CIB Badge

Of all the Medals Upon our Chest From the Battles and War we knew, The one admired as THE VERY BEST
Is the one of Infantry Blue. It is only a rifle upon a wreath,
So why should it mean so much?
That gives it that Magic Touch. To earn this special accolade
You faced the enemy's fire
Whether you survived or not
God dialed that one desired.
For those of us who served the cause
It is the

CIB Badge

Posts Tagged ‘combat’

75- Music for the combat infantryman — even on combat missions

Monday, September 28th, 2015

In this episode, we explore the entertainment and music that followed the combat infantryman — especially in Vietnam (due to the technology of transistor radios for portable music via battery power).

afvn web page today

Because the nature of the communication infrastructure and technology during the campaigns of the Middle East (from Desert Storm to the preset), we will be limiting this episode to an overview of WWI, WWII and Vietnam.

In Vietnam, my personal experience comes into play to reinforce the need for the average-age 19-year old combat infantryman and helicopter crewman to listen to the music popular for that generation “back in the world.”

In fact, there is an original segment of clips from AFVN (Armed Forces Vietnam Network – radio) from the 1970 time frame, which was recorded, transmitted and published from Saigon, South Vietnam. This original recording comes at the end of the narrator’s introduction.

In addition, here are a couple of links of two of the most popular songs that followed the WWII combat infantrymen into the European and Pacific theatres — however, due to technology limitations, most of the time they were limited to rear echelon locations that had vinyl record disc players to provide for the entertainment and enjoyment for all the servicemen.


Select this link for the selection of WWII song called DON’T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE.


Select this link for the selection of IIWW song called THIS IS THE ARMY, MR. JONES.


Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation. Copyright (c) 1970, AFVN radio. All rights reserved.

Songs from WWII called DON’T SIT UNDER THE APPLE TREE and THIS IS THE ARMY, MR. JONES. Interpreted by the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, Copyright (c) 1998, 82nd Airborne Division Chorus. All rights reserved.

74- Reunion of combat comrade-in-arms after 43 years

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

This episode describes the story of a “one-in-a-billion” chance meeting of myself and my best buddy and hootch-mate in Vietnam, the closest of the brothers that I had — after 43 years.

This meeting was surrealistic, euphoric, emotional and most memorable of all the events in my life — as I am sure it would be in yours, if you had met your closest buddy and best brother from your time in combat after over 4 decades.

As you will hear in this episode, my best buddy — let’s call him “Bob” — took this photo with a borrowed Instamatic(C) camera while we were in Da Nang, as we were getting resupplied, because we were to go out the next morning from the helipad on another mission in the bush.

A photo of me taken by Bob in DaNangAs you will also hear in this podcast audio episode, I differentiate this type of reunion (with Bob) from two other instances where I had run into very short meetings with other members of my company — but these were grunts with whom I was not that close, and who were not my best buddies.

The meeting and reunion with Bob was tremendous — 80 per cent of the time was spent in laughing and remembering the good times. However, 20 per cent of the time, we also communicated about the bad times (even though we never had mentioned it or spoken about it ever in 43 years to anyone else).

For those of you who may be wondering — yes, there was a negative effect of such a reunion. For several days of being in a surrealistic “fog” (very much like being in a trance or a dream), the evenings would produce flashbacks and nightmares for several days after the meeting. I don’t think you can EVER get around that, because those consequences are lifelong and unannounced.

But the end of the episode touches upon the wonderful situation you can encounter if you ever reunite with your best buddy from the war — especially one who was your “hootch-mate” from the bush when you were both GRUNTS in VIETNAM.

Select this link to listen to the audio episode in another window.

Copyright (C) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

72- The HUMP- the Army’s 1st major battle in Vietnam, 1965

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

In this episode, we deliver a description of the Army’s first major battle in the Vietnam War. Known as THE HUMP, this battle was fought by the 173rd Airborne Brigade (nicknamed “The Herd”).


This episode is delivered as an audio narration of the article from VIETNAM(R) Magazine. It is delivered complete and unabridged. The author of the article is Al Conetto,  a veteran who also served as commander of D Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, 1967-1968.

