The 4/9 Manchus were brought back to active service when the battalion colors were were uncased at ceremonies on June 1, 2006 in Ft. Lewis, Washington as the 1st Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment was re-designated as the 4th Battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment. The colors had been retired when the battalion was inactivated on December 15, 1995 at Fort Wainwright, Alaska where it had been part of the 6th Infantry Division. The re-flagging brought the battalion back to the 2nd Infantry Division with which it has served through much of its history.
Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Prior the Manchus then deployed to Iraq in April 2007 as the first of the elements sent to the country as part of the "surge" policy designed to restore stability to the country. After serving a bit more than a one year tour of duty they have returned to Ft Lewis.
And, like every major event since the unit was reactivated the 4/9 Manchu Vietnam veterans were part of the proceedings. 4/9 Infantry Manchu (Vietnam) Association president Larry James took part in the welcome home celebrations at Watkins Field at Ft. Lewis. Here are James's remarks.
"First of all, Welcome Home!
We missed you!
That may surprise you a bit, considering that we Vietnam Manchu veterans donít know very many of you personally. But, believe me, we have been following you as best we could Ė scouring the news for the latest info on your operations in Iraq. Your CO, colonel Prior was good enough to keep us informed by passing on stories and pictures from Iraq. Sadly, not all the news was good. Today we join you in mourning the seven Manchus who were lost and honoring the 90 who were wounded. We wish them the very best as they travel along the road to recovery.
For the first few months of your deployment we posted your news on the Manchu website, www.manchu.org but your service warranted something more so our webmaster Willy, AKA Bob Dixson, created a website just for you. www.manchuwarriors.org. Now that you are home we hope that one of you with an interest in IT may want to take it on yourselves. Talk to Willy if you get a chance or email him at email@example.com.
One of the biggest complaints you will hear from Vietnam Vets is that we wish we had done a better job of staying in touch. Perhaps your own web site will help you avoid that problem. We also wanted to do something to commemorate your time as a Manchu so we have a coin for each of you commemorating your service in Iraq. And for those you left behind -- a medallion -- to recognize that special agony of waiting and not knowing that they went through.
Much has changed in the 40 years that have gone by since the Manchus served in Vietnam. But one thing has not changed and never will and that is the bond that grew out of our shared experiences. You feel it now, Iím sure, because you have been through so much together. And I am sure that, 40 years from now, when you look back on these days. I hope you will also feel a connection with the rest of us who have called ourselves Manchus. Thank you for your service to our country and for making all those Manchus who came before you so very proud.
"Keep Up The Fire"
4/9 Vietnam Association
Following those remarks James stood in for Maria Simone, wife of Vietnam Manchu Doug Simone, who made a quilt that was present to Spc 4 John Joss who was wounded by an IED during operations north of Baghdad.
Following the welcome home ceremony, the battalion took part in a mass review of the 4th Bridade, 2nd Infantry Divsion, where James again represented the Manchu as an Iraq battle streamer, the battalion's 63rd, was attached to the 4/9 colors.
It was a memorable day.