Op LAMAR PLAIN
www.GERONIMO-VIETNAM.com ©


Operation LAMAR PLAIN

May 15th to August 14th, 1969

After Action Report


*Original military document edited by Gary M. Joyner


In the summer of 69......

LOCATION: TAN PHUOC Dist and HAU DUC Dist, TAM KY, RVN. *This area of operation was located at the southernmost boundary of I corps. Oblong in shape starting just west of the coastal city of Chu Lai continuing west to the Laotion border. Approximately 10 miles north-south by 20 miles east-west including the southern end of the terrain feature known as the Ashau Valley. It was about 100 miles south of the 101st Airborne Divisions 1st Brigade headquarters at Camp Eagle.

CONTROL HEADQUARTERS: 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division *At this point things get confusing. While the headquarters element is from the 1st brigade, the majority of the Task Organization are units from the 2nd Brigade, including two (1/501 Inf and 1/502 Inf) of the three 2nd Brigade combat battalions. The third battalion (2/501) was still involved in Operation APACHE SNOW (May 10th-June 11th) and participated in the final assault of "Hamburger Hill" on May 20th, 1969.

REPORTING OFFICER: Colonel Frank L. Dietrich *Commanding Officer of the 1st Brigade during this operation.

TASK ORGANIZATION: 1/501 Inf, 1/502 Inf (101st Abn Div) and 1/46 Inf (Americal Div). *With the addition of the Americal units the task force was now considered to be at full Brigade strength.

OPERATIONS NARRATIVE: *From here on you're going to see a lot of military acronyms, abbreviations and terms that most of us have long since forgotten and any civilians reading this won't have a clue as to what they mean either. In order to make the report easier to understand some minor changes have been made. References to military time have been changed to civilian, map coordinates have been deleted, military terms and acronyms are explained as best we can, personal comments by those who served have been added and occasional errors are noted. Even with these modifications the gist of the narrative remains essentially unchanged.
All who served during this operation are encouraged to participate in this edited report. Any comments, documents, articles, photo's etc submitted will be properly credited to the contributor. If you see any obvious errors or can help clear things up for us in some way send an email here. If you served during Operaration Lamar Plain please join in and help us set the record straight.
If you would like to see a reproduction of the original military document just click here
What follows is the day by day account of the operation officially submitted by the 101st Airborne Division.

MAY 15th:


Operation LAMAR PLAIN commenced with the 1st Brigade Task Force organizing and deploying from the 101st Airborne Division AO*(area of operation) to the Americal Division AO in QUANG TIN Province.

At 12:45am the 1st Brigade received a verbal warning order from the 101st Airborne Division to move with two battalions, 1-501st Inf and 1-502d Inf, and designated support elements to the Americal Division currently operating in southern I Corps. The first elements of the brigade were to be prepared to depart by air no later than 12:00pm May 15th, from the PHU BAI Departure Airfield (DAF). The 1-501 Inf and 1-502 Inf were alerted to move to PZ for extraction from the AO*(area of operation) commencing at first light. Concurrently, the 2-327 Inf was alerted to assume security of all fire bases in the AO upon extraction of the 1-501 Inf and 1-502.

At 4:00am representatives from the 101st Airborne Division met with the 1st Brigade and coordinated the deployment of the brigade, to include division assets to accompany the brigade, and support to be furnished by the division.

At 8:30am the 1st Brigade liaison team arrived at Americal Division Headquarters in CHU LAI and was briefed by the general staff, thereby effecting preliminary coordination between brigade and division staff representatives.

At 2:15pm the Commanding Officer of the 1st Brigade reported to the Commanding General of the Americal Division and the 1st Brigade fell under OPCON*(operational control) of the Americal Division. The Arrival Airfield (AAF) was TAM KY South and brigade elements began to arrive that afternoon with the TAC CP, 1-501 Inf and C/2-320 Arty closing by 9:30pm.

At 11:45pm the 1st Brigade Task Force staging area received 5-7 rounds of 60mm mortar fire with negative results.

