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by: Rufus H. Sanders


In June, 1965, the men on Company "M" 3rd Squadron 11th ACR, were notified of their duty assignment in Vietnam. All of the 18 men had to change their efforts to start training for the fight of their lives. During the following three months they had three unit commanders and three first sergeants. This left it up to the platoon sergeants to stabilize the unit in the transition from a peace time, to a war time training mission without revealing the changes to those without a need to know.
- no accolades!

In January 1966, the new members were assigned to the company. The original members with all of their skills were called upon to generate a training program. This meant long hours of preparation and practice to ensure that all new members would have a solid foundation to build their knowledge and confidence in preparation to have a future after the war, to go home and make a family and hope for a full future.
- no accolades!

The future soon came and we were in Vietnam facing the enemy with the will to fight and win. The skills taught to our troops became clear when the first confrontation came. The enemy would soon learn that the well-trained troopers of "M" Company meant death and total defeat in any encounter. Some of the events which I remember include:

- The first mine/tank encounter, M-24 - that was the last land mine M-24 engaged. Not counting the 500 pounder in the "Iron Triangle", which almost wrecked my military career and my life. The ride across the "Iron Triangle" was fast, and a great deal of data was gathered in a short time. The squadron commander, regimental commander and the 1st. Inf. IV commander all gave a great big "Good Run" -- however, for "M" Company there were no awards, no medals, no accolades!

- The men of our company found a large number of huts in the jungle. I personally found four huts. Three of the huts had radios in them and two radios were left behind as the VC ran away. The troop commanders took credit for everything, even though they were lost in the jungle for a majority of the trip. The troopers of "M" Company received no accolades!

- Around Al Kia, I found a VC map under a bush which could not be seen from the air or by the troops in ACAVs. Only I could see it from my tank commander's position. I directed the foot patrol to the proper location after trying to convince the commander that it was a real map. When the map was retrieved, it revealed the current locations, strengths and plans of the VC. All of the credit for finding the map went to the commander who didn't believe me -- no accolades!

- March 10, 1967, one of the times I worked with "M" Company, in country, we came under attack by mortar and machine guns. I instructed my platoon to perform a right flank and fire "HE" delay short of the wood line. This allowed the rounds to ricochet into the air over the mortar positions which caused the VC to run. They left weapons, and a pig which O'Farrell wrote about just before the Blackhorse convention in New Orleans. The commanding officer joined the platoon in this attack and it aided him in his career. He received awards and accolades, but for my platoon there were no accolades!

March 10, 1967 was a special day. I was officially out of the army on my ETS and the reenlistment papers had not arrived. I guess I did a good job as a civilian in a combat position of platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant. Neither Harper nor Mitchell could lay claim to those titles. I received no thanks, and most certainly,
- no accolades!



You, the survivor of vigorous training, fighting and lack of proper deprogramming completed the toughest order I gave, which was my last order, since I was the last platoon sergeant of the boat group to leave the company in August of '67. That last order was: "Go home, make yourselves a family and develop a career.", and all of you did just that. All I can say is: Thanks for the ride.

Rufus H. Sanders


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11th armored cavalry regiment vietnam veterans blackhorse m company homepage track drivers patch insignia black horsre tank acr cav army war
11th armored cavalry regiment vietnam veterans blackhorse m company homepage track drivers patch insignia black horsre tank acr cav army war