Ralph at the National Training Center for a research/writing assignment
1955 - 1957
JROTC-PMS&T came from WWII & Korea Infantry combat veterans
1957 - 1962 U.S. Army enlistment
Airborne, Infantry & Artillery
Jump School @ Fort Campbell in 325th Airborne Battle Group (Weapons Platoon with M40A1 106mm Recoilless Rifle crew)
Shipped to Fort Bragg and went to Germany with 1/505th Airborne Battle Group, Mainz Gonsenheim
Marksmanship detachment - scout/sniper
Weapons Squad (3.5" rocket launcher & M1919A6 .30 caliber medium machine gun) --made Winter Shield I & jumped France & Spain (Note: was in Berlin before wall went up)
Transferred to 1st Airborne FA @ Baumholder 105mm gun crew. Was in on formation of unit out of miscellaneous troops from all over 8th Infantry Division
Shipped back to Bragg in late 1961.
Made acclimatization experiments in 2/504th ABG
Jumped Camp Drum and Panama in same month -- did arctic training & jungle school in January 1962 (short courses as part of experiment)
Assigned as AI in demo for expansion of Special Forces -- helped run graduation exercises for same in West VA -- discharge in June 1962
Static-line jumps: 70
Free Fall: 8
Civilian period included diver's training and work as salvage/construction diver-steam dredge crew-tugboat helmsman & yacht captain.
Rejoined military for Vietnam, June 1966.
Assigned to Armor branch (haven't been sane since) -- trained tank crew.
Shipped to Germany and advanced to gunnery instructor at Schwienfurt and Wildflicken
Shipped to "A" 1/69 in RVN June 1967. First combat on Bong Son Plain less than one week after arrival in country (see Tank Sergeant)
Made TET offensive in Pleiku- served all tank crew positions in combat.
Personal awards usual for period to include ARCOM and Expert Tank weapons.
Unit awards for same period:
1. Presidential unit citation
2. Valorous unit citation
3. Distinguished citation
4. Vietnamese cross of gallantry
5. Vietnamese unit civic action ribbon
6. Viet Presidential unit citation
7. Vietnamese tankers badge & beret
Includes yachting and fishing
Boat skipper - Marine repair business -- back to light salvage in Florida Keys
G.I. Bill studies in Jr. College resulting in degree & certificates in Marine Propulsion Technology
Taught same for six years at VOTECH community colleges-- started writing, 1984
Tank Sergeant - Tank Aces - Iron Cavalry - Jungle Tracks - Puma Force - Eastertide
Ralph Zumbro and James Walker's Jungle Tracks (Paperback - June 1989)
Ralph Zumbro and James Walker's PUMA FORCE Adventure publishing, pocket books, NY:
The Iron Cavalry Mass Market Paperback - 528 pages (December 1998) Pocket Books; ISBN: 0671013904
Multiple articles for ARMOR magazine and Soldier of Fortune
And many magazine articles in U.S. Army ARMOR magazine:
Lighten Up, Guys!, November-December 1999
Mine Resistant Tracks, March-April 1997
Armored Expeditionary Forces, September-October 1995, pages 14-16
Independent Operations, September-October 1993, pages 15-20, 52-53
Armor's Achilles Heel, May-June, 1989, pages 7-11
Long Endurance Horse Cavalry for border patrol operations and modern combat
Independent tracked armored cavalry 2D/3D operations in non-linear wars
Supply and Logistic operations for long range/high endurance operations
The use of mechanized troops for guerrilla suppression operations
Combined arms operations low in the TO&E to include Armor/Infantry operations
Air/Mech ops (Armor in the Airhead)
Mechanized forces in counter-terrorist operations.