McGill, Roger, SP 4

Armor (Enlisted)
 
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Current Service Status
USA Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Specialist 4
Current/Last Service Branch
Armor
Current/Last Primary MOS
11D10-Armor Reconnaissance Crewman
Current/Last MOS Group
Armor (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1966, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment
Previously Held MOS
19D20-Cavalry Scout
Service Years
1964 - 1966

Specialist 4


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 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
  1985, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) [Verified]1 - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
At the present time work for Vietnam Veterans of America State of Illinois Veterans Service Office - at the Chicago VA Regional Office. 2122 W. Taylor St. Chicago, IL. Working on Benefit Claims for Veterans and family members - past & present

Retired Manager from Illinois Bell, Ameritech/SBC Telecommunications after 30 yrs service. Worked in Transportation Department, DS I&M. Installation, repair. Test Desk. Special Service, Planning and Engineering.

Then was a Manager for the Archodiceese of Chicago and ran the Mtce for our Parish for 12 years.

Owned my own telecommunications company for a few years after Ameritech/SBC and the Archodiceese of Chicago.

I am on the Mayor of Chicago Veterans Advisory Council - as a member and have been for 20 yrs.

Was the Program Chairman for the Chicago Weclome Home Parade in 1986.  Was the Co-Chairman for the New Chicago Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dedicated on Nov. 11th, 2005 in Downtown Chicago. Was an Active member of the New Illinois State Vietnam Veterans Memorial that was dedicated in 1988 in Springfield, IL. Am presently on the Mayfair Veterans Committee in our local 39th Ward in the City of Chicago.
   
Other Comments:
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Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)/Operation Birmingham
Start Year
1966
End Year
1966

Description
Operation Birmingham was a military operation of the Vietnam War in War Zone C, north of Saigon, 24 April–17 May 1966 in the Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. The US 1st Infantry Division and the ARVN 5th Division conducted operations on the eastern flank of War Zone C.

The goals were opening Route 13 from Saigon to the north and engaging the Viet Cong 9th Division. The Viet Cong successfully managed to withdraw beyond the Cambodian border, after having only 100 soldiers killed by US and South Vietnamese forces; along with that are 500 tons of weapons, ordnance, rice, salt and other foods seized by anti-communist forces.

 
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1966
To Year
1966
 
Last Updated:
May 27, 2013
   
Personal Memories

People You Remember
2nd Bde, 25th Inf Div: Operation CIRCLE PINES, Apr. 1966 Mar 1966 - a). 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav provided security for the movement of 135 MOONLIGHT vehicles in 4 convoys from Siagon to Cu Chi, by strategically locating strong points along Route #1. b) As a result of frequent sporatic probes, SA and grenade fire on the east sid eof the permiter, Company A 1/27 inf reinforced by elements of the 65th Eng Bn, 25th MP Co, 3/4 Cav and National Police conducted a systematic search of the village of Vihn Cu, vic XT66514; at C20630H Apr. 66. A total of 33 VCS were apprenhended and turned over to the National Police. Also one tunnel 100m long: at XT30173 was discovered and destroyed. Apr 5th, 1966 An Arty 3/4 T Trk was ambushed and destroyed at 051630H Apr. vic XT564166. An element of the 1/5 (M) was sent to the scene however the VC had fled prior to their arrival. This is where two US Soldier's were burtally KIA. From 290700 Mar. 66/052400H Apr. 66 - US losses 32 KIA, 195 WIA, 14 APC, 12 Tanks, were destoryed.


Memories
The 3/4 Cav provided convoy escort for 279 vehicles between Siagon and Cu Chi. A Troop 3/4 Cav provided security for the movement of 338 short tons of general cargo and 134 vehicles from Siagon to Cu Chi.

B Troop 3/4 Cav engaged in operation Kahuku - 3/4 Cav continued operation Kahuku beyond the anticipated completion date by providing security for an HU1B which was shot down and burned 7 Apr 66 and assisged the 49th inf Regt (ARVN) in clearing: operation vic XT680120. Only sporatic sniper fire was encountered. Wreckage of the HU1B was returned to base camp.

