A Vet Remembers – Smyers



Bob Smyers 5035 SW 34th Street Fort lauderdale, FL 33314 email: hotel2alfa@email.msn.com Photo taken by CPT Tom Garnett during LRRP team insertion
Bob Smyers
5035 SW 34th Street
Fort lauderdale, FL 33314
email: hotel2alfa@ email.msn.com
Photo taken by CPT Tom Garnett
during LRRP team insertion

Bob Smyers is a veteran of fourteen years service with the United States Army. He enlisted in 1956. His major assignments included the 3rd Infantry Division in Swienfurt,Germany, the 7th Infantry(Bayonet) Division in Camp Hovey, Korea, and the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam.

Upon arrival in Vietnam on April 1, 1967 he was assigned as a rifle squad leader with A Company, 1/22nd infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Soon after he joined the LRRP unit of the 2nd Brigade on May 14, 1967. He was assigned as team leader, then platoon sergeant until the end of his tour, March 29, 1968.

After his tour he was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia as First Sergeant to the post replacement company. He was reassigned to the Weapons Committee at the Infantry Training School as an instructor in January 1969. He remained an instructor up to his discharge in March 1970. He left the army having obtained the rank of Sergeant First Class E-7.

Author’s Notes
The most often asked question I get about the articles I write as well as the stories is; how do you remember so much detail? One answer might be that I have always paid attention to details. However, the events I write about are forever branded into my memory. In these situations I somehow took a mental picture and added a narrative with each one as it happened. I believe experience is everlasting and we choose to remember or block out according to our psychic make up.

Regardless of that, as a LRRP leader I had to make snap decisions that could mean life or death for my team and myself. This not only weighs heavy on a leader’s mind but bores a place of residual residence. At least it did me. Thus making recall relatively easy even after 32 years. Some say I have a photographic memory. I prefer to believe these were significant events in this man’s life that will be there the remainder of my days.

The Men of 2nd Brigade LRRPS

Article 1
How We Operated

LRRP was our first designation. It stood for Long Range Recon Patrol meaning your job was to be just that, reconnaissance. The team was usually made up of a total of four men. However, there have been as little as two men. Only once during my tour with the Lurps did one man get dropped in on his own, and that was John Powers (now deceased after 3 tours in Vietnam). He wanted to do it and Brigade accommodated him. He was to observe and if the opportunity presented itself, to sniper. He was equipped with an M-14 and scope. He was trained as a sniper in Recondo school. This insertion was different from the normal Lurp team. He was dropped in by one chopper without gunship support. He repelled about 75 feet into the jungle below. A normal insertion was done with five Helicopters. One was called command and control ship (C&C). This chopper carried the two pilots, two door gunners, the platoon leader or platoon Sergeant, and at times both. This ship had gone earlier with the teamleader, and one or the other of the platoon commanders, to make an aerial recon of the area of operation (AO). During this time an insertion point was selected within the AO where the team would be dropped in.

Seldom were extraction points selected in the early concept of Lurp operations. Later, as knowledge increased, extractions points were selected. In the early going of the Lurp concept, a lot was put to trial and error. There had been to my knowledge no specialized training outside of what we learned concerning patrolling techniques in basic or advanced infantry training. The advantage went to the ones who had served overseas and other places where the infantry practiced their trade, destroying. Outside of that we learned as we went, and developed training and methods of operation as we experienced the war. Later there would be the selection of extraction point during initial recon of the AO plus coordinated preplan artillery concentrations in the event a team was on the move, which meant most times the enemy were in hot pursuit. When this happens, it is easier to give a preplanned number to be fired versus trying to plot your location on the run. Any teamleader will tell you that is close to, if not impossible. So the sophistication of operating procedures increased the more we ran missions.

