AIT

Advanced Individual Training

I always thought that AIT stood for Advanced Infantry Training but I now know it is Advanced Individual Training where you learn the skills to do your Army job. Either way it was infantry training at Tigerland.

Background and History

Fort Polk is a United States Army installation located in Vernon Parish, approximately 10 miles east of Leesville, Louisiana, and 30 miles north of DeRidder, Louisiana. It was named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana, and a distinguished Confederate general in the American Civil War. The post encompasses approximately 198,000 acres. Of this, 100,000 acres are owned by the Department of the Army and 98,125 acres by the U.S. Forest Service, mostly in the Kisatchie National Forest. Fort Polk is the only Combat Training Center that also trains and deploys combat units.

Fort Polk began as a base for the Louisiana Maneuvers in the 1940s. It served the 1st Armored Division in the 1950s, and became a basic training post during Vietnam War years of the 1960s and ’70s.

Vietnam Era

In 1962, Fort Polk began converting to an infantry training center. A small portion of Fort Polk is filled with dense, jungle-like vegetation, and this helped commanders prepare their units for battle in Southeast Asia. This training area became known as Tigerland. For the next 12 years, more soldiers were shipped to Vietnam from Fort Polk than from any other American training base. On Jan. 23, 1973, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s negotiated settlement to the hostilities took effect. In October 1974, Fort Polk became the new home of the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), and basic training and AIT started being phased out. Fort Polk changed from a Continental Army Command (CONARC) post in July 1975 and became a Forces Command (FORSCOM) member. In the spring of 1976, the Infantry Training Center at Fort Polk closed its doors and ceased operations. The final chapter of the Vietnam War ended for Fort Polk.

The land that is now Fort Polk is part in a region of cultural resources, including archaeological sites, historic houses and structures, and other sites of historical value. The U.S. Army has spent considerable time, effort, and money on locating, identifying, and inventorying thousands of archaeological sites on Fort Polk and the property owned by the U.S. Forest Service where the army trains.

******

We reported to Fort Polk April 9, 1967.  We arrived in busses and were assigned to barracks. The barracks were not new but the same style we had at Fort Ord at the reception station.  I guess you could call them the barracks of the 1940’s. It no longer made a difference to me that there were no partitions between the toilets.

Several things were quite different from basic training.  One, we ran in the morning before breakfast. Two, we ran and had PT after breakfast. Three, we ran to almost every training area.  We kept running and running just like Forrest Gump. Four, we had maybe only 3-4 hours of sleep. Five, it was hot and humid and it rained. Six, after the first couple of weeks we could get a weekend pass.  Hoorah!

Did you know that there are four varieties of poisonous snakes in the US?  Did you know that Fort Polk has all four varieties? Did you know that I am afraid of snakes?

Training was intense.  We all knew that we were going to Vietnam after training and we were also reminded by the training instructors every day.

After a few weeks I thought that being a helicopter pilot might be a better idea.  I contacted a warrant officer on post and was told I would have to take the test again as there were no results in my file.  I took the test again and scored exceptionally well.  Well, what did you think? I had taken it before.

Next I had to take a flight physical. The physical was the toughest one I had ever taken and with a lot of emphasis on your eyes and motor skills. The warrant officer told me that there was a school opening at Fort Wolters three weeks after graduation from AIT and that I would have to speak to the CO and request that he hold me over.

I met with the CO.  The CO previously was a NCO infantry soldier in Vietnam and had received a field commission.  So, I guess that he was a badass infantry grunt and did not care too much for other positions.  The CO told me that he would only hold me over if I went to OCS and that after OCS I could apply to flight school.  I understood that after you graduate from OCS you are assigned to one of the combat arms groups; Infantry, Artillery, or Combat Engineers. In addition, your length of service was now six years.  I did the math and I decided to stay as an infantry soldier.  There are more rocks and trees to give you cover on the ground than there are in the sky.  And, the bonus is that you will not be in the Army on active duty for more than two years and won’t get a second tour of Vietnam that you might as either a Warrant Officer or Officer.

With that decision out of the way I really paid attention to all my training.  I remember we were trained how to assault a hill with fire teams.  The first team would lay down fire while the second team would advance and then drop and lay down fire for the first team to advance. We practiced that many times. However, we never really put that into practice in Vietnam.  Probably because most of our NCO’s were Korea vets and did not receive that type of training and just told us to walk up the hill. I am certain we took some unnecessary casualties because of that.

We were now using the M-16 and not the M-14 we were trained on in Basic Training.  I was fortunate to qualify number one in the Battalion on the M-16 and was called to the stage at the graduation awards ceremony to receive a prize from the CO.  The prize turned out to be an engraved Zippo Lighter.  I still have that lighter today.

I was in the best shape of my life even better than when I played high school and college baseball.  I was a lean, mean fighting machine. LOL

At graduation on June 6, 1967, I received my new orders.  Many of us hopped on busses to Dallas Love Field to catch airplanes home. I took a 4 week leave and then was to report to Oakland on July 4, 1967 no later than 1200 hours to be sent to Vietnam.

NEXT – Go To Vietnam

83 thoughts on “AIT

  1. my dad was a drill sgt here roger burdette wish someone had some pics of him think he was there in 1967-68 and later

    • Arrived at Polk for basic in summer 66, C-4-1, “Charging Charlie”. I remember a Drill Sergeant Burdett, tall thin man, very quite and not too mean. For some reason, I remember thinking that he may not have been in the best of health. Could this be him?

