crossed rifles VIETNAM - Early Days
JULY 1968 - AUGUST 1968

The 1st BDE of the 5th DIV was going to Vietnam. But the 5th DIV still had its War Plans missions to perform. To fill the gap left by the eminent departure of the 1/5 the Kansas National Guard's 69th INF BDE was called to Federal Duty in May of 1968 and assembled at Ft Carson, Colorado. There it underwent intensive training as it prepared to take its place in the 5th DIV. Although some 2,350 members of the 69th Infantry were levied to Vietnam as individual replacements the BDE remained a part of the 5th Division until it returned to the control of the State of Kansas in December 1969.
Pictures taken by Steve Brandenburg during the training of the 5th DIV "Round Out" BDE are shown as an appendix.

M113 with Troops
Troops arrive in Danang (LEFT) TUNING THE FIGHTING MACHINE-On maneuvers at Ft Carson prior to VIETNAM deployment. CPT VERNON standing in the hatch wearing CVC helmet. SGT TOMMY DORRIS, Arty FO, sitting on right rear of M113 hanging five.

(RIGHT) A Company 1/61 arrives in DaNang as rockets hit the airbase. An airstrike is going in as they disembark.

The deployment of the 1st BDE 5th DIV to VIETNAM during the summer of 1968 was by air to DaNang for most troops and by sea for the heavy equipment. Vehicles and CONEX containers filled with weapons, spare parts, and other necessities went ashore at Wunder Beach under the watchful eye of the 159th Transportation Company. (It has been said that if one knew where to dig, containers of spare parts hidden under the sand at the beach can still be found.) Ship unloads tank
Most of the troops, after landing at DaNang early in July 1968, were trucked to Wonder Beach to link-up with their vehicles. With the Logistics Over The Shore (LOTS) operation completed, the BN was ready to move.
The BDE was placed under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the 3rd Marine Division and the BN, for tactical purposes, became an asset of the USMC. Initially setting up in and around Camp Carroll, in August 1968 the BN was ready for combat in the area south of the DMZ.
USMC attention was focused to the west. Operation PEGASUS (the relief of Khe Sanh by the 1st AIR CAV) was complete but USMC battalions were still working in the far western parts of the area. As a result, many operations along the DMZ, from the beach to west of Con Tien, included units of the 1st BDE, 5th DIV (MECH). Elements of the Brigade worked at various times with the 3rd, 4th and 9th Marine Battalions of the Third Marine Division.