1965-1970: The 1st Infantry Division was one of the first two divisions sent to defend the Republic of Vietnam in 1965.
For five years the Big Red One fought main force Viet Cong (VC) and regular North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in the jungles northwest of Saigon. It suppressed enemy infiltration along the Highway 13 corridor to Cambodia and sought to clear the enemy from its bases in the heavy jungle of the Iron Triangle and near the Michelin Plantation. The Division made innovative use of air mobile operations, fire bases, combined arms operations and civic action. It helped take the fight back to the enemy in the wake of the 1968 Tet Offensive, an intense combat environment in which even the commanding general would be a casualty. On September 13, 1968, division commanding general MG Keith L. Ware and his aides were killed in action when their helicopter was shot down near Loc Ninh. With the 1969 policy of pacification and Vietnamization, the 1st Infantry Division returned to the United States in 1970 to its former home at Fort Riley, Kansas.