Rohe Track Era All About Us!

 

COPPLEY VICKERS

UT Track:  1964-1965; Distance Runner (XC, 880, Mile, Two Mile); Team Captain (1965); SEC Champion -- Two-Mile Outdoor (1964), Two-Mile Indoor (1965); Mile Indoor (1965); Two-Mile Relay Indoor (1965); Member of National USTFF XC Championship Team (1964, Placed 3rd); Member of Winning Team at Calloway Gardens Invitational XC Meet (1964, Placed 1st); Most Valuable at Florida Relays (1964); Most Valuable at VMI Relays (1964); Orange Bowl Invitational Mile Champion (1964); Georgia AAU Mile Champion (1964); Winnipeg Invitational Mile (1964, Placed 2nd, lost to Jim Irons the Canadian National Champion).

Military Service:  USMC; 1965-1969; Captain; Field Artillery; Kilo Battery, 5th Battalion, 11 Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division.

Vietnam:  September 25, 1966 to October 26, 1967 (1 year and 1 month and 1 a day); advanced from 2nd Lieutenant to Captain during the 13` months in Vietnam; was a Forward Observer for first three months in country, living with a Montagnard tribe and working with a Korean Recon team on Nui Tron Mountain overlooking an access to the Ho Chi Ming Trail; was later in charge of embarkation of 5th Battalion by ship in the South China Sea from Chu Li to Da Nang; was in charge of the Kilo Battery Fire Direction Center for about 8 months; and stood watch at 5th Battalion Fire Direction Center for about a month. Upon returning from Vietnam was assigned to the Athletic Department at Quantico; ran for the Quantico Marine Track team; and helped plan and coordinate the Quantico Relays.

Medals:  Combat Action Ribbon; Vietnam Service Metal w/I Star; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Metal w/Device; Navy Commendation Metal w/Device; and Cross of Gallantry w/Bronze Star; Expert Badge for 45 Caliber Pistol.

Post-UT Track:  Finished 3rd in the Steeplechase at the All Service Meet in 1968 behind Bill O’Reilly (USMC) and Pat Traynor (Air Force); both of whom went on to make the Olympic team. Won the National Triathlon in 1966 (2 mile run, shooting pistol, 200 meters swimming while at Fort Sill Artillery School; this was the qualifying meet for the National Pentathlon Training Center where instructors taught the other two events -- fencing and equestrian; had orders for Vietnam so did not get to go)

Comments from Coppley Vickers:  Officer Candidate School (OCS) and The Basic School (TBS) at Quantico were physical and harassing; designed to break you down then build you up or run you off. The harassment was very rough. Every one dreaded the 3 mile run with boots and full gear. I looked forward to it every day. It was blessed relief from the harassment, kind of like Brer Rabbit in the briar patch. I set the obstacle course record at Quantico. Considering how many Marines had gone through there that was an accomplishment that I am very proud of. I understand from a Marine that went through there after me that my name was posted on the obstacle course with my time. I wound up graduating second in my OCS class. I think Coach Rohe instilled the mental and physical toughness in me that got me through all that and all that followed. Mind you, I am not calling Coach a Marine Drill Sergeant. ;-). I had a really easy time in Vietnam compared to Denis Flood and Bob Barber. My medals were just for doing a good job; nothing heroic in the face of fire. Even so, some who served in Vietnam just do not want to talk about it and it took me about 40 years to feel comfortable talking about it with anyone other than another Vietnam vet. I saw a tiger one night at an ambush site where we were running patrols. Another time, while on a scavenger hunt, begging for brake shoes and a generator from the Sea Bees at China Beach, I got to play catch (football) on the beach with Roger Staubach who was a Sea Bee.