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My Platoon Leader

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Senior Chief Moderator II
Posts: 571
(5/22/01 8:08:33 pm)
| Del All My Platoon Leader
A short story about my platoon leader who will remain nameless. When I was to receive my checkout as an aircraft commander, I had to go on a 3 day standby with him to Quan Loi. We left Long Binh and headed up Highway 13 to Quan Loi, landed. The Major told me to shut down and he'd find the operations tent. Shortly thereafter, myself, the medic and the crewchief headed to the ops Major. Quan Loi wasn't that large so we searched and found him at a little watering hole a short distance from ops. By then he'd pounded a couple of straight shots and seemed pretty content. He suggested we wait in ops in the event a mission would come down. Wasn't long before we had a pickup in an insecure area (in contact). We got the Major, flew the mission, dropped the casualty off and returned to Quan Loi. A carbon copy of the first the time nightfall came, I was getting pretty worried because I knew what was happening to the Major. Well, you guessed it. At about 2:00 A.M. or so, we had an urgent mission and there was no way we were going to get the Major in the aircraft and fly the mission......we left him in a state of near rigor mortis and the crew chief flew up front in the right seat with me and the medic by himself in the back. It was a bitch navigating to the pickup LZ, working the radios, and flying all at the same time...... we made it through the 3 days (successfully) and I became an aircraft commander. Shortly thereafter, the Major was shipped off to Japan to dry out. Today he's clean and sober and one hell of a nice guy.......I talk to him several times a year and will see him next month for a reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama......33 years after.

Do you have any people that stick out in your mind that affected you one way or another during your tour in Vietnam?

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 105
(5/23/01 2:37:08 am)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader
I had some good and some bad platoon leaders. As you all know, they are rotated out every six months in the Army. So they only spend a half tour in the field.
We had one who was given two article 15s and then later resigned his commision "for the good of the service" He did the right thing in resigning. Some of the guys said it was the only thing he did right. I have no ill will toward him at all.
He did take us out on ambush once but it was the only time he went outside the wire. He got us lost on that trip and we were nearly killed.
He once tried to send three men into Happy Valley to find a lost company. He thought the company was lost to the NVA -- they were lost in terms of the map! He misunderstood the CO.
He was also caught using our rationed drinking water to shave and wash up.
Our Company Commander was article 15nd for lying to the IG. We had no cleaning equipment for our M 16s, he knew it but lied because he was sure the IG wouldn't have the guts to go out in the boondocks with us and look. He was wrong.
The Artillery CO was relieved of command after a surprise inspection that found him with drunk gunners on duty and rusty howitzers.
There were some good officers and some bad -- like EMs we all knew some that were worthless.

Posts: 311
(5/23/01 2:26:12 pm)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader

This is not about a platoon leader but a major (female) that came to my office not long after I had arrived in Nam.

I had been incountry about a month and this major came to see me and asked if I would like to go back to the states.

I stood there with my mouth open, not quite understanding what she was talking about. She was very serious looking and told me that she had gone through my records and would like to send me back to the states to go to warrant officer training.

I felt very strange because the Col. was standing there and I knew his eyes were upon me. I knew what he must have been thinking, get this Specialist trained and now she is going to run.

I told the Major that I didn't believe I would take her up on her offer because I wasn't planning on being a lifer. She told me I didn't have to plan to be one, to think about it and she would be back to see me. I never spoke to the Col. about it and he never mentioned it either.

The Major was true to her word, she not only returned once but three times and made one final offer before she was to return to the states.

Was I sorry? Well yes and no. A part of me wanted to and another part of me knew I had been trained for a very special job and I felt that if I left I would be letting too many people down.

I did feel very honored that she had asked me, it was something that didn't fall your way very often at that time, especially to a female Spec 5.

Senior Chief Moderator III
Posts: 205
(5/23/01 6:22:13 pm)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader
Good choice Hope! Way to go!!

Senior Chief Moderator II
Posts: 575
(5/23/01 6:30:53 pm)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader

When I returned from Vietnam, I went to the Army primary helicopter school and became an instructor pilot. From August of '68 until I left there in Jan '70 I noticed how obviously the standards kept getting reduced because of the increased requirement for pilots, thus turning out some pilots that certainly wouldn't have made it otherwise. Much was the same situation with OCS......perhaps to a greater degree. In addition, training time was reduced and the product turned out more quickly.......not at all prepared in many cases.......again, the same result for OCS.

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 33
(5/23/01 8:24:13 pm)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader

I’m with Larry on this one. I know you feel better now about the choice you made then. I think it was the better of the two.

P. Gary

Posts: 628
(5/24/01 7:01:34 pm)
| Del Re: My Platoon Leader
As you state Mike,some good...some bad.Human nature huh.

The measure of a man or woman is the character they showed in stressful situations as you stepped up to complete your mission Dave and to you Hope for your desire to stick it out in the Nam and face all the ugly that you were going to experience.And also to you Mike what with almost daily humping and combat...needing to rely upon one another for their willingness to either lead or follow.

Thumbs up to ya's.
...and two hard boiled eggs.
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