1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam: the First Team (Spearhead) 1st Edition by Simon Dunstan


On 1 July 1965 the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was officially activated and was ordered to Vietnam beginning 28 July 1965. In a matter of three and half weeks the newly formed division, with 16,000 men and 434 helicopters–Chinooks (CH-47s), Flying Cranes (CH-54s), Mohawks (OV-1s), UH-1s and OH-13s–was prepared to enter combat. Within 90 days of becoming the Army’s first airmobile division, the ‘First Team’ was in combat as the first fully committed division of the Vietnam War. On 10 October 1965, in Operation ‘Shiny Bayonet’, the First Team initiated its first brigade-size airmobile action against the enemy. The division would go on to take part in many more air assaults and play a leading role in defence against the Tet offensive, driving out the NVA and Viet Cong invaders from Hue and, in Operation ‘Pegasus’, relieving the 3,500 U.S. Marines and 2,100 ARVN soldiers besieged by nearly 20,000 enemy at Khe Sanh. On 1 May 1970, the ‘First Team’ was ‘First into Cambodia’ hitting what was previously a Communist sanctuary but the campaign had severe political repercussions for the Nixon Administration. Pressure was mounting to withdraw US forces from the war. Although there would be further assault operations, the war was beginning to wind down and 26 March 1971 officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the 1st Cavalry Division, although it was only on 5 May 1971 that the colours moved from Vietnam to Fort Hood, Texas.

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