Dak To
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Dak To 2

Scan133.jpg (58686 bytes)Scan134.jpg (37830 bytes)C-130 approach out of the clouds to Dak TOScan135.jpg (34243 bytes)
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Sgt Smith

Scan316.jpg (40658 bytes)PLT SGT Sunday and his new toilet.Scan137.jpg (126430 bytes)Scan59.jpg (51427 bytes)
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Came across your photos of Dak To while searching on Google. I was an army air traffic controller stationed at Dak To w/ the 366th ASD in 68-69. From your home page, I gather you were there much earlier than I was. If you would like to see what Dak To looked like when I was there, click here to surf to some interesting aviation pics.
Michael Greenberg

hi, my name is Jim Wade and I was with the air force mobility team that came up to Dak To 2 in May of 1966. We were from Pleiku AB. I remember taking a bath in the river that ran in back of the special forces camp.. They told us to make sure we were done by 1700 hrs. after that it was uncle charles river. Also remembering staying up all night to hear the B-52 but they did not come till the next night...we slept on the ramp on top of our pallets. we had no food or other supplies, so we would take what we need out of the c-130 crew door before we unload the air craft...one day we got a cast of steaks. Ate them that night and I got the GI shits for three days.

Operation Hawthorn comments:

All of the Dak To photos  were taken at the 1st Brigade's Tactical CP during Operation Hawthorn. The first units went in o/a 29 May 1966 and left o/a 15 July 1966. The Brigade's mission was to interdict NVA units moving down from the north and out of Laos coming off the Ho Chi Minh trail complex. You are correct in that the air strip was in a low area adjacent to a SF camp. Our CP was to the north on a slightly higher plateau that originally was a grassy plain when we first arrived, a short distance from a village. Since I never went back, I don't know the relation with the later construction.

The Brigade at the time consisted of the 1/327 PIR, 2/327 PIR, and the 2/502 PIR battalions, organic supporting units plus attached arty and signal elements from Corps. The 2/327 PIR had remained at Tuy Hoa to protect the rice harvest (and ended up in significant battles of their own), and the Brigade at Dak To was reinforced by elements of the 42d ARVN Regiment and 21st Ranger Battalion.

Intelligence indicated the NVA intended to overrun an outpost named Toumorong, then sweep down to Dak To and on to Kontoum.

The battle began when a battalion from the 24th NVA Regiment attacked an artillery firebase manned by B Batttery, 2nd Howitzer Battery, 320th Arty (the organic arty battalion with the Brigade) A/502nd PIR and elements of A/326th Engineers (the Brigade's organic Engineer unit - thanks to Warren Craft for the correction).

As the Brigade conducted airmobile operations to move units into blocking and sweeping positions, the fighing grew intense and spread to include the engagement involving C/1/327and the 2/502 PIR brought in as a blocking unit, part of the battle that included Captain Carpenter's famous call for napalm on his unit location. Those of us in the Dak To CP listened to intently to the emotional exchange between Carpenter and the 2/502 PIR Battalion Commander, then LTC Hank Emerson, on the radio. It was clear from Carpenter that he thought all was lost. Very difficult for all of us listening to be within sight of the outer ridgelines fingers involved and within radio contact, and yet so far from being able to help. We were also able to watch the airstrikes against the ridgelines to the west of Dak To as we listened.

The Brigade formed a provisional company assigned to the 2/502 PIR manned by officers largely (as I recall) from Brigade HQ, and volunteers from the ranks of the 502nd who were in the Battalion base camp on orders to go home, go on R&R, or any or the many reasons not to be in the field. As this unit entered the battle it was clear the NVA were well established in bunkers and positions along the ridgelines.

Once blocking positions were well established, 24 waves of B-52s battered Dak Tan Kan Valley.

jmt