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American troop strength continued to decline from 280,000 to 159,000 by year's end. (Source: The Vietnam War Almanac, edited by John Bowman) In March and April, the main part of the 1st Cavalry Division departed Vietnam for Ft. Hood, Texas. They left behind the 3rd Brigade (Separate) of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The 2/5th Cav was one of four battalions of the 3rd Brigade, which was headquartered at Bien Hoa. The other infantry battalions of the "Garry Owen Brigade" were the 1/7th Cav, 2/8th Cav, and the 1/12th Cav. (Source: Vietnam Order of Battle. Stanton) Interestingly, each of the battalions was known officially as an Infantry battalion, as in 2nd Infantry Battalion, 5th Cavalry, probably to differentiate them from the units serving at Ft. Hood which became tank battalions. (Sources: Various S3 Journals and Adolf Carlson) The main mission of the 3rd Brigade ( as with other US units) was to provide an aggressive defense of the large American logistics and air bases at Bien Hoa, Long Binh, and Saigon. The area patrolled by American units was called the "Rocket Belt."
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Updated July 29, 2006