~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
January 1968 ~ Battalion Timeline
This Page Last Updated   21 March 2018
Regardless of MOS if you recognize or participated in any of the events listed on this Timeline page and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or, if you can provide information on any events not listed, please take a moment to contact the History Project Manager Tom Watson at the Email Link provided on this page. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
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      All major theater activities, stateside incidents, or Cold War and Vietnam War events that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in Italic blue American Typewriter font.
18th MP
Brigade
89th MP
Group
720th MP
Battalion

     At the start of the month Battalion HQ Detachment, its organic letter companies and the 615th MP Company were headquartered subordinate to the 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade in Long Binh Post in Bien Hoa Provence of III Corps Tactical Zone, South Vietnam.

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1 January
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Operation OVERTAKE begins, the operation went from the planning stages into a full operational reality initiated by the 18th Military Police Brigade with the 188th Military Police Company, 92nd MP Battalion as the operational force, and elements of the 720th and 95th MP Battalion's assisting.
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     Their goal was to prevent and eliminate the massive theft of supplies from civilian trucks under US Army contract. The operation involved the US contracted civilian convoys making the supply runs from the busy Newport Docks at Saigon up Highway 1A to Long Binh Post and south through Saigon and Highway QL-4 through the MeKong Delta.

     The 89th MP Group tasked the Battalion with providing assets to support Operation OVERTAKE. Towards the end of 1967 high end cargo thefts by by members of Vietnamese organized crime, black marketer's and their confidants employed as civilian truck drivers under U.S. military contract were staggering.

92nd MP
Battalion
95th MP
Battalion
720th MP
Battalion
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     The civilian contract trucks outbound from the Port of Saigon and Newport Docks Complex ran the same supply routes as military supply convoys to the logistical bases throughout III and IV CTZ. The problem had been occurring since early 1966 and even caught the attention of the U.S. Congress, House Foreign Operations And Government Information Subcommittee who wanted it stopped.

    The Provost Marshal Vietnam was tasked by USARV to do something about it and on 1 January 1968 with the 89th MP Group as the command authority, initiated Operation OVERTAKE. From 1 January through 28 March 1970 their operational plan of joint U.S. military police and RVN military and national police patrols, checkpoints and convoy escorts underwent several changes as lessons were learned. The 720th was involved from the beginning to the end, first as one of several battalions in a joint effort and eventually as the primary go-to battalion for operational assets for which they tasked A Company. When the battalion was finally relieved of the task in March of 1970 the A Company assets and their hard work contributed materially to its overall success.

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10 January
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TAOR  Through the coordinated efforts of the 89th MP Group Civic Action Program Team and local village government officials, village carpenters in An Hoa Hung completed the building of twenty new long school desks for the elementary school. With the addition of the new desks that will seat approximately one-hundred-fifty children, the school was able open the two previously unused classrooms to expand the space from four to six classrooms for the student population of seven-hundred children.
Wanted: Photographs of all the village schools, If you can assist, please notify the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.
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12 January
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Headquarters 18th MP Brigade    BG Karl W. Gustafson, commander 18th MP Brigade and Provost Marshal General Vietnam, issued a letter of commendation to the 89th MP Group praising Bravo and Charlie Companies for their 100% participation in the U.S. Army Savings Program.
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17 January
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     MAJ Leroy Walton assumed the duties as the Battalion Executive Officer from MAJ Gordon N. Moody.

     1LT Dale R. Price received command of C Company from CPT Bert D. Edmondson.

CPT Price
CPT Edmondson
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21 January
Classified Secret Mission
     Four members of the Battalion, one from each company and HQ Detachment, were assigned to a Classified Secret Mission to escort the transport of $286 million dollars in Military Payment Certificates (MPC) from Japan to South Vietnam.
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      SP/4 Philip B. Lutz, C Company, was advised that he had been assigned to go on a classified mission to Tokyo, Japan, there was no further explanation given at the time of notification and with the mission being "classified," he knew better than to ask too many questions. He was joined by three other Battalion MP's on the flight. He believes they were selected, one each from A, B, and HQ Detachment.

     The flight arrived at Yokota Air Force Base, located not far from Tokyo. The four man detail spent the remainder of the first day and all of the second day at Camp Zama. They took advantage of the time off and did some touring of the area.

     On 23 January, still unaware of the details of the classified mission, they were returned to Yokota Air Force Base where they were finally briefed on the specifics of the mission by SFC Roger F. Ruggles the Battalion operations NCO and leader of the Battalion detachment.

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SFC Ruggles

Reflection  I was the NCOIC of that detail, and was briefed on the mission the morning we left, and only myself and one other person knew the purpose of the mission. We left Vietnam and arrived in Japan at night. There were one or two other NCO's as well and we carried our individual side arms in our briefcases. Although the flight crew knew we had the weapons when we arrived in Japan, the Japanese customs folks did not. One inspector we got had a problem reading our orders so it took a little while to get through. We also scared the hell out of the Charge of Quarters at the barracks we stayed in because we had to check the weapons in and have them secured in an arms room, he didn't know what to do and had to call in the Duty Officer. They knew we were coming so they had billets for us, but no one knew we were coming armed. We were in Japan for a few days because we were a selected group, and the command gave us extra time off to enjoy the trip.

