YEAR of the HORSE by Colonel Kenneth D. Mertel.
1/8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. This book is the day-by-day story of the Jumping Mustangs - 1st Ballalion, Airborne, 8th Cavalry, of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, written by the man who knows them best. 1st Air Cav Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Mertel.
On 1 July 1965, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 1st Air Cavalry Division was activated to employ newly developed techniques and tactics, providing the utmost in combat effectiveness and flexibility. After telling of the excitement at Benning over the formation of this revolutionary airmobile division, Colonel Mertel gives a vivid picture of the building of his own Jumping Mustang Battalion, the rigorous training of officers and men and, finally, the long voyage across the Pacific to Vietnam. Now the test.
Would the new concept of airmobility, so painstakingly worked out stateside, produce the hoped-for results? The answer came quickly and dramatically in a rapid succession of search and destroy operations. Ia Drang . . . An Khe South . . . Plei Mei . . . the Cambodian border . . . Bong Son . . . Tarzan . . . In precipitous mountains, dense jungles, mud and water-filled rice paddles and expanses of view-obstructing elephant grass, the Jumping Mustangs sought out the enemy, engaging him in combat and stopping him in his tracks. Airmobility more than passed the test. Colonel Mertel pays tribute to the many acts of heroism of his men, who lived, worked and fought together in some of the world's most inhospitable conditions. He also writes movingly of those who never came back.
In 1967 the President, at a White House ceremony, recognized the Division's success and valor by awarding it the Presidential Unit Citation for the action at Plei Mei. According to the Chinese calendar, 1966 was the "Year of the Horse." It was the "Year of the Horse" for the Jumping Mustangs in Vietnam. 352 pages, 59 striking full-color photographs. 9 Maps.
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