LT Duffy
Mark Layport
3/12th Cavalry, 1973 - 1976

 

 

April 1974 I was in the Redeye Section with the 3rd Squadron, 12th Cavalry. We were at Grafenwohr, playing "taxi" as always. Our section leader LT Duffy was put in charge of qualifying the mortars for all 3 troops (A Troop, B Troop, & C Troop.). I was driving LT Duffy around leading the mortar group to pick up the mortar rounds, fuses, and leading their mortar tracks to the firing point. I would monitor the radios for both the Squadron net and range control. They would do their set up and try to put rounds on targets on the main impact range. The LT had to check each and every charge and setting on the tube to verify the settings of each round fired.

I heard earlier (1960?) an artillery unit over shot the range and killed a number of guys from my unit.

Webmaster Note: In one terrible accident on Friday 2 September 1960 at Grafenwöhr, Germany a howitzer from Battery A, 3d Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, an element of the V Corps Artillery, fired a 200 pound, 8 inch projectile with an incorrect charge.  This round landed outside of the impact area in Camp Kaserne where the 3d Reconnaissance Squadron, 12th Cavalry of the 3d Armored Division was bivouacked.  When the round impacted 16 soldiers were killed and a further 26 were wounded.

So the LT was "into" this effort. We did this for about 4 weeks. Then it's test day, the testing group (a LT and a SSG) had given LT Duffy a set of coordinates for a firing position and we were to be met by them there the next day. The problem was the coordinates they gave put us out in the woods and NOT at a designated firing position. LT Duffy and the leader of the A Troop mortars (SSG Trickle) were going round and round about if they had gotten the coordinates correctly. LT Duffy even had me go around with him to double check the area.

About this time over the radio we hear the Squadron net, our Squadron Commander LTC Mahler (06) was wanting to know where we (the mortars) were. The base fumbles around a bit and comes back to says 21 (LT Duffy) is on a mortar test. The LTC explodes! "I KNOW 21 (LT Duffy) is on a mortar test"! "Where is he located?".

Duffy is now freaking! *G* We are driving to hell and gone trying to find the "correct" location. Now the LTC is calling LT Duffy directly, and Duffy won't answer! As we are driving along the tank trail looking, we see the LTC's command jeep heading right for us. Duffy is really freaking now! Tells me to drive off the road! There is about a 30" berm on the side but we take at about 5 mph! I lose my helmet, but the LTC doesn't see us. So we circle around and head back to the mortars. And again Duffy and Trickle have there heads together. Now off to the west about 100 meters we see a jeep with 2 people and they are standing around, and soon there after we see the LTC's jeep show up there.

Now The LTC is calling Duffy again, and you can tell in his voice he's not a happy camper!!! Duffy swallows hard and tells me to answer the call. I ask “ME!!?? …WHAT do you want me to tell him!!??” He says "just tell him where we are." As I answer the LTC's call, the first thing he wants is the LT! But I tell him the LT is not there and I'm monitoring range control. So he asks where we are! I tell him were about 100 meters to his left! I can see him snap his head around and then come charging down the path (he didn't even end the radio transmission*G*). Now Duffy and Trickle have their heads together with the grading team and the LTC was looking over their shoulders.

Come to find out the graders had given Duffy the wrong coordinates, by one digit! That put us off by 100 meters!!! *G* We were right where we were told to be!! *L*

The LTC was all smiles after that, and the mortars for all 3 troops scored very high with their tests! Everyone was VERY HAPPY then, but man it was funny to see LT Duffy squirm!!! *L* As I was leaving the troop in February 76 LT Duffy had made Captain and was re-assigned.

Glen, if you every run across story, you know it's the truth!! *L* Give me a call and we can go over it again, in a warm dry place this time ...eh? *LOL* …Hi to all my Redeye buddies, if you guys get smart enough to find this message give me a call! ...chicken dinner on me! *LOL*

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