In this episode a Vietnam Veteran who served as an infantry unit commander will tell his war story that includes not only talk about events related to combat situations but also the esoteric subject of leadership and morale in combat. The subject Vietnam Veteran is Arkansas native Bob Pickett, a retired Army officer living in Deridder, Louisiana. His story comes from an article in the Leesville Daily Leader titled: “An infantry captain’s recollection of Vietnam War duty – Hitting the ground running” By Fred Adolphus of the Fort Polk Museum for the Guardian.
The Guardian is featuring historical highlights about the installation and its Soldiers to help mark the 75th anniversary of Fort Polk’s creation as an Army post. The latest article features the story of Bob Pickett who talks about his war experiences and his thoughts about training, morale and leadership. He begins by telling about his arrival at his new command, D Company, 1/14 Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 4th ID. He served in that position from January to August 1970.
When he arrived at his new company he found it under fire from the enemy. After a quick briefing by the outgoing commander who departed on the same aircraft that brought him in he took command in the middle of a fire fight. As one his first acts as the new company commander he had to dispense with an enemy soldier who was shooting at him from a mere twenty feet away.
Pickett describes the life of an infantryman in Vietnam as days of monotonous drudgery interspersed with moments of terror in battle. He made some very concise comments about the real meanings of leadership, morale and unit discipline. His views about those subjects were very astute and apply to most situations involving senior and subordinate relationships where there is a job to be done. You will enjoy listening to Bob Pickett’s story about life in Vietnam as an infantry commander.