5 September 2023
- Post Reunion Address -
Dear Fellow Land Clearers,
It was a great honor to serve all of you during my first term as your Association’s Boss and President, while I greatly appreciated the vote of confidence that was given to me. I felt quite comfortable being the host at our recent reunion in Branson, while enjoying the brotherhood we’ve established to reflect on our shared experiences as land clearers, and I look forward to continuing my guidence with all matters concerning our organization as we move forward to our next reunion in May of 2025. Again, it will take place in Branson, MO, as our board of directors had unanimously decided that we could do no better, budget-wise or amenity-wise for a reunion location anywhere else than where we have been situated over the past two reunions. So it appears that we will no longer seek out other venues in different localities, while Branson now looks to be our reunion home base for the future, and for the rest of our association’s existence as a reunion organization.
For this next term that runs up to the 2025 reunion, we have a new Treasurer that’s come onboard to keep our association’s bank account in good order, and to make our funds redily available for our reunion needs when the time comes. His name is Jim Myers of Miramar Beach, Florida, and he served with HHC of the 62nd when in Vietnam. With his help, we will continue to serve the needs of our association as time marches on.
Something uniquely positive that came from our recent reunion in May, had to do with a movement sparked by former 86th LCT mechanic Keith Albert, who has been campaigning for support towards achieving an award by the Army by way of Congress that would recognize the achievments of all of the land clearing units and their men who perfomed the monumental task in South Vietnam of clearing the way. An award to that effect would certainly give all of us a greater sense of purpose for the arduous job and dangerous endeavor that we had involved ourselves with, while also noting some others from our ranks who gave up their lives performing the same tasks that we had taken on in getting the job done. Many injuries had also removed a number of men from the LC units during the six year period of land clearing operations within all five of the tactical zones of South Vietnam. But for most of us after returning from Vietnam, a feeling of appreciation for what we did to help with the security of that country never seemed to be expressed or forthcoming to honor all of these men who had given so much of themselves while working at this task and braving the enemy’s land mines and rocket and mortar attacks that wound up becoming part and parcel to the dirty and exhausting work of clearing the jungle.
However, whether this award, in whatever form it may be, becomes a reality or not, we should all know that we have our own award (or reward) lurking inside of every one of us, given the fact that we know full well what we did in South Vietnam, and were well aware of how our actions with the Rome Plows had changed the landscape in such a way to where enemy insurgency had been stymied in certain areas, while greater security was realized. But the larger aspect that was realized from our activities in clearing away the heavy jungle growth which came right down to the edges of roadways where traffic regularly flowed through, had to do with the very fact that with 100 or more meters of cleared jungle creating an open space on both sides of the black-topped 2-lane highways, it took away the enemy’s cover that was previously used to launch their hit-and-run type attacks, utilizing AK-47 fire and the use of rocket propelled grenades upon military convoys and even South Vietnamese vehicle traffic as they attempted to roll on through.
So, from my own viewpoint as to the ‘award’ that I have been appreciating and holding within me as a badge of honor throughout the time since I was in Vietnam, I had found that the saving of countless lives resulting from our security cuts was more than worthy of any kind of award, which in effect helped to preserve life that otherwise would have been harmed or destroyed by the Viet Cong and NVA forces.
In affect, ‘We Cleared the Way’, so that others might live.
Terry T. Brown
President / Secretary
Vietnam Land Clearers Association