John Butlers Story
I am including (by permission of John) some of his emailed comments and stories about his time in D company 1st Bn 8th Cav. I have taken the liberty of linking to my dictionary (for the non-military folks) and to some of the photos he was kind enough to send. Should you have questions or comments feel free to email John directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was in two different platoons (1 & 2 I think), was only 19 then. Had a PL (Platoon Leader) named Lt Jim McRell aka "Moose" (farm boy) (photo) in the first one and then a West pointer, who came down with yellow j. (jaundice) and was sent home. Had my hat shot off, which was something to talk about at the time.
Have pictures but little to say about them and do not have the names of the guys in them other then an E6 named Gurkey, wrong spelling. He was medevaced out, third tour, was sent home for treatment. Ran into him at Fort Ord around 1988 he was unable to remember anything, even after I let him see a picture of himself, me and another E6.
I was also in a friendly fire fight, our platoon’s M60 gunner and I opened up on another element from another platoon. Seemed the company commander sent two platoons out, the other platoon stopped and sent out a small team who we walked into. Luckily only two of the guys were wounded, one in the face the other in the shoulder. Lt Jim McRell aka "Moose" was the Platoon Leader then.
FYI I never had the names of the two medics we lost in that action in July RICHARD FLOYD QUINN & THOMAS DONALD KLOSS thanks for having their names up. Got into the site just now, Remember that firefight well.
I had just joined the unit in March and was out in the field in April; I think, do not remember anything about mortars, lost our Platoon Sgt the day after I met him, he was hit in the chest and lost a lung. (view log report dated 24 apr 70). By the way read what happened to you, remember moving down one steep hill and on the way down some one up front had the bamboo brake and cut them, was then air lifted out, then we climbed up the biggest mountain I have ever climbed in my life, anyway was that you? (yes it was) (read story).
Pictures were taken on LZs, in the field, and when we had stand down plus some other locations. I’ll try to scan them this week most are hard to take out of the book. Been a long time closed and under others. If you contact the 1/8 association. They now have everything on CD, was the first one to get one, they helped to show the Army I was WIA , very small, but somewhere the paper work was lost or not put in.
( I had emailed John to see if he remembered there was a second guy hurt the same day I was)
Yep remember the second guy also, we heard how bad the cut was, so most of us got very careful the rest of the way, still that mountain we climbed back up was a killer. Took a break half way up and was able to look down on all the mountains around us, great view. Remember Doc Brown’s name also but not his face now.
WIA on 15 Dec. 1970, funny how it happened, our platoon had just set up a perimeter and sent 2nd squad out on a recon, just as they were re-entering the perimeter from the opposite side from us, two NVA opened up with an RPG and machine gun fire at us, on our side. One in the 2d Squad guys was under the impression that we opened up on them; so he started yelling we're Americans, we’re Americans, to that one of the guys in my Squad yelled back, “I think they fucking know that”! Funny things can happen. (view log report)
I have the CD with all logs on it made by the 1/8, a lot better then getting it on line, found everything I remembered and more with less time to find it. I remember almost no names from then, I have a problem remembering someone’s name I just met let alone 30 + years ago, my hat is off to you and the other people who can remember them. I remember Doc’s hair, but like you little else.
I’m sitting in Copperas Cove, Texas right next to Fort Hood, retired from the Army almost 4 years ago. Learned to like it better as time went on, now looking at our young people going out, sure hate to see them getting killed and hurt; some things just never change.
(In reference to this (photo) John sent the following information:)
We hit a group of VC out in the field, killed his father we think his mother took his sister, then told him to stay in hiding. Luckily he was not that good and our 60 gunner who found him was not ready to fire. Took him back to the FSB and the Vietnamese took him and placed him up for adoption. Kid was able to tell the intel (the old conflict in terms "military intelligence") guys the type of weapons, how many trips to Saigon and how they went there along with the names of everyone in the group. Smart boy.
That Battalion stand down was for about five days then we went back to the FSB that had that airstrip the one that, if you remember, had all the supplies we captured in Cambodia.
(I had emailed John asking if he remembered the Cambodia invasion.)
I missed the first three of four days there, had rash on my face came in while everyone was back hauling a lot of buckers with rice and ammo. Loved that road they had made. Also, remember one of the 11C's (Infantry, Mortarman) who came out to support us, shot himself in the foot. One of our squads recons found two complete big mortars. Like a candy store with all the goodies and no one around to play with, well almost no one.
Reference the little boy guess I should clear up a point someone may make, when I said "we" I intended the company, but I think it was 3rd Platoon who had made the contact and then got the boy. My Platoon came in afterward from another area and helped in looking for more of the enemy in the area after they made the first contact. Gurkey was the Platoon Sergeant and an E6, ran into him at Fort Ord, CA in 1986 he was working for G3 (General Staff officer for operations) and a MSG (Master Sergeant E8).
The one guy waving (photo), I think was George; from the island of PR. Another guy who has a head band on and looks stocky we called Mogilla, like the cartoon character the gorilla, also from PR. I think the more pictures you place in the site the more hits you will get, hopefully someone will see someone they had known.
This you may find interesting, LTC John R. Galvin was presenting me with my first Bronze Star on Fire Support Base Betty, for 12 July 1970 firefight we had. Below you will see that on my last tour to Germany in 1992, (see photo) he was the Supreme Allied Commander and getting ready to retire, unfortunately I did not get to meet him before he departed. Small world we have here.
See more information on General Galvin.