Ed "Spooky" Nored

RVN Sep 69 - Sep 70

 

(Nored) An Army recruiters dream comes true. It's August 1969 and seven recent Decatur High School graduates walked into the recruiting station and enlist in the United States Army. See newspaper photo on left. With so many other options available to draft age men at the time making it possible to avoid the draft and even more important Vietnam. This group has made the awesome decision to put their lives on the line and volunteer for the Army. Three of these young men, Terry Lawrence, Harold Hoopengarner and Steven Holmes would find themselves as replacements in Delta company. The "Decatur 7" are sent to Ft. Knox, Ky. for basic training. Lawrence remembers that in basic, "We were all in the same barracks and basically ran the place. Four of us were squad leaders and one was a platoon guide." After Basic training 5 of the "Decatur 7" went on to Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Polk, La. Upon completing the course and taking a short leave at home, they left for Nam on Jan. 2nd 1970. Like all the replacements arriving at the Bien Hoa airport, just outside of Saigon, they were then bussed to the 90th replacement center. Here they spent 1-3 days waiting to be assigned to one of the Army Divisions. Of the "Decatur 7" 6 would see service in Vietnam. Lawrence, Hoopengarner and Holmes were assigned to the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Of the other 3 Ed Harrell served with the 101st Division (Airborne), Barry Newsome served with the Americal Division and Bob Jines served with 576 Ordinance Company. Once being assigned to the 1st.Cav. Lawrence and Holmes went thru the First Team Academy at Long Bien where the 1st Cav. put everyone thru several days of orientation. Hoopengarner does not receive orders for a few more days. Time spent here was any where from 1-9 days. Lawrence and Holmes finally got their orders for Delta company 1st. battalion 8th cav.. As best as we can determine Lawrence and Holmes would have flown to Quan Loi and then joined Delta company when it was in the boonies sometime during the Jan. 5th to Jan. 17th mission, most likely on a Log day. When the company was extracted and flown to L.Z. Kathleen Terry Lawrence remembers. "One of the best days I remember was arriving at the Fire Support Base and finding Hoopengarner there. He had finally caught up with us".

(Information, newspaper clipping  and photo below provided by Terry Lawrence.)

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Photo on the left shows Terry Lawrence sitting on the edge of a bunker. Note the baseball shaped "frags" lying in front of him. The surrounding tree line and terrain suggests this was L.Z Kathleen. Terry remembers when he first joined Delta company they were putting together a new killer team. "They were looking for 12 good men and as I recall got maybe 7. Scott Holmes was pretty gung ho and wanted to volunteer. I tried to talk some sense into him but he joined anyway. I was really sick to my stomach when I signed my name to that list. At this point I was sure I would either be killed or taken P.O.W". Terry remembers this incident while working with the killer team. "I remember one time somebody made too much noise (out in the bush) and "Gator" put a knife to his throat. From that moment on we were quieter then a mouse." Gator just had a way of communicating.

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Jan 1, 1970 Quan Loi

Vinny  Sciarretti captures some of the Delta Company mood on New Years Day in a letter to his family. "Well Happy New Year to everyone. New Years proved to be better for us then Christmas did. A lot of the guys were drunk on the bunkers. I had a couple of beers  but that was all. We were all singing and laughing. You cant believe how close you become to the guys over here. I'm new over here and I have only been on one mission with these guys but they really watch out for me. This one big guy from New York, he is always walking around asking where is the "Italian a h" at? (meaning me) It really gives you good feeling, that's the way it is over here, taking care of one another. We were happy last night but you feel the emptiness in everybody because they and me weren't home with our families. There was this one group singing "I want to go home". Everyone was singing the song and just ran chills all through you".

 

Jan 2, 1970 Quan Loi

Jan 3, 1970 Quan Loi

(J.W.) Enemy mortar rounds hit outside the parameter. One round lands in our company rear area and wounds 6. We had a "mad minute".

(Jerry Reeves) On or about Jan. 3rd. I was returning from a 3 day in-country R&R . While waiting at a helicoptor pad I was struck by a large water blivet. I was injured and was on crutches for  2-3 weeks. Jerry upon his return at some point became the company mail clerk until his tour was completed. Jerry served in Nam from June 69 to June 70. ( A water blivet was about the size of a small compact car. Used to carry water. It was carried as a sling load from underneath a Chinook helicopter.).

Jan 4, 1970 Quan Loi

(J.W.) 100% alert till 2 a.m.

