For the next month, the 3rd Brigade troopers continued to stifle enemy attempts to disrupt the redeployment, encountering
scattered contact from the NVA who had withdrawn to their sanctuaries to the north and the west. On November 8, the 3rd Brigade
units closed out the northern AO as the Marines successfully completed their move. During the operation, a total of 59 enemy
soldiers were killed and 22 individual and two crew-served weapons were captured.
On October 5, despite record-breaking rains, men of the 1st Bn., 327th, moved into Phu Thu District to begin Operation
Saturate, which proved to be one of the most successful operations of its type in the history of the pacification
program in the Thua Thien Province.
2nd Brigade paratroopers debark Chinook helicopter to assault enemy hilltop positions north
In the months preceding the beginning of the operation, there had been little VC/NVA activity of any large scale in Phu
Thu. However, a significant hard-core VC Infrastructure was operating within the district, collecting rice and taxes for the
enemy units in the mountains and initiating harassing attacks on the Regional Force (RF) and Popular Force (PF) units.
There were few significant contacts with sizeable enemy units but the Phu Thu operation had other objectives. A vigorous
Civil Affairs program was started, which included Psychological Operations and Medical Civic Action Programs (MEDCAPs), with
the emphasis on using Vietnamese nurses and doctors along with U.S. personnel.
Shortly after setting up in Phu Thu, the battalion initiated a training program for RF companies in the district. It was
a significant step. Perhaps in the long run the training program was the most important part of the operation. The RF and
PF units are a key factor in the battle against the local VC in Vietnam and an improvement in the quality of these troops
is vital to the government.
1st Brigade paratroopers jump out into a landing zone in I Corps during a heliborne assault
during Operation Carentan II.
During the entire civic action and training programs, the search for the enemy went on as usual, but the enemy was avoiding
contact whenever possible. Still, the thorough search tactics the battalion pursued netted dividends. Countless enemy bunkers
and booby traps were discovered and destroyed. By the end of November it was clear that the enemy had suffered not just a
temporary setback, in Phu Thu, but a long-range reversal which could make any attempt to gain a position of power and influence
On November 13, Screaming Eagles of the 2nd of the 501st were called upon to deploy to Quang Tri Province to assist elements
of the 1st Brigade, 5th Inf. Div. (Mech). The day the massive air move began was the second day of what was supposed to be
a standdown for the men at LZ Sally. Many of the soldiers were being issued new clothing and cleaning their weapons and equipment
when they were alerted for the move.
The second day of the five days in the rear rapidly became the first of five days of heavy contact with the 27th NVA Regt.,
in desolate hill country 20 miles west of Quang Tri. Within two hours of the alert, 18 CH-47 "Chinooks" were winging the 500-man
force to Quang Tri Combat Base. There, over 40 "Slicks" took over the airlift and combat assaulted their passengers into an
area where elements of the 1st of the 5th had been in heavy contact for several days. In a most unusual assault, Co. C moved
on a large bunker complex in a night assault with illumination from flares and strobe lights. The complex was locked in a
stalemate with Co. B when Charle Company arrived out of the darkness.
A river crossing north of Hue is made easy for squad leader Sgt. Larry Newell, Melbourne,
Fla., and his men of the 1st Bn. (Abn) 501st Inf., thanks to a solid bridge - Vietnamese style.
The daring move paid big dividends when the two companies surrounded the fortified position and killed 29 NVA with the
support of Cobra gunships. In the five-day period, the 2nd Brigade troopers accounted for 36 NVA dead and uncovered three
caches of munitions and arms.
In a hard-hitting series pf clashes beginning January 28, "Currahees" of the 3rd Bn., 506th Inf., operating under the control
of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, completely routed the 8th Bn., 22nd NVA Regt., in vicious battles northwest of Bong Son, Binh
Dinh Province, in northern II Corps.
The deeply entrenched enemy, concealed in the caves and crevices of Hill 474, initiated a series of firefights with heavy
AK-47, B-40 rocket, RPG and RPD light machine gun fire against the "Currahees." As the conflict progressed, sorties of F4
fighter-bombers and massive artillery bombardment punished the enemy as the "Currahees" blocked the obvious routes of escape.
Lt. Col. Joseph N. Jagers Jr., battalion commander, continually shifted his forces by helicopter and systematically destroyed
the NVA battalion.
The enemy lost 90 dead as a result of the engagements. In addition, 23 weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were