I thought that it would not be necessary to recall the Pleime battle because both local and foreign press had given ample accounts about it through the reports and photos by famous war correspondents such as Frank McCulloch (Time), Charles Mohr, Neil Sheehan (New York Times), Peter Arnett (New York Herald Tribune), Eddie Adams (Associated Press), Alain Taieb (Paris Match), etc… and especially the foreign broadcasting stations: VOA, BBC, New Delhi, Bangkok, Tokyo, Manila, etc… had commented in details about Pleime for over one month.
I thought that I would not write anything else, but a full report, to submit to the Joint Operations Center and to publish some experiences gained through these big fightings to the 22nd, 23rd, 24th Tactical Zones under my command, in order to minimize the sacrifices of our soldiers.
I have decided not to say anything else because in accordance with military traditions, "We should not be discouraged when we fail and haughty when we succeed".
But early this year, a delegation of ROK Generals headed by General Lee Hyun Chin and afterwards, the ROK Deputy Secretary of Defense - General Chang Chang Kuk - together with some Commanding Generals in the ROK Armed Forces, came to Viet Nam in April 1966 in order to study the battles at Pleime and eagerly asked for documents. Then a delegation of 11 Generals of the Republic of China headed by General Lo Yu Lun, Operations, also came for the same purpose.
Besides, there were the US Congressmen as well as Military Commanders calling on II Corps Headquarters in order to know more about the details of the battle at Pleime and to visit Pleime. Such concern proved that the collection of these war documents was not only desirable for any military commanders and personnel but also a chance to satisfy and glorify the memory of the heroes who valiantly died at Pleime and Chu-Pong.
All the Army units committed in this historic battle have done their best to serve their Fatherland.
We are proud of them and sincerely think that nothing could be worth as rewards and decorations to those who accepted the Pleime battle in the deplorable situation of the Highlands during the 1965 rainy season.
These pages are written with the purpose of honoring the exploits of the heroes from the Armor, Ranger, Infantry, Airborne, Air Force, Special Forces and SF Ranger units and especially of those who survive but still suffer of their wounds.
Through the book I only want to stress that during the Pleime battle, 6000 VC were wiped off, 3000 individual and crew-served weapons were captured or destroyed, among which there were 169 heavy machine guns and 179 NVA regulars made prisoners. This battle has lasted in a longest period: 38 days and 38 nights or in other words over 800 hours: 800 hours of anxiety, of terror, of worries, of thrill and suspense.
The Dien Bien Phu Battle which ended the Indochina war (1947-1954) lasted for two months but was merely an encirclement of a stronghold in the Dien Bien Phu Bowl.
The Pleime Battle, quite different with many tactical aspects:
is no doubt the biggest battle from the last years.
In the second phase of the battle, there was the participation of the most modern and unique type unit of the US Army: the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
It's delightful for me to have the chance to fight side by side throughout the battle with one of the smartest generals in the US Army: Major General Harry Kinnard, Commanding the 1st US Air Cavalry Division.
I sincerely call on:
If they have details or documents related to the commitment of their units, they should send them to II Corps TOC so that they could be added to this book to make it become a complete historic document, because it is the result of the hardships and sacrifices endured by the valiant and zealous soldiers serving in the remote Highlands.
Major General Vinh Loc