M7 Bayonet Page
This page is dedicated to my brother, Frank William Humes.
12/5/48 - 7/8/69 KIA RVN
Click on the above thumbnails for the full size photos
Above are some photos of Frank we treasure, the first is Frank out on patrol in the Northern Highlands RVN 1969 wearing Tiger Stripes with an Aussie fold to his patrol cap. The second is free time at base camp. The third photo is Frank with some of his fellow Rangers in camp. The fourth photo is one of Franks favorites, Frank with his prized Sniper rifle and NVA helmet from his first confirmed sniper kill.Frank was born on December 5, 1948 in Berlin, Germany. My father, William R. Humes Jr., who had served as a Merchant Marine during the course of the war, had joined the US Army in 1945 when he was shipped to Germany as part of the Occupation Forces. There he met my mother, Ilse Elizabeth Tagge and she gave birth to Frank before they came home to the United States. Frank was the oldest brother of Gary, myself and John. Frank was always into cars, and Ford was his vehicle of choice. I remember him having a 1956 Crown Victoria, 1957 Fairlane, and his last and favorite, a 1961 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. In 1968, when the Vietnam War was really the topic on every young man's mind, Frank was drafted. The thought of not reporting for induction or going to Canada never crossed my brother's mind. He reported for service and attended boot camp at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. His advanced training was conducted at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Before shipping out to Vietnam, he came home on leave and married his sweetheart, Linda.
Upon arriving in the Republic of South Vietnam he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands. After a couple of months humping the bush as a "grunt", he was accepted into the newly formed 75th Ranger's He was assigned to K Company attached to the 4th Infantry Division, also know as LRRP's, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. He volunteered for Sniper School and upon graduation was assigned to a three man LRRP team. The US Army reported my brother killed on 8 July 1969 during an encounter with enemy forces. For years that was all we knew about Frank's death.
In 2002 I was searching the internet and went onto the Vietnam War Memorial page. While looking up Frank's name on the wall I discovered a photo of Frank I had never seen of him in Tiger Stripe fatigues. Underneath the photo was an e-mail address so I contacted that person. To my amazement the individual, Larry Flanagan from Boston was one of Frank's LRRP team members and was one of his best friends. Larry and other members of K Company were having a reunion in Ohio that year and I was invited to attend. Attend? I was going to go and nothing on earth could have stopped me. I had to make special arrangements with the Philadelphia Police Department, who I worked for, to get that vacation period and it was granted. I packed the family up and we drove to Ohio, my anticipation of meeting my brother's friends had me driving all night, much to the dismay of my family. When we arrived and I introduced myself tears freely flowed from Larry and Frank's other team member, Jimmy Zwiebel. They remembered Frank like it was yesterday and told me many stories of my brother. They told me he was a truly dedicated soldier and one intense combat fighter. Larry told me a story about when Frank came back from Sniper School they made fun of him and asked what he was going to do with that "silly rifle". Larry said Frank pointed to a bird sitting on a pole about 3000 feet away. He took aim at the bird, and feathers flew. They never questioned his "silly gun" again. When it came to the date of 8 July 1969 it brought back very tough memories for the two of them. They informed me that their team had just came back into base camp after a three day mission. Larry and Jimmy were going to go drinking and asked if Frank wanted to go. He told them he was going to write some letters home and get some rest. ( I still have that letter he wrote home to my parents on 8 July 1969). After Jimmy and Larry left, another LRRP team was scheduled to go out on a mission, but one member was sick. Frank volunteered to fill the empty slot on the mission.
The team was inserted into the jungle by a Huey chopper via rope ladder. Upon being inserted, they found they had inadvertently been inserted where a battalion of North Vietnam soldiers were patrolling. The team immediately found themselves in an intense small arms firefight, and while awaiting reinforcements or extraction, Frank was shot in the head. Keeping to the Ranger creed of never leaving a fellow Ranger behind, Frank was extracted and died at a field hospital several hours later. Larry and Jimmy told me they have never gotten over Frank's death and somehow felt responsible, saying if he was with them he would have never gotten killed. They also informed me that July 1969 was one of the worst months for unit losses. It was hard to see the tears they cried for my brother.
As the reunion went on less tears flowed and funny stories of my brother and his team came out and a lighter atmosphere existed. Larry even had a confirmed Tiger kill.....yes a large Tiger attacked the team and he killed it. He also told me of a mission where a man was killed by a Tiger. ......"We had a team do a mission about two weeks earlier about a mile from where I shot the tiger. On the second day a ranger named Battles, on his very first mission, was severely wounded in the chest. I don't remember if he died or not, but it was bad. The usual thing to do when that happens is to extract the team, on some missions instead of extractions they will send in a line company of Infantry to sweep the area for a couple days with the Ranger team staying with them to guide them around the area. On this mission they did just that and on first night they lost an infantry guy to a tiger attack. No one even heard the tiger come in and take the guy, they found what was left of him in the morning. Well, getting to my encounter with the tiger, I was sent on a mission to ambush some Viet Cong who were stockpiling supplies in the area. On the second day we were on ambush site covering a small stream where the trail crossed and early in the morning the tiger came down to the stream stalking some water buffalo who came to get a drink. The tiger was only about 15 or 20 feet from where I was. One shot and it was all over. The general thought was that is was the same tiger because they are very territorial, and our mission was so close to where the soldier was lost." How's that for a memory of Vietnam? Frank, Jim and Larry were teammates for quite a few missions, But after Frank went to sniper school, Jim got his own team and Frank went with him, and was a member of Jim's team when he died, although he was on another team filling in for a sick guy when he got shot. Jim and Frank were inseparable, see one you see the other." At the end of the reunion it was so hard to leave all of Frank's friends, true heroes each and every one of them. My brother John and I truly miss Frank.
Frank was posthumously promoted to Corporal and awarded the Silver Star and his second Bronze Star. He also had received 2 Purple Hearts. The book "RANGER BEHIND ENEMY LINES IN VIETNAM" by Ron Field was recommended to me by Larry. Although it contains no pictures of Frank there are several photos of some of the guys I met at the reunion. It was so good to learn that after 30 some years, Frank was remembered so much by so many good friends. RIP Frank.........you will never be forgotten.
Next month we start on bayonets, looking forward to it.
I can be reached at: K75thranger@aol.com for questions or comments.
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