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199th LIB Memorial, Sacrifice Field, Ft. Benning.

Mission Statement:  To honor and preserve the memory and sacrifices of the gallant men that served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam and Cambodia from 1966 to 1970 and establish a lasting legacy for them by participating in living history displays, reunions, parades, patriotic American functions and battle reenactments.

199th Infantry Brigade History (Condensed)

The 199th Infantry Brigade (Separate)(Light) “Redcatchers” is often one of the most overlooked and underrated U.S. Infantry units to serve during the Vietnam War. (The 199th LIB was not at any time in its history associated with any of the other Brigades that fought valiantly with the Americal Division in I Corps). It was the epitome of U.S. Army Infantry units to fight in Southeast Asia during the American involvement there. Never listing more than 25,000 personnel on the roster during its history, there were more staff officers assigned to rear echelon jobs at Tan Sanh Nhout Airbase than there were members of the 199th LIB in January of 1968.

Created specifically for combat service in Vietnam and Cambodia, the 199th LIB was born at Ft. Benning, Georgia on Kelly Hill in June of 1966. The unit was organized around four of the United States Army’s most historic and celebrated Infantry Regiments; the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry and the 4th and 5th Battalions of the 12th Infantry. The 2nd Battalion, 40th Artillery (Towed) supplied the Brigade with its own organic, 105mm Artillery support. Each of the four 105mm batteries were assigned to provide timely and accurate fire support to each of the Brigade’s infantry battalions. By mid-1970, the 2-40th Artillery had fired over 1,000,000 rounds in support of combat operations and it was the only artillery unit in Vietnam to participate in fire missions from Cambodia to the South China Sea.

LRRP and Ranger detachments were also represented within the unit, this being assigned to the 71st Infantry Detachment (LRRP), F Company, 51st Infantry (LRP) and Company M, 75th Infantry. There was also one combat engineer company, the 87th Engineers, one armor component, D Troop, 17th Cavalry, a signal unit, the 313th Signal Detachment and the 152nd Military Police Company and two scout dog units, the 49th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog and the 76th Combat Tracker Team. With the addition of these combat gallant support units, the 199th LIB became the only truly separate and light combat brigade to fight in Vietnam.

After four years of near constant combat in the III Corps Tactical Zone of South Vietnam and Cambodia, the unit rotated back to the United States in Operation Keystone Robin in October 1970. The Brigade was deactivated on the same field where it was created.

Whereas the larger divisions usually contained three to four brigades, the 199th LIB took orders specifically from MACV and II Field Force, although some of the units' infantry battalions were op-conned to other units at various times. At any given time from 1966-1970, the brigade's roster consisted of approximately 4300 combat-ready soldiers. In addition, the 199th never suffered from drug, discipline or racial problems in large capacities like some of the other units experienced and it attained a superb war record during its service there. The facts show this to be true.

Seven hundred, fifty-seven young men were killed in action while in the 199th from 1966-1970 and over 4,500 wounded were suffered. It is also interesting to note that two of the Brigade’s commanding officers were WIA, one Deputy Commander was WIA and one Commanding General was KIA (BG William R. Bond-1 April, 1970. Bond was the only general officer killed in ground combat during the entire war). Four Medals of Honor were earned by the unit, including the Brigade Chaplain in 1967, who by himself, carried over 25 badly wounded soldiers to safety during a fierce clash with VC/NVA forces south of Saigon in December of 1967. Chaplain Angelo Liteky became the first chaplain of the Vietnam War to earn the Medal of Honor the fifth in military history. You know the unit is tough when the brigade chaplain is a war hero.

While in Vietnam, the Brigade's Area of Operations consisted mainly in the III Corps area around Saigon, Long Binh, Xuan Loc, Bien Hoa, Dinh Quan, Ho Nai, the Pineapple Region, War Zones C & D, Cambodia and the Cambodian border region itself. The unit would also assigned to the 9th Infantry Division in the Delta Region and took part in countless Mobile Riverine Operations. The 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry was op-conned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and took part in the Cambodian Incursion from May to June, 1970. For two months, the 5-12th Infantry was in constant combat with some of the toughest units of the North Vietnamese Army.

Of further interest, the first black man to ever command an Army brigade in combat commanded the 199th in 1968 and 1969. This honor was earned by BG Frederic E. Davison. He would also become the first black general to command a division (the 8th Infantry Division) after Vietnam. The 199th was also the first major US unit in Vietnam to begin Nixon's program of "Vietnamization." From 1967 onward, the 199th would be paired battalion for battalion, company for company with an ARVN Ranger unit.

During the Tet and May Offensives of 1968, the 199th LIB was instrumental in driving back the communist onslaught against Saigon, Bien Hoa, Long Binh and the surrounding areas. On 1 February 1968, the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry participated in one of the most important and strategic battles of either offensive when it single-handedly retook the Phu Tho Racetrack from a mixture of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units that had congregated there.



Assigned Units

2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry

3rd Battalion 7th Infantry

4th Battalion 12th Infantry

5th Battalion 12th Infantry

Troop D, 17th Cavalry

Company F, 51st Infantry

Company M, 75th Infantry

2nd Battalion 40th Artillery

7th Support Battalion

Headquarters Headquarters Company 199th

HHC MP Combined Reaction Infantry Platoon

71st Infantry Long Range Patrol Detachment

49th Scout Dog Platoon

179th Military Intelligence Detachment

87th Engineer Company

313th Signal Company

152nd Military Police Platoon

76th Infantry Combat Tracker Dog Detachment

44th Military History Detachment

503rd Chemical Detachment

856 Army Security Agency Detachment

40th Public Information Detachment

Recreated Redcatcher With Fully Restored M37

Recreated Redcatchers, 2004

199th Infantry Brigade
"Recreated Redcatchers"
Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion
3rd Infantry
(No pictures from this website may be used without the expressed written permission of the owner!!!)