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Rick Wintermute's Page
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Rick's Story

Rick Wintermute

Rick just recently checked in. I got an email from Rick October 30, 2001. Maybe the best way to start Rick's story is to share his email with you. The following is his email.

Well, since you've got my picture in here a couple of times, I might as well say hello.
HELL0!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! It's amazing what a search engine can do if you're persistent. It's a real trip to see pics from Barbara. Like you, I don't remember you very well. I remember Fish and Wolf. I'm living in So. Cal. I was in our unit from Jun/68-Mar/69 when Cardwell and I transferred to Co E (Recon), 2nd/3rd. I was a team leader after Recondo school in Nov/68, but I couldn't tell which one it was. I have two things from my army days-My original wings from jump school and my Recondo certificate.
I mostly remember guys by their nickname, like "Fish" for Dan Fisher, "Pigpen" for Steve Cardwell and "The Lord" for David T. Young. Since I was sort of David's right hand man, they called me "The Pope". I remember a Hawaiian new guy gave me a string of Kola Nuts and Pooka shells. There were other nicknames, but some of them aren't very nice. We were a wierd bunch of well-trained soldiers. I have always been grateful to have been a LRRP/Ranger. I think Cardwell had a bunch of pics, but they may have been destroyed in a garage fire a his parent's home.
I got a great story about being medivac-ed from Barbara-they thought I had malaria, but it was only pneumonia. When I arrived at the hospital they about freaked at all my gear-weapon, frags, WP grenades, etc. Gotta go. I emailed Wolf already.
(Sgt) Rick Wintermute

Rick has since followed with another email.........since I am lazy.....well here is that mail too!

Well, Steve, here's a second email in as many days. I visited the "Fallen" page. You really hit the nail on the head right from the beginning. Is this where I insert "Praise God!"? Then I went to your Road to LRRP page. In some ways, you & I had similar beginnings. I grew up in South Central Michigan. Albion, to be exact. I graduated high school in 1966 and had a college deferment for one year. I was planning to go to and was accepted to Ohio State, but a little thing called money got in the way-In 1966, $2,000.00 was a lot of money for my widowed mom. In the mean time I got married. Well, the guv'ment got the silly notion that you need to BE in college to be deferred, so, like you, in Nov of '67 I packed my bags for Ft Knox along with my best friend from high school. He went to armor and ended up in Korea. You and I were in basic at the same time, but obviously in different units. While in basic I accidentally changed my MOS from clerical to infantry by volunteering for jump school. This act amused our drill sgt-he made all the airborne candidates do lots and lots of extra PE. From there I went to Ft McClellan in Alabama for AIT. Believe it or not while I was there my wife came down and my DI found out and let her stay at his home off base. He even took me home on week-ends. This is too weird. Then I went off to Ft Benning for jump school (the answer is: A C-119 is NOT a perfectly good airplane). After a 30 day leave I caught that silver bird to Vietnam and landed in Long Bien on 6/1/68. I also remember that incredible heat. Probably from growing up where the sun always shines at an angle. I was assigned to the 71st LRRP(I was hoping for the 101st) after 3 days of hauling latrine cans. The clerk who assigned me said it was a voluntary unit, but I would get my jump pay if I went, so I said, "What the heck!" The 2nd best decision I ever made in my life. (1st place goes to salvation in Jesus). Steve Cardwell arrived a day after me and we became fast friends-I even extended an extra day so we could go home together. I was only a PFC when I got in-country and made SP4 in November. You were right-Us old dogs looked down our noses at shake-n-bakes. I was told by my first team leader you outrank anyone with less time-in-country than you. In February this got a little sticky when Lt. Eason told me I was to have 3 new guys on my next mission and HE WAS ONE OF THEM! The first night out was the beginning of Tet/69. The VC were on our company frequency saying "Tonight, GI, you die!". We fell back to a pick up point and waited til morning for retrieval. Steve Cardwell & I left the unit in Mar/69.
I'm rambling a little, but it's cathartic. Thanks for listening. Here's one for the books- On my way back to the world we landed at Yakoda, AFB, Japan for a layover. While walking back to my table with a Coke I literally walked into my high school friend who was rotated back to the states from Korea!
Gotta go pick up my son from church. If we were marines I'd say sempre fi. How about Recondo forever! Rick


--- Frederick Wintermute

Here is more from Rick.

