1965 to 1972

Posted on January 3, 2011

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The first group or Advance Party as they are sometimes known as went to Vietnam in aircraft. A good friend of mine ,Earl Reece, was one of those men. I have asked him to write a story about his time from beginning to end. Once he sends that to me, I will post it here. I had originally stated the first to go to Vietnam were the boat people. Earl corrected me on that. I’m glad he did. I not only want to put information about Charlie Troop but I want it to be correct as well.

The second group of soldiers from Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment 1st Cavalry Division (AM) that arrived in Vietnam did so by boat. Actually it was a ship. The ships name (thanks to Richard Crenner for this information) was the William O. Darby. It took 28 days to make the trip.  Of course they affectionately call themselves “Boat People”. After the boat people, the rest of the soldiers came by airlines. I went by airplane. I believe it was Seaboard Coast Lines. It’s been a long time ( almost 43 years) since I went to Vietnam and my memory just isn’t what it use to be.  O do Know that for 14+ hours I ran some wild thoughts through my mind try to figure out exactly what I was getting into. The Troopers that went by boat had to do that for 28 days.

Vietnam Veterans are broken down be the year they served. You have 65-66, 66-67 and so on. The 1st of the 9th Cavalry actually left Vietnam in 1971  but we include those who were assigned to the 1st of the 9th but then transferred to other units because their year was not up. This causes problems when people see that we list a comrade of our “Our Fallen Comrade” list and he was killed in 1972. We also list men who were Killed in Action after being reassigned to another unit after having served in C  Troop even if it was only for a short time. Once a Charlie Trooper always a Charlie Trooper.

Every once in a while the topic will come up as to who had it the worst over there. Some say the “65-66” people because they were there first. Some will say that the year they were there and of course some will say that the ones that were there last had it the worst. One man said it right and I wish I could remember who said it but he said “When we got shot it hurt as bad as when you got shot and when one of ours became a KIA (Killed In Action) he was as dead as when one of yours became a KIA.

We in  Charlie Troop are one big family only there are no in-laws to mess things up. We understand how each of us, no matter what year we were there, served with the Best Men the US had to offer. We Honor each other through the respect that we have for each other. Over the past six years, our family has become closer. We have several things that helped.

Walker Jones started to website (Much more than 6 years ago) to help find and establish communication with the Troop. His website has grown dramatically and is now run by Jack Schwarz. Jack has done a fantastic job at keeping the site going and growing.  We belong to an association of all of the (A,B,C,D and yes F) troops that made up the 1st of the 9th. The association is called the “Bullwhip Squadron Association”. We hold reunions every two years. We have a C Troop chat site on Yahoo. This site is run by Kurt Schatz and monitored by Walker Jones. The site allows us to pass on information about ourselves, events that are coming up and it gives us a platform to discuss whatever we want. I hope to think that my DVD has helped bring us together as well. When I first decided to make a CD for the Troop I started out with about 75 pictures on it. Before it had grown to 150. I went to our chat site and I asked for more pictures of the Boat People because that was the one group I had the fewest pictures of. All of a sudden I had over 225 pictures. Today I have over 575 pictures of the men who served in Charlie Troop from 1965 to 1972. Once every two years a make a copy and send it to Kurt who takes it to Ft. Hood and has it placed in the 1st Cavalry Division Museum. I try to send a copy to every Charlie Trooper who send me a photo.

I am very proud to say that I am a Charlie Trooper. I belong to a Brotherhood that is as strong today as we were when we fought in Vietnam. A Brotherhood of men who would do their very best to stand up and defend our country today as we did back then. Of course we would have to fight our wives first to let us go.

In 1971, the 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry minus B Troop returned to the states as the most decorated unit of the Vietnam War. We are proud of that fact. It was the courage of our pilots, gunners, observers and infantry backed up by our maintenance, cooks, supply and administrative people that made this possible.

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