604th Unit History

Anecdotal Summary
Most of this comes from personal recollections, hung those on a general outline gathered from semi-official, or at least reliable, Internet sources. As you'll notice, it is VERY incomplete ... if you can fill in even the smallest of blanks email me.


The 604th was formed at Ft. Campbell, KY, in August, 1965 (re-formed, actually ... it also went through several incarnations and activations/deactivations between 1942 and 1957). The original 1965 roster was a mixture of experienced Army officers, NCO's and enlisted men reassigned from other units, and of men just graduating from AIT. The first CO was 1st Lieutenant Tom Allen. Though initially ordered to deploy to Vietnam in December, 1965, those orders were stayed and the 604th ended the year still at Ft. Campbell.


In February, 1966, fresh from Christmas leave, and now under the command of MAJ George Cote, the unit flew to Oakland, CA, boarded the USS Nelson M. Walker, and sailed for Vietnam. They arrived at Qui Nhon on March 6th.
According to Hernan Jaso, an original unit member, when the unit arrived, they came ashore in Landing Craft and did a full beach assault ... landing craft doors dropping and troops running through the water and hitting the beach in firing positions ... only to be stared at incredulously by sun bathers in their lawn chairs. An auspicious beginning.

A small contingent of men then flew to Camp Holloway, at Pleiku, to begin preparing the new company area for the main body arrival, which occurred approximately a week later, by convoy on QL19, the first unit trip through the Mang Yang and An Khe passes. The men then literally created the unit out of nothing, except a road grid and perimeter line that had been laid out by a survey crew.

(Interesting side note:  MAJ Cote was apparently a very straight-up military guy transferred in from a GOOD assignment in France to command the unit.  A couple of original members remember that he wasn't very pleased with either the transfer or his new troops.  That created a bit of dissension in the ranks that was demonstrated by some rather rowdy and unruly behavior. Thus, the unit became known as 'F Troop,' after the hapless frontier soldiers of the popular '60's television show of the same name. But I believe they wore the name proudly, and it was even incorporated into their original unit patch (above left). David Brock and Raymond O'Hearn, original members, say they were also known, none to affectionately, as 'Cote's Angels' for their errant ways. I get the strong impression that the 604th was probably not missed when they left Ft. Campbell!)