Luther Lloyd – Battalion Command Narrative 1972-1973
1-33 ARMOR, 2ND BRIGADE, 3RD ARMOR DIVISION
FIRST MEN OF WAR
1 May 1972 – 1 November 1973
Many years have passed since I assumed command of the 1-33 Armor, 2nd Bde, 3AD on 1 May 1972 at Coleman Barracks, Gelnhausen, FGR in a quiet and subdued early morning formation. For the next 18 months the 1-33 Armor was to be home, and the daily activities impacting on my life and the lives of those serving with me were focused here. It is doubtful that much, if anything, has been written about this or any other 3rd Armor Division unit of the time. After all, we served in the equivalent of a peacetime army, even though there were elements remaining in Vietnam that would not be totally withdrawn until March 1973. Who wants to talk about a peacetime army unit? I do! I want to pay tribute to the hundreds of men who served so faithfully, competently and successfully during this period. They did things for themselves and their unit that provided a great legacy of accomplishment for those who came after them, and they are entitled to be proud. My words will never adequately express my deep and lasting gratitude, but I could not leave their story untold. Their children and their children’s children have a right to know of their faithfulness to one another and their country. If I had my way a “Cold War Service Medal” would be awarded to each member. Had the bugle sounded, the enemy would have known they had encountered “Regulars by God!”
The battalion mission was to be part of the defense of Germany: specifically the Fulda Gap area east of Frankfurt. Everything focused on being able to accomplish this in the most efficient, effective and least costly manner. Combat readiness was the key word that needed to be engraved in the hearts and souls of everyone from the commander on down. Making this a reality was the challenge because the army in Europe was still experiencing a great deal of turbulence in the personnel area created by the Vietnam experience. The early out program reduced the availability of properly trained personnel, increased turnover rates had caused a great deal of stress for unit commanders. Between 1 January and 30 October 1972, the 3AD received 12,500 replacements, or more than 1,000 soldiers per month.1 Secondly, a plethora of people programs were established to deal with the discipline, drug and race problems generated by the latter years of the Vietnam War. MG Kraft, the CG at the time, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Most of our training problems stemmed from a conflict between training programs and people problems.” 2 Frustration of all concerned was often the result. Writing to the Brigade Commander concerning training management and scheduling techniques on 11 August, the battalion commander expressed his thoughts as follows: “The shear magnitude of the number and frequency with which new programs have been introduced in the course of the past year have forced an overall diffusion of the training effort. Each commander has attempted to accomplish all assigned missions to the best of his ability. However, each has found that every program has the same priority and that few, if any, of the old requirements have been lessened. As a consequence, each commander balances the many programs as best he can with the multitude of programs and his personnel interests/capabilities working against maximized effectiveness of all programs at any given point in time. 3 Most will remember Human Awareness Training, HEADSTART, Equal Opportunity/Human Relations Councils, GED Programs, Drug Abuse Programs and RAP sessions. All were well intended. Some were absolutely necessary but some seemed to provide the disgruntled with opportunities outside, or at least on the very edge, of the chain of command. These were never helpful.
Before discussing some of these programs in greater depth, it might be helpful to set forth the personnel situation. The officer strength never reached TO&E levels of 33 at any time. Shortages of appropriate grades and armor branch officers were constant. Each Headquarters Staff Section experienced the assignment of at least two principles in 18 months, while there were three different Battalion Executive Officers, four S-1’s and four Battalion Maintenance Officers. Headquarters and Headquarters Company had four commanders and each of the platoons turned over at least once. Combat Support Company turned over once along with each of its platoons. The tank companies experienced at least two CO’s, along with the assignment of six to seven different lieutenants, but a CO and two lieutenants were routinely available for duty at any given point in time. From a training standpoint, the stabilization of key staff officers, company commanders and platoon leaders through tank gunnery and the unit tactical training tests was a major factor in successfully meeting division combat ready requirements. 4 It is a credit to these men that of the 25 assigned during this period only 15 were Armor officers. Ten held commissions in other branches of the service. All 25 acted as Tank Commanders during gunnery.
The enlisted picture was not too different. Authorized strength was 497. This strength was never attained. At the time of the battalion change of command on 1 November 1973, there were 451 assigned, 411 present for duty and 349 present for training. But that had been the situation for the last 18 months. A review of the personnel strength in September 1972 showed that the battalion personnel turnover would result in an average of 31-33 tankers per company (50%) out of 64 authorized who would be with us for tank gunnery in May 1973. On 12 October, commanders were informed in a note from the Division Chief of Staff that efforts would be made to maintain an assigned strength of 470. He went on to say that some battalions were going to be hard pressed to turn out the required 204 crewmen for gunnery. The CG was adamant that commanders not play with the MOS structure, i.e. moving infantrymen, etc. into tank crew positions. 5 But, numbers were only part of the problem. The battalion was short 21 E-6 (SSG) tank commanders and 81 E-5 (Sgt) gunners along with two E-3s. These shortages were off set by the assignment of 50 E-4s and 41 E-2s; both grades unauthorized in the TO&E for the battalion. Thus, trained and experienced personnel were lacking and time was limited in terms of bringing those present and newly arrived up to speed and integrating them into appropriate crews. If the battalion had not had some remarkable, hardworking and dedicated noncommissioned officers along with young men who were willing and able to perform well above their current grades, it could never have accomplished the tasks it faced. 6
The extended Vietnam drawn down generated many discipline problems in the army. These were fostered by waffling politicians, the lack of a coherent decisive Vietnam policy at the highest levels of government, the press, the growth of a questioning attitude in the rationale for military service, the terrible treatment of returning veterans, and the publics attitude shift which came to hold the military in various forms of disdain. All soldiers were affected negatively by these events. When coupled with the fact that there are some people in every crowd who resent authority and do everything they can to rebel against it; the availability of drugs in Europe; the outward manifestations of the tensions experienced in the units between the races; and the non-availability of the required experienced noncommissioned officers, it is little wonder that units suffered unneeded and unwanted turmoil. 7 The 1-33 Armor was no different than any others in this regard. In combination, these things had a negative impact on morale and espirit. If you lived in the barracks, each played a significant role in your quality of life because they were factored into your perception of your status, treatment, happiness and overall satisfaction with your unit. How they were handled touched you personally and became extremely important. And, as some discovered, those things perceived as unfair, inadequate or just disliked in the hands of an intelligent charismatic troublemaker could lead to dissidence and disloyalty. If not handled by the chain of command quickly and appropriately, things could go downhill in a heartbeat.