We cut our teeth by trial and error. It was not always pretty. The teams not only had to learn but the commanders whom we worked for , to supply them information not otherwise obtainable. Unfamiliar with our size and capability they at times felt we could act and perform as a rifle company. Along with the C&C ship you had two choppers know as slicks. I guess they got the name by the way they would insert or extract us. Slipping across the jungle canopy at top speed and barely above the tree tops so as to maintain stealth. In each slick you have two pilots and two doorgunners, which is standard. The first slick carries the team 2, 4, or 5. Five came later in my tour as the missions changed from just recon (which produced much action due to contact with the enemy) to combat missions with the intent of ambushing targets of opportunity. The second slick was equipped and manned as the first slick minus, a Lurp team. Then you had two gunships equipped with pilots, gunners and rockets. They flew as support and diversion. They also flew at tree top level to the left and right of the insertion slicks. The routine was the C&C ship which had the same staff and pilots, who had made the earlier recon of the AO, were now guiding the ships below from 3,000 feet up. As the Landing Zone (LZ) appeared ahead,they would inform the pilots below, guiding them on course. As the insertion ship got closer, they would begin a count down. I.E., 600, 500,etc., (meters), until set down. They continued this until the insertion slick cleared the tree tops, over the LZ. Once they cleared they would say drop down. The pilots would come as close to the ground as possible and hover. The team was already standing on the chopper skids, ready to jump.

The teamleader was to always go first. Any hesitation by a team member, was overcome by the knowledge that the doorgunner would give you a little help. He had to because this was a very crucial point. The team and the chopper were very vulnerable at this point. One well aimed shot from an enemy rifleman could spell disaster to the chopper and the team. Even though the pilots tried to get as close to the ground as possible, the height could vary according to the undergrowth. You often tasted your boots in your mouth. The insertion is quick and that is how we Lurps liked it. Too much activity may draw attention. While this is going on the gunships are circling the LZ and surrounding area as a cover and diversion. The second slick follows along behind the fist slick in the event we are dropped in a hot LZ. If this happens the gunships take the enemy under fire while the second slick comes in for the team. This happened to my team once. We were immediately snatched up and to my surprise we were flown a little farther and again inserted. I cannot say I liked this idea at first, but I learned quickly it was the right thing to do. If I and the team members had time to consider what had happened we probably would not have been able to go in again. If I recall it was Charles Mathews, Doc, and Moui. Later as Platoon Sergeant, I saw the results of pulling a team and terminating the mission. One of the best and most courageous of my teamleaders lost it on the next mission he was inserted on. He froze up once he hit the ground. Early extraction was necessary. Once the team is on the ground they move to cover, organize, and let the pilots know, they are okay, so as to get them out of the area. After listening for a short while, the team then moves out of the area, in the event they may have been compromised. They then set out to perform their mission. Recon, combat, or a combination of the two. Missions are normally set for five days.

Lurps are inserted deep in enemy territory. Often requiring radio relay stations. Be it from mountain top to mountain via relay teams or forward air coordinators (FAC), back to Brigade or Battalion command centers. Depending on who they are working for directly. Lurps were made up of all volunteers due to the danger of the job. The life expectancy was short. The men that made up the Lurps were a special breed, much like the Special Forces or Rangers. We often assisted the SOG units (Special Operations Groups), performing missions in Ban Me Thout. Then eventually Ranger units were employed as LRP units and we merged with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Lurps, as the Special Forces and the Army Ranger are an elite group and were ready to accept the challenge that often puts then in harms way. Each named group has paid the price for the privilege of being different. Hopefully this has shed light on what it is to be or have been a Lurp. But once a Lurp. Always a Lurp! Their trademark was tiger fatigues, Australian bush hat, short black automatic weapon called the CAR-15, and known to ambush enemy units of considerable size. It was not so much duty, honor, and country. Although that was forever a part of their makeup. They were men who preferred to be different that loved to live on the edge. They played, fought and some died, for what they believed: all people deserve to chose their own pursuit of happiness. This is not all there is to tell, but it is my best recollection after 32 years. Any Lurp out there should add to this article, as they see fit. Let this be known as article one. Hopefully, others will follow, as this was and is a proud group of men.

Our support now goes to those serving as Long Range Patrol Rangers, of the United States Army. You have a legacy behind you. Pathfinders if you will.

This article is authored by SFC Bob Smyers, PSG. of the 2nd Brigade LRP, 4th Infantry Division. It should not be used with out, the author’s permission. It is dedicated to the Lurps still on patrol (i,e,,those that have not returned, but forever remain on patrol, in a realm we do not yet understand). May God Bless all.

Bob Smyers
LRRP, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

LRRP Composition & Mission

Article 2
LRRP Composition & Mission

The following vignette is a personal recall of LRRP make up and mission.

