Newsletter of the 372nd Radio Research Company and the 16th RRU Supporting the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam 1966 to 1971
After a couple of months with limited feedback from our membership, we have selected Fire Base Indy VII as the location for the first reunion of the 372nd RRC. Firebase Indy is a large event that combines Vietnam period reunions from many other units and formal entertainment for those who would like to participate. This year, Adrian Cronauer, who was the subject of the Good Morning Vietnam movie, will be one of the featured entertainers. Firebase Indy is located at the Indianapolis fair grounds over the weekend of June 13 through 15. This location was selected because it is relatively central and Indianapolis is readily accessible for commercial airlines and interstate highways. There is also a pretty high concentration of 372nd vets in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-Great Lakes area. If you are planning to attend, please call Buck at (307) 686-5126 (MST) or Vern Greunke (402) 628-2820 (CST) for motel information. We envision our reunion to be informal with many opportunities for our 372nd vet attendees to share stories, pictures, slides, a few cold ones and camaraderie after 30 years. At present, we have confirmed members from the earliest days of the Company’s arrival at Cu Chi to the time when they folded the flag and moved to the 175th RRC as the 25th stood down, so there will be a great opportunity to find out "how it was" before and after you were at Cu Chi, Dau Tieng or wherever.
Afterwords Guano has not been put out for the last couple of months due to computer problems. My computer guru buddy tells me that it is out of memory, thus no graphics or "imbedded objects" in this issue. I am in negotiation with a local supplier to get some addition RAM added to this machine. Sorry for the inconvenience. Buck
WHOOPS! Curly Kollstedt shared this little story that sounds reminiscent of similar stories from other 372nd RRC vets. A DF team headquartered at Cu Chi was, by the nature of it’s mission scattered in a half moon around the outskirts of Cu Chi. Two or three man teams were placed in small villages and Vietnamese Army outposts with sometimes friendly and sometimes not so friendly forces. These sites were as small as a few American advisors to as large as a Vietnamese training center with many Ranger advisors. We were in constant radio contact with headquarters and with each other day after day.
These sites offered little in the way of food, comfort, protection or entertainment. One day was the same as the next and boredom set in "real fast". From time to time while at these outposts, we would hunger for some fellowship with other team mates stationed nearby. Sometimes this evolved into actually going to visit some of our neighbors which might have been some of our least intelligent decisions.
A simple visit entailed gathering up our guns, ammo and flack jackets and heading for a fast and exciting trip down the VC controlled "Thunder Road". These trips could only be made after the last mission of the day or if you decided to have "convenient" radio trouble. The smartest and safest way to drive was to put the pedal to the metal and go hell-bent without stopping to check your underwear from the all too frequent sniper rounds or the occasional claymore mine. We usually spent the night drinking and story telling with our buddies and then heading back down Thunder Road early in the morning.
One of these mornings, one our team members was heading back to his site before he got caught. He soon saw a cloud of dust off in the distance, which turned out to be an American convoy. As the tanks and trucks approached, our man slowed down and stopped. While he waited, mine sweepers cleared a path to his jeep. They swept the ground around and under his vehicle as he sat and waited. When the came up to his side, he leaned out and said, "It’s all clear back that way fellers, I just came through there. The driver of this jeep was none other than Vern Greunke who has helped so much in our search for 372nd vets!
OPERATION SCREENDOOR May, 1968
Early one evening of May, 1968, a 122 mm rocket came slamming into the 372nd’s company area, hitting directly behind the mess hall. It resulted in two 372nd vets getting Purple Hearts. One cook, SP/4 May had been hit in the throat by a small piece of shrapnel and the other was the mess sergeant. Dan Alexander supplied the details of this close call for him and several others who were near the rocket impact.
Months later at the chow hall at Vint Hill, Joe Adams hatched the legend of Operation Screendoor at the expense of the mess sergeant who had a habit of BS’ing the other cooks about the source of the ‘heart that he wore on his dress greens.
Operation Screen Door
Ted T. "Buck" Buchanan January, 1997
Evening had come, supper was o’er, The mess hall was locked, then came a huge roar.
The rocket had hit out back of the little wood shack, The stalwart mess sergeant took off, not looking back.
Out through the hooked door ran the ol’ cook, Escaping the blast he didn’t bother to look.
The screen door was shattered all over the floor, Ol’ Sarge’s head was covered with gore.
Well, I guess his wound was more of a scrape, As a matter of fact, it was the size of a grape.
A purple heart medal they later pinned on his chest, Reminding the world he was one of the best.
Looking back at the three seventy second’s combat lore, He stands out, the head cook and Operation Screendoor.
Richard Payne, Former Company Clerk Reports
He might have been the first friendly face you saw when you walked through the door of the 372nd Orderly Room.
This week I got a letter from Rich Payne along with a company rosters from 28 November, 1966 and a malaria pill signature sheet from 24 February 1967. He also sent along a picture of himself holding the sign that hung over the first club at the 372nd that was torn down in 1966. Some of you might remember "The Red Door". Rich retrieved it out of the lumber pile and has had it all of these years. There’s a good chance that some of you might remember entering under this old sign. (I would have scanned this into the newsletter, but my computer refuses to play with pix right now.)
Interesting Internet Addresses
For those of you who are hooked into the Internet, here are a few ASA veterans sites that might be of interest. During the past 6 months, several new ASA/RRC sites have come on line, including several from our own company. Vern Greunke and Arnie Mahlum are up and running with this new technology.
Give these sites a good long look. These guys have done a great job and are providing a service to our fellow ASA’ers. Vern’s undertaken the huge job of putting together a comprehensive database of ASA troopies from around the world. At last count it numbers in the thousands.
If you remember the song about the ASA sung to the tune of the "Green Berets" but have forgotten the words, check out Maddog’s page. He has a rather irreverent look at ASA, one which many of us will relate to.
About ten months ago, I got the wild idea that I could try to find some of the 372nd RRC vets in the telephone databases stored on the Internet. Other than Joe Adams who’d kept in touch for most of the past 30 years and Mark York who was from my home town and in the Wyoming National Guard with me, the only other 372nd vet that I knew was John Watje. He’d found a message that I’d left on the Internet nearly a year before. Now we have fifty guys located.
This past couple of weeks, I’ve talked to Jimmy L. Smith who I’d found on the ‘net and got a letter from Rich Payne who had found Mike Campisi in his home town. I hear from Mike Wagnon every few days on email after he answered the message I’d left in the January VFW magazine. Ed Brown has sent photocopies of several pictures of the early days at Cu Chi.
If you have any of this information available, I would appreciate hearing from you. As I get someone to heal my computer, I will again be adding pictures to the GUANO.
By the way, for those new people that don’t understand the derivation of the name for this newsletter. "Guano" was painted under a little yellow bat on the windshield frame of Major Adams’ (CO) jeep the day I arrived in Company in late November, 1967.
To help us in our search for other guys, if you remember names and hometowns of any of these guys, it really makes it a lot easier on us. Hope things are going well,