Commanders in the 1-33rd always started with the assumption that all soldiers in their units were good, talented, hardworking and deserving of respect. On the other side of the coin, assigned personnel needed to respect one another and those in the chain of command. Unfortunately, a few rotten apples spoiled things from time to time but not for long. Minor racial tensions came to the surface on occasion, but they were always handled by a chain of command that contained a significant number of minority leaders. RAP sessions were in vogue, but they did not seem to be the best choice for bringing problems to the attention of commanders. The chain of command needed revitalization, strengthening, and disciplined responsiveness to the needs of the command. Everyone worked to this end. By the fall of 1972, the desired result was well on its way to being achieved.
A number of things had to happen to reinforce these endeavors. The most important was demonstrating to all that the chain of command really had their best interests at heart. Yes, they were expected to do there very best, but they could count on being supported to the fullest extent possible. Raising morale and espirit depended on helping each soldier develop a personal enthusiasm and sense of pride for the tasks he needed to accomplish and a concurrent pride in the role he played on the team; whether it be crew, platoon, company, battalion, brigade or division member. Of course, this is basic, but the battalion had to be refocused along these lines or success would not be achieved. By September, the nickname for the battalion had been changed from the “Wild Boars” to the “First Men of War.” Frankly, the name “Wild Boars” insinuated an undisciplined, self-aggrandizing and viciousness that did not seem to be fitting a professional military unit. The first battalion of the 33rd Armor needed to become the first in everything and until everyone started thinking of themselves that way, it was not going to happen. As a consequence, the “First Men of War” motto was introduced at the end-of-month ceremony on 31 September. By the time on-cycle gunnery started, pennants had been designed for the battalion and issued to every unit. Observing the 1-33rd on the move with pennants flying was a thrilling sight to behold because everyone riding under those pennants knew the blood and sweat they had contributed to the unit’s success. These changes were minor in the overall scheme of things, but they stood as very important symbols of each member’s contribution.
During the spring of 1972, the V Corps Commander, LTG Willard Pearson, and his staff developed a program that came to be known as the “Fourth Meal of the Day.” It amounted to opening our Dining Facility to the men of the battalion for hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, etc. after duty hours in the evening. Any excess food was to be used for this purpose. The idea was to provide our soldiers with somewhere to go other than the local eating and drinking establishments in the evening. At the time this idea was floated, it was rejected by the commander; not because the idea was bad, but because the cooks were marginally staffed and their duty day would be extended significantly to make this idea work. He lost and the dining facility began providing this activity on a daily basis.
A year later, the new group at V Corp Headquarters was calling the program illegal, and set about to kill it. Here again, the commander was on the negative end. He did not want to stop the program. In the year since its inception, he had learned of its great value in building and maintaining espirit. He believed that the men sincerely appreciated what was being done in their behalf. However, the good work of our cooks in managing their resources and sustaining the program was not being duplicated in other battalions. They just could not seem to pull it all together over a sustained period of time, and our success was contributing to moral problems in their units. In fact, the other battalions in the brigade had previously dropped their programs. That made our program of greater importance to our tankers. Soon, of course, the men of the other battalions were trying to sneak into our facility and it was necessary to post a guard at the door to preclude this from happening. Finally, he was ordered to stop the program, or else. This was accomplished prior to his departure. Unfortunately, the men were the ones who paid the price, but that was not a consideration at that moment.
A book could be filled with the other things that were instituted. Many may remember the importance attached to training holidays and the increase in those received during the period; the Brigade’s development of the Bernbach race track for VW racing; the institution of the Best Company of the Month Award in October 1972 which meant an additional training holiday for the winner along with a streamer for the unit guidon; 8 the initiation of a battalion Soldier of the Month recognition in November which carried with it a three day pass, a Certificate of Achievement and removal from the duty roster for a month;9 the Brigade and Division sports program which resulted in numerous accolades for battalion athletes;10 and the German-American parades, Volksmarches and carnivals.11 A lot of work went into these events, but each did its part to raise the bar of satisfaction for the individual soldier.
The drug situation was a perennial problem. The directives were clear: find the culprits and take appropriate action. That was easier said than done. Surprise urinalysis tests did put the finger on many, but confirmed identification of pushers, abusers and users remained a challenge. The worst estimates indicated that approximately 30% of the assigned strength was involved in the use or experimentation with soft and/or hard drugs. There was some question as to whether the actual problem was as high as the estimates indicated simply because the actions of battalion personnel did not evidence the lethargy and sluggishness one would have expected in their daily activities.
