By Bill Ryerson Sr.
I joined the Army in March of 1964 .Originally, I'm from New Jersey. Took Basic at Fort Dix, N.J. From there I went to Armor School at Fort Knox, KY from there I went to fort Meade Md. with the11th Armored Cavalry, 1st Squadron. Spent time with them at Camp Picket, Va. From there I went to Korea for 13 months, came back to the states at Fort Ord ,Calif. for about a year. Came down on orders for Viet Nam around last of Jan 1967. I was in country on my 21st Birthday on March 3,1967. Didn't even make it out of Long Binh before I seen my first American death.
The 11th Cav. 1st Squadron came to pick us up on a re-supply mission to take us to Blackhorse Base Camp. That night we pulled into a little staging area right down the road from the main base camp at Long Binh . Can remember that night like it was yesterday. The staging area was a small fenced in area. They had over head tents already set up for people to sleep in for the night. It seems like right in back of the tents there was a railroad track set up high over looking the tents. I remember saying up late that night. It was so clear that night we were looking up at the heavens looking at the stars. Anyway, there was this young man that was on the same plane that I came in on ,we were both on are way to the 11th Cav. I don't remember his name, but that night he decided to sleep inside the tent and I decided to sleep inside the track. I remember putting my steel pot over the back end of the track that night. It seems like I just started to go to sleep when I woke up to small arm fire and Claymore mines going off. The VC had pointed the claymore mines right on the tents. I can still see the inside of the tent. You could see the stars when you looked up. Sorry to say that man never made it that night ,I wish I could have remember his name but we just met on the plane. There were a bunch of others hurt that night but that one stayed with me over the years. When morning came I remember getting my steel pot off the back of the track. I was dazed when I seen it. It had a big hole in the back of it. I guess God was on my side that night. I kept it the rest of my tour. To me it seem like a good luck piece. I stayed in the Army for a little over 8yrs. I came out a SSGT. E-6.