A personal account of the Delta Company ambush, March 25, 1969:
We hit a hot LZ and headed for a treeline. My platoon was in the lead. When my four lead men were about 15 meters from the trees the enemy opened fire. The point went down instantly. We had walked right into an ambush, an L-shaped bunker complex, and they had us. We worked to recover the four point men and got one, but could not reach the rest. They had us pinned down under heavy fire and tried to flank us. We later found out we were facing a reinforced company of NVA regulars. The Battalion C&C (Command and Control) chopper came on station overhead. They called for one of our sister companies, Bravo, to move in to help us. They came in and drew heavy fire, and soon they were pinned down too. They lost a lieutenant right off the bat, along with several of his platoon. The medevacs that flew in to get our wounded drew heavy fire and could not land. The C&C called for more ARTY and F-4's. We spent all day trying to reach my three remaining point men. We could get within 20 or 30 meters, but no closer. They did not respond to any calls or signals. I lost one of my best platoon sergeants and several other men trying to get to them. At dark the Battalion Commanding Officer ordered us to pull back and establish a NDP (Night Defensive Perimeter). Later that night one of our listening posts popped a claymore and dragged an NVA in brand new clothes and web gear into the perimeter. I remember one of my point men making it back to the NDP with napalm burns. He told me the other two were killed in the first few minutes of the fight. The next morning the enemy was gone, and we went back in and retrieved the other two.
Lt. Howard W. Mitchell 3rd Plt Ldr, D. Co., 2/14 IN
PERSONAL DATA Home of Record: Minnesota Date of birth: 10/16/1947
MILITARY DATA Service: Army of the United States Grade at loss: E4 Rank: Sergeant Note: Posthumous Promotion as indicated ID No: 56507636 MOS: 11B20: Infantryman Length Service: 00 Unit: D CO, 2ND BN, 14TH INFANTRY, 25TH INF DIV, USARV
CASUALTY DATA Start Tour: 11/16/1968 Incident Date: 03/25/1969 Casualty Date: 03/25/1969 Age at Loss: 21 Location: Hau Nghia Province, South Vietnam Remains: Body recovered Casualty Type: Hostile, died outright Casualty Reason: Ground casualty Casualty Detail: Burns
ON THE WALL Panel 28W Line 041
14th Infantry Regiment (Golden Dragons)
THE 14th Infantry DURING THE VIETNAM WAR
1ST BATTALION In the fall of 1965 the 25th Division received its expected orders to Vietnam. First to go was the 3rd Brigade. The 1st Battalion was transferred from the 1st Brigade to the 3rd Brigade to serve as the brigade's third Infantry battalion. The urgency of getting the 3rd Brigade to the central highlands of Vietnam led to the Army and Air Force to undertake Operation Blue Light, a massive airlift of the 3rd Brigade from Hawaii to Pleiku. The airlift began on 28 December 1965 and was successfully concluded on 17 January 1966.
Commanded by LTC Gilbert Procter, Jr., the 1/ 14th spent most of 1966 operating along the Cambodian border as part of the 3rd Brigade's mission of preventing the North Vietnamese from cutting South Vietnam in half. In November 1966, elements of the 1st Battalion engaged two battalions of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. Among the numerous Golden Dragons performing heroically during these engagements, two members of the 1st Battalion - 1st Lt. Joseph Grant and Sgt. Ted Belcher were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Addenda: 1st Battalion Operations Vietnam, 1966-1967.
The 1st Battalion was reassigned to the 4th Infantry Division on 1 August 1967 with the exchange of 3rd Brigades between the 25th and 4th Infantry Divisions. The 1st Battalion participated in a total of 12 Vietnam campaigns, receiving a Navy Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action at Chu Lai while attached to the 1st Marine Division from 10-15 September 1967. Company A received a Valorous Unit Award for action in Quang Ngai Province. In addition the 1st Battalion received four awards of the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and one award of the Vietnam Civil Action Medal, First Class. While the 1st Battalion was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, CPL Thomas W. Bennett of Company C, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
On 8 December 1970 the 1st Battalion was reduced to zero strength at An Khe, Vietnam with the exception of a battalion color guard which returned the regimental and 1st Battalion colors to Schofield Barracks. On 15 December 1970 the 1st Battalion was reassigned to the 25th Division and the 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry, (see below) was inactivated with its personnel and equipment reassigned to the 1st Battalion.
2ND BATTALION ( David's Unit ) The 1st Brigade of the 25th Division to which the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was assigned, was scheduled to be the last of the 25th Division's three maneuver brigades to deploy to Vietnam. The Brigade was shy two of its three Infantry battalions. Initially the plan was to activate and train two new battalions for the 1st Brigade but the timetable was too short. Adding to the problem was the need to heavily levy the 2nd Battalion for fillers for Infantry battalions of the 3rd Brigade, which left in December 1965 and of the 2nd Brigade, which departed Schofield in January 1966. To round out the 1st Brigade two battalions assigned to Alaska -- the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry and the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry -- were reassigned to the 1st Brigade on 14 January 1966.