It is obvious that soldiers cannot succeed if their equipment is incapable of performing its mission. The deadline report the battalion sent forward three months after LTC Lloyd assumed command left him with an empty feeling that the battalion might never attain a combat ready status by the time he was to depart. Why? Because the report showed that 46 of a possible 51 tanks were on hand with 24 of these being dead-lined for organizational and direct support maintenance, along with an overwhelming number of other tracked and wheeled vehicles. Thus, the battalion was operating at 43% of its authorized armor strength. Less there be any doubt, command emphasis was pretty dynamic at this point. Having operational and well-maintained equipment was key to everything that had to be accomplished. However, the reality was that the culmination of poor past maintenance, inadequate procedures and worn out equipment meant that going to war would have been devastating. Many of the tanks had long sense reached the mileage criteria for turn-in and replacement. At this point, six tanks had been turned in and five others had been inspected for turn-in. With the arrival of Captain Hoyer and CW2 Scannell, the effectiveness of the battalion maintenance section began to take on new life. But even they and the company maintenance sections were stymied by occasional failures in the system. On 26 October 1972, BG Hoefling, ADC-B, visited the battalion. He discovered that ten tanks, two M-88 recovery vehicles, four M114’s, and two M577’s had been waiting three months for turn in to MATCOM for replacement causing a space and safety problem in the motor pool. He also discovered that 50% of the requisitions submitted to the 122nd Maintenance Battalion in September had been lost. 12 A few words to the right people began to get things back on track. Of course once a vehicle was turned in to direct support, we waited impatiently for a rebuild or new vehicle. This often took more time than was thought necessary, but things began to happen. Eleven months later, this situation had been turned around. With a Herculean effort on the part of all concerned, 1 April 1973 found the battalion out-loading 51 freshly painted, 100% operational tanks for on-cycle gunnery at Grafenwohr.13 Such results gave everyone the right to have a sense of significant accomplishment. But that was only part of the story.
Equally as important was technical proficiency in one’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Because of the personnel situation, it was imperative that every tank crewmen know his job as well as those of the other members. To everyone’s credit, this was accomplished and demonstrated most clearly during the tank gunnery season, and during the crew tests of the special units in Combat Support Company. Because of the busy battalion schedule, gunnery training was started in September and infused into the Battalion Training Schedule wherever possible right through the on-cycle MTA qualification firing from 4-11 May 1973 at Grafenwhor. Table VIII firing on Range 80 was not possible because of extensive maintenance repairs so the division units used Range 42 for Table VIII firing. For a few this change was disappointing, but considering everything the units faced at the time, it turned out to be equally as challenging. The battalion’s success was truly noteworthy. Qualification was achieved by 46 of the 51 tank crews with 25 of those crews being distinguished. Of course, the goal was 100% but that was not to happen. The result was that we placed third in the division the first time we tried. The “First Men of War” had acquitted themselves remarkably well and we all sensed a surge of pride in what had been accomplished. 14
As the battalion went through Table VIII, those crews that did not do well on the day run were recycled through a number of night runs before they were permitted to fire their night qualification course. By doing this, their actual firing was postponed until the very end. In the meantime, division headquarters was receiving daily reports that showed that all the 1-33rd Armor tanks on any given day had fully qualified. Everyone on the battalion staff had a good idea as to what was going to happen, but the suspense kept building at division headquarters. By the time 40 tanks had fired with none being dropped, the comments were quite humorous. Then the day of reckoning came. The suspense was over. 15 A Company dropped three, while B and C companies each dropped one. But for the first time in a long time the vehicle combat ready status in combination with our gunnery results made everyone in the division aware that the battalion was ready to perform any task to which it was assigned. The June 1973 alert found the battalion moving 50 of 51 tanks along with all but seven of HHC’s seventy vehicles. This was better than any other battalion in the division and was a tribute to the hard work of everyone.
While the tankers were having their fun, elements of Combat Support Company were just as proficient in meeting the demands of their crew specialties. The Scout Platoon under the very able leadership of SSG Doyle R. Cowden, Platoon Sgt, repeatedly demonstrated its professionalism. SSG Cowden’s crew succeeded in placing first in the division competition in both 1972 and 1973. In the 1973 competition, five crews were tested with two of these being rated “Distinguished.” SSG Cowden’s crew took first place in the division. His crew included Sp 4 Clec E. Johnson and Sp 4 Thomas M. Samuelson. The second place division crew also came from CSC and included: Sgt Edward R. Jungblatt, Sgt Jerry D. Lee and Sp4 Chester D. Chapman. The Mortar Platoon had its practice test in January 1973 and it’s ATT in July at Grafenwhor. 2LT Michael P. Ryan’s mortar men passed their test and just missed being a distinguished platoon by one round. In July, 2LT Browell’s Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR) Section passed its Brigade test at Hohenfels and went on to achieve a Division Combat Ready Status in Sep 1973. This was the first time the division had tested the GSR Section in three years. There were no special tests for the AVLB Section, but SSG Jerry L. Caudill and his crew were on top of everything.
Overall, Headquarters and Headquarters Company performed its multifaceted functions in an outstanding manner. The various staff sections encountered the same personnel problems and turbulence as the line companies. Sometimes the impact was more pronounced because it affected the entire battalion, but the staff worked together as a team and solved the many conflicting demands placed upon it. Because of the great number of varied functions performed by Headquarters Company, details would be inappropriate here. It is enough to recognize the professionalism of those assigned as being superior in every way. There was no doubt that a number of individuals at the company level had a few choice words of counsel they wanted to pass on from time to time (and they did) because the requirements were heavy for all concerned. However, both the headquarters and the line companies seemed to work together in harmony to accomplish the mission. This was to the credit of both and provided the battalion with a reputation of getting the job done in the right way.
