THE ORIGINAL BANDIDO CHARLIE C CO 1/16TH 1ST ID GUIDONBANDIDO CHARLIE MOVED FROM 5/60TH INF RGT 9TH ID TO THE 1/16TH INF RGT 1ST ID IN 1968

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CHARLIE COMPANY HISTORY


THE BATTLE OF BINH LONG PROVINCE, AUGUST, 1969


FirstSergeant M113 numbered 007. Became 1SG Herrera’s track in Dec 1968


BANDIDO CHARLIE COMPANY AWARDED MERITORIOUS UNIT COMMENDATION


CHARLIE COMPANY HISTORY


BANDIDO CHARLIE NEAR AN LOC, VIETNAM


MG George Casey

Addressing Our Bandidos at FSB Allons II


FAR and DISTANT SHORES


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BANDIDO CHARLIE NAME


MEDAL OF HONOR DISPLAYED IN 1ST INF DIV HQ

Historically Speaking -178 Streamers


THE BATTLE OF BINH LONG PROVINCE, AUGUST, 1969

Phil Greenwell

I should have passed this around way back when Doug located it.  We attacked North, then North West, not South East. There was no artillery, tac air, or gunship support allowed. In the first phase of the fight we attacked so as to take pressure off of A company who had run headlong, in column formation, into a kill zone that allowed the enemy to fire at them from the high ground on two sides. When we became the major threat to the enemy they shifted their fires and attention to us which allowed A company to escape by moving, again in column, right behind us and then turn and go back to the road. D/5/7 Cav stayed at the road, as I had asked them to, so they could cover our rear while we assaulted up the hill. They and A company remained on the road while Bandido Charlie continued to fight on the hill.

Later in the day, after we had joined A and D companies on the road, we all went up the hill together though as I recall the enemy fires were not as fierce as they had been in the morning. I suspect a good chunk of their forces made a run for it knowing we were coming for them in an organized manner this time. 

The After Action Report gives perspective to the size and scope of the entire operation. It was, as they say, a pretty big deal!!

This report in made up of 6 PDFs:

AAR SEC 1

AAR SEC 2

AAR SEC 3

AAR SEC 4

AAR SEC 5

MAP OF AN LOC


First Sergeant M113 numbered 007. Became 1SG Herrera’s track in Dec 1968


BANDIDO CHARLIE COMPANY AWARDED MERITORIOUS UNIT COMMENDATION

In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a "stand alone" unit in Al Asad

(12 June 2006 to 11 June 2007)

(Click on image above, to view or download PDF of the orders) Click here for the AWARDS PAGE


Glen Davis, father of Associate Bandido,

William Davis, provided this photo, circa Sep-Oct 1969

(Mouse over the image for names)

Note: If you know any of the unidentified troops,

E-mail to rhmorgan@usa.net

 


We wish to thank and acknowledge the following individuals

for their generous contribution of information for this page:

Douglas "Doc" Birge
Garry Cooper
Alan "Shorty" Kisling
Doug Ludlow
Ronald W. Mackedanz
16th Infantry Regiment Association
5th Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment Association

CHARLIE COMPANY HISTORY

 5th Battalion (Mechanized), 60th Infantry Regiment, 3rd (Go Devils) Brigade,
9th Infantry Division
from 20 December 1966 - October 1968

Company C, soon to be known as Bandido Charlie Company, arrived in III Corps Tactical Zone of Vietnam fully mechanized with the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry in the 9th Division on December 20, 1966.

The Division swept through Dinh Tuong Province which included the village of My Tho on January 8 - May 31, 1967 in Operation Palm Beach.  The Division spent February and March, 1967 in the Long An Province which included the village of Tan Ann.  In 1968 the 9th Infantry Division engaged in heavy fighting in the Saigon area during and after the famous 1968 TET Offensive.

The History of Bandido Charlie, 5th Bn (Mech) 60th Inf. is not a dry regurgitation of events of long ago; it is the story of men thrown together in a mechanized infantry company in the Mekong Delta Region of South Vietnam, December of 1966 to September of 1968.  Starting with the promotion of 1LT Larry A Garner from Platoon Leader to Company Commander in April 1967, they found a means, through his unique leadership capabilities, to distinguish themselves from other units by the use of the name Bandido Charlie, proudly displaying the skull and cross sabers on their tracks, flags, bandanas, and pocket combat patches.

The 9th Infantry Division was the birthplace of Bandido Charlie Company.  In the 9th Infantry Division Bandido Charlie Company called several places in the Delta of South Vietnam home.  Dong Tam, the USS Colleton (Mobile Riverine Force), Binh Phuoc, many Fire Support Bases, and any place they parked their tracks for the night.  After many bloody, deadly battles from inside Saigon to My Tho and beyond, Bandido Charlie Company left Binh Phuoc and the 9th Infantry Division.  On 13 September, 1968, the unit was reassigned to the 1st. Infantry Division. The history that Bandido Charlie Company bestowed upon the 9th Infantry Division is to be honored and remembered.

