All was quiet in the camp at Duc Lap as Green Beret advisers made their rounds of camp defences. In perimeter bunkers, the Civilian Irregular Defense guards struggled to keep awake, rubbed their eyes and stared again into the darkness. Were some of the shadows outside the compound moving?
At 01:05 on August 23, 1968 the first mortar rounds exploded in the camp as yelling North Vietnamese troops ran towards key positions. The whoosh of rockets reached the ears of the sleeping Green Berets as they tumbled out of their beds, grabbed their weapons and dashed outside. The radio operator put out a frantic call for assistance as the North Vietnamese Army regiment launched its first ground assault.