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War Stories

What D Troop, 3/4 Cav Meant to me

Bill Hull

Bill's tells of the great influence that D Troop has had on his life and names some of those who helped him the most

What I take pride in is the ethics and maturity I learned/gained from the troop, and it's leadership. I was a 19 year old kid from a very dysfunctional family when I was assigned to D Troop in mid July 1965. Captain Frank Delvy had just taken command of the troop which was in it's 'build up phase'.

CPT DELVY was an impressive figure, or maybe it was just that he was my first commanding officer. I recall my 'in brief' from him; He stated that there were a few rules/principles in his unit the first was, "Personal Concern = Continued Employment". He expected leaders at all levels to be personally concerned about their subordinates and peers alike. He explained that none of his NCOs or officers could accomplish anything if the lowest private didn't accomplish his job. His second was that we all lived by the same rules; if a private did push up for having his hands in his pockets, a captain did push ups for having his hands in his pocket. He explained that the unit's success depended upon each and every one of us doing our job from the mail clerk, cooks, supply, infantry, pilots to the commander. We succeeded or failed together. It wasn't that he made us feel 'welcome' more that he made us feel part of something. He made a big point of 'He took care of his people and his people took care of him, that was his key to success.

Then there was SSG GRAZIANO. Initially he was a bit imposing but I learned from him that he saw his job as to take care of HIS people, that meant the whole unit, every man in it. For us supply clerks it meant that his job was to train us to do his job, to replace him if needed. We learned by rote but were expected to think. I won't say that we broke any 'rules' but we did bend some to accomplish the mission, to get what the unit needed. Maybe that is where I learned the art of 'scrounging'. SSG GRAZIANO prided himself in taking care of the unit and the people in it.

1SG PETTY was a good match for Capt Delvy. Both were harsh, fair and demanding. Fast to pat you on the back or put a boot where it would do the most good. I think from them I learned the importance of dependability; you always knew where you stood with 1SG PETTY and that as long as you did your best and took reasonability for your actions, he would have your back. Cross him and you would pay for it. He had high standards both on duty and off duty. You were a member of D TROOP and you did not discredit D TROOP. 

I grew up fast in D Troop and learned that I was always a part of something in life. It may be a job, a family or a society and I had a responsibility to those as much as I depended or expected from them. As an individual I made a difference, positive or negative by my actions and conduct. In Vietnam it became apparent that those lessons could mean that people lived or died because of what I did or didn't do.

I finally retired from the Army in 1999. What I take the most pride in is the people I helped/taught and what I passed on. Almost every one of my subordinates left the service surpassing me. I still have some of them from over 20 years past calling just to talk over problems and concerns. I guess to me the true concept of mortality is knowing that the lessons I learned from those men,the Delvy's, Petty's and Graziano's, I passed on and are being passed on.
  - Bill Hull, SSG U.S.Army (Retired)