Air Cav Dude Desires To Salute Iron Cav Dudes!
By Robert A. Alexander, D.V.M.
I served in A Co, 1/8, 1st Cav Div from Apr 69 to March '70, took my 30-day (actually, 36 days, but what the s---were they going to do to me?), and went to Div rear at Bien Hoa, until March '71 when I derosed/ hit CA/ was discharged/ went back to Mom & Dad in FL, WITHOUT having to pull funky stateside duty!
At some point in '69, I think it was around Aug or Sep, we rode "piggy back" with some unit of the 11th for about 30 days. This is what I want to talk about AND salute all you CRAZY SOBS who served (and ESPECIALLY your comrades who did NOT come back with you AND those who DID, prematurely!!!!!!!!!) in the 11th!!!
FIRST impression - you dudes did NOT seem to be worried
about ANNOUNCING your presence and your
arrival! Went against all I had been taught in infantry training.
SECOND impression - I learned NOT to ride on TOP of APCs after I got to see the effect of a good sized mine on them. The very concept of actually riding INSIDE of one of those beasts nauseates me. (of course, these dudes we rode with carried so MUCH ammo/Cs/water, etc. in the innards of the APCs that I couldn't see how many of us could even fit in there! I RODE ON ONE OF THE M-48s UP FRONT AFTER THAT EXPERIENCE!!! And, STILL got to experience running over a mine! Knocked me off the rear end of the tank. CRAZY assed folks in this armor business!
THIRD impression - Me Dad was a physician. His partner left his first year in medical school in Switzerland 7 Dec 41, returned to the USA, joined the Army and was in Armor following Patton into Germany. Louie was one of my best "pen-pals" while I was in Viet Nam, ESPECIALLY when I would write him my observations about these crazy-assed nuts in this 11th Armored Cav unit we infantrymen were hitching a ride with!!! I want you dudes to know that, according to Dr. Louie Moore, in Naples, FL, ARMOR CRAZIES in Viet Nam were JUST EXACTLY LIKE they were in WWII sweeping across Europe!
I noticed, quickly, that the Armor Dudes carried a LOT
of water with them! They even had those nifty canvas
shower bags with the adjustable nozzle, would hang them on the barrel of the tanks and SHOWER AWAY! They had supplies of DRY SOCKS, lots of them. ALL of them had peaches & pound cake, nobody was arm wrestling over the most desirable Cs of all times!!!
One night, while we were set up like a wagon train, I spotted an Armor Dude going into the back end of an APC. I noticed an unfamiliar (for Viet Nam) light flicker. I went over and knocked, they invited me in to watch a bit of TV!!! Jeez, out in the field? Looked like about a 5-6" screen, B&W, and they were watching the American TV channel in Saigon??? Dr. Moore wasn't amazed at any of this, except that they hadn't the TV, BUT did have a tube-type AM/SW radio so they could listen to State-side baseball games!!!
FOURTH impression - You Armor Dudes ARE FLAKY when it comes to ambushes!!! We GRUNTS learned the wisdom of covering our tracks, setting up QUIETLY and unloading on the Dinks. You ARMOR NUTS just fire up the LOUDEST APC, PLOW out into the bush for a click or so AND DARE the DINKS TO COME AROUND!!! Bizarre.
FIFTH impression - You Dudes may be NUTS, but you were
some of the finest troopers I ever hope to meet!
Whatever you guys had, you were willing to share it with us. We had s---to share with you guys and you STILL
seemed to like us!
That's enough of "impressions". I could go on for the rest of the night. Something more serious, and I really have NO idea of where we were (somewhere around the Parrot's Beak?), we were riding with the 11th and some kind of emergency order came down that another unit of the 11th had been ambushed and we HAD to get there ASAP! When we got there, (REMEMBER, I am going from my OWN observations & memories here) it was OVER. I remember 2 tanks which had dead crew inside. Your Dudes did NOT want us grunts to pull them out. Your guys did their duty and it was probably the most SOLEMN occasion I have EVER witnessed!!!
I'm hoping one of yours can tell me the when & what of what I saw.
Also, along with those crazy-assed chopper pilots who
supported and the F-100 pilots who supported us, you
CRAZY-ASSED 11th ARMORED CAV DUDES are welcome to s---on my living room carpet ANY TIME!!!