John J. Tolson

John J. Tolson III (October 22, 1915 – December 2, 1991) was a lieutenant general in the United States Army. During the Vietnam War, he helped implement the airmobile concept use of helicopters in combat with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).[1][2] Tolson credited the U.S Marines for first using helicopters to transport troops into combat in the Korean War, making the ground fight a three-dimensional war, thus freeing troops from the tyranny of terrain.[1]:4[3]

In World War II, John J. Tolson was a member of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Battalion and participated in every jump with that unit,[2] including the recapture of Corregidor in 1945.[4]

In the Vietnam War, Major General Tolson took command of 1st Cavalry Division in April 1967 and served in that capacity till July 14, 1969. Under his command, his division played crucial roles during the Tet Offensive during the Battle of Hue and at Quang Tri City in January 1968. It also participated in the second biggest battle of the war: Operation Pegasus the relief of the Marine Khe Sanh Combat Base in March 1968 where all three brigades engaged the enemy, as well as Operation Delaware, the massive air assault into the A Shau Valley in April 1968.[3][4]

After his Vietnam tour ended, he was promoted to lieutenant general.[2] He retired in 1973 as deputy commander of the Continental Army.[2]

He died on 2 December 1991 at the age of 76.[2] He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.[2]

John J. Tolson III
BornOctober 22, 1915
New Bern, North Carolina
DiedDecember 2, 1991 (aged 76)
Raleigh, North Carolina
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1937-1973
RankUS-O9 insignia.svgLieutenant General
Commands heldXVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

  1. ^ a b Tolson, John Tolson (1973). Vietnam Studies: Airmobility 1961–1971. United States Government Printing Office. ISBN 9781931641906.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bruce Lambert (December 6, 1991). "Gen. John J. Tolson, 76, Dies; Pioneered Army's Helicopter Use". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Ankony, Robert C (2009). Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. p. 65. ISBN 9780761843726.
  4. ^ a b Roberts (1970). The First Air Cavalry Division Vietnam: August 1965 to December 1969. Nippon Printing Co. p. 36.
Air assault

Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces behind enemy lines. In addition to regular infantry training, air-assault units usually receive training in rappelling and air transportation, and their equipment is sometimes designed or field-modified to allow better transportation within aircraft.

The US Army field manual FM 1-02 (FM 101-5-1) describes an "air assault operation" as an operation in which assault forces (combat, combat support, and combat service support), using the firepower, mobility, and total integration of helicopter assets, maneuver on the battlefield under the control of the ground or air maneuver commander to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain usually behind enemy lines.Due to the transport load restrictions of helicopters, air assault forces are usually light infantry, though some armored fighting vehicles, like the Russian BMD-1 are designed to fit most heavy lift helicopters, which enable assaulting forces to combine air mobility with a certain degree of ground mechanization. Invariably the assaulting troops are highly dependent on aerial fire support provided by the armed helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft escorting them.

Air assault should not be confused with air attack, air strike, or air raid, which all refer to attack using solely aircraft (for example bombing, strafing, etc.). Moreover, air assault should not be confused with an airborne assault, which occurs when paratroopers, and their weapons and supplies, are dropped by parachute from transport aircraft, often as part of a strategic offensive operation.

Battle of Huế

The Battle of Huế – also called the Siege of Huế – was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Between 30 January and 3 March 1968, in the South Vietnamese city of Huế, 11 battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), four U.S. Army battalions, and three U.S. Marine Corps battalions – totaling 18 battalions – defeated 10 battalions of the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong (VC).

By the beginning of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive on January 30, 1968 – coinciding with the Vietnamese lunar New Year (Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên Đán) – large, conventional, U.S. forces had been committed to combat operations on Vietnamese soil for almost three years.

Highway 1, passing through the city of Huế, was an important supply line for ARVN, US, and Allied Forces from the coastal city of Da Nang to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It also provided access to the Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) at the point where the river ran through Huế, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. Huế was also a base for United States Navy supply boats.

Considering its logistical value and its proximity to the DMZ (only 50 kilometres (31 mi)), Huế should have been well-defended, fortified, and prepared for any communist attack. However, the city had few fortifications and was poorly defended.

While the ARVN 1st Division had cancelled all Tet leave and was attempting to recall its troops, the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in the city were unprepared when the Viet Cong and the PAVN launched the Tet Offensive, attacking hundreds of military targets and population centers across the country, including Huế.The PAVN/Vietcong forces rapidly occupied most of the city. Over the next month, they were gradually driven out during intense house-to-house fighting led by the Marines and ARVN. In the end, although the Allies declared a military victory, the city of Huế was virtually destroyed, and more than 5,000 civilians were killed (2,800 of them executed by the PAVN and Viet Cong, according to the South Vietnamese government). The communist forces lost an estimated 2,400 to 8,000 killed, while Allied forces lost 668 dead and 3,707 wounded. The losses negatively affected the American public's perception of the war, and political support for the war began to wane.