      • No he’s only 5-9 and was in Vietnam in 1966 he was at Polk in 1967 the year him and my mom married

  2. I was in Polk during Nov-Dec 1967, assigned to D-2-1 and had a mean drill Sarge named Sam Spain that hated southern white boys! he really made it hard on us Texas guys. Then I was sent to Ft. Bliss and thought I’d died and gone to heaven. From there I was sent to Key West, Florida, then Germany and home. Pays to be smart!!!

    • I was in D-2-1 July 1967. Had drill Sargent Spain also. He got sick after three week . Did see him again until last week. Have picture of him from album.

    • Hi Gary,

      I think my dad was there around the same time you were. His name is Bruno Silva. I’m trying to gather photos etc. for him since he remembers very little information about his friends there. He was drafted into the Army. He served in Vietnam 1968-1969. If you have any photos and wouldn’t mind sharing, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

      • I was in For Polk also, and went to Vietnam as an infantry man and was wounded after 245 days in the bush. However, I didn’t go to Vietnam until 71-72. So I guess I was too late for the soldier you’re looking for. I would like to say however that I wish I would have known him. God Bess

        Sgt. Gary W. Forrest

    • Was at Polk remember 3 drill sargents sgt Posesnyor maybe Pozesny a hell of a good sgt, sgt Timberlake a terrible sgt and a sgt O’Donell

      • I took Basic at Polk in fall ’67, traaining Company B-4-1. Pozesny was our 1st SGT. I remember his heavy Polish accent.

  3. I was there in March of 1968 and would like to contact some of the guys in my unit but have forgotten which company.

    • Here is a hint: go to 1-22infantry.org and then go to photos and look at them for the time period you were there. You may recognize some of the people and then will know what unit you served in. Good luck and let us know.

  4. Stationed at Fort Polk from 11/65 to 11/67. Was a 71H30 (Personnel Specialist) with Adjutant General’s office in building 317. Made SP5 in 18 months. Did a lot of out processing of basic and AIT units. Obtained port calls and extracts from morning reports for AWOLs. Fort Ord was closed when I was drafted due to spinal meningious. Spent my entire 2 years there. Basic training with B/2/2. Permanent Party with Company A Special Troops.

    • Allan, I stumbled on your post on this website, while browsing through the website. I saw that we had something in common, and wanted to comment. I was at Ft. Polk, E-1-2, from 10/66 through 01/67 for basic training. Went to Ft. Sam Houston for AIT training as a Combat Medic, from 01/67 thru 04/67. After AIT, due to taking a 2-week leave for personal issues, I was assigned back to Ft. Polk. Upon arrival, 04/67, there were no open slots for Combat Medic, and I was offered an opportunity for OJT as a Personnel Specialist. I was assigned to Company A, Special Troops, as you were. My job was in the Adjutant General’s office in Building 317, as well. I was in the Enlisted Records Branch, where I maintained personnel records for permanent party personnel in several basic training and AIT companies. Ironically, I had the records for my basic training company, E-1-2. Apparently, you and I were in the same building, at the same time, from April, 1967 to November, 1967. I spent the next 15 months in that department, under the supervision of CW2 Paul A Brewer, and 1LT Norman A. Davis, Jr. Another person you may have known was civilian Virginia A. Walker, who was a civilian records clerk. She had worked there for many years before I was assigned there. I made SP5 in 15 months 03/68, and got out in 10/68. Guys who worked in the Levy Section, where rosters for Vietnam came down from Washington, lived in Co. A, Sp. Trps, as well. Every month, we always checked to see if our names were on that month’s roster. Fortunately, mine never was. However, I processed records for many guys who were sent to Vietnam. I also processed week-end warriors (Reserves and National Guard troops), in summer, 1967, who were assigned to Ft. Polk for their summer training. Got an Army Commendation Medal for that. Funny, but I never thought I would ever run across anyone that worked in the same building that I did at Ft. Polk. Thank you for your post. God Bless.

      • Spent 14 months working at the AG building as a 71H30 in the coding section for incoming recruits. Levied to Vietnam May of 1970. Was a step up. Assigned to G2/G3 at Hq USARV. Realize for many Vietnam sucked but for me, a big improvement over Ft. Polk

  5. After being sworn-in at Ft Lee, NJ, we were taken to JFK & boarded a commercial charter 707.
    I remember the Stewardess gave us a small paper cup with some liquid that put us out for the entire flight. We arrived at Ft Polk around 1AM Aug.~Nov ’67. The Drill Sargent kept lined up all night that 1st day.
    I remember a Drill Sargent named Harris & a 2nd LT from NY, but can’t remember his name.

  6. I went thru basic from April 20 thru July 1967. Training company was directly across the road from Tigerland. Very unpleasant place.

  7. My brothers name was Gene Edward Cole he was from Oklahoma. He had just graduated from high school I believe a year before he was drafted. He was sent to basic training at Ft. Polk in May (I think) but for sure 1967. He had only been there a few months and became very ill. The report said that he had been complaining of feeling tired, over heating, dizziness and nausea. He got very ill during an exercise and was carried to shade, they laid him on his back the medical report said that he died from pulmonary aspiration. He never made it to Vietnam and never made it back home. I talked to a gentlman about 8 years ago that happened to work (Tinker AFB) with a cousing of mine (now deceased) and he was there and remembers everything. I have lost touch with him. If anyone remembers my brother or this incident I would really like to talk. My mother and father are now deceased and they had so many questions that never got answered. Maybe I can get some answers to the questions thay they had.

