2d Battalion activates – June 1, 1966

On June 1, 1966, the 2d Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment was activated at Fort Benning, GA. The 2nd Battalion was assigned to the 199th Infantry Brigade, eventually serving in the area around Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). The 2d Battalion was awarded a Valorous Unit Award and earned 11 campaign streamers for its service in Vietnam. One of the Regiment’s four Medal of Honor recipients was Corporal Michael F. Folland, Company D, 2d Battalion, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 3, 1969. The 2d Battalion was inactivated on October 15, 1970, at Fort Benning.

Previously, the 2d Battalion was active from 1957-1963 in South Korea as an element of the 7th Infantry Division. The 2d Battalion was activated again in March 2001 at Fort Lewis, WA, which served as a home base between its four deployments to Iraq (3) and Afghanistan (1) since 2003.

4th Battalion activated – July 1, 1966

Fifty Years Ago
On July 1, 1966, the 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment was activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. From Schofield Barracks, the battalion deployed to Vietnam. The 4th Battalion was initially attached to the 11th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). The 4th Battalion later moved to the 198th Infantry Brigade operating in the I Corps area, near the northern border of South Vietnam. In its five-year deployment, the 4th Battalion earned 11 battle streamers, along with a Presidential Unit Citation awarded to Recon Platoon, Company E. The 4th Battalion inactivated November 30, 1971, at Fort Lewis, WA.

The 4th Battalion re-activated as part of the Military District of Washington in December 2008, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA.

State Funeral for the Vietnam Unknown – May 28, 1984

On May 28, 1984, the nation honored the Vietnam Unknown with a State Funeral Ceremony and interment at the Tomb of the Unknown. President Reagan acted at the Unknown’s next of kin and received the honors rendered to the Unknown. The State Funeral was part of the Memorial Day observance ceremonies that year.

In the following years, some contended that the Vietnam Unknown’s identity was not “known but to God.” Support grew for attempting to identify the Unknown. On May 14, 1998, the Vietnam Unknown was exhumed. DNA testing confirmed the Unknown was  Air Force First Lieutenant Michael Blassie. After his identification, 1LT Blassie was reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

The crypt today stands empty as a memorial to all service members who did not return home from Vietnam. The inscription now reads, “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen 1958-1975.”

See photos of the State Funeral for the Vietnam Unknown:

2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment Inactivated – October 15, 1970

On October 15, 1970, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was inactivated at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 2nd Battalion re-activated four years earlier at Fort Benning, before deploying to Vietnam. During the deployment, the 2d Battalion participated in eleven campaigns and earned the Valorous Unit Award for its actions during the Tet Offensive (31 Jan – 19 Feb 1968). The 2nd Battalion was assigned to the 199th Infantry Brigade (known as the Redcatchers) throughout its deployment. The 2d Battalion was next re-activated on 16 March 2001, as part of the Army’s first Stryker Brigade Combat Team under the 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.