▼ Personnel File Core Info:
|Name||Rand D Bowerman|
|Service||U S Army|
|Recommended||Army Commendation Medal Service|
|Approved Award||Army Commendation Medal Service|
|Order||General Order 7945 Board Number 326|
About This Data Record
References and Sources – Nov 20, 2017 – This medals, awards and decorations record for Bowerman, first name Rand D is one of 80,654 found in our historical archive for the Vietnam War. Sources of our data are government and public collections and files. Notably the DOD, VA and U.S. National Archives. We can’t guarantee the accuracy of the data. We present what has been provided to us by official sources.
Here’s my story….
Born in Flint, Michigan and we moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1958. Graduated from Camelback High School in 1967. Had a partial scholarship to Stanford and a scholarship to Arizona State, but decided to enlist. There were several reasons: wanted to get out of Phoenix for awhile and “see the world”, didn’t want to live at home and go to ASU or Phoenix College, and patriotism (would do it all over again) and a belief (correct I still believe) in the correctness of what the U.S. was trying to do in Viet Nam. Whether Kennedy and (mostly) Johnson made the best strategic and tactical decisions is, of course, very debatable!
My Dad was a Marine in WWII and told me that “cooks always had it easy in the rear”, so I walked in to the Army recruiter and said I wanted to be a cook. After he picked himself up from laughing, he said come back for some tests. (imagine being a “spoon” for 3-4 years!!) The test scores came back and (sound familiar?) the recruiter had a “deal” for me….secret stuff, even had to see a “special” recruiter…the ASA Rep. Well, “nug” that I was (still am, Jack Freeman and Lupe Kinzig??), I signed up (hey—what’s an extra year? 365 days, I was to find out!) and off to Ft Ord I went.
Nice place. The BCT Company was 30% ER/NG, 60% draftees (mostly 11B fodder from LA), and 10% RAs (we took a lot of shit!). At least half of the RAs (and a good portion of the ERs) went ASA. Nothing unusual…ASA Guy “promised” me Language school down the road at beautiful Monterey (Russian Language, no less)…..made a mistake and took the Spanish proficiency test during Basic and two weeks before graduation the ASA Field Rep calls me in and says (I was worried about the clearance), “Good News, Bad News”…..you can’t go to DLI since you passed your Spanish test, but you can go to Devens and become an 05H!! Well, by this time I knew that listening to Dits would be injurious to my health and I whined until he said I could be a TA. We all wanted leave after BCT (3 Nov 67), but Arlington Hall said we had to hurry to Devens for school. Didn’t ever get off of Ft Ord except on the way to the Charter Flight.
The plane dropped off GIs at Ft Gordon, Ft Lee, and finally 15 of us at the Worcester Airport at 0200 in the morning. No one around. Finally got to Devens around 0600 and started pulling details in C Company right away. (Remember Con 4 Mess Hall?) Seems the only ones going to school right away were the 05s…98Cs and Js had to wait for their SCI Access. So, I went from 3 Nov 67 to 21 Feb 68 waiting for 98 school and I was lucky. Knew some guys who pulled 100+ days of KP (D’Augustino for one).. I got lucky and worked at the “Vietnam Village” training area for CPT (later Col) Ted Cryblskey.
Was in A Company (hated the Menehunes) and had some fun in Boston…..the Little Club, Piccadilly, Buttercup Hill, etc checked IDs! Did get a few drinks at the Hotel Lincoln and the Wigwam Room in the basement, though. Anybody remember the “Pig Pushes” on Saturday nights in Worcester, Nashua, and Manchester?? My buddy Russ Yates drove the bus. We graduated in June and I took lots of leave since I had credit for that stupid Vietnam Village training.
In August a bunch of us went for a month of training at Two Rock Ranch, CA (great place, lots of fun..good club) (still open as a Coast Guard Training Base—same Club!)..
I always wanted to PCS there from Vietnam, but always got orders to Vint Hill Farms (recently closed)….
At the 509th tried to get into a flying 98C slot with no luck(anyone remember the name of the 509th Replacement Hotel in Cholon?)….Great Enlisted Club at Davis Station. Was sent to the 303rd at Long Binh and then down to Dong Tam and the 335th…..convoy was interesting down Highway 4….scared me, anyhow!
