|Alpha Company 1965-1971
|To the left is a picture of the
Landing Zone that Capt
Danielsen and Alpha company
air-assaulted into the night of
November 3 1965 to reinforce
the 1st of the 9th Cavalry
It was named LZ Mary, but Capt
Danielsen calls it LZ Spiderweb,
due the all the tracers
criss-crossing the landing zone.
|BATTLE OF PLEIKU, 3-4 NOVEMBER 1965, FIRST NIGHT AIR ASSAULT IN U. S. ARMY
HISTORY and THE 1ST AIR CAVALRY DIVISION (AIRMOBILE), BY COMPANY A, 1st
Battalion, 8th CAVALRY, AIRBORNE, AIRMOBILE, AIR ASSAULT
|This account is of one of our most famous battles, the Night Air Assault by Company A, 1st Battalion 8th Cav, comes from the
Book, that fierce encounter with the North Vietnamese Army.
November 1965 - Pleiku, Vietnam The battalion continued the mission of securing the Brigade Base. A Company was released to
the operational control of the 1st of the 9th Cavalry, to move to Due Co at 1815 hours and initiate the first night air assault in
conjunction with the 1st of the 9th Cavalry.
The following account of this famous battle came from After Action Reports, a report from the Commanding Officer of A
Company, Captain Ted Danielsen; a report from Charlie Black, War Correspondent for the Columbus Enquirer; and a letter and
final report from the Commander of the 1st of the 9th Cavalry Squadron.
The action of the 1st of the 9th Cavalry Squadron on the la Drang River began with a mission from the Assistant Division
Commander, Brigadier General Richard T. Knowles, directing a reconnaissance in force.
In the afternoon a patrol base was established under the command of Major Robert Zion north of the la Drang River, close to
the Cambodian border in the area where B Company had been a few days before. It was anticipated the escaping North
Vietnamese Army units would try to use the several withdrawal routes and excellent trails that paralleled the la Drang River and
led across into Cambodia. Three ambushes and two observation posts were set out along these likely routes.
At 2105, the south ambush was triggered by its commander, Captain Charles S. Knowlen. He then returned his ambush force to
the patrol base and occupied the southern sector of the base perimeter.
Captain Danielsen in his report described the 2130 hour ambush by the Cavalry personnel: “The platoon located at the ambush
site heard enemy personnel approaching the kill zone. The platoon could determine that the North Vietnamese carried heavy
weapons in addition to their normal combat gear, and that the unit moving through the site was much larger than the platoon
lying in ambush. The ambush commander, Captain Charles B. Knowlen, watched approximately ninety personnel pass the site
before triggering the ambush. The lack of security forces and the poor noise discipline indicated that the North Vietnamese in
no way expected any unfriendly elements in this area so near the border. The ambush was sprung with withering M-16
automatic fire, M-79 grenade launcher, M-60 machine gun, and claymore mines. The enemy force was taken completely by
surprise and all personnel in the kill zone were killed or wounded”.
During the confusion of the North Vietnamese force, Captain Knowlen deemed it desirable to withdraw before the superior
force could react. The platoon began a withdrawal in as rapid a manner as possible, but were soon subject to 60-mortar fire.
From the direction of the mortars firing, the Mortar Platoon Forward Observer from A Company determined that the enemy
mortar position was at or near a previously plotted 81mm mortar concentration. He immediately called the Platoon Fire Direction
Center and requested fire. The Fire Direction Center had already placed the data on the guns and the Forward Observer
immediately received support fire. The Forward Observer's analysis had been correct and the 60mm fire ceased shortly after
the friendly fires hit the target. In addition these friendly fires served to cover the ambush platoon's withdrawal from the area
as the North Vietnamese who were not caught in the kill zone were beginning to react. The ambush force returned to the
landing zone to rejoin its parent unit. The Platoon Leader's report, forwarded to Due Co, included an estimated forty-eight
enemy killed with an unknown number wounded”.
This, report from Captain Danielsen was of interest because the 81-mortar platoon fire referred to was the Mortar Platoon from
his unit, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Stuart K. Tweedy, supporting the ambush. The platoon itself was attached to the 1st of
the 9th Cavalry organization at the patrol base; thus A Company made its first contribution in the initial combat of the battle.
There was more yet to come.