     If memory serves me right, we left Japan and arrived in Saigon or Bien Hoa Air Force Base. There were people from other MP units from different locations in-country, and the MP's from that particular region-area were assigned to escort the crates to their final destinations. All members of the escort team were still under orders that they were not to discuss the mission until after the exchange had taken place.  SFC (1SG Retired) Roger F. Ruggles, Operations NCO, HQ Detachment, 720th MP Battalion.

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     At that briefing they learned that each member of the four man detail was to accompany, as an escort, a plane load of brand new Series 661, Military Payment Certificates (MPC). At the time of the escort detail briefing SP/4 Lutz doesn't recall being told of the amount of MPC being transported.

     Editors Note: Based on research information obtained by the Vietnam History Project, it is estimated the total amount of MPC transported on all four planes was approximately $286,000,000.00, yes that's millions!

     The MPC was contained in cardboard boxes within wooden shipping crates, stacked on pallets, and loaded from a warehouse at the air base into four C130 Transports. Each MP was assigned to a plane as the escort.

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     The plane SP/4 Lutz accompanied returned to South Vietnam the same date they were briefed and loaded, 23rd of January 1968. He specifically recalls the date because it was the same day the North Koreans seized the USS Pueblo.

     His flight stopped at a total of four locations in South Vietnam before the mission was ended. At each location a specific number of pallets were off loaded by fork lift. The only delivery site of the four that he recalls was Da Nang.

     Nine months later on 21 October 1968 the Vietnam Theater of War underwent a surprise currency exchange. The older Series 641 (left) in use since 31 August 1965 was replaced by the new Series 661.

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Series 641
Series 661
If you participated on this escort detail or can provide any additional names, information or photographs, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.
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22 January
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TAOR  A Viet Cong flag, medical supplies, a Chicom (Chinese Communist origin) rifle and official documents were captured from a Viet Cong hospital and base camp five miles south of Long Binh Post, on the outskirts of the Tactical Area Of Responsibility (TAOR). by a river patrol from C Company, 720th Military Police Battalion.

    The C Company MP's were, SPC/4 Jerry C. Clayburn, SP/4 Donald E. Hering, SP/4 Anthony L. Aceto, SP/4 Richard G. Silver, SP/4 William P. Collins, Jr., SP/4 Larry W. Fisher, and PFC Arthur C. Simpson, were on river patrol on the Dong Nai, the western border of the Battalion TAOR, with two patrol boats when an Air Force reconnaissance Bird-Dog circling overhead asked them to investigate an area near their location on the Buong River.

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     SP/4 Clayburn, acting NCOIC, had his men dock the boats and proceed on foot toward the area indicated by the pilot. They had gone less than twenty yards into the jungle when they entered into the northern end of a large Viet Cong base camp. The first structures they observed were two bamboo shelters and a reinforced log bunker with slit trench and fighting positions in front.The camp appeared empty so the MP’s moved in to search it.

     SP/4 Silver, one of the first inside the camp, saw a bolt action Chicom rifle leaning against the wall in one of the shelters. A year’s experience in Vietnam had taught SP/4 Silver to be cautious when dealing with weapons left behind by the enemy. Inspecting the rifle, he noticed a wire leading from the muzzle to the ceiling.

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     The other end was attached to a pin on a hand grenade which was wedged between the bamboo slats of the roof. SP/4 Silver detached the wire and seized the rifle. Inside the shelters they found medical books, a Viet Cong flag and various documents which later proved to be of considerable intelligence value.

     Before they could expand their search, the Bird-Dog called and told the MP’s to leave the area because a company size force of VC were spotted just south of their location.

     As the MP's left the area an air strike pounded the VC troop concentration and was soon followed by a battalion sized troop drop of U.S. infantry to confront the VC force. As they returned to their boat docks the sounds of a major fire-fight were heard.

     After joining forces with a reaction squad of MP’s from B Company accompanied by some PF's, the river patrol returned for a second search of the VC camp.

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     When they left their boats they began receiving enemy fire. SP/4’s Collins, Aceto and Hering were moving toward the enemy camp when they saw three Viet Cong on a path leading to the shelters. One of the View Cong escaped into a nearby stream; the other two were brought down by SP/4 Herring and SP/4 Collins rifle fire. The MP’s continued receiving enemy fire from the thick brush behind the VC camp. SP/4 Aceto fired a round from his M-79 grenade launcher into the brush and the firing stopped.

     The members of the B Company, 720th MP Battalion reaction team that participated in this action were, 2LT Robert S. Wilkerson, and others yet to be identified.

Wanted: Photographs, information, the names of other MP's that participated in this operation, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

