The Battle of Firebase Ripcord took place in 1970 in the midst of the Vietnam War. On March 12th the 101st Airborne was ordered to open up Firebase Ripcord to oversee the Ashau Valley in order to prevent the North Vietnamese Army from gaining access to the Ho Chi Minh trail. The resulting battle lasted for 4 1/2 months during which approximately 250 Americans were killed.
The high casualty toll combined with the lingering headlines of Hamburger Hill motivated the United States military to discourage the media from reporting news of the battle to the American public. For almost 50 years knowledge of Firebase Ripcord has existed mostly amongst the veterans of the battle who refuse to let their sacrifice be forgotten.