THE FIRST BATTALION (MECHANIZED) FIFTH INFANTRY
TWENTY-FIFTH INFANTRY DIVISION
IN THE VIET NAM WAR
1966 - 1971
1st Bn(M) 5th Infantry Society of Vietnam Combat Veterans, Inc.
| On January
03, 1969, At 0925 hours, Company B received enemy small arms fire on
Highway 7A about one kilometer north of the junction of Highway 1. The
fire was returned with unknown results. One Bobcat was wounded in the exchange.
At 1125 hours, an APC from the Recon Platoon detonated an AT mine just north of the area of Company B’s earlier contact. The APC was a combat loss.
Company C was assigned to provide security for Rome Plow operations northeast of Trang Bang. At 1555 hours a Rome Plow detonated an AT mine at XT 504216.
On January 06, 1969, Company A conducted an S&D operation northeast of Trang Bang. At 1600 hours, a small ammunition cache was located. At 1615 hours, an APC from Company A detonated an AT mine in the same area. At 1830 hours, an ambush patrol from Company A engaged an unknown number of VC, northwest of the cache site at XT 517207. One body of an enemy soldier was located in a later search of the area.
On January 07, 1969, Company B was conducting a RIF on the north side of Highway 1, about 1 kilometer northwest of the junction of highway 7A. At 1025 hours, one Bobcat from the company was wounded when a booby trapped hand grenade was tripped and detonated at XT 551177.
At 2130 hours, an ambush patrol from Company A engaged an unknown number of VC about 3 kilometers northeast of Trang Bang at XT 510210. The body of one enemy soldier with his weapon was found after the contact.
On January 09, 1969, Company B was securing Rome Plow operations one kilometer southwest of Trung Lap. At 1000 hours, an APC from Company B detonated an AT mine. One Bobcat was wounded and the APC was a combat loss. At 1030 hours, another APC from Company B detonated an AT mine in the same general area. At 1330 hours, the company received a barrage of eight 60mm mortar rounds. One Bobcat was wounded. Fire was returned with unknown results. At 1400 hours, a Rome Plow was damaged when it detonated an AT mine. At 1430 hours, members of the company engaged and killed one VC.
On January 10, 1969, Company A was conducting an S&D operation northwest of the junction of Highways 1 and 7A. At 1400 hours, one Bobcat from the company was wounded when a booby trapped hand grenade exploded at XT 559184. At 1538 hours, as the company was sweeping west, it came under small arms fire. The fire was returned with unknown results. Two Bobcats were wounded in the contact.
On January 11, 1969, an ambush patrol from Company C engaged an unknown number of VC shortly after midnight, along Highway 7A, 1 kilometer north of Highway 1. In a search of the area after the contact the bodies of four enemy soldiers were found along with weapons and equipment. One wounded VC soldier was captured.
At 1120 hours, the Scout Platoon requested a Dust-off for two injured Bobcats. The pair was wounded as they began to search a tunnel and a booby trap exploded just inside the tunnel. Both men died of their injuries later in the day.
On January 12, 1969, Company A’s night perimeter located just north of the junction of Highways 7A and 1 at XT 567173, received 16 rounds of 60mm mortar fire. The fire was returned with unknown results. One Bobcat was wounded in the incident.
On January 14, 1969, at 1755 hours, an APC from Company B detonated an AT mine on Highway 7A, one kilometer north of the Highway 1 junction. The APC was turned over by the force of the blast. One Bobcat from Company B was killed and four were wounded.
On January 17, 1969, at 1113 hours, a Bobcat from Company B detonated a hand grenade that was rigged with a trip wire and instantaneous fuse at XT 548192. He died within a few minutes of the blast. This incident occurred as the company was sweeping the area southwest of Trung Lap.
On January 18, 1969, at 0845 hours, an APC from Company C detonated an AT mine 2 kilometers northwest of Thai My at XT 513165. The vehicle was a combat loss.
At 1140 hours, another APC from Company C detonated an AT mine along Highway 7A, 2 kilometers north of the Highway 1 junction.
On January 21, 1969, Company B was assigned to sweep and clear Highway 7A from north of Trung Lap to the junction of Highway 1. At 0745 hours, the sweep was delayed until the fog lifted. The sweep was resumed and at 0806 hours, a 30 pound AT mine was located and destroyed. At 0837 hours, Company B reported that while moving through Trung Lap one vehicle hit and killed a pig. At 0939 hours, an APC from Company B detonated an AT mine on Highway 7A, one kilometer north of Highway 1 at XT 572178. The blast flipped the track over pinning one Bobcat underneath, killing him. Another Bobcat was wounded.