Battle of Khe Sanh

The Battle of Khe Sanh (21 January – 9 July 1968) was conducted in the Khe Sanh area of northwestern Quảng Trị Province, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), during the Vietnam War. The main US forces defending Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB) were two regiments of US Marines supported by elements from the United States Army and the United States Air Force, as well as a small number of South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) troops. These were pitted against two to three divisional-size elements of the North Vietnamese Army.

The US command in Saigon initially believed that combat operations around KSCB during 1967 were part of a series of minor North Vietnamese offensives in the border regions. That appraisal was later altered when the NVA was found to be moving major forces into the area. In response, US forces were built up before the NVA isolated the Marine base. Once the base came under siege, a series of actions was fought over a period of five months. During this time, KSCB and the hilltop outposts around it were subjected to constant North Vietnamese artillery, mortar, and rocket attacks, and several infantry assaults. To support the Marine base, a massive aerial bombardment campaign (Operation Niagara) was launched by the US Air Force. Over 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US aircraft and over 158,000 artillery rounds were fired in defense of the base. Throughout the campaign, US forces used the latest technology to locate NVA forces for targeting. Additionally, the logistical effort required to support the base once it was isolated demanded the implementation of other tactical innovations to keep the Marines supplied.

In March 1968, an overland relief expedition (Operation Pegasus) was launched by a combined Marine–Army/South Vietnamese task force that eventually broke through to the Marines at Khe Sanh. American commanders considered the defense of Khe Sanh a success, but shortly after the siege was lifted, the decision was made to dismantle the base rather than risk similar battles in the future. On 19 June 1968, the evacuation and destruction of KSCB began. Amid heavy shelling, the Marines attempted to salvage what they could before destroying what remained as they were evacuated. Minor attacks continued before the base was officially closed on 5 July. Marines remained around Hill 689, though, and fighting in the vicinity continued until 11 July until they were finally withdrawn, bringing the battle to a close.

In the aftermath, the North Vietnamese proclaimed a victory at Khe Sanh, while US forces claimed that they had withdrawn, as the base was no longer required. Historians have observed that the Battle of Khe Sanh may have distracted American and South Vietnamese attention from the buildup of Viet Cong forces in the south before the early 1968 Tet Offensive. Nevertheless, the US commander during the battle, General William Westmoreland, maintained that the true intention of Tet was to distract forces from Khe Sanh.

Battle of Signal Hill (Vietnam)

The Battle of Signal Hill was a company size engagement between members of Company E, 52nd Infantry (LRP) long-range reconnaissance patrol of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) from 19–21 April 1968 during Operation Delaware. Signal Hill was the name given to the peak of Dong Re Lao Mountain, a densely forested 4,878-foot (1,487 m) mountain in the A Sầu Valley. The strategic location made it an ideal communication and fire support site, vital to the success of Operation Delaware.

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter developed by American rotorcraft company Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol (later known as Boeing Rotorcraft Systems). The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Its name, Chinook, is from the Native American Chinook people of modern-day Washington state.

The Chinook was originally designed by Vertol, which had begun work in 1957 on a new tandem-rotor helicopter, designated as the Vertol Model 107 or V-107. Around the same time, the United States Department of the Army announced its intention to replace the piston engine-powered Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave with a new, gas turbine-powered helicopter. During June 1958, the U.S. Army ordered a small number of V-107s from Vertol under the YHC-1A designation; following testing, it came to be considered by some Army officials to be too heavy for the assault missions and too light for transport purposes. While the YHC-1A would be improved and adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as the CH-46 Sea Knight, the Army sought a heavier transport helicopter, and ordered an enlarged derivative of the V-107 with the Vertol designation Model 114. Initially designated as the YCH-1B, on 21 September 1961, the preproduction rotorcraft performed its maiden flight. In 1962, the HC-1B was redesignated CH-47A under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system.