Charlie Black from the Columbus Enquirer also reported the first ambush engagement. He had accompanied another ambush
which was located about 750 meters away on the banks of the Ia Drang. "The report was that at 2105 hours, the ambush set by
Captain Knowlen was triggered, according to members of the ambush, into a North Vietnamese heavy weapons company and
two Infantry platoons. Ten claymore mines and violent small arms fire were heard and the flashes observed from our position.
A radio message came from Major Zion, the Patrol Base Commander, saying that the Platoon had been highly successful and
\ was returning to the rendezvous point.
A few minutes later the enemy surrounded the ambush where Charlie Black was, and this force, too, was ordered to fight its
way back to the Patrol Base.
Charlie Black continued. “We were moving under about a three-quarter moon. The night was clear and once out of the river
cover it was not thick at all. We had as I remember seven separate contacts with the enemy, three of which were violent. I recall
one kept our twenty-one men pinned down in a slight depression, less than a six-inch hollow in the ground, for twenty minutes.
My equipment was ripped by tracer fire which was ricocheting from the ground six inches from my nose. The fire came from 360
degrees. The situation in which our small force was involved can be judged by the fact that we had three such fire fights before
we finally were able to reach the Patrol Base perimeter at 0330 hours”.
Shortly after, an attack was initiated against the patrol base. It was followed by four additional attacks at 2315, 0030, 0115, and
0330 hours. In the intervals between the attacks there was constant sniper fire. During the first attack at 2315, it was obvious to
the commander on the ground that if the small force was not immediately reinforced, it would be overrun.
Colonel Stockton, the commander of the 9th Cavalry Squadron, alerted A Company for immediate deployment to reinforce the
Patrol Base. In addition, all remaining ambush platoons were ordered to return to the Patrol Base.
The 3rd Platoon of A Company, commanded by 1st Lieutenant John B. Hanlon, was alerted for immediate deployment to be
attached to the Troop Commander, Major Zion, at the Patrol Base. The platoon lifted off in UH-1D transport helicopters provided
by the 1st of the 9th Cavalry Squadron escorted by armed helicopters from the squadron. The platoon made its landing at the
fire-swept Patrol Base at 2345 hours.
As Captain Danielsen reported: “It was decided to drop a flare from a C-47 aircraft which had been called on station when the
ambush was executed. The flare was to illuminate the landing zone for landing, since no night landing had been attempted in
that area before and none of the normal landing aids were available. The illumination served the intended purpose of providing
the pilots needed visibility for the landing. However, as the lift helicopters touched down, they came under intense ground fire
which hit every helicopter in the lift but did not disable any.
“The 3rd Platoon immediately took moderate casualties while dismounting from the aircraft and assaulting towards the enemy
positions. As they reached the southern edge of the landing zone perimeter, Lieutenant Hanlon gave the order to take up
defensive positions and began reorganizing his sector, at the same time controlling the distribution of fire of his platoon. He
reported at that time that he had gained the perimeter but had an estimated thirty percent casualties. His mission was one of
attachment, to reinforce the existing perimeter.
“This mission was completed. Wounded personnel were evacuated later on, under fire, to the middle of the landing zone to
await further evacuation. Tube artillery support was not available as this area was out of range to all ground supporting tube
artillery. Aerial rockets had been requested and were scrambling to join in on the mission from bases near the Stadium”.
Charlie Black continued to describe the landing: “We heard helicopter gun ships firing, then the noise of the 2.75 rockets
distinguished from the general battle noise over the area. Captain Oliver told me that the helicopters actually made a landing
and had brought Captain Danielsen's men into the vortex of the fight at the Command Post area. This was 0030 hours as I
remember. It struck me as inconceivable that this landing could have been accomplished and equally inconceivable that any
force put into such a situation could fight and survive. I told Captain Oliver that the platoons from A Company were coming to a
strange piece of terrain at night, under enemy fire as close as fifty meters (we had a running account of the fighting from Major
Zion on his Command Net), into a perimeter which had been wiped out along its entire southeastern corner. It would be
impossible for any control or for any organized fighting line to be set up under these circumstances. At this point, to be frank,
all of us in my group had decided we were finished and had simply resolved to fight for all possible payment from the enemy”.
At 2400 hours Major Zion reported that the situation was still deteriorating. Colonel Stockton committed the remaining elements
of A Company.