(Nored) Excerpt from letter written to Linda Jan. 4th at Quan Loi "Smockey went to Hong Kong for R&R  and said he had a ball. Besides picking up a man dressed as a girl. He and another guy was drinking it up at a bar and 4 girls from Australia bopped on in and started rapping. So they had a few drinks and the discussion got around to sex  and they were all for free love and the girls asked them which ones they wanted. So Smockey and the other guy picked and went up to their individual flats (rooms). Smockey said he was out that door in less then 3 minutes. He went to kiss her and could feel her, I mean his, beard and moustache. We all laughed our heads off."  Letter also says there was a Vietnamese prostitute  working in Bunker 79. I also mentioned Tom Coker our plt. Sgt. was to leave for R&R in 17 days. He was to meet his wife in Hawaii.

Jan 5, 1970 C.A.'d into boonies.

(Nored/DOL) From about 1500 to 1700 Delta company is air lifted from Quan Loi to L.Z. Kathleen and then from Kathleen combat assault into the bush for the start of another mission. Though the DOL doesn't say so I assume the air lift from Quan Loi  to Kathleen was by Chinook and then we transferred to the smaller Huey for the CA at Kathleen.

(J.W.) Inserted in bush 15 miles N. E. of Quan Loi.

(Nored) John Farrior  is shown on the floor of a Huey  high over "the Nam". When you sat on the floor and hung your feet over the side there was a hole in the air frame of the copter that you hung on to. That's where John has his right hand. Behind him, with the taped together magazines on the "16" , is Ed Nored.

 

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(photo courtesy of John Farrior)

(Nored) No date on this photo but going by who's in it we can  narrow the time frame. The company has set up a parameter.  A card game is in progress. L-R is Tom Cocker. Steve "Doc" Sipe seems to be happy with the hand he has been dealt. Gary Borkowski (Sqd. ldr.) and Scott "Part Time" Lemanski. Reading, writing or a card game were some of the methods used to past time as we all waited for that next order to be issued.

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(photo courtesy of John Farrior)

 

Jan 6, 1970 Boonies 1st.Platoon man nearly killed in claymore incident.

(Nored) One of our guys on guard got lost in the dark and walked in the wrong direction. He tripped a flare off and the other 2 guard positions blew 2 claymore mines as was policy anytime a trip flare went off. The individual remarkably was not hurt. Later in the morning when we went out to retrieve our trip flares one individual had one go off in his face. He is immediately med-a-vaced with burns to his face and eye.

 

(Dan Kelly 1st Platoon) The incident you have recorded on 1-6-70. That was a black dude name Theodus Wells. I was in the first platoon then humping the gun (m60 machine gun). Joe Michaels was my A-gunner. We had dug a small fox hole with a small embankment in front of it. Joe and I always slept near the hole. As you have related ole Ted got lost, and spend the night out in the bushes and tried to come in in the morning. On the way in he set off a trip flare. He was lucky enough to fall on his face. Because when the trip went off, Joe and I rolled over and set off our claymores. One was each side of him. Joe started yelling "Shoot him Kelly, Shoot him" and the Lt. was yelling to wait. Ole Ted meanwhile was screaming his ass off out in the jungle. I didn't have my glasses on at the time so I couldn't see anything anyway. After a few minutes of this, we figure out something was wrong and got Ted back inside the perimeter. Needless to say Ted slept next to the hole for quite a while.

 

Note: some of the following are recollections from Jim Watradowskis diary they are I.D'd with the initials (J.W.)

(click here to read Gordon's view of the same story)

Jan 7, 1970 Boonies

Jan 8, 1970 Boonies

(J.W.) Found fresh fighting position dug by the enemy. Leeches are real bad because we traveled thru a swamp.

Jan 9, 1970 "log day" Designated Log bird is "Ghostrider # 42".

(DOL) The previous day Delta C.O. requested dog team for today. They came out on the log bird. 2nd platoon has set up an ndp separate from the rest of company.

(Nored) In a Jan. 9th letter I mention Forrest Sanders, from Mississippi . Another old timer from 3rd plt., has left the field and has a job in the rear now.

Jan 10, 1970 Boonies

(Nored) My letter says will start to get logged every 4 days instead of 3 and we will again start to receive packages from home on logs.

