Battle of Nam Dong

The Battle of Nam Đông took place from July 5–6 1964 during the Vietnam War, when the Viet Cong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) attacked the Nam Đông CIDG camp in an attempt to overrun it. During the battle, 57 South Vietnamese defenders, two Americans, an Australian Military advisor, and at least 62 attackers were killed.

Battle

Nam Đông is situated 32 miles (51 km) west of Da Nang in a valley near the Laotian border; it was manned by South Vietnamese personnel with American and Australian advisers, and served as a major thorn in the side of local VC militants.

The PAVN/VC struck at the camp at 02:30 on 5 July to achieve the element of surprise, and reached the outer perimeter where CIDG forces managed to hold out. At 04:00 the senior officer, Captain Roger Donlon, radioed for support and 2 hours later 6 HMM-162 helicopters carrying reinforcements escorted by 2 U.S. Army UH-1B helicopter gunships left Da Nang Air Base for Nam Dong, but on arriving over the camp they were unable to land due to intense fire and had to return to Da Nang.[4].

A U.S. Army CV-2 Caribou managed to drop ammunition into the camp and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) A-1 Skyraiders carried out airstrikes on the PAVN/VC around the camp.[4]:158

At 09:45 18 HMM-162 UH-34Ds escorted by 4 UH-1Bs and 2 RVNAF A-1s began landing a 93 man relief force and extracting the wounded. At 15:45 a further flight of 10 UH-34s delivered ammunition and equipment to the camp but by this time the battle was over.[4]:158

Allied losses were 2 U.S., 1 Australian and 50 CIDG killed, while the PAVN/VC left 62 dead around the camp.[4]:158

Aftermath

Captain Donlon became the first American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for killing two VC sappers and thereby preventing them from breaching the Nam Dong base, while sustaining shrapnel wounds in the process.[5]

For his actions during this battle, Warrant Officer Kevin Conway of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), was cited by his commander—then Colonel Ted Serong—for a Victoria Cross, the highest gallantry award for Australian service personnel. Conway was in a forward weapon pit with an American Master Sergeant, Gabriel Alamo, who was killed in the assault. Conway alone fired his mortar upon the assaulting enemy in ever decreasing range fire until he was forced to bring his mortar fire upon himself to save the perimeter of the base. Conway has never received the cited award for valour. He was the first Australian to be killed in action in the Vietnam War. Serong stated that it was US Special Forces politics that denied Conway his Victoria Cross. Sergeant John L. Houston, Radio Operator, was also killed during the action on 6 July 1964. Alamo and Houston were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Sergeant Terrance D. Terrin, U.S. Army Green Beret Medic, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in battle.

The Green Berets

A battle scene in the 1968 film The Green Berets was inspired by the battle of Nam Dong.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–351. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  2. ^ Heroes of Vietnam: The Battle for Nam Đȏng
  3. ^ Viet Cong attack Special Forces at Nam Dong
  4. ^ a b c d Whitlow, Robert (1977). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Advisory and Combat Assistance Era, 1954-1964. History and Museums Division, Headquarters US Marine Corps. p. 157. ISBN 9781494285296.
  5. ^ "One Who Was Belligerent". TIME Magazine. 1964-12-11. Retrieved 2007-04-22.
  6. ^ "The Green Berets: how the war was spun". Retrieved 2019-04-18.

External links

1964 in the Vietnam War

South Vietnam was in political chaos during much of the year, as generals competed for power and Buddhists protested against the government. The Viet Cong communist guerrillas expanded their operations and defeated the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) in many battles. North Vietnam made a definitive judgement in January to assist the Viet Cong insurgency with men and material. In November, North Vietnam ordered the North Vietnamese Army to infiltrate units into South Vietnam and undertake joint military operations with the Viet Cong.

The new President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, and his civilian and military advisers wrestled with the problem of a failing government in South Vietnam and military gains by the communists. In August, an attack on American navy vessels caused Johnson to seek and gain U.S. congressional approval of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which authorized him to use military force if necessary to defend South Vietnam. Throughout the year, there were calls from many quarters — American, foreign, and South Vietnamese — for the United States to negotiate an agreement for the neutralization of South Vietnam, which they refused to considered.

Many of President Johnson's advisers advocated an air war against North Vietnam and the introduction of U.S. combat troops into South Vietnam. By year's end, the 23,000 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam were still technically "advisers" (although they participated in many air and ground operations with the ARVN), but Johnson was contemplating U.S. ground troops.

At the time, most of the reports and conversations mentioned below were secret; they were not made public for many years.

Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

The Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) was a specialist unit of military advisors of the Australian Army that operated during the Vietnam War. Raised in 1962, the unit was formed solely for service as part of Australia's contribution to the war, providing training and assistance to South Vietnamese forces. Initially numbering only approximately 30 men, the size of the unit grew several times over the following years as the Australian commitment to South Vietnam gradually grew, with the unit's strength peaking at 227 in November 1970. Members of the team worked individually or in small groups, operating throughout the country from the far south to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the north. Later they were concentrated in Phuoc Tuy province as Australian forces prepared to withdraw from Vietnam. It is believed to be the most decorated Australian unit to serve in Vietnam; its members received over 100 decorations, including four Victoria Crosses, during its existence. The unit was withdrawn from Vietnam on 18 December 1972 and was disbanded in Australia on 16 February 1973. A total of 1,009 men served with the unit over a period of ten years, consisting of 998 Australians and 11 New Zealanders.

Battle of Wanat

The Battle of Wanat took place on July 13, 2008, when about 200 Taliban insurgents attacked American troops near Quam, in the Waygal district in Afghanistan's far eastern province of Nuristan. The position was defended primarily by United States Army soldiers of the 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

The Taliban surrounded the remote base and its observation post, attacking it from Quam and surrounding farmland. They destroyed much of the U.S. heavy munitions, broke through American lines, and entered the main base before being repelled by artillery and aircraft. The United States claimed to have killed at least 21 Taliban fighters for the loss of nine U.S. soldiers killed and 27 wounded, and four Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers wounded.The Battle of Wanat has been described as one of the bloodiest Taliban attacks of the war and one of several attacks on remote outposts. In contrast to previous roadside bombings and haphazard attacks and ambushes, this attack was well-coordinated with fighters from many insurgent groups with an effort that was disciplined and sustained which was able to precisely target key equipment such as a wire-guided missile launcher.

The battle became the focus of debate in the United States, generating "...a great deal of interest and scrutiny among military professionals and from outside observers..." mainly due to the relatively "...significant number of coalition casualties..." Several investigations were launched into events leading up to the battle. The initial investigation was completed in August 2008. In July 2009, Senator James Webb requested that the U.S. Army formally investigate the battle and previous investigation. Lieutenant General Richard F. Natonski conducted another investigation in late 2009 which led to orders of reprimand for the chain of command. In June 2010, the U.S. Army revoked the reprimands. They stated that no negligence was involved and said of the soldiers that "...by their valor and their skill, they successfully defended their positions and defeated a determined, skillful, and adaptable enemy."

Civilian Irregular Defense Group program

Civilian Irregular Defense Group program (CIDG, pronounced "sid-gee") was a program developed by the U.S. government in the Vietnam War to develop South Vietnamese irregular military units from minority populations.

Field artillery

Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, short range, long range, and extremely long range target engagement.

Until the early 20th century, field artillery were also known as foot artillery, for while the guns were pulled by beasts of burden (often horses), the gun crews would usually march on foot, thus providing fire support mainly to the infantry. This was in contrast to horse artillery, whose emphasis on speed while supporting cavalry units necessitated lighter guns and crews riding on horseback.

Whereas horse artillery has been superseded by self-propelled artillery, field artillery has survived to this day both in name and mission, albeit with motor vehicles towing the guns, carrying the crews and transporting the ammunition. Modern artillery has also advanced to rapidly deployable wheeled and tracked vehicles and precision delivered munitions capable of striking targets at ranges between 15 and 300 kilometers.

Roger Donlon

Roger Hugh Charles Donlon (born January 30, 1934) is a former United States Army officer. He is the first person to receive the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, as well as the first member of the U.S. Army Special Forces to be honored.

The Green Berets (film)

The Green Berets is a 1968 American war film set in Vietnam featuring John Wayne, Jim Hutton, David Janssen, Aldo Ray, Patrick Wayne, and Jack Soo, based on the 1965 novel by Robin Moore. Much of the film was shot in the summer of 1967. Parts of the screenplay bear little relation to the novel, although the portion in which a woman seduces a North Vietnamese communist general and sets him up to be kidnapped by Americans is from the book.

Thematically, The Green Berets is strongly anti-communist and pro-Saigon. It was released at the height of American involvement in the Vietnam War, the same year as the Tet Offensive against the largest cities in South Vietnam. John Wayne, concerned by the anti-war atmosphere in the United States, wanted to make this film to present the pro-military position. He requested and obtained full military cooperation and materiel from 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson and the United States Department of Defense. To please The Pentagon, who were attempting to prosecute author Robin Moore for revealing classified information, Wayne bought Moore out for $35,000 and 5% of undefined profits of the film.The film was a critical failure, but succeeded financially.

United States Army Special Forces in popular culture

Members of the U.S. Army Special Forces will emphatically assert that the "Green Beret" is a hat and not the man who wears it. Nevertheless, for a time in the 1960s the Green Berets and the men who wore them became a national fad emerging in a wide variety of popular culture referents. After a decline in popularity during the 1970s — coinciding with the American public's backlash against the Vietnam War — the Green Berets gripped the popular imagination again beginning with the Rambo film franchise in 1982. They continue to appear as both major and minor referents in popular culture — especially in movies and television — often serving as a shorthand signifier for a shady or covert military background for a fictional character. As a dramatic device, this can cut both ways — i.e., lead an audience to either admire or fear (or both) a character.

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