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A SHORT HISTORY OF 1967
The operations conducted in 1966 continued, for the most part, in 1967, provided the battalion with continued experience,
became more skilled in conducting the various missions assigned to them - patrolling, ambushes, cordon and sweeps. Offensive
operations at the beginning of the year, were conducted North of the Village of Bong Son in the Bon Son Plains, in II Corps area.
During the February Operation, PFC James H. Monroe, a medical corpsman in C Co, earned the second Medal of Honor
awarded to the 8th Cavalry in Vietnam, by diving on a grenade and absorbing the blast, he saved the lives of several of his
comrades. Continuing operations in the Bon Song Plains, Co D stood off a Viet Cong attack on their night defensive perimeter
which resulted in 19 Viet Cong killed. Moving from the plains to the Cay Gier mountains along the coast, the 8th Cavalry
continued to demonstrate its capabilities and flexibility to fight in rugged terrain. The battalion continued to inflict grievous
losses on the Viet Cong as the enemy was sent reeling in every major contact with the battalion. The year was closed out
with fierce fighting by Co C through the Dai Dong area. After a two day battle through the village, the enemy left behind 204 dead.
In addition to providing security and pacifying the land, the battalion was experimenting with new tactics including psychological
operations and medical assistance to villagers. Improving old techniques, the use of aerial rocket artillery and air strikes were
increased. Proving to be highly mobile, the battalion during November assumed the responsibly of the entire 1st Brigade area of
operations, as the remainder of the brigade was operating with the 4th Infantry Division.
A SHORT HISTORY 1968
OPERATION PERSHING, the last large operation in 1967, came to a close with outstanding results on 21 January 1968. The
totals for the operation (Division wide) included 5,000 killed, nearly 2,500 captured and over 1,000 weapons confiscated. The
battalion moved with the 1st Brigade to continue operations in I Corps at the beginning of 1968, as this was to turn out to be
a memorable one for the battalion and the 1st Cavalry Division as a whole. Moving into Quang Tri, the battalion protected the
brigade's fire bases during the enemy TET Offensive. The defense of the city itself ran from 31 January to 6 February. At the
end of this time, the 8th Cavalry had defeated the enemy and begun pursuit operations. Operating on the shores of the Gulf
of Tonkin, Companies A and B engaged an estimated battalion of enemy soldiers and killed 19 while capturing valuable
April 5, marked the beginning of OPERATION PEGASUS; the battalion and other 1st Cavalry elements came to the relief of
the Marines at beleaguered Khe Sanh. After successful operations, the battalion moved on to their biggest operation for the year.
The A Shau Valley was the first objective of OPERATION DELAWARE. Located in a strategic position guarding the passes to
Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, all units found large caches of enemy equipment including crew served weapons, Soviet trucks,
rockets and rice. In many respects, this operation in an enemy stronghold would reflect the battalion's activities in Cambodia a
year and a half later.
Later in the year, the battalion began to conduct joint operations with ARVN soldiers and the local forces. This was another sign
of progress as the 1st Cavalry Division already had initiated the Vietnamization program long before it became a national
concern. Cordon and search operations utilized local Regional and Popular Forces in order to deny the enemy the vital rice which
he so desperately needed. The Summer months and early Fall were spent securing Highway 1 and conducting operations within
their own AO, the battalion had been operating in an area designated as base area 101 by the Viet Cong and continued to engage
small enemy units, the classical way to fight guerrilla war. The last big battle fought by the battalion in I Corps was at Quang Tri
City on 22 August.
A new phase was begun in November. The entire battalion moved along with the Division to III Corps, where the mission was to
interdict infiltration routes and destroy enemy forces. Primary emphasis was on stopping infiltration from Cambodia through the
"Angel's Wing" and the "Parrots Beak", two staging areas in South Vietnam. Maximum coordination was made with the US
Navy as the battalion went "watermobile". This emphasized a maximum use of sea and air power to cover a large area of
operations. Joint operations were launched along the maze of waterways to eliminate enemy traffic, neutralize bases and seek
out caches. As a mini-armada of battalion troops in armed Navy ships moved up stream, they would turn to shore at irregular
intervals and deploy troops to search the area long the waterway. 1968 closed with the "NavCav" operations, indicating the
ability of the battalion to coordinate both with allied ARVN and other branches of the US Armed Forces. It was a memorable
year for the battalion, truly emphasizing mobility from the dusty reaches of Khe Sanh in I Corps to the waterways in IV Corps.
