On 28 November 1966, forward elements of the Brigade began disembarking from their two week voyage at sea at Vung Tau in the III Corps Tactical Zone of South Vietnam. The 199th would deploy into the III CTZ for the duration of its stay in Southeast Asia, fighting and patrolling from one end of the region to the other. The 199th's primary mission while in Southeast Asia was to guard the various infiltration routes weaving into and out of the capitol region and to the defense of Saigon itself.
Several days after landing, some of the infantry battalions began sending out patrols in what came to be known as Operation Uniontown. The 2-40th Artillery also began thumping out rounds in support of combat operations.
(Image courtesy of Tony Rerecich)
Aside from the original Redcatchers of 1966 that arrived in Vietnam on the boats, thousands more landed in-country as individuals and were assigned to the 199th as replacements.
No Redcatcher will forget the bus ride from the airport to the 90th Replacement Center at Bien Hoa, along with the roar of fighters and bombers screaming overhead, the booming sound of incoming and outgoing artillery, and the never-ending thwamp, thwamp, thwamp of the Huey helicopters.
"You are now leaving RCTC and going out to join our fighting forces. Remember, our Brigade is only as good as we make it. You've got to be hard and quick."
After arriving in-country and being assigned to the 199th LIB, all new replacements in the Brigade attended the week-long Redcatcher Training Center orientation.
The purpose of the RCTC was to provide instruction that instilled confidence in the individual soldier so as to prepare him to become part of the combat team in Vietnam.
The RCTC orientation school was mandatory for all personnel under the rank of Major and was comprised of classroom instruction and physical training.
The Redcatcher training cadre were all Vietnam combat experienced veterans with at least six months of field duty in combat units.
When the Brigade first landed in-country in late 1966, the first unit to go into combat were the cannon-cockers of the 2nd Battalion, 40th Artillery.