3/17 ARC Crest.Gif





Silver Spurs
A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav
Troop History
25 Nov '66 - 31 Dec '68

Updated: 7 March 2011


Transcript of Troop History - 25 November 1966 - 31 December 1968

Provided by John Connor - Silver Spur 17 to The Northwest Veterans Newsletter

PLEASE NOTE: Document transcribed by Roger & Pam Young.


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25 November 1966 - 31 December 1968

Prepared by


Di An, Republic of Vietnam
APO 96289


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Forward: Introductory Note







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The pages which follow are proof of this fact. Cavalry has always been the combat force which was first into battle and the last to leave. Since the days of the horse cavalry our mission has been that of seeking out the enemy, developing the enemy's situation to the full extent of our capabilities, and finally, setting the battle field for his destruction. This we do well with our new AH1G Cobras, OH6A LOH, and UH1H Hueys. These are today's horses and the mission of reconnaissance, surveillance, security and economy of force are executed today with speed and preciseness inconceivable to our predecessors. The A Troop Silver Spurs' brief but impressive history is written about cavalry troopers who have worked hard and fought hard employing a concept which never grows old. (A concept which never fails.) As this history is published the Silver Spurs are making history. We do not live on our laurels for we know that Tradition Lives On.

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The 3d Squadron, 17th Cavalry was constituted 1 July 1916 in the Regular Army as Troop C, 17th Cavalry, and organized 9 July 1916 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The unit was inactivated 26 September 1921 at the Presidio of Monterey, California, and disbanded 9 March 1951.

The unit was reconstituted 1 March 1957 in the Regular Army, assigned to the 11th Airborne Division, and activated in Europe. Concurrently, 11th Airborne Reconnaissance Company consolidated with Troop C, 17th Cavalry, and the consolidated unit designated Troop C, (Reconnaissance Airborne), 17th Cavalry. The unit was relieved from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division 1 July 1958, and activated 15 November 1958 in Europe.

The unit was activated 15 March 1962 at Fort Knox, Kentucky as Troop C (Airborne), 17th Cavalry, and inactivated 16 January 1963 at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

On 1 February 1963 the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, and assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (organic elements concurrently constituted in the Regular Army).

Troop B (Airborne), 3d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, was activated 7 February 1963 at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

The 3d Squadron (less B Troop), 17th Cavalry, was activated 19 March 1964 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The unit was relieved from assignment to the 11th Air Assault Division on 30 January 1965.

The 3d Squadron, 17th Cavalry was inactivated 1 July 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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With the large build up of the United States Forces in South Vietnam, there was a dire need for rapid and accurate gathering of intelligence for the field commander. To help meet this need the 3d Armored Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry Regiment was activated on 25 November 1966, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

During the next two months before sufficient personnel were available to organize the Squadron into troops, the assigned personnel were kept busy ferrying aircraft from the Bell Helicopter Plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to Godman Army Airfield at Ft. Knox. It was not until late January 1967 that Squadron began assigning personnel to their respective troops.

On 26 February, 1967, the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) phase of training began. Each troop was given the responsibility for conducting a portion of AIT. A Troop was responsible for the Scout Observer Training. Additional committee type training was given by the troop on the use of the 106mm recoilless rifle.

On 8 May, 1967, the Troop began Basic Unit Training (BUT). The exercises were conducted at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and at the Mountain Ranger Camp at Dahlonoga, Georgia. This afforded the Troop its first opportunity to set up the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and iron out some of its minor problems. This phase of training also gave the Troop's young aviators a chance to operate in mountainous terrain.

On 3 July, 1967, the Troop entered Advance Unit Training and moved to Camp Dawson, West Virginia. The West Virginia National Guard and the staff at Camp Dawson combined elements to act as aggressor forces during part of the training period. During this phase, the Troop underwent its Advanced Tactical Training to include displacement of the Command Post (CP) and Tactical Operations Center (TOC).

From 2 August through 4 August the Troop took part in the Squadron Advanced Tactical Training (ATT). It was administered by the U.S. Army Aviation Group (Prov) from Ft. Knox. The area used was along the Green River near Campbellsville, Kentucky. The ATT covered all aspects of the Squadrons operations with emphasis placed on the activities of the Squadron and troop command posts. Upon completion of the ATT the Squadron was declared combat ready.

