October 19

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 19, 1965:

Communists attack Plei Me Special Forces camp

North Vietnamese troops launch a major assault on U.S. and South Vietnamese Special Forces Camp at Plei Me in the Central Highlands, 215 miles north of Saigon.

During a week of savage fighting, defenders of the besieged outpost, manned by 12 U.S. Green Berets, 400 Montagnard tribesmen, and a handful of South Vietnamese guerrilla specialists, repelled repeated Viet Cong attacks. The tide of the battle turned finally with the arrival of several hundred South Vietnamese reinforcements and numerous Allied air strikes. With the camp secured, General William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Saigon, decided to seize the advantage and send in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to "find, fix, and defeat the enemy forces" that had threatened Plei Me. This decision would result in November in the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the war's bloodiest battle to date.

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