Sign Here for Sacrifice

The Untold Story of the Third Battalion, 506th Airborne, Vietnam 1968

Sign Here for Sacrifice cover

Sign Here for Sacrifice

The Untold Story of the Third Battalion, 506th Airborne, Vietnam 1968


A hard-hitting history of the U.S. airborne unit who made a name for themselves in the unforgiving jungles of South Vietnam.

“It was easier killing than living.” Third Battalion 506th Airborne veteran

Drawing on interviews with veterans, many of whom have never gone on the record before, Ian Gardner follows up his epic trilogy about the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II with the story of the unit's reactivation at the height of the Vietnam War. This is the dramatic history of a band of brothers who served together in Vietnam and who against the odds lived up to the reputation of their World War II forefathers.

Brigadier General Salve Matheson's idea was to create an 800-strong battalion of airborne volunteers in the same legendary “Currahee” spirit that had defined the volunteers of 1942. The man he chose to lead them was John Geraci, who would mold this young brotherhood into a highly cohesive and motivated force.

In December 1967, the battalion was sent into the Central Highlands of Lam Dong Province. Geraci and his men began their Search and Destroy patrols, which coincided with the North Vietnamese build-up to the Tet Offensive and was a brutal introduction to the reality of a dirty, bloody war. Gardner reveals how it was here that the tenacious volunteers made their mark, just like their predecessors had done in Normandy, and the battalion was ultimately awarded a Valorous Unit Citation. This book shows how and why this unit was deserving of that award, recounting their daily sanguinary struggle in the face of a hostile environment and a determined enemy.

Through countless interviews and rare personal photographs, Sign Here for Sacrifice shows the action, leadership, humor and bravery displayed by these airborne warriors.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Chronology of Significant Events
1. “Salute the New Dawn”: Reactivation – Fort Campbell, Kentucky
2. “To the Limit and Beyond”: Training for Vietnam
3. “The Things We Cannot Change”: Shipping Out
4. “Only the Strong Survive”: Orientation and Deployment – October 28–November 30, 1967
5. “The Dragon's Graveyard”: Operation Rose – November 1967
6. “Battle Troopers”: Operation Klamath Falls – December 1967
7. “Badge of Courage”: The Battle of the Knoll – January 2, 1968
8. “The Aftermath”: January 3–8, 1968
9. “Beer, Bang, and Boom Boom”: Phan Rang – January 9–16, 1968
10. “Living in the Dirt”: Landing Zone Betty and Phan Thiet
11. “We Stand Together”: January 22–February 1, 1968
12. “Blood Trail 556”: The Battle of the Van Ta House – February 2, 1968
13. “Into the Sunrise”: February 3–5, 1968
14. “Death Patrol to Disneyland”: The Battle of Phu Bon and Beyond – February 6, 1968
15. “Take it to the Bridge”: The Second Battle of Phan Thiet – February 18–23, 1968
16. “Red Sand”: The Battle of the Ca Ty River – February 19, 1968
17. “After the Storm”: The Bowl – February/March 1968
18. “Watch and Shoot”: April 1968
19. “Let the Light Shine”: Operation MR-6, April 26–May 16, 1968
20. “Return to the Graveyard”: Operation Rockne Gold, May 19–27, 1968
21. “The Bitterest Pill”: Operation Banjo Royce and Beyond – June/July 1968
22. “The Protected Will Never Know”: August–October 1968

Product details

Published Feb 07 2023
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 304
ISBN 9781472849427
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 32-page plate section in colour and black and white
Dimensions 234 x 153 mm
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Ian Gardner

Ian Gardner served for five years in Support Compa…


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