The period from 5 August to 7 October saw predeployment Army Security Inspection (ASI), Command Maintenance and Material Inspection (CMMI), Preparation for Overseas Replacement/Preparation for Overseas Movement (POR/POM) qualifications and the final preparations for the movement to Vietnam.

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CHAPTER II: [Continued]

On 10 October, 1967, the Troop departed CONUS by ship. [The USNS WALKER] The advance party arrived at Di An, Republic of Vietnam on 14 October, 1967, and started preparations for the main body which arrived at Di An on 2 November, 1967. During the majority of the days in November the Troop was involved in in-country training, building a base camp at Di An, and basically becoming operational. During the period of activation from 25 November, 1966 to 7 October, 1967 and from 2 November, 1967 until 30 November, 1967 there were 355 days of training, 25 days of troop movement, and 31 operational days.

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I. -- Unit Commanders:

II. -- Major Subordinate Units:

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On 1 December 1967, A Troop began supporting the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and later the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, on Operation Manchester. The Troop operated out of Fire Support Base (FSB) Nashua, about 15 miles north of Bien Hoa to cut off supply and infiltration routes running from War Zone D southwest to the Saigon, Bien Hoa area.

On 7 December, the Troop was diverted for 9 days to operation Yellowstone around Tay Ninh in support of the 25th Infantry Division. This was the first time the Squadron went into combat as a unit. On 15 December the Troop was back at FSB Nashua on Operation Manchester and remained there until 21 January 1968.

During this period the Troop flew 4,969 sorties and 2,135 hours. The Scout Platoon flew 1,088 hours, the Weapons Platoon 752 hours, and the Aero Rifle Platoon 295 hours. The slicks airlifted 1,087 passengers and 14,060 pounds of cargo.

The Silver Spurs accounted for the following enemy losses: 35 killed, 5 wounded, 31 detainees, 35 tons of rice captured, 34 structures destroyed, 25 structures damaged, and assorted weapons, equipment and documents captured or destroyed.

The Troop's losses amounted to two killed in action, six wounded in action, one OH-6A helicopter destroyed, three OH-6A's damaged, three UH-1C's damaged and two UH-1H's damaged.

On 21 January, 1968, the Troop moved operations from FSB Nashua back to Di An, and began supporting the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in operations Uniontown and Haverford [sp].

At the time a total of 18 decorations were awarded to various members of the troop. They consisted of 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Bronze Stars with "V" device, 7 Army Commendation Medals with "V" device and 7 Air Medals.

On the morning of 31 January at 0300, the Tet Offensive began. A Troop had two gunships at Bien Hoa ready to react for the 51st Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols. When Bien Hoa and Long Binh came under sudden mortar and rocket attacks, followed by the VC probes from the northeast, the Spurs' UH-1C's were the first to react. The remainder of the Troop gunships were scrambled out of Di An to aid in the battle, immediately returning fire on the VC mortar and rocket positions. Spur gunships also supported the US and ARVN compounds in the area as they were attacked by the VC.

The Troop maintained gunships in the air or on call for one week and was credited with saving the Long Binh complex. A Troop was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation on 26 September, 1968 for its heroic actions during Tet.

68 TET Survivor


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On 27 February the Troop moved from Di An to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade's compound in Long Binh. This facilitated supporting the 199th in Operation Uniontown, which called for providing security for Bien Hoa and cutting off supply routes along a north south line running through Bien Hoa Province. The Silver Spurs supported this operation for 47 days until 8 March. During this time the troop flew 6,044 sorties totaling 2,549 hours. The Scout Platoon flew 1,261 hours, Weapons 902 hours and the Lift Platoon 386 hours. The troop was responsible for 96 enemy killed, 12 wounded, 12 sampans destroyed, 45 structures destroyed, 1 rocket site destroyed and 4,300 pounds of rice captured. Troop losses consisted of 7 wounded, 8 UH-1H's damaged and 5 OH-6A's damaged.

As a result of this action 44 models were presented to the officers and enlisted men of the Silver Spurs; these consisted of 8 Silver Stars, 20 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 6 Bronze Stars with "V" device, and 10 Air Medals with "V" device.

From 8 March until 17 March, A Troop supported the 199th LIB in Operation Valley Forge in the area north of Bien Hoa. This operation resulted in 3 confirmed enemy KBA's and one sampan destroyed for the Silver Spurs, with the only friendly loss being on OH-6A damaged.

