25th Infantry Division Vietnam
The 25th Infantry Division Vietnam was one of the most decorated divisions to fight in Vietnam.
Included in the 25th Infantry Division was Air Support units, Artillery Batteries, Mechanized Units, Ground force units, and a specialized unit called the C.R.I.P’s (Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Patrol)
The C.R.I.P.’s unit included hand picked individuals based on leadership talents. Among other assets included were map reading, weapons and explosives training along with key intelligence gathering credentials.
Included in the unit was usually a medic. To come to the aid of a wounded soldier. The Vietnam war took a toll on medics, who most times, risked their lives to get to wounded solders.
Firepower based on M-16 rifles, the M-60 machine gun and the M-79 grenade launcher were standard arms carried on missions along with various hand grenades including concussion grenades. Also carried was the compact but deadly LAWS rocket launcher.
Today many of the weapons used during the Vietnam War are obsolete. The M-79 grenade launcher was a single shot 40mm round with the optional 40mm shot gun shell that worked to flush enemy out of thick jungle situations.
The LAWS rocket launcher shows another munition carried by CRIP units.
Other explosive devices that were a regular part of the units arsenal was the hand ignited Claymore Mine that also could be deployed with a trip wire. In World War II the “Bouncing Betty” was a anti-personal mine deployed that was not directional, spraying shrapnel 360 degrees. These “Bouncing Betty” mines were first introduced in Germany. When tripped they sprung up in the air about 2 1/2 to 3 feet and exploded. The introduction of the Claymore mine changed warfare methods using a more controllable explosive with directional capabilities.
The Claymore changed the units vulnerability, making it nearly impossible for the enemy to sneak up on a CRIP unit a night. If the Claymore mines were deployed properly, (placed) strategically around the parameter of the night camp, they created a kill zone. Using either an electronic hand held squeeze trigger ignition system or a trip-wire activation method to detonate the Claymore mine system. This was directional mine that released 700 ball bearing 1/4 inch sized steel balls.
The C.R.I.P. unit was initially started in 1967 by the commander of the South Vietnam American Forces General William Westmoreland. to deal with one of the most un-secure areas in South Vietnam according to pentagon reports that have now been declassified. In the inception the C.R.I.P.’s were the delegated as escorts to supply vehicles that were frequently ambushed on Highway 1 and other key supply routes.
The unit quickly evolved into key intelligence source along with random patrolling by grid areas, mission specific operations. We also conducted missions in the Tay Ninh and other hot spots in Hau Nghia Provence.
Most of 1967 and 1968 the CRIP Recon unit was stationed in Bao Trai, in Hau Nghia Provence.
We stayed mostly in Hau Nghia Provence and Bao Trai until we were ordered to move our headquarters to Duc Hue. This happened in December 1969 with our operations located in an old “Sugar Mill”, in the village of Duc Hue. Located on the Parrot’s Beak just across the Oriental River (Vam Co Dong River) from Cambodia. A dangerous place, with supporting artillery and air support coming from Cu Chi and the 25th Infantry Division whom we were assigned as C.R.I.P.’s.
The move was because MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) wanted to expand training operations from our Bao Trai encampment.
You will be able to read the a complete outline of the units history on the “C.R.I.P.’s History” page.