Formation of the 1/50(M) Scout/Recon Platoon

Copyright 2002: Rigo Ordaz. All rights reserved. (Copy permission at bottom)

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The standard TOE 7-15G Infantry Battalion of the era had an authorized strength of 847 men (37 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers and 810 Enlisted Men), organized into a Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) and three Rifle Companies. HHC included a Ground Surveillance Section, Recon Platoon, Communications Platoon, Anti-tank Platoon, Heavy Mortar Platoon, Support Platoon, Maintenance Platoon, Medical Platoon and Air Control Team. Not all of HHC's capabilities were required on the Vietnam Battlefield, so by 1967 when the 1/50 arrived in Vietnam, it was customary for a fourth Rifle Company (Delta Company, Provisional) to be added to the Battalion (under a modified TO&E, or "MTOE") to facilitate widespread patrolling and rapid airmobile operations.

It's interesting to note that the Mechanized and Armor Combat Operations in Vietnam (MACOV) conducted in early 1967 found that in Vietnam, contrary to established doctrine, more often than not U.S. mechanized infantry fought mounted, employing armored personnel carriers as assault vehicles to close with and destroy the enemy, break trail, destroy antipersonnel mines, and disrupt enemy defenses. The study also discovered that no two armored (or mechanized) units in Vietnam were organized alike. So pressure was put on organizations to conform to a standard MTOE developed to suit mecahnized infantry operations in Vietnam. In mid-1968, Delta Company reverted to a Combat Support Company controlling the support platoon, communications platoon, maintenance platoon and medical platoon. while the combat elements of Delta (Provisionsal) were transferred to HHC. At this time, the Scout/Recon Platoon was re-established.

The 1/50 (M) Infantry Scout/Recon Platoon was activated in the latter part of May 1968. It participated in the Battle of Trinh Van, May 25-26 but was still operating as Delta Co. on May 5, 1968. The Scout/Recon Platoon was constituted from personnel and assets from Delta Co. (Provisional) when it no longer was a line company. The Scout/Recon Platoon had 56 personnel and 13 Armored Personnel Carriers and was part of HHC Company. The Recon Platoon kept the same numbers on the APCs as those of Delta Company for a while but eventually they were painted over.

On June 1, 1968 1LT Daniel F. White, from Delta 4th Platoon, was assigned as Scout Platoon Leader. At that time the Scout/ Recon Platoon operated out of LZ Uplift. The 1/50 (M) Infantry had been attached since April 5,1968 to the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), after being earlier attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, and one month to the 4th Infantry Division.

The new platoon was comprised of two groups and a Recon team about 12 troopers strong, which was started with Sgt. Benjamin Shaw of Delaware in charge.

The Scout Platoon and the Recon team would carry out Reconnaissance in Force, Search and Clear, Cordon & Search, day and night ambushes, road and base security in the area from Phu My to Bong Son.

The Battalion History from July 1 to Aug 1968 carries several mentions of the Scout Platoon in Operation Cochise in the Soui Ca Valley.
  • On 21 July, 1968 at BR020797 the Scout Platoon captures 1 VC enemy.

  • On 31 July 1968, Scout Platoon killed one NVA with webbed gear at 311125 VIC of BR782608. Another enemy dead with B40 rocket launcher and 5 rockets. The Scouts continued operating in the LZ Uplift and Bong Son area.

  • On Aug.3,1968, Scout Platoon hit a booby trap hand grenade VIC BR799588. Four personnel and the platoon leader were wounded.
The 1/50 (M) Infantry finished joint operations in the AO Cochise Green in the Soui Ca Valley and prepared to move to AO Walker around An Khe, LZ Schueller, LZ Action and QL19, where the mission changed to mostly road and bridge security. The 1/50 and Scouts manned Strong Points and Bridges and conducted patrols and ambushes in the area.

The original Recon team, part of the Scout Platoon- summer of 1968.

Sgt. Benjamin Shaw (far left standing) was in charge of the group. Next to Shaw is Carver, far right standing with M16 rifle is Roy Valadez. Kneeling center is Ignacio Evangelista and next to him to the right is John Hunt, who became a squad leader later on. The Recon team would carry out day and night ambushes and reconaissance missions.

(Help is needed in identifying the rest of the group)

© Rigo Ordaz, 2002-2005. All Rights reserved.

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