Operation Heartbeat City is under way. The Brigade (-) moved north and dug into two mutually supporting firebases, linking up with troops from the 25th Infantry Division as well. 25th ID is moving on Kham Duc, which the NVA have wrested from the ARVN, from the north, west, and south, but having a rough time as the enemy is continuing to reinforce from the west. 1st Battalion's task is to take up blocking positions to the west of Kham Duc, to seal NVA outsiders out and keep the NVA in Kham Duc trapped there. To maximize speed and shock, the battalion will be heli-lifted into position, but there are two big problems.
First, because of the speed of the operation, no physical recon has been carried out, so no one has any idea regarding what shape the LZs are in, nor do they have any clue as to enemy dispositions. To help offset this, gunship support will be stripped from the priority (support to 25th ID attacking Kham Duc) to prep the LZ, but will then revert to 25th ID.
The other problem is that, because the whole country has lit up, there isn't enough airlift to get the whole battalion in at once. The squad is once again at the tip of the spear, and they land in the initial wave with about half of Alpha Company, but they land in the center of the NVA so it's pretty much every squad for itself...
Banaszak, abandoned by Thomas, drags himself towards the LZ. Ham does the same.
A helluva fight, but once again I made a tactical error that really cost me, this time with my favorite dude. As soon as I had him shoot instead of go prone I knew something bad was going to happen, and that RPG landed right on top of him... That's right, the Magic Dice gave it up; Ban took the brunt of the RPG round in the face, neck, and chest, and he's lucky to be alive. He's on his way back to the States. Ham took a couple round, he's at China Beach until 27 January. Most impressive was Clack, who stayed in the fight despite the fact he was hit bad enough to be evacuated to Japan. He should return at the end of March.
The NVA/VC had three wounded that got away, but they lost 5 KIA and had 6 men captured, along with several machine guns and mortars.
Anway, no rest for the wicked, Operation Heartbeat City is a huge fight, with the NVA still in control Kham Duc, and the US Army bent on ending its reign there. Sgt Malone, with Banaszak and Ham both gone, assumed the squad leader position, and tomorrow he'll be leading a push to enter the town.