SP5 Adrian S. Novotny
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Lisa Curenton
Some memories from Adrian Novotny, Sp5, 357th Grp HQ - Combat Engineers. S1, NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of Group Administration), Pleiku, Vietnam - served all of 1969.
I made a lot of good friends in my group, I'm still in touch with several of them. Clerks under my supervision were in charge of KIAs, MIAs (those killed or missing in action), morning reports (a written record of the groups' personnel honors and commendations from U.S. and ARVN (Vietnamese military) commands, R&R, both in country and abroad, and assorted other duties.
My commander was a major who thought my attitude was a little too "civilian" at times. When he asked about a report, I'd mention to him occasionally that the "Information is screwed up Sir!" His standard response to me was "Unscrew it Novotny."
I guess I did have a "civilian" attitude about the war. For example, I didn't care for the black boots of our standard uniform so I had a buddy send me a pair of brown suede cowboy boots, which I wore with my uniform.
My dog tags said my religious preference was "Buddhist" and I asked for a Chaplain. My C.O. said "the only Buddhist Chaplain is probably with the V.C." (Vietcong - our enemy).
I had a pet dog while I was in V.N. A guy who cycled back to the "world" (U.S.) gave him to me. He was a big mixed breed, mostly Shepard, and his name was "Lifer" (he was never getting out of the army). When I called him in the morning for breakfast I couldn't yell out "Lifer" since it's a derogatory term for long-service soldiers. So I'd yell out "Career Dog" and he actually liked his new name. I gave him to a new guy when I left V.N.
Clint Eastwood was my hero at the time (I loved the "Spaghetti Westerns") and our company custom was to have our names sewn on the back of our bush hats. I put "Clint Eastwood" on mine and a couple of guys showed up the next day with "Adrian Novotny" sewn on their hats.
The experiences I had in V.N. made me very curious about people. When I eventually returned to the U.S., I went on to become an Anthropologist as a result.
Adrian Novotny lived in the city for many years and is related to a 33-year retired former employee of the city.