(DOL) Delta at about 1800 found 7 bunkers, one cooking hooch and 2 dirt stoves. Delta picks roster # 31 with initials W.L.B. (7376) for sniper school. (this was Bill Belcher 1st Platoon)

Jan 11, 1970 Boonies

(Nored) "N.V.A. Ghost towns" Our squad is leading the company down a well established trail. Jay selby is at point with myself as backup. A dog team is just ahead of us. I mentioned we had found close to 100 bunkers along this trail. It was old and some of the roofs had collapsed in on some of them. These places were eerie and spooky to say the least. (Letter dated Jan.12.Inspiration for "Dog Teams and other things"

(DOL) At 1045 Delta reports finding 57 bunkers with overhead cover (OHC) Bunkers are about one year old. Many of the roofs had collapsed. The trail is hard packed with no sign of recent use. (Nored) The company most likely set up a patrol base and at 1145 (2/6) second platoon reports that they have found 700 9mm rounds of ammo still in the boxes some AK 47 rounds, a B-40 warhead and to top things off. A monkey skull! Delta  continued to recon area and reported  that a bridge had been destroyed in the area. Last map location given  at DOL suggest 1st platoon had a separate NDP.

(Nored) Dog teams and other things:

On rare occasions Delta Company would be able to have a Dog Team sent out to us. We all felt much better having the dog walk up front. The dogs sense of smell was one of his assets we needed up front especially when walking the trails. I remember working with the dog one day when our squad had point. Jay Selby walked point as I walked back-up (second) and then the rest of the squad and platoon followed. The dog handler would let the dog go and it very casually and innocently walked down the trail stopping to sniff here and there. It's tail would wag and the dog would occasionally stop and look back at us as if to say "What are you guys waiting for? Let's go!" The dog had no idea how serious his job was. The animal had no idea it was risking its life to save ours. I remember feeling a sense of sadness watching the dog. But what I remember most about these dogs is the way I felt on day when I went over and petted and stroked the head of a German Sheppard. To this day I remember how nice it was to be affectionate toward another living thing. I remember the peace of mind I felt. I had spent so much time with men in the atmosphere of war where to survive you have to turn off a lot of emotions. We all turned on the "tough guy" in us. Maybe I should have utilized the prostitutes that were available back at Quan Loi, maybe I should have gotten drunk at least once or simply gotten stoned on the drugs that were easily available. Maybe I should have just gone out and got myself really screwed up. But I never did. I think now that maybe it might have helped, if not then, maybe it would have made a difference 10 or 15 years after I came home. I will never know.

On 4-28-70 a dog was wounded working one of the trails. At this time it cannot be determined if it was the dog team shown in these 3 photos.

To learn more about the aspects of "Dog Team Life" read James Black  excellent  contribution to the website, click here.

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(photos by John Farrior)

 

In a Jan. 11th letter to his parents Vinny Sciarretti wrote. "Dad I'm glad we are so close. Some fathers and sons don't have a close relationship. With me and you Dad, we have it. Mom, me and you are close. What I'm trying to say is I love both of you with all I got and there could never be better parents then you are to me."

 

Jan 12, 1970 Boonies

Working a bunker complex. We have a dog team with us.

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(DOL) At 1915  3 different locations are given for first, second and third platoons. The company commander and staff or C/P as it is referred to in all the DOLs , is with 2nd platoon. This late at night would mean 3 different NDPs for everyone.

Jan 13, 1970 Boonies (Log Day) Designated log bird. The DOL says bird is "Potatoes Mash # 425 but believe it should be "Potato Masher # 425 "

(Nored) I got picked to go to the rear for a combat leadership course (C.L.C).

Ed Nored leaves company to go to Combat Leadership Course (CLC) back at Bien Hoa. Ed leaves on log day Jan 13th and returns to company on log day Jan. 30th.

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Jan 14, 1970 Boonies

(J.W.) Found beau coup  stuff. 30 bunkers. One person saw an NVA soldier by a bunker and shot teargas into the area. We went in and found a mine, 17 B-40 rockets, ammunition, food and clothing. We also found some American G.I. items that we usually discarded by us on log days. We destroyed all items found. We felt that 10-20 enemy soldiers had recently been at the complex.

Jan 15, 1970 Boonies

(J.W.) 2nd plt. found some more bunkers (25) a few more B-40 rounds. Our plt. has palace guard.

Jan 16, 1970 Boonies

They start tearing down L.Z. Kathleen. Company is supposed to hump to L.Z. Wescott.

(Nored) L-R Marcell Gorree, Terry Bowlby , Doc Kloss and Doc Sipe. I'm fairly certain this was taken at L.Z. Kathleen as Delta began tearing it down.

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Jan 17, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) Company is air lifted to L.Z. Kathleen for showers, mail, and rest.

Jan 18, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) L.Z. Kathleen. We had work details all day. It was very hot. 102 degrees.

