The 1/92nd Field
|First Lt. Brian M. Thacker was reported missing in action on March 31 when North Vietnamese regulars reportedly sent wave after wave of assulting troops at the strategic South Vietnamese fire base and eventually overran it.
When rescued, Thacker "looked good, but exhausted," said Maj. William E. Adams, of Craig, Colo., pilot of the helicopter that brought the 25-year old officer's 10-day ordeal to a happy ending.
It was Thacker who made possible the escape of several other Americans and approximately 40 South Vietnamese soldiers from the embattled camp on March 31, when he told them "Go on, I'll try to slow them down."
Sp5 Craig L. Tanjes, a helicopter crewman shot down while providing ammunition resupply for the beleaguered defenders, was one of the last Americans Thacker ordered to leave the base. He reported seeing Thacker standing alone on the hill while the others dashed for safety.
Minutes later the advancing enemy engulfed the base, despite artillery and helicopter gunship fire which Thacker had called in on his own position. Shortly afterward all contact with him was lost.
In the 10 days that followed, American fighter bombers again and again dropped tons of highexplosives on the hills surrounding the ARVN outpost.
Early April 9, after the NVA had retreated, scores of drums of "phu-gas" (long burning, thickened aviation fuel) were dropped on the thick jungle around the fire base in an attempt to deny the enemy cover and to provide clear fields of fire.
Minutes after the first phu-gas sortie had begun, Thacker walked onto the mountaintop base.
Several rescue attempts later that day were aborted as the enemy continued its relentless shelling of the strategic base.
Then at first light April 10 Maj. Adams and his crew set down on the fire base.
South Vietnamese soldiers who had returned to the base carried Thacker - clad only in cut off fatigue pants - to the aircraft.
With the rescue completed, Thacker was returned to Pleiku, where doctors said his condition was satisfactory.