Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sam Adams, Vietnam veteran

The latest edition of Thunder Run, newsletter for the 11th Armored Cavalry’s Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia, says Sam Adams (Air Cav Troop, 1966-70) died in Lakewood, Ohio, in October 2015. That 1966-70 is correct. Sam must have found Vietnam more peaceful or meaningful or something, than the Cleveland he was from.

Sam was in the original Aero Rifle Platoon, assigned I think sometime in May 1966 while the regiment was still at Fort Meade, Md. When the platoon was reorganized into Long-Range Reconnaissance Platoon in early 1967 in Vietnam, Sam, as did a lot of us in the rifle platoon, declined to volunteer for the crazies. For some, the decision was, “Hey, the army already drafted me, sent me through 11B AIT, assigned me to an airmobile infantry platoon in an armored cavalry regiment, sent me to Vietnam, and now I’m expected to volunteer for LRRP?”

One night on ambush, while the Rifle Platoon still existed, I was beside a rubber tree, waiting for whatever might happen (or not happen), and all of a sudden a grenade goes “KA-WHUMP!”, dirt and twigs and leaves and stuff falling from the sky, and Sam is yelling, “I got him! I got him!” He had seen something/somebody moving in the dark darkness, too far out to be one of us, and it was moving, so he pulled the pin on a grenade and waited until the whoever was closer, and then he bowled the grenade along the ground. Throwing it, he explained at daylight, would have been too dangerous, because it might have hit a tree and come back. We didn’t find sign of anybody or any thing. No one was injured in the making of the ambush.

Sam was assigned to aviation maintenance after declining LRRP. At a reunion quite a few years ago, somebody asked when I was in RVN. I replied ’66 and ’67. The other man said, “You must have known Sam Adams.” I said I did, indeed. He said he was there in ’69-70 and Sam was still there. Sometime in 1970, he said, the army made Sam go home.

Sam was OK, entertaining, never at a loss for words. He made life interesting.

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