Regular Force 794 is a crack unit in the South Vietnamese Army. In the three?
Regular Force 794 is a crack unit in the South Vietnamese Army. In the three years since they were formed they have killed more Viet-Cong that all the other companies operating in the province combined.
The Unit is commanded by 38 year-old Tran Van An, who has been in the Army since he was 19 and has worked his way up from Private to First Lieutenant. In his 19 years in the army he has been decorated 61 times for valour.
He begins his day by moving around the Unit's village, talking to families of the men. He knows all their names, their backgrounds and their problems. The Government gave An this land and several thousand dollars (pounds sterling) for his military achievements.
Instead of keeping it for himself, An turned the land over to his men and gave the money for housing. The men of his unit, cleared the land themselves and then built their own houses on it. Officers and Privates live next to each other here: "Rank" says An, "has little to do with winning battles. It is what a man does that counts. If he knows he will be taken care of he fights all the better."
An's policy would seem to have some success, his unit is credited with more Viet-Cong deaths than the other 30 companies and 2 regular army regiments in the province put together.
Tran Van An briefs the 110 men for a mission into War Zone `D' - the area close to the frontier with North Vietnam. Most South Vietnamese troops dislike operating in War Zone `D' without US forces with them; the area is mostly under the control of the Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese.
Regular Force 794 picked up two US Advisors on the way to the War Zone, they were to provide American Fire support. The Unit makes its way towards the jungle, crossing open ground first but a little later finding themselves knee-deep in the swamplands.
Booby-traps are a major source of danger, but on this mission, 794 have found a mine. It is not exploded as this would serve only to warn the energy of their advance.
One hour later the Unit discovered a Viet-Cong camp. Commander An estimated that about 80 Viet-Cong used the camp and that they had left only that morning, the fires were still warm. An also believed, from the existence of bunkers there, that it was a permanent base area.
The troops searched around the camp all day and they eventually found the supplies of rice and a certain amount of ammunition and arms.
This mission for regular force 794 was successful. They penetrated into War Xone `D' and discovered a Viet-Cong base complete with supplies and ammunition, and returned without any casualties.