A TIME AND A PLACE IN VIETNAM...
A book with factual accounts of events preceding this battle and battle actions,
along with After Actions Reports, Military Aerial Photographs, and Personal
Interviews were used to produce this print. The United States Military archives
preserves a factual account of this action on 21 November 1966
1st Lieutenant Neil Keltner / Troop C, First Squadron - 11th Armored Cavalry
Regiment / 87th Transportation Company-6th Transportation Battalion / 86th
Transportation Company-6th Transportation Battalion / Military Intelligence.
The men of the U.S Cavalry have waited many times, in many places to "mount
up" and "move out". 21of November, 1966...the time...the
place...Long Binh, Vietnam.
A mixed convoy of over 80 U.S. Army vehicles stood ready to "move
out" toward Xuan Loc at 0700 hours. The modern day cavalrymen riding
Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicles (ACAV's), awaited the assignment of a
Commander. At 0850 hours a commander was assigned, he quickly and efficiently
positioned his ACAV's, to best protect the convoy. He gave the command to move
out at 0920 hours. The odd assortment of vehicles made the convoy difficult to
protect, gaps in the column were a concern for the commander. The vehicles were
transporting supplies and documents to a recently established base about 12
Kilometers south of Xuan Loc.
Traveling on Highway 1, soon after leaving Long Binh, the convoy commander
received a warning of enemy activity in his area. Minutes after the warn ing was
decoded, the commander realized his ACAV was beyond the "kill zone".
He then received, from one of the men under his command, a report of enemy small
arm's and automatic weapon's fire. They requested permission to return fire.
Frantic efforts were then set in motion to protect the convoy; it was now 1025
The commander ordered his men to keep the convoy moving, hoping to get the
convoy through the "kill zone" before the enemy forces began using
heavier weapon fire. While the convoy was coming to terms with their situation,
the men at headquarters were rallying all available support.
A truck hit by a mortar shell was burning and blocked the road, forcing the
vehicles including the two trucks carrying the sealed steel conex containers to
be trapped in the "kill zone". While exchanging small arm's fire, the
drivers and crewman dismounted their vehicles to find cover in the ditch and
tend to the wounded.
Realizing the danger to the unprotected men in the ditch, the ACAV's advanced
to protect them. Knowing they were placing their own lives in danger the men
(some severely wounded) on ACAV's remained at their guns continuing to to fire,
keeping their ACAV's between the men in the ditch and the enemy forces.
Within minutes of ambushing the convoy, the battle-hardened Dong Nai Regiment
of North Vietnam's Army started to retreat, leaving behind 30 of their dead.
They were not outnumbered. Estimates place over 1,000 in the attacking force.
The speed with which the air support answered the convoys calls and the
aggressive bravery of the men on their ACAV's was without a doubt the deciding
Army helicopter pilots monitored and coordinated the air defence to keep the
enemy from overrunning the men in the ditch. In total disregard for their
personal safety the pilots engaged heavy enemy ground fire, completing their
firing runs dangerously low.
Air Force F100's and F5's heard the radio calls, (receiving orders) changed
their destinations to give the convoy air support. They flew into the "kill
zone" to fire their weapons and drop their bombs. It was said they flew so
low and precise that the men in the ditch could feel the heat from the after
Medical assistance was needed for the wounded men. Purple smoke canisters
were thrown to signal the medical helicopters where to land. Medical assistance
was given and evacuation of the wounded began.
Though the battle was said to have lasted minutes. Those soldiers who were
there...for those minutes...lived a life time. They still feel a bond, and
cannot forget the others, who saved their lives or shared a time when they saw
and felt the closeness of death!
In true cavalry tradition, the men of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and
others showed once more, AMERICA WILL BE THERE WHEN FREEDOM IS THREATENED.