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How did you decide on your Military branch or MOS?


Colonel Dan, SASS #24025

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Both of my Grandfathers served in WWII, my Dad did a short term in the Army in the early 60's, he got a hardship discharge. My uncle was in the Navy and I had all ways wanted to work on airplanes and serve on a super carrier. I went in to the Navy in May of 78 and served 3 years with VF-14 as part of Carrier Wing 1, worked on F-14'S and made 2 Med Cruises on the John F. Kenndy, the Big John. It was the best discision I every made.

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Guest Pukin Dog, SASS#55356-Life

Went to all the recruiters. Army wanted me to train dogs, Air Force said I could maintain missiles, Navy originally said radar electronics was the way to go, didn't bother with the Marines as seemed like too much PT. Had a degree so wondered why all the recruiters wanted me to enlist. Finally the Navy recruiter begrudgingly asked "I suppose you want to talk to an Officer recruiter?" I said sure, why not?? About a month later I was doing pushups in Florida with a Marine Drill Instructor (hey, didn't I say I wasn't interested int he Marines???) screaming at me in AOCS (Aviation Officer Candidate School).

 

Ended up flying the A-6 Intruder and retiring as a Commander. Best decision I ever made. Loved it all.

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Old story: I went to the recruiting office, asked the Navy recruiter how much the pay is "Fifty bucks a month" says the recruiter. Army and Air Force told me the same thing. I was walking out when the Marine recruiter says "Semper Fi". I thought the SOB said seventy five so I enlisted.

 

Used to tell people that when they asked why I joined the Marine Corps. Still don't have an answer for the 20 years I spent there.

 

Shakey.

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I didn't have to think or make choices, it was all done for me when I was drafted.

Me too. After BASIC, I was sent to Fort Knox and was put in Armored Recon(11D). In Nam, I was with the 9th CAV.

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:FlagAm: Three semesters of college in 1967 with bad grades earned me my draft notice (no draft numbers yet, you just got chosen). Uncle Sam was drafting Marines out of Chicago and I had seen Jack Web in the TI. I have all the respect in the world for Marines but did not want to be one. Enlistments are four years instead of two as an Army draftee so I enlisted in AF. Recruiter gave me a book of AFSCs and I picked safety inspector as they had a picture of an airman in blues and a clip board looking at a missile. Got to basic and found you could only cross train into safety (recruiter strikes again) and I had to pick another field from a list on a board. Lackland basic still had open bay WWII wooden barracks with 60 men to a floor. When the orders came down one half the barracks was medical and the other security police. In 68 at height of Vietnam those were the two fields the AF needed most. I ended up on medic side and they made me a dental assistant. After five years I retrained in medical equipment maintenance. At end of year 14 I earned a direct Medical Service Corps commission and as an officer was in charge of medical maintenance shops, medical supply and hospital facility maintenance for another 16 years.
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After Graduation 1968, I tried to join the U.S.Navy. They had so many people trying to join and had quotas per month.6 months of delays. The day before I was going, I went roller skating and fell, broke my ankle. 6 more months of healing. I got the draft notice and didn't want the Army, so I went to the U.S. Marines.

 

Tested high and they wanted me to go into Radio and Operations. I said No. I loved to shoot and did qualify expert in Boot Camp.

After months of training, I went to Scout Sniper School at Camp Pendelton Calif. Qualified Sniper Expert (8541) mos. and went to Vietnam.

I was with Alpha 1/7 for 3 months, went to Hawaii for 7 days of R&R. Came back to Golf 2/5 who took over for A 1/7 in Sept. 1970.

 

We came back to the World in 1971 and I was stationed at Camp Pendleton again. Got married 5/1/71, started a family and got out in 1972. U.S.M.C. 1969-72 Vietnam 1970-71. OooRah.

 

Big Jake

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Enlisted in the Army three days after graduating from High School. Was trained as an Aircraft Mechanic at Ft. Rucker, MOS 67-H20 OV-1 Mohawk mechanic. Went to Viet Nam with orders to the 13th Bn/121st Assault Helicopter Company. They didn't have any Mohawks, so I retrained in-country as a Huey Mech, MOS 67-N20.