After an early morning ceremony of retiring the Company Flag with all it's many streamers on it, Bandido Charlie Company left the 9th Infantry Division at Binh Phuoc on 13 September, 1968.  The entire Company, armored personnel carriers, jeeps, company records and everything traveled to Lie Khe and arrived that same evening at it's new home as Company C, 1st Battalion (MECH), 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.  They continued their legendary service in Vietnam from October 1968 - April 1970.

The Company was greeted in person by the Base Commander and the 1st Division Band at the main gate to Lai Khe on the evening of 13 September, 1968.

On 21 October, 1968 Bandido Charlie Company officially became part of the 1st. Infantry Division. And the "Rangers" designation used for the leg infantry that was replaced changed to "Iron Rangers" in recognition of the inherited mechanized configuration.  This was the very beginning of the Mechanized Infantry for the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of today.

Lai Khe Base was originally constructed inside of a rubber plantation. The tall trees helped protect the men and buildings during rocket attacks. The Base had it own radar, perimeter defense towers, big guns and everything needed to defend the Base.

The transition from fighting in the rice paddies of the Delta to fighting on the dry land of the rubber plantations was one that Bandido Charlie Company made easily.  They were involved in the Vietnamization process, and saw combat in and around areas like the Iron Triangle, Michelin Rubber Plantation, the Catcher's Mitt, Ben Cat and Lai Khe where they participated in ambush patrols and sealed off villages.

Bandido Charlie Company remained at Lai Khe until it left Vietnam with the rest of the 1st. Infantry Division.

1st Battalion (Mechanized)(Iron Rangers) , 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade,
1st Infantry Division
from October 1968 - April 1970

The Company was greeted in person by the Base Commander and the 1st Division Band at the main gate to Lai Khe on the evening of 13 September, 1968.

On 21 October, 1968 Bandido Charlie Company officially became part of the 1st. Infantry Division. And the "Rangers" designation for the leg infantry that we replaced was changed to "Iron Rangers." This was the very beginning of the Mechanized Infantry for the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of today.

Lai Khe Base was originally constructed inside of a rubber plantation. The tall trees helped protect the men and buildings during rocket attacks. The Base had it own radar, perimeter defense towers, big guns and everything needed to defend the Base.

The transition from fighting in the rice paddies of the Delta to fighting on the dry land of the rubber plantations was one that Bandido Charlie Company made easily. We were involved in the Vietnamization process, and saw combat in and around areas like the Iron Triangle, Michelin Rubber Plantation, the Catcher's Mitt, Ben Cat and Lai Khe where we participated in ambush patrols and sealed off villages.

Bandido Charlie Company remained at Lai Khe until it left Vietnam with the rest of the 1st. Infantry Division.


1st (Iron Rangers) Battalion (Mechanized)
16th Infantry Regiment
3rd Brigade
1st Infantry Division
from April, 1970 -April, 1995

The Company, along with the rest of the Battalion, was sent to Augsburg, Germany until it's participation in Desert Storm in 1991, then returned to Fort Riley, Kansas to be the only active element of the 16th Infantry Regiment.

1st (Iron Ranger) Battalion
16th Infantry Regiment
1st BCT
1st Infantry Division
from April, 1995 - November, 2003

In September of 2003 the 16th Infantry Regiment was called upon to go to Iraq.  Charlie Company was attached to the Marines and was stationed in and around the dreaded town of Falluja.

In November, 2004 Charlie Company returned to Fort Riley, Kansas.  And on 13 January, 2005, the original Company name of Bandido Charlie was officially restored thanks to the hard work of Woody Goldberg and Phil Greenwell, both past Company Commanders of Bandido Charlie Company,
Doug Ludlow and Al Herrera, both past NCO's of Bandido Charlie Company, and members of Charlie Company.


The Mechanized Bandido Charlie Company from the 9th Infantry Division was a part of the very beginnings of the now current "Iron Ranger" Battalion of today when the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division was "reorganized" into the 1st Battalion (Mech), 16th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division in October, 1968. Both of these above mentioned Battalions originated from the same place in the States at Fort Riley, Kansas.


1st Battalion (Iron Ranger)
16th Infantry Regiment

The 1st Battalion of today is one of the most historic and decorated units in the oldest Division in the United States Army. The Iron Ranger Battalion traces it's heritage to the 11th Infantry Regiment of the Civil War. And the 16th Infantry Regiment has fought in every major conflict since the Civil War except for Korea.


1st Brigade (Devils)

The current members of Bandido Charlie Company should be aware of their own history in Vietnam onward. These web pages are here to show the members of Charlie Company where they originally came from, to remind them of the sacrifices of the past to preserve everyone's freedom, and to show the future members of Charlie Company what we expect of them.

We, the former and current members of Bandido Charle Company, have damned well earned the right to say -

No mission to difficult
No sacrifice too great.
Duty first.