    I too have served my country well 17 yrs; 6 mths. Go ARMY!

    Thanks and God Bless,

    Jan

    • Company D, 3rd Battallion, 2nd Training Brigade August 67. I remember, I was in Gene’s training company. Found your post last night. I would like to speak with you and I hope I can help fill in some pieces but not in public forum. Thanks,

      Denny

  8. Got there in July 1971. Damn was it hot. We all became 11C’s. All but a handful went to Nam. Got to Nam and became 11B for 4 months before I touched a mortar. (101st and 1st Cav)

    Never will forget Fort Polk and so will anyone that been there. When someone would ask “where did you go for AIT?” When you responded “Fort Polk”, there was always some kind of crazy comment.

    Proud to have been sent there. It proved to me that I could take it. I could barely run when I got drafted, but they made me into a lean and mean fighting machine.

    • I was at Fort Polk in the summer of 71 I had basic and a it there .we came from Newark New Jersey and was suppose to fly out to fort Polk but the flight was cancelled so they took us to the holiday Inn hotel that night and we flew out the next day .I was like one of the last people to be drafted in the army .I enjoyed being there I was in the best shape of my life .after ait I was going to lpc school but my grandfather died so I went home .when I got back I still had my orders for Vietnam and I wanted to go because my brother and my brother-in-law was already there so I signed up to go .however we were holdovers for 10 days and ended up going to Erlangen Germany .I really didn’t want to go there I wanted to fight .

  9. I was at Fort Polk Tiger Land March thru May. I turned 21 at Tiger Land. Of course went to Viet Nam we made up three new Companies for The Big Red One in Viet Nam.
    Does anyone out there have any picture’s that they may have taken while at Tiger Land during that time frame. I have been back to Fort Polk trying to find the exact location of the old Tiger Land.

    Thanks
    Luther

  10. i was in ft.polk in 1971 turn 18 peeling potatoes . DON;t remember co but was at south fort and north fort .LOOKING for anyone that could have there and remember being on training and got sprays contact me please thank u

    • Jimmy I was at Ft. Polk from july -november 1971. I was at South Fort for Basic and North Fort for AIT. I was in Echo Co.in S. Ft. and Charlie Co. at N. Ft.

  11. Does anybody know if they had yearbooks for the AIT Units at Tigerland?? I was with CoA, 3rd Bn, 3rd Bde, Jan-Feb 1967. Had 1st Sgt Rainwater..

  12. I was stationed at ft Polk in sept 1964 to nib 1964 south fort . Was trying to find out in Agent Orange was used in the area while I was training?

      • Dear Jimmy and Claudia, just wondering if you ever got any confirmation of Agent Orange being sprayed in Fort Polk and the year and maybe the circumstances or location of where it was sprayed.
        reply to Frank Torres at ftorres3407@gmail.com this is information is important to me,, Thanks

      • I was at Polk for AIT (Tigerland) in July and August 1968 after completing basic at Fort Dix, NJ. I was one of the lucky few that escaped Vietnam duty; Being sent to Germany after Russian tanks moved into Czechoslovakia that year. The quick build up of US forces in Eurpoe was to deter further Russian aggression. At the completion of AIT soldiers with last names beginning with A,B,C,D got orders for Germany, while E thru Z went to Nam. A welcome surprise on my final day at Polk.
        Three years ago at age 66, I was diagnosed with Leukemia which can be caused by Agent Orange. If AO was used at Fort Pork I would like to know about it. Any veteran with a cancer diagnosis who was exposed to agent orange is eligible for VA Medical Benefits.
        Contact me at john3351@comcast.net if you have any insights on the use of agent orange at Polk.

      • I have no knowledge of being sprayed while in tiger land at Fort Polk. We were exposed a number of times in Vietnam, though. Congratulations for the good luck of staying out of that debacle.

      • I was at Ft. Polk in 1968.  Herbicides were not used there.  I was in TayNinh, Vietnam in 1969 and that area was the most heavily sprayed with Agent Orange than anywhere in Vietnam.  Good luck.

      • That was the first time I ever heard about agent orange being used at Fort Polk. But you know, we’ve had so much BS with the lies and half truths concerning Vietnam, I wouldn’t doubt it at all. I’ve been battling agent orange diseases for over 15 years now and the VA still think I could have been exposed to dioxin like “roundup” when I was a kid. I hope you keep searching and I wish you my best.

  13. I was in fort Polk for boot camp and AIT my Sargent was drill sargent Shepard anyone with information i arrived January 1975 to may 1975 we all endured ranger like training while there a lot of running,lots of PT and push ups as i tell my story today it helped me become the man i am today all respect to tiger land home of the pigmy rattle snake and alligator lake. Any one wit information or photo’s my company was Co. E 1st Bde. 1st Plt. Fort polk Anyone having any information that may help me can E-MAIL ME at Johngoods2@gmail.com thankyou get down and give me 50 !!