On January 26, 1969, at 0852 hours, a Bobcat from a flame track assigned to Company C stepped on and detonated a 30 pound AT mine. He was killed instantly and another Bobcat suffered busted eardrums from the blast. The incident occurred ½ kilometer northwest of Trung Lap at XT 585223. Two booby trapped hand grenades were located within 30 meters of the mine and were destroyed in place.
The 25th Infantry Division reported the following personnel losses for
the quarterly period of November 01, 1968 to January 31, 1969:
“Under the direction of the commanding general all available chain link
fence was issued to mecahnized units of the division. The use of chain
link fencing has long been recognized as a means of reducing the effectiveness
of RPG rounds in the protection of friendly bunkers, however little attention
has been given to tracked vehicles. It has been found that this material
can also be carried in tracked vehicles, easily installed, and provides
similar effectiveness in reducing damage. One 50 foot roll of fence, divided
into two equal lengths, seven eight foot pickets and communications wire
is all that is required to construct a “car port.” The two sections of
fence and pickets can be carried without difficulty and can be installed
within ten minutes. Sufficient chain link fence to insure one roll per
tracked vehicle and artillery piece with a 10% stockage for replacement
was made available immediately.”
On February 01, 1969, Company A was conducting a RIF operation about
4 kilometers northeast of Trang Bang. At 1450 hours, a small food cache
was located and four suspected VC were detained. At 1715 hours, one Bobcat
from the company was wounded when he detonated a booby trap. At 2240 hours,
an ambush patrol from Company A located at XT 512220 engaged 2 VC, killing
During February 1969, nineteen Bobcats died in Viet Nam.
They were: Lee E. Burnor;
Harold R. Richardson;
John W. Spafford;
P. Haegele; Arthur L. Klaus;
Christopher S. Smith; Kerry
Dale R. Jackson; Joe J. Miles;
R. Fritz; Donald H. Sisson;
On March 01, 1969, one Bobcat from Company A died in hospital from
wounds he had received in an earlier contact.
“While sweeping one area at approximately 0900 hours in the morning, the
enemy opened up with AK-47 fire. I was hit in the abdomen and both legs.
I fell to the ground and noticed two other men taking cover in a partially
destroyed house. The platoons pulled back and attempted to destroy the
positions the enemy were in. There were three positions pinning us down,
two on one side and one on the other. The platoons attempted several times
to get to us but were unable to because of the RPG and AK-47 fire coming
from the enemy positions. Soon the enemy started firing AK-47s and RPGs
at the house I was next to and the other men were in. Then all our elements
started firing on the enemy and I noticed two of the lieutenants low crawling
towards the two bunkers which were about 10 meters apart. Lt. Doane, platoon
leader of the second platoon, reached the first bunker and threw in several
grenades and also fired his M-16 into the bunker. I then saw a grenade
thrown from the next bunker and heard the yell “grenade.” I could see that
Lt. Doane had been wounded. We yelled at Lt. Doane to go back because he
couldn’t make it. But he crawled to the next bunker anyway. When he reached
it a burst of AK-47 fire came from the bunker and I could see that it had
hit Lt. Doane. He then pulled the pin of a grenade and threw himself into
the bunker. Lt. Doane had destroyed the two bunkers on one side of us,
and the platoon moved in quickly and pulled the three of us out of the
On March 28, 1969, at 1200 hours, Company A was operating north
of Trung Lap when they received small arms and RPG fire. One APC received
a minor RPG hit. Fire was returned and with the support of a helicopter
light fire team the enemy fire was suppressed. At 1830 hours, an APC from
Company A detonated an AT mine. One Bobcat was wounded and the APC was
a combat loss.
During March 1969, twenty-two Bobcats died in Viet Nam. They
On April 02, 1969, Company C along with Company B, 2/14th Infantry
conducted a RIF operation north of Trung Lap in the western fringes of
the Ho Bo Woods. Several mines were located and destroyed.
1969, eleven Bobcats died in Viet Nam. They were:
The 25th Infantry Division reported the following personnel statistics
for the Quarterly Period of February 01, 1969 to April 30, 1969:
“The 25th Infantry Division G-2 Section rapidly and accurately developed their estimate of the enemy’s intentions for the spring and summer of 1969. The enemy campaign plans did not promise or call for total victory as in the past. Instead they indicated that victory would be achieved in an indirect and complicated way. Military activity would be conducted to gain political and psychological advantage over the United States and the Government of South Viet Nam, thus weakening our resolve, hastening our departure, and leaving the Communist National Liberation Front politically dominant in South Viet Nam.”
At the beginning of May 1969, the 1/5th(M) had the mission of locating
and destroying base areas and caches and eliminating Viet Cong Cadre in
the Trung Lap – Ho Bo Woods area as well as preventing attacks by fire
against Cu Chi Base Camp.
