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; thats 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 didnt carry the high profile of the 1st Cavalry
or 101st Airborne. The 4th was OK by me. I figured that it probably didnt 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 dont 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
C Btry FO team with A
off FSB Beaver/LZ Owens in Dec 69/Jan 70.
On extreme left is Raymond Two Crow who was my RTO for a short while.
The two on the right were infantry FOs for the 4.2 & 81mm mortars.
First in-country bath
and first in at least 6 weeks. This was in late Dec 69
when I was FO with A Co1st/22nd. The other chap sharing my bath water is Moose.
Religious service on LZ Owens above the An Lo River in Dec 69.
Jan 70 off FSB Beaver. I
was still relatively new to the game when this pic was taken
after 2 months in country. I had been allowed to take the FNG sign from around my neck long before.
With the exception of a few weeks, I always carried my own PRC 25.
FSB Augusta in Feb
70. While A Co 1st/22nd
was operating off Augusta,
the 173rd mortared one of its platoons with multiple WIA resulting.
I was back to this same FSB as LNO of 1/12th Inf. In Sep 70.
A Co 1st/22nd on patrol off FSB Augusta, Feb 70.
Capt. Skubina, CO of A Co1st/22nd off FSB Augusta in Feb 70.
NVA POWs, captured by B
on FSB Louis waiting for helicopter to arrive to transport to
A Co. was on its rotation of perimeter defense. Late Feb 70
Me during a short break in the patrol off FSB Louis Feb 70
K-9 team with A Co1st/22nd
off FSB Terrace(?) in Mar 70.
Ray Burns (with moustache) is directly behind the dog handler.
Me with my RTO, Raymond Two Crow, standing behind me off FSB Terrace(?) in Mar 70.
Dinner in the bush, March 70
1LT Jeff Decker, FO for
D Co 1st/22nd,
and me in An Khe, Mar 70.
Jeff died in 1996 at the age of 50.
Throwing a quick coat of
polish on the boots before the brass arrived for a change of
This was on FSB Louis in Mar 70. I cant remember the name of the A Co. 1st/22nd Platoon Leader
that is watching. It was his shoe polish.
No pot of gold this day! FSB Niagara in Apr 70.
Capt Harbison, CO of C Battery on FSB Niagara (I think) Apr 70
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