Tet and Saigon - Black Knights
January – February 1968 - Tet and Saigon Counter Offensive Campaigns,
The defense of Bien Hoa Airbase and Xuan Loc, III Corps - Two Valorous Unit Awards were awarded to 3rd/5th Cavalry Units. (A Troop January 31, Bien Hoa & Tet, C Troop February 2-3 Xuan Loc).
Armored vehicles of the 3d/5th Cav helped crush an enemy uprising on the Bien Hoa air strip, the first and last stop for many servicemen in Vietnam.
Other decisive triumphs were achieved at Xuan Loc, Vinh Long, Ap Bac, Tan An and Can Tho. By Feb. 22 more than 1,625 enemy had been killed by Division troops and a stunning blow had been dealt the terrorists.
29 January Disposition of 3/5 Cav at the beginning of the Tet Cease-fire:
A-Troop – guarding FSB Apple.
B-Troop – at Blackhorse.
C-Troop – (less 2nd Platoon) on Highway 1 at Boa Toan, charged with securing Highway 1 from Tam Phong to Gia Ray. 2nd Platoon, C-Troop at Gia Ray.
D-Troop – at Bearcat OPCON to 1st Brigade, 9th Inf. Div.
30 January Allies cease-fire cancelled. 3rd Platoon, C-Troop replaced 2nd Platoon C-Troop at Gia Ray. 2nd Platoon moves to Boa Toan with remainder of C-Troop. C-Troop’s 3 mortar carriers in battery at Gia Ray.
31 January A-Troop (leaving 3rd Platoon at FSB Apple for security) ordered to relief of Bien Hoa Air Base.
C-Troop pulled off Highway 1and sent into Xuan Loc, mid-afternoon.
1 February C-Troop, leaving wheeled vehicles and one ACAV for security at its position next to the 54th Artillery Group’s Headquarters, moves up to FSB Apple to reinforce A-Troop, which returned to Apple that morning. “OPERATION KITTYHAWK” begins.
2 February C-Troop moved into Bien Hoa Province to recover damaged A-Troop vehicles (vehicles damaged during A-Troop’s movement to Bien Hoa Air Base). C-Troop elements in Xuan Loc moved up to FSB Apple during the morning. Remainder of C-Troop arrived at Apple late afternoon.
C-Troop returned to Xuan Loc in the evening. At 2300H, VC attack Xuan Loc.
Felix Alvarado Ruiz is KIA.