Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bud Domagata – Forward Observer – Part Four

Starting Over

After four months with the ARVNs (South Vietnamese Forces) I got assigned as a forward observer to the 3/506 Infantry of the 101st Airborne. Because I am not infantry and I am not airborne. I’m an outsider again and I gotta start from scratch. Also, I still look like I’m 17.

Bud early in his time with the 3/506
Bud early in his time with the 3/506

I go out on operations, I don’t screw up and I get to know the team I’m working with. Then a different company rotates to the field, which means I start from scratch – again. Those initial operations with the 101st were bad, I mean I was an outcast.

To make it worse there was a shortage of forward observers. When the infantry company would rotate to a firebase or the rear for a stand down, I would rotate to another company headed for the field. I had more field time than anybody in the infantry. That’s one reason I burned through radio operators. They’d see all these guys going in and we never got to go in.

It took a month before word got around that hey this guy is actually good and does things right, fast, and knows what he’s doing. Early on I got to call in naval gunfire from the battleship New Jersey. Phan Thiet was the New Jersey’s final run before she left for home. (The battleship New Jersey departed the Phan Thiet area for Japan on April 1, 1969.) That went a long way to showing what I could do. Remember I’m not a green forward observer. I’ve been out with ARVN troops for four months calling in long range artillery, because we were hardly ever near a 105 battery.

Now I’m all over the place, in the Lee Hong Fong forest, up in the mountain jungles, and down around Titty Mountain – firing out of Sherry, Sandy or a platoon of guns on a hip shoot. We’d even go way up north along the coast around Song Mau with a couple guns from Charlie Battery. I was on and off in the field with the 3/506 all the way through September, five months straight. 

Search and Garden

Now one war story, the only one I remember. We’re out in the mountains following a band of Viet Cong through thick jungle, and every once in awhile boom there’s a big open area the size of four football fields plowed in neat furrows growing corn and all kinds of squash. We’re on our third day following the VC and this is our third garden. Instead of “search and destroy” we started calling this operation “search and garden.” Well this garden has watermelon and it’s hot and the watermelons are cold and the guys are carrying them on their shoulders. It’s crazy.

It turns into an ambush. Our point guys are under fire from the jungle and you can’t see where it’s coming from. I am a little behind them with the platoon leader and company commander. We’re in the worst possible situation to bring in artillery because we’re in the mountains, meaning you’ve got altitude to worry about, and we’re on the target line (between the target and the howitzers and therefore exposed to range dispersion). I call in a first round smoke and it’s pretty close. I adjust the second smoke round away from us and it pops right behind the enemy, which is perfect. The guys are yelling “It’s right where we want it. It’s right behind them. We’ve got them pinned down. Yaa.” I call for all the guns to fire high explosive on that setting – BATTERY REPEAT HE. Instead of landing on the VC the rounds come down right on top of us. I see one of our guys get blown twenty feet in the air. I’m seeing this guy and thinking, Holy shit. Right away I call a CHECK FIRE.

We were lucky. When the VC saw artillery coming in they took off. The round that blew our guy in the air hit soft, plowed soil from the garden and buried itself before detonating. It gave him a ride but nothing serious. And nobody took shrapnel from the other rounds. He was the only one hurt and medevac’d out. If we were in a treed area, or on regular hard ground, there would have been a lot of shrapnel injury, but because we were in this this big freaking garden area, the round penetrated into the ground before it went off.

Then of course the investigation begins, interviews like crazy. We had a colonel who was the commanding officer of Task Force South come flying in, another colonel from Phan Rang and all kinds of other people. With them was the artillery commander of the battery that fired the rounds (Delta Battery of the 2/320th Artillery at LZ Betty attached to the 101st). They are interviewing everyone right on the spot. Everyone is validating that what I did, and the way I did it, verifying that I did not do anything wrong. The first round was here, the second round was there, and I called high explosive in on the back side of the second smoke round. I just said REPEAT HE, right on top of the last smoke around, no adjustment.

We spend the night and the morning, and another group comes to do more interviews. Everybody who is important – the commanding officer, the company commander, my radio operator and the commanding officer’s radio guy – know that I did this right. But the troops only know rounds landed on top of them and blew one of their guys up. I’m the artillery guy, and I’m not airborne. When I see our injured guy with his neck brace on I cannot look him in the eye. Nobody would look me in the eye either, and for awhile I think they were going to turn on me.

