Steve and the APC’s(Armored Personnel Carriers M113).

I never found the movie “MASH” particularly funny. Much nearer to reality than most viewers know.

I arrived in Korea in late June and was assigned as a Rifle Platoon Leader in Bravo Company/2nd Battalion/38th Infantry , Second Infantry Division. The nickname of the 38th Infantry was “The Rock of the Marne” earned in the First World War for the units refusal to retreat from the Marne River even when the units on either side did in fact retreat.

I spend about eight weeks in the rifle company and was involved in a couple of minor skirmishes. That and the fact that I was the only paratrooper LT in the Battalion, caught the attention of the Colonel in charge (he was also a paratrooper).

In mid August I was called to Battalion HQ. I reported to the CO and was informed that I was being moved to become Platoon Leader of both the Reconnaisance Platoon and also the Anti_Tank Platoon. The reason I was being given two platoons was because the Anti-Tank LT was rotating home and the Recon LT had auditioned for and had made the Division football team and would be assigned at Division HQ for the 5 month season. The team was made up of Division One players and several slodiers who had played in the NFL. They ate, slept and practiced for 5 months with games all over Korea and in Japan. No other duties. They were pretty good.

Anyway, for the rest of my nine months I handled two platoons which meant 30 nights in the field and 1 at base. Then another 30 days in the field. I digress.

The day I took over the two platoons, we were north of the Imjin River and the combined platoons were given the task of being the Quick Reaction Force for the entire Battalion. Our mission was to react to any North Korean contact with speed and force.

Similiar to Dave’s chairs, I was required to inventory and sign for 18 Recoiless Rifle bearing jeeps, numerous machine guns and most importantly 5 M-113 APC’s, tracked vehicles that could carry a squad in full combat gear. Because half of the men and equipment were continually kept at a forward position just back of the DMZ, it was not possible to have all of the vehicles and equipment in one place at one time. The method we used was to identify and count half the vehicals at the Motor Pool, send them to the forward position and have the vehicles at the forward postion return to the Motor Pool for counting. Everything went smoothly and all the vehicles were accounted for. I signed.

Several weeks later one of the APC’s went down with serious mechanical issues. Since we had to maintain 2 M-113’s at the forward position while two were in maintenance, the solution was simple. Put the fifth M-113 into the rotation, we had a spare. When I ordered this, the platoon sergeant became very red in the face and started stuttering and told me it could not be found. How the hell do you lose a several ton APC? After some searching a friendly mechanic walked me into the woods by the Motor Pool. There was my 5th APC. Rusted out with no engine, tracks, doors or wheels. When questioned he admitted that it had been stripped for parts at some time in the past and had not been in use for several years.

Nine months later a rookie LT came to replace me. We used the same process as when I had taken over. Two tracks pulled into the Motor Pool-the painted identifying numbers on the rear were checked and matched the inventory sheets. Both APC’s had come in from the field and were very dusty (all the roads were dirt and mud). They pulled out and an hour later were replaced by the two that been out in the field-also very dusty. Again the numbers matched and the tracks departed. Fifteen minutes lated the fifth track arrived. It was brand spanking clean and even the numbers on the rear looked freshly painted. The new LT signed for the 5 M-113’s and I went back to the States. I always wonder where and how he came up with the 5th APC 13 months later when he rotated home. Thanks Dave and for the lesson of the chairs.


1 Response to “Steve and the APC’s(Armored Personnel Carriers M113).”

  1. 1 tecosystems » links for 2007-01-05 Trackback on January 5, 2007 at 5:38 am

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