Fire Support Base Crook was established 19 miles northwest of Tay Ninh City amidst the jungles of WAR ZONE C
25th Infantry Division Territory
Fire Support Base Crook and the largest single battle of 1969.
Fire Support Base Crook had been a thorn in the enemy's side since its construction.
Established 19 miles northwest of Tay Ninh City amidst the jungles of WAR ZONE C, the base stood astride several key enemy infiltration routes, effectively curtailing their use and providing massive support to the regular infantry patrols in the area.
It was a large established U.S. position designed to provide artillery support throughout the area and was heavily armed. It was also well constructed. Substantial bunkers and hardened fighting positions had been established, a wide swath of clear terrain surrounded the base, and the men of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry had spend weeks patrolling the area. Crook was one of the strongest positions in the Division's area of operations.
Crook was held with the soldiers of
"B" (Bravo) Company 3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry (Walking Regulars Motto: "Deeds Not Words")
and supported by "A" Battery 7/11 Field Artillery (Motto: "On Time").
During the early morning hours of June 6th, 1969 in conjunction with several other attacks on Tay Ninh City area, the NVA (North Vietnamese Army of the 88th NVA Regiment and the 272nd NVA Regiment as a Reinforcement Unit) attacked Fire Support Base Crook.
Throughout the previous evening soldiers had detected the movement of large groups of enemy to the south and east of the base. At 03:00 hours a heavy barrage of mortar, rocket and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) fire rained on the base from all sides. "A" (Alfa) Battery 7/11 Field Artillery and the soldiers of
"B" (Bravo) Company 3/22 Infantry opened up with small arms, machine guns, and 105mm howitzers on the enemy positions. Cobra gunships, US Air Force C119 gunships (AKA: Spookie), 155mm and 8" Howitzers were called in to help support and trap any enemy retreat. Heavy fire was laid down across the woodline to seal off the attackers on the open plain. The NVA attack was over before it even got started, however it seemed like an eternity when it was happening.
The attack was destroyed before it could gain momentum.
As Bravo Company left the perimeter to sweep the area the following morning they were greeted by hand grenade-throwing NVA, tossing the grenades from well concealed spider holes. Bravo Company returned to the perimeter and called for US Air Force C119 gunships (AKA: Spookie) to make a few passes over the enemy positions.
Alfa Company was dropped off four kilometers north of Crook by the 187th Assault helicopter company to spoil the enemy's morning retreat. There, following a trail of communications wire, they met head-on with the NVA Regiment's headquarters, and the soldiers engaged the enemy in a long afternoon firefight.
Darkness forced the company to return to base before the enemy casualties could be determined.
Shortly after midnight on June 7th, 1969 a fresh regiment of NVA massed on the north side of our FSB. We thought, "Why didn't they combine forces and attack?" A typical case of non-communication or plain stupidity? Who knows? Maybe they tried and failed? This attack was similar to the first, a heavy barrage of mortar, rockets and RPGs and before the barrage lifted the NVA sent in sappers charging across the open area, cleared by US Army Engineers
(And Agent Orange) while first building the FSB, toward the perimeter. They seemed to be in a suicide charge carrying bangalore style (Long tubular style explosive) charges to penetrate the concentina wire around our perimeter. They were thinking they could blow a gap in the wire and allow hordes of NVA troop to charge in the protective wire and take over our base.
We lowered our 105mm howitzers and let them have it...
We wondered if they were on drugs, you could blow them almost half in two and they would continue to come, crawling the best they could.
Two soldiers of the Bravo Company laid machine gun fire (burned up the M-60 Barrel) and grenades from a M-79 Grenade launcher on the sappers along with our 105's they were finished quick! The NVA regrouped and came back with another attack from the north and again our 105's along with
Bravo Company smoked them/finished them off.
A last-ditch effort was made from the north where the initial attack had occurred. A soldier turned on the onrushing enemy with his M-60 machine gun and the enemy answered with a wave of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Bravo Company had constructed the fortifications well.
The bunkers and fighting positions received direct hits and withstood them. Helicopters dropped illumination all night as our A Battery fired round after round at the charging enemy. Just as on the previous night, the artillery from Tropic Lightning's powerful firebases cut the enemy's path of retreat.
It was a textbook study of defense of a forward position, being taught once again by the masters. The enemy paid dearly for the lesson; in two days of fighting the 88th and the 272nd NVA regiment lost 399 soldiers at Fire Support Base Crook.
A Battery 7/11 FA recieved a Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during these encounters in June of 1969.
It was a Victory for the 25th Infantry Division,
Bravo Company 3/22 Infantry (Walking Regulars)
Alpha Battery 7/11 Field Artillery (On Time)!
One Bravo Company soldier lost his life defending us at FSB Crook.
A SAD LOSS we will NEVER forget!
I dedicate this page to him, those that were wonded, and the Brave Warriors of
"A" (Alpha) & "B" (Bravo) Company 3/22 Infantry (Walking Regulars) who helped us,
"A" (Alpha) Battery 7/11 Field Artillery (On Time),
fight off the NVA those DARK nights in Vietnam!
FSB Crook 1969
25th Infantry Division Area Of Operation in the Vietnam war.
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