A Troop 3/4 Cav provided security for the movemnet of 228 vehicles between Siagon & Cu Chi including, 215 short tons and 3 major items of equipment for Operation MOONLIGHT.

Between 100700 and 100930H Apr 66 Trp A, 3/4 Cav encountered 40 small road blocks along Hwy# 1 from Cu Chi to Hoc Mon between
XT640120 and 673102.

Operation Kakaha ecommenced at 110700H Apr 66 with TF elements moving by road and helicopter to the objective area vic XT553164 to conduct S&D (Search & Destroy) operations. Four air strikes were flown in support of the day's operation.

A Troop 3/4 Cav removed a brush and dirt roadblock vic XT669103, destroyed a 4 ft by 5 ft bunker vic XT705101, and had one tank damaged by an AT mine vic XT698909. To date 77% of the bunkers and 48% of protective wire have been completed. 150001H to 152400H Apr 66.

Operation KAHALA continued, 3/4 Cav conducted S&D operation vic XT668129 from 180630H Apr through 181730H Apr. During the operation 100 rds of assorted SA, 2 Trenches, 23 tunnels, and 18 structures were located and destroyed.

The "Other War" written by Captain John P Irving III, in the Armor Magazine May-June issue 1968. 3RD Squadron, 4TH Cavalry S-3, In his words, of what we did in one type of Operation in Vietnam. - As our small column moved out the main gate and down the dirt road in a swirl of dust, not a single Vietnamese was anywhere in sight. Even so, we moved cautiously through the deserted rubber plantation which bordered the road on both side and limited our visibility. Not more that 1500 meters from the relative safety of the 25th Infantry Division base camp, the four M113 armored personnel carriers of our small unit swung abruptly to the left and off the road. They entered a small hamlet of 20 to 30 mud walled, thatch roofed huts. The personnel carriers moved rapidly to the left and right edges of the village while the remainder of the column tow 1/4 ton trucks and M577 medical vehicle, huddled near the center.
A tatical mission? No, and An Ambush? No. Just the firs visit of the Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) team to our assigned village. We jumped out of the vehicle and moved through the hamlet. Still no sign of life. I thought, "Why bother with this place, no one live here." Then, picking our way along the single scar of a road toward the read of the village, we spotted some ducklings and paused to look. They were swimming peacfully in a shallow muddy pool. The I heard a baby cry, a sound instantly muffled.
"Liste," I said to Captain John Claxton, "there must be someone in there!".
"Yes, I told you there're people here, they're just hiding," he answered. Since he was the squadron S2, knowing such things was part of his job." Soon the radio cracked out an "All Clear", and we relaxed enough to get down to the business of setting up the M577 which had brought the squadron doctor and his team. They quickly established their mobile aid station right in the middle of the road and sent the interpreter Ly Van Minh to round up the villagers for "sick call."
Here was my first physical contact with complete abject poverty: houses with dirt floors, dried mud walls, and rice straw roofs. As I stood there unbelieving. I saw two big black eyes staring at me out of the gloom of one of the huts. Peering closer, I saw that they belonged to one the the prettiest little grils I had ever seen. Her face was dirty and thin and wore no smile, but it had the timeless beauty of the Orient.
Then realization of the why of our being here overwhelmed me. This was the reason - the children, the promise of the future, a better life. If we could but bring a smile to that little face, all of this would not be in vain.
Reluctantly the people came. They came out of the holes they had dug beneath the corners of their houses, holes for protection from the war. They came out of curiosity, out of fear, and in some instances, out of genuine need for the medical treatment which our bac si(doctor) could provide.
The 3rd Squadron, 4th United States Cavalry, in which I served as S4, is part of the 25th Infantry Division. It is based at Cu Chi, Republic of Vietnam(RVN). We were given the responsibility for the New Life Hamlet refugee village Bac Ha #2 as our part of the Civic Action Program in Vietnam. The importance of this program was emphaized as early as the summer of 1964 when the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Earle G. Wheeler said: The problem out there is not only a military problem. It is a political problem, it is an economic problem, and I believe even a social problem.... The point is that the final touch out there is not going to be the achievement of the military victory. I believe parallel to our achievements in the military field there must be accomplishment in the political field if you are going to obtain in the long term, a free South Vietnam able to pursue it own destiny.

