If you have a story to add to this thread, please send it to David J. for posting.
I was with the 326 Med and made the trip to both the Mojave Desert in CA. and the drop in Iran. As I remember it, the Medics were in the front C-130 so they would be on the ground as what looked like hundreds of C-130 going over head..
What we did not prepare for was the fallout of equipment from helmets to weapons and a occasional heavy drop that did not open. The ground was solid rock and the wind was blowing so hard that troopers that reached the ground were being lifted and dropped ;again breaking arms and legs. When I mention to people that I jumped into Iran in 1964 they look at me like I am nuts.
What I am not sure of is how long we were there on the ground. It felt like a month or more.
When the 326 Medical returned to Fort Campbell, we cleaned our equipment and were informed by SSgt Roundtree and SSgt Monk that we were to board the General Leroy Eltinge for a thirty three day cruise to Vietnam.
SP/4 Bob Dwyer
Home town Aston Pa 610 733 6904
My name is Merle Winslow Bickford, WIN. I arrived at “B” company in Sept. 1962 just in time to chute up and sleep on tarmac under the wings of a C-130 on alert status or stuck in the barracks for a couple of weeks. Most people have no idea how close we were to jumping into Cuba. Wouldn’t that have been a shit storm. All I can remember after that was endless training SWIFT STRKE’s COLD EAGLE’s and more training and fighting to get on jump manifest. Then Kennedy was assassinated, all the time more training including the MOJAVE DESERT and R&R at Oxnard Naval Air Station and the Pacific beaches.
Sorry about being so long winded but the stories I read sent memory chills up and down my spine. Now my memories about the Iran Operations are climbing on a C-130 in South Carolina, stopping at the Azores and Spain, and landing at a U-2 base in Turkey, then preparing the whole 1st Brigade for an early morning drop on a plowed DROP ZONE, ha ha! When we arrived over Iran they opened the doors and sand actually came in, and I can remember saying to myself, you got to be shitting me. The jump master said the jump had been cancelled because of the sand storm, REALLY?
Next time we did it, out the door, chute opens, look down and see nothing but a dense brown haze, no ground, no plowed drop zone, NOTHING. We had no idea if the haze was all the way down to the ground or not, so I prepared to land. Went through the haze and came out about 200 ft. from the ground, no plowed DZ in sight. The Air Force must have missed again. I never did find any furrows and landed rather ungracefully.
I was sporting a P.A.E. bag which I could not release and which landed on my big toe, OUCH. I unhooked my chute, looked around and said to myself, “What a great place to have a war, there is nothing here”. Another sand storm storm and back to Fort Campbell spending months cleaning sand out of everything. I would love to heard from someone from my unit. [email protected]
Does anybody remember the jump in Iran? 1/327 battalion only jumped outside Tehran, for the Shah! It was quite an experience. We flew out of Turkey for 5 hours to get to the jump DZ. When we got there they opened the doors and a dust storm invaded the plane. They closed the doors ASAP and called off the jump. It was back to Turkey, another 5 hours, and do it all over again the next morning at 6:00 am. The second try was successful. and I’m sure we set a record for two frustrated sticks, exiting the aircraft. Also, the plowed fields they promised us turned out to be hard high desert ground with dry stream beds full of rocks. Just another day in paradise for the 101st.
Sincerely, Gerald M. Aggson
I recall a time when some of the 327th went to Iran. And I believe the 327th was then a Battle Group not a battalion. In my 327th year book of when they changed over to Battalion status in 64, I believe there were some photos. I know that I did not make the trip but do recall the event.
I do remember troopers talking about all of those #[email protected]^ing rocks the size of a soft ball all over the place.
HHQ 2/327 ABN.
I remember that well, did not remember the Shah but we had a bunch of NATO Generals there. After the jump when they could not get us out right away we sat around after the jump in gas masks drinking hot beer when the 2nd dust storm came through.
I remember the jump in Turkey as well, landed in a Sunflower’ field with 6 inch stalks and plowed up sunflowers for a mile before I could get my chute to stop. Making heavy drop being drug around the drop zone. Another bunch of NATO Generals there too. Canceled the first drop due to high winds made another pass and the whole BN jumped. Did you make that one too? We had several people hurt on that jump. We attacked 45 miles along the Turk Greek border carrying 81 mm mortars. I was glad to get back to Istanbul and civilization..
Above the Rest and No Slack
The jump was made circa April-May 1964. The entire division went over so it wasn’t just the 327th that jumped. A good friend of mine made the jump and he said when they opened the doors it
was a sand storm and they jumped into it anyway. I made four jumps at Campbell during this time because everybody was over there.
“For this day to the ending of the world,…we in it shall be remembered…we band of brothers”
Yes, we made a couple jumps in the Iranian desert. Don’t remember a lot except it being very sandy and the wind blowing. The entire brigade made the trip. At least the 1st & 2nd 327th. I was in “A” 2/327.
