Courtesy of Arthur B Cook Jr.

APO San Francisco 96225

SUBJECT:  Report of Combat  Action                              1 September 1968
TO:            Commanding Officer
                  Second Brigade
                  25th Infantry Division
                  APO San Francisco 96225
1.  Submitted herewith is the report of the combat action involving the
1st bn (Mech), 5th Infantry on 21 August 1968 in the Ben Cui Rubber
plantation near Dau Tieng, RVN

2.  This report was compiled from eyewitness reports taken from the
leaders and men of Company C, the Scout Platoon and the Battalion
Headquarters of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry, the members of the 3rd
Brigade CRIP and the gun crew of the 40mm self propelled weapon attached
to the scout platoon.  In Addition, the area of contact has been swept
on three occasions in order to confirm the detailed locations of enemy
and friendly positions.

3.  In compiling this report, every effort has been made to avoid conjecture
and to obtain as accurate and clear a report as possible.


                                                                                Arthur B. Cook Jr.
                                                                                1LT, Inf


1. At 210640 August 1968 company C 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry departed
Dau Tieng base camp with the mission of sweeping from Dau Tieng to
XT 420445, staying approximately 1000 meters to the south of route 239.
The scout platoon, with the 3rd brigade CRIP and one twin 40mm self
propelled weapon attached departed Dau Tieng at 210658 August 1968 to
sweep and outpost the MSR from Dau Tieng to XT 371424. The two units
were to move abreast on parallel routes in order to provide additional
security for the units.

2.  At 0813 hours the scout platoon was located at XT 463468.  Company C
had moved to the south and at XT 473456. Both units reported no enemy
contact.  Company C was moving with two rifle teams abreast. The
1st platoon on the right was led by SSG Lang, while the 3rd platoon on
the left was led by 1LT Cook.  Each platoon's personnel carriers
followed the dismounted elements of the platoon.  The Company commander
1LT Snodgrass, moved on foot, and alternated his position between the
lead platoons. Inclosure 2 shows the detailed formation of the unit.

3.  At 0831 hours the scout dog with the point element of the company
alerted.  The handler stated that he thought that there might be a large
number of personel to the southwest.  The battalion S-3 in the OH-23
helicopter made a low VR of the area concerned but could locate nothing
unusual.  It was concluded that the dao had probably alerted to the
presence of civilians in the village at XT 464448.  The Company
commander then adjustd 81mm mortar fire into the rubber plantation to
his front, with negative results.

4.  Two enemy soldiers were engaged by the security elements of company
C at 0906 hours.  The enemy soldiers were at a range of 200 meters and
withdrew to the south without returning fire.

5.  At 0913 hours the scout platoon was located at checkpoint "G" and
was conducting a search of the village at XT 464448.  This search netted
nothing except for the information that three buildings in the southern
edge of the village had been used by the enemy for billets and classrooms.

6.  Company C located and destroyed a mine at XT 476454 at 0914 hours.
The company then shifted to the westto move out of the open area into
the rubber.  The company continued moving south Until it made a turn to
to the west astride the trail leading fron XT 470444 to 463444.  The
company moved to the west with one lead platoon on each side of the trail.
The scout dog with it's security element was moving ahead of the platoon
security by approximatelt 30 meters.  The weapons platoon and the 2nd platoon shifted to the left as shown on Inclosure 3.

7. At 1012 hours, the scout platoon observed a red star cluster in the
vincinity of the village at XT 463448.  The Scout platoon continued
searching the village at XT 463448.  At 1035 hours company C called in
a negative situation report and gave XT 462440 as the current location
of the unit.

8.  At 1110 hours, company C reported receiving sniper fire at XT 462444,
and reported 1 US KIA and 1 US WIA.  The report stated that the fire
was coming from the west and southwest.  The unit requested gunship
support.  At this time the point and security elements were approximately
40 meters west of the road that extends south from route 239 to XT 463440.
At this point, the lead platoons were crossing the road.  The second
platoon and the mortar platoon were following the 3rd platoon, south of the
east-west trail.

9.  As the enemy increased their volume of fire, the lead elements returned
the fire, and remained west of the north-south road for approximately ten
minutes.  The enemy continued to advance, with the elements attempting to move
along the south flank of company C.  The enemy advanced from the west on
the dismounted elements of company C.  Most of the enemy soldiers were
wearing green and camouflaged uniforms, and were moving from tree to tree
in short rushes, and advancing rapidly toward the north-south road, while
some of the enemy were occupying camouflaged positions. the volume of
fire  initially was low, but soon reach an extremely high rate.  During
this period SSG Lang, the 1st platoon leader was killed.

