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Smither, James (Interviewer)

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Spaulding, Fred

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Fred Spaulding was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in April 1940. After high school, Spaulding waited a year before enlisting. Initially rejected by his first choice, the Marine Corps, Spaulding enlisted in the Army and went to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training then to Fort Benning, Georgia for advanced training. Once his initial enlistment ended, Spaulding left the Army but soon returned and received a deployment to Korea to serve first as part of the U.N. honor guard in Seoul then as part of the newly-formed 8th Army honor guard. While with the 8th Army honor guard, Spaulding spent in brief period in Vietnam as an advisor. Following Korea, Spaulding returned to the United States and joined the 82nd Airborne Division. While with the 82nd Airborne, Spaulding participated in the invasion and occupation of the Dominican Republic. Eventually, Spaulding attended OCS at Fort Benning, graduating in 1967, after which he joined the Special Forces and attended language school in Monterey, California before joining a Special Forces group based on Okinawa. While on Okinawa, Spaulding took part in several missions to Vietnam. Following Okinawa, in order for Spaulding to advance up the career ladder, he needed a company-level command, so he received an assignment to the 101st Airborne. Once he finished his time as a company commander, Spaulding first moved to S-3 at the battalion level then S-3 at the brigade level. While at the brigade level, Spaulding participated in the operations in and around Firebase Ripcord, including oversea the evacuation of the firebase. Once his tour in Vietnam ended, Spaulding returned to the United States expecting to continue up the career ladder. However, because he a disagreement with the officer in-charge of officer personnel at the Pentagon, who happened to be the commander of the 101st Airborne, Spaulding instead received discharge papers. After spending several years in the National Guard and Army Reserves, Spaulding eventually rejoined the Regular Army, finally retiring in June 1987.

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Veterans History Project Collection, (RHC-27)