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The following CONFIDENTIAL report was classified as Group 4.  It was downgraded at three-year intervals and declassified after 12 years.  It provides a 19-hour chronology of combat operations involving South Vietnamese Regional Forces personnel and the U.S. Army Advisors that were supporting them.  LT Theodore F. Sas, an advisor with Advisory Team 88, MAT-91, was killed during this operation.


Giong Trom Operation 14-15 Feb 1970

I.  Intelligence Data.

     a.  Area to the west and southwest of Giong Trom District towns is currently held as the operational area of the D-263 and 516-A VC Bns.  The D-263, which is believed to be comprised primarily of NVA troops, consists of approximately 200 men.  The 516-A Bn is rated and has a strength of about 250 men.  Both battalions are equipped with 75 mm RR, 82mm mortars and 12.7 AA guns in addition to small arms.

     b.  The terrain is characterized by sparse vegetation with occasional clusters of cocoanut groves.  The enemy has made excellent usage of existing conditions by placing his revetments in places most advantageous for a defense.  Current visual reconnaissance of the area reveals many well camouflaged bunkers and gun emplacements.

II.  Listing of Events.

Time     Event

0945     MAJ O'Dell received air lift package consisting of 1 C&C, 3 
             gunships, and 6 slicks.  Proceeded to Giong Trom to select LZs.

1030     First lift complete at LZ1, XS 601184, cold LZ.

1045     Second lift complete at LZ1, XS 601184, cold LZ.

1100     Third lift complete at LZ1, XS 601184, cold LZ.  This is the final
             lift for the 1st landing zone.  The 103 RF, 589 RF, RF plt
             consisting of 1 squad from 529, 532, 536, LD 39, and advisors 
             from Giong Trom were inserted.

1115     First lift complete at LZ2, XS 588174, cold LZ.

1130     Second lift complete at LZ2, XS 588174, cold LZ.

1220     Third lift complete at LZ2, XS588174, cold LZ.  855 RF, 258 RF,
             and MAT 22 were inserted.  307 RF, 298 RF, 255 RF, LD13, and
             MAT 91 are reserve elements standing by at Ben Tre airfield.

1240     589 RF company and PF plt in contact at XS 611189 with
             estimated 2 platoons VC.  Swamp Fox 19 went to contact area
             and had negative sighting.  At approximately 1300H contact was
             broken, negative results.

1520     589 RF company and PF plt in heavy contact at XS 618176 with
             estimated company of VC.  Swamp Fox 19 was over area and
             received ground fire.  One round hit the flap motor and he had to
             leave station.

1530     TOC called 7th Division TOC and requested gunships and C&C.
             Called Vung Tau and requested Black Pony support.

1535     103 RF and LD 39 in heavy contact at XS 616183.  They were
             trying to maneuver in support of the 589 RF company.

1535     TOC requested standard lift package from DTOC.  Alerted
             reserve forces to get ready to insert.

1540     Vietnamese Field CP lost radio contact with the 589 RF
             company.  Swamp Fox 11 over contact area.  Was informed
             by 7th Div TOC that lift package was on the way to Ben Tre
             airfield.

1555     C&C and guns directed to pick up MAJ O'Dell, S-3 advisor
             and counterpart.  Rest of package going to Ben Tre airfield.

1558     103 RF and LD 39 have broken contact.

1615     Black Pony was diverted by DMAC.

1640     C&C ship reported sighting 35-40 bodies on ground, presumed
             to be friendly.

1655     First lift of the reserve force inserted (235 RF, 298 RF, 307
             RF, LD 13, and MAT 91) at XS 605183, cold LZ. 

1710     LD 13 in light contact, gunships suppressed the fire,
             negative results.

1715     Second lift complete at XS 605183, cold LZ.

1725     Gunships took fire north of landing zone, put in strike with
             negative known results.

1725     Giong Trom reports they have 10 RF WIA.

1810     Third and final insertion complete, cold LZ.

1815     (est) 7th Div TOC advised by LL that 10th Regt was going
             to insert troops in support of the sector operation.

