Bolandger... a legend??

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Niner Alpha
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Bolandger... a legend??

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Sep 26, 2003 11:54 pm

There was a Sgt. from 69 and 70 and maybe before 69, named Bolandger, Bolander, something like, who was the arty FO for Echo in 69. The legend was, that he had a Vietnamese wife in a ville outside of the gates of whatever firebase. His "wife" according to legend, was murdered by the VC. That made him a little "crazy" and he kept re-uping to get revenge.

I remember, over the arty radio, hearing him direct arty in Cambodia after his "recon Sgt." was killed. He was wounded afterwards and went back to the world.

Anybody clear up this mystery for me? Anybody remember his real name or the real story? Anybody know what ultimately happened to him? Could he see this site and answer the question himself?
Last edited by Niner Alpha on Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sgt. Ralph Bolander

Postby Niner Delta » Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:53 am

Not sure how this got posted under my name, but not a problem as long as you know that I didn't write it, nor do I know John Bayer.



Robert,
Ralph Bolander was my first recon sergeant and broke me in when I joined Delta Company in Februrary '70.
Sgt. Bo did tell me about the VC killing his wife, and it did appear that he was bent on revenge. I think he had been in country for 3 of the past 4 years (or something like that). He also talked about walking point with a shotgun (never saw him do it, but I think other grunts confirmed that). Crazy or not, Bolander helped me get squared away as an FO. Unlike some new butter bars, I was more than willing to learn from a guy who had beaucoup field time.
John Bayer
Last edited by Niner Delta on Mon May 03, 2010 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sgt. Ralph Bolander

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Sep 29, 2003 9:17 am

Thanks John for filling me in. I guess then Bolander wasn't the FO for Echo until sometime in 70 then. I remember listening on the radio in Cambodia when Echo got into a fight and Donald OBrien was hit. I will never forget Bolanders voice as he directed arty that day. I could hear both the tears and anger in his voice. Judging by the Wall information it was on May 11, 1970.
Last edited by Niner Alpha on Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
echo66
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Legend of the 9th DIV and the Green Berets

Postby echo66 » Sat Oct 18, 2003 1:37 pm

On the second week of March,1970 the Black Team of the Recon Platoon had left FSB Chamberlin and got on Patrol Boat Rivers and went to the Tra Cu navy base at the junction of the Vam Co Dong River and Bo Bo Canel.As we where going to the navy TOC to find out our mission for the night,I ran into one of my Ranger buddies who was in charge of the local Special Forces detachment.As we were talking about the local AO SSG Bolander walked by wearing his tiger stripe fatigues that he always wore.the 1lt asked me is that "the SSG Bolander".I stated yes and he gave me a brief history of BO. SSG Bolander was on one of the orginal A Teams of the 5th Special Forces that went over the pond in 1965 and served in II Corp.BO enjoyed being a Green Beret and kept extending his tour ,.After about 2 1/2 years he fell in love with a local Montagnard lady who was a widow because her husband had been killed by the NVA months before. The Army would not let him get married ,but the local priest gladly did and BO also adopted his six month old stepson.A few weeks later his A Team was on a S AND D mission about 30 klicks from the FSB/village when they were alerted that the village was under attack.It took them over a hour to get the slicks in and take them back to the village and when they arrived the majority of the civilians had been killed along with BO's wife and stepson.BO finished his third year in Vietnam and volunteered to go to Germany and was assigned to an Artillery Batalion. After a few weeks in his BN in a morning formation a dumb ass 2LT chewed him out for not having spit shined boots.BO lost his temper and knocked him out with one punch. The rumor was that one of the big wigs in the chain of command had served with BO in Vietnam ,and like the rest of us that had served with him ,owed him a favor. BO was given the choice of staying in Germany and being court martailed or immediately volunteer for Korea or Vietnam and the paper work would get lost in the shuffle. By our luck he chose Vietnam and was assigned to the 9th DIV. Each A team menber in the SF had to have 2 MOS's and that is why BO always carried the medical bag in the field.We considered him to critical to be pointman plus he had to carry the PRC25 ,so most of the time he pulled rear security. On nights with recent moon light he carried a M-16 with a scope he had acquired from the CIA.When the moon went down he carried the 12 guage shotgun which saved a couple of the Black Team one night.

In Cambodia SP4 Obrien was KIA as the recon platoon was attacking a NVA compound.The gunships were called back in and BO along with SSG Ballard went in to to retrive SP4 Obrien.The enemy fire power was so intense that all they could do was get the M16 and change the freguency on the PRC-25.Bo was wounded and his fatigue shirt was literally shot off.One of the gunships was shot up so bad it had to make an emergency landing as soon as it crossed the border.A resuply chopper from the 3rd BDE brought us in ammo and water and took so many rounds it barely made it back to Gettsburg and was retrived by a Flying Crane.We were told to withdraw a couple klicks because the F-4s were on the way. One platoon from C CO moved 400 meters to our SE and gave us enough firepower to withdraw. After we had moved a half a klick a Brigadier General from the 25th DIV brought in his Huey to pick up BO and he refused to get on the chopper because he wanted to stay till we exracted his fellow 13E the next morning. With the help of our medic ,myself,and the General's Aide (1LT) we finally got him on the chopper and he was taken to FSB Seminole to be treated before the Medevac arrived. About 3 hours later at the II Field Force Hospital he took 17 stitches in his right arm.A few days later he reported to MG Bautz,commander of the 25th DIV,and was awarded the Silver Star along with another of his numerous Purple Heart's.

In the first week of June the Recon platoon was inserted by the slicks 7 klicks NW OF Chamberlin to seach the bodies of the NVA that had just been killed by the gunships.After hitting the LZ and moving 100 meters our sniper was wounded by a drip wire booby trap and medevaced.We moved another 100 meters and BO hit a point detnodated booby trap. As soon as LTC Gearin found out that SSG Bolander was the one wounded he brought in the CandC to pick him up.The FO(CPT) leaped off the bird helped get BO on the Huey.He was flown ASAP to the hospital at Cu Chi. When we got out of the field next morning .BO was in Japan going through major surgrey. We went through his foot locker and mailed all of them to his home address,especially the SKS he captured in Cambodia. The last I heard he was on his way of becoming a US Forrest Ranger due to being medically discharged.

All of us in the Recon Platoon was personally saved by BO at least once ,if not numerous times .Of all the soldiers
that I served with in the 9th and Americal Divisions,SSG Ralph Bolander was bravest of the brave.
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Re: Legend of the 9th DIV and the Green Berets

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Oct 18, 2003 8:12 pm

Thanks for filling in "the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey used to say. A well written and full report. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort. Bolander is a man worth remembering, as your story points out.

Echo66, would you mind saying who you are?
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Re: Bolandger... a legend??

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:39 pm

This was a pretty good string. Thought I'd bump it to the top.

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