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Monday, January 29, 2007

1970 At Ft. Polk Louisiana: Those Were The Days

Ft. Polk Photo From The Internet
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Read on for a glimpse of what it was like to be in basic training in 1970 -- not long after the Kent State University shootings -- when life could be dazed and confused. I was at a place the Army called "Tigerland," in Louisiana, the anti-war movement was gaining force, and things were tense. They had just spun out of control that May in Ohio, where National Guard rifle-fire killed four students.

Here are some pictures of what Fort Polk's Tigerland looked like as young soldiers were trained for war. Hollywood made a movie in 2000 that was called Tigerland about Fort Polk's role in the Vietnam-era. The reviewer, who trained there, captured the place pretty well, including the fact that Leesville -- the town outside the gates -- was isolated and hardly a hotbed of anti-war sentiment.

At Fort Polk, the Army cancelled its Armed Forces Day celebration in 1970, and there were several posts that apparently did the same. Some peaceful protests and demonstrations took place at other military installations.

An old drill sergeant remembers how some people went AWOL rather than complete basic, and describes the "trainees" difficulty slipping out of Leesville by Greyhound.

A Wikimapia of Fort Polk today is HERE.

Now, there's a good bit of debate under way on the Internet about whether vets were or weren't spit at during the Vietnam years, a lot of it stirred up by the post immediately beneath this one. These stories have been challenged as urban myths.

An article in the online magazine Slate from a few years back is HERE, and it directly and sincerely raises questions about the amount of expectoration aimed at troops. On the other hand, there are comments from Vietnam era vets who rebut the assertion there was no spitting.

My take: Only the spittees and spittors know the answer. But the debate will last for years -- like the contretemps over who was at fault in Kent on May 4, 1970, troops or students, students or troops. The side you take depends on what you want to believe.

[UPDATE: 10/30/10 12:30 pm -- When I went through Army Basic Training at Fort Polk in 1970 my unit was A-2-1.  Every time we sat down or did something as a group, the entire company would chant, "Rat shit, cat shit, bucket full of bat shit.  Chicken pluckin', mother f---kin, A-2-1"   A bonding rite I reckon.  The wet bulb -- whatever the hell that is -- was always on because the summertime climate was hot, humid and oppressive.  The wet bulb meant we could roll up our the shirtsleeves of our olive drab fatigues and unblouse the pantlegs atop our black leather combat boots.  It was a way to loosen up the uniform in the heat.  A-2-1 was assigned barracks at South Fort -- two story wooden buildings with open bays crammed with metal bunkbed racks -- and we were told the barracks were built to house troops trained for duty in World War II.  Three wars later, they were still being used.  My platoon's drill sergeant was named Smith; I no longer remember his first name.  He was from Tennessee, somewhere around Memphis.  The company's head drill sergeant was Sgt. Simmons, or at least that I what I recall today.  Memories have faded from 40 years ago.  At a formation after the company finished basic, Sgt. Simmons told us he had been hard on us because he wanted us to come home if, and when, we were shipped off to war.  It was quite moving to hear him speak.  Until that moment, we all thought he was gruff and unreasonable.  Suddenly, we knew immediately that he was a good soldier and honorable man with our interests, our lives, at heart.  Looking back, I now see that he had the toughest job on Earth -- preparing young men for war, hoping they would survive, wondering if he gave them the tools and skills to make it back.  Basic was not easy in those days.  To get into the chow hall, we had to go back and forth across a set of handbars.   And walking was not allowed in the company area -- soldiers ran.  On marches, if somebody fell out, the troops would have to carry him and his equipment.  The barracks had to be spotless when the platoon left for training missions.  At Fort Polk, I learned how to use a floor buffer.  We didn't love Fort Polk -- the GIs in my company called it Fort Puke Lousyanna.  I wonder if that phrase is still around?

Somebody sent me an e-mail last week from a film company that wants to make a documentary about Fort Polk in the Vietnam era.  Unfortunately, it came into my spam account and I accidentally deleted the e-mail rather than saving it as I should have.  I would have posted the e-mail here so all Fort Polk vets interested in the documentary could contact the film's producers, perhaps to pass along a memory, yarn or tall tale.  After basic, I was assigned to AIT at North Fort.  I can't remember the unit designation.  It was a pretty bleak place, and I seem to recall that the barracks were in worse shape than at South Fort.]

[UPDATE 2: 8:44 am, 11/05/2010 --  The production company that has been hired to make the documentary about Fort Polk is called Cloverland, and you can see their website by clicking here.  They are looking for Vietnam-era veterans who went through basic at Tigerland.  I spoke with Cloverland owner John Cork, who told me that vets in Louisiana or Southern California would be best because his film crews are in those areas.  Interested?  You can learn more at JCork@madeincloverland.com.  Here's a portion of the e-mail I received from Los Angeles producer Lisa van Eyssen with details about the project:

"The company I work for, Cloverland, has been contracted by 20th Century Fox to produce a short documentary called, The Real Tigerland, which will be included on a Blu-ray release of the 2000 film, Tigerland, starring Colin Farrell.  Our goal with this documentary is to tell the story of the real life Vietnam veterans who spent their time at Tigerland, and include their remarkable training and the spectrum of emotions they experienced during this period.  We hope to sit down with several veterans who can share their personal history and the real experience of Tigerland."]

245 comments:

  1. My husband was an AIT DI from 1969-1972 at Ft. Polk. Anyone remember SGT Bob Wood?

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    1. no i remember sgt fink from allentown pa. great di suzybob5@yahoo.com

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    2. Timothy YoungbloodJanuary 27, 2014 4:29 AM

      My Name is Timothy Youngblood and I went through Tiger land in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam in 1968. Anyone remember and if so contact me.

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    3. I remember Bob Wood

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    4. I remember Sgt Wood, I went through Tiger Land in 1970.

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    5. I was at Polk from Aug 17 to first of Dec. in 1970. Boot camp was with B-3-1 company. After that they sent me to clerk school at N Polk. It really surprised me not to go to Tigerland. Guess they thought I made too big a target. I was 6ft 5in but only weighed 160lbs. Anyway from there I went to Ft. Sill Ok. My job there was to process A WILd and deserters. Then in June they asked me to volunteer to go to Camp MaCoy Wi for the summer to work at an intelligence school. I had a great time there and returned at the end of Aug. My Co at Ft. Sill met me as I was signing back in and told me that my name was on the last roster he got for guys being sent to Vietnam. I asked him what I needed to do and he said to sign in and be at my desk the next morning. I asked about the orders and he said I wasn't there when they came so he got my name pulled off. Thank you TDY. That turned out to be my last duty station. I was 150 miles from home. I was very blessed and for all of you guys that did so much more than me and that is.about everybody, thank you with every ounce of my being. I will always be in your debt. paulwnewkirk1@gmail.com. Weatherford Tx

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  2. I went thru Tigerland in the summer of 67. Became an OCS holdover and aggressor on Peason Ridge. I don;t have any idea why that name. I also worked for a brief time at the E & E compound.
    I saw about a hundred guys "waterboarded" and only two did not break. Non were physically hurt
    and all took back the simple truism-DON'T GET CAPTURED! While we did not have live ammo on the ridge we had all the pyrotechnics
    you could dream of. there is much more but not enough room here.
    E-5-3(67)Echo Experts,Sir!Best damn fighters in the 3rd Brigade!

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    1. I went to Polk, D-2-5 north fort, in early October 66. we were causal status for 10 days and helped build the VN tigerland training center on Peasons Ridge, during that time. Our training unit was one block from the entry to Tiger Land

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  3. I just picked up this article regarding Ft Polk, AIT, and Tigerland and it brought back a few memories. I arrived there in Aug 1970 for Basic and AIT 11C. We moved out to Tigerland in Dec in the rain and cold and arrived at night. Pitch black ..no lights ,,everything soaked..I was driving the water truck..deuce and a half with a tank ..no roof..what a trip..slipping and sliding all the way..next night a couple of guys in a bunker tried to fill a coleman type lantern with gas siphoned from a jeep. Only problem was they filled an empty 7.62 ammo can with the gas and tried to fill the lantern while lit...A lot of the drinking water in that tank truck was used to put out the fire..both guys burned pretty badly.rest of the Tigerland training as noted in the article..Ended up going to Drill Sgt school at Jackson and back to Polk as weps instructor..JH C-3-5 Dec 1970

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  4. Looking for Nolan Lang...Ft. Bragg 1969...Ft. Polk 1970....From College Park Ga. Email jackie29340@gmail.com. Thanks.

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  5. i was at ft Polk, apr-70 june-70co B51,.

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    1. I was at Fort Polk April 1970 thru June 1970
      AIT A-4-3 contact me @ logle@fbcsev.org lots of memories hope you guys are stillaround

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  6. i was with company B Fifth battalion, BCT
    may-july,1970

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  7. Anyone remember John McPherson from Gaffney, SC?

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  8. Ft. Polk Infantry AIT May-Jun 1970 B-3-3

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  9. I did AIT 11-Bravo at Polk Oct.-Dec. 1970, arrived in the Republic of Vietnam Jan 11, 1971. An hour off the plane I volunteered to be a Scout Dog Handler and never looked back. The Grunts suffered over there...in more ways then one. I'm glad todays infantry units are better compensated for being in harms-way.
    BT in NJ

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    1. What training Company? I was in D-4-5, same time frame, and left Ft. Lewis for Nam, same day. Went to Ft. Polk, this past weekend (3 June, 2012) for First Annual "Return to TigerLand". Most of the old barracks have been torn down for new Modular structures.