Semper Paratus

The Big Red 1

Battle of Binh Long Province


Cantigny Military History Series
Blood and Sacrifice - by Steven E. Clay
Page 315
Battle of Binh Long Provence
August 12, 1969

Over the next thirty days, the Iron Rangers fought two major actions and numerous minor engagements. The first major action was a battle five kilometers northwest of An Loc on August 12. For the five days prior to that mission, the 1st Battalion (for this mission consisting of the Headquarters Company, and A and
C Companies only) was primarily utilized to secure a series of FSBs in areas between Quon Loi and An Loc. On August 10, a platoon from Captain Robert R. Olson's A Company, in coordination with an ARVN company from the 4th Battalion, 9th ARVN Regiment, conducted an air assault near An Loc. The combined U.S./ARVN force, accompanied by Colonel Cassels, went into a LZ defended by NVA troops. Cassels recalled that this landing was the "hottest LZ I was ever in. I'm sure the chopper took bullets as it rose from the LZ."

Upon landing, the Iron Rangers immediately engaged an NVA unit and killed twenty-three of them. Four enemy soldiers were captured, and "singing like turkeys," indicated that the units of the 9th Division were indeed moving into the area.

The next evening, Cassels assembled his battalion, less Olson's A Company, at FSB Allons II about eight kilometers north of An Loc, as the RRF for the 11th ACR. Given the diminished size of the Iron Rangers for this operation, Colonel Leach attached D Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, that afternoon to Cassels to give him additional firepower. Even with the additional rifle company, Cassels commanded just over three hundred men for the impending operation.

While
C Company guarded Allons II, Olson's A Company pulled security for FSB Thunder IV just northeast of An Loc. On the morning of August 12, Cassels was directed to bring his units to the vicinity of FSB Eagle II, there to counterattack an enemy force that had attacked the fire base a couple of hours earlier.

Moving in the darkness, the battalion's elements linked up at Eagle II about dawn without encountering the expected enemy resistance. Cassels then decided to move along the enemy's suspected withdrawal route to the southwest. The Iron Rangers moved out with Olson's A Company in the lead. Captain Phillip Greenwell's
C Company following, and the troops of the 7th Cavalry riding on the tops of the C Company tracks (APCs).

Encountering a suspicious ford at a small stream, Olson's men took a great deal of time to reconnoiter the area before crossing. Cassels, impatient with the delay, moved forward to push the company across. With the battalion commander's urging, Olson finally moved A Company across the ford and Cassels' track joined the column about five vehicles back from the front.

After traveling about four kilometers, Olson's lead elements were hit by RPG and automatic weapons fire about 7:05 a.m. The first track in the column, the platoon leader's, was struck by an RPG round, and just seconds later, struck again by a 57mm recoilless round that killed the driver and set the vehicle on fire. The platoon leader was blown clear of the vehicle, but only slightly dazed. After the lieutenant made his way back to Cassels' track, the battalion commander directed him to mount another of his platoon's tracks and get a base of fire started at the enemy. Within minutes, the Iron Rangers were engaged against a six hundred-man battalion of the 272nd Regiment.

Though outnumbered two to one, Cassels deployed the battalion to attack in a southerly direction, with
C Company
on the right, A on the left, and his command track between the two. The .50 caliber machine-guns laid down a base of fire, as the D Company grunts scrambled off of the tops of the tracks and deployed forward. The infantrymen from A and C Companies also deployed and added their fire to that of the tracks, but the enemy fire steadily increased, and the advance of the battalion was stopped. Cassels called for air support and artillery.

After about forty minutes of intense fighting, Cassles' tracks as well as those of the two mech company commanders, had been disabled by enemy fire. All three commanders scrambled to other vehicles to continue the fight. Soon, the enemy force attempted to flank the battalion, but the Iron Rangers countered the move and drove the enemy eastward in an attempt to drive them into a clearing where the choppers of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery (Aerial Rocket) could attack the NVA troops.

By noon, three more APCs had been knocked out of action, and the enemy continued the fight. About 2:00 p.m., the battalion's command and control chopper carrying the S3, Major James Harris, was shot down by a .51-caliber machine gun. Harris was subsequently rescued, and by 3:00 p.m., was back in the air helping to control the battle. Fighting continued until 4:00 p.m., when Leach directed the battalion to break contact. The subsequent sweeps located twenty-nine bodies of the 272nd Regiment and numerous weapons and ammunition. The fighting cost the Iron Rangers two KIA, twenty-seven wounded, and five APCs destroyed.


Iron Ranger Newsletter
25 August, 1969
Edition 34-69

1. OPEN LETTER TO HANOI HANNA: Just a note to let you know we are alive and live in the jungle near An Loc. Contrary to your radio broadcast on 15 August, we did not get annihilated by the 272 NVA Regiment on the 12th, and are willing to prove it. Too bad about your friends who were killed or taken prisoner, but all is fair in love and war. Remember the glorious time we had together during the 1968 Tet Offensive? More of the same awaits your return. If you want to send along a few extra battalions, we can always call in AWFUL ALPHA and BUSHMASTER BRAVO to make it a good old fashioned IRON RANGER Pow Wow. Whenever more of your men are tired of living, just send them on over; always glad to be of service. CHIEU HOI now and avoid the Christmas rush. Sincerely yours, BANDIDO CHARLIE.

