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Major Sidney T. Jordan, USA Retired



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Captain Sidney Jordan USA


Captain Sidney T. Jordan recognized for professionalism and heroism  in Vietnam, 1967

My Personal experiences in the Korean and Viet Nam Wars

My journey began the day I enlisted in the US Army on September 11th, 1947 at Eglin Air Field, Florida. I along with more than a hundred  enlistees were loaded on a passenger train headed for Basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. We were separated by race because there were no integrated units in the services at that time.      My basic training was completed in November,1947. Our entire basic training Company was loaded on a troop train taking us to Oakland, California for further assignment. It was a two-day train trip to Oakland. Upon arrival, we all were transported by buses to Pittsburgh, California for our subsequent assignments at the Camp Stoneman US Army Replacement and Processing Center. We were told that some of us would be going to Japan, and some would be going to South Korea. South Korea was at this time an occupational country by the United States.  I, along with the majority of my basic training group,  were assigned to Inchon, South Korea. Upon arrival in country we were all assigned to the 14th Transportation Battalion.     We were all trained to be truck drivers that would replace those drivers that had served their tour time. We were trained and assumed our assignments of providing transportation services to the American occupation forces.

The End of American Occupation of South Korea

In early 1949, all American occupation forces were ordered out of Korea. Those troops that had been in Korea long enough to have their tours completed or nearly complete were rotated back to the United States.   Since my group only had a few months in country we were sent to Japan to complete our tour. We were assigned to the Yokohama Motor Command (YMC)

Our mission was the same as it was in Korea...provide transportation service to all military services as well as Department of Army Civilians (DAC) personnel throughout the Yokohama Motor Command (YMC)  We were enjoying freedom and liberty available to us with Japanese Nationals we had establish relationship withs.  

Life was good, compared to the assignment in Inchon, Korea. However, our lives would be changed drastically due to the hostile event that took place on June 25, 1950.

Yokohama Motor Command Alerted for Deployment

 On June 25, 1950, more than 100,000 North Korean Peoples Army Troops launched a surprise attack south of the 38th Parallel. President Harry Truman intervened and committed American forces to aid the South Korean Government.

Yokohama Motor Command was placed on alert for preparation of movement. Overnight we were augmented with additional troops, and specialized rolling stock and loaded onto flatbed train cars. We issued weapons and packed our belongings.

We were designated as a Transportation Battalion and  was loaded on a very long troop train taking our unit to  Sasebo, Japan for subsequent movement to Pusan, South Korea.

Upon arrival in Sasebo, Japan we were quickly loaded onto Navy transport  vessels and departed  for Pusan, our rolling stock and specialized equipment were loaded on separate vessels to follow the unit personnel. During the movement to Korea, the Yokohama Motor Command (YMC) was administratively redesignated to a Transportation Battalion, which would increase the number of personnel and additional equipment and rolling stock.

Before our trucks arrived in the port of Pusan,  the Battalion Commander was bombarded with requests for immediate transportation. Our highest priority request was by Graves Registration for the retrieval of casualties that were exposed in the heat of July.  I was detailed to remain at the docks and as our vehicles started to arrive, I was to dispatch them to the Grave Registration immediately. I kept eight drivers with me to drive vehicles as they arrive.

 I was then  promoted to Staff Sergeant and assigned to transportation Operations as supervisor of dispatch operations. Some of the problems we had to deal with:

  • We didn’t have helpful maps - we resorted to strip maps
  • We had to deal with dangerous terrain in order to deliver supplies ​
  • We had to forego shotgun drivers due to driver shortage
  • We experienced increased driver accident due to road and mountain driving
  • Cumulative loss of drivers due to 24/7 driving without sleep
  • We were not  able to effectively meet our mission requirement because of driver shortage.

Our Battalion Commander advised the Transportation Headquarters that the shortage of drivers is the reason we were not having success supporting the  war effort.