2LT Stephen A. Slovensky, SC, led the Communications Platoon to a Combat Ready Status during its ATT in December 1972. But that was not the half of it. The Platoon was tested time and time again throughout the year because of the many tactical requirements placed on the battalion. It always performed well and enhanced the battalion’s operational abilities. During the fall of 1973, the Medical Platoon went through some extensive training that culminated in testing for the Expert Field Medical Badge. Sgt. Patrick Koshiol, Sp4 Witson, and PFCs Randal L. Panasch, and Bobby C. Davis were the four members of the Platoon who earned the right to wear this badge. Both of these platoons were facing ORTs in November following my departure.
Tactical proficiency needed to be as equally outstanding as the technical proficiency of individuals and crews. The battalion’s schedule was full. Army Training Test’s (ATTs), Command Post Exercises (CPX’s), Tank-Infantry Seminars, Field Training Exercises (FTX’s), and Sector Studies led to a significant increase in battalion capabilities. The most noteworthy of these was the “Caravan 1” FTX, the largest scale maneuver in V Corps since 1961, and the first battalion-sized FTX for the 1-33 Armor since 1970. Vietnam had definitely had its negative impact on our training and combat capability in Europe. Obviously, all of this training was instrumental in helping the battalion achieve new levels of combat effectiveness.16 But all was not perfect. A Company led the forward elements of the Battalion Task Force during the V Corps “Caravan 1 FTX” and was subsequently dubbed the best tank company in the 2nd Brigade because of its first place performance during the ATT’s in July 1973 at Hohenfels. It’s 2nd Platoon, commanded by 1LT Michael P. Ryan, AR, took first place among the battalion’s platoons, while the 3rd Platoon, commanded by 1LT Patrick O’Roarke, AR, took 2nd place. 17 C Company placed second during it’s Company ATT while it’s 2nd Platoon under the command of 2LT Gail W. Stark, AR, took third place in the platoon competition. B Company ran into problems during the delay phase of its test. While negative and upsetting at the time, it led to improvement. That is what testing is all about; identifying problems and getting them corrected. Obviously, nobody wants a problem when the real battle is fought and the smell of cordite hangs heavily in the air. Sometimes all of us tend to forget this in the competitive world in which we live, but the concept is solid and paid off time and time again. Between the end of the ATT’s and January 1974, the battalion participated in one 3rd Armor Division CPX in October, but did not return to a major training area. Small unit training, detailed company commanders sector studies, Q service of vehicles, platoon level training at Friedberg training area, conduct of border tours, guard duty, HEADSTART, MAIT, augmentation of the 2nd Brigade Reserve Force, individual weapons qualification, race relations training, gas chamber exercises, a carnival, and the DA IG 18 dominated the activities of the units through the end of October.
In Arabic there is an expression: “One day honey, one day onions!” All leaders from section to theater of operations have experienced this. You know, everything is going along in fine fashion and suddenly things turn sour. On 23 August 1973, the battalion had a USAREUR Mess Facility inspection that resulted in a memorable “unsatisfactory” rippling down the chain of command with a thunderous roar. The following day, the DCINCUSAREUR visited Coleman Barracks only to find training unsatisfactory. He also noted that the battalion commander was on leave, the commander’s confidence in his subordinates was a good sign, a considerable turnover was in progress, and that the acting commander and new arrivals needed to get with the program. Lightning bolt number two came zinging down the chain of command. What a way to spoil a good leave! In any case, there was no excuse for either result. This did not result in good humor. The old timers in the outfit were known to have done better. Surprisingly, the new comers were not more attuned to the environment in which they would be operating. In one respect, these events seemed to nullify all the good reports of the past thereby leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. On the other hand, this was a good wake up call for all concerned as the battalion prepared for the DA IG. Furthermore, the DCINCUSAREUR visit should have given the recent arrivals a new sense of urgency as they went about their duties in Germany. The army in Europe was returning to its former status.
Everyone in the division was anxious to assist the battalion in overcoming its shortfalls and the staff recognized the problems faced by the units. Of course, while sympatric, the mission took precedence and all the units were judged by the required operational criteria. Thus it was that the Supply Evaluations by AIG Inspectors occurred on 26 February 1972 and again on 29 June 1973. Both of these inspections were designed to help us get ready for the DA IG. They did. The battalion was basically rated unsatisfactory on the first inspection and marginally satisfactory on the second with the following comments: “A, B, and CS Companies must be commended for the tremendous effort put forth, particularly since all companies received an unsatisfactory rating during the previous SET. Special recognition should be given because the supply sergeants are not school trained…The supply procedures in headquarters company progressed to the point where a superior rating would be appropriate…It should be noted that this battalion is operating with untrained, non-supply type personnel to a great extent in the unit supply rooms…an overall rating of satisfactory was achieved…” Here again the personnel situation had a direct impact on job performance. And, here again the individuals assigned to the various supply positions worked with a diligence and effectiveness that helped the unit achieve a creditable standing among the other battalions in the division. The tremendous effort put forward by these men deserved everyone’s highest admiration.
I have tried to tell as much of the story as I can remember: good and not so good. At the risk of being taken to task for forgetting an individual or individuals of particular merit, I have included names in the text or the notes. We constituted nothing more than one of the many “Cold War” battalions standing ready in Europe. We were not cited in dispatches or awarded unit citations. We just did what we were supposed to do and had many achievements to our credit. Above all, we attained a combat effectiveness and espirit that had not existed previously. The motto of the battalion, FIRST MEN OF WAR, was indeed appropriate. Each member contributed in his own way. In the end, our effectiveness amounted to the sum total of those contributions and I believe we can all be proud of what we did. While combat may be the true test of any unit, I have often felt that the more difficult task is maintaining a truly effective combat readiness in a peacetime environment. The distractions are so numerous and the enemy often so remote. You did it! You can be proud of your service! FIRST MEN OF WAR, I will always salute you.
