staff sections with valuable additional experience.

     

Make-up qualification firing of the M-16 proceeded as planned and many hours of "waiting for the word" were utilized for heliborne familiarization, map reading, and sundry other subjects which would eventually be of value to the troops in future commitments.

     

Word was eventually received to step-down from the civil disturbance requirement and proceed as planned with the assigned Project Diamond mission. Previously loaded equipment, personal baggage, and allied items were immediately returned to their storage site and although the anticipation of deployment ran high throughout the unit, troop morale (and the typical sense of humor of the individual soldier) precluded a mental let-down and our espirit de corps carried the battalion into itís [sic] primary mission with no noticeably [sic] effect on troop spirit or proficiency.

     

Coincidentally, the personal equipment load list for CONUS was practically identical to that required by the battalion for field training, therefore with a minimum amount of packing the rifle companies moved out on foot for ambush and counter-ambush training. Fire Team and Squad Leaders bore the responsibility for troop control, on-position troop feeding, and the overall welfare of their subordinates. The welcome influx of personnel having Vietnam experience provided invaluable updated guidance, both up and down the command chain. Lessons learned were lessons imparted and the combat effectiveness of the battalion became increasingly enhanced as the strenous [sic] field training progressed.

     

Procurement of helicopters during the final days of April was planned to add impetus to the training program. However, the requested aircraft were not readily available. , so in typical fashion, "Little's Legion (Foot)" moved to the field utilizing human endurance rather than mechanical convenience. Again the RVN returnees imparted invaluable tip to the lesser experienced personnel and many potential problems areas were eliminated prior to actual heiborne operations. Preselected drop zones were closely identified and cleared. Combat type actions were then instituted as the troops moved on foot to the other areas for helicopter pick-up.

       

The miles seemed endless as leg muscles, unaccustomed to the Fort Carson terrain, became utilized to a degree unanimously deemed impossible previously! "Pick-em up and put em down, stay alert and look around", became the underlying chant as the battalion resigned itself to the fact the we would march from here into May!

       

The month of May 1968 found the Pioneer Battalion engaged in an intensified training effort to prepare the organization for imminent deployment to the United States Army of the Pacific Theater of Operations.

      

An all out logistical effort was also implemented to compliment and support the training. Vehicles, weapons, and other tactical items were thoroughly inspected for serviceability. Metal CONEX containers were obtained and off-loaded and located throughout the garrison area for use by all companies. Lightweight jungle equipment was requisitioned for future issue and use by the troops. Even Brutus T. Bear, our Battalion mascot, stock-piled canned food in sufficient quantity to meet any foreseeable contingencies.

       
 

5

 
        
       
        

[Webmaster: 1968 Annual Historical Supplement Page 6]