John Girardeau's Vietnam Photos 1965-66

John Girardeau was commissioned a 2Lt after graduating from Georgia Tech ROTC in 1964. He spent two years on active duty. On October 4, 1965 he was on the troop ship, USNS General W. Gordon as it set sail on its thirty-day crossing to Vietnam. During his twelve month tour he served with HHB 6/27th Artillery at Phouc Vinh, primarily as a forward observer with B 1/4 Calvary as well as Special Forces at Xom Cat, where he remembers he “caught one hell of case of “crotch rot: swimming in the Song Be River”. He also served with the 35th ARVN Ranger Battalion out of Bien Hoa. He recalled that someone once said that “he was the most shot at man in the Battalion”.

In his spare time, when not out in the “boonies” as a Forward Observer, John was an Air Observer, Battalion Fire Direction Officer, or Assistant S-2. with the 6/27th Artillery.

When asked about his memories of the ocean crossing on the General Gordon, he recalled the one incident while the ship docked at White Beach, Okinawa where a soldier died  and two others suffered smoke inhalation,  as a result of a fire a soldier had set while drunk and in the ship’s brig.

“As I recall, Lt Cecil Gardiner, our battalion Motor Office, was the Officer of the Day and was on the ship while we were on shore. When the fire broke out, Cecil and those detailed to help him could not find the key to the brig. If they had the key, they might have been able to save the soldier trapped in the brig.”

(See A LEGACY OF HONOR 6TH BATTALION, 27TH ARTILLERY’, Page 18 in the PDF [16 in the History] for more information regarding this incident.)
See a Legacy of Honor in PDF Format or visit: Legacy of Honor/A Legacy of Honor Home Start.htm

(See also Ron Altier’s “Memory of Shipping to Vietnam”) Gallery 12 Alpha Btry 65-66/Alpha Btry 65-66 Ron Altier Memory.htm

John also recalled “…a significant battle in which [he] and the batteries at Phouc Vinh participated. I was the forward observer with B Troop, 1/4 Cav. We held the south side of the perimeter with 9 tanks, 21 APC's and a company of infantry. The NVA made the mistake of attacking directly into our front. The brigade had 11 KIA. We lost count of NVA KIA at about 360.

I have quite a few tales I can write about what happened that night.....Things like watching a battery of 105's dueling with NVA recoilless rifles across an open field at a range of ~100 meters, and the loss of 2 of our by a mortar round down the hatch and the other by recoilless rifle rounds through the engine. Our batteries at Phouc Vinh provided counter mortar fires along the brigade's eastern flank.”
(See: for more information)

John spent nineteen years in the Army Reserves: 80th Division (Training) serving as platoon leader, company commander, battalion adjutant, assistant Inspector General, Infantry Team fire support coordinator, Artillery Team deputy team chief. He served in Army Branches of Field Artillery, Military Police, Infantry, Inspector General and also branch specific training for Chemical Corps. He retired from the reserves in 1985 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

John has been married to his wife, Betty, for 50 years and has three children and three grandchildren. While serving in the Army Reserves John also worked at a civilian job for 26 years at E. I. DuPont as Manufacturing Supervisor in the Teflon Fibers Division and design/process/maintenance engineer in nylon, Teflon Fibers, Kevlar, Nomex, and Tyvek  in Richmond, VA before he retired in 1993.

John says he has recently acquired a slide scanner which will enable him to scan and digitize his slides and we should look forward to more photos from his time in Vietnam. We thank John for sharing his photos and experiences in Vietnam with us.

John Girardeau  Then and Now
HHB 6/27th Artillery
Oct  65 to Oct 66

Sadly John passed away on January 23, 2017


Click Here to See John's Introductory Photos


Choose Photo Gallery Below You Wish to View

Photo 6-27th Artillery First Camp  Phouc Vinh Photos   

USNS Gordon
Crossing 1965

First Camp & Convoy to Phouc Vinh

Saigon &
Bien Hoa

Phouc Vinh 

Operation Toledo 
Xom Cat  Air
Montangards  With Quarter Horse
& Operation
Silver City


A Video Interview

A video interview given by John H. Girardeau, III at the Virginia War Memorial on July 23, 2003 is now available for viewing.  It has been edited and photos taken at the time covered in the interview by John Girardeau and fellow soldiers of the 6/27th Artillery have been added for your viewing interest.

Click Here to View
Trolling For Targets
  War Zone D, Viet Nam, 1966
A  Story by John Girardeau III
Click Here to Read


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