The Chinook possesses several means of loading various cargoes, including multiple doors across the fuselage, a wide loading ramp located at the rear of the fuselage, and a total of three external ventral cargo hooks to carry underslung loads, as well. Capable of a top speed of 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h), upon its introduction to service in 1962, the helicopter was considerably faster than contemporary 1960s utility helicopters and attack helicopters, and is still one of the fastest helicopters in the US inventory. Improved and more powerful versions of the Chinook have also been developed since its introduction; one of the most substantial variants to be produced was the CH-47D, which first entered service in 1982; improvements from the CH-47C standard included upgraded engines, composite rotor blades, a redesigned cockpit to reduce workload, improved and redundant electrical systems and avionics, and the adoption of an advanced flight control system. It remains one of the few aircraft to be developed during the early 1960s – along with the fixed-wing Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft – that had remained in both production and frontline service for over 50 years.

The military version of the helicopter has been subject to numerous export sales from nations across the world, typically using it as heavy-lift rotorcraft in a military context; the U.S. Army and the Royal Air Force (see Boeing Chinook (UK variants)) have been its two largest users. The civilian version of the Chinook is the Boeing Vertol 234. It has been used for a variety of purposes by a range of different civil operators, having often been used for passenger and cargo transport, along with niche roles such as aerial firefighting and to support various industrial activities, including logging, construction, and oil extraction.

Company E, 52nd Infantry (LRP) (United States)

Company E, 52nd Infantry, (LRP) was a 120 man-sized long-range reconnaissance patrol unit attached to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam in 1967-69. Its origin begins on January 1, 1967, as "LRRP Detachment G2," 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). It was then redesignated "Headquarters & Headquarters Company LRRP Detachment" in April 1967, and redesignated "Company E, 52nd Infantry (LRP)" on December 20, 1967.Later, when all LRRP units were folded into the US Army Rangers on February 1, 1969, Company E was redesignated, "H Company, 75th Infantry (Ranger).

List of commanders of 1st Cavalry Division (United States)

This is a list of commanders of the US 1st Cavalry Division of the United States Army.

