Ripcord Association

Bob Judd B/ 2-506

In 1967 Bob graduated from high school in Norton Shores, Michigan. A short attempt at college found Bob dropping out and relaxing in sunny Florida for the winter. After returning to Michigan he received his draft notice in the spring of 1969. Basic training was held in Ft. Knox followed by AIT in Ft. Polk. He then volunteered for NCO school and spent 12 weeks in Ft. Benning followed by another tour at Ft. Polk working with AIT companies.

In April 1970 Bob flew from California to Alaska to Okinawa to Vietnam. As they neared Asia a Chinese MIG –15 flew just off their wing. He was close enough for Bob to see the red star on his helmet. This was a little spooky to those on board. As they approached the Bienhoa airfield he remembers seeing craters scattered throughout the nearby rice paddies. Hardly a reassuring sight.

Bob met a friend from NCO school on the flight to “Nam” by the name of John Gillespie. John was assigned to C 2/506 while Bob went to B 2/506. Bob noted that John hasn’t made it to a re-union as of this time.

He completed SERTS training in Camp Evans and joined his company. Soon after, on the morning of May 1st, Judd was delivered by helicopter into a LZ to join Bravo. He was given an axe to deliver for LZ cutting. As he hustled to get off the chopper he managed to slice his thumb with the axe. Ominously, he was already bleeding as he stepped onto the Ripcord A.O. Once on the ground he met his Platoon Sergeant Terry Hill, his Squad Leader Mike Deming and his Platoon Leader. His company spent two or three weeks in the jungle before going to Ripcord for a short period.

After the battalion stand down, Bravo Company worked the area around Triple Hill. Judd had been sent to the rear to learn how to establish mechanical ambushes. Once he got back in the field he was setting them as needed. One such mechanical ambush was set but the company was forced to leave it behind so they could assault Hill 805 on time.

On July 1 Bravo combat assaulted onto Hill 805. After a number of nights of contact and various enemy sightings, the company walked back to Ripcord on July 7. Since Charlie Company was moving into the area of Triple Hill, Bob, Dennis Bloomingdale and Ramon Santiago were attached to a Charlie Three squad to retrieve the mechanical ambush left behind on July 1. They ran into an NVA bunker complex they had not seen before resulting in Dennis Bloomingdale and Bob both being hit. After being rescued and medivaced to Camp Evans, Bob discovered he had received thirteen shrapnel wounds. From there he went to Phu Bai then Pleiku for two weeks intensive care followed by two weeks in intensive care at Cam Ranh Bay. He spent a total of 45 days in the bay area on the beach after getting out of intensive care. He finally returned to the company but on a permanent profile due to his injuries. For a while he got a job as RTO at the Third Brigade HQ. However, the mustache he grew made him undesirable at HQ and soon got him assigned as the brigade liaison to the MACV compound near Eagle Beach for the remainder of his tour.

In March 1971 he returned to Michigan and his job at the local factory. By August he had married and during the next five years had a daughter and son and a divorce. Around 1980 he re-met his current wife “Reds” who was also fresh off a divorce. After thinking it over for a time they decided to marry in 1998 on the way to the re-union held in Atlantic City. They have become staples of the Ripcord reunion effort as they assist in the setup and take down each year.