The Troop continued to support the 199th LIB from 18 March to 21 March on Operations Box Springs and Harrisburg. These Operations resulted in 2 confirmed and an estimated 15 VC KBA's, 12 Sampans destroyed, 7-55 gal. barrels destroyed, 150 lbs of rice captured, one booby trap and 3 structures destroyed.

On 22 April, 1968, the Troop was released from OPCON to the 199th LIB and became OPCON to the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division to participate in Operation Toan Thang. The Troop's forward CP was located at Bien Hoa Air Base with the Brigade Headquarters. The mission of the Troop was to counter rocket/mortar attacks on the Bien Hoa and Long Binh area. The Troop provided continuous gunship support for F Co., 51st Infantry (LRRP's) and also for the 3d Brigade. The Troop provided day and night reconnaissance, and counter mortar missions with the Aero Rifle Platoon. The Scouts guided a 101st unit to a rice cache of 7,500 pounds on 3 May 1968. The Aero Rifle Platoon made night insertions to attack suspected rocket launching sites on the 10th of May, with positive results.

On 25 May, 1968, the Troop was released from OPCON of the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and became OPCOM to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade continuing Operation Toan Thang, working from the 199th main base at Long Binh.

The Troop provided reconnaissance of rocket belt danger areas around Bien Hoa Air Base and Long Binh areas, reconnaissance around friendly units, conducted personnel detector (people sniffer) missions, and provided gunship support to ground units and LRRP teams. The Aero Rifle platoon provided LRRP reinforcement for F Co., 51st Infantry and the 199th LRRP teams. The Troop also performed B-52 strike BDA's on 3, 4, and 5 June 1968.

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The Troop was released from OPCON the 199th and became OPCON to the 9th Infantry Division effective 12 June, 1968. A Troop continued Operation Toan Thang, with staging area and forward CP located with 3d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division at Tan An.

On the night of 12 June, 1968, the Troop's aircraft provided continuous counter-rocket night coverage south of Saigon vicinity, and initiated daylight Air Cavalry operations on 13 June, 1968, south of Saigon and between there and Tan An.

On 22 June, the 3d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division was replaced [joined] by the 1st Brigade at Tan An and A Troop continued operations with 1st Brigade. Personnel detector and CS drops were employed in most operations. The Saigon rocket belt and local areas around base camps were regularly checked.

On 15 July, one company of the 2/39th Infantry made contact with what later proved to be a 130 man NVA company. The Troop was in support when contact was gained and continued to support the ground elements throughout the day and into the night as the Brigade finally committed a total of 6 companies. US forces counted a total of 77 enemy bodies the next day, 12 of which were credited to A Troop's gunships.

On 25 July, the Troop's Scouts located a complex of hootches on the Vam Co Cong River northwest of Ben Luc. Ground troop[s] were inserted and found a large cache of weapons, ammunition, explosives, food, uniforms, documents, and medical supplies. During the action the Troop accounted for 10 VC KBA, one POW captured and one VC wounded, who was captured by the ground forces.

On 27 July, the Scouts located a hidden enemy loaded sampan containing rounds of 60-mm mortar, cans of C-4 explosives, and RPG rocket rounds. During the entire month of July, the Silver Spurs were credited with the following enemy losses: Enemy killed in action totaled 138, wounded in action were 3, 28 detainees, 255 destroyed sampans, 119 destroyed structures, 165 bunkers destroyed, 500 lbs. of rice captured, 200 lbs. of salt destroyed, 1 underwater foot bridge destroyed, 20 lbs of medical supplies captured, 25 lbs. of documents captured, 100 lbs of assorted clothing captured, 5 bicycles destroyed, 3 AK-50's captured, 6 AK-47's captured, 1 Chicom carbine captured, 1 SKS carbine captured, 3-107 mm rockets captured, 20 AK-47 magazines and 212 rounds of 60 mm mortar captured, 74 cans of C-4 explosives, 1 VC bayonet, 2 VC hand grenades, 3 Chicom hand grenades, 10 US hand grenades, 3 US smoke grenades, and 3 shovels captured.

Friendly losses due to hostile action consisted of: Four killed [2 Scouts] in action and four wounded in action, while not to hostile action the loses were: one killed, two injured, and one OH-6A destroyed.

