We are the Infantry now
Dennis, having gone to Ft. Ord and singing that song, We are the Infantry, the mighty mighty Infantry, over and over, we should be entitled to the CIB. However, after serving with you guys in Nam, you guys should also be awarded that badge. You do in our hearts. You guys saved me from walking and probably saved my life. I will never forget your contribution. Thanks. Buy you a drink in Vegas. (Bob Taylor)
Hey Bob, do you remember what time of the year you were at Ft. Ord, I was there this time of the year, April, May, June and July, what a beautiful place this time of the year, and with the weather we are having I’m almost homesick for basic and Infantry training. Wally
You’re not homesick Bro, you’re real sick if you’re missing Basic training. I was in Ft Jackson SC in July, Aug, Sept, Oct and Nov. Did Basic and Advanced Infantry there. Hated the place. Hot and humid and the locals hated our Army asses. The only time they would even talk to us was on payday. I lost about 60 pounds in those months. They ran our asses off everywhere we went. We had a kid go AWOL in the second week of basic and we never got off post the whole time I was in basic. I would have killed the little SOB myself if I could have found him.
The first night I was in Ord, in January 1969, a fellow came rushing into the wooden barracks yelling for help. A guy was trying to light himself up with some turpentine! We Hawaii guys all jumped up and followed him outside. I was thinking, wasn’t turpentine paint thinner? Sure enough, there was some guy sitting cross-legged on the ground across the company street in front of some empty barracks trying to light some matches. Another soon-to-be G.I. was squatting next to him blowing the matches out as the guy was lighting them. It was a little comical-looking. A bunch of uniformed soldiers suddenly showed up, roughly brought him to his feet, and took him away. As a draftee still not fully comfortable with my “shanghaied” status, I had some mixed feelings about the incident. It crossed my mind that it was a pretty good way to get a discharge, and wished that I had thought of it Today, that guy is probably Donald Trump. Pineapple
That brings back memories!! I went through basic at Fort Bragg…..a fat (240 lb.) hayseed from Illinois farm country really was in for a shock. Our company (three platoons) was half made up of bros from Chicago and a lot of them were in a ‘club’ called the Black Stone Rangers! A white guy was knifed in the barracks the first week into the cycle. To restore some order a black DI called a special formation to let them bros know he wasn’t their ‘brother’….his brother died in Korea. He invited them to line up at the orderly room door and they could then discuss their difference one on one. He sent the first three to the hospital.( true!) the rest dispersed….later we found he was our hand-to-hand instructor! We didn’t get PX privileges until the last week of our basic. We were there in the winter (Jan.’69 )…so it was mostly cold and rainy. They ran our asses off too. Literally, I was 185 lb.s when I went on to Fort Knox for my 11D training. THAT was a country club compared to Bragg. But I think they may have pushed us a lot harder than normal at Bragg to keep the tension under control. We did have some issues the DI’s had to handle!!!! I don’t know why they let gang members in the same outfit unless they weren’t tuned into that stuff like people are today. Bob Rebbec
I would have given anything for Basic at Ft Ord. I was at Ft Gordon Ga. In Feb, March, and April. 1/2 of our training company had to live in tents with kerosene heaters. It was colder than a well diggers ass. We had to have a fire watch every night incase a tent went up in flames. We had two tents go up in smoke but no one injured. I guess luck or pure stupidity kept me from K.P until the next to the last day of Basic. I never looked at the bulletin board the whole eight weeks and when I finally did my name was on the KP roster. When I showed up the head cook ask why I hadn’t been on KP before I told him I never saw my name on the list. The day after graduation I went on sick call and was diagnoses with walking Pneumonia > I guess I had been sick for two or three weeks but I didn’t want to get recycled. You can keep Basic training. One weird thing though I was assigned to the 5th of the 3rd Infantry at Ft Campbell KY after AIT. My First Sergeant was a pretty fair man but would deny a weekend pass in a heart beat. We had a IG inspection and my section aced it we were the top Commo unit in the 5th. After that the First Sgt would ask you if you wanted a pass. The weird thing was we were going down a road near A-4 and C-2 and we stopped by a Company of 1/61 grunts guess who was with them. My old First Sgt. and he even remembered me. I ask him for a pass but he just laughed and went on down the road. Take care Keith