Vinny Sciarretti letter Jan. 18th. "Received your package yesterday with the radio. Everything else was great. We ate the cookies already. The lemonade mix will come in handy in the jungle. We always pass it  around out in the jungle to have something different to drink with the c rations. Food doesn't last long around my buddies. The good thing is we all share what we get. Well I took over the machine gun today. It is now mine as long as I want it. It weight is about 26 lb.'s. I will definitely have a strong back  and legs when I leave this place." 

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Jan 19, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

Jan 20, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(Nored) Jim Bakowski, the "Professor", joins Delta comp. at L.Z. Kathleen in Jan. 1970.(no specific date) He remembers he arrived with Craig Sherwood, Randolph Forest, Leonard Bauer and John Sanchez. All 4 went to 3rd. plt. He also remembers one man named Fergason. This info is based on a post war letter sent to me in 87-88. Jim also adds he left Nam on the Nov. 22, 1970 with John Sanchez, Larry Antici and John Farrior. Antici and Farrior were also from 3rd. plt.

(Nored) John Sanchez is one of the new guys who shows up in Jan. I remember John well. He carried the radio for me when I was squad leader for 3-3. I enjoyed very much his satirical sometimes cynical comments which he attached freely to the info he passed onto me from the radio.He kept me smiling. thanks John.

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Jan 21, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

Jan 22, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

Jan 23, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) Went out on a minicav. While pulling security on a road we had movement about 20 meters in front of us. A few tense minutes passed before 5 wild boars came out of the bush. We stayed out for the night. ( Jim does not day say if this was just 3rd platoon on the minicav or that 1st or 2nd platoon may have been with them.).

Jan 24, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) We returned to Kathleen and soon after are assigned to work details. We had some jet air strikes placed near Kathleen because of information suggesting the enemy was headed in our direction.

Jan 25, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) L.Z. Kathleen. Details all day.-guard duty at night. I got 4 hours sleep.

Jan 26, 1970 L.Z. Kathleeen

(J.W.) Work details in the morning. In afternoon we took it easy.  Guard at night.

Jan 27, 1970 L.Z. Kathleen / Boonies

(J.W.) Had work details in the morning. In the afternoon the company saddled up heavy with full packs and moved off of Kathleen into the boonies to begin another mission.

Jan 28, 1970 Boonies / L.Z. Kathleen

(J.W.) The company spends the night just off of Kathleen in the bush. In the morning when they started to move out. 2nd. platoon spotted several individuals at Kathleen or what is left of it. They opened fire on them but did not hit any of them. The company moves back to Kathleen and finds footprints that suggest  6-10 enemy soldiers had been on the now deserted base during the night. Most likely just scavenging what might have been left behind. 3rd. platoon is ordered to stay at the base overnight and set up an ambush. The remainder of the comp. is air lifted to L.Z. Bill. The night passes with out incident for 3rd. platoon.

Jan 29, 1970 Boonies

(J.W.) 3rd platoon is air lifted  from Kathleen and flies to L.Z. Bill and rejoins the rest of the company. The company humps off of Bill about 1 click in a S.W. direction and set up in a growth of rubber trees. Everybody  got very wet moving thru a swamp.

Jan 30, 1970 Boonies (Log Day)

(Nored) I rejoin Delta Comp. out in the bush on Log day. From Jim Wastrodowski's diary (JW) adds. A trip flare goes off  early in the morning. A claymore is detonated with no results. The company humped 1 click. Its Log day and very hot. *One man passes out (heat stroke) and is medavac'd. The company patrols thru the remains of a bombed out village located in a rubber plantation.

*Nored/Dol  At  1510 2/6 (2nd. platoon) requested an urgent Medavac for  a heat stroke victim considered critical. Louis Lopez was picked up and extracted using the jungle penetrator with rigid litter.

(Nored) 1-29-70. I'm shown here at the Bien Hoa air strip walking to a twin engine Caribou plane. Having just finished the C.L.C. course. I have no idea what inspired such an idea but one day I thought, "You know, the license plate off my car will fit perfectly on my ammo box." When meeting new friends in Nam the first thing everyone asked you was "Where are you from?" Everyone had their own pride about their state and I thought others would get a kick out of it. Looking back I can imagine my parents,God bless them, standing in the kitchen holding my letter with my dad yelling at my mom."He wants us to send him what!?"  The plate lasted about 30 days and then it went missing.

As I waited for my number to come up for a plane to Quan Loi I hooked up with Tom Cocker who had just got back from his R&R in Hawaii where he had met his wife. He had expressed regret about taking it too soon. He had 4 1/2 months left. Tom was obviously feeling the pain. As we sat there an American Air Lines passenger plane taxied up and began unloading another load of fresh  replacements.  Their baggy fresh green fatigues with their large brown envelopes of paper work bulging from their side pockets brought back memories of months earlier. Who doesn't remember those first hours, that first day, in the Nam?.

