1966 - 1969
The 9th Infantry Division had the dual honor of being the first division since World War II reactivated for direct deployment into combat and the last division sent to Vietnam. The Division had received its colors at Fort Riley, Kansas, on February 1, 1966. Division engineering elements began arriving in Vietnam during October 1966. The first 5,000 troop contingent landed on the beaches of Vinh Long on December 19, 1966. Division headquarters was at Camp Bearcat (formerly Camp Martin Cox) some 20 miles northeast of Saigon. Construction of a permanent base, Camp Dong Tam, in the VC infested Mekong Delta started in January 1967. Initially it housed the Division's 3rd Brigade Headquarters and the 3/60 Infantry Battalion.
The Division's first significant contact with the enemy occurred on January 20, 1967, when units of the 1st and 2nd Brigades and the 3/5 Cavalry - participating in Operation COLBY - defeated Main Force VC in the Phuoc Chi Secret Zone (25 miles east of Saigon). On March 10, 1967, the 2nd Brigade moved into Camp Dong Tam and the 3rd Brigade relocated northward to Tan An. To improve Division mobility in the inundated Mekong Delta and Rung Sat Special Zone, two battalions from 2nd Brigade - the 3/47 and 4/47 - joined US Navy Task Force 117 afloat in June to establish the Mobile Riverine Force. To bolster armored fire power in I Corps Tactical Zone, the commander of Allied Forces in Vietnam ordered the Division's armor reconnaissance squadron - A, B, and C Troops, 3/5 Black Knights Cavalry, - to Wunder Beach (15 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone) in February 1968. This reassignment distinguished the 9th Infantry Division as the most widespread division in Vietnam. In August 1968 the Division relocated it headquarters and colors to Dong Tam (now a division-size base camp).
The 9th Infantry Division was part of Increment I of the US troop withdrawal from South Vietnam. The 1st and 2nd Brigades, along with Division headquarters, departed Vietnam in July and August 1969 leaving the 3rd Brigade at Tan An to operate as an autonomous combat unit under administrative control of the 25th Infantry Division. The 3/60 Infantry had been given the honor of spearheading the Division's withdrawal by departing on July 8, 1969 - the first 9th Infantry Division battalion to go home. The lone 3rd Brigade withdrew a year later during October 1970 as part of Increment IV.
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