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THE VIKING SAPPER

says

ESSAYONS

"Pontifices Sumus"

   20th Engineer Bde       86th Engineer Bn 

 

My history page and picture album.

An Overview of my life.

I was born in Beaver Falls, Pa and raised in Western Pennsylvania. I grew up in Midland, Pa and Edinboro, Pa, before moving to Kittanning a little town in the middle western part of Pennsylvania. I graduated from Kittanning High School in June 1964. I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for the next year. My family moved to Atlanta in the fall of 1965 where I attended Dekalb Community College until April 1967 when I enlisted into the US Army where I went to the University of Vietnam.

I spent 8 1/2 years on active duty. But I didn't learn, I spent 3 more years in the National Guard and the US Army Reserve. My basic training started on 8 May 67 in Harmony Church at Fort Benning, GA Class B-9-3 7 July 67 and my Combat Engineer training was at Ft Leonard Wood, Mo in Class E-3-1, 1 September 67.

On 20 September 1967 my tour of duty in Vietnam began when I was assigned to "A" Company, 86th Engineer Bn, (LINK) 20th Engineer Bde at Bearcat and My Tho, RVN. I was a demolitions specialist most of the time I was in the unit. I own my life to several friends from there. James Bertram, Ronald Benson , Sgt Pancho Flores, SSG Landis, and most of all my Squad Leader/Platoon Sgt Victor Vakcoc.

We were in support of the 86th Land Clearing Team for the first part of my tour. The biggest operation we worked with them on was Sante Fe. We were supported by the 9th Infantry Division, 11th Armored Cav, and many other units. I want to thank all of those on the operation for my being able to return. That was a costly operation for our support. Again I thank you and hats off to you.

Upon returning to Bearcat after a short stand down and clean-up, we moved a part of the platoon, 2nd, with the Land Clearing Team again. This time we were in the Bien Hoa and Long Bien area. This was a very joyful experience for us. We got invited to the Lunar New Years 1968 celebration, better know as Tet 68. We got to hear loud fire crackers as the VC shelled the camp with this celebration. One was extremely loud, Charlie blew up the ammo dump at Long Bien as part of this party. That night, we got to play in the dirt. We got to get our faces dirty. We got our worlds turn upside down. That night, Our great government's leaders showed their true colors...... YELLOW .....

I am a little sarcastic about Tet, because that was when our leaders got cold feet and abandoned us to survive as we could, without their desire to win. I hope we will never send our troop to a conflict with out the desire or planning to win the war. That is why we should not be in Bosnia right now. Our governmental leaders have no idea of what to do and where to start, or even what they are trying to accomplish.

"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another".

Several months after Tet, the company moved to a little airstrip near the canal in My Tho. The main task at hand there was building a base camp. I rotated out of Nam on 18 September 1968. I had graduated from the University of Vietnam with my degree in Warfare.

I was stationed with the 518th Engineer Co (Combat), 193rd Infantry Brigade at Ft kobbe, Canal Zone where I spent 3 years. They were really good years. I did do things backwards thought. I got to go to play in the jungle before I got the jungle training. Our main training duty in Panama was jungle. Like I say I did it backwards.

I met my wife in Panama. We have been married for 30 years on the 10th of June. I have 2 great kids and 2 growing grand-kids. So as I said my tour of duty in Panama was good for me. I left Panama in October 71 to be stationed with the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft Hood. It had just rotated back from Nam. I was assigned to Charlie Company of the 8th Engineer Bn. The unit at that time was Air-mobile. We were doing chopper training as part of our training. Again backwards.

I am proud to say that our unit was instrumental in the building of both the 1st Cavalry Horse Troop stables and the 1st Cavalry Museum. I spent about 1 1/2 years at the post. They decided they needed my services at the 2nd Engineer in Korea. When I got to Korea, I didn't go to the 2nd. I was assigned to the 1st AGMMT at Kimpo, Korea. I spent a year in Korea working in the Army Post Office as a Custom Inspector and Postal Supervisor. It was the best job I had in the 8 years of service and I didn't know it. Most of my time I was stationed at the APO in Camp Ames near Taejon were the 833rd Ord was located.

After spending a year on R & R, I got to play combat engineer again. I was sent back to the 1st Cavalry Division. Back to Charlie Company, back to the 2nd Platoon. I spent a year of unpaid TDY. The Cav had changed by now. The were now back to the big metal toys they use even today. They went back to the Iron wagons.

