The small company flag — known in the military as a guidon — flew over an airmobile infantry company of 160 soldiers during some of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
The guidon flew over Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, during the Battle of Dak To in November 1967, the Battle of Tam Quan in December 1967, the TET Offensive from January to May 1968, the A Shau Valley Incursion from April to May 1968, and the operations in the vicinity of the infamous Landing Zone Carol/Fire Support Base Ripcord from July to August 1968.
Friday, the guidon was formally presented to the company by the Vietnam veterans whom had cared for it for nearly 50 years. The veterans of the company, who served from 1967 to 1968 in Vietnam, started an organization called Eager Arms, after their radio call sign in Vietnam, and meet regularly.
“Bandog Company was honored to have the Vietnam veterans of Company B, 2-8 Cav. in our company area today,” said Capt. Joseph Dywan, the commander of the company today. “It was an outstanding event where Bandog Company memorialized the fallen soldiers of Company B, 2-8 Cav., symbolized by the bestowment of the company’s guidon that they flew in Vietnam. The company is honored to be the recipient of such a sentimental icon, and we have it proudly displayed in our company hallway along with pictures that represents Bandog Company’s proud and valorous history.”
Vietnam veterans read a roll call of those fallen service members from the unit, and then presented the guidon to Dywan and 1st Sgt. Isaac McKee.
“We all agree it means a lot to connect to the active duty unit,” said Peter Genecki, a native of Helmetta, N.J. “It has been fantastic for us to return this flag to the company, one piece of the puzzle.”
The ceremony was important for the soldiers currently serving in Bandog Company.
“Today was a good day,” said McKee. “Not only did we get to honor our Vietnam ... brothers, we also got to reflect on their hard times and share stories of past and present combat. Our soldiers realized that a guidon is not just a piece of cloth, but a piece of history, and represents all the soldiers who served under it. Every Bandog soldier who passes by the guidon that hangs in the hallway will forever remember the 126 men who died in Vietnam from 1965 to 1971 while serving with Company B, 2-8 Cav.”