LTC Louie Odom - Commander (Jun 1966 - Feb 1967)

As I reflect on my inner feelings about having served as the Commander of the 2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry my mind races into the past to the times I commanded a platoon and a company. Then, also, I think of my six months of command of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Training Brigade ("Tiger Land") at Fort Polk, LA training troops for service in Vietnam. As a Battalion Commander I felt honored to be selected from so many while knowing the responsibilities of all rested on my shoulders.

I looked upon the Battalion Staff as an extension of me that I must learn to and resolve to delegate my authority to them. I must be kind and accessible to them. They were my friends.

The Subordinate Commanders were taught and understood that the Mission Came First. I knew they must be allowed to command. They were part of the team and were treated as professionals. I attempted to lead them by example and direction and hopefully contributed to their maturation. When needed, I corrected their failings and rewarded their successes. I always tried to be accessible to them.

The Troops they were our bread and butter. They reflected what the commanders had taught them. It was they who accomplish the mission. They responded in-kind as they were trained, equipped and fed. Their welfare was paramount but they were not extended beyond the limits of human endurance. They knew the mission came first and would receive timely and appropriate rewards and awards.

I have always felt comfortable being a battalion commander because I had received training, schooling and challenges at other command and staff and student assignments and levels. This is the way an infantryman grows. Also, I have always wonder if I, the commander, would know, at all times, where I should be - or exercise "physical presence" and influence. After much thought over many years I have concluded that a commander must insure that he, as humanly possible, will be at the point or place of greatest need in given circumstance. In a sense, it becomes a matter of experience, training, instincts and judgement. He should be where he needs to be.

God bless all of the men I commanded. You served our nation well.

LTC William Healey - Commander (Feb 1967 - Aug 1967) ~ Deceased

Recently, through Colonel Louie Odom, I was placed in touch with Lt. Wayne (Willie) Williams, our famous Recon Platoon Leader and later one of Charlie Company's Commanders. We have enjoyed, via E-Mail, considerable correspondence and reminiscing of our service in the "Old Guard" in 1967. It was truly one of the greatest honors and memorable experiences of my life to have served with this band of brothers in a war time situation. I believe, without exception, that we all served honorably, loyally, and with great courage and pride. You all have much to be very proud of and I hope you will always remember those difficult days. Yes, we lost some brave comrades but most of us survived and returned home. My prayer for each of you is that the world recognizes you and will treated you with respect. You have all earned it.


I strongly believe that LTC Healey laid the foundation for my military career. To only be a first lieutenant and then given a company to command, I was the first one on the entire 199th Brigade so honored, speaks volumes for his belief in me and the men I was privileged to lead. May his soul rest in peace!
Wayne Williams

LTC D.W. Poage - Commander (Aug 1967 - Jan 1968) ~ Deceased

A Commander to all Old Guardsmen, Colonel Douglas W. Poage died on May 8.1985. Colonel Poage retired to El Paso Texas in 1978 with his family. Mrs. Mary A.Poage, his wife, died on July 24. 1996. They are survivied by two sons and a daughter. Their sons are Douglas W. Poage III from Anchorage, Alaska and Peter F. Poage from Harrisonburg, Virginia. Their daughter, Ellen G. Poage lives in Ft Myers, Florida.

I served under LTC Poage from August of 1967 to November 1967 and remember him as a Soldier's Commander, stern but compassionate.

God be with you and your family LTC Poage. Noli Me Tangere

Jim Towns.

LTC William C. Carper - Commander (Jan 1968 - Jul 1968)

Waiting for Remarks.

LTC M.J. Asensio- Commander (Jul 1968 - Dec 1968)

Waiting for Remarks.

LTC John A. Mess Commander (Dec 1968 - Jul 1969) ~ Deceased

Beloved Commander to all Old Guardsmen, LTC Mess died in December 1999. He was 70 years old. Known as a soldier's commander, LTC Mess was a stern but compassionate man that treated his men with respect. For those that knew LTC Mess, he will always remain in their memories.

God be with you LTC Mess. Noli Me Tangere

LTC Bernard Loeffke Commander (Jul 1969 - Dec 1969)

Three and a half combat tours in Southeast Asia established the foundation of Bernard Loeffke’s military career. In combat, he led from the front. He was repeatedly decorated for gallantry in action and deeply committed to the well-being of his soldiers. As a Special Forces officer, a paratroop advisor to Vietnamese units, and later as an infantry battalion commander, he proved to be an effective and courageous leader. Rapid promotions in combat with four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart attest to his military skill and courage under fire.
While serving in Vietnam, General Loeffke was changed by the battle death of Sgt. Larry Morford, a soldier in his battalion. Morford, though opposed to war, explained that he chose to be a soldier because “War is a beastly job and the least beastly of us should be doing it.” General Loeffke honors the memory of Sgt. Morford to this day. In particular, he has dedicated the Friendship Fund at West Point in his honor.

EXTRACTED FROM THE WEST POINT WEB SITE

LTC B.F. Ivey Commander (Dec 1969 - May 1970) ~ Deceased

Colonel Ivey passed away in February 1998. His home was Clinton, SC. He was 70 years old. I spoke with his mother, who is 97 year's old, and she sounded like she was about our age and was glad that I called. I only knew Colonel Ivey for a short time but he seemed to be as all the other commanders of the Battalion - Top Notch.

God be with you LTC Ivey. Noli Me Tangere

Jim Towns.

LTC George E. Williams Commander (May 1970 - Oct 1970)

Waiting for Remarks.