Tet '68:  Task Force Miracle-- the Battle for Lo Giang and CAP Echo 4

Background Information.

In January 1968, the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (USMACV) totaled
nearly 500,000 and had taken over much of the large scale unit warfare from the South
Vietnamese.  III MAF controlled allied military forces in the I Corps area of northern South
Vietnam.  The US 1st Marine Division and 51st ARVN Regiment provided protection for
the Da Nang area.  Enemy forces in the northern I Corps area were controlled directly by
the North Vietnamese.

III MAF, the US Marine command in I Corps, emphasized the small unit war in the villages.
Consequently they developed the Combined Action Program (CAP) that assigned a squad
of US Marines to a village Vietnamese Popular Forces platoon.  One of these units, CAP
Echo 4, was located in the village of Lo Giang (1) several miles south of Da Nang.
The objective of these and similar units was to create a bond with the local village
population that would sever their relationship with the guerrillas and VC infrastructure.
While the Marines emphasized these small unit relations, the MACV forces were directed
at defeating the enemy's main forces.  The battle for Lo Giang conducted by the US Army
soldiers from the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry and the attempted relief and eventual extraction
of the Marines at CAP Echo 4 demonstrated the relationship between these two very
different approaches to the war.

The 1968 TET Offensive begins.

On 27 Jan 68, the Communists announced their seven day cease fire for Tet 1968.  Several
days later, however, they launched the largest offensive of the war.  Attacks began in the
Da Nang area on 30 Jan 68.  At 0230 sappers attacked the III MAF compound in Da Nang.
About one hour later, enemy forces attacked the I Corps headquarters complex in Hoa Vang.

The following extract from the official US Marine Corps history shows the following:

"Under cover of darkness, elements of the VC R-20th and V-25th Battalions had crossed the
Cau Do River.  With covering fire provided by 81mm and 82mm mortars, about a reinforced
company reached the I Corps headquarters compound actually located within the city of Da
Nang just outside the northern perimeter of the main air base. The fighting within the compound
continued until daylight. After their breaching of the outer defenses, the enemy squad fired B-40
rockets at the headquarters building, but then fought a delaying action, waiting for reinforcements.
These reinforcements never came. The bulk of the enemy attack force remained in Hoa Vang
Village bogged down in a firefight with local PF and Regional Force troops reinforced by a
Combined Action platoon, E-3."

"At Da Nang, on the 30th, the fighting did not subside with the coming of daylight. Elements of
the VC R-20th and local force units which participated in the attack on Hoa Vang and I Corps
headquarters attempted to escape the dragnet of Marine and ARVN forces. While the 1st MP
Battalion supported by the 1st Tank Battalion established blocking positions north of the Cau
Do River, the ARVN 3d Battalion, 51st Regiment swept the sector south of the river. Caught
east of the Cam La Bridge and Route l, on a small island formed by the convergence of the Cau
Do, a small tributary of the river, and the Vien Dien River, the VC turned to fight.   A Combined
Action platoon at 0830 saw a number of VC attempting to swim across the Cau Do to the island."

In the fighting that followed, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and ARVN force managed to kill
102 NVA and VC by use of artillery and tactical air strikes in the vicinity of Lo Giang (2) on
30 Jan 68.  Many of the enemy were killed as they attempted to cross the Cau Do River.

[Details about the attacks of Da Nang and Hoa Vang are found at this link.]

[Looking south at the ferry crossing vic BT 033733 on the Cau Do River east of Hoa Vang,
approximately 2 km. southeast of the Da Nang airfield.  This 1968 photo was taken by Mike
"Tiny" Readinger (CAP Echo 2 and HQ) several months before the TET offensive and is almost
a shot of the exact path taken by the NVA.  The village of Lo Giang and CAP Echo 4 were located
about 2 km south of the river.]

