Lt Juri Muller
At one point, assigned to the 2/11th Arty, a 155mm
outfit in support of the 2/9th. While not officially a "member"
of the 2/9th, Lt Mueller was in and around the same areas.
had originally arrived in-country with the the 3/16th (155mm) from Ft.
Bragg where I had been a firing battery XO under the command of a battery
commander who was also a 2LT but with more time in grade....until the Army hired
some grown-ups to run the battery. I wasn't much of an FDC officer (took
me 38 weeks to get through the 23 week OCS course at Sill, having been
set back twice because I just could NOT comprehend the math in spite of having
scored 137 in the OCT and 152 in the GT while still an EM)...and to make a long
story short, I screwed up a TOT early in '67 and was immediately re-assigned as
an FO, which is what I should have been all along. I was 19 when I
was commissioned on 2Aug66...and admittedly not what one would consider mature.
Thank God I did not kill or wound any friendlies with my TOT f***-up! My
time was way off....don't remember how much, though. So I was sent out for
about 10 days or 2 weeks as Artillery liaison officer with an ARVN Ranger
Group out of Quang Ngai City...my first time in the woods, so to speak.
The MACV officers and NCO's who supervised these little tattooed brown
bandits (I call 'em bandits because we returned to Quang Ngai City with a small
herd of cattle and probably more than a hundred live chickens, and once we got
back into town all the bars shut down because these boys, the ARVN Rangers, did
not believe in paying their bar tabs once they got to hittin' the Ba Mouoi Ba
pretty hard). They were great mentors to me, and I think kept me on
the up-side of the surface of the planet...especially CPT (dai uy) Pippin, an
Airborne/Ranger/West Point graduate who took charge masterfully when we were
ambushed shortly before getting back to Quang Ngai City. Then, I was
assigned to the 2/11th Arty. Worked as an FO with tankers, 4/3d Inf,
1/14th Inf, 1/35th Inf, 2/35th Inf...and on and on and on and registrations with
FACs and night-time observer on illumination runs in slicks and one short stint
on an OP somewhere with LRRPs where nothing happened except for one of the LRRP
boys getting stung by a scorpion. I was a good FO, though, and actually
kinda liked being a privileged grunt. Viet Nam remains largely in a
fog for me. I remember many specific events, a few specific people; much
of my experience remains a bit of the disembodied dream. I tried very hard
to put it all behind when I came back to civilian life...kind of a state of
denial. Have obsessed over the whole deal since 1968, though.
Slightly dien cai dau ("dinky dow"), one would suspect.
with CPT Pippin
I don't remember his first name. I called him Sir, Captain, or dai uy
which is Vietnamese for captain. He called me something that sounded like
"ti uy", which meant second lieutenant.) He was definitely a
special ops kind of guy for whom I had great respect, a very cool-headed officer
I would have followed almost anywhere. He taught me all kinds of things in
that short period: Don't move at all at night because his little bandits
were overly trigger-happy...and would on occasion take shots at each other! Some
basic Infantry-type stuff that came in handy later in my tour...and he showed me
how to be composed...well, sorta composed...under enemy fire.
(ARVNs) They WERE bandits...and most of 'em had a fair number of tats.
BUT, they wore really great looking berets with a black cat insignia and even
though they were cattle rustlers and chicken thieves, I NEVER saw them abuse the
local peasantry or even captured chieu-hoi's (converts). They were
thieves, though, and liked to drink for free.
I had never jumped out of an airplane, had never had jungle-training...was
OBVIOUSLY NOT A RANGER!!! Dai-uy Pippin really helped educate this formerly