Went home a year and a half later and trained with Piedmont Airlines to get my A&P certificate, then worked in general aviation for four years. Then enlisted in the Navy (hey, I would always have a bunk and hot food) as an Aviation Electrician's Mate. Went to Miramar, VF-124 where I was sent to the VAST shop to work on computers. Never got to work on the actual aircraft again. Made a Westpac with VF-1 on the Enterprise. Wife forced me to leave the Navy, so enlisted in the Texas National Guard as a TOW missile crewman, MOS 11H.

Six years later, the 4166th USAR School needs a TOW missile instructor, so I go to the Resreves as an instructor. Instructed TOW missile, UH-1 maintenance, PLDC and BNCOC.

Retired after 29 years service as MOS 11B (light weapons, self-propeled, fully automated, air cooled popup target).

 

Duffield

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Wow! You all make me sound like a youngster again I join up in 1983, as a Army Medic Enjoyed all 22 years, Found out quick that I has a couple of secondary MOS's in the 11 series, as I got to hump ammo for 2/23 INF in Washington (Yakama) 9th ID. Then I got to chase M1 Abrams around Graf for 2 ACR. But did not realize what a true Medic was until my time in the big sandbox.

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I started out commissioned a 2nd LT, Quartermaster.

Wound up totally reassigned.Nothing to do with Quartermaster.

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Wow! You all make me sound like a youngster again I join up in 1983, as a Army Medic Enjoyed all 22 years, Found out quick that I has a couple of secondary MOS's in the 11 series, as I got to hump ammo for 2/23 INF in Washington (Yakama) 9th ID. Then I got to chase M1 Abrams around Graf for 2 ACR. But did not realize what a true Medic was until my time in the big sandbox.

 

M y dad tried to get into Armor during WW2 and they made him a Medic.... Some things never changed... At one point while a Reservist, I wanted to get into Armor also but my shoulders are too wide to have gotten through the hatch of M-48 A4's and M-60 A3's. I gave up trying before The Corp got M-1's. They told me that if we were ever hit, I'd have to be the last SOB out the main hatch because I'd get stuck and we'd all burn.... Then I realized that they were telling me that I was expendable....

 

Oh well..... I was a Marine.....

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Ok Long story here. I was one of the lucky ones to win the draft lottery. I graduated from Penn State with a degree in criminal justice which was very rare then. I had always wanted to be a pilot so I tromped on down to the Air Force recruiter and tried to enlist as a pilot. Took the written test and failed seems like I can’t do math, I could have told them that to start since that’s why I was in criminal justice which required little math.

I was told that since I couldn’t do math I couldn’t fly because I needed math to navigate. I accepted that and went down to see the army recruiter and enlisted with a guaranteed MP slot of course knowing the army we know how that worked out.

When they couldn’t find an opening for an MP I was given the option to go to OCS or be discharged. Since I wanted to get on with my law enforcement career I did neither but transferred to the Pa National Guard. They had openings for MP’s so I was a happy camper. That lasted less than a year and the unit was disbanded and I became a heavy equipment mechanic and ended up the motor Sgt. That was a great position too much rank to screw with not enough to be responsible for anything but a bunch of trucks. The army and I had a great relationship for the first six years. They didn’t make me play soldier and I did my job. Of course in the post Viet Nam draw down that didn’t last either and I ended up as a recon Sgt. With an artillery unit spent the rest of my time. I got out after 9 years at the insistence of my wife, who a short time later became my ex wife.

To top this all off while I was waiting orders for basic The Air Force recruiter called me back and offered me training as a damn navigator!

My college room mate was as lucky in the lottery as I was. He enlisted for the draft and was assigned to Ft. Sill for AIT in artillery. He got off the plane was handed new orders sending him to Walter Reed. He had a degree in Biology and spent his army career in a lab coat

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I toyed with the idea of going into the military before going to college. I looked at all of the services, decided on college instead. After two years, it was suggested by the college that I take some time off to reconsider my priorities. As I was thinking the military might be my best bet after all, I met my wife. She pretty much made it clear that she wouldn't be a "military wife,", so I looked at the Reserve component instead. Talked to an Army Reserve recruiter, and said I wanted to jump out of airplanes and be a medic. The only units jumping were SF units, and the CO said he wouldn't take anybody without some training behind them. There were no medic slots available, so I ended doing basic training at Ft. Knox (Agony, Misery and Heartbreak) then to Ft. Sam Houston so I could wind up a medical lab tech.

