Biography of Robert (Bob) Chaplin
Sergeant Major, 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), USA
I spent 3+ tours in Vietnam with the Army's Special Forces. As for pride, no unit can match the courage the Green Berets had. In 1968 alone, over 1,000 Special Forces soldiers were in Vietnam. In that year, alone, all that served, were either awarded the purple heart for wounds received or for getting killed. (Since the Navy SEAL's were more of a hush-hush unit, I do not know their figures. I have not met a Navy SEAL that I did not have a tremendous amount of respect for).
In Vietnam, I was in several Special Forces camps where 10% were VC, the 5th Special Forces Mike Force, 3rd Corps Mike Force and spent time on a Recon team. The men I served with were all magnetic personalities without a trace of fear and never doubted themselves or the cause of the Vietnam War. Many received the DSC, silver star and many had several purple hearts. I have several awards. They are tucked away at the back of my closet and some in a room off of my family room. (I have lost highschool friends when they found out that I had served in Vietnam). When I first posted this I did not wish to say what they are. I do not brag about them. Since, however, I have spoken to many people and they have given me the encouragement to do this. So, here is a listing of my medals and awards.
(1) Silver Star Medal, (5) bronze Stars ("V" device), (5) Army Commendation Medals, (1) for valor, (Seems to me that is like getting an Article 15)..... (1) Purple Heart Medal, CMB (Combat Medical Badge), (8) Vietnam Campaign Stars, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry
Master Parachutists wings
HALO Jumpmaster wings
SCUBA badge US Navy certified SOT (Special Operations Technician)
Thailand: Master Parachutist badge, FreeFall Parachutist badge and BBP (Border Patrol Police)wings
Turkey: Master Parachutist Badge
4th Degree Black Belt....Shao Lin Pa Lung Fa Karate
Italy: Master Parachutist badge
Denmark: Master Parachutist badge/ Certified Scout Swimmer
Norway: Master Parachutist badge
Vietnam: Master Parachutist badge
Laos: Master Free-Fall Parachutist badge
Germany: Master Parachutist badge, Sports badge, Weapons award
American Red Cross 50 Mile Swin To Stay Fit badge (3) awards. Water Safety Instructor
P.A.D.I. Master SCUBA Diver and I.T.C. Director. Logged in excess of 5,000 dives!
I recall at the memorial ceremonies of one of our fallen comrades. We were debating on whether he was receiving his 12th or 13th purple heart. He already had 4 silver stars. That great man's name was" Mad Dog" Schriever. I served with him at his first "A" team location, "Omega" project and the "Mike Force". What a man. Courage beyond belief. A movie should be made about him. Are you listening Mr. Speilberg?
My favorite duties were as an instructor at the Special Forces Underwaters Swimmers School in Key West, Florida. Also as the NCOIC of the Special Forces Detacment (Airborne), Europe Parachute Demonstration Team.
I spent 26 years in the military. Of that, 23 years in Special Forces. I am proud of that and proud of my country. And to tell you the truth, my favorite song is the National Anthem and guess what my favorite colors are? You got it, RED, WHITE and BLUE! God bless America and all the vets.
"De Oppresso Liber"
----- Robert (Bob) Chaplin
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