Vietnam War Marine Division Recon Hand Painted Sign

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Original 1972 Dated US Marine Corps Division Recon “Swift Silent Deadly” hand painted screaming skull sign.

The United States’ Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions, also known as Marine Division Recon, serve as the elite special operations unit within the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Their primary role is to provide division-level ground and amphibious reconnaissance for the Ground Combat Element of the United States Marine Corps. These highly trained teams gather and report crucial information on enemy activity and other military intelligence in close proximity. The MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) code for Reconnaissance Marine is 0321.

In March 1965, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the first American combat units to land during the Vietnam War, arrived at Red Beach, Da Nang to secure the Da Nang Air Base and establish a strong foothold. Among the original landing force, a platoon from Company A, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion was attached to Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, making it the first division reconnaissance element to be stationed in South Vietnam.

On April 22, 1965, a recon patrol from D Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion encountered a small unit of Viet Cong while scouting 13 kilometers southwest of Da Nang. Accompanied by platoons from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the outnumbered Marines engaged in a brief but intense exchange of small-arms fire. Calling for support, the recon Marines were reinforced by an infantry company from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines (BLT 1/3). Together, they were able to push the hostile force back several kilometers before losing them in the dense terrain. Two days later, on April 24, a recon squad positioned two kilometers south of Da Nang was surprised by a VC attack while setting up defensive positions for the night. In a short but deadly firefight, both sides lost two men.

The beachhead was secured within a few weeks. On May 7, 1965, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion arrived at Chu Lai from Da Nang and secured the beachhead's southern flank while BLT 1/4 set up inland. BLT 3/3 arrived from Okinawa a few days later, and 3rd Recon Battalion returned to Da Nang.

Four Battalions make up Division Recon:

1st Reconnaissance Battalion stationed at Camp Pendleton, California.

2nd Reconnaissance Battalion stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

3rd Reconnaissance Battalion stationed at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan.

And 4th Reconnaissance Battalion out of San Antonio, Texas.

Only 1st and 3rd Recon Bn’s were in the Vietnam, so it is to the best of our knowledge that this sign would’ve been from either 1st Recon Bn or 3rd Recon Bn. Much more research is needed on this incredible piece which is artist signed and dated “Adamcyzk ‘72”

Overall the sign measures 39” wide and 12” tall. 

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Collections: Archive Tags: Flags & Ephemera, USA, Vietnam War