Vietnam, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th
Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Bravo Company, 2nd Bn, 8th
Cav Regt. 1st Cavalry Division Bravo, 2-8th Cav - Co B, 2-8th Cav Regt. - B Co,
2-8 Cav Co B, 2/8 Cav Regt. - Co B, 2-8 Cav, 1st Cav Div - B/2-8, 1st Cavalry
Div - B 2/8, 1st Cav Div
This is the history of a group of soldiers who served together in the
Vietnam War during the period July 1967 - July 1968. They were members of an elite airmobile infantry company
of 160 soldiers, officially known as Bravo Company, 2nd
Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
(Airmobile). A tour of combat duty was exactly one
year, and these Bravo Company troopers served during the peak of the Vietnam
War and fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war that included the
Battle of Dak To (Nov 67), the Battle of Tam Quan (Dec 67), the TET
Offensive (Jan-May 68), the A Shau Valley Incursion (Apr-May 68), and the
operations in the vicinity of the infamous LZ Carol/FSB Ripcord (Jul-Aug
This site is
dedicated to the troopers who served in Bravo Company during this period and
to honor all the members of Bravo
Company who died in the Vietnam War.
We also wish to extend a
warm welcome to the many relatives and friends who have a special connection
to Bravo Company. As some of our visitors are probably not familiar with
military matters, we have made a special effort to present this material
without too much military jargon and with sufficient background to make it
easy to understand.
In the development of this project, we are greatly
indebted to the Internet which not only facilitated our research on the
Vietnam War, but it also provided the means to re-establish contact with
many who served in Bravo Company during the period July 1967 - July 1968. As
a result of these Internet contacts, these former members of Bravo Company
have provided us with numerous photographs that are used extensively
throughout this site, first hand accounts of their experiences in Vietnam,
various military documents, and other valuable information from their
wartime notes and letters.
Our objective for this website is to highlight the
military experiences of these Bravo Company soldiers from the time they
reported for active duty until they were discharged at the end of their
The following is a brief overview of the
information presented at the above tabs: Click on the underlined links to explore.
Recruit. We start
with a summary of the training that each infantry soldier completed before
deploying to Vietnam.
Arrival in Vietnam. On arrival at the 1st
Cavalry Division base camp, all soldiers attended a mandatory course on
combat air assault tactics, rappelling, guerrilla warfare, and other
subjects. When a soldier finally reached Bravo Company, they received
intensive “on-the-job training” under the close supervision of the old
timers of their squad. 1st Cav Div. Here we provide a
short description on the organization of the 1st Cavalry Division
and of Bravo Company. The 1st Cavalry Division was regarded as
one of the Army’s elite units in Vietnam and known for its esprit de corps.
It was also unique because it was the first airmobile division in the U.S.
Army with over 450 helicopters.
Combat Trooper. The focus here is on
highlighting some of the differences between combat and support soldiers,
and the eligibility requirements for the Combat Infantry Badge and the Air
Bonds Between Soldiers. Here we provide some thoughts on how
and why these young men became soldiers in the U.S. Army, and what was the
basis for the very special relationships that developed between these combat
soldiers in Bravo Company.
HOW WE OPERATED
The Enemy. We briefly
examine the professional army units whose soldiers were recruited and
trained in North Vietnam, and the guerrilla soldiers who were recruited and
trained in South Vietnam. Although there was a significant difference
between the professional and guerrilla units, they both used similar tactics
with a strong preference for hit and run. For the most part, they were
invisible and attacked us at a time and place of their choosing.
Bravo Company conducted numerous combat air assaults and we had a high-level
of proficiency in all aspects of airmobile operations. With the help of many
photographs, we identify the helicopters that we used and how we conducted
airmobile assaults. In short, helicopters were used to rapidly move combat
units, like Bravo Company, to distant locations where they conducted
offensive operations or reinforced other units.
Many of the traditional tactics, such as controlling key terrain, lost much
of its importance for 1st Cavalry Division units because our
airmobile capabilities provided us with the means to hop, skip and jump over
a large geographical area at short notice and swiftly.
Here we go into detail on why the Vietnam War was very different from any
modernwar fought by the US Army. This was an unconventional war
with no front lines and the enemy tactics were very different from those
used in the Korean War and World War II. Our enemy was often
invisible, used guerrilla tactics and attacked us when they had a
the exception of large-scale battles, the norm in the 1st Cavalry
Division was that company sized infantry units operated independently in a
large geographical area and rarely operated together with other units of the
battalion. The normal mission assigned to Bravo Company was to locate enemy
forces and to attack them by fire and
maneuver. As the perennial
searchers looking for our invisible foe, we were at a significant
disadvantage and extremely vulnerable. Once an enemy force was located, the
company attacked using all available means.
