The All Americans of the 82nd Airborne Division's 43rd Brigade,
under the operational control of the 101st, withdrew from their static
security role to overrun the 5th NVA Regimental Headquarters nestled
in the jungle-sheathed mountains 15 miles southwest of Hue.
A rallier from the 43rd Observer Co., 5th NVA Regt., supplied the
necessary information for a successful combat assault that took no
friendly casualties. Tight security ringed the planning stages of the
operation. Artillery preparations were halted one week prior to the
operation. Aerial reconnaissance missions over the area were also
curtailed during the days preceding the assault. To further tighten
the security, the command CP was not to be moved to FB Brick until the
day of the operation.
Exploiting information received from the rallier, 1st Bn, 508th
Abn. Inf., was air-assaulted to the pre-planned landing zones.
Simultan- eously, the attack command post and supporting artillery
were flown to FB Brick to begin their supporting role.
The first heavy contact came on the second day of the operation
when a platoon from Co. B overran a deserted enemy base camp. So
surprised were the former occupants that they left their noon meal
simmuring in cooking pots. The platoon leader sent a recon squad
downstream from his position to investigate a possible enemy hiding
spot. The squad immediately came under intense fire from a concen-
tration of enemy automatic weapons. The remainder of the platoon
maneuvered to develop the contact. The platoon leader quickly
employed LAWs and M-79 fire. Then he gave the order to fix bayonets
and charged the enemy's position. The element of surprise belonged to
the Airborne as they overran the hostile position, killing 13 NVA
On the morning of the 26th, Bravo Company made contact with an
estimated platoon. The paratroopers maintained pressure on the enemy
unit as the NVA employed their delaying tactics of previous contacts.
As the airborne infantrymen continued their pursuit, they came under
heavy automatic weapons, B-40, and RPG-7 fire from an estimated enemy
platoon. The friendly elements pulled back to allow air strikes to
soften the area.
The second platoon was sent east in a flanking movement on the
entrenched enemy. The third and fourth platoons surged forward again,
this time coming in contact with an estimated NVA company. The
Airborne company was now receiving heavy enemy fire which limited
movement in any direction. The company commander then directed his
second platoon to move to a flanking position and had the remainder of
the company fix bayonets for a frontal assault.
On command, the second platoon charged the enemy from the flank,
while the third and fourth platoons charged from the front. The
element of surprise again prevailed as the Paratroopers swept over the
enemy position leaving 92 enemy bodies in their wake.
Following the Airborne bayonet assaults, the 508th troopers
continued to search the area and ransack enemy bunker complexes for
ammunition and weapons caches. After 11 days of heavy fighting, the
total enemy body count for the All Americans stood at 189. Also three
prisoners were taken, as well as 685 individual and 46 crew-served
weapons. In addition searches of the base camps resulted in the
following captured material; 5824 mortar rounds; 306,050 rounds of
small arms ammunition; 129 mines; 21 radios; 352 gas masks; 761
grenades; and 15 1/2 tons of rice.
Soon after the Bui Ke operation, the 3rd Bd., 82nd Airborne
Division left the operational control of the 101st, and moved to III
Corps to begin fighting as a separate brigade, Maj. Gen. Melvin Zais,
praising the performance of the All-Americans, said, "They performed
magnificently. I consider it a privilege to have had them under