Captain Danielsen received the mission to assault by air, reinforce the perimeter, and hold until the enemy withdrew or
reinforcements be landed at daylight. On landing, the already committed platoon of A Company would revert to parent-company
Captain Danielsen loaded his second platoon and the company command group on the next available lift helicopters. The
aircraft lifted off and landed in the landing zone under fire at 0020 hours.
Captain Danielsen recounted: “Although this lift was subject to heavy ground fire from a range of less than 100 meters, none of
the ships were damaged to the point of not being flyable. This was due to the fact that this time none of the illumination was
employed. The pilots stayed on the ground longer to unload troops in order to take on casualties of the already committed 3rd
Platoon and evacuate them to safety.
This proved to be the only method of medical evacuation for the remainder of the night. One of the ships did have to make an
emergency landing en route to Due Co”.
Charlie Black, back at the Patrol Base, crawled over to join Major Zion at his Command Post. He stated: “We switched positions
from one side of the anthill several times in order to get out of the enemy fire and repel assaults. The CP was actually one
corner of our front line by this time. Major Zion stated to Charlie Black, 'I don't know who that Infantry captain is who came into
this area in those choppers but he saved us. I had lost all control of the fight down there and it started going right when he got
there. They are going to hit us hard about dawn. Maybe they'll finish us but we would have been finished two hours ago if that
captain hadn't gotten his people in down there and taken over that end of the perimeter”.
Charlie Black continued: “Major Zion gave all credit for salvaging the lower side of the perimeter to Captain Danielsen and gave
him full credit for reestablishing continuity and control of the fighting there where the enemy was on the verge of pushing into
his heaviest assault and overrunning the entire position.
Captain Danielsen's account of the battle after the landing of the last platoon of the company continued: “The North Vietnamese
probes were increasing in frequency and strength and several final protective lines had been fired in portions of the
perimeter. The 81 Mortar Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Stuart Tweedy, did a fantastic job in firing along the edge of the
perimeter, operating in the open, subject to grazing fire. They fired without firing tables or plotting boards. All corrections were
made by turns of the mortar hand wheels on the traversing and elevating mechanisms. During the course of firing they fired
almost two complete basic loads of ammunition without inflicting a single friendly casualty.
“At daylight the next day, I measured the distance between the perimeter and the shell holes to be an average of thirteen
paces along the entire perimeter. Ammunition became critical at 0130 hours and all available was being received from Due Co
and other units that could be reached by helicopter.
“The helicopter pilots again landed in the perimeter under fire, dumped the ammunition, took on casualties and moved out.
Aerial rocket ships from Catecha (a another name for the Stadium Base) arrived on station at 0300 hours and after identifying
the perimeter, did an extremely professional job of reinforcing the fires of the 81mm mortars.
“It was about this time that the North Vietnamese decided to withdraw. Their tactic for breaking contact was to put snipers in
the trees around the perimeter and snipe at any identifiable target. Under this fire cover others dragged casualties to the rear.
It was extremely well done, emphasis of the ground fire was shifted to the trees while the casualties were being sneaked that at
daylight no enemy dead or wounded were found, although there were numerous indications. A North Vietnamese prisoner
captured the next day stated that only seventeen personnel in the force attacking the perimeter withdrew without being
wounded or killed.
“While the battle within the perimeter was occurring, ambush elements from the north tried to reach the northern edge of the
perimeter. While moving, they repeatedly came in contact with enemy units. This indicated that the North Vietnamese were
trying to encircle the perimeter, but the contact outside the perimeter confused them to the point that they could not assess
correctly the situation with any certainty.
“At 0430 hours contact ceased with only an occasional burst of fire at suspicious targets by troops on the perimeter. Friendly
personnel now moved move freely and began carrying the dead and their equipment to central locations, and for the first time
to make an accurate assessment of casualties. Movement of the wounded platoon leader, Lieutenant John Hanlon, who had
been seriously wounded about midnight, was still prohibited due to the lack of a litter, expected at day- light. He was better off
without being moved since there was no safer place to move him.”
Lieutenant Hanlon conducted himself in a heroic manner. Landing in the initial lift as the Platoon Leader of the 3rd Platoon, he
was almost immediately hit with a bullet penetrating near the mid-section, alongside the spinal cord. However, since he was in
command of the platoon and they were in the middle of a fire fight, he continued to direct and command his platoon for several
hours. He was again wounded while crawling to and from various positions in the area to better give direction and assistance
to his men. He was later evacuated back to the United States, where he is presently in the VA Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee,
paralyzed from the waist down. He received a Silver Star for this outstanding heroic action, among the first Silver Stars to be
awarded to the Jumping Mustang Battalion.