If the enemy force was larger
than a platoon, the standard practice was to reinforce the company in
Pointman. Here we
describe the most dangerous task during the Vietnam War, commonly known as
walking point. In heavy jungle terrain, most of our movement was on narrow
jungle trails that our enemy cunningly exploited for ambushing us and to
maim us with various types of booby-traps. The pointman was the lead person
of his unit and he was responsible for the early detection of enemy
ambushes, booby traps and reacting to sudden meeting engagements with enemy
forces. Although our casualties among those who walked point were extremely
high, it was a position that brave troopers volunteered for. A skilled and
seasoned pointman had the instincts of a hunter, was able to identify the
many warning signals used by the enemy, was an expert at detecting danger,
and he could sometimes even smell the presence of enemy soldiers hiding in
the nearby jungle foliage. A skillful
pointman was a highly respected trooper in Bravo Company and leaders valued
This section is under constant revision because we update the
historical text on receipt of new and relevant information, and we also add
new photographs when appropriate.
In between this chronological history of operations and battles, we address
several other interesting subjects.
Memorial Service. Although still
in draft form, this section describes the memorial services held for Bravo
Company soldiers who were killed in action.
Regrettably, our media often
presented a distorted and negative image of
US combat troops during the
Vietnam War. The high ethical standards of the 1st Cavalry
Division is demonstrated by the actions taken by a senior commander on this
incident involving a violation of the rules of engagement by Bravo Company.
Bong Son Photos. We spent a lot of time on the Bong Son plains and this
is a very interesting collection of photographs taken by our troopers.
Company Barbecues. As a morale booster, high on our wishing list was
barbecued steaks and a few beers. The only way we could obtain several
hundred T-bone steaks was to “scrounge” them, an old army tradition in
wartime. Scrounging was not a problem when you had a large supply of
captured rifles for trading with U.S. Air Force supply folks who drooled
over the possibility of acquiring one of our
Mauser trophy rifles. On a fairly regular basis,
we “procured” 350 T-bone steaks with all the trimmings, 2000 cans of
beer/coke, etc., etc., and all of these provisions for our super deluxe
barbecues were delivered to our base camp on the date we required them by a
US Air Force C-130 Hercules.
A Spiked Ambush. This story is about a
well-planned Bravo Company ambush that was foiled by the women in a nearby
hamlet who banged on their pots all night long. No guerrillas activated our
ambush that night and we had to admit with a bit of a smile that we had been
outwitted by these pot beating wives and mothers. And of course we did not
take any reprisal action against these villagers for spiking our ambush, but
continued our sweep northwards at first light.
Short-timer. As a
fitting conclusion to our history, we focus on the last days before a
trooper left Bravo Company to return to the States. This was the time for
imaginative short-timer calendars and bantering reminders that they would
soon be heading home in the “freedom bird”.
these bantering remarks were mostly expressions of happiness, they also
contained a hidden element of sadness because of the approaching end to some
very unique friendships that are forged in combat. Although we physically
left Vietnam at the end of our tour of duty, the awesome experiences of
combat had a profound and life long effect on all of us who served in Bravo
Company from July 1967 to July 1968.
Valorous Unit Award Bravo Company was
awarded the Valorous Unit Award by the Commanding General
of the 1st Cav Div (Airmobile), during a ceremony at Quang Tri, Vietnam, in
February 1968. The Valorous Unit Award is the second highest unit
decoration which may be bestowed on a US Army Unit, the highest being the
Presidential Unit Citation.
Bravo Company received this award for extraordinary heroism in action
against a large-scale enemy force during 16-17 May 1966. Not much was known
about this battle until we obtained a copy of the after action report and
all the recommendations leading to the approval of this award in 2012. Be
sure to read this gripping account of exceptional bravery and determination
by Bravo Company troopers by clicking
Our Stories are first hand accounts by Bravo Company
troopers onsomething special from their tour in Vietnam.
This is a description of the rations available to us during combat
operations and how we prepared them. Even in the darkest regions of the
Vietnam jungle, many BravoCompany troopers had their precious bottle of
“Tabasco Sauce” along sothat they could prepare a gourmet meal from their
C-rations. For instance,“some beef slices with B-2 cheese simmered over C-4
with just a dash of hot sauce. Makes your mouth water.”
While securing a firebaseon a stormy night, one of our troopers on watch
had a startling experiencewhen he found himself face to face with a tiger.
The tiger ran off along theperimeter activating many trip flares and caused
a great commotion for 20-30 minutes because our troopers thought it was a
full-scale enemy attack.
Happy Ending.On a combat assault, one of
our gung ho troopers jumped out of a Huey a bit too early and at the same
time as the flight leader aborted the landing. This trooper was alone on the
landing zone and watched in horror while all the helicopters passed by
He was very relieved when the helicopter lift made a swing
around and finally landed with his platoon.
