25th Infantry Div. Vietnam veteran T_Shirt,
Made with Photoshop
VIETNAM: In response to a request from the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, the division sent 100 helicopter door-gunners to the Republic of Vietnam in early 1963. By August 1965, further division involvement in the coming Vietnam War included the deployment of Company C, 65th Engineer Battalion, to South Vietnam to assist in the construction of port facilities at Cam Ranh Bay. By mid 1965, 2,200 men of the Tropic Lightning Division were involved in Vietnam. The division was again ordered to contribute combat forces in December of that year. Its Resupply Regiment, the 467th, was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George S Dotson through the end of the war.
Tank from 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 25th Infantry Division, moves through Saigon shortly after disembarking from LST at Saigon Harbor, March 12, 1966In response to a MACV request, the division deployed 4,000 3rd Brigade infantrymen and 9,000 tons of equipment from Hawaii in 25 days to the Northwest sector of South Vietnam to firmly establish a fortified enclave from which the division could operate. Operation Blue Light was the largest and longest airlift of personnel and cargo into a combat zone in military history before Operation Desert Shield. The Brigade deployed its first soldiers from Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, to the central highlands at Pleiku. These men arrived in Vietnam 24 December 1965. By mid-January, the deployment operation was complete — giving combat planners in Vietnam a favorable balance of power. The division was heavily engaged from April 1966 until 1972 throughout the area of operations in Southeast Asia. During this period, Tropic Lightning soldiers fought in some of the toughest battles of the war.
During the Tet offensives of 1968 and 1969, Tropic Lightning soldiers were instrumental in defending the besieged city of Saigon. Due to its success in fending off that attack, the 25th Infantry Division spent most of 1970 more involved in the Vietnamization Program than in actual combat. From May through June 1970, Tropic Lightning soldiers participated in Allied thrusts deep into enemy sanctuaries located in Cambodia. In these Incursion operations, the division units confiscated thousands of tons of supplies and hundreds of weapons. This operation crippled the Cambodian-based efforts against American units. Following its return from Cambodia to South Vietnam, the division resumed its place in the Vietnamization Program. The war was winding down. By late December 1970, elements of the 25th Infantry Division were able to begin redeployment to Schofield Barracks. Second Brigade was the last element of the Tropic Lightning Division to depart Vietnam. It arrived at Schofield Barracks in the early days of May 1971. During the war in Vietnam, 22 Medals of Honor were awarded to Tropic Lightning soldiers.
The Division is also known to have written the United States Playing Card Company to request hundreds of decks containing only the Ace of Spades. In Vietnam, the Ace of Spades were used as psychological warfare. The Viet Cong were highly superstitious and highly frightened by this Ace because it predicted death and suffering.