The article is a detailed account of the planning, the execution and the aftermath of the battle that took place in November, 1965.

The description is factual, from a participant of the event and an eyewitness. It does not glorify war from the eyes of the combat infantryman, but merely relates the day-by-day happenings.

173rd under sniper fire 1965====

Select this link to listen to the audio episode in another window.

Copyright (c) 2015, VIETNAM(R) Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 6, pages 26-33, June, 2015 edition. Article by Al Conetto.  All rights reserved

68- Monument to combat infantrymen dedicated in Texas

Monday, March 16th, 2015

In this audio episode, we briefly review the dedication of a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capital — a monument for the memory of over 3,000 Texas who were killed during the Vietnam War — most of them combat infantrymen.

Texas Vietnam Veterans Monument 2014We also describe our perspectives of a movie documentary on the Vietnam war that highlighted the combat infantryman. This documentary was recommended by Don Dorsey, the president of Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans.

The title is Vietnam: Service, Sacrifice and Courage.

Vietnam-Service sacrifice and courage movieThis movie / documentary can be viewed at the link of:

As stated by Don Dorsey’s quote in the audio episode, even though this movie is 28 minutes in length, it describes in great deal some of the accurate depictions of the war for the combat infantryman.

 Select this link to listen to this audio episode in another window.

Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Combat Infantrymen’s Association. All rights reserved.

67- The ‘War at Home’ lingers — due to Media editors

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Since Veterans’ stories are becoming more and more prevalent to be published on the Internet, some projects (like ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS for certain groups or minorities) want to publish their content from interviews they have had, especially with combat infantrymen. In our case, it was the story I told about my experiences in the Vietnam War.

This episode deals with the experience of one of these Veterans Oral History Projects — and the struggle to tell the story without the meddling of media editors who want to change the truth to promote their own agenda, and to retell history– but retell it THEIR WAY — which could many times not be the truth, and thus, put the veteran in a negative and unfair light.

OralProject-Latino-web site

As you will hear in this brief audio episode, my own story was delivered in the form of a video interview for this type of oral history project from the University of Texas.

However, the web posting was going to be edited from my story by one of the project editors. This is where the issue started.

As you can see from the web site where the story was finally posted, the editor took liberties that no journalist or media editor should ever do. She literally CHANGED my story and added her own agenda, politcal point of view and words (which were NOT mine and contradicted my story and content) — and this was unacceptable.

What this did was bring back the intrusive thoughts of THE WAR AT HOME (which we, as combat infantrymen, suffered from when we returned from combat). For those who are combat veterans of the Vietnam war, we remember all too well the rejection of an ungrateful American public and the mistreatment we received — mainly from our own peers of our generation (who, as you will hear, sometimes can be spotted today as having the yellow ribbons with “support our troops” written on them–what hypocrites!). We also remember how the media lied about us, pictured us as “psychos, baby-killers and dope-addicts” and how they tried to spin their content to suit their sensationalism and sometimes just plain LIE.

Well, this content spun by the editor of my story caused me anger and frustration. We went many rounds of dialogue, where I specifically mentioned that her content was not valid, and I finally put my story that I wanted to be told in quotation marks with a warning that she was NOT TO CHANGE WHAT I SAID IN ANY WAY (otherwise, I would not sign a release for my story to be published). After nearly six rounds of frustration and warnings in this confrontation, the story was finally told with my quoted content, and this editor finally quit trying to change my story to suit her political agenda — or, as they would try to defend this practice by saying that they were just “adding their own value.”

Just a word of caution to veterans who tell their story to these projects that are titled as “ORAL HISTORY” ones — do not sign releases or give permission for these editors to publish what THEY want and spin your truth to suit their political views or their agenda.  Read everything and hear everything they will say about you and your story

Your signed release for these projects to publish your story is your weapon to safeguard the truth AS YOU TOLD IT — not as they will spin it to promote it as what could be construed as propaganda.

Select this link to listen to the audio episode in another window.

Copyright (c) 2015, Matrix Solutions Corporation and Combat Infantrymen’s Association.  All rights reserved.

65- Reflections from a Combat Infantryman- receiving Bronze Star after more than 40 years later

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Click here to listen to the audio episode.

