The American Soldier, 1966

Next to the United States, the nation supplying the most assistance to the Republic of Vietnam was the Republic of Korea. In August 1964, the Korean government responded to a request for allied support in Vietnam and dispatched a number of professionals whose skills ranged from karate to surgery.

Later, in March 1965, Korea committed its first troops in the country. First to be dispatched was an army engineer battalion, followed by combat units designated as the 2d Korean Marine (Blue Dragon) Brigade, the 9th Infantry (White Horse) Division, and the Capital (Tiger) Division.

By mid-1966, these units had assisted the South Vietnamese Army in securing the coastal region of the II Corps Zone by patrolling an area of approximately two hundred and fifty miles between the jungle-covered Phu Cat Mountain region in Binh Dinh Province and the coastal city of Phan Rang in the Ninh Thuan Province. It was during this time that the units earned the respect of both friend and foe alike for their patience and persistent pursuit of the enemy. For their participation in an operation called Maeng Ho 6, the Korean Tiger Division spearheaded a guerrilla-styled campaign against a Viet Cong (VC) terrorist-based sanctuary in the Phu Cat Mountains of South Vietnam. Pursuing the VC from hideout to cavern, the Koreans literally sat out the enemy until he was forced to surrender for lack of the basic necessities of life. With this tactic, the Korean forces drove the enemy from his mountainous sanctuary and rid the some fourteen thousand inhabitants in and around the Phu Cat Mountains of terrorists who had plagued the area since 1954.

Featured in this scene is the final effort in which Korean and U. S. forces converge to clear the mountain area. The Koreans are attired in U.S. Army fatigues, with M1956 individual equipment which includes intrenching tool and cover, pack, ammunition pouch, pistol belt, canteen, canteen cover, first aid packet pouch, and equipment suspenders. They are armed with the Ml rifle with the M5A1 bayonet in the M8A1 scabbard and the M60 machine gun, and are supported by M48 tanks and U. S. Army UH-1C Iroquois helicopters.