On 31 Jan 68, Communist forces launched major attacks in 39 province capitals throughout
the country, and in Saigon and Hue.  On the night of 2-3 Feb 68 28 122mm rockets fell on
Da Nang.  Elsewhere in I Corps, ground attacks on the Marine garrison at  Khe Sanh
began on 5 Feb 68.  On 7 Feb 68, the daring and successful attack by NVA forces at the
Lang Vei Special Forces camp west of Khe Sanh captured world wide media attention.
That attack featured the use of NVA PT 76 light armored tanks.  The Marines at Khe Sanh
refused to come to the aid of US Special Forces soldiers who were being overrun by the
enemy armor.

On 7 Feb 68, the MACV commander, General Westmoreland, called for a meeting with
the III MAF commander, General Cushman.  Concerned that III MAF had not reacted
properly to the Lang Vei episode and that inadequate precautions had been taken to
defend Da Nang, General Westmoreland ordered the Americal Division to supply several
infantry battalions to bolster the defenses south of Da Nang.   III MAF planners decided to
utilize a two battalion Army task force in the northern sector of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
near highway QL1 just south of the Cau Do River.  Task Force Miracle, as the force came
to be named, was formed by the 1st Bn 6th Inf (198th Lt Inf Bde) and 2nd Bn 1st Inf (196th
Lt Inf Bde) from the Americal Division.]

The 1st Battalion 6th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division moves north.

At 1515 hours on 7 Feb 68, the 1st Bn 6th Inf was ordered to provide two
infantry  companies and a command element as soon as possible to III MAF in Da Nang.
Alpha Company, 1st Bn, 6th Inf (A/1-6) previously had been designated as the "sixty minute
alert company," tasked with reinforcing units elsewhere in Vietnam.  By 1630 hours they were
at LZ Gator south of Chu Lai and ready to move to Da Nang.  At 1735 the 131 men of
Alpha company under the command of CPT Francis X. Brennan arrived at LZ 410, located
at AT 991678.  They were greeted by the commander of the marine unit at that location who
was under the operational control of the 1st Marine Division.  The move had happened so
rapidly that  "their presence left [the commander and staff of LZ 410] at a loss."  Only
sketchy information about enemy activity was available.  The 1st Bn 6th Inf commander,
LTC William J. Baxley Jr. evaluated the situation and ordered his two available infantry
companies to move into locations just south of the Cau Do River.

A/1-6 received their orders and moved out at 2200 hours.  By 080155 Feb 68 they had arrived at
their night defensive position (NDP) BT 022714 approximately 400 m. east of the Cam Le Bridge.
The 128 men of Co. C. 1st Bn 6th Inf (C/1-6) under CPT Max D. Bradley were only a hours
behind, and closed on their NDP at  BT 005694 by 080215 Feb 68.  The plan was for both
companies to move from their NDPs to the small bridge at BT 025719 and then to conduct search
and destroy missions on the island formed by the Cau Do, a tributary of the river, and the Vien Dien
River with center of mass for the operations at BT 035725.

Extract of map from the US Army After Action Report provided by Tom Hall (1/6 Inf 1967-68)
Map sheets 6641-3 (Da Nang) and 6640-4 (Dai Loc) meet between the 70 and 71 gird lines.

View of the Da Nang airfield and base complex looking northward across the Cau Do River.
Highway QL1 is visible as it approaches the Cam Le Bridge at the left of the photo.  The island
in the Cau Do River near  the center of the photo provided a fording site for the VC during their
attack on 30 Jan 68.  The tree line just visible along the extreme bottom edge of the photo directly
below the Cam Le Bridge concealed more than 1,000 NVA troops that were only 3,000 m. from
the end of the airfield at Da Nang.  On 8 Feb 68, the soldiers from A/1-6 Inf moved southward
across the rice paddy area toward the enemy concealed in the tree line.  This photo, taken from
about 4,000 ft almost directly above Lo Giang, was provided by Mike Readinger

The Battle for Lo Giang and CAP Echo 4.