Working with the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry on Operation Toan Thang on the 2nd of August, the Troop located numerous fresh bunkers north of Ben Luc. A cache of 6-60 mm mortar rounds were found after the Scout teams directed the 2-60 Infantry to their location. Later in the day the Scouts destroyed

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2 camouflaged sampans. Around 2100, a Lift ship along with one Weapons team took off and flew firefly missions in the area northwest of Tan An. Enemy losses from these firefly missions consisted of 19 killed in action, 1 gas lantern destroyed, 1 gas mask destroyed, 2 poncho liners destroyed, 6 sampans destroyed, 1 captured AK-50, and 1 captured diary.

On 5 August the Silver Spurs were called on to support a reconnaissance patrol of the 5/60 Mech. Infantry which had been ambushed. The enemy losses consisted of 47 Viet Cong killed in action, and 2 POW's. The Troop was credited with 10 VC killed. There were 5 enemy bunkers destroyed, 20 hootches destroyed (2 with secondary explosions), and 2 sampans destroyed.

On the 13th of August the Rifles along with elements of the 2/60 Infantry were inserted south of Can Giouc. Contact was made and the Weapons platoon struck the area killing 8 Viet Cong. The gunships expended on the area resulting in 10 VC BDA. Enemy losses, all together, were 18 killed in action, one bunker and one grass hootch destroyed.

On 17th August a firefly mission was conducted in the Tan An area. Four heavily loaded and camouflaged sampans were located and destroyed. Eight VC were killed by the Weapons platoon. Enemy losses were 8 VC killed in action, 4 loaded sampans destroyed, 2 bunkers and 1 hootch destroyed. There were no friendly losses to the Troop.

On the 18th of August the Weapons platoon engaged one VC with an AK-47 automatic weapon and killed him. During a sweep of the area the Rifles located 2 AK-47's. The Troop's aircraft were scrambled to support the 2/60 Infantry, which had an aircraft shot down. Two Weapons and one Scout ship were hit and one Weapons ship was forced down with negative casualties. One of the Lift's aircraft conducted psychological warfare (loudspeaker) missions and accounted for 8 "Chiou Hois." Enemy losses were 6 killed, 8 surrenders, 2 AK-47's captured, one pistol captured, 5 hootches destroyed, and one sampan destroyed. Friendly losses consisted of 3 aircraft hit but with negative casualties.

On the 19th of August in support of 1st Brigade, the aircraft conducted visual reconnaissance and loudspeaker missions. The Scouts located a hootch with bags of unknown contents. The Rifles were inserted but immediately received fire from the area. Elements of the 2/39 Infantry reacted and were inserted in the area. The gunships engaged the area with several kills. One Weapons ship was sent to check out an area and located several VC in the open. A VC mess hall was also located and destroyed. Enemy losses consisted of the following: 4 VC killed, 2 AK-47's captured, 6 sampans destroyed, 5 hootches destroyed, and 3 bunkers destroyed, one complete Mess hall was also destroyed. Friendly losses to the Troop was one U.S wounded in action.

On 23 August, the Scouts located 6 to 8 bunkers and one VC with an AK-47 weapon. D Co., [or B Co.,] 2/39th Infantry was inserted and swept the area. The Weapons team spotted and killed 4 VC. One Weapons team was scrambled to an ambush sight and killed 7 VC. Lift ships conducted firefly missions until they

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were scrambled along with the Weapons platoon to another area suspected to be an enemy mortar position. The Weapons team struck the area and all mortar rounds ceased at that time. The enemy losses consisted of 14 VC killed in action.

On the 26th of August, the Troop conducted operations to check intelligence reports in support of the 2/60 Infantry. The Rifles were inserted and captured 3 VC POW's. The aircraft were then scrambled to protect the area where the 1st Brigade's C&C aircraft had been forced down. After securing the area the Scouts located an ammo cache, and the Rifles were inserted and captured the equipment. One VC was killed by a Scout team while trying to swim across a canal. Enemy losses consisted of 4 VC killed, 3 captured POW's, 5 hootches destroyed, 4 bunkers destroyed, 3 sampans (one motorized) destroyed. 72 RPG-2 rounds and approximately 100 rounds of 30 cal. ammo captured. There were no friendly losses to the Troop.

