On Patrol 

Vietnam – there is currently a phenomenal documentary on PBS by Ken Burns about the dreadful conflict in south west Asia during the sixties. Though mostly fought on foot through dense jungle, of from helicopters, here are some images and information about the use of some lightweight motorcycles utilized for single-track reconnaissance…

You Meet The Nicest People On the Trails of War Zone C

TAY NINH – Like Hell’s Angeles, the Rat Patrol, and the Wild Ones all rolled into one, the Reconnaissance Patrol of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars prowls War Zone C with 175-cc motorcycles leading the rest of the patrol.

The four motorcycles were introduced into the patrol by the Regulars’ battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carmichael, who wanted a fast and efficient way for his reconnaissance element to investigate the swarm of trails that twist through the marshes and jungles of what used to be a reliable sanctuary for enemy troops.

“Knowing where the enemy is not is almost as good as knowing where he is,” Carmichael says. “This mobile unit can cover a great deal of territory in a very short time, which enables us to gain information on the whereabouts of the enemy.

In addition to the motorcycles, the reconnaissance unit includes Rat Patrol Type vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Patrol Leader First Lieutenant Stephen Campbell, Falls Church, Va., takes his men out at dawn every morning, with the flack jacket, crash helmet-clad cyclists leading the way. The unit has already uncovered several mortar and rocket sites used by enemy forces.

Major Jospeh Hacia, the Regulars’ executive officer, is convinced of the value of using the motorcycles. “At first I was very leery of the whole idea, but now I am confident it was a good one,” Hacia says. “Recon has provided us with valuable information which normally we would not have.”

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