On 8 April 1966, the Army Security Agency activated the 409th Army Security Agency Detachment at Fort George G Meade Maryland. The 80 man Detachment was designed specifically to support the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. On 18 August 1966, the 409thASA Detachment (known in Vietnam as the 409th Radio Research Detachment) was deployed with the Regiment to Vietnam.
The 409th RRD played a very important role in supporting the Regiment by providing communications intelligence, which targeted the elusive enemy. This was accomplished by manual morse and voice interception,along with radio direction finding. Small teams from the 409th RRD deployed with elements of the Regiment in direct support of combat operations while others maintained collection sites at isolated fire support bases. The Detachment relayed its information directly to the local commander and provided him with reports from other Radio Research elements, which could include the results of airborne radio direction finding.
In addition a team of specialists provided advice and assistance on communications security matters to the Regiment. Although small in size, the 409th RRD was quickly recognized for providing reliable information on a timely basis. For its efforts , the 409th RRD received a Valorous Unit Award, 4 Meritorious Unit Commendations, 4 Republic Of Vietnam Crosses Of Gallantry.
The 409th RRD suffered two combat losses:
Meritorious Unit Commendation
1 Jun 1966–31 Jul 67, DAGO 17, 1968;
1 Aug 1967–31 Jul 68, DAGO 28, 1969;
31 Jan–5 Feb 1968, DAGO 28, 1969, amended DAGO 12, 1969
1 Aug 1968–30 Sep 1969,DAGO 51, 1971;
1 Oct 69–31 Dec 1970, DAGO 43, 1972
7 Sep 1966–10 Aug 1968, DAGO 60, 1969
1 May 1969–15 Feb 1970, DAGO 50, 1971;
1 Mar–30 Oct 1970, DAGO 55, 1971;
1 Jan 70–3 Mar 1971, DAGO 6, 1974
Perhaps no single operation better illustrated the extent of ASA’s support during the Vietnam War than the incursion of Allied troops into Cambodia in the spring of 1970. The Allies’ goal was to destroy the enemy’s safe havens and logistics depots located just inside the border areas. An intergral part of ASA’s contribution was the role played by the 409th RR Detachment. On 1 May 1970, Personnel from the detachment became the first direct support unit to enter Cambodia in support of US troops. Attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the detachment operated out of its own armored personnel carriers, traveling 158 km in 54 days.
LTG Frederick C. Weyand, Commanding General of the ll Field Force Vietnam, was quick to acknowledge the role played by the 303d RR Battalion and its subordinate units to include that of the 409th RR Detachment. “It is always easy for people to see the performance of an infantry battalion or brigade in fighting and winning the battle. The performance of a support unit is not so obvious, and yet in your case, you have probably contributed to the winning of more battles than any maneuver element in the country”.
409th ASA DET
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