As we basked in the warm Hawaiin sun prior to our deployment in 1965 - 1966, little did we think that we of the dashing, glorious cavalry would be fighting this kind of a war also.
Now, our respinsibility was broad. We had to provide immediate protection for the war refugees who settled in Bac Ha #2 and at the same time guid them toward sef-protection through the establishment of a Popular Force training program. The majou par of our mission was to assist in any way possible toward the development of the village and it people.
Captain Richard Joiner, the S5, had primary staff responsibility for the corrdination of the effort. But ideas and help came from everyone in the squadron.
The S1 provided the interpreters without whom the mission would have been impossible.
Initially, the S2 found the people hostile and uncommunicative. But eventually he was able to fill in many gaps in his intelligence picture. The villagers became very cooperative after seeing the positive results of our program. Many times they volunteered the exact locations of mines in the road which otherwise have found the hard way.
Coordinaton for the protection of the team that went into the village was provided by the S3. This normally consisted of the Ground Surveillance Section of the Headquarters Troop, and the two APC's designated for the squadron commander and the S3. This was the equivalent of a scout section and it proved to be adquate. An infantry squad from one of the line troops or the Aero Rifle Platoon was also used during the early stages.
My S4 shop became a staging area for the movement of materials and goods sent from the people of the United States of America to the people of the Republic of Vietnam.
Lt. John Barovetto was my transportation section leader. Quite often he went to "our" village, He then wrote to his mother of the primitive conditions and lack of clothes, soap, and little things like candy and toys. She mentioned the contents of the letter at a club meeting. This resulted in a deluge of contributions. When the boxes finally stopped arriving in the mail, we estimated we had recieved over 1500 pounds of generosity.
The Maintenance Office, Captain Richard Barnhert, probably provided what was to be the most ingenous from of help to our project, a portabel shower. It was mounted on a 1 1/2 ton trailer. A frame constructed of aluminum tubing and covered by canvas gave the users a degree of privacy. Although some of the people had to be taught hat soap was for washing and not eating, the shower proved to be of unlimietd value. The children, who were the best customers, thought that taking a shower was the best game they had ever played.
None of this rapport or progress would have been possible with the untiring, didicated efforts of the squadron surgeon. Captain Dugene Geortzen, M. C. His ability to diagnose and treat supersitious peasants mad the difference between success or failure of the program. A complicating and discouraging obstacle to be overcome was that he had to work through and interpreter. A typical treatment would begin with the doctor asking an old woman who had obvious pain written on her face. "Where does it hurt?" A flurry of wild gesticulating and a baffling exchange of words would follow, the answer, "I don't know." "Can she point to it?" She say she hurts all places, What means point?" Then the doctor and the interpreter fly into a pantomine to clarify the meaning of the word "point." This goes on and on. Sometimes 30 minutes where required just to give two asprins for a headace. Progress was slow and painful.
The Viet Cong were concerned over our presence and attempted to undo at night what had accomplished during the day. They made frequent visits designed to terrorize the peasants and to disprove our ability to provide protection.
One night they came to the hut of Tran Cong Vinh, who had been a member of the VC before he became discouraged and disillusioned, and came to live at Bac Ha #2. Vinh was an outspoken critic of the VC and their aims. On one otherwise quiet night the enemy came and discussed the matter whith him. He was given a choice: "Come back with us now or die!" "Never, " he spat back at them.
The bullet that killed Vinh also went through his daughter's head as she clung to her father. The two of them had been dragged kicking and screaming out of the house and into the street where we found them dead the next morning. Only after the villagers realized that we were sincerely trying to help them were we able to influence or guide their progress. The MEDCAP team and the donations of soap were good foundations for this but could only be the beginning.
Within an infantry division or an armored cavalry regiment, there is a considerable amount of construction equipment available.
After villages elections and a village chief was selected the village of Bac Ha #2, was named Tan Thoi, after the villager that was killed by the VC that night. The Civic Action Program also got material so the people were able to build a much needed school for their children. ..........
These are but a few of the problems net and accomplished made by one small Armor unit in fighting the "Other War." They key to its succes is, as are all endeavors involving people attitude. Without the help of all. from the squadron commander down to the last private who repaired drainage ditches in the hamlet, our people to people endeavor would have been a miserable failure.
The job goes on. You coud be part of it soon, and, I could again.

