Studi, Wes, SGT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
111.07-Rifleman (Parachutist)
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1969, 11B10, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry
Previously Held MOS
Service Years
1963 - 1969


Two Service Stripes

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration Vietnam 50th Anniversary

 Additional Information
What are you doing now:

Can you tell us about your military service?

I ETS'd out of South Vietnam in 1969.  I was with Alpha Company, 3rd of the 39th Infantry, 9th Division, down in the Delta.  That was my last service.  

Is it true that you volunteered to go to Vietnam?

I was National Guard.  I went to a boarding school in northern Oklahoma called Chilocco and the National Guard unit there was the 45th Infantry Division.  

I joined up in my senior year.  I got permission from parents to join when I was 17 or thereabouts and joined the National Guard mainly because we got to march around our school grounds and had a paycheck as well.  For a while there, after joining, I went to Basic Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, down with the pine needles and pigmy rattlers. Six months was the amount of time we had to spend there on active duty.  

I got out and then I went to a few meetings and summer camps.  At the time, we had a six-year obligation.  I stopped going after a couple of summer camps, so I was activated into the regular Army.  I still had my ER number, but I was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, upon activation and I joined a company there that was mainly a holding company for returnees from Vietnam.  

When I was a part of that company, I heard so many stories of how bad it was over there but also how much fun it was over there.  I heard all kinds of stories from guys who came back not just telling war stories, but telling stories of good times.  The experience of it intrigued me.  I have always been a person who wonders how I would do in a situation like the ones these guys would tell stories about.  It just began to stay with me, that feeling of, Wow, I wonder what I would do, I wonder if I could measure up?

So I volunteered.  I had just about a year left of my six-year obligation. In a very short time, I landed at Thomson-Hood and went to Bearcat.  I was assigned to the 9th Division and off I went. The first location that I remember was a place called the French Fort on one of the rivers very near the opening out into the Gulf.  

I landed just as the Mini-Tet was starting up around the first of May of that year. I actually didn't partake of all of the fighting that was going on there in Saigon.  I think they decided to leave most of us who were new in country there at the French Fort,  even though the company was very active in the defense of Saigon at the time.  

We went on to move around all over the place, down in the Delta area, from base camp to fire camp to firebase camps.  We mainly we traveled around by helicopter and by the boats on the rivers and patrolled moving around like that.  We even rode helicopter boats and hovercraft. It was quite the time.  

Eventually, I was off the line for about 30 days at the end and then was home sweet home, back to the world. Of the whole time I was there, I was the most nervous on that last day before we jumped on the plane.  You never know when they were going to hit the airbase there.  

One of the most interesting thing about "Hostiles" is how it examines the way warriors process the experience after the fighting is over.  Your character and Christian Bale's character are enemies who have to find common ground.

Right, and the common ground is a common enemy.  That's correct. I think that was the beginning of not necessarily a friendship, but at least a peaceful coexistence between former enemies who perhaps become actual allies in battle. That's pretty much the history of humankind, how we come together when we need to, when we have to, in order to continue to survive. 


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Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Junction City
From Month/Year
February / 1967
To Month/Year
May / 1967

Operation Junction City (22 February - 14 May 1967) was an 82-day military operation conducted by United States and Republic of Vietnam (RVN or South Vietnam) forces begun on 22 February 1967 during the Vietnam War. It was the largest U.S. airborne operation since Operation Market Garden during World War II, the only major airborne operation of the Vietnam War, and one of the largest U.S. operations of the war. The operation was named after Junction City, Kansas, home of the operation's commanding officer.

The failure to gain surprise lay in discovery of the plans after NVA Col. Dinh Thi Van managed to place one of her agents in social circles that included ARVN Gen. Cao Van Vien and US Gen. William Westmoreland.[citation needed] That agent further reported one ARVN staff officer's comment of the early phase of the operation: "(The Viet Cong) seem like ghosts. All the six spearheads of our forces have been attacked while we don't know exactly where their main force is. Even in Bau Hai Vung that is considered to be a safe area, we lost one brigade.