  14. I was at tigerland 1966-67..seargent Ramos.kept me alive…God…I hated that place…but now..Its one of my fondest memories. Espesially escape and evasion week…WOW….Bless you sgt.Ramos… i pray you made it home ! pvt.james c,johnson. ou made me do pushups in the rain..telling meyou’d make me do pushups till You were tired “I will make you Superman!!!…” I think I still owe you 50 pushups sarge !!

  15. Tigerland 1964-66 as a draftee. I took basic training in south fork under Sgt. Bedford. I was then shipped to north fork to perform kp for a few weeks while the quartermaster and signal battalion was preparing to embark for Vietnam. I was then shipped back to the recruit reception station at south fork and assigned to the transfer post, on job, personnel records specialist, Company A, Special Troops.

    Made E-5, Spec.5 in 15 months. I prepared discharge paperwork for those exiting the service and also conducted reenlistment orientations for those possessing critical occupational specialties that the army wanted to retain. There was an army Lt. assigned to the post to sign paperwork but the real “boss” was a retired army officer, Mr. Jett, G.S. civilian employee . He was one of the best supervisors that I had the pleasure of servicing. Tom Rafferty who later transferred to finance , Vinnie Mulvaney, Tom Kirila, Bill Damrel, Willie Williams, Mineola,Tx are some of the guys I worked with.

    • Hey, Joe,
      I got drafted, as well, 1966-1968. I took basic at Ft. Polk, in South Fort, in company E-1-2. After basic, I was shipped to Ft. Sam Houston, in Texas, for medic training. After medic school, I got a 2-week leave, because had to go home to get a divorce (while in medic training, I got a “Dear John” letter). Because of that leave, instead of heading to Vietnam, I was assigned back to Ft. Polk. Upon check in, there were no slots available for medics, so I was offered the opportunity to do OJT as a records clerk. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I was also was assigned to Company A, Special Troops. I worked in the Enlisted Personnel Records Branch, Military Personnel Division, Adjutant General Section. I maintained personnel records for several South Fort companies, even for E-1-2. How funny is that? I managed the personnel records for the same leaders who were in my basic training company. I also processed personnel records for discharge and for shipment to Vietnam and Korea. Every now and then, I had to serve CQ duty (weekends only) at the Adjutant Building. I, too, made E-5, Spec. 5 in 15 months. During the summer of 1968, I processed reservists and National Guard personnel, who came to Ft. Polk for summer training. While doing so, I devised and implemented a special processing method for processing in reservists, and got a Army Commendation Medal for it. My initial boss was CW2 Paul Brewer, and later was 1LT. Norman Davis, who was my boss until my out. Both were extremely nice people to work for, making my job a whole lot easier. Another person, whom you might remember, and worked in our office, was a civilian worker named Viginia M. Walker. She worked there long before I got there, whe was still working there when I left. Virginia was a really wonderful older woman, who really cared for the Army personnel who worked in her office. She trained me how to do my job, and was always so supportive, as I learned. She was almost like a Mom away from home. Did you know her?

      My biggest memory of working in that office was when a levy report came down from Washington, that listed those who were going to be sent to Vietnam. Those being shipped out were processed by some of my buddies in Company A, Sp. Troops. Each month, when a list came down, my buddies first checked to see if any of the guys in our company were on there, and told us about it. Sometimes, they processed deferrments for some of the guys, so they wouldn’t have to go to Vietnam. Although I had numerous friends who got shipped to Vietnam, I was so blessed and grateful that my name never came down on a list, and I never had to go.

      My biggest memory of my 18 months there, was the town of Leesville. I went to, and got involved in the First Baptist Church in Leesville, and met some really great people who lived in Leesville and the surrounding area. That church was always so supportive of the military and military personnel who came to their church. That, alone, made my 18 months at Ft. Polk, a much more enjoyable time. I met some really gorgeous women there, too. LOL!!

      Thanks, again, for your post to Charlie’s site. It’s nice to meet someone who, although not at the same time, lived in my same company, and worked in the same building as I did.

      Although I never had to go to Vietnam, I FULLY support my brothers and sisters who had to go, and am so proud of those who returned and especially for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I am proud to have done my part in the war, and proud to have been a part of the support team.
      God Bless you, and God Bless America.

  16. 4/1966 – 3/1969 Basic and AIT Fort Polk Louisiana.

    How long was Basic?
    Came out of Basic an E2 was that normal?

    cayuse@udp-is.com

    We did Obstacle Course in 38 Minutes Company B South Fort. Won the Barracks 5 weeks in a row. When we lost the Best Barracks the 6th Week. All got Post Privileges except that winner got Off Post Privileges.

    So taking Taxi ride to North Folk complaining about winning 5 and not 6th. The Taxi Driver said. Give me $20 Buck it will cost you $20 Bucks each and I will have you back here in 2 hours. Best Shirley McClain I ever met. Thanks Dad for that $100 bucks.