MAY 16th:


The 1st Brigade TF*(task force) continued to deploy from the (DAF) at PHU BAI to the (AAF) at TAM KY South with A 1-501, first to arrive, providing security for the airfield and the 1st BDE HHQ element while the rest of the 1-501 Inf conducted a Combat Assault into the AO.
**(Commentary from John Conroy, A 1/501. "Alpha Company was situated at the end of the air strip at the Tam Ky airport. Terrible view. Broken planes, broken country. We didn't even dig in. Hot. Hot. Guarded the area between the road to Tam Ky and the end of the strip as the planes kept pouring in with our shit. Other companies in the battalion moving out or getting ready to. We sat in the dirt, dusty and hot, no shade available, since the incoming C-130 prop wash knocked down any poncho shelters. We bought cokes from the locals on the other side of the flimsy barbed wire fence. Price steadily climbing. All civilians di-di'ed before curfew. Hot night, little sleep. Prelude to tragedy named Lamar Plain.")

At 8:30am the 1-502 Inf and 2-320 Arty began movement by air from (DAF) to the (AAF).

At 12:00pm the 1st Brigade TF*(task force) assumed OPCON*(operational control) of the 1-46 Inf and C/1-14 Arty which were located at LZ PROFESSIONAL. The 1-46 Inf continued to conduct local reconnaissance in force operations in the vicinity of LZ PROFESSIONAL.

At 2:45pm C/2-320 Arty completed an airmove from TAM KY S to LZ YOUNG where it established a firing position with a battery from the 2d ARVN Div, secured by forces of the 5th ARVN Regt.

At 2:54pm 1-501 Inf conducted a CA into an LZ to the southwest of LZ YOUNG and commenced RIF*(recon in force) operations to the south toward LZ PROFESSIONAL.

At 5:45pm B/1-501 Inf engaged three enemy soldiers with small arms fire; the enemy fled south and the element pursued with negative results.

At 10:30pm the remainder of the 1st Brigade TF*(task force) combat elements closed into TAM KY S and also at that time the AAF staging area received 10-15 rounds of 60mm mortar fire resulting in three US lightly wounded.

MAY 17th:


Activity was light in the AO as the enemy avoided contact on the ground.*(LZ Professional routinely recieved incoming mortar and recoiless rifle fire from morning to night during the early stages of the operation and all aircraft entering the area were challenged by numerous enemy anti-aircraft possitions usually armed with .51 caliber [12.7mm] heavy machine guns.)

At 2:16pm a LOH*(light observation helicopter) from B/2-17 Cav received 15 rounds of .30 cal ground fire from an estimated enemy platoon. The aircraft was hit twice but managed to return to the airfield.

At 6:25pm a brigade LOH reconnaissance team observed 6 to 8 enemy soldiers. The aircraft engaged the enemy with M-60 and M-16 fire accounting for 1 VC KIA. Throughout the AO reconnaissance and support aircraft received light to moderate ground fire ranging in size from .30 cal to .51 cal (12.7mm). The enemy demonstrated a complete willingness and capability to engage aircraft at any speed or altitude.

MAY 18th:


The day was punctuated with a series of sharp clashes as enemy activity increased in the AO.

At 7:00am B/3-16 Artillery engaged an enemy force resulting in 6 NVA KIA. The artillery battery was firing in support of the TIEN PHUOC Popular Forces.

At 7:10am B/1-501 engaged a single NVA who fled. The unit pursued and captured the wounded enemy who later died.

At 11:27am C/1-501 began to receive heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire from a well dug-in and bunkered enemy. The element employed artillery and ARA*(arial rocket artillery) and maneuvered against the enemy throughout the day. That afternoon the enemy position was over run resulting in 8 NVA KIA and 6 IWC*(individual weapon captured). C/1-501 sustained 3 KIA and 1 WIA in the bitter day-long fight.

At 12:40pm B/1-501 again received 82mm mortar fire resulting in 4 US KIA including the company commander and 6 US WIA.

At 4:05pm C/1-501 observed four enemy soldiers. The element employed artillery accounting for 4 NVA KIA and 1 weapon captured.

At 5:53pm B/2-17 Cav engaged an enemy mortar position with 40mm fire resulting in 4 NVA KIA. Throughout the day the enemy resisted the 1-501 in its movement to the south.

MAY 19th:


Activity lessened in the AO as the 1-501 continued to push south toward LZ PROFESSIONAL.

At 12:15pm B/1-46 found a small equipment and weapons cache with 4 IWC along with miscellaneous communication equipment, documents, medical supplies and other military equipment.

At 12:50pm a LOH*(light observation helicopter) of C/2-17 Cav received automatic weapons fire taking hits in the tail rotor and crashing. The crew was slightly injured and evacuated without incident.

