By Jim Regan

Not until after I arrived in the Vacation land of Southeast Asia, did I realize that there was a "Pecking order" on the Radios. Before that, all we did was look at the 3/5 card, or whatever we had, and called the folks that we wanted to talk with. .Call Signs and frequencies changed daily.

Upon arrival at E Co., 52nd INF, LRP, in 1968, the Commander met and greeted me, told me that I was his First Sergeant! Wow! Hard to believe! Let's rethink this! No, says he, you are the ranking Senior NCO and you are the First Sergeant. A couple of days went by and I realized that, if the Clerk did not keep me straight, I was a goner! Found out that my "Call Sign" was "Slashing Talon Seven." I can remember that! As I worked with the Company and did all the things that First Sergeants and Senior NCOs did, I never "heard" my call sign. Shortly after arriving and struggling as the First Sergeant, I told the Ol' Man that we needed a "Real" First Sergeant! Went to Bien Hoa and recruited a guy. Airborne, Ranger and meaner than Cat's stuff! Happy days for me. Now I go to the First Platoon, without a Platoon Leader, and really begin my tour with the LURPS/Rangers.

A new Call Sign. I'm now "Slashing Talon One Five (15.) I had already begun to recognize the Call Signs of our supporting troops and Aircraft, and indeed the "Red Leg", Field Artillery. As I wandered through the days of ; briefings, insertions, extraction's, lazing on my cot, I learned to "perk up" when calls came in about Teams "IN CONTACT" and who was flying to support them! Cavalier, Apache, Bravo, Blue Max, Rash, Spooky!!!

Time marched on and in October 1969, I was pulled from the Platoon to take over the Operations job. Barnes had held down, nailed that job, for as long as I knew him. Sooo, new Call Sign. "Slashing Talon 3". A Team makes contact with the enemy, and I begin to do, what I call, my magic. Crank the extraction helicopters and the Pink Teams (Cobra & LOH-6). Tube Artillery on to the Grids (pre determined). During one such contact, all kinds of traffic from the Birds etc., a new voice came up on the Net. "Slashing Talon, this is Red Baron SIX, give me a SITREP!" I grabbed the hand set/mike from our RTO in the TOC and told the intruder, "Red Baron Six this is Slashing Talon 3, get off my Fox Mike, OUT!!!" SHHHHHSSSSHHHSSSS! He's gone!!! All you hear is SHHHHHHHSSSHHH, on the radio. Nothing but the "rushing noise." Back to the business of support and extraction.

A year later, as an Instructor and the Operations NCO at the Mountain Ranger Camp, Ranger Department, we get a new Commandant, Col Everett M. YON, (The Moose.) The Sergeant Major has an NCO call at the club. We all line up, haphazardly, in a "Receiving Line," to meet the new Commandant. As the Colonel is going down the line, he has words with each NCO and finally gets to me. The Sergeant Major tells him that I am his Operations NCO. We shake hands and he looks me in the eye. Spotting my 1st Cav patch, with an Airborne tab, on the right shoulder, he asks if I was with the First Brigade Cav. No Sir, I was with Hotel Company, 75th Rangers, 1st of the Ninth Cav! He has a hand and a grip like a grizzly bear. He squeezes my hand and asks what my Call Sign was. Sir, Slashing Talon Seven, One-five, and finally as Slashing Talon Three! Long wait... What year were you the "Three?" Told him from; Oct.'69 to Dec. '69. He continues to squeeze my poor hand and tells me that he was... "RED BARON SIX!!!" He and I got along famously while we served at the Mountain Ranger Camp. He told me later that I had absolutely done the right thing when I ran him off the Net. He asked how the Team ended up, and I told him, with no punches pulled, that all went according to plan even though there were interruptions. He loved it! Soo, it took a long time for me to get a "Call Sign." I'll not forget those calls I took or received...


PS: Had another Call Sign- Bus # 138, Most Folks knew the Driver!!!

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