FORWARD OBSERVERS
RECON SGTS
RTOs

"The Kings of Battle"
2nd Bn, 9th Artillery

in direct support to units of:

25th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade (Tropic Lightning)


(D
ec, 1965 to Aug, 1967)

4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade (Ivy)

Aug, 1967 to Apr, 1970)

LINE UNITS
1st Bn, 35th Infantry Regiment (Cacti Green)
2nd Bn, 35th Infantry Regiment (Cacti Blue)
1st Bn, 14th Infantry Regiment (Golden Dragons)

A salute to the men who served as Forward Observers with the 2/9th Artillery
 as part of their tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam, 1966 - 1970.

WHAT IS AN FO?  An artillery observer is a soldier responsible for directing artillery fire and close air support (ground attack by aircraft) onto enemy positions. Because artillery is an indirect-fire weapon system, the guns are rarely in line-of-sight of their target, often located tens of miles away. The observer serves as the eyes of the artillery battery, calling in target locations and adjustments to the Fire Direction Center (FDC) via radio or (less commonly) landline. The FDC then translates the observer's orders into firing commands (deflection and quadrant elevation)  for the battery's cannons. Artillery observers are often deployed with combat arms maneuver units, typically infantry companies or armored squadronsNOTE!  "Wikipedia" omission:  ONLY the 105mm howitzer battalions, such as the 2/9th Arty, were tasked to provide Forward Observers.  Consequently, just a "privileged few" served with the "grunts" as a full-time assignment.  Many claim to be "Forward Observers" who merely went on a mission or two, but were actually assigned to base units, not exposed to combat in the field on a daily basis.

Artillery observers are considered high-priority targets by enemy forces, as they control a great amount of firepower, are within visual range of the enemy, and are often located deep within enemy territory. The artillery observer must therefore be skilled not only in fire direction, but also in stealth and, when necessary, direct combat.

Forward Observers, due to their intelligence, adaptability, and broad range of combat skills are often superb candidates for many special operations units and training.  FOs are also considered to be "crazy" and "eccentric" by their peers, due to their dangerous mission profiles and their usually innate strong sense of independence, dislike for rigid authority and protocol, and general proclivity towards sarcasm, grim humor, and general disregard for rules such as those concerning uniforms, saluting, etc., which many FOs do not believe apply to them in the field.  This famous streak of rebelliousness and their high esprit de corps make them a coveted, versatile and dangerous asset to many commanders' arsenals.  {Apocryphal notes here, but the FOs won't dispute it}
                      ......{Courtesy of Wikipedia, with omission corrected and amended}

 

"Let's clarify our terms...it's very important.  A "real" FO is one who is assigned to be the Infantry Company commander's school-trained artillery expert...not some yahoo who overheard conversations on calling for indirect fire.  That FO walks the same ground as his company grunts do, humping the jungle, and spend 24 hours out there, as long as ordered.  The FO in the field can expect to participate in...and perhaps become a KIA from...a firefight, a mortar attack, a booby-trap or friendly fire...at any time.  He'd better be right and better know what he is doing.  It's not a "thrill-seeking" job, it is a heavy responsibility."     
                      ......{FO Dennis Dauphin, Webmaster, "The Mighty Ninth"}           

            

THE FORWARD OBSERVERS

SOURCE OF COMMISSION:

OCS = 47  ROTC = 11  WEST POINT = 4  UNK = 6


Lt Atha, Gilbert
68 - 69
1/14th
OCS (28B-67)
Lt Bagwell, Robert E. (Bob)
Mar 67 - Mar 68
A/2/35
OCS (5-66)
Lt Baumgardner, Richard L
OCS (25-66)
Lt Raymond A. Beebe, Jr.
68 - 69
D/1/14
OCS (23-67)
Lt Blankin, Don L.
(
WIA)

Aug 68 - Aug 69
A/2/35; C/2/35
OCS (33B-67)