2. BANDIDO CHARLIE RIDES AGAIN: AN LOC, Republic of Viet Nam (1-16/IO)--
Bandido Charlie, whom Radio Hanoi claimed had been wiped out on 12 August 1969, got a chance to prove they were still alive today, August 21, 1969. The 2nd platoon of
Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 16th Infantry was providing convoy escort for the 1st Air Calvary Division (Air Mobile) Engineers between AN LOC and LOC NINH near the Cambodian border when they were ambushed along both sides of highway 13 by a reinforced platoon of NVA soldiers. In less than 10 minutes the Iron Ranger Battalion Operations Officer, Major James Harris of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was overhead in a HU-1D command and control helicopter and the remainder of Bandido Charlie was in a northerly direction. The ambushed platoon continued on through the ambush kill zone, laying down a heavy volume of fire, dropped off the engineer element, and made an immediate about-face, returning to the contact area. With a mechanized platoon returning from the north and the remainder of the company coming up from the south, the NVA forces had no choice but to flee into the heavy jungle along the west side of the road. When Charlie Company Commander, Captain Phillip Greenwell, of Johnson City, Tennessee linked up with his 3rd platoon, he deployed his Iron Rangers against the fleeing bad guys from Hanoi. When the .50 caliber machine guns had cooled, 11 NVA bodies lay in their wake and 1 detainee was graciously telling all he knew about his base camp. Nearby, as Company A of the Iron Ranger battalion joined the search, a complete sweep of the area was made, several bunkers destroyed and a list of equipment as long as a .50 caliber machine gun barrel had been captured. Some of the more important items were 5 AK-47 rifles, 1 AKM Soviet assault rifle, 1 75mm Recoilless Rifle, 8 B-40 rockets with boosters, 14 CHICON grenades and numerous other items. Upon return to their night defensive position, 14 Iron Ranger men were greeted with a special surprise as Brigadier General George W. Casey, Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Air Calvary Division was on hand to present 4 Silver Stars, 7 Bronze Stars, 1 Air Medal and 2 Army Commendation Medals, all for valor on 12 and 21 August 1969. To quote Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth G. Cassels of Plant City, Florida, the Iron Ranger Commander, "just another day for the 1st Infantry Division's finest."


AUGUST 12TH, 1969 My day of infamy
Written by Ronald W. Mackedanz

On August 12th, 1969, my unit (
Charlie Company 1st of the 16th (mechanized infantry) was on the move around An Loc and Loc Nihn, South Vietnam. Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) activity had been on the increase in the area between these villages and the Cambodian border. This area was known as “The Fish Hook”

I was assigned to drive the armed personnel carrier for the company commander. (Captain Phillip Greenwell). Our mission on this day was to transport a company of grunts (foot soldiers), westward toward the Cambodian border and drop them off. Our company, along with Company A, 1st of the 16th (mech), and the Battalion headquarters unit would all be involved. This operation would involve approximately forty armed personnel carriers, each with four to six assigned infantrymen and approximately six more grunts on each track (carrier).

We moved out shortly after daylight and headed westward thru an old French rubber plantation. The local people were out working in various parts of the plantation, gathering rubber syrup from the trees. They do this, much the same as maple syrup is collected. The trees in these plantations are planted in the same fashion that farmers used to plant checked corn, back in the forties and fifties. You can see down the rows at ninety degree and forty-five degree angles.

Shortly after entering the plantation, possibly a mile or so, three or four NVA regulars ran across the road just ahead of our column. Our battalion commander ordered four tracks, (a platoon) to go after these NVA. As the rest of us waited on the road, the platoon in pursuit starting taking intense small arms and rocket fire.

In my mind, the NVA planned this ambush with a great deal of military genius. As soon as our guys started taking fire, we all turned on line to the right, and started an assault into the ambush. No more than we had started our assault, when all hell broke loose on our left flank. At this point, the APC’s (tracks) swung around to the left and advanced up the hill, straight into the main ambush. The grunts had all dismounted and were on the ground, covering our right flank. As we advanced up the hill, we encountered a sizable NVA force. They were dug in, and some were up in the trees. We were taking a lot of heavy small arms fire and rockets (RPG’s).

I remember seeing an RPG coming right at me. It went over my head by a couple of feet. I didn’t see the next one come. It hit my track, right in the engine compartment, blowing the motor up. Instantly, we were dead in the water, so to speak. The engine room door was blown out, and hit me in the right shoulder. I immediately grabbed my M79 grenade launcher and started firing rounds at the NVA. They were dug in, no more than thirty to fifty yards in front of us.

At this point, I was trapped inside the drivers hatch, pinned down by intense enemy fire. As one NVA soldier jumped out of his bunker and started running away, I put a grenade round right in his back pocket. I never did check him out. Shortly after that. I decided to bail out of the track. The only way out was up through the top of the drivers hatch. It was only days later, after thinking about the reality of the situation, that I realized how fortunate I was to have gotten out of there alive.

