This is a 101st Airborne, 1st Brigade 1/327th Infantry Tiger Force Reconnaissance Patrol Patch. Mr. Murphy received a patch similar to this for his time served in the Tiger Force. The Tiger Force was a reconnaissance patrol, which tried to obtain strategic information without the knowledge of the enemy. Despite the small size, the Tiger Force was well respected and brave. The 101st Airborne, 1st Brigade 1/327th Infantry Tiger Force Reconnaissance Patrol is still on active duty today, serving their country in Iraq.
family friend, Richard Murphy, was a soldier in the Vietnam
War. The Vietnam War lasted from 1962 to 1972 and cost
the United States fifty billion dollars. Mr. Murphy
served from 1966-1967 and again in 1968-1969. He was a
member of the 101st Airborne, 1st Brigade, and 2nd
Corp. Mr. Murphy was in the strike force, meaning he
moved around frequently. He was a radiotelephone operator
(RTO) for his reconnaissance patrol. A reconnaissance patrol
is a patrol used to gather strategic information without the
knowledge of the enemy. He traveled throughout
Vietnam, including the areas Song Mau and Kontum, where
some intense fighting took place. During his second tour, he
worked in intelligence in Futu, which is outside of Wai.
is an article written in the “Screaming Eagle”,
which was the division newspaper. The article
refers to a time when the Vietcong set off grenades
where the Tiger Force was sleeping. Mr. Murphy was
present when the Vietcong attacked. He
vividly remembers what was going on. He
said he awoke suddenly after the first grenade went
off. Unaware of what was happening, he
instinctually grabbed his gun. Mr. Murphy
recalls, “I remember the intense shaking from
the explosions. But it was like it was never
there because we all knew there was a job to be
done.” The Tiger Force managed to drive away
the Viet Cong.
war began after the Geneva conferences held in Geneva,
Switzerland in 1954. Many nations attended the
conference and called for a reunification of Vietnam.
At the time, Vietnam split into North Vietnam and South
Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, a communist, ran the North. In
the South, Ngo Dinh Diem took power. The US favored
Ngo Dinh Diem because he met many US leaders during the 1950’s.
In order to unify Vietnam, the government scheduled
elections in 1955 to be held in South Vietnam. Diem
canceled the elections, which upset Minh because he would
have benefited from them. Consequently, Diem faced
major opposition from the Viet Cong. The United States
sent aid, but otherwise did very little.
On August 7, 1964 the US passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which authorized military action in Southeast Asia. The US began a series of air raids targeting North Vietnam and Communist controlled areas in South Vietnam. North Vietnam received aid from China and the Soviet Union. The two countries shipped supplies to North Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The US could not seal off the trail to stop flow of arms and supplies to communists fighting in South Vietnam. Regardless of the large number of US troops, the US and South Vietnam could not defeat North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. The Tet Invasion, where the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese tried to seize South Vietnam and major cities like Saigon, proved to the Americans at home that the war could not be won.
After Nixon became President in 1969, the Invasion of Cambodia began. The US used B-52 bombers against North Vietnam sanctuaries and supply routes. Ultimately, the invasion led to civil war in Cambodia. After this event, peace negotiations were attempted. On January 27, 1973 the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Vietcong all sighed a peace agreement. By March 27, the US troops withdrew from Vietnam along with the prisoners of war. Despite the agreement reached, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and South Vietnam collapsed.
operators played a key part in the Vietnam War. The
RTO allowed communication with other troops and the
world. A RTO carried a twenty-five pound radio on
their back. "It was heavy at first, but after you had walked
a good 3 miles, it felt like nothing," says Mr. Murphy. The
job entailed sending and recieving messages on the radio.
The most common radio used was the PRC-25. The PRC-25
ran on battery power, and the battery only lasted for one
day of continuous use, so the RTO always carried
spares. The PRC-25 had two large knobs, which changed
the frequency. The frequency had to be changed often
to insure that enemies could not pick up
transmissions. The RTO also carried signaling devices
like the smoke grenade. The smoke grenade released
clouds of colored smoke to help mark location for gun ships
and Huey Pilots. The RTO used aluminum flares when
signaling at night. The radio allowed communication
with the world. Soldiers could stay informed on what
was happening back in the United States. Mr. Murphy recalls
that, “I remember one day when a call came in saying
there was a man on the moon. It made us feel like if
the U.S. can put on a man on the moon, we can sure beat the
is a picture of both a portable and vehicular model
of the PRC-25 radio. The PRC-25 was the most
common radio used during the Vietnam War. It
was Mr. Murphy's job to operate the radio for his
platoon. He used the portable model and
carried it on his back. The radio has two
large knobs that are used to change the
frequency. The PRC-25 was vital to troops
because they could stay in contact with other
troops and the rest of the
Mr. Murphy's second tour, he worked in intelligence in Futu
outside of Wai. He was not out in Vietnam fighting,
but did more behind the scenes work. Mr. Murphy tells,
“I did miss not being on the front line a little, but it was
just as exciting to be the brain behind it all, (laughs).”
He was an intelligence analyst. His role was to
supervise and coordinate strategic and tactical
intelligence. This ranged from reviewing maps to
preparing intelligence briefings.
is a map of the Indochina area during the Vietnam
War. Most of the war was fought in South
Vietnam. Mr. Murphy fought mainly in South
Vietnam. On the map, the blue arrows indicate the
US and South Vietnam invasion of Cambodia.
The red arrows represent the Ho Chi Minh trail,
which was used to give North Vietnamese and Viet
Cong troops fighting in South Vietnam supplies.
47,253 died in Vietnam
10,000 lost at least one limb due to booby traps, mines, ambushes and other guerilla tactics
1340 remain MIA
North Vietnam/Viet Cong:
415,000 civilians killed
935,000 civilians wounded