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27 January
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B Company  SP/4 Jerry Lawhorne of B Company and a member of the Battalion River Patrol Unit was awarded the Soldiers Medal for saving the life of a drowning soldier in the Dona Nai River on 19 November 1967.
SP/4 Lawhorne
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29 January
Communist Tet New Years Offensive
Editors Note: This Tet Offensive period of the timeline also includes enemy actions against other Allied commands, although, some do not involve direct battalion participation in the defensive or offensive battles at these bases, bridges, hamlets or cities, they did affect routine battalion detachment or convoy missions in the areas.
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    The Allies began the Tet-lunar new year expecting the usual 36-hour peaceful holiday truce. Because of the threat of a large-scale attack and communist buildup around Khe Sanh, the cease fire order was issued in all areas over which the Allies were responsible with the exception of the I CTZ, south of the Demilitarized Zone.
      Determined enemy assaults began in the northern and Central provinces before daylight on 30 January and in Saigon and the Mekong Delta regions that night. Some 84,000 VC and North Vietnamese attacked or fired upon 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 5 of 6 autonomous cities, 64 of 242 district capitals and 50 hamlets. In addition, the enemy raided a number of military installations including almost every airfield. The actual fighting lasted three days; however Saigon and Hue were under more intense and sustained attack.
      The attack in Saigon began with a sapper assault against the U.S. Embassy. Other assaults were directed against the Presidential Palace, the compound of the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, and nearby Ton San Nhut air base.
      At Hue, eight enemy battalions infiltrated the city and fought the three U.S. Marine Corps, three U.S. Army and eleven South Vietnamese battalions defending it. The fight to expel the enemy lasted a month. American and South Vietnamese units lost over 500 killed, while VC and North Vietnamese battle deaths may have been somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000.
      Heavy fighting also occurred in two remote regions: around the Special Forces camp at Dak To in the central highlands and around the U.S. Marines Corps base at Khe Sanh. In both areas, the allies defeated attempts to dislodge them. Finally, with the arrival of more U.S. Army troops under the new XXIV Corps headquarters to reinforce the marines in the northern province, Khe Sanh was abandoned.
      Tet proved a major military defeat for the communists. It had failed to spawn either an uprising or appreciable support among the South Vietnamese. On the other hand, the U.S. public became discouraged and support for the war was seriously eroded. U.S. strength in South Vietnam totaled more than 500,000 by early 1968. In addition, there were 61,000 other allied troops and 600,000 South Vietnamese.
      The Tet Offensive also dealt a visibly severe setback to the pacification program, as a result of the intense fighting needed to root out VC elements that clung to fortified positions inside the towns. For example, in the densely populated delta there had been approximately 14,000 refugees in January; after Tet some 170,000 were homeless. The requirement to assist these persons seriously inhibited national recovery efforts.

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JOINT MESSAGE FORM
From CG, II Field Forces, LBN, RVN
29 January 68

There are a number of positive intelligence indicators that the enemy will deliberately violate the truce by attacking friendly installations during the night of 29 Jan or the early morning hours of 30 Jan.

Addressees will take action to insure maximum alert posture through the TET period. Be particularly alert for enemy deception involving use of friendly vehicles or uniforms.

John S. Lekson
Brigadier General, GS
Chief of Staff

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Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0025 hours, CPT Steven Vass, Jr. [HQ & HQ Detachment] the Battalion Operations 0fficer notified this office to advise B Company to run the Tay Ninh Convoy with one extra jeep because all the V100’s were in use or deadlined.

Operation SHOTGUN  0325 hours, SP/4 James Haithcock of C Company notified this office that the Operation SHOTGUN escort from 90th Replacement Battalion to Bien Hoa Air Base and return had been completed without incident.

Xuan Loc Convoy  0400 hours, the Xuan Loc Convoy returned to Long Binh Post without incident.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0415 hours, SP/4 John W. Amelunke of B Company reported the Tay Ninh Convoy escort departed B Company with seven gun jeeps and twenty-one MP’s.

CPT Vass
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Operation RIFLE  0730 hours, SP/5 Pietzsch of the 439th Buss Detachment, contacted this office and requested a Medical Evacuation escort (Operation RIFLE) from the 93rd Evacuation Hospital to Tan Son Nhut Air Base at 1330 hours. Notified SP/4 Stanley Van Kleech, C Company.

Xuan Loc Convoy  1030 hours, SSG Kimmet, 64th Quartermaster Battalion, was contacted and advised that the Long Giao [name would later change to Blackhorse or Xuan Loc] Convoy, for today had been canceled.

Tan An Detachment  1035 hours, MAJ Fred J. Villella the S3, 89th MP Group, notified this office that BG Karl W. Gustafson, LTC Lewis, and LTC Francis E. “Frank” Payne, will visit the Tan An Detachment from 301545 until 301615 January. He requested Tan An personnel meet at the helipad for a briefing and introductions to appropriate personnel.

POW Escort Unit  1135 hours, CPT Powers, 24th Evacuation Hospital notified this office that POW Nguyen Thi Le, captured by the 1/16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division on 13 January is ready to be released.

Tan An Detachment  1210 hours, at the personal request of LTC Robert Reinke, battalion commander, SSG Roger F. Ruggles, Battalion S3, contacted 1SG Jones, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, Tan An, and requested a briefing be presented to BG Karl W. Gustafson and his accompanying party upon their arrival at Tan An on 30 January.

POW Escort Unit  1330 hours, PVT Genegrs, 50th Medical Company, notified this office, that the following POW’s are ready for release: Nguyen Van Tien, no capturing unit reported, 13 October 1967; Le Ngoc Than, A Company, 1/18th, 1st Infantry Division, 10 December 1967; Nguyen Van Bu, D Company, 1/27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, capture date unknown; Tran Van Lan, 1st Infantry Division, capture date unknown; and Le Van Hung, 1 Infantry Division, 24 December 1967. CPT Wilder, II Field Forces, notified.

Xuan Loc Convoy  1600 hours, MAJ Fred J. Villella, Battalion Operations S3, notified this office that effective this date, the 89th MP Group, will notify the Battalion when the daytime, Long Giao [Blackhorse/Xuan Loc], Convoy will be run. B Company will no longer proceed to the marshaling area unless the 89th MP Group instructs the Battalion to take the convoy on a specific day.