  17. Hey, Joe,
    I got drafted, as well, 1966-1968. I took basic at Ft. Polk, in South Fort, in company E-1-2. After basic, I was shipped to Ft. Sam Houston, in Texas, for medic training. After medic school, I got a 2-week leave, because had to go home to get a divorce (while in medic training, I got a “Dear John” letter). Because of that leave, instead of heading to Vietnam, I was assigned back to Ft. Polk. Upon check in, there were no slots available for medics, so I was offered the opportunity to do OJT as a records clerk. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I was also was assigned to Company A, Special Troops. I worked in the Enlisted Personnel Records Branch, Military Personnel Division, Adjutant General Section. I maintained personnel records for several South Fort companies, even for E-1-2. How funny is that? I managed the personnel records for the same leaders who were in my basic training company. I also processed personnel records for discharge and for shipment to Vietnam and Korea. Every now and then, I had to serve CQ duty (weekends only) at the Adjutant Building. I, too, made E-5, Spec. 5 in 15 months. During the summer of 1968, I processed reservists and National Guard personnel, who came to Ft. Polk for summer training. While doing so, I devised and implemented a special processing method for processing in reservists, and got a Army Commendation Medal for it. My initial boss was CW2 Paul Brewer, and later was 1LT. Norman Davis, who was my boss until my out. Both were extremely nice people to work for, making my job a whole lot easier. Another person, whom you might remember, and worked in our office, was a civilian worker named Viginia M. Walker. She worked there long before I got there, whe was still working there when I left. Virginia was a really wonderful older woman, who really cared for the Army personnel who worked in her office. She trained me how to do my job, and was always so supportive, as I learned. She was almost like a Mom away from home. Did you know her?

    My biggest memory of working in that office was when a levy report came down from Washington, that listed those who were going to be sent to Vietnam. Those being shipped out were processed by some of my buddies in Company A, Sp. Troops. Each month, when a list came down, my buddies first checked to see if any of the guys in our company were on there, and told us about it. Sometimes, they processed deferrments for some of the guys, so they wouldn’t have to go to Vietnam. Although I had numerous friends who got shipped to Vietnam, I was so blessed and grateful that my name never came down on a list, and I never had to go.

    My biggest memory of my 18 months there, was the town of Leesville. I went to, and got involved in the First Baptist Church in Leesville, and met some really great people who lived in Leesville and the surrounding area. That church was always so supportive of the military and military personnel who came to their church. That, alone, made my 18 months at Ft. Polk, a much more enjoyable time. I met some really gorgeous women there, too. LOL!!

    Thanks, again, for your post to Charlie’s site. It’s nice to meet someone who, although not at the same time, lived in my same company, and worked in the same building as I did.

    Although I never had to go to Vietnam, I FULLY support my brothers and sisters who had to go, and am so proud of those who returned and especially for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I am proud to have done my part in the war, and proud to have been a part of the support team.
    God Bless you, and God Bless America.

  18. Arrived at Ft. Polk Jan. of 68, 9 weeks of AIT at Tigerland, remained at Ft. Polk and went through a 4 week course at Ft. Polk Academy,Drill Corporal Course,[ I cannot find anything about that course or the pocket patch issued after graduating, wish I could ] Later in 68 I re entered the Academy and became a Drill Sgt.I returned to the North Fort in a BCT Co. D-3-2 and finished my tour there.

  19. my dad recently passed away, I was born in Fort Polk and my Dad was here in or around 1965-1968 was Lawrence T Conroy,, looking for info and possible yearbook that he was in .
    if any info please contact me

  20. Was anyone with A company 2nd bat. 3rd bdg for basic training in 1970 July and later i took my ait in north fort A-2-3 Capt Dixon raiders.

  21. Went to Fort Polk after doing basic at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They bused us to Fort Polk and upon arrival low crawled us about one half block to our company. Couldn’t believe the lousy treatment after being treated like crap in basic. Graduated from Polk in August of 71 and ended up in Vietnam on August 19, 1971. Did a year in the Infantry while in Vietnam and was wounded 6 months after I arrived. Got my right arm and left ass cheek screwed up and received a service connected disability from the shrapnel. Awful tour including malaria, food poisoning twice, agent orange residuals resulting in diabetes, and much more. What a horrible place to receive training for survival. Did manage to make E-5 while in the 95th Evacuation Hospital in Danang. God Bless all you guys that did better than me. Went to the Vietnam Memorial 3 times so far. Once with an Army buddy, once with my family including my 3 sons, and the last time I went alone. Not any good memories, but many bad feelings about what we had to do. Please take care guys, catch you later.

  22. BCT in Fort Polk, LA in April 1972. Right out of high school. I remember that it was called “Little Vietnam”! Which I found out afterwards, why!

  23. BCT in April 1972, right after high school. I remember that Fort Polk was called “Little Vietnam”! I found out late, why!

  24. D 2 1 BCT Fort Polk, LA. I remember that Fort Polk was called “Little Vietnam” and “Tigerland”. 1972.

  25. Drafted April ’70/ did basic at Ft Knox then shipped to Ft Polk “Tiger Land” for another 8 weeks AIT(July-Aug). Think it was 2 weeks pass home before going to the Nam as 11BRAVO. Assigned to the Americal Division 196th Light Infantry Brigade; A company-3bn-21st infantry. Still have my official transfer orders from Knox/Polk roster training brigades SSN ect. Interesting they don’t list ssn anymore for good reason. WIA Feb 21st ’71 medevac to Zama Japan from 91st Evac March’71 then to Valley Forge Army Hosp. Released back to duty in MP Bn and played police MP for remaining tour of duty. Strange journey but I survived the Nam to live the Dream I living now! thank you lord!!!! I wonder how many didn’t make it back alive from those rosters? Never forget!! To my beautiful bleeding bastard brothers of 11BRAVO who sweated suffered bitched and complained kicked ass fought and died in the Nam. Remember them who didn’t come back alive and those missing. remember.

