This site is dedicated to the men who served the 11th Light Infantry Brigade.
The 11th LIB was formed as part of the US Army's 6th Division during WWI. Activated November of 1917 its elements at that time were the 51st Infantry Regiment, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 16th Machine-Gun Battalion and the 11th Field Artillery. The 11th LIB was deployed overseas from June of 1918 and returned to the United States in June of 1919. The 11th was deactivated September 30, 1921 at Camp Grant, IL. The 11th LIB was inactive through WWII after the US Army reorganized its Divisions of 2 brigades of 2 regiments into 3 regiments with no brigades.
The 11th Light Infantry Brigade is best known for its service with the 23rd Infantry Division, AMERICAL Division during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1971. The brigade was organized as a separate Infantry Brigade at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. It was the first element of the 6th Infantry Division and was scheduled to be activated for deployment to Vietnam. This activation was cancelled by McNamra. The 11th Light Infantry in early 1967, trained extensively in jungle operations in preparation for deployment to Vietnam. To stress realism in the Vietnam-oriented tactical training, the brigade conducted "live-fire' operations in the rugged, thickly-vegetated terrain of the Koolau Mountains on the island of Oahu. The 11th LIB was deployed during the Vietnam War and served the US Army's 23rd Infantry Division, The AMERICAL Division.
The 3/1 (Always First), 1/20 (Sykes Regulars), 4/3 (The Old Guard) and 4/21 (The Gimlets) infantry Battalions collectively have more Battle streamers, more campaign ribbons, and more years of continuous service than any comparable collection of units in the United States military. The history of these units reads like the battle history of the United States. The Old Guard and Sykes Regulars fought side by side at Gettysburg. More than 100 years later these same storied maneuver Battalions unite as part of the 11th Brigade under the Southern Cross in beautiful Southeast Asia. However, they were not the only units that made up the 11th Light Infantry Brigade. E Troop 1st Cavalry, 6th Battalion 11th Artillery, 6th Support Battalion, 6th Engineer Company, 52nd Military Intelligence detachment, and HHC all were a major contributing factor that formed the 11th Light Infantry Brigade; not to mention the various units while not directly assigned to the 11th LIB were basically support for the 11th LIB.
Source: The Americal Newsletter July - August - September 1995
In February of 1967, General William C. Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. Forces in Vietnam, formed a planning group to organize an Army Task Force to send to the I Corps Area. This planning group, commanded by Major General William B. Rossoni organized a multi-brigade force composed of the 196 Light Infantry Brigade (i.e., the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division: and the 3rd Brigade, 25 Infantry Division, later redesignated the 3rd Brigade, 4rth Infantry Division).
Task Force Oregon became operational on April 20, 1967, when troops from the 196th Brigade landed at the Chu Lai Airstrip and immediately began search operations around the base camp. Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 4rth Division started conducting search and destroy operations in Southern Quang Ngai Province, and in May, the 1st B rigade, 101st Airborne paratroopers arrived at Duc Pho and operations in the jungles west of there.
Early operations conducted by Task Force Oregon included Malheur 1 and Malheur 11, Hood River, Benton and Cook. On 11 September, 1967, Operation Wheeler was launched against elements of the 2nd North Vietnamese Division working in the area northwest of Chu Lai.
On 22 September, 1967, Brigadier General Samuel W. Koster assumed command of the task force, replacing Major General Richard T. Knowles, and three days later Task Force Oregon became the Americal Division, composed of the 196th, 198th, and the 11th Light Infantry Brigades, even though the latter two organizations were still training in the United States.
Operation Wheeler continued and on 4 October, 1967, the 3rd Brigade 1st Air Cavalry Division joined the Americal and immediately launched Operation Wallowa in the northern sector of the divisions area of o perations. Operations Wheeler and Wallowa were combined on 11 November and Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was conducted by the 196th Brigade (which replaced the 101st Airbornes 1st Brigade in the Operation Wheeler after that organization departed for the 11 Corps Tactical zone) and the 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry.
An official change of colors ceremony was held 26 October and the Americal Division became the Seventh Army Division fighting in Vietnam. General Koster received his second star during the same ceremony.
