Served in the Army from November 1965 to September 1969. Basic Training Fort Polk, LA. 11/65-1-66. AIT Ft. Sill, OK. 1/66-3/66. 1st duty assignment Special Weapons Det. Chorlu, Turkey 3/66-3/67. 2nd duty assignment 2nd Armored Division Ft. Hood, TX. 3/67-12/68. 3rd duty assignment II Field Forces, Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. 1/68-1/69. 3rd duty station U.S. Army of the South, Ft. Kobbe, Panama Canal Zone, 1/69-9/69.
AIT I was trained as Air Artilleryman Honest John Rocket warhead tech.
In Turkey I developed more training and we handled (assembled/maintained) a stockpile of nuclear warheads for both the 8″ Howitzers and Honest Johns. At Fort I was trained more for Riot Control than war. At Ft. Kobbe we were more of a show unit than real Army.
My tour of duty in Vietnam began by shipping out of Ft. Lewis, Washington on Jan 21 in Jungle Fatigues at 25 deg. snow and rain. Arriving in Ben Hoa sitting on and aircraft with no ventilation for 45 min in the heat of Vietnam’s summer.
Arriving at personnel, the spec.5 said “don’t move, I’ll be right back.” When he arrived he was with a WO-5. The problem with my 201 File
was since working in a classified field in Turkey I had travel restrictions placed on me by the DOD, of which I knew nothing about. I
was about to be ordered back to the USCON. I told the WO that I really preferred to stay. The reason was that my older brother Morris, had
just returned from his duty in Nam and I didn’t want him to outdo me. So a Brigadier General wanted to speak to me. I was transported to his
office (ASAP) where I was debriefed by folks from S1. S1 had to be sure I was debriefed (deprogrammed) enough I wouldn’t be a security risk. I
convinced them of such and was allowed to stay.
The next day 1/23 I went by UH1 to Long Bin, from there to Chu Chi and arrived in Tay Ninh on Jan 24th 68. I had been assigned to II Field
Forces 2nd 32nd Field Artillery Service Battery.I had a Platoon of 14 men and assigned 12 5 Ton Trucks. My job was to
keep those trucks on the road (during daylight) as much as possible. Our primary duty was to supply our Firing Batteries with anything and
everything they needed. Some of the batteries had all 8″ Guns some 175MM a couple had combinations of both. We were on the road from Tay
Ninh to Long Bin, Chu Chi to French Fort all the time.
We lost several drivers to land mines and a few to ambushes. Our Security were our on RAT PATROL and guys from the 25th Inf. & 1st Inf.
I wear their patch on the back of my vest because they had my back in Nam.
The biggest offensive by our enemy began shortly after I arrived. In mid-February The TET Offensive occurred. For long periods prior the
enemy had used ambush, hit and run tactics but the TET Offensive was an all out attack all over South Vietnam.
I feel very sad because I have suppressed memories of that time and I feel I need certain memories that I don’t have.
-Submitted by Nomon R. Kennedy Jr.