Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was a U.S. offensive operation during the Vietnam War, launched on 11 September 1967 and concluding in February 1968. Tiger Force reportedly also killed hundreds of unarmed civilians during the operation who were reported as enemy combatants.
Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was launched as part of the operations conducted by Task Force Oregon, a multi-brigade force of the U.S. Army, made up of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division; and the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, with its headquarters at Chu Lai Base Area. Its objective was to "blunt" the offensive by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 2nd Division, and allow units of the 1st Marine Division to relocate to Da Nang. Shortly after the Task Force became operational, Brigadier General Samuel W. Koster took command. Three days later, the Task Force was reconstituted as the 23rd Infantry (Americal) Division. Wheeler/Wallowa actually started as two separate operations, which were merged in November 1967.
Operation Wheeler was launched on 11 September 1967, under the control of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. It was launched against the PAVN 2nd Division to the northwest of Chu Lai. The operation was essentially a series of assaults and search-and-destroy missions against the 2nd Division. The operation was coordinated with the U.S. Marine Corps/Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Operation Swift/Lien Ket 116 in the Quế Sơn Valley.
Operation Wallowa was launched on 4 October 1967 under the control of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, when it replaced the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and two battalions of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. The operation involved intensive surveillance of the Hiệp Đức District-Quế Sơn Valley. Small units were combat assaulted into the area to find the PAVN prior to the insertion of ready reaction forces.
On 11 November 1967 both Operations Wheeler and Wallowa were merged to facilitate coordination and control, under the authority of Koster, who was now a Major General. Wheeler/Wallowa became a codename for a series of operations throughout Quảng Nam and Quảng Tín Provinces. Seven U.S. Army infantry battalions were participating in the action.
On 12 February 1968, after participating in Task Force Miracle (the defense of Da Nang during the Tet Offensive), the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment returned south and conducted combat operations under the control of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. On 27 February 1968, the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division tactical area of operations passed to the 196th Infantry Brigade and the 1/6th Infantry came under their operational control. The 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division moved out of the Americal Division area and deployed in the II Corps further to the south.
The operation ended on 28 February 1968. Following the disclosure of the My Lai massacre, the Peers Commission, which was charged with investigating the events that occurred at My Lai, found that several similar events had occurred in many villages in the Wheeler/Wallowa operational area.
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