Vietnam 2nd battalion
Richard R. Bathurst
C Company 1967 – 1968
Native son of Pensacola, Florida. In 65 a friend was killed in Viet Nam. Son of a aircraft mechanic with no interest to attend college, maybe for the party only. So I enlisted Airborne Infantry in 66. After Jump School I was assigned to the 173rd. After a week in Nam was picked up by the 101st 2/327, “C” Company, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad, July 14th 67 to 14th of 68.
I ran into a fellow with the last name of Campbell from Pensacola; He was on his second tour. Campbell gave me this info: “There are two kinds of men in the Nam, the quick and the dead”. He convinced me to walk his Slack, he was Point. He said, “if I get killed here I want it to be my mistake not someone else’s. So I walked Point. I hunt them, I kill them before they can kill me.” So I learned from Campbell to walk Point, crawl through tunnels and stay alive. I actually got off the hunt. I notched my 16 and built a body count pretty quick. Like most of us I was decorated a few times for valor (so what?).
On my twenty-first birthday we were so far in Cambodia that we were outside artillery range.
Viet Nam for me was a beautiful but scary place. Special relationships were built that will last as long as time itself.
My country trained me well. I did the job I volunteered for. There is no anger living in me about that year. I have relived Viet Nam with family, friends and my brother vets. As you know the experience will be with me until my last breath. Who knows after that?
After Nam I served with the 82nd for a year and a half. That was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. Reconditioning to our way of life in the good old U.S. of A. I drank, did drugs and hid from the Nam for the longest time. The 82nd put me on Funeral Duty for awhile and I thought my heart would explode within me because of the reliving the death of my brothers, the pain and hurt of their families. But if one is willing time may heal the heart and mind. And so with my Lord’s help I have moved on in life.
I have an Angel on Earth, my wife of thirty-four years. Two fine daughters and four grandchildren. My home is paid for and I have very few bills (utilities, insurance). In five years, eight months I will be able to draw Social Security and with my VA I may search for the joys that life offers.