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PeterMacD

10/10/1965 1st Air Cavalry Division commences operations in Vietnam

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1965 : 1st Air Cavalry Division commences operations

 

In the first major operation since arriving the previous month, the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) joins with South Vietnamese Marines to strike at 2,000 North Vietnamese troops 25 miles from An Khe in the Central Highlands.

 

The 1st Cavalry Division was a new kind of division, which was built around the helicopter and the airmobile concept. The division contained 434 helicopters and had the capability to move one-third of its combat power at one time into terrain inaccessible to normal infantry vehicles. During its first major mission, faulty U.S.-South Vietnamese coordination prevented their forces from entrapping the North Vietnamese Army 325th Infantry Division, but they managed to reopen Route 19, between Pleiku and An Khe, the main east-west supply route in the region. During the course of its employment in South Vietnam, the "First Team," as the 1st Cavalry Division came to be known, would prove to be one of the most effective U.S. combat units in the war.

 

The unit's first major operation was the Pleiku Campaign. During this action, the division conducted 35 days of continuous airmobile operations. The opening battle, the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, was described in the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young which was also the basis of the subsequent Mel Gibson film We Were Soldiers. The unit also earned the first Presidential Unit Citation (US) presented to a division during the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

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