Unit Integration and Seamless Assimilation
The Historical Event in Pusan, Korea 1950

The morning of mid November 1950, as the Battalion was assembled to give personnel shortage reports we observed a strange sight.  We watched two tractor trailers trucks coming through the compound gate loaded with white soldiers.  This was strange to all of us because we were an all-black battalion. We only had white officers. We had not heard of any unit integration. We initially surmised that the trucks had made a bad turn and were seeking directions. The Staff Sergeant in the lead truck dismounted and approached the Battalion Commander who was receiving the shortage reports from each company. The Commander and the Sergeant appeared to be having an animated conversation. The Commander called all officers and non-commissioned officers front and center, he began by saying “Men we have a problem” these white soldiers are our replacement. One of the officers asked, What's the problem Sir? The Battalion Commander was convinced that there was no problem, and we needed every one of those men on those trucks. This was a historical and proud moment for all of us. The new replacements were warmly received, and the assimilation of our white personnel was absolutely as smooth as it could possibly be. They expressed their relief that they were in a transportation unit rather than the front lines with the Infantry or Artillery units.

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On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, committing the government to integrating the segregated military.

During World War II, the Army had become the nation's largest minority employer. 

In 1940 the U.S. population was about 131 million, 12.6 million of which was African American, or about 10 percent of the total population. During World War II, the Army had become the nation's largest minority employer. Of the 2.5 million African Americans males who registered for the draft through December 31, 1945, more than one million were inducted into the armed forces. African Americans, who constituted approximately 11 per cent of all registrants liable for service, furnished approximately this proportion of the inductees in all branches of the service except the Marine Corps. Along with thousands of black women, these inductees served in all branches of service and in all Theaters of Operations during World War II.

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My Final Assignment and Rotation

The Historical Event in Pusan, Korea 1950

 I   was put in charge of two platoon  of our best drivers to go north to small village called Hyundai, located near a non-port, deep-water area where ammunition supply ships were moored waiting to be unloaded.  The ships were ammunition ships, with 50 caliber belted ammunition for fighter planes weapons, and  howitzer ammunition for deployed artillery units.

Our mission was to drive amphibian vehicles called DUKTS out to the ships  to load with 50 caliber ammunition for the Air Force Squadron, which we were  in close proximity  to. The artillery ammunition was loaded  onto wheeled transports and transported to designated locations.   Before we could start this critical mission, all the drivers were given six hours of hands on instructions as to how to operate the DUKTS. What it really boiled down to was, it was basically a  two and a half ton truck with specific protocols for water operations. After four weeks in this operation my detail and I were relieved by a new crew, because it was rotation time for  many of us, which meant we were being sent back to the United states for separation or new assignments.          

The Exception to the Rotation Protocol 

Because the U.S. Supreme Allied Commander, General Douglas MacArthur had granted permission for American service members to marry Japanese Nationals, providing the prospective bride could pass the background check by the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division Report, I was approved as my prospective wife was cleared by the CID.  

From Pusan Korea, I was returned to Yokohama, Japan with TDY orders that allowed me 90 days to get married and be prepared when advised to travel by troop ship with my Japanese War Bride on the USS Gordon along with 99 other husbands and their Japanese brides. The ship arrived in Oakland, California in late  December 1951. We were all assigned to our new duty stations in various states.

DANANG, VIETNAM

In November 1965, I was alerted that I had been ordered to Vietnam and must be in country no later than 31 December 1965.  At the time I was assigned to the Transportation Command on Okinawa.  I was given until mid-December to clear government quarters and to arrange transportation for my family’s return to California before heading to Vietnam.

I arrived in Saigon, Vietnam December 22nd.  I was met there by my new unit’s executive officer.  He introduced himself as Major Ambercrombie, executive officer of the Transportation Management Agency for Region III.   He told me that he had a C-130 ready to take us to Danang, Vietnam where our headquarters was located.  He let me know I would be briefed on my new assignment when we landed.

Briefing and Assignment

When we arrived in Danang, we walked a short distance to a large hangar where inside there was a small building office.  Inside, Major Ambercrombie was waiting for me to explain my assignment and mission.

He said, Captain Jordan you are assigned as the Air Traffic Coordinating Officer (ATCO) for Danang Air Force Base effective immediately.  You are also assigned Summary Court Officer, Payroll Officer, and Morale Officer.  You will be further briefed at tomorrow morning’s staff meeting.

