The activation ceremony of Fort Jackson‘s newest Basic Combat Training battalion wasn’t just about unfurling flags it was also a time to harken back to those who fought in Vietnam nearly a half century ago.
When 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment was activated in a ceremony Oct. 24 on Victory Field, Fort Jackson became a little more “hardcore” as veterans stood in the unit’s ranks assisting in the unfurling of unit colors.
Col. Patrick Aspland, commander of the 165th, welcomed the Hardcore Battalion into his fold, saying, “We have with us today some of those veterans from Vietnam. I would like to offer them special recognition and thank them for their role they played in this historic battalion.”
Fourth Battalion received its “hardcore” moniker during its deployment to Vietnam in 1968 as part of the 9th Infantry Division.
The battalion became the 11th training battalion on the installation and joined its sister battalions as part of the 165th Infantry Brigade. It traces its roots to June 1, 1917, when it was organized at Camp Syracuse in New York. The 39th Infantry Regiment fought in World War I with the 4th Infantry Division where it saw action in the Aisne-Marne Offensive and battled in the Meuse-Argonne, Lorrain, St. Mihiel and Champagne. The regiment also fought in North Africa, Normandy, and in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
Lt. Col. Andrew Jasso, 4-39 Inf. Bn. commander, reiterated how important it was to honor those Vietnam vets during his speech during the ceremony.
Jasso said the veterans of a war where 2.7 million Americans, or one in 10 of every 18-21 year old males, would fight were “heroes.”
“Today on Fort Jackson we have heroes present — Soldiers who fought four our nation and who didn’t get the admiration and honor they deserve,” he said.
Aspland not only praised the veterans but singled out the battalion’s efforts in preparation for activation.
“They have rebuilt this organization over the past months and through trials and tribulations stand ready to train and prepare citizens of the United States to become Soldiers of character ready to deploy, engage and destroy enemies of the United States in close combat,” he said.
“I am confident not only in your ability to conduct basic training, but to make your predecessors proud and uphold the tradition of their hardcore name,” Aspland added.