A Brief Bio, As Of October 2005 -
I wrote the "Chairman’s" column in
the Association's "Signals" newsletter before the idea evolved that each of the
Association Officers should provide a brief bio, and encourage the members to do
the same, so that everyone would have a
better idea not only who was serving them, but what happened to their former
classmates. I hope this bio will set an example,
so that all members will send in their own bio's, stories, or whatever. Be patient
with me if I repeat myself here! *Smile*
I was a tobacco tenant farmer’s son
out of Wilson, NC. No one in my extended family had served in the military since
the Civil War. For some reason, I grew up knowing that I wanted to be a soldier.
I enlisted, with a departure date 2 days after my graduation from High School. I
met my wife to be (Barbara) two weeks before I was due to leave for Fort Jackson
SC. We have been married now for 45 years. My son, (Michael) hit the big “43”
this month; my daughter (Donna) will be 41 in January. Her daughters Virginia
Lee (9) and Rebecca Susanne (4) are currently the light of Grandma and Grandpa’s
After basic and AIT training at Ft Jackson, in 1959, I was ordered to
Korea, with just enough time to go home and ask
Barbara to wait for me. I served with HQs 7th Division in a security/honor guard
unit for most of my tour, ending up as a Machine Gunner with the 31st Infantry.
My trip to and from Korea
was on the U.S.S. Billy Mitchell.
Next I served at Ft. Lewis, WA, as a Colonel’s driver with the 12th Infantry.
When I decided to re-enlist my colonel advised me to get into a field that would
have some civilian equivalency and so I selected Avionics. I arrived at Ft.
Gordon, GA, in 1962 for an avionics course. From there I was sent to Ft Belvoir,
in 1963, and then on to
to establish an Avionics Repair facility.
My next assignment was in Germany,
where I applied for OCS to “force” the CO to promote me to E6. That did not
work, so off to OCS I went. Some people graduated from OCS because they had a
desire to excel. I stuck it out as I feared for my life, convinced that TAC
officers killed quitters! I graduated in January, 1967, and was honored to be
accepted as a TAC for two classes. That time was one of the three best
assignments of my career.
Somehow I got accepted for Flight School
and was sent to Ft Wolters, TX, for basic flight school. I completed my training
at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA, and planned to go straight to Vietnam and win that war. Instead I
was sent to Ft Meade, MD, to baby sit a lot of Aviation Warrant Officers who had
done their tour in ‘Nam'
and were waiting around for their discharges. That was not a favorite
After a few dozen calls to Branch I was told that I’d get orders to
Vietnam, to a Signal Battalion, as a helicopter
pilot. I ended up with the 101st Airborne Division, in C/101st Avn. Bn. (the
Black Widows), as a platoon leader... and truly had a great time being John
Wayne! I am among the minority that can say “I loved being in
Vietnam”. My time with the 101st turned out to
be the second of my best three assignments. With all that went on there, to
include almost daily contact with the enemy in one way or another, I am proud of
the fact that not one man was lost while I was there! I ended up my tour in Vietnam as Aviation Liaison to the 3rd Infantry
Bde,. in the Ashau Valley, with a final month as 101st Avn.
Bn. Commo Officer.
After the Advanced Course at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, having
been wrongly advised by branch to drop my Aviator status, I shipped out to Ft.
Richardson, AK. I was originally assigned to STRATCOM
AK as the assistant S3, but, fortunately, was selected to command B/33rd
Signal Battalion (and that was the other best assignment of my career) I held
that position for nearly 18 months, before taking over as Bn. S4 officer for 2
I left Alaska
in 1974, when my step father was killed in a farming accident, with an
assignment to Ft. Lee, VA, with an outfit called LOGEX. Our purpose was to
provide an annual training exercise for all National Guard/Reserve units in the
plus allied forces, with interaction of the USAF, USMC and USN. I was quite
disappointed to learn that the Signal Corps was the only branch that did not
provide School Support to LOGEX. For 5 years I covered for my branch and tried
to insure that no-one knew that support did not exist. However, I had reached a
state of mind that made me decide that 20 years was all that I wanted to do, and
that there was not much chance that the Army wanted me to stick around anyway. I
retired 1 June, 1979,
and moved to Florida.
I remained totally disassociated from anything to do with the military until I
became involved with this Association in October, 1994.
As for awards and decorations, I
earned the DFC, Bronze Star with V w/2 OLC,
Meritorious Service Medal w/OLC, Air Medal (23),
Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense
Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnamese Cross of
Campaign Medal, and Aviator Wings.
This page originally posted 2 January,