 

After AIT, I went back to college and set about trying to get over to SF, and had made arrangements to transfer, being accepted by SF and released by the Med Lab. Since I was getting married on a drill weekend, we decided the transfer would be effective the following week. I was activated for Desert Storm on my wedding day... After two weeks of prepping our Veterinary Lab to deploy to Saudi Arabia, we were getting ready to go to Wright-Patterson and jump on a plane when, literally minutes before the truck and van arrived, we were diverted to San Antonio. I spent the duration working at the Vet Lab at Fort Sam Houston. I mention in passing that Iraq did not take Texas while I was stationed there.

 

After Desert Storm, I waited out my time in the Med Lab until the RIF hit. I was told of a commo slot in the SF Support Co., and jumped at it. I spent most of a year training through the United States Army Reserve school to be a Radio Teletype Operator, got orders to finish my school at Ft. McCoy then to go to jump school at Benning. I came in the next month and both orders had been rescinded because we were being RIFed. By this time, I had 5 and a half years in and was in law school with a new baby. My CO tried to get me to go to the PsyOps unit he was transferring to, insisting he would get me to jump school in short order. My wife pointed out the obvious... That it would mean a three hour drive, one way, every month to go to drill, while trying to be a law student and father. I passed and went IRR instead. Best move I ever made in the military, as the unit I would have gone to went to Haiti my last year of law school

 

After law school, I thought I would get back in and either go JAG or go to OCS and do something else, so I joined the National Guard. Before doing either OCS or JAG, I found out I could become a medic through the USAR school. I thought to myself that if I couldn't jump out of airplanes, I could at least be a medic, and always give OCS or JAG a shot later. To make a long story short, I loved being a medic. I spent two years in a medical company, before transferring to the Field Artillery, where I have spent well over a decade. I missed one deployment in 2004 to Europe because of facing a medical board. I spent 2008 in Kuwait, which was far harder on my family back home than it was on me, and when my wife asked me to go ahead and retire instead of going to Afghanistan, I followed her recommendation. I never did get that commission, but I'm OK with that.

 

As of yesterday, I am officially retired.

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I was in college on a student deferment. I had always wanted to be in the Navy for as long as I could remember, so I joined the USNR prior to graduating basically to get a place in line. Two months after I graduated, I reported for active duty to San Diego, to await orders. Spent 3 weeks in transit. Everyone in my barracks drew orders to ships, mostly Destroyers. Nothing for me but waiting! PN1 kept assuring me that, since I had a college degree, that my orders had to be cut by BUPERS, and that I would get "good duty." <_< Finally, I was told my orders had arrived. Great! So what ship, asks I? He passes the paper over to me and says, COMNAVFORV. Whats that? "No idea he says, but it's someplace in Vietnam. :unsure: Next stop was Coronado Amphibious Base for SERE training, a couple of weeks with the Marines at Camp Pendelton, and then off to Vietnam. Ended up voluntarily extending my tour to 16 months. Spent 12 more years in the USNR before moving to Alaska where work made it impossible to continue.

 

I truly enjoyed my time in the US Navy, and shall always be grateful for the opportunity to serve.

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My step dad was career military. Navy at 16 in WWll, changed to the Army Air Corps after the war and Air Force as they phased it in during the early50's. I always knew I would be in the service, wanted to fly fighters (P-51's),until someone invented jets and I lost my love. I was in ROTC in college and drafted in Dec. '65 for Jan. '66 swearing in date. I got the same letter everyone received back then, Your President and Neighbors need you, anyway something along those lines. We went through a battery of testing as all did back then, hearing, sight, you name it. At the induction center we had choices, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force was not drafting at that time. I didn't care for boats (ships), all my Dad's family was in the Navy, not something for me.

 

At the induction center I was told I made the grade for OCS and I would soon be an officer. Life expectancy for a 2nd Louie was shorter thana corpsman. I was also enthralled by a great couple of Sgt's that came to talk to us about jumping from perfectly good planes, it sounded great at the time, Heroic.