Lt Brother, Jim L. (WIA)
B/2/35
1/66 - "Blue Light"
ROTC

Lt Crochet, Wayne T.
Jul 67 - Jul 68
B/2/35
OCS (19-66)
Lt Daly, Jim M.
WEST POINT (1964)
Lt Dauphin, Dennis L.
Lanyard 51
Nov 66 - Mar 67
A/2/35
ROTC
Lt Davis, Barrie
66 - 67
B/2/35
ROTC
Lt DeLoney, James
King 61
B/1/14
66 - 67
OCS (9-65)
Lt Diehl, William
65 - 66
B/1/14
OCS (5-65)
Lt Ellegood, Richard
Aug 66 - May 67
(WIA)
Lt Emory, Bob
 (KIA, 21 Mar 67)
ROTC
Lt Carlton G. Epps
Cowboy 30
C/1/35
June - Sep 68
OCS (67)
Lt Farmer, Bill
 (KIA, 29May67)
OCS (65)
Lt Fulkerson, Roger A.
(KIA, 25 Sept 68)
C/2/35
WEST POINT
  Lt Galardi, James E.  
1969 - 1970
B/2/9
OCS (6-69)
Lt Garzero, Mike  
9/69 - 3/70
WIA
C/2/9
OCS (15-69) 
Lt Green, James "Jim"
Oct 67 - Oct 68
B/1/35
OCS
Lt Hannigan, Joe
1969 - 1970
B/1/14
OCS (19-69)
Lt Hartley, John Jr.
1967 - 1968
B/2/35
OCS (1-67)
Lt Herbick, Frank D.
1966 - 1967
C/1/14 & C/2/35
Bn S-1
OCS (8-66)
Lt James (Jim) Hunter
1969
B/1/14th
Lt Hunnicutt, William
1969-1970
B/2/35
OCS (35A-67)
Lt Hulin,  Bruce D.
1965 - 1966
WEST POINT
Lt Huffstutler, Steven Riley
(KIA, 18 May 69)
OCS (33B-67)
Lt James, Jim T.
1967 - 1968 {WIA, 4/68}
A/1/35
ROTC 
Lt Jones, Ken (Mad Dog)
Commission UNK
Lt Kammerer, Thomas A. 
1966 - 1967
(Deceased)
Commission UNK
Lt Kasperbauer, Patrick J
Bn AO
Nov 66 - Nov 67
(Deceased)
OCS (12-65)

Lt Keith, Don M.
1966 - 1967
WIA
B/1/35
OCS (8-66)

Lt Kettelman, Ronald D.
1965 - 1966
OCS (44A-67)
Lt Knutson, Robert I.
1965 - 1966
OCS (10-65)
Lt Kurtgis, Mike P.
1968 - 1969
Victor 61
OCS (33A-67)
Lt Laffitte, Monte
C-1-35
Nov 67 - Oct 68
ROTC
Lt Landau, Bert G.
C/1/35
1966 - 1967
ROTC
Lt McGinnis, Pat
1966 - 1967
Commission UNK
Lt McHugh, James E.
1968 - 1969
OCS (38A-67)
Lt McNew, Edward H.  Jr
1968 - 1969
(OCS 25B-67)
Lt Ed Meierotto
KIA 10Mar69
B/1/35
OCS (17-67)
Lt Miles, Darrell J.
A/2/35
B/2/9
1969 - 1970
OCS (18-69)
Lt Munden, Dennis
Sandy Beach 45
Sep66 - Sep67
A/1/14
OCS (3-66)
Lt (?) Ness
B/1/35
1967 - 1968
Commission UNK
Lt Murphy, John H.
OCS (2-66)
Lt O'Keefe, Michael
Aug67 - Dec67
C/2/9; D/2/35
ROTC
Lt Oliver, Joseph Frederick
B/2/9; A/1/14
Feb68 - July68
OCS
Lt Owen, Russell T.
D/2/35
1968 - 1969
OCS (34A-67)
Lt Patalano, Robert M.
1967 - 1968
A/2/9
ROTC
Lt Pearce, Paul W.
1968 - 1969
OCS (41-67)
Lt Ross, Robert L.
 (KIA 22Aug68)
B/2/9
OCS (67)
Lt Rucker, Hermie D. "Rucksack"
OCS (36B-67)
Lt Schmidt, Gene W. 
1967 - 1968
OCS (2-67)
Lt Shinseki, Eric K.
1965 - 1966
1/14th
WEST POINT
Lt Spencer, Malcolm L.
1967 - 1968
OCS (3-66)
Lt Springer, Dean (Gary)
Grey Ghost 52

Aug 66 - Aug 67
OCS (4-65)
Lt Rob Stumpf
A/2/35
Commission UNK
Lt Stout, Carl F.
OCS (3-66)
Lt Stout,Jr.  Charles R.
68 - 69
OCS (33B-67)
Lt Stutt, Rainer 
C/2/35
66 - 67
OCS (10-65)
Lt Thomas, Ed 
66 - 67
2/35th & 1/14th
OCS
Lt Toperzer, Jeffry L.
1968
A/2/9
OCS (22B-67)
Lt Turner, Doug A.
1965 - 1966
A/2/35
OCS (12-65)
Lt Wallin, William W. (Wally)
1968 - 1969
OCS (46A-67)
Lt Whaley, Dave
A/1/14; B/1/14
1966-1967
OCS (10-65)
Lt Williams, John J.
OCS (11-66)
Lt Wilson, Don M. 
(KIA 4 Aug 67)
OCS (66)
Lt Zschoche, Robert C.
Jan - Dec 66
ROTC

