The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam
Unparalleled and Unequaled
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Series: American Warriors Series
List of Maps and Figures
List of Tables
Abbreviations and Special Terms
In the mid-1960s, the security of the Delta, the densely populated rich rice bowl of agrarian South Vietnam, was poor and getting worse. Viet Cong (VC) insurgents were severely disrupting the commerce and welfare of this vital region. The 9th Infantry Division, the only U.S. Army division activated and trained in the United States for active duty in South Vietnam, was specifically designated to operate from a base deep within the Communist-controlled...
Chapter 1: Securing the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta was the most populated and richest agrarian area of South Vietnam, and consequently it was the primary target of Communist aggression. Viet Cong activities in the Delta were appreciably reducing the cultivation of the important rice crop and were isolating the Delta from Saigon. It became obvious that increased military actions were necessary to deny the Communists access to the Delta’s resources. It was the opinion of Gen. William Childs...
Chapter 2: The General Offensive and General Uprising
In 1967, the Communists assumed that the RVNAF and Allied Forces were weak and could be defeated so they abandoned their limited offensive tactics and adopted the concept of large battles, generally conducted by main force units. Thus, the Communists changed their tactics from company- and platoon-sized or smaller operations to battles conducted with multibattalion...
Chapter 3: Enhancing Combat Capabilities
In mid-May 1968, the 9th Division found itself still responsible for a huge tactical area of responsibility that included all or parts of eight Vietnamese provinces. Th e division headquarters was split between Bearcat and Dong Tam, with the majority of divisional support troops and several combat battalions located at Bearcat...
Chapter 4: Pacification: The Endgame
The 9th Infantry Division was introduced in the Delta for one purpose only, to improve the security. Its mission was clear: it had to defeat the Viet Cong main and local force units and to support the pacification efforts of the GVN, thereby eliminating the Viet Cong’s intimidation of the people. Pacification then was the endgame, and the most discernable pattern in it was that programs...
Chapter 5: Third Phase of the VC/NVA General Offensive
At the beginning of August 1968, enemy operations were characterized by a general evasion of contact while maintaining large battalion-sized units in anticipation of a third offensive, with Saigon as the primary objective. In Long An Province—the underbelly of Saigon—enemy interdiction and guerrilla and terrorist activities were minimal, a good ...
Chapter 6: Fourth Phase of the VC/NVA General Offensive
The division captured an enemy document in January 1969 that indicated that the fourth phase of the General Offensive and General Uprising, the Dong Xuan, a Winter-Spring Offensive, was imminent. Its objectives were to annihilate 60 percent of the enemy troops and destroy 50 percent of the enemy outposts; liberate the rural areas and ...
Chapter 7: The Take-off
By the end of the first quarter in 1969, the effectiveness of combat operations had peaked, preempting Communist efforts. The brave soldiers of the division displayed extraordinary heroism in conducting more than one hundred offensive operations daily, half of which were at night, in the extremely difficult and treacherous booby-trapped terrain...
Chapter 8: Post–Dong Xuan Operations
The aggressive actions of the RVNAF and the 9th Division in the Delta and U.S. forces and our Allies elsewhere in South Vietnam forced the Communist leaders to abort their Winter-Spring Offensive. Yet, the dispersed and elusive Viet Cong and NVA units that remained in the Upper Delta still had a limited capability...
Chapter 9: Pacification Results
The endgame was pacification, and the success of the 9th Division can be measured by not only its combat results but also the improvements of the GVN pacification program. Of great importance was that the GVN won the “rice war.” The improved security prevented the Viet Cong from appropriating appreciable supplies, and, after the major ...
Chapter 10: A Total Division Effort
This discussion has focused primarily on the combat capabilities of infantrymen and their direct support organizations: the artillery, air cavalry, assault helicopters, Air Force, and Navy. Many other units not specifically mentioned—such as the 45th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog), the 65th Infantry Platoon (Combat Tracker), the Air Cushion ...
Chapter 11: The Division Rotates Home
In June, the 9th Division received word that it was to rotate to the United States, and units began to prepare to stand down. The 2nd Brigade terminated operations on 4 July; the 1st Brigade on 23 July; and on 26 July, the 3rd Brigade went under operational control of II Field Force, Vietnam. From its entry into the Mekong Delta...
Appendix A: 9th Infantry Division and Assigned and Attached Units, 1969
Appendix B: 9th Infantry Division Task Organization, January–April 1969
Appendix C: The Story of a Booby-Trap Casualty
Appendix D: Prisoner Phan Xuan Quy: Biographical Information and Thanh Phu Battle Account
Appendix E: Reflection of a Prisoner