My wife and I drove to Fort Benning, Georgia to attend a reunion of those whom I proudly served with in the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 321st Field Artillery, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from December 1967 to December 1968.
The 101st Airborne Division made history twice, first by conducting the largest air lift of a combat unit into a warzone and secondly by our exemplary conduct during combat operations against the Communist North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) during the Tet Offensive of 1968.
Our unit crest consists of a pair lions claws and the Latin phrase Noli Me Tangere, which translates to “Don’t Tread On Me.”
We were the last field artillerymen to serve in the 101st Airborne Division when it was still a fully U.S. Army airborne division. The division went from airborne to airmobile while we were in Vietnam and is now an air assault division.
We rekindled our friendships and made new friends as the wives, daughters and our fellow combat veterans joined together to remember and reminisce.
Perhaps the greatest honor bestowed upon us was allowing our band of brothers, with their wives and loved ones, to attend an airborne school graduation ceremony at Fort Benning. The ceremony began with a high altitude parachute jump.
Please watch the video above as four paratroopers (three men and one woman) make a high altitude parachute jump onto the parade field and land perfectly on the marker.
These wonderful young men and women who successfully completed three weeks of rigorous training received their coveted airborne wings. During the ceremony we were allowed to pin the wings on some of these young airborne soldiers, sailors and Marines.
Watch these proud new airborne soldiers march onto the field to received their jump wings:
Our battalion commander Colonel Bill Malouche, U.S. Army (Ret.) was on the reviewing stand during the ceremony. A great honor to him and his soldiers.
A special room dedication on Fort Sill today, as World War II veteran George Wilson and other Vietnam veterans were honored. The 321st Field Artillery Regiment has had an incredible past, and now they have a place in Snow Hall to showcase all their history.
These veterans of the 321st Field Artillery Regiment were quite surprised to see the special room now dedicated in their honor. Retired Colonel Bill Malouche said, “I expected a little bitty room with some stuff in it . This is a great room for a great unit from World War I all the way through, in combat forever. There are wonderful people here.”
Here is a video of these wonderful patriotic airborne soldiers singing the Army Song (formerly the Field Artillery’s song):
We thank our great friend and brother Major Jim Taylor, U.S. Army (Ret.), President of the 1st Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Association, and his fellow board members for doing such a great job on this reunion. To say that it was awe inspiring would not do it justice. Thanks Jim!
We thank the leadership of the U.S. Army’s Basic Airborne Course for their hospitality. We thank the citizens of Columbus, Georgia for welcoming us, especially the Chattahoochee River Club for hosting our farewell dinner. Their chef and staff did a fantastic job.
Airborne! All the way!