TO & E
An exchange of emails between Bob Rebecc (69-70) and Jim Good (69-70): "You're gonna love this...what's TO&E? The difference between assigned and attached?"
TO&E: Table of Organization & Equipment. The document which authorizes personnel and equipment to be assigned to an Army unit. It says what the mission of the unit is, in general terms, and specifies how many people, by rank & MOS, and how much equipment, by specific type; a unit is authorized to have. In Army slang, TO&E also referred to deployable, operational units such as Infantry or Armor units that had a war time mission and which could be deployed to a combat zone, as opposed to TDA units, which were the garrison ash & trash units, that stayed in the USA. The basic training and AIT units were TDA, A 4/12 Cav was TO&E. TDA stands for Table of Distribution and Allowances, which is another form of authorization document like a TO&E, except the TDAs are all more or less customized. The garrison headquarters at Fort Knox would have a TDA, but it might be quite different in size and composition than the garrison headquarters TDA at Fort Benning. A light weapons infantry company, whether stationed in Viet Nam, Hawaii, Kentucky, or elsewhere, would probably use the same basic TO&E, and would be pretty similar in size and composition. There were also MTOEs, or Modified Tables of Organization & Equipment, which were the real bibles for staffing & equipping specific units, but the MTOE didn't really vary greatly from one unit to another.
What's the difference between assigned and attached?
For example, A 4/12 Cav was assigned to the 5th Mech. We were a part of them, and they were responsible for us. They kept our personnel & finance records; they had the responsibility to provide us with food, ammo & supplies. We were one of their subordinate units. In the case where a platoon went to the 101st to guard a firebase, or whatever, that platoon would probably have been attached or OPCON to the 101st. Their personnel & finance records stayed with the 5th Mech, and the 5th Mech still maintained some responsibilities for that unit, the details of which escape me at the moment, and probably go into more detail than any of us old pharts really care about any more. In addition to being "attached" there is OPCON or placed under "operational control" of another unit. If I recall correctly, OPCON is usually for a shorter period of time, and for a specific mission, and the parent unit retains more responsibility for feeding, fueling, supplying, Etc. Units are usually "attached" for longer periods, and for more general purposes. Off the top of my head, I don't recall what all we had in supporting the 5th Mech, but Papa 75th rangers were probably attached. The A 4/12 Cav platoon that went to Hue may have just been OPCON to the 101st for a couple of weeks.
Email from Matt Spruill (69-70) in regards to A Troop Organization:
The TO&E of a Cavalry Troop in the 1960s called for three platoons. Each platoon had a platoon leader's vehicle, a scout section of two scout squads with each squad having two vehicles (4 vehicles in the section) a tank section of three tanks, an infantry squad and a mortar squad.
Many Cavalry units reorganize the platoons to have 9 M-113s when they deployed to RVN - 11th Cav is the best example. However A 4/12 kept its original organization when it deployed to RVN with one small exception. There were never enough infantry replacements so the infantry squad was folded into the scout section and most of the time the mortar squads were pulled from the platoons and formed a mortar platoon.
A platoon's organization would have been (using 1st platoon as an example)
A10 - Platoon Leader
A11 - Scout Section Leader
A12 - Scout
A13 - Scout Squad Leader
A14 - Scout
A15 - Infantry Squad (used as a scout)
A16 - Platoon Sergeant and Tank Section Leader
A17 - Tank
A18 - Tank
A19 - Mortar (removed and grouped with the other mortar tracks to form a mortar platoon under Troop Commander's control).
There were three line platoons (not including HQ platoon); in addition there were two radar tracks (Call sign 61 & 62) the troop commander's track, a light recover vehicle and the commo track (Call sign 30), which is why the 3rd Platoon Leader's call sign was 40.╩When I was there the "19" Squad Leader ran the mortar platoon. The mortar went to the field whenever the entire troop deployed. In NDP (night defensive positions) they were located in the center of the troop position and were aimed at a pre-determined target. They also had had registered data for other likely targets.
The troop's two GRS (Ground Surveillance Radars) were also located in the center of the troop position and I had the mortars and radar to set up on the same base azimuth. That way whenever the radar picked up a target they only had to give the mortars the azimuth and ranged for the mortars to fire. As each mortar and radar track had a 50-cal. mounted on top they also provided a nice firepower reserve for direct fire in a defensive position if needed. When on the move the radar track accompanied and set up with the mortars to provide them security.
Email from William McCabe (68-69) in regards to A Troop Organization:
Glad to see that troop tactics changed some time after I was there. Don't remember ever seeing a radar track and to the best of my knowledge never used the mortar track other than as another vehicle with a 50 on it. I never remember them set up as a battery but then we were usually operating as independent platoons and not that often as a troop.
Email from James Kershner (1968) in regards to A Troop Organization:
My 19 track was with me all the time; I think I used to hook it up with the 15 track and use them as scouts. The plt sgt and I used to let men move to tracks or tanks if there was a need.
Email from Jim Good (69-70) in regards to A Troop Organization:
First platoon vehicles were bumper number 10 thru 19, with corresponding radio call signs, 10 thru 19. Second platoon vehicles were 20 thru 29, with call signs 20 thru 29. So naturally, in third platoon we had vehicle bumper numbers 30 thru 39, with radio call signs 40 thru 49. Don't ask me how that came to be, I have no idea. The TOC (Tactical Operations Center) in the rear was 30-Yankee. I guess that may have something to do with why they skipped the 30 series call signs for the third platoon, but I really don't know what their reasoning was.
Email from William McShane (68-69) in regards to A Troop Organization:
As the first platoon leader of the third platoon I can only say that while there we used call signs ranging from 30 to 39 with the CO as six (6) and me as 36 or Blue Max and Howell/Mad Dog as 26 and Jim Kirschner/Charlie Brown as 16. That was in place through March of 1969 while both Alexander and Carlson were in command if I remember correctly. When it changed I do not know.
Email from Keith Eaton (69-70) in regards to A Troop Organization:
All I remember is that the call sign for the TOC changed either monthly or every other month for security. The TOC was always 30 but when the Commo section went in the field we rode on (A2) Alpha Deuce while the CO (6) rode on A1.
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