Top 10 Units in the Vietnam War

Vietnam was a long engagement for United States forces who were aiding the South Vietnamese against the North Vietnamese being backed by Communist sources. Vietnam lasted from 1964-1975. Over 2,500,000 Americans served in the military in Vietnam.

While there was much resentment that the United States was involved in this conflict, we must always remember that was a decision of politicians. The Soldiers who served showed courage and loyalty to the United States. Many claim that the U.S. lost the Vietnam War. I must say that is a false notion. We pulled out and because they did not have the resources, the South Vietnamese actually lost the War. One fact everyone should always keep in mind…no military units ever surrendered during this whole War.

In today’s post I am going to provide my opinion on the Top 10 units in the Vietnam War. We will count down from #10 to #1.

10: The 9th Infantry Division

The 9th was reactivated in 1967 in Fort Riley, Kansas and spent 2 years in Vietnam. The 9th was primarily used on the waters of the Mekong Delta. The 9th Division’s nickname was Old Reliables and they lived up to this during Vietnam. There were well over 30 units under the 9th Infantry Division. The movie “Forrest Gump” was about a man who served with the 9th. Chuck Hagel who was the Secretary of Defense also served with the 9th during Vietnam.

9: The 20th Engineer Brigade

The 20th was reactivated in 1967 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Former Vice President Al Gore was a member of the 20th Engineer Brigade. They were responsible for clearing over 500.000 acres of jungle, building highways and also bridges. The 20th was comprised of 14 battalions and 31 companies.

8: The 18th Military Police Brigade

This brigade was activated at the start of Vietnam. With headquarters in Sembach, Germany, these Soldiers took control of all policing duties in Vietnam. They evacuated POWs, were the security of ports and security at military installations. During the TET offensive, it was the 18th that stopped the Viet Cong from taking over the United State’s Embassy.

7: The 11th Calvary Regiment

Known as the Blackhorse Regiment, this division performed with fearless abandonment during Vietnam. They were the first to use Sheridan Aluminum Tanks during the war, and they did so quite successfully. This division destroyed a huge amount of Viet Kong tunnels and hideouts. One of the most famous was Operation Manhattan.

6: The 1st Infantry Division

Known as The Big Red One, this division is the oldest continuous operating Army division. Based in Fort Riley, Kansas, these Soldiers fought long and hard in the jungles of Vietnam. Throughout this war, the 1st had 20 taken as prisoner, over 16,000 wounded, and over 6,000 Soldiers killed.

5: The 1st Brigade-5th Infantry Division

These Soldiers were reactivated after the TET Offensive to fill the shoes of a Marine division who was brought home. The Red Devils helped many South Vietnamese when floods overran the Quang Tri Province. They also helped get North Vietnamese away from the Laotian border. This division called Fort Carson, Colorado home.

4: The 173rd Airborne Brigade

The Sky Soldiers as they were called, were predicted to completely win the Vietnam War. They certainly tried too. The 173rd is greatly known for their fierce fighting in the battle of Dak To. It was a very costly battle, and the 173rd lost many Soldiers, but they created a fear in Viet Cong forces. The headquarters of the 173rd is in Vicenza, Italy.

3: The 101st Airborne Division

The Screaming Eagles are based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Soldiers of the 101st were involved in 15 major campaigns in the 7 years they spent in Vietnam. The ones that are highly remembered are the Battle of Hamburger Hill and Firebase Ripcord. The great Buffalo Bill lineman, Bob Kalsu was a member of the 101st and was killed in Vietnam.

2: The 25th Infantry Division

It all started for the 25th in 1963 when the division sent 100 helicopter door gunners to Vietnam. From there, many more were sent. They were known as Tropic Lightning and they were both thunder and lightning in Vietnam. Just consider the fact that 22 Medals of Honor were awarded to 25th Infantry Soldiers.

1: The 23rd Infantry Division

This was the largest division in Vietnam. Nicknamed America, if you speak to any Vietnam Veteran, there is a very good chance they were a member of this division. This division was one of the first to arrive in Vietnam, and they had the last unit withdrawn from Vietnam. The amount of top awards earned by Soldiers of the 23rd are numerous for their heroic actions in Vietnam.

Final Words

I had several family members who spent time in the jungles of Vietnam. I give a huge thumbs up to my Uncle Kenny who managed to come home alive, but in distress mentally and emotionally.

Maybe we didn’t need to go to Vietnam, but we did. Many brave Soldiers stood for us and risked their lives and limbs. May God bless all these Soldiers, and if you are a Vietnam Veteran, I must give you a hearty thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For those of you that feel the need to comment, please do; but please be considerate. Thank you.

5 thoughts on “Top 10 Units in the Vietnam War”

  1. Michel Uelmen

    I thank all my brothers that served in Vietnam. As a member of the 11th Infantry Brigade of the Americal (23rd) Division I am proud to have servrd It was sad how our country treated us when we got back. Even now 48 years later though I suffer from different agent orange cancers and am on 100% disability I don’t regret serving. God bless all my Vietnam brothers

  2. Herbert Auger

    Thanks Chuck. It is very interesting post but also heartwarming. I thank the soldiers who fought in Vietnam war.

  3. Great write up, Greg. Of all the units on this list, I still the one that really sticks out to me is the 1st Cavalry Division, especially from the movie “We Were Soldiers.”

    All of these units had an important role. My Uncle Pete recently passed away and he was a disabled veteran. He lost both legs when he stepped on his mind. He never talked much about the war, but he sure was proud of his service.

    1. Thank you Chuck. It was both interesting and heartbreaking performing the research for this article. I give a huge thanks to all the soldiers who fought in Vietnam. Many came home unwelcome, and that saddens me greatly.

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