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    2. I was in 11C at Polk the same time you guys were in Oct-Dec.1970. Cant remember the training brigade, but we were across for a PX. CO was a guy named Cpt. Mounts and DIs were named SFC Blalock....

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    3. do you remember a Gary Edwards?

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    4. I was stationed at Ft. Polk - 1968-1970.. D-4-5.. Permanent party. Supply Sgt .. Our first sgt was Gilbert Brantley.. anyone out there recall whether we were part of the 5th mech then ? I don't remember... getting old I guess

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    5. I was 11c at Polk in D-4-5.Sept-Oct 1968. I believe CO's name was Dalton. From there went to NCO school in Benning.

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  10. i went through AIT at Polk in 1969 with the 11B MOS and on to Nam. i wish i knew who the aggressor was that fired those blank rounds in the sand by my face on the E&E course. although caught, i managed to escape but i still think of that SOB. i saw peaceful demonstrating near Post gates at Sill (yes, even Jane once). there was an airport incident, i recall the incident but not the location. the demonstrators were yelling obcenities and spitting through the chain link fence. so it happened to me but not like the egregious accounts that some of the vets or fakers make it out to be.

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  11. ANYONE REMEMBER SFC JERRY DERUSH,PLEASE CONTACT-LIZZIETY@YAHOO.COM

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  12. i found my photo book of training at Ft Polk glad my dad save this,

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  13. To all vets here is a nice site http://army.togetherweserved.com/profile/231912

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  14. I left Fort Knox on Oct 24, 1969 and was sent directly to Fort Polk for infantry training. If I remember correctly I ended up in A-3-5. My training was done near the end of December. We were allowed to go home for Christmas but then had to return to get our orders for our next duty station. I didn't have a camera so never took any pictures and did not get a training cycle book that had pictures of my company. I would like to get pictures from that time and especially would like to get or buy a copy of the A-3-5 training cycle book, Nov-Dec 1969.

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  15. I went through basic in the summer of 1969, then served as an aggressor at Tiger Ridge. Just finished a tour in Iraq and on my way to Afghanistan. Jerry Namken

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    1. geez... how long were you in the army... 69 to 09 ... 40 years ?

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  16. I took Boot, AIT, then Permanent Party in Fort Polk in 1968, through part of 1969, sent to Korea till discharged in mid 1970. I was never spit at, or mistreated by civilians...only thing I noticed was being ignored by stewardesses, and others.

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  17. Vietvet
    i just wanted to tell you i was in B52 IN JUNE ,JULY AND PART OF AUG. IN 1970. i hope you had as much fun as i did.WE WERE THE LAST CO. IN NORTH FORT BEFORE YOU WENT INTO THE BUSH
    KENNY

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  18. I would love to see photos of training at FT.POLK 1969 until 1970 if possible. If someone would be so kind to email me some i would appreciate that. my email is . heather_gibson30@yahoo.com

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  19. Snowflake2872, was that SGT Wood also a Basic DI? Because I went thru Basic with C-1-1 from Nov 1970 til graduation Jan/Feb 1971 and we had a DI named Wood (SGT/E5). Just after the Christmas break he PCS'd back to 'Nam on a second or even third tour. Not sure which one only knew he had been there before. Never heard whatever happened to him after that.

    Carlos Nieves
    Ft Hood, Texas
    carlos.nieves1@us.army.mil

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    1. I had a friend sgt Nieves i wonder if you are the one. My name sgt. Cordova,if you are this person i would like to hear from you. Email me at humbertocordova36@gmail.com. Thank you.

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  20. Grey Hound didn't go to Leesville. It was Contentail Trailways. They were the only bus service and it was a white an and "colored" waiting area and drinking fountain. I was thre from 65 to 67. Quite a culture shock fo a white boy from West Los Angeles

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    1. Was drafted in LA Nov 65. Flew to Ft Polk on Trans Texas Airline in a DC-3. Basic in F-3-5. Anyone remember SSG Yamada. We called him Yamada F---er, but not to his face.

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    2. I had basic training in 72 @ A-3-1. Yamada was our platoon drill Sgt. One tough s.o.b. We called him Yamada F---er too. Ain't that a kick.

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    3. We didn't have separate fountains or anything in 71, but I remember the Continental Trailways bus to Leesville. Thnx for the memory... I'd forgot about that.

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  21. B-4-2 Jan. 1972 Had a Drill Sgt. we called "Cherry". I am almost ashamed to admit I was there as a member of the National Guard and never served in Nam. But, God Bless all those that did.

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    1. I remember Sgt. Cherry I was a Drill Instructor from 1971 - 1974 at Ft. Polk . I'm Joe Martinez at that time I was a staff Sgt. If you receive this msg. I would like to hear from you. What is your full name. My E-Mail is:as follows: jmartinez43@sbcglobal.net

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  22. Hi. I am from Leesville and currently work on Peason Ridge as a computer operator for the Army. Peason Ridge is named after the family that had settled the area some 100 years earlier. Many families had to be moved from the area in order for the Army to use the land for Tiger Village. It's a relatively historical place in Leesville's and Vernon parishes histories. Several timber enterprises were active on the land and a great deal of cattle rasing.

    Hope this helps.

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  23. I was one of the first instructors at Peason Ridge in July 1966. I had just come back from Viet-Nam with after a year with the 173rd Airborne. All we had in the field were tents. Soon after they built the Admen Compound. and we helped build the "Village" and training sites. ETS Sept. 14, 1967.

    Allison (Al) Eyster
    aeyster1@comcast.net

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  24. Hi from sunny Fla.

    Iwas at E-4-3 North Fort from 04MAR70 UNTIL29MAY70 llB10 (Light Weapons Infantry) Returned to the Kansas Army National Guard to proudly serve my state and country. I still thank my drill sgt, company commander, and the United States Army for all that they gave me in leadership training,and skills that I still use 40 years later. Thanks to them I was able to raise my kids, and successfully navigate my life. May the men and women of todays army get the same skills and knowledge to be successful citizens, after their military service. I proudly sign this Frank Laurenzana, formerly of HHC 2/137th Infantry Kansas Army National Guard 1970-1976

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    1. I was just down the block A-4-3 April 1970 the hogie trucks ran from just across the road from my unit.....also just retired after many years in active and Guards.....learned lots of life lessons at Polk......logle@fbcsev.org....on staff at church now.

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  25. I was one of the 25 year-old college graduates drafted and sent to Polk in April or May of 1969. Assigned to D-2-1 for basic and can't remember my AIT unit at North Fort. I do remember escape and evasion training at North Fort...never got caught. Remember diving into a stagnant "pond" at Peason Ridge, aka tigerland to retrieve weapons on the bottom. Yuk!Applied for at accepted into Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning, Ga. Six wonderful months there:October 69 to April 70, and got my commission."Branced out" into the medical service Corps: a couple of months at Ft Sam Houston, Texas (orientation to the medical side). Back to Ft Polk where I was assigned to the US Army Hospital there. Looked up my basic drill seargeant and he wasn't impressed with my "butter bar." He always liked to have all Louisiana guys in his platoon. Met my wife who was an Army Nurse. ETS'd 30 June 72. Although I was on orders for Nam out of AIT, I was never placed on orders as an officer. Look me up on facebook or seattle1944@gmail.com. Lonnie Marsh

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  26. Went through Tiger Land in December '69. E&E was just as described above. Killed and ate a snake! Tasted like chicken. LOL! Wasn't water boarded per se, but a sandbag was put over my head and soaked with water. Felt like suffocation. Guy above said it all: Lesson learned, don't get captured!

    Third week into Tiger Land was made Corporal and squad leader. Offered the chance to go to Shake 'n Bake School at Ft. Benning so I took it. That's 13 weeks I wouldn't have to be in 'Nam. Went through shake n bake and ironically got washed out in week 13 for insubordination and lack of leadership ability. (Thank you God!) But things took a turn for the worse:

    They sent me to Scout Dog Training Center. I went to 'Nam as a Scout Dog man in July '70. Just missing Cambodia! Somebody up there likes me!

    Pulled my time in the bush walking point up on the Ho trail near Cambodia. Came home in April '71 after the Cav stood down. I ain't no f#@kin' hero to anybody. I know I kept some of the people I led from walking into ambushes and that's enough for me to say with pride that I did my part and I never backed down. But war is nothing but bullshit. Combat is nothing to be bragged about. If you are here, you are just lucky. You want to seek out the "heroes" their names are on the black granite wall in Washington. Be thankful you are not there. Oh, and nobody ever spit on me when I came home. Worse, nobody gave a damn about us one way or the other. Nothing like being totally ignored, a lonely soldier in an airport with people acting like you are not even there. Let's not let that happen again. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

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  27. After Basic at Ft Knox, I took AIT (11B, E-9-3) at Ft Polk from about March to July of 1966. Never "captured" on the E&E course, heck, I didn't even know waterboarding existed back then!

    Was never spit at, in fact I still remember older ladies crying as we passed in review the Houston Armed Forces Day parade. (As I remember, we were the only outfit in fatigues. Everyone else was in full dress uniforms.)

    Oh yeah, I'll never forget that damned snake wrapping around my leg on one of the night exercises!

    It would be great to hear from guys in my company...photos...whatever.
    pnwright3 yeahh00 dot com.