Copyright, Luther R. Lloyd, 22 September 2003
MFR, 3d Armored Division Briefing for CINCUSAREUR, dtd 30 Oct. 1972, pg 1, para 2. Major General William R. Kraft, Jr. was the 3AD Division Commander through 9 March 1973 at which time Major General Jonathan R. Burton succeeded him. On 4 August 1972 BG Lee E. Surut succeeded BG Joseph C. Kiefe, Jr. as the out-going Hanau Community Leader and ADC-A. Shortly thereafter on 11 September, BG John A. Hoefling replaced BG Robert L. Kirwan as ADC-B.
Lloyd, Luther R, LTC, RA, AR 1 May 72 1 Nov 73
Gunerman, Howard E., Maj, RA, AR 1 May 72 16 Aug 72
Pratt, James T. III, Maj, RA, AR 21 May 72 20 May 73
O’Brien, Charles J, Maj, RA, AR 4 Jun 73 31 Oct 73
Mack,Gregory, A, Cpt , RA 17 Jan 72 1 Aug 72
Painter, Jack B. II, Cpt, VI, AR 15 Dec 72 30 Jun 73
Clarkson, Charles J., 1LT, VI, AR 1 Aug 73
Pearson, Thomas R, Cpt , AR Nov 73
Ryan, James A, 1LT, VI, IN 6 Feb 73 31 May 73 (Actg Adj for TCQC)
Clarkson, Charles J, 1LT, AR 25 May 73 31 Jul 73`
Mohanco, John, Cpt, RA 1 Apr 72 1 Jun 72
Snead, Ronald A, 2LT, MI 30 Jun 72 30 Jun 73
Inge, Joseph, R, Cpt, RA, AR 1 May 72 30 Apr 73
Van Alystine, John A, Cpt, RA, IN 23 Jul 73 31 Oct 73
Kotheimer, Carl J, Cpt, RA 24 Aug 71 14 Jan 73
Hoyer, Anthony X, Cpt, RA, AR 15 Jan 73 9 Jul 73
Bn Mess Off
Adams, Larry, D, 1LT, VI, AR 5 Jun 72 1 Sep 73
(To A Co)
Tillbrook, Fredrick, CW3, RA 26 Oct 71 30 Jun 72
Muller, Joseph, B, CW2, RA, QM 26 Oct 72
Brown, Stewart, 1LT, VI 5 Apr 72 20 Oct 72
Hoyer, Anthony, X, Cpt , AR 28 Aug 72 14 Jan 73
McGarry, Dale, B, Cpt , VI, AR 19 Dec 72 1 Jul 73
(To CO, HHC)
Sells, Michael, L, Cpt, AR 15 Jul 73
Maint Auto Tech
Kaskak, Andrew, CW2, RA 16 Nov 71 5 Jun 72
Scannell, Michael J, CW2, RA, OD 9 Aug 72 28 Jun 73
Borneman, Michael, W, Cpt, VI 23 Dec 69 22 Dec 72
Headquarters & Headquarters Company
Rehfeldt, Charles C, Cpt , RA 1 May 72 14 Jun 72
Chesnut, James R, Cpt , RA, AR 15 Jul 72 25 Sep 72
Shackleford, Earl, V, Cpt , VI, AR 7 Sep 72 1 Jul 73
McGarry, Dale, B, Cpt, VI, AR 2 Jul 73 31 Oct 73
S-3 Air Ryan, James, A, 1LT , VI, IN 20 Mar 72 5 Feb 73
Support Platoon Leader
Tobin, Daniel, 1LT, VI 13 Mar 72 5 Jul 72
Carmichael, Lawrence, J, 2LT, VI, AR 25 Aug 72 24 Aug 73
Chesnut, James, R, Cpt , RA, AR 5 Oct 71 14 Jul 72
Slovensky, Stephen A, 2LT, SC 25 Jul 72 23 Mar 73
Combat Support Company (CSC)
Van Alstyne, John, A, Cpt, RA, IN 1 May 72 22 Jul 73
(To Bn S-3)
Painter, Jack, B, Cpt, VI, AR 23 Jul 73 31 Oct 73
Bond, Clinton, 2LT, VI, AR 14 Jan 72 7 Dec 72
(To Bde Staff)
Ryan, Michael, P, 2LT , RA, AR 9 Apr 72 24 May 73
Owens, Marion,G, 1LT, AR
Browell, Douglas, K, 2LT, AG/AD 15 Dec 72 7 Jun 73
Flagg, Paul, J, Cpt , VI, AR 1 May 72 17 Aug 72
Teel, Calvin, Jr, Cpt , AR 25 Aug 72 31 Oct 73
XO O’Roarke, Patrick, D, 1LT AR 10 Mar 73
PL Ryan, Michael,P, 1LT AR 1 Jun 73 (Fm Mortar Plat)
PL Bledsoe, William, T, 1LT, VI AR 10 Apr 72 21 Sep 72
PL Bilbo, Jon, F, 2LT, VI MP 28 Feb 72 27 Feb 75
PL Dorrah, Thomas, L, 2LT MP 22 Nov 71 14 Jun 73
PL Clarkson, Charles, J, 1LT AR 15 Aug 24 May 73
(To Bn S-1)
PL Adams, Larry, D, 1LT AR Sep 73
Brydon, Robert H, Cpt, VI AR May 72 24 Aug 72
Marriott Robin, E, Cpt AR 19 Jun 72 31 Oct 73
PL Adams, Larry D, 2LT, VI AR 4 Feb 72 4 Jun 72 (To HHC)
PL Carmichael, Lawrence, 2LT, VI AR 4 Feb 72 24 Aug 72
PL Marlin, David, W, 2LT, VI AR 17 Feb 72 9 Jul 73
PL Barker, William, T, 2LT AG 25 Aug 72 18 Jan 73
PL Gerow, Millen H, 2LT MI/IN 17 Dec 72 18 Apr 73
PL Selby 2LT Oct 73
Inge, Joseph R, Cpt, RA AR 21 Jul 73 30 Apr 72
Mikelk, Terris, W, Cpt, RA IF 17 Apr 72 21 Sep 72 (To 2Bde S-3)
Bledsoe, William, T, Cpt, VI AR 22 Sep 72 21 Sep 73
McLarty, William, T, Cpt AR 1 Aug 73
PL Cruz, Michael, G, 2LT RA MI 3 May 72 21 Sep 72 (To XO, HHC, 2Bde)
PL Owens, Marion, G, 2LT, RA AR 20 Apr 72 24 May 73 (To Mortar Plat)
PL Carter, Elwood, W, 1LT AR 11 Sep 72 21 Aug 73
PL Sahlin, Carl, T, 1LT AR 18 Sep 73
PL Price, James, D, 2LT OD 19 Mar 73 4 Jul 73
PL Stark, Gail, W, 2 LT AR 19 Mar 73
*Several notes are appropriate:
