2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment 1967-68

Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Bravo Company, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav Regt. 1st Cavalry Division Bravo, 2-8th Cav - Co B, 2-8th Cav Regt. - B Co, 2-8 Cav Co B, 2/8 Cav Regt. - Co B, 2-8 Cav, 1st Cav Div - B/2-8, 1st Cavalry Div - B 2/8, 1st Cav Div

Combat Trooper  


One became a combat trooper on joining Bravo Company and there was a significant difference between a combat and a support trooper. One telling sign of a combat trooper in Vietnam was the condition of our jungle boots – they were well worn, they had never been polished, and they had a special look of old cracked leather that had been grossly abused by overexposure to rugged jungle terrain and too many rice paddies. Another sure indicator of a combat trooper or “grunt” was the presence of the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB). The recipient of the CIB must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy. As a general rule, only those serving in an infantry battalion were authorized the CIB. The CIB has always been a badge of distinction, proof of a front line combat trooper and one that was worn with pride. 

Combat Infantry Badge

Another special award to combat troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was the Air Medal. A Bravo Company trooper was awarded an Air Medal after participating in more than twenty-five combat assaults in support of counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam. Most troopers completed between 75 and 100 combat assaults during their tour with Bravo Company. Some troopers recall completing as many as three combat assaults in one day when pursuing enemy forces.

The Badge of Glory

Of all the medals upon our chests

From battles and wars we knew
The one admired as the very best
Is the one of infantry blue

It's only a rifle upon a wreath
So why should it mean so much?
It is what it took to earn it
That gives it that Touch.

To earn this special accolade
You faced the enemy's fire
Whether you survived or not
God dialed that one desire.

For those of us who served the cause
And brought this nation glory
It's the Combat Infantryman's Badge
That really tells the story.

And then we move on to the tricky question of how many served in combat positions and how many in support positions. Depending on the criteria employed, the combat to support ratio during the Vietnam War varied from a conservative 1 – 10 to a highly speculative 1 – 17. For our purposes here, we will use the conservative figure of 10 support soldiers for each combat soldier. When we apply this ratio to the peak troop strength in Vietnam during our period, the result is as follows: There were approximately 54,348 combat soldiers,  + 489,134 support soldiers  = 543,482. This shows that there were not many soldiers engaged in ground combat duty, however, it is important to remember that many of the casualties were those classified as support soldiers.

While we are on statistics, the three divisions that sustained the most casualties during the Vietnam War are the 1st Cavalry Division with 5,464 Killed In Action (KIA), the 25th Division with 4,561 KIA, and the 101st Airborne Division with 4,022 KIA. The following US military casualty figures tell their own sad story about the intensity of combat activity during the peak years of the Vietnam War (Source Washington Headquarters Services):

1965 – 1,926 KIA.   1966 – 6,333 KIA.   1967 – 11,348 KIA.   1968 – 16,869 KIA.

1969 – 11,776 KIA. 1970 – 6,164 KIA.   1971 – 2,348 KIA.    1972 – 561 KIA.  

Website created October 14, 2007. Copyright 2008



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