 

After 8 weeks of boot held at famous South Fort, Fort Polk Louisiana I was ready for AIT. At AIT I met some great guys that was in the same boat as me, North Fort Tiger Land (everyone from here went to SE Asia). Our Top, a truly GREAT Man and leader told us If we do as he directed we would be great soldiers and probably not be in country. There were four of us, 1 became the company clerk and made rank fast. #2 became a good chef (hope he stayed with it) Pascarella became the Battalion Commanders driver, nice job. I was a DI assistant, OH wait we need to send someone to an NCO academy. That was me. I was the honor graduate, they was hoping to fail me, but that did not work. So with less 9 months in grade they had to promote me to E-5 (hard5). I was the firstDrill Instructor for Tiger Land. If you don't know what Tiger Land was watch the movie. From there I was on a committee for McNamara's Project 1000,000 Cat4, and how they blended in with other troops. I was also specially trained towork with others on special get in, get out missions over a one and half year.

 

My biggest regrets, was being talked out of re-upping. Whoknows I may not be here if I did. But the sad part in what we did was you could pick-out the ones that would not make it Home. The draft should have never stopped. Yes I miss it to this day.

 

One thing I have not been able to do yet is go to theoriginal wall or the traveling wall. I feel I put a lot of names there.

 

 

 

corrected for spelling

 

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From the time when I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a soldier. I enlisted for three years in 1970 and while in basic at Ft Knox, I was accepted into the EOD MOS. I wanted it mainly for the extra $55 per month hazardous duty pay. Pretty much doubled my pay. I think base pay was $89 per month?

 

I didn't go to RVN because by the time I was supposed to go, December 1971, there were too many EOD guys in country. So I spent my entire tour at TCAAP with the 88th Detachment (EOD). We averaged two incidents per day because of SDS, Weather Underground, Black Panthers and other groups were planting bombs everywhere trying to start the revolution. I know lots of the current names today are the same names that I read about in the FBI reports back then. I knew Bill Ayers was trying to kill me and my buddies. No doubt about it. Those guys I fought against are now in control of this country.

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I haven't the foggiest what they call that battery of tests they give the first few days of boot camp... but with a Dad, cousins, and many generations of sailors from the days of "wooden ships and iron men"... choice of branch wasn't an option; they had one test... that consisted of a series of "beeps"... two of which were the same and one differing in tone. Somewhere along the line, say after the first 5 or 6, I wasn't sure if I was listening to the first of a new series or the last of the previous set... so I just randomly marked my answer sheet with either an "A", "B" or "C".

 

Well, at a later day I learned that I'd scored a 96 out of 100 on the sound test. And I was to attend Sonor School! And this for a guy that passed out during the hearing test during my draft physical! So, I did the "right" thing and told them a mistake had been made. Yep... mine! Damn near got me tossed out on my ear with a Dishonorable. With the help of a good DI, I showed up to my hearing in newly pressed "Whites" and sat thru 4 hours of grueling questioning as to why I "cheated" on my test!

 

After the Board of Inquiry broke for lunch, the O-6 in charge made a short statement before the Board passed judgement on this fool's fate. If I recall his words correctly... it was something along the lines of, "... if every sailor that came here was as honest and squared away as this young man... there'd be no end of what we'd accomplish in this Navy." Some 3-½ years later, I sat in the Wardroom of our Destroyer while our Captain tried to talk me into accepting orders to Warrant Officer school. If I'd of been as wise then as I like to think I've grown to be... I'd have taken them instead of the early out to go to college!

 

For those of you that made the militay a career... Hand Salute! And a heartfelt Thank You for your service.

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I joined the USAF right out of high school in 1968, as anyone 18 years old before graduation got drafted before you could start college and qualify for the student deferment. I wanted some choice in waht I did. I had scholarships offered for my SAT scores that I never got to use. Funny, I got my draft notice in basic training, August 1968. I wonder how they got my new mail address.

 

I could have gone in the Navy, my great-uncle; a retied Rear Admiral was pushing me to do so. There was some talk about Annapolis. I was not in favor of being on a ship for months at a time and I didn’t like being told what was good for me.

 

I scored pretty high on the aptitude tests. Selected computer repair but got Aircraft Radio Repair out of basic. Almost got shanghaied in to being a cook while doing KP duty before my school started. The first day of my KP assignment I was assigned as a gopher to help on the grill. The fellow operating the grill didn’t show up and folks were waiting to eat so I did his job and mine cooking breakfast and lunch for the 2 weeks or so before school started. By the way, I had never run a grill before nor been a short order cook.

