History of 709th Maintenance Bn.


By Capt Jim Weiss


 I was just looking at the 709th Web Site.  I thought I would provide a little more info that may be of some use.

 I took command of D/709th in November 1968 from Captain Harry Torrence.  D Company was adjacent to the highway in Ben Luc at the time.  The strength of the company was 102 at the time - all in Ben Luc.  We supported the 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division which was headquartered in Tan An.  Its subordinate infantry battalions were 2nd of the 47th, the 3rd of the 60th, the 5th of the 60th and others I can't remember.  D Company repaired trucks, artillery, small arms, starlight scopes, and the like.  As the web site says, we all lived in bunkers.  The compound was very small and at times we had more equipment to repair than could be brought into the compound.  In those cases, we had to leave some items of rolling stock across the highway.  Fortunately we did not have any sabotage problems. 

 We sponsored an orphanage that was just north of the compound.  It was a heartwarming venture and we had some excellent carpenters and engineers that did some super work for the orphans.  

 The only other unit in Ben Luc that I remember was an engineer company that was located in the heart of town - and it had much more real estate that we had.  To my delight, someone decided to relocate the engineer company and we were able to move to their site.  There we inherited nice quarters - not bunkers, thanks engineers.  The move to the former engineer company compound put us between an 8 inch/175 howitzer battery and wherever they fired their artillery - so it got a bit noisy at times.  We had our own club after throwing out the 9th Infantry Division Club System that took our money and gave us nothing in return.  We made pennies on the sale of each drink, but it was enough that the soldiers had free laundry, free hair cuts and an occasional floor show.  I notice on the web site that the club was called the "Boom Boom Room."  I must confess that I never knew that!       

 I commanded the company until it converted to B Co, 99th Combat Support Battalion.  The Combat Support Battalion was activated because the 9th Division went home - all but the 3rd Brigade, which was then assigned to the 25th Infantry Division.  I believe that happened in July 1969.   As I was closing up the unit fund, I noticed the guy that opened the unit fund for D Company (then at Fort Riley) was 1LT Thomas A. McKasy - small world, I roomed with Tom in college in Minnesota!

 The company grew from the 102 in D Company, 709th to 300 in B Co, 99th Spt Bn.  We kept the maintenance elements in Ben Luc, but took over aviation maintenance, graves registration, supply, etc., in Tan An.  I stayed in command of the newly formed B Company until I returned to States in November 1969.  I turned the company over to CPT Author "Steve" Wellman.  After the change of command, as I was walking the MAJ Berg back to his helicopter, my troops grabbed me and threw me in the company lake.  It was fun - probably better than Gatorade on a cold day. 

 The first battalion commander of the 99th CSB was LTC Ernie Vulley who retired as a BG.  He was not in command long because he developed an eye infection and was evacuated.  As I recall Major George Berg took command from LTC Vulley.  

 We had some tremendous soldiers that worked their backsides off to provide outstanding logistics support to the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade.  My hat remains off to them.  



Thank You Jim  for helping the 709th Maint. Bn.


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