At 5:10pm B/1-46 captured 1 NVA soldier and at 6:15pm captured a second VC soldier. Both prisoners were evacuated to the Brigade CP*(command post) for further interrogation.

MAY 20th:


The enemy continued attacks by fire in the LAMAR PLAIN AO*(area of operation) as mortar and anti-aircraft fire increased.

At 8:00am the Command Posts of 1-46 Inf and C/1 -14 Arty located at LZ PROFESSIONAL received 60mm and 62mm mortar fire resulting in 2 US KIA and 5 US WIA. Counter-mortar was fired with negative assessment.

At 12:45pm scouts of B/2-17 Cav observed an enemy 12.7mm AA*(anti aircraft) weapon. The scouts directed an airstrike into the area destroying the weapon.

MAY 21st:


1st Brigade elements engaged in heavy contact as the 1-501 fought a day long struggle against a determined, well dug-in enemy.

At 5:00amC/1-501 detected movement outside the NDP*(night defensive perimeter) and engaged the suspected enemy with M-79*(grenade launcher) and hand grenades. A first light sweep disclosed 2 VC KIA.

At 6:42am B/1-501 received intensive small arms and heavy machinegun fire from an enemy force of unknown size. The ensuing contact continued throughout the day. C and D Co along with Recon/1-501 converged on the area to assist the heavily engaged B Co.

At 7:30am C/1-501 engaged an enemy force in the area and began a daylong fight in the immediate vicinity.

At 9:00am Recon/1-501 observed 4 NVA with a 12.7mm HMG*(heavy machine gun) and engaged the enemy position.

At 10:00am D/1-501 joined the bitter fighting by engaging an enemy force in the area. The fighting continued throughout the day as the enemy tenaciously defended from steel-reinforced concrete bunkers. Tactical air, artillery and Air Cav support was used throughout the fighting but the ground units remained locked in close combat throughout the afternoon. As the elements disengaged the enemy left 25 KIA on the battlefield with the 1-501 suffering 12 KIA and 46 WIA in the fight.

Contact was scattered elsewhere in the AO as the ground elements began to uncover mute evidence of the effectiveness of the intensive air and artillery strikes throughout the AO.

At 6;45am a LOH*(light observation helicopter) from B/2-17 Cav received heavy small arms fire resulting in 2 US WIA. The LOH returned to TAM KY without further incident.

At 8:35am three companies of the 1-46 moved by air to recover personnel MIA*(missing in action) during a previous action and to initiate RIF*(recon in force) operations to the east straddling LZ PROFESSIONAL with thier advance.

At 9:00am another B/2-17 Cav LOH observed the charred remains of 4 VC KBAS*(killed by air strike).

At 12:10pm a medevac aircraft from 54th Med Bn was hit by small arms fire and forced down resulting in two US WIA.

MAY 22nd:


Moderate enemy activity continued in the AO as scattered contacts of varying intensity ground and air were reported.

At 5:30am D/1-501 engaged and killed an NVA soldier moving outside the unit NDP.
At 6:15am 1-46 received five 82mm mortar rounds from an unknown enemy location resulting in 2 US KIA and 6 US WIA. The element employed counter mortar fie with negative results.

At 8:35am a UH1H*(Huey) medevac aircraft from the 54th Med Bn on an evacuation mission was riddled by small arms fire and HMG*(heavy machine gun) fire. The aircraft exploded, crashed and burned with no survivors.

At 8:40am A/4-77 ARA*(arial rocket artillery) observed and killed one VC.

At 8:50am Recon/1-501 captured one VC attempting to hide in a trench.

At 9:25am B/1-502 received small arms fire, resulting in 1 US WIA. The element returned fire killing 2 NVA.

At 9:45am C/1-46 recovered the remains of personnel MIA during Operation FREDRICK HILL. The 12 US KIA were evacuated and the RIF*(recon in force) operation continued.

At 10:25am a Brigade FAC*(forward air controller) directed an air-strike against an enemy 12.7mm AA weapon, destroying the weapon with 250 pound bombs.

At 11:00am B/1-502 received machine gun fire from a concealed position resulting in 1 US KIA. The element returned fire but the enemy broke contact.

At 1:15pm B/1-502 found the remains of 5 NVA killed by an airstrike conducted the previous day.

At 1:30pm B/1-46 discovered a small weapons cache consisting of nine individual weapons.

At 2:07pm B/1-501 found the body of one NVA who had been killed in an earlier skirmish.

