Tigers In Vietnam: Recollections From Three Tiger Force Veterans

Dave Dever, James Wilson Carroll Dinkle


Dave Dever arrived at the 101st Airborne Division in March 1962, while James “Will” Wilson and Carroll “Dink” Dinkle reported to the Division in September 1964. All three were assigned to 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry. Dever was assigned as the Colonel’s driver and was in the signal platoon. Wilson, a teetotaler, remembers how Dink used to come in from the bars at night, occasionally waking him by pouring beer on his head. They describe the training tempo at Ft. Campbell, noting that Dink was the best ENTAC Missile gunner in the Division. Will recounts enrolling for courses at Austin Peay University, but having to drop out due to always being in the field and missing classes. They discuss the differences between firing the M1 and M-14 in training and using the M-16 in Vietnam. They also share stories of Wilson learning how to drive a “Mule,” the M274 ½ ton 4x4 utility truck. When the 327th was ordered to deploy to USARPAC, they were the first stateside unit to deploy to Vietnam, following the 173rd deploying from Okinawa. They recall having to dye their white underwear (shirts and shorts) olive drab colors. The set sail for Vietnam on the USNS General LeRoy T. Eltinge and share notable events from their voyage, including washing uniforms in the ocean, pulling guard, and surviving storms. They landed in Cam Ranh Bay on July 29, 1965, to bands playing and VIPs greeting them, but were soon destined for convoy security. Dever remembers the first time he was shot at. Will and Dink describe the formation of Tiger Force and its mission. They discuss how they operated in the jungle and what made Tiger Force both unique and lethal. They recall the fight at Tiger Field and remember LT James Gardner, who earned the Medal of Honor for his actions leading the Platoon that day. Finally, they recall their best memories of serving in Tiger Force.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Military Techniques Injuries
interviewer David Siry
date 22 May 2024


name Dave Dever, James Wilson Carroll Dinkle
service Infantry
unit Tiger Force, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division