1630 hours, SSG Lahti assumed duties as the Battalion SDNCO.

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POW Hospital Guards  1700 hours, the following POW and Guard count was delivered to SP/4 Denkers at S3, 89th MP Group. 24th Evacuation Hospital- 27 POW’s and six Guards. 50th Medical Company- 58 POW’s and fifteen Guards.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  1745 hours, received notification from CPT Ondic, 48th Transportation Group Operations that the Tay Ninh Convoy is being delayed at Tan Son Nhut because of its late arrival in Saigon (rush hour traffic after 1700 hours). CPT Ondic requested the vehicles be allowed to proceed in the Saigon traffic, four vehicles at a time, permission was granted.

Xuan Loc Convoy  2000 hours Received notification from SGT Donald L. Delleces the 615th MP Company NCOIC of the Xuan Loc Convoy, that it was departing the Long Binh Post staging area with twenty-three vehicles, convoy classification 124.

SGT Dellecese
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Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  2100 hours, SGT Frederick S. Bumford of B Company, reported that the Tay Ninh Convoy had returned to Long Binh Post. SGT Bumford reported that convoy unit #3 received four rounds of small arms fire between 1000 and 1010 hours from Grid Coordinates [map location] XT 353333 & 213468 respectively.

2135 hours, SSG Lahti the SDNCO reported that he detected tear gas within this office. A check of the immediate area surrounding Battalion S2 and S3 was conducted with negative results.

2200 hours, the investigation revealed that persons unknown had detonated a M7A3 Riot CS Tear Gas Grenade near the [NCO Club. The grenade was discovered by the club manager and relinquished to CPT Ronald J. Perry, SDO.

     Mr. Segel of the Criminal Investigation Division was notified and stated they had no interest in the matter unless the persons were known.

2400 hours, Log Closed.

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30 January
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Editors Note: Tet or Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. The word is derived from Sino-Vietnamese for "Feast of the First Morning of the First Day."

     Tet celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese variation of the Chinese Lunisolar calendar (a calendar in many cultures whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year), which usually has the date falling between the months of January or February. Depending on a calculation of the new moon. It takes place from the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar (around late January or early February) until at least the third day.

     Many Vietnamese prepare for Tet by cooking special holiday foods and cleaning the house. There are a lot of customs practiced during Tet, such as visiting a person's house on the first day of the new year, ancestral worshipping, wishing New Year's greetings, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, and opening a new shop.

     Tet is also an occasion for pilgrimage and family reunions. During Tet Vietnamese visit their relatives and temples, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year. They consider Tet to be the first day of spring.

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TAOR  In his traditional "Tet lecture," Mr. Cu, Village Chief of An Hoa Hung (the largest village and economic hub of the TAOR), eloquently summarized the attitude of the local Vietnamese.

     Addressing over 700 school children while another 200 looked on, he pointed to the Battalion MPs and told the children,

     "You must help these soldiers while they are here to help you. You must go home and ask your parents to do the same. While you stand here, many of these fine Americans are being killed right now, to help bring peace to your country, Vietnam. And for what reason do they do this? It is for you. You children are the future of Vietnam- you are Vietnam."

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NOTE: A major coordination mistake by Hanoi resulted in serious complications and losses for their troops as their nationwide attack began. Hanoi told its NVA commands to begin the "N-Day" attack on 31 January, their New Years Day. However, South Vietnam celebrated under a revised calendar of 30 January.

Some of the NVA commands began their N-Day attacks in the south on the 30th, while the others in the north were waiting for the attacks to be launched on the 31st. This mistake provided the U.S. and ARVN troops an early warning and critical defensive response time. The mistake prevented many of the NVA troops from being in place in the center of the major cities, in addition, their sapper teams were also left hanging without the support of their second wave support battalions.

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6th US Campaign Begins Tet Counteroffensive (30 January 1968 to 01 April 1968).
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Operation SHOTGUN  0130 hours, SGT Thord, 90th Replacement Battalion, Long Binh Post requested escorts for vehicles from the 90th to Bien Hoa Air Base. The Shotgun Patrols were located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon and unable to perform the escort. Post Patrol and Highway Patrols were also unable to assist. SFC Roger F. Ruggles, [HQ&HQ Detachment] S3, notified “Available [radio call sign] 54 and 55” Patrols to perform the escort. “Meanness [radio call sign] Patrols,” covered both areas during their absence.

0230 hours, LT Sayer, Phu Lam Signal Battalion requested an escort for some classified radio equipment being transferred from Area 208 to Bien Hoa Air Base.

0400 hours, “Wicked 9” [radio call sign], returned to Long Binh Post.

Xuan Loc Convoy  0415 hours, LT Kelly reported that the Xuan Loc Convoy had safely returned to Long Binh Post. On the return trip four Viet Cong flags were spotted at Grid Coordinates [map location] YT 312195 on the left side of the highway. The convoy continued without investigating. On both trips illumination flares were utilized at all critical or suspected ambush sites. An after action report was obtained and filed in Battalion Operations.

Operation SHOTGUN  0545 hours, the Operation SHOTGUN escorts from from 90th Replacement Battalion to Bien Hoa and Tan Son Nhut Air Base Saigon were completed without incident.