The mission carries on and I don’t hear anything more about it. But do you ask what happened or do you let it go? What do you do? I’m 21 years old; I let it go. Until I got home and then it comes back, and comes back, and won’t leave me alone. It took me twenty years to resolve. I went to the National Archives and got the after-action reports for the artillery and 3/506. I found out that a batch of smoke rounds was bad and was shooting long. This was not the first incident, it happened in another place before me. As a result they pulled all those rounds. But who’s gonna tell the young second lieutenant who’s out as a forward observer that he might want to know so he can sleep better.

They should have pulled those smoke round after the first incident. The second time with me should never have happened. You cannot believe the pucker factor when those big 105 rounds are landing all around you. Mortars are one thing, and I have survived some mortar attacks and those are frightening enough, but this was (laughs) crazy. Rule number one is don’t be on the gun target line. But we did not have any choice, that’s where we were at. There was no secondary battery to call. It was like, We need rounds now, let’s get them in. They did get us the rounds quick, first round smoke, second round smoke, then BANG. I can sti

ll hear those rounds coming in over our heads and down on us. That’s something you never forget.

I lost my radio guy because of this. He said, “I cannot be out here anymore.” The artillery radio operator was an artillery guy, and he had to be a volunteer. He said, “I ain’t volunteering anymore.” I went through a lot of radio operators because they’d get freaked out.

Viet Cong Elephants

Another crazy story. I can remember crazy things, but not warrior stuff, except for those bad smoke rounds. We are in the highest mountains and the thickest jungle you can imagine trying to catch up with a unit of Viet Cong. Typically when you are following a trail you have your guys out to the left and the right, and maybe some guys in the middle. But this trail was along a cliff edge two feet wide, straight up a couple hundred feet and straight down 1000 feet. All of a sudden we see these things that look like cannonballs on the trail. What in the hell is this? It was nothing you would ever guess – elephant shit. So elephants had been walking down this narrow trail that I am scared to walk on: you can’t go one way because it’s a wall and the other way is a sheer cliff to your death. Viet Cong elephants loaded with stuff had just gone down this trail, like Hannibal going through the Alps, and you think, How on earth? No, we never caught up with them. They were fast, those Viet Cong elephants.

VC Elephant Convoy
VC Elephant Convoy

Bud Domagata – Forward Observer – Part Three

Doings In Dalat

Dalat was a French colonial city that looked like it had been transferred from the French Alps to Vietnam. I mean it was gorgeous with paved roads, French buildings, Jaguars driving around, and even a few convertibles. It had three universities; their equivalent to West Point was one of them. ARVNs (South Vietnamese Regulars) loved this city; it was their Mecca. And it was a safe area. They really did not want Americans in there at all. There were some American units around it, but the only guys that could legitimately get in there were the MACV guys assigned to the ARVN units as advisors.

MACV – Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – commanded all military units in Vietnam. Those connected to it enjoyed special travel and access privileges, including ones they granted to themselves.

My ARVN regiment would rotate a company in for three or four days to pull security around the city. Squads and platoons would spread out around the city to keep out the enemy, who were never going to attack because they loved this city too. The Viet Cong took R&R in Dalat right along side the ARVNs.

I don’t know how this happened but I was assigned to the unit protecting Dalat. Wait till you hear this. By now I am really close to the ARVNs, we are buddies, we tell stories about our sisters and the girls we date and things like that. The CO (commanding officer) looks at me and says, “We have Dalat.” Then he winks a couple times. We get right on the edge of the city on the road, and the CO calls in all the platoon leaders and says, “Okay. We will meet back here in three days,” and he releases the men. Then he gets me, my radio operator, one platoon leader, and maybe a senior sergeant – and we all go into town and we check into a hotel.

Maybe three miles away on a hill Charlie battery has a permanent firebase (one of the artillery batteries organic to the 5th Battalion). Its job is to keep the whole city covered for artillery support. Charlie battery and the ARVN headquarters think we’re set up in defensive positions around the city. Instead we’re in town staying in a hotel and having a grand time.