1. Some inaccuracies may occur as to specifics, but this is best I can do.
2. Obviously, many officers were promoted while with the battalion. This is particularly true with those designated 2LT. One can reasonably assume this happened 18 months into their service.
This chart is from 1 May 71 to 31 Oct 73. Some officers were in their positions when I arrived and many continued to serve after my departure. My intent was to indicate those in the battalion while I was there. I hope I have not unintentionally missed anyone.
Cover Note from 3rd AD Chief of Staff to commanders for Ltr., dtd 12 October 1972, from DCINCUSAREUR to CG 3rd AD, Subject: Avoidance of MOS Switches for Tank Gunnery. General Collins said, “… it is better to go to the MTA with less than 17 tanks per company rather than moving personnel from other MOS’s to make tankers out of them only to return them to their own job on their return from Graf.”
Command Sergeant Major Ronald Therriault set the example with his outstanding leadership until 31 May 1973. MSGT Harold D. Winger became the acting CSM shortly after his departure. The First Sergeants included 1SG A.C. Cotton, HHC followed by 1SG Oliver; 1SG Dallas E. Stubbs, CSC, followed by PSG Lawrence G. Holly in Sep 1973; 1SG Jerry E. Cumbee, A Co.; 1SG Edward Asbury, B Co.; and 1SG Winger followed by 1SG Phillip C. Rodriquez, C Co.
Individual malcontents misappropriated government vehicles throughout Europe and created a number of dangerous situations. The battalion experienced such an incident involving a combat loaded tank in June 1972. These events led to the decision to download all ammunition from the tanks and other vehicles. While this action may have appeased the public and relieved some concerns at higher headquarters, it jeopardized the battalion’s immediate ability to accomplish its mission should the enemy have crossed the border. Fortunately, this policy was changed and the ammunition reloaded by November 1973.
The battalion commander’s notes for the end of month ceremony of September 1972 included, “Before leaving September, I would like to congratulate A Co for producing the best track, wheel and dayroom in the Battalion competition. ( Sp4 Cady had painted a fantastic mural on the wall of the dayroom.) That’s a particularly enviable record for one company, and it is a hard record to beat. As a result, A Co represented the battalion in the brigade competition. I don’t have the final results, but I do know that A-14 received a 100% score on the inspection. That is a particularly significant accomplishment, and I commend Sgt Burton and his crew for a job well done.” In October, this procedure was formalized with the commander’s notes reading, “During the month, the battalion initiated an Inspection Program designed to determine the Best Company of the month. The criteria used to determine the winner covers the gamete of activities in which the company is involved. Maintenance weighs heavily, along with supply, training, security, and administration. Everything counts such as POV accidents, AWOL’s, Savings Programs, incidents, and military vehicle accidents. This inspection will be performed monthly with the results being forwarded to Brigade. A Battalion Streamer will be awarded to the selected unit along with a one-day training holiday the following month. This month the best company award goes to Bravo Co. Congratulations….”
A Company won the Battalion Trophy for Fast Pitch Softball. Sp4 Barnia placed first in the cross-country meet.
The battalion placed second by one point in the Brigade Summer Quarter Sports Program.
HHC had an outstanding flag football team that won the brigade competition and went on to take the division title. The two outstanding co-captains were Sp4 Ogie Clayton and Sp 4 Alfred P. Taurie. With their success, the battalion won the Brigade Fall Sports Program.
a. Carnivals and parades were one way of showing our interest in their activities to the local population. Some of the events included a Carnival hosted by the 2nd Bde from 31 August to 5 September 1972 at Coleman Kaserne. These events were enjoyable and valuable in providing funds that could be used to improve the living conditions and appearance of the battalion areas. 29 March 1973 saw the units turned out for the retirement of the Mayor of Gelnhausen, Dr. Kloz, and another parade on 31 May opened the Gelnhausen Carnival. Three months later another Carnival opened on 1 September with participation from the various brigade units.
b. Interaction with the various German military units also assisted in cementing relations.
