Chapter 6


AS WE were being pulled out and the wounded were being evacuated, the "Rice Hunt" that had touched off the fighting more than five days before had resumed. Pushing forward against the decimated forces of stubbornly resisting VC's, Major Meloy's reinforced elements discovered that the enemy had been fighting to defend a central Cache of arms, ammo, and food. In bunkers and tunnels, U.S. Infantrymen seized one of the largest hauls to date. Included were:

  1. Two million pounds of rice
  2. 80 rocket launchers
  3. 25 machine guns
  4. 481 Claymore type mines
  5. Rifles, pistols, oil, and clothing
  6. 116 bicycles
  7. 23,000 Red Chinese grenades of which over a thousand were loaded with tear gas

Here and there they continued to meet dogged resistance. One heavy machine-gun manned by a single VC held them until Specialist Four Kirk James, 26, from Brooklyn, New York crawled 50 feet through the underbrush—he paralleled with the enemy gunner and knocked him out with a shotgun blast.

Captain Robert F. Foley, Commanding Company A of the 2nd Battalion, was leading his men toward one of the caches when they met a pocket of VC armed with automatic weapons, carbines, and rifle grenades. A machine-gunner near Captain Foley was wounded, so he picked up the wounded man's machine-gun and led an assault within 10 yards of the enemy's position. He continued firing until he fell wounded. Despite these pockets of resistance, our Forces routed the enemy until the VC were compelled to withdraw. We then seized the Cache of food, arms, and other supplies. What happened next was like bargain day at Macy's. As the Infantrymen raced up to the first Cache and began carrying the rice and other supplies out to the Landing Zone (for evacuation to their Tay Ninh Command Post), they quickly located a second Cache, a third, and a fourth. They discovered the area was a huge VC "Supermarket" loaded with rice, salt, and other free bargains waiting for the taking, and of course, that is just what they did. By the end of the first day, the shelves had been cleared of more than 420 tons of rice. The shopping spree was extended another two days to accommodate the GI bargain hunters. CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters had several field days transporting the goods back to Tay Ninh for distribution to the Vietnamese.

Copyright © 2000 Marion L. Ellard - All Rights Reserved