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4th Div’s 3rd Bde Returns Home

CAMP ENARI — The much-traveled 3rd Bde. of the 4th Infantry Division has left Vietnam as part of the Phase III Redeployment.

The brigade arrived in Vietnam in January 1966, as part of the 25th Infantry Division. The "None Better" soldiers inherited an area of operations that was diverse and mysterious. Craggy mountain ranges stood beside triple-canopy jungles.

From May to August 1966, the brigade, working under the operational control of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), participated in one of the largest campaigns of the Vietnam conflict- Operation Paul Revere. When operations ended, more than 900 NVA regulars had been killed.

In addition to fighting the enemy, the 3rd Bde. engaged in civic action programs aimed at helping Vietnamese and Montagnard villagers establish self-help projects. During this period, the resettlement village of Edap Enang was built to eliminate a source of forced labor for NVA units.

The brigade’s first Medal of Honor in Vietnam was awarded posthumously to Capt. Joseph X. Grant, a platoon leader with Co. A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf., in November 1966. A lieutenant at the time, Grant braved an enemy barrage to rescue an injured fellow platoon leader and received multiple wounds in the process.

The second brigade soldier to receive the Medal of Honor was Staff Sgt. Kenneth E. Stumpf. While serving with the 1st Bn., 35th Inf., during operations near Duc Pho, Stumpf rescued three of his wounded squad members and made a successful one-man assault on an NVA machine gun position. (Not mentioned in this article were 1Lt Stephen Karopczyc, awarded posthumously, and 1Lt Ronald Ray, both having been awarded the Medal of Honor while serving with the 25th Inf. Div. - ED)

On August 1, 1967, the 3rd Bde., 25th Infantry Division, became a unit of the 4th Infantry Division and the 25th Division received the Ivy’s 3rd Bde. in exchange.

At that time, the Tropic Lightning’s 3rd Bde. was located some 200 miles from its division headquarters.

Brigade operations during Tet of 1968 succeeded in driving the entire 2nd NVA Division from the coastal plains and jungle near southern I Corps.

The 3rd Bde. was an integral element in the division’s Operation MacArthur during 1968, aimed at clearing enemy units from the 9,000 square miles of Pleiku, Kontum and Darlac Provinces. More than 5,000 enemy fell before Ivy guns during Operation MacArthur, for which the 4th Division was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

By early March 1969, the brigade increased emphasis in support of the Government of Vietnam pacification program. The brigade helped villagers develop defenses against the enemy who had resorted to hit and run attacks against allied installations.

But the brigade did not sacrifice its combat operations while carrying out its pacification programs.

The 1st Bn. 8th Inf. arrived in Vietnam in early August 1966 as part of the 4th Division. Among the numerous valor awards presented to the battalion were four Medals of Honor. Three of the citations were presented posthumously to Platoon Sgt. Bruce Grandstaff, Pfc. Leslie Bellrichard and Staff Sgt. Frankie Molnar. The fourth individual cited was 1st Sgt. David McNerney.

The 1st Bn. 35th Inf.; 2nd Bn. 9th Arty.; and 1st Bn., 69th Armor, all came to the division from the 25th Infantry Division. All had come to Vietnam with the Tropic Lightning Division in early 1966.

While in Vietnam, the 1st Bn., 69th Armor, and the 1st Bn. 35th Inf.. were both awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for action between April and October of 1968.

On Jan. 15, 1968, the Medal of Honor was awarded to Spec. 5 Dwight Johnson of the 1st Bn., 69th Armor, for heroism in holding off the enemy with a variety of small arms after his tank had thrown a track.

By 1970, the brigade itself had seen more than 1,340 consecutive days without rest of complete stand-down. And now, they’re receiving some well-deserved relaxation.

Redeploying to the United States as 3rd Bde. elements were: 1st Bn., 8th Inf.; 1st Bn., 35th Inf.; 2nd Bn., 9th Arty.; and the 1st Bn., 69th Armor.

The brigade was feted before departure at ceremonies at Pleiku Air Force Base. The colors were returned to Ft. Lewis, Wash, where the unit will be inactivated.

STANDING TALL - With flags flowing, members of the 3rd Brigadestand at attention under the command of Colonel Gilbert Procter during farewell ceremonies at camp Enari (Ivy Leaf photo by Sp4 Tom Hodson)

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