My military career started when I made the decision to go to the U. S. Naval Academy.   After contacting the NY representative to the House of Representatives, Mr. Alexander Piernie, I was directed to take the various exams and tests to qualify for entrance to the Academy.   After several months I was notified to go to St. Albans Long Island to take the physical, which I did with my good friend, John Farquahar, who wanted to go to the Air Force Academy.   Poor misguided soul!

        After passing the physical I was awarded a spot at the Naval Academy, Class of 1964.   I was lucky enough to watch two Heisman Trophy winners from Navy play ball, Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach.  Both were unbelievable on the field.

        Graduation came four years later and I was directed to go to Quonset Point, RI, where I was attached to the staff of Commander, Second Fleet, Intelligence.   After five months there I was detached to Pennsacola, FL to the U.S. Navy Special Investigative Unit, Pennsacola Naval Air Station.   I was the Assistant Investigator and got involved in numerous "interesting" investigations.

        Then, in January 1965, I was assigned to Flight School where I continued until my third solo was accomplished and I was then assigned to the Dash Weapons school in Dam Neck, VA.   After training on the control of these drone ASW helicopters at Dam Neck, VA, I was assigned to the U.S. S. Harwood (DD861), out of Mayport, FL, in December 1965.   I was the 1st LT, Assistant Weapons Officer, Fire Control Officer, OOD Underway, Classified Documents Officer, Assistant Navigator, DASH Weapons Officer and general goofup.

        In July 1967 I was assigned to the Naval Gunfire School in Little Creek, VA and after completion of that training I was assigned to the Escape and Evasion School and Survival School in Camp Picket, VA., which included POW Camp training.

        From there I was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, attached to the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Corps, South Vietnam as a naval gunfire and artillery liason officer and spotter in November 1967.

        Initially, I was stationed at the 5th Marines' HQ FSCC at Duong Son Tua, about 10 clicks south of Da Nang.   There I provided support for the 5th Marine units by clearing requested fire zones and doing "call for fire" missions as required in support of Operation Auburn.   

       Most missions were by Marine 105's, 155's and Army 175 Long Tom's.   If targets were close enough to shore then naval ships, including the USS Providence, and numerous Destroyers and, on one occasion, a Coast Guard Cutter (armed only with a .50 caliber machine gun), provided support.

       On January 2, 1968 I was assigned to the support of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in Phu Loc, just North of DaNang.   2/5 had all their artillery batteries destroyed by mortar fire the previous day and I was to provide Naval Gunfire support to them until their artillery of 105's and 155's could be replaced.  This unit came under fire almost every day, two or three times a day.  (See pictures in the Pictures section).  They never dug in but just lived in tents above ground.  Marines!  Hoo Rah!

        In mid January, I was part of a unit that was assigned to protect the Hai Van Pass and Claymore Pass at Coa Doi, over Highway 1 North of DaNang.   On January 23rd, I was reassigned to the Regimental Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) in Phu Bai just south of Hue City.  I was there when Tet started on the night of 30 January 1968.   I could see what we all thought was flares and fire works going off over the city of Hue.   Little did we know then that the South Vietnamese Army and the civilian government (and, of course, the civilians) were getting the crap kicked out of them by the NVA and VC.  Four days later I was supporting 1/5 and 2/5 in taking back the city.   Very messy!   Operation Hue City concluded on March 2nd.

        In July, I was transferred to DaNang, to the 1st Division Fire Support Coordination Center, where I arranged for and controlled all Naval gunfire support for the I Corps area.

        Usually, when a ship came on the "Gun Target Line" (became available for fire support activities) I would go out to the ship and show them where all the target areas and friendly areas were and what operations were expected to start or were on-going while they were assigned to us.  

        One night I got a call into the FSCC from the USS Harwood (DD861) - my old ship!!!   I was excited that I would be able to go out to it and see my buddies again.  Unfortunately, the next morning they were assigned to provide counter battery and mission fire support up off the North Vietnam coast.  (Go to for more info on the ship and how they made out up there).  It was a big disappointment as I was planning on wearing all my combat gear (Flak Jacket, Grease Gun, .45 cal. Pistol, camouflage gilly suit, bandoleers of ammo).   I would have weighed a thousand pounds but boy, the ice cream and steaks I could have gotten for the team to feast on!!!

        I did make that trip multiple times to other ships so the Fire Support enlisted guys were the best fed in all of 'Nam.   Much of the rest of my tour was in support of Operation Houston and various NVA attacks on the areas immediately around DaNang, including Elephant Valley and the Hai Van Pass.

       While attached to and serving with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, in direct support of the 5th Marine Regiment I participated in seven Combat Operations:
Operation Auburn -                  3 Dec 67 - 1 Jan 68
Operation Hue City -                2 Feb 68 - 10 Mar 68
Operation Baxter Gardens - 19 Apr 68 - 26 Apr 68
Operation Houston I -              26 Feb 68 - 30 Apr 68
Operation Houston II -            1 May - 31 May 68
Operation Houston III -          1 Jun 68 - 30 Jun 68
Operation Houston IV -          1 Jul 68 - 26 Jul 68

        Eventually, I was repatriated to the "Real World" (November 22, 1968) and assigned to the Defense Intelligence School, Defense Intelligence Agency, Arlington, VA.   I was assigned as the Academic Operations Officer for the School.   This included training with the CIA in tracking and surveilance techniques, although I never got to apply that in practice.  

        One of my jobs was to obtain high level speakers for the Advanced Intellingence Course.   This course was designed for admirals and generals transitioning to new commands.   Among the speakers I was able to get were General Alexander Haig, Senator Peter Dominic, Dr Edward Teller (of Atomic Bomb fame), General Cushman (Cmdnt of Marine Corps) and many others.   This was deemed to be the best set of speakers ever offered at the School.

        I concluded my service in November 1970 and joined Electronic Data Systems, Ross Perot's company, for whom I worked for 18 years.




My Military Experience