not prepared enough for defending against a major attack through the TAOR, just prior to Tet the Battalion had already initiated a security upgrade of the village outpost's and highway infrastructure so they would have been fully prepared for any minor enemy incursions had they happened.

10 February Brigade evaluation of the discipline law and order needs for Long Binh Post resulted in the 615th MP Company being detached from the Battalion and assigned to the 95th MP Battalion. They took over military police operations in Bien Hoa and Long Binh Post under the 179th Provost Marshal detachment (Long Binh Post.
   In the spring the 301st National Police Field Force Company moved into Outpost-2 to assist B Company and the local Popular Forces platoons in two major village cordon and search operations. In addition, a Rural Development Team staffed by Vietnamese instructors moved into the TAOR to work with the village governments to enhance municipal services training and develop village security programs at the rice roots level.

26 June To correct the operational, communication and intelligence gathering and sharing problems, Battalion had begun planning on consolidating the tactical operations to one company, and the responsibility was given to B Company. Their responsibility for staffing the Tay Ninh-Cu Chi convoy escorts and the Xuan Loc (Blackhorse) Detachment were phased out. A and C Company closed down their operations in Long Binh Tan and An Hoa Hung, and were assigned the former B Company tasks.
    The consolidation immediately ended enemy ambushes of the An Hoa Hung Outpost-3 shift changes and resulted in major gains against their support infrastructure in all four villages thus allowing the civic action programs to progress.

Ambush Patrol Cycle

   The B Company ambush mission cycle consisted of a three day and night reconnaissance and ambush in a given area outside the villages, followed by six days of night ambush. The seven man ambush squad, consisted of one Sergeant (E-5) or Corporal (E4) as squad leader, and six enlisted men.

   They carried enough rations, water and supplies to sustain them for the time period. If for some unforeseen reason they ran low they were always able to proceed to the nearest one of four village outposts in the TAOR to resupply, or have a river patrol boat meet them along one of the many rivers or tributaries.

   During the reconnaissance mission the ambush team would look for signs the enemy had been using the area. They would check old established trails for evidence of recent use, as well as look for evidence of new trails. The squad leader would determine the night ambush position based on previous activity that occurred in the area, or new intelligence developed during the days recon. In some instances the squad would group in a site just before dark and shortly after, move to the preferred site to throw off any enemy observers that may have been watching their activities during the day.

   The map coordinates of the squad position would be called into 720th Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC), to plot local Harassment and Interdiction (H&I) artillery fire and coordinate assistance if needed later in the night. Just before dawn the squad would leave the ambush site and begin another days patrol in a different area of the assigned sector. On the morning of the fourth day the squad would end the reconnaissance mission. Depending on where the area of operation was located, they would walk out to a highway, outpost, or have the river patrol pick them up.

   Upon return to the company area the squad leader would notify TOC of any intelligence information not previously reported via radio. The squad members would clean their weapons and prep their gear before heading to the mess hall for a hot breakfast or lunch depending on the time of return. Much needed sleep would follow a refreshing shower. That evening the squad would be back out and set up the first of seven nights of ambushes in the sector they just reconned.

   The morning of the eighth day the squad would return to post, have the remainder of that day and the morning and afternoon of the next to relax, then the cycle would begin again in a different sector of the TAOR. The only break in this routine would come if TOC obtained new "real time" intelligence or an incident of enemy activity occurred. In those instances the squad would be held over in the morning after a night ambush and be asked to conduct a search or join other squads in a sweep for the remainder of the day. At times squads were moved from their ambush locations to an outpost to beef up the defense capabilities. There were also times when a squad would be assigned to night walking patrols of villages. Instead of spending their night at an ambush location they would be expected to patrol one of the villages and its surrounding roads throughout the night.

   The bottom line was an ambush squad was the instant reaction force for any incidents that occurred within the TAOR. It was long, hard, tiresome duty and many men looked for any reason to avoid or get out of the ambush platoon. The one plus factor in working ambush was the time passed quickly and you were exempt from any minor "make work" assignments when in the company area.

