USMC, 1st Radio Battalion, Vietnam Veterans

Stories - Pensacola

Rob Charnell - Major O'Brien - Summer, 1968
I only remember the XO of 1st Radio Bn when I was there from June'69 til June '70.  Major Robert O'Brien was the XO, and I knew him from Company 'K' at Pensacola during my 2571 training in 1968.  I had just gotten my orders and was suppose to go to Edsel Scotland for a 2-year tour.

I remember he brought me into his office right before I was to go home on leave (June '68).   I was ecstatic and didn't know how I got that kind of assignment.  Major O'Brien told me that I scored high on the language tests while at boot camp and they wanted to reassign me to the Defense Language Institute at Monterey for 37 weeks.  I immediately conjured up thoughts of Russian or Mandarin Chinese, since I already was familiar (a little) with Spanish, Latin, and German.  He told me North Vietnamese, and my jaw dropped.  'North Vietnamese?', I said.  'Where am I going? North Vietnam?'  Needless to say I was very humbled at that particular moment.

We parted ways, but I saw him again in DaNang at the 1st Radio Bn, 3rd MAF.  I don't remember the Lt. Col.'s name who was our CO at the time.  I always liked Major O'Brien and thought he was a straight shooter with me.