lthough not officially serving under the ASA name, covertly designated as Radio Research, ASA personnel of the 3rd Radio Research Unit were among the earliest U.S. military personnel in Vietnam; 3rd later grew to become the 509th Radio Research Group. The first ASA soldier to be a battlefield fatality of the Vietnam War was Specialist 4 James T. Davis (from Livingston, Tennessee) who was killed on 22 December 1961, on a road near the old French Garrison of Cau Xang. He had been assigned to the 3rd Radio Research Unit at Tan Son Nhut Airport near Saigon, along with 92 other members of his unit. Davis Station, at Tan Son Nhut, was named after him. Although President Lyndon Johnson later termed Davis "the first American to fall in the defense of our freedom in Vietnam", a look at the Vietnam Veterans' memorial shows that he was nowhere near the first U.S. fatality. Most ASA personnel processed in country through Davis Station. Others attached to larger command structures prior to transport to Vietnam processed in with those units. ASA personnel were attached to Army infantry and armored cavalry units throughout the Vietnam War. Some teams were also attached to the Studies and Observation Group of Military Assistance Command Vietnam and special forces units. Assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based out of Nha Trang was the 4O3rd Radio Research Group, Special Operations Detachment (SOD). SODiers deployed to Operational Detachment base camps throughout South Vietnam. Other teams were independent of other army units, such as the 313th Radio Research Battalion at Nha Trang. ASA personnel remained in Vietnam after the 1973 pullout of US Army combat forces and remained present until the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.
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The United States Army Security Agency (ASA) was the United States Army's signal intelligence branch. The Latin motto of the Army Security Agency was Semper Vigilis (Vigilant Always), which echoes Thomas Jefferson's declaration that "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." The Agency existed between 1945 and 1976 and was the successor to Army signal intelligence operations dating back to World War I. ASA was under the operational control of the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), located at Fort Meade, Maryland; but had its own tactical commander at Headquarters, ASA, Arlington Hall Station, VA. Besides intelligence gathering, it had responsibility for the security of Army communications and for electronic countermeasures operations. In 1977, the ASA was merged with the US Army's Military Intelligence component to create the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).
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