NVA/VC Offensive, March 28-29 1971


Combined Action
Verified Military
Jun 29, 2014
Decisive Terrain
These are two more entries from the 2nd Combined Action Group Command Chronologies from late March 1971 that concerned me. They especially concerned me because I was due to go on R&R on March 30.

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28 March 1971 CAP 2-7-6 ambush initiated OWF on (20) VC with weapons at...

Combined Action Platoon 6, comprised of 8 Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman and 9 South Vietnamese Regional Force soldiers, led by Sgt William F. Tingen, deployed in a treeline ambush site. At approximately 2115 hours, the Marines observed a platoon-size enemy force with weapons some 200 meters distant traversing a large open rice paddy area in single file. The CAP opened fire with rifles, grenade launchers and a machine gun. The enemy responded with small arms and auto weapons fire and then dispersed, fleeing to the west.

(What we didn't then realize was that this force was part of a reinforced NVA regiment that was infiltrating 2nd CAG's AO in advance of a large offensive due to take place the night of the 29th.)

...A sweep of the area disclosed...

Once the enemy had broken contact, the CAP and Counterparts swept the contact area on line, discovering two dead North Vietnamese Regulars, numerous blood trails, three AK-47's, Chi Com grenades, a fully operational M72 LAAW and assorted documents. The grenades were blown in place.

Following this contact, on the morning of the 29th, I was transported by CH 46 to our company headquarters compound in Dien Ban District: HQ, 7th Combined Action Company, (CACO) 2nd CAG. (Shown here in October 1970 with flooding from Typhoon Kate.) I was to spend the night here prior to getting transportation to Danang for my flight out for R&R.


A night behind sandbags and barbed wire was always a welcome relief for bush Marines. I felt pretty safe and looking forward to my flight to Honolulu on the 30th. As luck would have it, on the night of the 29th, the enemy launched an offensive against most of the Marine Combined Action platoons in eastern Quang Nam Province, including the 7th Company Compound in Dien Ban, the 2nd Company HQ, the 2nd Combined Action Group Headquarters in Hoi An, and the Duc Duc resettlement village, home of CAP 2-9-2 and some ARVN RF units with US Army Advisors. I was asleep in a plywood hooch on a real mattress when the rockets started coming in and shrapnel and dirt started smacking into the plywood walls.

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The entry above really doesn't do justice to the confusion and intensity of the contact, nor does it expand on the attacks on the individual CAP units in the bush. I jumped into my trousers and boots and went immediately to the Comm Shack, where our CO, Captain Ivy was, and volunteered to man some of the radio frequencies. In addition to 7th Company taking rocket and mortar fire, we had at least 4 of our 7 CAPs engaged with enemy forces of various sizes, each with stand-by requests for 105 lume or HE or medevac.

CAP 2-9-2, from our sister company, (2nd Co, 2nd CAG), along with ARVN RF units, was heavily engaged near the village of Duc Duc and in need of immediate CAS. They were having comm problems with their own company HQ, but we were able to relay their requests to Danang and get helo gunships inbound to the Duc Duc vicinity.

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The helo support managed to save the Marine, Army and ARVN units near Duc Duc, but most of the civilian villagers had been massacred in the opening minutes of the assault and much of the village burned to the ground.

In our compound, for a number of hours, our Company XO, 1st Lt Charlie Grebenstein, was instrumental in directing our company mortars to suppress the NVA/VC 122mm rocket fire, and in the morning our Counterparts were able to recover large quantities of enemy weapons and gear.


Needless to say, that same morning I managed to grab a ride on another 46 to III MAF, Danang, and flew out for R&R that afternoon.

Again, thanks for your toleration of my posting personal recollections on the History forum.
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