by Roger McGill, HHT 1965/1966
Well Hwy #1 between Cu Chi and Saigon had roadblocks and booby traps on it every day, and one of the line Troops, and they all took turns doing this, besides all the other things they did they provided security on Hwy #1.
There were two convoy's every day coming up from Saigon to Cu Chi, and one going down every day from Cu Chi to Saigon. One was in the early morning going down, and then the one coming up later in the day and early afternoon. It was the 3/4 Cav that had the responsibility of keeping this road open and secured for those convoy's. That meant clearing the roads and they were booby trapped just about every day, which was done a night by the VC or the NVA. They tried to do everything they could to stop the supply convoys and to stop the re-supply of the 25th base camp at Cu Chi.
One day A Troop had this security detail, this was Captain Joe Monihan's Troop. Down South of Cu Chi, a good friend of mine Richard "Rusty" Albright was on one of those M 113's - Rusty as we called him went over with us from Hawaii and we use to have a beer or two, well I guess it was really like a pitcher or two at our PX area in the 3/4 Cav area at Schofield Barracks, with some of the other guys all the time. Well, Rusty and his track was set up in this one area, which they had been for some time on a daily basis, now Rusty was short - not in height but time left in country - he opted to stay out until the day before he was suppose to leave, he had less than two weeks left in country - well Charlie did it, set off a claymore and Rusty got hit. He was medivaced to the 12th Evac Hosp at Cu Chi and he had so much shrapnel in him, his face, and eyes. There was no Eye Doctor at the 12th Evac that day, so they flew him down to some Army Hospital in Saigon. But, as he later told me, as we had no idea what happened to him after that. Well, not until about 1985 or early 1986. That is when I went to a 25th reunion in D.C. on November 11th. and was telling this story to another 25th Vet from the WOLFHOUNDS, 1/27th Infantry, that went over when we all did. He said we should be able to find him, well low and behold Mike M did find him, and Rusty and I talked every since that time. We even met face to face again after all those years in 1991 at the 25th Reunion in Hawaii. It was GREAT even my oldest son got to meet him and we had a good time with him and his wife there.
What Rusty told me was the following: like the story said when he got to the Hospital in Saigon the doctor told him that there was nothing they could do to save his sight, so he was sent back to the States and went through the VA after discharge and learned how to deal with his blindness. Again, till this time we never knew what happened to him. Well Rusty after learning what to do and how to get around being blind, went back to college and graduated with a teaching degree. He taught HS in OR, but he knew that the students were doing things he couldn't see. So, he went back to college and got a law degree and a few years ago now he retired as a Labor Lawyer from the State of OR. One of the guys that was with us Rich Flemming - he was one of the guys that use to drink beer with us - he was Crypto HHT '65-'66. Well, he was originally from CA. but after he got out he wanted to find Rusty in OR. So he moved to OR and was Rusty's best man at his wedding. Rich now lives in OR, and I have also talked to him and he has been to one of our Reunions. He lives in Bend with his wife and family. and Rusty lived in Salem, OR. So, Rusty and I use to talk about every other month since back in 1985 0r 1986, then one month I told my wife haven't heard from Rusty, I'm going to give him a call. Well the rest I will write as a note I received from his wife. Richard D. 'Rusty' Albright Oct. 2, 1944 - Jan 19, 2003. SALEM - Richard D. 'Rusty' Albright 58, died Jan. 19th at Salem Memorial Hospital. Rusty was born Oct. 2, 1944, in Hood River. He attended elementary schools in Bend and graduated from Madras HS in 1962.
Following service with the 25th Infantry in Vietnam where he lost his sight as a result of injuries, he graduated from Western Oregon University in 1970. In 1973 he became just the second totally blind student to graduate from Wilamette University Law School. Rusty had a son and daughter and they both live in OR. Rusty passed from Cancer of the Colon. May he always rest in PEACE.