"Last Time, Downs"
Copyright 2002: Dick Guthrie.
All rights reserved. (copy permission at bottom)
One day in September of 1967 Company B was conducting a Cordon and Search Operation in one of the villages on the edge of the Dam-Tra'o lake, deep in "Indian Territory". At the time, I had a radio Operator named Tom Downs, a fine soldier. He and I had an arrangement whereby he was never to be further than an arm's length from me, and when I said "company" and put out my hand, he'd slap into it the handset of the radio we kept set on the company's internal frequency. This system worked pretty well helping me be sure I was always responsive to calls from the Platoon Leaders.
We had gotten the Cordon in quickly and without incident, and the National
Police Field Force Platoon was conducting the Search, when a call sign I did not
recognize, directed me on the Battalion's frequency to identify our landing Zone for
visitors. I hadn't been told about incoming visitors, but the call could only have come
from one of our helicopters, after all, so I located a space large enough to land a
helicopter, and popped a smoke grenade. In came a shiny, V.I.P.-type HUEY (Utility
Helicopter, UH-1D), and out clambered four or five starched-fatigue field-grade officers
from the First Cavalry Division Staff. Immediately they got started milling around, asking
questions and generally interfering with what I considered my primary job, which was
taking care of Company B.
And that was the last time it happened. We never again got surprise
visitors from Division staff. To this day I can neither confirm nor deny that the first
group had passed the word that B Company, 1-50th Infantry was not the unit to visit,
because that wise-ass Captain made fun of "R.E.M.F.'s"
Copyright 2002 Richard Guthrie,
This article may not be downloaded, copied or used in any manner without the expressed written permission of the author.