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Steve Houghton's 71St LRP and M Co 75th Ranger Site
The road to becoming a LRRP
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The road to becoming a LRRP
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Like the site says, my name is Steve Houghton. How I ended up serving as a LRRP Team Leader is a long story. Like a million other guys my age I got drafted not long after I got out of school. I took a one year trade course after High School. I went to Ferris State College in Big Rapids Michigan to be a welder. I graduated there in Sept 67. I got my draft notice in mid Oct of that same year, and I was inducted Nov 16, 1967. I was shipped to Fort Knox Kentucky for Basic Training. I was there for about a month when they sent us home for Christmas leave. During that leave, I married my High School sweetheart, Evonne Johnson. And after 6 or 7 days together, It was back to Knox to finish Basic Training. During this time I ended up as the Platoon Guide for my platoon. You know, that "acting jack" they picked out of the platoon and give the slip on stripes to. That was the first step for me down the road to becoming a LRRP Team Leader. Form Ft Knox it was on to Ft Ord California for a two week Leader preperation course, and then to Infantry AIT. I was assigned as Platoon Leader right away, and I prepared myself for a couple more months of crap, like Basic Training. But to my surprise it was totally different. The day before the trainees arrived I met one hell of a nice guy in the person of Sgt Mike Glines, my platoon Sergeant. AIT got a lot easier right away. The first day I met him he invited me to his house, on base, to meet his wife Mary and have dinner with them! Can you believe that?
Mike was a Vietnam veteran. Infantry obviously, wounded in action, a real soldier's soldier. He treated me like a brother. Mike was a great athlete, he could throw a football like a pro, inspite of his shoulder wound. He put together a football team from the unit, we played and beat everbody. He was good to all the men. He was tough, and fair, and good. I thought that if I ever made Sergeant, I'd try to be like him. Mike became my friend. In fact when I was held over after AIT, he and his wife made room for me and my wife Evonne, to share their on base housing! They gave us their extra bedroom. So Evonne flew out from Michigan for two weeks, and it was the nearest thing we ever had to a honeymoon. They even let us use their Chevy Malibu! But one thing Mike did was assure that I went to Vietnam. He didn't mean to send me there I know, but when he recommended me for NCOC training, it had the same effect. You see my whole unit, except me and a friend named Ronnie Williams, shipped to Korea! Mike and our Platoon Leader, LT Onchi, said we were to talented not to go to the Army's new NCO program. It was supposed to be an all volunteer program, but we know how that works. I got voluntered! So two weeks later, Evonne went home, and Ronnie and I shipped to Fort Benning Georgia to join Class 33 of the Army's NCOC program. It took me a couple of weeks to get over missing out on Korea. Man I was going to Nam for sure! I first thought about washing out of this training, but we were assured that all washouts went straight to Vietnam anyway. So I started to apply myself. If I had to go, I was going to learn everything I possibly could. A couple weeks into training, my wife came down from Michigan and we got a place off base. We could only live there together on the weekends, as I had to stay in the barracks during the week. She drove out from Columbus to the base every night to see me. It was during this time that we both made some good friends. There were several married couples in the same boat as us. The brass didn't like it, but we had our wives move close to the base. One of the men I met there, and became friends with was Bruce Hinz, form Wisconsin. Bruce was one of the olders guys in the unit. We became friends with the Fosters, Dwaine and Brenda, along with John Horning, Larry Fanella, Stokely Jones, Dan Dylak, Ronnie Fullerton, John Kenton, Mike Hawley and others. Phase I went by and we graduated as Sergeants July 31,1968. Ronnie Williams graduated top of the class of 145, and made Staff Sergeant. Bruce and I got assigned to Fort Polk for Phase II along with the Fosters and Dan Dylak. So it was off to Louisiana. Evonne and I shared a place there in Leasville with the Fosters we met at Benning. We lived off base in a mobile home we shared with Dwaine and Brenda Foster. They were from New Orleans, and went home every weekend, so we had the honeymoon suite all to ourselves on the weekends! Phase II was interesting to say the least. I met a college roommate down there and also my cousin Allen Houghton. He spent a weekend or two with us, as he was lonely as hell, being newly married and away from his wife. His unit was several weeks ahead of mind. He shipped to Vietnam a month ahead of me.
Well Phase II ended in early Oct 1968. I picked up an extra stripe, and finished Phase II as a Staff Sergeant. Burce and I got our orders. Report to Ft Lewis and Vietnam.
Evonne and I headed home for a 15 day leave. It went by fast. Her family and mine both had going away parties for me. Those were tough events. But then I did the toughest thing I have ever had to do in my life. And that was to turn and walk away from my wife at the airport in Detroit. I walked onto that plane at the last possible moment, and I knew I'd never see her again. That flight to Ft Lewis was a sober one. When I got to Ft Lewis, I found Bruce, and that helped lift my spirits. As I said, Bruce was older than me by four years or so, and even though I had the extra stripe, I considered him to be the leader. I leaned on Bruce. I thought if maybe we could stay together, we'd look out for each other, and maybe, just maybe, we stood a chance to come home. Well we arrived at Cam Rahn Bay in late Oct 68. Man was it hot, I thought Georgia was hot in July, but this was hot! We moved to a replacement center near Long Binh or Ben Hoa, and there we got seperated. He went to the 101St and I went to the 199th. I was pretty scared at this point. Here I was a twenty year old Staff Sergeant wondering if I could measure up to what was ahead, and without a friend in site. We had heard about fragging back in the states, guys knocking off leaders they thought were incompetent. How would these veterans view a snot nosed 20 year old Staff Sergeant. I was pretty concerned about it. Then one day while at camp "Frenzel Jones", the basecamp for the 199th LIB, during the in processing phase for the new replacements, I heard that some small unit called "LURPS" or something was looking for volunteers. I had never heard of LRRPS before, but was told they were a pretty "hairy" outfit. "Man you don't want that, those crazy fools go out in six man teams right into Indian country, just looking for Charlie" I was told. They sounded like elite tough soldiers to me, and I thought they had to be well trained to do that stuff. They can't have idiots in a volunteer unit like that, and with six man teams, I could get to know who to trust and who not to, real fast. So I walked on over to their orderly room and talked to the First Sergeant Overpeck. He laid it all out for me, pretty much liked I'd heard. I made my decision right then and there, before I walked out of the orderly room. I said "I want in, if you'll have me".  They did, and that is how I became a "LURP" in the best damned outfit in Vietnam. I never regretted that decision. And yes, I did measure up. They taught me well in NCO school.
 