My track commander/fifty gunner was gone from the top of the track. The company commander was down inside the track, trying to co-ordinate things. I headed for cover behind my track to find Al Kalchek (my fifty gunner) and Al Herrera (our first sargeant) there. As we hunkered down, trying to decide what to do next, a grenade landed nearby.

Al and Top were both severely wounded. Top was hit under his right arm, and also took a lot of shrapnel in his lower stomach area. Al was hit on his right side. He took a lot of shrapnel in his right arm and leg.

I did what I could to patch up Al, as Top kept pressure on his arm wound. Thankfully a medic got to us and took over. I then crawled up on top of the track and started returning fire with the fifty- caliber machine gun. As it turned out, the barrel was already burned out and the rounds were going all over the place.

I don’t recall exactly what happened next, all I know is that I dropped down into the track. I had been hit with shrapnel from an RPG, in my right hand, neck, shoulder and back. Capt. Greenwell saw me, and said “you’re ok Mack,” I then bailed out of the track, where the medic was still working on Al and Top. He bandaged up my wounds to my neck and my hand. Then he told me to get some guys to help evacuate Al. We got him on a stretcher and four of us started running down the hill toward the Medi Vac track. The guy beside me, John McEldreath, (a big guy from down south) got hit with a bullet through his right side and stomach. He fell, and we both dropped the stretcher, falling right on top of Al. John got to his feet, and we picked up Al and made our way down to hill to the Medi-Vac track.

Once we got Al loaded up, there were quite a few other guys, wounded, waiting to be taken out to the choppers (helicopters). The track was pretty well loaded with wounded guys, and I wasn’t real wild about getting in for the trip out. I figured that the NVA had us cut off. Top ordered me to get on, so I jumped on and we headed out to a clearing where the choppers could get to us.

The choppers got us out to a medical hospital, not unlike the MASH unit that they used to show on TV. We weren’t there very long, when they put us on another chopper and took us to Cu Chi, where they had a bigger hospital facility. While I was in Cu Chi, they took the shrapnel out of my neck, hand and shoulder. Most of it anyway. They didn’t bother giving me anything for the pain; they just went after the shrapnel. I remember calling that doctor everything but a white man. He said, “ The guys from the Big Red One are tough”. Well, tough or not, it still hurt like hell.

While I was in Cu Chi, My wife, Janet received my second Purple Heart, in the mail. There was no explanation with it, she didn’t know if I was dead or alive. I did finally get one of the Red Cross workers to pen a letter for me, to Janet letting her know that I would be okay.

After spending a few days in Cu Chi, they shipped me off to a convalescent hospital in Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam. This was a hospital that was run by Air Force personnel. All the nurses that tended to us were Air Force nurses’.

Cam Rahn Bay is northeast of Saigon, right on the South China Sea. It was really quite a nice place, as Vietnam goes. We were right next to the ocean. As I recall, I was at Cam Rahn Bay for about three weeks. During that time, we got hit with sapper attacks twice. Sappers are Viet Cong who sneak through the wire on the perimeter, or come in from the ocean. They usually carried several explosive charges, (schachel charges), that they would throw into bunkers filled with unarmed, wounded GI’s and nurses.

Most of the guys that were supposed to be guarding us were new in country, and had no combat experience. The first time that we got hit, myself and two other guys ran over to supply. We tried to get them to give us weapons, but they wouldn’t give us any. So we ran down to the beach, where the new guys were on guard. We got them to give us their weapons, and let us take over. We figured that after spending ten months in combat, we were not going down without a fight.


21 August 1969

MG George Casey addressing our Bandidos at FSB Allons II on 21 August 1969.  He was commanding the 1st Air Cavalry Division at the time and we were under their operational control.  MG Casey was KIA in 1970. 

His son, General George Casey, is the current Chief of Staff, US Army.


 

FAR and DISTANT SHORES
By RONALD W. MACKEDANZ

In 1968, brave young men flew off to war.
To fight and die for freedom, on some far and distant shore.
As their fathers had before them gone, in 1942.
They shed their blood, and some men died, just for me and you.
Now under God, this great Nation stands, a tribute to them all.
When our country needs brave men to fight, our best will answer the call.
Some will return, to enjoy a life with their family and a wife.
Grateful, now should we all be, for those, who gave their life


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BANDIDO CHARLIE NAME

In April, 1967, while in Vietnam, the first actual acknowledgement of the name Bandido Charlie became known. In April, 1LT Larry A. Garner was a Platoon Leader when he was promoted and assumed command of Charlie Company, 5/60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. While in command, Lt Garner wore a red bandanna around his neck and soon other members of the company began wearing red bandannas to stand out from the other units. The Commander of the 3/60th Infantry Battalion, LTC Edwin W. Chamberlain remarked that the troops looked like a bunch of Mexican Banditos. Garner liked the name and began using it on that same day. From that date in April, 1967,  the company became known as Bandido Charlie. Lt Garner was criticized by other officers of the Battalion for using the name, but he never wavered and the name stuck.

