Home page of the Reconnaissance Platoon, E Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment (Gimlets), 196th Infantry Brigade.
Portions of the site require a password. Contact Clair Button to get an access password. See the contact form below.If you do not find a response within a few days, please check your spam box. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Latest new Recon Platoon contacts - Terry Heidlebrink just found us this June! James D. Smith and his son Michael Smith, C.T. Burns (but no follow through from those people after I responded.)
The Recon Platoon was formed in November 1967 at Landing Zone Center under the command of (then) Captain Humphries. The first unit was known as the Assassins. A second reconnaissance platoon, Spectre, was also formed under E Company in early 1968, but was combined with the Assassins shortly after a disastrous field mission with 1st Platoon of Alpha Company in April, 1968.
Because the Battalion often lacked sufficient troops to effectively control the area of operations, Recon sometimes operated with platoons from line companies or armored cavalry units in an "economy of force" mission.
Otherwise, the Recon Platoon operated as an independent field unit, sometimes on classic reconnaissance missions to gather intelligence, but also in search and destroy missions, or as a blocking force to intercept VC and NVA forces moving around line company positions. Typical field strength of the Recon platoon was 14-18 men. Operating alone, they would probe battalion size units of VC and NVA forces. At times, 4-5 man teams were sent out (sometimes accompanied by a sniper) for days at a time with the mission to attack and engage any enemy observed, arguably a potential suicide mission.
The Americal Division records have only sketchy details of the field missions of the Recon Platoon. During the first months of the Recon platoon operation, its field location was often not reported unless they engaged in a firefight. Many stories are not told at all, and a number of those reported to the Americal Division contain inaccuracies we hope to correct.
We have already accomplished much in documenting the history of the Recon Platoon. The proudest moment of our reunion efforts so far may well be completing the process for award of the Silver Star to Tony Colvard, who was dusted off Hill 356 during a firefight southeast of LZ Center. Those of us who were there thought he would die from his wounds. We did not know what became of the recommendations for his award. It was only 37 years later that we knew.