First what does LRRP mean? Well, the letters stand for Long Range Recon Patrol. This was an Elite unit made up of all volunteer soldiers. When I was with the 2nd Brigade LRRPS of the 4th infantry, it was not surprising to find men with varying military occupational skills. Besides infantry, we had clerks, mechanics, tankers, artilleryman, and probably a cook or two. Each one served voluntarily. Volunteering was the only way to my knowledge one could become a LRRP The army did not assign men to a unit that faced greater danger then the average soldier would face. Such are the Airborne, Special Forces, Navy Seals, and the LRRPS

The LRRPS in Vietnam were used to gather much needed information about the enemy. Information the commanders could use to know what, when, where and how the enemy was employing their forces. This information could not be obtained by any other means than to insert small unit teams deep into enemy territory. Teams usually made up of a total of four men. This number at times during my tour did vary. I have witnessed only once a one man recon and twice a two-man recon team. In each incident they were to gather information plus ambush targets of opportunity with artillery. The one man was also equipped with an M-14 plus sniper scope. He was trained in sniper techniques at Recondo school and his added duty was to harass long range targets. The one man was not inserted in the normal fashion, but had to repel into his area of operation (AO). The two man team walked into their AO each time. So as to avoid early detection. They were being inserted into an area that was known to have much enemy activity. But were able to elude larger units sent to search them out. Large units such as platoon and company size were more easily detected.

Small teams such as LRRPS, could get in close often without the enemy being aware of their presence. This is why we could often hit with hasty ambushes or even when coming up on the enemy by surprise. They had a tendency to be really lax when they thought they were alone. Often you caught them with their weapons slung or just perched on their shoulder like a hunter coming back from the hunt, having had no luck, and sort of weary from the hunt. This was often fatal for them, as we LRRPs kept alert and our weapons were carried at the ready. Loaded, safety off, and the barrel of the rifle moving automatically in the direction the eyes were being focused.

We not only looked but listened to the sounds made by the life in the jungle. The flight and cries of the birds was always to be investigated. It was not uncommon for LRRP teams to locate enemy troops discharging their weapons while hunting for food. This occurred more often when we were inserted far away from friendly forces. We were often out of radio range and needed relay stations. This could be LRRP teams on mountain tops or forward air coordinators (FAC), relaying our sitreps or instructions to us. It is not an easy feeling because there are times when communications fail. I remember once in Vietcong (VC) Valley this happening to SSG Tilley. I was in contact on a ridge, and he was low in the valley running for his life, and no one could hear his call for help but me. Had I not picked him up and relayed his dilemma, who knows what might of happened. Once I was encircled by enemy of unknown size and could not be heard by the unit I was working for. If it had not been for FAC flying over the area and hearing my call for help, I might not be telling this now. This very fact is why our unit was strictly volunteer. Life expectancy could be very short due to the nature of our missions.

Our support was mostly the artillery and the choppers. We were often too far away for line units to help us. Although it may be possible for a mechanized unit to assist if not too far away. Units on foot, with the load of equipment they carried, and the difficult terrain, were unable to assist us. Once in heavy contact late in the day, during monsoon season, plus in the line of fire of artillery due to our position, and the direction of the attack, we almost ran out of ammunition. Our only alternative was to fire our claymore’s to break contact and hope the artillery could bring it on our last known position to open the gap between us and them. It did, but we had to use evasive tactics all night long, plus into the following day, as we had two grenades and two magazines between us. This illustrates our dire need for the slicks and gunships. They could get to us quickly but in the monsoon they could not help.

Low ceilings makes flying almost impossible. One might think, “if I am going to be out that far and there are only a few of us, I am really going to carry a lot of munitions.” In theory, that is good. However, the more equipment, the more weight to tire you and slow you down. Plus the bulkiness makes it hard to move quietly and it is apt to damage the foliage, which would tell of our presence. We were not equipped to dig in and have a sustained battle. We had to inflict as much damage as possible and make our exit. Your adrenaline is high at the time of contact and stays that way during the fight. But once it is concluded, it begins to wan, and your knees get a little weak and your hands get a little shaky, as do your insides. At least it did for me, as things happen quickly.

Even though the firing has stopped and you may be towering over the dead bodies, the unknown of the next seconds hounds you. How much ammo do we have left, are there more, did we stir up a hornets nest, will we be able to get choppers, which way do we go, should I take time to search the bodies? Many things go through your head in seconds. Procrastination cannot be part of the make up for a LRRP, that is a luxury you can not afford. I will close this as article number two, with the invite for other LRRPs to expand on these topics. That the unlearned may get a working knowledge, of a LRRP team on mission.

Should not be used without the author’s permission.

