6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK)

C Battery's Pictures

C Battery, 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) Pictures



After completing basic ADA officers' course at Fort Bliss in the summer of '65, I talked my way out of a laboratory assignment because 97th Arty Gp Cdr, COL Buchanan, heard me tell assignments officer at HQDA I wanted to go to an operational unit. COL B took the phone away from me and told the HQDA guy that I was just the officer he was looking for - then handed phone back to me. Assignments officer asked me did I really want to do this? Did I know what I was getting into? I certainly admired COL B for what he had said, so I said "this is what I want to do". He said ok and hung up, Then COL B said "Welcome to the 97th Artillery Gp. We have a classified mission - of course that means we are going to Viet Nam." So I finish the basic course and report to the 97th sometime in Jul. I go thru pre deployment training and we depart for RVN w/2 Hawk Bns via troop ship "USNS Gaffney" in late Jul/early Aug 65 arriving Vung Tau
late Aug/early Sep (trip took 29 days as best I remember). 97th HQ was at Ton Son Nhut airbase outside Saigon. As ops officer I worked in ADA CP at TSN, but got sent on special missions all over SVN looking for potential firing battery sites. 97th deployed to RVN with HHB and 2 Hawk bns: 6/56th w/HHB, B and D batteries around Bien Hoa and A and C batteries west of TSN airbase which was west of Saigon. The 6/71st with 4 firing batteries was deployed around Cam Ranh Bay about half way up the SVN coast.
In JAN 66, I was promoted to CPT and given command of C Battery 6/56th soon after. LTC Jim Hollis was 6/56th Bn Cdr. It was a great assignment for a kid barely 6 months out of grad school - so I stayed in the Army for the next 30 years - but commanding the 10th Avn Bn and being Project Manager for the OH-58D scout helicopter were the only 2 assignments as challenging and as much fun as commanding C 6th/56th in the 97th Arty Gp. Despite serving most of my time in the Army as an aviator, I chose the 56th Arty as my regiment and proudly wore the 56th " Night Hides Not" crest until the end of my last day in uniform.

Again as best as I can remember, the 97th and 6th/56th redeployed from RVN to Fort Bliss in 68 or 69. I believe HHB, 97th stood down once redeployued to CONUS.

Hope this helps. I'm a little hazy on the dates, except I know I deployed with the 97th in late Aug or early Sep 1965,

Bud Forster
LTG, US Army (ret)

Bud Forster




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