Tiger Village: 50 years later

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Tiger Village was the large training village on Peason Ridge where thousands of infantry recruits took Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) at Fort Polk during the Vietnam War. It was a fortified village that trainees had to attack and capture during training. (Robertson Collection)

During the Vietnam War Fort Polk was known as the “Home of the Combat Infantryman” due to realistic basic and combat training taught there. Many of us can remember the 1960s and early 1970s. The first thing most folks think of is that it was the Vietnam War years. It was also the years of love-ins, peace marches, riots, and of the hippie generation. But the one thing that impacted America more than anything was the war that we were involved in that was located in Southeast Asia in a country we had never heard of called Vietnam. Early in the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the first military advisors were sent to Vietnam to assist with training the fledgling Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, known to all as ARVN. The ARVN’s were fighting to keep South Vietnam free of communist control from North Vietnam. It would be a long war, with America and its allies assisting with men, equipment, weapons, and material of all types. And the North Vietnamese were backed by all its communist friends, Russia, China, Hungary, and other Eastern Bloc nations. From 1963 until Saigon fell to the NVA in 1975, American fighting men and women would be right in the thick of the fight in this country 10,000 miles from home.

During the eight weeks of AIT (Advanced Infantry Training), Fort Polk had two training areas for these up and coming infantrymen.



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