In 1968 Gen. William C. Westmoreland (CG, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam), requested the 82nd Airborne to repel the massive assault of the Tet Offensive by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. President Johnson gave him only the 3rd Brigade – the cream of “America’s Guard of Honor”. The “Golden Brigade” was officially alerted for deployment on Monday, 12 February, 1968, at 1730 hours.
Dear Fellow Trooper,
Almost four decades ago, a bunch of us troopers served together in Vietnam as part of what has become known throughout the 82nd Airborne Division as The Golden Brigade. We got that name for the manner in which the troopers of the brigade performed their many tasks, from their jump into Vieques Island and their outstanding accomplishments in Detroit in 1967 to the flawless deployment and their heroic combat activity in 1968 and 1969. As the years have gone by, our famous unit has fought in Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq — in a manner that makes us all proud to say that we were once on that team.
Over the years, a small group of RVN (Republic of Vietnam) troopers have worked hard not only to keep the memory of The Golden Brigade alive but also to make sure our unit continues to participate in the many good things that are being done by the 82nd Airborne Division Association for those who need help. When we assemble a few times each year, our eyes fill with tears of pride as we salute those comrades who paid the full price in Vietnam, and as we shake hands with the young troopers who today proudly wear their newly won CIBs, CMBs, Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and other decorations earned on the field of battle.
There is no substitute for the bond that is created among airborne troopers who have experienced the hardships of warfare. The bond cannot be seem be anyone else, but it is there. For that reason, I am contacting you today to invite you to come join us in maintaining that bond. It will not be long before you will be the senior airborne troopers, and the old timers like me, whose first war was in the 1940s, will be looking for men of The Golden Brigade to take the baton of leadership. We now have a member of our group on the association’s board of directors, and we have others in responsible positions in a number of group activities within the association.
What we need from you is your interest and support. As Rich O’Hare told me the other day, we need you to “hook up” with The Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. The cost of the annual membership is only $20 and a life membership is only $100. This membership will be one of your most cherished possessions. The Paraglide, our Golden Brigade Chapter newsletter, and our Website will always be welcome, with its news about events beings planned and the accomplishments of your division. But, that’s not the most important thing. Your decision to maintain contact with the outfit with whom you fought in Vietnam will help us maintain that bond which we band of brothers wove more than four decades ago.
Stand up, and hook up.
Airborne, All the Way!!
Alexander R. Bolling, Jr.
Major General, USA (Ret)
CG of the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam