IVY LEAF September 3, 1967
SSG Tilley, LRRP Member
Once In A Lifetime Stories Replaced Again and Again
By 1LT William C. Foster
VUNG DAT AM - "Well, we were moving quietly through the wooded area when all of a sudden we found ourselves almost surrounded by a North Vietnamese unit. That's when all hell broke out." To many soldiers this would be a once in a lifetime story which would be told over and over. However, for Staff Sergeant Sherman T. Tilley (Savannah, Ga.), a team leader with the long range reconnaissance patrol of the Ivy Division's 2nd Brigade, it is a story which is soon replaced with another and then another. SSG Tilley is a cool, calm Ivyman who loves his job. He likes it so much that when his tour was up in July he extended for another six months.
Building A Reputation
Around the 2nd Brigade areas, he is building quite a reputation. "When Tilley goes out, you can almost be sure there will be contact," say those who know him best. He has made contact with the enemy in three of his last five patrols. SSG Tilley says he has quit counting the number of patrols he has been on. "I think I've had 25 or 30, but I lost count a long time ago," he shrugged. The "kid," as he was once known because he was the youngest team leader with the LRRP element, says that he doesn't mind contacting the enemy as long as he knows support is close by. Gets Good Support As he tells the story, "I was leading a team and suddenly, we found ourselves involved with a company that was about to encircle us. I don't know of anyone that wants to tangle with these odds, so I jumped on the horn (radio) and began calling in my support. "There for a while I had 175s, 8-inchers, 155s, 105s and air strikes all pouring in for me. Would you believe that we got out without firing a single shot ourselves? That's the kind of support we get," he explained. One of the most fantastic things about the energetic LRRP member is his age. He is only 19 years old, but an experienced veteran when it comes to combat. "SSG Tilley is a real asset to our platoon," reported First Lieutenant James R. Bradley (Alexandria, Va.), LRRP Platoon leader, "he knows his job well."
Exhausted Team Leader
Guides Searching Unit
VUNG DAT AM - "He really knows how to move out there," said Specialist 4 William G. Rogers (Arlington, Va.) of Staff Sergeant Sherman T. Tilley (Savannah, Ga.), a long-range reconnaissance patrol member. SSG Tilley and SP4 Rogers had just gotten back from a patrol in the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade's area of operations. The team had come upon a high speed trail near a water point. The team leader decided to set up an ambush near the trail. After a while, SSG Tilley motioned for the rest of the team to stay in place while he scouted up ahead. There wasn't a long wait - he found the enemy.
The young team leader reported seeing two North Vietnamese Regulars near two bunkers and huts. Later three more individuals appeared. The Ivymen moved back to call in airstrikes on the position but movement was soon heard around them. "We were hoping to get the first jump on them," exclaimed SP4 Rogers. "SSG Tilley began firing on the five then. That's when we decided to get out of there." "We were spraying the area around us all the way to where the choppers were waiting to pick us up," recalled the specialist, a veteran of six patrols. The team moved to a bombed-out crater and were extracted. Gunships were soon over the area saturating it with deadly fire. Although tired and exhausted from moving in the jungle, SSG Tilley volunteered to guide an Ivy unit back to search the area.