It's so strange."
The stated aim of the almost three month engagement involving the equivalent of nearly three U.S. divisions of troops was to locate the elusive 'headquarters' of the Communist uprising in South Vietnam, the COSVN (Central Office of South Vietnam). By some accounts of US analysts at the time, such a headquarters was believed to be almost a "mini-Pentagon," complete with typists, file cabinets, and staff workers possibly guarded by layers of bureaucracy. In truth, after the end of the war, the actual headquarters was revealed by VC archives to be a small and mobile group of people, oftentimes sheltering in ad hoc facilities and at one point escaping an errant bombing by some hundreds of meters.

Hammer and Anvil
Junction City's grand tactical plan was a "hammer and anvil" tactic, whereupon airborne forces would "flush out" the VietCong headquarters, sending them to retreat against a prepared "anvil" of pre-positioned forces. Total forces earmarked for this operation included most of the 1st Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division including the 27th Infantry Regiment (United States) "Wolfhounds;" and the [(196th Light Infantry Brigade]) and the airborne troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and large armored elements of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

American forces of II Field Force, Vietnam started operation on 22 February 1967 (while Operation Cedar Falls was winding down), the initial operation was carried out by two infantry divisions, the 1st (commanded by Major General William E. DePuy ) and the 25th (Major General Frederick C. Weyand), who led their forces to the north of the area concerned to build the "anvil" on which, according to the American plans, the forces of the Viet Cong 9th Division would be crushed. At the same time the movement of infantry (eight battalions with 249 helicopters), took place on the same day including the launch of the paratroopers (the only launch carried out during the entire Vietnam War and the largest since the days of Operation Market Garden in World War II), an airborne regiment of the 173 Airborne Brigade, which went into action west of the deployment of the 1st and the 25th Infantry Division.

The operations were apparently at first a success, designated positions were reached without encountering great resistance, and then on February 23, the mechanized forces 11th Armored Cavalry and the 2nd Brigade of the 25th Division, the "hammer" of armor struck against the '"anvil" of the infantry and airborne positioned north and west, giving the enemy seemingly no chance to escape.

In fact, the Vietcong forces, highly mobile and elusive as ever, and with information sources located deep in the south Vietnamese bureaucracy, had already relocated their headquarters to Cambodia, and launched several attacks in mass disorder to inflict losses and wear down the enemy. On February 28 and March 10 there raged two fierce clashes with U.S. forces, the Battle of Prek Klok I and the Battle of Prek Klok II where the US, supported by a powerful potential air strikes and massive artillery support repuled Vietcong attacks, but the strategic outcomes were overall disappointing.

Best available photograph of the 25th Infantry Division. A year after Junction City, the 25th ID shows the M113 Armored Personnel Carriers by which the US enjoyed a firepower and armor advantage in Prek Klok I and II.

On 18 March 1967, General Bruce Palmer, Jr., new commander of II Field Force, Vietnam, in replacement of General Seaman, launched then the second phase of Junction City, this time directly to the east and carried out again by the mechanized divisions, the 1st Infantry Division and 11th Cavalry, reinforced this time from the 1st Brigade of the 9th Infantry Division (including the 5th Cavalry Regiment). This maneuver gave rise to the toughest battle of the entire operation, the March 19 Battle of Ap Bau Bang II, wherein the 273rd Vietcong regiment put into difficulties the American armored cavalry although eventually forced to retire by a huge amount of firepower.

In the days after the forces of the Viet Cong they launched two more attacks in force, on March 21 and in Ap Gu on April 1, against the 1st and the 25th Infantry Division, both assaults were bloodily repulsed, and the Viet Cong 9th Division came out seriously weakened, though still able to fight and, if necessary, to retreat to safety in areas adjacent to the Cambodian border. On April 16 the U.S. command of II Field Force, in agreement with the MACV, decided to continue operations with a third phase of Operation Junction City, until May 14 certain units of the 25th Division Infantry American, undertook long and exhausting research the enemy, advancing in the bush, raking villages and retrieving large amounts of material logistics Vietcong, but with little contact with the Communist units, now cautiously moved to a defensive footing.

