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