RT Montana: DECLASSIFIED PRAIRIE FIRE MISSION
Tri-border region, 1969 (reconstruction)
RT Montana landed in the vicinity of target MIKI-3 (YD090010) at YD071013 0n 301140Z Jun 69. During the night of 30 Jun the RT heard an undetermined but large number o heavy trucks moving in both directions on Route 922 in the vicinity of D074025 to YD093025.
The RT also heard an estimated enemy company searching the area around the RON location and speaking in a North Vietnamese dialect. A new RON was then used at YD078014.
On Jul 3 the RT observed the Dak Kou river from YB513320 to YB575323. This portion of the river is not navigable due to a series of rapids.
On 3 Jul 69 the RT encountered an estimated NVA company. The enemy personnel were wearing khaki uniforms, pith helmets and rucksacks. They were carrying AK’s or some type of unidentified automatic weapon.
During the ensuing firefight the RT became split with three VN team members were initially MIA. The RT broke contact and regrouped in the location of YB513303.
Airstrike called on trailing NVA unit.
Secondary explosions observed as result of airstrike.
Shortly after regrouping the RT observed five enemy personnel wearing black pyjamas, straw cooley hats, pistol belts without packs or other web gear.
The RT observed a 12 foot square bunker with no overhead cover at YB457990, two M14 mines were emplaced.
Evidence of large fires were seen near these bunkers.
The RT located a bivouac area which had recently been used by approximately 30 people, the RT emplaced seven M14 mines one of which was heard to detonate.
The RT heard several enemy personnel speaking North Vietnamese and observed nine NVA dressed in green uniforms with bush hats.
The enemy personnel were believed to be an NVA battalion size unit in the ALPHA-7 target area.
In the vicinity of the enemy personnel well tended crops of potatoes and tobacco were found, along with traps that appeared to be used to catch wild boars.
To alert the RT of any trackers on the way to the RON M14 mines were emplaced in the following locations during the period 3 Jul 69 -04 Jul 69: Four in the vicinity of target UNIFORM-9 (XD445595) at XD463574. Six in the vicinity of target MA-14 (XD468505).
RON was established at YB430290. No enemy report on backtrail.
0400 hours 4 Jul suspected enemy personnel heard near RON.
0500 RT received heavy small arms and AW fire from direction of back trail, below ridgeline.
RT moves to extraction point at target ROMEO-6 (YC472010) RT suffers one USSF injured and 2 VN Team member injured. RT calls in TAC air support for extraction.
The RT was extracted on 010935Z Jul 69. During the extraction a large secondary explosion with black smoke resulting from an airstrike was observed in the vicinity of YD081012.
Text taken from declassified after action reports in Frank Greco’s book; Running Recon.
Pictures courtesy of Ricky Robson and BMR Photography.