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11th Air Assault Div. with Airborne tab - Vietnam era


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While searching some info on NMCB and CBMU in Vietnam, I bumped into this site :




I took a tour of the VN veterans pictures and found this one interesting. This is the first time for me to see the 11th AA SSI topped with the Airborne tab. Was it a common practice ?



War or Conflict: Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Coverage: 1963-1966

Branch/Unit: 11th Air Air Assault Division (Test), 1/9 1st Air Cavalry

Rank: Sergeant (E-4)

Subject: Air Assault Training, Battle of Ia Drang

As an army paratrooper attached to the reactivated 11th Airborne Division, Joseph D. Tramontano received both airborne and air assault training at Fort Benning Georgia. For two years, his unit trained in experimental helicopter assault techniques, which would soon be battle tested in the Vietnam War. Reassigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Tramontano volunteered for a position in the 1/9th Reconnaissance Platoon, which was in dire need of machine gunners. After locating an NVA presence in the Chu Pong mountains, Colonel Hal Moore led 1/9's sister company, 1/7 into the Ia Drang Valley, which became the site of a vicious three day battle for the US Cavalry troopers. As reinforcements for 1/7, the scout platoon was sent into the Ia Drang Valley on the third and final day of battle. Although wounded during the assault, Tramontano and the 9th cavalry assisted in overpowering the North Vietnamese and routing them from the Chu Pong mountains.


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This young Troop appears to be wearing a "untrimmed" 187th Oval.(which would possibly explain Unknown #105 in Clyde Osborn's monograph on Ovals). Whether just poorly trimmed or trimmed that way to create something new still unknown.

The 187th oval, with the addition of a black bend dexter in the outer border, would go on to be worn as type 1 oval for the 1 / 12 Cav (Abn) 1st Bde 1st Cav Div

Can anyone get a clear enough look at the DUI to determine what it is?

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That's the unit crest of the 511th Infantry. The oval? this photo looks colorized, most likely the usual has occured, the photgrapher colored a piece of insigina wrong.





As to the AIRBORNE tab over this patch, I would bet it was a practice by the very first troops assigned to this division when it was reactived with the practice not lasting very long. Truth being that the 11th Air Assault Division was manned by Paratroopers as strange as it would seem, this given that the division, which never reached full division strength, but in fact only brigade strength, was not on jump status, and as far as we know never made jumps during it's days at Fort Benning, at least not unit tactical jumps, (maybe individual jumps to retain jump status?), this despite it having troops on active jump status.


This one fact was the very reason that the entire 1st Brigade 1st Cavalry Division was made a Airborne Brigade, it took in all the personal of the three Infantry Battalions and the Artillery Battalion (an Engineer Company too) that constitued the 11th Air Assault Brigade when the 11th AASLT Div was inactived and merged with the 2nd Infantry Division, with the whole affair reflagged as the 1st Cavalry Division.

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