Rangers At War-LRRPs in Vietnam

 

     The following references to F Troop, 17th Cavalry are transcribed from “Rangers At War-LRRPs in Vietnam” by Shelby L. Stanton, Ballantine Books, May, 1993; Chapter 2:

 

“…The separate 196th Infantry Brigade arrived in Vietnam during August 1966, well after General Westmoreland’s directive, but was unable to form the directed long-range patrol detachment until January 1967.  The brigade was first dispatched to Tay Ninh Province and then brought into action to fight Operation ATTLEBORO—where lack of proper ground reconnaissance almost led to disaster.  During the first few months of combat, the inadequacy of the original brigade reconnaissance assets became manifest.  The brigade’s conventional recon element, Troop F of the 17th Cavalry, was neither organized nor equipped for extended foot patrolling operations.

     On 2 January 1967 the commander of the 196th Infantry Brigade, Brig. Gen. Richard T. Knowles, organized a Long Range Reconnaissance Detachment (LRPD) because ‘to increase the brigade’s intelligence collection capability, organic [intrinsic] highly trained reconnaissance teams were needed.’  Prospective personnel were interviewed throughout the brigade, but the process was hampered by four months of Vietnam service.  Brigade troops were battle-experienced enough to know the hazards of such duty, and unit commanders were reluctant to release good soldiers.  By the end of the month, only thirty soldiers were assembled out of sixty-seven authorized. 1

     The 196th Infantry Brigade Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Detachment was assigned to the brigade intelligence section but administratively controlled by Troop F, 17th Cavalry….”

 “…During April 1967 the 196th Infantry Brigade was relocated from Tay Ninh Province, in the lower portion of South Vietnam, to Chu Lai, thirty miles from Da Nang along the northern coast.  The brigade was merged into a provisional division-sized organization called Task Force Oregon.   The brigade would remain in this new territory for the rest of its Vietnam service, first under Task Force Oregon and then under Americal Division….”

 “…At the end of September [1967], Brig. Gen. Frank H. Linnell’s 196th Infantry Brigade began preparing for absorption into the Americal Division, raised to replace Task Force Oregon.  Brigadier General Linnell attempted to retain his reconnaissance unit by submitting a proposal to incorporate the patrol detachment permanently into Troop F, 17th Cavalry.  General Westmoreland disapproved the recommendation in October, and all Burning Rope Patrollers were transferred out to a newly formed division patrol detachment by November.” 2

 

Stanton’s Footnotes:

1. 196th Infantry Brigade Operations Report dated 7 March 1967, p.20.

2. 196th Infantry Brigade Operations Report dated 10 November 1967.

 

 


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