On the 31st of August working with the 2/60 Infantry the Scouts found one RPG launcher and several bunkers. The Scouts then located one Chicom machine gun with tripod, one RPG launcher and 2 RPG rounds. The ships were diverted to a special forces patrol in contact resulting in the Scouts killing 3 VC. Enemy losses were 6 killed in action, 2 captured POW's, and the above mentioned enemy weapons. Friendly losses were on Cobra damaged with negative casualties.

The month of September proved to be a very productive one for the officers and enlisted men of Silver Spur.

The Troop totaled 154 KIA's, 3 WIA's, 11 POW's, 67 hootches destroyed, 24 sampans destroyed, and 136 weapons captured for the month. The only friendly losses were one observer wounded, 8 OH-6A's damaged, 2 AH-1G's damaged, 1 UH-1H damaged, 1 UH-1C damaged and 1 OH-6A destroyed.

On the 2nd of September, the Scout platoon uncovered 97,900 piasters and many tax collection records on the body of a VC they had killed.

On the 5th of September the Rifles located 3,000 pounds of rice when they swept an area 3 miles northeast of Rach Kien after 12 KBA's had been recorded by the Troop. During this engagement, one Cobra was shot down and heavily damaged. There were no injuries.

The 7th of September proved to be the biggest day of the month with the Troop recording 29 enemy KBA's and 4 weapons captured in the area 2 to 4 miles west of Can Giouc.

On the 10th, the Spurs got 16 KBA's 2 miles northeast of Can Giouc and on the 11th recorded 13 KBA's and uncovered a stockpile of 90 AK-47's.

On the 21st of September, A Troop killed 11 VC 6 miles southwest of Can Giouc and uncovered a small hospital complex, recovering a fair amount of medical supplies and documents. Later in the day, 5 more VC were killed 4 miles west of Can Giouc.

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On the 29th of September, A Troop killed 10 VC and recovered 30 Bangalore Torpedoes, but in the process, one LOH [OH-6A] was shot down and destroyed.

The Troop finished the month by killing 10 VC 5 miles southwest of the Can Giouc.

The month of October, 1968, proved the most productive to date for the Silver Spurs, but also the most disastrous. The men of A Troop killed 216 VC during the month, passing the 200 KIA mark for the first time. The Troop lost 6 members in a mid-air explosion during the night of 31 October and one member in a drowning on 8 October. [Transcriber's emphasis]

The Spurs accounted for 28 POW's, 9 weapons captured, 86 hootches destroyed, 97 sampans destroyed, and 42 bunkers destroyed aside from the 216 VC killed.

Friendly losses amounted to 7 Spurs killed in action, 7 wounded in action, 1 OH-6A destroyed, 1 UH-1H destroyed, 6 OH-6A's damaged, 5 AH1G's damaged and 1 UH-1H damaged.

Twenty-one VC were killed by the Silver Spurs on 16 October. Fifteen sampans and 30 hootches were also destroyed. Fifteen of the VC were killed 5 miles east go Go Cong, and the remainder were killed about 6 miles northwest of Go Cong.

On 22 October, A Troop began supporting the 2nd Bde, 9th Inf. Div. due to a loss of airmobile assets to the 1st Brigade. In the area 8 to 12 miles southeast to Ben Tre, the Spurs killed 21 VC and destroyed 10 hootches and 19 sampans. One OH-6A was damaged. Four mortar rounds fell on the Ben Tre airfield that day, damaging 2 AH-1G's and slightly wounding two Spurs.

The support of the 2nd Brigade continued on the 23d of October in the same area with some of the fiercest fighting since Tet. The Spurs killed 13 VC but had one OH-6A shot down, 4 AH-1G's damaged, one UH-1H hit, and one Scout pilot and one observer wounded. The first airmobile company to insert in the area also had three UH-1D's shot down and destroyed. During this action the Spurs med-evaced their own wounded men as well as the crewchief most seriously wounded when the first Huey was downed with an RPG. A Troop then covered the dust off of all further casualties.

On 27 October, A Troop recorded 16 kills 5 miles south of Nha Be. Curing the conflict on OH-6A and one AH-1G were damaged.

On 30 October, the Silver Spurs passed the 200 VC KIA mark for the month with 13 kills 2 miles northeast of Rach Kion.

During October, one Silver Star, 4 DFC's, 5 ACM's and 5 Air Medals with "V" were presented to the officers and enlisted men of A Troop.

