Robin Bartlett


Burning Shit

In Vietnam with the 1st Cav Division, FNGs (F-ing New Guys) received light duty for several weeks. They were jumpy and anxious and could not be relied upon until fully acclimatized and field tested. We assigned an experienced soldier to be the FNG’s buddy and to work with him to get his equipment organized, overcome […]

The Luck of Alphabetical Order: How I Survived My Vietnam Tour

Robin Bartlett During Vietnam War

I arrived in Vietnam in May 1968. It was the height of the war. There were more American soldiers in Vietnam in ‘68-’69 than at any other time. I was on orders to join the 101st Airborne Division. My previous assignment had been with the 82d, and the army attempted to keep airborne officers within […]

Medevac, Jungle Penetrator, Unusual Finds

As a combat infantry platoon leader with A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), I was in country at the height of the Vietnam war from 1968-69. The Air Cav was famous for implementing the airmobile concept, bringing fresh fighting forces to the battlefield by helicopter rather than humping through the boonies. […]

The Point Man

Walking Point in time of War

“Holy Shit…there’s someone coming down the hill!” It doesn’t matter what was your war: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. If you’re walking point, you are the lead man, the man at greatest risk for surprise ambush or booby traps. You may be going house to house, clearing rooms, walking through hilly terrain or three […]

The Origins of Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we honor those that have fought for the American concept. Men and Women that have sacrificed so much in order to defend the ideals that have made us a great nation. — Kamala Harris The tragedy of the hard-fought Civil War was the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers over the course […]

Video Presentation: The Trauma of Firefights

Vietnam combat

Firefights, especially night firefights were always traumatic. At night you were afraid to change your position for fear of being shot by your own men, but once you fired your weapon your position was compromised and you had to move or a fusillade of bullets would be heading your way. At night there was also […]

Firefights and Courage

John Wayne, who never served in the military but is revered by all branches of the service, may have said it best: Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. Courage under fire is something all grunts (infantrymen) thought about in Vietnam. My firefights came in a variety of forms: a skirmish with […]

Band of Brothers

The Cav patch…that big, beautiful yellow patch, the largest patch of all the Army’s units, was designed by Col and Mrs. Ben Dorsey when he first served with the 7th Cavalry at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Mrs. Dorsey originally explained that the patch had to be large enough to be seen through the dust and sand […]

Helicopter Combat Assaults (Charlie Alpha)

Jumping Off Helicopter for Combat Assault

What was it like to go on a helicopter combat assault with the 1st Air Cav Division during the Vietnam War? As a platoon leader with A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cav, I went on more than 60 “charlie alphas” during my tour from 1968-69. Sometimes we made two assaults per day. This photograph gives […]