1830     Air Package released to 10th Regt.

1830     (est) 7th Div TOC advised by LL that plan for 10th Regt to
             support the sector operation was changed.  10th Regt was
             not going into the Giong Trom area.

1855     MAT 91 has light contact at XS 603177, 1 VC KIA.  Contact
             broken at 1900.

1903     103 RF, and LD 39 has heavy contact at XS 614180.  Stated
             they were surrounded and requested to be extracted.

1905     TOC requested gunships and Black Pony from Div TOC.

1915     LTC Andrews talked to DSA of 7th Div.  Explained the
             situation and asked for insertion of Division forces.  DSA
             stated he would try to get the air cav package and would
             assist in any way possible.

1920     Contact was broken.  Black Pony on the way to the area.

1945     Black Pony on station over area.

2030     Black Pony having difficulties locating friendly units.

2050     Black Pony leaving area, could not put in strike due to
             situation on ground.  Could not identify all friendly units.

2055     TOC requested Night Killer Team from Div TOC.

2105     Results at this time are:  11 RF KIA, 15 RF WIA, and 13
             RF MIA.

2110     Field CP moving to Giong Trom District town.

2130     Night locations:  103, LD 39, Giong Trom Advisors at
             XS 615173; 589, 235, 307, 298, PF plt, LD 13, and MAT 91
             XS 608180.

2140     Received message from Div TOC we would not be getting
             night hunter killer.

2200     Fire Dragon over the area, negative targets.

2303     MAT 91 reports a light probe from the north, negative results.

2305     TOC called Div TOC, requested SPAT to give air coverage
             over area.

2320     SPAT 19 on station over area.

2322     MAT 91 reports they received 1 round of 60mm mortar,
             1 RF WIA.

2355     TOC called Div TOC, requested 1 slick with gunships for
             0700 to resupply units in field.

0030     MAT 91 in heavy contact, 2 American advisors WIA,
             interpreter WIA, Lien Doi commander KIA.  Unknown VC
             size force with small arms, automatic weapons, and 57 RR fire.
             Fire Dragon was returning, SPAT could not locate enemy fire.
             No radio contact with MAT team.

0032     TOC called Div TOC, requested Black Pony, Night Hunter
             Killer Team, Shadow, and Vampire Flight.

0040     TOC called Div TOC, requested dust off with gunships.

0100     Mr Kotzabue and Province Chief requested troop support
             from 7th Div.

0100     Vietnamese reported 1 American had died, did not know
             identity.

0115     Shadow on station coming into contact area.

0130     Dust off on station without gunships for pick up of the
             American and Vietnamese casualties.

0215     Black Pony on station.

0220     Vietnamese TOC reported that contact lasted only
             15-20 minutes.

0250     Vietnamese report 1 US KIA, 1 US WIA, Lien Doi
             commander KIA, 5 VN WIA.

0305     Dust off complete, 1 US and 7 VN; US SFC Gary L. Proudty,
             US KIA was 1LT Theodore F. Sas.  Black Pony supported
             the dust off.  Reason for dust off delay was no American on
             ground.  Vietnamese had to build fires on ground to identify
             their positions.

0450     SPAT put in a/s at XS 582203, 3 sampans destroyed and one
             large secondary explosion.

Total Results:

Friendly
                                                                               Total
589 - 18 KIA                     LD 13 - 7 KIA                  29 KIA
         22 WIA                                  5 WIA                 36 WIA
         13 M-16 lost                  US - 1 KIA                   1 US KIA
          7 M-79 lost                            1 WIA                  1 US WIA
          2 AN/PRC 25 lost        PF - 4 KIA                 22 M-16 lost
                                                        9 WIA                  7 M-79 lost
                                                        9 M-16 lost          2 AN/PRC 25 lost

Enemy

         9 KIA
         1 machine gun
         1 pistol
         1 M-79
         1 Kilo Document
         1 Field pack

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