Another hero in the battle, within the platoon, was Spec 4 Raymond Oritz, Medical Aide man of the platoon. He was a huge
individual, a well-trained medic. He was hit almost immediately in trying to assist wounded men. In spite of the severe shoulder
wound, he continued to move freely on the battlefield, receiving five or six additional hits before finally going down. He
received the Distinguished Service Cross for this heroism, the first to be awarded within the Jumping Mustang Battalion.
Captain Danielsen continued to describe the battle: “At about 0400 hours I had for the first time an opportunity to consult with
the CO of the 1st of the 9th Cavalry in the perimeter. An assault to the south of the perimeter was a logical course of action.
This was agreed on and the time was designated as first light since no personnel in A Company had seen the terrain beyond the
limit of their night vision range.
“At first light A Company assaulted from its perimeter in a walking "Mad Minute." A "Mad Minute," incidentally, was a technique
for discouraging infiltration of enemy personnel to within effective ranges of friendly troops. It consisted of each soldier
spraying his sector of fire to include trees at a specified time, usually just after dark or slightly before dawn.
“The assault moved several hundred meters out and halted. Observation posts were left at the limits of the assault and the
remainder of A Company returned to the perimeter and saw for the first time the area.
“At about thirty minutes after daylight, two companies of the 1st of the 8th landed in the landing zone, and with that, A Company
completed its mission. It had reinforced and held the perimeter until reinforcements landed.
“Then ensued the unpleasant task of cleaning up. Friendly casualties in A Company were 15 percent with the 3rd Platoon
suffering between 40 and 50 per- cent. However, out of these casualties, only two men were killed. Lieutenant Hanlon was and
still is paralyzed from the waist down”.
“It should be stated that this action was the first violent attack A Company had participated in since arrival in Vietnam. This full-
scale baptism of fire occurred in as difficult a situation as could be imagined. The primary point here was not that it was
accomplished, but was the reaction of the individual soldier. During the initial confusion on the ground, personnel picked their
own sectors of fire and tied in left and right. Mortars were called for and used without firing charts or plotting boards, all with
accurate results. The mission was received, plan executed, and accomplished. This constituted military success. This was what
happened the night of 3-4 November 1965”.
Charlie Black was one of the best narrators on much of the battle. In another quote he described Captain Danielsen's conduct
during the battle. “Captain Danielsen was described to me by one of his sergeants in the morning as laughing and joking at
some phases of the fighting. Each member of his command told me how he crawled into their position during the fighting,
telling them to get on up to the front line, and then acting surprised and saying, "Why, this is the front line, isn't it?" and
I do not know what value this had as humor, but its effect on the spirits and morale of his command was obvious. He changed
the attitude which, if judged from what I had undergone in my own mind, had been stubborn and fatalistic into one of
aggressiveness and confidence. This aggressiveness and spirit among his troops was communicated along the badly hit
positions of the original defenders and was picked up in an audible wave of taunts and invectives thrown out at the enemy
along with the bullets.
“Members of Captain Danielsen's command in the morning, which we reinforced, told me that this spirit and morale was directly
attributable to the demeanor and actions of Captain Danielsen, assisted by Lieutenant John Hanlon, [who,] badly wounded, kept
command of his platoon during the action. Just at dawn, we commenced receiving heavy fire from snipers in the trees and from
the opposite end of the landing zone from the position held by Major Zion. There were two helicopters shot down in the area
from the previous night's assault and they seemed to be drawing this fire in the vicinity of the command post. Mortar fire
started some time previously, but a Forward Air Controller spotted the flashes of the tubes and called in a bomb attack,
silencing them after thirteen rounds hit in the general area of Captain Danielsen's position.