The 335th was building its’ own Barracks, Ops Bunker, etc and all of us “Nugs” were raw meat for 1SG Bryant’s construction crews! I hated (still do) physical labor and manipulated my way into the “Old” Ops building as soon as I could. I remember my first “12 and 12” like it was yesterday.
Norman Nakamura being tough (as only he could with a nug who didn’t remember Bear Cat or Ft Riley!).. and the head 05H, Lupe “MoFokin'” Kinzig more than happy to initiate me into ASA Ops….I tore lots of “traffic” (not very well), counted chad, averaged freqs, looked for the basement, and burned lots of classified trash. Still, I wasn’t slave labor back at the Company.
I Believe the CO was CPT Adamouski.
Old Ops was right across the street from the Hospital and Medevac Pad. Saw lots of activity there. Finally, the barracks were done and the New Ops building was ready. I remember lots of 12 and 12 and “two breakfast” tricks. I can’t remember his name (Polish SP/5 Cook), but one of the good cooks started serving “lunch” at Mid Chow and was a Hero!
I also remember SP4 Busse (Dave? Texas?) and Hentgen (Bob?) being the “Master Carpenters” of the Unit and drinking late into the night..both were Chinese linguists, I believe. There was another “old time” TA, “Gitz” Silverstein…total wierdo! I had just extended (didn’t want to go to VHFS) when we were moving to Di An.
Christmas 1968. The Donut Dollies (we knew all about them from the 05Gs!!!) came around on a Flatbed singing carols with a bunch of Aviators hanging all over them. They tossed Song Books (with pictures) out to us and we got into a huge pissing contest when they left because they wanted them back!!—-same day, after a Mid Trick (off at 0600), the 1SG (CO) woke us up at 1100 for a formation…”You Will Have Fun This Christmas”…typical).
I went home on extension leave and came back to Di An…nice place, quiet, hardly any mission……used the Company facilities of the 1st ID’s RRC (337th)…..good Clubs at Di An..turns out their (1st ID) Sergeant Major (later CSM of the Army) Woolridge was on the take and “offed” some of his Club Managers if they looked like they were going to the CID! A few of us went “TDY” to the 175th at Bien Hoa to get ready (mission-wise) for Can Tho. Of course, one of the 335th’s Platoons(+), went to Tan An (I’m glad I didn’t).
I volunteered to head on down to Can Tho in the Advance Party and got their right around Thanksgiving 1969…Doug Taylor, too. We stayed in the 156th AVN (RR) Company’s barracks and worked out of vans in the middle of nowhere (too near the berm!) until the bunker we “stole” from the SF guys was ready (they never were happy about that….although they let us use their Club and Restaurant).
We finally moved downtown to the beautiful and spacious Melton Hotel…..close to Bars, Cat House right behind (right, guys??), and a basketball court of our own.We built a decent club up on top of the Melton and had a few groups in as well as numerous “big” Blasts…New Years Eve 1969, etc….That Club made lots of money.
I think our first CO there was Major Holbert (nice guy); too nice, 509th fired him, followed by Major Bud Stevenson (Julian C.)….he was OK, too. Mostly the commissioned officers kept to themselves (they lived next to the USO about 2 miles towards downtown Can Tho)……LT Condon stands out in my memory as a good guy….
After Stevenson our fortunes took a dip: Major Mock….from the “old school”, Korean War vet (I think) and unreasonably tough….as I recall, he tried to shut down the Club…and failing that tried to keep us junior enlisted scum from having “hard” booze (Heaven Forbid!!)……of course he failed (EM are very resourceful, especially when our fun, such as it was, was threatened)…..the Bar district of Can Tho was close (Ben Xa Moi??)…and most of us played a little—some guys found love (SP5 Steve Davidson, a TA, who fell for “Mai”, our bartender in the Melton, comes to mind)—-lots of basketball and a few swims in the water bladder in the Parking Lot (I have great picture of me riding Harvey Plaster’s shoulders(drunk, I think), and others frolicking in the “pool” on ASA Day). By the way: Great Cover Story–RRC, except we still got our Hallmark magazines (ASA Magazine) every month and the Mama Sans knew a lot of the guys in the pictures!!
