Warriner, Russell, SSG

Transportation Corps (Enlisted)
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Current/Last Service Branch
Transportation Corps
Current/Last Primary MOS
67W-Aircraft Quality Control Supervisor
Current/Last MOS Group
Transportation Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1975-1975, 51P, 340th General Hospital
Previously Held MOS
67N10-UH-1 Helicopter Repairer
67Y10-AH-1 Attack Helicopter Repairer
51P-Utilities Engineering Supervisor
67Z-Aircraft Maintenance Senior Sergeant
Service Years
1967 - 1975

Staff Sergeant


Two Service Stripes



Six Overseas Service Bars



 Ribbon Bar

Aviation Badge (Basic)
Rifle
Rifle

 

 Official Badges 

Imjin Scouts 1st Cavalry Division 2nd Infantry Division


 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal Cold War Veteran


 Military Association Memberships
1st Cavalry Division AssociationMilitary Order of the Purple Heart2nd Infantry Division Association Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Post 7997, Old Orchard Memorial PostAerial Rocket Artillery AssociationVietnam Helicopter Crew Members AssociationPost 1
Post 57
  1969, 1st Cavalry Division Association [Verified]
  1970, Military Order of the Purple Heart [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1970, 2nd Infantry Division Association [Verified]
  1990, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1992, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 7997, Old Orchard Memorial Post (National President) (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1994, Aerial Rocket Artillery Association [Verified]
  1994, Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association [Verified]
  1996, American Veterans (AMVETS), Post 1 (Member) (Biddeford, Maine) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2011, American Legion, Post 57 (Member) (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) [Verified]1 - Chap. Page


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
I was the Chaplain for VFW Memorial Post 7997 in Old Orchard Beach 2011-2013

Chair and founder of POW/MIA Recognition Day weekend in Old Orchard Beach Maine.

Today, I suport all my brothers and sisters who served. I Belong to several veterans groups and enjoying retirement life in Florida.  I do guest speaker enguagements, if they are within reach. Perhaps, I will someday finish writing a second book.
   
Other Comments:
After dropping out of School in 1965, I worked until I had to register for the draft. Vietnam was heating up and I knew that as soon as I signed up for the draft, they would draft me because I had dropped out of school. Therefore, after talking to the recruiter, I volunteered for the one hundred and twenty day delayed entry program. The recruiter told me that I could become a helicopter mechanic, if I passed the test, which he assured me I could. This would keep me out of the infantry and off the front lines, if I went to Vietnam. That was in December 1966 and I was to report to Springfield Massachusetts in March 1967.
 
I reported to Springfield MA on March 13 and soon thereafter, I was on my way to Fort Jackson South Carolina, where they lined us up before shipping us to basic training. My basic training was at Fort Gordon Georgia. After Basic training, I received promotion orders to PVT E2 and orders to attend helicopter mechanic school at Fort Rucker Alabama. I was excited and thought, ‘WOW’ the recruiter had told me the truth, I was going to become a mechanic. After a short trip home to see family, I was off to Fort Rucker to train to be a Helicopter mechanic.

Basic Aviation Mechanics (67A10) came easy for me and when the Rotory Wing course (Huey 67N20) started, I was named class leader. At the end of the course, I received another promotion to PFC E-3 and was placed on a hold over list. I said goodbye to my fellow classmates and waited on orders to leave.  When my orders came, I went home for a short leave, said goodbye to my family and soon was off to Fort Lewis Washington and waited for orders to ship off to Vietnam.
 
When I arrived in Vietnam in November 1967, my assignment was with Charley Battery 2nd Battalion 20th Artillery of the 1st Calvary Division. I could not believe it, I am going into an artillery unit and I have an aviation MOS. Arriving at my unit I discovered that this was not a typical artillery unit; it was an Aerial Rocket Artillery unit. I would be working on the helicopters, so this would be okay. I was in for another BIG SURPRISE, an almost as soon as I arrived in the unit, I was assigned to an aircraft and found my young ass sitting in the door of a Bravo Model Huey gunship with an M-60 in my hands.

At first, flying in combat scarred the crap out of me, then the adrenalin kicked in and for the most part, there was no time to worry about being scarred. With my adrenalin pumping and the feeling I got, I could not get enough of the flying. When my unit got the second two Cobras, my first Huey left and so did my flying. A month later, when a Crew Chief left for the states, they assigned me to the Charlie Model Huey that he had crewed. I was back flying again, doing what I enjoyed the most. After an engine failure, they assigned me to another Bravo Model and continued flying until the last of the Huey left and the Cobra replacements arrived. I finished my tour working in maintenance and being a night Crew Chief. I did a short time as a Tech Inspector in maintenance, but that ended when the unit received a SSG E-6 and the slot was filled. As a night crew chief, I flew in the front seat of the Cobra until the commander found out. I guess that was a good thing because I was not trained to be a pilot. Years after my tour was over, I wrote , which you can find on my website
www.emptytubesandbackseatmemories.com/ , www.amazon.com , www.barnesandnoble.com or www.outskirtspress.com .

