Dick Gries

Name: Dick Gries


Branch of Service: Army


Dates of Service: June 1967 – June 1969


DOB: 12/29/1946


DOG TAG #: 10-2023-01


Honoring a Legacy:
From the 10/23/68 9th Infantry A-Battery Newsletter: “Alpha has moved into Dong Tam after 23 days on the water. During that time a total distance of 206 km was traversed while 247 missions and 6133 rounds were fired. Alpha had the privilege of firing the 500,000th round. SGT Gries and his howitzer section participated in the event which took place on 5 Oct. at FSPB Harry. SGT Gries is Alpha’s NCO of the week. SGT Dick L. Gries is a chief of section who hails from Norfolk, NE. He is 21 years old and still single although judging by the photographs in his area, this may be subject to change.”

Gries relates that the time on the artillery barges was a big improvement over the conditions earlier in the year. In early ’68 he was providing base security when the Tet Offensive hit. The PAVN/VC would try to overrun the base on a nightly basis and Gries’ section would be airlifted to establish a new fire base to repel the attacks each day. In addition to the intensity of the fight, the meals were all C-rations with no laundry and no showers.

On the barges a guy could rinse off and cool down and there was Naval support, including Swift boats that could quickly respond to attacks. That also meant that ammo got delivered and there was food that didn’t come straight from the can. “They had a boat that was like a school cafeteria that would pull alongside and scoop food onto your plate. It usually wasn’t hot, but we built a makeshift stove out of spent shell casings. We fueled it with a little C-4, that burned real well.”


Post Service Memorials:
After finishing his tour, Gries returned to Norfolk, NE, finished school, married Rita Hogan and started a family and a career at Nebraska Public Power District. Dick and Rita are now retired and splitting time between Kearney NE, South Padre Island and Medelmans Lake in Norfolk (where Dick is considered to be the king of thrilling tube rides). When daughter Joan or son Jess call them and ask what they’re up to, they’re usually doing something fun and respond that they’re out “spending your inheritance!”

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