From the Stars and Stripes archives
U.S. troops find Viet Cong R&R center
TAY NINH, Vietnam — U.S. troops met only light resistance Friday as a 23,000-man American force swept north of Tay Ninh in search of the communist supreme command.
The multi-division force pushed toward the center of a horseshoe-shaped jungle area in Operation Junction City — the largest of the war.
U.S. casualties were listed as light as the operation entered its third day. Americans have killed 19 Viet Cong in the War Zone C area where VC leaders are believed sheltered.
A battalion of the 1st Inf. Div.'s 1st Brigade uncovered what was described as a communist R&R center Friday less than two miles from the Cambodian border.
Lt. Col. Alexander Haig, commander of the 1st Bn., 26th Inf., said the enemy center was "an exclusive underground complex complete with radios and ping pong tables."
The center, also believed to be an administrative office, contained radio batteries, a walkie-talkie and two machineguns.
First division spokesmen said a Viet Cong soldier killed Thursday was believed to be a member of a supply unit of the Central Office for South Vietnam — the VC's supreme headquarters.
(Mechanized units of the 25th Inf. Div. tangled sporadically Friday with small communist forces harassing the advance, UPI reported.
(The communists sent one round from a rocket launcher through the armored side of one vehicle and bounced rockets off two more. Several Americans were wounded.)
Communist mortar fire hit a few U.S. units Thursday and Friday. The heaviest attack was directed at a 1st Inf. Div. base camp al Sui Da, seven miles north of Tay Ninh.
The camp received 130 rounds of 82mm mortar fired from the north and took light casualties. according to a 1st Div. spokesman.
Another unit of the 1st Div. received several rounds of mortar or artillery fire which may have been fired from across the Cambodian border. Division commander Maj. Gen. John H. Hay ordered the fire returned.
Military spokesmen in Saigon, however, had no report of communist fire from across the Cambodian frontier.
In another incident Friday, Pacific Stars and Stripes staff correspondent SP5 Gerry Forken reported that a Huey helicopter was downed by 18 rounds of enemy fire less than a minute after he alighted from the chopper. The crew also escaped injury.
The. helicopter, returning to a 1st Div. battalion headquarters after a supply drop, was damaged, but was able to limp back to its base and was later hauled out by a Chinook helicopter.