September A Special Forces infantry MOS trained 2LT by the name of Robert L. Chavis arrived at B Company and was assigned as the Ambush Platoon Leader. Under his leadership the tactics used by the squads changed drastically, and for the better. 2LT Chavis recognized that the primary local VC base camps were located just outside the Battalion TAOR south of the Buong River in the Area of Operations of the Royal Thai Army, Black Panther Division. Chavis targeted the back river areas for much of the platoons activities in the latter months of 1968. Chavis spent most of his time on day and night ambush and recon patrols with each of the squads, and provided the much needed intensive on-the-job training for the men.

   Unfortunately, many in  higher command considered his new aggressive tactics risky and reckless, and although they were all successful and not one MP casualty occurred, by the end of the year he was being targeted for transfer.

Rubber Raft Patrols Before the month was over 2LT Chavis acquired a seven man rubber raft and trained the men for its use in night ambush patrols on the back river and streams of the TAOR. The training was done in the Ben Go River by the Steel Bridge that separated the villages of Long Hung and An Hoa Hung. Use of the raft resulted in several successful ambushes and discovery of VC way-stations, both on and off the river.

Black Pajama Patrols Another innovation by 2LT Chavis were the periodic black pajama operations in several of the villages. 2LT Chavis, CPL Thomas T. Watson, and the squads Popular Forces (PF) interpreter SGT Xichs, would wear black pajamas instead of jungle fatigue uniforms. Based on current intelligence on known and active VC sympathizers and family members, Chavis would pick a village and lead the squad on a raid. The squad would sneak up on the residence of a VC family or sympathizer and surround it as Chavis, CPL Watson, and SGT Xichs would approach. The Xichs would either ask for the VC family member or family friend by name, or pose as an associate of the VC. Once the door was opened the three would rush inside the hooch search it for weapons or contraband and interrogate the occupants at gunpoint.

   Several raids were conducted at different villages during the night village walking patrols. Then as word got around the raids were halted for a period of time. Although none of the raids produced any VC, the psychological effect it had on the local VC families and friends was successful. Intelligence information received indicated they were now scared to come into the villages at night for fear of being caught by the MP black pajama patrols.

Tax Collector Patrols The squads also ran tax collector patrols on the back rivers during the afternoon and evening before dark. The VC would hide in their sampan in small streams along the river bank and wait for the farmers and merchants that used the river highways to return from a days work. As the sampan passed the VC would paddle out and force them at gun point to come to the bank and there they would take money or materials as a war tax. When the complaints started coming into intelligence, 2LT Chavis formulated a plan. Civilian sampans were obtained by bartering with cooperative farmers to operate them. An MP and PF dressed in Vietnamese civilian clothing were placed on each. The MP would stay hidden in the bottom of the sampan as it traveled the back rivers in the late afternoon. After a shoot-out with a VC tax collector the second day of the operation, no further complaints were received.
    By the end of the year successful ambush-reconnaissance, and special operations developed strong evidence that a new enemy buildup was taking place along the Buong River border of the TAOR to support a Main Force Regiment planning another major attack against Long Binh Post.
1968 Photograph Index
 B Company, Ambush Squad, SGT Hall, PF Muon, PFC Sellock, SP/4 Zavilla.
 SGT Hartwig, SP/4's Zavilla, Reedy, and Duttola, in An Xuan Village.
 B Company-CPL "Woody" Morgan Squad Leader of Ambush Squad-76 at Outpost-2, Long Hung, April.
 B Company, Ambush Squad-76.
 A Company, Ambush Squad.
 B Company, Ambush Squad-74 at the "Duck Farm."
 B Company-SP/4 Green & unidentified Ambush Team member in the field.
 B Company, Ambush Squad-76.
 Ambush Squad at Outpost-4.
 Enemy Weapons captured by B Company Ambush Squads 23 February.
 Enemy Weapons captured by B Company Ambush Squads 23 February.
 B Company, Ambush Squad-76.
 A Company, SP/4 Hensley and unidentified MP on a day recon patrol in Long Binh Tan.
 A Company, PFC Diaz followed by SP/4's Martin, West, and Durden, on day recon patrol in TAOR.
 B Company, SGT Hartwig, his RTO and a Scout Dog & Handler from the 212th on a recon.
 B Company, SGT Hartwig, PFC's Green, Kreidler and a CPL Fuller of the 212th on a recon.
 B Company, SGT Hartwig, PFC Green, and CPL Fuller of the 212th on a recon.
 B Company, SP/4 Frank B. Scellato, Audrey “Dale” Bolen and others unidentified.
 B Company, CPL Watson and others on the bank of the Dong Nai River.
 B Company, SP/4 Scellato & CPL Watson and others on the bank of the Dong Nai River.
 B Company, 18th MP Brigade helicopter deliveres supplies in the TAOR.
 B Company, River Patrol Whaler's arrive on the Dong Nai.
 B Company, Ambush Squad-76.
January The intensity of new and successful ambush and reconnaissance missions in the eastern end of the TAOR resulted in additional evidence of a major enemy attack in the immediate future. II Field Force tasked the 199th Light Infantry Brigade to conduct search and destroy operations south of the TAOR that further supported the evidence of a major enemy buildup in the Thai Army AO.
Post Tet Holiday Communist Offensive