When we made the jump in the Iran, we were the 1st Airborne Battle Group with 5 Companies. A, B,C,D, E Not a battalion. I was a jumpmaster on that jump and this after we came back from California for desert training and then we made two jumps on Swift Strike Two in South Carolina. I was Company “E:
Company “B” 2bn 327th Inf The Road Runners
I was with the 1st Airborne Battle Group 327th Inf. in 1964 went we jump in Iran. The 1st day the jump was called off because of the dust clouds and we flew back to Turkey. I was with Company “E” and A jumpmaster on one of C-130s. The whole Battle Group was dropped. We also dropped in the Puerto Rico and made two Jumps on Swift Strike Two in South Carolina. I served in the 327th from Jan 2, 1962 to July 1966. I was there when we change from The Battle Group to 1st and 2nd Battalions, with the 502nd to the 1st Bde. I also run the Battle Group and Bde drill teams.
The whole 101st Airborne Division did not jump in Iran, There were 5 Battle Groups in the 101st at the time and only the 1st Airborne Battle Group 327inf and supporting units dropped in Iran in 1964 and when we returned the units were changed to 9 Battalions and 3 Bdes with all supporting units that made up the Division.
I will verify the last. Our “Battle Group” went to Iran as a unit. We did not go as a division. I was reluctant to say anything as I had forgotten whether we were battle groups or brigades at the time. CRS strikes again!
Also, kudos to Houston as the drill master for the brigade. I remember when we were in California for maneuvers and the drill team had a competition of sorts against / with a navy group. We made them look pretty bad. I and the rest of us were really proud of them.
BTW: I have never seen so many snakes in my life as I did in the California desert. Does anyone remember that?
A couple more tid bits about the jump over Iran. We stopped over to re-fuel in Madrid, Spain. An Air Force base mess hall called, the Holiday House, with pretty young girls as servers. Wow, that was 38 years ago. I guess there are some things that just don’t fade. Also, I remember the Iranian troops trading Knives and Watches for Levi pants some of us had brought along.
Well that’s all folks. Thanks for the additional memories fellas.
Proud To Be A Brother,
Gerald Aggson 1/327 63-66
REF,, when the DIV was a BG. I served from June 62 to early 64 in the 506th ABN BG. those were the days of fresh starch after PT and again at noon. We wore Fidel Castro type fatigue caps. We then went to the Brigade system in early 64. Also about this time, and my memory may be failing, we went to baseball type fatigue hats as Fidel was NOT in favor.
I commanded C Company 1st BN 506th Airborne Inf, part of the new 3d Brigade as I recall, from FEB to AUG 64 when I left for Special Forces. Remember vaguely one of the DIV units did a deployment/exercise in Iraq, must have been the 502d Battle Group.
Deployed on Swift Strike in the Carolinas as a mortar platoon leader with the 506th BG in 63. Also deployed on Desert Strike in 64 as CO of C Company with the newly designated 1st BN 506. Great bunch of troops and the NCOs were the best ever. We lost several in NAM. I also remember the snakes out there, a bunch. Was at lunch one day in a mess tent when a sidewinder crawled by through the legs of guy sitting at next table. Wonderful.
I had a little gimmick when I commanded C Company. Back in those days the 101st was STRAC, some of you may remember that, and we were about to go off any moment to beat back the Commie hordes in the Fulda Gap. On Division ready Force we kept one company locked up in the Barracks on 2 hour roll out to the airfield. Well I used to tell the troops that one day we might all go off to see the elephant, an old Civil War term for going into combat- “Seeing the elephant”. When Desert Strike ended we found ourselves about 40 miles from Vegas in the middle of the desert. The first sergeant, John Moore, somehow (God Bless him) got our B bags out to us and I sent two truck loads of troops into Vegas in their Khakis (looked pretty good) with strict instructions to leave enough of it standing cause I was going with the second batch the next night. At about 0600 the next morning just as dawn was breaking the trucks came rolling back with this catterwalling chant of “WE HAVE SEEN THE ELEPHANT” ringing out all over the camp. I assumed the reference was to the Sodom and Gomorrah atmosphere in Vegas. That afternoon as my jeep proceeded a convoy with rest of the troops going into town, just on the edge of the city what did we see but a HUGE Pink Elephant statue. It was still there a few years ago.
Sorry to have gotten maudlin but the exchange on the Battle Group stories brought back some memories.
Just wondering if the Army was “Brown Boot” when the 101st was still a Battle Group? This topic is an interesting part of our unit’s history and the recent thread will be saved to preserve the eyewitness aspect of it.