The US infantry enjoyed advantages in mechanization over the Viet Cong forces encountered, including the M113 and in certain locales, full battle tanks.
The province of Tay Ninh was picked over thoroughly and Viet Cong forces suffered significant losses, including large amounts of material captured: 810 tonnes of rice, 600 tonnes of small arms, 500,000 pages of documents . According to calculations by the American command the 9th Division VC went seriously weakened by the operations, suffering the loss of 2,728 killed, 34 captured men and 139 deserters, but also the American losses were not negligible, amounting to nearly 300 dead and over 1,500 injured.

After the operations, the American forces were recalled to other areas of operation and then the country, apparently assured to be in the firm control of the South Vietnamese government fell prey again soon to infiltration by the Viet Cong forces returned from their sanctuaries in Cambodia.

When American troops found in some stores of the enemy, 120 reels of film and logistical equipment for the printing of documents, the command of MACV assumed to have finally found the famous COSVN in reality things were very different. The mobile headquarters, commanded by some mysterious and famous personalities such as generals Thanh, Tran Van Tran Between and Do, had quickly retreated to Cambodia, maintaining its operations and confounding the hopes of the U.S. strategic planners.
With a huge consumption of resources and equipment, including 366,000 rounds of artillery and 3,235 tons of bombs, the American forces had inflicted losses on the enemy and demonstrated the remarkable ability of airborne forces and even mechanized forces (also useful in impervious territory), but also strategically Junction City had missed the most important goals and had not led to the expected turning point of the war.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
February / 1967
To Month/Year
May / 1967
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
Personal Memories
Units Participated in Operation

173rd Aviation Company (AHC)

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  152 Also There at This Battle:
  • Aderson, Waren, SGT, (1966-1968)
  • Allred, Eugene, SSG, (1963-1969)
  • Almodovar, Luis, SFC, (1966-1986)
  • ANTOL, JAY, PV1, (1966-1969)
  • Avellina, Salvatore, MSG, (1957-1985)
  • Baldwin, Mark, SP 4, (1964-1968)
  • Ballweg, Ron, CW4, (1964-1989)
  • Barnes, Curtis, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Binkley, Mike, SGM, (1966-1995)
  • Boersen, Max, SP 4, (1966-1968)
  • BROWN, WILLIAM, CPT, (1965-1969)
  • Buck, Robert, SSG, (1965-1969)
  • Bumpass, James, SP 4, (1966-1967)
  • Case, Allan, SFC, (1962-1983)
  • Colbert, Jeffrey, SP 4, (1966-1968)
  • Counselman, Horace, SGT, (1966-1969)
  • Crouch, Sam, SP 5, (1965-1968)
  • Diehl, Michael, SGT, (1966-1977)
  • Doss, Donald, SP 5, (1963-1967)
  • Downen, Larry, PFC, (1966-1968)
  • Eason, Don, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Edwards, Donald, CW3, (1963-1983)
  • Estenik, Carl, SSG, (1964-1972)
  • Flowers, Samuel, MSG, (1960-1980)
  • George, Rodney, SP 4, (1965-1971)
  • Germain, Joe, SFC, (1965-1985)
  • Gillespie, Jack, SP 4, (1966-1968)
  • Graham, Wiliam (Bill), SGT, (1964-1967)
  • Hagell, Ronald, CPT, (1965-1973)
  • Harhart, John, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Hassler, Gerald, SGT, (1965-1967)
  • Housley, Ronald, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Hurt, James, SP 5, (1966-1968)
  • Irizarry-Laporte, Rafael, SGT, (1966-1968)
  • Jackson, Merle, SP 4, (1965-1967)
  • Jenkins, Alvin, PFC, (1966-1974)
  • Johnson, Robert, SGT, (1966-1967)
  • Kimbrough, William, CPT, (1959-1979)
  • Knox, Larry, SSG, (1965-1969)
  • Koral, Richard, PFC, (1965-1967)
  • Lapeer, William, MSG, (1966-1998)
  • LeGrett, Harry James, CPL, (1966-1968)
  • Lemon, Steven, SSG, (1961-1992)
  • Leppelman, John L., SP 4, (1966-1970)
  • Martin, Robert, SGT, (1965-1969)
  • Mateos, Andrew, SFC, (1952-1972)
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