Connecting the Troopers of Today with the Veterans of Yesterday.
I also have a copy of that book.
Back in '73, when L Troop was manning Camp May for a month, some fool decided we needed a "Reaction Force." The RF was 8 guys and a 113 with a .50cal. mounted on it; the track had lots of ammo inside. The RF was intended to quickly counter any threat to the camp; such as potty-mouthed, female, German cab drivers stuffing too many drunk, stoned GIs in their cabs, I suppose. One day it snowed 5 - 6 inches so an NCO told one of the RF guys to sweep the snow off of the 113. This guy wasn't the shiniest bulb in the room so instead of brooming off the snow, he fired up the heater inside the track, and closed the hatch to heat up the track and melt off the snow. The young squire forgot about the whole business until the ferocious heater in the 113 started cooking off .50cal rounds. That was fairly exciting - from a distance. Everyone was running around wondering what to do when someone even dumber than the guy that started the fiasco actually popped the hatch, climbed inside the track, and shut off the heater. If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit, I always say...
SAVED BY THE BEAST
One cloudy April morning we were on a radar patrol out of Camp Gates. We had the magic 500 meters visibility into CZ-land, so we started to pack up to leave and head for the barn. Just as I was about to call Camp-ops, I noticed the right front wheel on the M-151A2 was flatter that western Kansas. No problem, we broke out the tool kit from the jeep, positioned the worthless little bottle jack, and started cranking. We'd get so high and the jack would sink into the soft ground in our hide position behind a shed. Again, no problem, as we grabbed a slab of rough-cut sawmill lumber, slid it under the jeep, put the jack on top of it, and once again began cranking away. The whole shebang sunk into the ground before we could get it high enough to change out the flat.
About that point, a trace patrol stopped by to check on any PS Guard activity in sector before going further north. The patrol leader was SGT Jesus 'Beast' Mendez, a fellow Texan from down Eagle Pass way. He walked up and we exchanged operational info, then he reached down with his left hand, grabbed the front bumper, and picked the flat tire completely off the ground. The Beast stood about 6'3" tall and weighed about 280. My driver removed the flat while I poured the big guy a cup of coffee and we talked about home. He let the front end down when the tire was ready. Handed me back my thermos cup and went on his way. It is good to have a big, big 11C around when you need him!
Good story, Bobby.
Anybody ever remember getting a near-terminal case of burn-out while on a patrol? Radar guys seemed to get there a lot, especially during the winter. One January patrol stands out in my mind. SGT JT Morrison replaced a dude on my team who had come down with the coughing crud. We briefed, drew equipment and rations, had our inspection, and rolled about 1300. It was overcast, snowing like crazy, and colder than an ex-wife's heart. Our site for the night was close to Hohenburg Castle. We arrived, established comms with camp-ops, and started prepping the site. While JT and the radar operator set up the radar and the NOD, the rear security guy and I set up the RC-292 with the correct configuration for the frequency after the midnight change. We set out tripwires with empty beer cans containing rocks on places we could not see, then we started running that damned AN/PPS-5A radar set.
That can get boring. The techniques to operating are mind-numbing. You have to switch out operators about every hour. Sometime after midnight, JT and I were sitting on the hood of the 151 and bull-sh***ing. We were outside in the weather trying to stay awake. Out of the clear blue, JT looks at me and asks, "You gonna call in that whale down there on the beach or do you want me to do it?" I said what whale? He said that great big blue SOB right down there on the beach! It took 5 minutes to convince him we were not on the Outer Banks in NC! But that's alright - about 0400, I could have sworn I saw a T-62 about 50 meters from our position!
Nothing happened that night other than two buck sergeants having to rub snow on their faces and necks to treat the burn-outs! Even the PS Guards were smart enough to stay inside in that weather. We weren't able to break it down and head home until almost 1300 the next day, when Fast-Freddy Harris and his crew departed camp. Man did we ever sleep when we got off-duty!
Dave, In the top picture did you have no rank or were you just not wearing any rank?
Just wasn't wearing any. I was back and forth between E-2 and E-3 so much I never knew what to put on!
Wild horse are hard to break!
I recall sitting in the radio room at Reed and Sgt "Rock: was on RF and had been blown out to border position on a drill. He was reporting the BG towers and such that he could see and when asked the distance to one object, he came back with ver precise taydage. When asked how he achieved such accuracy, he replied "I lazed it!". That caused some tense discussions in short order.
I was assigned to 2/2 ACR Camp Hof . Once we were on Patrol somewhere in the middle of Sector looking across at a BT11 Border Tower. These girls came up to me and my Assistant Border Patrol Leader and we agreed that we would bend the girls over backwards pretending to be kissing them. The girls would glance over at the BC and tell us they were about to look and record us, then we would release the girls, like nothing happened. The BC were disgusted, we laughed. This went on three more times. Then we took the girls Cigarette Packs named GO WEST and held them up and the BC would have a fit once we dropped the cigarette packs so they could not video us. After that the girls started waving the Cigarette packs so the guards could read "Go West" which still pissed them off.
One night while on Patrol, it was cold and raining. SSG Dickerson was the PL and he had asked me to go as his APL. Were heading North in Sector "2/2 ACR" We departed one lookout point in route to another, he suddenly had his jeep pull over and he said he did not have his Bino"s. I suggested everyone get out of the jeep to see if they slid around somewhere. No binoculars! so we determined that we had traveled several clicks, close enough where we could go back to look for them. My team would look on one side of the road and his on the other. We arrived back at the lookout point but did not find them. We quickly hit the road to make up time lost. As we traveled back Northward, we pass the area where we turned around, and kept heading Northward, we went down a hill and started up the hill up ahead when I noticed something on top of Dickerson's jeep. After arriving at our next lookout point, he radioed that we had arrived and was sitting there in disbelief and panic. As I was standing at his door, he looked up at me and was talking, I simply reached up and brought the Bino's down and handed them to him, he was LIVED!, he was one happy camper the rest of the night.