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A SHORT HISTORY - VIETNAM PREPAREDNESS
The 1st Cavalry Division was recalled from Korea in 1965, minus men and equipment, so that the 11th Air Assault Division (Test)
could be deactivated and re-flagged as the 1st Cavalry Division, Airmobile, on 3 July 1965. The Airmobile concept, hitherto an
experiment, was achieving reality. This concept was soon to be tested and modified in the realities of combat in Vietnam. While
the division was undergoing final preparation at Fort Benning, Georgia, the President had decided to commit the division to
The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry became one of the eight battalions in the division. The Jumping Mustangs were attached to the 1st
Brigade, which was picked to receive airborne training - thus the whole battalion became parachute qualified. Designed to free
the infantry trooper and his logistical support from the iron grip of the terrain, the 8th Cavalry was a new extension of the mobile
policy followed by the old cavalry in the frontier days. Although this marked the first time the 8th Cavalry had been on U. S. soil
in twenty years, the troopers were destined to again depart for overseas assignment, one which would required the ultimate in
modern warfare and airmobility. The tactics employed in Korea and World War II, were to be set aside in favor of mobility and
striking power in order to deal with the counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. After President Johnson's declaration on 28
June 1965, the 8th Cavalry had eight weeks to prepare for deployment to Vietnam. After many hours of training in new weapons,
new tactics and new methods of supply, the 8th Cavalry departed on the Navy transport GEIGER for Vietnam from Savanna,
Georgia. The date was 20 August 1965.
Arriving on the coast in Vietnam at Qui Nhon, the 8th Cavalry moved by helicopter to the division base area North of An Khe in
Binh Dinh Province. After preliminary skirmishes with Viet Cong forces which resulted in the capture of enemy equipment and
rice, the 8th Cavalry participated in the Pleiku Operation, for which the 1st Cavalry Division received the Presidential Unit
Citation. Involved in action around Plei Me, Duc Co, and the Ia Drang Valley, the 8th Cavalry also cleared Highway 19 to the
West of An Khe. By the end of November, over 1,500 enemy had been officially listed as KIA and over 600 weapons had been
captured. The remainder of the year was spent in conducting operations around An Khe with the technique of combat air
assaulting, rappelling and ground coordination being perfected. In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, SP4 Raymond Ortiz
won the Distinguished Service Cross in the Ia Drang valley action. Already at this stage, the success of the air mobile concept as
evidenced by the Pleiku Campaign, proved the 8th Cavalry was on the right track. At every turn, airmobility had stymied enemy
plans and coordination. The campaigns in the years that follow illustrated the battalion's ability to meet the challenges of wear,
terrain and the enemy.
The first year in Vietnam saw the battalion operate in sweeps while perfecting the techniques of cordon and search and clear
operations. Operating from an interlocking system of landing zones, the line companies were covered by supporting elements,
notably aerial rocket artillery and conventional tube artillery. The names for these battalion sized operations, designed to clear
enemy strongholds and disperse enemy troops, harked back to the frontier days, as the 8th Cavalry was again chasing an elusive
enemy. The year 1966 was one of learning and adapting. During the course of the year, the 1st Battalion, Airborne, 8th Cavalry,
killed more than 430 Viet Cong and captured over 100 enemy. They destroyed and/or captured over fifty tons of rice and equipment.
The beginning of the year opened with the 8th Cavalry conducting operations around An Khe and eventually pushing to the
Cambodian Border. Conducting Operation JIM BOWIE later in the Spring, the battalion learned a costly lesson in Viet Cong
booby traps as 85 Sky Troopers were wounded, stepping on pungi stakes, trip wires tied to grenades and other ingenious devices.
20 May 1966 began with fighting erupting on all fonts as Operation CRAZY HORSE swept into full force. Although the enemy
was soon reduced to squad sized units or smaller, the Viet Cong fought tenaciously. During the course of action in which B and C
companies were involved in a fierce battle, SP4 David Dolby of B company won the units first Medal of Honor Medal in Vietnam.
There were many other awards won including a Distinguished Service Cross, by Capt Roy Martin, Commander of B company.
The results of the operation confirmed that a fierce struggle had indeed been waged. 85 enemy were killed and 22 captured. The
battalion lost 12 men and had 54 wounded.
After several days of rest, the battalion again was faced with a new challenge as their mission to go forward and relieve an
element of the 101st Airborne Division. Accomplishing this mission, the battalion returned to LZ Eagle and fended off a ground
attack by two North Vietnamese companies. Co B killed 97 enemy and captured a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.
Even at this early date, the North Vietnamese were required to bolster local Viet Cong unit. This was to become an ever
increasing occurrence as the battalion forced back the local Viet Cong and decimated their numbers. Results of the operation,
called NATHAN HALE, were highly successful. A ratio of 24 to 1 was chalked up in killed. For this action, the battalion received
its second Presidential Unit Citation, dated 21-22 June 1966, embroidered TRUNG LUONG, after the successful conclusion of
a key battle in this operation.
Proving the versatility and adaptability, the battalion had fought the enemy in various types of terrain and weather. Late in the
year, the battalion moved to the South China Sea Coast in OPERATION IRVING, eventually pushing a defeated enemy into
the sea or into the hands of other units. On 17 November 1966, the battalion in conjunctions with the Second Battalion, 8th
Cavalry celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of the 8th Cavalry. During the waning days of the year, the battalion companies
engaged the enemy in various firefights within the II Corps area. On 30 December 1966, Co C captured an NVA captain who
had been the training officer and Chief of Staff of the 22nd NVA Division.
|Headquarters & Headquarters Company 1965 - 1971