We go up on the roof of the hotel where there is a bar with a balcony, and there’s Saigon girls serving tea. We set up our radios, and we call into Charlie battery with a bunch of fake nighttime defensive positions around the city. Of course there’s nobody at the coordinates we’ve called in. Then we give them a bunch of H&I (harassment and interdiction) targets to fire on. We say at 10 o’clock shoot these defensive H&I rounds, at 11 o’clock fire these H&I rounds, at noon fire these, and midnight these – then no more after that.

Then we tell them we are not going to move these fictitious defensive positions during the night, and therefore won’t be calling in new locations. With the ARVNs we’d usually set up nighttime positions, call in locations, and then we’d move. The Viet Cong had watchers to find out where we were set up, so we would have a 10:00 move. Moving into position we would not worry about making noise, but after it got dark we’d move as stealth and quietly as known to mankind.

We’d move maybe only 20 or 25 yards, but we were not exactly where we had set up. So if the Viet Cong attacked there’s nobody there. We tell Charlie battery we are not going to move during the night because it’s so quiet, we’ll call you in the morning, you can forget about us. And they say, “Yeah, we do this all the time.” So for three days we are checked into the hotel, we are eating like kings, we’re going to restaurants, and from the rooftop of the hotel we’re drinking tea from Saigon girls and shooting fake targets to make it look like we’re doing something.

It gets better. Dalat has a French jazz scene, berets and all. It wasn’t the Beach boys or the England sound. Jazz was a big part of the music in Vietnam from the French influence. The ARVN commanding officer says, “You’re going to love this.” He takes me and my radio operator down by one of the universities, we go down some steps literally underground into a little place with jazz band playing. There are guys with goatees and berets, all of them Vietnamese. He says, “No matter what you see, just relax and enjoy yourself.” It was a dark, smoke filled room with candles on the tables and a very mellow jazz band.

We put our M-16s up against the wall by us, and down the wall we see AK-47s. I don’t know who the AK-47s belong to because the VC could be in jeans dressed like college students. All I know is I did not want to make eye contact with any freaking body. I don’t know if we had coffee or something to drink, I was never a big drinker, but we had an evening just listening to the coolest jazz you can ever imagine with VC somewhere in the room. This I think is cool, so unreal I’m shaking my head and my radio guy is shaking his head. We say to each other, “We cannot tell anybody about this, because we’re not really here.”

The Beast

One of my most vivid memories when I deployed with the ARVNs did not involve them at all.

I was officially assigned to Alpha battery of the 5/27 even though I hardly ever saw those suckers. One time I showed up at Alpha when it was on a mobile operation down south near Titty Mountain. Maybe I went there to pick up my mail and briefly get out of the field, like I usually did. The guns were towed to this location, as opposed to lifted by helicopter, so there were deuce-and-a-half trucks, jeeps, ammo trucks and all that.

And they had a Quad-50 with them.

Quad-50 mounted on a deuce and a half (2 ½ ton truck)
Quad-50 mounted on a deuce and a half (2 ½ ton truck)

The Quad-50 was four 50 caliber machine guns arrayed on a single rack that allowed all four guns to fire at once. The weapon was aimed and fired by way of electric motors fed from two batteries. The motto of Quad-50 units was “First To Fire” because of their almost instantaneous response to enemy attacks. At artillery firebases they were mounted on a truck bed and placed on the perimeter to thwart ground attacks.

I wasn’t close to anybody at Alpha, but for some reason on this trip I buddied up with the Quad-50 guys. They said, “Do you want to fire it?” It surprised me that they would offer, but sure. First they wanted me to get used to the controls, aiming the thing up and down and all around without firing it. So I did and thought, This is fun. Then they said, “Okay, now we are going to load it up.”

We were located at a former French site with hard bunkers that the French had built and were still used as firing positions. So I didn’t kill anybody they told me exactly where to aim. As soon as I pulled the trigger the thing went wild on me, jerking straight up and out and I am shooting live rounds all over the place. The tracers are going everywhere, 50 calibers are all over the sky, and everybody is screaming and running. Finally somebody just turned it off. I think I crapped my pants. I was more scared than during a fire fight with the Viet Cong. I heard after me they never let anybody else touch it.

Bud Domagata – Forward Observer – Part Two

Vietnam #1

I went to college for a year and a half, and I hated it, mostly because I was not mature enough to be in college. “I’m out of here.” Well you know what is coming. You and me and everybody else were facing the draft.

