Home Page


WWII Era ('40s)
Korean Era ('50s)
Vietnam Era ('60s)
General Officers


OCS Association
OCS Notices
OCS Newsletter
Army News
Class Coordinators
Reunion Info
Other Links


Chief Locator
Web Submissions


Veterans' Salutes
Freedom Park
Brief Histories
Scrap Book
Chat Rooms
Charity Efforts


Candidate Terry Rushbrook,
Class 10-67


My Story

Signal Corps  -  From an eMail received on 1/10/2015  -   Signal Corps

Terry RushbrookMy name is Terry Rushbrook and I joined the Army on 15 Mar 66, after graduating from Willow Glen High School in San Jose, California.  I had gone to one semester at San Jose City College, but was restless and bored. My best friend, Chris Taylor, convinced me to go see the Marine recruiter, but they didn't offer much besides their strange brand of espirit de corps, pebble crunching and bullet stopping. I wanted more than that. I went to the Army recruiter on my own and ended up signing on for four years with the promise of training for the Army Security Agency.   

After basic training at Fort Ord, California, I was sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia's Southeast Signal School, and trained as a Teletype Repairman. I got my PFC stripe there. We were all thoroughly tested with a barrage of standard exams. My results must have been pretty good because they came to me and offered me the chance to go to Signal Corps Officer Candidate School. I had learned very quickly that if I had the chance to go through my time being more than the average grunt, I should take it. After I graduated from Teletype Repair and got my Top Secret security clearance, I took 30 days leave before coming back to Fort Gordon for OCS. In all, I spent about 13 months at Fort Gordon, the armpit of the South.  

I was commissioned in May, 1967, two days after my twentieth birthday, and got orders for France. While on leave, they had rescinded my orders because DeGaulle had kicked us out of France. My new orders assigned me to the 143rd Signal Battalion in Frankfurt, Germany. I showed up at my new commanding officer's office as a brand spankin' new second lieutenant, ready to put my vast Signal Corps training to good use. Lt Col Wason interviewed me and, after asking me about my interests and hobbies, assigned me to the position of Battalion Motor Officer! I guess it was my mistake telling him I grew up in California and loved working on cars.   

I finally got away from the motor pool and became the Platoon Leader for 1st Platoon, the platoon supporting the headquarters of the Third Armored Division. I made First Lieutenant in that position and watched my buddies get orders for Viet Nam. Here I was, playing war on maneuvers with the 3rd Armored while our men and equipment were being diverted to Viet Nam. During a moment of insanity, I volunteered for Viet Nam. My warped thinking was that if there was real action there, I should be there instead of playing where I was safe and sound in Germany. Besides, the 3rd Armored Division was constantly on maneuvers and my platoon was so depleted I was the only relief for my guys. On any field exercise of three days or less, I didn't get any sleep because I had to run the switchboard or radio or teletype rigs while my guys got some rest.  

After leave in San Jose, California, I flew into Bien Hoa, Viet Nam. The sick cadre there made it as traumatic an experience as possible. We were transported from the plane to the terminal in camo buses with wire mesh over the windows and were regaled with warnings of our imminent demise and made to keep our heads down from the plane to the terminal.  The only bright spot in my day was when I ran into Paul Patch, an older classman at New Lebanon Central School in New Lebanon, New York. He helped to calm my nerves when he saw how upset I was. These guys delighted in scaring the crap out of newbies.   

After processing, I somehow got to Cam Rahn Bay (I can't remember now) and checked into the headquarters of the 41st Signal battalion. As an officer, I was usually on my own. The enlisted men were herded in groups and their movements orchestrated; we were thought to have enough savvy to make it on our own to wherever we had to go.  

I got settled into the "Bachelor Officer's Quarters" with my roommate, Bob Lane, a surfer dude from Southern Cal. The BOQ's were two story plywood shacks with a multi hole plywood latrine outside. The latrine was uniquely constructed with hinged panels on the back where cut-off 50 gallon drums were slid in under the holes. There were even toilet seats on the holes! The next morning, I awoke to the pungent odor of burning diesel fuel mixed with some other smell. I looked out to see they had dragged out the barrels of crap and poured diesel fuels into them and set them ablaze. The rich black smoke filled the air for hours. Funny thing; when I went to use the latrine, there were footprints ON the toilet seats!  The gooks were so used to squatting that they stood on the seats and then squatted in their classic position to take a dump.  

