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2/34th Armor

2/34th Armor

Providing armor support for our mechanized infantry battalion. 1967

On 1 October 1963, the 306th Tank Battalion was designated the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor and was officially activated at Fort Irwin, California as part of the 4th Infantry Division. On 3 August 1966 the battalion was alerted for movement to the Republic of South Vietnam. Arriving at Vung Tau on 10 September 1966 with their M48A3 Patton tanks, 2/34 AR began conducting limited operations with the 173d Airborne and 1st Infantry Division. While under operational control of the 1st Infantry Division, 2/34 AR was conducting search and destroy operations in the II Field Force Area. The Vietnamese rainy season had turned the ground into a problem for the Tankers. Thirty-four of the battalion's tanks became mired, causing their mission to be in jeopardy. Major General (MG) William E. DePuy, the 1st Division Commander, monitoring the situation from a helicopter, contacted Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Stailey, the 2/34 AR battalion commander, and asked "How many Tanks do you have stuck, Tanker?" LTC Stailey responded with his situation report (SITREP) of thirty-four tanks mired. MG DePuy then bet LTC Stailey a case of beer that he couldn't get all his tanks recovered by nightfall. With determination and hard work, the tankers met this challenge and were on the move again (and thirsty) before dark with all thirty four vehicles recovered. Impressed by their performance, MG DePuy nicknamed the battalion "DREADNAUGHT" meaning they could do the impossible and feared nothing. From that point on, 2/34 AR would be known as the "DREADNAUGHTS" and also become a familiar call sign throughout Vietnam as its tank companies would be parceled out to other units until the battalion's departure. In October 1966 Bravo company (Call Sign Battlin' Bravo) was attached to 1/4 Cavalry of the 1st Infantry Division at Phu Loi, where it would remain until the invasion of Cambodia in 1970. Alpha company (Call Sign Orphans) was detached to the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi. Charlie company (Call Sign Fighting Aces) was sent north to I Corps Tactical Zone. Alpha and Charlie companies participated in numerous operations in the III Corps area while still staying close to the battalion HQ located at Long Binh. The constant parceling out of its tank companies seldom left the battalion with more than one company under its own control. At some points it controlled none of its organic companies.

In 1967 the battalion began to participate in larger combined arms operations. Operation Junction City, which began in the early part of March 1967, saw 2/34 AR conducting search and destroy operations as part of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division Task Force.

On 21 March 1967, 2/34 Armor minus B Co distinguished itself in combat near the village of Soui Tre. Fire Support Base Gold, established only two days prior, had come under attack from the 272d Viet Cong Main Force Regiment consisting of over 1100 soldiers. In a four hour battle in which the Dreadnaughts helped turn an enemy victory into a defeat, 2/34 AR received its second Presidential Unit Citation. C Co would stay with the battalion for the remainder of 1967.

On 1 August 1967 2/34 AR was reassigned to the 25th Infantry Division. On the eve of the Tet Offensive, the Fighting Aces began a series of moves that would take it away from the Dreadnaught area of operations to the DMZ in the I Corp sector over 800 miles away. For the remainder of their time in Vietnam, the "Fighting Aces" would be attached to various units including the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 23d Infantry Division, 5th Infantry Division, and the 3d Marine Division. Charlie company was assigned to 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and attached to Task Force Oregon from 1 August 1967 to 20 August 1967 where it earned the Valorous Unit Award for being involved in fierce fighting against well-fortified and prepared Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars in the Quang Ngai Province. A Co would remain with the battalion HQ and conducted operations with the 25th Infantry Division until the Cambodian incursion.

In May of 1970, President Nixon ordered American units into the Cambodian sanctuaries in an attempt to destroy the communist supply lines and end the war. Alpha, Bravo, and Delta companies participated as part of Task Force Shoemaker, 1st Cavalry Division. A Co was the first American ground unit into Cambodia. For their actions in the area known as the "Fishhook" the battalion minus C Co received its first Valorous Unit Award. Delta company was inactivated after WWII but returned to life with 2/34th Armor in the middle of the Vietnam deployment to assist in the manning of the battalion due to two companies being "loaned" out. D Company was the company of support personnel with medics, cooks, mechanics, and other support specialty Soldiers. This in effect allowed more men to be assigned to the remaining companies within the Battalion.