In Feb. 1958, when I entered the service, we were issued one set of “OD” uniforms and a set of “greens” along with two pairs of brown boots. Towards the end of basic we had to dye our boots black. Hence the end of the brown boot army. This was around April 1958. Don’t remember exactly how the uniform was phased out. Always thought the OD uniform with the Eisenhower Jacket was pretty sharp. Obviously the process had begun with the issue of one green and one brown uniform.
To answer your original question: As I recall, when I entered the service the army had just gone from regiments to battle groups. It was called the “Pentomic Army”- whatever that meant.
The previous concept was 3 rifle company’s in a BN. I don’t remember when it took place but when I came back from Nam in 64 they had changed back to BN and Brigades. I do not remember the dates on the change from Battle Group but it was 63/64 while I was in Nam.
Pentomic Army meant 5 rifle company’s in a Battle Group plus other supporting units. Three in a BN meant 3 rifle company’s in a BN plus supporting units and that was called the Triangular concept.
I have a problem with dates on technical shit but I think my memory serves me well on the above.
Above the Rest and No Slack
I remember that jump into Iran and the others mentioned. I also remember those god awful sandstorms. Sand everywhere, eyes, teeth, and food. I can’t remember how long they lasted but I can assure you it was to damn long.
I am a baby compared to some of you old timers. When I went thru basic they issued me brown boots and I had to dye them black. I use to get my butt chewed because the brown would still show thru on the heels where you brought them together. I was in the 502 and 327 when they were battle groups.
Article that Lester sent in about this jump
Don’t know if it is too late to add to the Iran jump story, but I’m glad that Les’s article was posted ending the Battlegroup/Brigade (memory) issue. I still have a newspaper article and picture from my hometown which spoke to the event and my involvement with the “Brigade” (good PR from Campbell). I also still have a letter of Commendation from Major General B.E. Powell who was the 101st Commanding General at the time. I remember very well landing in Spain and eating at one of their messes called the “Hitching Post”, which also had slot machines on the inside (have pics of both). Like the earlier trooper said, the waitresses were young and very good looking.
Marshalling in Turkey was hi-lighted by the on-site aroma of BBQ’ed hot dogs which the local vendors called “Shish-ka-bobs”¦..
The first attempt at the jump was aborted and I remember very well the daybreak jump the next day. The terrain was very flat and covered with rocks that ranged from baseball to basketball size. I can remember how strange it was, almost like spilling a large bag of marbles on the floor as a kid.
Our company leader (C327/2) got us lost until just after nightfall. I would have given $500 for a glass of water by late afternoon, when we all seem to run out of water.
I also remember after the exercise was over that we got to use the Iranian Army’s latrine. A very modern facility, including hot water, showers, sinks etc. However when we opened the stall door to use the commode, there wasn’t any. Just a hole in the tile with a water faucet about a foot off the floor.
After cleaning up we were given a day to site-see and pick up some souvenir’s including Persian rugs (I was too dumb to buy one). We did get to see some great sites including old castles and some other historical locations. Nice to have some old pictures to help with the old memory.
Steve arrived in Ft. Campbell on payday, August 1, 1962, assigned to C 2/187 (Rakkasan’s). They physically moved the company down the street and relocated when the 101st converted from the Pentomic (Battlegroup) to the Road (Brigade) System sometime between late ’63 and early ’64. At that time they became C 2/327, and the rest is “No Slack” history.
Here are some photo’s we found in the cabinets when clearing of our TUSLOG (Army) Detachment at Adana (Incirlik) Airbase in 1966. We were MP’s from the 202nd M P Co in France sent to Turkey to guard trucks, supplies and ammo left at the airbase during the 1958 Lebanon Crisis. It looks to me like the 327th was at this airbase in 1961 (page 87) of “A History of the 101st Airborne Division” and in 1964 for the Iran Jumps (Operation Delawar). Take a look at the photos and please tell me what you think. I feel that these photos are more likely to be from 1961 (Operation Checkmate II) when 1,884 troops were involved. Or, do you think that all the planes shown were there in 1961 for the Iran Jump? I have blown up the photo of one of the officers and he has the screaming eagle patch on his arm. Also they did have C-130’s at Adana in 1958 but the Airborne units were from Germany. Allan Woodcock (former SGT USA)
Check the truck, the inscription
on the rear says Queen of battle.
I was with Cougar Co. 1st of the 327 at that time. We were the bastard company that was moved over from the 187 (Rakkasans) in early 1964, due to the change from PENTOMIC to the ROADS system (REORGANIZATION OF ARMY DIVISIONS) from ABG’s To BDG’s. I remember taking KC135’s from Campbell to Terrajone AFB outside of Madrid, then loading into C-130’s and flying into Adana, Turkey. Then a week later jumping in the most northern portion of Iran ( just south of the Russian border). I remember the grandstands with all of the brass including the Shaw. Landed about a 100 meters from said grandstand. Never saw so many chutes in my life, the C-130’s just kept coming, of course that was after the heavy drops were on the ground.
Great memories, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in.