“The combined mortar attack and sniper fire effectively pinned the defenses in my area near the anthill and was beating on the
weapon positions in the center. Major Zion shouted to me, "Look at that, three of them." I looked, I saw Captain Danielsen,
easily recognized by his cigar and the fact that he was an old acquaintance of mine, with an M-60 machine gun, sitting in the
open, firing steadily into, the trees. I saw three snipers fall from his fire out of the trees about twenty-five meters high at a close
range right on the edge of the clearing. I saw Captain Danielsen shouting and then saw two of his men run to where he was
motioning, and directing fire of LAW (light anti-tank weapon) rockets into the trees. I saw him organize and advance on the run,
and push his small, tired, but still enthusiastic force out into the tree line, putting heavy fire into the area and silencing the
Charlie Black continued: “At about 0500, the men in this perimeter did some- thing I have never seen in combat before. Without
orders, all men commenced fixing bayonets, laying out grenades and remaining ammunition, preparing for the last stand.
They were the same troops Captain Danielsen led into the assault on the tree-like in order to clear the area of enemy fire from
the ground and tree positions so reinforcing helicopter assault could be accomplished without further opposition. His personal
conduct in this final action which I witnessed was an exhibition of individual bravery which ranked with any I observed in South
Vietnam. If no other factor was considered, his use of the M-60 to return that fire from an exposed position and his constant
exposure for example while getting his men to move into the assault was worthy of a high award”.
Incidentally, Captain Danielsen received the Silver Star for heroism demonstrated during this battle, although it was two years
late in recognition.
Colonel John Stockton, the commander of the 1st of the 9th Cavalry Squadron, provided a statement pertaining to Captain
Danielsen's action. “Captain Danielsen's heroism during this engagement while temporarily under my command was literally
beyond belief, in view of his lack of previous combat experience under especially trying conditions and his relative youth. The
leadership he demonstrated was inspirational far beyond an expected call of duty for any officer. The reinforcement action in
which he was involved was the first in the history of the United States Army conducted at night by helicopters while a unit was
engaged in direct fire contact with the enemy. It could have resulted disastrously. The fact that this reinforcement was not only
successful, but also proved the turning point in the engagement, can be attributed almost solely and exclusively to the
inspirational bravery and demonstrated leadership of Captain Theodore S. Danielsen”.
The battle of 3-4 November 1965, in which A Company of the Jumping Mustang Battalion executed the first night combat air
assault into an enemy-held landing zone under fire, was the 1st in the history of the United States Army and was the first in
Vietnam and the first in the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
(Posted by Col Kenneth Mertel (Ret) (Mustang 6), 5 Feb 2000)
|A SHORT HISTORY OF 1965 AND 1966
Following the return to Japan, the 8th Regiment trained for winter warfare during the years of peaceful occupation, 1952-57. In
August of 1957, the unit was transferred minus equipment and men to Korea where the 24th Infantry Division was re designated
as the 1st Cavalry Division. Returning to Korea, the 8th Cavalry assumed the position of watchful defender, deployed along the
de-militarized zone. This deployment was continued from 1957 to the beginning of the Vietnam War.
The new concepts which ultimately gave rise to the 1st Battalion, Airborne, 8th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Airmobile, are
interwoven among the 8th Regiment's colorful and rich legacy. Recalling the elusive and dogged adversaries of the early
frontier days and the tenacious natives of the Philippines, it is apparent that mobility was the key to waging successful
operations against them. The cavalry provided the needed requirements. Faced with similar enemy in the jungles of Vietnam, a
new type of cavalry was needed.
The 1st Cavalry was recalled from Korea in 1965, minus men and equipment, to subsequently be joined with the 11th Air Assault
Division (Test) to form the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Airmobile, on 3 July 1965. The Airmobile concept, hitherto an experiments,
was achieving reality. This concept was soon to be tested and modified in the realities of combat in Vietnam. While the division
was undergoing final preparation at Fort Benning, Georgia, the President had decided to commit the division to ground combat.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry became one of the eight battalions in the division. The Jumping Mustangs were attached to the
1st Brigade, which was picked to receive airborne training - thus the whole battalion became parachute qualified. Designed to
free the infantry trooper and his logistical support from the iron grip of the terrain, the 8th Cavalry was a new extension of the
mobile policy followed by the old cavalry in the frontier days. Although this marked the first time the 8th Cavalry had been on U.
S. soil in twenty years, the troopers were destined to again depart for overseas assignment, one which would required the
ultimate in modern warfare and airmobility. The tactics employed in Korea and World War II, were to be set aside in favor of
mobility and striking power in order to deal with the counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. After President Johnson's
declaration on 28 June 1965, the 8th Cavalry had eight weeks to prepare for deployment to Vietnam. After many hours of training
in new weapons, new tactics and new methods of supply, the 8th Cavalry departed on the Navy transport GEIGER for Vietnam
from Savanna, Georgia. The date was 20 August 1965.
