What is a Cavalryman?
Somewhere between the apple-cheeked innocence of the combat center and the urbane worldliness of the Sydney R&R veteran, we find a delightful creature know as a Cavalryman. Cavalrymen come in assorted shapes and conditions, mostly "out of ". You find them everywhere, but mostly riding through "Indian Country " on Tanks, Acav's, Loh's, and Cobras. Local Merchants love them; "Charlie" hates them; the Americal Division staff tolerates them; new platoon leaders frustrate them; infantrymen ignore them; and the combat medics protect them.
A Cavalryman is confusion with profanity on his tongue, experience with three Purple Hearts on his chest, imagination with a slice of C-4 in his mouth, and faith with a flak jacket on his back.
A Cavalryman has the appetite of an IBM computer, the energy of a nuclear reactor, the curiosity of an old maid, the enthusiasm of a kid in an ice cream plant, the lungs of an umpire, and the shyness of a bull Elephant in the mating season.
He likes women, beer, ice cream, Playboy magazine, letters from" The World", Australia, steaks, "Deros', hot showers, Hong Kong, and hot chow. He isn't much for the Monsoons, RPG'S, AK-47's, spit and polish, broken torsion bars, c-rations, roast beef, kool aid, powered eggs, "Charlie", walking or waiting in line.
No one else is so early in the chow line, or so often at the beer cooler. When you want him, he's somewhere in the A.O. When you don't want him he's hovering over your desk with 117 reasons why he should be promoted or go on a third R&R.
No one else can cram into one fighting vehicle a double basic load of ammunition, 10 cases of c-rations, two rolls of barbed wire, 14 shaped charges, a portable TV, one chaise lounge, three beer coolers, five cartons of cigarettes, an empty toolbag, two transistor radios, three machineguns, a rice polishing machine, and a pet monkey.
A Cavalryman is a fabulous creature. You can keep him out of the field but you can't keep him out of the Ville. You can frustrate his desires, but you can't frustrate his drive. You can top his jokes, but you can't top his combat record. He's your conscience, your shadow, your record set of eyes, your psychiatrist, and your despair. But when the chips are down and the bullets ricochet off your track, he's your pride and joy, your fair-haired boy, a slashing, hard-charging bundle of nerves and sheer guts.
Then you return from three days of hard fighting, trudge wearily through the mud to your bunker and settle down with a cup of hot coffee, he can bring tears to your eyes with those tender, sympathetic, and understanding words," I sure am sorry about your jeep sir, but we were just trying to beat the other tanks to the fuel point".