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

Here’s Mario Lopez at the steps of our Charlie Company Barracks in the Summer of 1966 – Fort Riley, Kansas.

Message from Jimmie Salazar – December 28, 2009. I met Mario in May of 1966 at Fort
Riley, Kansas when became part of the 9th Infantry Division as it was reactivated for combat duty in Vietnam. Mario was a young guy from Calexico, California and I was from Austin, Texas. Our friendship hit right off and we were inseparable all through training and in Vietnam – we took care of each other, not only in the field but wherever we went.  After our June 19th Battle we were separated because of the “infusion” program in which Mario was transferred to the 4th Infantry Division and I stayed behind in Charlie Company where I finished my tour of duty in January 1968.

I didn’t see Mario again until we were clearing post at Camp Bearcat getting ready to come home.  Upon arrival at Travis Air Force Base we didn’t have time to exchange addresses or phone numbers. So for 42 years I searched for Mario to no avail, but one July day this year I received a phone call from a friend who told me he had heard from Mario and so we finally made contact with each other.  We had a bit of a reunion when I traveled to his home in Sacramento, California – we spent several days together reminiscing the good ole days and showing each other our old Army photos.  It was a fine visit and Mario really hasn’t changed one bit; he’s still the same old fun loving guy he always was. That trip brought closure to a very long search and now Mario is back with all of his ole Army buddies. Welcome Home Brother!

2nd Platoon Troopers on bivouc at Fort Riley – far left: Bill Varsafsky, at center:
Mario Lopez, then Jimmie Salazar (who loves c-rations & bivouc).
Bill Reynolds at right, behind Jimmie.
All dressed up & no place to go on a Saturday morning at Fort Riley – no money, no car, no women.  But Jimmie Salazar is still smilin’ – man, did he love Army life – Ha!
Once again, there’s Mario & Jimmie screwing around during bivouc at Fort Riley… there’s Sgt Reynolds (behind Mario) wondering, “Whot Tha”!?
Jimmie Salazar & Richard Rubio (top); Jim
Holestine and Mario Lopez in front… on bivouc.
Fort Riley, Kansas – Summer of 1966.
There’s Mario in Sunglasses – the 2nd platoon waits to board our luxurious WWII era troop ship for a wonderful voyage to Vietnam – January 1967.
What happened to our luxury cabin! with a private deck?  Idoluis Casares at left – Jimmie across the aisle with Mario & Ray Layman above.
Facing camera, left to right: Jimmie Salazar, Mario Lopez
& James Holestine. 2nd Platoon troopers headed to shore at
Vung Tau from our troop ship – January 1967.
2nd Platoon troopers, Willie Williams, Jimmie Salazar, Fred Harrell, and Danny Fischer – Dong Tam – June 1967.
There’s Jimmie Salazar & Mario Lopez (center) waiting in the chow line aboard our troop ship, the USS General John Pope – Jan 1967.
2nd Platoon saddled up and ready for patrol – Dong Tam – 1967.
Troopers Ricki Vidal & Jimmie Salazar happy to be on
the Navy Barracks Ship and not out on patrol.