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  28. After serving a tour in Viet-nam in 1969 I was in Fort Polk from 1969 to 1975. I served as a drill sgt in B-1-1.Fort polk was to the best place to be. I hope to go back there for a visit before i die. I would like to hear from allthe friends i had while in the Army,Littrell,Bingham,Ward,Smith.Also from the others in Germany,Plugues,Casiano,and from anybody else that remembers me.My name Humberto Cordova. You can e-mail me at humbertocordova36@gmail.com.thank you.

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    1. I was trained in B-1-1. I remember you Sargent. I was not in your platoon. Roberston was my DS. Darr was the CO. You were the first one in my ear as we transitioned from Reception to the cattle trucks that took us to the training company. (and a poke in my ribs) Ft Polk was the best training and B-1-1 was the real Army. Hope you are well and that you make the visit back. "You people give me a case of the ass" Above the rest

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    2. After a good while somebody answer my call. I'm sorry ican remember you but at least you do. Hope the Lord be with you, keep in contact.

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    3. I did not wanted to be posted as unknown My name is Humberto Cordova

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    4. I was in B-1-1, 3rd Platoon in April 1969. I have many memories, some good, some not. DI's were tough. One drove through the mess hall building after a night of partying, First Sgt found someone crapped on his desk when he arrived every Monday morning. We had a shell shocked Corporal who always seemed to show up in our bunks after we showered. Poor guy, really had problems. I can't remember the Sr, Drill Sgt's name but he was really good at his job, as were the other DI's. We needed to be prepared and we were. Our Platoon(3rd) was pretty good and we won Honor Platoon almost every week, so KP was not an issue. Crawling up Bravo Hill and going through parellel bars before mess hall was not fun. My buddy and I signed in for meals as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. No one caught us. I could go on and on. The training was memorable. I went on to Ft. Sam for medic training. The rest is history. Peace to all who read this note!...and Thanks to all for their service, especially those who are no longer with us.
      God Bless!
      Appreciate any photos from that training experience.

      John K. jsk@usa.com

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    5. Hey John: we had to be there at the same time. I remember the Corporal in particular, and, like you went on to Ft. Sam after BCT at Ft Polk. My DI was a Sgt Chenoweth. I recall that during our BCT he bought a brand new Plymouth Road Runner and used to beep the horn in the middle of the night. I was a Reservist from the 344th General Hospital in NYC. Mike P.

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  29. Anybody else in Company A-2-1 (second to none)in January 1971? Our Company Captain was: Eric N. Bundy, CPT, Armor, Cmdg; Co. A, 2ND Bn, 1ST BCT Bde; Fort Polk LA. Also, the DI was Sgt Akaka, from Hawaii. Whole lotta fun.
    jrobertallen@bellsouth.net

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  30. I was drafted into the Army September 17, 1969 in Des Moines Iowa. Left Des Moines from the DSM Airport about 7PM on the 17TH arrived Alexandra LA about 4AM on the 18TH. Went through basic training at the Fort Polk North Fort (I think we were the only basic training unit in Tigerland AIT unit on one side of us as I remember. My basic training unit was C-3-2 all we did was run until I believe the fifth week of the cycle, after running every morning for five weeks each week the distance progressed. The cadres as I remember were all Airborne, airborne rangers etc. and I guess loved to run. Went to Fort Knox, for AIT the week before Thanksgiving 1969.

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  31. Looked up some words on a whim-this site was a blast from the past--I went to basic and A.I.T. at fort polk in 1970-basic before Christmas--AIT after--email edmagoo@bellsouth.net

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    1. I went through basic starting 19 Oct 1970 in E-1-2 then AIT in E-2-5 after Christmas. Still have my yearbook. Went through basic with Cliff Harris during his rookie year with the Dallas Cowboys.

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    2. Got your e-mail Cliff-Did you see the movie Patton while you were there ? When George C. Scott said " I'd rather be shoveling shit in Louisiana--the place broke up--I was in co. E second bat. first BCT brigade

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  32. I did basic training at Ft Dix and sent to North Fort for advanced Inf training, 11B. Jan and Feb of 68. Went to Vietnam April 68 to April 69. ( D Co, 3/7th Inf. 199th Light Infantry Brigade) Ft Polk taught me the skills needed to make it in the Nam. Bill Kinstler bkizzy@gmail.com

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  33. i did my basic and ait at fort polk. really would like to find drill sgt. skillern. a tall think african American. I would like to thank him for getting me in shape before shipping out to nam. I was there aug thru november 1969. contact me at email if you know him. at toellington@sbcglobal.net

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  34. Looking for Drill SSgt Skillern from aug 69 to dec 69 at Fort Polk. he was a basic training DI . email me at toellington@sbcglobal.net

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  35. Can anyone tell me how the name Tiger Land came about?

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    1. It was named as such, for keeping with Louisiana Tradition, ie LSU Tigers, AF Gen. Claire Chenault's "Flying Tigers" (Chenault AFB - Lake Charles, La. closed 1959era).

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  36. I didn't see anything in there about WETSU.. Remember WETSU??? ("we eat this s... up").

    Was captured during E&E and had bootlaces tied to platoon leader's bootlaces, we broke them and escaped.

    Frank Brown
    Ft. Polk Dec 1973

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    1. Rick Clink B-4-2 Feb,1 1974 Apr. 74 WETSU !!!!!!

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  37. JD Black.. you are so right, man.. support our troops! I snap to and salute them whenever and whereever I see them. Our boys now a days are there because they WANT to be there, not like us draftees.

    Frank Brown
    Ft. Polk Dec. 1973

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  38. I spent more time in Tigerland than I really wanted to in 1970. But, the things I learned there kept me alive to write this comment. I lost alot of good friends in the Nam, still losing them even now due to agent orange. People in my home town never had anything bad to say to me. Good thing they didn't, or I would have bitch slapped them!!!!!!!!!LOL

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  39. Steven Salge Wrote:November 18, 2010 4:48 PM

    Noticed there were updates and thought I’d offer a few things. I was looking up a guy who I met at the Reception station on August 15th, 1970 as we were about to watch the evening’s movie, M.A.S.H…a very recent release version as you’ll recall. I remember thinking how appropriate that that is the film we’re watching. His name is/was Bill Higgins, from San Francisco..great guy whose family I recall owned the Lego building block toy company. Long red hair and from San Francisco. Can you imagine what the drill sergeants did with him when they learned that?? I was standing right next to him in a loose formation, as it were, after we had just departed the bus at D Company that next day to begin our four month basic training when a D.I. asked him his name and city. After about ten minutes on Bill with all the stereotypical San Fran gay jokes(they didn’t say gay in 1970..they went straight for the throat with the big Q word. Remember Officer and a Gentlemen movie? You’re from Texas boy? Only thing that comes from Texas are steers and Q----s, and I don’t see no horns on you boy!! Yes, that’s how it went for Bill and he took it like a man and gained their respect and everyone else’s from that moment on. Interestingly enough, I am pretty sure that D.I. was Sgt. Simmons who you mentioned earlier. He had a strange, alligator mouth. The others were Sgt. Piper and our D.I. was Sgt Smith and yes I do believe he was from Tennessee. Very kind man, not really cut out for the job, but we weren’t complaining. There was also Sgt Spicer who reminded me of Paul Newman. And the company commander was Parmalee. William Parmalee I believe it was. I remember a ranting and raving young captain by the name of Larry Clouse. I was in the Fourth Platoon, 2nd Brigade, 1st Battalion of D company. Yes, I remember Leesville(Sleazeville). That’s a movie in itself. High blocking to the rifle range, wet bulb, going thru the monkey bars to get into the mess hall, early wake-ups, fire duty, the boys from Texas who were sooo proud of their home state and broke out into singing The Yellow Rose of Texas at every chance they had, PT in the August Louisiana heat..I still feel it from time to time when the temperature is just so in the very early morning summer hours. I met a few guys I swore I would be friends with forever, but once we went on to our AI training, we all went different directions..a few of us ended up in the Motor Pool, truck drivers. That was ok with me. We were Reservists, so we didn’t dread the next assignment..that was going home. Oh yeah, speaking of going home, remember the lucky guys who drove the busses of new troops from the reception station to their company for basic training who would boast and tease about how they only had “two days and a wake-up” and then they were heading back home? I became one of those guys my last week just before I was released to fly back home. I had my own little private dorm room, I could pretty much do whatever I wanted as long as I delivered the new meat on time. I did my job and survived the four months, although there were times I wished to hell I was ANYWHERE but there. It’s all memories now, mostly accurate I think. It’s a shame all boys can’t have the experience..it changes you. A week after I returned, I was married to my sweetheart since high school and we celebrate 40 years in December.

    So being in Tigerland was not as ominous to we Reservists as it was to the RAs who were still being assigned to Viet Nam. It was an experience I’m glad I had, but I wouldn’t want to do it over!

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    1. I was at D-1-2 at the exact same time. DI was Arron Collins. I was Trainee of the cycle due to luck and a sincere desire not to be recycled. Friends were Marti Boucher, Dave Chazanovitz, Vinny Basirico. Another DI was Aubrey Cassel.