 In April of 2012, Tony Martinez finally received the recognition and award for his service during the Vietnam War — some 42 years after the incident for which the BRONZE STAR medal with the “V” device for Valor  was given.

Tony currently serves as the Commander of Division 4 of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. His memories from his days in Vietnam with Bravo Company Recon (a LRRP outfit) in the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division “Americal” still haunt him for the loss of his comrades-in-arms, his buddies and his “brothers.”

However, as you will hear in this audio episode of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association Podcast, Tony explains what the medal means to him — even after 42 years since he earned it.

As you will hear in this audio episode, there is also honor given to those 3,417 Texas who died in Vietnam with the 2014 Dedication of the Texas Vietnam Veterans Monument, located at the Texas State Capitol building grounds in Austin. And Tony has participated as part of the Honor Guard for events that have led up to the final dedication of such a memory to those whose lives were taken during the Vietnam War from the state of Texas.

Our thanks to Tony for his service and dedication and heroism, for we know as CIB recipients what it means to have earned this medal and the suffering, pain and danger that accompanied it.

Copyright (c) 2013, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, H21 Southern Branch, Austin Chapter, Division 4. all rights reserved.


52- CIB Association celebrates Veterans Day 2011

Monday, December 19th, 2011

H21 Southern Branch and Division 4 of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association celebrated Veterans’ Day both in Austin and San Antonio by participating in the Parades and Ceremonies.


In Austin, we had members Bobby Briscoe, Roger Gilmore, Fred Castaneda and Commander, Tony Martinez, march in the parade and participate in the ceremonies by laying the wreath of the CIA at the foot of the mock-up tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol building after the ceremony of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

In addition, on November 12th, both Commander Tony Martinez and Fred Castaneda participated in the dedication ceremony of the Veterans Memorial at Cedar Park, Texas.


Also, in San Antonio on Saturday, 12 November 2011, Senior member Darrell G. Harris drove his roadster in the Veterans’ Day Parade there (the 3rd largest parade in San Antonio).


Tony Martinez, commander, H21 Southern Branch in Austin and Division 4, is due to receive his Bronze Star medal (after 40 years of Delay) for his actions in Vietnam while he was in the 11th Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal).  Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett will be presenting the medal and award to Tony when it arrives in Austin. However, a subsequent ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C.  in April, 2012, when Tony attends the reunion of Bravo Company of the Americal Division unit. Forty years delayed, the medal recognizes valor and courage that our brothers in Vietnam gave for their buddies–and it is never too late, only merely delayed.


In the participation of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association for Community Service,  Boy Scout Troop 8787 participated in a Community Service event at the October, 2011 meeting at VFW Post 8787 in Austin. Along with the joint cooperation of the Alamo Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, the scouts and leaders donned woodland BDU shirts, then helmet, then a real T-10 parachute and reserve. Then they “hooked up” to a cable in a mock door of an aircraft and “stood in the door” before leaping all of 1 inch from the ground.

With their parents taking photos of the scouts, they were then awarded a professional certificate of participation, as well as a miniature set of novice Airborne Wings–i.e., the ones earned by US Paratroopers.  Yes, Boy Scout Troop 8787 was “adopted” by the CIB Association chapter, and we will be supporting them when they put out the flags on the Veterans’ graves in preparation for Memorial Day Ceremonies in May, 2012, at the Pflugerville, TX, cemetery (in which the CIB Association will be represented in the ceremonies).


This CIB chapter also looks forward to the visit of National Commander-elect Ralph Cross in April, 2012, as we will be participating with the parachute-donning fundraiser at the American Heroes’ Celebration / Muster Day activities in Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, on April 21st and 22nd in 2012.

Remember:  Brother Cross will be the first to don the parachute in support of the chapter.

Copyright (c) 2011, Combat Infantrymen’s Association and Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

41- Debunking the Myth wrongly created by the Media about the Vietnam War Combat Infantryman

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

In this episode of the H21 Southern Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver the audio narration of the article from VFW Magazine’s February, 2010, edition titled:  “Debunking the Myth of the ‘Addicted’ Army.’