Enemy activity began anew early the morning of 8 Feb 68.  At 0345 hours, enemy mortar
rounds fell into the CAP Echo 4 compound vic BT 028704 near Lo Giang.  By daylight, enemy
ground forces surrounded the CAP hamlet.  At 0602 hours, the fourteen men at the location
under the command of SGT B. Keith Cossey received heavy small arms fire from BT 027699.
Four NVA killed in the action were found to be armed with CS grenades.  All friendly units
in the area were alerted of the enemy gas attack capabilities.  The defenders at CAP Echo 4
had expended most of their ammunition, but rearmed themselves with enemy weapons and

As daylight arrive over the area, a OV-1 "bird dog" aircraft detected approximately 400
persons on the ground in the vicinity of Lo Giang.   The aerial observer could not determine
whether the soldiers were enemy or friendly before they disappeared under the canopy of trees
in the area..  Such brazen daylight moves by large enemy forces were a rarity.  The information
about the large number of suspected enemy soldiers was not communicated to the 1st Bn 6th
Inf soldiers in the vicinity of Lo Giang.

At first light, the local "coke kids" found the soldiers of C/1-6 near BT 005 694 and began
trying to sell soft drinks.  One of them not only recognized the 198th Inf Bde shoulder patch,
but said "198th, you come fast."  In view of the attack on the Marines at CAP Echo 4, C/1-6
was ordered to move from its NDP location and to advance to the northeast toward the
Lo Giang village at BT 025705.

Because of the size of the attack against CAP Echo 4, Marines from adjacent CAP units and
the CAP headquarters north of the Cao Do formed a reaction force under CPT Howard L.
Joselane to come to their aid.  One of the Marine volunteers in the force, SGT Dennis W.
Hammond, had less than three weeks to go before returning to the States, but stated that this
was his "last chance" to accomplish something.  The relief force was taken by truck across the
Cam Le Bridge and south on QL1 to the vic BT 016698 where they started toward Echo 4.

At 0826 hours, A/1-6 received small arms fire from BT 026705.  They also observed large
numbers of civilians fleeing to the northeast from Lo Giang village.  Having received the proper
clearance, they began firing 81mm mortar rounds into the outskirts of the village. As C/1-6
began to crossed highway QL1 near BT 016698 at 0940 hours, automatic weapons from
enemy soldiers located in the pagoda at BT 022724 passed over their heads and increased
as they advanced.  The enemy fire, however, may have directed at the Marine relief force who
was much closer to the village.

As the CAP relief force under CPT Joselane that had been attempting to reinforce CAP Echo 4
approached the tree line on the west end of Lo Giang, they suddenly came under intense fire
at close range.  They sought shelter in a drainage ditch just outside the tree line.  Shortly after
the attack began, they were overwhelmed by large numbers of VC and NVA.  They radioed
for help and then a short time later announced that they were being overrun.  Capt Joselane's
last words over the radio were "they're all over us....no way out.  Don't send anyone
else in here...tell my wife I love her." Thirteen marines in the relief force were killed by
the enemy.  Some of the Marines were bayoneted as they lay wounded.

Three Marines, including SGT Hammond, were captured by the NVA as POWs, but one later
managed to escape.  [SGT Hammond later died in captivity.]  One Marine, although badly
wounded, miraculously survived due to the magnanimity of a NVA radio operator who spared
his life.  The Marine had befriended the NVA soldier earlier while on a CAP mission.   The
NVA soldier had pretended to be a  Vietnamese peasant who needed food and medical attention.
[Note:  The harrowing nature of the ordeal suffered by the Marines in the relief force and their
incredible bravery has been spelled out in detail in an excellent story prepared by Mike "Tiny"
Readinger that can be found on the Marine CAP web site.  Those few brave Marines in the
aborted relief effort did not stand a chance against a numerically superior NVA force that would
practically overrun two platoons of A Co/1-6 Inf only a short time later. Their efforts, however,
provided hope to the beleaguered CAP defenders and forced the NVA to shift their attention
away from CAP Echo 4.]

