STEVE—ENLISTED, BETRAYED, AND THRUST INTO BATTLE
In July, 1967, I got my “Greetings from the President of the United Stats of America.” It told me to report for Duty 27 August, 1967. My life was turned upside down to a direction I was not use to. I felt I was in a prison with no way out. I did what my father had done and now it was my time to do my part for my Country.
During A.I.T (Advanced Infantry Training) I got a call from my mother through the Red Cross that my wife, Margret, was missing and they found our car in a Mobile Home Park. I took up a loan from some of my friends in my Platoon and got permission to come home on Emergency Leave. I got another call that she was located in Arlington, Texas, at Grandmother’s home. I rode a bus all night and arrived in Arlington the next morning. I found out she was out with friends and they ran out of money. She called her cousin and he came and picked her up. She apologized to me and we got our car back. She stayed at Grandmother and I reported back to Fort Polk.
I came home for Christmas Break and spent Holidays with family. I returned again to A.I.T to graduate in late January. I received a promotion from Private E-2 to Private First-Class E-3. My orders were to report to Fort Lewis, Washington, to ship to Vietnam to the 4th Infantry Division.
I arrived in Camaron Bay Vietnam, February 23, 1968. When processed in my Orders was changed from 4th Infantry Division to 1st Cavalry Air Mobile Division, Company D 1/12. Homesick, I said to myself “Lord, protect me through this War.”
I flew by C-130 from Camaron Bay to An Khe Vietnam. I reported to Base Camp and took a three-da refresher curse in Jungle Warfare. I then few out to Quang Tri Vietnam LZ Sharon. There was where I flew by helicopter to my unit in the field.
There I was. In the Jungle of Vietnam. My Sargeant welcomed me aboard by saying “Welcome Cherry Boy!” He told me to follow the Old guys and I would be ok. My first Combat Air Assault was into Khe Sanh to get the Marines out of Fire Base that was under attack.
That was a day I will never forget. The 1st Cavalry Division lost several Helicopters on the first lift. My unit was the 3rd lift in. We arrived on a hill we were taking heavy fire from the Enemy. We set up the 81mm Mortar and started shooting back with machine gun and rifle fire. I never saw a person that was shot to death before. My Sergeant told me to come with him to search for the bodies for documents. He laughed at me and he said “Cherry Boy, they won’t hurt you now, they are dead!” That was a reality check for me.