Wally, You know what I liked the most about Basic Training??? NOTHING– Merk Nerk
Basic was really tough on me, it was the first time I had been away from home, literally, in my neighborhood none of us attended summer camp. The worst thing about Basic was being away from home, the rest was a piece of cake, I was a squad leader right from the first week of training so I never had to do Kilo Papa…..(as SS would say), I was also a squad leader in AIT so I did not do any KP until about the 5th week of AIT, so things were not so bad. What did I like about Basic??? Late in the afternoon, at Ft. Ord, when the sun was going down in the California Pacific, it was beautiful. The Fort is located on a hill overlooking the coastline and highway one, and it was really pretty, to this day I like going up there at least once a year just to watch the sunsets. I went in at 165lbs and came out at a solid 160lbs. I was the fastest guy in the Company in the “dodge run and jump” drill, Oh to be 21 again!!!!! See ya Wally
Bob, Yeah basic was a bummer. I was a northerner sent to a southern fort. They were still fighting the Civil War down there then and they figured everyone from NY lived in the city and rolled fags in the subway for a living. They came down pretty hard on us Yankees. We had a kid from Miss. get up on the barracks roof almost every night and threaten to jump off. They would then have to call our DI in from off base and of course he was really pissed off after that. The next day he’d kick our asses cause we all had to pay for the one guys screw-up. I also weighed in at 245 pounds. I was down to about 180/185 when I shipped over to Nam and I was 154 when I came home. I was 21 years old when I got drafted and had lived in PA for a couple of years on my own while I went to college. I grew up in upstate NY and we could drink at 18 so I had spent allot of time in the bars. My Father was a tuff old SOB and he would have made one bad ass DI so it really wasn’t hard for me to take orders. I had a lot of street smarts so I played the game the way the Lifers wanted it. I really felt sorry for some of those young kids 18 and 19 that had never been away from home before. It sure was a shock to some of those kids. Alot of these guys looked up to me as a big brother and I was always being asked for advice. I really used to feel bad when these dudes would get a Dear John from home and they figured life was over for them. Man I used to do some real bullshit talking to keep these guys from going over the edge. The only thing that really pissed me off was the day we graduated from basic they sent me and the 5 other guys I came in with from NY back to clean the barracks. You know wax the floor and all that shit. Then after about 3 hours of this shit they pullup front with a duce and half, load us up and drove us 2 miles down the road to AIT. We get there and here is another big ass DI yelling the same shit as the first DI we saw when we got to basic training. The only thing that kept me in good shape was I played their game and told the Lifers what they wanted to hear. I also kicked ass on the rifle ranges and that didn’t hurt either. When they made us qualify with the M16 after we qualified with the M14 I knew my ass was going to Nam. When I got out of AIT I got 3 days leave and 2 days travel to Ft Lewis so when I left Nam I couldn’t even get an early out. I did the whole 2 year tour. I did end up with a great instructors job at Ft. Benning, Ga for my last 5 months in the Army but that was the only good break, other than being assigned to A Troop, that I ever had in the service. Boy it’s nice to be able to laugh about those times now. Peace, Rag
Ours wasn’t a north/south thing much Rag…it was a black/white, ghetto/anywhere else thing. Not cool at all. But I didn’t have a terrible time personally…also a good shot (came with in a couple of points of the Bragg record they told me, if you believe that shit) and your right, that doesn’t hurt but it’s the dietary deal that astounded me most…..over fifty pounds in eight weeks!!!! They should sell this on TV!!! It’s taken me nearly thirty five years to get most of it back…I am 225 now…..need to re-up I guess. Bob [Rebbec]
Most of you guys went in to basic training pretty heavy and lost weight. I did just the opposite. I went to basic at Fort Lewis, Washington, weighing 150 pounds, soaking wet with a hard-on. I left weighing 175 pounds. Talk about being a lean, mean, green fighting machine! The guys in my basic training unit would just stare at me while I scarfed down all that mess hall chow. They asked me how I could eat all that slop. I told them I grew up with four brothers and had to fight them at the dinner table just to get my share of food. The policy of the our basic mess hall was, “Take all you want, but eat all you take.” Hell, that was fine with me. These days, I’m back to watching what I eat and forcing myself to exercise. Ain’t life a bitch? Take care, J.T.