June 05, 1969, Companies
A and C began participation in a five day RIF in an area northwest of Trung
Lap. Also participating in the operation on the first day were Companies
B and C of the 2/12th Infantry, Company A, 2/34th Armor, and elements of
the ARVN 3/49th Infantry.
During June 1969, ten Bobcats died
in Viet Nam. They were: Charles M. Ramsey;
Patrick E. Poppenga; James
D. Walker; David P. Callahan; James A. Mardis
Jr.; Lionel T. Rachal; William C. Dabbert; Steven L. McGinness; and
During July 1969, the 1/5th(M) continued operating in the area north of Trung Lap and Trang Bang. A part of the area had become known by the nickname “The Citadel.” Elements of the battalion also continued to provide security along roadways in the area. The battalion forward base continued to be located at FSB Devin.
On July 03, 1969, the Recon Platoon swept and opened Highway 1 and
7A. At 0932 hours, Company B departed FSB Patton with a Rome Plow for cutting
During the Quarterly Period of May 01, 1969 to July 31, 1969, the
25th Infantry Division reported the following personnel statistics:
During the reporting period there continued to be a personnel shortage
in the division of Infantry Captains and Lieutenants and Field Artillery
Lieutenants. There also continued to be a shortage of NCOs in grades E6
through E9 in the 11B, 11C, 11F, 12B, 17B, 17K, 31G, 63A, 63C, 76A, 76P,
76Y, 76Z and 94B MOS.
As August 1969 began, the 1/5th(M) would be assigned offensive operations
in the Ho Bo Woods, the “Citadel” area and the Filhol. They would also
be responsible for road security operations on sections of the area roadways.
On September 13, 1969, an element from Company C had established
an ambush position outside the Cu Chi Base Camp with members of the 167th
Popular Forces Company. The ambush was set up at XT 668145, southeast of
the base camp. At 2153 hours, hand grenades were thrown into the ambush
position. Two Bobcats from Company C were killed and one ARVN soldier was
killed. One ARVN soldier was also wounded.
During September 1969, three Bobcats died in Viet Nam. They were:
During October 1969, no Bobcats died in Viet Nam.
Infantry Division reported the following personnel statistics for the Quarterly
Period of August 01, 1969 thru October 31, 1969:
Personnel shortages in Infantry Captains, Infantry Lieutenants and Artillery Lieutenants continued. There also continued to be a shortage of NCOs in grades E-6 thru E-9 in the 11B, 11C, 12B, 17B, 17K, 31G, 63A, 63C, 76Z, and 94B MOS.
Rallier Tran Minh Dao, a former high ranking Communist officer of Sub-Region One, in further debriefing, maintained that the VC/NVA would take into consideration the demonstrations planned by US groups opposed to the Viet Nam War. He also estimated that North Vietnamese political objectives centering on the Paris Peace Talks would be supported by military action.
Chemical Operations: “During the Quarterly Period numerous defoliation missions have been flown supporting tactical operations of the 2nd Brigade. The 2nd Brigade experienced difficulty in obtaining Air Force Trail Dust missions in the Ho Bo Woods and the Filhol; thus an attempt was made to spray selected areas within approved Trail Dust areas. Utilizing a slick with attached defoliation spray kit, an extensive program of selective spraying was completed. The results of these missions have significantly reduced the enemy’s movement across traditional infiltration routes and have reduced his cover from aerial observers. During the period, the infamous “Spider Web”, an intricate complex of streams, marsh and heavily booby trapped thick vegetation along the Saigon River northwest of the Phu Cuong Bridge was defoliated. Defoliation with “Orange” defoliant in selected, previously Rome Plowed sites in the “Citadel” area were also completed during the period.”
Beginning in November 1969, the 2nd Brigade operated with 3 battalions
and one cavalry squadron [2/12th Infantry; 2/14th Infantry; 1/5th(M); ¾
Cavalry(-)] conducting extensive combat patrols, ground and mounted reconnaissance,
and combat assault operations in the central portion of the 25th Division
area of operations. The brigade also conducted security along sections
of Highways 6A, 7A, 8A, 19, 15, and 1. The 2nd Brigade was also instructed
to conduct combined operations with the South Vietnamese 5th and 25th Infantry
On December 01, 1969, the Commanding General of the 25th Infantry
Division sent out a letter to his brigade and battalion commanders. He
related: “I have observed our mechanized operations for a couple of months
now and I think we are spending too much time riding and moving without
gaining contact. At the enclousure are some observations of a former commander
of a mechanized infantry company. He has set forth a number of useful hints
and observations, and I ask that the appropriate commanders study the enclosure
and make use of its items.”