Welcome to the Golden Brigade (Vietnam) Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association.
About the Golden Brigade
From Hue to the Mekong Delta, the communist North Vietnamese TET offensive of 1968 was being written in blood. General Westmoreland requested a division of paratroopers to repel an overwhelming North Vietnamese onslaught. He was given the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. The Golden Brigade fought bravely and successfully to open the Hai Van Pass, opening the roads to the A Shau Valley to control Nui Khe Mountain. Hue-Phu Bai, Perfume River, Street Without Joy, A Shau Valley, Saigon, Hoc Mon Bridge, Cu-Chi, Hobo Woods, Iron Triangle, Michelin Rubber Plantation, Song Be River, and the Cambodian border. These were just a few of the areas where we conquered our enemy in every encounter. And we worked to help rebuild a nation.
The members of the Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association were all assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division during its Tour of Duty in Vietnam from February 1968 until redeployment to the United States 22 months later in December 1969. We were the best that our nation could produce - and the best that the world had ever seen.
How We Became the Golden Brigade
"The implication that our unit was blessed with good fortune and apparently always did things right was made in late 1967 by General John Throckmorton, CG of the XVIII Airborne Corps. That year, we had jumped the entire unit on to Vieques Island near Puerto Rico, trained under fire for two weeks after the jump, been deployed as a unit to Detroit during the riot (where everything turned out just fine), sent a detachment to the Congo to defend the U.S. Embassy there, been alerted twice for rapid overseas deployment, and been the host unit for the annual demonstration by the 82nd for VIP’s from around the country. In short, we were always busy, and we always seemed to be the brigade on alert when things happened. Thus, General Throckmorton stopped me one time as we were getting to do something dramatic (I forget which incident it was) and said, “Bolling, everything your brigade touches turns to gold, doesn’t it?” I agreed, but my intelligence sergeant, Duke Dewey, grabbed hold of that expression, and from that moment on, we were the Golden Brigade. So, credit for creation of the name must go to General Throckmorton and Sergeant Dewey. Credit for doing things right must go to the troopers who served their unit so well."
MG Alexander R. Bolling (Night Rider)
Troopers who served with the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam are eligible to join the Golden Brigade Chapter or the 82nd Airborne Division Association, Inc.
Membership in the Golden Brigade Chapter includes quarterly editions of the Paraglide (online), information, coordination, and hosting of reunions (every 2 years) and hospitality suites at All-American Week at Ft Bragg, Memorial Day, the National Convention, and Veterans Day in Washington, DC. The Chapter supports Operation Christmas Stocking, the Soldier & Dependent Education Fund, the Wounded Warrior Project, and provides Care packages for deployed soldiers and their families. Membership funds have supported the addition of names to now include all of our "Forever Young" troopers and restoration of the Golden Brigade Memorial at Ft Bragg (see Forever Young below), development of our official portrait (see In Contact below), and creation of our Tontine (see Tontine below).
Golden Brigade Chapter members are also eligible to join the Vietnam 82nd Airborne Facebook group to reconnect with their Vietnam comrades. There you will find documents such as After-Action reports, Lessons Learned documents, Duty Logs, debriefings, maps, and videos. Issues of the Pacific Paraglide and Stars & Stripes articles on the Golden Brigade are also available online. You will be able to share your own memories, photos, and documents and view thousands of personal photographs, and shared memories. Details on upcoming reunions and other events will also be posted to the Facebook group.
Dues are $175 for life or $35 annually. Associate memberships are available to those Troopers who are members of another 82nd Airborne Division Association Chapter, or by approval of the Board of Directors (for those family members and close friends of our “Forever Young”).
Purchase of sale items are applied towards official Golden Brigade Chapter activities and charitable contributions. You may also make a tax deductible donation to the Chapter. Complete this membership application and quartermaster sales order form and mail it along with your dues and a copy of your DD-214 or official orders showing your assignment or attachment to the 3rd Brigade 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam during the period from February 12, 1968 to December 12, 1969.
We especially want to bring home those who have not been in contact with their brothers for these many years. If you know of someone who served with us in Vietnam, please let them know that we are looking for them!
James Kiser, our Quartermaster, our Chaplain, and our friend, joined our Forever Young brothers on September 29, 2016 at the age of 78.
The painting “In Contact”, commissioned by the Golden Brigade, was completed in 2012. It is a portrait of a combat assault. Bobby Hawk (the pilot who flew his Huey into LZ Bolling at the Chapter's 42nd anniversary reunion in Dallas) flew in his Huey and brought a slick pilot who flew in Vietnam as a technical adviser.
Vietnam reenactors assembled correct uniforms, web gear, demilitarized grenades, PRC-25, M-16, M-60, M-79, rucksacks and other gear. MG James L. Huggins, the 82nd Airborne Division Commander, sent 3 active duty 82nd paratroopers to portray us as we were when we were young. Carl Bludau had these troopers down to a stock pond on the ranch to get them wet and filthy so it would be realistic. The troopers exited the Huey while it was hovering and assumed their tactical positions - it was a show that brought back memories!
The final painting is 36” x 54” and it is a phenomenal piece of art. The Chapter retains all rights to the original painting.
Reproductions, also highly praised by those who have purchased these and had them framed, are on the wall of many a man-cave. They are available in several sizes, finishes, and prices and can be purchased directly from Somerset Fine Art.
Somerset Fine Art
29370 McKinnon Road, Suite A
Post Office Box 869
Fulshear, Texas 77441
Customer Service: 800-444-2540
During 22 months of continuous combat in Vietnam, 226 “Golden Brigade” Troopers gave their fullest measure. These men are still missed. The pain of their loss has never quelled. Our tears well up – but seldom flow. It is an anguish that few can ever know or understand – except for those who were there. It is the loss of a brotherhood that often ran deeper than our own blood. We honor each of these heroes, for they are beloved to us.
When it was announced that the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division was coming home in December 1969, NCOs who had deployed with the Brigade, and had already returned to Ft. Bragg, determined that a monument should be constructed in time for the homecoming ceremonies, to honor our Forever Young troopers. They rushed to have the monument made and an M-16, helmet, and jump boots disappeared from arms rooms and supply rooms.There was not enough money to pay for the monument and have it engraved as well. The stone company set up the monument and did the initial major engraving and then taught the Division Engineers how to complete the names. At that time, 188 names of Golden Brigade troopers were listed. By All-American Week 2015, the additional names had been added and a re-dedication ceremony was conducted with many Golden Brigade veterans in attendance.
|* Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, ** Missing in action - declared KIA|
|Airborne - All The Way!
Copyright 2017, Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, Inc. All rights reserved.