 

Shipped out to Cam Rahn Bay in February 1970, returned January 1971. The Air Force in their infant wisdom did not issue me a weapon. When I asked why, they said I might hurt someone. I spend my time there ducking, dodging, weaving and hoping that one of the rockets, sappers, vc etc didn’t meet up with me. There were a few close calls and I did the best I could with what I had.

 

On a particular day I was going in to the BX when an Army grunt I knew was coming out. He was in the class ahead of me in HS. On my way out of the BX I ran into one of my classmates, also in the Army. Neither was stationed at Cam Rahn. How’s that for a small world meeting 2 school friends on the same day half way around the world from home.

 

Cross trained to Medical Equipment Repair in 1972, and got to spend time over 3 years on the USS Canopus & USS Holland (sub tenders) repairing medical & dental equipment under an inter service agreement for the Air Force to maintain all medical equipment in Great Britain for the Navy and Army. For the Navy this is considered sea duty as the tenders must anchor off shore due to nuclear armament.

 

I was a told that since I did so well at resolving problems, turning under performing shops /programs around that I could expect to do same for the rest of my career. The problem for me was that I was working 15–18 hours a day, 6–7 days a week working under deadlines to correct what others messed up. It didn’t leave much time for my family and studying for promotion testing. So when I saw that I was going to be working for the very same folks I was cleaning up after, I decided a job in the civilian market was for me. And the pay was much better. I still worked hard and put in a lot of hours, but the recognition and support was much better.

 

The Air Force and I parted company in September 1978. I was an E5.

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I was called out by GySgt Donald, my Senior D.I. and called a Grabasstic Piece Of Amphibious Dogshit.

 

Was anybody else ever called that or was I just "SPECIAL"?

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My step dad was career military. Navy at 16 in WWll, changedArmy Air Corps after the war and Air Force as they phased in during the early50's. I always knew I would be in the service, wanted to fly fighters (P-51's),until some invented jets and I lost my love. I was in ROTC in college anddrafted in Dec. '65 for Jan. '66 swearing in date. I got the same lettereveryone received back then, Your President and Neighbors need you, anywaysomething along those lines. We went through a battery of testing as all didback then, hearing, sight, you name it. At the induction center we had choices,Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force was not drafting at that time. I didn't care forboats, all my Dad's family was in the Navy. not something for me.

 

At the induction center I was told I made the grade for OCSand I would soon be an officer. Life expectancy for a 2nd Louie is shorter thana corpsman. I was also enthralled by a great couple of Sgt's that came to talkto us about jumping from perfectly good planes, it sounded great at the time,Heroic.

 

After 8 weeks of boot held at famous South Fort, Fort Polk LouisianaI was ready for AIT. At AIT I met some great guys that was in the same boat asme, North Fort Tiger Land (everyone from here went to SE Asia). Our Top, atruly GREAT Man and leader told us If we do as he directed we would be greatsoldiers and probably not be in country. There were four of us, 1 became thecompany clerk and made rank fast. #2 became a good chef (hope he stayed withit) Pascarella became the Battalion Commanders driver, nice job. I was a DIassistant, OH wait we need to send someone to an NCO academy. That was me. Iwas the honor graduate, they was hoping to fail me, but that did not work. Sowith less 9months in grade they had to promote to E-5 (hard5). I was the firstDrill Instructor for Tiger Land. If you don't know what Tiger Land was watchthe movie. From there I was on a committee for McNamara's Project 1000,000 Cat4, and how they blended in with other troops. I was also specially trained towork with other on special get in, get out missions over a one and half year.

 

My biggest regrets, was being talked out of re-upping. Whoknows I may not be here if I did. But the sad part in what we did was you couldpick-out the ones that would not make itHome. The draft should have never stopped. Yes I miss it to this day.

 

One thing I have not been able to do yet is go to theoriginal wall or the traveling wall. I feel I put a lot of names there.

 

 

Klondike, the way I figure it, you kept a lot of names off the wall.

