On 17 May 1968, detachments of 35 men and 5
vehicles from each battalion and separate companies departed from
their station at Sioux City, IA, Topeka, Hiawatha, and Kansas
On 19 May, at 0815 hours, the advance detachment of 74 vehicles and 237 men entered Fort Carson. The detachment began to prepare the barracks for the arrival of the main body of the 69th Brigade.
The remainder of the brigade arrived at Carson,
on 23 May, in the following order:
- Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company from Topeka and St mary's
- Troop E, 114th Cavalry from McPherson and Manhattan
- 1st Battalion, 137th Infantry from Wellington, Wichita, Winfield, Newton and Arkansas City
- 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry from Kansas City, Leavenworth, Atchison, Lawrence and Holton
- 2nd Battalion, 130th Artillery from Hiawatha, Troy, Sabetha, Horton and Paola
- 169th Support Battalion from Kansas City, Topeka, Belleville and Marysville
- 169th Aviation Company from Kansas City
- 169th Engineer Company from Emporia, Council Grove and Eureka
- 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 133rd Infantry from Sioux City, LeMars, Sheldon, Ida Grove, Cherokee and Mapleton (all in Iowa)
- 241st Military Intelligence Detachment from Boston, MA.
The first mission of the Brigade was to review basic military subjects in training areas, then infantry battalions were engaged in training in team and squad tactics. Other units began training in their matters. The 169th Support Battalion worked to provide new equipment to the Brigade. Some equipment, like the M48 tanks of the E Troop were left at home, other were obsolete. Troops received the M14 rifle to replace their WWII vintage M1 Rifle.
At Fort Carson, two of the 69th Infantry Brigade
units were attached to their divisional counterparts for training:
- E Troop, 114th Cavalry joined the 4th Squadron, 12th Cavalry
- 2nd Battalion, 130th Artillery joined Division Artillery.
Troops had to be familiarized with new weapons
- M14 Rifle
- 106mm and 90mm Recoilless Rifles
- M60 tank
- M113 APC
- M114 Command and Reconnaissance
On 24 June 1968, the 69th Infantry Brigade
began training at squad and platoon level, assisted by advisors
from the 5th Infantry Division.
From 27 July to 2 August, it conducted Company Army Training Tests (ATT's), then Battalion Army Training Tests. After the completion of the Battalion ATT's, the Brigade was engaged in Brigade level operations. It participated in the following exercises:
- 19 to 22 August: Command Post Exercises (CPX)
- 23 to 26 September: Command Post Exercises (CPX)
- 22 to 25 October: Field Training Exercise (FTX)
- 5 to 7 November: Command Post Exercises (CPX)
"The skill and enthusiasm of the officers and men of the 69th in these exercises brought praise from Major General Roland M. Gleszer, Commanding general of the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and Fort Carson."
After field training, the personnel of the 69th Infantry Brigade began specialized training. Selected personnel attended Army schools: Chemical, Biological and Radiological School, Radiotelephone Operator School, Jungle School in the Panama Canal Zone, Drill Instructor School at Fort Leonard Wood, MS, and other schools. Leadership School were conducted on post for the improvement of the military skill of the NCO's. Two special classes were designated for the 69th. Men of the Brigade attended the Fifth Army Recondo Training Center when it was established at Fort Carson. Of the first class, of the 35 graduates, 27 were from the 69th Brigade.Tests for the Expert Infantry Badge award were conducted early in 1969, at division level, 127 men were awarded on the 143 men taking the test.
During October and November 1968, the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 137th Infantry conducted extensive training in airmobile operations.
In the mid-1960's, federal troops were called to assist National Guard units during civil disorders. After this, all federal troops received training in riot control. The 69th Infantry Brigade, like all NG units, had undergone extensive training in this matter. Units of the Brigade reviewing their riot training after the initial training period. Like all units at Fort Carson, the 69th Infantry Brigade would take its turn on "Operation Garden Plot", a riot alert program.
At Fort Carson, first reports were received in July 1968 to levy individuals of the Brigade for service in other units in the States or overseas. The principal destination was the Republic of Vietnam. Men on orders began their Preparation for Overseas Replacement training (POR).
"The levies continued on a monthly basis. Each time a levy came down, the number of men increased until 2,301 officers and enlisted men on orders. The levying of Brigade personnel continued until May, 1969. At first, the levies took support-type troops whose skills were needed, such as medics, wiremen, and other critical MOS. Infantry Captains were among the first officers to get orders. Finally, about 60 percent of the enlisted men and 95 percent of the officers of the 69th were levied. All but a few went to Vietnam. Of the infantry troops, primarily 11C's were being called. These heavy weapons personnel came primarily from the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 137th Infantry Regiment. In addition, the mechanized battalion from Iowa was hit hard by the replacement levies. In fact, none of the original unit escaped the levy."
The first troops from the 69th Infantry Brigade arrived in Vietnam late in October 1968. The men received training in jungle terrain and tactics then were assigned to numerous units in Vietnam.
On 28 September 1968, General Breidenthal was assigned as Assistant Division Commander for Support of the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized). Colonel Kennedy assumed command of the 69th Infantry Brigade.The 1st Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division being posted to Vietnam, the 69th phased into the force structure of the 5th Division as a divisional type brigade. Members of the brigade were assigned to different sections of the 5th Division and other units at Fort Carson.
Replacements filled the gaps in the units of the 69th Brigade. Many of them were young soldiers coming from the AIT (Advanced Individual Training), but the majority were Vietnam veterans. The combat veterans added their practical experience in the trainings.
In December 1968, The Department of the Army
announced an early release plan for the 69th Infantry Brigade,
the new date was the 15 December 1969.
In the mid-1969, it was announced that men of the Brigade could be released early from active duty to return to school or certain seasonal type jobs. Several hundred men took advantage of the plan, including members of the Brigade in Vietnam.
"On 25 November 1969, the colors of the 69th were cased in a review before LTG Vernon P. Mock, Commanding General of the Fifth United States Army. General Mock praised the men of the 69th for their dedication an ability and lauded their accomplishments both at Fort Carson and at other duty stations. At the conclusion of the review, General Mock decorated General Breidenthal and Colonel Kennedy with the Legion of Merit. Then the 69th took the review of the newly organized 4th Brigade which was to be its replacement in the 5th Division."
General Breidenthal reassumed the command of
the Brigade that was preparing to the return to home stations.
Most equipment was left at Carson. It will be replaced by the
state at home.
Men in Vietnam returned to their home towns around Thanksgiving, when the Brigade arrived at their home stations many old friendships renewed and many stories were exchanged.
"It was a sad time, however, for many units which had lost men during the 19-month period of active duty. Thirty-seven members of the 69th Brigade were killed in Action in Vietnam." Five died by accident in training.
On 12 December 1969, demobilization ceremonies were held in Kansas and in Iowa.
The 69th Infantry Brigade was reverted to state control on 13 December 1969, at 0001 hours.
"Since the Army did not send the 69th to Vietnam as a unit, there are no new battle streamers to be added to the Brigade colors, but the sacrifices and performances of the individual members of the 69th will be remembered long after battle streamers become tattered and torn. The tradition and excellence of the 69th Brigade will be carried on by career soldiers who served with the Brigade, those veterans who continue to serve with the Brigade, and those young Kansas who will become part of the 69th in the years to come. For as long as they live they will take with them the high morale, esprit de corps, and standards of performance that are the mark of the 69th Brigade. These men can truly say,