I had an uncle who was a Command Sergeant Major E-9, and a Korean War hero with all the medals. He and my mom said, “You go to Vietnam, you are going to get killed.” And I had just had one of my best buddies who went in earlier got killed and I was his pallbearer.

My uncle said, “What do you want to do with yourself? Sign up for something, get schooling.” I said I wanted to be in the transportation business someday. When somebody moves stuff, I’ll be involved. That is what my degree was going to be in if I finished college.

He and my mom found this army transportation school that was really phenomenal, and when my draft number came up I signed up for the extra year and got this class.

In basic we took a lot of tests and they said to three of us we could go to OCS (Officer Candidate School). All of us said, cool, let’s do it. We’re 19 years old and stupid. They said what do you want to be? I said I wanted transportation. But you also had to pick three and one had to be a combat arms for OCS, and I picked artillery. Infantry would be nuts, in a tank I’d be a big target, and I can’t swing a hammer so Combat Engineer was out. Artillery was the only thing left. But I never heard from them and they sent me to the transportation AIT instead. (Advanced Individual Training)

The transportation school was really cool, it was my dream job. When I graduated I asked, now what about Officer Candidate School? And they said, not now, you’re going to Vietnam, something I did not want to do. I said to my uncle, “Old man, I’m getting killed.”

Well low and behold I was stationed in downtown Saigon and living in a hotel. I took a cab to work most days on the Saigon docks, a huge international harbor. I worked with the civilian ships, cargo ships that came into Vietnam every day. I controlled a lot of cargo. I had a job that was just phenomenal. That’s the good news.

The bad news was when the TET offensive of 1968 hit in late January there was no defense of the city. I got caught down in the harbor area with no weapon. It was locked up in some armory in the basement of the hotel.

The only people defending the city were the MPs, and they were worried about police stations, radio stations, the embassy and things like that. There were two sets of docks, the military docks and the civilian docks. All the military support went to the military docks which were across the canal and down the way. I was about six blocks from the embassy, and nobody cared that there were half a dozen of us down at the docks with snipers firing at us and pinning us down. (North Vietnamese Army regulars were able to breach the outer walls of the U.S. embassy.) I hid under a truck for two days.

The MPs finally rescued us, got us our weapons and put us on the roof of our hotel with orders to guard the hotel. That went on for two weeks and was my war experience as an enlisted guy.

February, 1968 following TET offensive - Bud on the roof of his Saigon hotel overlooking Saigon River and docks
February, 1968 following TET offensive –
Bud on the roof of his Saigon hotel overlooking Saigon River and docks

Then about five months into that tour I’m working the night shift, and during the afternoon while I was asleep, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “The CO wants to see you, you’ve got orders to go home.”

I went to the CO’s office and he said, “You’ve got orders for OCS. You can either accept or decline them, but you’ve got to be out of here in 24 hours. You have to decide right now.” At that point I had survived TET, but taxis were still getting blown up, restaurants were still getting blown up, stuff was happening all the time that was kind of frightening. I figured, here’s a chance to go home.

I had no idea what being an officer meant, except that every officer I knew stayed in a better hotel than I did. I figured I’d come back a transportation officer and stay in a better hotel. It was not until my second week of OCS at Ft. Sill that I learned we were going to be forward observers. Remember I did not go to an artillery AIT. I went from being a clerk in Saigon straight into OCS. I did not know one end of a howitzer from another. I didn’t know a 105 from an 8 inch from a 175. They may have been Polish words for all they meant to me.

How To Sneak Up On A Chicken

When I graduated from OCS they gave me three sets of orders:

1. You are a second lieutenant

2. You’re going to Vietnam again, and

3. Oh by the way, you’re first going to school in Panama to be a jungle expert.

So I went through some crazy, nasty school down in Panama to learn how to make the jungle my friend. This was a very famous jungle school but a weird place. The course was a little over two weeks. They taught me how to eat rat meat, bugs and snakes, and how to sneak up on a chicken. If you grew up rural you know that is not an easy thing to do. You move like a snake, slowly slithering along the ground on your stomach. It was the neatest thing, and we practiced on real chickens.