      Mike Cheek

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  40. I was in a throughput infantry company at Ft. Polk in 1971. During Basic a bunch of NG showed up and took over. We got orders from the NG than the regular cadre. We decided not to follow the DI with the Pony Tails from the guard. They got pretty hostile to us and the regular cadre said nothing. They were around for 2 weeks. I told their SDI he need a haircut. Great times at North Fort. I knew some officers who had a trailer at Watkins Trailer Park. I got a couple of passes and they picked me up for the weekend and water skiing at Teledo Bend I think it was.

    th

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  41. I was at Tigerland, North Fort of Fort Polk, LA during September and October of 1967. It was muggy hot during those months. I did basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, another hot place during the summer.

    I remember taking a sh*t in the barracks toilet or "head" room. The heads were arranged in a horseshoe shape, about nine of them as I recall. There were no walls, you simply sat down, all of you at the same time and looked at one another take a sh*t. Bunk beds were close together in 1967, only about 2 feet apart. There was some worries of meningitis, but what could you do? We got up early in the morning, about 4 a.m. and somehow managed to get breakfast after waiting in the chow line for thirty minutes. It was "hurry up and wait" every day. I went from 150 lbs down to 135 lbs in the two months I was at Tigerland. The food was sparse, borderline. I was only 19 years old.
    I remember the first sounds of Tigerland as I departed the DC3 prop plane from Fort Bliss, Texas in the middle of the night. It was hot, humid, and I could hear Harley Davidson motorcycles reving their engines. Later I was to know that that wasn't motorcycles reving engines. They were machine guns firing on night ranges. Probably trainees were crawling under the machine gun fire. You could see the fire when you crawled under it because they used tracers. Then there was the training in disassembling your M60 machine gun. You had to disassemble it and reassemble it in the dark as I recall. For some reason, I kept asking the old troopers how many men were killed in their squad. It kept coming back as "2" in a total 7 men in a squad.

    The average age of the Vietnam soldier at Tigerland was 19 years old. An "old guy" was 21 years old. I met one who was a mechanical engineer at Tigerland. They made him a trigger finger.

    I was in A-2-5. Our company call, which all 200 of us yelled at at the beginning of every training class in the field was: "A-2-5 Every man a tiger, a BIG tiger with a dick this long!" We then thrust out our arms and hands to show a dick 3 feet long. Oh, the teacher of the course laughed so hard when we did our call. We were all from California. Of course, we got flak for that. You know, we are all California wierdos and worse was said about Californians. But we were all Californians in our company, so we were proud of our heritage. I remember doing "escape and evade" in the middle of the night. They told us to freeze if a flare goes off. The flare goes off in the woods and some freeze and the others run for it. The guys who froze, obeying the suggestion to freeze then are taken prisoners and put on a truck. I was caught this way. But I escaped from that truck. One guy didn't and it was said that they put a bag over his head and did some kind of light torture on him. I don't know, maybe it was just a story. But we never saw that guy again. He never returned to our company! That made it serious. We were city kids in the pine forests of Leesville. I fondly remember Leesville. I spend only minutes there and remember a G.I. puking on the sidewalk. The beer there at Fort Polk was diluted I think. We never watched T.V. I was told later that the company just before mine was totally wiped out.

    I will never forget Tigerland. I still remember my running cadences: "Here we go, everyday, all the way, I wanna be an Airborne Ranger, I wanna' live a life of danger, I wanna go to Vietnam. I wanna' go kill Charlie Cong. Everyday, all the way, up the hill, down the hill, all the way, everyday, here we go, all the way. When I get my 3 day pass, I'm gonna go kick Jodie's ass. Am I right or wrong (You're right), tell me if I'm wrong; count off; one two; three four; one two three four!"

    I will never forget Tigerland. Although I was not wholeheartedly for the war and wished it to end, I will always respect those who wear that Combat Infantryman's Badge. And you should too.

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  42. My Basic was B21 at South Fort and Infantry AIT was A45 at North Fort, overall from mid-August to mid-December 1969.

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  43. I was in Ft. Polk from January 1970 thru May of 1970. I did BCT on South Fort B31 I had Drll Sergeant Rollins. I did AIT Tigerland with CPT. Trimble B45. I remember being on guard duty at the motorpool which was located next to the stockade when I was in basic. The night I was on there was a riot at the stockade with 0ne prsioner being killed. The MP's pulled me off my guard post for safety reasons. I went on to com[lete a 35 year career in the Army Reserve. I have been on dozens of installations over the years, however I never made it back to the beloved Ft.Polk.

    Thank you everyone for your service.

    CSM (RET) Barry Kirchoff

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    1. When at Fort Polk, was in B31 ("Rough, Tough, Bravo") from October 1969 thru December 1969. First Sgt was Sgt. Savage and Company Commander was Cpt. Davis.

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  44. I am looking for information on a drill seargent named Henry Green stationed at Fort Polk base in the 60 and 70 I last spoke to him in 1970. He was from South Carolina.

    Reach me at jjibed@msn.com

    Middleton

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  45. I went through Basic at Ft Polk back in June and July of '71. It was hot and it was humid. Being from new Mexico I wasn't really to bothered about some of the animal life I would encounter iin Louisiana... UNITL I saw some bugs and snakes I had never seen before. That was an adventure..lol.. I was in D-4-2. My DI was Sgt Robert Marbach. He was a professional toit's core. I learned a lot from him. After graduation he told us that he was headed out to Vietnam again. Does anyone know of him or how to contact him? My email is Johnnyangel777us@yahoo.com.

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    1. I was in BCT beginning June 5,1970 (B-4-2).Drill Sgt.Marbach joined the company about halfway through the cycle.I think he came from Ft.Bragg and there was a rumor thay he had had some type of altercation with a trainee and was transferred to Ft.Polk.As far as our experience with Sgt.Marbach he was just as you said,very friendly but professinal with all the trainees.I was fortunate to know him and hope he is well.

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    2. July thru Dec 71. From NM, living in Aztec. I was born and raised here. Quite the shock to step of the plane to a deserted airfield. Not a soul in sight, dark and very quite. Things took a turn for the worse real soon.

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  46. Ron Morin Basic Training 1972 C-5-2 DS SFC. THOMAS DIXON and SGT. SULLIVAN.FT.POLK....

    cONTACT RMORIN53@AOL.COM

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  47. Took basic at Fort Polk in June and July, 1968. A-4-1, Sgt Burleson was the DS. Arrived in the middle of the night. The first thing I remember was standing in line and a booming voice commanding "get your ass off my grass".

    Arrived in RVN January, 1969.

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    1. Not sure is you still read this, but I'm trying to locate fellow soldiers that was in BT with my husband. He also was there in 1968, June - August. I would appreciate it very much if you would email me. dlynnmcbride@aol.com. Thank you

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  48. I went through Tigerland at Fort Polk June 1966 to August 1966. Shipped out to Vietnam a month later. Platoon Sgt. was Sgt. Dix.

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  49. Dear Sirs,
    Wondering if anyone remembers Leland (Mort) Hollenbeck. He was in Fort Polk in November/probably December 1970. Prior to that, he was in Basic at Fort Knox, KY in September/October, 1970.
    Thank you for your time. I truly appreciate it.
    Email ljlevy@verizon.net

    Sincerely,
    Laurel

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    Replies
    1. i left a note for you at another forum..i served in fort knox and did ait in december 70-feb 71..please ask leland if he remembers andrew ganigan, a lightweight boxer that went thru basic during his time and the DI SFC McCormick, the big irish man.. it might help..good luck..i vaguely remember someone with the name leland, but after 40 years i got to search my brain..

      greetings,
      Charles

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    2. Thank you, Charles. Leland, (most of us knew him as "Mort") passed away several years ago. I was just looking for anyone who might have known him at Polk.

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  50. (1968)fort polk- co.B , 4rth Batton, 2nd training brig. -would like a response from anyone who was there at that time.

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    1. Hi there. I was in Fort Polk from 1966 to 1968 at Co.A-3-5 for basic then to Co. B Special Troops as a dispatcher in the tac motor pool. I met alot of guys there. I drove a parade jeep to review the troops. I have still got my cavalcade. It was nice to hear about your time at Fort Polk!

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    2. My husband was there the same time as you. We have been searching for someone that could possibly help with a buddy letter for a disease we believe he contracted there. He was with B-4-2

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  51. I was at Ft Polk for BT and AIT the spring/summer of 1971. Does anyone remember Drill Sgt. Flood? I am also trying to reach Eric Byrd. We were close friends at AIT but lost contact after training. If anyone has a contact for either of these guys please post the information as it will be greatly appreciated.

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  52. I am looking for anyone who was at Tigerland around june/july 66 who might know of a drill sergeant named Major Rankins. A native american man who served in Vietnam in the airborne before being a drill sergeant at Tigerland.
    I am not a vet but do know a vet here in Southern Minnesota who was there and speaks very highly of this Major. He has also mentioned possibly wanting to talk to him again if he's still alive.

    vv6575@yahoo.com

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  53. looking for anyone who served w/my dad. his name was david l. whittenberg. was @ polk in 68. vietnam 68-71. was told 4th infantry. can email me @ sherrytckkt@yahoo.com thank u all!!!

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  54. Drafted March of 1966, Basic at Fort Benning and off to Tigerland the summer of 1966. Actually brought my wife with me. She stayed at a house in De Ridder. I think we were B-3-1 and graduated in late August 1966. I was a holdover and later attended OCS. I was one of the older guys (22).

