Continuing the fight for the area
around Hue, Division Paratroopers teamed with Airborne Infantrymen of
the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Abn. Div., to launch Operation Carentan I. The
campaign was directed against insurgents in Thua Thien province, north
of Camp Eagle, the new forward base camp. It succeeded through a
series of cordons and night ambushes.
The initial assault March 8 included "All Americans" from the
82nd, and members of B Trp., 2nd Sqd., 17th Cav., and F Co., 58th Inf.
(LRRP). Screaming Eagles from the 2nd Brigade rejoined the Division
after participating in Operation Jeb Stuart near Quang Tri City. Two
days after the start of Carentan, A Co., 1st Bn., 501st Abn Inf.
uncovered a pair of large weapons caches, while Paratroopers from C
Co., 2ndBn., 501st Abn., Inf. killed 25 enemy in a contact with an NVA
Before the end of Carentan's first week, C Co. had killed 41 more
enemy in a two-day battle three miles north of Hue. Meanwhile,
Screaming Eagles from the 1st Brigade's 2nd Bn., 327th Abn. Inf.,
charged with the responsibility of clearing Route 547 from Hue to Fire
Base Bastogne, killed 25 enemy soldiers, who were fighting from bunker
positions along the road.
Late in the evening of March 21, members of the 2nd Bn.,501st Abn.
Inf. repulsed an attack on their night defensive position, sometimes
resorting to direct artillery fire to kill 22enemy. The next day,
gunships of the 101st Avn. Bn. caught an NVA company in the open five
miles west of Hue and killed34, while a light fire team destroyed
three sampans, resulting in nine more enemy deaths.
Sweeps by the 1st Bn., 501st Abn. Inf. accounted for 57 enemy
killed in two days of fighting, while D C., 2nd Bn., 501stAbn. Inf.
found 31 NVA killed in previous fighting in their area of operation
When the operation ended March 31, 861 enemy had been killed.
Weapons and munitions captured included 186 individual and crew-served
weapons, 1027 rocket, mortar and artillery rounds, 41,000 small arms
rounds and 45 grenades. Paratroopers also kept nearly 17 tons of rice
and grain from the enemy.