Vietnam #2

 From Panama I went straight to Vietnam in early January 1969, attended forward observer school up in An Khe, and then got assigned to Alpha Battery, 5/27 Artillery as an FO. I did not see much of Alpha Battery because I was always out with the infantry. I went in to get my mail and left as soon as I could. Every time I passed through Alpha something was screwed up. The rumor was they tried to kill their First Sergeant. During a night fire mission he wouldn’t come out of his bunker so someone drove an ammo truck into it and caved it in. It did not kill him, just broke his leg good. Another time the battery commander got relieved, I don’t know for what. The place was a nightmare.

My first deployment was with the 53rd ARVN Regiment (South Vietnamese regulars) around Di Linh up in the Highlands (a fifty mile chopper ride straight north from Phan Thiet). But first I stop at our Charlie Battery, which is at a permanent firebase outside Dalat (another forty mile ride northeast of Di Linh). Dalat is a beautiful old French city. Our battalion forward is there, in a two story colonial building, and also has a basketball court. So I’m there playing basketball and all of a sudden I hear WUMP WUMP – and I look around and I am the only one on the basketball court. I’m standing there by myself with a basketball in my hand. I did not know those were incoming mortars until guys started yelling at me. I could have been killed my first week in country.

I was with the 53rd ARVNs for four months. It took a while to adapt to being one of only two guys – me and my radio operator – who’s American with all these Vietnamese guys. You start by being afraid to go to sleep, because you don’t know these guys, are they going to abandon you? Or maybe they’re Viet Cong in disguise? Are you going to get killed by them? It goes from that to you get in a contact or two and you do some brilliant artillery adjustment and all of the sudden it’s like you walk on water.

I could not speak the language. But my first tour had been working with the Vietnamese civilians. So I picked up some there and now I’m quickly learning more. Often I knew what they were saying, but they didn’t know I knew. There usually was a person who spoke enough English to get through what we had to do. It went from, Who is this white man? to being an integral part of the team, and I’m loving it.

With the ARVNs

Out with the 53rd ARVN forces
Out with the 53rd ARVN forces

All of a sudden they offer me a batman, like an English type servant who would carry my rucksack, fix my meals and clean my boots. So now I’m a good guy and they’re watching over me. I did not accept the batman as a servant, however he acted as my personal bodyguard.

It wasn’t easy with the ARVNs. I would say that 30% of the time we were out of 105 howitzer range. When you’re under attack a 105 howitzer could get a first round out to you almost instantly. The fastest artillery round we could get from the big 175 mm or 8 inch howitzers took five, six, seven or even ten minutes. And then adjusting fire was a big deal, on top of that the 175 did not shoot straight. Being out of range of the 105’s was crazy, but just part of the ARVN deal.

Now the American units always brought a couple of 105s with them if they were out of range of one of the permanent bases at Dalat, or LZ Sherry or the howitzers at the end of LZ Betty. They would take two guns out and bring them along and drop them someplace close.

The ARVNs were second-class citizens as far as the Americans were concerned. But my ARVNs were phenomenal. In many cases they were better warriors than the 101st Infantry that I served with later in my tour. I would go to battle with my ARVNs in a minute. My guys did stuff right, they were stealth, they were fearless. And we were one. However, not for one minute am I besmirching my 101st guys, don’t misunderstand.

Bud Domagata – Forward Observer – Part One

The Whole Story

Bud saw three successive TET offensives: 1968, 69 and 70. On his first tour as an enlisted soldier, the infamous 68 TET had him pinned down without a weapon for two days under a truck on the docks of Saigon. This tour lasted just five months. Bud’s second tour as an officer lasted over a year and a half. He marched as a forward observer calling in artillery fire with the 53rd South Vietnamese Army Regiment for four months, and then five months with the 3/506 Airborne Infantry. Nine months was a long time for an officer to be in the field as a forward observer. Ordinarily he would have been pulled out of the field back to a job in a battery or the rear. Seeing no end in sight to his field assignment and tired of sleeping in the jungle with rats, blood sucking creatures and marauding Viet Cong, Bud extended his tour in Vietnam in order rotate to become an air observer. He still called in artillery fire for ground forces, but now from a little two-seat airplane. Of all places to be in Vietnam, in the air was one of the worst, but Bud’s feeling was, “They can shoot at me in the air now instead of on the ground, but at least I’ll have a clean bed to sleep in at night.”

