Battle at the Street Without Joy
This newspaper
article was saved
by my father from
a San Jose
newspaper.
He was in San
Jose on business
and had no idea
that I was
involved, only
that it was about
the 1st Air Cav.
Some of the weapons found
the next day.
One of the crashed choppers.
The following account is taken from the Daily Staff Journals, S-2, S-3 reports of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment dated 20 August 1968 staring with entry
#74 at 1405 hours. I have tried to bring a little bit of personal reflections to it instead of just copying the reports verbatim.

From Brigade, 1/8th Cav notified to be on Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for 1/9th Cav in contact near vicinity of map grid location 3958. 1/9th Cav bird (chopper)
down and wounded in the area. 1/8th Cav alerted 1 QRF platoon for possible insertion to the location of the downed bird.

"A" company & "D" company 3rd platoon notified to be in pick up posture. "A" company reports that their Popular Forces have been extracted. Birds are on the
way to pick up "A" company's 2nd platoon and insert them at vicinity 411574, Landing Zone (LZ) is green. The rest of "A" company is inserted with no causalities.

"C" Troop 3/5 Cav 9th Infantry Division is operational control (Opcon) to 1/8th Cav at this time. "B" company had been notified to be on standby alert and now was
in the process of being inserted at location 421571.

At 1655 hours "A" company requests a Medevac chopper for 1 enlisted man (EM) at location 407567. One of the scout birds received several rounds in the fuel
tank and had to set the bird down while the other bird returned to Brigade to get another wing bird and check for damage.

At 1742 hours "A" company reports that it is in full contact with the enemy and is trying to pull back to allow Artillery and Mortar to engage the target. "C"
company has been notified to get in pick up posture, while "A" & "C" companies of 1/12th Cav go Opcon to 1/8th Cav. "A" company at 1756 hours requests
Medevac for 1 EM with shrapnel in his leg. "A" Troop 3/5 Cav 9th Infantry Division is coming Opcon to 1/8th Cav at this time.

"Memories" of "Doc" Blanchard. I remember when the choppers came to pick up Charlie company, it was a bunch of Chinooks (CH-47), and talking with a Lt from
1st platoon. He was a ROTC (Reserve Office Training Corps) from Oregon State University, so I was always baiting him since I was from University of Oregon. I
remember seeing him getting on the Chinook and I gave him a salute, (something that was never done in the bush). 3rd platoon went out on the return flight and
got there either close to dark or right after dark.

At 1912 hours "C" company completes its insertion at location 394561 and has its men deployed along rice paddy dikes, which completes the encirclement of
the village.

Kevan says  "It was pretty scary moving into position in darkness and trying to link up with two other companies. The rice paddies had puddles of water in them.
You could not lay on the paddy dikes because the bullets were flying about 6 inches above them, so you laid on the damp soil in the rice stems with  your head
resting on the side of the dike and fired your rifle over the dike with out aiming at a target, just pointing in the direction of the village. You did not want to expose
yourself to enemy fire and possibly get shot. This went on all night. NO rest or sleep for the GRUNTS of the 1/8th Cav that night."

At 2010 hours at vicinity 407567  interrogation of captured individuals leads to the belief that a NVA Battalion plus is trapped in the village at this time.

At 2147 hours "C" 3/5 Cav  9th Inf. Div. starts receiving mortar rounds and continues receiving them for about 15-20 minutes. If you have never been in a mortar
attack, let me tell you that it is one of the most scary things to be in, because you don't know where to hide or where  the next round will hit. There is NO place to
hide or protect yourself. You can only hope and pray that the next one doesn't land next to or on  you.

At 2215 hours "A" 3/5 Cav reports seeing the enemy pulling back their dead and wounded and gathering weapons. They called in the gun ships on the location. A
flare ship has been over head and dropping flares on the battlefield since darkness set in.

At 2327 hours "C" company 1/8th Cav reports that one of their positions has  engaged two enemy and has confirmed KIA's. Both "C" &  "B" companies 1/8th Cav
are receiving small arms fire at this time, 2336  hours.

