John Gifford

A Company 1966 – 1967
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I joined A Co. 2/327th in Tuy Hoa with an artillery MOS (113C I think). I guess they needed more OJT infantrymen than artillerymen at the time. Someone decided that the company clerk needed help so I was temporarily assigned to help him (I think his name was Standard). I was pulled periodically and put in the field as an 11B2P and then pulled again when needed in the rear. I got to love resupply choppers for a number of contradictory reasons. I OJTd as an 11B and when promoted, my MOS was changed permanently. It was frustrating going back and forth from the rear to the field (mostly with 3rd Plt) without being permanently assigned. Tom Fergeson was CO when I arrived. I think CPT Pepper took over for a while and I can’t remember who was CO when I left. I didn’t actually function as a team leader and later squad leader until I was reassigned to Ft. Bragg with, 2/505th/3/82nd Abn. I returned to Vietnam with the 3rd Brigade in February of ’68 for a second tour (as did 80% of the 3rd Brigade) and was a squad leader in the 1st platoon, A Co in Hue and Phu Bai until I DEROSd and ETSd.

After Vietnam, I went to the University of Minnesota, worked my butt off for two degrees then joined the Peace Corps and served in the Republic of Liberia, West Africa. Two important things happened while I was there (’79-’81) – first, the government fell via a military coup d’état in 4/80 and I met my future wife who was a volunteer worker from Dublin, Ireland. After we were married in Dublin, we settled in Minneapolis and I taught middle and high school English for the next 26 years. My wife passed away this year from ovarian cancer. We had one daughter who is just finishing up her senior year at the same school her Pop attended. I retired from teaching this year.

For a good 30 years, I did my best to forget Vietnam. I’m not sure I fully understand why. I think I did an effective job at forgetting because while some memories are crystal clear and seem like yesterday, others are very vague. Now I am trying to remember. I even returned to Vietnam in 2000 to help the process. There are a lot of details that are simply gone from both of my tours. I do know one thing, though. I am extremely proud to have served in Vietnam with two Airborne units (the 101st and 82nd) and I am very, very proud to have been part of the No Slack battalion made up of some of the best men America had.

“No Slack!”

-John

tuy_hoaJohn in Tuy Hoa ’66