Department of the Army
Lineage and Honors
The 199th Inf Bde arrived in
Vietnam from Ft Benning GA on
10 Dec 66 and departed on 11 Oct 70.
BG Charles W. Ryder, Jr. Dec 66
BG John F. Freund Mar 67
BG Robert C. Forbes Sep 67
BG Franklin M. Davis, Jr. May 68
COL Frederic E. Davison Aug 68
BG Warren K. Bennett May 69
BG William R. Bond* Dec 69
COL Joseph E. Collins Jul 70
LTC George E. Williams Sep 70
Song Be Dec 66 - Feb 67
Long Binh Mar 67
Bien Hoa Apr 67 - Jun 67
Long Binh Jul 67 - Feb 68
Gao Ho Nai Mar 68 - Jun 68
Long Binh Jul 68 - Oct 70
Pressed for a rapid buildup of
United States ground forces in Vietnam in 1966, the U.S. Army
built a separate Light Infantry Brigade around four elite
Infantry units with a glorious past. Redisignated 23rd March
1966, the 2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry, 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry,
and the 4th & 5th Battalions 12th Infantry, and Troop D. 17th
Cavalry were assigned to the newly formed 199th (Separate) Light
Infantry Brigade out of Fort Benning Georgia.
The Motto was, Light, Swift, and Accurate. The Brigade would live up to this Motto from the very start. Pressed for rapid deployment in November 1966 for Vietnam, the unit was swiftly formed and rushed into training before itís ranks were fully filled, truly making the unit light on personnel. After a brief period of training at Kelly Field in Fort Benning, Georgia the unit was moved by ground transportation to the World War II training camp of Shelby, Mississippi in September 1966 for advanced training.
Following the intense training in Mississippi, the 199th Light Infantry Brigade was rushed into deployment in Vietnam that November of 1966 in five groups by sea and air, landing at the port of Vung Tau. The 199th Light Infantry Brigade took up permanent residence at the north east corner of Long Binh. The Brigade main base camp was called camp Frensell-Jones. The 199th LIBís responsibility was to secure the main infiltration routes into and around Saigon, Long Binh, and Bien Hoa. Despite not being fully equipped, its Battalions were farmed out immediately in Operation UNIONTOWN. There in Vietnam the Brigade continued its wartime preparation on the battle field. Its first airmobile mission was an actual combat air assault conducted December 17th by the 4th Battalion 12th Infantry. The units special training in counter intelligence help turn the tide of the TET offensive in 1968.
For a unit rapidly formed without proper training, the courage and spirit of the men who filled the ranks of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade helped stop the 274 & 275 VC regiments dead in their tracks during TET 68. The units importance in the defense of Long Binh, Bien Hoa, and Saigon earned it the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Valorous Unit Award, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
The distinctive patch worn on the shoulder of the men of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade was a flaming spear with a red ball of fire in the middle giving the appearance of a REDCATCHER, which was descriptive of the units purpose in Vietnam, and the name stuck. It soon became apparent to the VC and NVA units working in the areas of War Zone D, Xuan Luc, Bien Hoa, the pineapple plantation, and Saigon to fear the spear.
After four glorious years of valor in Vietnam the unit was transferred to Fort Benning Georgia to have their colors re-furled and deactivated in 1970.
199TH LIGHT INFANTRY
ORDER OF BATTLE
OTHER UNITS ASSIGNED
49th Scout Dog Platoon
76th Combat Tracker Detachment
503rd Chemical Detachment
OTHER UNITS ASSIGNED