I met with the Battalion Commander that day and told him of my extensive Signal Corps training and experience as a former Teletype Repairman to Signal Corps OCS to Platoon Leader in support of 3rd Armored Division Headquarters to Top Secret Courier Ops. He promptly assigned me as the Battalion Motor Officer! Not bad duty in Cam Rahn Bay. The only thing was, I, as the Battalion Motor Officer, did not have a Jeep!  The previous one had been stolen or something and I had no ride. One of the mechanics, who was the epitome of the phrase 'grease monkey', took a liking to me and told me that if I wanted a Jeep, he'd get me one. I said sure, I'd like one, figuring he could requisition one through channels. The next morning there was a freshly painted and detailed Jeep, complete with Battalion lettering, waiting for me. This guy and other volunteers had been up all night. They "procured" a Jeep, brought it to the motor pool, cleaned it topside and bottom, and painted it with their own proprietary blend of OD and black enamels. It looked sharp!  It had fresh stenciled lettering and was equipped with an ignition key instead of the standard lever switch. 

Once again, I complained to my CO about having all this Signal experience, but being assigned as a Motor Officer, so I was transferred to Qui Nhon to head up the 362nd Signal Company's Tropospheric radio site on remote Vungchua mountain. I had about 50 guys working for me there, plus a couple civilian radio advisors from Collins radio. I got there just after Tet, when two guys had been killed by VC running through the compound and tossing satchel charges into the hootches. We spent a lot of time beefing up the perimeter with bunkers, claymore mines, and lights. 

I'm not going to relate all my experiences in Viet Nam. Some are painful to remember, some are classified, and others are buried so deep they will never be revealed to anyone. Suffice it to say that it was an experience that changed me forever.  

I went back to the world on April 20, 1969. We flew in on the day when the west coast was supposed to slip into the ocean and everyone cheered when we saw land. It was very strange to walk back into life as it was. No welcome, no change. I couldn't wait to get out of my uniform.

I spent the next thirty years denying and avoiding my thoughts about Viet Nam and hiding and stuffing my feelings about it.

Catastrophic circumstances in my life in 1999 led me to a dual-diagnostic treatment center in California where I was diagnosed with PTSD from my service in Viet Nam, as well as treated for alcohol and drug abuse. I wrote the poem, "Goodbye Viet Nam" that can be found on the home page of my website, while in the treatment center. It took two days of sweat and tears.   

I applied for a disability from the VA upon the advice of counselors at the treatment center and it took SIX YEARS to get it. I went through numerous appeals and reviews and trips to Boston. It finally came through in 2005 after advisors and counselors had given up on it and abandoned me to pursue it on my own. 

Today, I still have symptoms of PTSD, but I can talk about it and carry on a somewhat normal life. I can acknowledge my veteran status instead of being ashamed of it and hiding it. 

I have been clean and sober since April 29, 1999, and stay active in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I find that it also helps me with my PTSD symptoms.

Terry Rushbrook

Terry maintains his own website, where he posts stories of his time in Vietnam, poetry, and pictures from that period. Below are a few pictures from his personal Photo Album, which can be found on his website. We encourage you to visit it and enjoy the archive he has created there. To visit his website, click the icon at right, below.

To see larger versions of these pictures, click each picture below. 

Terry Rushbrook - Singal OCS Class 10-67   Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam  Cam Ranh Bay Tropospheric Scatter Dishes

Lt. Terry Rushbrook                     Cam Ranh Bay                                               Tropospheric Scatter Dishes               

To View Terry's personal website and see more pics from his photo album, click here:

To view Terry's listing in the International War Veterans' Poetry Archive, click here:


This page originally posted 1 February, 2015.

Top of Page


Original Site Design and Construction By John Hart, Class 07-66. Ongoing site design and maintenance courtesy Class 09-67.
Content and design Copyright 1998 - 2018, by