The Old Reliable
Dec. 18, 1968
3d Bde 'Devils' harass VC
by 1LT Bill Lafield
TAN AN – From the streets of Saigon to the waist-deet water of the Plain of Reeds the 3d Brigade has made its presence known to a harassed enemy during the 9th Division's second year in Vietnam.
The 3d Brigade has taken part in Operations ENTERPRISE, QUYET THANG and TOAN THANG during this past year and has worked in Dinh Tuong, Go Cong, and Long An provinces as well as in the city of Saigon.
The first heavy action for the 3d Brigade in 1968 came during the enemy's TET offensive in early February. The VC attacks began shortly before Brigade Commander Colonel George Everett was due to leave the brigade for a new assignment.
The "Go Devils" launched into heavy TET fighting around Ben Tre where the VC had infiltrated the city. A small group of Vietnamese government officials and U.S. advisors were putting up a gallant fight and their ammunition was almost exhausted when the brigade arrived.
Men from the 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry; 3d/29th and 2d/60th fought from house to house killing for than 150 VC and driving them from the city. The 9th Division troops surrounded the fleeing enemy and helicopter gun ships cut them down as they tried to hide or escape.
Infantrymen fo the 2/60 found one of the largest enemy weapons caches of the TET Offensive on February 16 along the Bo Bo Canal, an infamous VC infiltration route in the Plane of Reeds. After being tipped off by an Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC) assault helicopters engaged over 100 sampans in the canal sinking 93. When the infantrymen were inserted the following morning they found four heavy anti-aircraft guns, 580 rocket rounds, 450 assorted mortar rounds, 29 recoilless rifle rounds and more then 200,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Colonel George W. Everett commanded the "Go Devils" through the TET offensive and then turned the brigade over to Colonel George C. Benson, who subsequently let the brigade through the VC's publicized "Second Offensive" in May. Colonel John A. Hemphill has commanded the brigade since August.
On April 22 elements of the brigade's 3/39 and 4/39 decisively engaged a large North Vietnamese regular unit killing 45 in the Ong San River section of Long An Province.
One day before the VC May attacks began, Benson, sensing that attack was eminent, sent the 5th/60th (Mechanized) to the Cholon area of Saigon. Next morning the offensive began and the brigade's 3/39, 2/47, and 6/31 joined the 5/60 in Saigon to drive the enemy from the city.
In five days of intense street fighting the "Go Devils" pushed every Viet Cong and North Vietnamese unit from the southern outskirts of Saigon. Most of the fighting was in the built up section along the Kinh Doi Canal at the "Y" Bridge. Over 800 of the enemy were killed in their attempt to capture the capital city from the south.
AFter the May offensive the 3d Brigade moved to Dinh Tuong Province where they undertook Operation Quyet Thang (Will to Win). On October 4-5 elements of the brigade's 1st/16th, 6th/31st with air support from Troop D, 3d/5th Calvary and artillery from 1st/11th Artillery engaged an estimated VC battalion practically annihilating it.
During the two days of fighting in the desolate Plain of Reeds, the "Go Devils" killed 139 VC and captured 17 enemy solders and 160 weapons.
In mid November the 3d Brigade moved to Tan An in Long An Province. They immediately began offensive operations to search out the VC units known to be there. Employing tactics such as night ambushes and bushmaster operations, the 3d Brigade has taken a steady, mounting toll of the enemy.