Blackhorse Riders A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot

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Deep in the jungles of Vietnam, Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th
Armored Cavalry, the famed Blackhorse Regiment, was a specialized
cavalry outfit equipped with tanks and armored assault vehicles. On the
morning of March 26, 1970, they began hearing radio calls from an
infantry unit four kilometers away that had stumbled into a hidden North
Vietnamese Army stronghold. Outnumbered at least six to one, the
ninety-man American company was quickly surrounded, pinned down, and
fighting for its existence. Helicopters could not penetrate the dense
jungle, and artillery and air support could not be targeted effectively.
The company was fated to be worn down and eventually all killed or

Overhearing the calls for help on his radio, Captain
John Poindexter, Alpha Troop's twenty-five-year-old commander, realized
that his outfit was the only hope for the trapped company. It just might
be possible that they could "bust" enough jungle by nightfall to reach
them. Not making the attempt was deemed unacceptable, so he ordered his
men to "saddle up." With the courage and determination that makes
legends out of ordinary men, they effected a daring rescue and fought a
pitched battle-at considerable cost. Many brave deeds were done that day
and Captain Poindexter tried to make sure his men were recognized for
their actions.

Thirty years later Poindexter was made aware that
his award recommendations and even the records of the battle had somehow
gone missing. Thus began the second phase of this remarkable story: a
"battle" to ensure that his brave men's accomplishments would never be
forgotten again.

The full circle was completed when President
Obama stepped to the podium on October 20, 2009, to award the Alpha
Troop with the Presidential Unit Citation: the highest combat award that
can be given to a military unit.


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