6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK)


HHB 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) Pictures

Primary Mission
The primary mission of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) was to provide air defense protection for the Bien Hoa, Long Binh, Saigon and Tan Son Nhut area of the Republic of Vietnam by attacking low and medium altitude high speed hostile aerial vehicles, to destroy them or to nullify or reduce their effectiveness. From September 1965 thru September 1968
. In September 1968 the battalion deployed in country to Chu Lai by combined sealift and airlift, relieving the 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion (USMC) and assumed the mission of providing low and medium altitude air defense for the Chu Lai vital area until it redeployed back to Fort Bliss, Texas in August 1969.  


Headquarters and Headquarters Battery Deploy to Bien Hoa

Headquarters and Headquarters Battery deployed from its location on Tan Son Nhut Air Base to coordinates YT 045102 in Long Binh, Vietnam. Occupation of the new position by tactical elements of the headquarters initiated at 0900 hours, 22 March 1199, and was completed by 1800 hours. Administrative elements infiltrated into position during the period 21 through 24 March 1966. No loss of tactical control or administrative support by the headquarters was experienced during the move. This move was a result of operational necessity and a planned runway at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. The initial work on this site began on 10 March 1966.

Sniper Fire

During the period 1 January 1966 – 30 April 1966 the battalion has had no contact with enemy forces except for occasional sniper fire which resulted in no casualties. When Headquarters and Headquarters Battery occupied it new position in Long Binh liaison and communications were established with the 173d Airborne Brigade, II Field Forces Vietnam and Local Forces for the purpose of obtaining support (air, artillery and ground) in the event of an attack on the battalion.




On 30 June 1968 the 246 Field Artillery Detachment was attached to HHB, 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery for rations and quarters.



Meritorious Unit Commendation Ceremony 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery

The 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery was presented with the Meritorious Unit Commendation by Brigadier General G. H. Young Jr. at 1550 hours, 26 July 1967 during a ceremony held on Headquarters and Headquarters Battery's parade field loacted in Long Binh, Vietnam.


Battalion Operations Complex Occupied

Headquarters and Headquarters Battery’s new Battalion Operations Center – Signal Communications Complex was occupied on 7 May 1967. The complex incorporated the automatic and manual air defense operations center, all VHF and radio communications, as well as signal and fire distribution repair facilities, and provided a stable yet highly flexible operation. The AN/TPS -1G Surveillance Radar was used as a battalion surveillance radar.

The Missile Minder AN/TSQ-73 was a command and control system that performs fire direction functions for the two HAWK missile battalions in Vietnam under the command and control of the 97th Artillery Group (AD), located at Tan Son Nhut Airbase:

1.    6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK)

2.    6th Battalion, 71st Artillery (HAWK)

The AN/TSQ-73 had data link capabilities to link fire units with Air Force control and reporting center (CRC).

The AN/TSQ-73 system consists of a battalion level Operations Central (AN/TSQ-38) and battery terminal equipment (designated as the Coder-Decoder Group) for each HAWK firing battery. In Vietnam the men referred to the Operations Central Van as the Battery Control Central (BCC) van.

The Operations Central for the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery was located at Headquarters Battery, Long Bien from September 1965 to September 1968. The Operation Central redeployed to Chu Lai and was attached to the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal Division) from September 1968 to August 1969 when the battalion deployed to Fort Bliss, TX.

The AN/TSQ-38 Operation Central equipment of the 6th Battalion, 71st Artillery relocated from Hon Tre Island to the Cam Ranh Bay peninsula during the quarterly period ending 31 January 1968.

System Operation

The Missile Minder performs the functions of target track correlation, IFF display, threat evaluation, weapon assignment, data exchange

With other systems, and target simulation for training. There is also a status board which displays real-time fire unit status.

The display consoles provide the primary interface between the operator and the AN/TSQ-73 system. Two station display consoles, with both planned position indicators (PPI) and auxiliary read-out (ARO) displayed on a single cathode ray tube (CRT), provide the operator with the essential data to make fast, accurate decisions based on "real-time" display information.

The display consoles provide the following display data:

a.     Track positions.

b.    Weapon positions.

c.     Maps.

d.    Jam strobes.

e.     Velocity vectors.

f.      Safe corridors.

g.     Pairing lines.

h.    Defended areas and points.

Long Binh Ammo Dump Attack February 4, 1967

On February 4, 1967 Long Binh Ammunition Depot was attacked by Viet Cong sappers (demolitions specialists) destroying at least 15,000 high explosive 155 mm artillery rounds. Headquarter and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery was located across the road from the Long Binh Ammunition Depot. The men of the battalion referred to it as the Long Binh Ammo Dump. After the Ammo Dump was attacked, the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) formed a 120 man task force (essential securtiy and work force) to assist in clearing away rubble, rebuilding pads and emplcaing securtiy fencing. Personnel of the battalion worked under extremely hazardous and adverse conditions for a period of three months. The results of their 184,300 man hours was 33 miles of perimeter fencing provided an increased capability for the ammo dump with a greatly improved defense posture.

M151 jeep with a pedestal mounted M60 7.62 mm machine gun

Slideshow defense weapons of HHB 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) Vietnam

The primary mission of the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) was to provide air defense protection for the Bien Hoa, Long Binh, Saigon and Tan Son Nhut area of the Republic of Vietnam and later  the Chu Lai vital area.
This slideshow are pictures of some of the Free World assets that the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery (HAWK) provided air defense protection for.



There was three means of transportation once you got to town. Walking or riding in a cyclo or lambretta. A lambretta or cyclo ride was not for the faint of heart. No stop lights or stop signs. The seating capacity of an lambretta was about six soldiers. I have counted 12 vietnamese in one with goods.

Many of the soldiers in Vietnam had Short Timer's Calendars. They started marking off the number of days that they has left the day that they got to Vietnam. This is the SHORT TIMERS CALENDAR of James A. DePalma.

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