RECON SERGEANTS AND RADIO/TELEPHONE OPERATORS (RTOs)
Recognition of the men who supported the FO
and were an integral part of "The FO Party"

 

WHO WERE THE RECON SGTS & RTOs?

They were Enlisted redlegs who joined the Forward Observer in his "FO party".  In many cases, it may not have been voluntary, but due to "other" circumstances.  These men were critical to the success of the 2/9th providing immediate 105mm support when engaging the enemy on the search & destroy missions.  Meanwhile, they came under the same combat scenarios as the Infantry line companies.  The Recon Sgt provided support to the FO on the order of map reading, terrain, combat eyesight, and protective fires when needed.  The RTO was the vital communications link to the Firing Batteries and the Fire Direction Center (FDC).  Without radio communications, the FO Party was ineffective in bringing in the artillery. The RTO was also an ongoing sniper target and had to engage in firefights as the situation arose.  The FO party was a close team, an integral part of the Infantry, but also separate.  All were capable of "soldiering like grunts", but the FO party had access and could deliver a deathly hell on the enemy.

 

Guye R Benson, Recon Sgt (KIA)
C/2/35
George Bishop, RTO
Lt Mike Kurtgis
Lance Kane, RTO
Lt Wayne Crochet
Lance Kane, Recon Sgt
Lt Mike Kurtgis
Raymond Churchill, Recon Sgt (KIA)
Lt Rick Shinseki
Ray Delano, Recon Sgt
A/1/14
1966-67

Lt Dennis Munden
Les Cotton, Recon Sgt, 
Lt Rick Shinseki
Rick Ericksen, RTO
B/1/14
1969
Lt Joe Hanigan
David Edward Fitzgerald, RTO (KIA)
B/2/35
1969
Danny Fort, RTO
A/1/14
Sep67 - Oct67
Wayne "Scotty" Gallagher, RTO
Lt Wayne Crochet
Stephen Groninger, Recon Sgt
B/1/14
Lt Gary Dean Springer
Danny Jeter, RTO
 (KIA)

Lt Wayne Crochet
Ernie Kingcade, Recon Sgt
A/1/14
Lt Rick Shinseki
Jan - May 66
PFC Lloyd Knight, RTO
B/1/14
Jan69 - July69
Lt Jim Hunter
William R Latimer, RTO
 (KIA)
C/1/35
1967
PFC Max T. Leach, RTO
?
1968 - 1969
?
Greg Malnar, RTO
C/1/35
Nov67 - Jan68
Lt Monty Laffitte
Lt Bert Landau
Sgt Mann, Recon Sgt
Lt Wayne Crochet
Charles McClurg, RTO
Lee Okerstrom, RTO
Lt Bert Landau
Lt Monty Lafitte
Pat O'Meara, Recon Sgt
B/1/14
1969
Lt Joe Hanigan
  Sgt Parks, Recon Sgt
Lt Ed Thomas
Ray Plunkett, RTO
1969

Lt Mike Kurtgis
Stephen Peck, RTO (KIA)
B/1/35
1967
Lt Don Keith
Michael Pskowski, RTO
B/1/14
1969
Lt Joe Hanigan
Sgt Ramsey, Recon Sgt
Lt Ed Thomas
       
Sgt Redgrave, Recon Sgt
A/1/35
Aug67 - Nov67
Lt Bob Patalano
PFC Mike Rhodes, RTO
Lt Dennis Munden
PFC "Toothless" Rough, RTO
B/1/14
Lt Gary Dean Springer
Michael K Sawyer (KIA)
1969
Sgt Joe Sleevi, Recon Sgt
B/1/14
Feb69 - Nov69
Lt Gilbert Atha
Michael Staygon
Lt Wayne Crochet
Sgt Swift, Recon Sgt
B/2/35
Lt Gary Dean Springer
 
PFC Ernie Whitaker, RTO
1969
John Waldman, RTO
Lt Don Keith
Sgt Gary Wooton, Recon Sgt
KIA
C/1/14
Lt Frank Herbick
PFC Worley, RTO
Lt Ed Thomas

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