In September, 1968 the company, together with the remainder of the 5/60th battalion was transferred to the 1st Infantry Division in Lai Khe, Vietnam. The company was officially designated, Charlie Company, 1/16th (Mech), 1st Infantry Division. The men of the company, who transferred into the Big Red One, were actively involved in having the name, Bandido Charlie retained as the unofficial designated company name. To this end, the spirit and embodiment of Bandido Charlie was absorbed by all the members of the “new” Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, and was Bandidos for the remainder of the unit’s tour in Vietnam. From its initial assignment to the Big Red One in September 1968, Charlie Company was known and recognized as Bandido Charlie. This status remained until April 1970 when the 1st Infantry Division departed Vietnam for duty at Ft Riley, Kansas.

When the company arrived at Ft Riley, Kansas, in May 1970, Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry began using other names for the company. Bandido Charlie had ceased to be the designated name for the company.

From 1970 through 1995, while assigned to Ft Riley, the company was detached to various locations including Germany and Iraq. However, during this period, the company was not recognized as Bandido Charlie, but with various other names and none were recorded or remembered.

This all changed, when during periods of 1983, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002 small groups of veteran Bandidos began gathering and having mini-reunions in different parts of the country. In early 2002, communications between veteran Bandidos began in earnest. In all of these gatherings, the veterans were Bandido Charlie! That name of honor that will bind Bandido veterans, forever.

In early 2002, two Bandido Charlie veterans began a process that would result in the establishment of an organization composed of veteran and current Bandidos. Without the efforts of Douglas J. Ludlow and Curtis L. Hatterman, the Bandido Charlie Association may not have been established. These two veterans were extremely important and essential locating and contacting fellow Bandidos of all eras. Doug and Curt began to effectively contact Bandidos by phone, email, by the US mail system, and sometimes with personal visits. Consequently, the first Bandido Charlie website was originated by Curt Hatterman. This instrument was a key tool in the effort of finding former Bandidos. Doug, Curt, Herb McHenry, Phil Greenwell, and Ron Mackedanz began contacting several veterans, who in turn, contacted others. It was during these contacts that veteran Bandidos learned that the name Bandido Charlie was not being used by the active duty Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry.

By May 2002 the first of many Bandido Charlie reunions was held in New Orleans in conjunction with the Big Red One Reunion. The Bandido reunion was small but made a big impact on the men. They decided to begin notifying other veteran Bandidos to make plans to attend a subsequent Big Red One Reunion that was to be held August 2003 in Reno, Nevada. Several key individuals were involved in this process. In addition to Doug and Curt, others who contributed were: Phil Greenwell, Ron Mackedanz, Herb McHenry, Mike Renshaw, Rufus Hood, Cliff Poris, and Wendy Winslow.

In August 2003, during the Big Red One reunion in Reno, Bandido Charlie veterans in attendance agreed that the original name of Bandido Charlie should be restored to the active duty Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. It was recommended that a proposal to have the name of Bandido Charlie returned to the active duty Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry be forwarded to the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division.

The recommendation would be a request to restore the former unit designation name of Bandido Charlie to the current active duty unit. The proposal was prepared and submitted by the Secretary of the newly established Bandido Charlie Association, Al Herrera. The proposal was forwarded to Phil Greenwell, President of the Association with courtesy copies to Charlie Taylor, Ken Costich, Walter Presha, Lee B. Alley, Wendy Winslow, Charlie Taylor, Bill Doherty, Woody Goldberg, Ron Mackedanz, Doug Ludlow, Robert Schoenwald, and Herb McHenry. These individuals were asked for their comments on the recommendation.

On June 2003, the proposal was completed and officially forwarded to the Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division. The proposal was submitted through former Bandido Charlie Commanding Officer, Sherwood (Woody) Goldberg. Woody, who at the time was in Washington, DC working for General Alexander Haig as the Special Civilian Aide to the Chief of Staff of the Army. The Bandidos concluded that the proposal would receive a much needed thrust through Woody. In addition, they acknowledged that Woody, because of his position and knowledge, would probably be able to gain favorable approval for the request. Working with the Sergeant Major of the Army, SMA Tilley, Woody was successful in securing approval from the Chief of Staff and forwarded the request to the Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division, Major General John R. S. Batiste.

On July 17, 2003, Woody received word from the Commanding General and the Command Sergeant Major of the First Infantry Division that they had received the request. MG John Batiste informed Woody that he would respond when action would be complete. Later, we found that the recommendation required the approval of the men of active duty Charlie Company, 1/16th to have the name changed.

On January 13, 2005, and through the fine efforts of the individuals listed above, final approval to restore the Bandido Charlie name to the active duty unit was granted. Bandido Charlie was once again the official designated name of Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. It is important to know that Bandido Charlie is the only authorized unit designation granted to any unit by the Department of the Army.

On January 13, 2005, the first active duty Company Commander of the renewed Bandido Charlie Company was, CPT Michael T. Squires. CPT Squires was an enthusiastic and passionate officer who educated his men on the history and valor of the name and the men who fought under it. The men of Charlie Company, 1/16th unanimously voted for the name change and the desire to become part of the living legend.