MG Robert L. Howze September 1921 – June 1925

BG Joseph C. Castner June 1925 – January 1926

MG Edwin B. Winans January 1926 – October 1927

BG Samuel D. Rockenbach October 1927 – November 1927

MG George Van Horn Moseley November 1927 – September 1929

BG Charles J. Symmonds September 1929 – October 1930

BG George C. Barnhardt October 1930 – December 1930

MG Ewing E. Booth December 1930 – March 1932

BG Walter C. Short March 1932 – March 1933

MG Frank R. McCoy March 1933 – October 1933

BG Walter C. Short October 1933 – April 1934

BG Hamilton S. Hawkins Jr. April 1934 – September 1936

BG Francis Le J. Parker September 1936 – October 1936

MG Ben Lear October 1936 – November 1938

MG Kenyon A. Joyce November 1938 – October 1940

MG Robert C. Richardson, Jr. October 1940 – February 1941

MG Innis Palmer Swift February 1941 – August 1944

MG Verne D. Mudge August 1944 – February 1945

BG Hugh F. T. Hoffman February 1945 – July 1945

MG William C. Chase August 1945 – February 1949

BG William B. Bradford February 1949 – February 1949

MG John M. Devine February 1949 – August 1949

BG Henry I. Hodes August 1949 – September 1949

MG Hobart R. Gay September 1949 – February 1951

MG Charles D. Palmer February 1951 – July 1951

MG Thomas L. Harrold July 1951 – March 1952

MG Arthur G. Trudeau March 1952 – March 1953

BG William J. Bradley March 1953 – April 1953

MG Joseph P. Cleland May 1953 – June 1953

MG Armistead D. Mead June 1953 – December 1954

BG Orlando C. Troxel Jr. December 1954 – May 1955

MG Edward J. McGraw May 1955 – November 1956

MG Edwin H. J. Carns November 1956 – August 1957

MG Ralph W. Zwicker October 1957 – January 1958

MG George E. Bush January 1958 – April 1959

MG Charles E. Beauchamp April 1959 – May 1960

MG Charles G. Dodge May 1960 – December 1960

MG Frank H. Britton December 1960 – July 1961

MG James K. Woolnough July 1961 – September 1962

BG D.C. Clayman September 1962 – October 1962

MG Clifton F. Von Kann October 1962 – June 1963

BG Charles P. Brown June 1963 – August 1963

MG Chas F. Leonard Jr. August 1963 – October 1964

MG Hugh Exton October 1964 – June 1965

MG Harry W. O. Kinnard July 1965 – May 1966

MG John Norton May 1966 – March 1967

MG John J. Tolson March 1967 – August 1968

BG Richard L. Irby August 1968 – August 1968

MG George T. Forsythe August 1968 – April 1969

MG E. B. Roberts May 1969 – May 1970

MG George William Casey, Sr. May 1970 – July 1970

MG George W. Putnam August 1970 – May 1971

MG James C. Smith May 1971 – January 1973

MG Robert M. Shoemaker January 1973 – February 1975

MG Julius W. Becton, Jr. February 1975 – November 1976

MG W. Russell Todd November 1976 – November 1978

MG Paul S. Williams Jr. November 1978 – November 1980

MG Richard D. Lawrence November 1980 – July 1982

MG Andrew P. Chambers July 1982 – June 1984

MG Michael J. Conrad June 1984 – June 1986

MG John J. Yeosock June 1986 – May 1988

MG William F. Streeter May 1988 – July 1990

MG John H. Tilelli, Jr. July 1990 – July 1992

MG Wesley K. Clark July 1992 – March 1994

MG Eric K. Shinseki March 1994 – July 1995

MG Leon J. LaPorte July 1995 – July 1997

MG Kevin P. Byrnes July 1997 – October 1999

MG David D. McKiernan October 1999 – October 2001

MG Joe Peterson October 2001 – August 2003

MG Peter W. Chiarelli August 2003 – November 2005

MG Joseph F. Fil Jr. November 2005 – February 2008

BG Vincent K. Brooks (Acting Commander) Feb – April 2008

MG Daniel P. Bolger April 2008 – April 2010

MG Daniel B. Allyn April 2010 – June 2012

MG Anthony R. Ierardi June 2012 – March 2014

MG Michael A. Bills March 2014 - January 2016

MG John C. Thomson, III January 2016 - October 2017

MG Paul T. Calvert October 2017 - Present

Operation Chopper (Vietnam)

Operation Chopper occurred on January 12, 1962 and was the first time U.S. forces participated in major combat in the Vietnam War.

Operation Delaware

Operation Delaware/Operation Lam Son 216 was a joint military operation launched during the Vietnam War. It began on 19 April 1968, with troops from the United States and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) moving into the A Sầu Valley. The A Sầu Valley was a vital corridor for moving military supplies coming from the Ho Chi Minh Trail and was used by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) as a staging area for numerous attacks in northern I Corps. Other than small, special operations reconnaissance patrols, American and South Vietnamese forces had not been present in the region since the Battle of A Shau in March 1966, when a U.S. Special Forces camp located there was overrun.

Operation Dragnet

Operation Dragnet was a security operation conducted by the 1st Cavalry Division in Bình Định Province, lasting from 26 May 1967 to 27 January 1968.

Operation Jeb Stuart

Operation Jeb Stuart was a U.S. Army operation during the Vietnam War that took place in Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên Provinces from 21 January to 31 March 1968. The original operation plan to attack People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) base areas was disrupted by the Tet Offensive and instead it saw the U.S. Army units fighting in the Battle of Quang Tri and the Battle of Huế.

Operation Lejeune

Operation Lejeune was an operation conducted by the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Đức Phổ District, Quảng Ngãi Province, lasting from 7 to 22 April 1967.

United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence

The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, previously the Army Aviation Center and School, is the United States Army Aviation Branch's training and development center, located at Fort Rucker, Alabama. It "trains military, civilian, and international personnel in leadership skills [and] integrates aviation warfighting doctrine and requirements determination across the DOTMLPF" Its Commanding General is Major General William K Gayler.The Center of Excellence includes three aviation brigades, the 1st Aviation Brigade, 110th Aviation Brigade, and 128th Aviation Brigade, and a Noncommissioned Officers' Academy.

Weapons of the Vietnam War

This article is about the weapons used in the Vietnam War, which involved the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) or North Vietnamese Army (NVA), National Liberation Front for South Vietnam (NLF) or Viet Cong (VC), and the armed forces of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), United States, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and the Australian, New Zealand defence forces, and a variety of irregular troops.

Nearly all United States-allied forces were armed with U.S. weapons including the M1 Garand, M1 carbine, M-14 and M-16. The Australian and New Zealand forces employed the 7.62 mm L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle as their service rifle, with the occasional US M16.

The PAVN, although having inherited a variety of American, French, and Japanese weapons from World War II and the First Indochina War (aka French Indochina War), were largely armed and supplied by the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union, and its Warsaw Pact allies. In addition, some weapons—notably anti-personnel explosives, the K-50M (a PPSh-41 copy), and "home-made" versions of the RPG-2—were manufactured in North Vietnam. By 1969 the US Army had identified 40 rifle/carbine types, 22 machine gun types, 17 types of mortar, 20 recoilless rifle or rocket launcher types, nine types of antitank weapons, and 14 anti-aircraft artillery weapons used by ground troops on all sides. Also in use, primarily by anti-communist forces, were the 24 types of armored vehicles and self-propelled artillery, and 26 types of field artillery and rocket launchers.

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