(From Army Reporter, 20 July 1970, page 12, provided by Les Hines, historian for Americal Division)
Raiders Kill 13, Uncover Complex
CAMP HOLLOWAY – Light observation helicopters and Cobra gunships of C Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Air Cav., 17th Combat Avn. Gp., encountered an estimated company-size element of NVA soldiers and Viet Cong six miles northeast of Landing Zone Crystal in II Corps’s Binh Dinh Province. The Ruthless Riders, flying in support of the 173d Airborne Brigade and a Regional Force unit, killed 13 NVA and uncovered a complex of more than 100 bunkers, many with overhead covers.
The lead LOH, piloted by Capt. Ron Schooley, was skimming over the ridgeline in the midafternoon, when a call was received from another helicopter which had taken enemy fire and returned it, resulting in one suspected NVA casualty. “We immediately flew to the area and landed,” Schooley said. “My observer, Spec. 5 James Yamnitz, hopped out of the aircraft to apprehend the wounded enemy soldier. The NVA tried to escape and Yamnitz shot him with a .45-caliber pistol. He recovered the enemy’s rifle.” Schooley then took off for a visual reconnaissance of the area. “After a short time we discovered a large cave complex indicating recent activity,” Schooley said. “As we were departing the area another NVA emerged from a cave and started firing. Yamnitz and my other observer, Spec. 4 Vito Flitt, fired at them with their M60s, killing them.”
The lead Cobra gunship, flown by WO Phil Purcell and WO Mike Redd, and the wingship, flown by Lt. Irwin Whitehead and WO George Vevins, rolled in over the area with rockets and miniguns, resulting in six enemy killed. Schooley and his wingship came back for a bomb damage assessment and spotted two NVA trying to duck back into a cave. Schooley’s observers
then killed them with their machine guns. “We then saw a mixed Viet Cong-NVA force coming out of the cave,” Yamnitz said. “So we marked the target with a white phosphorous grenade and pulled out to allow the Cobras to deploy again.”
After the gunships had finished their strike, Schooley flew over the complex and spotted two wounded NVA trying to crawl back into the cave. Yamnitz and Flitt dispatched them with their M60s.