Captain John P. Irving III went on to have a Great Army career. He then retired from the US Army and worked for Disney World. Some years ago he passed from Cancer - God Rest his soul

New Story: First Days At Cu Chi back in '65-'66.

What you have to remember is when we moved into Cu Chi Base camp, there was nothing there, it had been a peanut plantaion. So, when we got up to Cu Chi and in our area of base camp, there was nothing there. The early guys had put some tents up and stuf and used the back of some tracks with tents. Maybe the Mess tent was also up, but not much more than that. There were NO HOOCHES, so we pitched pup tents, my shelter half and Paul Dockendorf's shelter half, and that was our first home at Cu Chi for awhile.

Now, if you been to Cu Chi you know two things, it was very hot and dry, or very wet. Well, we had to dig trenches around the pup tent to try to keep water out, it didn't work with the rains there. We were soaked when it rained, but after the sun came out everything in the duffle bag was dry in about an hour. We even used our air mattresses, and one time they wee floating right out the pup tent because of the rain water. You cannot believe how glad we were in a week or so when the hooches came and we started putting them together and living in them. To tell you the truth it was like a 5 star hotel. Ok, you guys stop laughing so hard, that was the truth, and we had no hard roofs on those hooches either at first. Oh, I have seen pictures of later one's.

Well, after we got into the hooches life in base camp was better. There was no Big Sandbag wall, that came later, so did the latrines, the shower, and a lot of other things. But, during these times it didn't stop Charlie from lobbing things in at us, and this is where this story is going to go. 1/Sgt Kubo - had to make sure that we did something when these attacks came. So they came up with the idea when an attack was coming he would blow a whistle, we would hussle with our stuff our of the hooches and head to our foxholes, that we had dug. Remember all of you reading this, we just got into country and this is back in '66. So one night we hear the whistle blowing everyone is running grabbing their gear, and weapons and trying to make it out the hooches and in our foxholes. So. we are running, well it had been raining for a day and the fosholes were loaded from top to bottom with water. Paul Dockendorf and I just layed down in the mud and water. As we were laying there wel looked over and here comes James Kearney with not a stich of clothes on, his steel pot on, carring his webb gear and weapon, and his boots on. We to this day still don't know what he was doing, probably washing up when the whistle blew. But, I can tell you Paul and I and a hell of a lot of other guys were laughing our ass off.

Now you got to know James Kearney - he was in commo section - in Hawaii in his locker he had it full from top to bottom with short wave radio and would talk around the world. He was one of those really smart guys, that everyone says, "What is wrong with that guy." Jim, I have since learned stayed in Vietnam with the 3/4 Cav for two years, and after the service he went back and lived in Hawaii for a long time. Some years ago I got this call one night and low and behold it was Jim on the phone. He now live in PA with his Dad. Ya just never know when a 3/4 Cav Vet will find each other. That is how I know what he did after the time he was with the 3/4 Cav and what he did after the service.

He hasn't been to a reunion yet, but you never know the next one he might show up.

You know something about these post I have been doing. There are about only 5 people in the world that know them. Most are Vietnam Vet buddies of mine, and the others are those that lived them with me in Nam.

