By: GMGCS Charles Knowlton
The Americal was reactivated 25 September 1967 at Chu Lai in Vietnam from a combination of units already in Vietnam and newly arrived units. Its precursor, a division-sized task force known as Task Force Oregon was created in Quảng Ngãi and Quảng Tín provinces from the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade (all separate brigades that deployed to Vietnam in 1966). Task Force Oregon operated in close cooperation with the 1st Marine Division in the I Corps Military Region. As more US Army units arrived in Vietnam the two divisional brigades were released back to their parent organizations and two arriving separate brigades were assigned to Task Force Oregon, which, was in turn, re-designated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). The division was composed of the 11th, 196th, and 198th Light Infantry Brigades and divisional support units. Both the 11th and 198th brigades were newly formed units.
On 13 April 1967, half of the 148th MP Platoon, 18th MP Brigade and half of the 544th MP Platoon, 196th Light Infantry Brigade came to Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam with Task Force Oregon under the operational control of the Provost Marshal’s Office. On 8 December 1967 the platoons joined, first as the Americal Division Military Police Company and then the 23rd Military Police Company, Americal Division. Attached to the company at that time were about 25 Marine and Navy personnel who worked as MPs on Joint Patrol with their US Army counterparts. Later the 6th MP Platoon, 11th Light Infantry Brigade and the 265th MP Platoon, 198th Light Infantry Brigade joined the company. The 23rd MP Company then had 4 platoons. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Platoons attached to the 11th, 196th, and 198th LIBs respectively, and HQ and Security Platoon at Americal Division HQ. The platoons were widely dispersed on firebases, LZs, and Cities throughout southern I Corps. HQ Americal Division left Vietnam in 1971 and stood down at Ft Lewis, Washington on 29 November 1971. The unit, now the 23rd MP Company, 196th Light Infantry Brigade remained in Vietnam. On 28 June 1972, the 23rd MP Company furled its guidon and stood down in Danang. During almost 5 years of service in I Corps, Republic of Vietnam, the 23rd MP Company participated in 13 campaigns and received two awards of the RVN Cross of Gallantry with Palm as a unit citation. The 2nd Platoon, attached to the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, received the Army Valorous Unit Award for combat action in the Hiep Duc Valley on 11-31 August 1969. Thirteen warrior police of the 23rd MP Company gave their lives in defense of freedom in the Republic of Vietnam.
I want to honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice as this Memorial Day comes before us. My prayers go to all the warriors within the 23rd MP’s, Task Force Oregon & Americal 23rd Infantry Division who didn’t come home. I wish you all “fair winds and following seas.” May you never be forgotten.
CHAZ “Bore Clear”