MARINE CORPS TANKERS VIETNAM HISTORICAL Foundation's
Vietnam Personal Accounts
After Action Report
SUMMARY OF BLT 2/3 IN OPERATION BUFFALO/BEAVER TRACK (2-14 JULY 67)
by Lt. Col. Ray Stewart, USMC (Ret.)
CO Maj W. O. Beard
XO Maj J. H. Broujos
S1 2dLt B. L. Heaton
S2 Capt V. M. Smith
S3 Maj D. W. Lemon
S4 Capt R. R. Green
H&S Capt R. C. Madonna
E Capt R. N. Bogard
F 1stLt R. D. Koehler
G Capt J. P. Sheehan (until WIA on 8 July 67, then Capt J. J. O'Brien
H Capt R. O. Culver.
Supported by HMN-164 Helicopters
2-3 July 67: 1/3, 1/9 and 3/9 in heavy combat northeast of Con Thien.
4 July 67: BLT 2/3 CP and H depart USS Tripoli for Cam Lo; then they fly to LZ Canary (north of Cam Lo, South of Con Thien), followed by F, E, and finally G. Plt of tanks arrive at LZ Canary and 2/3 is chopped opcon to 3d Marines. CP attaches itself to G, while companies of 2/3 set up for night in positions for next mornings sweep north toward Con Thien on three axes.
5 July 67: 2/3 sweeps north on a four-kilometer front, finds empty NVA bunkers, then E takes sniper fire (1 USMC KIA, 1 USMC WIA) and G spots an NVA planting a mine who escapes when fired on.
6 July 67: NVA platoon probes E at dawn, is repelled by machine gun fire and driven into arty and area is searched at first light (14 NVA KIA, 19 NVA KIA probable). At same time, CP and G are shelled (1 USMC KIA, 18 USMC WIA). Sweep commences and USMC and NVA artillery duel all day in area. E calls in air/arty on NVA bunkers, but still takes fire and pulls back to call in more arty (2 USMC WIA). F patrol hits claymore (3 USMC KIA, 1 USMC WIA). G patrol also hits claymore. H is mortared from abandoned church and two supporting tanks are hit by RPGs but still operate (1 USMC KIA, 6 USMC WIA), while arty is called around church; tanks then take NVA platoon under fire (16 NVA KIA, 10 NVA KIA probable).
As H moves back to night position they are mortared (13 USMC WIA) and they are mortared again that night. During night, E hears movement forward of lines, calls in arty, and a dawn search finds bloody bandages and drag imprints (8 NVA KIA probable).
7 July 67: Before dawn, silhouette of NVA seen outside H perimeter, M79 is fired and dawn search turns up blood soaked ammo pouch. Sweep north then continues, finding NVA bunkers (some with ammo and fresh blood stains) and destroying them, as well as mines. H takes fire, sees 4
NVA running from hut opens fire, and sweeps up to find bullet riddled and bloody web gear, dropped ammo but no bodies.
8 July 67: LP from E hears movement before dawn, throws grenade and at dawn finds NVA eating utensils. Sweep continues and H discovers an old stripped CH34 and was collecting the NVA gear scattered about it when something exploded (8 USMC WIA). Meanwhile, G patrol searching NVA bunker area is taken under fire; patrol attacks, then falls back to call in arty, but one USMC round falls short into G (2 USMC KIA, 25 USMC WIA, 4 NVA KIA, 6 NVA KIA probable). Patrol from H sent to assist G is hit by snipers, then strips a claymore (2 USMC KIA, 1 USMC WIA), but makes it to blocking positions and holds them despite mortar fire. G calls in air/arty on bunkers, resumes attack, finds NVA bodies and pieces of bodies throughout bivouac area, but several wounded NVA continue firing until their bunker is knocked out (4 USMC WIA, 35 NVA KIA, 20 NVA KIA probable). CO of G is medevacked with wounds. CP and G are shelled. As H and G's fight is ending, one squad of a two squad patrol from F is pinned down; the second squad and a platoon are sent to help, then the whole company is committed and heavy arty is delivered against the estimated 250 NVA around F until the NVA pull out (1 USMC KIA, 41 USMC WIA, 73 NVA KIA found in fresh graves, 30 NVA KIA probable). During this action, L/Cpl Merritt T. Cousins, radioman with FO team with second squad of the original two squad patrol from F, wins Navy Cross because, although WIA and cut off with four men, he keeps calling in arty, survives a second wound in hand-to-hand combat when NVA try to over run his group, and keeps directing the arty until succumbing to his wounds with his radio still in his hands.
That night, CP LP hit by grenade; they return fire and fall back to perimeter.
9 July 67: Sweep finds bunkers and enemy equipment. F patrol hits mine (5 USMC WIA).
10 July 67: Sweep finds bunkers and enemy equipment.
11 July 67: 2/3 put in reserve; local patrolling and tank with E hits a mine.
12 July 67: G comes under fire, only to find it was an ARVN test firing his carbine.
13 July 67: Local patrolling as BUFFALO ends.
14 July 67: BLT 2/3 CO is medevacked with malaria and replaced by XO, as Operation Hickory II begins.
I have put Bold any reference to tanks in this after action report. As you can see there are no details. If you were on Operation Buffalo please contact Ray Stewart at the Marine Corps Tankers’ Historical Foundation so you can supply him with your information as to the events that took place. Tanx!