My entire military career was 19 months and 4 days
I was drafted / inducted in the Army at Milwaukee in Jan 1969, sent to Fort Campbell KY for basic training. Then onto Fort Sill OK, for AIT, Artillery Surveyor. I was sent to Vietnam on July 4th '69. Assigned to Headquarters, 1st BN 30th field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmoble). We were real busy providing location and direction for the constantly moving gun batteries. A survey party of 5, would get own own Huey to brand new LZs, .We would establish the center of the battery and determine accurate North by making measurements to the sun. Those new LZ were a real busy place, everything coming in on constant helicopter traffic. We were allowed 3 days to get back to our base camp at Phuc Vinh. Well, after doing our thing at the new LZ we would hitch hike the out going helicopters, to any place but back to Phuc Vinh. My helmet cover was covered with the names of all the LZs I was on.
Our unit went into Cambodia, the amount of materials our forces captured or destroyed was truly impressive.
When we were at our base camp, we built buildings, bunkers, whatever the company needed. In addition we did what was called Shell Rap. Whenever incoming hit our base, we located the carter, identified the type of round, point of impact on a grid overlayed on the base map, determined the angle of fall, and the back Azimuth. We then radioed that info to the guys in the Fire Direction Control unit. The entire focus of the outgoing artillery fire, gunship attacks would be directed to the spot that the incoming had come from. Received a Purple Heart and couple of Bronze Stars one with V, Army Commendation with V, doing that Shell Rap work.
I extended my tour over there so that I would have less than 5 months left on my service term. If you hit the states with less than 5 months, they discharged you right then. Left as a Spec 5
I really have a strong feeling of thanks and respect for the guys that were Infantry there, or anywhere else for that matter. Its hard to describe how tough they had it. Humping that jungle, the enemy, the heat, the wet, the bugs, leeches, ringworm, and always the enemy.