The Wandering Warriors of the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd
Brigade finally returned home to stay on October 2, 1968.
Rain fell in a soft drizzle as a C-130 aircraft settled to the
airstrip at Hue-Phu Bai and the Screaming Eagle band struck up
"Rendezvous with Destiny." Command elements of the brigade
headquarters and their direct artillery support battalion, the 2nd Bn.,
319th Arty., moved toward Major General Melvin Zais, the division
commanding general, halted, and the tall, slender colonel leading the
formation saluted and said, "Sir, the 3rd Brigade reports for duty."
With this message, Col. Joseph B. Conmy Jr., commanding officer
of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division reunited his brigade with
the Division from which it had been separated since February.
As the new base camp was under construction, the maneuver
battalions moved out to begin familiarizing themselves with their new
AO (area of operations).
It was all old hat to the wanderers, who had seen action in all
four tactical zones. Such names as Bien Hoa, Phuoc Vinh, Song Be, Dak
To, Dak Pek, Cu Chi, and Dau Tieng are all familiar. Each has seen
elements of, if not the entire brigade, fighting on its terrain.
When the Warriors arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base in December, 1967,
under the command of Col. Lawrence Mowery, the first move was made to
Phuoc Vinh. In-country training began and quickly turned into full
scale combat against the Viet Cong located in the edge of War Zone D
and south of Phuoc Vinh.
The young Paratroopers gained confidence and battle savvy.; they
became Warriors who were to wander and fight throughout Vietnam.
As the first sounds of gunfire of the Tet Offensive broke over
the sprawling Bien Hoa complex, the 2nd Bn., 506th Abn. Inf. was
loaded on helicopters to be set down to the rear of the 101st Division
headquarters. Fifty meters beyond the headquarters, the first enemy
contact was made and 36 hours of persistent fighting began which
resulted in over 150 enemy deaths. The title "Warriors" was earned.