NND 873541


APO San Francisco 96219

1 August 1968

SUBJECT: Combat Operation After Action Report (U)

TO: See Distribution
1. (U) Name of Operation: OPERATION PHUONG DINH (3) SUPPORT.
2. (U) Date of Operation: 251200 to 310700 July 1968.
3. (U) Location: FSB Picarelli (BT 544 603), Phuong Dinh (3) district, Chu Lai area, RVN; Map references: Vietnam Scale 1:50,000, Series L7014, Sheets 6739 I, 6739 IV.

4. (C) Control and Command Headquarters: HEADQUARTERS 198th Lt Infantry Brigade (LIB)
5. (U) Reporting Officers: COs of 198th LIB; 1st Bn, 6th Inf; 1st Bn 27th Inf; 2nd Bn, 7th Cav; Co F, 52th Inf

6. (C) Joint Task Force Organization:
a. Co A, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry (Americal)
b. Co B, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry (25th ID)
c. Co A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (1st CAV)
d. LRRP Team, Company F, 52th Inf (1st ID)

7. (C) Supporting Forces:
a. 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light) - provided gunships employing suppressive fires to destroy the enemy and relieve enemy pressure on the Phuong Dinh District.
b. LRRP Team "Wild Cat" - provided long reconnaissance patrol in the Phuong Dinh district.

8. (C) General:
a. On 24 July 1968, the enemy initiated an attack against the Phuong Dinh (3) Military District compound (BT 540608), located approximately 1000 meters northwest of FSB Picarelli.
b. The Viet Cong attack on Phuong Dinh began at 240113 July and terminated approximately 240630 July. American advisors who were in the compound kept the Brigade TOC informed of the attack as it commenced, developed and terminated. This information was retransmitted to the Americal Division TOC as it was received. Per request of the ARVN Commander and American advisors for our assistance, the Brigade requested division's approval to form Joint Task Force (Americal, 25th ID and 1st CAV) with LRRP detachment from 1st ID and move elements into the Phuong Dinh area to assist the compound. The Brigade's requests, to employ units in the area were disapproved because the ROK Marine Brigade located southeast of the Suoi Bao Ao River was preparing to assist the compound and exploit the area of operations. However, the 198th Brigade provided direct support artillery fires for targets in the vicinity of the Phuong Dinh compound. Subsequent operations were conducted by the new formed Joint Task Force to search-and-destroy the enemy as he withdrew from the Phuong Dinh District area into the Joint Task Force TAOR.

9. (C) Intelligence:
a. Weather:
(1) The weather conditions during the period of 25 to 31 July 1968 were: generally no cloudy skies without rain, high humidity and even temperatures averaging 96F maximum and 82F minimum.
(2) Effects on enemy operations: Periods of reduced visibility favored undetected movement by enemy units.
(3) Effects on our operations: Periods of reduced visibility which made it difficult to locate and identify enemy targets negated the employment of Air Force flareships and miniguns as well as Army gunships (armed helicopters) during all the operation.

b. Terrain: The terrain in the area of operations is generally flat and contains many rice paddies and several streams formed by the Suoi Bao Ao River. Open fields are covered with elephant grass and brushwood. There is also "tree line" of Asian pines at BT520580.

c. Enemy:
(1) Numerous intelligence reports indicated that the enemy had improved his strength and increased his activities northwest of the FSB Picarelli at Phuong Dinh (3) (BT 540608), northeast at east bank of Suoi Bao Ao River (BT565609) and southwest at abandoned airfield (BT 526569). The intelligence liaison officer of the 198th LIB reported several times that the Phuong Dinh (3) Military compound could be attacked by one or two companies of the 72nd VC Bn. The American Advisory team at Phuong Dinh (3) acted on the intelligence reports and began preparation to increase the defensive posture of the complex; foliage was cut down and claymore mines were installed. Coordination with ROK Marines and the 198th Bde was made for the employment of artillery defensive concentrations and H&I fires. Two nights prior to the attack the ROK's provided the artillery fires.

10. (C) Missions:
a. Provide security for and defend the abandoned airfield and prevent or defend against attacks from that area toward Phuong Dinh (3).
b. Per request of Phuong Dinh Advisor (while under attack): provide artillery and gunship support in defense of Phuong Dinh compound.
c. Provide security for and defend FSB Picarelli against enemy attack.
d. Provide search-and-destroy mission in the northeastern portion of the Task Force TAOR at at east bank of Suoi Bao Ao River.

11. (C) Execution:
25 July 1968 Morning Report
By 1200 hrs additional 18 soldiers from 1st Plt. Bravo Co., 1/27th Inf., 25th ID (7), 2nf Plt. Alpha Co., 2/7th Cav., 1st Cav.Div. (5) and LRRP Team Co F., 52th Inf., 1st ID (6) were air lifted to support garrison of FSB Picarelli. Joint Task Force "Picarelli" was formed with the following structure: 1st Plt - Americal Division (SSG Popov), 2nd Plt. - 25th and 1st Cav (SSG Williams) and LRRP Team (SGT Mitsner).
SGT Ramirez sent to hospital on 24 July.
Joint Task Force has 34 EMs with 34 present (2 E-6s, 6 E-5s, 9 E-4s, 9 E-3s, 8 E-2s, and 0 E-1s).
Report signed by Max Popov, SSG Infantry, Commander-in-charge.

1200 - 2400 Both plts as well as LRRP Team were left on FSB to provide security and finish construction work.

2400 - 0700 JTF established a night defensive perimeter

26 July 1968 Morning Report
Made E-3: Frank Spencer and Charles Hegler, effective 25 July. JTF has 34 EMs present.

0800 - 0900 Both plts of JTF were inspected by SSG Popov. Equipment and Unifrom were inspected and they were free from dirt and holes.

0900 - 1100 LRRP Team provided reconnaisanse patrol of the road #1 from BT544602 to BT544606. No enemy activity spotted. 2nd squad of 2nd plt provided security of water resupply convoy.

1200 - 1600 2nd plt was given a mission to secure and conduct combat sweeps in the surrounding area of FSB Picarelli along the road # 1 and road # 2. No sight of enemy presence.

At 1600 LRRP Team "Wild Cat 1" [under the operational control of HQ 1-6] was given the mission to secure and establish LZ for 2nd plt as well as defense perimeter in the area of abandoned airfied at (BT 526569).

At 1855 hours LRRP Team spotted an enemy squad sized unit moving on the ground (BT543583).