They have also served with distinction in other conflicts. They have an excellent web site and you can find out more about the unit and its history here: http://www.2nd34tharmor.freeservers.com/index.htm


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Rober Pryor 21-Sep-2014 03:38
I was with A co 68-69
Rober Pryor 19-Jul-2014 07:11
I was with Aco 2/34th Armor from 68to69 Cu chi and I was proud to serve in that unit and all all the guys that served with me and to those that made it back welcome home brothers
TomRecktenwald 27-Jun-2014 17:18
WOODY GRIMES!! Get in touch so we can catch up.
Ive been looking for some of you guys.
Tom40517@gmail.com
G Gill 17-Jun-2014 04:22
I have written on the site in the past but several comments about the invasion into Cambodia. My unit, A Co. 2/34th Armor went into Cambodia with 2/47th Panthers from 9th ID. We are credited with being the first American ground troops into Cambodia but whether we were or not, we were effective and successful. I remember it all from the mud of Komtum to the rubber plantations, busting bush and NVA basecamps. SSG Higginbotham was our Platoon Sergeant and acting Platoon Leader, SSG Edd Cameron was my tank commander (A-22) and Captain Marvin Tieman was the A Company Commander. Each one of the leaders that I mentioned performed in an outstanding manner. Although names have faded from memory, the knowledge of the outstanding performance our leaders and men on badly battered and misused M-48 tanks will always be in my thoughts when I think of this operation. I will always be proud of the performance of my fellow Dreadnaughts during our time in Cambodia, as well as, the performance of the 2/47th Panthers.
MIchael Wade 04-Jun-2014 17:48
Jusr found this website today (4 June 2014). I served as 1st platoon leader, Co B, 2/34 Armor from about March to October 1967. I need to correct part of an above entry that states: "Bravo co. was attached to 1/4 Cavalry of the 1st Infantry Division at Phu Loi, where it would remain until the invasion of Cambodia in 1970". When I arrived at Co B in March '67, it was indeed atttached to 1/4 Cav in Phu Loi. However I had only been with the co. about 6 weeks when we moved to Lai Kai and the cav troop that had been at Lai Kai rejoined 1/4 squadron in Phu Loi. During my entire time as a platoon leader, I only worked for the co. cdr about 6 weeks. I spent the majority of my time under the OPCON of other units, including a searchlght co., a duster battery but mostly working with 2/2 Inf and mostly with its Co B. This was also true for the other two platoons in B/2/34- usually operating as attached platoons . Shortly after arriving I was wounded in a mine explosion while leading a resupply convoy at an area we used to call "Claymore Corner", . I can't speak to what happened with co B after I left to go to bn in the fall of 1967. At that time bn was part of the 25th inf div in Tay Ninh and I spent the remainder of my tour in the S3 shop sitting at Prek Klok, just soutg of the border with Cambodia. .
Guest 17-Feb-2014 23:35
A co. 2/34 orphans...march 20 1968 to march 20 1969...my name is Danny Rallens,,i remember it all...Sgt.Burch....Duncan, Jim Norman Roe Hoe. Johnny Rose from Texas... JJ...JD..Medic Melvin Minton...Jim Byrd..Joe Layton...Lt.Donavon Kia....Skavoni...Castro..Sgt..Elliet 1st Sgt Tay Ninh..Sgt Cherry...CC Rider Texas..Big blond guy surfer from California..,,Elvis Jr underwood..Very happy many of us made it back...Be Happy.....many didn't...good health to all...your brother Danny
woodygrimes 05-Feb-2014 03:04
WOODYGRIMES A COMPANY 2/34 1967-1968 ==ALPHA 2/3 WAS MY TANK= SGT SHEPARD WAS THE T/C AND I REMEMBER U TOM RECKTENWALD AND SGT GUNN// WE ALL WERE TOGETHER. GOD BLESS,
Les Thomas 01-Jan-2014 04:11
Just today found this site. (12/31/13) I was with B co.2nd 34th from Ft Irwin in Jan 1966. Deployed on the "infamous" troop ship "Barret". The Armour assigned to go with company got hurt in auto accident, and I was assigned to take his place. Rode on M88 with Skillman 1966 thur Dec 1967. Many, many good people in all companies and I wish all well and good health.
Dennis Gleason 13-Nov-2013 04:59
