JUST AN ORDINARY SOLDIER
He says "I am not a hero. There are many other's who carry the name Hero, and well deserve it".
Tom is very ready to mention the
'Real heroes' in his mind. They were the 'Combat Medics' who attended the wounded Combat
In his first year he spent 3 years
with the 11th Airborne Division at Ft Cambell Ky, and then Augsburg-Germany (1954-1957).
On his second trip to Viet-nam he volunteered for the 11th Armoured Cavalry and was assigned to A Troop 1st Squadron, 11th ACR, as the unit Maintenance Sergeant. It was his job to fix any problems that arose. Repairing and replacing power plants (Engine's) Transmissions, fixing radio's or any electronic problems they had.
They kept 17M-551 Sheridan tanks, 25 M-113A1 Acavs, 1 M-577 Command Tracks, 1 M-578 Recovery Vehicle and a few M-151A2 jeeps, 2 M-35A2 2 1/2 Ton Trucks and two M-37B1 3/4 ton trucks operational.The Mechanic's were broken down to: Wheel & Track, Turret Mechanic's and (Commo Repairman). I believe that his was the worst job in the Unit. During a firefight, he would jump off of his Acav and proceed to any tank or Acav that was having Communication difficulties. You must have Communication to other Acav's and especially to the Commander during any movement. Sometimes The Commo Man had to return to his Track to get another radio, and lug this to the Vehicle that needed it. During resupply mission's it was the Maintenance section responsibility to receive all incoming and out going Supplies, including food and Ammo & having the Water trailer taken off the Hook of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter and hooking up the empty one.
On one occasion I had the shock of my life! I was standing on top of the water buffalo and the hook was swinging back and forth. I reached up and grabbed the hook and the static electricity knocked me for a loop. I thought that a mortar round had hit me.? Plus if a Acav (Track) hit a mine and was of no further value, we would strip off all the guns, radio's and other gear, and used blocks of C-4 on the Engine and Transmission and blew up the Acav. So that the VC could not use it . One time in the rear we got hold of a engineer Maintenance Vehicle equipped with an arc welder and made shields around the tank commander's hatch. (He sat in a open turret) this shield protected him from small arms fire.
All though he made several
Helicopter flights in and out of hot and cold landing zones though out Viet-nam.
His Military Awards are
The Combat Infantry Badge.
The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
He still says
"So as you can see I'm just an
'Ordinary Soldier' who served his Nation in time of Crisis".
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