The air assault performed by the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion at LZ X-Ray has greatly puzzled the minds of various air cavalry commanders.
It first started with General Kinnard, 1st Air Cavalry Division Commander, who was puzzled about why General Knowles, his assistant whom he assigned as the Field Commander of the operation, decided to go into Chu Pong:
He was further puzzled when General Knowles let him know the air cav troop insertion at LZ X-Ray had sparkled a fight with the VC:
General Kinnard was also puzzled by the fact Knowles only requested an additional infantry battalion, instead of several ones as dictated by the piling-in maneuver of an air assault tactic.
The next person to be puzzled by the conduct of the air assault was Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion Commander when he learned that Colonel Tim Brown, 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade Commander, had moved the 2/5 Air Cavalry Battalion to LZ Victor in the afternoon of 14 November. At that time he thought his brigade commander had anticipated his need for reinforcement, not knowing that his battalion was about to be replaced by the 2/5 Air Cavalry Battalion:
The next morning of 15 November, Moore was more puzzled, when Brown told him he wanted to take over the command of the battlefield in preparation of the withdrawal of the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion scheduled for 16 November:
In the afternoon, he was again puzzled why General Knowles took the risk to land at LZ X-Ray to announce the withdrawal of his battalion scheduled for the next day:
By midnight, he was not only puzzled but really astonished and pissed off upon receiving the order to leave his battalion at the battlefield and come to Saigon to brief General Westmoreland and his staff on the battle: 
He did not realize that “to leave to brief” was a euphemism for “to be relieved of the command”, in order for the withdrawal of the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion to be carried out at all costs.
A close examination of the chronology of the unfolding of the air assault operation at LZ X-Ray indicates that General Knowles’ s intention in the use of the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion was to create a diversionary tactic, instead of a movement to attack:
- On 14 November, in the afternoon, upon learning that the air cavalry troops insertion succeeded in drawing the attention of the B3 Field Front Command into postponing the attack of the Pleime camp and into committing two battalions to face the new threat, General Knowles immediately made arrangements to withdraw the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion: Company B/2/7 AC would be inserted by 1800 hours; the remaining of the 2/7 AC would follow in the next morning; the 2/5 AC was moved to LZ Victor to get ready to close in LZ X-Ray by noon the next day 15 November .
- On 15 November, at 0930 hours, Colonel Brown let Moore know his job was done, and his battalion would be withdrawn and replaced by the 2/7 and the 2/5 Air Cavalry Battalions. And at 1630 hours, General Knowles reiterated to Moore the same order.
It is worth mentioning that the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion did not perform an attack operation. Instead, immediately after the insertion on 14 November, it established a defensive perimeters to hold the ground at the LZ X-Ray, while the Brigade Commander started the motion to withdraw it in the afternoon; then the next morning of 15 November, it got the order to withdraw the next day, replaced by the 2/7 and 2/5 Air Cavalry Battalions.
In a nutshell, the 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion jumped in LZ X-Ray on 14 November, waived its hands to get the enemy troops’ attention, then withdrew on 16 November. Quite a puzzling air assault performance indeed.
General Knowles reveals that the purpose of the insertion of the Air Cavalry troops at LZ X-Ray on November 14 was to “grab the tiger by its tail” and to hit its head with B-52 airstrikes from November 15 to 16. He also explains the reason for pulling out of LZ X-Ray on November 17 and moving to LZ Albany was “to grab the tiger by its tail from another direction” and continued to hit its head with B-52 bombs from November 17 to 20.
23 May 2016
Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General.
Coleman, J.D., "Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam", St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988, page 219
 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion’s After Action Report.
 Moore, We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young , page 202.
 Moore, page 210.
Moore, page 216.
Nguyen Van Tin