Your Host, Brian Ripley
For my part, I was there in the Ia Drang Valley with all those who died in the ambush on November 17, 1965. I was hit with two hand grenades or mortar rounds, I'm not positive which, and a rifle round. The two grenades did no permanent damage, other than leaving pieces of shrapnel in my body. The rifle round though, did considerable damage to my left leg. That leg is now shorter, the ankle joint is destroyed and I walk with a limp. Not much really when compared to others who were injured and lived.
Now a brief story of myself. I was born in Jackson, Michigan, August 22, 1941, the second son of Raymond and Grace Ripley. That's me above as a baby, in the 7th grade and at about age 55. I graduated from high school in 1959, and had a variety of jobs as I searched around for what I wanted to do. In 1963 I volunteered for the draft and entered the Army on January 21, 1964. After Basic training at Ft Knox, Kentucky, I went to Ft Dix New Jersey for my AIT in Heavy Weapons and 8 weeks of Leadership School, prepatory to Officer Candidate School.
After completing training at Ft Dix, I was later appointed a Sgt E5, 3 stripes, and was given my own AIT platoon to guide through training. I taught some classes in communications and heavy weapons and helped to train many good new soldiers. I then waivered OCS and was still sent to Ft Benning Georgia where I was assigned to a Davy Crockett, Light Nuclear Weapons platoon. When Vietnam came up, our unit was converted to the 1st Cavalry Division, and our platoon was changed back to a mortar platoon. President Johnson then decided that the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) would be the first major combat unit committed to that war. We arrived in Vietnam on September 18, 1965 and immediately set out for our base camp near An Khe. I was with the battalion when we took part in the Ia Drang battles of both LZ X-ray and the ambush at LZ Albany. I was lifted out of LZ Albany, in the early morning of November 18, 1965, and spent the next 11 months in the U.S. Naval hospital at Great Lakes Illinois. Afterwards I was employeed as a technician by Monroe Calculator, I earned a two year college degree in Science, graduating with Honors. I was a District Supevisor for Bally Corporation and finally I worked as an electronics tech for Hercules Aerospace in Utah, where I helped to build and test rocket motors. I still live in Utah and am now on 100% disability.
If you have any information that would add to the stories of any of these hero's on this web site, please contact me via the e-mail button on the first page of this site. Thank you for any help you might provide. I am also looking for stories on men who survived Ia Drang. Brian Ripley