During my tour, I served in I, II and II Corps, spent time at the DMZ, spent time in the A shau Valley and had several close calls.  I left Vietnam in June of 1969 with no intention of reenlisting in the army. However, when they offered me a LARGE chunk of money, the money looked so good, I took another burst of six years.
 
During a twenty-nine month tour in Korea, I spent time flying the DMZ, working in maintenance, serving time a Motor pool Sergeant and a short time flying as Crew Chief for a 2nd ID General. This tour had added effects to my already growing PTSD problems.
 
I excited the US Army in 1975, which I learned later was a direct result of my PTSD. I had no idea that my tour of duty had bothered me so much until many years later.  When I discovered that writing was an outlet for what was bothering me, I wrote in the Saber (1st Cavalry Division Newspaper) about my unit, which I did for 19 years. I also discovered that finding others helped me as well, which lead to starting a group for the ARA, which I tried to keep going for 15plus years. This group is still going; however, I am concentrating my efforts on other issues.

In May 2011, I was nominated for thr Army Aviation Hall Of Fame. I was not put into the Army Aviation Hall Of Fame, but what an honor just to be nominated.. 
 
I am a life member of VFW Post 7997 (Maine), AMVETS Post #1 (Maine), Military Order of the Purple Heart (Florida), Vietnam Veterans of America # 1044 Maine), Disabled American Veterans Pine Tree State #2 (Maine), Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association, and Veterans of the Vietnam War (National). I am also a member of the American Legion Post #57 (Maine).   

In 2011, I organizaed a POW/MIA Recognition Day weekend in Old Orchard Beach Maine. We had our firstevent in September 2012 and after the 2013 event, I passed the torch to others and moved to Florida. Please go to
www.facebook.com/PowmiaRecognitionWeekend and read more about it.
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1967, 1st Battalion, 1st Training Brigade (Fort Gordon, GA), B2
 Unit Assignments
2nd Battalion, 20th Artillery Regiment NCO Academy Wightman (Cadre) 8th Army2nd Aviation Battalion4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment
U.S. Army8th Transportation Battalion/661st Transportation Company13th Aviation Battalion/235th Aviation CompanySurgical/Evacuation Hospital Units
  1967-1969, 67N10, 2nd Battalion, 20th Artillery Regiment /C Battery
  1969-1969, 67Y10, 2nd Battalion, 20th Artillery Regiment /C Battery
  1970-1970, 67N10, NCO Academy Wightman (Cadre) 8th Army
  1970-1971, 67N10, 2nd Aviation Battalion/A Company
  1971-1972, 67N10, 2nd Aviation Battalion/B Company
  1972-1972, 67Y10, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment/D Troop
  1972-1972, 67N10, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment/D Troop
  1973-1973, 67Y10, CBRN Basic NCO Course (BNCOC)
  1973-1973, 67Y10, 8th Transportation Battalion/661st Transportation Company
  1973-1974, 67Y10, 13th Aviation Battalion/235th Aviation Company
  1974-1975, 67Y10, 13th Aviation Battalion/235th Aviation Company
  1975-1975, 67W, 13th Aviation Battalion/235th Aviation Company
  1975-1975, 67Z, 13th Aviation Battalion/235th Aviation Company
  1975-1975, 51P, 340th General Hospital
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Pershing 22 Feb to 30 May 67
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
 Military Association Memberships
1st Cavalry Division AssociationMilitary Order of the Purple Heart2nd Infantry Division Association Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Post 7997, Old Orchard Memorial PostAerial Rocket Artillery AssociationVietnam Helicopter Crew Members AssociationPost 1
Post 57
  1969, 1st Cavalry Division Association [Verified]
  1970, Military Order of the Purple Heart [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1970, 2nd Infantry Division Association [Verified]
  1990, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1992, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 7997, Old Orchard Memorial Post (National President) (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1994, Aerial Rocket Artillery Association [Verified]
  1994, Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association [Verified]
  1996, American Veterans (AMVETS), Post 1 (Member) (Biddeford, Maine) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  2011, American Legion, Post 57 (Member) (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) [Verified]1 - Chap. Page


 Remembrance Profiles -  154 Soldiers Remembered
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Reflections on SSG Warriner's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army?
I was a junior high school student when JFK assassinated and Vietnam was heating up. I believed that it was my duty as an American to served my time for the country. I did not believe in becoming a "Draft Dodger" and did not even know anyone who had taken that route. My dad had worked for the VA from before I was born and I wanted to serve my country. The draft was in full swing and I did not want to be in the infantry.
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?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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 wanted to become a mechanic and work on tanks. However, becoming a helicopter mechanic sounded better and the recruiter made me feel like there was less chance of being on the front lines with an aviation MOS. I believed as a helicopter mechanic, I would at a base camp and not on the front lines. I believed I would have wrenches in my hands rather than a rifle and would not carry a weapon, much less be shooting at anyone.

After basic training, I was off to Fort Rucker Alabama for mechanics training, where I took 67A10 (Basic Aviation) and then 67N20 (Single Rotor Turbine Helicopter Maintenance).
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.
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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.
After leaving Fort Rucker, I was sent to Vietnam and soon after arriving, I was assigned to a Huey Gunship as the Crew Chief and assigned two M-60 machine guns plus my own weapon. So much for no weapon in combat.