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  55. I did basic at Fort Jackson, AIT at Tigerland, then NCO Academy at Benning, and back to Tigerland for one rotation as a DI before shipping off to Nam. In Nam I was in Bandido Charlie Company 5th/60 9th Division. First Lieut. Tommy Franks was our artillery officer who as General of Central Command lead troops into Afghanistan 33 years later. I was captured during E&E at Polk. Put in a barrel that was beat on, staked down with tripwire under my nose that was pounded, and held underwater in a mud hole. There were only about a half dozen of us that didn't break during the whole night's event. very fond memories of the girls in the Leesville bars.

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  56. E-3-1 Dec,71-72 had fun had drill sgt Amoes

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  57. Got to the reception station on 6th of July 1970 . Did my basic with D-5-1 . Later went to Ft. Eustis for AIT for MOS 67N20 , and left for Viet Nam on Thanks Giving Day 1970 . October 1976 went to Ft. Rucker Ala. for WORWAC (Flight School) graduated June 1977 . Flew Cobras , and Apaches till I retired in 1990 . Called back to active duty for Desert Storm Feb.1991 . Retired again Apr. 1991 . Have been flying as a contract pilot for the last 20 years , and I am presently in Iraq flying UH-1ST's for the Dept of State . It has been a good life , and I have no regrets , and I would not go back , and change anything . Going home soon to retire for good , and drink shots of Tequilia on my back porch , and think of the good times , and friends that are not here today , but have left behind good memories .

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  58. bruce fergusonMay 06, 2011 3:06 AM

    anyone at polk in sept to jan 1974? i was in charley 33. i remember the cockroach in the salad pan in the mess hall line. i had to pass on that food item.

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    1. I hope you don't remember the cockroach that you had around your house.

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  59. Basic at Fort Bliss Jan-Mar 68. AIT (11C10) at Tigerland Mar-May 68. Compared to Polk, Bliss was Bliss. B-1-3 at Polk. I remember having to run everywhere and growling. Also did a ton of pushups a Polk.

    Several of us were from California and we were given the treatment by the DS - "There are only two types of people from California: Hot Rodders and Q----rs and I don't see any exhaust pipes coming out your ass!"

    I recall the E&E. Pulling the heads off chickens and getting blood all over. Then running scared. A group of us got caught by cadre. I took off and never looked back.

    Arrived in RVN in June assigned to 101st Airborne - they were taking anyone in those days. Luckily I found a spot in the Admin. Co. and never had to use my 11C10 MOS. Spent most of my time at Bien Hoa. Served 19 months active duty with a 5 month early out.

    Check out this site - http://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApps?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=61001

    Michael was one of our group from California drafted together and we all went to Bliss, then Polk. Most of us wound up in 'Nam. He was KIA on 12/22/68 - RIP.

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  60. Remember the Bong the Cong tee shirt? Anyone still have one?

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    1. Yes = I remember. I have a photo of me wearing one at Polk in April, 1968. I don't know where the shirt is, though.

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    2. I was a Drill Sergeant at Ft. Polk Company A 2 1 1967 to 1969 5th platoon

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  61. remember ''quick kill with the BBguns''

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    1. Yep - Point and shoot. Very effective. Thanks

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  62. Ct says I was at Polk for basic July 10 1969 forward starting in B/5/1. Made Platoon Guide etc. Thought I would be 11/bravo, but ended up in clerk school, stayed at Polk my entire ride. God Bless the 11/Bravos/

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  63. I was drafted. I took my basic from Oct.to Dec.1972.Platoon was B-2-1. While there, the DI's said to us that we'll never forget their names. And they were right. I had SSG Adams and SFC Bradley. I didn't know it at the time, figured I just had to go through the Army BS, but somewhere halfway through basic, I knew it was keeps.

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    1. I was there at the same time, got drafted out from Chicago, when orders came thru, Nixon stopped sending troops to Nam. Nixon saved a lot of GI's

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  64. Saw a B-3-3 May to June 1970 above. Me too.

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  65. A-2-2 June 1970. Senior Drill Instructor SFC Washington. Good Man! Will always remember him.
    Platoon SGT, Drill SGT Ferris, always looked and acted as if he wanted to be elsewhere Ha! probably did! SFC Washington seemed to choose me to set the example on what a low crawl on the rocks should look like (I did it frequently), and how to do 50, 4 count push ups.

    Thanks sarge, I'm sixty and strong as an ox....there were benefits!

    Hardin

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    1. I was in A-2-2 in July 1972 thru Sept 1972. The name SFC Washington does sound familiar. I remember the Senior Drill drove a big ass cadilac. Capt Shaunessy was the CO.

      Best time of my young life then. Left there went to Ft Gordon for MP School and then Vietnam. One of the last ones to go. How lucky!!! But, all of it prepared me for my life's journey. I retired last year as a Senior Inspector, United States Marshals Service.

      Michael Bounds,
      Sr Inspector, Ret.
      United States Marshals Service

      email: michaelobounds@gmail.com

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  66. I did Basic at Ft Polk 14 July 1970 and shipped out to Ft. Sam for Medic training returning back home to serve in National Guard on 27 November 1970. Head DS name was Sgt.Portello. I went through basic and AIT with my buddies McDuffy, Hotmeyer, and Lemke. I am at djshilds@hotmail.com

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  67. Tigerland - B-4-3, July 1966. Did not speak English (drafted)- Nam, Oct 66, C Trp 10th Cav - 3rd Bde 4ID. Ultimately, C Trp 3/4 Cav, 25ID. Retired Mar 87 and proud. Frankly, without Tigerland training, would not've made it. Thanks

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  68. B-3-3 May and June, 1970. I'm another one. Got a picture of me by a storage shed with Snoopy on it.

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  69. God bless you guys. I was at Ft. Polk and am glad I lived through it. Great training.

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  70. B-5-2 May - July 1968. The most interesting time of my life.

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  71. Bryce Holmes
    I was at Tigerland May 1973 for basic company C-4-2, Drill Sergant Turner, his assistant Drill Sergant Woznack and Senior Drill Sergant Wright. Tough time but one hell of a way to grow up (quick).

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    1. Chris Marcellus. From Philly at that time.
      I was in C-4-2 but my DS was Kenneth Rae. I have a platoon photo.

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  72. January-March 1972, C-3-2; enlisted after getting a low number in the draft lottery. Had Drill Sgt. Henry (good cop) and Sgt. Baldwin (bad cop). I think the CO's name was Lt. Jesse - or maybe Cpt. Jesse. I didn't mind the training, except for not being able to go to my own home and own bed at night.... I grew up in a military family, was a Boy Scout and generally accustomed to hiking, camping, shooting, etc. Just didn't like the authority of the dimwits I had to answer to throughout my Army enlistment. Worst memory was KP, which I had a few times, 0300 - 2330 hrs washing dishes and mopping. Everything else was fun compared to that.

    Somehow I convinced one of the cadence callers to recite Country Joe's " 1, 2, 3, what are we fightin' for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam. And it's 5, 6, 7, open up the Pearly Gates. Well, there ain't no time to wonder why, YIPPEE, we're all going to die". Seemed sort of appropriate, and it bugged the hell out of the drill sgts.

    After basic, sent to Ft. Sam to train as Combat Medic, then to Ft. Bliss (Wm. Beaumont Gen Hosp), as 'Nam was winding down, lots of injured guys back from the war to recuperate.

    Although I never enjoyed the Army while I was in, I realize in retrospect it gave me some direction and motivation in my life (mainly, not wanting to take orders from someone else), so I got an education courtesy of Uncle Sam and pursued a solid professional career. I'd be a homeless bum now if it hadn't been for basic training at Ft. Puke.

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  73. Was drafted in November, 1965 in Los Angeles and spent my entire time in Fort Polk. Fort Ord was closed due to spinal meningues. Flew out of LAX on a Lockeed Constalition (3 tail fins) on Saturn Airlines.

    Was in B/2/2 for basic. Held over and then assigned as permanent party to Company A Special Troops (AG). I took a typing test at the reception station and since was a college grad in Business Administration who couldn't see, but could type, seemed natural. Worked in Building 317 in South Fort. Obtained port calls, got extracts of morning reports for AWOL's, went on TDY to return AWOL prisoners and became an Specialist 5 in 18 months due to waiver of time in grade and service.

    Only went to Tiger Land to out process graduates of AIT. Most were 11B with Oakland port calls.

    The scenes in the movie Tiger Land were not of the Leesville I remember. I recall separation of races at the show, bus station, bars, etc. Foreign to me and didn't understand how you roomed, worked, showered, crapped, pissed and ate together you couldn't go town and share a drink together.

    While I didn't go to Nam, I consider myself a Vietnam Veteran. I served and went where I was told and did what I was told to do.

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    1. Thanks for your service. You WERE a Vietnam Veteran in that you were in during the time and endured Polk first hand. I did graduate in May, 68; went to nam; assigned to 101st AB Div; and made it back to the World in one piece.

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    2. I'm actually replying to myself. Had a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day here yesterday in Oregon. Nice, but a bit late. Was hoping to see something from a former member. My good friend passed. Anyone from Company A Speical Troops contact me.

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  74. Charles Howard.. I was in E-3-1 in Dec-March 1974. Then to jump school and reported to 1/75th Ranger batt. 6 may 75. Polk was a hoot!! If I understand it right, my step dad was a DI at E-3-1 and retired the end of the class before I got there. His name was Ken Elliot. Any questions email me at ch3263@msn.com or facebook.