22 February II Field Force Headquarters informed the post and the 720th MP Battalion of the planned attack in the afternoon. Defensive plans were approved by Battalion to position Ambush Squads 74, 77 and 78 along the eastern end of the TAOR on the crest of the "Finger Of Land," and Squad-76 reinforced with twelve MP's, including two Scout Dog handlers from the 212th MP Company on Hill-15 along the Buong River. Ambush Squad-75 was to be held in ready reserve.
    Unaware of the size or ferocity of the enemy attack to come, Battalion had placed what amounted to a platoon of lightly armed MPs in the direct approach route of an experienced and heavily armed VC Main Force Battalion supported by sapper and artillery (rocket & mortar) units.

23 February The report of the impending attack became fact when at 0200 hours [2:00 AM] the first flight of enemy 122mm rockets and heavy mortars soared across the eastern end of the TAOR from south of the Buong River (Big Hill-38) and landed on Long Binh Post. The rockets were immediately followed by exploding sapper charges and a ground attack by a battalion of the 274th Viet Cong Main Force Regiment of the 5th North Vietnamese Army Division along the southern perimeter of Long Binh Post focusing on Gates 10 and 11.

    Squad-76 on Hill-15, under constant sniper fire throughout the night and next morning, was able to direct counter fire on the enemy rocket positions, and massive artillery, helicopter, and C130 gunship fire on the second wave of enemy troops as they crossed the river disorganizing their movement towards the Finger Of Land.
    The three ambush squads on the Finger Of Land were warned of approaching enemy troop concentrations to their front by Squad-76, and their rifle and machine gun fire caused disruption to the ability of the enemy force to regroup and reinforce the main assault against the post perimeter. Fearing they could be overrun by the sheer number of enemy troops on the field, B Company instructed them to consolidate their three squads into one main defensive position, remain hidden, hold their offensive fire unless directly attacked and aid the air assets on station by reporting further enemy troops movements.

   Throughout the rest of the night and into the next morning the B Company ambush squads although vastly outnumbered, were able to continuously and effectively disrupt the momentum of the enemies main attack and the ability of their second wave to reorganize and sustain their advance. By daylight the attack had been crushed and the fighting ceased. Now it was time to search out and destroy the enemy troops caught north of the Buong River.