Lt. Domagata beside his Cessna O-1 Birddog Called a Seahorse for its radio handle
Lt. Domagata beside his Cessna O-1 Birddog
Called a Seahorse for its radio handle

Bud faced multiple dangers in Vietnam, yet he remembers only a handful of incidents. He relies instead on the testimony of others whom he does not remember either. It’s not that Bud has a poor memory. He retains an iron grasp of places, equipment, dates, military units and a host of logistical detail. It’s the fighting he’s forgotten.

 I don’t remember any battle. I do not remember a specific time shooting at anybody. I do not remember a single bullet fired in anger. Never. None. Zero. Not one. With one exception I don’t remember calling in artillery on an enemy. The same thing while flying with the Seahorse pilots. One of the pilots contacted me and said you got to come to our reunion. So this past year I went to the Seahorse reunion. Two pilots are talking about us flying into heavy machine-gun fire and getting the plane all shot up. They were very specific about times and places. One was up at Song Mao, flying into machine gun fire. Another one was right outside of LZ Betty, another situation where we are getting fired at by multiple guns back and forth. The pilots knew exactly how, when and where. I had no recollection. They said, “You were the artillery guy in the back seat. We know what you were doing, you were calling in the artillery, and we were screaming over the radio.”

The stories Bud does remember are like nuggets catching a spark in the dark. But you can’t help wondering, what’s in the shadows that could tell us more of this soldier? There’s a hint of an answer in a story set well after Vietnam. So let’s begin at the end.

Found and Unforgotten

Hank Parker and a couple guys found me on the Internet. I start getting bombarded with, “You’ve got to go to the reunion, there’s no way you are going to miss this. (Reunion of the 3/506 Infantry) We are going to kidnap you.”

“First of all, I don’t know who you are and why are you saying this stuff to me?”

Then this guy named Hank Parker starts telling me stories about all the things that we did together, and I say, “I do not know you, Hank.”

Hank says to me, “No, we did all that stuff. And you had a dog that was always with you.”

“You are out of your mind. I never had a dog.”

So he sends me pictures of me with the dog.

Lt. Domagata with his puppy
Lt. Domagata with his puppy

It’s not just one picture, he sends several. Okay, he’s got pictures of me and I am believing he is a real guy and I should know him. But I don’t know him; I don’t remember him.

My wife says, “You have never been to one of these things, so go, get it out of your system.”

I go to the reunion in Reno, I fly out, and there’s this group of guys telling all these war stories. They got more booze in the hospitality room than three taverns. These guys are hammering it down, laughing, maps out, pictures, books, and I am not connecting with anybody. I look at the books, and at the pictures, and I remember the places but I have not connected with anybody.

For two days I am still not connecting with anybody, so Saturday I plan to catch a plane out of there. But they tell me, “You have been here this long, you are not going home, you are staying another day. There’s a big banquet tonight where all the ladies are dressing up and there’s going to be dancing along with the best meal you can imagine. You gotta stay, because we won’t let you leave.”

That evening right after the dinner there were some thank-you’s, awards and recognitions. They read a document about the extraordinary actions of a medic who I had met earlier in the day. He was just the humblest guy, a postal carrier, quiet guy, nice guy. They read off two pages of names, maybe 30 guys that he had saved. And for each guy that he saved there was a little story. Everybody is crying, and they call him up, and they give him an eagle and a plaque with his name engraved on it and a saying from the Band of Brothers, that Shakespeare quote, with his dates in Vietnam. I got chills.

Then they said, “We got one more.” And I saw another eagle up there. They started reading this document about a former forward observer and then called my name. My mind is racing. I am red. I am sweating. They said, “Lieutenant Bud Domagata, come up here and get this eagle.” I went up there and I said, “You know, this is the greatest honor of my life. But I do not remember all this stuff that you just said about me, and I don’t remember any of you guys.”

They were all standing up and said, “We remember you, Bud.”

I thought to myself, this sucks, because I don’t remember any of them. Not a one of them. Not one!

I take the eagle home and put it on the TV stand with the greatest pride.


Our daughter is back from college and is sitting there watching TV. She looks up and says, “Dad, that chicken is staring at me.”


The 3/506 Airborne Infantry shoulder patch features an eagle’s head, leading to the nickname “Screaming Eagles.”

The book “Band of Brothers” and subsequent TV series were about the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

The infantry placed a high value on a good forward observer, often claiming he saved as many lives as a medic. It’s not a surprise the 3/506 honored Bud beside one of their medics.