    • I enlisted and was sent to basic at Ft. Bragg, NC. Jan 1967, about 4th week into, I came down with bronchitis/pneumonia, spent approx 3 weeks at Bragg hospital, after release was assigned to another basic training unit, E102 to finish where I left off. Lucky me, most of men were national guard/enlisted reserve, after graduation I had gotten a copy of orders sending me to Ft.Polk Louisiana,AIT, these orders were canceled/revoked. New set, sent me to Ft. Eustis Va. for transportation school. Yes, I did go to Vung Tau, Vietnam, assigned to 147th Ash co, (Chinook) in flight operations, my point, am not sure, to this day, was it Divine intervention, or just plain good luck, yes, I think the first. I am 6’7″, I know deep down, I would probably been assigned to 9th Infantry, 25th Infantry.or 1st infantry division in the delta as a rifleman, or mortarman with a high probability of coming back zipped up with my name on the wall. Either way, was there to serve my country. Only my younger brother knows this you and God. Thank you God!
      Anyone want to email me, I will answer you. toddsherman1948@gmail
      Todd Scheuerman

  26. I enlisted and was sent to basic at Ft. Bragg, NC. Jan 1967, about 4th week into, I came down with bronchitis/pneumonia, spent approx 3 weeks at Bragg hospital, after release was assigned to another basic training unit, E102 to finish where I left off. Lucky me, most of men were national guard/enlisted reserve, after graduation I had gotten a copy of orders sending me to Ft.Polk Louisiana,AIT, these orders were canceled/revoked. New set, sent me to Ft. Eustis Va. for transportation school. Yes, I did go to Vung Tau, Vietnam, assigned to 147th Ash co, (Chinook) in flight operations, my point, am not sure, to this day, was it Divine intervention, or just plain good luck, yes, I think the first. I am 6’7″, I know deep down, I would probably been assigned to 9th Infantry, 25th Infantry.or 1st infantry division in the delta as a rifleman, or mortarman with a high probability of coming back zipped up with my name on the wall. Either way, was there to serve my country. Only my younger brother knows this you and God. Thank you God!
    Anyone want to email me, I will answer you. toddsherman1948@gmail
    Todd Scheuerman

  27. I am looking for a fellow Sargent that I went through training with in 1967 with a man (odam) if spelled right.
    I really need to get into touch with someone whom can vouch for me being there for my retirement benefits
    Please contact me
    870-318-5404
    Harold Hathcock

    • Harold Hathcock,
      Don’t know if this will help, but I hope so. I was at Fort Polk, La. for basic training in 1966. In 1967, after AIT at Fort Sam Houston, Texas,I went back to Fort Polk, and worked in the Adjutant General building in the Personnel Records Branch. My basic training was in Company E, First Battalion, Second Training Brigade (E-1-2), from October, 1966 thru January, 1967. One of the Drill Sergeant’s in our company was Staff Sergeant Harry J. Odom. He was one of two Drill Sergeants assigned to my Fourth Platoon. I left Fort Polk in 1967. After returning to Fort Polk in mid-1967, as stated above, I worked as a Personnel Records Clerk, and one of the companies that I maintained records for was my basic training company, E-1-2. However, the only record I have of SSG Odom, is a picture of him in the book from my basic training days. Don’t know if this is the same guy, or if a copy of his photo would help you, in any way, but, if so, you can contact me at richeyv@gmail.com, and I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the photo. BTW, you should be able to get a copy of your service records from the Veteran’s Service Records section of the National Archives, if you’ve not already done that. I requested a copy of my records in 2015, and received them. That website is https://www.archives.gov/veterans. Good Luck, and hope this helps.

  28. I enlisted in Dallas and was sent to Basic at Ft. Polk in October ’67. I was in B-4-1. Bravo Blackhawks! In those days, Polk was as rough as anything the Marines handed out. After B-4-1 I wasn’t afraid of anything the Army could hand me. My Platoon Sgt was SSG Spinney. First Shirt was First Sgt. Poszesny. I don’t recall the CO’s name. It was a bad time to be in the Army because most men were resentful draftees, but we got by. I went to Infantry AIT at Ft. McLellan, AL, then jump school at Ft. Benning, then Special Forces Training Group at Ft. Bragg. None of it was near as rough as Polk. I did Vietnam in ’70 and that wasn’t as tough as Polk, either. There was just more of it. I remember it fondly today, because I’m almost 70 now and I was young back then. Half a century ago next October. Hard to believe.

  29. Went through AIT at Fort Polk after finishing basic at Fort Campbell. Ending up 11-C but did the same duty as 11-B except we carried a 81mm mortar and an M-16. Went to Vietnam in 71-72 and had an awful tour with the Americal Division in Chu Lai and then Danang. Sometimes in my sleep, I can still hear the choppers coming in. Yeah, 50 years has gone by in a snap but Vietnam remains with me everyday and the shrapnel in my right forearm and my left ass cheek reminds me I was there. Your story perked up my ears as soon as I saw Fort Polk. How many coaches do you think we ate at those old yellow mess halls? Welcome home Brother.

