ALLIES BATTLE AT HA THANH FROM THE SOUTHERN CROSS FOR OCTOBER 11, 1968.
Electronic copy of article provided by Leslie Hines
By PFC KENNETH AINSLIE
11th Inf. Bde.
LZ BRONCO — The village of Ha Thanh swallowed up in a valley 18 miles west of Quang Ngai City, has become the object of persistent harassment by combined Viet Cong NVA forces.
The small village is the site of a Special Forces camp which plays a strategic part in protecting Quang Ngai City from infiltrating NVA units from the west. Hampered in troop and supply movements through this valley, the communists have begun an attempt to eliminate the Green Beret barricade. For this purpose, estimated battalions-sized enemy units have dug in around the tiny fortress.
But allied units in the area have been quick to react to the situation, and a combined force of Civilian Irregular Defense Group soldiers (CIDG), Mike Forces, Popular Forces, Regional Forces, a handful of Special Forces advisors, and 11th Inf. Bde. liaison personnel have joined in the camp's defense.
Situated nearby to reinforce the camp with fire support are elements of the 6th Bn., 11th Arty., and 3rd Bn., 1st Inf.
The build-up of communist forces around Ha Thanh continued on a steady scale until the NVA assaulted a strategic OP protecting the camp.
Before dawn, an estimated NVA company attacked and overran Outpost 4 about one and one-half miles west of the main camp. Air strikes throughout that day and the next keep the enemy pinned down and prevented their effective use of the captured OP.
Then on the third day, after three infantry assaults had been repulsed, the outpost was recaptured late in the afternoon by Mike Forces and Special Forces troops. They counted 23 NVA bodies numerous AK-47s, rocket launchers, and machineguns.
"American and Vietnamese artillery have done a tremendous job of picking up targets we sighted visually and through intelligence," said CPT Joe Rhinehart, "Jungle Warriors" liaison at the camp. "We have discovered numerous mortar and bunker positions and have been able to depend on this close support to eliminate them."
The enemy continues harassing Ha Thanh, but the situation has improved. The valley and the gateway to Quang Ngai City is still threatened, but the enemy knows that the allied forces are ready to fight. A photographer on the spot to record the fighting remarked, "Now I have a small idea of how those Marines at Khe Sanh must have felt."
An original copy of this document was donated to the Americal Division Veterans Association (ADVA) by LTC Paul Parham who served as Information Officer for the Americal Division.