The 196th Infantry Brigade ("Chargers"), also known as the Charger Brigade was first formed on 24 June 1921 as part of the United States Army Reserve's 98th Division with the responsibility of training soldiers.
During World War II, the 98th initially defended Kauai, Hawaii and Maui, Hawaii, and finally responsible for defending Oahu, Hawaii later in the war. The Division began intensive training in May 1945 to prepare for the invasion of Japan, but the war ended before they could depart Hawaii. However, the unit arrived in Japan for occupation duty as the 3rd Platoon, 98th Reconnaissance Troop Mechanized, of the 98th Infantry Division, where it eventually was inactivated on 16 February 1946, in Charlotte, NC.
The 196th served in Vietnam from 15 July 1966 through 29 June 1972.
The Brigade was reactivated in September 1965 at Fort Devens Massachusetts, where it was originally scheduled to be sent to the Dominican Republic. Instead the Army rushed it to Vietnam, the Brigade departing on 15 July 1966 via transport ships and arriving on 14 August 1966 at Tây Ninh Combat Base. It began operations almost immediately in the western area of III Corps Tactical Zone. The 196th conducted Operation Cedar Falls, Gadsden, Lancaster, Junction City, Benton, and Attleboro (in War Zone C of Tay Ninh Province). Attleboro turned into a major action after a large enemy base camp was found on 19 October 1966.
In February 1967, Gen. William Westmoreland ordered the formation of a division sized Army task force to reinforce American forces in I Corps Tactical Zone. The 196th was selected to form a part of the task force. Task Force Oregon became operational on April 20, 1967, when troops from the 196th landed at Chu Lai in I Corps. Over the next month, it was joined by the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division (later redesignated the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division). On 25 April 1967 Task Force Oregon was redesignated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) and an official change of colors ceremony was held on 26 October 1967. Later, the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne and the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division were replaced by the 198th and 11th Light Infantry Brigades.
As part of the 23rd, the 196th participated in Operations Wheeler/Wallowa, Golden Fleece, Fayette Canyon, Frederick Hill, Lamar Plain, Elk Canyon I and Elk Canyon II. In early May 1968, the 2-1 Infantry of the 196th was flown in to assist at the Battle of Kham Duc. On 29 November 1971, the 196th became a separate temporary entity to safeguard this same area of operations.
In April 1971, the 196th moved to Da Nang to assist in port security duties, and finally left Vietnam on 29 June 1972 as the last combat brigade to leave in Vietnam. The brigade suffered 1,188 KIA, and 5,591 WIA in Vietnam.
Operations as a separate Brigade (15 July 1966 – 25 September 1967)Cedar Falls
Operations as a part of the Americal Division (25 September 1967 – June 1972)Wheeler/Wallowa
Elk Canyon I
Elk Canyon II
Headquarters locations during the Vietnam WarTay Ninh, August 1966 to May 1967
Chu Lai, June 1967 to October 1967
Tam Kỳ, November 1967 to March 1968
Phong Dien, April 1968 to June 1968
Hoi An, June 1968 to March 1971
Da Nang, April 1971 to June 1972
ORDER OF BATTLE
Brigade Infantry & Brigade Artillery2d Battalion, 1st Infantry
3d Battalion, 82d Artillery
3d Battalion, 21st Infantry
1st Battalion, 46th Infantry
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry
Brigade ReconnaissanceTroop F, 8th Cavalry (Air)
Troop F, 17th Cavalry (Armored)
1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry (Armored)
64th Infantry Platoon (Combat Tracker)
48th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog)
LRRP, 196th Infantry Brigade (later reflagged as Co E, 51st Infantry)
Brigade Support8th Support Battalion
175th Engineer Company
23rd Military Police Company
408th Radio Research Detachment (ASA)
635th Military Intelligence Detachment, Team 2
544th Military Police Platoon
687th Signal Company
196th Signal Company (Prov)
27th Chemical Detachment
10th Public Information Detachment
HHD & Band, 196th Support Battalion (Prov)
569th Military Intelligence Detachment
Company C, 37th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade (62nd. Co.)
On 26 May 1998, the 196th was reactivated during a ceremony at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. The new brigade assists reserve units in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, Arizona, and Saipan, as a Training Support Brigade, providing support to Reserve Component Forces throughout the Pacific area. Since 2001, the 196th Infantry Brigade has trained nearly 10,000 Soldiers that deployed to support combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, and the Southern Philippines. The 196th Infantry Brigade also supports annual USARPAC and JCS Theater Security Cooperation Program (TSCP) exercises such as Balikatan, Cobra Gold, Yama Sakura, Talisman Saber, Garuda Shield, and Terminal Fury. The brigade also exercises training and readiness oversight (TRO) for the Hawaii, Guam, and Alaska Civil Support Teams. Annually the 196th Infantry Brigade conducts "Kaimalu O Hawaii" and "Konfitma" All Hazard CST Field Training Exercises in Hawaii and Saipan respectively.
In 2007, the 196th Infantry Brigade was awarded the Army Superior Unit Award for its support to the War on Terror in preparing RC units and Soldiers for combat duty.
As of 2012, the 196th Infantry Brigade consisted of:HHC, 196th Infantry Brigade, Fort Shafter, Oahu, Hawaii
1st Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade, "Mavericks" located at Kalaeloa, Oahu, Hawaii
2nd Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade, "Arctic Chargers" located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK
3rd Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade, "Spartans" located at Barrigada, Guam
Support Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade, "Cobras" located at Fort Shafter Flats, Oahu, Hawaii
The dramatic TV series Tour of Duty, which ran on CBS from 1987–90, depicted a platoon of infantrymen from the 196th in Vietnam.
In Season 2, episode 4 of the TV series Prison Break, Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell pretends to be a soldier from the 196th Brigade to a police officer.