“The Eyes And Ears Of The Jungle”: Missions With N Company Rangers In Vietnam

Regan Kelly


Regan Kelly grew up in Mamaroneck, New York, and has lived there all his life. His father worked at the Post Office after serving under Patton during World War II, and his mother was a homemaker. In high school, Regan avidly supported the Soldiers serving in Vietnam, and when he was able, he volunteered for the draft. When he received his draft notice, he acted surprised so that his mother, who was not in favor of him joining the service, would not know that he had volunteered. He relished basic training at Ft. Jackson. He enjoyed being outside and meeting new people from other parts of the country, and, contrary to conventional wisdom, he volunteered for everything. Advanced training was at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, where he learned Morse Code. He then completed Airborne School, later proposing to his wife with an airborne ring. He was assigned to B Company, 75th Infantry at Ft. Carson, Colorado, one of the strategic reserve Ranger companies, focused on cold weather training and designated to support operations in Europe. He remembers hiking in the snow in Colorado and drinking Coors beer. After spending nearly a year at Ft. Carson, he came up on levy for Vietnam, but before he deployed he took part in some war games where the highlight for him was capturing another unit. Arriving in Vietnam, he was assigned to I Field Force, but, being airborne qualified, he quickly got his orders changed to N Company Rangers, assigned to the 173rd Airborne. Prior to joining Oscar Team, he had to be interviewed and selected by the current members. He describes operations along the I Corps and II Corps border, noting that he liked the jungle and the warm weather. He formed very close bonds with his team, which included a Cambodian scout. His team conducted reconnaissance and hunter / killer missions, and even explored unoccupied NVA basecamps and hospitals. He did not want to leave Vietnam, but when he came home, he and Liz married. After leaving the military, he worked as a firefighter, a police officer, and an EMT. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his service in the Army, and his life after the military. He describes preparing for and conducting missions in Vietnam while highlighting specific and noteworthy escapades. He recalls several of the people he served with and shares examples of the camaraderie he felt in Vietnam. He mentions both World Trade Center bombings, in 1993 and the attack on September 11, 2001, detailing his efforts on the subsequent recovery missions. At the end of the interview, he reflects on his service and states his belief that you should help and teach others, serve your community, and have faith.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 18 November 2022


name Regan Kelly
service Signal Infantry
unit B Company, 75th Infantry; N Company 75th Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade
specialty N Company Rangers; Police; Fire; EMS
service dates 1969 1971