|The 196th Light Infantry Brigade|
The 196th Infantry Brigade was first formed on June 24, 1921 as part of the United States Army Reserve's 98th Division and given the of training soldiers. The brigade remained as a training unit until until the United States entered World War II and the 98th Division was assigned to defend the islands of Kauai, Hawaii and Maui, Hawaii, and later Oahu. In preparation for the invasion of Japan, the 98th intensive training in May, 1945. With the abrupt end of the war, the invasion did't occur and the brigade was assigned to occupational duty in Japan as the 3rd Platoon, 98th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized), of the 98th Infantry Division. The brigade was inactivated on February 16, 1946, in Charlottte NC.
With the situation in Vietnam escalating from an "advisory" role to direct confrontations with the North Vietnamese Army and its local supporting elements; the need for more ground troops was evident and resulted in the United States sending more troops to South Vietnam. Hence, the 196th LIB was sent to Vietnam on July 15, 1966 after being reactivated in September, 1965 at Fort Devens, instead of being deployed to the Dominican Republic. The brigade arrived on August 14, 1966 at Tay Ninh City via transport ships, where it began combat operations in the western area of the III Corps Tactical Zone. Operationing as a separate brigade from July 15, 1966 to September 25, 1967, the 196th was involved in several operations over the next 8 months (See Combat Operations). Primary among them was "Operation Attleboro" in War Zone C of Tay Ninh Province, where the discovery of a large Vietcong (VC) base camp on October 19th, resulted in a major confrontation with the enemy. In April 1967, the 196th was selected, along with the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, to form a temporary division unit called Task Force Oregon, and was moved to the I Corps Tactical Zone. The brigade became part of the 23rd Infantry Division (the Americal Division) on September 25, 1967, and participated in Operation Wheeler/Wallowa, Golden Fleece, Fayette Canyon, Frederick Hill, Lamar Plain, Elk Canyon I, and Elk Canyon II. In early May 1968, the 2/1 of the 196th was flown in to assist at the Battle of Kham Duc.The event occurred in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam, between May 10 and May 12, 1968. In January 1968, the People’s Army of Vietnam's (PAVN or NVA) 2nd Division tried to capture the city of Da Nang as part of the Tet Offensive, but their attacks were quickly blunted by elements of the U.S. 1st Marine Division, the Americal Division and the Korean Brigade. North Vietnamese General Chu Huy Man then decided to disengage from the fight in the outskirts of the city, and pull the 2nd Division into the mountains where they could rest, rebuild and prepare for the next major operation. Kham Duc, a small district in the northern section of Quang Tin, was selected as the next target for the VPA 2nd Division. During the months of March and April, U.S. military intelligence began to detect elements of the VPA 2nd Division moving towards Kham Duc, but the enemy’s true intentions were largely unknown. In response to what could be a major attack, General William Westmoreland decided to build-up the defences of the Kham Duc Special Forces, by sending in U.S. Army engineers to upgrade the local airstrip for sustained use by large transport aircraft, as well as airlifting weapons and ammunition for the U.S.-led Detachment A-105. In addition, the Australian-led 11th Mobile Strike Force Company was ordered to take up positions in Ngok Tavak, an outpost which served Kham Duc, in order to boost allied intelligence-gathering capabilities in the area. However, unknown to the United States and other allied forces, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had been watching the build-up around Kham Duc for some time, and were preparing to initiate the assault by taking out Ngok Tavak. In the early hours of May 10, elements of the Viet Cong 1st Regiment attacked Ngok Tavak, and they successfully overran much of the outpost. By dawn, the 11th MSF Company was devastated, but they later received reinforcements which came in the form of the 12th Mobile Strike Force Company. Despite having received assurances that further reinforcements would arrive to relieve the outpost, the commander of the 11th MSF Company decided to evacuate his troops and move towards Kham Duc. By that stage, however, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had already turned their attention to the main target at Kham Duc, and they only left behind some local force units to destroy allied reinforcements. Meanwhile, elements of the Americal Division had been airlifted into Kham Duc as part of Operation Golden Valley, to bolster the strength of the Special Forces Camp there. On the morning of May 11, the North Vietnamese 2nd Division surrounded Kham Duc, and they gradually forced United States-led forces into their bases after several outposts were overrun. Westmoreland then ordered Kham Duc to be evacuated, so the 834th Air Division was told to make an all-out effort to extract all the people in Kham Duc, both military and civilian. By the time the evacuation was completed, nine U.S. military aircraft had been shot down, including two C-130s. On May 12, the North Vietnamese was in complete control of Kham Duc, and the battle resulted in a major defeat for the United States military. Headquarters locations during the Vietnam War Tay Ninh, August 1966 to May 1967 Chu Lai, June 1967 to October 1967 Tam Ky, November 1967 to March 1968 Phong Dien, April 1968 to June 1968 Hoi An, June 1968 to March 1971 Da Nang, April 1971 to June 1972 On November 29, 1971, the 196th once again became a separate temporary entity and was assigned to safeguard the Kham Duc area of operations. In April 1971, the 196th moved to Da Nang to assist in port security duties, and finally left Vietnam on June 29, 1972 as the last combat brigade to leave in Vietnam. The brigade suffered 1,188 KIA, and 5,591 WIA in Vietnam.
The 196th brigade initially performed operations as a separate Brigade spanning the time from July 15, 1966 to September 25, 1967.