Sergeant Ed Beal volunteered to join the Army in 1966 and served two tours in Vietnam. For his first tour, Ed was attached to the 25th Infantry Platoon Scout Dogs. Through that role, Ed reckons he walked point for almost every infantry in the 1st Cavalry Division. What is not in doubt is the history that Ed witnessed first hand when he fought in the Tet Offensive, Battle of Khe Sanh, and the Battle of Dak To. Upon returning home, Sgt. Beal did not find the welcome he thought was waiting for him.
While he was sitting in the terminal of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, an elderly gentleman walked up to Sgt. Beal and spit on him. Without saying a word, the man turned and walked away like nothing ever happened. That man might have never thought anything of it, but it is still ingrained in Ed’s memory to this day. Sgt. Beal was eventually assigned to a mechanized unit in Germany after his tour. He felt he was out of his element and didn’t feel like he was fitting in well. So he volunteered to go back to Vietnam.
When he stepped off the plane in Vietnam, there were some recruiters for the Ranger Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP). He knew the work would be extremely hard and dangerous but he grew up playing in the woods and felt like it was something he wanted to do. So he volunteered and was off to Ranger training immediately. In an odd twist of fate, one of the other recruits to step off the plane with him that day and volunteer for the Rangers was a young kid named Kregg Jorgenson. Little did they know then, how closely their fates would be intertwined. I was after Kregg went over to Apache Troop, that he convinced Ed to join as well.
In his time with Apache Troop, Ed saw more action to add to his list of memorable battles he fought in. For his meritorious service, Sgt. Beal was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Ed is now retired and living in North Carolina. He is an avid collector of all things interesting. Some of his collections include Star Wars, Civil War ammunition he has personally collected from the battle fields, and a comic book collection that would make even a comic book store owner jealous.