Details For Comment No: 27

11/10/1998

Bob Ciampa

Hey. Just read the article about your dad's tour in 'Nam.It sounds like he got in country around October or November 1970 after nco school. I also got drafted in September of 1969 ( I actually volunteered after getting my notice so I could pick the day I would go in. I wanted to wait until the summer was over.) and went to Fort Dix in New Jersey for basic and then to Fort Gordon for my AIT. Yeah, I was 11 Bravo, too. I passed on NCO school and jump school because I knew it meant more time in the Army and I didn't want to stay in any longer than I had to. I got to Vietnam on 5 March 1970 at Bien Hoa and became part of the 1st Air Cav. It wasn't long before I was in the field learning the ropes and hoping to stay alive. I didn't see any action until we went to Cambodia. On 2 May 1970 I found myself in a huge clearing along with a lot of other troops and Cobra gun ships everywhere. Didn't know where we were for several hours and when we found out we surely were not happy. But, where to go? I spent two months in Cambodia before we got pulled out for a three day stand down in "Nam. During the two months in Cambodia I mostly walked point or drag and once in a while got to hump near the middle of the column, near the RTO. Great. Almost every day for nearly six weeks, around 14 May to 24 June, we were in some sort of fire fight. Sometimes it was only a few sniper shots and other times it was a whole day of contact with the enemy. Medivacs came and went, ammo and other supplies got dropped to us, air support and artillery screamed in overhead. Most of it is pretty vivid even today. Some of it is hard to recall. I mean no disrespect to your dad or the other sargents who came out of NCO school, but when they came into the field in 'Nam we referred to them as " shake and bakes". You know, instant nco's with no experience in the jungle. We all did our best to take care of them until they got their feet wet. I came down with malaria too, and never went back into the jungle again. Guess I was lucky in a way. I came home in April 1971 and got out five months early after 14 months and five days in country. I think all the "nam vets are special. Some still have a hard time and others have learned to live with the experience and try and move on. It has been difficult on even the best of days. Best of luck to you and your dad. My name is Bob Ciampa. I live in Massachusetts. While in Vietnam my buddies called me "Boston". Most of them were from places other than Mass. Hey. Just read the article about your dad's tour in 'Nam.It sounds like he got in country around October or November 1970 after nco school. I also got drafted in September of 1969 ( I actually volunteered after getting my notice so I could pick the day I would go in. I wanted to wait until the summer was over.) and went to Fort Dix in New Jersey for basic and then to Fort Gordon for my AIT. Yeah, I was 11 Bravo, too. I passed on NCO school and jump school because I knew it meant more time in the Army and I didn't want to stay in any longer than I had to. I got to Vietnam on 5 March 1970 at Bien Hoa and became part of the 1st Air Cav. It wasn't long before I was in the field learning the ropes and hoping to stay alive. I didn't see any action until we went to Cambodia. On 2 May 1970 I found myself in a huge clearing along with a lot of other troops and Cobra gun ships everywhere. Didn't know where we were for several hours and when we found out we surely were not happy. But, where to go? I spent two months in Cambodia before we got pulled out for a three day stand down in "Nam. During the two months in Cambodia I mostly walked point or drag and once in a while got to hump near the middle of the column, near the RTO. Great. Almost every day for nearly six weeks, around 14 May to 24 June, we were in some sort of fire fight. Sometimes it was only a few sniper shots and other times it was a whole day of contact with the enemy. Medivacs came and went, ammo and other supplies got dropped to us, air support and artillery screamed in overhead. Most of it is pretty vivid even today. Some of it is hard to recall. I mean no disrespect to your dad or the other sargents who came out of NCO school, but when they came into the field in 'Nam we referred to them as " shake and bakes". You know, instant nco's with no experience in the jungle. We all did our best to take care of them until they got their feet wet. I came down with malaria too, and never went back into the jungle again. Guess I was lucky in a way. I came home in April 1971 and got out five months early after 14 months and five days in country. I think all the "nam vets are special. Some still have a hard time and others have learned to live with the experience and try and move on. It has been difficult on even the best of days. Best of luck to you and your dad. My name is Bob Ciampa. I live in Massachusetts. While in Vietnam my buddies called me "Boston". Most of them were from places other than Mass.