1968 Continued

In 1966 you were either going to school with a deferment, on an ROTC Deferment or you got your butt drafted. I didn't apply for a deferment and sure enough on my 19th birthday I went to Kansas City for a "Pre-Induction Physical" and found myself on the 6th of September 1966 in the Army. I went to Fort Lost In the Woods (Leonard Wood) then on to Fort Sill, OK. There I attended the Officer Candidate School or the School for Wayward Boys, the Cannon Cocker College of Guns. I went to Fort Irwin and in early 1968 I deployed to Viet Nam.

On one of our rare moments with the gun battery, we had a visit from Sebastian Cabot who was a TV Star in the series called a Family Affair. Those two smiling guys seated on the gun were my recon team at the time. One was Sgt Bailey (No kin to Beetle) and the other guy, I just don't remember. We had been out on a three week trip into a part of Vietnam that was scary.

One of the best young Sergeants I met in the Army was Rudy Rousell (on the left). He was from Baton Rouge, LA and knew his business and was the spokesman for the team we had in Ban Me Touit. He took care of the men and I did the paper work and scheduling. The other Sergeant was a Guy named Bass that managed to sent to the rear area so he could have a couple of beers every day. He was a shadow to Sgt Rousell and basically stayed out of my way. (and out of the distance I could smell his breath)

Every Gun battery had at least one puppy. The guys would feed those dogs and play with them and train them. Mysteriously, they would disappear about the time they were big enough to eat. And guess what, a new puppy would somehow show up. This little girl was Janet and the guys trained her to hate anyone Vietnamese. Didn't work, she disappeared like the rest.

When I was in Pleiku, I went out with a Basic Training Company of Montagnards and months later we were setting up outside of Special Forces camp and low and behold two of the young soldiers I had been with showed up as we sat our guns up. Yes, that is a can of beer in the front soldier's hand. I was as dry as a popcorn fart and he brought me a cold one from his camp. They were daily visitors and we laughed a lot. They were the two hardest workers in their unit and I wish they were some of the guys that got out in the end of that war. Probably didn't and there was a good chance they were killed in the closing stages of that war.

This is Lt Bud Allen who went on to play Professional Golf. He was very professional in his duties and was glad to extend in Vietnam so he could go home as a civilian and play more golf. Never did get together later on or keep in touch.

Even in 1968, in a combat zone, I managed to keep a smile. Not sure if I was crazy or went crazy, but I didn't get and stay scared. I loved the people I met and places I saw. Was there a time or two that my soul leaked out my ass? You bet! but for the most part the smile you see is what I had on my face.

This is a trip down a path I took 40 years ago and by now the night sweats are gone and I remember more good times than bad. Just so you will know, we won that War and came home. It was when the Country decided to not to honor our commitment to come back if they were again attacked by North Vietnam that all was lost. I hope you are paying attention about what is being preached by Barry and our commitment to Iraq. If we pull out entirely in 18 months I predict another war will be lost by 2011. Oh well, I'm not in charge of anything more than the vacuum cleaner today. Gotta bust those dust bunnies.



  1. What a handsome bugger you were! I am sure you still are! I am really interested in history and love hearing about stuff like you lived through. Thank you so much for your post!

  2. It was a pleasure to read your comments on your time in the war. I've been studying Vietnam in relation to a documentary I am making on the Montagnard people, and specifically how much of what happened in the 1970s is likely to be repeated today in the Middle East. It is nice to see that others recognize the similarities. Best of luck to you! I enjoyed the photos!

  3. Though it is not the least bit important, in the photo of the Montagnards, is that a can of Hamm's beer?

    I collect beer cans, that is why I ask.