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(Nored) 1-30-70. Delta company is getting re supplied and have secured the area where 2 roads meet to form one. Outside the windshield you can see the "Y" junction where were going to land. Though I was not crazy about returning to the bush it was good to get back to the "family"

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(Nored) 1-30-70 This is most likely  the same bird I just got off of. Its large "Snoopy" dog painting on the nose is worth noting.

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(Nored) 1-30-70. Photo taken at on log day at the junction of the 2 roads. Standing is Ed Bryson, left. Jim Schmidt, right. Sitting L-R Loren Dolge, Nored and Ed Savobada and a good shot of Nored's license plate.

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(Nored) 1-30-70. While getting logged at the road junction an armored unit came by.  For several days we played tag with this unit. The open country was great for them.

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Jan 31, 1970 Boonies

(Nored) The company meets up with an armored unit (this would be 11th Armored Cav Division) and spends the night with them. My letter says we set up in an open area with 6 APCs (armored personnel carriers) (click here for photo of APC.)

On Dec. 17 I wrote 3rd platoon was broken down into 2 squads.due to a shortage of people. After returning from the  C.L.C. course I wrote that they had expanded it back to 3 squads thanks to a large amount of replacements. 3-3 squad leader is Ron McGlothlin. I continue to walk backup for point man Jay( first name Orbie on orders) Selby from Texas. Dick Fowler also is in the newly formed 3-3 as well as other new guys.  In 3-2 squad I believe that Stanley Krzyminski ("Ski") continued to be a squad leader.Also in 3-2 were Earl Falkinburg, Doug Gorton and Vinny Sciaretti and more new guys. I made no notes on who was in 3-1 or who was squad leader. Perhaps it was Gary Borkowski.

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(photo courtesy of John Farrior)

John Farrior, Ed Nored, and "Doc" Steve Sipe. Photo was taken 2-1-70 the morning after the company had set up a night location with an armored unit. Note the hole in the side of the Armored Personnel Carrier. The hole you see in the side of the APC was made by a Russian made anti tank rifle round. That's what I remember being told  from one of the crew. Note the rolled up cyclone fencing on the front of the APC. When they set up for the night it was placed a few feet forward of the vehicle. It was intended to pre detonate the enemy's  RPG round. The use of the fencing can also be seen in front of the parameter bunkers on L.Z.'s.  Doc Steve Sipe is shown carrying a W.W.2 , 45. Cal. sub machine gun aka the "grease gun". Doc Sipe is also wearing a camouflaged pattern jacket. Both these items were rare to see utilized by anyone in a typical "line" company. Nored is wearing a black sweatshirt underneath his jacket. During the January and February months the nights and mornings were so cold you could  see your own breath. By Afternoon it was over a 100 degrees.

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(photo by John Farrior)

Doc Steve Sipe ,shown above standing by the  APC explains the camo shirt, grease gun and other things.  "I took my basic training at Ft. Polk Louisiana in November of 1968. I qualified sharpshooter with the M-14. (Never saw an M-16). After basic I went to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas for medical training. After Ft. Sam I got stationed in Aurora, Colorado (near Denver) at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital for advanced medical training. That's where I finally got my orders for Vietnam. I arrived in Nam in November of 1969. I was at a location where we were being issued fatigues and weapons. One of the clerks there handed me an M-16 and said "Here troop". I looked at him and said, "Brad! Holy shit, small world". He looked at me and couldn't believe it either. Brad and I played quite a bit of billiards together back in our home town of Wheaton Illinois. After looking at the M-16 he gave me I told him that I had never fired the M-16, but had qualified with the M-14, then took medical training and so here I am. Brad said,  "Well, I can give you an M-14". I replied "The M-14 is more of sniper rifle and that I would be a combat medic". Brad replied,  " Man, you have to carry something! Here, try this 45 cal. "grease gun" on for size."  He also gave me 5 long heavy clips of 45 rounds. I took the weapon cause it seemed pretty basic...........Later on one of the LZ's, I had just given our CO Capt. Perkins his malaria  pills when he asked. "Doc the next time we have a mad minute here or on one of the next LZ's let me fire that bad boy "grease gun". I admit, it was different. I shot one clip off during a "mad minute" and it sounded a lot different then the M-16. The gun got real hot and the barrel actually glowed red. ....My friend Brad is also responsible for providing me with the camo shirt shortly after being issued the weapon."