Criteria The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat theater, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding ac... The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat theater, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service not involving aerial flight. MoreHide
Criteria The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, kill... The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may die of wounds received in armed combat or as a result of an act of international terrorism. MoreHide
Criteria The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service... The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service during the current War on Terrorism. In addition, all members of the National Guard and Reserve who were part of the Selected Reserve in good standing between August 2, 1990, to November 30, 1995, are eligible for the National Defense Service Medal. In the case of Navy personnel, Midshipment attending the Naval Academy during the qualifying periods are eligible for this award, and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Midshipmen ae only eligible if they participated in a summer cruise that was in an area which qualified for a campaign medal. MoreHide
Criteria The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who served at any time between July 4, 1965, and March 28, 1973, in Vietnam or its contiguous waters or airspa... The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who served at any time between July 4, 1965, and March 28, 1973, in Vietnam or its contiguous waters or airspace; or, for any period of service during the same time period in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia or the air spaces thereover and in direct support of operations in Vietnam. MoreHide
Criteria The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout... The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of South Vietnam. The actions cited are for the same services that would have resulted in the award of a Valorous Unit Citation by the Army or a Navy Unit Citation. MoreHide
Criteria This medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who: 1. Served for 6 months in South Vietnam during the period 1 Mar 61 and 28 Mar 73; or 2. Served outside the geographical l... This medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who: 1. Served for 6 months in South Vietnam during the period 1 Mar 61 and 28 Mar 73; or 2. Served outside the geographical limits of South Vietnam and contributed direct combat support to the RVN Armed Forces for an aggregate of six months. Only members of the Armed Forces of the United States who meet the criteria established for the AFEM (Vietnam) or Vietnam Service Medal during the period of service required are considered to have contributed direct combat support to the RVN Armed Forces; or 3. Did not complete the length of service required in item (1) or (2) above, but who, during wartime, were: a. Wounded by the enemy (in a military action); b. Captured by the enemy during action or in the line of duty, but later rescued or released; or c. Killed in action or in the line of duty; or 4. Were assigned in Vietnam on 28 Jan 73, and who served a minimum of 60 calendar days in Vietnam during the period 29 Jan 73 to 28 Mar 73. MoreHide
In early February 1967 intelligence reported that the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 1st Division was operating in the Plei Trap Valley near the Vietnam-Cambodia border and the 10th Division
In early February 1967 intelligence reported that the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 1st Division was operating in the Plei Trap Valley near the Vietnam-Cambodia border and the 10th Division was believed to also be nearby. The area of the operation was described as being "an area of almost continuous jungle with hardwood trees of several varieties up to six or seven feet in diameter and 200-250 feet in height. Where sunlight can break through the overhead canopy, the jungle floor is covered with thick, dense undergrowth restricting observation to a few meters and making movement extremely difficult. The area represents some of the most difficult jungle terrain in all of Southeast Asia. It is intersected by valleys and mountains with elevations varying from about 500 feet to nearly 600 feet, presenting additional difficulties to movement and maneuver."
On 12 February the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division deployed two Battalions by helicopter into the Plei Trap Valley to establish operating bases. On 14 February Company C 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment (1-12th Infantry) discovered a series of new unoccupied bunkers near its landing zone (LZ) 501 North. The following morning Company C was engaged by PAVN forces who attempted to overrun the landing zone, but the attack was repulsed by air strikes and artillery fire. On 16 February as the rest of the 1-12th Infantry was being landed by helicopter they were fired on by the PAVN 8th Battalion, 66th Regiment, damaging 8 UH-1 Hueys. The PAVN continued to attack the LZ into the night but disengaged before dawn on 16 February.
On the morning of 16 February a platoon of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment (2-8th Infantry) which was patrolling east of the Plei Trap was ambushed by the PAVN 32nd Regiment and forced to withdraw with gunship and artillery support. Inside the Plei Trap a company of the 22nd Infantry Regiment chased several PAVN soldiers who led them into an ambush and were unable to disengage until nightfall.
By the end of 16 February the 2nd Brigade had lost 55 dead and 74 wounded, while the PAVN had lost almost 300 by body count. Concerned about the high casualties, MG Peers ordered the units to stay near their bases for the next five days while the area was hit by artillery and air strikes, including nine by B-52s. Peers also received reinforcement by the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
On 21 February a patrolling company from 2-8th Infantry was engaged by a PAVN heavy weapons position. US losses were 7 killed and 34 wounded, while PAVN losses were 43 killed.
On 25 February Company A 1-12th Infantry in the Plei Trap detected a PAVN ambush and called in airstrikes killing 48 PAVN and leaving 3 wounded behind for the loss of 1 US soldier killed.
On 27 February a US reconnaissance patrol from 1-12th Infantry was mistakenly inserted into Cambodia. The patrol killed 2 PAVN soldiers and observed numerous others before being extracted.
On 2 March a PAVN mortar attack on a 1-12th Infantry position killed 2 US soldiers and wounded 2 others.
On 12 March a company of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment (2-35th Infantry) patrolling in the Plei Trap came under fire from a PAVN bunker complex. Two more companies were landed by helicopter but were quickly pinned down. As night fell the US force came under mortar fire from Cambodia, as flares illuminated the battlefield, the Americans observed that the PAVN were crossing the Se San river into Cambodia and helicopter gunships were called to attack the disengaging PAVN. By the following morning the PAVN had left the area leaving 51 dead, while US casualties were 14 dead and 46 wounded.