A Troop killed 298 VC during the month of November as well as destroying 62 hootches, 44 bunkers, and 68 sampans. Nineteen POW's were taken and

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16 detainees were picked up. Friendly losses came to three pilots wounded, major battle damage to one OH-6A and two UH-1H's and minor damage to two OH-6A's, three UH-1H's, and three AH-1G's.

The Spurs recorded over 100 kills during the first 10 days of the month with the heaviest action on 8 November when 46 VC were killed about 6 miles southeast on Bon Tre -- this was the Troop's largest amount of kills for one day's activities to that date. Also during the same 10 day period, 15 VC were killed during a night hunter mission the night of 2 November about 4 miles southeast of Can Giouc.

On 25 November, Silver Spur elements killed 34 VC, 31 of which were killed 6 miles southeast of My Thuo Tay.

The Silver Spurs ended the month with a new daily and monthly record. A total of 52 VC were killed that day, 34 of which were killed 3 miles southwest of Can Lay.

The month of December found A Troop's Silver Spurs working in four different Area[s] of Operation.

One December through eleven December the Spurs worked primarily in the 9th Division, with two hunter-killer teams working for CMAC [Capital Military Assistance Command] (Defense of Saigon).

A Troop then moved their Area of Operations over to the Bien Hoa Tactical Area.

During the whole month the Silver Spurs were credited with 78 VC KBA's, 13 detainees, 15 sampans destroyed, and 9 hootches destroyed. The only friendly loss was 1 OH-6A damaged and one Spur pilot slightly wounded.

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This chapter is dedicated to the officers and men of A Troop, 3/17th Air Cavalry, who gave their lives for our country and beliefs. Concluding this chapter is a letter of appreciation from the Commanding General of the 9th Infantry Division. This letter depicts the feeling the Silver Spurs leave throughout the Vietnam Battlefield.

Pages 16 & 17




Pages 18 and 19


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[Letter from 9th Infantry Division Commanding General]




My highest commendations for the resounding success attained by Major John D. Jenks and his Silver Spurs in combat operations on 8 November while supporting the 2d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division in Kien Hoa Province. The magnificent performance of Alpha Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th cavalry in killing 45 VC by body count was the salient factor in our victory over the 516 VC Battalion. This victory was achieved with no US casualties and no damage to US aircraft despite numerous airmobile insertions in the difficult terrain of Kien Hoa Province.

The Brigade Commander, COL Bland, and CO, 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry, LTC Pack, join me in sending our warmest congratulations and thanks to each member of the Silver Spur who participated in yesterday's operation. Their stirring feats have marked another milestone in their record with the 9th Division which has been conspicuous for its day to day consistency in finding and killing the enemy. We in the 9th Division cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge the major role which Silver Spur played in our successes on the field of battle. [END]

67 or 68 news clipping.gif
'67 or '68 newsclipping provided by John Dungan -- D Troop "Bluetigers" 3/17th Air Cav


The following is a partial transcript of the Special Orders 45, dtd 14 February 1968, in which the following members of Trp A, 3d Sqdn, 17th Cav, APO 96289, were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. SSN's and RA's have been removed for personal privacy. This information was provided by SGM (Ret) George Byrd. I have a faxed copy of Special Orders 45 now on file.

Rifle Platoon.Gif
Courtesy of SGM (Ret.) George Byrd

This picture was taken outside of the Rifle Platoon barracks in Long Binh sometime in 1968.
Personnel in the picture:
(Front row kneeling, left to right)
SP4 Tomas R. Mesa, SP4 Enrique R. Cruz, SSG G. Byrd

(Back row standing, left to right)
SGT Elmer Boughton SP4 Jerry R. Jones SP4 Glen C. Clary SP4 James D. Davis


Other 1966 - '68 Spur Related Articles:


One Perspective...The Early Days (1966-1967) - Courtesy of fellow Spur, Glynn Decoteau

NEW! -- Night Hunter Operations by Captain Richard C. Keehn - submitted by Chuck Oualline - U.S. Army Aviation Digest - May 1969

"HAWK Magazine Articles" - Courtesy of fellow Spur, Bill McCalister

Valorous Unit Award - Defense of Saigon & Long Binh - 1968 TET

Noted Vietnam War correspondent, Charlie Black Rides with the Silver Spurs in 1968

Willing and Able by Bob Himrod in 1968



(1) Transcript of GO 10819 dtd 22Nov68 submitted by Cpt. Glynn Decoteau, original Spur Rifle Platoon Leader on Feb 2001 for addition to the official record. Copy of award now on file.


