A Troop, 3/17th Air Cavalry
Site Introduction / Contacts

 

3/17 ACR Crest.Gif

 

I served with A - Troop, 3/17 Air Cavalry Squadron from '69 - '70 in the RSVN as a Scout Platoon Crew Chief & Line Chief. Upon my return to the "world" I served as a Cobra periodic-inspection team leader at Hunter AAF, Savannah, GA.

A Troop was part of the Redhorse Squadron of the 1st Aviation Brigade. The Spurs earned their first Valorous Unit Award - our nation's second-highest Unit Award - for their tenacious defense of Saigon and Long Binh during the TET of 1968.

Valorous Unit Ribbon
Valorous Unit Ribbon

 

Years later, the Spurs were placed under Operational Control (OPCON) to the famous 1st Cavalry Division during the Cambodian Incursion of 1970 and at that time was based at Quan Loi. For its role in "Task Force Shoemaker," A-Troop was once again awarded a Valorous Unit citation [Ref: General Orders #3560 - 12/27/71 -- see transcript our "History Section"]. It was not uncommon for the troop to be OPCON to various units separate from the squadron during its deployment in Vietnam. For example, when I arrived in-country in December of 1969, the troop was supporting operations in IV Corps flying out of SocTrang.

I am honored to have served with the courageous men of A-Troop which was awarded numerous unit citations during its deployment to Vietnam. Young men who represented a broad cross-section of America. The came from the hills of Virginia with proud military traditions dating back to our founding fathers, to us 'city boys' on the west coast like myself. We were career soldiers and draftees and together we made up the Spurs. Those friends that we lost will not be forgotten. These pages are dedicated in memory of all the men of the 3/17 Air Cavalry Squadron who made the ultimate sacrifice when our country called.. Our proud 3/17th Squadron crest is shown above.

Much of the unit history and documentation included in these pages was provided by fellow Silver Spurs. Their contributions have more than significantly helped to produce the pages and articles you will see. As one fellow Spur put it recently;

"The Spur site has become a treasure trove of collected memories, some good some not so good, some accurate and some not, from the real people out of real America who need to share with others the way it was" [and hopefully] "...our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews will carry the Spur story forward..."

I encourage all former Silver Spurs to share whatever information and documentation they may have to fill the many holes and make our troop and squadron history more complete and as accurate as possible. Family members are also encouraged to participate as you are all part of our Spur family!

My personal thanks to all my fellow troopers who have contributed and made this tribute possible, and a special thanks to fellow Vietnam veterans Jim Henthorn (maps), Larry Hughes, the Possum's and 3/17th Squadron personnel for their personal contributions that have all enhanced this site and enriched our Spur history. The Silver Spurs salute you!

The Silver Spur pages are intended for the use of fellow Spurs, the 3/17th Squadron, fellow veterans, and interested parties. Information within is NOT to be used for-profit. Republication or distribution is not allowed without expressed permission except by fellow 3/17th members and their families for their personal use.

Permission to link to this site is granted to not-for-profit websites.

Respectfully,

Roger "Bear" Young -- Spur Webmaster

Bear in DiAn

 

Contact Information:

Glynn Decoteau, Rifle Platoon Leader - '67 - '68
gsdeco67@vvm.com

Tom White, Silver Spur 13 - '70 - '71
TGWhite@aol.com

 


Return to Cavalry in Vietnam

Courtesy of "Vietnam" magazine
October 1999

After a visual absence from the battlefield during the Korean War, when infantry divisions were limited to a single reconnaissance company, cavalry came back into its own during the Vietnam War. The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) became the best-known cavalry contingent in Vietnam. Originally organized as a horse cavalry division in 1921, it was dismounted in 1943 and, although it retained its cavalry designations, fought as an infantry division in World War II and the Korean War. The unit was stationed in Korea at the outbreak of the Vietnam War, when its colors were moved to Fort Benning, Georgia, in June 1965 to replace those of the 11th Air Assault Division

The 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Vietnam in September 1965, and in November fought the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the first major U.S. ground engagement of the war. The maneuver battalions of the division included nine battalions of airmobile infantry, the 1st and 3rd [should read 1st and 2nd] battalions, 5th Cavalry; the 1st, 2nd and 5th battalions, 7th Cavalry; the 1st and 2nd battalions, 8th Cavalry; and the 1st and 2nd battalions, 12th Cavalry. After Vietnam the division would become armored, fighting in the Persian Gulf War with a mix of tank and mechanized infantry battalions.

The only independent cavalry unit in Vietnam was the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which consisted of three squadrons of armored cavalry with tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers and a helicopter-mounted air cavalry troop. Each infantry division (except for the two airmobile divisions) had replaced its reconnaissance company with an armored cavalry squadron, each with three ground troops and an air cavalry troop.

These included the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, with the 23rd (Americal) Division; the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry, with I Field Force Vietnam; the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, with the 1st Infantry Division; the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, with the 25th Infantry Division; the 3rd Squadron, 9th Cavalry, initially with the 9th Infantry Division and later with the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized); and the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry, with the 4th Infantry Division. In addition, other ground reconnaissance troops served with the several separate brigades.

Yet another cavalry organization served in Vietnam. These were the newly formed air cavalry and aerial reconnaissance squadrons, each consisting of three helicopter-mounted air cavalry troops with an aero scout ("White") platoon, an aero weapons ("Red") platoon and an aero rifle ("Blue") platoon, as well as a ground reconnaissance troop. The 7th Squadron, 1st Cavalry (Air Cavalry), served with the 12th Aviation Group; the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry (Aerial Reconnaissance), served with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile); the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry (Aerial Reconnaissance), with the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile); the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry (Air Cavalry), with II Field Force; and the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry (Air Cavalry), with the 17th Aviation Group. Several air cavalry troops were also attached to the separate brigades.

Finally there was the 39th Cavalry Platoon (Air Cushioned Vehicle), with served with the 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division's riverine force in the Mekong Delta.

by Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr.

 

Feedback:

Your order of battle for the 1st Cav in Vietnam (article above by Col. Summers, Jr.) includes the 3/5 Cavalry. There was no 3/5 Cav in the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. There was a 2/5th Cav, which incidentally participated in the battle at LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley. You can confirm this with Shelby Stanton's Anatomy of A Division book, or you can go the 1st Cav Div Association web page and see the order of battle for Vietnam.

Ken White
1st Cavalry Div (Airmobile)
LRRP Detachment/75th Rangers
1966-1968

Note: There was a 3/5th Cav in-country. In fact our C Troop, 3/17th and the 3/5th Cav merged in late 1970 and served in I-Corp together.

Roger Young - Spur webmaster

 

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