On January 17, 2005, CPT Squires sent an email to the Bandido Charlie Association to tell the veteran Bandidos how ecstatic he was when he received the news. He remarked: “The Bandidos ride again”. Former Company Commander, Wendy Winslow wrote, “YAHOOOOOOOO!”, “Nice going to all!, and “Yes, we ride again!”

When veteran Bandidos of 1967-1970 eras learned of this action; that Bandido Charlie had not been forgotten, but was on active duty rolls once again, many of them sent emails expressing their thanks and gratitude for a very fine effort on the part of several individuals to have the Bandido Charlie name restored. They were very pleased to learn that the name of Bandido Charlie is officially on the US Army rolls of, Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Division.

In November 2006 Charlie Company was deployed to the area of Al Asad in the country of Iraq. While at that assignment, the company carried their Bandido Charlie colors with pride for all other service members to know and recognize that the Bandidos were still riding high, and very proud of their distinctive Bandido Charlie! In Iraq, the soldiers of Bandido Charlie re-established the combat legends of the original Bandidos of the 1/16th Infantry and 5/60th Infantry Regiment predecessors.

In November 2007, the company returned to Ft Riley, where a large welcome reception was held for the members of Bandido Charlie. The reception was held in Manhattan, Kansas with a small contingent of veteran Bandidos attending the festivities. It is interesting to note that Bandido Charlie has gained a highly respected reputation in the military community of Ft Riley.

In March 2008, the Association learned that the Bandido Charlie Company would be reorganizing. The company would remain as a unit but under a different army wide concept. The result would be that the Bandidos would no longer be an infantry unit. They would be re-flagged as an armor unit. Men and officers of the Bandidos, and even present commanders at all levels, sought to have this concept changed. However, the Army would not change and the transfer from infantry to armor would take place in the summer of 2009, prior to redeployment to a combat zone.

Submitted with concurrence of the President, Bandido Charlie Association, Ken Costich, and editing by Carole Marton, on September 2008.

By:

Alfredo (Al) G. Herrera

Secretary/Treasurer, Bandido Charlie Assoication

Bandido Charlie First Sergeant


MEDAL OF HONOR DISPLAYED IN 1ST INF DIV HQ

A Medal of Honor is displayed in the lobby of the new First Infantry Divsion headquarters building in Ft Riley. It is a very attractive building surrounded by historical monuments and artifacts with stone bricks of BRO veterans engraved, implanted on the grounds of the property. In the lobby is a display of all BRO MOH recipients. In the center of all these heros is a replica of a MOH. It is significant because one of our Associate Bandidos, Moses Schienfeld's father donated the medal. He purchased it at an auction for $1,000 because his father knew it shouldn't be owned by anyone who hadn't earned the medal. A very benevolent gesture. A brief description furnished by Moses is in the email below.

My father, who collected rare signatures, was at a rare collectibles auction when a MOH went up for sale.

He did not want it floating around so he bought it for $1000.

Later on we learnt that the company contracted to make the MOH illegally made additional medals and sold them illegally (see link below to New York Times article).

We suspect that the MOH we have was/is one of the illegally minted medals.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B05E4D81E31F93AA25753C1A960958260

Being in the military, he gave me the MOH for safekeeping. 

As the new 1st ID headquarters was going up, I had heard there was going to be MOH wall.

So in FEB 08 I brought the MOH to MG Durbin’s office and asked that he use it as he sees fit, donating it to Ft. Riley in memory of my father (Of Blessed Memory) who died in NOV 07.

That is how it ended up the MOH wall in the 1st ID headquarters lobby.

Moses Scheinfeld


Historically Speaking -178 Streamers

By BG John S. Brown, U.S. Army retired

June 14, 2009, marks the 234th birthday of the United States Army.

Many of us will at some point on that day be in the presence of the Army flag, which proudly bears streamers representing 178 officially recognized campaigns. Unit flags are likely to be present as well, bearing streamers for which the unit has earned campaign credit. And of course there are the ribbons worn by veterans, miniature counterparts to the streamers that acknowledge service to our country. Since 1921, campaign streamers as we know them have reminded us of the courage, competence and sacrifice of our soldiers. Before that time, ribbons, engraved silver bands or names embroidered directly into the colors served the same purpose. Thumbing through the campaign streamers on an Army flag reveals the awesome breadth of military heritage.

The streamers reflect our military history as it evolved: 16 for the Revolutionary War, six for the War of 1812, 10 for the Mexican War, 25 for the Civil War, 14 for the Indian Wars, three for the Spanish-American War, 11 for the Philippine Insurrection, 13 for World War I, 38 for World War II, 10 for Korea, 17 for Vietnam and 15 for expeditionary combat outside the framework of major wars. Interestingly, of the 15 streamers awarded for this miscellaneous expeditionary combat, nine reflect events since the end of the Cold War in 1989.