My duty assignment was Charlie Battery 2nd Battalion 20th Artillery (ARA) "Aerial Rocket Artillery" of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Soon after arriving in the unit, the adrenaline kicked in, fear only showed up after the facts as they happened. Close calls if you may, happened several times but in the heat of the moment there was no time and the adrenaline would take over.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which one was your least favorite?
Vietnam was was the most my fondest memories. Everyone worked as a team. You did your job and those around you did their job. I owe my life to some great pilots and if you talk to them, they would tell you I protected them.

Here are some of those great pilots. I can name all but two in this photo and still tell you who is who in most photos.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
I will never forget, looking through the blood that was streaming down my face after being wounded by a MK-24 flare and seeing a pilot looking back at me. Had I not gotten that flare out of our aircraft and had good fast thinking pilots on board, none of us would be here today.we would not made it. I thank all my pilots from every mission for bringing us home each and every time.

I not only know who my pilots were that night, I know where they are today.
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.
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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.
I received an Army Commendation medal with "V" Device for a mission in the A Shau Valley and an Air Medal with "V" Device for another mission, which I believe was given to me for a mission near LZ Sharon.

I also received two more Army Commendation medals.

Like any other person in my unit, we were only doing our job. The Aircraft Commander always was awarded the highest award and everyone else would get something lower if they got any award.
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?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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?
My Army Commendation with "V" that was awarded while we were in the A Shau Valley or "Valley of the Shadow of Death" and the Air Medal with "V" are the two that I am most proud of.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
There were many who stick out in my mind. SFC Stephen Cole and SFC Adler had a profound impact on guidance as a Crew Chief.

Warrant Officer Comer, Capt. Barloco, Capt Bond, Capt Whitling, and many others were pilots that treated the Crew Chief with the utmost of respect. Every member of the aircraft crew worked as a team. We came home because we worked as a team. The good pilots and the bad pilots all stick in your mind and those pilots that just were average, we tend to forget their names.

Capt. Barloco was an LT and was in the left seat when the flare incident happened on my aircraft. I can still see his face. Cpt Bond was in the right seat that night and it was his fast thinking that saved all of us from a death by fire and explosion.
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?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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?
Magoo was a monkey that was in our unit. He would sneak up behind you and bite. He would take anything left out that was shiny like watches and dog tags and hid them. One day he went under the outhouse and bit an officer right where it hurts the most.

The officer was so upset that he asked the medic to pull all his teeth.
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?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - 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?
After the Army, I went to work in several jobs. However, much of my time was spent working in construction. I drove a Tri-Axle dump truck, ran front-end loader, bulldozer and backhoe.

When things were slow, I painted equipment.

During the winter months, I plowed snow during storms and hauled the snow out of the parking lots to make room for parking.

As long as I was driving a truck or operating equipment, I was in my own world and my P.T.S.D usually did not show its ugly head. Unless someone pushed my button.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
I am a life member of AERIAL ROCKET ARTILLERY ASSOCIATION, VHCMA, DAV, AMVETS, VFW, PURPLE HEART, 1ST CAV DIVISION, and the 2ND ID. I am also a member of the AMERICAN LEGION.

Because I started and ran the Blue Max ARA Association 15 years, making many great connections with Aerial Rocket Artillery Alumni. I collected a lot of ARA History, reconnected with those I served with and made many great friends.

As a life member of the 1st Cavalry Division Association, I am proud to have been a columnist for 19 1/2 years, where I wrote about the unit. I believe, finding others I served with as well as helping others while writing this column helped me start to come terms with my tour of duty.

I am very proud of my time with the best unit in the US Army. One that was formed as a test unit, proved a lot and taught us many lessons that are still being used in the military today.
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?
After I exited the service, I hid my feeling and went into my own little bunker within my mind. My family life was destroyed and had more than one marriage until my issues of P.T.S.D. was faced.

I approach each day knowing that things can change in the blink of the eye. Plan for the unexpected to happen, what you planned to do for the day most likely will change even before you can start doing it.

Since facing the fact that I have P.T.S.D., I have come a long way as they say. Writing a book about my tour and helping others has helped more than most will ever understand. I continue to help veterans and work on programs to help promote an understanding of veterans issue.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Army?
Keep a record of your service with photos, names of those you serve with, and stay in touch with those that mean the most to you. Go to reunions for your unit. If your unit does not have any group that plans reunions, start a reunion group.

In this photo, are four of us who went to Aviation Mechanic School at Fort Rucker together and we ALL served in the Aerial Rocket Artillery Left to Right, Frank Russell (died of cancer), George Padilla, Mike Russell (brother of Frank), and myself (Russ Warriner).
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SSG Russell Warriner (Russ) - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
I have located people that I served with that I had no idea where they were or even if they were still with us today.

Because of TWS, I have taken a second look at my life. I realize that even though I did not understand why I served in Vietnam for a reason. I made it home so I could help others. If I can help a veteran in any way, I am doing what God put me into this world for.

DS 4/28/17

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