591 – Vietnam War Parachute Riggers meet at Fort Lee, VA

Quartermaster Riggers, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

: Brig. Gen. Ron Kirklin (standing, second from left) and Charlie Nix (right), a Vietnam War veteran, raised a replica of the unit flag during a reunion of 383rd Aerial Supply Co. at Fort Lee on Wednesday. Thirteen of the group of more than 60 former parachute riggers attended the reunion.

Fort Lee, Virginia is a very nice place. That was my impression of the of the post when I arrived there in 1967. The Army sent my there for some QM training while I was enroute to Vietnam. I had just left an assignment with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg North Carolina and the least I can say about that gig was that it was a highly intensive experience with much running, jumping, training and pressure. The atmosphere at Fort Lee was much more laid back. That was due to the nature of the mission there. It was and still is the home of the US Army Quartermaster Corps. The purpose of the QM Corps is to be the “grocery store” of the Army. They manage the supply chain and many other ancillary activities including graves registration, petroleum management, food services, field services like showers and laundries and aerial delivery duties.

That last mission of the QM Corps is featured in this episode. There was a story from the Richmond Times Dispatch titled: Vietnam veterans reunited at Fort Lee for first time in 5 decades submitted by John Ramsey Richmond Times-Dispatch that tells about a group of Vietnam Veterans who held a unit reunion at Fort Lee. They were members of the 109th Quartermaster Company and had not seen each other for fifty years since they left Vietnam and headed for parts unknown.

They all trained together at Fort Lee where they learned the art of rigging parachutes for personnel jumping and equipment for aerial delivery, rigging and sling loading. In 1966 they went over to Vietnam as a unit which was a little different from the norm of soldiers being sent over unassigned to any particular units. They trained together and served together in some harrowing situations where they had to drop supplies regardless of the intense ground fire they often encountered. Three of their unit members were killed in Vietnam.

When they decided to meet at Fort Lee, the red carpet was rolled out for them. Post personnel went all out for the group showing them all the latest techniques for dropping men and equipment on the battlefield.

Hope you enjoy they story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *