Beecherl, Rick, SP 5

Armor (Enlisted)
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Specialist 5
Current/Last Service Branch
Armor
Current/Last Primary MOS
11E10-Armor Crewman
Current/Last MOS Group
Armor (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1969-1971, 11E10, HHT, 1st Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Previously Held MOS
11B10-Infantryman
Service Years
1969 - 1971
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate
Voice Edition

Specialist 5



 Ribbon Bar


Machine Gun
 
Auto Rifle
 
Rifle
Pistol

 

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord


 Unofficial Badges 

Armor Shoulder Cord Army Honorable Discharge (1984-Present) Cold War Medal Cold War Veteran




 Military Association Memberships
Post 26114th Cavalry AssociationArmy Together We ServedUnited Services Automobile Association (USAA)
ATWS Unit Historian
  1986, American Legion, Post 261 (Member) (Eastpointe, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2003, 14th Cavalry Association [Verified]
  2008, Army Together We Served [Verified]
  2013, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, ATWS Unit Historian [Verified]


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Currently I am retired from DTE Energy. I was there for 36 years. I worked in the Maintenance Dept. in the Power Plants as a Welder. My hobbies are a 1967 Pontiac GTO and Woodworking.
   
Other Comments:
I really enjoy spending time with my Grandson.
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1969, Basic Training (Fort Knox, KY), C/11
 Unit Assignments
US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)14th Armored Cavalry Regiment
  1969-1969, 11B10, 3rd Battalion, 5th Training Brigade
  1969-1971, 11E10, 2nd Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment
  1969-1971, 11E10, HHT, 1st Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1971 Deployment - West German Border Security Operations1
  1970-1970 Training Exercise - Reforger (Reforger II) '70
 Military Association Memberships
Post 26114th Cavalry AssociationArmy Together We ServedUnited Services Automobile Association (USAA)
ATWS Unit Historian
  1986, American Legion, Post 261 (Member) (Eastpointe, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2003, 14th Cavalry Association [Verified]
  2008, Army Together We Served [Verified]
  2013, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, ATWS Unit Historian [Verified]


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Reflections on SP 5 Beecherl's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?
I would have to start back when I was in grade school. I had a younger brother who was a year younger than I. He was a key reason in how my military service came to be and how I served. When we were young boys we lived in Inkster
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army?
My Senior Year
on the West side of Detroit. Their grade school only had half days for the lower grades. When my parents made the decision to move to St. Clair Shores, on the East side of Detroit because their schools had full day of classes, I was going into the 2nd Grade and my brother into the 1st Grade. This put me behind because of the I was used to half days and hadn't learned as much. So, my parents and the school decided to back me up into 1st grade with my brother. This is how we went through our school years, in the same grade.

Moving forward to high school, in my senior year I was notified to report for a Physical and Classification for Selective Service. This was done at Ft. Wayne, which is along the Detroit River and a historical site. It was used as an Induction Center during the Vietnam years. I came out of that with a 1A classification. I still had 5 months of high school left. Some of the guys my brother was friends with were already out of school and were either joining or getting drafted into the service. It was in the spring when he quit school and volunteered. Needless to say, Mom and Dad weren't happy. I went on to graduate.

After graduation I applied for a Job at Detroit Edison, the local power company, and the company where my father worked. After the testing and medical exam I was hired as a laborer. This was mid summer of 1968. My brother was just going from Basic to A.I.T. as Recon. My new job was going well and had another opportunity to get into Overhead Lines and I applied for it. They sent me downtown for some testing and a physical and back x-ray. I was then notified that I had passed the testing and they would contact me for a reporting date. I was excited and when I got home I told my parents and then my mom said you have some mail on the counter. It was from the Selective Service. I opened it and it read something like this, "Your Friends and Neighbors Invite You to Join the Armed Services". Report Jan. 20, 1969. I GOT DRAFTED!!! The following day when I went to work I called the employment department and told them what happened. They said they would call me back. A couple days later I got the call and they told me to report on Monday, this way you will be in the job and your time will count when you get back.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
I reported at the Induction Center at Ft. Wayne in Detroit, MI. on Jan. 20th, 1969 and spent the better part of the day testing and getting a physical. They put us in formation and counted off 1 through 5 for loading onto the bus. I'll never forget this moment.
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took. What was your reason for leaving?
Tigerland, Ft. Polk
Some PFC gets up in front of the group and tells us what is going to happen. Then he says "Before we load you on the buses is there anyone who thinks they can kick my butt step forward now". Nobody moved and they loaded us up and off to Ft. Knox.

Ft. Knox was pretty much like Michigan as far as the weather and most of the guys were from Michigan, Penn. and New York. So the weather was no big deal. The Drill SGT's were, well Drill SGT's. It was a standard Basic Training, PT, run, PT, run, In your face yelling, PT, run, GI party, spit shine, fire watch, PT, run. You all know the routine.

One evening we were sitting around in the barracks and one of the guys asked "What are you going to do when you get home", I jumped in and said "I'm going back to Ft. Wayne, then I'm going find that PFC and kick his butt" That got a good laugh.

By now my brother was on his way to Vietnam. He was with the 2/34th Armor, Recon. I sent him a couple of letters, but never heard back from him. My parents said they heard from him a couple times and he was well. Basic was over and we all got our orders for AIT, you guessed it, 11B Ft. Polk, Tigerland. So, off we went. This time we got to fly. It was Trans Texas Airlines. The DI's called it Tree Tops Airlines, because they don't get up to high in case you have to jump out. We all stood there looking stupid thinking they meant it. We made it to Tigerland and this is not like Michigan! It was hot and humid. Did I mention humid? The base was in a Phase III of Spinal Meningitis outbreak. This meant no excessive physical activities. So, about the first 3 weeks we had mostly classroom and riding on cattle cars to field training and rifle range.

Somewhere during this time period, we were asked if anyone had a relative in Vietnam. I raised my hand and told them that my brother was over there. I didn't hear anymore about it for the rest of the time there. Then when our training was completed we all met in our respective barracks and we were to receive our orders. Naturally most were 11B/Vietnam.

When my name was called it was "Holdover Temp Duty". This meant being assigned to a Holdover Company awaiting orders. We were used as the aggressors for those who were going thru Tigerland. This lasted about 3 weeks, then I got orders to Ft. Knox for APC Driver School. When that was completed, my orders were to report to Ft. Dix, N.J. then to Daly Barracks in Bad Kissingen, Germany. Upon reporting to H Co, 2/14th ACR. I was assigned to 3rd Platoon and Tank H-33 which I was now a Gunner on a M60A1 Tank. All I could think was someone really screwed up. I went from Grunt to Driver to Gunner at the stroke of the pen. Shortly after arriving and being assigned, my TC put me in for SP/4 as he didn't want his Gunner to be a PFC.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
I was not in a combat zone. I was with the 2/14th Armored Cavalry, stationed at Daly Barracks in Bad Kissingen, Germany. It was the regiments task to patrol the East/West German/Czech border along the Fulda Gap. They did that from an outpost camp near Wollbach not far from the
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which were the most significant to you and, if life-changing, in what way.
Tank being Uprighted
border. We only pulled border duty as replacements for the Recon Troops when they were scheduled for other duties. Most of the time we were in Grafenwehr, Hohensfel or Wildflecken training. Mostly on the firing range and field maneuvers. We did participate in Reforger 1970.

Being in maintenance now, as the Turret Mechanic on the VTR we were all over the place either servicing our tanks or other company's tanks. The worst one we ever had to do was when a tank, from another company, was pulling another during winter and going down hill they jack-knifed and went off the road. The lead tank rolled over and the tank being towed by the weight of it broke the towbar and rolled on top of the tank that flipped. It was an all nighter out there and took two VTR's to recover the tanks. The driver of the rolled tank had some battery acid burns, but made it out all right.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
I had my Basic Training at Ft. Knox in January/February and it wasn't to bad being from Michigan. Then I went to Ft. Polk and it was hot, humid and dirty. One of the DI's said the only difference between Ft. Polk and Vietnam was we don't use real bullets
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which one was your least favorite?
Entrance to Border Camp
here. I did not like Ft. Polk. From there I went to Germany and spent 18 months there. Weather-wise it was the same as Michigan. We spent our time in the field training or in the motor park working and cleaning the tanks.

Some of the memories were either funny or mistakes made. But, my fondest memory would be when I was the Acting Platoon Leader at the border (because the Platoon Sgt, E-6 didn't want to go and pulled a fast one over on the 1st Sgt). Anyway, two things happened during this assignment. 1st was a Colonel who came to the camp by chopper. The 1st Sgt told me to get the fuel truck and fill the chopper up with fuel. So I got the truck, drove it to where the chopper was and the Crew Chief helped me get it hooked for fueling. When done, I drove the truck back to where I got it. Then went about my business. It came time for the Colonel to leave and the pilot started it up and began to lift of to about 20 feet in the air and boom the engine quit and down came the chopper. I got called out and between me and the Crew Chief we try to figure what went wrong (I didn't know anything about choppers). The Crew Chief sucked some fuel out and put some die in it and it turned purple in an instant. Someone before we got to the camp filled the aviation gas truck with water. The 1st Sgt looks at me and I said we didn't do it. They had to call for another chopper to come get the Colonel.

The second memory was when the 1st Sgt was giving everyone who had no assignments, a Cinderella Pass. So, naturally they head for town and the Gasthaus. My guys all came back hammered. In the morning when it came time for morning formation, it was me and two guys, about eight were still in the rack. My turn to report and I say "All present and accounted for 1st Sgt." Well his response was "I want you in my office" "Yes, 1st Sgt" I got my butt chewed out real good.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
I would have to say my time as an E5 and being put in leadership positions either by chance or assigned acting as the Platoon Leader at border camp probably had the most impact on me because I got to see both sides at the same time. It makes you
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
Rolled over Tank
grow up and realize that it is for a reason.

When I got my lecture from the 1Sgt it made me really think why this was all so important. I became a better person after that and it showed. More senior leaders made comments to me afterwards and said they could see I had learned from it. Being the Turret Mechanic I was on my own a lot. So, I needed to be responsible as what I do makes a difference for a whole Crew. So, 1SGT Brian Chappell wherever you are, thank you.

At times we would get called to assist another company with a recovery. It was winter during Reforger '70 and we got a call to help recover a tank that had rolled over off the road. When we got there one VTR was already on the scene. We got ours in position and after 18 hours we were able to get them out and on the road again.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - What achievement(s) are you most proud of from your military career? If you received any medals, awards, formal presentations or qualification badges for significant achievement or valor, please describe how these were earned.
Plaque I was Presented
I did progress to SP/5 after 11 months in the service. I thought that was an honor as others never made it past E4. There were only so many slots in the Company for E5's. I was the Turret Mechanic and it was an E5 slot. I was presented the Good Conduct Medal and a plaque the 1stSgt had made on my way out the door going home.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges you received, or any other memorabilia, please describe those which are the most meaningful to you and why?
Maint. Crew, Me in Rear
I can't say there was a favorite medal or award because the ones I received were just standard service ribbons. If I have to pick it is the Good Conduct Medal. Also the plaque that was presented to me for doing my job.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
My Friend Randy Busch
Randy Busch, who was from Oil City, PA. He and I remain friends to this day. We were like brothers and met in AIT at Ft. Polk. We both had brothers already in Vietnam and were held over together and sent to the same Unit in Germany. Randy and I both eventually ended up in the Maintenance Group. He as a Engine Mechanic, and I as the Turret Mechanic. This meant we worked together a lot.

In the picture is Randy in front of a friends GTO who came to see him at Ft. Polk.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
I was in H Co. and we were called the Hawg. Well the 1stSgt had decals made of a wild boars head on a yellow background. Every vehicle had a decal on both sides of it. Well, we were in Hohensfeld on maneuvers and the VTR was assigned to go
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Can you recount a particular incident from your service which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still makes you laugh?
H Co Logo, Hawg
help another Company pull a tank out of a ditch which had rolled over. We spent 3 days out there getting the tank out and on its way. In the process the tow bar on our VTR got bent, so we needed a replacement. That night we went on a midnight raid to replace it.

The next day the 1stSgt wanted to go out to the firing range and asked me to drive him out with the chow for lunch. We were driving the 1-1/4 down the road when a jeep caught up to us and started honking its horn. Top said pull over and so did the jeep. A SSgt came up on the passenger side and Top asked what he wanted. The Sgt said that we stole the tow bar from his VTR last night and he wanted it back. Top said how do you know is was one of our men. The Sgt took a step back and pointed at the door and said they had a pig on their vehicle just like that one. Top threw open the door, got out and had the Sgt at attention and began explaining to him in no uncertain terms that was a HAWG and not a pig. He sent them on their way and got back in and we continued to the range. He then asked if I knew anything about it? Since I was on the raid, I told him the story of the bent tow bar. His response was, next time don't use one of our trucks.

I will always remember that story.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - What profession did you follow after your military service and what are you doing now? If you are currently serving, what is your present occupational specialty?
Made this for Grandson
When I left the service I went back to my previous employer The Detroit Edison Company. I worked as a laborer for a few years and got an apprenticeship as a welder in the Power Plants. I worked at all the plants at one time or another, Detroit Edison (later DTE Energy) had 10 Coal Fired Plants and one Nuke Plant. They also had 3 Heating Plants in the city of Detroit that produced steam for their heating systems. I did that until 2004, when I retired.

I am currently retired and enjoy it. I don't miss the work, but miss some of the guys I worked with all those years. We still get to see each other a couple times a year at retirement parties and lunches once in awhile.

We have a grandson and he is my best buddy now. I really enjoy spending time with him and he really likes his PaPa. He likes the wooden trucks that I made for him.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
2005 Reunion at Border Camp
I have belonged to the American Legion since about 1978 and I belong to the 14th Cavalry Association. I am just a member with the American Legion, but the 14th Cavalry Association influenced me to take my wife to Germany for a reunion in 2005. Something I always said I would do and never did until then. We both enjoyed the 3 weeks there and would like to go one more time before it is to late. We met at the site of the former Daly Barracks and stayed at a Hotel in Bad Kissingen.

On the second day we went on an all day bus tour of the places we served at and to the town where our opposing forces were stationed. It was a really good time and the wife really enjoyed herself. After the reunion we toured Germany for 2 weeks before we went back home.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - In what ways has serving in the military influenced the way you have approached your life and your career? What do you miss most about your time in the service?
Me in Front with the Maint. Gang
I will say that the military taught me to do the best you can. To help others learn as you have and be willing to pick them up and brush them off when they fall down. Treat others with respect and always have the facts and tell the truth. I used these all my life the best I could. I hope I have left my mark on those I have known.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Army?
Tank Hardstand/Motor Pool
I would say to all those in service today if they wish to make it their career or not, be sure to take advantage of all your military resources and your VA benefits and get as much education as you can. It will be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family in the future.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SP 5 Rick Beecherl - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
H Co Reunion at Ft.Knox
Togetherweserved helped me find troopers In my unit and we put together a reunion at Ft. Knox in 2009. Finding 1stSgt Cooper on this site who worked there as a contractor and he helped make our plans inside the Fort. Thanks Jack, for the help making it a memorable reunion.

It also gave me the opportunity to build a profile for my father, Jack Beecherl who was in the Navy during WWII. I have adopted many Fallen profiles and do my best to remember these fallen veterans into the future.

DS 12/8/16









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