4th Battalion 42nd Artillery

 

 

David Parrish C Battery 1969-1970

 

 

I received my draft notice two days after I graduated from Penn State.   I arrived in Long Binh on 2 November 1969 as a newly commissioned 2LT, Field Artillery.   I had been in the Army for a year at that time; that’s how long it took to go through basic training, AIT, and OCS.   At 23, I was older than the average 19-year old in Vietnam but like everyone else, I was apprehensive to say the least. When I was informed that I was headed to the 4th Infantry Division, I had never heard of it.   It didn’t carry the high profile of the 1st Cavalry or 101st Airborne.   The 4th was OK by me.   I figured that it probably didn’t have the casualty rate of those better-known divisions. So my journey began, criss-crossing the country with a trip to Pleiku, then to LZ English, and on to FSB Beaver. The day after arriving at FSB Beaver I was on the re-supply helicopter to LZ Owens to join Alpha Company, 1st/22nd Infantry Regiment as its forward observer. Like every FNG, I was clueless.

As I wrote captions to my photos, I struggled putting names to faces and identifying when and where the pictures were taken. Of course, almost 40 years was a big issue.   I also decided that the personnel rotation system that the U. S. Army used during the Vietnam conflict contributed a great deal to my “Who is that?” problem.

Contrary to prior and subsequent conflicts, in Vietnam the U. S. Army employed a system of rotating people and job assignments, not entire units.   We all experienced the revolving door.   For officers and career NCOs, there was a further rotation - a rotation within the rotation - as the Army tried to move career or potential career personnel through line and staff assignments to broaden experience and promote careers.   While this is a common approach in civilian business, it usually involves multi-year assignments. In Vietnam, the Army had 12 months to accomplish the same cross training.   So the revolving door spun faster.

For me, the rotation practices were particularly eventful.   Figuratively speaking I never unpacked my suitcase. In 12 months, I had four different assignments.  
I spent:

         5 months as a forward observer,

         3 months as fire direction officer (FDO) for C Battery,

         2 months as the artillery liaison officer (LNO) for 1st/22nd, and

         2 months as the artillery liaison officer (LNO) for 1st/12th Infantry.

In all of those jobs, people came and went.   While I was an FO, I had at least one battery commander (my immediate superior) that I never met.   During my time as FDO and in my two stints as LNO, I don’t think any one person assigned to the section was with me for more than 6 weeks, if that.   It is no wonder I have trouble putting names to faces.

1LT David E. Parrish

4th/42nd Artillery, Nov 69 thru Oct 70

 

Just before strapping on the rucksack and heading out for another day’s stroll.  
Note plastic spoon in my pocket and the green towel around neck,
both common uniform accessories for daily life in the bush.   Apr 70

 

A Co 1st/22nd crossing the river below FSB Niagara Apr 70

 

C Btry & 1st/22nd convoy from An Khe to Pleiku prior to the invasion into Cambodia.   Early May 70.

 

C Btry & 1st/22nd convoy from An Khe to Pleiku prior to the invasion into Cambodia.   Early May 70.

 

Waiting in Pleiku for the helicopters to pick us up for insertion into Cambodia.   May 70

 

PFC Barry Rund (?) chilling outside the FDC in An Khe May 70 shortly after return from Cambodia.

 

LNO staff constructing its bunker on FSB Niagara Jun ’70.  
I’m at end of the log; SP4 Rich Folkmire on the left.   FSB Niagara June 70

 

Jul 70, FSB Niagara helipad; Getting ready to head out in a helicopter for a recon flight
with LTC Bob Allee, CO 1
st/22nd.   I was his LNO at this point.  
LTC Allee was WIA shortly after this resulting in a very short tenure as 1
st/22nd CO.

 

Capt. Larry Harbison, CO C Btry, 4th/42nd, and SFC Alan Bahl shared a bunker on FSB Niagara.
Late Jun or early Jul 70.

 

SP4 Richard Folkmire, part of the 1/22nd LNO team in An Khe, Aug 70.

Jim Curry, member of 1st/22nd LNO team in late Aug 70

 

LTC Barney Neal , CO 1st/22nd, and his S3 in An Khe base camp in late Aug 70.
LTC Neal died in a helicopter crash 11 Sep 70.

Here I am with my newly awarded, “official”, black neckerchief in An Khe, Aug 70.  
I rarely wore this uniform with sewn-on patches; it was just for dress-up.
  1
st/22nd gave me the scarf for my service as artillery LNO and FO with A Co.

 

1/12th LNO staff at An Khe in late Oct ’70.   I’m back row on right.

 

Sep ’70 in An Khe BOQ.   1LT Mike Pittiglio had been a FO for 1/12th from B Btry
and was rotated to Bn Staff.   Mike died in 2006 at the age of 60.

 

 


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