The geographic scope of the campaigns is impressive. Fifty-nine campaigns were fought within what is now the United States, 14 elsewhere in North America, four elsewhere in Latin America, 28 in Europe, 28 in the Pacific, 40 on the continent of Asia and three in Africa. Two, the World War II Antisubmarine Campaign and the ongoing war on terrorism, defy precise geographical categorization. We have been characterized as a Eurocentric power, but we have spent more than three times as much time fighting in Asia and the Pacific, even before our current commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our campaign streamers represent dedicated service and usually-about 90 percent of the time-victory. Twenty campaigns are best characterized as defeats for the United States: one loss to the Chinese in the winter of 1950-51, three to the Japanese in 1941-42, six to the British prior to 1815 and 10 to the Confederate States of America. Many National Guard units from south of the Mason-Dixon Line are allowed to interpret these statistics a bit differently. They were on the winning side in the 10 Civil War campaigns won by the Confederacy, but on the losing side in the 10 campaigns won by the Union. Five Civil War campaigns are probably best characterized as a draw. It also seems fair to characterize the campaigns against the Seminoles and Pancho Villa as draws as well. For those who believe wars originate in profound cultural differences, it may be instructive to note that 80 percent of our defeats were inflicted by people who speak English.

Ironically, none of the 17 campaigns in Vietnam is properly characterized as a defeat for the United States. In each case, campaigns were defined by parameters, and objectives were generally achieved. The last ended in January 1973, shortly after the massive defeat of the 1972 North Vietnamese invasion and the subsequent withdrawal of the few remaining American combat units. This phenomenon may support those who characterize Vietnam as a war we "walked away from" rather than "lost."

It also fits with the story of an American officer who commented to a North Vietnamese counterpart that we never lost a battle to them. The North Vietnamese officer affirmed that this was true, but also irrelevant.

The largest campaign we ever fought was the final battle for Central Europe beginning on March 22, 1945. By that time, GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded more than 4.5 million troops whose organization included 91 combat divisions, of whom two-thirds were American. The bloodiest campaign was that for the Rhineland from September 14, 1944, to March 21, 1945, which included savage fighting in appalling conditions for bridges across Holland, the Siegfried Line, Aachen, Metz, the Huertgen Forest, the Vosges, the Roer and innumerable villages captured to close and cross the Rhine River. The prolonged grind cost more than 200,000 casualties, and had more than 100,000 more from the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign geographically and temporally embedded within it. The six campaigns north of the Alps from D-Day to V-E Day cost almost 600,000 American casualties, including 136,000 dead. This gigantic contest incorporated our largest and bloodiest campaigns, but the Civil War arguably still accounts for our most intense. At the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia, the U.S. Army lost 12,000 men in a single day, and at Gettysburg more than 20 percent of the soldiers present became casualties.

Discounting campaigns that are not yet concluded, our longest continuous campaign was that against the Comanches, from 1867 through 1875. For nine long years, our soldiers contested vast tracts of Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado with their adversaries. Flouting the convention of the times, fighting went on summer and winter to wear down the mobile and terrain-wise Comanches. As long as the campaign against the Comanche people was, the campaign streamer for the Seminoles represents an even longer span of time. It combines campaign credit for scattered episodes of combat and active operations stretching from November 1817 through May 1858. Dramatic events included the loss of a contingent under CPT Francis Dade at a cost greater than that of the more famous Little Bighorn.

There are a number of candidates for the shortest campaign.

Twenty-one streamers were awarded for the events of a single day.

Virtually all of these date from before the Civil War and a time when conventional operations tended to be the "day of battle," and contributions towards victory could be measured on that day. Of these days of battle, the most economical seems to have been executed by GEN George Washington at Trenton, N.J., in 1776. He attacked at 8 o'clock on the morning after Christmas and accepted the Hessian surrender an hour and a half later.

The history of the U.S. Army is still being written, of course, and there will be more streamers. Single streamers that now exist for Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terrorism could justifiably be broken into phases. Foreign correspondent Richard Engel makes the interesting argument that there will have been six phases in Iraq: shock and awe (March-April 2003), nation-building (2003-04), insurgency (2004-05), civil war (2006-07), the surge (2007-08) and our exit (2009-11). Whether his characterizations hold up remains to be seen, but it has been our habit to refine our appreciation of sacrifices made and periods served during lengthy wars. We do not yet have streamers for Somalia, Haiti or Bosnia, which seem to me to be omissions.

I remember being astonished by a beloved Sunday school teacher's insistence that, rather than simply reciting the Lord's Prayer, I should think about each word and what it meant. By analogy, when the Army's birthday brings us into the presence of Army flags and their streamers, we might think beyond the colorful embroidery to the millions of individual sacrifices and rich historical heritage they represent.

A birthday is, after all, a time for remembrance.


Recommended Reading:

Hartzog, GEN William W., American Military Heritage (Washington, D.C.:

Center of Military History, 2001)

Hogan, David W. Jr., Centuries of Service: The U.S. Army, 1775-2005 (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 2005)

Stewart, Richard W., ed., American Military History, Volumes I and II (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, 2005)

"The Army Flag and Its Streamers" (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, www.history.army.mil/html/reference/army_flag/index.html, 2009)

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