JT, I was like you, skinny and needed nourishment. I went in to Ord in Oct of 1968 weighing around 165. I got sick with the stomach flu while waiting to get assigned to the basic company. The sargeant told me that I was just home sick. I finally threw up in formation in front of a Lt. They took be to sick call and I was finally assigned a basic company. They had me filling sandbags. I lost 15 pounds. I should have thrown up on that sgt. We were confined to the company area for the duration of basic due to meningitis. We wore maggot tags. I still have mine, 3-D-5-1. Finally got to AIT at Ord and got to drink some beer.( Stillwell Hall). or something like that. Haven’t quit since. [Bob Taylor]
I went in at 205. After AIT at Ord I was 168. Came home from Nam at a hefty 145. Jim C.
I have you all beat, I went into the Army at 135 left basic at 160 and came back from Nam at 165. I guess the Army made me grow up and out. Keith
I too, like you was already enrolled in college classes, I was not a good student and knew it. I enlisted just to get the waiting over with, I was almost 21 and had not been called yet….later I found out they had lost my records and would have not been called until Carter was president.
You damn young kids. I grew up in NY and the drinking age then was 18 yrs old. I’d been to college already and was back home when I got drafted at age 21+. So the women and booze had already corrupted my life, not that that is a bad thing mind you. When I reported to basic in Ft Jackson SC I couldn’t believe all these poor young 18 yr old kids that had never had a beer or even seen a naked women in the flesh. I felt so sorry for these kids. I remember this one little guy, only about 5 ft tall, that had flunk out of cooks school so they dumped him into our advanced inf. training group. This kid, small fry we called him, was as green as they come. Had never been away from home and really lost. This kid stuck to me like stink on crap. He was always asking me questions about life and things. I worried about this kid like he was my younger brother. I had to protect him from some of the other guy’s cause they loved to bust his balls and play jokes on the little guy. I know he went to Nam and I hope he made it back in one piece. Our last day in AIT the drill sgt. came up to me and thanked me for keeping the kid going. Seems he was just as worried about small fry as I was. Like I said I was 21+ but I felt like an old man compared to some of these kids. They would get all shit faced on that 3.2 beer they had on post and all it did for me was make me piss all night. I at least knew that if my number was up I had lived a lot of life that these young kids would never have a chance to see. I guess it kind of stayed with me in Nam cause Baynes and Barnes were young, Hall was a little older but he too needed guidance. I asked for those three guys when I took command of A14. I had to argue with Top cause he told me I was nuts to take three green FNG’s but I told him I’d feel better training them my way as they had no bad habits yet. They all turned out fine, at least while I was there until Dec 69. You were right Wally. There weren’t to many guys older than Myself, Mills, Dye, Larson and a few others. Most of the officers weren’t much older either. You young guys hang in there. Hopefully I can collect some SSI before it goes broke. Peace, Rag
Gosh, you guys were awful young. Hell I was drafted in 1966, at the ripe old age of 25. Yep, Valentines Day. I told them that I was almost 26 (In May) and would be ineligible. I missed the keyword “almost” as the Drill Sergeant so kindly pointed out. Man back then when you got a divorce, the divorce papers and draft notice passed each other in the mail. I think my ex mother in law must have hand carried the divorce papers to the draft board. JOE BYRNE
I guess I was on the young side when I got drafted. My cousin and I volunteered for the draft in Oct 1968, one month before my 19th birthday. He served with the 1st Cav. Both of us spent 6 months at Ft Ord as 11C10. We went to our local draft board in the summer of 1968 and asked them to draft us in October. They were happy to oblige. bob t
I’m another “old” draftee. I was 22 when the letter came in ’68. It’s a long story of why the letter even came, because I was in college, in good standing, about to start the 2nd semester in my junior year. It wasn’t until I was in for about a year and in the ‘Nam when I realized how inequitable the draft really was. Not everyone had to serve, there were too many holes in the system. My good buddy sat the war out because he got married and had a kid with a woman he really didn’t love, as soon as the lottery came in and his number was really high, they got divorced. He was in college too. Of course, we all know how the wealthy in this country kept their sons safe. I think the all-volunteer army of today finds the same problems of avoidance by the majority of the country’s young, only this time it’s even easier to let your neighbors do the fighting. GeorGersaba
