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The 5th Marines conducted Operation UNION II in the Que Son area between 25 May and 05 June 1967.
The Marines expected to find the 3rd NVA Regiment, some 2,000 well-trained troops and they did.
The Marines conducted search and destroy missions with only sporadic contacts through 01 June. Things changed on 02 June, when Delta 1/5 and Fox 2/5 ran into separate concentrations of NVA troops as they closed on the Vinh Huy Village complex in the Nui Loc Son Basin.
Although only a mile or so apart, on opposite sides of the village complex, Delta 1/5 and Fox 2/5 fought separate battles, but both faced well-entrenched and well-disciplined troops. Both battles were bloody in the extreme.
As the afternoon progressed, Alpha 1/5 (the 2/5 reserve) was committed to the northwest of the village with instructions to move east to contact with Fox 2/5, but they too were stopped by entrenched NVA.
By nightfall, two other companies - Echo 2/5 and Delta 1/7 - had been airlifted in and set up an NDP in preparation for further fighting on 03 June.
The situation at midnight 02/03 June was as follows:
A severely battered Delta 1/5 was in an NDP on the southern side on the village complex. They had lost 18 KIA and 22 WIA.
An even more battered Fox 2/5 was in an NDP on the northeast side. Fox 2/5 had lost 32 KIA and 39 WIA.
Alpha 1/5 was in an NDP on the northwest side, with 5 KIA and 10 WIA.
Echo 2/5 and Delta 1/7 were in an NDP on the south-southeast side of the complex.
They lost 4 KIA in a post-midnight attack, but were otherwise unscathed.
About 600 NVA troops had been killed in the actions, many by supporting arms, but no small number during in-close fighting.
When dawn broke and the Marines began to sweep toward the village center, the NVA were gone, apparently having withdrawn through the gap in the Marine lines to the west of Vinh Huy Village.
The 17 men from Delta 1/5 who were killed in action on 02 June were:
2ndLt Larry V. Chmiel, Baltimore, MD
SSgt David L. Dixon, Marion, IN
Cpl Donald R. Christy, Yuba City, CA
Cpl Alejandro F. Fierro, Los Angeles, CA
Cpl Fidel Ramos, San Antonio, TX
Cpl Ralph E. Smith, Conyngham, PA (Silver Star)
Cpl Ray L. van Zandt, Austin, TX (Silver Star)
LCpl Kenneth R. Endsley, Sacramento, CA
LCpl Joseph S. Escobar, Fresno, CA
LCpl Joe Montez, Austin, TX
LCpl Joe Moya, Bloomington, TX
LCpl Fred G. O'Malley, Farmer City, IL
Pfc Philip O. Parrish, High Point, NC
Pfc Joseph J. Seller, Winsted, MN
Pfc William A. Sinchak, Natrona, PA
Pfc Neal R. Thalin, Dedham, MA (Bronze Star "V")
Pfc Harold F. Werle, Roscoe, IL
The 18th loss was one of the four Navy Corpsmen who died that day - but we cannot determine which one it was.