1. A 22 May 1972 Spearhead Newspaper Article was about determining teams from division that would participate in Hessen Day Jeep Rally. Three-man jeep teams were exposed to a number of events designed to test their skills in map reading, weapons firing, running, and swimming among others. First place team went to 1st Bn 33rd Armor with 2LT Jon Bilbo, Spec 4 Ray McFarland, and PFC Harrison Guy.
2. In September each year, US personnel and their dependents were invited to participate in the Barbarossa Volks March organized by the German reservists of VBK 43 to commemorate the founding anniversary of the City of Gelnhausen. In 1972 it was 802 years old.
3. On Oct 30, two tanks crews went to Bergen Hohen to fire with the 153rd Panzer Battalion in a five Panzer Division Competition. Sgt Waldrup’s crew from B Co and Sgt Smith’s crew from C Co represented the Bn. Both of these crews had distinguished in 1972.
4. From 9-19 October 1972, C Co participated with the 2/48th Inf in the Belgium FTX in the area between Bonn and Koblenz. This was an extensive maneuver and C Company was praised for its performance.
5. On 28 November 1972, Col Ahfeldt, CO, 15th Panzer Bde and LTC Von Brockhausen, CO, 153rd Panzer Battalion (LTC Lloyd’s counterpart) visited the Mini Tank Range at Bernbach.
6. On 6-7 September 1973, a team consisting of Lt Owens and Sgt Russell, CSC; Sgt McFarland, A Co; Sgt Archer, B Co; Sgt Bertrand and Sgt Taisacan of C Co; and Sgt Clark and Sp4 Dargel of HHC took second place in the military stakes competition with the 153 Panzer Battalion. Lt Owens won the shotput and stone throw contest while Sgt Tasican and Sp4 Dargel broke the existing record for the 120 meter obstacle course.
7. From 18-21 September observers from the battalion participated with the 125 Panzer Battalion in a CPX.
MFR Colonel Smithers, 2nd Bde, 3AD, Subj: Visit to 1-33d Armor, dtd 30 October 1972, Signed: BG Hoefling, ADC-B. This visit began with a battalion one-mile run. Not being a seasoned runner or physical training enthusiast, LTC Lloyd asked Captain John Van Alstyne, CSC CO, if he would run with the General in the lead so that he could be free to keep an eye on the battalion. Suspecting that some might be lacking in physical prowess, the course that was plotted on the Kaserne went uphill half a mile on the front end figuring that once over the hump the sighs of relief would carry everyone across the finish line at the bottom. As it turned out, about 35 men fell out for various physical reasons. Considering the normal training routine these results were not particularly bad.
Colonel Samuel W. Smithers remained as Brigade Commander of the 2nd Brigade until 19 January 1973 at which time Colonel James H. Aarestad assumed command.
1. Ltr of Commendation, dtd 11 Apr 1973, to CO, 1-33 Armor from CO, 2d Bde, Subj: 100% Operational M-60 Tanks.
2. The 20 December 1971 report of the 3rd AD IG summarized the maintenance situation as difficult. In May 1972, this situation remained the same. Eleven months later it was completely turned around. There are not enough words to adequately praise the maintenance personnel and track/vehicle crews for their accomplishments in those 12 months. It was hard, tiring work in all types of adverse weather conditions and it had to be done in conjunction with all the other battalion requirements. Everyone worked tirelessly to make the battalion a truly capable fighting unit. Nevertheless, the battalion still stubbed its toes from time to time.
3. The MET inspection of 8-9 March 1973, looked at our tracks, wheels, communications gear, shop operations, safety, PLL and log books. The overall battalion percentage was 67, or unsatisfactory. BUT IT WAS 67%! Considering where the battalion had been, the current status, and what was happening at the time, it was evident that much had been accomplished. There was more to do, but it would get done in time. The emphasis was on combat ready, not paper ready. Do not misunderstand, everyone would have preferred a passing grade. It was just that a realistic appraisal of the situation left those most critically involved with a feeling of satisfaction.
4. LTC Lloyd tells a story that pertains to combat readiness reporting that occurred during gunnery at Grafenwohr. At this time, the army was using aluminum road wheels with annealed rubber, instead of steel. Unfortunately, as the battalion rolled into Grafenwhor for gunnery, the batch of road wheels received by the division did not hold up. The annealing process was faulty so the rubber would break off in chunks after minimal use. Automatically this made the tank non-combat ready for reporting purposes. After a number of inquiries and discussions, the Maintenance Warrant Officer told him that the M47 tank road wheels being used as targets for gunnery were the same size as the M-48 and that they were steel. That was all he needed to know. He instructed his warrant to acquire as many as he needed to keep the battalion running and listed as combat ready. The maintenance section’s efforts really paid off. When the 1-33rd boarded the train for home station, the tanks were automotively combat ready and we had acquired many M-47 steel road wheels. Subsequent maneuvering at Hohenfels added to the problem. That’s when the Battalion Commander sort of got in trouble. As one might recall, road wheels were a direct exchange item, i.e. you turned a bad one in and you got a good one in exchange. Later, a large quantity of road wheels were turned in after returning to home station; about 5% of total authorized. Telephone calls from division headquarters quickly followed. One would have thought that the battalion had destroyed the whole direct exchange system. Obviously, a little blip in the system was created, but it was the type of thing that was applauded in the back rooms, as the battalion had achieved its objectives by remaining almost 100% operational. The battalion was a “can do” outfit. A little knowledge, a little initiative, a willingness to take advantage of a good situation, and the ability to achieve success nullified the “nay-sayers” and enlivened that spirit of unity and espirit which helped everyone seek and reach a new level of professionalism. Oh yes, the DA IG held the commander’s feet to the fire and it was necessary to prepare a fact sheet explaining this problem relative to COLEX constraints, tactical training, exhaustion of available assets, and the non-availability of road wheels in the division at time of the initial turn-in.