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  75. North fort Polk nov 74- mar 75 11bravo D-2-1, then to ft Benning Ga, Ft Hood TX, Hohenfels Germany, ft Irwin, Graf, Gremany, 82abn div, 2nd AD
    Cpl Fisher B co 1st bn 50th inf

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  76. tigerland was worst than Nam

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    1. You did NOT go to the Nam that I did.

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  77. I am looking for a 1973 year book for c-3-2 (Fort Polk) basic trainning @ Nov. Jack Tilley Drill Sgt. Any info would be much appreciated. Martin!, DROP AND GIVE ME 20. You were great, Jack. Replies: Ficksme@hotmail.com

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    1. did you know that jack tilley went on to become sgt maj of the army? i was drll sgt at ft polk 69-71 then off to korea. msg cassell, retired btw unit d-1-2, across st from px.

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  78. I was in Ft Polk Sept-Jan 1974 BCT Co. A-2-2. We had a couple of DI's one very large black guy whose favorite was to address us was " now mens" He was actually a really great guy. The other was a white guy who had a really nice Plymouth Fury a 72 I think, It was green and he had tricked it out nice.

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  79. A-4-1 Fort Polk Jan-May 1975 Would love to reconnect with any of the guys from that time period. We were across the street from the obstacle course. Left Polk, went to jump school at Benning and then to 2d Ranger Bn at Lewis. Retired in November, 1994. Dennis Bullard dennismbullard32@comcast.net

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  80. I was at Fort Polk in June, July and August of 1966 for AIT. It was hot but not as hot as Nam. The training I recieved kept me alive in Nam. Polk was a tough place.

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  81. Was at Polk Nov 70 - Feb 71 for BT. Went with about 25 other guys from my reserve unit so we all knew each other going in. DI's placed us in barracks by state, so all of us were in the same barracks. Basic company was A-1-1. 1Sgt Tatenhahn (sp?), our DI was Sgt Isaac Comer, and another DI was SSGT Arnold. One clear memory was the plague shot given us on the day we were to depart on Christmas leave. Get sick on your time, soldier, not mine. After basic, all of us went to Ft Sam for med training and then home to reserve unit ... a fixed base hospital.

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  82. WAS AT FORT POLK FROM APRIL THRU AUGUST 72. REMEMBER D.I SMITH AND APPELWHITE. B-22, 1ST PLATOON. I'M FROM N.J. LOOKING FOR OTHERS WHO WERE THERE AT THAT TIME. LOT'S OF MEMORIES

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  83. Was at Ft Polk for AIT, Tigerland from Jul 71-Sep 71; DI's were SSG Irby and SFC Cannon, anyone was there and has a year book. reply wburfict@gmail.com

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  84. Was at Ft Polk Feb 22 72 Basic Tigerland E15 Company Commander CPT Nelson SDS Pledge Cannon My Platoon was SDS Wayne Williamson. DS Francis Irby Was one tough SOB. Remember the heat Escape & Evasion, and to this day will never forget the tough but great use for life training. Ft Polk Tigerland Never Forget

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  85. My basic began 8 Jun 70. To exercise what I thought was my last taste of freedom I refused the Army's offer of transportation to Ft Polk and instead took a week to hitch hike there from OKC. On the way down I spent several days with a special friend in Nacogdoches TX. There was a tear or two held back in my eyes when I left there to hitch that last leg to Ft Polk. I had a good time in basic. I was in the best shape of my life when I got there so nothing they could do physically phased me at all. I do remember a lot of wet bulb days and some guys didn't like those too well. One thing that made this all the easier was I was a National Guard guy and I knew I was going home. I made some great friends in C-3-1. I was to be trained as a field wireman to support artillery communications so I trained at North Fort as a 36K learning to climb telephone poles and stuff like that.

    I'll always miss a few of the guys. I understand Pratt is no longer with us. I wonder about Reigle, DeMarco, Harp and several others. If anyone from C-3-1 in the summer of 70 reads this please comment. Best to all of you.

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  86. REX JOHNSON APRIL 2, 2012 A-2-1 LATE JULY THROUGH OCTOBER 1970.
    I WONDER IF THE OLD WWII BARACKS ARE STILL STANDING. I DON'T THINK WE HAD SCREENS ON THE WINDOWS BUT MOSQUITOS WERE NEVER A PROBLEM. DOES ANYONE REMEMBER DRILL SGTS HARRIGAN AND PIERCE. THANKS

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    1. Was at Polk late July thru Oct 70 also. 11b training. Great and somber memories today but not real fun then. I can say the training was real tough but top notch and the DI's were trying to save our lives. Remember a DI named Canada. Too long ago to remember all. Tigerland had that sign Welcome to Tigerland but I didn't remember seeing it; oh I know why, I was in a cattle trailer. LOL God Bless all and peace too. Once a Soldier, always a Soldier.

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  87. Did my Basic at E-3-2, North Fort. Afterwards, AIT at Ft. Gordon, Ga as an MP. Permanent duty station was Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Once they found out I could type, it was a piece of cake. I guess I will always wonder why I didn't get sent to Viet Nam. I had just finished up a four year college degree and gotten married in June of 70, then got drafted in Aug. of 70. I was very lucky. I knew that after spending the first night of bivquac in he woods that I would have never lived through VN. I feel so guilty for those who were not as lucky. The older I get, the more I think about it. A bunch of 19-22 year old kids preparing for war. The soldiers I see on TV today look a lot better prepared than we did back then.

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    1. I also took basic in E-3-2 in North Fort in Aug-Sept of '70

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  88. I did my basic at Ft Polk from Feb 9 - April 21, 1972 at Ft Polk. I would love to reconnect with any of the guys from my unit. Does anyone know where I can find pictures of Ft polk from early 1972?
    Gerry Grady grgrady2011@comcast.net

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  89. At the base 14/Aug/70-16/Dec/70. Basic D-1-2(across from large field by main px). AIT D-4-5. Across from Whispering Pines. DI basic Autry Cassell & Arron Collins. By luck and sincere desire not to be recycled I scored 79/80 on BCT and was company trainee of the cycle.
    In basic my friends were Marty Boucher, Dave Chase(Chazanovitz ) and Vinny Basarico (permanent road guard). I clearly remember on our first march to the range Collins yelling "Basarico! Where's my road guard?

    I remember a guy named Feldman from Dallas who suffered all the pain and perceived indignities of Basic.

    In AIT I tried my best to stay under the radar. We were all influenced by the various class instructors who had been in Nam and their attitude. My recollection is distinctly different from other writers to this blog who recited various abuses water boarding, etc. I don't say those things did not happen to them, I just never saw it or heard about it during my time. For instance on the rope bridge water crossing they had an instructor demonstrate the exercise but did not have us try it!
    My name is Mike Cheek email porschepoor@aol.com

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    1. was a long time ago, as it was when i was in basic, jan-mar 68, don't remember many trainee friends but remember drill sgt. sorry i don't remember you . only the f-ups get remembered. your truly, autry r. casell, msg, retired p.s. did remember we found cases of beer just before graduation during one cycle and dumped it all nar the company formation area

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    2. MSG Casell,
      Do you remember any of the guys from A-2-2
      ( Summer 1972)?

      Michael0bounds@gmail.com

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  90. I served at Fort Polk from Dec 27, 1971 Charlie Company 25 thru May 16, 1972 Delta Company 33. Looking for a friend from Delta who was the squad leader for 3rd. He went to Nam and I never heard from him again. n_johnston2011@yahoo.com Thank you for any information

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  91. I was at Ft Polk in January of 1971. C-1-1. Mostly guys from the Cleveland, Ohio area and some from Minnesota.
    Drill Sgt was Marion Van Tassell. Great guy.

    I later was assigned to the Infantry/AIT in processing center at Tigerland before leaving for Ft Richardson in Anchorage.

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  92. Did BT at Knox, arrived at Polk early summer of 1969. Completed AIT - 11B40, light weapons infantry. Went to RVN serving one year with the 4th ID. Spent most of my year as an RTO with a line company in the mountainous, jungle regions of III Corp. Anyone remember LZ "Chuckles"? Spent my last few months as a jeep driver for a crazy Major named Bill Gillam at Camp Enari.

    Rick D.
    SWFL
    rick2948@gmail.com

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  93. Started BCT in October 1970 in E-1-2 around the 19th of October then AIT after a Christmas leave in E-2-5. Tigerland and Peason Ridge in late January 71. Went through BCT in the same company with Cliff Harris (#43) of Dallas Cowboy fame. He was about to get drafted so he joined the Reserves and went to basic during the week and left to play on the weekends. Our Sr Drill Sgt (E7) was a tall guy named Young, My DI was named Fletcher. I still have my BCT yearbook. Gary Huntsman

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  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  95. I was at Ft Polk for AIT from '71 Oct-Dec. The only person I can remember was Capt Benton. He was from PA. I took basic at Ft Dix.

