Preparations for overseas deployment were intensified during the month of June as the organic equipment of the battalion was weighed, checked, rechecked, and loaded aboard railcars for transhipment [sic] via surface transport to the Republic of Vietnam. Concurrently, the wheeled vehicles were also prepared, inspected and loaded for similar shipment. The impetus provided by the hectic load-out procedures, lent a sense of urgency to what was forthcoming for the Pioneer Battalion.


Although detailed, and definitely arduous training had been the battalion byword, further training loomed on the Fort Carson horizon. An additional twelve days of all-out field training (geared towards Southeast Asia) was directed with full knowledge of the inherent value that this unexpected opportunity presented the Pioneer's [sic]. The individual soldier plunged wholeheartedly into the exercise, realizing fully “what we learn today will do tomorrow”.


The culmination of the additional training resulted in a finely tuned combat team, which returned to garrison with a spirit and outward manifestation of espirit de corps that clearly indicated that the Pioneer Battalion was combat ready, more than willing, and definitely able to meet any and all missions that the future might bring.


To further mark the completion of training and to bid a temporary adieu to the advance party, a battalion wide steak and beer party was held and all hands including Brutus T. Bear, the Pioneer mascot, were vociferous in song, profound in military tactics, and above all, permeated with the obvious desire to "get over there and get with it!"


Maximum leaves were granted and full advantage of this pleasant respite was taken by all. Word affirming safe arrival of the advance party in Vietnam was greeted with satisfaction and the advice rendered, via mail by this group to the main body, proved invaluable in tying up those "loose ends" which invariably arise during a major military troop movement.


July found those individuals not actually on leave, continuing to complete debarkation procedures and preparations to return to Fort Carson control of those facilities which would remain at home station when the Pioneers departed for the assigned combat area.


On 21 July 1968, the culmination of all previous efforts were vividly demonstrated when the Nation and Battalion Colors were cases for the final time at Fort Carson and ceremoniously placed aboard the first of many giant C-141 Starlifters to serve as a symbolic vanguard for the Pioneer Battalion. Utilizing diverse routes and intermediate stop-over points, the main body proceeded towards their primary destination and purpose - Combat!


The first trans-oceanic flights terminated at Da Nang Vietnam, military complex where the troops off-loaded onto C-130 Cargo Transports for the final leg of the long flight which would eventually terminate at Quang Tri, the future home of the Pioneers.


An operations base was established at LZ Sharon, YD 334485, under the auspices of the 1st Brigade, 1st Air Cav, and in incountry shakedown of the maneuver elements was implemented.  Climatic acclimation, test fire of weapons, ambushes, sweeps, etc., were conducted and a "feel for the land" was obtained.




[Webmaster: 1968 Annual Historical Supplement Page 8]