“Battalion organized at Ft. Lewis Washington. It becomes the first ever 6th Battalion of the 31st Infantry, although the 31st Infantry Regiment, with a storied history, being its namesake. “
Authorized strength 43 officers, 2 warrant officers and 875 enlisted men (920) total.
The battalion begins training on November 20, 1967
By January 1, 1968 half of the battalions training was complete
Training for January 7, 1968.
Training continues January 21 through 27, 1968
A total of 1037 hours of training received
Platoon and Company ATT’s conducted February 3 to 10.
Battalion training and tests February 12 through March 10, 1968
Battalion leave granted before deployment to Viet Nam starting March 11, 1968.
“The advance party, including Lieutenant Colonel Schmalhorst, all six company commanders, and Command Sergeant Major Bill Russell, departed from McChord Air Force Base on March 31, 1968.”
Battalion gets first orders to the 9th Division. Original orders were to the 196th LIB at Chu Li. Changed while the battalion is in the air on the way to Vietnam to the 9th Division.
Most of battalion arrived at Ton Son Nut Airbase and taken to Bearcat by truck. Ltc. Joseph Schmalhorst Bn. Commander.
First Assignment at Bearcat.
The battalion’s first non-battle casualty occurred on April 19 when a soldier from C Company wounded himself with his own weapon.
First Combat loss. Donald Hanna. C company.
C Company. 2 KIA and 14 WIA due to enemy command detonated mine.
“Battalion moved from Bearcat to a battalion size base at Bien Chon, Long An Province.”
“Captain Robert F. Stephens, Jr., D Company’s commander, was wounded by a booby trap. He was replaced by Captain Grady A. Smith.”
D 6/31st Found small cache containing hand grenades, small arms ammo, and mortar ammo. No contact with the enemy.
“On this day, the NVA began their initial assualt that will be known as the Cholon battle. The Bn was under heavy mortar attack, with 22 soldiers wounded. D Co would have it’s first casualty, SP4 Arnold Stewart, and 6 others from the Co would be wounded.”
Pfc Bobby Childs had been hit and subsequently dies before being dusted off. He is the first casualty of A Co in-country.
“Just after noon, A and B Companies were flown in from Firebase Smoke. They reinforced six rifle companies of the 3-39th and 5-60th Infantry,”
C Company’s 2nd Platoon was flown in to reinforce RVN rangers and police at a nearby bridge on Route 5.
The NVA Offensive continues with their push into Cholon. One platoon of Charlie Company goes opcon to 3/39 and another goes opcon to 5/60
“Just after daybreak, B Company, attached to Lieutenant Colonel Joe DeLuca’s 3-39th Infantry, moved to DeLuca’s command post (CP) aboard A/5-60th tracks.”
“That evening, C Company was flown back to Fire Base Smoke from a fruitless night operation in nearby Long An Province.”
“6/31 is sent in to reinforce 3/39. By early afternoon, A/C Co’s have contact. By 1600h, A has the northern part of the Y-Bridge secured and C has the southern side secured. At 1610h, C has 3 WIA’s and A has 1 WIA. Contact continues after dark. Gunships called in.”
“Earlier that morning (May 10), A/5-60th Infantry was ambushed on National Route 5A while moving through the village of Xom Tan Liem. Their company commander had been killed and most of the American dead still lay alongside he road. A and C Companies of the 6-31st were picked up on Route 230 and flown in to help.”
“At 0800h, A/C go opcon to the RFPF’s for a sweep of the area, B Co is still opcon to 3/39. At 1715h, C has 3 WIA, and 1 KIA:Sgt(+) Gregory Russell C Co. He would subsequently be awarded the DSC posthumously.”