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  96. I was in Tigerland for AIT Jun-Jul,of 68 A-4-2 I think. "Alpha War hoops ou ou" Don't rem. everything except great training and chinups before chow. A brawl I was involved in on the way to Tigers Den, when 3-4 troops beating up on 1 short guy, I yelled "what ya doing to that guy"! All came to my side of the road and the first one to hit me was the short guy getting his ass beat, LOL. Thanks to a Msg who came up from the barracks down below we made quick work of all of em. Mess hall and KP where for a split second after you through the light switch the wall was brown, then pee green. I got used to eating them roach parts after several days of picking at the chow.E&E is a black out for me except the quick snapping of the chicken neck. Our company broke the record of the most article 15's up till that time, 115 for the 4th Plt. alone. I was in the 2nd Plt. Maybe that's why we spent most of the time in the leaning rest position. After Polk they sent some 15 of us to shake and bake school at Benning which no one wanted or volunteered for. We did 10 weeks before the IG relieved us from that curriculum. Yet, that was more excellent training. Them 2 training opportunities made me a leader to serve in the Nam as a Recon, Hvy. Wpns. Co. E 1/7th Air Cav. and help many come home as well as my self. Thanks to all my DI's who were some of the most fighting MF'ers in the Army and training me so dam well. God bless all of you all who are my brothers in arms!
    SFC Alan Block

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  97. Looking for drill sgt. Chenoweth , James I believe was at Fort Polk TigerLand 68-69-70 . Think he was in company 11B but after reading all the above posts I'm not sure. Would love to find a picture of him as well as what folks thought of him . Trying to tie up loose ends . Thanks guys for everything y'all made American what is today .


    Nightman1103@yahoo.com
    Any information will help
    God bless

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  98. J Lawor
    I was at Tigerland for Basic and AIT 11-B-10-July 20, 1970 - December 1970
    Third Battalion Company C for Basic and 3-C-4 for AIT. The Basic Company Commander was CPT. Armer the Training Office 2LT Todd and Drill Sergeant Shipley.
    I just pulled out my Basic Year Book and it brought back some good and bad old memories.
    I remember after a week in the Main Post acclimating, then the long ride out to Tigerland stepping off the open cattle trucks at our company street and then the smack of the large half of a pool que hitting the back of my legs because I wasn’t moving fast enough. What about the in 98 deg. heat at 98% humidity, how about eating salt tablets, polishing the barrack’s floor only to have it scuffed up at 2AM by the DI's and then having to do it again in the dark so it would be polished for inspection in the morning
    Does anyone else remember?

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  99. twostephwy@yahoo.comJuly 19, 2012 9:24 PM

    I was in Basic in A-5-2 at FT Polk Sep-Nov. Left there and went to FT Sam to be a medic and later sent to Bamberg Germany. I remember the long runs, hot days and when it turned cold on the firing range lying in wet sand and water at night, until someone shot out the range lights. [LOL] As punishment they ran us most of the night and then tear gassed us. Too many memories to write here.
    Thanks to everyone for sharing a part of theirs here!!!

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    1. I was in A-5-2 in Aug 70 thru Feb 71 went to mannheim Germany from Ft.polk

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  100. Charlie Willey cdubok@aol.comAugust 12, 2012 11:51 PM

    You can read an earlier post I left on 11MAR12 above.

    I just returned home in the early hours this AM from my youngest son's wedding in Florida. To make a holiday of it my wife and I drove down from Oklahoma and stayed an additional week. This gave me a perfect opportunity to give myself a tour of Ft Polk on the way home. My wife and I took this tour yesterday evening and I spent the whole time explaining to her what it was like there in 1970. I met her within weeks of returning home from AIT.

    I first had to explain why I was a bit lost driving around the fort because we were only able to walk and usually were too tired to venture very far in the little time we could call our own. I finally found Alabama Street and from there made my way to what was once South Fort. Remember all the barracks? All are gone except two. I could see window air conditioners in a couple of the windows and explained to her they were certainly not there in 1970. These two barracks are near the south end of current Alabama Street which I thought extended a long way south of my barracks, C-3-1. There is now a fence just south of these two barracks blocking further travel. Directly across from our barracks was a concession type building at the time where I remember buying ice cream when we were finally able to go there. In 1970 I remember a training facility which was fairly new just south of us - gone. I could not identify where North Fort was, all those barracks are gone.

    In case you are worried about the pine trees, every damn one of them is still there blocking any wind you might hope for to give some relief from the heat.

    - Charlie

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  101. I did my AIT at little vietnam, in late 73 anyone have books
    from A-4-2?

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  102. i was there living on post with a family member this was early 70's.he was abusive alcoholic and especially abused my son. while i worked in a mess hall as a civilian.polk was wall to wall drugs.a familys kids gave me mushroom tea.which i was dumb and actually thought it was tea.while i was at work i came home were the same neighbor gave my son drugs.real cute.son was 4 years old.although i wasn't in the army .ft.polk sucked

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  103. I was there Feb. thru Apr. 1970 for Basic in B-1-1 at the South Fort, Sgt. Jeske was the D.S. for our platoon. I do remember DS Bell as well, also the DS from
    Puerto Rico who was the PT instructor...."more PT Drill Sgt. more PT" was the phrase we shouted and endured. It was hard training, but all for a good reason. Went on to the North Fort for 11B training at A-1-5 or A-5-1??

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    1. Hello, I'm the PT instructor you recall.I like to read once in while the commends left by the people that has been in Ft. Polk because i remember it with great joy every time i read about them. I hope your way thru life has been good. I'm still thinking about going back there before i die. The other day a guy named Willey also email me. You can email me at, humbertocordova36@gmail.com.

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    2. I'm the one you recall as your PT instructor, still remember those days.I wish i could go back to those days. I remember Ft Polk as one the best places to be.I want to go back there before i die.I read the post once in while to see if someone from B-1-1 leaves a note as you did.If you wish to write my email is humbertocordova36@gmail.com

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    3. Was there for basic May 70/June 70 in A-1-1 South Fort. DIs were King, Reno, Arnold, and I think, Cullumns. Exec. officer was Lt. Duke. We got off the bus, heard Sgt. King shouting, and hoped he was not our DI. My bunk was three away from his room. Turned out he and the other DIs had our best in mind, good training for our time in service and for life after service. Eleven years later, found myself in the middle of the contra/Sandinista conflict in Central America, got bombed, shot at, incoming artillery, malaria in the jungle, just like being in Nam, but the whole time my training would still come back. Had also done AIT at North Fort. Got to visit the post in 2003 while on a company trip to Louisiana. Found my old A-1-1 barracks, now used for storage, and was surprized to see trees had grown between them and the barracks across the field where we had pt. Went to North Fort and saw row after row of dilapidated barracks, what a shame. Went to look for Tigerland and was told it was long ago torn down. One funny story I remember was when our whole company mooned the reserve DIs there for their summer training. Sgt. King came running out of the barracks shouting "You all can't do this, not on Highway 10". I guess he was concerned for his next promotion. Fort Polk will always be a part of my life, and an important part at that.











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    4. Did basic in A-1-1 from late Nov 70 - Feb 71. Sgt Arnold was still there, but not the others that I recall. Sr DI was Sgt Tatenhahn, and my DI was Sgt Isaac Comer. Believe Gallagher was another DI.

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  104. Drafted in Aug 63, took basic and AIT at Polk. Back there living in the area now.

    Rex if you, are anyone else wants some pics of Fort Polk today send me your email address and I will send you some.

    George Johnson georgemjohnson2@gmail.com

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  105. My name is Eddie Jones Jr, my Father was a DI at North Ft.Polk E-3-3, his name is SFC Eddie Jones. Man I remember those Trainees marching and running around North and South Ft. Polk when I was a Kid. We were station there from Aug 1970 to July 1976. I saw the base change from Infantry Basic to 5th Inf Div. My dad and his friends influenced me so much that I served 21 years in the Army. Any of you that were DI and had Children between 6 and 12 years old in the early 70' I may know them. I lived in Trailer Park 2 on South Fort Polk.

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  106. My dad is Jim Franciosi, he was 1970 Sept-Oct Company C Third Battalion Fort Polk. If you recall him please text me @ 301-338-0010. My name is Kerri Franciosi Hamilton

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  107. Basic in July -August 1970 C-4-1 Fort Polk.
    AIT 11-b10 Sept-Nov.1970 E-5-2 North Fort Polk (Tigerland)
    "Every man a tiger with a dick this long!"
    Left 26 lbs. there!

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  108. I DID MY BASIC FORT POLK AND AIT TIGERLAND 1966 THANK YOU AND ALL DRILL SERGEANTS FOR YOUR TRAINING I WAS 17YRS, OLD. RA. I BECAME A MAN VERY QUICK. I HAVE USE THE EXPERINCE IN LIFE WHAT I LEARN THERE VN VET.

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  109. Anyone in C-1-1 at Ft Polk during Sept 1970 and October 1970?

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  110. I DID MY AIT AT TIGERLAND 1969 11B ONLY ONE PLACE TO AFTER TIGERLAND, SOMETHINGS YOU NEVER FORGET,AND TIGERLAND IS ONE OF THEM.