    • Hello I had 2 brothers who trained in fort polk 167 Johny Humberson and Gary lynn Humberson both were in Vietnam 19 67 19 68 if any one knows them contact me on face book Humberson david @yahoo.com

  30. I was drafted 04/1970. Basic Ft Knox then off to “TigerLand” Ft Polk(07/1970 for AIT yeah, its Advanced Individual Training( 11BRAVO) for another 9 weeks . Everyone knew when we left Knox the end game would be Nam. The training we received at the infamous “TigerLand” was good. I think it helped me survive and gave me some edge over less fortunate troops who trained elsewhere. Maybe just a little bravado there perhaps. Anyway the post who mentioned being at TigerLand and then the Americal. Almost sounds like a ditto repeat which i had as well. I was wounded 02/71 on a patrol working off LZ CENTER. It would have been our last or next to last patrol before being moved to DaNang. I never found this only later in years to read the time lines of the 196th Light Infantry movements. I get kind of remorse thinking how close i came to getting out of the bush without being wasted or wounded. I did survive the rumble in the jungle thankfully. Also the post mentioned the Danang experience’s and the atmosphere of the withdraw of troops from Nam at that time. Kinda would have been good to make the 196th transfer to Danang and been there.

  31. I was the grunt that left the post about Tigerland and Danang. I was wounded in February of 72 about three to five clicks west of Firebase Maude which is south of Danang about 5 miles. The experience of being there and then experiencing what happened after we left is sickening. My father and I watched the NVA storm the airbase at Danang after I was back in the world on TV and we both cried. My father was a WW11 Disabled Combat Veteran and knew exactly what was upsetting me. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

  32. its an old saying but welcome home! now and then I wonder what could have been with the move to DaNang and being for the most part base guard. Who knows? Being out of the bush would have been different maybe just more patrols as usual? I finally decided to “leather up” and purchased a vest. Selecting patches as statements military status ect. In another 50+ years it will wind up on ebay as a relic? haha

  33. I had 4 brothers in the Army at the same time 2 went to Vietnam 1967 1968 Gary Humberson and Johnny Humberson if anyone knows them or pictures please contact me they trained in Fortpolk they from Vidor Texas

  34. Does anyone remember a drill Sgt. Sims in the 2nd Training Bn 1968? Big black guy who drank CC and coke every night. I believe the Sgt Major was called “pineapple”.

  35. I was drafted in Sep 1969 and quickly found myself in a basic training company(C-1-2) at Ft. Polk, LA. We were from vastly different backgrounds and most of my classmates reservists or guardsmen. As a result, there were few of us who were going to Viet Nam, at least immediately. Unlike today, troop numbers seemed to depend upon enlisted & draftees to a much greater degree than reservists. Of course, there is no draft today. I had just graduated from college and gotten married so I was one of the old guys and a “college boy”. In fact, I was older than a few of the drill sergeants. Our drill sergeants were pretty good guys, even the biggest & loudest, Drill Sgt Prigmore. Basic was not a totally unpleasant experience for me as most of us were not slated for infantry AIT, where the atmosphere was much, much more serious. Heck, it was learned that I was a competent golfer so I was selected to play in a tournament with base officers so I was excused for an entire week to practice and play, my wife having sent my clubs to the fort via Greyhound bus. After basic, I was ordered to Combat Medic training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX then to Ft. Riley and, finally, the 3d Infantry Division(Audie Murphy’s outfit) in Wurzburg, FRG. All in all, things could have been much worse for this 1969 draftee.

  36. Was drafted 30 minutes after completing undergraduate degree requirements at Texas Tech. Did BCT at Polk Sep 67 to late Nov 67. Then to Fort Sam AIT 91A10. Levied to Vietnam but PUEBLO Spy Ship was seized and all in our class sent to ROK. Probably saved my life. With degree (I suppose) was assigned to 8th Army HQ Special Troops in Seoul (Yongsan) where I extended my hardship tour (ha ha) and got 19-month early out. Was very lucky. Have very fond memories of serving my country in uniform. I believe today’s young persons should be required (Like Israel) to give their country two years. Might clean up the “Gimmee” segment of our population.

  37. I was at Tigerland from November ’66 to the end of January ’77 and then off to the 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku South Vietnam, and from there into the Red Warriors “A” Company 1st of the 12th Infantry Batallion and most know the rest of how this story goes

  38. Took my Basic Training a Polk, South Fort I believe, Mar 1968. Sgt Simms was my DI. Seems we started the day with a 5 mile run, ate a quick breakfast and on to training. Hated those low crawls right after chow. Went Ft. Ord then to Ft. Benning and on to Vietnam Jan 1969. Assigned to 4th Bn, 9th Infantry Regiment (Manchus), 25th ID.