From "Doc" Blanchard. The incident I mentioned earlier about the Charlie KIA's is still a vivid memory for me. We were dug in behind a burial mound (3rd Platoon
CP (command post)). There was 3-6 (3rd platoon leader), Jack Moore, Bob Miller (our 90 day wonder E-6, but a good guy), Doug Burchell, who was another RTO
(Radio Telephone Operator), me and probably one or two others, I can't remember. The M-60 (machine gun) position was off to our left, the Tanks/APCs (Armored
Personnel Carrier) attachment was down to our right, but at the end of quite of few more Charlie company positions (2nd Platoon).

We were having a pretty good time despite the fact that rounds kept whizzing by on either side of the mound. I remember Bob Miller exposing himself on the left
side of the mound and seeing a tracer coming right him. He dove back into the foxhole behind the mound and wasn't hit. Anyway, we were having a high old time,
even broke out the peanut butter and cracker C's and had a snack. I even went with 3-6 on an ammo resupply up to the company CP. We grabbed a case of
ammo and a bunch of frags (grenades) and went back to our position.

We were firing rounds into the ville every once in awhile just for the hell of it because I don't think we were really seeing anybody over there. It was  just about the
limit of the M-79 ( Grenade Launcher) for distance because as I remember the rounds just didn't quite reach the treeline. The area between us and the ville was
field/rice paddy and vegetation was not very high. I also remember a couple of Cobra gun ships working out full time spraying the ville. I always liked watching
that stream of traces.

Besides the air dropped flares, whoever was our artillery support was also firing flares over the ville. They were timing it so there was continuous light over the
area. I was sitting behind the mound looking out over the field when one of the flares was a dud and everything went dark in front of us. They fired another one
right away and I remember as the flare popped open above us I saw a gook on a dead run between our two positions just as he dove to ground. The light from the
new flare hit the ground about a second before he did. He was probably only 50 - 75 feet out in front of us and he had tried to take advantage of the dud flare. He
just took about 3 steps too many. Don't know how long it had taken him to sneak out that far, but for us it was a good thing he got impatient.

I yelled "There's a gook out there!" and opened up with my M-16 about the same time Bob Miller did. I still remember Bob yelling "I got one!" Jack or somebody
else started throwing frags and the M-60 also opened up. When we did this, about 5 gooks all of a sudden  jumped up in the same area and started DiDi'ing back
to the  ville. We fired off so many rounds I ended up on the bottom of the foxhole filling magazines as fast as I could. We would throw a frag every now and then
for the rest of the night over where the KIA's were just in case.

It still amazes me that they could sneak up that close to us with all the illumination. I think we got 3 of them. When morning came and we moved out, none of our
CP group even went out to look. It was just a spontaneous thing, we all just moved out, nobody said "Let's go look", or tried to, we just moved out. I don't know
why. We got reports later that a couple of the KIA's were carrying US 45 caliber pistols.

Kevan's memories of the above action. As the frags went off, and the M-60 opened up, to our left, 3rd platoon's position, we opened up with our M-16's and
everything else we had. But 2-6 (Lt David Hadly), passed the word to cease fire as the action was not in front of us. In the morning we swept the area of the action
and found the KIA's. Some were carrying US pistols and one was armed only with a straight razor. They must have been high on "grass" to attack the perimeter
with only pistols and a straight razor.

Summary of days actions per the Daily Staff Journal. "Summary: 1/8th Cav continued operations in the Bde A.O. (area of operations). "A" company on night
ambush got 1 NVA KIA and had one US WIA by booby trap. "B" company found 2000 pounds of rice and on a search and clear operation got 1 VC/CD. "E" company
on a snatch mission got 2 VC/CD. Contact was made with 3 aircraft shot down vicinity 2958. A cordon was established with "A", "B" & "C" companies 1/8th Cav
with "A" & "C" Troops 3/5th Cav 9th Inf. Div. Opcon to 1/8th Cav. The cordon closed prior to dark and illumination was fired through out the darkness."