On 13 March the PAVN launched a mortar attack on LZ 3 Tango in the Plei Trap, hitting it with over 300 rounds, killing 1 US soldier, wounding 87 and damaging 25 vehicles.
On 16 March the 2nd Brigade air-assaulted into the area of Plei Doc (14.019°N 107.41°E), approximately 15 kilometres northwest of the Đức Cơ Camp. As the UH-1s carrying the 1-12th Infantry landed the PAVN triggered several command detonated mines destroying 1 UH-1D and damaging 7 others and killing 5 US troops and wounding 13 others. The PAVN then engaged the infantry with rifle and machine gun fire before breaking contact as US air and artillery fire was brought to bear, leaving 10 dead.
Also on 21 March a long-range reconnaissance patrol from 1-8th Infantry operating near the Cambodian border lost radio contact with its headquarters and on 22 March Companies A and B 1-8th Infantry were sent to locate them. The US companies encountered a Battalion of the PAVN 95B Regiment and withstood several assaults before the PAVN withdrew into Cambodia leaving 136 dead. US casualties were 27 killed and 48 wounded.
With the change of focus of the operation from the Plei Trap valley to Plei Doc and believing that the PAVN had left the area, the 1st Brigade began withdrawing from the Plei Trap. On 21 March a PAVN force ambushed Company C 2-35th Infantry in the Plei Trap killing 22 Americans and wounding 53 for the loss of 18 dead. Despite this evidence of continued PAVN presence and given the oncoming rainy season, MG Peers continued the withdrawal and 1st Brigade had left the valley by 28 March replacing the 2nd Brigade in Plei Doc.
The operation finally concluded on 5 April 1967.
Operation Sam Houston appeared to end inconclusively like Operation Paul Revere IV in the same area. Total US casualties were 155 killed, while PAVN losses were 733 killed (body count).
The PAVN were always able to control the place and timing of the fighting, withdrawing to their sanctuaries in Cambodia when American pressure became too great. Most of the engagements of the operation occurred within five kilometres of the Cambodian border. Rather than keeping large forces close to the Cambodian border, MG Peers decided to move his Battalions back from the border area which going forward would be patrolled by long-range reconnaissance patrols.
The PAVN had developed effective tactics of "hugging" the US forces to reduce the effectiveness of B-52 strikes which could not take place within a safety margin of 3 kilometres of friendly positions.
During the operation the XM148 grenade launcher was field-tested and found to be difficult to load in combat, while the XM576 40mm grenade was tested and found to be very effective for jungle use.
Description This campaign was from 1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967. United States operations after 1 July 1966 were a continuation of the earlier counteroffensive campaign. Recognizing the interdependence of politicalThis campaign was from 1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967. United States operations after 1 July 1966 were a continuation of the earlier counteroffensive campaign. Recognizing the interdependence of political, economic, sociological, and military factors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that American military objectives should be to cause North Vietnam to cease its control and support of the insurgency in South Vietnam and Laos, to assist South Vietnam in defeating Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam, and to assist South Vietnam in pacification extending governmental control over its territory.
North Vietnam continued to build its own forces inside South Vietnam. At first this was done by continued infiltration by sea and along the Ho Chi Minh trail and then, in early 1966, through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). U.S. air elements received permission to conduct reconnaissance bombing raids, and tactical air strikes into North Vietnam just north of the DMZ, but ground forces were denied authority to conduct reconnaissance patrols in the northern portion of the DMZ and inside North Vietnam. Confined to South Vietnamese territory U.S. ground forces fought a war of attrition against the enemy, relying for a time on body counts as one standard indicator for measuring successful progress for winning the war.
During 1966 there were eighteen major operations, the most successful of these being Operation WHITE WING (MASHER). During this operation, the 1st Cavalry Division, Korean units, and ARVN forces cleared the northern half of Binh Dinh Province on the central coast. In the process they decimated a division, later designated the North Vietnamese 3d Division. The U.S. 3d Marine Division was moved into the area of the two northern provinces and in concert with South Vietnamese Army and other Marine Corps units, conducted Operation HASTINGS against enemy infiltrators across the DMZ.
The largest sweep of 1966 took place northwest of Saigon in Operation ATTLEBORO, involving 22,000 American and South Vietnamese troops pitted against the VC 9th Division and a NVA regiment. The Allies defeated the enemy and, in what became a frequent occurrence, forced him back to his havens in Cambodia or Laos.
By 31 December 1966, U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam numbered 385,300. Enemy forces also increased substantially, so that for the same period, total enemy strength was in excess of 282,000 in addition to an estimated 80,000 political cadres. By 30 June 1967, total U.S. forces in SVN had risen to 448,800, but enemy strength had increased as well.
On 8 January U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched separate drives against two major VC strongholds in South Vietnam-in the so-called "Iron Triangle" about 25 miles northwest of Saigon. For years this area had been under development as a VC logistics base and headquarters to control enemy activity in and around Saigon. The Allies captured huge caches of rice and other foodstuffs, destroyed a mammoth system of tunnels, and seized documents of considerable intelligence value.
In February, the same U.S. forces that had cleared the "Iron Triangle", were committed with other units in the largest allied operation of the war to date, JUNCTION CITY. Over 22 U.S. and four ARVN battalions engaged the enemy, killing 2,728. After clearing this area, the Allies constructed three airfields; erected a bridge and fortified two camps in which CIDG garrisons remained as the other allied forces withdrew.