Since Nov 4, 2007
Here is the history of my U.S. Army career:
30 June 1969, entered the Army at the AFEES (Armed Forces Entrance Examination Station) in Seattle Wa. Was assigned an RA (Regular Army) number, RA ****7710. Next day, July 1st, U.S. Armed Forces went to the SSN for ID, but I still remember my RA # to this day, 40+ years later!
Anyway went to Fort Lewis, WA for Basic Training, assigned to E-1-1 Training Brigade.
Drill Sargeant Gritman pushed me to the max and as grueling as it was, I got my mosquito wings, (E-2 Rank) in mid-September of 1969.
After a 2 week leave I flew to Georgia and was assigned to D-2-School Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia for my 35K, Avionics Mechanic Schooling. (I finished tops in my class, Woo-Hoo and went from Pvt/E-2 to SP/4/E-4 overnight, nice pay raise!)
This school was 20 weeks, IIRC, but for some reason, I was a holdover and didn't get deployed until April, with a leave in March '70. My recruiter told me that because of my technical MOS, I would be assigned to Germany, but instead I got orders to report to the overseas transfer station in Oakland, CA. I flew out to Vietnam April 1, 1970 and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division.
I'll never forget flying into Tan Son Nhut AFB and walking off that airplane...the heat and humidity were amazing, and the stench in the air was something I would come to know and hate.
Anyway, went through the 1st Cavalry Division "Academy", which was mandatory for all new 1st Cav personnel, and was finally assigned to A Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cav at Tay Nihn, as an Avionics Mechanic.
I was no hero, we used to repair the heliocopters at the end of the day when they came in late afternoon after blowing the VC or NVA away with miniguns and rockets ablazing, but the copters would often take damage from enemy fire, so we would spend a lot of the late afternoons/evenings repairing shot-up wiring and radios and other electronic stuff in order to get the copters ready for their morning missions.
I was lucky enough to get to do a lot of test flights with various "birds", as we called them to test the repaired systems and got a chance to fly an AH-1G Cobra on ocassion, what a rush! 220 knots down and then a 3G pull-up will definately make your blood rush!
To be continued.