In support of 2nd of 1st Armor   

                                                                                                   31 Oct 2010 

I'm not sure of the timeline of this mission but seems to me to be the end of February or the start of 

March 70. There was a major push from the mountains to the west of Phan Thiet by several battalions of 

NVA regulars. We had three birddogs up covering the American forces who were moving to meet the 

NVA. I was covering the 2nd of the 1st Armor that was meeting the NVA element head on. We all took 

off at daybreak and converged at the edge of the mountains where the contact had been made. It did 

not start well and the elements I was covering were pushed back maybe a 1/2 mile in the first 4 hours. 

Mostly, I was advising 2/1st of enemy movement and providing marking for gunships that came on 

station. The other two birddogs were covering flank operations. I cannot remember who the other two 

pilots were but we stayed on station until we were low on fuel and were replaced by other unit pilots. I 

returned from gassing up early afternoon and the momentum of the battle had changed and we were 

starting to push the NVA back due to air coverage and artillery fire. I remember distinctly at the end of 

the afternoon my units taking fire from a stream line to their left front and I ran a flight of Cobras over 


that position. The NVA broke cover into an open area where I rolled in to mark their position for the 

advancing armor. One of the NVA stood up and fired on me as I dived on a rocket run and I marked his 

position but took several hits in my aircraft. With the combined effort of gunships and armor, the lead 

element of enemy was broken in that clearing and the NVA advance was halted and started a mass 

retreat back into the mountains where C75th Rangers had ambushes set up in choke points to further 

decimate the NVA. Part of the lead element that was broken was a NVA nurses company and the person 

that tried to shoot me down was a woman. I barely got my airplane back to the field that day. One of my

 oil lines was ruptured and I ended up making a dead stick landing to lessen the chance of fire on the air 

field was made. I remember this because soon after I returned from Viet Nam, I began having dreams 

about the rocket run and the NVA woman and woke up at 2 a.m. for the next 12 years. 

What made this mission so unusual was this was the only time in the year I was there that the North 

actually came out in the open to fight what we considered a more traditional battle. 

Bob Beall 

TOUR 69-

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