This is a copy of a newspaper article provided to me by the archives

at Texas Tech University

                                  Reds Burst            
                                  Into Base,
                                  Kill 21 GIs

                                    By Robert Karlor

                                    DAUTIENG, South Viet-
                                  nam, Feb. 23 (UPI)Commu-
                                  nist sappers burst through
                                  the perimeter of an Amer-
                                  can headquarters here early
                                  today, leaving 21 Americans
                                  and 71 of their own dead in
                                  a fierce 15-hour fight.
                                     Some of the. invaders
                                  never got past the barbed
                                  wire, which surrounds what
                                  was once a large rubber
                                  plantation and now is the
                                  headquarters of the 3d Bri-
                                  gade of the U.S. 25th Infan-
                                  try Division: about 40 miles
                                  northwest of Saigon.
                                     About 70 others made it
                                  in-to  the  former  manager's
                                  residence and had to be dis-
                                  lodged  by  house-to-house
                                     About 70 American sol-
                                  diers were wounded in the
                                  battle,  in which  GIs  and
                                  Communists  were  inter-
                                  mingled everywhere in the
                                  eerie half-light of fires and
                                     Six helicopters at the base
                                  were heavily damaged. Two
                                  were shot down as they at-
                                  tempted to defend the base.
                                     The  attack started, at
                                  about 12:35 a.m. with a bar-
                                  rage of rocket, mortar and
                                  recoilless-rifle  fire, which
                                  continued through the night.
                                     At 1:15, an estimated 20
                                  Communists neatly snipped
                                  their  way  through  the
                                  barbed wire between bunk-
                                  ers at the end of the air-
                                  strip. Within half an hour
                                  another 75 had worked their
                                  way in at other locations.
                                     They destroyed  several
                                  bunkers and blasted the two
                                  armored  vehicles  which
                                  raced down the airstrip to
                                  reinforce the perimeter, kill-
                                  ing five Americans aboard
                                     The  Communists  then
                                  went down the airstrip set-
                                  ting off homemade satchel
                                  charges in motor pool and
                                  aircraft  areas. At 7 a.m.,
                                  what one officer described
                                  as a  "pitched battle" was
                                  raging near the headquar-
                                  ters building itself.
                                     When bunkers at the end
                                  of the airstrip were knocked
                                  out, the U.S. troops put in
                                  an urgent call for help to a
                                  group of U.S. Army Special
                                  Forces who were on the
                                     Three Americans and a
                                  squad of their Montagnard
                                  mercenaries ran the length
                                  of  the  airstrip  through
                                  rocket and mortar fire to
                                  the bunkers.
                                     When dawn came there
                                  was a pile of Communist
                                  bodies in front of the bunk-
                                     The crew of a helicopter
                                  gunship tried to get their
                                  chopper into the air to de-
                                  fend the camp. As they left
                                  the ground at the end of the
                                  airstrip the helicopter was
                                  hit and burst into flames.
                                    They circled back and
                                  crashed just inside the pe-
                                  rimeter. The crew escaped
                                  and became riflemen for the
                                  rest of the night.
                                     Two headquarters soldiers
                                  were trapped helplessly in-
                                  side a building with no am-
                                  munition  for  five  hours
                                  while the Vietcong fired a
                                  machine gun from the porch
                                  but never looked inside.
                                     The French plantation
                                  owner no longer lives at
                                  Dautieng but the Commu-
                                  nists  entered  the  nearby
                                  town, went to the homes of
                                  his two Vietnamese assist-
                                  ants, and shot them to death.

©1999 Texas Tech University, Used with Permission