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Battle For Ba To

The Capture of Ba To Ville Vietnam, by Jim Alexander (AKA, 'Tex')

BaTo was 65-70 miles (110 KM) inland from Chu Lai. We humped for 3 days so we could capture the village without being detected. I was walking point for the company the day we captured the ville. The company had a NDP (night defensive position) about a mile up the mountain from where the village was located. I got up about 3 AM to disarm the trip flares and claymores. It was pitch dark in the jungle. It was very difficult to get everyone together and keep them together going down the mountain in the dark. We got to the bottom of the mountain about sun up. It was about 500 yards from the bottom of the mountain to where the ville started. I ask if we could get the M-60 and other fire power to move into position in case I started receiving fire as I ran to the ville. It was very surprising when I started running toward the village; I never received any fire so everyone fell in and started toward the ville. We shot a dink as we entered the ville.

Charlie Company 4/3, 11th Brigade secured the ville and was waiting on an intelligents group to chopper in with the interrogators. They did not arrive that day so they told us to keep the ville secure that night and they would come the next day. That night as soon as it got dark they started attacking us every way they could (small arms fire, mortars rounds, and zappers). We fought all night. Don Taylor was killed in that fire fight and several others were wounded. We were running out of ammo about midnight and called for a resupply chopper. The chopper started in and saw all the fire power and said he couldn't land in the hot LZ. He left and we thought we were going to be overrun because we were running out of ammo.

Another chopper heard the first pilot refusing to land and the second pilot told him to land the chopper and he would fly the ammo into LZ. He saved our lives. He sat the chopper down in the dark and we unloaded the ammo and loaded the dead and wounded. We fought until early morning hours. The fire fight stopped about daylight. We surveyed the area the next morning we found several dead dinks around our NDP. Some were zappers that were just feet away from our fox holes. Other dinks attacked us form the river. They floated quietly down the river and came up the river bank.

Americal Division Unit Patch
The Americal Division is the only army infantry division to be formed outside the continental United States. The Americal division is also the only named army Division. All other army divisions have a number designation. The army later added the number designation of the 23rd Infantry Division to the Americal title. The four stars represent the constellation Crux. Crux is referred to as; 'The Southern Cross'. The Americal Division motto is 'Under the Southern cross'. The patch has been worn in combat by Americal Division veterans who served in the Pacific theatre during WWII and by veterans of the Vietnam War.

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