IVY LEAF October 1, 1967

Decorated By Ho Chi Minh
Patrol Captures NVA Officer

By SP4 Robert Boudreau VUNG DAT AM - A brief but bitter dawn fire fight between a 2nd Brigade long range reconnaissance patrol and a North Vietnamese unit resulted in the capture of a decorated NVA officer and two enemy killed. The patrol had been airlifted into the Central Highlands' jungle to locate enemy positions and had set up a night base after a day of scouting the surrounding area. Specialist 5 Duane A. Jones (Memphis, Tenn.), team leader of the patrol, suddenly heard "a lot of noise" off to his right and requested a team of gunships to standby in case the patrol came under attack.

No attack came, however, and the Ivymen spent a restless night with an apparently unaware enemy unit nearby. At dawn, SP5 Jones could hear the sound of voices coming from about 50 meters to his right. He and Private First Class Phillip Stafford (Sweet Home, Ore.) decided they would crawl forward to observe the activity and possibly call an artillery strike on the area. Sneaking to the edge of a clearing they observed a number of men in black pajamas, most of them carrying weapons. The two Ivymen prepared to move to their night position when they were spotted by one of the enemy. Calling a warning to his comrades, PFC Stafford took the enemy under fire. He cut the NVA down with a single burst as Specialist 4 Merrill Shover (Old Saybrook, Conn.) and Private First Class Eric Neadeau (Grand Forks, N.D.) moved up to assist the beleaguered men. As SP5 Jones moved back, an enemy soldier leaped from a straw hooch and began beating him with a satchel.

After a brief scuffle, with bullets flying around both combatants, SP5 Jones succeeded in subduing his antagonist. After trussing their detainee, the LRRP members moved to another clearing and called artillery on the enemy camp. Major General William R. Peers, 4th Division commander, met the returning Ivymen and as they stepped from the extraction chopper awarded SP5 Jones the Bronze Star for valor and SP4 Shover, PFC Neadeau and PFC Stafford the Army Commendation Medal for valorous action. Upon investigation, the contents of the prisoner's satchel the Ivymen learned that he was an NVA lieutenant and also an award winner. Ho Chi Minh had personally decorated him for valor in combat.