CAMP EAGLE, Vietnam
After 90 days, the 1st Bde, 101st Abn Div (Airmobile) has ended Operation Lamar Plain and returned here. While operating under the control of the Americal Div at Chu Lai, the brigade accounted for 519 enemy killed, 257 individual and 18 crew-served weapons captured.
In the course of the action southwest of Tam Ky, 13 Viet Cong and eight NVA prisoners were taken and 1332 other individuals were detained. Caches uncovered in the lowlands and mountains yielded 22,709 pounds of rice in addition to weapons and ammunition. Bunkers and hooches destroyed totalled 1266.
It all began on the 15th of May when the 1st Bde and its attached units brought the airmobile concept into an area west of Tam Ky, the headquarters of Quang Tin Province, about 40 miles south of Da Nang.
Lamar Plain marked the second time Screaming Eagles had fought with Americal troops. The first time was eighteen months ago near Duc Pho.
Early in the month of May, an element of the Americal Div had come under heavy pressure applied by the 3rd NVA Div, the same division Screaming Eagles had faced in late 1967 and early 1968. Fire Support Base Professional, the main staging area near Tam Ky, was besieged with mortar and rocket fire from all sides.
Thirty-sik hours after the alert was, sounded on May 15, the 1st Bn, 501st Abn Inf combat assaulted into an area southeast, of Tam Ky, northeast of Fire Base Professional. The Geronimo troopers encountered heavy resistance from a well entrenched enemy, armed with automatic weapons including harness-mounted .51 caliber machineguns.
To the west of Fire Base Professional, in an area referred to as Death Valley, the 1st Bn, 502nd Abn Inf combat assaulted and began pushing the enemy to the west. Aided by F-4 Phantom jets and ARA supplied by B Troop, 2/17th Cav, company commanders from both battalions pushed the communists off foothills, out of bunkers and spiderholes, and away from the fire base.
Within a month, what seemed like a communist attempt to take the city of Tam Ky was, thwarted. First Bde and 2/17, Cav scout ships returned with reports that the enemy was on the run avoiding other possible clashes with the 1st Bde.
Operation Lamar Plain had achieved its immediate goal-to break enemy pressure around Professional. By late June, troops of the lst Bde were conducting, reconnaissance-in-force operations in an area southwest of Tam Ky, with the 1st Bn, 501st Abn Inf concentrating on the higher country while the 1st Bn. 502nd Abn Inf worked in the lowlands.
They found numerous fortified hooch complexes which had been deserted. Several contained large caches of enemy weapons and ammunition.
A highlight of the operation was the discovery of a large cache by a 1st Bde scout dog named Prince and the recon platoon of the 1st Bn, 5O2d Abn Inf. Five hooches contained 39 SKS rifles, 72 AK-47 rifles, nearly 1200 mortar rounds and more than 8000 small arms rounds.
By early August, conditions in the area of operations were settled to the point where it was possible to plan a return home. On August 10, the 1st, Bde began its departure from Tam KY in a five-day move which brought 1804 Screaming Eagle soldiers and 936 tons of equipment and
supplies back to Eagle Country via 34 air sorties in Air Force C-130s and C 123s and five missions by Navy LSTs.
The move ended with the arrival of the last LST at Tan My on August 15, exactly three months after "Always First" troops had been awakened in the wee hours of the morning to move over 100 miles with just a few hours notice.
Brig. Gen. Henry J. Muller Jr., assistant division commander (Support), praised the division's support elements for their outstanding efforts during the operation.
"Throughout the operation our support elements continued their customary, first rate performance," he said. "The division, without prior warning, was given only 48 hours to extract the participating units from the field in our area of, operations and move them to Tam Ky. The move was completed efficiently and precisely within the short time limit allowed us. The logistic support of the subsequent tactical operations was adequate and timely.
"In no instance was an operation delayed or limited by insufficient supply or maintenance support. This fine record is attributable in good measure to the positive, push-oriented approach which is characteristic of the supply and maintenance soldiers in this division," the general added.