Operation RIFLE  0655 hours, SP/5 Pietzsch contacted this office and requested a Medical Evacuation escort (Operation RIFLE), from the 93rd Evacuation Hospital to Bien Hoa Air Base for 1045 hours.

Xuan Loc Convoy  0705 hours, LT Kelly filed an After Action Report on journal entree, Xuan Loc Convoy, 0415 hours for 29 January.

0710 hours, SGT Frederick S. Bumford, B Company, filed an After Action Report on journal entree, Tay Ninh Convoy, 2100 hours for 29 January.

TAOR  1055 hours, SP/4 Roger W. Riggs, Battalion S2 notified this office that he had received a telephone call from SGT Molnar, 98th Advisory Team, Duc Tu Subsector, stating that the TET Truce cease fire had terminated at 300945Jan68 [0945 hours 30 January 1968]. Artillery will fire only at known targets and light fire teams [helicopter gunship's] will be certain of their targets for the remainder of the truce period. There will be no Harassment & Interdiction, fire.

1125 hours, SFC Butler, 18th MP Brigade, notified this office that United States Army Republic of Vietnam [USARV], Area Operations Command [AOC], had confirmed that the cease fire had been terminated for Army of The Republic of Vietnam [ARVN] forces only, at this time.

1150 hours, SFC Janss, 89th MP Group notified this office that all personnel departing Long Binh Post for any reason will carry weapons and wear flack vest and steel helmets. This does not pertain to the Tactical Area of Responsibility [TAOR].

Operation RIFLE  1200 hours, SP/4 Richard Dickinson of C Company notified this office that the Operation RIFLE Escort had been completed without incident.

1220 hours, MAJ Fred J. Villella, Operations Officer, 89th MP Group notified this office that the TET Truce Cease Fire has been canceled for all Allied & U.S. Forces. All commands, SMG. Kenneth E. Kidd [HQ Detachment], 1LT Kenneth G. Orth [B Company], CPT Steven Vass, Jr. [HQ Detachment] and all TAOR units notified.

POW Hospital Guards  1645 hours, the POW and Guard count was sent to SP/4 Denkers, Operations, 89th MP Group: 24th Evacuation Hospital- 22 POW’s; 50th Medical Company- 58 POW’s.

1658 hours, SFC Janss, 89th MP Group called this office and informed SFC Roger F. Ruggles, Battalion S3, that there would be an actual “Gray Alert” at 1830 hours this date.

1710 hours, SFC Roger F. Ruggles notified the following units of the alert status, SFC William W. Wasiak, A Company, 1SG Thomas Shane, B Company, SP/4 Daniel D. Shuck, C Company, 1SG Richard A. Shields, 615th MP Company, SSG Kenneth T. Kitting, HQ Detachment.

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Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  2125 hours, SGT Lawrence B. Ewers of B Company notified this office that the Tay Ninh Convoy arrived on Long Binh Post. An incident occurred and a report would follow.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  2400 hours, SP/4 Wasem, Traffic Control Center Saigon called by phone at 2400 hours and informed this office that the Tay Ninh Convoy would have a total of 144 vehicles from Long Binh Post and 288 vehicles from Tay Ninh. The information was provided from the 48th Transportation Group, 64th Quartermaster.

SSG Ewers
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31 January
According to the statistics provided by the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, the fighting this day resulted in the most U.S. casualties for a single day. Before the day ended, 245 U.S. military personnel in the Vietnam theater of war would die.

     It began when 70,000 North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) forces launched the largest Communist attack of the war to date, the Tet New Years Communist Offensive.

Operation SHOTGUN  0310 hours  "Niner-Niner " [radio call sign 99] notified this station that the attack on Bien Hoa City included the Air Base, National Police Station, Train Compound, and the II Field Forces area. The number of casualties and extend of the damage was still unknown. Long Binh Post contacted, "Gray Alert" still in effect, Operation SHOTGUN units to recommend cancellation of escorts.

II Field
Forces
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Click here to view the ~ Entire Tet Offensive After Action Report for II Field Forces III Corps
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Reflection "SP4 James Williams, (C Company Clerk) and I were both at Camp Alpha, Tan Son Nhut Air Base going on R&R January 31, 1968 to Tokyo, Japan that morning. We didn't leave for R&R until three days later. It was a very uncomfortable three days to be sure as there were no sand bags around the "Hammered Out Beer Can" Pascoe buildings we were in when the New Year festivities began that early AM.

      There were no weapons to be had and no bunkers to go to; so all we had were our 3" mattresses and a concrete floor for protection from the many 122mm rockets, mortar rounds and small arms fire. Charles and Company [Viet Cong] was actually trying to move in it would appear.

     Thank God for some very brave SP's [Air Force Security Police], an armored company and the air cavalry or they may have made the move. The large 051 Bunker on the Tan Son Nhut perimeter was over run and at least two SP were killed allowing sappers access to the runway area where they blew up some bunkered aircraft. The bunker/gate had to be retaken by force later that morning.

     Just to make us feel at home the VC sent in a 122mm rocket every hour for the next two days; they didn't want us to fall asleep & miss our plane either."   SP/4 Fred D. Clark, C Company, April-June 1967, June 1967-March 1968, HQ Detachment, 720th MP Battalion.

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        Escorting ammunition and supplies to areas hit by the enemy during the Tet Offensive was one of many missions performed by the Battalion. The Battalion escorted over a dozen resupply convoys to Saigon during the battle for control of the city.

