Johnson, Wilbert Hershell, SGT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1965, 11B10, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Airmobile) /A Company
Service Years
1951 - 1965


Four Service Stripes

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Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MSG Larry Williams (Ghost Rider) to remember Johnson, Wilbert Hershell, SGT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Nov 17, 1965
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Pleiku (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
03E 082

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord 1st Cavalry Division

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal Order of The Spur Cold War Veteran

Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)/Operation Silver Bayonet I - Battle of the Ia Drang
Start Year
End Year

Operation Silver Bayonet I (9 to 18 November) On 9 November, the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and conducted Operation Silver Bayonet I. Its mission was to set up targets for B-52 airstrikes.

The 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade was ordered to switch the operational direction from west to east as if it had lost track of the enemy positions. The B3 Field Front felt for the subterfuge and decided to commence staging for the second attack of the Pleime camp. On 11 November, its three Regiments were ordered to go in assembly areas for reorganization, re-equipment and rehearsals in preparation for the attack set for 16 November.(19) These troop concentrations in assembly areas became available for B-52 airstrike. The J3 Chief/MACV was notified to set the B-52 airstrike in motion. The first wave of bombs would be dropped at a location about 7 and a half kilometers west of LZ X-Ray and the time over target (TOT) was set for 16 hours of 15 November. On 12 November, the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to get ready to be inserted at Chu Pong massif as a diversionary maneuver. On 13 November, as some recon elements and transportation units of the NVA B3 Field Front had already moved out of their assembly areas, the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to be inserted at the eastern foot of Chu Pong massif and to conduct an operation to at least 15 November with the intention to lure the B3 Field Front to delay the movement of troops out of the assembly areas to a later date than the TOT.(23) On 14 November, some assault elements of the NVA B3 Field Front started moving out of their assembly areas. At 10:48 hours, the lead elements of the 1/7 Air Cavalry arrived at the LZ X-Ray following a 30 minute bombardment of artillery, aerial rockets, and air strikes. The insertion point was located about 200 meters from the position of the 9th Battalion belonging to the NVA 66th Regiment. The B3 Field Front took the bait and decided to attack the new threat with two battalions - the 7th and the 9th belonging to the 66th Regiment - while ordering the 32nd and the 33rd to hold their positions in their respective assembly areas. The 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade reacted by a sending in a reinforcement comprising the 2/7th and the 2/5th Air Cavalry Battalions, which closed in at 9:10 hours and at 12:05 hours on 15 November respectively. The safety of the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was further beefed up by a "ring of steel" of artillery and by a round the clock air attacks on every route in and out of the landing zone to interdict the 32nd and 33rd Regiments from joining in the fight. The B-52 airstrike entered in action at 16:00 hours and carpet bombed the positions of the 33rd and 32nd Regiments for the 15 and 16 November. The 1/7th Air Calvary Battalion left LZ X-Ray at noon of 16 November, replaced by the 2/7th and the 2/5th. In the morning of 17 November, these two battalions abandoned LZ X-Ray by foot toward LZ Albany and LZ Columbus respectively in a tactical maneuver to "grab the tiger by its tail in another direction"(5) allowing to carpet bombing the positions of units of the 66th Regiment remaining in the vicinity of LZ X-Ray. The Air Cavalry troops suffered heavy casualties at LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany because the enemy tactics had relied mostly on "human waves".

The B-52 airstrike continued for another two days all over the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex from west to east rendering the heavy canopy area ineffective for concealment and cover. II Corps intelligence estimated the action of the B-52 airstrikes had rendered 2/3 of the enemy force ineffective. The remnants of the NVA forces' escape route to Cambodia was reduced to a narrow corridor along the Ia Drang
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
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To Year
Last Updated:
Feb 26, 2013
Personal Memories
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
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  158 Also There at This Battle:
  • Bayer, Lawrence, LTC, (1955-1989)
  • Bowers, James, MAJ, (1960-1980)
  • COOK, JAMES, MSG, (1955-1976)
  • Denton, Jack, SGT, (1964-1967)
  • Gilreath, Larry, 1SG, (1951-1972)
  • Gonzalez Jr., Guadalupe, CPL, (1964-1966)
  • Hart, John, CW4, (1958-1984)
  • Marm, Walter Joseph, COL, (1964-1995)
  • Marshall, Patrick, SFC, (1962-1999)
  • Miller, Robert David, SSG, (1962-1982)
  • Moore, Harold, LTG, (1945-1977)
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