This overlay shows the battle area that extended from the Kontum Pass on QL14 to the border camp of Ben Het. I thought the overlays would provide a better visual of the battlefield than the actual maps. You can find maps of the region in the "Map Room" (scale 1:100,000). The pictures will give you an idea of what the various sites looked like. They are black and white, gray scale, but should provide enough detail to get a sense of the battlefield. The one map I included on this overlay is the area immediately around Kontum City and includes the city itself. I will be using this overlay throughout the presentation as means to orient the reader.
This area was fought over for many years. Thousands of Americans fought in these mountains and valleys during the battle of Dak To in the fall of 1967 and spring of 1968. American soldiers constructed most of the Fire Support Bases (FSB) on "Rocket Ridge" in the late 60's. American units such as the 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade and many others fought battles here.
On my first tour I flew with the 119th AHC and participated in many of the battles in this area in late 1967 and during most of 1968. I have many memories of this area, flying combat assault missions in a UH-1 "Huey" helicopter.
The first major battle fought by American units in Vietnam, was in November 1965. It was the 1st Cavalry Division's battle in the Ia Drang Valley and LZ "X-Ray" located about 25 miles southwest of Polei Kleng and west of Pleiku. This battle was made famous in the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young " by Lt. General Hal Moore (USA-Ret) and Joe Galloway. In January of 1972 I "flew" the Ia Drang Valley battlefield with maps and operations orders from the battle which I had studied while a student in the Infantry Officer's Advanced Course at Fort Benning, GA.