A Solo Charge. The first
time an enemy soldier fires a shot at you is normally a terrifying
experience and the most challenging test that every combat trooper has to
take on the battlefield. This story is about how one of our troopers
describes his first experience with shots fired in anger.
Our Dogs. Puppy
dogs were “acquired” by some of our troopers and loved by all. This is the
story about one of these pups – promoted to the rank of Sarge, had a special
raft for crossing rivers, made many airmobile assaults, loved C-rations,
spoiled by all, home made dog biscuits were flown in from Missouri, and poor
Sarge just about died after a drinking binge and supposedly walked backwards
for about a week.
A Brave Act. What do you do when an enemy soldier
suddenly appears in front of you on a dark night and believes he is speaking
to one of his buddies? And he is armed with an AK-47 automatic rifle and
your weapon is leaning against a tree behind him. We’lllll our trooper
suddenly reached out with both hands and grabbed the AK-47 with such force
that the ……for further details, see the story.
The Naked Warriors.
It was one of those very hot days and our mission was to ambush enemy forces
crossing the Bong Son River. The river flowed invitingly in front of our
positions and some of our troopers could not resist the temptation of a
little swim. However, their bathing was rudely interrupted by enemy
automatic rifle rounds hitting the palm trees where they had left their
weapons and uniforms. This story describes how these "naked warriors"
charged up the river banks firing their weapons to repulse the attackers.
On joining Bravo Company, a trooper became a member of a team and this
involved a very special and treasured relationship, often referred to as the
"bonds between soldiers" and "comrade-in-arms". This story helps explain the
meaning and obligations of these special relationships. One of our troopers
was evacuated to the States with serious wounds and he firmly believed that
he had let his buddies down and he also missed them. This combination of
"guilt" and "buddies" finally convinced our anonymous trooper that he had to
volunteer to return to Vietnam and he eventually made it back to the "First
We had great respect for the sharp crack of rifle fire because it usually
meant that our enemy was nearby and trying to kill us. Therefore, it was
important that everyone was alerted when we test fired our weapons by
repeatedly shouting “fire-in-the-hole”. Here is a story about a weapons
safety demonstration for newbies and the chaos resulting in the Company area
when our battle-seasoned sergeant forgot to shout “fire-in-the-hole” before
firing a long burst from his M-16 rifle.
Shot M-60. The
M-60 machine gun was the most important weapon in Bravo Company and vital to
our success in a firefight. This story is about the sudden appearance of
four NVA soldiers at our perimeter who we engaged with an M-60 that had a
broken spring. So instead of a long burst of deadly steel to suppress these
attackers, our M-60 would only fire a “single” shot. Apparently these NVA
soldiers were new recruits because they were poor shots and made a hasty
retreat when engaged by one of our riflemen.
On 8 March 1968, we arranged for a professional
photographer to take pictures of each platoon. The negatives of these four
platoon photos were placed together to produce a large Bravo Company
photograph shown under Our Photos. Each trooper was provided with a copy of
this company photo together with an envelope so that he could send it home.
Based on recent feedback received from our guys, these Bravo Company photos
became treasured possessions. Underneath the company photograph are
individual photographs for each platoon.
Bravo Company troopers can post their photographs from their Vietnam tour at
our Photo Gallery, if they wish.
We are very
fortunate to have access to an official
Company Roster, dated April 1968,
with names and other important information on each soldier. We have added
additional names to this roster after verification.
This website was fully operational on January 30, 2008. The site name, Eager
Arms, was the radio call-sign for Bravo Company from 1967-1970. This site is
privately funded and our policies are - no membership fees, no dues and no
solicitations for contributions.
Mission Statement: To record and document the history of Bravo Company from
July 1967 to July 1968, to present a collection of photographs taken by
members of the unit during this period, to develop a complete roster of
troopers who served with the unit during this period, and to provide a means
for former buddies and colleagues to contact each other. Membership is open
to troopers who served in Bravo Company for any period from July 1967 to
July 1968. Members receive a periodic email newsletter containing news and
current email addresses of other troopers. Members can post a limited number
of their Vietnam photographs on the website Photo Gallery.
This site represents a “working draft” and we hope to receive input
(corrections, additions, photographs, etc) from all who served in Bravo
Company for any period from July 1967 to
information or to contact a member of the Eager Arms Team,
please send your email by clicking here "Mail to Eagerarms".
Acknowledgements and a special
thanks from the troopers of Bravo Company (1967-68), 2nd Battalion, 8th
Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to:
Martin Brauer for his
diligence in producing and maintaining this outstanding website for us. Sven Gerlith for his expertise in preparing some excellent maps and
photographs. Colonel Raymond Bluhm
Cav '67) for his professional advise and proofreading
the historical text.