“We’re Here To Go Home, But We’re Here To Win”: A Rakkasan In Vietnam

Bobby Jones


CSM(R) Bobby Jones grew up in Kingsport in east Tennessee with his three brothers and a sister. His parents worked at a cotton mill. In high school, he ran track and played football. Following high school, he entered the University of Tennessee, where he majored in wildlife management and forestry, and participated in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) all four years. He was about to commission from ROTC when politics within his unit caused him to reconsider, and he decided to enlist instead. In basic training, he was the distinguished graduate and received a leadership award. After basic, he completed a leader prep course and a Non-Commissioned Officer course at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. By the time he deployed to Vietnam in September 1968, he felt he was well prepared. After arriving at Phuoc Vinh and completing SERTS (Screaming Eagle Replacement Training School), he was assigned to 3rd Platoon, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment under CPT Smoak. He describes several missions he participated in, including patrols, ambushes, and supporting other units in contact. He discusses being wounded, and receiving a Silver Star. For a period, he was assigned as a SERTS instructor, which was fine except for three days and nights of combat during Tet ’69. He shares his experiences after returning home, having a break in service, doing a casualty notification, and serving as a Drill Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Courage Injuries Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 17 May 2019


name Bobby Jones
institution University of Tennessee
service Infantry
unit A Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division; Drill Sergeant School
specialty Commandant of the Drill Sergeant School
service dates 1966 1987