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 18987710. 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, got my mosquito wings, (E-2 Rank) in mid-September of 1969.
After a 2 week leave I was assigned to D-2-School Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia for my 35K, Avionics Mechanic Schooling.
This school was 20 wks, IIRC, but for some strange 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 at night after blowing the VC and NVA away with miniguns and rockets ablazing, but the copters would take their fair share of schrapnel from the enemy, so we would spend most of the late afternoon/evening repairing shot-up wiring and radios and other electronic stuff to get the copters ready for the 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.