 

Bruce Hinz 101St Division Vietnam 68-69
Bruce Hinz
Bruce and I trained in NCOC school phase 1 & 2 together only to get seperated in Vietnam.

Dwain Foster 1St Division Vietnam 68-69
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Dwain & I trained together thru phase 1 & 2 of NCOC school.

Dwain Foster in Vietnam
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Dwain said when they got Lrrp rations, they were eating good

Dwain served in B Company 1st of the 2nd - 1st Division  68-69
He would like to establish contact with others who served with his unit.
You can contact him thru is e-mail address   ( Defmason83@cs.com )

I went to NCOC (Shake and Bake) school with these two men.  Bruce Hinz and Dwain Foster. I mentioned them in the above story.  I will never forget these men.  I'm happy to say they both survived the war.  That wasn't the case with all of us.  Sixteen of  our class died in Vietnam.  Men like Larry Fanella, Ronnie Fullerton, Stokley Jones, and Joseph Kelly.  We were close to these guys, and it hurts still to this day knowing they didn't come back.  But these two did!  I am happy to say, that  Bruce lives in Elk Mound Wisconsin, and Dwain lives in Gretna Louisana.  We keep in touch along with our other buddy John Horning from Minesota.  I hope to post a photo of John soon.

Dwain Me and Ronnie
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This was taken a Ft Benning in Summer 68...Ronnie was killed that winter in Nam

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Click on the NCOC icon to learn more about "Shake N Bakes"

In time I plan to add the stories of Some of the men from the 71st LRP Det that I have been able to contact. David Wolfenbarger, Terrell Ross, Jack Fuche, Peter Groom, and Charlie Hunt. I'm going to pester them all for input. And any other members of the 71st or M CO 75th Rangers who see this site and want to be included, just contact me thru my e-mail address escort@pathwaynet.com

lrrps in the EM club

Evonne Johnson 1967
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This is my girl as I knew her in HighSchool She agreed to be my wife Dec 22,1967

I finally had the good sense to add a picture of my wife Evonne to this page.
The photo to the upper right is her High School graduation picture.  I carried one like it in Vietnam.  I thought about her everyday I was there.  Especially at night, while on my watch, alone, when the rest of the team was sleeping.  I remember one time looking up at the moon, and wondering if she was doing the same thing back home.  It sounds corney, but it's true.  She wrote me a letter every single day I was gone, and that's no lie either.  I always got mail at mail call.  Those of you who've never been in a soldiers shoes, will never understand how much it means to get mail from home. Evonne is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.  We are still married today, some 34 years later.  But Evonne has had her troubles ever since I left for Vietnam.
I have been told by several people that I need to finish the story I started above,  "The Road to Becomming a LRRP".  Well, I have decided to do just that.  And since my wife's travals are such a large part of it, I thought I'd start with this introduction.  I will finish this story soon. (Aug 6 2002)