James E. Powell, E/58th LRRP, passed away May 24, 2001

James E. Powell, Jr.

Died May 24, 2001

powell picL to R: Sgt Mott, Gary Joyce, Jimmy Powell

In Country R + R PowellPowell and Joyce pic

                                                                    In-Country R&R – Jimmy Powell                                                         Jimmy Powell and Gary Joyce

Spent a lot of time looking for Jimmy. The last time I remember seeing him was when I was home after my first tour, and he came home a few weeks after and I picked him up at the airport. I think a year or two later we hung out down on the Jersey Shore for a loooong weekend.

Jimmy and I hooked up at E-58 sometime in August 1968. As I recall, he was there a few days ahead of me (although I’m probably wrong on that) and we hit it off because he was a Jersey guy and I was a New York guy.

We’d both been recruited out of the Repo Depo by 1st Sgt. Robinson and SFC Martin. They’d showed up in ODs wearing Australian bush hats, asked to speak to paratroopers, told us we’d get jump pay without having to jump, but the catch was a 25-mission/six-month life expectancy. I don’t know about Jimmy, but I assume he had the same reaction as I did …where do I sign? Anyway …

We learned OJT. Neither one of us went to Recondo School. Whenever our names came up we pulled a mission with anyone who would take us. Actually, I think the first three months we were there, all we did were back-to-backs. If anyone would take us out we went.

I remember one of the old timers grabbing us after a few beers and telling us we were gonna’ die real soon. We didn’t. I think we were both pretty good, though I always thought Jimmy was better at the game that I was. Don’t know what he thought about me, but we worked pretty well together.

Seemed like we had a habit of getting into shit, and after we pulled the Plei Trap missions, a lot of people thought it wasn’t a good idea to go out with us.

So … we got our own teams. I guess that was around Christmas ’68. Don’t think we worked together again after that.

I went up to the Pre-Recondo School sometime in July 69 … went home, saw Jimmy, went back for another six, went home and went back for another nine. Saw Jimmy that one time after that and we never hooked up again.

Couldn’t believe it when they told me he’d died. Still can’t.

But, then, I still can’t believe I’m not dead.

Go figure.

Gary P. Joyce

E/58 LRRP; CoK/75 Ranger

RVN: 8/68- 1/71