   The last major battle occurred along the berm of the rifle range on Highway-317 in the early morning just after daylight. Ambush Squad-75, held in reserve throughout the night, was assigned to conduct a sweep of the tree line where the post perimeter had received heavy enemy fire from during the early morning attack. As the squad approached a small crest by the rifle range, they came under an immediate rain of grenades, automatic weapons fire and rocket propelled grenades from an entrenched enemy platoon hidden in the top of the berm. Although at first overwhelmed by the intensity of the enemy onslaught and suffering casualties, they stood their ground, suppressed the enemy fire, eliminated an enemy machine gun emplacement and were able to evacuate their seriously wounded point man. When a Troop of tanks and APC of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment that came to their support was stopped by the intensity of the enemy fire, several Cobra gunship's were brought into the attack the enemy position was finally silenced and 23 enemy dead were discovered.
    Another Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment was called in to assist Ambush Squads 74,77 and 78 with a sweep and clear operation (east to west) across the Finger of Land. The sweep resulted in one Trooper wounded in action, and the death and capture of another platoon of enemy.
    By mid-day, a total of 131 enemy bodies were recovered from the combined battle fields. The few enemy soldiers that did penetrate the post perimeter were killed or captured by members of the A & C Company, Battalion Post Reaction Force, perimeter bunker guards and supporting infantry units called in to assist.
    During the attack seven U.S. soldiers stationed on Long Binh Post were killed in action, and thirty wounded. Available records indicated that most of the killed and wounded resulted from the approximately seventy-eight rounds of rocket and mortar fire that impacted inside the post during the initial attack.
    Given their precarious assignments, B Company casualties were light with only four wounded. A Company suffered three wounded by RPG fire inside the post during perimeter defense.

   The B Company Ambush Squads and 212th MP Company Scout Dog Unit MPs involved in the fighting were credited  with breaking the back of the enemy attack and later individually awarded two Silver Stars, approximately two dozen Bronze Stars for Valor and four Purple Hearts, yet the company as a whole was never formally recognized by Battalion, Group or the Brigade for its valor.

Onset of the Intensified Vietnamization Program
   In preparation for the reconnaissance, ambush and combat patrols they were to conduct, 40 men from the three organic companies (A, B, & C), and the entire 615th MP Company (subordinate), attended refresher classes on recon and ambush patrol methods and techniques taught by instructors from the 5th Special Forces Group Headquarters out of Bien Hoa.
   Even with the offensive crushed, the threat of further attack was still viable and Battalion had B Company further reinforce the defensive capabilities of the village outpost's and focus their ambush and reconnaissance missions in the eastern side and southern end of the TAOR. A defoliation program was conducted along the streams and rivers, and one new outpost was constructed on Hill-15 followed by a strong-point on the crest of the Finger Of Land.

   As the months passed and command of B Company and Battalion changed, the new outpost and strong-point was closed and the outpost liaison mission came to an end with village security and counterinsurgency responsibilities being returned to the Popular Forces and National Police. All the PF scout-interpreters were replaced by specially trained ARVN interpreters, and the ambush squads, now operating in platoon size units, were focused on screening operations to prevent Main Force VC artillery units from using the TAOR to launch rocket and mortar attacks against Long Binh Post. The VC south of the Buong River were now being actively pursued by the Thai Army, and with the new rules of engagement drastically changed by the Intensified Vietnamization Program, the enemies periodic incursions into the TAOR gave the ambush platoons plenty of action and angst.

1969 Photograph Index
 Ambush Squad-73, Outside Gate #11, yet to be identified.
 Ambush Squads-75 and 77.
 Ambush Squad-79.
 Ambush Squad-77.
 Ambush Squad-78 at the Rice Mill by the Steel Bridge.
 Unidentified ambush team in An Hoa Hung Village.
 April, Ambush Squad-77.
 August, Ambush Squad-77.
 SP/4 Alfano , B Company and SP/4 Gates of the 212th Scout Dog Unit and his K9.
 March, Ambush Squad-78.
 Map of TAOR used by Ambush Squad-78.
 SP/4 Aurillo stuck in the mud.
 Miller, Edward A. Santry, Brownie, Ed Aldrich, SGT Slaughter, Pete Hernandez, Gabby and unknown.
 Grant, Hernandez, SP/4 Takenalive, Gonzalez, SGT Slaughter, and others Unidentified.
 1st Platoon (Ambush) group photo on the Finger Of Land.
 SGT Slaughter and a Vietnamese Interpreter.
 SP/4 Marley and SSG Thomas on ambush.
 SP/4's Perry and Radcliff on ambush.
 SSG Meador in the TAOR.
 Ambush Squad in the TAOR.
 SSG Darreld E. Fisher.
Winding Down
   Throughout the country and III Corps Tactical Zone, now renamed Military Region III, the enemy was focused on conducting rocket and mortar harassment against all U.S. and Allied military facilities in an attempt to disrupt the successful Vietnamization, pacification and civic action programs.
Spring We were being transported to our entry point on one of the back river tributaries of the Song Be [Bong] River, our squad came under heavy small arms fire from the jungle on the opposite side of the river. Our pilot was able to quickly steer into a small inlet that was sufficiently in from the river to somehow allow our squad to jump into the shallow shore and scramble into the thick jungle vegetation to gain concealment and return fire. SSGT Clarence Lotter (sp?) radioed in for artillery support to the VC position; however, a Navy river patrol boat, on the same frequency, seemingly appeared out of nowhere and delivered heavy 50 cal. and M60 machine gun fire to the VC position. Between our combined firepower, the enemy dissipated without our squad sustaining any causalities. SP/4 Michael J. Ambrose, “Ambi,” B Company.

