Vietnam Tour A 4/12

Alpha 4/12 199th Vol I


Alpha 4/12 199th Vol IB


Alpha 4/12 199th Vol II

Alpha 4/12 199th Vol II B


Alpha 4/12 199th Vol II C 


Alpha 4/12 199th Vol II D

Faces In Vietnam

4/12 Echo Recon

Co A 4/12 - Redcatcher

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REDCATCHERS


TO THE MOST HIGH.....and for all those scattered anon.

My site is a labor of love of family and country from a Caribbean Man; one that had the fortunate opportunity to travel beyond the borders of his native geographical boundaries.

My travels involved me in a War (Vietnam), like most, that I had no immediate act in causing but has brought life long consequences. I am able to garner reflective, emotive, livable highlights and incisive memories from this encounter. I reminisce over the rigors of preparation and involvement of the activities as a Medical Corpsman. I also remember the faces and contributions of those fellow GIs caught up in the same war challenge.

This is all painted against the familiar landscape, backdrop of a place called home - Lucea, Hanover, in Jamaica. Proud and distinctively Caribbean and Jamaican, this website provides insights on war, information on culture and Reggae music.

Speaking of Reggae music, the only Reggae I heard over the Armed Forces Radio out of Saigon was "Poor Mi Israelites" by Desmond Dekker and the Aces.

Vietnam Service Medal


Redcatcher Reunion Photos:

2007 Reuinon/Mini - Las Vegas, NV

2012 Reunion - San Antonio, TX

2013 Reunion - Columbus, GA

2014 Reunion - New Orleans, LA

2015 Reunion - Nashville , TN


2016 Reunion - Columbus, GA


2017 Reunion - Reno, NV


Redcatcher Reunion Videos:



2014 Reunion


2015 Reunion


2016 Reunion


2017 Reunion


The Travel

My travels began on a journey that began one hundred and fifty (150) miles from Lucea, Hanover to the US Embassy on Duke St. in Kingston. Before receiving my visa to depart Jamaica, I had to say The Pledge of Allegiance from the Embassy Liaison that I will join the US Army. Was I in the "man's Army" then or not? A few months later, I flew out of Palisadoes Airport, Kingston on the 5th January 1967, into the Big Apple (New York City).

One year later and 18 day, I left Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn enroute for Fort Jackson, South Carolina for ten weeks basic training. I departed afterwards for Fort Sam Houston-San Antonio, Texas (an exciting city) for another ten weeks of training to become a Medical Corpsman.

I return to New York City, before going on to Fort Benning, Georgia, where I eventually was stationed with the Med Evac team.

I receive my orders to Vietnam in January of 1969, I decided to take a vacation in Jamaica and say my farewell to family and friends in Lucea and Kingston. 

In Lucea I noticed a lot more Americans than in 1966, on their way to Negril to hide out, they used the Lucea Post Office as their mail drop.

I departed from Fort McGuire, New Jersey to Vietnam, with some sight seeing stops in Los Angeles, California (1 day), Honolulu, Hawaii(3 days) and Guam(2 days) the air carrier Tiger Transport broke down at all these locations.

I was the fourth and last GI from the town of Lucea-Jamaica to smell that first odor off the plane, that odor that stayed with me during my tour, it was the smell of Death.

Welcome to the Republic Of South Vietnam, the first War without a defined FRONT LINE, especially south of Saigon where there were a lot of villages close to each other, and everyone was dress in civilian clothing, whereas in the Jungles, it was no mans land, the NVA had uniforms on, the Viet Congs had on Black Pajamas or whatever, but it did not matter.

National Defense Service Medal





Fellow GI's A Co 4/12 Rooster

199th 4/12 Medics


Foreign Born Redcatchers

Redcatcher 40th PIO 1969-1970


Redcatchers In-Country Newspaper


Jamaicans KIA Vietnam














My Immediate Impressions Were

Vietnam was hot in more ways than one, the temperature in the 80's by 7AM down in the Delta, billowing black smoke on the horizon and fighter Jets on strafing and Napalm runs.  The jungle might be a little cooler in the mornings, but you will be sweating later under a triple canopy, that gives you no sunlight, and yet there were heat stroke casualties.

At the in-country reception area, I learn that I will be placed with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, the 199th WHO? oh no, I was looking forward to be with a Division size.


I was told that the 199th General was a Black man, Fredrick Ellis Davison was his name and the only Black General to lead a Brigade size command in combat in Vietnam, hummm I thought, time to shape up.

The 199th Light Infantry Brigade (Separate) was not attach to any Division, it is rated by many Redcatcher Veterans who have fought in different units, as one of the best fighting units in Vietnam from 1966-1970. 

Some GI's refer to the Redcatchers as General Westmoreland's Fire Brigade, due to our often rapid deployment by helicopters to the Hot-Zones, with Back Packs that weigh more than 70 pounds and jumping out out of the chopper at heights from 7-10 feet in a hot Landing Zone(LZ).
 

Army Commendation Medal


Short Clips of NYC Vet. Parade

Video 199 LIB - Vietnam 69-70

Video - 199th LIB Vietnam

Video - Vietnam Combat

NYC Celebrates Vietnam Vets

Coming Home Parade

Links to Vietnam Sites



Perspectives On War

I am the first and only soldier in any generation of either side of my family to be in Combat.  My Family Tree has a Soldier in the Royal Engineers and a Pilot/Trainer in the British Military. 

Military Service is a great experience for a youngsters to attain, for the most part, it helps separate the Men from the Boys, "War changes your perspective on life".

The life saving memories will never go away (PTSD), so you must learn to manage it, period! I do hope that my sons, or any other member of my generation will not have to experience Combat in Wars.

Thanks to all the GI's that prepped me while I was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA, before I went in country and to GI's that I served with in the Da Nam.

Ever forward, never backward, in this concrete jungle. Walk with Honor, Respect, Prosperity, Good Health and Peace. One Love, One Heart, and One Destiny.

Good Conduct Medal


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VA Home Loans Patriotic Website Award

 

Finally

We who are alive, must keep telling the stories, so the light will be lit eternally, for the continuation of our legacies....

 

Welcome Home.

Vietnam Campaign Medal


Created: 12/29/98
Last revised: 07/15/2017

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Please do not copy or download without my permission.