“You Gotta Relate To The Troops”: Leading Rakkasans In Vietnam

Harvey D. Watson


COL(R) Harvey Watson was drafted into the Army in 1966. After Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, he completed Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned into the Infantry. Early in his career, he served as an Instructor in the Florida Ranger Camp, and he considered Ranger School the best training for Vietnam. Especially helpful was training on giving orders, maintaining security, and learning all the important things leaders need to constantly check. In 1968, he deployed to Vietnam, and was assigned to D Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. At that time, the Rakkasans were assigned to Cu Chi in support of the 25th Infantry Division. During this interview, he discusses his training prior to deploying to Vietnam and his operational experiences while deployed. He highlights two battles he was in, one on September 17, 1968, and another in October 1968. In September, near Fire Base Pope, his unit was attacked by a full battalion of enemy sappers. During the October attack, his unit was attacking an enemy force defending a hamlet. Finally, he recalls several of the Soldiers he served with, and their actions during the battles.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Camaraderie Morale Courage Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 16 March 2019


name Harvey D. Watson
service Infantry
unit D Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment; 1-36 Infantry, 3rd Armored Division; 197th Infantry Brigade
specialty PhD in Research Psychology
service dates 1966 1993