While being informed by a Vietnamese translator that he was fighting The Pride of Ho Chi Minh, or the highly elite 29th Regiment of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), Lieutenant Colonel Weldon Honeycutt responded by saying “Tell him I’m glad to know they’re around here. Tell him that’s why we came here- to kill North Vietnamese soldiers-and if they are around, they’ll just be doin’ us a favor78-79.” This bold statement, stated by the commander of a unit tasked to take a hill with heavily fortified enemy positions, shows that he understood his mission- plain and simple. LTC Honeycutt, commander of the 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry (the "Rakkasans"), lead his unit in accordance with the doctrinal tasks of mission command. LTC Honeycutt was
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On military maps it was simply Hill 937, so labeled for its height in meters. Several large ridges and fingers ran out from its summit. The steep slopes of Dong Ap Bia were cloaked by a heavy undergrowth of sawtooth elephant grass, thick stands of bamboo, and double-and-triple canopy jungle.
Leading the attack were five infantry battalions under Major General Melvin Zais, commander of the legendary 101st Airborne (Airmobile) Division. Three units were American (the 1/506th, 2/501st, and 3/187th), and two came from the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Division (the 2/1st and 4/1st ARVN). Colonel Joseph Conmy, commander of the 3d Brigade of the 101st Airborne, controlled the main effort. His plan called for each of the five battalions to "combat assault" into the valley by helicopter on 10 May 1969 and to comb its assigned sector for enemy troops and supplies. The 3/187th, under the command of LTC Honeycutt, drew the most difficult mission. Their mission was to air assault into a landing zone 2,000 meters northwest of Hamburger Hill and move cross country to clear and occupy the mountain44. Treacherous terrain and an enemy that knew how to exploit it continually threw off the tempo of American tactical operations at Hamburger Hill. Not even the