10th Cavalry Regiment
Vietnam War
"Ready And Forward"

Division Of Vietnam - 1954
The roots of the Vietnam War started in 1946 with the beginning of the First Indochina War. Vietnam was under French control at that time (as was Laos and Cambodia), and the Vietnamese, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, wanted independence. So the Vietnamese and French fought each other in Vietnam. Eventually, in 1954, the Vietnamese defeated the French and both countries signed the Geneva Peace Accords, which, among other things, established a temporary division in Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The division of the country eventually led to the Vietnamese War.

The Geneva Accords stated that the division was to be temporary, and that national elections in 1956 would reunite the country. But the United States did not want to see Vietnam turn into a communist state, so the US supported the creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, which provided defense for South Vietnam.

North Vietnam, then called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, wanted a communist state, and South Vietnam, then called the Republic of Vietnam, wanted a non-communist state. In 1956, Ngo Dihn Diem, an anti-communist, won the presidential election in South Vietnam. But communist opposition in the south caused Diem numerous problems. And in 1959, southern communists decided to implement greater violence to try to oust Diem. This led to the formation of the National Liberation Front (NLF).

The NLF was a group of communists and non-communists who opposed diem and sought his ouster. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy sent a group to South Vietnam to determine what actions the US needed to take to assist them. When the group returned, they proffered recommendations in what became known as the "December 1961 White Paper" that indicated a need for an increased military presence; but many of the advisors of Kennedy wanted a complete pullout from the country.

In the end, Kennedy compromised and decided to increase the number of military advisors, but with the objective of not to engage in a massive military buildup. But in 1963, the government of Diem quickly began to unravel. The downfall began when Diem's brother accused Buddhist monks of harboring communists -- his brother then began raiding Buddhist pagodas in an attempt to find these communists

The Buddhist monks immediately began protesting in the streets, and in Saigon on 05 October, 1963, one monk died by self-immolation. This incident caused international outrage and Diem was soon overthrown and killed. On 02 August, 1964, North Vietnam attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin that resulted in congress enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted the president broad war powers.

On 01 September 1963, "A" Troop (Reconnaissance), 10th Cavalry was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry and concurrently transferred from Fort Knox, TN to Fort Lewis, WA and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division (ID). At Fort Lewis, the 1st Squadron trained and maintained its readiness to serve as the eyes and ears of the 4th Infantry Division.

On 16 January 1964 "B" Troop, 1st Squadron departed Ft. Lewis to act as the aggressor against the 2nd Tank Battalion, 34 Armor, 4th ID which was stationed at Ft. Irwin, CA. Following the two week exercise, the troop rejoined the Squadron at Ft. Lewis. Training continued throughout 1964, participating in Command Post Exercises (CPXs), CPX "Central Thrust", 07 to 10 January, CPX "Central Thrust II", 24 to 26 June, CPX "East Wind", 27 to 30 October and CPX "White Cloud" 02 to 03 December.

Lyndon B. Johnson was the president at the time, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the resultant resolution marked the beginning of the major military build up of America in the Vietnam War. In 1965, massive bombing missions by the US in North Vietnam, known as Operation ROLLING THUNDER, quickly escalated the conflict.

By early spring 1966, Basic Combat Training came to a close and the Squadron moved on to Advanced Individual Training and in April, relocated to the Yakima Firing Center, launching a vigorous program of Tank Gunnery and Crew Served Weapons Firings. Son afterward, the Division, along with the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry, was alerted for deployment to the Republic of South Vietnam and on 04 June, "B" Troop was attached to the 2nd Brigade Task Force, 4th ID in preparation for deployment to Vietnam.

On 21 July, "B" Troop departed the Port of Tacoma, WA aboard the USNS Walker and arrived at Qui Nhon, Vietnam on 06 August. Immediately upon arrival, "B" Troop boarded C-130s for a quick airlift to Pleiku, the location of the base camp for the 2nd Brigade. Following an initial introduction, the remainder of August was spent in patrolling and conducting perimeter security missions.

By 28 August the balance of the squadron prepared equipment for shipment and completed all personnel processing. Prior to departure,"A" and "C" Troops were attached to the 1st and 3rd Brigades for movement and initial deployment in Vietnam. Headquarters and Headquarters Troop and "D" Troop remained under squadron control.

Deployment to Vietnam was done in stages, with the first movement beginning on 30 August when "D" Troop aircraft (OH-23 Scouts, UH-1C Gunships, UH-1D Slicks) and 77 personnel departed the Port of Tacoma, WA aboard the converted aircraft carrier Gore and arrived at Qui Nhon, Vietnam on 19 September. On 08 September Headquarters and Headquarters Troop and the balance of "D" Troop personnel departed on the USNS Pope and arrived at Qui Nhon, Vietnam on 30 September.

