Proposed House resolution recognizes Greenfield-based Guard unit

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WASHINGTON — Indiana’s congressional delegation has introduced legislation honoring a highly decorated Greenfield-based National Guard unit’s service in the Vietnam War.

The proposed resolution recognizes the 50th anniversary of the return of Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry, Indiana Army National Guard. Commonly referred to as the Indiana Rangers, they were “the only National Guard infantry unit to serve intact in the Vietnam War,” the bill states. Not only that, but its men earned 538 decorations — “more than any other Army infantry company during any one-year period in Vietnam,” according to a news release from the Indiana National Guard.

Donnie Holland of Anderson, who was a sergeant E-5 with the unit in Vietnam, remembers he and his fellow Rangers processing into active duty at the National Guard armory in Greenfield and processing back into civilian life there upon their return.

The unit was in Vietnam from December 1968 to November 1969.

“Up until that time, the National Guard was not kept together when they got activated,” Holland said, adding troops typically were split among other units.

But these guardsmen were different. They had airborne and medic training along with qualifications in radio communications, jungle warfare, mountaineering and repelling out of helicopters.

They had another advantage, Holland continued — their bond.

“The other guys in my company were the same guys I went to school with, the same guys I ran around with,” he said. “…They’re still my brothers today. We always knew we could depend on each other.”

Holland said more than 200 men were in the unit, but he couldn’t be sure how many went to Vietnam. About seven were killed. About 120 are left today, and many of them regularly gather for reunions.

Holland’s son, Brent Holland, has been advocating for the Rangers’ recognition since February 2018. He’s corresponded with the offices of state and national officials, including President Donald Trump.

Brent was glad to hear of the recently proposed legislation honoring the Indiana Rangers.

“I know it meant a lot to them,” he said.

His ultimate goal is to see them receive a Presidential Unit Citation in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Jim Baird of Indiana is sponsoring the resolution, which was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services.

“(T)hey fought with exceptional courage to defend our freedom,” Baird said in a news release. “On behalf of all Hoosiers, I am proud and honored to see Congress recognize their bravery and valor against a hostile enemy.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, whose district includes Hancock County, is cosponsoring the resolution along with the seven other members of the House of Representatives representing Indiana.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of their return home from Vietnam, I’m honored to recognize the valiant service and sacrifice of the Indiana Rangers,” Pence said in the release. “I’m proud to stand with the entire Indiana delegation to highlight the courage and bravery of our fellow Hoosiers.”