1st Battalion, 20th Infantry
TANT QUE JE PUIS - TO THE LIMIT OF OUR ABILITY
History of the 20th Infantry
It was organized on 6 June 1862 at Fort Independence (Massachusetts), as the 2nd Battalion of the 11th Infantry, one of the nine "three-battalion" regiments of regulars, each battalion containing eight companies of infantry, in contrast to the original ten regular regiments of infantry, which were organized on the traditional ten-company line.The 20th Infantry was first lead by General George Sykes in the battle of Bull Run. Following the Civil War, the Army was reorganized by Congress in July 1866, and the 11th was divided into three regiments, each battalion receiving two additional companies and being organized along traditional lines. The 1st Battalion retained the designation of the 11th Infantry, while the 2nd Battalion became the 20th Infantry and the 3rd Battalion the 29th Infantry.
Exerpts taken from the 1-20 Organization website, click here to visit that site.
The 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, "Sykes’ Regulars", was reactivated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on 1 July 1966 and assigned to the 11th Infantry Brigade.
In May 1967, "Sykes’ Regulars" began amphibious training in preparation for Operation Coral Sands II, a joint forces amphibious operation to be conducted on the island of Molokai during the period of 1-10 August.
Immediately upon return to Schofield Barracks, "Sykes’ Regulars" began preparation for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam. In August of 1967, the Battalion was reorganized into a Light Infantry configuration. The organization of Delta and Echo Company would go into effect on the 15th of August.
Charlie Company 1st 20th Infantry was selected to provide security for the main body of the advance party. The advance party departed Hawaii by aircraft for the Republic of Vietnam on a phased schedule. The small group was sent on 28 November. On 4 December 1967 when the remainder advance party with personnel and equipment were airlifted to Da Nang (Personnel) and (Equipment) to Chu Lai and subsequently airlifted to Duc Pho. On 6 December 1967, the advance party moved to LZ Carenten to establish a temporary base camp next to LZ Bronco.
The main body of the battalion moved with the remainder of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade to Republic of Vietnam. The 11th Light Infantry Brigade shipped-out with 3rd Battalion 1st Infantry, 4th Battalion 3rd Infantry, 1st Battalion 20th Infantry, 6th Battalion 11th Artillery and 6th Support Battalion aboard the USS Gordon and USS Weigel, debarking at Qui Nhon on 19 and 22 December 1967. The 4th Battalion 21st Infantry remained in Hawaii to finish their training and will join the rest of the Brigade in April, 1968. The 1st Battalion 20th Infantry and rest of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade traveled by convoy to LZ Carentan, 65-Miles north. While at LZ Carentan, the battalion participated in an in-country training program in search and destroy operations, ambush techniques, destruction of fortifications and food caches, helicopter orientation, and combat assault training. " Sykes’ Regulars" then moved to its rear area at LZ Bronco and began combat operations in the Duc Pho Operation Champaign and later in Muscatine AO’s.
On January 2, 1968 The 1st Battalion 20th Light Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade had moved into and taken over the southern most Area of Operation from the 3rd Brigade 4th Infantry Division and began Combat Operations in Vietnam.
1st Battalion 20th Infantry took part of Operation Champaign. Charlie Company during January 21, 1968 to April 7, 1968 was OPCON to Task Force Barker working in the Muscatine Area of Operation. Alpha Company was OPCON to 4-3 Infantry, in 11th Brigade Operation Show Low, from March 7 to March 14, 1968 both companies played a major role in the Muscatine Area of Operation.
On March 20, 1968, "Sykes’ Regulars",minus Charlie Company, were placed under the operational control (OPCON) of the 196th Infantry Brigade to participate in Operation Wheeler/Wallowa, the longest running operation of the Vietnam War, north of Chu Lai fighting soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army in extremely rugged mountain terrain. Delta and Bravo Companies where OPCON to the 1st of 1st Calvary just south of Da Nang for 3-4 days. The 1-20 Infantry established their Area of Operation at LZ O’Connor in support of the 196th Infantry Operation Wheeler/Wallowa in the Que Son Valley western section.
On 8 April 1968, the unit was again returned to the control of the 11th Brigade for Operation Norfolk Victory, an offensive sweep in the mountainous, heavily forested terrain west of Nghia Hanh. Charlie Company from Task Force Barker also rejoined the Battalion for Operation Norfolk Victory as Task Force Barker Mission was completed with the arrival of the 4th Battalion 21 Infantry in the 11th Brigade Area of Operations. The rest of the 1st Battalion 20th Infantry immediately planned and conducted an air and motor move from LZ O’Connor to a staging area on LZ Dragon.
