2nd Platoon, C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade
The year 1966 was definitely an interesting year for me! Back then, my favorite pastime was hunting West Texas rattle snakes; I was not very interested in current events and did not even realize that there was a war going on half way around the World. I had a good job with a heating and air conditioning company in my home town of Abilene, Texas, when suddenly one day in the Spring of ’66 I received an odd letter from the Government. It read: GREETINGS! You are hereby ordered to report for induction into the U.S. Army on May 17, 1966.
Clearly, that was one of those life changing events. To blend in, I thought it was a brilliant idea to get a military haircut prior to induction. Anyhow, from Abilene, my group traveled to Fort Polk, Louisiana aboard a “small piece of junk” airplane. There, we went through the normal induction process and there I received my first serious “cussing out” – the barber was less than delighted with my new haircut. I’ll always remember Fort Polk as the worst place I had ever been (to that point anyhow). Soon, we traveled by train to Fort Riley, Kansas and that is where I became acquainted with some of the greatest men I have ever known. However, when I first laid eyes on 1st Sgt. Crockett, I thought “Oh My God”, we’re in really big trouble.
Being an old country boy and growing up without my Dad (he passed away when I was 4 years old), I had a lot to learn and learn a lot I did, thanks to the excellent NCO’s in Charlie Company. To this day, I praise God for Charlie Company, 4th/47th, 9th Infantry Division. There was and still is a special bond among the men of Charlie Company – I consider all the men I trained with as friends and if I had it to do over again, it would have to be with Charlie Company. I tried for many years to contact my old friends, but was never able to do so. However, last year my son Clayton, who is serving with the U.S. Air Force in Montana, called me and said that he had found some pictures of me on an Internet Web Site. Clayton gave me Bill Reynolds’ phone number and I immediatelt called him. While talking to Bill and learning that most of Charlie Company was alive, tears streamed down my face – I was simply overcome with joy to learn that I was back with my old friends.
A memory of those days that I’ll never forget is that of my very special friend, Marion “Butch” Eakins. We were the best of friends and inseperable. On the troop ship to Viet Nam (January, ’67) one day I found Butch sitting quietly by himself, which was a bit rare for Butch. He was contemplating the combat that lay ahead for us in the Mekong Delta and he was concerned about returning home. After we spoke for awhile, he accepted “The Lord” as his savior and into his life. Tragically, Butch gave the ultimate sacrifice July 11, 1967. I will never forget my good friend, Butch Eakins. . .
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It was an honor and a privilege to have served with Charlie Company, 4th/47th. I look forward to seeing my ole buddies at the next reunion.
Wilson H. Burleson
January 28, 2006