|I just watched this excellent movie again. I was very impressed with the way the movie portrayed the soldiers of the 101st. Basically as honorable young men who tried to do the right thing, while hating the situation they found themselves caught up in. A much better portrayal of the average infantryman than Platoon.
Watching the movie inspired me to read a little about the actual battle. Several subunits of the 101st were involved in the assault before it was over but the 3rd Battallion, 187th Infantry was the unit most heavily involved.
The initial helicopter insertion into the A Shau Vally was on May 10, 1969. Contact was first made on Dong Ap Bai (aka Hamburgr Hill) on May 11. Dong Ap Bai was finally secured on May 20. Total U.S. casualties were 70 dead and 372 wounded.
Dong Ap Bai was abandoned on June 5. This caused a stir that reached the halls of the U.S. Congress. The aftermath of the battle changed the way the Vietman War was fought. High casualties would no longer be tolerated to obtain terrain objectives; objectives that were not really leading anyplace in an insurgency.