Shot And Missed
By Jim Regan
Not long after our unit was designated as, "H" Company, 75th Ranger Regiment, we had a whole new image among our comrades at the 1/9th (Real Cav) Regiment/Squadron. The 1/9th Troopers; Guns, Blues/Aerial Rifle Platoons, and the HQ had been supporting us forever. I had the opportunity to meet and greet the Squadron Sergeant Major, and just show my "shiny face!" I was a brand new First Sergeant and we had issues that needed to be resolved.
After our redesignation from a LRRP Company to a Ranger Company, we had a new guy for "First Sergeant," and I was firmly entrenched as the 1st Platoon SGT. Time marches on! The 1/9th Squadron establishes a "Hootch," part of a building, for an NCO Club. At that time, in the Army, there was much discussion about "who was a Senior NCO." The Squadron Sergeant Major decided that Staff Sergeants, E-6s would be considered as Senior NCOs, (SNCOS.)
Well, I'm invited to join the club and have a beer or so with the folks from the Squadron. I'm accepted, find that this is another place where I can liaison with other SNCOs, and maybe get some things done.
Since they lowered the rank to SSG/E6, I had a couple of fellow Rangers who could patronize the club. One evening, in particular, things were really quiet in the Company area, with minimal teams in the bush. I invited the Operations NCO and the "Commo" Chief to walk with me to the hootch. We got there to a "rousing" welcome. Some of the NCOs were from the "Lift" helicopters (Read this as carrying our Teams into and out of their AOs.) Also, some Mechs, who took care of the Cobras and Slicks.
Everything went well, bought both of my NCOs a beer and ran them off, back to the Company area! Stayed for another beer and chit chatted with the guy in charge. The rules in the place were that you "parked" your guns at the door. Me and my guys never left the Company area without our side-arms, .45s, or Car 15s! We had all checked the guns at the door as John Wayne might have done, or maybe not! I bid "ado" to all at the Hootch, retrieved my pistol belt w/ .45, ammo pouches, first aid pouch, and survival knife, a "K'bar. Never left home without them. Strapped it on and left the Hootch
Took a left and headed back to the Company area. Got about fifty meters from the club and heard a shout. "HEY REGAN, YOU SOB, I'M TALKING TO YOU!!!" I turned and saw this fellow, standing in the pathway, five feet from me. In the dim light, I saw that he had a pistol in his hand and was aiming at me! He said "You Rangers think you're such hot stuff!!!??? I'LL SHOW YOU WHAT HOT STUFF IS!!!"
I could not believe it! He leveled the pistol at me, almost at arms length from me. I had stepped to approach him. What's your problem, I asked. He replied, "You are," and he squeezed off a round that whizzed past my left ear!
I did not freeze or hesitate. I stepped forward, grabbed his pistol hand and elbowed him in the head and nose! The pistol was now away from us. Folks came out of the club, hearing the firing of the pistol. I sat on top of this Staff Sergeant, straddled him with knees on both arms and proceeded to "slap" him across his face, lots of knuckles, until he finally cried out for me to quit! The guys from the club were outraged by my behavior. I turned his weapon over to the Senior guy there and told him that this "Dummy" needs to straighten up.
Sooo… I head down the trail to the Company AO. Guess who the first person I seek out? My Company Commander, of course! "Sir, you'll get grief about this." I know, says he. You done good, he says. Wait and see, says I!
The next morning I'm standing in front of the Squadron Sergeant Major. He looks at me and tells me that I can't come to the club for two weeks. What about the other guy, I asked. No punishment for him, broken nose, two bloused eyes, and I don't believe he'll ever say a bad thing about a Ranger again!!
This same Sergeant Major, he was later reassigned as the Sergeant Major for the Base at Bien Hoa (adjacent to Tan San Nut AB,) had me "put up" in his quarters at Bien Hoa while I was Out-processing from the 'Nam, He had A/C , I don't mean aircraft, a fridge full of Bud, and a smooth/extra smooth out processing for me. It seemed as if he could not do enough for me.
Granted, I arrived at Bien Hoa in a Cobra Helicopter, with my CO as the Pilot. How exciting can things get for this fellow? The Sergeant Major had his jeep and driver waiting to pick me up. Go figure again!
Story does not end. I'm at the Mountain Ranger Camp, Dahlonega, GA, Patrolling Committee. Walking Patrols as an Instructor/Lane Grader, Sometimes Squad sized, sometimes Platoon size. On one particular Platoon size patrol, my assistant is a hard charging Ranger Staff Sergeant. His Dad was a Sergeant Major, one of my Mentors. Yes, he was the 1/9th Squadron Sergeant Major in RVN, '68-'69! You never know who you will work with or run into in later years!!!
I never really paid attention about who I worked with, but I never had apprehensions about going to new posts, places, assignments. I already knew that there would be some connection from my past and it would be POSITIVE!!! Never met a Ranger or a Cav troop who I did not like!!!