Just sent you a lengthy email through the site. I remember Jack. I'll try to call him this week-end. I was in the unit from Jun/68 to Mar/69. I went to Recondo school in Nov/68. Do you remember a guy who kept trying to sneak into the NCO club. I think he was from Texas. And then it got CS'ed one night.
Oh, you mentioned a favorite bar in Tan Syn Nuyt (boy is this spelled wrong)-It was called the Mihn Bar. Rumor had itthat someone from the 71st bought a piece of it, so we got preferential treatment there. I remember a trip there from the Fishnet factory, but I came back in the afternoon, only to find out that the First Sgt had been looking for me to ship me off to Recondo School I just checked my certificate(#1570)-I graduated on Nov 2, 1968, so I went up in October. Do you remember a guy named Aguilar, I think his first name was Bruce. I saw him once after I got back in a department store. How about David T. Young?
I'm going to check your other email about the Ranger Association-I have thought about joining before. I have been to the site in the past. Later. Rick

And Rick has sent yet another mail to me today Nov 9,2001
and I will include it too.

You have mentioned Christmas '68 a few times. I remember it well. I was supposed to be in Honolulu on R&R from 12/21-12/28. Only trouble was I came down with a fever during what I believe was the first mission into the pineapples. I was point and as we were about to be inserted a navy guy on the boat that took us out told me that I was the first friendly on that side of the river since the French left in '56 (Welcome to Cambodia?). Anyway, after one or two nights our mission was scrubbed and we were extracted. Back at Barbara I tried to sweat out the fever & chills, but Cardwell threatened to drag me to the medics. So I went to pay them a visit. They freaked out at me temperature of 104.6 F and told me to wait on the helo pad for a chopper. This may have been December, but it was over a 100 out there. When I got to Than su Nuyt(spell check doesn't have this name) the nurses thought I had malaria. I spent 6 days there and was released on Christmas Day. I had to hitch-hike back to Frenzel Jones. I remember passing Long Bien and seeing the huge crowd watching Bob Hope. I finally got R&R in March-went to Sydney.
I've been trying to remember the training part-all I remember is teaching a little map reading and running some new guys all around BMB. When I first got to the 71st we did some grenade training. We had to move some sandbags and I uncovered a nest of scorpions-just babies-no su-wet GI.
Oh yeah, I just remembered something else. We had a couple of teams out one time and Fisher was on one of them. They got in a firefight and in the middle of it he got bit by a snake! They had to medivac him out. It wasn't poisonous, but I think he was very much not amused.
By the way, what or who were "house girls"? Were they privy only to the NCO's? I was merely a SP4 when I led a team. Didn't make E-5 til May/69 after I left the unit. Got lucky on my board-One of them was my Btn 1st Sgt at Fort McClellan and he remembered me, somehow.
You have a pic of 3 guys at the em club-"Heidenlinder", Worrell and unknown-on the right. Is it possible that the guy on the right is Mr. "H"? I seem be remember he wore glasses-his nickname was "Funny".
I'm waiting for my Ranger Association paperwork.
I'll send more as I remember it. Besides, this makes for long emails.

--- Frederick Wintermute

I have received yet another story from Rick, this November 9, 2001 to be exact. It follows here in his own words.

"Your mention of teams being inserted in the wrong place reminded me of a mission I was on. We sent out 2 teams by LST, which was unusual. They dropped off one team, headed further down river where we went ashore. We moved in about a click and someone spotted a VC and a fire fight ensued. Suddenly we were under heavy small arms fire. We heard on comm that the other team had also made contact. Since we hadn't set up defcons yet, I called in for support and they sent me a Cobra chopper. As the Cobra approached the pilot asked me to pop a smoke, which I did. He reported he saw two smokes and I confirmed. As I was the only team in the area I told him to make a run on the smoke to the south. As he made his last turn I called the other team and asked them if they had popped a smoke. They said yes!!! I immediately told the Cobra to abort which, thank God, he did. We were told to immediately withdraw to the river for extraction. When the LST came back the pilot of the boat refused to lower the front of it since he considered it a hot LZ. We had to climb over the front. We were not amused. In the end, it turned out the navy put us in a click or two too soon. I still shake my head at how close I came to killing my friends. I don't remember who was running the other team."
Rick

Rick, we are all looking forward to whatever you send our way. Your memories are a part of the history of the 71St LRP - M Co 75th Rangers. Thank you.