CHARLIE COMPANY HISTORY
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:
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)
We wish to thank and acknowledge the following individuals
for their generous contribution of information for this page:
5th Battalion (Mechanized), 60th
Infantry Regiment, 3rd (Go Devils) Brigade,
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Battle of Binh Long
Iron Ranger Newsletter
AUGUST 12TH, 1969 My day of
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.
Alfredo (Al) G. Herrera
Secretary/Treasurer, Bandido Charlie Assoication
Bandido Charlie First Sergeant
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.
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.
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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