1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Battle of the Rock
June 20-22 1970
Battle of the Rock
Story and Photos by Jim Henderson B 1/22 RVN 69-70
33 years ago today, 20 Jun 1970,
in the rugged, triple canopy mountainous terrain of Binh Dinh
north of An Khe, the two day Battle of the Rock began. The battle of "The Rock" was the largest engagement
fought by the Regulars in 1970. An already undermanned and understaffed 2nd Plt of Bravo Co. 1/22,
consisting of appx 19 men, encountered what was later found to be the reinforced 3rd Co, 620th Bn, 2nd Training Rgt
of the NVA. The NVA force, estimated at 120-140 men, chose to stand and fight in a virtually impenetrable
huge natural rock formation near the top of a mountain. What was an incredibly strong defensive position,
turned into a tomb for many of them.
During the course of the action
additional ground support was provided by the rest of Bravo Co,
elements of Alpha Co 1/22 and Recon 1/22, B Co 2/35, 4 combat tracker teams, and a ground psyops team,
(most likely from the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion, stationed at Pleiku).
Artillery support was provided by C Bttry 4/42 firing from FSB Niagara and also A Bttry 4/42 firing from FSB Terrace.
Air support included Ciders as
FAC's, Bulldogs of the 129th AVN Company, AML and AHC flying
slicks out of An Son,
and Hawkeyes of the 203rd AVN Company, SURV L. (Surveillance Light Aircraft) flying 0-1 Birddog fixed wing
out of Phu Hiep; Blackjacks and Gambler Guns, 4th AVN Bn; Shamrocks(guns)D/1/10 Cav; Hornets(slicks)
and Stingers(guns), 116th AHC; Cougars(guns) 57th AHC; Demons(slicks), 134th AHC; Shadows (AC119);
Dustoff 23 from the 498th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) out of An Son; air psyops teams;
combat sky spots, most likely OL-22 Bongo from Pleiku; and air strikes.
At the end of the second day,
the results were 29 NVA KIA, 2 WIA and 1 Chieu Hoi.
CIA equipment included 97 ruck sacks, 12 AK 47's and 1500 rds of AK ammo.
US causalities were 1 KIA, Sgt Melvin Rutherford of B/1/22 and 2 WIA also from B/1/22.
A thanks to all who were there and to all who supported and to Sgt Rutherford who gave his all.
God truly watched over us on that mountain top so long ago.
SGT Melvin Rutherford
Killed In Action
June 20, 1970
Eleven Bronze Star Medals
Note the medals are on a 22nd
Photo by George Heidt
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