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I enlisted 2 days after graduation of High school. They shipped me to Fort Knox to be a M1 tanker 19K after training on the M60-A1 I was shipped to Fort Polk to be an 19E and told I would see the M1 tanks later on -----I was young and the Army was a job so I stayed on for 4 years then went into the Texas National Guard... Boy was that fun!!!!!! I do not regret any of my time in service and would leave today if need be. My Flag, Country and the love of my Momma and Daddy has kept me going through out my short 48 years of life. If everything in the World and time as we know it ended tomorrow let me say say Thank You to all who has served in our armed forces and I'm very proud to be an American. T-Bone Dooley

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I enlisted 2 days after graduation of High school. They shipped me to Fort Knox to be a M1 tanker 19K after training on the M60-A1 I was shipped to Fort Polk to be an 19E and told I would see the M1 tanks later on -----I was young and the Army was a job so I stayed on for 4 years then went into the Texas National Guard... Boy was that fun!!!!!! I do not regret any of my time in service and would leave today if need be. My Flag, Country and the love of my Momma and Daddy has kept me going through out my short 48 years of life. If everything in the World and time as we know it ended tomorrow let me say say Thank You to all who has served in our armed forces and I'm very proud to be an American. T-Bone Dooley

 

 

+1

 

Well said T-Bone-------Amen :FlagAm:

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Sgt. Smokepole,

 

You must have been "SPECIAL"! We were called turds and whaleshit and even grabasstic, but never dogshit. I thought that was reserved for talking about the Army!

 

Shakey

 

Nah! Them are Army Pukes....

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I enlisted 10 days before my last day of H.S. on the 120 day delay program. Did not have to leave for basic until Sept 1st. By the end of summer Five H.S. pards decided that I could not make it thru. without them so we all went to basic together.I will always remember after they scalped us my best pard came up and started talking,I finally had to ask him,who the hell are you? We all made it back in one piece. Ran into two of them in-country on my last day there.How's that for chance. Now as to why I went into the branch of the service that i did was.You see The Gunny down at the Marine Recruiter Told me that they were looking FOR A FEW GOOD MEN and thats the rest of the story. SEMPER FI and GOD BLESS THE USA.

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Klondike, the way I figure it, you kept a lot of names off the wall.

 

Possum,

Deep down I know that you are right, but sometimes it still hurts. When we received a new company of trainees (usually around 200+) we started telling them it was no game, they were going to Viet Nam. Everyone that came to Tiger Land was going (at least 99.9%). You could not convince many of them that this was a fact. After only 9 weeks with us they went home for about 10 days before going to Fort Lewis or a post in California where they would ship out to Viet Nam. I don't know if they even believed it when they landed in Saigon. For some I don't think reality set in until the first round went bye, or they were in their first firefight. The hard part for us was we only had them 9 weeks (even though at times they could be hard to put up with) plus the 8 weeks they had in boot camp. It just did not seem like enough time before being thrown to the lions, and we could really recognize some that were not coming back. We started watching The Stars and Stripes and sure enough with in the month names would start appearing. With McNamara's plan those numbers really increased.

I still have regrets to this day for not staying in, like I said I might not be here today if I had, but you never know. It is a time in my life that I would never give up. I still believe that as acountry we messed up doing away with the draft, it really helped a lot of lost kids get on the right track and to learn to take care of themselves. Many there was no hope for.

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Received draft notice starting senior year college in '66. Air Force , Dad was career AF,said I could not fly without degree. WIth a Math and Nuclear Physics major the Army made me a 11H, Inf direct fire weapons 90 & 106 recoil rifle and demo. Before shiping out in '67 my orders came down for OCS. Became a 2LT Infantry 11A. Went to jump school when I was told I could doubly my pay jumping then on to the 101st Abm Division as a 115P and 3 months later deployed to VN with Division as rifle, mortar, scout Platoon Leader and XO. Home for 9 months commanding Advance Infantry Training company then on orders for 2d tour as 115S, Inf Airborne Ranger, commanding Inf Mechanized Rifle Company in VN and Cambodia in '70. Then a Batalion S3 Operation Officeras a 54. Tried to transfer over to Aviation but said I was too old eventhough they wanted experienced Inf commanders with combat tour. Went to bootstrap for degree Then to Germany as Airborne and Mechanized Infantry commader. Night school for my Masters. Stayed in the Infantry and Operations for 21 years. Picked up couple more MOS as pathfinder, 5Q, Nuclear chemical Analyst, 5H, and a Planner 5H. Enlisted time as a Private to SP5 then officer 2LT to Major. Did not have enough so came back as a Department of Army Civilian as Operations, 301, for another 21 years. Want to know what is Brotherhood in Arms? Serve in the Infantry and share a firefight.

