November 15, 1969. Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division are briefed at Phu Loi on the details of their impending departure from Vietnam under President Nixon’s withdrawal plan. These men had just finished a combat patrol. Other members of the Division are standing by in Washington D.C. during the Vietnam Moratorium demonstration.
Hendrix’s Army records indicate he was discharged for “homosexual tendencies,” not a broken ankle as he had claimed publicly.
Jimi Hendrix might have stayed in the Army. He might have been sent to Vietnam. Instead, he pretended he was gay. And with that, he was discharged from the 101st Airborne in 1962, launching a musical career that would redefine the guitar, leave other rock heroes of the day speechless and culminate with his headlining performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969.
Hendrix’s subterfuge, contained in his military medical records, is revealed for the first time in Charles R. Cross’ new biography, “Room Full of Mirrors.” Publicly, Hendrix always claimed he was discharged after breaking his ankle on a parachute jump, but his medical records do not mention such an injury.
In regular visits to the base psychiatrist at Fort Campbell, Ky., in spring 1962, (more…)
Emmy-award winning 1987 documentary film featuring real-life letters written by American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the Vietnam War to their families and friends back home. Film footage and news coverage augment the first-person “narrative” by men and women who were there. Based on the book of the same name. (more…)
I had the brief privilege of being SGT John Plunkard’s company commander in Vietnam. Although I commanded B-1-505(Abn) from July 1967 until July 1968, I say brief because your brother joined the company only a little before we deployed to Vietnam in February ’68 and, of course, was with us only in spirit after 8 April.
A bit of background may be helpful here. As you no doubt recall, the 82d has traditionally maintained one of its three maneuver brigades on immediate readiness status, with one battalion loaded and ready to deploy at once if necessary. A second brigade concentrates on training, while the third performs “post support,” grants liberal leaves and passes, sends troopers to school, etc.
By late 1967, the demands of the Vietnam war had bled the 82d’s personnel strength to the point where each rifle company had only two full-strength rifle platoons. In January of 1968, Third Brigade (1-505, 2-505, 1-508) was on DRF-1 (first to deploy) when the North Koreans seized the US spy ship “Pueblo.” (more…)
I Robert N White remember the Phu Bia ammo dump explorsion…..I was attacted to the Mariens at that time…..was in the US Army 515th Transportation Company n was on guard duty durning that time………..was in the guard tower n watch the helicopter come in n turn away to look at the perminter in front of me……….when it crash……though it was a lost rotor…all HELL BROKE LOOSE…….I jump the 20 feet to the ground n took off running to the large sand bag bunker…….took over 30 years before I would go n watch a Fire Works display
Here is a link to a news article about several events recently held at Fort Bragg, NC to honor the 3rd Brigade 82nd Airborne Division, including the laying of a wreath at the Golden Brigade Memorial and the dedication of a new dining facility named after MG Alexander R. Bolling, Jr.
I was assigned to the 82nd and became a photographer for the Public Information Office (PIO). On my second day, I was sent to the Ashau to photograph the troops receiving their pay. They had just taken over a NVA medical station in the jungle, commanded by Colonel Mot. I didn’t know if this was a publicity stunt or if Colonel Bolling was the real deal.
Colonel Bolling radioed and asked the troops what they would like for doing such a good job. They wanted ice cream. Within no time, I could hear the Chong, Chong, Chong, from the big blade of a Huey helicopter carrying a pallet of ice cream … strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. The troops got beaucoup gallons of ice cream, just as they had asked for.
Their hospitality to me was unmatched. They insisted that I partake of their bounty. When night came they asked me where I would be sleeping. I told them that I would be sleeping on the ground with my back against a big tree. They told me “No Way!” They told me that there were poisonous snakes and insects that hadn’t even been named that were just as
deadly. More than one troop offered me an extra hammock that they carried for a spare.
After about three days in the jungle with some of the greatest soldiers that I have ever met, I finally got back to headquarters. The PIO didn’t have any place to develop my film. The next day Colonel Bolling sent a driver who took me to a Marine Base located near Hue. I told them that I was a photographer for the 82nd Airborne with an important assignment. They
graciously turned their photo lab over to me. There is power in the name 82nd Airborne; it carries a lot of clout.
One of the few constants of the Vietnam War—one eagerly anticipated by American troops, that is—was the annual Bob Hope Christmas Show. From 1964 to 1972, Hope included South Vietnam on his annual trips to visit troops during the holiday season, a tradition that started for him during World War II. “Back in 1941, at March Field, California…I still remember fondly that first soldier audience,” Hope once said. “I looked at them, they laughed at me, and it was love at first sight.”
They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water,iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks.
They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. They carried the M-16 assault rifle.
They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14’s, CAR-15’s, Stoners, Swedish K’s, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence. They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes.
Some carried napalm, CBU’s and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage.
Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones – real and imagined.
They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love: “Don’t mean nothin’!”
They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn’t; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said “Dear God” and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die.
They carried the traditions of the United States Army, and memories and images of those who served before them.
They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier’s greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor. They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it.
They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment.
They carried the weight of the world; they carried each other