Yes, I have talked to SP/4 Mike Murphy, SP/4 Don Kress, SP/4 Jerry Kolenda, SP/4 Paul Dockendorf, SP/4 Mick Heffner, SP/4 Howard Walsh, SP/4 Don Gardner, SP/4 Warren Grubbs and a lot of other guys I served with, like Capt. Ken Schlosser S-1, Capt Wayne Miller Co HQ Troop, Lt. Col John Hendry Squadron Commander, Major Albert Russell XO Squadron, Capt. Carl Quickmier CO B Troop, D Troop CO Art Finch, A Troop CO Joe Monihan, CWO Cecil Anderson, 1/Sgt Dehil, 1st/Sgt Roland Petty D Troop, Sgt E6 Roberto Molinar, SP/4 Rich Flemming S-1, SP/5 Dave Cox A Troop, SP/4 Bill Imire A Troop, M/SGT Ivan Crandall HQ Troop, and so many others I could go on and on.

Next Story: Sgt/Major & M/Sgt Wounded:

Back in '66 just after we got settled down in base camp and the missions were flowing. Sgt/Major Willie G. Anderson -the Squadron Sgt/Maj - who had been a WW II & Korean Veteran & M/Sgt Eugene Campbell went out to see the troops one day. This is how it actually happened.

Sgt/Major Willie G. Anderson said to M/Sgt Eugene Campbell in the S-1 Tent at Cu Chi Base Camp. "Gene let's go out and see what these new young troops are doing." So the two of them loaded on HQ5 Track, with the rest of us, and out they went. The operation that day was a villie they found about 500 yards, just south of the Main Gate at Cu Chi. It was a full mission with a complete Platoon of M-113's, M48's. As we came into the villie area fire came from everywhere, and as everyone spread out, everyone took fire, and we were dishing it out to them also. Well, after about 10 min, Sgt/Maj Willie G. Anderson got shot in the ear, and M/Sgt Eugene Campbell got shot in his steel pot, but the round went around and creased him in the side of his head. The firefight wa about over not long after it started, and after some cleaning up stuff, it was off back to base camp. Sgt/Major Willie G. Anderson, and M/Sgt Eugene Campbell were treated for thier wounds and back to Squadron area.

Sgt/Major Willie G. Anderson put in his retirement papers the next day, and it wasn't long after that we got one of the Troops 1/Sgt's as the Sgt/Major Max Davenport, M/Sgt Eugene Campbell finished out his tour and went home.

Some years ago at one of our 3/4 Cav Reunions in Montogmery, AL. - I was sitting in the hospitality room and we were talking with guys that had been there during our time and talking about things. I looked up and said to one of the guys sitting next to me - "I know the guy coming in the door, who is that?" One of the other Sgt's that was with us said, that is Gene Campbell. Well, I went over and talked to him, for a long time. We both wondered whatever happened to Sgt/Major Anderson, and Gene said he knew he went back to GA. and had tried calling to find him, but never did. We tried but have had no sucess in finding him. Gene has been to our 3/4 Cav reunions many times after that. Although he has been sick for the past few one's and hasn't attended, but I have received notes from his wife from time to time. These Soldier's and our NCO's were true leaders who had fought in WW II & Korea. All had been tested in battle before.

God Bless all of them, as they trully made a BIG difference to all us Green Troops at the begning. Any of them that have passed. May the Good Lord always hold them in the Palm of His hands. Rest in Peace Brother's.

   
Units Participated in Operation

173rd Aviation Company (AHC)

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
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Vietnam Cu Chi
Vietnam Cu Chi
Vietnam Cu Chi
Vietnam Cu Chi

  21 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Arrants, Donald, SP 5, (1965-1967)
  • Best, Donald, MAJ, (1962-1982)
  • Case, Allan, SFC, (1962-1983)
  • Frank, Charles, SGT, (1965-1967)
  • McKeever, John, LTC, (1963-1985)
  • Thompson, Tommy, LTC, (1963-1983)
  • Tucker, William, SP 4, (1963-1966)
  • Vieth, Jerry, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Whiteman, William, SGT, (1965-1968)
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