Engagements Near Duc Co Airfield (1966)
24 June and 03 July 1966

25th Infantry Division       1st Battalion, 35th Infantry

25th Infantry Division                                  35th Infantry     

On 10 May, 1966, the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division launched Operation Paul Revere. This was essentially a border surveillance operation n the vicinity of the Chu Pong Mountain, Duc Co, and Plei Me Special Forces Camp. There were three major contacts in this operation during the period.

On 29 and 30 May, the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry and A Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry were heavily engaged throughout the period with elements of the 33rd and 66th North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Regiments resulting in 161 NVA KIA (US Body Count).

On 24 June, the 1st Bn, 35th Inf and C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, made contact with a battalion size enemy force and became heavily engaged. The 1st Battalion was so close to the Cambodian border (approximately 500 meters) that it could not maneuver behind the enemy and was forced to disengage from the action.

In spite of the disengagement, the fighting was heavy and resulted in the deaths of 15 men from the units involved in the skirmish. They were:

During the 3rd and 4th of July, a platoon from B Company, 1/35th Inf on patrol in dense jungle approximately 3000 meters from the border, gained contact with an unknown size force. The platoon had been divided into two patrols, one with the platoon leader and the other with the platoon sergeant.

Early in the afternoon of 3 July, the platoon leader's patrol, near Thang Duc, was heavily engaged and surrounded. Second Lieutenant Sturdivant was leading the patrol. When his unit received intense hostile fire, he and many of his men were immediately seriously wounded. As the insurgent onslaught continued, a portion of his hasty defense was overrun and the remainder of his force was surrounded. Despite the severity of his wounds and repeated attacks by the enemy, Lt Sturdivant rallied his isolated force, radioed for reinforcements, and continued to direct and encourage his comrades.

Realizing that his force was about to be overrun, Lt Sturdivant, with complete disregard for his own safety, called artillery onto his own position in an effort to break the encirclement. He continued to operate the radio and fire his weapon until his ammunition was expended. Aware that he was critically wounded, Lt Sturdivant disassembled his weapon, placed the bolt under his body in an effort to prevent the enemy from using his weapon, and died.

The platoon sergeant atempted to link up with the patrol and was also surrounded. B Company(-) mounted in Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) attempted to link up with the two units but they too also became heavily engaged. Link up was finally made with the platoon sergeant's patrol and a company perimeter was formed. Artillery and air was called to support the unit in contact.

The Company later in the afternoon linked up with the remnants of the platoon leader's patrol and moved to the north and set up security for the night. The next day, a search of the area revealed the following: US-17 KIA, 28 WIA; NVA 23 KIA (Body Count). The men from B Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division who died as a result of this action were:

Phase I of Operation Paul Revere terminated at 2400 hours, 31 July 1966, after sporadic contact throughout the area of operations, but no further casualties for the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry.

-- The Virtual Wall, May 23, 2014