The most useful and most used historical documents in our research were:
1. The December 9, 1965, after-action report of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry’s battle at LZ X-Ray, November 14–16, 1965.
2. The March 4, 1966, after-action report of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) operations in the Pleiku campaign, October 23-November 26, 1965.
3. The November 24, 1965, after-action report of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry operations of November 12–21, 1965.
4. The December 4, 1965, after-action report of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division operations in Pleiku province, November 1965.
5. The operations journals of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Tactical Operations Center at An Khe, covering the period from 12:01 A.M., November 14, 1965, through 12 P.M., November 18, 1965.
Why Plei Me?, published in Pleiku, August 1966, by the South Vietnamese II Corps Commander, Major General Vinh Loc, contains a wealth of information, derived from captured enemy documents and prisoner interrogations, on the People’s Army units in the Plei Me-Ia Drang campaign. It also includes the translation of “Characteristics of the 1st U.S. Air Cavalry Division,” the North Vietnamese after-action report written by then-Colonel Hoang Phuong. The Vinh Loc book also reprints a People’s Army map, captured in August 1966, which shows in great detail the locations of North Vietnamese units in Cambodia.
William P. Boyle and Robert Samabria’s “The Lure and the Ambush” is an unpublished article-length U.S. military monograph written in Vietnam and dated December 1965. It covers the departures of the People’s Army’s major units of the B-3 Front from North Vietnam and their arrival in South Vietnam, details the strengths of various units and their casualties, and emphasizes the enemy actions. What makes the document a treasure trove for the researcher is extensive quotation from intelligence documents and captured enemy documents and diaries. It also focuses on interrogation reports and “knowledgeability briefs” concerning 35 North Vietnamese prisoners—officers, NCOs, and line soldiers—most of whom were captured by the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during October and November 1965.
In the matter of dates of death, homes of record, birthdates, and, in some cases, places of death, three books, one document, and eyewitness accounts were all utilized. The basic reference was the Casualty Information System, 1961–1981 (machine-readable record), Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, Record Group 407, National Archives Building. Next, the book Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Directory of Names, published by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc., Washington, D.C. (May 1991), was most helpful in cross-checking ranks, birth and death dates, and homes of record. The second book was constructed over several years as a labor of love by the late Sergeant First Class James D. Cumberland, a veteran of the Pleiku campaign. This three-ring, 1¼ inch-thick book of names of 1st Cavalry Division troops killed in Vietnam from August 1965 to March 1967 breaks the casualties down by company and battalion and includes place and date of death, date of birth, home of record, and location of the name on the Wall. The third book, Edward Hymoff’s The First Air Cavalry Division (New York: M. W. Lads Publishing Co., 1967), covers the creation, deployment, and operations of the division through 1966. It provides lists of both killed and wounded by unit and date, as well as lists of awards of valor.
Other Books and Articles
Albright, John, John A. Cash, and Allan W. Sandstrum. Seven Firefights in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Military History, 1970.
Beckwith, Col. Charlie A. (ret.), and Donald Knox. Delta Force. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. Includes a section on the siege at Plei Me camp, October 1965.
Bowman, John S., ed. The World Almanac of the Vietnam War. New York: Bison Books, 1985.
Brelis, Dean, and Jill Krementz. The Face of South Vietnam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
Brennan, Matthew. Headhunters: Stories from the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, in Vietnam 1965–1971. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1987.
Busey, John W., and David G. Martin. Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg. Hightstown, N.J.: Longstreet House, 1986.
“Cincinnatus.” Self-Destruction: The Disintegration and Decay of the U.S. Army During the Vietnam Era. Toronto: George J. McLeod Ltd., 1981.
Clodfelter, Mark. The Limits of Air Power: The American Bombing of North Vietnam. New York: The Free Press, 1989.
Cochran, Alexander S., Jr. “First Strike at River Drang.” In Military History, October 1984.
Coleman, J. D. Pleiku: The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. Coleman wrote the 1st Cavalry Division after-action report on Pleiku province. His book is based on that report, personal memories, and other sources.
, ed. The First Air Cavalry Division, Vietnam. Volume 1: 1965–1969. Tokyo: Dai Nippon Printing Company, 1970.
Davidson, Phillip B. Vietnam at War: The History 1946–1975. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1988.
Dunn, Si. The 1st Cavalry Division: A Historical Overview: 1921–1983. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1984.
Edwards, Robert H. “Battle at LZ-X-Ray: Personal Experience of a Company Commander.” This unpublished monograph of 42 pages plus 7 sketch maps, dated February 6, 1967, covers Edwards’s memories of the battle and was written as a course requirement for the Infantry Officer Career Course No. 1–67, Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. It was helpful for quotations and establishing accuracy, and for an appendix that details the organization and unit strength of an infantry battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division in 1965.
Ellis, Chris. A History of Combat Aircraft. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1979.
Fall, Bernard B. Street Without Joy. New York: Schocken Books, 1961.
. The Two Viet-Nams. New York: Praeger, 1963.
“Field Manual 100–5. Operations.” Department of the Army. May 1986. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Referred to for accuracy of military definitions.
