CIB Badge

Of all the Medals Upon our Chest From the Battles and War we knew, The one admired as THE VERY BEST
Is the one of Infantry Blue. It is only a rifle upon a wreath,
So why should it mean so much?
That gives it that Magic Touch. To earn this special accolade
You faced the enemy's fire
Whether you survived or not
God dialed that one desired.
For those of us who served the cause
It is the

CIB Badge

Posts Tagged ‘Combat Infantryman’

72- The HUMP- the Army’s 1st major battle in Vietnam, 1965

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

In this episode, we deliver a description of the Army’s first major battle in the Vietnam War. Known as THE HUMP, this battle was fought by the 173rd Airborne Brigade (nicknamed “The Herd”).


This episode is delivered as an audio narration of the article from VIETNAM(R) Magazine. It is delivered complete and unabridged. The author of the article is Al Conetto,  a veteran who also served as commander of D Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, 1967-1968.

The article is a detailed account of the planning, the execution and the aftermath of the battle that took place in November, 1965.

The description is factual, from a participant of the event and an eyewitness. It does not glorify war from the eyes of the combat infantryman, but merely relates the day-by-day happenings.

173rd under sniper fire 1965====

Select this link to listen to the audio episode in another window.

Copyright (c) 2015, VIETNAM(R) Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 6, pages 26-33, June, 2015 edition. Article by Al Conetto.  All rights reserved

54- Combat Infantryman Jan Scruggs honors those who died in Vietnam — and beyond

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

For a Vietnam Veteran who was a Combat Infantryman, the names on “the Wall” (aka the Vietnam Veterans Monument) in Washington, D.C. (or with the “moving walls” that tour the nation) are sad memories of those who died in action during that Southeast Asian War.

However, the living memory of gratitude to those who gave “their last full measure of devotion” is now being elevated to a higher level by Jan Scruggs, who is himself a Combat Infantryman (who served with the 199th LIB or Light Infantry Brigade) and Purple Heart recipient. Jan was the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Monument, and now he is the President of the project called THE EDUCATION CENTER AT THE WALL.

In this episode of The Combat Infantrymen’s Association podcast for H21 Southern Branch, Austin Chapter of Division 4, we deliver a summary of our meeting with Jan Scruggs and the brief presentation he made to the Austin Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

As you will hear in his presentation, Jan Scruggs has now extended his participation and mission with “the Wall” to include those who died in other conflicts and campaigns in America’s history. The Education Center at the Wall is an ambitious project, but it will serve to commemorate all those who died in every war in which the USA has participated, so that we can give the proper respect and recognition.

Jan has also compiled small book called “Dreams Unfulfilled: Stories of the Men and Women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

And all this started from the time that Jan Scruggs wanted to remember the names of those who were killed in the Vietnam War. This was one of the opening scenes in the Television movie about Jan’s story in having the Wall built and dedicated–a movie called To Heal A Nation. (You can get the movie and his book of compilations from

Copyright (c) 2012, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Jan Scruggs. All rights reserved.

51- Combat Infantrymen carry a huge load on their backs

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The combat infantryman has always carried the load of fighting on his back. As you know, the mission of the combat infantryman is “to kill, capture and destroy the enemy by means of fire and maneuver and fire-and-movement.” Thus, the footsoldier’s job results in “being in harm’s way” due to the dangerous situations, as well as a very heavy burden  and sacrifice of accomplishment.

However, now we discuss another burden–the reality of the equipment, arms, supplies and tools that he was forced to carry on his back. And we look at this especially during the role of the combat infantryman during the Vietnam War.

The image you see on this post is a photo that comes from the book cover of the work titled The TET OFFENSIVE- A Concise History. This is a book by James H. Willbanks, published by Columbia University Press (ISBN 978-0-231-12841-4).

From my own experience as a combat infantryman in the jungles, the rice paddies, the mountains and the villages in Vietnam, I can truthfully say that we also became literally the human version of “beasts of burden.”

To help you visualize this, we outline 3 key jobs or roles in the squad of an infantry line company in this audio podcast episode, and the loads that they carried–so you can get a better appreciation of what the infantrymen had to carry on their backs.

(1) THE “PIG-MAN” — that is, the machine-gunner who carried the m.60 machine gun;

(2) THE RTO — that is, the “radio-telephone” operator who carried the PRC-25 radio for communications; and

(3) THE STARLIGHT SCOPE humper– that is, the man who carried the Starlight Scope (also known as the “night vision device”).

And then there is an understanding of the load carried by the snipers, medics, recon/recondos–and how they may have differed from the typical line company infantry loads.

In other campaigns in other conflicts, the combat infantryman was the one chosen to shoulder the burden of some of the heaviest loads one can imagine. For instance, in World War II, the paratroopers who made the combat jumps (for example, those of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy on D-Day) were so laden down with all the ammunition, supplies, tools and armament that many could not even board the airplanes by themselves normally. In fact, many had to go on their knees or use the helping hands of others to get on board– as the weight of their burden made the paratrooper exceed well over 300 pounds.

We remember the words that General MacArthur said during World War II which told us that nobody hates war more than the soldier who has to fight it. In our case, nobody would hate the load he was forced to carry on his back in Vietnam more than the combat infantryman who had to shoulder this burden–which was necessary for him to sustain and survive the mission in the mountains, the jungles, the highlands and the rice paddies.