By February 1966 the 2nd Battalion began receiving large numbers of replacements, most directly out of Advanced Individual Training. This resulted in an accelerated unit training program to ready the battalion for deployment. On 16 April 1966 the USNS Nelson M. Walker sailed from Pearl Harbor with the entire 1st Brigade aboard. The ship arrived at Vung Tau near Saigon on 28 April. The 2nd Battalion left the ship on 30 April and was moved by truck and aircraft to Cu Chi.
In their first two years in Vietnam the 2nd Battalion known as the Battle Dragons, made it clear to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese that they were prepared to meet and defeat any attack on their unit. And they would take the offensive to seek out and destroy the enemy wherever he could be found.
In 1967 the 2nd Battalion conducted a variety of missions that took the Battalion from the Mekong Delta to War Zone C. The Battle Dragons shifted their base camp from Cu Chi to Tay Ninh in conjunction with stepped-up operations in War Zone C. For example, the operations in 1967 ranged in scope from security missions near Bien Hoa during Operation Uniontown and at Dau Tieng during Junction City to civil action efforts east of Cu Chi on Barking Sands, and Operation Yellowstone, a large-scale offensive operation in War Zone C at Katum.
In the four plus years of combat in Vietnam, the 2nd Battalion received participation credit for 12 campaigns of the Vietnam War. The battalion received two awards of the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and one award of the Vietnam Civic Action Medal First Class. SSG Hammett L. Bowen Jr. Company C was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. On 8 December 1970 the 2nd Battalion at color guard strength left Vietnam and returned to Schofield Barracks. The battalion was inactivated on 5 June 1972. Addenda: 2nd Battalion Operations Vietnam, 1966-1968.
3rd BATTALION To provide for a Pacific area strategic reserve for contingencies other than the ongoing Vietnam War, the Army activated the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks on 6 December 1969. The 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry was activated as one of the 4th Brigade's three Infantry battalions.
The 3rd Battalion (descending from Company C, 14th Infantry) was initially activated under CARS as the 3rd Battle Group, 14th Infantry on 1 June 1959 and assigned to the 102nd Infantry Division, U.S. Army Reserve at Kansas City, Missouri. The 3rd Battle Group was reorganized and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry on 1 April 1963. On 31 December 1965 the 3rd Battalion was inactivated. It was allotted back to the Regular Army on 6 December1969 and activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii as a component of the 4th Brigade, 25th Division.
With the 25th Division returning to Schofield Barracks from Vietnam to resume its traditional mission of being the strategic reserve for the Pacific area the 4th Brigade along with the 3rd Battalion 14th Infantry was inactivated on 15 December 1970. The personnel and equipment of the 3rd Battalion was used to re-man and re-equip the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry.
COMPANY E Company E, 14th Infantry which had served in Korea from 1960-1966 as a rifle security company was activated in Vietnam on 30 June 1971 as a rifle security company. It was assigned to the U.S. Army Support Command with the mission of guarding the Long Binh support facility. Company E was inactivated on 20 November 1972, receiving campaign participation credit for the last four campaigns of the Vietnam War.
POST-VIETNAM As part of the overall post-Vietnam draw-down of the Army only the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division remained active. The 1st Battalion 14th Infantry was assigned to the 1st Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was placed in an inactivate status but remained assigned to the Tropic Lightning.
In 1981 the Army replaced the Combat Arms Regimental System with the US Army Regimental System (USARS) in conjunction with the decision to replace the long-established individual replacement system with a unit replacement system featuring like-organized battalions of the same Regiment assigned to both CONUS and overseas commands.
Hence in 1986 the 14th Infantry was reorganized with four active light Infantry battalions. Two battalions were assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and two battalions were assigned to the 10th Mountain Division. However, the Army decided not to implement the unit rotational system, leading to the inactivations of two of the 14th Infantry battalions.
1ST BATTALION The 1st Battalion, having been transferred to the 2nd Brigade from the 1st Brigade in 1972, remained assigned to the 25th Infantry Division.
2ND BATTALION The 2nd Battalion was relieved from inactive assignment to 25th Division and assigned to the 10th Mountain Division on 17 January 1986 and reactivated at Fort Benning Georgia. The battalion was later reassigned to Fort Drum, New York. In 1993 the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Somalia as part of Operation Continue Hope. On 3 October 1993 the 2nd Battalion Quick Reaction Force fought a six hour battle with Somali militia to successfully rescue Rangers trapped in the capital of Mogadishu. For its gallantry the 2nd Battalion received a Valorous Unit Award. In 1997 the battalion was deployed to Haiti for several months and in 1997 it was deployed to Bosnia from March-to November 1997. It later deployed to Kosovo November 2001 to May 2002.
