Tom Groll

C Company 1967
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I landed at Cam Rhan Bay in Viet Nam in May of ’67. The men of the Division were in the jungle when I, and several friends arrived at Camp Eagle in Phan Rang for our week of ‘P’ training. That done, I was assigned to 1st pltn., Co. C, 2/327 Inf., who were set up in Duc Pho. Capt. Hillyard was the CO. S/Sgt. Larry was the 1st platoon Sgt. I can’t remember the first platoon leader’s name, buy Lt. Unger was the platoon leader up until I got shot. I started preparing for my first mission, and two days later a large Chinook was dropping us into a hot L-Z.

Charlie company was ambushed four times the first three days I was in the field. Each of the four platoons was involved in at least one. Thirty-five men were killed and wounded my first three days in the bush. We stayed out in those hills most of June and part of July. I had taken over carrying the machine gun from SP/4 Bob Balding, who was a short-timer. Larry Cole was my assistant gunner. A trooper named Loyd was our RTO, and Sikes was our point man. Another man named Wietri(?) was one of our tunnel rats.

Late July, some of the unit was sent to Chu Lai to help out some Marines, who were getting hit hard.

I was shot Aug. 16th, 1967 in Chu Lai. The bullet went through my left lung, missed my heart by less than an inch, shattered two ribs and blew a good size hole out my back. Our medic, ‘Doc’ Keck patched me up as good as he could and they got me out on a medivac chopper in less than a half an hour.

I spent eight days at a MASH unit. Then onto a hospital in Quin Nhon. I then spent two months doing physical therapy at a large army hospital in Yokahama(?), Japan.

Could have got out with a medical discharge, but I told the doctor, “the only reason I joined the army airborne instead of the Marines, is I wanted to go through Special Forces training Ft. Bragg and wear the Green Beret.

While with the Seventh Group at Ft. Bragg, I completed Ranger school at Benning, Scuba school in Key West, Sniper school at Bragg, Jungle Expert school in Panama, Jump-master school, and SF Recon school. I served another tour with the 5th Special Forces ‘Nam (71&72) running top secret missions into Laos and Cambodia with the MAC/SOG, C&C projects out of our camp in Kontum. But that’s another story. I finished as a S/Sgt. by the time I got out.

I received the purple heart, a CIB, Master jump-wings and a variety of other medals, tabs and badges.

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