10.  The company commander, realizing he could not effectively employ his
cal. 50 machine guns over his own troops, withdrew his troops to the line
of personnel carriers, now dispersed along the east side of the north-south
road.  Further, since enemy soldiers had been observed while attempting to
envelop his right flank, the company commander ordered his reserve, the
2nd platoon to displace to the right rear of his 1st platoon. He then
displaced his mortars to the rear to obtain overhead clearance in order
that they could be employed.  During this period the unit employed all
available weapons, to include M-72 laws to break up the enemy attack.

11.  At 1135 hours the battalion S-3 urgently requested the gunships,
which had ben previously requested but had not arrived.  The Artillery
FO on the ground was attempting to get clearances to employ
artillery.  At this time company C marked the unit position with purple
smoke, and a few minutes later with yellow smoke.  The unit at this time
was still defending along the road with the troops deployed with the
troops personnel carriers.  The company continued to fire in this position
for approximately 30 minutes.

12.  During this 30 minute period the scout platoon deployed along
route 239 with the lead element at XT 461448.  The scout platoon leader
observed enemy troops moving to the southeast in the vicinity of
XT 458446, and took these units under fire with cal. 50 machineguns
and small arms.  Shortly he moved a twin-40mm weapon into a firing
position and this weapon fired in excess of 300 rounds.  The scout
platoon was soon engaged in small arms and RPG fire.  At 1149 the scout
platoon leader observed and reported at least an enemy company moving
southeast of the village at XT 450450.

13.  Company C continued to remain in position along the north-south
road until approximately 1150 hours, at which time 3 personnel carriers,
on the left sid of the company position, were hit with RPG weapons.
These weapons were apparently fired from extremely  short range. The
company commander then decided to withdraw approximately 150 meters and
to organize another defensive position.  The unit withdrew, taking with
it the wounded personnel and the body of SSG Lang.  During this period,
five more men were killed.

14.   Upon order the 1st and the 3rd platoon withdrew.  This movement disposed the company with three platoons abreast, since the 2nd platoon held in place.  At this time eight personnel carriers were on line, and all cal.
50 machineguns were operating.  In addition, the dismounted personnel were
firing individual weapons and m-72 laws.  At this time 81mm mortars
were firing with their rounds impacting near the second platoon.  The
artillery forward observer, LT Ranney, was adjusting the artillery which
was impacting 200 meters west of the friendly elements. At this time
three of the remaining personnel carriers sustained RPG hits.  These RPG
hits killed the 4.2 mortar forward observer and one of the company radio
operators and wounded the company commander, the artillery forward
observer and the remaining company radio operator.  the last transmission
LT Ranney, the artillery forward observer, made was to the effect that
the last artillery rounds had landed 200 meters east of his position.
Since the artillery fire direction center knew that if the rounds were
landing 200 meters east of LT Ranney, the were landing on the troops
of company C, thus the FDC check fired the artillery.  Several minutes
passed prior to the resuming fire.

15.  At 1154 hours the forward air controller reported an estimated time
of arrival of 20 to 25 minutes for the first airstrike, and the 1st
Brigade announced an ETA of 15 minutes for alight fire team, this light
fire team arrived at 1201 hours and was immediately employed along the
southern flank of the unit.

16.  Now Commanded by 1lt Cook, company C reported at 1200 hours that the
situation was extremely critical and that he planned to withdraw. All
wounded were loaded onto personnel carriers and the unit withdrew over the
same route taken on the advance.  The last element to withdraw was the 2nd platoon.  The company movd and secured a landing zone at XT 473455.

17.  1200 hours the scout platoon was heavily engaged from the south,
and observed an estimated eneemy platoon maneuvering to block route 239
to the north of the scout platoon.   At this time the scout platoon was
ordered to move east through the village at XT 463448 and to link up
with company C at the landing zone.  This movement resulted in a
short anvance by the enemy, followed by a halt of his advance.  Following
th Medical evacuation of casualties, all unit were ordered by the
commanding officer to return to Dau Tieng to regroup and
to prepare to return to the Ben Cui plantation to continue the contact.
Th scout platoon was subsequently oreder to return to the eastern
edge of th rubber.  At 1600 hours all elements were ordered to return
to Dau Tieng.


  1. Map of area of contact, showing routes of company C and the scout platoon
  2. Formation of C Co while moving south
  3. Formation of Co C while moving west
  4. Initial contact and immediate deployment
  5. 2nd defensive formation
  6. 3rd defensive formation
  7. Routes of withdrawl
  8. Plot of area of engagement
  9. Locations of US KIA
  10. Estimated enemy casualties
  11. Photos of company C personnel taken by PIO on 21 Aug 68