X-Ray. Day 2, 15 Nov 1965
Before dawn, Moore orders his company commanders to meet him prior to an attack to rescue the still cut-off platoon. Before this meeting takes place, the PAVN launch a heavy attack which shatters the early-morning stillness like a huge explosion. The attack is carried out by the 7th Bn, 66th Regiment and the H-15 Main Force Viet Cong Bn.
C Company of the Cavalry Battalion bears the brunt of the assault and is soon involved in hand to hand combat. The right portion of D/1/7 is also struck. The code word “Broken Arrow” is sent out over the radio by the Battalion Forward Air Controller. Within minutes, all available fighter bombers in South Vietnam are headed for X-ray to render close air support to “an American unit in grave danger of being overrun”. A 3 hour battle that features non-stop 105mm artillery (8″ artillery also participated), aerial rockets, and determined American Infantrymen, results in Charlie Company holding it’s ground in a stunning display of personal courage and unit discipline. But it pays a terrible price – no officers left and only 49 men unhurt. 42 officers and men killed; 20 wounded. Scores of slain North Vietnamese and their weapons litter the bloody battleground.
“An as their firin’ dies away, the ‘usky wisper runs, from lips that ‘aven’t drunk all day.
The guns! Thank Gawd, the guns!”
– Rudyard Kipling
At noon, the 2nd Bn, 5th Cavalry marches into X-ray from a landing zone 2 miles east. Joining with the 7th Cavalry parent company of the cut-off platoon, it continues out unopposed, rescues it, and brings it back with all wounded and dead. Of the 29 man platoon, 9 killed and 13 wounded. When reached, the platoon, which had lost its Platoon leader, Platoon Sgt, and one Squad leader killed, had ammo left to fight with under the leadership of a 3 stripe “Buck Sergeant” Squad Leader (SGT Savage).
C Co 1/7 Cav survivors are replaced on line by the fresh B Co 2nd Bn, 7th Cavalry. The battalion now forms a strong perimeter and prepares for more action in the night. All American dead and wounded are evacuated.