Bob Smyers
LRRP, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

How We Operated

Article 3
The Men of 2nd Brigade LRRPS

CPT Tom Garnett
Captain Thomas H. Garnett Jr was from Virginia. When I met him I believe he was working for S-2 or S-3. He was debriefing our team after extraction from our area of operation. It was a mission where we found a large North Vietnamese bunker complex. Plus we had been compromised and had contact with an enemy soldier. We withdrew from the complex and set a hasty ambush in the event the soldier followed. He did, and John Powers took him out. After linking with a rifle company and leading them to the complex, we were extracted back to brigade. Captain Garnett was a wise and cautious man; one who was always after the truth. I would have to describe him as; gentle, kind, caring, concerned, open-minded, and generous.

He would support you when you were in the right but would not long condone untruth or deceit. This was evident in his method of questioning. He later became the LRRP platoon leader and I had the privilege of showing him the ropes. I cherish the time I was able to serve under his command. We became friends … but I never forgot his authority. We worked well together. He gave me one of the highest compliments I ever received in the military … and he was sincere. He told me in private, that he had never met a man with such influence with other men. That the guys in the platoon had a great respect for me. He also stated; I may be the platoon leader but I know who the men considered the leader. He was a man of faith, and he practiced it. He was the only one I ever really seen reading his Bible and making notes of what he read.

After I left, he wrote as did others. In one of his letters Robert P. McCarthy told me that Captain Garnett risked his life coming in during contact to pull out a wounded LRRP, It was not surprising to me. He is forever a LRRP and friend. I as many will always remember him.

Sergeant Lloyd Lee
Sgt. Lee was from Atlanta Georgia. We first met in the LRRPs. He and I arrived at the same time (May 1967). We were both Staff Sergeants but though he had more time in the army, I had more time in grade. As a SSG, he did not like that and we tried to avoid each other when not on mission. But this ended when we were put in the same tent and bunked next to one each other. We got to talking and hanging around and got into mischief together. We became close friend and confided in each another. I eventually became Platoon Sergeant but he never tried to take advantage of our friendship. He was one of the best and most courageous teamleaders I had and was liked by the men. He would take chances that at times seemed reckless, but he always came out on top. He liked the reputation of being a little crazy. Guys on a mission with him said he would get up in the morning and holler “hey Charlie, where in the hell are you?”

He gave a tough guy appearance, but he was a man of great compassion. This was evident during contact with the enemy, who were using women and children as shields. A little girl got her heel shot off and he carried her out on extraction. He was grieved by this. After this he did not seem right and ask to be transferred from the LRRPS. He only had a couple of months so he was given a job in base camp as an instructor for prerecondo school. After he left I never saw or heard from him again. I often thought of him and even tried locating him, all to no avail.

Then as fate would have it, I learned 32 years later that he died just three months after returning from Vietnam. He had a brain tumor that had gone undiagnosed. It was too late, and he died. SSG Tilley attended his funeral. We who served with him and will always remember him.

SP/4 John Powers
John was from Texas. He came to the platoon the same time I did. I believe he was a Private First Class. John was a handsome sort of man with a strong build. He was always anxious to go on patrol and was always ready to engage the enemy. We were on three missions together. Of those three, we made contact twice with the North Vietnamese regulars. The second of these contacts was the heaviest. Though we were out numbered the team fought into the night and again the next day. John was my assistant team leader. His contribution, imput, and courage helped us to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy before we had to be extracted or face annihilation due to the numbers against us.

Once in contact, John took a piece of shrapnel in the throat from a grenade. It went in, he spit it out and continued to fight. Thank God it was so small it left little, if any scar and no damage. I learned John made a career of the Army, serving two tours in Vietnam. I also learned that he died a few months after retiring. Thanks John. Those of us who knew you will keep you in our hearts.

SFC Charlie Britt
Charlie was from Maryland. This man was a soldier of soldiers. Anyone who knew him will confirm this. He was tall and lanky, and carried himself with great humility and confidence. He knew himself and his job. One who needed not to pound his chest to gain attention. He was noticeable on his own merit. Being a team leader myself, we never pulled missions together. I cannot say we had more than a professional relationship in Vietnam. That changed state side, but that is another story. I do know as platoon Sergeant I always felt secure in any assignment given to Charlie. He was invaluable in the training of new LRRPS. He was killed on his second tour in Vietnam in 1972. Charlie … it was short … but you left your foot prints on our hearts. Rest from your labor my friend.

