610th Transportation Company (AM) (GS)
“Fast and Sure”
~ History ~
14th Transportation Battalion (AM&S) (GS)
The 610th Transportation Company (AM) (GS) was activated in October of 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia and subsequently deployed to Dong Ba Thin, Vietnam on board the USNS Gieger in October 1966. It was assigned to the 14th Transportation Battalion (AM&S) (GS) at Nha Trang under the command of LTC Harry L. Jones. There they remained until the January/February 1967 time frame when they were further deployed to An Khe to provide Aircraft Maintenance General Support to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and back up General Support to the 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku. The 610th was located on the USAF side of the base in an area that was once a rubber plantation.
The unit settled in and began its mission. The 610th was unique as it had its own Tech Supply Section for repair parts replenishment. This was normally a DSU function when a General Support Company is collocated with a Direct Support unit. The 610th was a stand alone unit without a DSU. The 610th also maintained a Cannibalization Point to enhance it's support mission. In December 1967 the 1st Cav received orders to move to the I Corps Tactical Zone. The 610th likewise received its orders and began its preparations to move to Red Beach, Da Nang while continuing to provide the 1st Cav with its support. The 540th Trans. Co (AM) (GS) in Qui Nhon assumed the 4th Infantry Div support mission. The bulk of the 1st Cav left for the I Corps in January 1968 leaving a contingent in An Khe to provide perimeter defense for the remaining units. The 101st Airborne Division was later tasked to provide defensive support while the remaining 1st Cav units completed their move. It was during this time that the 610th saw its first combat action. On or about the night of the 18th of January 1968 the airfield perimeter was probed by a group of Viet Cong armed with B-40 rockets and small arms. They were repulsed, but not before they had hit the field operations and severely damaging a C-130 that had just landed and was taxiing to the parking ramp. There were three Viet Cong killed during the action. The probing actions continued throughout the next week and a half while the unit personnel were packing during the day and manning defensive positions at night.
On January 30, 1968 the Rear Detachment with the company equipment left An Khe and convoyed to the Port of Qui Nhon and commenced loading onto a MSTS LST. The ships company was Korean. The Captain requested that the loading be expedited as he was anxious to get underway. The Tet Offensive had started and the fighting was intense in the city. He was concerned that the port may come under fire. We sailed soon after. Upon arrival at Da Nang the ship was not allowed in port as there was fighting in the various parts of the city. We spent another day anchored off shore then finally allowed to land and off load on the 2nd of February.
The 610th finished unpacking and was fully operational by mid February. A & D Companies and the Headquarters of the 15th Trans. Bn, 1st Cav Division were located at Red Beach as well. Also located in the area were the 58th Mobile Construction Battalion (Seabee) USN and the III Marine Amphibious Force, Force Logistics Command, USMC. It was during this time that Red Beach experienced sporadic mortar attacks by the Viet Cong. In most cases between 8 to 12 rounds exploded in the compound. But, in the latter part of February or early March the compound came under heavy mortar fire with the 610th flight line and cantonment areas bearing the brunt of the attack. Many of the aircraft were damaged, some extensively and later had to be retrograded back to CONUS for repair, including "Tiger 001". Two armed CH-47’s, were totally destroyed. Fortunately unit personnel escaped with only few injuries.
58th Transportation Battalion (AM&S) (GS)
It was during this time, February 1968, that the 58th Transportation Bn (AMMC) received orders to move to Red Beach from Tan Son Nhut, Saigon where it had the Aircraft Material Management Center (AMMC) mission since April of 1966. It was redesignated as the 58th Transportation Battalion (AM&S) (GS) and given the mission to provide the I Corps Tactical Zone and the 1st Cav Div aircraft support that had previously been the 14th Trans. Bn. Mission. The 34th General Support Group assumed the AMMC mission. The battalion was commanded by LTC John Campbell. LTC Campbell was proud of his Viking heritage and it was he who designed the unit crest for the battalion and gave the Red Beach compound the name of Camp Viking.
In the ensuing months as the compound became better established and the perimeter continuously improved it experienced fewer attacks. That is until the first part of November 1968 when the bombing of the Ho Chi Min trail and North Vietnam was stopped by presidential order. It was during this time that the 1st Cav. Div. received orders to redeploy to the III CTZ. The 610th and it’s sister units under the 58thTans Bn. received the mission to provide Direct and General Support to the 101st Airborne Div. and the Americal Division and separate Aviation Units in the 1st CTZ. There they remained until their deactivation in April 1972.
During the 610th Transportation Company’s service in the Republic of Vietnam from Oct 1966 to April 1972 it participated in 14 campaigns and received 5 unit awards.
The web site below is an excellent brief on the history of Army Aviation Logistics development in the Vietnam Era.
Aviation Logistics: (copy & paste)
690TH TRANSPORTATION DETACHMENT
Constituted 1 May 1936 in the Regular Army as Company C, 394th Quartermaster Bn
Activated 27 June 1941 at San Francisco, California
Redesignated 31 July 1942 as Company C, 394th Port Battalion, Transportation Corps
Reorganized and redesignated 10 November 1943 as the 610th Port Company
Redesignated 21 July 1947 as the 610th Transportation Port Company
Inactivated 25 September 1949 in Japan
Redesignated 1 March 1956 as the 610th Transportation Company
Activated 14 March 1956 at Fort Eustis, Virginia
Inactivated 20 May 1957 at Fort Story, Virginia
Activated 1 August 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia
Inactivated 30 April 1972 in Vietnam
Redesignated 7 June 2007 as the 690th Transportation Detachment
Activated 17 October 2009 at Fort Eustis, Virginia
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT
World War II
Counteroffensive, Phase II
Counteroffensive, Phase III
Counteroffensive, Phase IV
Counteroffensive, Phase V
Counteroffensive, Phase VI
Counteroffensive, Phase VII
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered PAPUA
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966-1967
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1967-1968
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968-1970
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1970-1971
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1971
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:
ROBERT J. DALESSANDRO
Director, Center of Military History