This is an article written by Jeremy Kuzmarov, in which the truth about the perpetration of a stereotype and myth was created by the Media, journalists, reporters, and even members of the US Congress and government about the Vietnam Combat veteran. This MYTH was so outrageous–but unfortunately, it caused so much damage–that is pictured the combat Vietnam veteran as a ‘baby-killer, psycho, dope-addict, heroin-addict and loser.’

As if a combat veteran needs more stigmas and more depression delivered by the rejection of an ungrateful American public, the Vietnam veteran had to cope with this for over 40 years. Now, the truth about the lies that were spread by TV, media, news and Congress is finally delivered–and even with the statistics and studies that show who the guilty parties were.

Thus, how can you blame a Combat Vietnam Veteran like myself that cannot trust the media at all? or who hates the mere presence of reporters and journalists and equates them to the lowest scum of the earth and slimiest creatures with nothing else on their minds except getting sensationalism to exaggerate the facts and get their story published?

And, most of all, don’t you think it is ironic that perhaps THEY THEMSELVES–the reporters and journalists who went out with the combat troops for only a couple of days (instead of the entire mission) and returned to the safety of the REAR and the security of hot water, clean linen and the comforts of ‘home’ to their typewriters would be the ones creating this sensationalistic exaggeration of the real situation about drugs in Vietnam?

I suggest that these same reporters, journalists and scum of the media were the ones who smoked the heroin, smoked marijuana and took the pills and got high while in the rear–because the could do so while the grunts kept them secure–and then blamed the partaking of drugs on the grunt himself. After all, he who wielded the pen controlled the media.

Little did they know how much damage, pain, loss of job and happiness, and how much misery they would cause in the lives of honest, returning Vietnam combat veterans who only did their duty, but would find the same words when they returned home to this frenzied stereotype:  “Sorry, we don’t want any Vietnam Vets; we don’t want any trouble from psychos, baby-killers or drug-addicts.”

Yes, Media and reporters and journalists. Thank you for the forty years of misery and pain–just so you could get your exaggerated story published, while the combat vets were spilling their blood and guts every day in the bush, the paddies and the mountains, the Central Highlands all the way from the DMZ to the Delta.

The question is: has the media changed since then?

In my opinion, I think not. Very little has changed, and the soldiers are the ones that have to fight the misinformation and exaggeration delivered to the public by the worthless entity called the Mainstream Media (or should we call it “Lame-stream Media”?).

Copyright (c) 2010, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

38- Veterans’ Day Events 2009

Monday, November 16th, 2009

In this episode of the H21 Southern Branch, Austin, Texas, chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver the summary of the events in Austin, Texas, during the Veterans’ Day 2009 parade and ceremony.

As you will hear in this podcast episode, we had representation from Bobby Briscoe, Tony Martinez, Duane Williams, John Torres, Fred Castaneda and our newest member of the CIB, Don Bailey. They participated in the Veterans’ Day parade in downtown Austin, Texas, from the Congress Street bridge from Riverside Drive to the State Capitol.

Actually, there was an administrative error because the parade cadre did not have the CIB Association application on the list. Thus, the 82nd Airborne Division Association (represented by Fred Castaneda and Don Bailey) invited the group to march with them.

What was interesting was that the Army Band from the 36th Infantry Division at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, was marching right in front of the team. This gave us the best place to march to the cadence, and definitely, the group was STRAC and looked great and marched perfectly–to represent the rest of the members and to pay honor to those veterans in uniform–past or present.

Veterans' Day Parade 2009

After the march to the entrance of the State Capitol, we met several folks who were interested in joining the CIB Association (as well as other paratroopers who wanted to move their memberships to the local chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association).

At the State Capitol, at the 11th hour, there was the ceremony which highlighted Rosalinda Babin, the mother of Alan Babin, local hero and Grand Marshall for the Parade. His story is told in the blog of AlansAngels and In their Boots, and he was described as a wounded warrior in the memorial Day activities of 2007.

Program from Veterans' Day Program 2009

At the foot of the south steps of the capitol was a mock-up of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In front of this tomb were the wreaths placed to honor those who fell in combat during all military operations since the Civil War.

Of course, the CIB Association joined the 82nd Airborne Division Association to place the wreath appropriately and represent the organizations.

