Alpha Company platoon patrol found a bunker complex in a heavily wooded area at YD 096703.
A reinforced squad was sent into the area to search and destroy the bunker complex.
Upon entering the wooded area, the squad came under heavy fire and took several casualties.
NVA forces estimated at a platoon, later reinforced by two companies positioned in reinforced bunkers.
Smitty Alpha squad set up a 360 degrees defense.
The squad was unable to move due to extremely heavy grazing fire from small arm and automatic weapons.
The squad received incoming chi-com grenades.
The remainder of the platoon swept into wooded area and received heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire.
At 1300H, a platoon of Delta Company command group was dispatched to reinforce the Alpha platoon.
The Delta Company reaction unit swept through the are of contact and was pinned down
by heavy small arms fire from both the front and rear.
At 1400H, the battalion elements in contact were further reinforced with a platoon from Bravo Company and two tanks.
All elements were heavily engaged by the enemy.
Maintaining a heavy grazing from bunkers just above ground level and using heavy small arm and sniper fire,
the enemy was able to pin down the Smitty units.
At 1530H, the Bravo Command Group, the remainder of Delta Company and two additional tigers were committed to the action.
Battalion elements swept the area and recovered all WIA's and KIA's.
An LZ was established and all WIA's and KIA's were evaced.
AO ran gunships and fixed wing on area of contact retreating NVA.
One NVA who had been captured earlier died of wounds.
Battalion elements withdrew from area.
Friendlies suffered a total of 9 KIA's and 17 WIA's Action resulted in 72 NVA KIA confirmed.
Four enemy individual weapons and one crew served weapons were captured.
Numerous discarded enemy weapons were sighted but, due to tactical situation, were not collected.
Also observed a bunker with many RPG's, but was unable to destroy. Scheduled heavy H&I's and TOT's in area.
In this action the following were killed:
2nd Lt. Donald W. Pratt 1st Plt Cmdr, Alpha/1/4
L/Cpl. David L. Harty 1st Plt, Alpha Co.
PFC Marc J. Kuzma 1st Plt, Alpha Co. (Nominated for Navy Cross posthumously.)
HN Albert A. Peterson 1st Plt. Alpha Co.
PFC Robert L. Worrell 1st Plt. Alpha Co.
PFC Russell D. Burgess Alpha Co.
PFC William L. Fix Alpha Co.
PFC Calvin I. Nesbitt Delta Co.
HM3 Harley R. Cowan Delta Co.
PFC Kurt Mueller, Jr. Delta Co.
PFC Richard J. Olson Delta Co.
Additionally, 1st Lt. James Muir, ExecO, Delta/1/4 died of wounds later on 5-19-68.