Operation Norfolk Victory has a major effect on further Operations in the 11th Infantry Area of Operations as the 11th Brigade began to shift from Body Count to taking away supply bases and Base Camps from main force NVA Units.
On 20 April 1968 the battalion was placed under the OPCON of the 196th and a short time 198th Infantry Brigade to again participate in Operation Wheeler/Wallowa north of Chu Lai.
Working out of LZ Ross and in the Que Son Valley in support of the Americal Division and the 198th Infantry Brigade. Major action in May, the 1st Battalion 20th Infantry Delta, Alpha and Bravo Companies supported the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry at LZ Center. In the Battle at Nui Hoac Ridge to its successful finish against the 2nd NVA Division, the Battalion had units involved in constant contact from May 5, 1968 to May 18, 1968. The 1st Battalion 20 Infantry had established their Area of Operation with LZ Ross being the Battalion Headquarters and during the Battle for Nui Hoac Ridge where Delta, Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Companies where OPCON to the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry. The 1st Battalion 20th Infantry operated with one Company from 3rd Battalion 1st Infantry, 4th Battalion 3rd Infantry and 4th Battalion 21st Infantry until the Battalion Companies returned from OPCON to the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry.
On 14 June 1968, the unit returned to control of the 11th Infantry Brigade for Operation Champaign again fighting mostly Viet Cong insurgents, "Skyes’Regulars" killed 151, wounded 20, captured 11 and apprehended 191 VC suspects.
On 15 September 1968, the 1-20th Infantry moved into the Ha Thanh area for Operation Champaign Grove against fresh NVA troops.
On 7 October 1968, "Sykes’ Regulars" started Operation Logan Field, the unit, supported by elements of Delta Battery, 6-11th Artillery, Company C, 26th Engineers, 1-1st Calvary and a platoon of National Police Field Forces along with units of the 2nd ARVN Division which acted as a blocking force.
Operation Vernon Lake II became the objective of the 1-20th Infantry on 2 November 1968. The unit supported by elements of Company D, 6-11th Artillery, 174 Assault Helicopter Company, and 132nd Aviation Company began combat operations, working out of LZ Cork. The area was known to be a stronghold of the 3rd NVA Division.
MISSION: 11th Inf. Brigade realigned forces in the Duc Pho AO and employed ground forces in the DA VACH Mountains and subsequently in the Song Re and Song Ve Valleys to find, fix and destroy (elements of) the 3d NVA Division.
CONCEPT OF OPERATION: The concept of operation for Vernon Lake II was to combat assault two Infantry Battalions into the DA VACH Mountains, establish two fire support bases (FSB CORK and FSB AMY) from which extensive Recon in Force and multiple combat assault operations could be conducted in the surrounding mountains and valleys to interdict the movement of the 3d NVA Division and destroy their base camps. The length of the operation and commitments in other parts of the 11th Brigade Area of Operation, at times, necessitated the increasing or decreasing of the forces available to support the concept. But the original concept of operation was maintained throughout the operation. At 071200 Dec 1968, Task Force COOKSEY was inactivated. The operation continued under the Brigade Commanding Officer, and Task Force Headquarters became Brigade FWD. The 3-1st Infantry request to Americal Division for termination of Operation VERNON LAKE II on Feb 28, 1969. On 12 January 1969 Colonel Hershel E. Chapman assumed command of the 1st Battalion 20th Infantry.
The "Sykes’ Regulars" then engaged in Operation Iron Mountain. By the end of July 1969 the major units of the 3rd NVA Division operations in the Duc Pho and Mo Duc Area of Operation was cut back greatly and the Pacification Programs began to start taking hold.
Beginning the period 11 October 1970, through 7 December 1970, was TASK FORCE HONJID. During the three days of this operation, which was conducted in the Song VE Valley in western Mo Duc District.
On 22 November 1970, Operation Surge was put into effect using a fast action technique, a sweeping operation conducted by U. S. ground and intelligence units of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry and South Vietnamese.
1st Battalion 20th Infantry opened LZ Vanguard in defense of the Special Forces Camp at Minh Long and later LZ Custer. The 1st Battalion 20th Infantry closed their military operations OPCON to the 198th Infantry working in the Que Son Valley Western Section at LZ Siberia and LZ West and then Air Moved to Chu Lai to close out their Military Operations on Oct 4, 1971.