11TH BDE. CELEBRATES SECOND YEAR IN NAM FROM THE SOUTHERN CROSS FOR JANUARY 9, 1970.
Copy of article provided by James L. Cronkwrite
FSB BRONCO -- Two years ago this month, the 11th Infantry Brigade arrived in Vietnam, fulfilling its mission as the U.S. Army Pacific Reserve, "To move by sea or air and fight anywhere, anytime."
The landing coincided with the 50th anniversay of the founding of the 11th Bde. at Camp Forrest, Ga. in December, 1917. The brigade colors were first unfurled in battle in the Alsace and Meuse-Argonne campaigns of 1918. In 1938 the unit was de-activated and remained so for 28 years.
In 1966, the 11th Bde. was again activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
As the Hawaii-based unit disembarked from the USNS General Gordon at Qui Nhon on December 19, 1967, "Hanoi Hannah" welcomed the brigade to I Corps. The North Vietnamese propagandist predicted that the "Jungle Warriors" would be destroyed as they moved by convoy to a basecamp near Duc Pho. A few mis-aimed sniper rounds were the only reults of the prophecy.
The "Jungle Warriors" then commanded by BG Andy Lipscomb, joined the division and were assigned the responsibility for the Duc Pho -- Mo Duc area of operations in Quang Ngai Province. In January 1968, the 198th Bde. and the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Division who had been conducting Operation Muscatine in this area were redeployed.
The brigade soon discovered that it inherited one of the most geographically diverse and tactically difficult areas of the country. Contact flared in the damp, sandy coastal lowlands as well as in the rugged mountains and thick jungle to the west. The enemy was well-established, for the province had been a traditional Communist stronghold for years. The enemy traveled in both small terror-squads as well as well-equipped NVA regiments.
Operations such as "Norfolk Victory" and "Champagne Grove" soon succeeded in blocking the enemy infiltration and supply routes, destroying basecamps and generally denying the enemy the foothold he previously had.
The largest and most successful of these early operations "Vernon Lake II" began in November of 1968 and was concluded in February of the following year. Conducted in a region of massive VC/NVA resistance and consolidation activities, Vernon Lake II resulted in 457 enemy dead, large quantities of ordnance captured, and 81 enemy basecamps, including two regimental-sized, destroyed.
When the tactical situation permits, the accent is on pacification. Tu My Village, five miles west of Quang Ngai City, was recently established by the brigade's 3-1st to accommodate displaced persons. Nearly 5,000 displaced Vietnamese and Montagnards have found a home there. Last month, the 1-20th rescued 127 villagers from a flooded hamlet, feeding and guiding them until the floodwaters receded.
In both combat and pacification efforts, it has been two years in which the 11th Bde. has earned the title "Jungle Warriors." As COL Hugh F.T. Hoffman Jr. commanding officer of the brigade noted: "Today, two years after the landing at Qui Nhon, the 11th Bde. through countless acts of unselfish heroism, has made the southern tip of I Corps a relatively secure area."