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"One day during a fire fight, for the first time in my life, I heard the cries of the Vietnamese wounded, and I understood them, when somebody gets wounded, they call out for their mothers, their wives, their girlfriends. There I was listening to the VC cry for the same things. That's when the futility of the war really dawned on me."--U.S. soldier

Junction City, a corp-level search and destroy operation in War Zone C, was the largest U.S. military offensie of the war. U.S. forces consisted of the 1st Infantry Division, with the attached 1st Brigade; 9th Infantry Division; the 25th Infantry Division, with the attached 3rd Brigade; the 173 Airborne Brigade; and the 11th Armored Cavalry regiment.

The operation had three main objectives: to search out and destroy the 9th Viet Cong Division and 101st NVA regiment based in the area; to destroy the Central Office for South Vietnam, the enemy's headquarters in the South; and to establish a Special Forces CIDG camp and airfield at Prek Klok from which to monitor enemy movement.

Primarily a U.S. Army operation, Junction City involved major U.S. Air Force support. The outcome of the operation was mixed. All three regiments of the 9th VC Regiment had been engaged, with 2,728 Viet Cong troops killed and 34 captured. American losses included 282 killed and 1,576 wounded. A CIDG camp had been completed on May 14. But although forced to relocate temporarily to a safe haven in Cambodia, COSVN had not been captured and continued to operate throughtout the rest of the war. Enemy activity in War Zone C had been disrupted. but Operation Junction City was not, as some claimed, a turning point in the war.

Arms and supplies are dropped for the 900 members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade sent into the Communist-riddled jungles of the Cambodian border regions in War Zone C to begin Operation Junction City, the first major U.S. combat parachute assault since the Korean War.

Men of the U.S. 173d Airborne Brigade move into action during Operation Junction City.

The 173d Airborne Brigade in the Iron Triangle, between Saigon and War Zone C, took part in operations Ceder Falls and Junction City.

A captain from the 27th Infantry Regiment burns VC supplies and equipment in Tay Ninh province during Operation Junction City in March, 1967.

Men of the 32d Artillery load a round into a 175mm howitzer at Tay Ninh during Junction City.

Although American regular combat airborne units were deployed in Vietnam as early as 1965, there was only one occasion, except for Special Forces jumps, during the war when any of them used their parachutes to enter combat: on Feburary 22, 1967, during the opening phase of Operation Junction City. On that day, 845 paratroops of Lieutenant Colonel Robert H. Sigholtz's 2/503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, with A Battery, 3/319th Artillery, in attendance, jumped out of 16 C-130s a couple of miles from Katum, deep in War Zone C. They were led by Brigadier General John R. Deane, Jr., the commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade, and their task was to seize the drop zone (DZ) before moving out to link up with other units, which were arriving elsewhere by helicopter.

As an operation of war, it ran smoothly. The paras boarded their aircraft at Bien Hoa, arriving over the DZ at 0900 hours. General Deane jumped first, followed by the rest of the force. By 0920 hours, command posts had been established on the ground and, five minutes later, heavy equipment began to arrive. There were only 11 minor injuries, all caused by the jump itself, and no contact with the enemy.