Plei Me Special Forces Camp. The seige of this camp opened the action in the Ia Drang campaign. Galloway, recorded the action here, from above the camp.
In late October '65, a large North Vietnamese force attacked the Plei Me Special Forces Camp. Troops of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry were sent into the battle. After the enemy was repulsed in early November, the 3rd Brigade replaced the 1st Brigade . After three days of patrolling without any contact, Hal Moore's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was ordered to air assault into the Ia Drang Valley on Nov 14. his mission: Find and kill the enemy! At 10:48 AM, on November 14th, Moore was the first man out of the lead chopper to hit the landing zone, firing his M16 rifle. Little did Moore and his men suspect that FATE had sent them into the first major battle of the Vietnam War between the American Army and the People's Army of Vietnam - Regulars - and into history.
LZ XRay Day 1
Lead elements of the under strength 450 man 1st Bn, 7th Cavalry air assault into a small clearing in scrub jungle below the 2300 foot Chu Pong Massif. Within an hour, a fierce battle is underway between the American Air Cav troopers and the aggressive 9th Bn of the 66th Regiment of the Peoples Army of Vietnam - North Vietnamese Regulars. The American Commander, Lt. Col Moore, fighting on the ground with his men, is faced with three on-going tasks to be accomplished simultaneously:
  • First: To shuttle in the rest of his men from 14 miles to the rear on 16 Huey helicopters.
  • Next: Holding onto the clearing so that the Hueys can land and take off.
  • Lastly: To carry the fight to the numerically superior force as far into the jungle as possible so as to control the edges of the clearing.
It is quickly apparent that the enemy force is determined to overrun and kill every American on the field. The afternoon is consumed in a desperate fire-storm battle for survival in 100 degree heat for Moore and his men as the PAVN commander throws the 7th Bn of the 66th and a composite battalion of the 33rd Regt in a furious attack against the 7th Cavalry left flank and center. In the action, a 29 man Cavalry platoon is surrounded by 200 enemy. Employing massive air and artillery fire support, the disciplined Cavalrymen hold onto the landing zone clearing against 7-1 odds and cause the PAVN units to fall back and break contact by late afternoon. During the action, brave Huey pilots land their choppers under fire during the action to bring in ammo and water and carry out wounded. A reinforcing Cavalry company flies in just before dark. During the fighting that day, the 1st Bn, 7th Cavalry is reduced to approximately 340 officers and men; none missing. PAVN casualties are much higher due to awesome American fire support; six enemy are captured and evacuated.
L X-Ray Day 2