At 2:55pm and 2:57pm two Brigade aircraft were hit by ground fire. A LOH*(light observation helicopter) from 2-320 Arty was hit and a HU1H*(Huey) C&C*(command and control) ship of 1-501 was hit with a total of 3 US WIA.

At 3:45pm B/2-17 Cav continued to pressure the enemy forces by engaging and killing 1 VC with M-60 fire.

At 7:10pm B/1-501 observed 2 NVA in an open field and engaged the enemy with M-79 fire killing one.

At 8:18pm Recon/1-501 observed a small enemy force and engaged them with small arms fire accounting for 2 NVA KIA.

MAY 23rd:


All units continued RIF operations in the area and contact continued as the sweeping 1st Brigade forces ferreted out small enemy forces.

At 8:50am a logistics aircraft for 1-501 received small arms fire which wounded one crewman.

At 11:00am B/1-501 engaged an enemy force hidden in bunkers. The unit employed small arms fire and tactical air strikes resulting in 1 NVA KIA and 1 US WIA.

At 11:15am Recon/1-502 captured 1 NVA soldier and discovered the remains of 1 VC killed by an earlier airstrike.

At 1:53pm B/1-501 received unknown caliber mortar fire and M-79 fire resulting in 3 US KIA and 7 US WIA. The element returned fire with negative assessment.

At 6:55pm B/2-17 Cav engaged a hut complex killing 1 NVA.

Just 35 minutes later at 7:30pm the cav engaged a small enemy force accounting for one NVA KIA.

MAY 24th:


Activity decreased in the AO with only three minor contacts getting reported.

At 8:30am A Brigade LOH reconnaissance team engaged 3 VC with ARA*(arial rocket artillery) support accounting for 3 VC KIA.

At 2:25pm B/1-501, had 1 US WIA by small arms fire from an undetermined size enemy force.

At 4:15pm B/1-501 again received small arms fire resulting in 1 US KIA and 2 US WIA. The unit returned fire with negative assessment.

MAY 25th:


All units continued RIF*(recon in force) operations in their respective AO as the enemy increased ground to air fire and continued to resist in the face of increasing pressure.

At 7:20am a LOH from B/2-17 Cav was hit by small arms fire and crashed injuring the three crewmen. As other Cav elements converged on the downed aircraft a second LOH was hit by 12.7mm AA fire wounding one of the crew. The damaged LOH returned to safety and an airstrike was summoned. The airstrike was accurately placed and the 12.7mm AA weapon was destroyed.

At 8:50am the Brigade FAC*(forward air controller) placed another airstrike and assessed 1 VC KBAS*(killed by air strike).

At 9:45am A/1-502 suffered 2 US WIA by small arms fire from an unknown enemy force.

At 11:20am a logistics aircraft for B/1-501 had 1 US WIA from ground fire.

At 1:09pm Recon/1-502 found the remains of 2 NVA killed by an earlier airstrike.

At 2:10pm an air observer from C/1-14 Arty spotted five VC in the open. The observer engaged the enemy with artillery recording 3 VC KIA.

At 4:20pm A/1-501 engaged an enemy force with small arms fire. The alert soldiers quickly maneuvered and over ran an enemy 82mm mortar position killing 6 NVA and capturing 1 NVA who was identified as the squad leader. Additionally the aggressive company claimed 3 IWC*(individual weapons captured) and the complete 82mm mortar.
*(It should be noted that while the report compliments A co's actions and aggressiveness no mention is made of the two KIA's suffered by A co. Ralph Vitch and Mario Lamelza.)

At 6:25pm B/1-501 had 2 US WIA from small arms fire.

Also at 6:25pm Recon/1-502 engaged and killed 1 NVA.

At 7:15pm C/1-501 closed out the day's activities when it discovered 1 VC KIA from an earlier clash.

MAY 26th:


Sporadic contact continued as the 1st Brigade fought a series of small clashes against small bands of the determined enemy force.
Operation LAMAR PLAIN was supported by two B52 raids during the daylight hours against the suspected location of the 2d NVA Division Headquarters.

At 8:00am A/1-501 received enemy hand grenades within the perimeter leaving 2 US WIA. The element returned fire but the enemy fled the area.

At 8:08am B/1-501 received heavy small arms fire, automatic weapons and RPG*(rocket propelled grenade) fire from a hidden enemy force suffering 5 US WIA. The unit returned fire with negative assessment.