When the battalion was finished firing, A Company had dropped three tanks while both B and C Companies had dropped one with B Company scoring the highest number of overall points. The best platoon was the third platoon of C Company with an average score of 2070 points. 2LT James D. Price, Ord, was the Platoon Leader while PSG Gilbert J. Gilbertson was the Platoon Sgt. The top crew was B-33 with 2370 points; SSG Monty J. Rucker was the TC, Pvt Rickie E. Brown the gunner, Pvt John M. Wagner the loader, and PFC John W. Chorlawcie the driver. This crew also had the highest day run with 1360 points. 2LT Gail W. Stark’s crew had the highest night run with 1210 points; Sp5 Larry J. Coolidge was the gunner, PFC David Oppergard the loader and PFC Douglas G. Flower the driver. As an aside, the top crew in V Corp during the 1972 gunnery season also came from C Company. Captain Joseph Inge, CO C Co at the time, was the TC with Sgt Rodriguez the gunner, Sp4 Mahan the driver, and PFC Stans (?) the loader. I apologize for any errors in crew placement or names here, as some of the information was read from the nametags of the individuals in a photo with a magnifying glass. The photo is of the crew with LTG Willard Pearson, CG V Corps Commander taken about 19 June 1972.
All battalion commanders were under a little pressure during gunnery. LTC Lloyd remembers being somewhat of a bear from time to time. In any case, the staff had nightly meetings to review the day’s activities and to get things moving for the following day. A lot of detail could be involved. There was not much room for answers to questions such as “I believe” or “ I think.” Everyone needed to be definitive and exact in order to preclude things falling through the cracks. As a consequence, Col. Lloyd was known to exhibit a little wrath at times when the proper answers were not forthcoming and it was evident the staff had fallen short. The Command Sergeant Major, M/Sgt Therriault, a native American and great guy, nicknamed these sessions “Luther and the Christians,” as a take-off on “Nero and the Christians” of yesteryear. He would sit in the back of the room with a scorecard which he held up behind LTC Lloyd’s back for the staff to see as he kept track of the events of the evening by indicating a win for me or the staff, as different points were discussed. The staff thought this was great sport. It helped them release some of the pressure, while getting on with the work that had to be done. Col. Lloyd did not find out about this until the command Sgt Major was about to depart. The Sgt. Major understood men and was a great blessing to the colonel and the battalion throughout his tour.
Aside from the frequent alerts which were judged for effectiveness by movement preparation times, completeness of equipment out-loading, operational track and wheeled vehicles, effective communications, the battalion schedule included the following: 18-25 May 1972, Wildflecken Training Area for Platoon Army Training Tests (ATTs); 12-16 June 1972, a four day CPX at Wildflecken; 7 July 1972, Hohenfels for Tank-Infantry Seminar for commanders of 3AD , setting standards for Combined Arms Training; 16-19 October 1972, V Corps CPX “Carousel VI” for battalion headquarters and portion of HHC; 1-8 December 1972, V Corps “Caravan 1” FTX (3rd AD opposed 8th ID and won); 9-20 January 1973, Off Cycle Gunnery, Eight firing days, 24 hour operation, no full maintenance days; 29 March 1973, Sector Study, Mobile Defense Presentations; 11 April-12 May 1973, On Cycle Tank Gunnery at Grafenwohr; and 24-26 October, 3rd AD CPX.
On 13 July 1973 Secretary of the Army, Howard (Bo) H. Callaway visited the battalion at Hohenfels and received briefings on the Tank Plat Attack Phase of the ATTs. General Burton, General Surut, and Colonel Aarestad accompanied. Everything went well. However, the incident that occurred before he arrived had everyone with their hearts in their throats. A group of the battalion officers was watching one of the Tank Platoons attack its objective from about 1,000 yards away. As the tanks overcame there objective, they were supposed to stop and consolidate the position. Suddenly however, one tank broke through the perimeter and continue over the crest of the hill. It proceeded down the slope – the steepest – in full view of the group at full speed. Everyone caught their breath. That’s right, sixty tons of metal with a crew of four, apparently out of control, thundering down the slope, reaching close to airborne speed, and coming to a sudden, teeth jarring stop in a gully at the base. It was apparent that something had gone terribly wrong. No tank crew would have intentionally made such a breath-taking maneuver. That’s right, they wouldn’t. It was learned shortly thereafter that the brakes had failed and that the speed of the tank in the attack had propelled it through the objective and down the slope. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt and the tank was quickly removed prior to Secretary Callaway’s arrival to observe one of the other platoons. Whew! The angles were working overtime for that one!
On 30 June 1973 the peacetime draft was abolished and the all-volunteer force became a reality. Enactment of new provisions in the GI Bill was a big factor in making the volunteer force a success, and by June 1974, the Secretary could report that the services had met their recruiting goals.
Preparation for the IG was arduous. The battalion commander’s comments to the battalion the end of September 1973 were as follows: “I don’t think their is a man here who won’t agree that September has been the busiest house cleaning month in the battalion for a long time. Long hours of hard work went into upgrading all our facilities. It was your work, your ideas, and your cooperation that made it possible and I can assure you without equivocation that the Brigade Commander and the IG Inspectors have been most complementary concerning your endeavors. I don’t believe any of the Brigade Staff or the Commander expected to see so much accomplished in such a short time. Only your teamwork made it possible and, once again — because of it — the battalion demonstrated its ability to lead the way. My thanks and sincere appreciation for a job well done.”