Clerk! The Vietnam Memoir of Paul A. Myers
Infantry PFC Paul A. Myers was assigned to the elite operations section G-3 at Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division, at Camp Eagle in March 1970 as clerk for the Doctrine, Organization, and Training Section. From this vantage point, he followed the infantry and air war in the northern two provinces of South Vietnam, the corner where the DMZ, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam intersect. More
Paul A. Myers landed at the air strip in Phu Bai, Republic of South Vietnam, in March 1970 as a rifleman PFC with additional training in electronic warfare. Refusing a typing test during “in processing”—he didn’t want to get sent to a supply unit typing manifests—he was sent to Screaming Eagle Replacement Training School at Camp Evans. Completing training, and to his surprise, he was sent to division headquarters to be a clerk at the elite G-3 operations section.
Assigned to the Doctrine, Organization, and Training section, comprising three officers and three enlisted men, he started on a regimen of duty days starting at eight in the morning and going to one or two o’clock the following morning. The principal tasks were decision memos—called staff studies in the army—and messages to subordinate commands. Later Myers calculated the monthly division ammunition forecast, a rolling twelve-month forward projection, weekly operational statistics for the commanding general, and other duties.
During his year with the “One-Oh-One,” he followed the last great land battle of the American army in South Vietnam, the epic confrontation between the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Infantry and two North Vietnamese army divisons at Firebase Ripcord. As acting chief operations sergeant in the fall of 1970, he witnessed the intense B-52 bombing campaign in the northern two provinces of South Vietnam. In early 1970 he attended briefings on the invasion of Laos, the last major operation supported by American combat forces, and an operation that tragically ended for the South Vietnamese. He rotated back to the States in February 1971.