My briefing was very short, the bottom line was that the ATCO office was in terrible shape and they had information that I would be the officer that could get it operational and functional for the mission.  I now realized how they knew about me, my former boss on Okinawa was promoted to Brigadier General and was ordered to Vietnam to head up the Transportation Management Agency (TMA)

The Overall Mission of the ATCO Officer was to provide consistent air transport of logistical support for the 3rd US Marine Division that was deployed throughout the far northern Region III of Vietnam. The ATCO had a fleet of 40 Aircrafts, 20 C-130 Hercules, and 20 C-123s to be used only by that office. As ATCO, it was essential  to work arm-in-arm with the 15th Aerial Port Airlift Squadron who was responsible for the planes and pilots that were ready to fly 24/7.

My briefing was very short, the bottom line was that the ATCO office was in terrible shape and they had information that I would be the officer that could get it operational and functional for the mission.  I now realized how they knew about me, my former boss on Okinawa was promoted to Brigadier General and was ordered to Vietnam to head up the Transportation Management Agency (TMA)

The Overall Mission of the ATCO Officer was to provide consistent air transport of logistical support for the 3rd US Marine Division that was deployed throughout the far northern Region III of Vietnam. The ATCO had a fleet of 40 Aircrafts, 20 C-130 Hercules, and 20 C-123s to be used only by that office. As ATCO, it was essential  to work arm-in-arm with the 15th Aerial Port Airlift Squadron who was responsible for the planes and pilots that were ready to fly 24/7.

My First Day

My first day at the office I had a meeting with available staff and found a multitude of alarming things that were not being done:

 I had my work cut out for me.

Vietnam, 1965.  My work lay ahead of me, there were multiple things I had to do to get the unit functioning:

-Write a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) booklet describing what ATCO was and the functions needed to support the operation..  I stayed up all night writing the booklet.

- I held a meeting with my entire staff teaching them how to execute according to SOP;  no deviations unless approved by me

- Met with the Air Force operations officer and his department to plan how our offices would work together.  
The meeting was very helpful and they were happy that action was finally being taken.   They were relieved to hear  I would have the planes flying in a few days.

The operations officer told me that I had a fleet of 40 aircrafts designated as Common Carrier aircraft for aerial support of the Marines military advisors in outposts throughout Region III.  The fleet consisted of 20 C-123s and 20 C130s.  Only one was flying, a C123 that I discovered was being misappropriated.   A Marine Sergeant was using the plane to ferry PX goods to his friends at different outposts.   I ordered that plane back into the fleet. The Sergeant was upset and went back to his headquarters reporting that “the new Captain” took the Marine’s aircraft.

The next morning my office was visited by one Brigadier General, and three full Colonels.  The General appeared to be somewhat upset that their plane was taken away. I asked the General to allow me to explain why I put the plane back into the fleet. I had done my homework in preparation of any blowback.   I explained to these officers that the population of Region III, was comprised of 85 percent Marines with the remaining 15% of Army, Navy, and Air Force Which means that the Marines should be using 85 percent of the entire fleet.   The information quickly changed  attitudes and the General asked me what could he do to help.  I laid out my plan for getting things in order very quickly and my office would  be operating 24 /7 calling in cargo for shipment to the out posts intended.  I mentioned to the General that I could get more done if I had a building large enough that I could have more of my staff working at the same time.  I was amazed when the General said he will send a Captain who is commander of a SeaBee company to see me.  Just tell him what you need and he will get it done for you.   The Captain came as promised and within 36 hours,  I had a bigger building and new desks, three installed air conditioners and ten new typewriters and other administrative amenities.

This was the start of a functional operation of an Air Traffic Coordination Office that was consistently providing logistical support to combat zones in Region III.  I departed Danang, Viet Nam December 1967 to a new assignment at Fort Meade, Maryland as a Logistical Planning Officer in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, United States First Army Headquarters.  I was assigned duty as the Project Manager of the Civil Disturbance Plan for the First United States Army, and the management of the unit of all confidential, secret and higher classified documents.  I retired from the United States Army, August 31, 1970.

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