I think I was of a typical age. I did poorly in collage and ‘volunteered for the draft by going to the local draft board chairwoman and telling her let’s get it over with. She did. I had turned twenty a couple of months before I went off to basic in Jan. 1969. Twenty, twenty-one seems to be a pretty average age for a draftee…..twenty-four and five year olds were ….well, real OLD! (-: George, I too have thought about the “system” and it kind of grates me when people get a free ride. Not that I resented serving, I am very proud and glad I did. But had I not been drafted I probably wouldn’t have enlisted. So I could have been a “free rider” too. Maybe the most equitable way would be like Israel and have compulsory service….doing something…..????? Bob REBBEC
Man you guys were nuts. There was no way I was volunteering for the draft. I had the world by the ass. I was operating tower cranes for Eastman Kodak construction Co. and making about $350 to $450 per week on average. That was real good money in 1968. I was driving a new 1968 hemi Roadrunner that was all paid for. Out every night drinking and womanizing. I also had a 1940 Willys coupe I was drag racing about 4 times a week. There was no grass growing under my feet. I was living at home and had a ton of money to piss away on whatever I wanted. I often think my Dad had me drafted cause my brother Don and I was eating him out of house and home. Many a night we would get home just in time to shower, change cloths and go to work. Man them were the days. There was no way I was leaving that if I didn’t have to. I figured if they called me I’d go if not I just keep drinking and having a good time. But you guys are all right. I’m glad I got drafted and had the opportunity to serve with all you great Americans. We had some bad times but we also had a lot of laughs. I’ve got a lot of great memories that I often think back on and it often times makes my day. Rag
I was working as a Honda motorcycle mechanic and also living at home. I was racing TT scrambles on my Norton 750 every week and having a good time. ( I was second in points. open novice) I wasn’t old enough to drink but had a few when available. All my friends and brother were in at the time so I just wanted to get it over with and be free when they were discharged. My brother was drafted and never left the states. He was at Ft Meade, in F Troop, 7th cav, as a turret mechanic. My close friend was a mechanic and sent to Germany. Another friend was a mechanic in Vietnam. Since I was also a mechanic, I figured to get to be a wrench turner somewhere. Wrong, I got infantry. bob t
I was at Ft. Ord at D-2-1, spring of 69. I waited as long as I could to join up cause I was having a good time cruising the Strip and eating hamburgers at Tommy’s at all hours of the night. towards the end of ’68 and early ’69 the Strip had begun to fade away, the cops were really cracking down, the guys coming out to the strip were not the same cool guys that were cruising in 66 and 67. The world had started to change before our very eyes. It was no longer getting high for the fun of it, everyone was trying to overdose, no shit!!!. The music was also changing, and none for the better…The cars had begun to lose their horsepower, except for the Chevy’s…the world because a different place, literally overnight. Things always happen for the best and I ended up in Nam with all of you…..thank God for that. Wally
I was in 3-D-5-1. I still have my maggot tag. In the spring of 69, I was at Ft Benning flunking out of NCO school. I didn’t want to be there but the CO stated that there were only two ways out. Graduate or get kicked out. I chose the latter. Took me 4 weeks or so. Bob t
Ft. Ord is beautiful, as you know, but they told me it does not get cold up there. Bullshit!!! We were there soon after one of the wettest winter we had had in So. Cal. It was green and wet. All in all I had a good time there, the only thing that bothered me was being homesick. Ended up going down the hill for Infantry training, now that was a drag, the D.I.’s were assholes there and the C.O. was a middle age dude that was a 1st Lt., he had come from the Marine Corps where he was an E-7. They count cadence different in the Corp and we kept tripping all over ourselves with him singing that bullshit he would do. Finally some of the other D.I.’s told him the truth, he was pissed and let one of the guys in the training cycle sing the cadence, he was good too. Pvt. Williams, did not make it back home.