Effective 21 March 1976 as per HQDA GO Number 1086 the 1st BN 61st INFANTRY was reactivated and once again assigned to the 5th Division with station at Ft Polk, LA. For 1/61 this was a new army. The All Volunteer Army "VOLAR". Most of the soldiers were there because they wanted to be soldiers. New equipment and new policies made it a different unit than the one that had fought so well in Vietnam. Rebuilt barracks, better chow and revised training programs were everywhere. The faithful old M-48 tank had been replaced by the M-60 and almost ready to be fielded was the new M-1. The M-113 had been upgraded in engine and transmission but it too would soon be replaced by the M-2. The Flame Platoon was once again the Anti Tank Platoon but with Tube launched, Optically tracked, Wire guided (TOW) missiles. Jungle fatigues and standard fatigues had gone the way of the old OG shirt and shell trousers. Now everybody wore camouflaged Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU). The M-16 was still the individual weapon but improved ammunition and revised training (Keep it clean all the time, stupid.) made the rifle reliable and effective. Combat training was also greatly improved. With the fielding of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) force on force exercises became the normal way of practicing. Laser senders on each weapon and "hit" receivers on helmets and uniforms provided realistic practice. And best of all, the National Training Center in California opened. Live fire, a full time aggressor force trained in Soviet tactics and with Soviet equipment, MILES for everyone, and an automated scoring system made exercises there almost real.
But at the heart of the 1st BN 61st Infantry was, as always, the soldier. And as before, they were good. Below you see SGT xxx, BRAVO Company 1/61 receiving official recognition from the 1st BDE CMDR, 5th Division, during a ceremony at Ft Polk in February 1984.
Training for a war that they hoped would never come, the 1/61 rotated through
PANAMA as part
of its training cycle. Here they put to the test those things they had been learning.
On 2 March 1989 the 1/61(-) was redesignated the 5th BN of the 6th INFANTRY and in June of 1989 the 1/61 colors were retired.
The BN remained on the inactive roles until it was called back to duty as a basic training BN at Ft Jackson, SC in June of 1993.