  39. I was drafted April 20th or 21st, ’66 and sent to Ft Polk for basic training. I was asked to consider OCS and someone told me that I would get out of some training during basic training and watch some videos, etc. I knew full well that I would not want to be an officer, I just wanted to get out as fast as I could. But I played it along and missed a bit of basic. The week before we graduated from basic we were in formation and told what our next duty station would be, but not what training it was. Mine was Ft. Ord. I thought that sounded good, at least better than Tigerland at Polk. We had sometimes seen those guys looking miserable, wearing not just the helmet liner but the steel pot as well, definitely tougher than we had it, and that was not too pleasant. After those preliminary orders for Fort Ord I had an interview with the OCS officers, maybe a Lt. Col, and 2 Majors? After 5 minutes the top ranking officer said “soldier, it sounds like you don’t want to be an officer.” I naively said, “well, sir, I really don’t.” He blew up, yelled at me for wasting their time and bodily threw me out of the office. Then my full orders came down…back to Tigerland for AIT. He changed me from Fort Ord for wasting their time. I had no other training to compare it to but it was the hardest thing, both physically and mentally that I ever went through. My company might have been E-3-3, or maybe that was my Basic company. On graduation day Sgt Rainwater made us clean our M-16’s over and over saying they were dirty until late in the evening, making many of us miss our flight connections to go home, knowing we were going to Vietnam. Our cadre were all recent Vietnam vets and seemed sadistic to us.

  40. I took Basic and AIT at Fort Polk, North Fort from March into August 1972. In Basic they ran a kid to death, as the FS said at the time, “he was a fat bastard and didn’t deserve to be in this man’s Army.” I wonder what they put down for the cause of death. In AIT I was assigned to Tigerland and was in the Moton-Gators Company. You knew where you were going when you got here. I still remember the fights in the M-gator Pit, 1/2 mud and 1/2 water, where we were champions of all the other companies that were challenged. Oh yes we got FREE beer as a reward, cool. Not fun, but a great place to become infantry. Received Letter of accommodation from CO and was promoted to PFC there. Where is DS Steel? Where is that jerk E-1 Sparno who almost killed me with a live grenade? A Big Thank you to the fresh-back Vietnam Veteran who saved my ass by nocking me down just before it blew up12 feet away. Go big or go home… (in a body bag). Best wishes to all those who served and a big thank you! Hey. I just found out that I am not a baby killer. Bastards..

  41. Private Sparno, the fact is I still remember the sharp, hot, burning shrapnel, frags, on my hands and arms. Oh, and don’t forget the time when the DS walked down range to fix one of the automatic targets after we were ordered to unload our M-16s. But not you, no you fired a round off dropping the DS to the ground. Thank GOD you didn’t hit anyone, fool. You were just one of the many things that made Fort Poke so memorable. That and when two of the DSs were throwing stones at the Southern Copperhead snake who was coiled up by the edge of the narrow, one lane road as our company marched by. And NO, we could not see what the snake was doing, as we were ordered to face forward and look directly at the soldier’s head in front of us. That is unless you wanted to drop down and do push-ups by the snake. It was a very memorable time in my life. P.S. At the end of AIT, they told us that Tigerland had the highest survival rates of any infantry training center graduates serving in Vietnam. That is if you lived through Ft. Polk, LA. LOL

  42. I took basic and AIT training at Ft. Polk July-Nov 1971. I was a NG training in Infantry Mortar. In basic training we separated the NG personnel by regions where they lived in the US. I think I trained in South Ft. Polk. How do I find out who died in Vietnam from my training cycle? I might recognize their names, but I can not recall specific names or what platoon I was in . In basic training I think I was in C-5-1. Please give me any info you can. Thanks,

    Charles Roehm -PA NG- Columbia PA

  43. Does anyone remember a Drill Sergeant Clark? I am his daughter looking for information. He passed away last year from cancer, Agent Orange.

      • Completed Infantry AIT at Fort Polk in July of 1971. Was in the rice patties in Vietnam on August 19th of 71 and wounded in February of 72. Awful memories of both places and I’ll never forget it as hard as I tried. Hope your duty was better. Welcome home brother.

      • After my training at Polk I went to Ord then to Benning. Off to Vietnam Jan 1969 assigned to 9th Regiment 25th ID. Wounded Aug 1969 and DEROSed Jan 1970

      • Purple Heart didn’t mean much when I discovered the loss of my writing ability in my right hand. And yes I am right handed. Still, after all these years, and having been to the “Wall” three times, and having lost several of by Veteran brothers, I still dream about the wonderful memories before I lost my innocence in Nam. War is not for the weak. I guess I thought I was tough enough but soon realized that I wasn’t. It is a God awful reality at 68 years of age. Take care.

      • I was at Fort Polk for AIT during July and August 1968, after having completed basic training at Fort Dix, NJ.
        I will never forget the blast of heat and humidity that greeted us as we exited the plane. I was with a great group of guys and our cadre were excellent. Believe it or not, I have good memories of my time there, the friendships and camaraderie. Upon graduating from “TIGERLAND” one of two duty stations were assigned. If your last name started with A, B, C, or D it was off to Germany. All the rest E through Z went to Vietnam.
        I am a D.

      • I was there for Basic. That place was the grinder. Long runs, low crawl before chow, fire guard, and waxing the center isle. Interesting how your next duty station was based on first letter of last name. I went to Ft. Ord, CA as 11C and then to Benning as 11B, then Nam Jan 1969. I truly Polk helped prepare me for Nam.

    • didn’t really put into perspective the impact of being at Ft Polk AlT wouold mean then in june-Aug 1970. Later in years after going to VietNam Infantry 11Bravo Grunt discharge from Army restarting my life marriage kids, job, kids college, divorce, now 67 yrs young. Ft Polk ‘TIGER LAND” has its special place and its reputation for training 11bravos. Better trained than the other “AIT” 11B’s I think. I survived 6 months in the bush before WIA. It made a difference the TIGERLAND training an edge perhaps over others.

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