[This photo by Mike "Tiny" Readinger probably was taken in  December 1967 at BT 016 706 looking
eastward toward the village of Lo Giang.   At the time of the battle on 8 Feb 68, the rice fields were
about a foot tall.  Soldiers from A/1-6 Inf advanced from near the trees on the left  behind the sign and
crossed the rice fields in the distance toward the far side (i.e. north side) of the tree line visible on the
right side of photo.  Enemy mortars near a pagoda just to the right of this photo shelled them in the
open as the attempted to advance across the fields.  Marble Mountain is in the distance.  CAP Echo 4
is located down the path/road about 800m through the village.  The bodies of the valiant Marine relief
force were found to the right of this photo, in a drainage ditch just short of the tree line.  It is believed
that Marine medivac helicopters landed on the path/road to evacuate the wounded from C/1-6].

In the meantime, CPT Bradley (C/1-6) sent his 2nd platoon forward toward the village.  One squad
was to move into the village to determine where the NVA soldiers were located.  They crossed the
ditch several hundred meters from where the bodies of the Marine relief force were later found and
noticed a LAW pointed down the ditch as a booby trap.  They blew it in place with grenades.  At
about 1015 hours they spotted three NVA soldiers running away into the village.  They wounded
and then caught one who was trying to escape down into a tunnel. He was dressed in a khaki
uniform, had been hit in the shoulder and arm, and was pleading for medical help.

Just as they were attempting to question him, "all hell broke loose" as the NVA opened fire from 50 m.
or less.  Several NVA snipers were cleverly concealed in the tall trees that were devoid of limbs or
vegetation for the first thirty feet of trunk.   The squad leader was hit immediately, and then the medic
(PFC Walter R. Pratt) was mortally wounded.  Four more were wounded by 1100 hours.  The
unit was pinned down in the rice paddy area west of Lo Giang, while their platoon in the village
was under continuous attack.

Meanwhile, the enemy attack on CAP Echo 4 continued in earnest.  The Marines in the small
fortified position near the village of Lo Giang (1) reported that they were under heavy attack by
large numbers of NVA soldiers.  Although badly outnumbered, the CAP Echo 4 defenders
were fortified with bunkers and wire entanglements.

[1968 photo of the southern portion of the perimeter at CAP Echo 4 provided by Mike "Tiny"
Readinger, who was at the CAP Echo headquarters as an RTO during the battle.  His story on
the CAP web site contains detailed information about the incredible difficulties faces by the CAP

Because of the intense automatic weapons fire and mortar rounds that inflicted many casualties,
C/1-6 was unable to advance toward Lo Giang.  In the meantime, Company B, 1st Bn 6th Inf,
under the command of CPT Dan A. Prather, had been flown north from LZ Gator near Chu Lai
and had arrived south of Da Nang at LZ 410 at 1050 hours.  At 1132 hours they were ordered
to move by truck to BT 015695 and to link up with the Marines under attack at CAP Echo 4.

Company G, 2nd Bn 3rd Marines, from LZ 410, was on the right flank of B/1-6 Inf as
they moved toward CAP Echo 4.  The Marines killed 7 NVA as they advanced.  At 081510
Feb however, they were released to their parent unit and moved to the east of the Vinh Diem
River to search for a reported 1,000 man NVA force.  [The next day Companies G and F
of 2nd Bn 3rd Marines killed 107 NVA at BT 031698].

Approximately 1500 meters to the northeast, the combat action near A/1-6 was increasing.
At 1132 hours, the soldiers began receiving heavy automatic weapons fire from BT 025706.
A/1-6 reported receiving additional automatic weapons fire at 1136 hours.  Their mortar
fire into the village paid off with secondary explosions.  At 1233 hours, CPT Brennan
decided to "check out the village" and told his forward observer to have a fire mission
"laid on the village" as they prepared to attack.  In an audio tape he prepared in Feb 68,
CPT Brennan described the action in his own words:

"I put two of my rifle platoons on a skirmish line, followed by the CP group
centered on the two platoons and a platoon held in reserve trailing the CP group
by 100 meters. ...The two platoons on line covered a width of approximately
200 meters.  The configuration was 2nd Platoon on the left (East) side and
3rd Platoon on the right (West) side and the 1st Platoon trailing in reserve.
The weapons platoon went into action [from the cover of the NDP position in the
graveyard at BT 023710]."

