During the Tet Offensive of 1968, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 2nd Division tried to capture Đà Nẵng but they were defeated in the Battle of Lo Giang. PAVN General Chu Huy Mân Commander of Military Region 5 ordered General Giáp Văn Cương, commander of the 2nd Division, to split the Division into two fighting arms: one regiment would tie down the Americans in the Quế Son Valley, while the rest of the Division would withdraw to their base areas near Laos, to link up with the 70th Transport Regiment and rest and refit. Then, their next target would be Khâm Đức, the last remaining Special Forces camp adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in I Corps. Mân told his senior officers that they would attack Khâm Đức to force an American retreat from the area..
In the aftermath of the battle for Đà Nẵng, U.S. military commanders in I Corps held different views on the fighting ability of the PAVN 2nd Division. Americal Division commander Major-General Samuel W. Koster claimed losses sustained by the Division had "impaired its future effectiveness", after his units killed more than 1,000 enemy soldiers in the month of January alone. In contrast, 1st Marine Division commander Major-General Donn J. Robertson told his superiors that the 2nd Division may have several uncommitted units they could deploy for future operations.:7
On 5 May as part of the May Offensive, the PAVN 31st Regiment attacked LZ Center with mortars and recoilless rifles. When U.S. helicopters tried to land a patrol to locate those weapons, a heavy machine gun company from the PAVN K31 Anti-Aircraft Battalion opened fire from positions around the firebase, shooting down UH-1D #66-17075 from the 178th Assault Helicopter Company which crashed killing all 10 crew and passengers and shortly afterwards a helicopter gunship of the 71st Assault Helicopter Company was also shot down. Company D 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment was flown in to reinforce LZ Center. On 7 May an A–1E Skyraider was shot down while providing air support near LZ Center.
The PAVN forces were concentrated on the Nui Hoac Ridge, with their main position located on Hill 352 (:5–369 This position held at least 2 anti-aircraft guns, recoilless rifles, mortars and an unknown number of PAVN. In addition the PAVN were entrenched between Hills 434 and 479 to the east of LZ Center.) approximately 2.5km south of LZ Center.
On 14 May 1968 during an attack on PAVN bunkers on Hill 352 Platoon sergeant Finnis D. McCleery of 1st Platoon, Company A, 1/6th Infantry single-handedly attacked and destroyed several PAVN bunkers despite being wounded twice. For his actions that day, McCleery would be awarded the Medal of Honor.
The 23rd Infantry Division, initially, and more commonly known as, the Americal Division, of the United States Army was activated 27 May 1942 on the island of New Caledonia. In the immediate emergency following Pearl Harbor, the United States had hurriedly sent three individual regiments to defend New Caledonia against a feared Japanese attack. This division was the only division formed outside of United States territory during World War II (a distinction it would repeat when reformed during the Vietnam War). At the suggestion of a subordinate, the division's commander, Major General Alexander Patch, requested that the new unit be known as the Americal Division—the name being a contraction of "American, New Caledonian Division". This was unusual, as most U.S. divisions are known by a number. After World War II the Americal Division was officially re-designated as the 23rd Infantry Division. However, it was rarely referred to as such, even on official orders.
During the Vietnam War the division had a mixed record. It combined solid service in numerous battles and campaigns with the My Lai massacre, which was committed by a platoon of the division's subordinate 11th Infantry Brigade, led by Lieutenant William Calley.
The Division also had another setback on the early morning of 28 March 1971, Vietcong sapper commandos sneaked into FSB Mary Ann, proceeded to throw explosives and tear gas, knife sleeping soldiers and blowing up key infrastructure delaying rescue. This attack caused 116 casualties leaving 33 killed and 83 wounded.The division was inactivated following its withdrawal from Vietnam in November 1971.Finnis D. McCleery
Finnis Dawson McCleery (December 25, 1927 – July 11, 2002) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.List of landing zones in the Vietnam War
Landing Zones during the U.S.-involvement in the Vietnam War include:
Landing Zone Albany, Central Highlands; involved in the Battle of Ia Drang
Landing Zone Baldy, Quảng Nam Province
Landing Zone Brace, Central Highlands
Landing Zone Brillo Pad, Central Highlands
Landing Zone Center, Quảng Tín Province; involved in the Battle of Landing Zone Center
Landing Zone Colt (Landing Zone Ordway) Quảng Nam Province
Landing Zone Dot, Tây Ninh Province
Landing Zone East (Landing Zone Mary Lou) Quảng Nam Province
Landing Zone English (Landing Zone Dog) Bình Định Province
Landing Zone Hereford, Bình Định Province
Landing Zone Kate, Quang Duc Province; U.S. Army base
Landing Zone Leslie, Quảng Nam Province
Landing Zone Liz, Quang Ngai Province
Landing Zone Loon, Quảng Trị Province
Landing Zone Mack, Quảng Trị Province
Landing Zone Margo, Quảng Trị Province
Landing Zone Oasis (Landing Zone Tuttle), central South Vietnam
Landing Zone Peanuts, Quảng Trị Province
Landing Zone Professional, Quang Tin Province
Landing Zone Robin, Quảng Trị Province; involved in Operation Robin
Landing Zone Schueller (Landing Zone Road), central South Vietnam
Landing Zone Sierra, Quảng Trị Province
Landing Zone Two Bits, Bình Định Province
Landing Zone Uplift, coastal South Vietnam
Landing Zone Virgin, Central Highlands
Landing Zone X-Ray, Central HighlandsMay Offensive
PHASE II of the Tet Offensive of 1968 (also known as the May Offensive, Little Tet, and Mini-Tet) was launched by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and Viet Cong (VC) against targets throughout South Vietnam, including Saigon from 29 April to 30 May 1968.
Easter Offensive (1972)
Post-Paris Peace Accords (1973–1974)