On 15 September, "A" Troop departed with the 1st Brigade onboard the USNS Gorden, arrived at Vung Ro Bay on 06 October and transferred to LSTs for the final movement to Tuy Hoa, site of the 1st Brigade base camp. On 22 September, "C" Troop departed with the 3rd Brigade onboard the USNS Walker, arrived at Vung Tau on 11 October and were airlifted to the 3rd Brigade base camp at Bien Cat near Dragon Mountain in the province of Pleiku.

First combat operations was conducted by "B" Troop in Operations ROAD RUNNER I and II in escorting engineer elements along highways in Pleiku and Drarlac Provinces. During Operation Paul Revere III, "B" Troop provided security for an artillery battery located near the Cambodian border. In October, "B" Troop reverted to Squadron control.

On 15 October, the 1st Squadron was relocated to a forward Command Post on Highway 19 east of Pleiku to conduct a convey security mission in conjunction with Operation PAUL REVERE IV. The highway was secured by the use of mobile strong points, day and night patrolling mounted and dismounted. An extensive aerial reconnaissance program was conducted along a 25 to 35 km wide corridor north and south of the highway.

On 12 November the Squadron was assigned the responsibility of area security for the Forward Support at Plei Djereng, the Division Forward Fire Base at Landing Zone 30 and the conduct of reconnaissance throughout the Division Area of Operations. Later in the month the Squadron, assigned to secure Highway 509 from Pleiku extending to 15 miles west of Pleiku, established strong points along the route during daylight hours and conducted patrols at night.

While the Squadron operated in the vicinity of Pleiku in the Central Highlands of south Vietnam, "A" Troop, attached to the 1st Brigade, operated in the vicinity of Tuy Hoa along the Highway 1 and 6B, conducting reconnaissance, and security of the Brigade Command Post. "C" Troop, attached to the 3rd Brigade, was deployed in the area west of Saigon, securing communication lines of the Brigade. After nearly a year of continuous operation since its arrival in Vietnam, the Squadron returned to the base camp for the period of the New Years' Truce.

On 27 July 1967, in an organizational change, to better match the assigned responsibilities of its elements, "C" Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry was redesignated as "C" Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry and "C" Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry was redesignated as "C" Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry. Additional organizational changes incorporated a provisional Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) into the 1st Squadron.

During Operation SAM HOUSTON, 01 January to 05 April, the Squadron aggressively searched for the elusive enemy, but few direct engagements resulted. During Operation FRANCIS MARION, 06 April to 11 October, two significant enemy contacts were encountered. The first, on 30 May, with two tanks from "A" Troop in the lead, The 1st Squadron engaged a NVA Battalion in a bunker complex 33 km southwest of Pleiku. Contact lasting throughout the day, was broken off at 1745 hours. The second, on 14 June, the Squadron Command Post, 16 km southwest of Pleiku, was subjected to two mortar attacks.

During Operation MACARTHUR, 12 October to 31 December, elements of "A" Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, who were under the operational Control (OPCON) of the Squadron, made contact with a NVA platoon. "B" Troop, 1st Squadron and "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry immediately entered into the battle enabling the enemy to be overpowered.

"Shamrocks" - "D" Trp, 1st Squadron
On two occasions, during the campaigns around Dak To, "D" Troop was designated lead reconnaissance missions which lead to the gathering of valuable intelligence data. The largest combat engagement conducted by the 1st Squadron occurred during Operation MACARTHUR on a search and destroy mission in the Chu Gol Mountain complex located 23 km south west of Pleiku. To carry out this mission which began on 03 November, the Squadron was assigned, cavalry troops, one air cavalry troop, two infantry companies, one mechanized infantry company, two battalion scout platoons and two AVN platoons.

On 06 December 1969 the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 8th Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Cavalry was redesignated as "H" Troop, activated in Hawaii and assigned to the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

On 04 November 1970 the colors of the 4th Infantry Division received its orders to return stateside. When the 4th Infantry Division departed Vietnam in December, the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry was transferred to the control of I Field Force, Vietnam. In January 1971 it was attached to 173rd Airborne Brigade. In July 1971 its air cavalry unit, "D" Troop, was transferred to the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Brigade and soon afterward in August 1971 when the Brigade left Vietnam, the 1st Squadron became part of Military Region 2. On 08 November 1971 the Squadron departed Vietnam.

On 15 March 1972, "H" Troop was inactivated at Schoffield Barracks, Hawaii and relieved from the 25th Infantry Division

On 30 April 1972, "H" Troop was reactivated in Vietnam as an air cavalry reconnaissance troop, using the assets of "C" Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry and assigned to the 17th Aviation Group. "H" Troop served in support of South Vietnamese forces in the An Son area. On 26 February 1973, "H" Troop, one of the last US Army units to serve in Vietnam was inactivated.

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 31 Jan '12 SpellChecked