This photograph looking westward shows the terrain between A/1-6 and the enemy concealed to
their south.  The entire area they crossed was flat and was covered by rice crops over a foot tall.  To
their front (i.e. southward) and along a northeast-southwest line running from BT 029708 to a pagoda at
BT 021704 was a tree line.  The northwestern corner of that tree line is shown at the extreme left
of the above photo provided by Don Kaiser (A/1-6 Inf).  [The graveyard where the mortars deployed
is just to the right of this photo.]  It was along this tree line that the enemy was thought to
be deployed.  Unknown to them was an 18" tall rice paddy dike about 100 meters north of and
paralleling the trees.  The enemy soldiers, who had apparently observed the skirmish line approaching
the woods, low crawled out into the field and hid behind the dike.  The soldiers later stated that
they were "astonished" that the VC were so well concealed by the rice and small dikes.

As the soldiers of  A/1-6 Inf moved southward, they came under heavy mortar fire about 110 meters
from the trees.  At the same time, they came under a tremendous volume of enemy rocket,
machine gun, RPG, and rifle fire from the dike only ten to twenty meters away.  A furious fight began as
the NVA soldiers charged across the field.  The officers and men of A/1-6 later reported that the
enemy leaders were easily identifiable as they were moving behind groups of seven to ten men using
hand and arm signals to direct their units.  In CPT Brennan's words:

"A Company was flanked on both sides by at least an NVA company on each
side and was sustaining a frontal assault by another NVA company.  The
enemy assault element was on line, advancing in a crouched firing position
from the northwest wood line at the village.  The flank enemy elements were
attempting to link up at our rear, thus encircling [the unit]."

In a matter of seconds A Co. and two companies of a unit positively identified as the
60th Main Force Viet Cong Battalion (60% to 70% NVA soldiers), First NVA Regiment
2nd NVA Division with the 370th Hqs Company, were in a hand to hand battle in the
rice paddies immediately north of Lo Giang (1).  During the initial heavy contact, A Co.
killed 78 NVA soldiers and suffered 10 KHA and 22 WHA.

The second platoon leader, 2LT Bowman, was killed in the fight, but subsequently received
the nation's second highest decoration for valor--the Distinguished Service Cross.  At one
point, CPT Brennan received a call from the second platoon radio telephone operator
(RTO) who thought 2LT Bowman was dead:

"The second platoon RTO called in a state of near panic.  He said the enemy
were crawling directly to his rear and each flank."

CPT Brennan observed that "The proximity of the enemy fire was approximately
ten to twenty meters at times.  The enemy was attempting to intermingle with
my troops having cut off our route of withdrawal."  He concluded that the
"only hope left for the company was to pull back to the mortar position and
to reorganize."

This photo of the cemetery at BT 026 710 (400 m.directly north of the tree line at Lo Giang) was
taken by Alan Allen (A/1-6) on the day of the battle.  Photo is looking westward past the clump
of trees toward Cam Le Bridge and Freedom Hill in the background.  The A/1-6  mortars were
located near this position and fired to support the assault on the tree line to the south.

At 1415 hours, on the west side of Lo Giang, the platoon from C/1-6 inside the village popped
smoke on both sides of their position..  Eight sorties of tactical air support arrived from the 1st
Marine Air Wing.  The bombs and other mixed ordnance blunted the continuing NVA attack.
The men from C/1-6 in the western part of the village dragged their dead and wounded out and
low crawled back across the paddies toward the highway.  At some point, Marine medivac
helicopters were able to land on a large dike that ran perpendicular to the road and toward the
village.  All six soldiers were dusted off by Marine helicopters, and the accompanying gun ships
remained to provided additional fire support.

After the air strikes, the NVA resumed their assault from the northern side of Lo Giang, but the
defenses of A/1-6 held.  Seventy four additional NVA were killed in the open.  At 1500 hours,
CPT Brennan was wounded, along with his two RTOs.  Both radios were destroyed and
communications were lost with the battalion headquarters.  PFC Victor Girling, an artillery
reconnaissance sergeant, bandaged one of the RTOs and dragged him in a low crawl 300 m.
back to the graveyard.