At 0002 hours on 21 August "A" company 1/8th Cav reports receiving small arms fire. At 0030 hours the Battalion Commander has called for a tackie (tactical
emergency) for emergency resupply of ammo and water for the companies in the contact area. Sporadic sniper fire is received by "A" & "B" companies 1/8th
Cav until around 0113 hours. At 0130 hours "C" company 1/8th Cav reports receiving mortar rounds from their rear and "C" 3/5th Cav reports receiving small
arms and mortar rounds from their right flank. "C" company 1/8th Cav requests a Medevac for the Artillery Forward Observer.

At 0250 hours "A" Troop 3/5 Cav reports a volley of rockets hit between them and the wood line, negative injuries to report. "B" company 1/8th Cav reports seeing
enemy in the open when the flare got close to the ground, and had the gun ships engage the enemy. Artillery has also been shooting into the village all night. The
sniper rounds continued until daylight. When the morning resupply choppers tried to set down they were immediately brought under heavy fire and returned to LZ
Sharon to check for damage. "C 1/8th Cav & "A" Troop 3/5 Cav had individuals surrender at their locations, all with weapons.

Battalion has requested a Psyops bird to pick up one of the POWs to try and talk the remaining NVA into surrendering. One of the POWs at "A" Troop's location
says that there is at least 140 troops left in the village. The results of the Psyops bird is negative. At 0750 hours the first of several air strikes are going on target.
By 0830 hours 3 air strikes have been completed. At 0934 hours one of the POWs at "B" company 1/8th Cav location , a Lt. is willing to go aboard the Psyops bird
to try and talk his platoon into surrendering, which had about 120 men in it before the battle started. None of the enemy surrendered. Naval gun fire and artillery
going into the village at this time, 1036 hours.

"A" company 1/8th Cav has been given the order to prepare to sweep through the village, while all the other units hold in place. At 1229 the attack started. While
"A" company was sweeping the village, "B" company 1/8th Cav screened 25 - 30 people and also found 2500 lbs of rice. Several troopers were wounded by
shrapnel when clearing bunkers, none serious.

By 1625 hours the sweep of the village was completed and "C" company 1/8th Cav was extracted and inserted at location 320475, LZ is green.

As "A" company was moving into position vicinity 410566 they observed 6 enemy moving from the Northeast and engaged them with small arms fire, negative
assessment at this time 2327 hours. This ended the first portion of the fight at the Street of No Joy.

To quote from the Daily Staff Journal "Summary: 1/8th Cav continued operations in the 1st Bde A.O. Cordon established vicinity 400568 was illuminated during the
hours of darkness. Artillery was called into area during the night with continual probes by NVA of the perimeter. At 0630 hours the cordon was loosened by "A 3/5
on the East and "C" 1/8th on the West. Air strikes, Artillery and Naval gunfire were used, followed by attack by "A" 1/8th, "A" 3/5 and "C" 3/5. Armor and Infantry
units were cross attached. Results of the operation were 75 NVA KIA, 14 POW and 22 individual and 5 crew served weapons captured. Friendly casualties were 1
KIA and 6 WIA."

Note, the KIA was from a 3/5 Cav, 9th Inf. Div. Unit.
Home page of Charlie Co. 1st Bn 8th Cav VNtroopers who served in 19681968 Charlie Co KIA's Move from II Corps to I CorpsSave the Marines at Khe SanhThe A Shau Valley, Operation DelawareBattle at The Street of No JoyMove from I Corps to III Corps, Tay NinhFirefights and Battles in November 1968
Pictures of the Pics of I Corps and III Corps VN1st Hand accounts of other TroopersInfo on Post Traumatic Stress DisorderUnofficial script for folding the FlagTomb of the Unknows, ArlingtonLinks to other sitesMurphy's Laws of Combat
Newspaper article about firefight