February 1968, although short on days, proved to be filled with activity. Officer seminars, NCO classes, troop training, extended foot marches, night field exercises, and a multitude of inspections required the concentrated effort of the entire First Team.


The first day of the month found the battalion actively engaged in riot control training. Fixed bayonets and protective masks were the basic uniform of the day as the troops sharpened their individual and team proficiency in proper methods of suppressing civil disturbances. Echoes of, "Diagonal Left, On Line, On Guard", resounded throughout the area as the troops repeatedly drilled their formations.


The lot of the Infantryman was vividly portrayed as the battalion moved on foot to a distant training area to conduct night escape and evasion training. The outward and return movements were conducted in a tactical manner thereby adding realism to the problem play. Using available terrain and the dark of the night as their allies, the First Team troopers pitted their wits against "the enemy" in an all out effort to outwit and out maneuver the forces which were determined to capture them. Although the nights were cold and seemingly unending, enthusiasm was high and the program proved to be a valuable training vehicle. Those who were apprehended suffered the indignities of any PW in a very realistic interrogation point.


Recovery time from the night exercise was limited and the entire battalion became a beehive of activity as the troops feverishly prepared for the Battalion Commander's Pre-Inspection General Inspection. Long forgotten cubby holes were opened, full field bunk displays were readied, and the individual soldier was attired in his dress uniform and carefully scrutinized. Deficiencies noted were corrected, problems areas were eliminated, and this dress rehearsal moved the First Team one-step higher on the preparedness ladder.


The all out effort and desire to excel became obvious the following week when the battalion received the Annual Inspector General Inspection conducted by the elements of division headquarters. Long and ardous [sic] extra duty hours reaped dividends as evidenced by the successful ratings garnered by the First Team. The in ranks inspection of the first scheduled company by the IG was temporarily interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the 5th Army Command Maintenance Management Inspection Team who also were prepared to inspect the battalion. Sudden dismay turned into an immediate challenge and the battalion accepted the additional inspection. On top of these two inspections, the battalion was assigned a mission to prepare an OPLAN for a Division Ready Force (DRF) capable of moving any place in the world as a contingency force. Thus the staff worked nights til [sic] midnight developing an OPLAN in conjunction with the brigade staff. Thus the battalion was engaged in three major activities concurrently. On departure of the inspection teams the battalion breathed a collective sigh of relief and girded itself for an exercise testing the DRF and whatever else the month of March might bring.


The well known saying that, "March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion" was most certainly appropriate for the entire battalion. The opening days of the month entailed the normal activities relative to a mechanized infantry battalion. Administrative functions and troop training were basically a continuation of those of the preceeding  [sic] month, vehicular maintenance proceeded at the normal feverish




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