Not all the combat action had been confined to A/1-6.  C/1-6 continued to be subjected to
rifle fire and heavy automatic weapons fire.  As CPT Bradley (C/1-6) assembled his
platoon leaders to plan their next move,  the unit came under a severe mortar barrage and all
the officers were wounded.  At 1530 hours were subjected to an intense mortar attack at
BT 018698.  By late afternoon they had suffered 2 KIA and 28 WHA (including all officers)
as they tried to move toward Lo Giang.  Abandoning their rucksacks and packs, the soldiers
moved out of the area and to the west of the highway away from the precise targeting
of the enemy mortars.

Company B, 1st Bn 6th Inf also ran into significant enemy resistance on the southwest side
of  Lo Giang.  At 1450 hours as they tried to move through the village and toward the CAP
Echo 4 location, they came under small arms fire at BT 022694.  At 1532 hours they
were subjected to a heavy enemy mortar barrage. In regard to the enemy mortar fire,
CPT Prather's said:

"[t]he simple fact that we were operating in a wet rice paddy saved a lot of lives.
Rounds buried themselves before detonating....[The mortar rounds] hit right
behind us within 5 to 10 feet, but they went down in the mud so far that all it
did was spray our entire backs with mud and absolutely no shrapnel."

By 1615 hours they finally located the enemy mortar position, and pounded it with their
own mortars.  The soldiers hugged the dikes very closely and were able to crawl into good
fighting positions.  The enemy soldiers got up out of their fighting positions and formed on
line to assault the Americans.  As CPT Prather related:

"That became the downfall of the main [enemy] force in doing that, in that we
were hidden pretty well behind the dikes.  We just cut them apart....I thought it
strange looking up and seeing these people coming and thinking, my God, they're
on line for an assault."

Eventually the Americans counter-attacked and overran the enemy mortar position at
BT 023697.  They killed 30 NVA at a loss of only 2 soldiers WHA.

Fortunately, the Marines at CAP Echo 4 did not have to wait on the arrival of  B/1-6 Inf.
According to the official Marine historical accounts, they had managed "to hold out against
overwhelming odds."  At 1550 hours they were extracted by air.

At 1615 hours, PFC Girling reestablished radio contact for A/1-6, and gave the battalion
headquarters the first word of the company's situation.  While he coordinated artillery and
gunship strikes, the soldiers had consolidated their position in the cover of the cemetery at
BT 022713.  Up to that point, fourteen were known to have been killed, and another 35
wounded.  CPT Brennan was evacuated by helicopter, and 2LT William B. Wendover
assumed command of the unit.

Because of the losses and reduced strength of A/1-6, Co E, 1st Bn 6th Inf (E/1-6) was
ordered to move from LZ 410 to help consolidate their defenses with A/1-6 Inf at
BT 022712.  Co C/1-6 also moved into their position at BT 014697.  The confirmed enemy
body count at that time was as follows:  A - 207; B - 37; C-14; G (Marines)- 8.  Ninety
percent of the enemy had full web gear, including combat packs.  Several had been armed
with CS or WP grenades that exploded in a cloud when they were struck by buckshot or
bullets.  Over 100 enemy weapons were counted by A Co alone.

It should be noted that until 081430 Feb 68, the 1st Bn 6th Inf commander did not have a command
and control (C&C) helicopter at his disposal.  When it finally arrived it was used for two hours for
medivac and resupply.  A/1-6 had 28 WIA and C/1-6 had 17 WIA.  The C&C helicopter pilots
were WO1 Edward A. Fitzsimmons and 1LT David R. Ewing of the "Minutemen", 176th Assault
Helicopter Company.  They flew 21 sorties into the battlefield, evacuated 31 wounded, and
resupplied all companies.  To quote the official After Action Report:

"[w]ithout the courage and skill of Mr. Fitzsimmons and LT Ewing it is doubtful if all
the wounded would have been evacuated prior to darkness on the night of 8 Feb 1968."

The aftermath.

From 082011 to 090705 Feb 68, all elements of 1st Bn 6th Inf reported no nighttime enemy activity
on the battlefield.  Unfortunately this was not true for the lone remaining survivor of the CAP 4 relief
force.  He was searched and kicked several times while he played dead from his multiple wounds.
He was discovered alive the next morning by Marines from the CAPs near Hoa Vang.

