Frank Condon joined the United States Army in the 1940s. He was assigned to the Big Red One, the 1st Infantry Division and went ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He arrived in Vietnam in early November 1967 and was assigned to Company C, 720th MP Battalion at Long Bien. The unit had responsibility for convoy protection during its daily run between Long Bien and Tay Ninh. The unit also was responsible for an area called the Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) south of Long Bien in which they ran daily patrols, night ambush patrols and protected a village.
I arrived in the unit a couple of weeks after Sgt. First Class Condon, who was known as “Pappy.” Sometime in May 1968, Pappy told me they were interviewing for a job at 18th MP Brigade headquarters and he had to send several people. He asked if I would be interested and I said I would give it a shot.
I was selected and began work in the SIR Section, which received intelligence reports and reports of all felony crimes in all U.S. Army units in Vietnam. These were compiled into briefings for the commanding generals of the 18th MP Brigade, 2nd Field Force commanding general and U.S. Army, Republic of Vietnam commanding general.
On the afternoon of June 6, 1968, I was on duty when we heard a large explosion. I went outside and saw a plume of smoke in the TAOR and thought, “Damn, it’s about time Pappy checked the TAOR.” A few minutes later we received a call that Pappy and his driver had been killed in the explosion.
I spent part of every year between August 1965 and May 1971 in Vietnam, and every day something triggers a memory of Pappy or many others I knew who we lost over there, but I always remember Pappy because he survived D-Day on Omaha Beach.
Raymond E. Fulton