A Grunt’s Glossary

In amongst my dad’s things was a copy of The Air Cavalry Division, Volume 1, Number 2, July 1968, and in it there was an article entitled: A Grunt’s Glossary, a slang dictionary of the most commonly used words and phrases while in-country.

AK: An AK-47, the Russian designed automatic rifle used by enemy troops. Said phonetically (“Alpha Kilo”) the same letters indicate An Khe, the Cavalry’s base camp for two years.

Backhaul: To carry by helicopter from a company’s position to the battalions trains area. Thus water is brought to the company in five-gallon metal cans; the cans are then backhauled. Also, used as a noun, it is anything a company wants to send back to the trains (“Send all the backhaul up to the LZ”).

Bird: Helicopter. A helicopter is also a chopper, never a copter, whirlybird, eggbeater.

Blue: A body of water, because that is its color on a map. As in, “have you crossed that blue yet?” Also, the rifle platoons of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry.

Charlie Alpha: Phonetic alphabet for combat assault, that is, an assault by helicopter. Charlie alpha is also a verb, as in, “Tomorrow we’ll charlie alpha six klicks west of here.”

CP: Command post. In a company, the cluster of radiomen and Continue reading

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How you gonna act? 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company

I found a photocopied letter with my dad’s Vietnam stuff and I thought I would share excerpts of it. Handwritten at the top is the following: Letter from Lt Simm from hospital after he was wounded. I don’t who the recipient was.

25 March 1968

Hi Pig,

I got your letter and the picture & I sure enjoyed hearing from you. Hey, that military courtesy was really something now that I’m First Lt and you’re a big, mean old Sgt. Congratulations on your promotion and on making it home.

It sure was nice to see you guys drinking and having fun on duty-reminded me of old times. I guess the third platoon will always be the same-not much for garrison, but tremendous in the field. Captain Brett wrote me how proud he was of you and the rest of the Company for what you did in the Bong Song fight. I will always regret missing out on it-I really hated to leave the field. But while you were fighting the NVA I was fighting for my life in the hospital. We both were. Continue reading

Long Range Patrol in A Shau Valley

Explosion in AShau Valley, VietnamDear Mom and Dad,

Well I just finished eating chow. We had roast beef, shoe string potatoes, pickles, olives, lettuce, bread and cold kool-aid. It was real good.

Well yesterday I received package no 3 and the malted milk balls and nuts sure went fast. The mail has just come in off the copter I sure can’t wait to see if I have any mail.

We are just sitting here on our bunker, two of us, writing letters and the others just thinking. Continue reading