[Red numbers show approximate locations where NVA equipment, supplies, and bodies were found.]

The next morning Co A and E began conducting a sweep of the Lo Giang area.  While moving through
the battlefield Co E/1-6 Inf continually reported evidence of blood trails and paths through the rice
where the NVA dragged away their dead and wounded.1  Near a pagoda at BT 022704 Co A/1-6
fount 43 NVA bodies with web gear and packs that had not previously been counted.2  At the same
location they found 52 Chicom grenades, 1500 rounds of ammunition, and the two damaged PRC-25
radios that had captured from A/1-6 the previous day. Co A/1-6 had pounded the area near the
pagoda with mortar and automatic weapons fire the previous afternoon.

1968 photo of the path leading through Lo Giang to CAP Echo 4 provided by Mike "Tiny" Readinger
(CAP Echo 1968) [readincm@earthlink.net]  The dense vegetation in and around Lo Giang and
CAP Echo 4 provided ample concealment for the NVA as shown in the photo above.  Search and
destroy sweeps by 1-6 Inf troops after the battle revealed that large numbers of NVA troops had
occupied practically every portion of the cover.

At 0930 hours C/1-6 Inf found three LAWs, one M60 MG and a box of documents at BT 022688.4
At the same time, B/1-6 found a missing soldier from C Co and the remains of another MIA.One
or more of the dead Americans were found with their hand tied behind them, shot in the head.

At BT 025706 Company A and E/1-6 found two large piles of mixed NVA and American equipment.
The piles were approximately four feet high and twelve feet in diameter.6  Most of the equipment was
NVA.  At  1210 hours, C/1-6 Inf found the bodies of seven NVA soldiers with web gear and green
uniforms from the 370th Hqs Co of the 1st NVA Regiment. At 1025 E/1-6 reported from Lo Giang
that they found the remains of four soldiers from A/1-6 who had been reported as MIA the previous
day.7 At 1230 hours, B/1-6 found the bodies of four NVA soldiers from the 60th Bn, 1st NVA
Regiment, 2nd NVA Division at BT 027699.8  At 1435 E/1-6 located 1 M-1 rifle, two M-1 carbines,
one RPG MG, 50 Chicom grenades, several sets of NVA web gear, and one NVA gas mask at
BT 025705.  It was obvious that the enemy had been soundly defeated as it was unlike the NVA
or VC to abandon bodies, weapons, and equipment on the battlefield.

The 1st Bn 6th Inf units continued to search the battlefield for signs of the enemy on 10 and 11 Feb 68.
At 100828 Feb 68, Co C/1-6 found eight NVA bodies soldiers with an AK47 rifle at BT 030706.9
One of the bodies, thought to be Chinese, was determined by MI personnel and a medical team
to be ethnic Noung.  Cos E and A/1-6 moved into the Then Khue village area after CH47 aircraft
came under fire from that area.  They found two LAWs (light antitank weapons), one expended, at
 BT 035716. 10 Co C/1-6 found nine additional NVA bodies in brown uniforms with web gear and
AK47 magazines in the vicinity of BT 026703.11 By the  evening of 10 Feb 68, it was evident that
the TF Miracle area of operations was cleared of NVA and Main Force VC forces.  Nevertheless,
significant discoveries of weapons and ammunition continued.

At 111100 Feb 68, C/1-6 found four prepared mortar position and four 82mm mortar
rounds in the hamlet of Co Man at BT 025687 that had been used to mortar A Co during the battle
for Lo Giang.12 Thirty minutes later they found a 4'x4' box of green uniforms, a brief case full of
documents, and a trench system with fire lanes and fighting positions.13 E/1-6 found two RPG MG,
flares, 24 Chicom grenades, NVA pistol belts, canteens and a gas mask near BT 022709.14  At
BT 025694 C/1-6 found 29 Chicom grenades, 8 RPG rockets with boosters, 1 AK47 rifle with
4 magazines, and one Winchester 12 ga. shotgun.15  At 111145 Feb 68, A/1-6 found a hugh
amount of ammunition on the eastern side of the Lo Giang hamlet.16  This included 240 60mm mortar
rounds, 48 M-26 grenades, 576 12 ga. shotgun shells, 50 claymore mines, 3,500 round of .45 cal.
ammo, 847 cal 30 round, 2,000 rounds of AK47 ammo and 200 Chicom grenades.