The mission was interesting (I thought), and I got to work a lot of ARDF (on the ground) with the 156th and the AF. I extended a couple of more times (still afraid of VHFS) and finally left in June of 1971–33 months in the same outfit. Saw a lot and remember a lot (not if I keep hitting the American Legion on Friday nights!!)…..Some guys I especially remember and miss: Wilbur Bates (who was your blond MP(?) friend from Lewisburg, PA?), Doug Adam (a TA from Dayton, OH—a bohemian), Mark Deckard, Johnny Ray (05H supreme and a major league drinker—one night before a Swing Shift, he was drunk and we snuck him into ops past the MPs–no lifers on duty—and hid him away–trick chief (SP5 Russell?? ) sat pos for him…about 2200 as we were thinking about leaving we couldn’t find him. Turns out he was in the latrine way on the other (156th) side of the Ops Bunker semi-passed out…we carried him back towards the front but couldn’t find his cap……it was in the latrine—he had it tucked in behind his belt and it fell into the shitter and he shit perfectly into his cap!!!!), Steve Davidson a TA who let me read his SW Minnesota Hometown Newspapers, Joel Lundy (05H), Jinx Jenkerson (05H), and of course, SP5 Ed Van Every a TA who fell off the stairs of our club and died. He was a good man. There are others, of course, Paul “Bear” Hartley a TA from West Warwick, RI (of Dong Tam fame), Larry “Coach” Dines from Appleton City, MO, John Poteet a wild 05D from Phoenix, SP6 John Lowe a”lifer” TA, but not a bad guy, Steve “Cookie” Sewell, a 98B who still works for NSA, Doug Frost a TA from Flint, MI, and Jean Wise, an 05D from Batesburg, SC, and Jim Patten, a TA who now lives in North Conway, NH……there are lots more.
All in all, I had a good time…or it seemed so…I felt more useful than in my later life (forget the way the War ended: ASA didn’t lose the war, the politicians did)……A couple of special memories: watching one of the “old” (enlisted pre-65) 05Hs (Jack Freeman, et.al.) rolling their eyes back and copying the fastest code I ever saw (sometimes sober, too!), watching the “output” (no details here, of course) of what we did translate into dead VC or NVA (find out why the NVA “retired” the colors of the 18B Regiment…..I spoke to a Cobra pilot many years later who thanked us for our “output” that day inbetween the “7 Sisters” mountains and the U Minh Forest), many parties with fun guys at Dong Tam, Di An, and especially, Can Tho, some good R&Rs, and on and on. Given what I know now, I probably should have reenlisted ($10,000 tax free–“Re-Up and buy a brand new car…..”) and become a TA Warrant. Although I must tell you that the Peacetime (after Viet Nam) ASA (later INSCOM) was not nearly as much fun as the pre-Viet Nam ASA guys recalled their era.
To finish, I came home went to ASU and took a year of ROTC and was commissioned in 1975 (MI/ASA, of course). Back to Devens and then my first duty assignment at Ft Lewis with the 335th ASA Company (two 9th Divsion patches caught a lot of attention)/9th ID. Went to ASAFS Korea, Devens, and then back to Korea in 1983..too much fun and I went into the Reserves in 1984. Just got my “20 year letter as a Major” this year. I’ve worked since 1984 at the Army Intelligence School at Ft Huachuca, AZ (see a pattern here??). I hope to retire soon and move on to Las Vegas, Reno, or Kingman AZ….teach some school, hate the Federal Government, play golf, gamble, and recover from Viet Nam)….Am single with three stuck-up cats and can be found at 520-458-8050, or firstname.lastname@example.org ……
The rest of you out there should write in to Marc Robinson and Larry Armstrong and help build the 335th Address Book and we should have Reunion someday before we all croak. I hope some of you will support Maddog Mike and his website…he needs cash and writers, too (05h’s generally need lots of help!!!) Keep in touch and remember.
VA – Rand Dee Bowerman (Felix)