2nd Platoon, C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade

Page 1,2,3,4,5,6

It’s a few days after Christmas, 1966 and I am headed back to Fort Riley, Kansas from my home in Reseda, California following a terrific 30 day leave. There’s my Dad’s Chevy pickup…

My own Introduction: There I was, minding my own business one Saturday back in 1965 when my two best friends, Alan Crellin and Roy Burns, showed up at my house. They talked me into going with them to see a Marine Corp Recruiter in Canoga Park ……just to talk, no commitments.  So much for that, they immediately signed up as they were anxious to serve their country in Viet Nam.  Since I knew nothing about Viet Nam and didn’t even know where it was, I told them that if Uncle Sam needed me, I would be available. All I knew was that I was lovin’ life earning good money at General Motors in Van Nuys, driving a brand new 1965 Chevell Malibu Supersport, dating a beautiful girl, and attending Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California.  During the spring of 1966, I became discontented with my college studies and I dropped out of school with plans to resume the following semester.  On April 28, 1966, I received Uncle Sam’s famous letter of “Greeting”:  You are hereby ordered to report for induction on May 17, 1966 at 7:30a.m.

Before I knew it, there I was in Basic Training at Fort Riley, Kansas, along with many guys I knew from the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles suburb).  Except for PT (physical training), marching, forced marches, running, getting up early and going to bed late, sharing a room with a bunch of ugly guys, mess hall chow, c-rations, bivoucs, pup tents, sergeants and lieutenants, guard duty and KP, wearing fatigues, and just being there in Kansas…….the US Army life was REALLY GREAT! However, I can honestly say that I adapted fairly well and made the best of it, as did almost every other soldier.  Over the years, I have constantly felt that I was a truly fortunate American who had the opportunity to have served my country.  Likewise, I believe that my life has been much more full and optimistic as a result of so many positive aspects of my military service.  I am proud to say, actually paraphrase, that  “I was all that I could be”. I salute those I served with, especially those brave young soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.   I continue to be very grateful for the outstanding leadership of the officers and noncommissioned officers within the Mobile Riverine Force and especially the 4th/47th Battalion. God Bless America!       November 29, 2001

Illustrating my good fortune and extraordinary good luck to have survived Viet Nam, I offer these photos as proof: Here I am with my elegant and most beautiful wife Meg, celebrating the marriage of our dazzling daughter, Lisa to her handsome husband, Guy in
August, 1998.  Also, rejoicing in the marriage of our handsome son, Mike to his lovely Nikki in September, 1999.
Custer Hill, Fort Riley, Kansas – 1966 – 1st Squad – 2nd Platoon – Top Left:   Mike Black, Jimmie Salazar, Fred Harrell, Nelson Makinson, Evan Layman, Rollie Gangler. Bottom Left: James Stephenson, Sergeant Dan Kerr, Sergeant HenrySills, Bill Reynolds, and Harold Exum.
Charlie Company Party – Nov 1966 – Clockwise from top left:  Bill Reynolds (wia), Bob Ehlert (wia), Curtis Ervin, Rollie Gangler, Stan Cockerell, Ronnie Bryan (wia), Frank Modde, Idoluis Casares (wia), Steve Moede, (???), and Elmer Kenney (kia).
Charlie Company’s Executive Officer, Lt. Charles “Duffy” Black and his lovely bride.
Charlie Company Party – Nov 1966 – From Left:  Lt. Col Tutweiler and wife, Lt. Jack Benedick and wife Nancy, Lt. Charles “Duffy” Black’s wife and Captain Rollo Larson and wife.
Two of my favorite sergeants, Dan Kerr & Buford Hoover.
2nd Platoon Leader Lt. Jack Benedick and his beautiful wife Nancy.
Idoluis Casares and Staff Sergeant Green – SSGT. Green was our Platoon Sergeant and “Father Figure” during Basic and AIT Training at Fort Riley’s famed Custer Hill.
November, 1966 – Custer Hill Chapel – Where Lt. Black’s wedding took place just prior to our January 6, 1967 departure for Viet Nam.  Lt. Black lost his life in the Mekong Delta’s Rung Sat Zone on April 13, 1967.
It’s Saturday and the 2nd Platoon Troopers are taking a break at Fort Riley’s EM Club. There’s Mario Lopez and Howard Green at the left and Bill Reynolds in front.
Typical US Army hurry up and wait position – that’s me, Bill Reynolds, in the center. I bet that’s Ron Schworer reading..
Jimmie Salazar hangin’ out in our ultra bitchen barracks at Custer Hill – nice hair cut, Jimmie!
January 3, 1967 – James Holstine enjoying our train trip from Fort Riley, Kansas to Oakland, California to board the troop ship, USS General John Pope for a three week cruise to South Viet Nam.
My Mom and me in our backyard shortly before I left for Fort Riley – Dec. 1966.
My pretty girlfriend, Jeri.
While I was in Viet Nam, she sent this photo just before she found another boyfriend & sent me a “Dear John” letter.