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Tet Offensive 50th Anniversary Highlighted at Army Heritage Days 2018

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The 1968 Tet Offensive is known as a pivotal campaign of the Vietnam War. During this year’s Army Heritage Days event, on May 19 and 20, 2018 from 9 am to 5 pm, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) will commemorate Tet’s 50th anniversary year with several themed events and lectures scheduled throughout the weekend.

Our first lecture of the weekend takes place on Saturday, May 19th at 12:00 pm and transports visitors to May 1968 with, “Three Battalions in May: A Look at Army Combat Operations during the Communist ‘Mini-Tet’ Offensive." Using a series of interviews with Veterans, Dr. Erik Villard, Digital Military Historian from the Center of Military History, will explore the May Offensive through the experiences of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, at Khe Sanh and Dong Ha; the 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade at Kham Duc; and the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry (Mechanized) at An Bao to show how the successful Allied counteroffensives that followed Tet forced the Communists to change and scale back their plans for the May Offensive in the I Corps and II Corps areas.

The second lecture, presented by Mr. Rick St. John on Sunday, May 20th at 1:00 pm, steps back in time and explores the campaign that took place in January of the same year.  In 1968, Rick St. John was a 23-yr-old 1st Lieutenant and the executive officer of B Company “Tiger Bravo” in the 2nd Battalion (Airborne) of the 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Committing early on the morning of January 31, 1968 to the Battle of Bien Hoa, Tiger Bravo participated as part of a 300 man reaction force. St. John will present his first hand experiences in a lecture entitled “Tiger Bravo - The Soldiers of B Company, 2/506th in the Tet Offensive." The talk will include details of the Viet Cong’s 5th Division attack of the Bien Hoa/Long Binh Complex, Allied counter measures to defend Bien Hoa Air Base, street fighting in Bien Hoa City, and the aftermath of the fighting, as told through personal accounts of paratroopers and St. John’s extensive research of battlefield documents and journals.

Visitors can further immerse themselves in Tet history as it comes to life in “The U.S. Army Soldier during Tet” living history program at the Vietnam Firebase on the Army Heritage Trail on Sunday, May 20th at 9:30 am. Re-enactors will portray a “boots on the ground” program about the Tet Offensive while outfitted in period gear, giving visitors an idea of the weapons and materials a Soldier would have carried during the offensive and the vehicles they would have used.

As always, Army Heritage Days will cover more than the Vietnam War, and will include portrayals from the Colonial Era to U.S. Army Current Operations by re-enactors stationed along the mile-long Army Heritage Trail. The Tank Obstacle Course will also be returning this year and will feature even more vehicles as drivers test their skills on a custom built course in front of the crowd. For a full schedule and more information, please visit www.usahec.org or call 717-245-3972. Make sure to follow #CountdowntoAHD on our social media pages as more events are announced.

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Guest Monday, 21 May 2018