|A SHORT HISTORY OF 1968:
OPERATION PERSHING, the last large operation in 1967, came to a close with outstanding results on 21 January 1968.
The totals for the operation (division wide) included 5,000 killed, nearly 2,500 captured and over 1,000 weapons
confiscated. The battalion moved with the 1st Brigade to continue operations in I Corps at the beginning of 1968, as this
was to turn out to be a memorable one for the battalion and the 1st Cavalry Division as a whole. Moving into Quang Tri,
the battalion protected the brigade's fire bases during the enemy TET Offensive. The defense of the city itself ran from 31
January to 6 February. At the end of his time, the 8th Cavalry had defeated the enemy and begun pursuit operations.
Operating on the shores of the Gulf of Tonkin, Companies A and B engaged an estimated battalion of enemy soldiers
and killed 19 while capturing valuable enemy arms. April 5, marked the beginning of OPERATION PEGASUS; the
battalion and other 1st Cavalry elements came to the relief of the Marines at beleaguered Khe Sanh. After successful
operations, the battalion moved on to their biggest operation for the year. The Ashau Valley was the first objective of
OPERATION DELAWARE. Located in a strategic position guarding the passes to Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, all
units found large caches of enemy equipment including crew served weapons, Soviet trucks, rockets and rice. In many
respects, this operation in an enemy stronghold would reflect the battalion's activities in Cambodia a year and a half
Later in the year, the battalion began to conduct joint operations with ARVN soldiers and the local forces. This was
another sign of progress as the 1st Cavalry Division already had initiated the Vietnamization program long before it
became a national concern. Cordon and search operations utilized local Regional and Popular Forces in order to deny
the enemy the vital rice which he so desperately needed. The Summer months and early Fall were spent securing
Highway 1 and conducting operations within their own AO, the battalion had been operating in an area designated as
base area 101 by the Viet Cong and continued to engage small enemy units, the classical way to fight guerrilla war. The
last big battle fought by the battalion in I Corps was at Quang Tri City on 22 August 1968 against a Regiment of NVA.
A new phase was begun in November. The entire battalion moved along with the division to III Corps where the mission
was to interdict infiltration routes and destroy enemy forces. Primary emphasis was on stopping infiltration from
Cambodia through the "Angel's Wing" and the "Parrots Beak" two staging areas in South Vietnam. Maximum
coordination was made with the US Navy as the battalion went "watermobile". This emphasized a maximum use of sea
and air power to cover a large area of operations. Joint operations were launched along the maze of waterways to
eliminate enemy traffic, neutralize bases and seek out caches. As a mini-armada of battalion troops in armed Navy ships
moved up stream, they would turn to shore at irregular intervals and deploy troops to search the area long the waterway.
1968 closed with the NavCav operations, indicating the ability of the battalion to coordinate both with allied ARVN and
other branches of the US Armed Forces. It was a memorable year for the battalion, truly emphasizing mobility from the
dusty reaches of Khe Sanh in I Corps to the waterways of the lower III Corps.
|A SHORT HISTORY OF 1969:
In the new year the battalion rose to the challenge of new mission as they continued to work in "NavCav" and
interdiction missions. On 20 January 1969, the battalion moved into IV Corps for a short period, thus marking the unit's
activity in all fours Corps Zones. Working with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the battalion then continued
operations in III Corps. On 15 March 1969, LZ White was partially overrun. Sp4 Donald R. Johnson of Co D was manning
a bunker on the perimeter when a satchel charge was thrown into the bunker, By diving on the charge, and absorbing
the blast, SP4 Johnson saved the lives of six of his comrades. His actions resulted in the award of the Medal of Honor,
the third man so honored for the battalion in Vietnam. Moving to LZ Rock, the battalion began to operate in the vicinity of
the Don Nai River. A series of operations in late May and June uncovered large supply caches and ammunition with 2
June marking the high spot. A battle on the river banks, with Companies A and B involved, resulting in 54 enemy killed.
Co A was led in this engagement by Captain Walter J. Marm, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor in the 1965 Ia
Drang Valley battle. In September a move was made reminiscent of the old cavalry days. The entire battalion, minus the
battalion rear, moved from the Quang Loi region to the Bu Dop CIDG Special Forces camp on the Cambodian Border.
The move involved 1,200 men (including elements of the brigade) and was completed in 48 hours. Leaving FSB Jerry,
FSB Ellen was established to interdict enemy movement of supplies along one of the major trails, the Serges Jungle
Trail. On 4 November, the FSB beat back the enemy attack and cost the enemy severe casualties. The year was
concluded with operations against enemy forces in the area around FSB Ellen.
As the battalion had moved more deeply into the III Corps sanctuaries of the enemy, the nature of the adversary had
changed. In the earlier years, troopers had been accustomed to fighting Viet Cong guerrillas in more populated areas
along the coast. This had given way by 1968 to fighting North Vietnamese regular units who would rush back to the
Laotian - Cambodian border away from the populated centers of the coast. These were trying times for the soldiers as
the triple canopy jungle had to be regularly canvassed to root out the enemy bunker complexes. The job was made more
difficulty by the ability of the enemy to slip into Cambodia with impunity and obtain resupply and rest, since allied forces
respect Cambodian neutrality. On 2 December, Co B engaged such an enemy forces in a large bunker complex. For his
heroic actions, 2LT Robert P. Leisy was recommended posthumously for the Medal of Honor, the fourth such warrior in
the battalion in Vietnam.
|Charlie Company 1965 - 1971
History 1968 - 1969