     A Company and the 615th MP Company brought ammunition and rations to Saigon to the embattled 716th MP Battalion. Other elements of the 720th remained in Saigon with two V100 Armored Commando Cars to reinforce the 716th.

716th MP
Battalion
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        Fuel, ammunition, mail and VIP’s were safely escorted to Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon by A & B Companies and the 615th. The 615th and B Company also escorted ammunition from the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot at Long Binh Post to the Bien Hoa Air Base which had also suffered an attack. The urgent need of the supplies made it necessary to run the convoys both day and night.

Bien Hoa Detachment  During the attack on the City of Bien Hoa, twenty-six MPs from B Company, who were on patrol in the city began working 24 hour days. They watched for snipers, provided general security and supported elements from the 9th Infantry Division. Bein Hoa Attack

9th Infantry
Division
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        An hour after Long Binh Post went on alert early 31 January 1968, C Company established check points on the surrounding highways, including 1A which links Long Binh Post to Saigon. They insured that only military traffic used the highway.

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Reflection  "In the early morning darkness they sent a gun jeep with 3 MP's to secure the intersection of Highway-1 going into Bein Hoa just in front of II Field Forces Headquarters. We were assigned to stay there until 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) came up to go into Bein Hoa.

      My sergeant told me to stay on the jeep with the machine gun when we got there. I looked across the highway watching all the tracer fire going back and forth between II Field Forces and the VC, and decided that I didn't want to be a sitting duck. I grabbed the gun and ammo from the jeep and proceeded to get as low in the roadside ditch as I could. I can't remember how long we stayed there, maybe 2 to 3 hours, watching all the action going on and the helicopters making strafing runs. At the time it seamed like days.

     When the Cav showed up we were released to return to Long Binh Post. I will guarantee that we did not fire a shot to draw any attention to us. I wish I could remember who was with me. We all felt very lucky to get back safe."  SGT Phillip J. Beaver, A Company, 720th MP Battalion.

SGT Beaver
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        During the entire period of the Tet Offensive the Battalion kept a reaction force of eighty soldiers, twenty from each company, on alert to assist with Long Binh Post security.
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        In all the Battalion provided MP escorts for forty-seven miscellaneous convoys carrying supplies such as, ammunition, fuel and mail, throughout the Capital Military District [Saigon], and the Long Binh/Bien Hoa complex area during the Tet Offensive.
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0315 hours, 2nd Field Forces [IIFF] were contacted and advised that they were on a "Red Alert" [under attack] status, extent of damage not reported. "Bruiser 33" [radio call sign] was monitoring.
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0330 hours, the 18th MP Brigade Headquarters was notified of status.
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     An undetermined number of Rocket Propelled Grenades  (RPG) and mortar rounds were fired into the northeast sector of the perimeter of the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot in the vicinity of Tower #13. This was the prelude to an enemy attack which overran the position and carried the enemy force into the depot. Reaction forces were deployed to contain the enemy penetration and with the deployment of a Mechanized Infantry Company, the enemy troops were forced to withdraw and the depot perimeter was once again secured.

     Prior to withdrawing the enemy managed to leave explosive devises on eighteen ammunition pads, three of which caused considerable damage. Eight pads experienced low order detonations with no secondary explosions and seven pads were cleared of devices prior to detonation by Expended Ordinance Disposal  (EOD) personnel. Casualties were 4 U.S. soldiers killed in action , and 24 wounded in action and two confirmed Viet Cong KIA.

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0334 hours, "Niner-Niner" notified this station that Bien Hoa Air Base reported 9 wounded in action, no killed in action. Damage was done to the motor pool, airfield, and some barracks.

0345 hours, "Niner-Niner" notified this station that the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot on Long Binh Post was being mortared. A "Yellow Alert" status was initiated, all units were notified.

0350 hours, a conference call was established for the commanding officers of A, B, and C Company.

0400 hours, "Niner-Niner" moved to G6. Reported a pause in incoming mortar rounds.

0408 hours, "Niner-Niner" reported that incoming mortar rounds were landing in the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot, Long Binh Post.

Operation SHOTGUN  0410 hours, "Available 21" [radio call sign] reported that Bien Hoa had given an all clear on the Operation SHOTGUN escort mission and requested clearance from this headquarters to continue. Clearance was granted.

Operation SHOTGUN  0425 hours, Operation SHOTGUN notified this Headquarters that a hold was placed on missions.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0430 hours Due to enemy activity a sixty minute hold was placed on the Tay Ninh Convoy to start at 0430 hours.

0440 hours, "Niner-Niner" reported a fire fight between helicopters and enemy ground forces across Highway 1A, across from the II Field Forces compound.

0443 hours, "Niner-Niner" reported a fire fight between enemy forces and perimeter security inside the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot, Long Binh Post.

0445 hours, "Available 22" reported a fire fight inside the 90th Replacement Battalion perimeter, Long Binh Post.

0507 hours, the 89th MP Group reported that a company size Viet Cong unit was in the 208 Area  of Long Binh Post.

0515 hours, the 89th MP Group reported that the Viet Cong captured a 188th MP Company gun jeep in Corps Tactical Zone IV (Mekong Delta).

0553 hours, "Wicked 52" reported a Viet Cong Battalion size force was outside the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot and might possibly overrun the perimeter of Long Binh Post.

