Twenty six men of Company C 31st Combat Engineer Battalion became the first engineers to reach Cambodian soil on May 5th. A bridge destroyed by a stunned and retreating enemy kept the 11th Armored Cav. from encircling the enemy sanctuary. After combat assaulting with the 11th ACR into the dense jungle, they were able to clear the mangled bridge away.
The first of a three bridge section assembled in Quan Loi by the 79th Engineer Company was brought in by Sky Crane to be wrestled into position by Charlie Company Engineers.
While the road to Memot was inching its way forward, other engineers including Charlie Company were building their way to Snoul chasing the NVA back toward their headquarters. Then the word was received that “The City” had been found. Company C 31st Engineer Bn and 557th Engineers were dispatched to begin ripping a trail while under enemy fire to “The City” and “Rock Island East” then began removing tons and tons of NVA supplies, destroying what was left.
Many Engineers were killed or wounded during this operation. For their action, Charlie Company 31st Combat Engineers was awarded a Citation for Valor.
John Lough served with the 31st Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Army) and was wounded during the Cambodian Incursion in 1970. He is a Purple Heart recipient.
If you served with the 31st Engineer Battalion and have an experience to you’d like to share, please email the editor. Thank you.
Submitted stories are not verified for historical accuracy; they are personal accounts as told by those who experienced them. Comments are welcome.