Part Two- Duffys at The Inn at Warm Springs
In the first of this pair of stories we heard from a few of the Duffys holding a reunion at the Inn at Warm Springs earlier this month. Duffys is how 05Ds, were referred to, and Jack Kiroz talked about their role in countless military operations.
“We were not front line troops. We supported everybody in the intelligence field. We gave them what they needed to be able to do their mission.”
Through radio fingerprinting these units were able to locate parts of other armies, and in some cases a “unit thought to be defunct”.
Eliseo Lujan described a time when he received such a signal. A Duffy from another unit told him
“Oh, that’s a CAD1 hit. And what it turned out to be was a Chinese unit, way in the Western part of China that was transmitting at a very low level, that we had thought had actually been disseminated, or disbanded after Korea, but it was still there.”
Throughout conflicts and cold war the goal was always to keep gathering data, and keep tabs on where any opposing forces were.
Again Jack Kiroz,
“I went in the army in 1964, and I retired in 1993. The military intelligence field is extremely stressful. The schools are not physical; they’re more mental. The stress that can be put on you in the school, let alone when you actually get out and do your job, it’s just unbelievable. The decisions that you make are life and death for people; and you don’t have time to sit there and think about it. You do your job; you get your results, and people act on it at that point.” For those enjoying the reunion, time and distance from when they were recruited, helps add a little humor and humility to some memories.
Walter Hutchins :
“This was era when we still had the draft. And most of the young enlisted personnel, they were college drop-outs, people that were motivated by the draft, not to end up in the infantry. And the recruiters told a great story. You know ‘we’ll fit you for a cloak and dagger’ (‘That was true’) we’ll do clandestine kind of things. And most of all there’s no Army Security agency in Vietnam. Well, ‘where do I sign up?’. ‘Well, you sign up for four years’. “yeah, I’m going to put one over on the army. I’m not going to spend two years in the infantry. I’m going to be a spy.”
Most of the young men, and eventually women, who were trained to read radio signals for direction finding were stationed in remote places, and many of those at the recent reunion had post-military careers in security monitoring, and intelligence too.
Jack talked about some of his experiences after his time at Fort Blevens.
“I received additional training in what they called RDuf, airborne radio direction finding. And we flew around; we weren’t supersonic; we weren’t twenty thousand feet in the air. We were maybe five, six-hundred feet over the jungle, and we were a very slow moving plane and we made a very nice target. We got a lot of bullet holes in us every now and then.”
Tom Richardson of Bacova, the reunion organizer for 2019, summed up why it’s important to recall and document things that happened during that era, and to honor the people who were:
“in the shadows, literally worked in the shadows, without any kind of recognition, didn’t want any recognition, and certainly didn’t get much recognition, at least at the time. And I think it’s just incredible some of the things that were done, by relatively low ranking people in our military. It wasn’t the generals that came up with this. It wasn’t the colonels. A lot of times it’s the lonely PFC.”
For more information about the Duffys, and their every-other-year reunions, please call, 839-2589.