I joined the Army in June 1968 because being drafted wasn't a good thing unless you wanted to be infantry or a cook.When I went to join, I asked for MP's and was told I wasn't old enough then I told the recruiter I wanted to join for two years and he said that wasn't available at the time and I fell for that one also. so I agreed to 3 years and asked what branch I could make rank fastest and he said Armor or Infantry, so since I didn't want to walk to work, I went Armor, which in the end wasn't a bad thing.
So after raising my right hand it was off to Ft. Knox, Ky. for Basic training and AIT. Of course like everyone else at that time, the Drill Sgt's quickly became my worst nightmare and my name changed more times than I could count as the Drill called me things I never heard
After basic I went AIT Armor and that wasn't so bad since I learned to like tanks, however the drill sgt's didn't improve too much. After Armor training I was selected to go to M551 Sheridan training which was basically the same as armor, just a different vehicle. Close to the end of Sheridan school I was sent to personnel and was interviewed for Warrant Officer Flight school. I asked how long that was and they said 54 weeks and I foolishly turned that down. I asked about "Shake and Bake school and was told I didn't qualify. I found it strange that I was qualified to be a pilot but not an NCO. After Sheridan School, I was sent to a basic NCO academy.
On Jan 11, 1969, I boarded a plane for Oakland, California and Vietnam. Most of my friends from AIT and Sheridan training ended up in Oakland at the same time and caught Flying Tiger Airlines for the jungle. We made a short stop in Alaska where we promptly caused havoc at the air port but it was all in fun.
We arrived in Bien Hoa when it was dark and a friend and I got off the air plane at the same time. I looked at him and said "this may be a nice place to visit, but I am definatly not interested in staying. after a short briefing at the terminal we were off to the replacement center where we stayed for about 2 days. Finally our orders came thru and I was assigned to the unit in Long Bien that processed guys on R&R. I went to the Orderly Room and asked why I was going to be a paper jockey when I was trained in Armor. the next morning I went back to pick up my new orders and the NCOIC said "good luck, your going to a unit that has a bunch of people killed everyday" I told him that was fine with me since I wasn't there to shuffle papers. That afternoon 15 of us who were friends went to the 11th Cav. and 3 went to the 25th Inf. Div. Upon arrival to the Cav 11 of us went to C Troop, 1 to D company and 1 to B Troop. I was with C troop from Jan 13 '69 to Jan 12, '70. C troop was without a doubt the best unit I was in during the 13 years I was in the military. In Dec. '69 my troop commander told my friend and I that if we would extend for another 6 months he would guarantee us E-6, but we both learned that there are "NO" guarantees in the Army so we said No and came home. When we left all but two of us who had gone over there together returned together. 1 of our friends was KIA in the 25th Infantry 3/4 Cav and one was seriously wounded and was medevaced home
I had the distinct honor of serving under Col. George Patton.