Major Bill

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Gradgeeated with honors from dear ole Pampa High in May '68. My parents talked me in to at least trying college. Spent one semester at West Texas State U and dropped out to jine the Army and kill commies for mommy. Hated college and having grown up watching Combat and the Gallant Men, 12 O'clock High, and John Wayne movies I was ready to go. What an idiot. My dad, WWII in the Pacific vet told me to be a mechanic so I could be in the rear with the gear. Yeah right.

 

Jan '69 basic at Ft Bliss for basic, WVMC at Ft Huachuca, and finally TVMC at Ft Sill. Home on leave watched us land on the moon. Early Aug 69 I disembarked with a 707 full of greenies at Cam Ran Bay, the biggest US base in SVN. They said "boys, this is the safest place in country, LBJ hisself was here, you won't need a weapon tonite just go on go to bed and tomorrow you'll fly out to your unit". right. That night Charlie decides to bring pee to the max on Cam Ranh Bay. Layin' in bed in me OD boxers in the early mornin' hours still cain't sleep, I hear what I think is thunder off in the distance.

 

It gets louder and closer and it ain't thunder. It's rockets and mortars. Then came the sappers runnin' up and down the street throwin' satchel charges into places. Time I got it figgered out, the other greenies had filled the bunker like sardines, no place for me. So I hunker down behind a sandbag wall eat sand and give my soul up to Jesus. I think if this is the safest place they got I'll never make it a year.

 

Next day I hop a C130 up to Camp Enari in the Central Highlands, home of the Fighting Fourth (Ivy) Division. I am assigned to the 4th Combat Engineers. "Oh ye are a track mechanic huh? See that tank get on it and let's go."

 

That tank was named "Mission Impossible" an M88 VTR. She had 2 Ma Deuces and 2 co-axes in a field expedient mount, one feeding from the left and one from the right fired simultaneously by an electric solenoid "trigger". I loved that tank. She was big and bad and beautiful. The fastest tank in the war (we jacked up the magnetos and fuel injection pumps and installed 24 "world" Champion spark plugs [MI was a gasser]). She would do an honest 55 on the flat which is really hookin' for an 88. If you were anywhere in the Cental Highlands last half of 69 and first half of 70 and needed a tow, maybe you saw us. From Qui Nhon on Red Beach to the Cambodian border and Ban Me Thuot in the south to Dak To in the north. We were everywhere. Action, English, Mary Lou, the Oasis, Blackhawk, Pleiku, An Khe etc etc.

 

The only time I worked in my MOS was on my own tank. Thanks to our mods we blew 4 motors and 3 transmissions (collectively known as a pack) so my training came in handy. The rest of the time I was a recovery crewman and Ma Deuce gunner.

 

This is too long and the washer and dryer shut off, stand by for Part 2.

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When it came time for me to DEROS I was acting jack E5 buck sergeant tank commander because the colonel wanted all his TCs to be hard stripe. I was actually a Spec 4 just wearing the stripes. He came to me and said "I'll give you those stripes permanent if you'll just extend for six months as I really don't have anyone to replace you." I declined his kind offer "give me back my birds (spec4 shields) and put me on that freedom bird". Made him so mad he rescinded my promotion to Spec 5. It was too late to quash my Arcom tho. I was too short to go to the field and one day they had us fall out and make formation which was unheard of even in base camp. The brand new punk smart aleck Captain had me step forward and he pinned the Arcom on me saying "I don't know what you did to deserve this." He didn't even know me. The rest of us knew what I did.

 

So I've got a year and a half left. I get to Germany where I am assigned to the 23rd Engineers, 3rd Armored Division. The 23rd had just received their M16s so we went to qualify me just a grinnin'. One thing I learned to do in the Nam was shoot an M16. I made the man. The colonel sez "I'm startin' a rifle team and you're on it." From that day on I never worked a day in my MOS. I was ED and TDY the rest and all I did every day was pull trigger. Went from that little team to the 3rdAD rifle team. Then to the USAREUR team and finally to the US CENTO (Central Treaty Organization) team, which was an actual AMU. Also known as the "Nishan" team which is Persian for "aim and shoot". Anybody remember CENTO? It was the US, Great Britain, Turkey and Iran back when they were our allies and the Shah was on the peacock throne.