Department of the Army
Headquarters 9th Infantry Division
APO San Francisco 96370

General Orders
Number 10819

22 November 1968


1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

BARBER, BILLY J. RA13433945 (SSAN: xxx-xx-xxxx) PLATOON SERGEANT E7 United States Army, Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade, APO 96289
Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 13 August 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam

For gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Platoon Sergeant Barber distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 13 August 1968 while serving as the Aerorifle Platoon Sergeant of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, on a reconnaissance in force mission. After his unit had been inserted to block a possible enemy escape route, they came into heavy contact with a Viet Cong force and Sergeant Barber courageously exposed himself to the hostile fire as he maneuvered his men in an assault on the enemy emplacements. After he had secured this area, another unit was inserted and he and his men were moved to another area where they again made contact. When the enemy tried to outflank them in their new position, Sergeant Barber again exposed himself to the hostile fire as he directed gunship strikes, which halted the enemy advance. Platoon Sergeant Barber's extraordinary heroism in close combat against a armed hostile force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918, and USARV message 16695, dated 1 July 1966.


Chief of Staff



Adjutant General



(2) Transcript of GO 7844 dtd 27Nov68 submitted by Chuck Oualline, original Spur 3, on Sep 2002 for addition to the official record. Copy of award now on file.


Department of the Army
Headquarters 1st Aviation Brigade
APO San Francisco 96384

General Orders
Number 7844

27 November 1968


1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

HIGGINS, JAMES O. OF108651 (SSAN: xxx-xx-xxxx) CAPTAIN SGNAL CORPS United States Army, Trp A, 3/17th Cav, APO 96289
Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 13 August 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam

For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force: Captain Higgins distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as the leader of an aero-scout platoon on a screening mission in an area of heavy contact. He had begun the arduous task of locating the enemy positions, which were scattered over a wide area. Upon locating each position, Captain Higgins kept the insurgents pinned down with his mini-gun fire until the gunships could arrive. Completely ignoring the intense barrages of hostile fire being directed at his aircraft, he fearlessly descended upon the numerous enemy emplacements to accurately mark them for the orbiting gunships. Finally being forced from the area due to extensive battle damage, Captain Higgins skillfully piloted his striken ship back to Tan An, obtained another aircraft, and returned to the area of contact. Upon returning to the area, he again made repeated marking passes over the enemy infested area. His extreme courage and personal bravery were instrumental factors in the annihilation of twenty-five enemy soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.


Colonel, Infantry, GS
Chief of Staff



Asst Adjutant General


(3) Transcript of GO 2295 dtd 13May69 submitted by John Briggs, on Mar 2010 for addition to the official record. Copy of award now on file.


Department of the Army
Headquarters 1st Aviation Brigade
APO San Francisco 96384

General Orders
Number 2295

13 May 1969


1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

BRIGGS, JOHN C. 05335638 SSAN: xxx-xx-xxxx FIRST LIEUTENANT ARMOR United States Army, Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, APO 96289
Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 8 November 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam

For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force: First Lieutenant Briggs distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as pilot of an OH-6A scout helicopter on a search and destroy mission southwest of Ben Tre. While conducting a visual reconnaissance of a known enemy infested area, he located a hut that had numerous signs of enemy activity about it. Flying low enough to effectively place a CS grenade inside, he engaged the first three insurgents to flee from the hut, killing one. The other two ran to the relative safety of a nearby canal. As First Lieutenant Briggs broke from the target, three more enemy carrying AK-47's ran from the area and opened fire on his aircraft. He spun his OH-6A around and quickly engaged them killing all three. Receiving fire from the two enemy hiding in the canal, he again quickly flew his ship into the face of the firing enemy, killing both. As more enemy ran from the hut, First Lieutenant Briggs and his wingman continually placed minigun fire and dropped grenades on them until all were silenced. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 2 July 1918.


Colonel, Infantry, GS
Chief of Staff



Asst AG


End Notes


This marks the end of this portion of Silver Spur history

© Northwest Veterans Newsletter - 1997-2013