Giap, Vo Nguyen. Big Victory, Great Task. New York: Praeger, 1968.
Griffith, Samuel B. Sun Tzu: The Art of War. London: Oxford University Press, 1963.
Hackworth, Colonel David H. (ret.), and Julie Sherman. About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest. New York: Random House, 1969.
. The Making of a Quagmire. New York: Random House, 1965.
Headquarters 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry After-Action Report Operation Silver Bayonet, November 11–26, 1965, dated December 5, 1965.
Headquarters 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry After-Action Report Operations Lincoln and Mosby, March 31–April 16, 1966, dated April 19, 1966.
Headquarters 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry After-Action Report Operation Lincoln III Search and Destroy, March 30–April 8, 1966, dated April 22, 1966.
Headquarters 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division After-Action Report, March 31–Aprill5, 1966, dated April 27, 1966.
Heller, Charles E., and William A. Stofft, eds. America’s First Battles: 1776–1965. Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas Press, 1986. Includes an article by George C. Herring on the Ia Drang battles.
Hilsman, Roger. To Make a Nation. New York: Doubleday, 1967.
Johnson, Lt. Col. Richard S. How to Locate Anyone Who Is or Has Been in the Military. Fort Sam Houston, Tex.: Military Information Enterprises, 1991.
Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History: The First Complete Account of the Vietnam War. New York: Viking, 1983.
Kinnard, Douglas. The War Managers. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1977.
Kinnard, Harry W. O. “Triumph of a Concept.” Army magazine, October 1967.
. “Airmobility Revisited.” U.S. Army Aviation Digest (two-part series), June 1980, pp. 1–5, 26, 27; July 1980, pp. 8–14.
. “Army Helicopters: Why?” Armed Forces Journal, May 1982, pp. 58–61, 98.
Knightley, Phillip. The First Casualty. New York: Harvest Books, 1975.
Krepinevich, Andrew F., Jr. The Army and Vietnam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
Laird, Jerry P. “The Training, Infiltration and Operations of a North Vietnamese Soldier from 12 April 1963–11 June 1966 in North Vietnam, South Vietnam and Laos (Based on a Personal Interview by a Battalion Civil Affairs Officer).” Unpublished monograph, 1968. Written for Advance Course Class 1968–1, on file in the Infantry School Library, Fort Benning, Ga.
Lewis, Norman. A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. London: Jonathan Cape, 1951.
Mesko, Jim. Airmobile: The Helicopter War in Vietnam. Carrollton, Tex.: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1984.
Palmer, Dave Richard. Summons of the Trumpet: U.S.-Vietnam in Perspective. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1978.
Patti, Archimedes L. Why Viet Nam? Prelude to America’s Albatross. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.
Pike, Douglas. PAVN: People’s Army of Vietnam. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1986.
Pimlott, John. Vietnam: The Decisive Battles. New York: Macmillan, 1990.
Porter, Captain Melvin F. “PROJECT CHECO REPORT ‘SILVER BAYONET’” Simpson Library, Air War College, Maxwell Air Base, Alabama. A declassified U.S. Air Force report, dated February 28, 1966, which covers air support activities in the Ia Drang Valley battles through 5:10 P.M., November 28, 1965.
Prashker, Ivan. Duty, Honor, Vietnam: Twelve Men of West Point Tell Their Stories. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1988. Includes a section on Ramon A. (Tony) Nadal, class of 1958.
Register of Graduates and Former Cadets 1802–1990 U.S. Military Academy. West Point, N.Y.: Association of Graduates, U.S.M.A., 1990.
Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1988.
Shulimson, Jack, and Maj. Charles M. Johnson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Landing and the Buildup, 1965. Washington, D.C.: History and Museums Division, Headquarters USMC, 1979.
Smith, Jack P. “Death in the Ia Drang Valley.” Saturday Evening Post, January 28, 1967.
Spector, Ronald H. Advice and Support: The Early Years: The U.S. Army in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983.
Stanton, Shelby L. Anatomy of a Division: 1st Cav in Vietnam. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1987.
. The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965–1973. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1985.
Summers, Col. Harry. A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1982.
. “The Bitter Triumph of Ia Drang.” American Heritage, February/March 1984, pp. 51–58.
Sutherland, Lt. Col. Ian D. W. (ret.). Special Forces of the United States Army 1952/1982. San Jose, Calif: R. James Bender Publishing Company, 1990.
Tolson, John J. “Vietnam Studies: Airmobility 1961–1971.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973.
Triplett, William. “Chaos in the Ia Drang.” Veteran magazine, vol. 6, no. 10 (October 1986).
Tully, Major Walter B., Jr. “Company B.” Armor magazine, September-October 1967. Tully, a veteran of the fight at Albany and the attack on LZ Columbus, sets forth his account of the battles.
Westmoreland, General William C. A Soldier Reports. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976.
Williams, Colonel Clinton L. “The Ia Drang Valley Campaign: The Army’s First Battle in Vietnam.” A 39-page paper submitted to the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, on June 16, 1989, as part of course requirements.