When Nixon invaded Cambodia in 1970, I was in Boot camp at Fort Lewis, Washington. In Jan. 1971, I went to Fort Knox for advanced tank training. Originally, there were twenty-eight of us from Oregon, but only three volunteered for armor. We were told to forget about going to Vietnam. The last eighteen cycles had gone to Germany and we could count on drinking German beer by June of '71. But then, an Brigade of Infantry and Armor was ambushed returning form Cambodia. Not sure of their designation number, but four hundred of us were immediately drafted into a four week course in Seridan tanks and our orders were changed from drinking beer on the Rhine to swatting humminbird sized mosquitos in Vietnam. On the next to last day of Sheridan training, I blew out my left knee so severely that I was discharged under medical conditions. Two months later, in March 1971, five Sheridans from the 11th ACR were lost in one day to RPG fire, all five vehicles burst into flames and were totally destroyed. Five of the eleven guys in my bay at Fort Knox were killed that day. I was back in Oregon by then and got the word several weeks after their deaths. Now, I realize that my story probably has nothing to do with the brave soldiers of the 34 Armor, but I have carried a burden of guilt all these years for those that sacrificed with their lives so that I could carry on with mine. I'm older now and hopefully much wiser and my buddies that never came home are forever young and never forgotten.
Treadhead68 31-Aug-2013 02:24
I also thank you Dave, for your comments. I was in B Co. In Lai Khe, May 67- May 68. One thing about it, we had some interesting times while I was there( isn't there an old Chinese curse that goes, " May you live in interesting times?". I remember running Hwy 13 at night, searchlight on and trying to intercept NVA soldiers trying to get back into Cambodia. That was a very INTERESTING time!
Pat Forster 21-Apr-2013 20:35
I just found this site 5 years late. Tell you what, we did our best. That's a continuing theme throughout the 5 years of these messages. Especially revealing is the story by Tom Prato who was from a mech infantry unit fighting with us but bailed out by an unnamed tank crew. Our guys from Tet and 1968 have not written much about their tours, no doubt painful memories to relive. That was two years before I got there but they make me proud to have fought with the 2/34th. Pat Forster, president, Ltpat234@hotmail.com;
Bob Trevison 21-Apr-2013 07:14
From: bowlerbobt@aol.com - My name is Bob Trevison, I was part of the advanced party for the arrival of our Battalion (2-34 Armor)in the summer of 1966.I served on C-24 with SFC Yanez our Platoon Sergeant. Lt Dorn was our Platoon Leader the night SSG Hill, SP4 Castro and others were KIA. I Was wounded that night and according to 1SG Martin I was to receive the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart, Never received either and didn't really care back then. But, for the past 15 years or so my family has encouraged me to persue the awards. I talked to 1SG Martin before he passed away and confirmed the awards were submitted, thats all he would say, he really didn't want to relive Vietnam through conversation. The awards were for actions that night. We (my platoon)was in the perimeter (our tank was broke down with the pack on the ground)along with the 2nd platoon and company command section. We ran out of ammo and 1SG Martin and I humped ammo delivered by chopper (during the battle)from tank to tank. That's when I was hit by mortar fire. My wounds were not life threatening so I refused evacuation, that is wear I probably errored. I was nick named "TV/Television" by 1SG Martin because he always had trouble pronouncing my name. Is there anyone out there that remembers anything about that March, 1966 night. I need some help! I ended up staying in service and retired some 21 years later. God Bless to all that served in that hell hole. There is not a day that goes by I don't think about my tour over there and all my comrades, I love and miss you guys very much. Thanks, Bob
Ronald F McRae 08-Apr-2013 07:08
To Ralph Arvizu, My name is Ronald F McRae, in C Co. the Fighting Aces 66-67.
Was in the battle of Soui Tre (L.Z.Gold). Where our tank platoon caught elements of Viet Cong 272 Reg. in the open attacking our infantry / artillary units that were surrouned.

