Sergeant Chas H. Simmons
I was born on October 23, 1942 in Punta Gorda, FL of Harold L. and Nannie E. Simmons. I attended grammar and high schools in Arcadia, FL but graduated from the Florida School for Boys at Marianna, FL in 1959. A recipient of a Florida Sheriff's Association all-expense scholastic scholarship, during 1959-61, I attended Chipola Junior College in Marianna, and Florida State University in 1961.
I volunteered for the draft in Arcadia, FL and was inducted into the US Army at Coral Gables, FL. As a PVT-E1, I took my first train ride to the Reception Center, Ft Jackson, SC, where I was processed into the Army.
I received my basic training at A-1-1, Ft Gordon, GA.
I thought I was extremely fortunate to have my mechanical skills recognized and was assigned to the Aviation School, Ft Rucker, AL. There I received aircraft ground handling (MOS 67A10), SE/SR helicopter mechanic (MOS 67M20 for the OH-13 & 23), and SE/SR/T helicopter mechanic training (MOS 67N20 for the UH-1). I was also promoted to PVT-E2.
I sailed out of Brooklyn Army Terminal on the USNS Patch for an eight day journey to Bremen Haven, Germany. I was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division at Bad Kreuznach, for further reassignment to Company A, 8th Aviation Battalion at Finthen Army Airfield, approximately 15 miles north of Mainz/Wiesbaden. However, since Company A had CH-34 helicopters and an abundance of 67P20's, and I had 67-November and typing skills from college, I was utilized as a clerk in the Orderly Room, Flight Operations, and Finthen Consolidated Mess Hall. No slacker, this draftee, I received promotions to PFC-E3 and SP4-E4.
Alas, I did not perceive myself to be a lifer either, so I took my honorable discharge at Ft Hamilton, NY.
After two months of civilian life back in Arcadia, I re-enlisted and was processed back into the Army at the Reception Center, Ft Benning, GA. Enroute to RVN instead of going back to Germany, I was processed through Oakland, CA, to 90th Replacement Battalion, Long Binh. I was assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade at Nha Trang, then to the 174th Assault Helicopter Company at Lane Army Heliport outside of Quin Nhon. When the company moved to Bong Son in March, I drove a convoy 2 ½ ton truck and saw Viet Nam's beautiful country side from ground level. I went by landing craft to Duc Pho in April 1967. I was promoted to SGT-E5, Crash Rescue Team Chief (MOS: 51M40) while maintaining supervision of the Orderly Room clerks, mail room, guard mount, preparation of the Officer Efficiency Reports, and flew relief flare ship and other "milk" runs. I left RVN via Cam Rhan Bay to Ft Lewis, WA. I received a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and was recommended for, but never received, an Air Medal.
I was assigned to Headquarters Company, Aviation Division, Dugway Proving Grounds, UT as the hangar maintenance liaison NCO (the military signature) to Page Aircraft Maintenance. We maintained an OH-13 and a CH-21 "Flying Banana," and a U-6 Beaver and a U-8 Seminole fixed-wing airplanes. This was when the thousands of sheep were killed by nerve agent and the civilian pilot, with me as his trusty crew chief, flew the visiting dignitaries over the area. I also was called upon to assist an Air Force team in unloading an UH-1D from a C-140 at Hill AFB in Orem and reinstalling the main rotor and blades.
I was assigned to Headquarters Detachment, Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA as a Crash Rescue Team Chief for helicopter "touch'n'go" training fields. During the thousands of touchdowns conducted day and night, there was only one emergency call. This was an outstanding record of flight safety training on behalf of all the new fling-wing jockeys and their RVN veteran IP's.
I completed the NCO Battalion Staff Chemical School (MOS: 54E40) at Ft McClellan, AL. My request to attend the school was precipitated by the Utah sheep incidence. No pun intended, but I was unnerved by the incident and wanted to know more about chemical warfare.
Assigned to S3, Headquarters Company, 6th Missile Battalion (Hawk), 65th Artillery at Key West Naval Station, FL as Battalion Staff Chemical NCO. I was promoted to SSG E6.
I was assigned to G2, Current Affairs Division, 8th Army Headquarters, Seoul, Korea as the Classified Document Custodian NCOIC.
My last assignment was to Headquarters Company, Chemical Center and School Battalion, Ft McClellan, AL as an instructor for EOD shipping and handling of leaky chemical munitions. I received another honorable discharge.
January 1973-April 1975
Employed with the Alabama Department of Corrections as a counselor at the Alexander City Work Release Center until February 1981 when I was recruited into the General Office's research unit in Montgomery, where I am the senior research analyst.
Received a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Auburn University at Montgomery, AL.
Met a teacher in Savannah, Diane Stillwell from LaGrange, GA, and we married in July 1969. We have one son, Drew, and one granddaughter, Kayla.
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