The 4th Battalion 9th Infantry Regiment (Manchu) is once again part of the active Army. The colors of the battalion were uncased at ceremonies on June 1, 2006 in Ft. Lewis, Washington as the 1st Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division was re-designated as the 4th of the 9th. 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 brings the battalion back to the 2nd Infantry Division with which it has served through much of its history.

       The colors were unfurled in a ceremony during which Vietnam War veterans of the battalion affixed to the 4/9 guidon the 12 battle streamers awarded to the regiment during that conflict. Vietnam veterans then passed the respective guidons to the commanders of the units with Randy Dunphy representing Headquarters Company, Griff Killgrove representing Alpha, Hector Colon on behalf of Bravo and Willie Gin representing Charlie. The organization of the battalion now includes a signal company which marks a first since the female soldiers assigned to it are now the first women to serve with the Manchus.

       In his address to the battalion and guests, commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel William Prior outlined the history of the regiment which dates back dates back to 1799 and of the battalion which can trace its beginnings to1861. Their more recent history includes the landings at Normandy, the campaign across France and Belgium and into the Rhineland in World War II, along with many battles in the Korean War and four and half years of action in Vietnam. He told of how, in 1900 the regiment did its duty when it was ordered to take the walled city of Tientsin from the ultra-nationalist Chinese rebels known as the Boxers.

      "It was there," Prior said, "the Manchus earned their nickname." Prior said it was also the place where gravely wounded regimental commander Colonel Emerson Liscum uttered his dying words words that gave the regiment its motto -- "Keep Up The Fire."

       At the conclusion of the ceremony the new Manchus hosted the old at the dedication of the Manchu Hall of Honor in the battalion headquarters where the Vietnam Manchus were greeted by colonel Prior. The Hall features the three 4/9 Manchus awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam and includes the citation for the awards along with photos of the recipients. Captain Karl Harness, the battalion S5, outlined the acts for which Maximo Yabes, Ruppert Sergeant and Nicholas Cutinha were posthumously recognized with the award of the nation's highest honor for bravery.

       In his address on behalf of the Vietnam veterans of the battalion 4/9 Infantry Manchu (Vietnam) Association President Larry James pointed out that the actions for which they were recognized were as different as each of the men. "But the common thread that ties them together is that in each case each took it upon himself to act for the sake of those around him," James said. He said those of us who were 4/9 Manchus in Vietnam are "grateful for what those men did for us but the feelings we have for them go much deeper and even all these years later, forms part of the bond all of us share today."

      One wall of the Hall of Honor is decorated with the crests of the 2nd Infantry Division and the 9th Infantry Regiment along with all 52 battle streamers awarded to the battalion. Display cases have also been established housing memorabilia of the 4/9 Manchus.

       On display in the headquarters area was the new Stryker vehicle which forms the core of the new 4/9 Manchus which is now a fully mechanized unit. The Stryker is an armored wheeled vehicle that is designed to enable the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) to maneuver more easily in close and urban terrain while providing protection in open terrain. The Stryker was named after two soldiers posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, PFC Stuart Stryker in World War II and Specialist Robert Stryker in Vietnam.

       The 19 ton Stryker is actually a family of vehicles. It includes the Infantry Carrier Vehicle, Mobile Gun System, Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle, Mortar Carrier Vehicle, Reconnaissance Vehicle, Fire Support Vehicle, Engineer Squad Vehicle, Commander's Vehicle, Medical Evacuation Vehicle, and a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance Vehicle. The vehicles have robust armor protection and can sustain speeds of 60 miles an hour. The Infantry Carrier Vehicle carries a nine-man infantry squad and a crew of two and has a Remote Weapon Station with an M2 .50 caliber machine gun or MK19, 40 mm grenade launcher.

       The new 4/9 Manchus will also deploy with the Army's new Land Warrior system. In fact, the battalion is serving as a test bed for the new equipment. The army describes the system as a total integration of computer, communication and weapons. With it an infantryman has a computer in the back with a separate communications and navigation system. What each soldier sees can be transmitted to all as part of a true network, not simply point-to-point communications.

       Each soldier can see a map through the heads-up display which also shows friendly forces and their positions, along with actual or suspected enemy positions. The optic systems include a daylight video sight that feeds through a wire to the head-mounted video display. It will take still pictures and send them over a local area wireless network. A lightweight thermal sight provides night and low-light vision and can see through fog and smoke. That system contains a multifunction laser which each soldiers can use to point the laser at a target and the information will go directly to the network. This will allow the soldier to call for artillery fire, for example, without having to voice transmit coordinates. Details of the system are available at http://www.army-technology.com/projects/land_warrior/.

       Although the newly equipped and mechanized unit is vastly different from the straight leg infantry that the Manchus were in Vietnam, the 145 year old traditions of the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry remain alive. When the battalion deploys to Iraq in the Spring of 2007, the men and women of the newly re-flagged unit will carry those traditions with them as they add to the illustrious history of the battalion and the regiment.

             

      

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