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1965

173rd Airborne Brigade ordered to South Vietnam

The Joint Chiefs of Staff order the deployment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Okinawa to South Vietnam. The 173rd arrived in Vietnam in May 1965 and was the first major U.S. Army ground combat unit committed to the war.

Headquartered at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon from May 1965 to October 1967, the brigade conducted combat operations in the region surrounding Saigon. In November 1967, the brigade fought a major battle with North Vietnamese Army forces at Dak To in the Central Highlands, winning the Presidential Union Citation for bravery in action. After more than six years in South Vietnam, the 173rd was withdrawn from Vietnam in August 1971 as part of President Richard Nixon’s troop withdrawal program.

During combat service in Vietnam, 12 troopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade won the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery; 1,606 were killed in action; and 8,435 were wounded in action.

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