SSG Sherman (Tom) Tilley
Sherman was from Savannah, Georgia. He was our kid Sergeant Being only 19 years old and Staff Sergeant was unheard of. He was truly a field soldier. His motor never seemed to shut off. On mission he was content. But when off mission he seemed restless, full of energy, always ready to pack up a team and go. He was always in contact with the enemy. He must have had a Guardian Angel as some of the situations he got out of were miraculous. He is a highly decorated soldier. Having spent a total of three tours. He was always with Britt as if Britt was his big brother. Thank God he is alive and has raised a son and has his own business today. Our teenage Sergeant stands among the best. Once a LRRP always a LRRP. Welcome home brother.

Sp/4 Ron Coon
Ron is still active in the Army Reserves….Ron was already with the platoon when I got there and almost bought the farm on his 5th or 6th mission. He was with Sgt. Bonert and Sp/4 Harmon, when they got ambushed, while being extracted on tanks, They were completely surrounded by North Vietnamese regulars at the time of the ambush. Ron says Harmon saved his life and was trying to save Bonert’s life when he took the fatal rounds that ended his own life. Later while Ron was out of country recovering from his wounds, he learned that Bonert also died.

Ron was a ready soldier. Even after having been wounded, once released from the hospital, he was back in the LRRPS for more. He was very active with the teams. He seemed to come in and go right on the next team going out. I only had him once on my team. My teams were mostly the Montagnards or Vietnamese. Ron covered our backs as he was our rear security and with him there you felt comfortable. Our time on this mission was quiet, as there was no contact. But had there been, Ron was one I would not of had to worry about. Ron now lives in Cook, MN. Welcome home Ron and thanks…

Sergeant Robert Crawford
Bob came to the LRRPS the same time I did. We pulled a few missions together. He was the other American, as the Montagnards made up most of my team because I spoke Vietnamese. I will never forget our last mission together. We were in our night location and a bug crawled in Bob’s ear. When it did he popped up and was shaking his head. He said “I have a bug in my ear.” I tried pouring water in the ear in the dark in hopes of drowning it. This never worked, and it kept buzzing and moving in the ear. I felt so helpless and felt for Bob. We called in but no way could get extracted. This continued for a long time. Bob was at wits end. It got so bad he could not contain the screams of agony. I had to literally press his face into my stomach to muffle the sound. Finally it stopped. The next day we extracted and he was sent to the hospital. I will always remember how he endured the suffering. Had he not been determined to endure the agony, we could have been easily compromised and who knows what the consequence might have been for the team. On his second tour, he lost part of his leg. He is now living in West Fargo, N. D. A true LRRP! Welcome home Bob and thanks.

Sergeant Malan West
Malan was a true American, LRRP, and friend. West was from the northeast….later moving to Florida. Last known residence was Deerfield Beach, Florida. He came to the platoon in May 1967. He was a draftee, so he called all regular army soldiers “lifers”. He was one of the most dependable and trustworthy I have known. He made Sergeant as a LRRP and turned out to be a good teamleader and a wonderful friend. I realized his value to me as friend in Ban Me Thout, Vietnam. We were supplying our teamleaders and teams to assist the Special Forces in their area of operation. Our guys were acting as advisors to the Vietnamese Army commanders. I had flown out to meet with West in their night location. He was on top of the world and was having a ball. Telling me how they had roasted a monkey and he was going native. I was proud of him for his accomplishments. I met a private first class and now I am witnessing a confident leader. As he flew off he was smiling and waving, I thought, “we are America’s best. We do what we have to, when it seems totally against our make up. West, you draftee, you could have passed for a lifer! Welcome home and may God smile on you… “

Sergeant John Fournier
John was from Vermont. He came as many of us did in May 1967. I think he was a private but left a Sergeant. John was a Frenchman if I recall. He was a quiet person but knowledgeable. I do not think he ever commanded a team but was sought out by teamleaders to be on their team. He did anything you asked and gave it his all. I needed a trustworthy man to handle our supply room so I took John off missions and gave him full responsibility for our supplies. I made the right choice. Back in the states I met John at Fort Benning and he was a Drill Sergeant and had been promoted to Staff Sergeant E-6. He finished his duty and left the Army. I have not heard from him, but hope all is well. Welcome home John and thanks.