But such is the burden of the combat infantryman. And this burden usually went unnoticed by those who were not 11B light weapons infantrymen–not by most of the REMFS in the rear, nor most of those in the military who were not in Vietnam (but served only as “Vietnam-ERA” veterans), and certainly not by the civilians who did not have this burden on their backs.

That is why this saying is so true:  “For those who fought for it, Freedom has a taste that the Protected can never know.”

Copyright (c) 2011, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Columbia University Press and James H. Willbanks.  All rights reserved.

46- Vietnam War college history course taught by a combat infantryman

Friday, December 10th, 2010

In this episode of the H21 Southern Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver the audio narration of an article from VFW Magazine by Kelly Von Lunen from pages 24-26 of the October, 2010, issue.

This article is titled “The Vietnam War: Teaching Understanding and Respect.” What is interesting is that a college professor at the University of Kansas with a  Ph.D. in History is teaching a course on the Vietnam War to young students–and that this professor is a Vietnam Veteran who earned his CIB during the last phases of the war. His name is Dr. James Willbanks.

James Willbanks is a Ph.D and historian, as well as a retired LTC of the US Army. He was a combat infantryman during the Vietnam War from Dec., 1971 to Dec., 1972.

In this course, Dr. Willbanks gives an unbiased perspective of the war–something that the media has never done (and probably will never do, as the media wants to sensationalize the war and still blame the soldiers who fought it). For the young students — both civilian and the returning Veterans from the Middle East who finished their tours of duty– this course draws similarities of the experiences of both Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia.

Instead of being stereotyped as “psychos, baby-killers, drug-addicts, misfits and losers” when the media blamed and spat upon those who served in the theatre, as well as those combat infantrymen who fought the conflict, Dr. Willbanks treats the subject and the perspective with both honor and respect–that is, an understanding.

Although we understand that this course is not available online, but only as a lecture class at the University of Kansas, perhaps one day there will be an online course such as this. And then perhaps the combat infantrymen of the Vietnam War can get the respect, understanding and honor they deserve for having served in the Army and having done their duty — and perhaps this can help provide closure for many of us Vietnam Vets.

Copyright (c) 2010, VFW Magazine, Kelly Von Lunen and Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

12- D.G. Harris- Paratrooper Combat Infantryman in WWII

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

In this espisode of the Austin, Texas, Chapter – H21, Southern Branch — of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we are fortunate to deliver an interview with Darrell G. Harris, who was one of the first troopers to earn the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) in World War II.

Darrell was part of the 504th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) of the 82nd Airborne Division for most of his tour in the European campaign. He was an COMBAT AIRBORNE INFANTRYMAN, a demolition specialist Infantryman who was a parachutist who made 3 combat parachute jumps in Europe. He is also one of the charter members of the 82nd Airborne Division Association–as he joined it in France in 1945, before he had come back home to the USA after the War.

The picture, below, shows Darrell G. Harris today, wearing his 82nd Airborne Division Association vest and hat.  He is also wearing the medallion for WWII Veterans that he received in Washington, D.C. at the Inauguration of the WWII Memorial. Notice that his parachutist wings (that is, his “jump wings“) are worn above the CIB. This shows the common way that the CIB was worn in World War II by the Combat Infantrymen, as shown below:

Darrell mentioned that it was common practice in those days to always wear the paratrooper airborne wings above the ribbons, and the CIB (which was first initiated in 1943) was usually worn beneath the ribbons–totally the opposite of today. For the current regulations specify that the CIB is always above the ribbons–even the ribbon of the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fact, Darrell described Colonel Tucker, his commander, wearing the CIB and the jump wings in his dress uniform–especially how the CIB was worn under the Jump Wings and ribbons.

Contrast this with the modern day (circa 1970’s, during the Vietnam War), when the CIB is worn as the highest badge above any and all ribbons, and even above the Jump wings.

For most of his European tour of duty (3 years), Darrell was part of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which has the nickname of “Devils in Baggy Pants.”

In the podcast episode, Darrell describes his friends and comrades-in-arms during the Market Garden Operation. In his book (see below for info),  Darrell included a photo of 3 troopers after Operation Market Garden. He is the soldier on the far left. Sadly, the other two troopers were killed in action in Europe and during the Battle of the Bulge.

In the podcast episode, Darrell describes how he captured his memoirs in a short book that he wrote called Casablanca to VE Day – A Paratrooper’s Memoirs.

If you wish to order copies of the book, here are the 2 ways to do so:

(1) For the AUDIO version of the book (now on where you can have the audio narration downloaded directly to your mp3 player via ITunes:

go to:

and the price is just $7. US Dollars payable via Paypal.

(2) For the paperback version of the book,

please contact D. G. Harris at telephone (210) 342-2591.

The three “firsts” of which Darrell G. Harris was involved make him truly a man of history:

He was one of the first paratroopers in the U.S. Airborne (the Airborne units were first created in 1940, and Darrell was in the first all-paratrooper unit, the 82nd Airborne Division since 1942:

82nd Airborne Division patch

– He was one of the first Infantrymen in World War II to earn the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge):


– He was one of the very first members of the 82nd Airborne Division Association (a charter member who joined while still in France in 1945).

Darrell is currently the Secretary of the San Antonio Alamo Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Darrell, we salute you!

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus. All Rights Reserved.