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Task Force Oregon

Source: The Americal Newsletter July - August - September 1995

In February of 1967, General William C. Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. Forces in Vietnam, formed a planning group to organize an Army Task Force to send to the I Corps Area.

This planning group, commanded by Major General William B. Rossoni organized a multi-brigade force composed of the 196 Light Infantry Brigade (i.e., the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division: and the 3rd Brigade, 25 Infantry Division, later redesignated the 3rd Brigade, 4rth Infantry Division).

Task Force Oregon became operational on April 20, 1967, when troops from the 196th Brigade landed at the Chu Lai Airstrip and immediately began search operations around the base camp. Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 4rth Division started conducting search and destroy operations in Southern Quang Ngai Province, and in May, the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne paratroopers arrived at Duc Pho and operations in the jungles west of there.

Early operations conducted by Task Force Oregon included Malheur 1 and Malheur 11, Hood River, Benton and Cook. On 11 September, 1967, Operation Wheeler was launched against elements of the 2nd North Vietnamese Division working in the area northwest of Chu Lai.

On 22 September, 1967, Brigadier General Samuel W. Koster assumed command of the task force, replacing Major General Richard T. Knowles, and three days later Task Force Oregon became the Americal Division, composed of the 196th, 198th, and the 11th Light Infantry Brigades, even though the latter two organizations were still training in the United States.

Operation Wheeler continued and on 4 October, 1967, the 3rd Brigade 1st Air Cavalry Division joined the Americal and immediately launched Operation Wallowa in the northern sector of the divisions area of o perations. Operations Wheeler and Wallowa were combined on 11 November and Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was conducted by the 196th Brigade (which replaced the 101st Airbornes 1st Brigade in the Operation Wheeler after that organization departed for the 11 Corps Tactical zone) and the 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry.

An official change of colors ceremony was held 26 October and the Americal Division became the Seventh Army Division fighting in Vietnam. General Koster received his second star during the same ceremony.

Chico, 1970

Dec. 1969, Peter Dempsey

Steve, Pat, Charles, Michael and Bassett

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