|There at the End
Roger Garner arrived in Vietnam in March 1971. As with many of us after almost forty years, Roger’s memory of the details of his Vietnam Tour is hazy, and this account, therefore, is subject to correction. Arriving in Vietnam from a tour of duty in Germany, Roger had no experience in heavy artillery, but was sent to HHB 6/27th Artillery at Phu Loi just the same. After a short time there he soon found himself the lone passenger on a Chinook helicopter making a supply run to Bravo Battery at FSB Snuffy. Welcome to Vietnam!
After several weeks Bravo Battery returned to FSB Wade at Loc Ninh where it was based. Over the next few months Bravo went on various “Turkey Shoots” in support of the 1st Cavalry. In June 1971 Bravo Battery moved to FSB Haymaker near the Cambodian Border, once again in support of the 1st Cavalry.
Sometime in the middle of his tour, Roger is not sure of the month, he was transferred to Charlie Battery; perhaps because their troop strength was low and they needed cannoneers. It was while he was with Charlie Battery they moved to a number of Fire Support Bases and eventually replaced Alpha Battery at Bu Dop. In early September he was granted a three day R & R at Vung Tau. He recalls it was a good time with about twenty other soldiers from various units while he was there. He did not take a regular R & R as he said he would have had too hard a time returning to Vietnam.
In late October 1971 all of the 6/27th’s Batteries received word to report to Phu Loi with their equipment for Stand Down. It was great news for some, but not all. During a two week period the soldiers of each battery were required to clean the guns and all equipment. Roger remembers they were hassled over the condition of the equipment as it was inspected and they spent many hours washing the guns, etc. before it was accepted. All of the guns and equipment would be moved south for eventual shipment back to the states. Most of the guns were eventually scrapped or donated to towns for display in parks.
It was not all work during this period as several USO groups were brought in to entertain the troops and physical sports were encouraged to keep the men busy. It was at one of these shows that Roger met Miss Arizona and obtained her signed photo included above. Roger recalls several “Stand Down” parties and even with the equipment hassles the morale of the soldiers was good. For them, the end of the war was near.
Depending on how much service time a soldier had left in his tour, troopers were either sent home for discharge or they were reassigned to another unit in Vietnam. Roger had more then six months of his tour left and was assigned to Bravo Battery 5/42nd Artillery. He left Vietnam on January 29, 1972 and was discharged one month early at Oakland Army Depot. He looks back on his tour in Vietnam with a favorable light. As with most of us, Roger returned to the World and took up the tasks of life. He has been a successful wielder over the years and is now contemplating retirement.
On November 22, 1971 the 6th Battalion 27th Artillery was deactivated at Ft. Lewis, WA. It had been in Vietnam for over five years and had fired thousands of rounds in support of various infantry units including the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry and many Special Forces and ARVN units.
|Roger Garner Then
Bravo & Charlie Battery 6/27th Artillery
Mar 71 to Jan 72