Welcome Home and Demobilization Ceremony Address
September 1969

This retreat program is to honor and welcome back to Vermont the 131st Engineer Company (Light Equipment) from their period of service in Vietnam. Vermont is proud of their service in that foreign land. The account of this unit's service to the nation is not complete with just mention of Vietnam duty.

Organized and assigned to the Vermont Army National Guard in 1955, through the years, on weekends and during summer field training, the 131st has cleared terrain, built roads, erected bridges and generally improved the range area at Underhill Vermont.

The 131st was one of a select few units activated during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. During that eleven-month duty span they had to be satisfied with a supporting role at stateside stations - Fort Devens, Massachusetts and Camp Drum, New York

In October 1965 the l3lst was designated as a Selected Reserve Force unit. As such they were brought to full strength, allocated full equipment and given added training time to bring them to top efficiency and effectiveness. Always a unit with top morale, with the added impetus of a Selected Reserve Force unit designation, the Engineers' attitude and enthusiasm peaked.

It was to be expected then, that the Department should select these men for active service. This the Army did on 13 May 1968. Ordered to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the company received the newest of equipment and current Army doctrine in their particular skill.

The Vermont Guardsmen were sent to Vietnam the first part of September 1968. Their first brief station was at Tuy Hoa just north of Saigon.

Within a month our engineers were ordered to Ban Me Thuot near the Cambodian border where they constructed their own living compound and prepared defenses for Montagnard villages in the area. Their primary mission was to construct an essential highway between their base town and Ninh Hoa. Detailed contour maps will show us the location of the two villages. The Army will validate the importance of linking the two.

We welcome back our citizen soldiers and accord them thanks not only for what they have done abroad but for what they have done at home.


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