|Green Beret - "Symbol of Excellence - Badge of Courage - Mark of Distinction in the Fight for Freedom..." President John F. Kennedy|
I was at Womack Army Hospital, Ft. Bragg, NC from Oct. 70 to Jan. 71 due to wounds received in Vietnam. (see my other webpages for that info) I was going to be returned to duty and personnel had asked where I wanted to be stationed. Since being at Bragg put me 30 miles from my home in Southern Pines, NC, I asked to be stationed at Bragg. I also asked to be assigned to a Special Forces unit.
I was on a medical profile that still limited my activities so I was assigned to the 6th Special Forces Group (Airborne). I was a 1st LT. at this time, but had not attended airborne training or Special Forces Officer School. Thus I was assigned to the Signal Company, 6th SFGA. There I was made the communications platoon leader. This was to be a temporary assignment. As soon as I was off medical profile they planned for me to attend jump school and then the SF Officer Course.
During this time I was able to begin learning more about special forces. My platoon provided the communications link between units in the field and group headquarters when they were deployed. We helped run a communications facility at Ft. Bragg.
For more information on Special Forces units and personnel, click here. Please be sure to return.
|In early '71, the 5th SFGA was returned from Vietnam to Ft Bragg. The 6th SFGA was deactivated and we became the 5th. Also about this time my medical profile ended and I went to airborne school at Ft. Benning, Ga. This was for 3 weeks in late April '71.|
Just prior to going to jump school, I was assigned to Co B 1st Battalion 5th SFGA. While at jump school I was promoted to Captain. After graduation I returned to Bragg and was told that I'd be attending the SF officers course starting in August.
When I returned to Bragg, I had to go to 5th Group Headquarters so the Colonel could officially pen on my new Captain's bars.
During the mean time I was made an A-Team commander. My first FTX was at Windover, Utah. Since I was not yet SF qualified the teams XO ran the team and I was along to learn. My cherry jump (first after jump school) was on this exercise. We jumped from a C-141 starlifter. Talk about being nervous, all I had jumped from at school were the old C-119 Boxcars. Boy was this a big step up. Plus I had never jumped with a full combat load.
Some photos to look at.
Photos of Winter Training in Helena,Mont.
Everthing went well until my parachute
opened with a jerk. I must have exited
the plane wrong because my risers were
all twisted and the opening shock had
caused my helmet cover to come loss and
it covered my face. I managed to remove
it and landed without breaking anything.
We spent several days at the old
Wendover Air Force base planning our
operations. Then we moved out into the
desert that is a part of the famous
Bonneville Salt Flats.
We were to move thru the desert and nearby mountains and attack several targets in and around Wendover,Utah. We learned to hide in the desert as the opposing forces had helicopters up looking for us. I really did enjoy this FTX. The return to Bragg was easier as I knew what to expect when jumping from the C-141.