Search and Destroy: The Story of an Armored Cavalry Squadron in Vietnam: 1-1 Cav, 1967-1968

Search and Destroy: The Story of an Armored Cavalry Squadron in Vietnam: 1-1 Cav, 1967-1968

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0760333122

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, of the 1st Armored Division, deployed to Vietnam from Fort Hood, Texas, in August 1967. Search and Destroy covers the 1/1’s harrowing first year and a half of combat in the war’s toughest area of operations: I Corps. The book takes readers into the savage action at infamous places like Tam Ky, the Que Son Valley, the Pineapple Forest, Hill 34, and Cigar Island, chronicling General Westmoreland’s search-and-destroy war of attrition against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. Exploring the gray areas of guerrilla war, military historian Keith Nolan details moments of great compassion toward the Vietnamese, but also eruptions of My Lai-like violence, the grimmer aspects of the 1/1’s successes. Search and Destroy is a rare account of an exemplary fighting force in action, a dramatic close-up look at the Vietnam War.

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into the lead track, thus initiating the ambush but, having missed the engine, not shutting the vehicle THE REAL FACE OF WAR down as planned and trapping the rest in the creek bed. Norton reached for a radio handset and, getting only an earful of static—the antenna had been sheared off—exited through the rear hatch “and went running like a fool from one vehicle to another, directing fire. It was like an out-of-body experience: holy smokes, they’re shooting at me! Went for my pistol. No web

The B-37 track had been hit in the fuel line but towed into the laager. Five other vehicles were down with mechanical problems, leaving B Troop with only a mortar track, six M48s, and eleven ACAVs. There was much reconning-by-fire as Barovetto and Chaplinski advanced on the hamlet the next morning, November 10, but little return fire until Kimmel went in for a closer look: the command ship was disabled in a sudden fusillade, the pilot forced to make a crash-landing. The area was secured without

forty-five degrees left or right so as to place all weapons outward in case of attack. At sunset, they established night laagers with the tanks and tracks facing outward in a wagon-train circle, command vehicles in the center. When helicopters reported an imaginary enemy in this wooded area or that, mock assaults were launched “into the wool,” a phrase to be carried over and applied to the jungles of Việt Nam. “We were very cohesive because of the training,” notes Dickens. “We had drilled and

.50-cal. Well[,] about that time[,] the dam[n] V.C. start laying it on our young asses again. I’m looking[,] but I can’t see where the little bastards are at[,] can’t see a thing[,] is blacker than hell out.” Private First Class Michael L. Colicchio was peppered in the buttocks with shrapnel when a mortar round blew down half of one of the tent’s sandbag skirts. Unconcerned about the wound, Colicchio was very concerned that the bare light bulb dangling from the ceiling would attract the enemy

’em,” he announced. “They hate me so much that when we get to Vietnam, they’re gonna kill Charlie just to get their frustrations out.” Harrington originally met Capt. John L. Barovetto, a Berkeley graduate and key figure in training the squadron, during his fact-finding mission to Việt Nam. Barovetto was still a lieutenant then, but one so charismatic and highly recommended that Harrington asked him to join the dragoons. His expertise would be invaluable: not only had Barovetto been through the

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