Operation Hawthorne

Operation Hawthorne took place near the village of Toumorong, Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam from 2 to 21 June 1966.[1][2]


The Central Highlands, in II Corps, masked crucial supply routes carrying munitions and support to People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and Viet Cong (VC) operations further south and COMUSMACV General William Westmoreland, aimed to contest any incursions into the area. In the province of Kontum PAVN/VC used the monsoon rains as an opportunity to mount a major offensive.

The operation was mounted to relieve elements of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 42nd Regiment under siege at Toumorong (14°53′10″N 107°57′36″E / 14.886°N 107.96°E) northeast of Đắk Tô.[3] To relieve the regiment and to fight off the estimated regiment-sized enemy force present, three battalions of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, a battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and two Civilian Irregular Defense Group companies were concentrated, under the overall command of Brigadier General Willard Pearson, commander, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, himself responsible to I Field Force.


On 3 June elements of the ARVN 42nd Regiment moved north by road from Đắk Tô to Toumorong, while the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment was deployed by helicopter to blocking positions north and east of Toumorong. On 6 June the garrison at Toumorong was relieved and withdrawn while the 1/327th and Company A 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment and Battery B 2nd Battalion, 320th Artillery Regiment remained at Toumorong and in the surrounding area.[3]:3

At 02:15 on 7 June an estimated PAVN battalion attacked the 2/502nd and 2/320th position, the initial assault was beaten back, but the PAVN made two further assaults and the fighting continued until 09:00 when the PAVN were forced back by air and artillery support.[3]:3–5 At 07:00 on 7 June the remainder of the 2/502nd was committed to the battle and dropped into a landing zone northwest of the battle area. At 13:00 Company A engaged a PAVN unit which developed into a pitched battle lasting until nightfall. PAVN losses for the day were 77 killed.[3]:5–6

On 8 June the 1/327th pursued withdrawing PAVN forces northwest killing 31 PAVN.[3]:6

On the afternoon of 9 June Company C, 2/502nd engaged an estimated PAVN Battalion northwest of Toumorong (14°48′50″N 107°54′22″E / 14.814°N 107.906°E), B Company was moving to assist C Company when it too was engaged by another PAVN Battalion (14°50′10″N 107°55′12″E / 14.836°N 107.92°E).[3]:8 Company C 2/502nd was trapped in a bowl surrounded by PAVN on 3 sides in close contact and threatening to overrun their position. As air support arrived overhead the C Company commander Captain Bill Carpenter radioed the orbiting forward air controller "Lay it right on top of us...they are overrunning us, we might as well take some of them too." The two orbiting F-4Cs dropped napalm which hit inside and outside the Company perimeter breaking up the PAVN attack. Further airstrikes were then called in outside the Company perimeter.[3]:9 Company A 2/502nd and Company A 1/327th were sent to relieve Company C 2/502nd, Company A 1/327th engaged a PAVN company at 21:50, the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment linked up with Company B at 22:15 and formed a new defensive position while Company A 2/502nd eventually linked up with Company C at 23:30.[3]:8

On 10 June Companies A and C 2/502nd and Company B 2/502nd and 1/5 Cavalry defended their respective positions while Company C 1/327th was sent to assist Company A 1/327th as it engaged an estimated PAVN platoon (14°48′22″N 107°54′00″E / 14.806°N 107.90°E).[3]:11 Later that day 15 B-52s dropped 270 tons of bombs on suspected PAVN positions.[3]:14

On 11 June the US units attempted to withdraw from contact with the PAVN as the PAVN "hugging" tactics reduced the effectiveness of US air and artillery support. As Company A 1/327th withdrew it ran into an entrenched PAVN Battalion and was only able to disengage with the help of close air support and artillery fire.[3]:12–3 On the afternoon of the 11th Companies A and C 2/502nd were extracted back to Đắk Tô.[3]:13

At 08:00 on 13 June 24 B-52s dropped 432 tons of bombs on the 9–10 June battle area, US troops were quickly lifted by helicopter into the bombed area and reported that the strike had been very effective and captured several dazed PAVN soldiers.[3]:16 Following the B-52 strike minimal contact was made with the PAVN until the operation terminated on 21 June.[3]:17