0600 hours, "Available 22" reported that the Viet Cong had overrun the 3rd Ordnance positions, and were headed for the 90th Replacement Battalion compound.

0605 hours, all Battalion Reaction Force members were instructed to stand by their vehicles for further orders.

0610 hours, "Niner-Niner" reported tracks [Armored Personnel Carriers], were moving to the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot and setting up a defense.

0630 hours, Long Binh Post Provost Marshals Office reported Viet Cong forces moved behind the 3rd Corps ARVN Headquarters, and were firing into Bien Hoa Air Base. Additional report, the Viet Cong captured a 716th MP Battalion gun jeep with M-60 machine gun, in Saigon.

0645 hours, "Available 36" notified this office that they received a report from "Drummer," [radio call sign] that a black and white sedan going north on Highway 1A fired on the Newport Bridge guards. "Mississippi 62" located at the boat docks advised they would set up on the highway and look for the sedan.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0700 hours, this office received information that Saigon was under a "Red Alert" and under attack. The Tay Ninh Convoy is to be held at Long Binh Post until further notice.

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Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0710 hours, the 48th Transportation Group advised this office that they were holding the Tay Ninh Convoy until 1000 hours and if not cleared by that time it will be canceled.

0720 hours, "Niner-Niner” reported one US MP was killed in action and three US wounded in action inside the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot on Long Binh Post.

     The MP killed in action was PFC Gordon Leroy Currier, Jr. age 22 of Independence, Missouri. PFC Currier, a member of the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog), 95th MP Battalion was walking his post inside the perimeter of the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Supply Depot with his German Sheppard K9 partner Satch (M164) who was also killed.

0735 hours, SP/4 Denkers, 89th MP Group reported the Long Binh Post was now back to Alert Status "Gray" from "Yellow."

0741 hours, a large explosion at the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot caused a fire and secondary explosions.

PFC Currier & Satch
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Reflection  "I was reading on this date about the ammo dump blowing at 7:41 in the morning and it reminded me of what I was doing at that time. I believe it was two gun jeeps and six MP's where sent out to our Tactical Area Of Responsibility with wire. We were to set up an enclosure and detain anybody out and about to be questioned later. We had about 8-12 detainees inside the enclosure and I just happened to be looking towards the post in the direction of the ammo dump when it blew. I could see the cloud forming and you could see the shock wave coming across the landscape.

     After it passed us I looked inside the enclosure and everybody was flat on the ground. I think we had maybe 20 people detained when we were pulled out."  SGT Phillip J. Beaver, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Long Binh Post, Vietnam, August 1967 to August 1968.

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0750 hours, "Niner-Niner" reported that the explosion in the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot was an ammo pad in the southeast corner of the depot. Defense measures taken, more explosions were expected.

0812 hours, "Wicked 54" was instructed to establish traffic control and give priority to emergency vehicles. "Available 52" to maintain control of Check Point #5.

0818 hours, the 3rd Ordnance Ammunition Depot perimeter was still receiving enemy fire and requested helicopter gunship assistance.

0835 hours, "Agitate" [radio call sign] reported that two Viet Cong were killed 200 meters west of intersection of Highway 1 and 1A. No hostile fire at this time, however MPs report Viet Cong hiding in the houses in the area.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  0905 hours, the Tay Ninh Convoy was canceled due to heavy enemy activity, MP escorts will stand by.

   The following available manpower [on Long Binh Post] was reported by 720th MP Battalion Commanding Officers, one-hundred ninety-four men with MOS 95B [Military Police], forty-six others, and nine officers. The manpower status was reported to the Headquarters of the 18th MP Brigade.

Editors Note: Battalion elements were responsible for enemy POW security at the hospitals. As fighting slowed in and around Long Binh Post, captured enemy troops were finally being brought into the hospitals for medical treatment, holding and would swamp the facilities requiring the Battalion to pull manpower from other mission to make up the shortfall.

POW Hospital Guards  0935 hours, SGT Michael J. Maratea, A Company, NCOIC of the Hospital Guard Detail notified this office that one suspected VC was admitted to Ward #12 at the 24th Evacuation Hospital at 0915 hours. This VC suspect had no identification and no information was available. PFC Snyder, 552nd MP Company, 2nd Field Forces [IIFF] turned the suspect over to the 24th. The suspect was captured at Gate #6, IIFF. The suspect’s medical condition is serious, has neck wound, and can not speak. POW hospital registration given was #9111. POW count changed to eighty-six.

POW Hospital Guards  1115 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, A Company, Hospital Guards notified this office that an unidentified POW, Hospital Registration #0982 had been admitted at 1040 hours to Ward #12, 24th Evacuation Hospital. POW count changed to eighty-seven.

Xuan Loc Convoy  1200 hours, CPT Ondix, 48th Transportation Group notified this office that the 48th is not sending any vehicles for the night Xuan Loc Convoy.

Bearcat Convoy  At 1205 hours, CPT Steven Vass, Jr. , Battalion S3 contacted the 9th Infantry Division and informed them that there would probably not be a convoy this evening but asked them to check back later.

Xuan Loc Convoy  1230 hours, SFC Janss, 89th MP Group, notified this office that the Xuan Loc Convoy for this evening was canceled. 1SG Richard A. Shields, 615th MP Company notified.

