Just A Little Walk In The Woods
with the Delta Raiders
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)
The following information was taken from official radio transmissions, log records and after action reports documented during the battle near Hue.
Feb. 20, 1968
1100H 1LT Cleo C. Hogan, Jr. assumed command of Delta Company, succeeding Captain McMenamy who was wounded the day before.
1255H (YD642238): Co. D engaged 1 enemy who was shooting an AK-47 at a C-130: negative results.
1430H (YD652246): Co. D engaged a platoon size enemy force. They received fire from 2 automatic weapons; negative assessment.
Feb. 21, 1968
The 2-501 continued search and destroy operations southeast of LZ Sally with Companies C and D moving toward Hue from the northwest and west with Co. A in reserve, while Co. B acted as a reaction force and secured LZ Sally.
It was on this day that two Delta Raiders (Ssgt Joe R. Hooper and Ssgt Clifford C. Sims) earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in two separate actions for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," and one Delta Raider (Sgt Dale A. Urban) earned the Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism" in much the same action as Hooper.
At 1000H Co. D began to find articles that had apparently been discarded by the NVA, and located in an area where an estimated 100 NVA had recently spent the night. At 1330H Delta Company crossed a rice paddy along a small stream, with Co, C to their left. As the Company approached the stream or river they encountered a withering hail of fire from rockets, machine guns and automatic weapons from a series of bunkers lining the opposite shore. The barrage caused the company to halt and take cover. Ssgt Joe R. Hooper (a squad leader in 1st Platoon) and Sgt Dale Urban (a team leader in Hooper's squad) rallied several men and stormed across the river through chest-deep water, overrunning several bunkers on the opposite shore. Inspired by the move, the rest of 1st Platoon along with 3rd Platoon (on the right flank) moved to the attack and assaulted a heavily fortified enemy position concealed within a dense wooded area. As the two platoons advanced deeper into the dense woods, the hostile fire increased from the strategically placed bunkers and fortified villages. The deadly cross fires again caused men to falter and take cover as the casualties mounted. The 2nd Platoon, which had been in reserve, then advanced filling in the positions between the 1st and 3rd Platoons. Ssgt Clifford Sims, a squad leader in 2nd Platoon, led his squad in a furious attack against the enemy force which had pinned down 1st Platoon, providing the platoon with freedom of movement and enabling it to regain the initiative.
With utter disregard for his own safety, Ssgt Hooper moved out under intense fire again and pulled back the wounded, moving them to safety. During this act Hooper was seriously wounded, but he refused medical aid and returned to his men. With the relentless enemy fire disrupting the attack, Hooper and Urban assaulted several enemy bunkers, destroying them with hand grenade and rifle fire, and Hooper shot 2 enemy soldiers who had attacked and wounded the Battalion Chaplain (CPT William W. Erbach). Leading his men forward in a sweep of the area, Hooper destroyed 3 buildings housing enemy riflemen. At this point he was attacked by a NVA officer whom he fatally wounded with his bayonet. Finding his men under heavy fire from a house to the front, he proceeded alone to the building, killing its occupants with rifle fire and grenades. By now his initial body wound had been compounded by grenade fragments, yet despite the multiple wounds and loss of blood, he continued to lead his men against the intense enemy fire.
As Hoopers squad reached the final line of enemy resistance, it received devastating fire from 4 bunkers on its left flank. Ssgt Hooper and Sgt Urban gathered several hand grenades and raced down a small trench which ran the length of the bunker line, tossing grenades into each bunker as they passed by, killing all but 2 of the occupants who were captured. With these positions destroyed, they concentrated on the last bunkers facing their men, destroying the first with an incendiary grenade and neutralizing 2 more by rifle fire. Hooper then raced across an open field, still under enemy fire, to rescue a wounded man (Tex W. Gray) who was trapped in a trench. Upon reaching the man, he was faced by an armed enemy soldier whom he killed with a pistol that had been tossed to him just moments before by Ssgt Lonnie Thomas (another squad leader in 1st Platoon). After moving Tex Gray to safety and returning to his men, Hooper and Urban neutralized the final pocket of enemy resistance by fatally wounding with rifle fire 3 NVA officers, located in high brush 30 meters to their front. Ssgt Hooper then established a final line and reorganized his men, not accepting medical treatment until this was accomplished and not consenting to evacuation until the following morning.
After leading the assault to relieve the pressure on 1st Platoon, Ssgt Sims was ordered to move his squad to a position where he could provide covering fire for the company command group and to link up with 3rd Platoon, which was under heavy enemy pressure.
After moving no more than 30 meters Ssgt Sims noticed a brick structure in which ammunition was stocked was on fire. Realizing the danger, Sims took immediate action to move his squad from this position. Though in the process of leaving the area two members of his squad were injured by the subsequent explosion of the ammunition, Sims' prompt actions undoubtedly prevented more serious casualties from occurring. While continuing through the dense woods amidst heavy enemy fire, Ssgt Sims and his squad were approaching a bunker when they heard the unmistakable noise of a concealed booby trap being triggered to their front. Sims warned his men of the danger and unhesitatingly hurled himself upon the device as it exploded, taking the full impact of the blast. In so protecting his fellow soldiers, he willingly sacrificed his life.
During the heat of the battle Charlie Company maneuvered through the woods on Co. D's left and fired on NVA coming out of the woods. Near the end of the battle the BN CO (LTC Tallman) attached Recon Platoon to Co, D, which relieved some of the pressure on the 3rd Platoon (right flank) side. Results of contact: 1 US KIA (Clifford Chester Sims, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor); 22 US WIA (Hubert L. Davis, James B. Bowman, John B. Gingery, James L. Martin, James Calhoun, Jody Gravett, Tex W. Gray, David R. Leaf, Alfred M. Mount, James C. Rache, Thomas A. Hopkins, Ava A. James, Thomas Miles, Noah N. Rockel, Davis Wallace, Frankie Gains, Victor A. Holmes, Joe R. Hooper (evac on the 22nd), Lonnie Thomas, Ernest McManus, Samuel Ayala, and Henrie L. Delaney); 24 NVA KIA.
1700H (YD693226): Co. D captured 1 Chicom 2 watt radio type 71B (5N55-05302) and documents which were evacuated.
Feb. 22, 1968
After the battle of the day before Delta Company was placed in reserve so it could reorganize. Co. C began a sweep of the area of yesterdays contact and encountered heavy resistance. Companies A and B were committed into the area. Results: 6 US KIA (none from Co. D), 30 US WIA, 43 NVA KIA (24 by Co. D).
2225H Co. D from their perimeter engaged 7 enemy at approximately 75m with small arms fire. Results: 2 NVA KIA.
Feb 23, 1968
0700H Companies A, B, and D of 2-501 attacked to the south against light to moderate enemy resistance, then turned east and attacked Hue on the south flank of 2-12 Cav. During the sweep Delta Company encountered a lot of abandoned NVA equipment and supplies. They also found, to their surprise, evidence of a brutal massacre of 30 Vietnamese civilians who had apparently been held by the NVA. Apparently before the NVA left, they shot each of the civilians one time in the head.
1305H The 2-501 received several mortar rounds from YD710221 resulting in 2 WIA for Co. D.
1400H Captain Cleo Hogan (Co. D CO) captured a NVA hiding under some roots of an uprooted tree along a river.
1600H Co. D located at YD709230, along with the BN CP, Companies A and C.
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This page is dedicated toClifford Chester Sims (KIA 2/21/68, CMH) and Joe R. Hooper (Dec. 5/6/79, CMH).
They are not forgotten