9-11 Never forget

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In early 1966, the Regiment began redesigning its equipment for a new   type of warfare based on recommendations from American advisors based in Vietnam. Additional armor and two more 30-cal. machine guns were added to the Regiment’s M113s, transforming them into what became known as Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicles or ACAVs. The new design of armored gun shields provided a measure of protection for the crew and track commander. The result was a rapid all terrain fighting vehicle which could deliver devastating firepower. The Blackhorse troops arrived in South Vietnam on September 7, 1966, (the Air Troop arrived in December), and quickly engaged the enemy with M-48 tanks, ACAV’s, artillery and helicopters. The Regiment established the justification to receive its own patch on 1 May 1967 from the Department of Heraldry and was the first of five Armored Cavalry Regiments to receive a distinctive shoulder sleeve insignia.

        The main operational areas for the Blackhorse squadrons were the provinces around Saigon and up to the Cambodian border. The unit clearly demonstrated it's rapid mobility when Saigon came under siege during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The unit raced over 100 kilometers in eight hours to the defense of the city and fought street by street to overcome the attacking Viet Cong. History now points out that the Viet Cong were virtually annihilated during these battles. From that time forward North Vietnamese Army units, well supplied and equipped by the communist superpowers, would fight a war of attrition against the United States. Rarely however, would they risk a head-to-head confrontation with their most feared adversary, the 11th ACR.

        In July of 1968, the 39th Colonel of the Regiment, George S. Patton Jr., assumed command and soon applied his expertise in armored combat tactics. The Regiment moved the armor off the roads and into the jungles in search of the enemy, a concept previously thought not feasible. This action was so successful that the enemy could no longer move freely and was forced to seek sanctuary inside neutral Cambodia. Colonel Patton coined the phrase, “FIND THE BASTARDS, THEN PILE ON”, which remains today as the Regiment’s battle cry.

        From well-established bases inside Cambodia, the communists would strike out into South Vietnam and then return across the border to resupply and regroup. On 1 May 1970, the 11th ACR spearheaded a historic attack across the Cambodian border into an area called the Fish Hook to deny the enemy of these safe havens. Commanded by the 41st Colonel of the Regiment, Donn A. Starry, the Blackhorse penetrated for more than 60 kilometers to capture the town of Snoul.

The Cambodian Incursion was the last unrestrained offensive use of U.S. ground forces in the war. The capture and destruction of tons of enemy weapons and supplies left the enemy devastated and demoralized. The result was a smoother transition of responsibility to the South Vietnamese military as the American combat forces continued to withdraw. Countless American and allied lives were saved by the operation that left the North Vietnamese Army crippled and unable to mount an effective offensive for some time.

        In February of 1971, First and Third Squadron redeployed to the U.S. and were inactivated. On 6 April 1972, after almost six years of continuous combat the Blackhorse Regiment’s Air Troop and Second Squadron departed Vietnam having never lost a battle. One year later, on 29 March 1973, the last American combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam. Within two years, on 30 April 1975, Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese.

        In all, 768 Blackhorse troopers made the ultimate sacrifice by helping to protect and defend the people of South Vietnam from their north communist aggressors. The Regiment’s wounded totaled 5,761. Three 11th ACR troopers were awarded the Medal of Honor, two of which were posthumous. In its best performance, the gallant troopers of the Blackhorse Regiment earned fourteen battle streamers for bravery and forever secured a place in American military history and legend.

       



 







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