The Mighty Ninth

Strive To Reach The Summit


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McKuen_-_Richardson.JPGLt Jim McHugh and BC Capt RichardsonLt McHugh, XO, and BC Richardson inside the FDC CONEX. I recall that McHugh's dad was a full bird colonel. He started college at VMI and dropped out first year and went through OCS. He was a 20 year-old 1st LT as XO. Really a great kid (I was 23). Between the two of us we could do a high burst registration, which helped keep me around. He knew his stuff, but we loved to fool around with him. He wanted to fire the battery in strict accordance with the FM6-40, but FDC was more conscious of potential "check-fire" situations. We got the section chiefs on the guns to go along with us, so rather than argue with him we just said "yes sir". So the next thing is McHugh: "Battery" then the Chiefs:"Platoons", McHugh: "fire" followed by a ragged "bang . . . bang bang . . . bang . . bang (we only had 5 tubes at the time). He came into FDC and we offered to show him how to do it. Chief: "Battery ready", Me: "Battery fire" BANG in perfect unison.
(Note. Lt McKugh died on December 8, 2017 from cancer.)
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Cpt_Williams_NG.JPGBC John S. WilliamsCaptain Williams was the BC when I got to the battery. He was a great troop leader but I believe he was relieved when rear Battalion brass visited. We were trying to save rounds from a flooded ammo bunker. The brass did not like that all of us were shirtless, including the BC, and that he was actually helping hump rounds. There was a few words exchanged between Williams and the basecamp brass, which they apparently also disliked.
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Clint_Curry,_LZ_Marianne,_1969.JPGSp5 Clint Curry (deceased 4/18)Sp5 Charles C. Curry, also known as "Clint Curry", at LZ Marianne, Sept, 1969. As you probably note from the photos, Clint and I were nearly inseparable from the time I got to the Battery. He was a short-timer who took me under his wing (ETS'd from St. George the morning following the fight). Probably the most fearless guy I've ever known. I believe he and Joe Sleevi were FO party together on Chu Pa. According to Clint, he was told to "ruck up" and fill in as FO with Sleevi as his RTO. He says he told Sleevi he - Clint - would hump the PRC 25 and have Sleevi act as the FO since Joe was most experienced. Clint got the Bronze with "V" on his last night in the field at St. George (I believe it was downgraded from a Silver recommend). When we hooked up after 40+ years (we had both moved to new states) he paid me the highest compliment I've ever received (of course we had been drinking beau--effing-coup beer), that if he could only have one person to cover his back it would be me.
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Hook_N__Go.JPGThar She Goes!One of our M-102 howitzers hooked up and lifting off for a hip shoot at LZ Cathy, September, 1969.
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Clint_Curry,_Sept,_1969.JPGPortable GeneratorSp5 Clint Curry (Deceased, 4/18) sits on the jeep that was used as our portable big radio generator at LZ St George that we lifted out on hip shoots. It was later totalled and dx'd with less than 100 miles on the odometer. A combat casualty.
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Clint_Curry,_Hooking_Up.JPGHooking up the CH-47Exciting task. Who wants to do it? Well, here's Sp5 Clint Curry volunteering to get under the mechanical beast. My notes indicate Clint was hooking up the howitzer for a hip shoot on LZ Cathy as it lifted off in Sept, 1969. The Advance Party discovered the proposed LZ wasn't ready and they used up all our C-4 cooking supplies to blow down trees. I still remember the lousy smell of those heat tabs....ugh.
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Medley_and_Crew.JPGMeanwhile, back at St GeorgeReturning back to LZ St. George from LZ Cathy photo of the September '69 crew: Sp4 Denny Mrowzinski, PFC Mike Medley, Sp4 George (Eugene) Jarisch and Sp 5 Clint Curry. With our trusty power generator for the radios in the background. Enlarging the photo, you can see 1st Shirt Mac in the background complaining about something.
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Hurdle___Medley.JPGHurdle & MedleySp4 James A. "Jim" Hurdle and PFC Mike Medley. Taken right after I got to "A" Battery late May '69 at LZ St. George.
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SSG_Biggers.JPGSSG Kenneth "Bodie" BiggersBodie Biggers a proud Texan and shake-n-bake E-6 as the honor graduate of the NCO school at Ft. Sill. Definite lifer tendencies, but a great guy who knew his stuff. He was FDC Section Chief and, I believe, later took over as Chief of Smoke when Chief went home. I think he received the Bronze w/V from the St. George fight. He brought back a pump pellet pistol from his R&R in Hawaii. The person sitting out a hand of Spades would use it to shoot at rats running across the CONEX "window".
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Me_in_the_FDC.JPGThat's Me in the FDCWhat am I doing here? This office is too cluttered. Shoulda went to law school instead. Oh, that's right...I did that later. Hurdle took this photo. Note the story headline in the crease of the newspaper "Uneasiness Now". Wonder if they are referring to being in Vietnam? Jim Hurdle sent me this picture of me about 20 years ago. Most pictures one can either remember being taken or has some internal content to help recognize the where and when. Probably St. George, but I have no real clue since the CONEX moved while the interior from this perspective remained the same. I kept this photo in my office until I retired, and kept looking at it when I was bored or pissed off and would try to guess what that skinny young troop was daydreaming about.
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FNG.JPGNew Arrival shoots ratMike Medley, brand new FNG with one of the couple of lights on St. George (although the grunts kept trying to tie into our generator) and the ventilation "window" made out of an ammo box that could only be used during the day. While sitting out as the dummy during the ubiquitous Spades game that ran all night, I shot a huge rat running across the "window". It flopped out on to the charts throwing blood everywhere and then on to the back of the guy sitting with his back to the charts and from there on to the "card table" a/k/a computer desk. Never heard so much high-pitched hollering (not from the rat) until my daughter had her first pre-teen sleepover party at our house.
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Medley_Departs.JPGWhy Is This Man Smiling?Because it's April 10, 1970 and I'm getting out of Dodge. Had another white tee shirt in my AWOL bag that had been in storage at Enari and they gave us new boots and jungle fatigues. Getting ready to board a bus to the Pleiku Airbase and hop on the big Air Force jet with 71 other guys to accompany the colors of the 3rd BDE to Ft. Lewis, Washington. We were all E-5 and above or O1 or O2s. No one knew how or why we were selected, but in trying to puzzle it out we decided that apparently the primary qualification was having over 10 1/2 months in country, holding the ranks someone thought appropriate, able to clean up well, and capable of being retrained to march. Enari had been moved over to Radcliff, so to the best of our knowledge the 72 of us, minus confiscated weapons, were alone inside the huge basecamp with just the 1/12th (no offense intended) the worst battalion in the brigade sleeping a couple of guys in every 2nd or 3rd perimeter bunkers.
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