I got out after my time was done. I spent almost 2 years at the Ft Hood area going to college at Central Texas College where I graduated with an A.A. in General Studies. I left there and came to Central Florida in 1977. I never regret leaving the Army. I finished out my college while working a several different part time job. I graduated from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fl with a B.S. Degree in Management, in May 1979. I graduated from Seminole Community College with an A.S. in Data Processing in August 83. While attending these colleges I was working for Radio Shack as a part timer starting in September 1978. Eventually, I managed both regular retail electronics stores and computer electronics stores. I stayed with Radio Shack until March of 97, when my military injuries finally caught up with me. I am now disabled. I spent almost a full year doing nothing until I got involved with the 1st Cavalry Division Association C Troop Florida Chapter and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. I am or have been a member of VFW (Life), VVB (Vietnam Veterans of Brevard), VVCF (Vietnam Veterans of Central Florida), KWVA (Korean War Veterans Association), DAV (Life), American Legion, AMVETS, AEA (Army Engineers Association) NAUS, CFVA. WELCOME HOME BROTHERS AND SISTERS I say to the Vietnam Veteran. To my fellow engineers, I say Essayons - "Let Us Try" Essayons - "Let Us Try" Essayons - "Let Us Try" and to my fellow Cav Troopers, I say Garry Owens, FIRST TEAM - FIRST CAV!!

I am a firm believer that veterans are the ones to help other veterans. The public doesn't understand or want to understand. They don't care that we, the Vet, are responsible for their freedom. You see Freedom isn't free, it isn't cheap and it has a distinct color and smell to it that only those involved would recognize. Just ask the families, of the 58,214 men and women, whose names are listed on that cold black granite stone in Washington DC, better know as the "WALL" to us Vietnam Veterans. Some of the public does understand; those are the one's active in Veterans Rights. It is our responsibility to the veterans needing help to do what we can to get them that help. The current government leaders couldn't care less about us. They are destroying the Military. So, we must care about ourselves. The only way to do this is to get involved. Join one of the veterans associations. If you need help go to one of the veterans associations. It is in numbers and unity that we will change things. You may say, I'm not a veteran. That doesn't matter, Join the associate programs for the different veterans service programs. You can help. We, Veterans, need and want you to help. We, Veterans, gave you the freedom to do that. Now give something back, support the veterans causes. Your voice does make a difference. Also remember to register to vote and vote. Put someone in office that cares about Veterans ... Your one vote does make a difference!!!!!

It is not your choice to vote, it is your obligation.

Below are some pictures from Vietnam and some more recent one to show how people do change. Some are from the Tet 68.

A little beat up but its me just before going to the University Of Vietnam. School of Warfare Class of 1967 -1968


I'm getting ready in 'Nam July 68 for R&R in Kuala Lumpur

A recent picture of me take while I was working at the Moving Vietnam Wall in Altamonte Springs. Picture was taken by a young student doing a project for her college course. She sent it to me. Thanks Valda from Hawaii.

Remember these, everyone had to have a Nam Jacket. I wish mine would fit now.

This is SSG Landis and Myself outside our new barracks in Bearcat, not to long before they moved us to My Tho in the Delta. We didn't get to enjoy the barracks we built. They weren't done yet. Notice the footer form to the left side.

We were young and sometimes stupid at what we did. The following set of pictures I took while we were moving from Bien Hoa Army Base to the Long Bien 'Chopper Pads. I had no thought of the seriousness we were in I was one of the roof shotguns in the 5 Ton Dump. Instead of watching the road I was taken pictures. True Confessions. I had no idea of what was going on in Vietnam and how this day would affect the rest of my life. This was the first day of Tet 68. Charlie had blown up the Ammo dump by getting in through tunnels within the base. We were in support of the 86th Land Clearing Team. We moved onto the base to clear out a patch of jungle still within the base area. I give great honors to the Land Clearing Teams for having to go into the jungle to clear it out and not know what Charlie had laid for them. My hats off to you Guys.

Notice the smoke in the sky from the battle going on around the area.
I took these pictures not realizing the significance of what ways going on in the country. We spend part of the night before in the bunker as the Tet 68 began.

We were a good looking couple when we got married in June '69

I Love Latin Women

Sandra

Myself

Myself Sandy & My Father for a Holiday Dinner (Dad was also a WWII Naval Officer Veteran) He died this past October 22, 2001. I miss him very much.  I love you Dad.

We were in the Pocono's Mountains in November 1997 when this picture was taken.

Myself My Mother, shortly before she passed away, and My Son David. This pictures is a few years old but I wanted my Mom in it. She is My Guardian Angel now. She died November 22, 1991. I miss her very much.  I love you Mom.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

 

 

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