CPT Leonard Crosby, U.S. Army (1964-1970)



The following Reflection represents CPT Leonard Crosby’s legacy of their military service from 1964 to 1970. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Which song do you connect most to your time in Military service? What specific memories does this song bring back for you?:

The Song “We gotta get out of this place” by the Animals! We used to sing it all the time in the field in Vietnam.

It also applies to the year I took stateside between deployments in Vietnam. I was assigned to Fort Lewis, WA, as a training officer for reserve and national guard units sent to Vietnam while awaiting my orders to join the 101st. One of those units was a MASH hospital. They arrived without their contingent of doctors and nurses but with a Major in charge. We were told to take them out to the field and set themselves up under simulated combat conditions. I had a small group that I was to take out to secure the site from the “aggressor” troops before bringing the full outfit. As we were preparing to leave, and I was issuing weapons and blanks, the Major came down to the supply room and pulled out a crate of tear gas grenades that they had been given in the event that they were called out for crowd control. I told him we would not be needing those and suggested that he put them away. Once we left, he apparently grabbed two and hung them from his web gear.

In the lead jeep of a twelve vehicle convoy, including eight 2.5-ton trucks, the Major led the convoy through the Post at about 7:30; all kitted out for battle. He had a radio attached to the jeep and attached the mike to his web gear, and he had his ever-present clipboard. Once I had secured the site with my advance party, I radioed back to the Major to bring the convoy out. As the convoy was passing the Post’s elementary school, the Major dropped his clipboard, which fell out of the jeep. Rather than stop the convoy in the middle of the street, he told his drive to continue to drive about 5 mph and leaped from the jeep. Of course, he got about three feet before the microphone cord reached its limit and pulled him from his feet. He was being dragged along by the jeep and desperately trying to unhook the mike from his web gear. Unfortunately, he pulled one of the tear gas grenades rather than the mike setting it off. The convoy stopped dead, the Major lost two fingers, and the elementary school got gassed. 

I got a frantic radio call from the 1st Sgt. to get my ass over to the stopped convoy. I arrived just in time to be confronted by a two-star who was extremely upset with the situation and told me to get the frigging convoy out of HIS street within the next five minutes. We got everyone to the field, set up, and began simulated operations. That evening, I visited the Major, who had a fresh set of orders transferring him to a remote radar station in northern Alaska. I called my mentor and told him I wanted to get back to Vietnam ASAP, essentially saying, “I got to get out of this place!”

Len Crosby, former Captain

Read the Military Memories of our Runner-Ups.

Boot Camp, Units, Combat Operations

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Tags: 101st, MASH hospital, Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, Vietnam ASAP, We gotta get out of this place

1 Comment

  1. Pam Cate

    That was a great story and wonderful storytelling. Thank you for your service.


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