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

Howard Green, 2nd Platoon’s very own barber, giving Willie McTear a fine haircut at Camp Bearcat.   February, 1967.

Introduction The one thing that I will always remember about Willie is his smile. Even after thirty-three years, that was the first thing I saw when we got together in February, 2001.  All through basic and AIT he was always good natured and had that smile, even when things were not going well at all.

Willie was the first black friend that I ever had, I grew up in the mostly white San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles. Willie and I served on many details together during those wonderful days at Ft. Riley and I really got to know and love the guy. My mother even sent Willie a care package every time she sent me one.   In AIT we were both trained as 90mm Recoilless Rifle Gunners. Willie carried his 90 like it was a toothpick and I, at my awesome 150 pounds, weighed less than the gun.

Soon after we arrived in Viet Nam, it was quickly discovered that the 90mm was not an effective weapon to carry in the jungle. We never knew so many vines and bamboo shoots could catch on to anything. So� after a couple of patrols, we became riflemen and the 90’s stayed in Bear Cat. Later on the Mekong Delta, they were used as night defensive weapons.  Willie is a big guy.  When we first got to Viet Nam, there were no jungle boots big enough to fit him.  His feet suffered from wearing stateside boots in the jungle.

In July or August of 1967, Willie rotated to another unit to finish his tour.  Early in this year, Bill Reynolds sent out a Roster of second platoon people that he had compiled with the help of various sources including Jim Dennison and John Bradfield, and when I saw Willie’s name I immediately contacted him. As it turned out, we only live about 15 minutes apart.  Shortly after that first phone call, we met for lunch and it seemed as though it was only yesterday that we were pals back at Fort Riley and in the Mekong Delta – since then we have been in touch regularly.  It’s really great to have Willie featured on our Web Site as he is one of the original “Old Reliables who came together when the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Riley back in 1966.                                                                        Mike Cramer – April 19, 2001       

Willie carrying his favorite weapon, a 90MM Recoilless Rifle.  During Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Riley, Willie informed our Platoon Sergeant that he really enjoyed carrying the heaviest weapons – Willie really liked the Army!
If Willie wasn’t runnin’ around with a Recoilless Rifle, he was messin’ with an Anti-Tank weapon….
It’s as I indicated – Willie just couldn’t stay away from the Big Guns, must
be a guy thing, huh Willie!  Yep, he really loved being a soldier in Viet Nam!
Here’s Willie performing his 2nd most favorite task – when he couldn’t carry a bazooka you could always find Willie volunteering for sandbag duty because Willie loved being all that he could be!  Look at that physique – those were the good ole days, eh Willie!
Charles Wall, Henry Hubbard and Willie gathering their
thoughts at Camp Bearcat following one of our first combat patrols. Willie is thinkin’: Wow – what a great workout and
drawing this high Army pay at the same time!
Willie hangin’ out with James Holstine on the USS Benewah.
Aboard the USS Benewah – Lower Left: Donald Jackson, James Nall, Sergeant Ted Searcy, and Johnny Jasper to the right.  Top Left: Moses Campbell, ???, and Charles Wall.
Howard Green wishin’ he was in Texas!
Willie (top left) and his buddies: Charles Wall (top right), Donald Jackson (lower left) and Gil Rodriguez, relaxing between patrols.
Sergeant Ted Searcy gettin’ ready to head out on another
search and destroy patrol – one of his favorite past-times!
Some of the fellas taking a break between patrols – typical scene in the barracks ship sleeping quarters.  Anyone know these guys?
3rd Platoon’s John Bradfield in the USS Benewah’s
sleeping quarters and listening to some tapes from home.
1st Platoon’s “Smilin” James Nall
Frank Modde and James Holstine on the USS Benewah. Two excellent 2nd Platoon troopers who had many friends in Charlie Company.  Sadly, both of these fine men have passed away since leaving Viet Nam.
Here’s the Mobile Riverine’s transportation throughout the Mekong Delta. The Navy was kind enough to routinely take us ground-pounders to the boonies for little three and four day excursions – it was great fun!
One of the many sampans searched by 2nd Platoon troopers.
Chowin’ down at Camp Bear Cat – Ray Layman, Willie and Bob French