U.S. losses were 48 killed and 239 wounded, ARVN losses were 10 killed and 29 wounded, US/ARVN claiming PAVN losses were 479 killed (body count), 209 killed by aircraft of which 52 were counted, plus an estimated further 506 killed, 21 PAVN/VC were captured.[3]


  1. ^ http://101_lha.tripod.com/101st_lha/id78.html
  2. ^ About Face, by David H. Hackworth and Julie Sherman, Simon & Schuster, 1989, page 534-546.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Project CHECO Report Operation Hawthorne 8 September 1966" (PDF). Headquarters Pacific Air Force. 8 September 1966. p. 1. Retrieved 15 February 2015.

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502nd Infantry Regiment (United States)

The 502nd Infantry Regiment (502nd IR), previously titled the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (502nd PIR), is an airborne infantry regiment of the United States Army. The regiment was established shortly after the American entry into World War II, and was assigned as a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, "The Screaming Eagles", one of the most decorated formations of the U.S. Army. The regiment saw substantial action in the European Theater of World War II and was deactivated in 1945, shortly after the end of the war. Reactivating in a new form in 1956, the 502nd Infantry has served in the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. since 1974, the regiment has been classified as an Air Assault unit. Currently, its 1st and 2nd battalions are active. Both battalions are assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Bill Carpenter

William Stanley "Bill" Carpenter, Jr. (born September 30, 1937) is a retired American military officer and former college football player. While playing college football at the United States Military Academy, he gained national prominence as the "Lonesome End" of the Army football team. During his military service in the Vietnam War, he again achieved fame when he saved his company by directing airstrikes on his own position. For the action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Christian Nissen

Christian Nissen aka Hein Mück (1893 – after 1955) was a German sailor and yachtsman, who served with Nazi Germany's Abwehr and its special forces, the Brandenburgers in World War II.

History of the United States Army

The history of the United States Army began in 1775. From its formation, the United States Army has been the primary land based part of the United States Armed Forces. The Army's main responsibility has been in fighting land battles and military occupation. The Corps of Engineers also has a major role in controlling rivers inside the United States. The Continental Army was founded in response to a need for professional soldiers in the American Revolutionary War to fight the invading British Army. Until the 1940s, the Army was relatively small in peacetime. In 1947, the Air Force became completely independent of the Army Air Forces. The Army was under the control of the War Department until 1947, and since then the Defense Department. The U.S. Army fought the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812 (1812–15), American Civil War (1861–65), Spanish–American War (1898), World War I (1917–18), World War II (1941–45), Korean War (1950–53) and Vietnam War (1965–71). Following the Cold War's end in 1991, Army has focused primarily on Western Asia, and also took part in the 1991 Gulf War and war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan.

When the American Revolutionary War began in April 1775, the colonial revolutionaries did not have an army. Previously, each colony had relied upon the militia, made up of part-time civilian-soldiers. The initial orders from Congress authorized ten companies of riflemen. The first full regiment of Regular Army infantry, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was not formed until June 1784. After the war, the Continental Army was quickly disbanded because of the American distrust of standing armies, and irregular state militias became the new nation's sole ground army, with the exception of a regiment to guard the Western Frontier and one battery of artillery guarding West Point's arsenal.

During the War of 1812, an invasion of Canada failed, and U.S. troops were unable to stop the British from burning the new capital of Washington, D.C.. However, the Regular Army, under Generals Winfield Scott and Jacob Brown, proved they were professional and capable of defeating a major invasion by the regular British Army in the Niagara campaign of 1814. Between 1815 and 1860, the main role of the U.S. Army was fighting Native Americans in the West in the American Indian Wars, and manning coast artillery stations at major ports. The U.S. used regular units and many volunteer units in the Mexican–American War of 1846–48. At the outset of the American Civil War, the regular U.S. Army was small and generally assigned to defend the nation's frontiers from attacks by Indians. Following the Civil War, the U.S. Army fought more wars with Indians, who resisted U.S. expansion into the center of the continent.