Sergeant Chester Mundy
Chester arrived in July 1967. He was from California and still resides there today and is in business for himself. I learned he gave up a gravy job to be a LRRP. Before that he was assigned as a jeep driver. He was alert and a good team member. Never did I have any problems with him. The trustworthiness he demonstrated caused me to want him as unit Supply Sergeant I think he replaced John Fournier around late December 1967 or in January 1968. He stayed in Vietnam until January 1969. He spent nearly his entire time in the Army in Vietnam. He was indispensable and very resourceful in getting things we needed. He and I bunked in the back of the supply tent and became friends. He always gave me an ear when I needed to let things out. Welcome home Chester and thanks.

Sergeant Gary Robinson
Robby was from Baton Rouge, LA. I think he arrived a little after I did. I remember him shaving his head. It made him look like a bad #$@#! We became close friend and pulled some really risky missions together. We hung together a lot when not on mission. We just jelled. I remember once in the village, as we were helping the economy, a Vietnamese came out from a make shift bar, and hit me over the head with a beer bottle. It was a glancing blow so it did not really hurt. Man did Robby ever get pissed. He took off into the bar after the guy with the rest of us in pursuit. The guy got away out the back. The bar suffered. Since we had not provoked the attack and they would not tell us where to find him, we leveled the bar. Literally to the ground! Robby always watched out for me and this time was no different.

Thanks Robby for the memory and welcome home brother.

SSG Camet Hawthorne (Hawk)
Camet was the Platoon Sergeant I served under as a LRRP. I remember him as a kind, gentle, trustworthy man, who was always kind to everyone. He had a persona that just said to you, this is a guy you can trust to do all he can to help you if you need it. He was not the screaming type leader but got things done through his gentle persuasion. You just wanted to do it, not because of his position, but because you respected him. One of the great traits he displayed as our leader was consistency. He was the same all the time. After Vietnam I saw him at Fort Benning, and he was the same in spirit and action. He went retired from the Army as a First Sergeant and now resides in Eufula, Alabama. How many lives you have touched by your gentle spirit only God knows, Hawk. But I, for one, have always remembered you for the kindness to your fellow soldier. Thanks and welcome home.

Sp/4 Larry Curfman
Larry was probably one of the calmest, coolest, characters I have ever known. He was just someone you like to have around. He was so quiet but yet his presence was felt without all the noise some people have to make to be noticed. He knew who he was and what he wanted to do. He was one of SSG Lee’s favorite team members. I never had Larry on any of my missions but never heard anyone in the platoon have a negative word to say about him. He volunteered for the draft during the Vietnam war, served honorably, then took his place in society. He now reside in Palistine, West Virgina. Thanks Larry for an example of a solid patriot. Welcome home brother.

Sgt. Robert McCarthy
Robert was a true LRRP in every sense of the word. He could have avoided service in Vietnam somewhat like the guy in “Platoon,” ( played by Charlie Sheen) but he did not. My hat is off to men like this. He was a real public relations man for the LRRPs. Recondo all the way. He was always anxious to engage the enemy. As Platoon Sergeant I took out two three man teams and he went with me. I have never seen a guy who kept so alert and very responsive to directions. He was always contributing, while capitalizing on the moment. He asked good questions in order to learn how to be the best he could be. He was good for morale as he was always upbeat and took all things in stride. He was wise for his age, and other guys listened to him early on. After I left Nam he kept me informed until he got discharged from the Army. He told me they tried to convience him to take safer duty in his final days, and he replied” I am a LRRP and that is how I will finish.” Thanks Robert and welcome home.

SSG Dennis Thunander
Dennis was a strong man. He was well liked by the men and was a fierce combatant in contact with the enemy, which earned him the Silver Star on one occassion before I left. I appreciated his contribution to the platoon and his loyal support to me as Platoon Sergeant during my tenure. He truly was a professional soldier and LRRP. I last saw him in 1969 in Fort Benning and he had been promoted to Sergeant First Class E-7. I do not know where he is exactly. Word is he lives in and around Fort Campbell, Kentucky. T-Bird, you are ranked among this countries best. Thanks and welcome home,my brother.

All Of The Men
These are but a few of the guys. To tell about each would take some time. These vignettes should give you a picture of the caliber of men we call LRRPS, friends, and Americans, who served their country with honor. These and all the rest who fought this war, wars of the past, and those serving today, who carry on the proud heritage of the “American Fighting Men and Women.” As a famous patriot once said; “Give me liberty or give me death.” Those were the sentiments of the ones I knew. Welcome home and thanks to all who have ever donned a uniform of the American Armed Forces.


Bob Smyers
LRRP. 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division