A tiny mountain, Dong Ap Bia, marked on the maps as hill 937. Hill 937 is said by some to be one of the fiercest battles in Vietnam. In May of 1969 the American command planned to clear out the A Shau Valley using ten battalions of infantry, including the 9th Marine Regiment, the 3d ARVN Regiment, the 3/5th Cavalry, and three air assault battalions: 1/506th, 2/501st, and 3/187th. The 501st and the 506th mission were to destroy the enemy in their own operating areas and block escape routes into Laos. Dong Ap Bia, was given the nickname 'Hamburger Hill' because it chewed up soldiers like chopped meat.
The battle began on May 10, 1969 and lasted 10 days. It took three US Army battalions with ARVN support to take Hamburger Hill. The defenders, the 28th North Vietnamese Regiment, were nearly wiped out.
One month later ARVN and US Forces left the A Shau valley, and the North Vietnamese were free to use Hill 937 once again. Critics charged that the battle wasted American lives and exemplified the irrelevance of U.S. tactics in Vietnam. Defending the operation, the Division commander of the 101st acknowledged that the hill's only significance was that the enemy occupied it. "My mission," he said, "was to destroy enemy forces and installations. We found the enemy on Hill 937, and that is where we fought them."