At 9:25am B/1-501 received heavy and accurate small arms and automatic weapons fire from a well concealed enemy force resulting in 2 US KIA. The unit returned fire but the enemy broke contact fleeing in an unknown direction.

At 11:50am A/1-46 found 1 VC KIA hidden in a tunnel.

At 2:30pm and 4:30pm B52's delivered two strikes.

At 5:25pm B/1-501 received sniper fire resulting in 1 US KIA.

MAY 27th:


Activity was relatively light in the AO as a bomb damage assessment (BDA) was conducted in the area of the B-52 strikes and all units continued RIF*(recon in force) operations in the area.

At 6:15am B/2-17 Cav flew into the B52 strike area and began to assess the results.

At 7:35am B/2-17 Cav engaged a two man enemy force recording 2 NVA KIA.

At 10:05am D/1-502 found the remains of 4 NVA KBA*(killed by artillery).

At 12:25pm the Aero Rifle Platoon of B/2-17 Cav was inserted to further check out a portion of the B52 strike area. Almost immediately the unit received sniper fire. The Aero Rifle Platoon returned fire, surrounded the enemy sniper and captured him along with two individual weapons. The wounded sniper died before evacuation and the platoon was extracted without further incident
The BDA had revealed significant bunker and structure damage as well as numerous trails interdicted but only limited enemy casualties.

At 2:30pm B/2-17 Cav engaged and killed 1 NVA in the open.

At 5:25pm A/1-46 observed an estimated enemy platoon in the open at a range of 600 meters. The element employed artillery which accounted for 5 NVA KIA.

MAY 28th:


All units continued RIF operations and activity was minimal throughout the AO.

At 12:35pm B/2-17 Cav observed and engaged 2 NVA in the open resulting in 2 NVA KIA.

At 12:50pm Recon/1-502 engaged an enemy soldier attempting to cross a river resulting in 1 NVA KIA and 1 IWC.

MAY 29th:


The 1st Brigade continued to press the search in the AO as the enemy apparently chose to avoid contact.

At 11:35am D/1-501 found 2 NVA KBAS*(killed by air strike).

At 4:20pm, Recon/1-46 engaged and killed 2 NVA while capturing one individual weapon in the brief skirmish.

At 5:00pm A/1-501 found 1 NVA KIA by napalm.

MAY 30th:


The 1st Brigade in compliance with a COMUSMACV*(basically this denotes top level US command; Military Assistance Command Vietnam) directive participated in a 24 hour "cease fire" in honor of Buddha's birthday. All elements engaged in limited local defensive patrolling and the air cav was confined to reconnaissance activities with orders to fire only if fired upon.

At 6:15am 6 NVA violated the cease fire when they opened fire on a B/2-17 Cav LOH. The LOH*(light observation helicopter) returned fire accounting for 2 NVA KIA.

At 1:55pm a second breach occurred when a 1st Brigade LOH reconnaissance team received small arms fire from an NVA soldier. The element returned fire killing the enemy soldier.

Also during this date the 1st Brigade received an order from the Americal Division directing an operation specifically against the 1st MF VC Regiment. The concept prescribed a battalion combat assault into the SONG TRAM Valley followed by RIF operations to the northeast toward the suspect 1st MF Regiment CP. This attack was to be supported by a similar move from the north by two battalions of the 5th ARVN Regiment which would conduct RIF*(recon in force) operations south toward the suspected enemy CP location. Blocking positions to the west would be occupied by 1-46 and the east by elements of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade. Both to be occupied on order based on the rate of movement of the maneuver forces. Coordination and liaison were effected with the 2d ARVN Div and the 5th ARVN Regt prior to the operation. D day was set as 1 June 1969. B/1-14th Arty was placed OPCON to 2-320 Arty and assigned DS mission to 1-46. C/1-14 Arty was terminated from Brigade OPCON*(operational control).

MAY 31st:


Action flared briefly in the AO as the units continued to search for the enemy and 1-502 staged in the field for the combat assaults on the following day.

At 10:25am D/1-501 received small arms fire from an unknown size enemy force. The element returned fire and maneuvered against the determined enemy force. The enemy resistance was overcome and 6 NVA KIA were found with D/1-501 suffering 2 US KIA and 3 US WIA.

www.GERONIMO-VIETNAM.com©


JUNE 1969

JULY 1969

AUGUST 1969


back to base camp