POW Hospital Guards  1248 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton A Company NCOIC of Hospital Guards notified this office that PO, Thai Van Nam was admitted to Ward #12, 24th Evacuation Hospital. POW count changed to eighty-eight.

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POW Hospital Guards  1250 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that the POW, #9111 was identified as Than Van Trung, and #9082 was identified as Mai Van Thai. Thai is an NVA, and the 219th Military Intelligence is at the hospital interrogating him.

POW Hospital Guards  1305 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW Bu Van Nghia #2052 was pronounced dead at 1300 hours by CPT Heddon at the 50th Medical Company. The POW was brought into the hospital by Richard Pitzer, rank unknown, US54760797, of the 8/25th Artillery.

POW Hospital Guards  1320 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW’s, Tran Van Ai #2051; Nguyen Van Nam #2049; Nguyen Van Nam #2053; one, name unknown, #2054 was shot in the head and expected to die; No Van Cax #2048; were admitted to 50th Medical Company A& D [Admissions and Discharges] at 1145 hours. The capturing units of these POW’s is unknown. POW count changed to ninety-three.

POW Hospital Guards  1335 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW’s #2055 and Vui Kgoc, age 22, #2056, and Vu Van Viet #2057, were admitted to the 50th Medical Company. POW count changed to ninety-five.

POW Hospital Guards  1340 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office at that there was a VC suspect brought into the 50th Medical Company that was playing possum. CPT Green, 50th Medical Company, wants him out ASAP [As Soon As Possible]!

POW Hospital Guards  1405 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW, Trong Van Nam, #2058, and one VC, name unknown, #2059, were admitted to the 50th Medical Company at 1350 hours. POW count changed to ninety-seven.

POW Hospital Guards  1510 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW’s, Truong Van Tung #2062, Donh Van Tho #2064, Donan Huy De #2065, Nguyen Thanh #2066, Nguyen Van Not #2067, and Nguyen Hung Cuong #2063, were admitted to the 50th Medical Company. POW count changed to one-hundred three.

POW Hospital Guards  1531 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, reported that an unidentified POW, #2071 died from his wounds, The POW was pronounced dead at 1530 hours by CPT Fuller of 50th Medical Company.

POW Hospital Guards  1532 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW #2071, name and capturing unit unknown, admitted at 1500 hours died. He was pronounced by CPT Fuller, 50th Medical Company. POW count remains at one-hundred three.

POW Hospital Guards  1540 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that the following POW’s were admitted to the 50th Medical Company, three Viet Cong POW’s, names unknown, Registration Numbers, #2068, #2069, and #2070 were admitted at 1430 hours. POW Nguyen Van Dang #2060 was admitted at 1500 hours. Also that POW, No Van Cax died of hemorrhaging from wounds received this date. POW count changed to one-hundred six.

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POW Hospital Guards  1605 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that a unidentified POW, #2070, died of complications from a fracture of the right femur. The POW was admitted at 1540 hours and pronounced dead at 1559 hours by CPT Schwarto, 50th Medical Company.

POW Hospital Guards  1630 hours, CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW’s, Hoang The Hang #2072, Thach Co I #2073, and 1 unidentified #2074, were admitted to the 50th Medical Company at 1555 hours. POW count changed to one-hundred nine.

      SFC Chester A. Baker of B Company, assumed the duties as Staff Duty NCO.

POW Hospital Guards  1700 hours, the following POW and Guard report was reported to PFC Parent, Operations, 89th MP Group. 24th Evacuation Hospital- 30 POW’s and 6 Guards, 50th Medical Company- 82 POW’s and 15 Guards, and 9 MP’s for POW escort details.

1845 hours, SGT Carl R. Sinks, 615th MP Company, Long Binh Post Provost Marshals Office notified this office by phone that he received a report of small arms fire between the 90th Replacement Battalion and II Field Forces. Also that mortars were falling in the vicinity of Gate #10.

2037 hours, information was received from SGT Janss, 89th MP Group that the V100 Armored Commando Car made it to Saigon safely.

2040 hours, Information received from SGT Janss, 89th MP Group, that the Alert Status was now "Yellow." All companies were notified.

2050 hours, 1SG Richard A. Shields reported the 615th MP Company reported seventy-eight men accounted for, 100%.

2100 hours, CPT Michael E. Lenhart reported A Company with eighty-five men present for, 100%.

2110 hours, SSG Lawrence B. Ewers reported B Company with one -hundred seventy-six men present for, 100%.

Cu Chi-Tay Ninh Convoy  2114 hours, SGT Orvis, 89th MP Group called this office and reported the Tay Ninh Convoy is canceled for 1 February 1968. SP/4 William J. Kuper, B Company and SP/5 Denkers, SDNCO, 89th MP Group, notified.

2145 hours, contacted SP/4 James V. Yudis, A Company, CQ and requested four men respond to this office for Interior Guard Duty.

POW Hospital Guards  CPL Jerry W. Denton, Hospital Guards, notified this office that POW Than Van Nam, died of a gun shot wound in the chest. He was pronounced at 2000 hours.

2223 hours, SP/5 Denkers, SDNCO, 89th MP Group notified this office that as of 2200 hours the Alert Status was "Gray."

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2300 hours, this office was notified by 2LT Eugene S. Edey, C Company, that company elements returned to Long Binh Post from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse), Operation FARGO (21 December 1967).

2400 hours, Log Closed.

11th Armored
Cavalry
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