EXCERPT FROM “HEIRS OF HONOR” – ‘CAPTAIN WILSON’


“…He was my Commanding Officer for close to twenty months.  Those of us, who served with him, were hand-picked by him.  Each and every one of us had a skill he refined.  The impact of being selected by an officer of such stature sent our young egos soaring, beyond insufferable, but he was tolerant of our foibles.  We, the members of Captain Wilson’s Echo team were the chosen ones, and we were proud.  Serving with Wilson assured us of an advanced education in the tactics of small unit warfare.  All we had to do was shut up and listen, and stay alive long enough to apply what we were taught….”

“….Wilson’s first nickname was ‘Turf’, which was an appellation of admiration he received from Paul, because he so frequently repeated ideas about terrain.  He enjoyed an argument about one of his ideas, and on a few occasions, abandoned an idea completely if someone pointed out a flaw in it.  His aim was to turn all of us into highly effective guerillas, capable of thinking for ourselves in the most adverse conditions.  He improved every man he worked with by driving home lesson, after lesson, on every conceivable topic pertaining to our enemy; how to trap him, how to evade him, how to ambush him, how to scare him, and where to make a stand against him.  Which basically means; how to sell our lives so high when cornered the enemy wasn’t willing to pay the price.  We members of Echo team had learned from our CO certain things that welcomed us into other teams, and frequently got us bombarded with questions, whenever we found ourselves with them.  Captain Wilson was one of the most respected officers in the highland camps.  No enlisted man ever declined the invitation to join his team.  Our egos were unavoidably stroked when he requested us, by name.  Knowing he saw something in us that he wanted to refine was one hell of an honor.  We couldn’t refuse a man we wished to emulate.  He was the best and everyone knew it.  He didn’t think of war an obligatory tour of duty, because it looked good in his jacket.  He was in for the duration.  When I was assigned to him, he’d been in Nam for three years.  Professional military to his toes, and the only man I consider a genuine hero.  He was brilliant, and more than willing to share it with every man he led.  I can say with unintended and unavoidable melodrama, but in all honesty, if he had led the way to hell, I would have followed, and so would have Hogan, Paul and Jim….”

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