Dragoon Base

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This story is true. It is about a month of really bad luck I had on one border tour in the late fall/winter of 1978 (I think). I was the driver on a M113. This border tour started like the others, with a road march to the camp we were to be stationed at. I was going to Camp Rotz. I had just had installed a new engine and transmission (power pack) in my track before the road march. A couple of miles from Camp Rotz my engine seized up. Turned out the Depot had crossed an oil line and radiator line.  This turned out to be the first incident in the long line of events of that month. I was towed to Camp were I pulled the power pack to be sent back to the depot. The second was when I was informed that I should have caught the depots mistake so I would be buying the power pack.

 Routine maintenance was preformed each month by different troops. The month before us L Troop was scheduled to grease the wheel bearings (didn’t happen). I was on rotation to go out on the first  patrol, so we loaded up the jeeps and out the gate we went on a night patrol.  Well 6 hours into an 8 hour night patrol one of the wheel bearings go bad. We radio back to camp and the mechanics come out and repair the jeep. In took them a couple of hours to get to us and then a couple of hours to fix it. Back to camp four hours late to set thru an hour debriefing, number three. In the first two weeks I broke down on every patrol. I was getting a rep as bad luck as no one else was having this happen to them.  

Well my power pack for my track was due back from depot after two weeks. When they were loading the new pack the lifting chains broke and they dropped it. Broke everything. The word came back and my luck was blamed. They told me another week to get a new one. My 2nd Lieutenant had heard the rumors so he comes to me and tries to assuage me by telling me that it is all just coincidence and has nothing to do with me. Mean while the Mech types are giving me the eye daily as they are tried of coming out at night to repair the jeeps .Because of breakdowns we had missed radio checks on  a couple of patrols. We missed the calls because when we broke down we were in valleys that were out of range for the radios.  A lot of people got woken up because of those missed radio checks.  

After three weeks as I said the Mech types were giving me the eye and they finally said that I was on my own the next time I broke down. The last patrol (a night patrol) I was sent on of course the jeep broke. We radioed in and the Mechs asked if I could horse it back as it was snowing and they wanted to sleep.  Well by the time we returned to camp the wheel bearing was gone and the front left tire was on a 45 degree angle and flopped when I turned. The whole front left assembly instead of just the bearings  had to be replaced. The Captain wanted to make me pay but the Mech Sergeant covered for me and I got out of that.

One week to go. My pack made it to camp and I installed it. Wouldn’t run because the fuel pump went bad. A local fix though. After this I was off the patrol duty because of my luck, even the Lieutenant was starting to believe. We had a movie projector in the club. One night I was asked to help with it and when I touched it the only bulb at the camp blew out. The next day the  Lieutenant said all I had to do for the last week was sweep the motor pool of snow, he then handed me a push broom, I started to sweep and the head feel off. Then he believed and told me to just stay in my rack and read till we left and I did. 

Well we made it back to Garrison with nothing breaking. What a long month that was. By the way I didn't pay for the pack or jeep.

I swear this happened as I remembered.

Charlie

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Comment by Dave Gettman on April 13, 2015 at 2:14pm

I hope you don't live anywhere near a casino. Your luck really sucks, brother!!

When I was in the MP's before going to 2d Cav, I was known as "jeep killer" among other things.

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8th Colonel of the Regiment Nelson B. Sweitzer 9 Jun 1886 – 29 Oct 1888

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