Today marks the 46th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh. I read about this tragedy in David Maraniss’ award winning book They Marched into Sunlight. The book traces a rather startling weekend in 1967 for Wisconsin and our nation.
On the campus of UW-Madison on Saturday October 17th, students clashed violently with City police protesting Dow Chemical recruiting events on campus. Dow produced napalm for the Army before and during the war.
On the other side of the world that same Saturday the ambush at Onh Thanh lasted just two hours. By the time it was over 64 American soldiers were killed including Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen and every member of the Battalion Command Group. Allen Jr., the son of World War II Divisional Commander Terry Allen Sr. and led the same 1st Infantry Division as his father. Terry Allen Jr. led two rifle companies (~400 men) into a heavily wooded stream where two enemy battalions (~2,400 soldiers) waited for them. Two soldiers from Milwaukee were killed in this battle.