(Why Chicken Men? The meaning of the title "Chicken Men" isn't the meaning you might be thinking. The Vietnamese don't have eagles and had never seen an eagle. So when they saw the 101st patch the only thing they could reference it with were chickens. Thus the 101st was given the nickname "chicken men".)
The first Brigade of the 101st was the 3rd major unit of the U.S. Army to arrive in Vietnam. They landed in July 1965 at Cam Ranh Bay. The brigade took part in a vast number of separate operations until the rest of the division joined them in December 1967.
In two and a half years, the first brigade traveled 2,500 miles and engaged in operations in 3 of the 4 established tactical zones. The men of the brigade killed six thousand enemy troops, captured enough weapons to arm eight enemy battalions, and took two thousand tons of rice. Medical attention was given to 25,000 friendly Vietnamese and 15,000 where relocated as refugees by the brigade.
Soon after the rest of the division arrived, they where sent on operation "Eagle Thrust". At the time, the largest and longest combat airlift mission, operation "Eagle Thrust" made military history. On December 13 in Bien Hoa the "Screaming Eagles" where established and deemed ready for action.
In January 1968 the enemy launched the largest single attack of the war, the Tet Offensive. During the Tet Offensive, the 101st engaged in combat operations from Bien Hoa to as far south as Saigon. Part of the enemy offensive was the attack on Saigon by Viet Cong (North Vietnamese sympathizers) Commandos. During the Tet Offensive and the following operation "Uniontown" the 101st killed 851 enemy troops.
"Nevada Eagle" was the longest operation for the 101st and of the war. During most of 1968 the 101st took part in this operation, the operation had two major goals. One of the goals of the operation was to prevent the Viet Cong from harvesting the rice crops in the Thua Thien Province. The second goal of the operation was to force the Viet Cong from the plains into the mountains.
During the operation the 101st killed 3,299 enemy troops, took 853 prisoners, captured 3,702 weapons, and confiscated enough rice to supply ten enemy battalions for a year. At the end of the operation the Thua Thien Province belonged to the "Screaming Eagles".
The A Shau Valley was the most important supply route for the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. The 101st attacked the A Shau Valley ia a series of operations called "Massachuettes Striker", "Apache Snow", and "Montgomery Rendezvous". The 101st cut supplies lines, destroyed base camps, and seized tons of supplies.
The 101st participated in several more operations in Vietnam before leaving in 1972 and were the last army division to leave Vietnam. Vice President Spiro T. Aghew and Army Chief of Staff General William C. Westmoreland welcomed the 101st with open arms at an official homecoming ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on April 6,1972.
Although some would argue the success of the Vietnam War, the missions that the 101st where assigned were always counted as successes.
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