Just A Little Walk In The Woods

with the Delta Raiders

Company D, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)

ĎGruntí More Than A Name

Taken from "The Screaming Eagle" Orientation Issue, 1971 Edition.

His grandfather was a "Doughboy." His father was a "GI." And heís a "Grunt." Different names, different times, different wars, but the job of the combat infantryman remains the same. Itís a 24-hour-a-day working, sweating, grunting job. A seven-day-a-week job of giving all he can; and then giving a little more. But believe it or not, heís sort of proud of the name-GRUNT.

True, at the end of any given day, the Grunt would never be chosen for an honor guard on appearance alone. Because of the work he must do, it is inevitable that his hair be mussed up and sun-bleached; his uniform dirty, wrinkled and torn; his face grimy from mud and dust. Those boots, a sort of trademark of his, are brown--not black-and scratched from scrambling in and out of helicopters. The dirt is unavoidable, and though he doesnít like it, he learns to live with it as an irrevocable part of war.

He works hard. On a combat assault, heíll walk over rock-hard dikes, through deep mud and stinking leech-filled canals. Heíll "hump" up "one more hill" and down the other side only to find a mountain he must ascend. And always there are the huge, biting red ants and the blood-thirsty mosquitoes. Sometimes these prove to be even more of a challenge than the enemy, as they are certainly more plentiful.

When he does get a chance to relax, he stops and reaches for that old, worn-out sock and pulls out some C-rations. Washing his food down with ample gulps of warm canteen water, he thinks about home, his wife or sweetheart, or flying home in that "big, beautiful Freedom Bird;" back to the time when things were better.

Now that he has those rare, spare moments to rest, he scrawls an answer to one of those stained, soggy letters heís been carrying around in his pocket. Then, if only for a moment, he dozes into a sleep so deep only those who have worked to near-exhaustion can understand. And yet, the slightest sound will wake him.

In a firefight, the Gruntís display of courage is common-but is never commonplace. Sure heís scared, but he has no time to think about being scared, and the difference is self-control. He knows what he has to do and he does it. Sometimes he does more; then he is called a "hero." But just by doing what he does, heís a hero.

The Grunt is a special kind of man. He lives with dirt, danger and destiny unknown. In the field, he lives in a way most people will never experience even in their worst nightmares; the kind of living that has to be experienced and can never be fully imagined.

He bows to no man for he has been "where eagles dare." He stands above other men for he has proven to himself, his fellow man and the nation that he can handle the toughest job a man can be given.

The Combat Infantrymanís Badge (CIB), that blue and silver hunk of metal, identifies this different kind of man who has lived in hell, who has known that glorious feeling of walking out of a situation alive when he could have just as easily been killed.

The CIB is his "fraternity pin." It identifies him as a member of the most cohesive group of Americans there is. A group in which teamwork is often the difference between life and death. A team in which one man will risk his life to save his buddy because tomorrow his buddy will do the same for him. A fraternity in which a man dies a little himself every time a buddy gets wounded or killed. And they all share a spirit of pride, self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in knowing that they are doing the toughest job a man can do-and doing it well.

Yes, this is the combat infantryman-the GRUNT. He even calls himself a "Grunt." And heís proud of it because itís more than just a name-itís a title.

And the CIB is more than just another hunk of metal. Itís a badge-one that identifies its wearer as a member of the proudest fraternity in American society--the brotherhood of the Doughboy, the GI, and the Grunt-The Combat Infantryman.

Author unknown.. taken from "The Screaming Eagle" Orientation Issue, 1971 Edition. The Screaming Eagle was an authorized Army newspaper published by the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), RVN, for military personnel. It was printed in Tokyo, Japan by Pacific Stars and Stripes  with a circulation of 15,000. Each Unit had a correspondent who sent articles in to the paper.

Click here to read about the CIB (Combat Infantryman's Badge)

below are links to more

Raider Writings

Hill 100  |  Delta Raiders Overrun Outpost  |  Infantry, Arty Chew Up NVA Unit 

Going Home  Heavy Fighting Near Bastogne  |  Hill 805, A First Sergeant Remembers 

The Introduction  |  Across The River & Into...  |  Raiders "Lighten The Load"

You should know Joe Hooper  |  Most decorated soldier dies  |  The List

Airborne Trooper Saves Girl  |  Flashback  |  Night Sweats  |  'Grunt' More Than A Name 

Delta Raiders Ambushed Near Firebase Bastogne | To My Dad on Veterans Day


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