Battle of Nam Dong
Nam Đông is situated 32 miles (51 km) west of Da Nang in a valley near the Laotian border; it was manned by South Vietnamese personnel with American and Australian advisers, and served as a major thorn in the side of local VC militants.
The PAVN/VC struck at the camp at 02:30 on 5 July to achieve the element of surprise, and reached the outer perimeter where CIDG forces managed to hold out. At 04:00 the senior officer, Captain Roger Donlon, radioed for support and 2 hours later 6 HMM-162 helicopters carrying reinforcements escorted by 2 U.S. Army UH-1B helicopter gunships left Da Nang Air Base for Nam Dong, but on arriving over the camp they were unable to land due to intense fire and had to return to Da Nang..
At 09:45 18 HMM-162 UH-34Ds escorted by 4 UH-1Bs and 2 RVNAF A-1s began landing a 93 man relief force and extracting the wounded. At 15:45 a further flight of 10 UH-34s delivered ammunition and equipment to the camp but by this time the battle was over.:158
Allied losses were 2 U.S., 1 Australian and 50 CIDG killed, while the PAVN/VC left 62 dead around the camp.:158
Captain Donlon became the first American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for killing two VC sappers and thereby preventing them from breaching the Nam Dong base, while sustaining shrapnel wounds in the process.
For his actions during this battle, Warrant Officer Kevin Conway of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), was cited by his commander—then Colonel Ted Serong—for a Victoria Cross, the highest gallantry award for Australian service personnel. Conway was in a forward weapon pit with an American Master Sergeant, Gabriel Alamo, who was killed in the assault. Conway alone fired his mortar upon the assaulting enemy in ever decreasing range fire until he was forced to bring his mortar fire upon himself to save the perimeter of the base. Conway has never received the cited award for valour. He was the first Australian to be killed in action in the Vietnam War. Serong stated that it was US Special Forces politics that denied Conway his Victoria Cross. Sergeant John L. Houston, Radio Operator, was also killed during the action on 6 July 1964. Alamo and Houston were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Sergeant Terrance D. Terrin, U.S. Army Green Beret Medic, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in battle.
The Green Berets
A key battle scene in the 1968 film The Green Berets was based on this battle.
- Viet Cong and PAVN strategy and tactics
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- Battle for Hill 3234 Soviet paratroopers repel Afghan insurgent forces dramatized in the 2005 movie The 9th Company.
- Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–351. ISBN 978-1555716257.
- Whitlow, Robert (1977). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Advisory and Combat Assistance Era, 1954-1964. History and Museums Division, Headquarters US Marine Corps. p. 157. ISBN 9781494285296.
- "One Who Was Belligerent". TIME Magazine. 1964-12-11. Retrieved 2007-04-22.