Specialist 4 William M. Geier - Medic

2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 4th/47th, 2nd Brigade

Binh Dinh Province - June 19, 1967

CMB

Charlie Company | Bob Geier's Letter | Memorabilia | Video Tribute to Bill Geier

Memorial by Bill Reynolds

Bill Geier and the rest of us came together in May of 1966, as the
9th Infantry Division was reactivated for combat in Viet Nam.  All
of us trained together and bonded friendships for many months
before our train trip from Fort Riley, Kansas in January of 1967, to
Oakland, California. Then, onto a troop ship, the USS General John
Pope, and three weeks later landing at Vung Tau Harbor, South
Viet Nam.

At each leg of the trip, our 9th Division band sent us gloriously on
as we naively believed the mighty 9th Division would bring an end
to the war by year-end.  To me, Bill Geier was already a hero even
before the morning of June 19, 1967, when the 4th/47th
disembarked from Navy landing craft in the rice paddies down in the
Mekong Delta.  Bill had already risen to many previous occasions to
patch up our wounded.  This fateful day, we were on yet another
search and destroy mission with the 2nd Platoon taking point and I
ended up as the point man. All morning, we humped from one rice
paddy to the next while flanking a narrow tributary that fed the
Mekong River.

Bill Geier in the sleeping quarters aboard
the troop ship, USS General John Pope
enroute to South Viet Nam - Jan1967.
Photo courtesy of Bill's brother, Robert Geier.

 

It was late morning, when the first shot rang out causing everyone to hit the ground.  I found myself
lying exposed  in the middle of a rice paddy and I quickly sprang up and raced back 50 yards to a rice
paddy dike for cover.  As I ran, everyone was scrambling for cover as bullets and rockets were
screaming through the air. The Viet Cong were entrenched across the small river - we clearly found
our enemy. Several squads of our guys in small river boats were immediately killed.  A sniper was
hitting men all around me from a tree line off to our left and that's when Bill Geier came hustling up
exposing himself to enemy fire to help as we were yelling, medic medic.  First, he bandaged Bob
French who had been hit in his lower back and then Bill began attending to Ronnie Bryan's buttocks
wound. I was firing my M79 grenade launcher towards the tree line when a bullet shot right through
my barrel, narrowly missing me.  Suddenly, Bill was hit as he was giving a shot of morphine to Ronnie.
Bill was mortally wounded. I tried everything to bandage him and to keep him talking. For a little while
he talked and guided me with the bandaging.

I desperately wanted him to keep talking but, Bill's breath and his life just slipped away....and there
was simply nothing that I could do.

For hours, our choppers and jets were screaming in from the rear slamming the entrenched enemy with
some rockets hitting our side of the river; a few guys were hit with friendly fire.  At one point, a
courageous medevac pilot came right in for our wounded and we hustled Bob French on a stretcher
onboard. The pilot was hit right away in his left shoulder causing the rear rotor to instantly swing hard
throwing Bob onto the ground.  Other medevacs were landing way to the rear for our wounded.  I
looked back once and saw a group of our wounded guys scramble onto a chopper and as I watched it
go airborne, it was hit about 200 feet in the air. We were all yelling, go - go go! Weaving and
sputtering, it lost control and went crashing down onto its side losing everyone on board. At least four
Hueys were shot down that day. By late afternoon, as the firing began to calm we were ordered back
to the landing craft at the river's bank where our Company Commander, Captain Herb Lind told us that we're going across the river to assault Charlie.

Landing on the other side, we began running and shooting everywhere as the enemy scattered.
They still had a little fight left with some small arms fire and mortars coming in.  Clearly, the battle was
almost over - but then, a mortar came whistling in exploding nearby and hitting my firing hand with
fragments. When I scrambled back to find a medic, I was bandaged, along with several others, and
we were lifted out of there.

Later on, I learned that "A" Company had been almost wiped out in that battle; 47 of our Battalion
soldiers were killed in action that afternoon.... the Viet Cong left 250 of their dead on the battlefield.

I can still visualize Bill Geier's face to this day though, we were all 19 to 20 years old his face seemed
so much younger. I will never forget the bravery of Bill Geier and all of the men in the 4th/47th on that
horrendous day.  Nor will I ever forget how tremendously fortunate that the sniper's bullet scarcely
missed me as it blasted through my grenade launcher's barrel.  Certainly, that sniper had me pinned in
his cross hairs.

 

Newspaper Articles Courtesy of Rollie Gangler

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