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1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam


“First Team”

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Late at night in March of 1970 our plane landed in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. From there we were bussed to 90th Replacement in Long Binh. It was there I received orders to report to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division.

If assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, you were given a week of In-Country training before being sent to your new unit. This training was at the First Team Academy in Bien Hoa.

The 1st Air Cavalry Division entered the Vietnam War 50 years ago in 1965. The division’s colors and unit designations was transferred to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test), then at Ft. Benning, Georgia, in July, 1965. They began deploying to Camp Radcliffe, An Khe, Vietnam. The division perfected new tactics and doctrine for helicopter-borne assaults over the next five years in Vietnam.

The 1st Cavalry Division, popularly known as the “First Team,” was the only American division to fight in all four corps tactical zones. The bulk of the division began departing Vietnam in late April 1970, but the 3rd Brigade remained until June 1972. The 1st Cavalry Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and “First Team” soldiers won 25 Medals of Honor, 120 Distinguished Service Crosses, 2,766 Silver Stars, 2,697 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 8,408 Bronze Stars for Valor.

Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment also arrived in 1965. Pat & Carol Bieneman will be hosting a Special Reunion June 30th through July 3rd in Columbus, Georgia honoring the men from Charlie Troop, Headquarters, and Headquarters Troop and Delta Troops.

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The First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), 1965

1st Air Cavalry casualties in Vietnam
5,444 Killed in Action
26,592 Wounded in Action

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Vietnam Bound


Setting Foot on Foreign Soil


After a grueling hour and forty minutes on a broken down Greyhound bus that was probably built before I was born, we arrived at Travis Air Force Base in California. There we boarded a huge cargo plane. I don’t remember the model, but they told us the only plane larger was the B-52 Bombers.

The flight was long (about twenty-two hours) with two stops before reaching our destination, which was Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam. Our first stop was Anchorage, Alaska and then Yokota Air Base in Japan. It was night time and very dark when we landed in Bien Hoa. This was one of the first US bases built during the Vietnam War. The air base was one of the busiest airports in the world during the war.

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The door of the plane was opened, and immediately I was bombarded by the heat. The intense humidity made my uniform stick to me and was quite uncomfortable. There was a smell in the air which seemed to be a combination of garbage and urine, with just the hint of disinfectant.
We were now in a foreign land, very foreign indeed…

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