Although vast quantities of enemy weapons, ammunition and equipment were discovered in the days
after the battle for Lo Giang, saturation patrolling located few live enemy soldiers. Ninety enemy
bodies were found at BT 044704 by Marine patrols.  The absence of any signs of fighting at the
location indicated that the 60th Main Force VC Battalion had retreated to the east with their dead
and wounded.

On 12 Feb 16, the 1st Bn 6th Inf had completed its mission as part of Task Force Miracle in the
defense of Da Nang.  That effort had been costly, as the 1st Bn 6th Inf lost 22 soldiers killed and 68
wounded in action.  The Marine relief force lost 12 killed, three captured as POWs [one later
escaped while the other 2 died in captivity], 1 wounded, and only 1 escaped back to CAP Echo 2.

[Note: as a historical comparison, the loss of 34 KIA in only a few hours by a battalion sized unit is
a tragedy comparable to the 36 KIA suffered by the 3rd Bn 187th Inf, 101st Abn Div, in ten days
of combat at the infamous battle for "Hamburger Hill" (Dong Ap Bia) during 10-20 May 1969.
Other Army and Marine units also suffered greatly during the Vietnam war, but the ferocity at
Lo Giang was seldom matched.]

At the end of the mission, the 1st Bn 6th Inf was extracted from the area and moved south to LZ Baldy,
where they were place under the operational control of the 3rd Bde, 4th Infantry Division to participate
in Operation Wheeler/Wallowa.

Additional information will be added to this account of the battle as it becomes available.  To
contribute additional information to this story, or to make comments, corrections, etc. please
contact wr9r@aol.com.

Note:  A memorial service was conducted in Vietnam by the 198th Infantry Brigade on 21 Sep 68
to honor those soldiers who had been killed during the first year the unit served in Vietnam.  Soldiers
from the 1st Bn 6th Inf who were killed at Lo Giang were honored at that time.  They include:
2LT Joseph B. Bowman
SGT Robert N. Carter
SP4 James S. Cerione
SP4 Ralph A. Dahm
PFC Amos H. Boutwell
PFC Robert L. Dykes, Jr. 
PFC John I. Haselbauer
PFC Brian F. Durr
PSG John R. Poso
SGT David L. McKinney
SP4 Denton A. Carrasquillo
SP4 George R. Denslow
SP4 Lanny E. Hale
SP4 Rodney P. Troyer
SP4 John L. Jervis III
PFC Walter R. Pratt
SSG Ramon H. Gonzales
SP4 James L. Lopp
SP4 James E. Parker
SP4 John A. Wilcox
SP4 Michael Pumillo*
PFC Franklin Clovis
PFC Charles E. Hodge
SP4 Pumillo was killed later in the day, after dark.
The account of the battle was prepared  by Wayne R. Johnston based on the following
information:  the 1st Bn 6th Inf Combat Action Report (Battle for Lo Giang) dated 23
February 1968 found at the USAIS Library, Ft. Benning GA; oral accounts by several
survivors of the battle; an audio tape made in February 1968 by CPT Francis X.
Brennan while he was recuperating from wounds; a US Army Military History Institute
oral history report from LTC (then CPT) Dan Prather dated 1984; Mike Readinger's story
about CAP Echo 4; the USMC publication US Marines in Vietnam, the Defining Year 1968;
several newspaper articles from the Americal Division newspaper, and a special report to
The Armored Sentinel (Fort Hood, TX) provided by Tom Hall (1-6 Inf 1967 -68); and,
the 198th Inf Bde Memorial Ceremony program (provided by Alan Allen, A/1-6 1967-68).
[This account of the battle:  Copyright 2002].

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