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  111. mynameisarthurmolinaproudtohaveservedwithabunchofbravemenfortpolk LA junethruoctobercompanyCfourthbattalionfirstBCTbasicandAIT anyoneoutthere pleasereply youallatarturomolina@yahoo.com IsoludeyouallandGODBLESS







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  112. I was in C-4-1 South Fort March 1968 for basic then to North Fort. Then, To Vietnam.. Served 23 months and 19 days in the war. In 1968, Polk was a hell-hole that made Nam seem a little better. I think it was all the "Stateside" crap that made us dislike it.
    But after all these years, it woluld be nice to see it again, even though all the old WW-II buildings are gone.
    I hope all my GI's of that Polk era are ok now.
    Christopher Sager
    KCMO

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  113. I was at Ft Polk 1/5/1973 - 2/20/1973, the last phase of our training was Escape and Evasion, where they put us in a POW Camp for training purposes, basically they kicked our ass, they had American GI's from Asian decent, I have had nightmares ever since, since I filed a claim a few years ago, they have been telling me that there is no record of me being there, It was my Basic Training for God's sake. Can anyone help me with any information. The only person I remember from my training is SGT. Bynog and SGT Brando, Bravo 3 2, whatever that meant. Mighty mighty Bravo best damn company in the infantry. I heard we were the last ones to go through this training, I don't know if they are trying to sweep this under the rug or what. My AIT was in Ft. Ord CA Then I went to Ft. Lewis WA. where alot of men were coming home through, we gave them all new equipment, and the ones that came home in coffins we respectfully buried with full Military Honors if they were from the Pacific Northwest. If any one can pass on any info please let me know at. rgrssr71600@hotmail.com Roger Soliz Sr.

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  114. I was a drill sgt in Fort Polk at that time and there was no basic training of five weeks. Probably thats why you are having trouble to them knowing that you was there. You should have at least one evidence of been at Polk and lately Ft. Lewis. The info you are giving is generic.

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  115. Got the draft notice sometime after thanksgiving 1967. Reported for induction the day after new years day 1968. Did basic at Fort Benning GA. One or two days after basic they flew us to Fort Polk for AIT. We got there late at night, I remember the bus driving under the archway that read "welocme to tigerland"
    I think I can still see some of the faces but the names are all forgoten now. My memories of Polk are a blur of getting up while its still dark, now cold it was in the morning, marching through the woods from one place to another place, being packed into the open top cattle trucks, and the red colored dirt.
    I remember being allowed to go and drink some beer one or two times at a place on post,I think they called "the tigers den"
    Got to go to Leesville a few times, anybody remimber a bar called "the casino" I got to see a knife fight there.
    And there we were, just kids and away from home {Allentown, PA} for the first time.

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    1. Yea I remember Leesville. There was a Little Casino and a Big Casino. Lots a nice girls there. They were off limits, of course.

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    2. Leesville has the largest pool hall I ever saw.

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  116. Basic at B-2-2 and then assigned to Company A Special Troops. November 1965-67. Personnel Specialist at Building 317 in Adjutant General. Part of Remington's Raiders! Pays to learn to type!

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  117. Fort Polk Apr-May 1970 Bravo 1-1. RA, Drill Sergeant!

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  118. Hi,

    My brother Charles Faulkner went through basic at Fort Polk and was "Trainee of the Cycle". This would have been either 1970 or 1971. He was then sent off to Fort Bragg for Ranger training. Charles died from Lupus (due to exposure to Agent Orange while doing repeated recon stints) in 1998.

    I'm just curious if anyone knew him and possibly stayed in touch/crossed paths with him while in Vietnam. When he came back he never spoke of his time there.

    Thanks...I can be reached at rfaulkner@lblstrategies.com

    Richard Faulkner

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  119. I completed Basic and AIT in the same company. Foxtrot-3-2. We stayed for AIT in the summer of 1975. Three freekin' months! They were phasing out TRADOC and going full 5th MECH. We trained so hard that they brought the brass down from Benning & Bragg to watch us train. I kid you not.

    Our supposed 18 mile basic graduation road march on the clay trails turned out to be 24 miles. The 24 mile march to complete AIT was stretched out to 36 miles, after a day doing stream crossing exercises. We were a proud group, and led by excellent Viet Nam vet DI's. Once I realized early on that the screaming was a head trip, and part of the training/evaluation, I was fine.

    The DI's took us to Houston during the weekend between basic and AIT. While other guys stayed in the motel getting the clap, me and a dude named Doc Milanich went downtown for a great Italian dinner - home made pasta, Asti Spumanti. We ate like kings!

    I still remember the "Ft. Polk Boogie" cadence, and what we chanted when we were told to "take seats" in class:

    We like it here, We like it here,
    You f**kin' A, We like it here.
    Our sergeants are the best.
    God bless us and f**k the rest.
    We like it here, We like it here,
    You f**kin' A, We like it here.
    FOXTROT!

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  120. I was at Ft. Polk 10 March 1972 at the Reception Center (seemed like the last time I felt like an individual for the next few months), moved to E-3-1 for basic training 20 March 72 to 18 May 72. DI's were Sgt.'s Elton Thomas, James Hobdy and Richard Edwards, Company Commander was Lt. Michael Forte. I still have my book from basic. Then moved to the Leadership Preparation Course for two weeks. Moved to C-2-3 for AIT for June and July - learned the meaning of "wet bulb". Carried two canteens and salt tablets every day, soaked a fatigue shirt everyday. Can't remember the DIs or officers from AIT, no book.

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  121. I did basic at Ft.Polk C-3-2 9 FEB 72 to 21 APR 72. Anyone possibly in that unit? I never got a yearbook but if one exists I would love to see one.
    Gerry Grady

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  122. Do you or any body you may know,know any thing about
    Agent Orange being used in both place's,i sure could
    use some help on this matter.


    An if you can help with this,send me an email
    eaglemoney55@yahoo.com, thanks.

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    1. I am curious to know if you have had any emails regarding this. Any information would be valuable as I am trying deal with the VA regarding Agent Orange connected. Thanks. my email is socretes2@gmail.com

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  123. I arrived at Polk on 11Oct71. My MOS was 11H. Graduated on 10Dec71. I can not for the life of me remember my training unit. I remember Tigerland!

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  124. Oh, I do remember a Capt. Benton from 1971. He was from PA I think. Mean bastard! lol!

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  125. I took basic in C42 and AIT in B34 from April 28 to Aug 26 1970. Like to hear from some one in my unit.

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  126. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  127. Joined Rhode Island National Guard (Armoured Cavalry unit) while in college. Started Basic at Polk May 1970 E-4-2. Graduated July and was transported that afternoon via cattlecar to the North Fort (Tigerland)for AIT 11 B 10. My company was B-2-3.
    Did NOT get captured at Peason Ridge, thankfully! Drill Sgt.in Basic was Carlos Tonche. Small guy, but very tough. Was in 25th Infantry in Nam. Referred to us as'dick heads'. Have a lot of memories from Polk. Quite an experience. After college, went back home to NY State and transferred to a unit there. Discharged in March '76. Moved to Florida in '79 and enlisted in the Florida Guard in '82 for a year. Was in the Air Defense section of a Field Artillery unit.

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  128. I was at Polk Mar - June 1971. Basic and AIT. Don't remember many names except for my DI...SSG Holden. He was mean but fair and taught us the army way. I think I was in b-1-2. Knew about Leesville but never made it there except taking a taxi to Alexandria to catch a plane. Remember the 'low crawl', pt testing, gas chamber and other wonderful adventures. The monkey bars before chow, long marches to the rifle range, pugel stick fights, kp, always running (never walking), push ups, inspections, M16 break downs, qualifying and on and on. Well it was over 40 years ago and I am well into my 60's now but I remember a bunch of great guys at Polk and proud to have served.

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  129. I was at Polk in Jun/July/Aug. of 1968. The Casino Club that I remember wasn't so much a club/bar as it was a house of...........well you know what I mean, and yes it was off limits, but a lot of guys still went there anyway.

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    1. My husband was there same time as you. His unit was B-4-2. Looking for a buddy letter re: disease we believe he contracted there. Hope you can help us.

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  130. I saw this posted in a classifieds website. Posting it here in hopes of it bringing this person some good luck.

    "Looking for rosa lee perry or her brother leon or sister.my name is lacy ellis. i was stationed at fort polk in 1969. Have been looking for rosa for a long time I can be reached at lacyellis@att.com"

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  131. Fort Polk Army Yearbook B-Company 4th Battalion 1st Training Brigade 1975
    ( DOES ANYONE HAVE YOUR BOOK?)
    cindihogan@comcast.net

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  132. did not go to Nam.. but spent both basic and AIT in the same bunk in C-1-1 for Sgt Martinez last cycle.

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  133. was at ft.polk apr-jun. 1968 in D-1-3 FSG. was named shockenmeyer who quit the marines because he said they weren't tough enough. One of our DI.s was a radio disc jockey that had a great voice for singing cadence while marching. Our DI.was a 3 pak a day smoker and had a hard time keeping up with the platoon while running. One of our guys mugged the hogie truck driver one evening and got away with it although the MP's had us all standing at attention in the barracks while they searched the place. I remember the monkey bar in Leesville and the tigers den at the fort.the snakes and wild pigs in the woods while on manuvers. The heat was a great taste of what we were in for once we got to Vietnam.

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  134. A21 south fort August-Oct 1968 an experience that will last a lifetime you can only guess what happened next but I lived through it am now dealing with PTSD and a disability check and having fun at the V. A. funny how they never mentioned this during training oh well better days Bros.

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  135. I must have been in the A21 because I remember the chant Ratshit Catshit buckets full or batshit, motherpluckin A21.
    Jim Chouette hazard123_99@yahoo.com July thur Dec 71

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  136. Was there Feb to May '71' Tough place but fair.One memory in particular was stepping of the plane in Shrevesport with winter greens and long johns on. Some difference from Fort Dix. Was 11B20.We were quarantined after coming off the"Ridge" because one of our guys died of meningitis from drinking bad water. Don't remember a lot of names, they say that's the second thing to go. We had lots of "favorite cadence ditty's" Nothing you'd want to recite to your grandchildren.

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