  B Company was busy keeping the pressure on and disrupting the enemy incursions along the Buong River. Although successful in each endeavor against the determined VC, with the Thai's active south of the river, their offensive operations often caused friendly fire situations along the southern border of the TAOR. The primary problem was a language barrier in their daily cross communications. When the Thai's were pushing enemy units towards the river, the B Company ambush teams assigned as blocking forces would often hold fire on the enemy in their sights that crossed into the TAOR, fearing friendly ground fire from the Thai's thinking they were the enemy shooting back. Although there were many close calls, no MPs were wounded in the incidents

May While our squad was en route to our night ambush position, where we had occasion to cross a shallow river from an open field into the jungle. Our point man led us across a narrow plank and several of our squad walked across without consequence. On that day, it was my turn to carry the large field radio on my back, in addition to my rifle, extra ammo clips, and two crossed bandoleers of M60 ammo. As I walked across the plank, I lost my balance and fell approximately 7 feet into the shallow water; and, considering all the weight that I was carrying, immediately became stuck in the mud, thigh deep. Just moments later, as some of my squad was figuring out how to dislodge me, the enemy began to fire from the cover of jungle vegetation. I was very afraid, since I was stuck in the mud and could not move. Our squad returned fire and the firefight quickly abated. SP/4 Michael J. Ambrose, “Ambi,” B Company.

    As June approached Brigade MP line units were being attritioned by the Vietnamization Program, and they began searching for active MP assets they could deploy to insure proper military police coverage in all four Military Regions. Their manpower needs became critical and they needed an MP company to send north into Military Region I to replace the Marine MPs that were sent home, so B Company was selected for a mission change.

25 July Brigade terminated Operation STABILIZE turning the TAOR security mission over to operational control of the ARVN's supported by elements of the 25th Infantry Division now headquartered with the Thai's at Bearcat. B Company MPs were merged with the 188th MP Company, who were subordinate to the Battalion and headquartered at Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. Both companies were reflagged with the 188th being sent north, and the new B Company, once again a traditional line duty MP company, was separated from Battalion for the first time since 1944, and sent south to Vinh Long.

25th Infantry
1970 Photograph Index
SP/5 Bogison, SP/4's Ward,  Barman, Thompson, Main, Ratcliff, Perry, on ambush mission.
G0151 Ambush Squad-75.
SP/5 Robert Bogison, SP/4's Ward, Lewin, Bischoff, "Gomer," Palmateer, and Cortez.
SP/5 Bogison, SP/4's Lewin, Ward, Palmateer, Cortez, Golanski, Pasmino and "Gomer."
Ambush Squad, SGT Torres and others yet identified.
G1570 Ambush Guard Mount.
The last day of ambush and recon.
SP/4 Ed "Shakey" Marley.
March: Weapons, ammunition, supplies recovered from VC Base Camp on back river.
SP/4 Bill Parker on a PBR.
SP/4 Galonski cooking C Rats on a mission.
SP/4's Radcliff, Ward and two unidentified on a PBR.
SP/4 Mike Ambrose on ambush.
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