|Birth: ||Nov. 30, 1948|
|Death: ||Jun. 3, 2004|
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GEN Fred Keith Mahaffey Battalion Commander, Command and Control
Jon Jay Coddington
Marvin J Covington
Martin Rudy Duran Jr
William David Gouger Jr KIA, Vietnam
Ronald S. Muhlbaier
David Judson Needhan
Willie Allen Stallings, CO, Co E, 2nd Bn, 60th Inf
SGT, Company E,
60th Infantry Regiment,
9th Infantry Division
Earl walked point for this unit. Members of the 1968-1969 version of this platoon were for the most part handpicked by then Platoon Sergeant SFC Mark Brockway and then Battalion Commander LTC Fred Keith Mahaffey who envisioned this platoon as a "super infantry platoon". The platoon initiated contact with the enemy and when the enemy responded, they then were engaged by this platoon while Command and Control above (Mahaffey) delivered a devastating airmobile insertion of combat troops, artillery fire, air cavalry UH-1 helicopter gunships and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. The use of this unit was unique and highly effective and made this a elite and highly decorated platoon. The execution of this order of battle was so precise that the result was over 90 percent of the 2d Battalion 60th Infantry engagements were over within 10 to 30 minutes as a result of the speed of the operation and the aggressive attitude of the troops. The insertion of troops was a tactic called "jitterbugging" and perfected by Mahaffey. When most successful jitterbugging provided an opportunity for airmobile encirclement of a Viet Cong battalion or company. The rapid build-up of combat power to surround and destroy an enemy force was known variously as "piling-on" or establishing a seal. Mahaffey was very skilled in the use of airmobile assets and refined the operations of the battalion until in Long An Province insertions were made no farther from the target than 100 meters and in some instances as close as 15 meters. This was achieved by helicopters screaming into battle flying at speeds approaching 140 mph, hugging the terrain and treetops a few feet below to achieve the delivery of total surprise. The platoon did not wear steel pots or flak jackets, like the rest of the Battalion. They wore soft hats, in most cases camouflage berets, and normally would be carrying 25-30 magazines of 5.56mm ammo per man, frag grenades, smoke grenades, concussion grenades, hand flares, star cluster flares, atleast two 40mm grenade launchers, M60 machine gun, Light Anti-Tank Weapon(LAW), CS gas grenades and at least three radios. For the most part they traveled light, fast and heavily armed. Upon arrival of support troops, the Recon Platoon continued to engage the enemy and applying pressure as the piling on took place, providing precise coordinates for the attack helicopters, helicopter gunships and artillery fire. Doing so, they were able to avoid considerable losses due to "friendly fire". The camouflage berets these individuals wore in combat was a great source of pride and LTC Mahaffey was the individual that made them the signature of this platoon.
Combat Infantry Badge
Bronze Star w/V device and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal w/V device
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm 1968
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palm 1969
30 total Awards and Decorations
"One hundred pounds of romping stomping hell mounted in a pair of combat boots." Quoted from SGM(Ret) Mark Brockway.
When Earl returned from Vietnam, he touched down at Dallas Love Field on 23 Aug 1969. To the best of my knowledge, that was the last flight he was ever on. After returning from Vietnam, Earl was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and trained Infantry AIT soldiers in hand to hand combat until his service obligation was up. He lived almost 35 more years and East Texas was always home. He hung his hat in Tyler, Frankston, Jacksonville and for a short time, El Paso.
Many times, infantry platoons assigned newbies to walk point as they were considered expendable. Earl's platoon was not a typical platoon however and the position was one of trust and it was a badge of honor among those that were placed in that position.
The Battalion Commander who was predecesor to LTC Mahaffey was LTC James Lindsay, now GEN (Retired, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_J._Lindsay for his biographical material.
The Battalion Commander who succeeded LTC Mahaffey was LTC Gregory "Matt" Dillon, now COL (Retired), see http://www.taps.org/uploadedfiles/TAPS_FRIENDS/PDFS/
Colonel%20Gregory%20P%20Dillon%20bio.pdf for his biographical material.
Believed to be a 2nd cousin, 6 times removed of legendary frontiersman Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson
William David Fowler (1918 - 1963)
Carol Jo Jones Fowler Armstrong (1929 - 1993)
Plot: Section 4, Row 22, Plot 30
Created by: Robert Fowler
Record added: Jun 14, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38324363