Welcome Home (1966-69)
Before getting started, I want to give credit for the graphics on this
page. I got them from
Durrant's terrific site. It would certainly be worth your while to
visit there. The pictures are mine. I joined the Army in January
1966. Basic training was in Ft Dix N.J. and AIT was in Ft Sill Oklahoma.
Basic training in New Jersey in the winter was a real Joy, but spring in
Oklahoma did make up for it a little. I was trained as an Artillery Surveyor
and right after school I went to Germany! This was great because I have
a lot of family over there. I was only in Germany a few days before
I had a chance to visit my Grandmother. There were many more visits and
one wonderful Christmas after that first
visit. I spent my tour over there with the 6th TAB, 77th Arty.
We were a target acquisition battalion and I spent a good deal of my time
in the field honing my skills which would truly come in handy in the future.
I quickly made SP/5 but after a while of living this great life I began
feeling a little guilty. After many beer drinking discussions with my friends,
two friends and I decided we needed to go to Vietnam. We submitted our
1049's and before we knew what was happening we were In "The Bush."
I arrived in country a few weeks after the TET Offensive in 1968. I was assigned pretty fast and wound up with the 6th Battalion, 77th Arty, HHQ in Cu Chi. We were a 105 Howitzer (towed) Battalion attached to the 25th Infantry Division. I'll never forget my welcome. They were sincerely happy that I was "a real surveyor." Up to this point, the survey platoon was made up of cooks, clerks and grunts! My main job was to co-ordinate between the three firing batteries to be certain that they were all firing on the same grid. This usually wouldn't be too difficult, but when your maps are nothing but rice patties it can be a problem!
I was also part of the crater analysis team when in base camp. While we were under mortar attack, we would go to the craters and try to determine where they were firing from. After a few months in Cu Chi, the entire battalion was shipped to the Delta.We convoyed down to Saigon and then loaded up on LST's. We sailed down the Saigon River out into the South China Sea and then we went up the Mekong River, complete with an Aussie PT boat escort, to Can Tho.
I spent the balance of the tour in the Delta with a little bit of time on the Cambodian border. I managed to get Malaria and spent most of December 1968 in hospitals. I returned to my unit just before Christmas and rotated back to the States and OUT on Jan 10th, 1969.
Over the past years I have joined all of the Veterans organizations but, I'm just not that type of person. I really tried, to the point that I served as commander of VFW post 282 in Hackettstown NJ for 2 years and I am a life member of the VFW but, it just isn't for me. That doesn't mean that one of these couldn't be just what YOU need. If you're looking for information on any of these groups, try the following links: The VFW,The Vietnam Veterans Assoc.,The American Legion. And last, but not least, visitThe 25th Infantry Division Association. Their FAQ section has some good information on how to obtain your military records and even, how to get a roster of your unit!
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