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Author Topic: 1st Infantry Division, 121st Regiment  (Read 14874 times)
Dill The Dog
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« on: May 30, 2014, 05:43:27 PM »

Just came across this little piece, nice account of how it was for some of the guys.. BOB WASHINGTON:
When Bob Washington graduated from Monroe High School, he thought he had it made. He’d lift weights, hang with friends and “eat pretty much everything that was in the refrigerator.” But Washington’s days of leisure ended abruptly when his father, who’d insisted that his son find employment, visited the local draft board and told officials there, “I’ve got a really strong son who’d be good in the Army.”
A week later, Washington got his draft notice. He went through basic training at Fort Benning and was shipped to Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division, 121st Regiment.
“They tricked us when we came out of advanced infantry training,” Washington said. “They told us we were going to Germany. But after they flew us to Fort Riley, Kansas, the whole unit learned we were being deployed to Vietnam. I told them I wanted to go home to see my family before we shipped out, but they said we couldn’t.”
Washington and his regiment were sent by ship to Vietnam. They docked a few hundred feet from the coastline and were transported to shore on small craft that held 10-12 men.
“We had to be combat ready when we got there,” he said. “They were shooting at us before we even got out of the water. I was scared to death, and I pretty much made up my mind that I was never coming back to the U.S. I thought I was a dead man.”
As a “regular grunt” with the 121st, Washington said he and his fellow soldiers went out from their base at Tai Nai to “beat the bushes” searching for the enemy. They were in constant contact with defoliants like Agent Orange, and they were charged with finding and destroying tunnels through which enemy soldiers traversed the countryside.
“We’d discover a tunnel and have guys who’d go in in search of the enemy,” Washington said. “If the person who was standing guard at the mouth of the tunnel fell asleep, he’d very likely wind up dead. There were some of our men who had their throats cut and their penises cut off by the enemy.
“There were times when we were told to dig holes next to the area where we were camping for the night. Everyone said we were digging our own graves.”
Vietnam changed Washington immediately. He said he couldn’t sleep for the first six days he was in-country and he often cried while lying awake.
“When I came out of high school, I still had a 9 o’clock curfew,” Washington said. “My mom didn’t play, and she wanted us in the house. I’d never cursed, smoked or drank anything. But after a little while in Vietnam, I started doing all three, just to try and cope with everything I was going through.
“I started smoking marijuana to help me deal with the pain. Drugs were plentiful over there, and I found myself doing anything to numb the pain. I also prayed a lot at night as we listened to the bombs and artillery shells going off all around us.”
When Washington’s first 12-month hitch was up, he was offered a $10,000 bonus to stay for another year.
“A friend of mine figured he could use the money, so he did that,” Washington said. “He was killed the next day.”
Washington came home to Albany in 1968 and got a job at the Firestone tire plant. He said he couldn’t adjust to civilian life and mostly stayed in his bed and slept before quitting his job. The Army had indoctrinated him, and he decided to re-enlist.
He served three years of a planned four-year stint and finally came back home to Albany. This time, he got a job through the Veterans Readjustment Program at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, where he worked for 12 years.
“I’m proud of my service,” Washington said. “Sometimes people will see me in a restaurant and pay for my meal. White and black folks will come up and thank me for my service.
“I think if I had the chance to do it all over again, though, I’d decline. Probably the worst thing about all that I went through was surviving the war and coming home to a country where people looked down on me because of the color of my skin.”
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 12:14:55 PM »

This post, apparently extracted from an Albany, GA article http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2014/may/26/vietnam-soldiers8217-stories-ii/  is so full of crap that it is not worth the effort to refute it.
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