Arriving on the coast in Vietnam at Qui Nhon, the 8th Cavalry moved by helicopter to the division base area North of An Khe in
Binh Dinh Province. After preliminary skirmishes with Viet Cong forces which resulted in the capture of enemy equipment and
rice, the 8th Cavalry participated in the Pleiku Operation, for which the 1st Cavalry Division received the Presidential Unit
Citation. Involved in action around Plei Me, Duc Co, and the Ia Drang Valley, the 8th Cavalry also cleared Highway 19 to the West
of An Khe. By the end of November, over 1,500 enemy had been officially listed as KIA and over 600 weapons had been
captured. The remainder of the year was spent in conducting operations around An Khe with the with the technique of combat
air assaulting, rappelling and ground coordination being perfected. In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, SP4 Raymond
Ortiz won the Distinguished Service Cross in the Ia Drang valley action. Already at this stage, the success of the air mobile
concept as evidenced by the Pleiku Campaign, proved the 8th Cavalry was on the right track. At every turn, airmobility had
stymied enemy plans and coordination. The campaigns in the years that follow illustrated the battalion's ability to meet the
challenges of wear, terrain and the enemy.
The first year in Vietnam saw the battalion operate in sweeps while perfecting the techniques of cordon and search and clear
operations. Operating from an interlocking system of landing zones, the line companies were covered by supporting elements,
notably aerial rocket artillery and conventional tube artillery. The names for these battalion sized operations, designed to clear
enemy strongholds and disperse enemy troops, harked back to the frontier days, as the 8th Cavalry was again chasing an
elusive enemy. The year 1966 was one of learning and adapting. During the course of the year, the 1st Battalion, Airborne, 8th
Cavalry, killed more than 430 Viet Cong and captured over 100 enemy. They destroyed and/or captured over fifty tons of rice
The beginning of the year opened with the 8th Cavalry conducting operations around An Khe and eventually pushing to the
Cambodian Border. Conducting Operation JIM BOWIE later in the Spring, the battalion learned a costly lesson in Viet Cong
booby traps as 85 Sky Troopers were wounded, stepping on pungi stakes, trip wires tied to grenades and other ingenious
devices. 20 May 1966 began with fighting erupting on all fonts as Operation CRAZY HORSE swept into full force. Although the
enemy was soon reduced to squad sized units or smaller, the Viet Cong fought tenaciously. During the course of action in which
B and C companies were involved in a fierce battle, SP4 David Dolby of B company won the units first Medal of Honor Medal in
Vietnam. There were many other awards won including a Distinguished Service Cross, by Capt Roy Martin, Commander of B
company. The results of the operation confirmed that a fierce struggle had indeed been waged. 85 enemy were killed and 22
captured. The battalion lost 12 men and had 54 wounded.
After several days of rest, the battalion again was faced with a new challenge as their mission to go forward and relieve an
element of the 101st Airborne Division. Accomplishing this mission, the battalion returned to LZ Eagle and fended off a ground
attack by two North Vietnamese companies. Co B killed 97 enemy and captured a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.
Even at this early date, the North Vietnamese were required to bolster local Viet Cong unit. This was to become an ever
increasing occurrence as the battalion forced back the local Viet Cong and decimated their numbers. Results of the operation,
called NATHAN HALE, were highly successful. A ratio of 24 to 1 was chalked up in killed. For this action, the battalion received its
second Presidential Unit Citation, dated 21-22 June 1966, embroidered TRUNG LUONG, after the successful conclusion of a key
battle in this operation.
Proving the versatility and adaptability, the battalion had fought the enemy in various types of terrain and weather. Late in the
year, the battalion moved to the China Sea Coast in OPERATION IRVING, eventually pushing a defeated enemy into the sea or
into the hands of other units. On 17 November 1966, the battalion in conjunctions with the Second Battalion, 8th Cavalry
celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of the 8th Cavalry. During the waning days of the year, the battalion companies engaged
the enemy in various firefights within the II Corps area. On 30 December 1966, Co C captured an NVA captain who had been the
training officer and Chief of Staff of the 22nd NVA Division.