3RD BATTALION The 3rd Battalion was activated on 6th November 1969, assigned to the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and was inactivated on 15 December 1970. On 17 January 1986 it was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division and reactivated at Fort Benning. It was later transferred to Fort Drum. On 15 April 1996 the 3rd Battalion was inactivated.
5TH BATTALION Company E was redesignated on 16 September 1986 as Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 14th Infantry, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with organic battalion elements concurrently constituted and activated. The 5th Battalion served with the 1st Brigade until inactivated on 15 August 1995.
WAR ON TERRORISM
The 14th Infantry Regiment continues to maintain the regimental tradition of being to the front in battle during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Beginning in March of 2003 to the present, battalions of the 14th have served multiple tours of duty in Iraq. Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions have gallantly engaged and defeated the insurgent enemy thus significantly contributing to stability in Iraq and bringing further battle honors to their Regiment.
1ST BATTALION In January 2004 the 1st Battalion deployed to Iraq as an element of the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Organized as a task force, the 1st Battalion initially conducted security and stability operations in and around the city of Kirkuk for which it received a Meritorious Unit Commendation. While attached to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division the 1st Battalion participated in the battle for the city of Samarra from 1 October to 1 November 2004. For its gallantry in that battle the battalion received a Valorous Unit Award. The 1st Battalion also served as a reaction force against insurgent activity in the cities of Tal Afar, Najaf and Mosul. The 1st Battalion departed Iraq in February 2005. In 2006-2007 the 1st Battalion was reorganized and reequipped as a Stryker-mounted Infantry battalion. The 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry served in Iraq for fifteen months with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Stryker) from December 2007-March 2009 headquartered at Camp Taji. For extraordinary heroism in combat actions against Iraqi insurgents the battalion received a Valorous Unit Award for the period 14 January 2008-22 February 2009. The 1st Battalion also earned participation credit for the National Resolution, Iraqi Surge and Iraqi Sovereignty campaign phases. The 1st Battalion returned to northern Iraq with the 2nd BCT in July 2010 to train and assist Iraqi forces.
2ND BATTALION The 2nd Battalion is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum, NY. It deployed to Iraq in March 2003 as a battalion task force that operated in northern Iraq alongside the 173rd Airborne Brigade. From June 2004-June 2005 it served in the Baghdad area with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division receiving a Meritorious Unit Commendation. The 2nd Battalion returned to Iraq with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team from August 2006-November 2007.
Other 14th Infantry Regiment Resources 1st/ 14th Infantry "Golden Dragons" - Vietnam This site, contrary to its title, includes information on the 14th Infantry Regiment's history prior to Vietnam. Included are photos, maps, a Golden Dragon Alumni newsletter, articles about specific operations from Stars and Stripes, and more.
Vietnam Service Medal
What does your ribbon look like?
David Allen Weber - Rubbon
The Vietnam Service Medal/Ribbon was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace there over. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia, or the airspace there over, during eligible periods and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam. The Vietnam Service Medal is a military award which was created in 1965 by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The medal is issued to recognize military service during the Vietnam War and is authorized to service members in every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, provided they meet the qualification criteria in United States Department of Defense regulation DoD 1348. The Vietnam Service Medal is presented to any service member who served on temporary duty for more than thirty consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or directly supporting ground (military) operations or attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations in the Republic of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos within the defined combat zone (DoD 1348 C220.127.116.11.5. revised September 1996) between the dates of 1961-11-15 and 1973-03-28, and from 29 April, 1975 to 30 April, 1975. For those service members who supported Vietnam Operations from another country within Southeast Asia, DoD maintains (proximity to threat) as the disqualifying factor for Vietnam Service Medal eligibility. For the United States Navy, vessels operating in Vietnamese waters qualify for the Vietnam Service Medal provided that the naval vessel was engaged in direct support of Vietnam combat operations. The U.S. Air Force also grants the Vietnam Service Medal exclusively to flight crews that flew missions over Vietnamese air space, even if the home base of the flight mission was hundreds of miles away requiring in flight refueling. The Department of Defense established thirty military campaigns during the Vietnam War. (Seventeen Naval Campaigns) For those service members participating in one or more campaigns, a service star is required on the Vietnam Service Medal. Silver service stars are issued in lieu of five bronze. Some campaigns apply to all of the military services while others are specific to a particular branch of the U.S. Armed Forces (the United States Marine Corps is considered part of the Navy and is eligible only for Navy campaigns). The exception to this rule is Operation Frequent Wind. The arrowhead device is authorized for campaign participation which involved an aerial or amphibious assault. The Fleet Marine Force combat operation insignia is also authorized