 

We trained for a year for that one CENTO/Nishan match. The Brits used the SLR (aka FN/FAL) and were picked to come in first. The Turks and Iranians got to use national match M1 Garands and we had to use the M16. Of course due to our mattel toy rifle we were picked to come in dead last. We lathed down the tree stump front sites, shimmed the upper to the lower, and lightened the triggers as low as legal. And trained hard.

 

Came time for the match we all marched in. The Brits were the Queen's Own Highlanders, the Black Watch. Oh they looked and sounded impressive with their kilts, tall bearskin hats, pipes and drums and they just knew they were about to make hash out of the lowly Americans with their toy rifles.

 

When it was over and the smoke settled the Yanks came first and the Brits second. They could not stand it. One of the most satisfying times of my whole long life.

 

Got a month early out for Christmas and hitchhiked home from Amarillo in the back of pick up. Used my key and let myself in. When Mom woke up and came in the living room, there I lay on the couch. She had got her Christmas wish and her prayers were answered. I was done with war.

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After getting out of high school, I went to college (to get off the farm.). After a year there, I still didn't know what I wanted to do. I visited the Army recruiter (all my male relatives were in the Army) and took some tests. He said with my fine scores I qualified for a "very special" group. All I had to do was sign up for 4 years. I still don't understand how someone smart enough to get those scores was dumb enough to fall for that.

 

Basic at Ft Leonard Wood, a 10 month stint at radio repair school at Ft. Devens,and ended up a 33G. That meant I could fix radios for the Army Security Agency.I spent a year in Chang Mai, Thailand (a very very nice spot) at a remote radio direction finding site. This was such a terrible spot that we kept getting Generals passing through to inspect us (took about an hour,), then they were off to town to shop for souvenirs. Then four months in Augsburg, Germany.Then back to Udorn, Thailand (not as nice as Chang Mia but much better than other places to the east. The ASA decided they didn't need me anymore and let me out 6 months early.

 

Right after Basic, I would have spent time in jail of I had met my recruiter in a dark alley. After some time passed, I would have given him a big sloppy kiss. I had what amounted to a 3-1/2 year paid vacation in great places with great people. I know I did important work, but did not have to sacrifice like a lot of other folks.

 

Chancy

 

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Nah! Them are Army Pukes....

 

In Army Basic the wife told me they were taught how easy it was to knock off a JarHead ifen they got mouthy with a nurse, just throw a bag of sand up against a brick wall and yell out, "Hit the Beach"! :lol:

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War Story Time:

 

In Army Basic, we had just completed a class on combat first aid. The instructor was in the 'check on learning' portion of the lesson plan and asked, "If you're walking through the woods and come up on your buddy laying there with a sucking chest wound, what is the first thing you're going to do?" He then called on our company wit for the answer. The company wit answered, "If I came up on my buddy laying there with a sucking chest wound, the first thing I'd do would be to HIT THE PRONE POSITION BECAUSE SOMEBODY SHOT THE SON OF A BITCH!"

 

The instructor about fell off the platform laughing.

 

True story.

 

Birdgun Quail

 

P.S. What's the difference between a fairy tale and war story?

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In Army Basic the wife told me they were taught how easy it was to knock off a JarHead ifen they got mouthy with a nurse, just throw a bag of sand up against a brick wall and yell out, "Hit the Beach"! :lol:

 

 

That was because the Army Pukes got a Bronze Star for hitting a punching bag............lol

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War Story Time:

 

In Army Basic, we had just completed a class on combat first aid. The instructor was in the 'check on learning' portion of the lesson plan and asked, "If you're walking through the woods and come up on your buddy laying there with a sucking chest wound, what is the first thing you're going to do." He then called on our company wit for the answer. The company wit answered, "If I came up on my buddy laying there with a sucking chest wound, the first thing I'd do would be to HIT THE PRONE POSITION BECAUSE SOMEBODY SHOT THE SON OF A BITCH!"

 

The instructor about fell off the platform laughing.

 

True story.

 

Birdgun Quail

 

P.S. What's the difference between a fairy tale and war story?

 

 

Similar to one of my first days in the Police Academy. The instructor was in the front of the class instructing us on what to do if we took fire. He said "If somebody is shooting at you, go into the combat crouch, draw your non shooting hand across your chest while drawing your revolver and return fire." Being the smartass that I am, I said "You've never been shot at, have you?"

 

 

That cost me 50 pushups.....

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I'm thinking of pasting these posts on the SASSVets site.

 

 

Well..not all of em. ;)

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