In November of 1966, Colonel Judson Miller ordered me to form up a Second Brigade LRRP unit. I was a First Lieutenant. Of course there was no handbook, guidance or regulations or anything in writing – giving us an idea of what was desired. We had to make it up as we went. Who was we ? It was the first cadre of volunteers from the Brigade’s battalions.
To name a few John Griswold, Wayne Littlejohn, Ron Speck, Charley Britt, Bill Branson, Jim Umberger, Larry Willey, Dan Davis, Jim Hart, Roger Hill, Ron Norton, Camet Hawthorne, Dan Harmon, Male Hatchett, Jim Trimble, John Sanderson, James Pack, Bill Mask, Wilford Snake, Harry Schreiner, Charlie Keough, Charley Dove, Doug Flowers, Bill Steffen, Ron Coon, Frank Camper and many more who immediately followed. Forgive me if I overlooked a name of an early volunteer. Correct me and we will update this page. They did a great job and soon became respected within the Brigade and well beyond. Some of the guys were legendary in their soldiering skills.
FAST FORWARD TO NOW.
LT. MIKE LAPOLLA
This is our new and improved website. This is where our service will be forever recorded and not to be forgotten. Like most of you, I had little contact with our fellow LRRPs since the war. The Internet and our Reunions quickly changed all that. After our 2000 Reunion in Savannah, our Second Brigade LRRP launched a website to collect our photos, stories and recollections. It became one of the most comprehensive sites on the Internet. We coined the phrase Vietnam’s First Rangers in that our LRRP units were eventually reorganized into the reactivated 75th Ranger Regiment. So we were the Rangers before there were Rangers!
The response to our website was astounding. Every week vets, their children and grandchildren, their nieces and nephews and friends would contact me. And yes even an ex-wife looking for an ex-husband. The reconnecting was phenomenal. It led to several of us visiting Alaska to reconnect with family one of our fallen LRRPs and led to the award of an overlooked Bronze Star for Valor of that soldier forty years after the action.
A good website is powerful and permanent. I would encourage everyone to consider contributing photos and recollections to this site so your families and friends will always know of your sacrifice and service. We won’t live forever and too many of us are gone too soon. Let’s make sure others never forget us.