In a night battle where VC units tried to overrun our tank only company position. Saw your tank hit by RPG. Where T/C Sgt Hill, Medic Byer, were killed. Joe Verra died a few days later from burns after being medi vac. Only you and Dave Carson made it out.

Been trying to find out what happened to Dave Carson for years after he was sent to Japan for burns. I think he survived?

It's been 40+ years. But the Vietnam travesty doesn't seem all that long ago
for me.
tom recktenwald 18-Jan-2013 19:22
I was on A25 in april 67 to 68. Tank comander was ssg gunn. I just don't remember a lot of names anymore.
Guest 09-Jan-2013 22:17
I was in the scout platoon, csc stationed at Ft. Carson, Co. 1975-76...
stephen gayle 16-Sep-2012 02:16
Meet a vet at MIA funeral today in ElReno, OK...gave me the site information. I was in RVN 11-68 to 04-70 with 25th inf. i served 1st part of tour with 25th S&T and then the later with the 2nd 34th armor. did duty at 'rock crusher' & 'fire base buell' as crew on m88 and wheelwrecker operator... i remember well the day 'rock crusher' was cleared and we all left. the later months of 2/34 assignment was as a tank (m48a3) driver....got my ets as unit was making prep to go into cambodia...the best chopper ride of my life. took a few photos while in country...hard to believe i was ever that young.
bruce 08-Jul-2012 23:29
squirrel I think I know you I was with Bravo campany iremember the pictures you had from the damage from the RPM
Bruce 'jet' jetsecl
Guest 12-Jun-2012 12:53
I was a Platoon Leader (M1A1) in A/2-34 ("Orphans") at Fort Riley from 2002-2003. Thank you all for your service and the insight into the "Dreadnaughts" role in Vietnam
Charles Coldren 20-Mar-2012 21:25
You are correct we had M48's, I was with C Co 2/34 - The Fighting Aces - April 67/68 - Track commander call sign 7 Alpha (1st track) later became 50 Yankee .
Ralph Arvizu 07-Mar-2012 23:02