A combined conscript and volunteer force, the National Army, was formed by the United States War Department in 1917 to fight in World War I. During World War II, the Army of the United States was formed as a successor to the National Army. The end of World War II set the stage for the ideological confrontation known as the Cold War. With the outbreak of the Korean War, concerns over the defense of Western Europe led to the establishment of NATO. During the Cold War, American troops and their allies fought communist forces in Korea and Vietnam (see containment). The 1980s was mostly a decade of reorganization. The Army converted to an all-volunteer force with greater emphasis on training and technology. By 1989, the Cold War was nearing its conclusion. The Army leadership reacted by starting to plan for a reduction in strength. After Desert Storm, the Army did not see major combat operations for the remainder of the 1990s. After the September 11 attacks, and as part of the War on Terror, U.S. and other NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001, replacing the Taliban government. The Army took part in the U.S. and allied 2003 invasion of Iraq.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1966)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1966, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

Presidential Unit Citation (United States)

The Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Uniformed services of the United States, and those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941 (the date of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of American involvement in World War II). The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign.

Since its inception by Executive Order on 26 February 1942, retroactive to 7 December 1941, to 2008, the Presidential Unit Citation has been awarded in conflicts such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan.

The collective degree of valor (combat heroism) against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross. In some cases, one or more individuals within the unit may have also been awarded individual awards for their contribution to the actions for which their entire unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. The unit with the most Presidential Unit Citations is the USS Parche (SSN-683) with 9 citations.

Robert Mason (writer)

Robert C. Mason (born March 20, 1942) is a Vietnam War veteran and author of several books, including his first, best-selling memoir: Chickenhawk (1983). Mason piloted Huey "Slicks" in the United States Army as a Warrant Officer 1. He sailed to Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and served a one-year tour, nine months with the "First Cav", the last three months with the 48th Aviation Company.

Mason spent his first month in Vietnam clearing land for his unit's airbase, after which he and his fellow pilots flew many missions to resupply the infantry and pick up wounded. At that time 1st Cavalry Medevac helicopters were not allowed to fly if the landing zone was hot. While serving with the 1st Cavalry, Mason was involved in several battles and other missions, including the Battle of Ia Drang, the Battle of Bong Son and Happy Valley.Mason transferred to the 48th Aviation Company (referred to as the 49th in his memoir) in May 1966. He continued to fly helicopters, including assault missions for the 101st Airborne in Dak To as part of Operation Hawthorne in June 1966.After his one-year tour of duty, Mason became an instructor pilot at Fort Wolters, Texas. Eventually he was grounded for dizzy spells and diagnosed with combat fatigue resulting from his service in Vietnam. Later, he and his wife realized he was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.In 1979, Mason began to write a book about his tour in Vietnam. He named it Chickenhawk after a conversation he and his friend and fellow helicopter pilot Jerry Towler had had in 1965 while waiting to pick up some GIs in Vietnam, describing their alternating feelings of terror and courage as they flew missions.

In 1981, Mason was arrested for smuggling marijuana on a boat from Colombia. A month later his agent sold Chickenhawk to Viking Penguin based on the one third of the book Mason had delivered. Mason did not tell anyone of his arrest, including his agent and his editor, until they finished the rest of the book and read the last page.Chickenhawk was published in 1983, and Christopher Lehmann-Haupt gave it a positive review in The New York Times. Mason was invited to appear on The Today Show on a Wednesday and had to show up at Eglin Federal Prison Camp on the following Friday. Chickenhawk became a hardcover and paperback best-seller. It received many positive reviews, inspiring People magazine to do a story on his troubles under the heading "Trouble."

Mason was released from prison on May 17, 1985. He has subsequently published two novels, Weapon and Solo, as well as a second memoir, Chickenhawk: Back in the World. In 1996, Columbia/Tristar released a film (Solo) based on Mason's first novel, but which used the title of the second.

United States Army

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed (14 June 1775) to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.As a uniformed military service, the U.S. Army is part of the Department of the Army, which is one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Army is headed by a civilian senior appointed civil servant, the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) and by a chief military officer, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is the largest military branch, and in the fiscal year 2017, the projected end strength for the Regular Army (USA) was 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 343,000 soldiers and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) had 199,000 soldiers; the combined-component strength of the U.S. Army was 1,018,000 soldiers. As a branch of the armed forces, the mission of the U.S. Army is "to fight and win our Nation's wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders". The branch participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force of the United States.

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