Timeline - Quick View
Major General William B. Rosson - April 1967
Major General Richard T. Knowles - June 1967
Bill Allen saw the need for an 11th LIB web site several years ago. He got the site up and running only to be hassled by a group that called themselves, " Friends of MY LAI." Bill dealt with this battle as best he could. Like he dealt with things that happened during his life. In the end it was exposure to toxic defoliants that claimed him. I did not know Bill personally but I am told he only wanted to build a site so guys could find each other. Nothing is ever so simple. Bill may have known that the pain of the 11th LIB was so great it must be seen for what it is. A calling to forever condemn acts of mass murder. A calling that was begun when mankind first went to war, before Jesus, and will end when war or mankind exists no more.
For his efforts to begin a conversation which must be held, Tommy Skiens offered this tribute.
The following is a post on the old 11th LIB website and this should be posted here as well. RIP Bill Allen.
Dear SSgt., Thanks for your tribute to Bill Allen. We became friends through e-mail and then the phone. The last time I spoke to him he was extremely weak and had open incisions that would not close. I would have loved to help take care of him. He told me that sounded good. I live in Texas and Bill was in Michigan. Within days of that he fell off the screen. No answers to e-mail or phone calls. That was the last I heard. Do you have his date of death or any other info? Bill was so kind to me as I sought information on Cpl. Jerald DeLong, Bravo Company, 1/20th, 11LIB who was KIA 12Oct70 in the Song Ve Valley. When I first e-mail Bill I didn't know much but he helped me find out so many things about Jerry's last hours. Bill was a great man in many ways that I knew even from so great a distance. He had compassion on a middle-aged woman dealing with grief and seeking healing over 30 years later. He even sent me his Americal and 11th LIB patches that he had worn on his uniform. They now are in a display case in honor of Jerry and also, by way of his kindness, in honor of Bill and all the men of the 11th. I loved Jerry very much and still do. I love and care about all of you vets. God bless you with peace.
After Bill Allen's passing, Tommy Skiens stepped up to the plate to make sure the 11th LIB website lived on. Where would we be without Tommy and his love for the 11th LIB? Thank you Tommy.
Tommy Skiens included more and more information that he thought his 11th LIB brothers would like to see on a website. Fall of 2012 Tommy decided to pass the torch, so that he could devote his attention to his first love, the site Buffgrunt.com.
As of the update of this site, it is undetermined what has become of the buffgrunt.com website. Once information has been obtained it will be posted here.
Again, we thank you Tommy for all your hard work in continuing the 11thlib.com and helping to bring it to where it is today.
Donna Barnes (Webmaster) had joined the 11th Light Infantry Brigade Veterans Association Facebook page on her husband's behalf in 2012. Danny Barnes her husband; served Echo Co, 4th/21st, 11th LIB; had been looking for years for anyone that had served with him during his time in Vietnam. Since becoming involved with the Facebook group, Donna decided, with her husband's urging, to take over the 11th LIB website in September 2012 when Tommy Skiens stepped down. The website has evolved and is now a responsive website which may be viewed on smart phones and tablets. The website is continually updated and added to, so we encourage you to visit often.
This site will outline the units of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, casualties of the entire brigade, as well as by unit, reported by DoD to Coffelt Database. We invite comments and additions. Contact the Webmaster with any information you may have.
Our project, to honor the men of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and should never be forgotten. As the men of the 11th LIB, or anyone, visit the cemeteries where our heroes are laid to rest, they are taking photos of their grave marker. These photos are then submitted and we link them to our 11th LIB Casualty lists. Read more...
While the 11th Light Infantry Brigade does not presently have a formal association, we do have a very active Facebook page. This page is a private Facebook Group page and you must request to join. When you request to join, you are sent a message with questions regarding unit or unit that supported the brigade, and when served or relative's information that served. If you do not respond within 14 days Facebook will delete your request. You will find the page listed as 11th Light Infantry Brigade Veterans Association.
The 11th LIB served under the Americal Division (23rd Infantry Division). Americal has a very active association, the Americal Division Veterans Association. Eligible veterans are cordially invited and welcomed to join the Americal Division Veterans Association. The association was formed in 1945 and currently has over 3,000 members. Associate memberships are also available. Membership cost is minimal. We encourage you to check out the ADVA.