The Austin-American Statesman newspaper had a series of photos in their gallery which depicted pictures from the events (the URL is at

And, yes, our own team was shown marching (however, the newspaper incorrectly stated that the group was the TAVV organization and not the CIB/82d Airborne combination).

The next meeting of the CIB Association Austin, Texas, chapter will be in the joint meeting with the 82nd Airborne Division Alamo Chapter in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, 12 December 2009, for the Christmas meeting and installation of the new officers for 2010. More will be delivered in the newsletters and email.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

37- Joint meeting at the DROP ZONE Cafe and upcoming events for the CIB Assoc.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

In this episode of the H21 Southern Branch, Austin, Texas Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, we deliver to you the summary of the Joint meeting of the CIB chapter with the 82nd Airborne Division Association Alamo Chapter in San Antonio, Texas, on 24 October 2009, at the Drop Zone Cafe.

Drop Zone cafe in San Antonio, TX

As you will hear in the audio episode, the Drop Zone Cafe is really a historical landmark in San Antonio, just on the short path to the entrance of Fort Sam Houston, Texas. It has memorabilia and photos of Medal of Honor Winners Benavides and Rocco, as well as photos on the eaves and walls of the buildings within of past-and-present PARATROOPERS since World War II (yes, Fred Castaneda had his color version of this photo on the eave of the ceiling in the restaurant building:

Fred's color version photo in the Drop Zone Cafe

One other thing to note is that we had welcomed our newest member, Dave, who received his CIB in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. The officers Bobby Briscoe, John Torres and Tony Martinez, made him feel at home. Also, Duane Williams and Fred Castaneda joined in, as well.

CIB members welcome Dave to the group

In addition, we confirmed the upcoming membership of Don Bailey, who was interviewed in an earlier episode here at this podcast site. If you may remember, Don earned his CIB in the Battle for Grenada in Operation Urgent Fury, when he was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Duane Williams and Don Bailey

We had both organizations conduct their monthly meetings there. You can get all the details of the happenings and future events scheduled for:

– 4 November 2009: Bobby Briscoe and team going to Fort Hood, Texas, with a delegation for recruitment of in-service CIB award winners and the Wounded Warrior Program;

– 7 November 2009: Veterans’ Day Parade in San Antonio, Texas;

– 11 November 2009: Veterans’ Day Parade and Ceremony in Austin, Texas;

– 12 December 2009: CIB members are invited to the home of John Peed for a joint meeting and Christmas party gathering, with donations of toys, etc., for the San Antonio group of the Battered Women and Children’s Organization.

Also, during the final part of this episode, we once again honor Darrell G. Harris, member of both the CIB Association and the 82nd Airborne Division. Not only was D.G. Harris one of the very first paratroopers in World War II who made the very FIRST airborne combat jump with the 82nd Airborne, but he was one of the very FIRST who earned the COMBAT INFANTRYMAN’S BADGE in 1943 for his participation in Operation Husky in Sicily. (Note: the CIB was first created and later issues in 1943 and 1944).

Darrell had everyone in the meeting hypnotized and in awe as he recounted from memory his experiences during Operation Market-Garden (the invasion of Holland in Septermber, 1944)–especially when he participated in capturing the Grave River Bridge and the Nijmegen Bridge over the Waal River. Yes, this is the famous and dangerous suicide crossing during daylight that was recounted in the movie, A Bridge Too Far (where actor Robert Redford played Julian Cook, the Batallion Commander). And, yes, Darrell did row across the river under tremendous fire from the enemy, and he later helped to disengage and compromise the demolitions on the bridge to keep it intact for the later invasion of Germany. He explains this in his biography version of his book, Casablanca to VE-Day: A Paratrooper’s Memoirs.

D.G. Harris at the October meeting in the Drop Zone Cafe

D.G. Harris is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, San Antonio’s Alamo Chapter.

The feeling of brotherhood with all the comrades was wonderful and eventful. We encourage the members to attend these joint meetings.

We will bring you the details of the November activities and further meetings of the Chapter and its members in the next podcast episode.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation and the Combat Infantrymen’s Association. All Rights Reserved.