I was with C Co 2/34th Armor. I went over on USNS Barrett after 21 sick days. Arrived Vung Tau on 10 Sept. 1966. I took basic with C Co 2/34th Armor in Ft. Irwin Feb.-Apr. 1966. I was the driver on C-33 and my tank was hit with an RPG on 1 Mar. 1967--killed T.C. Sgt. Hill, Medic Byers, burned gunner Carson (evacuated to Japan)and I was evacuated to the hospital in Long Binh. We were set up very close to Dau Tieng. We got hit by the 271st NVA Regiment and fought them from about midnight to about 5:30 in the morning. Sgt. Hill, God Bless his Soul, was one of the best if not the best Tank Commanders in 34th Armor. He had cut his teeth in Germany and in Korea before taking us raw draftee recruits to Vietnam. He could make that 50 Cal. machine gun---TALK!!! His anniversary was just last week--1 March and I had 4 shots of Tequila in his honor and the rest of the crew. It was a pleasure working with all you gallant men of THE BIG RED ONE! Here!, Here! Ralph Arvizu
tom prato 16-Dec-2011 07:46
Looking for the tank that moved in to help the REACT platoon track #68 on April 18 1968 that was held down in a fierce fire fight at almost point blank range and we were takeing a heavy barrage of rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. you will remember me,I was standing ontop of the track fixing my m60 machine gun, at the time I was covered in blood and looked at your tank moveing in to help us, you lowered the gun to almost ground level and fired round after round a few feet in front of our track with your 50 cal blazeing in the same direction, when I finished repareing my gun and ready to slip a new barrel on I seen it all in slow motion when your tank reared up in the air and the hatches blew open and all I seen was bloody faces leaping upward and then back down and then silence, no more fireing, my first thoughts were to jump off and help being I had tanker experience,within minuets I witnessed the tank commander rise out of the turret, you were drenched in blood and began fireing your external 50 cal like a mad man, I was able to finish fixing my 60 and began fireing inthe direction the RPGS came from that hit you,I will never forget your heroismn we were getting it from both sides, you took the rounds that should have taken a direct hit to our track, GOD only knows if you made it out alive because I shipped out days after the attack with know knowledge of what happened with everyone that day, our track commander could have pulled us back aways from the hail of rounds we were takeing but held our position at all costs fireing back from the 50 cal and Bill the gunner on the 60 opposwite me never quit fireing, I have seen your faces flying out of the hatchs almost all my life like as if it were yesterday, the rageing look on your face inspired me to keep on, we were called th BOOG-a LOU KIDS, my name on the shield was VEGAS KID with aces and eights above the name.
G. Gill 16-May-2011 02:36
Forty one years ago this month (May) A Co. 2/34th Armor was spearheading the most successful military operantion of the war: the invasion into Cambodia. Outstanding men on battered equipment. Best group of guys that I ever served with, especially my tank commander, SSG Ed Cameron.
Brent Nelson 14-Apr-2011 23:05
I was in A company from July 1970 until the 25th Infantry Division returned to Hawaii in November 1970
Dave Berry19-Feb-2011 06:08
I believe that was an M48A3 "Patton" tank.
Dan Greenberg18-Feb-2011 16:59
Excellent capture Dave. What kind of tank is this? Again - entries to this gallery are always fascinating especially reading the comments of all the guys that were there.
Squirrel 24-Jan-2011 00:16
I was a driver in Alpha Co., track 35 Starting in Jly 69. My first TC was named Eagle. Anyone remember either one of us? Eagle was medi-vaced out of the HoBo woods. We took an RPG to the turret just above the drivers hatch. It was during a day long fight against a batallion basecamp.
Rian Ebesugawa 13-Jul-2010 20:08
I am trying to locate a photo of Minoru Tanaka who was killed on Nov. 26, 1967. He was in recon with the 2/34 armor. I am trying to find a picture to use in a memorial and to give a copy to his daughter and grandchildren. Any help you be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
richard cieszinski 03-May-2010 21:51
i was a platoon leader in B company first platoon working North of LiaKhe in early 1968 until Aug of 68--I am looking for the company commander--Capt Rudel--anyone have contact info---would love to hear from anyone from the old group
foy m long 26-Mar-2010 18:13
I was the plt sgt of the 1st plt 34th armor at lai khe . I was sent to lai khe in oct 67 to take over plt because the other plt sgt and crew got killed whin a rpg hit the side of the tank and set the wp rounds off and killed the crew we went ever place we excorded convoys gurded jungle plows ans did S&D MESSION WITHE THE 16, 18 ;AND 26 INF ALLWERE PART OF THE 1ST INF DIV i ELET IN OCT 68 AND CAME BACK FOR RETIRMENT i AM NOW 78 YRS OLD ANY ONE REMBER ME BACK IN THOSE DAYS SEND ME A E- MAIL MESSAGE AT FML1931@windstream.net thank you fm long
Richard Cowan 06-Jan-2010 17:36
Hi, Dave
Welcome back! Thanks for the photos. I was with B Co, then HHC as the S-1 clerk at Fort Irwin. The 2/34 went to Vietnam in the USNS General Barret. We arrived September 10, 1966 and disembarked at Vung Tau. In October 1966 I transfered to C Co. I have many memories of the M48A1E3 and our missions; Cedar Falls, were the 2/34 distinguished itself and won a Presidential Unit Citation; Junction City; Tay Ninh; Cu Chi..... Thanks to all my brothers who have served in the 2/34, for all that they did and gave.

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered, -
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.
Lorentz Larsen 12-Nov-2009 21:17
Hey Dave, I was with B co. at Lia Khe in 67 and 68 wounded Mar 15,1968 during Tet!
Lorentz Larsen
Roy Bailey 15-Jul-2009 20:22
Is this Beavers from Tulsa, Ok?
Guest 04-May-2009 17:03
Ed Beaver
I was with D Co, mechanic and M88 crew and TC May 68 to Dec 69. Wounded at base of Black Virgin.
ron hall 13-Mar-2009 16:45
R Hall I served in the Headquater Company Tank Platoon in 1968 in Cu Chi. Many memories of the M48A3 Tank and missions their. Many of my buddies were wounded and a large percentage of the tanker classifications were KIA. Tankers had one of the highest KIA rates for any MOS. May their souls rest in PEACE!
Dave Berry24-Apr-2008 06:50
2/34th Armor was a highly decorated and very much respected unit. Thank you for all that you did and the sacrifices you made.
Dave Berry
Mike Walsh 24-Apr-2008 06:00
Recon Platoon, 2/34th Armor. Wounded Feb 29th, Tet 68
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