September 21, 1951 – April 18, 2021
On Sunday, April 18th, 2021, Gregory Carl Reynolds, loving father, and free spirit, passed away at the age of 69. Greg was born on September 21, 1951, in Tulsa Oklahoma. He enlisted in the Army on June 3, 1969. He did two tours in Vietnam. The first tour was for the love of his country, the second tour was for the love of his soon-to-be first wife, My D. Nguyen. They married on August 8, 1973, and had two daughters, Linda and Susan. Greg and Mimi divorced on May 8, 1984. He married Gay Mohrlok two years later, and they were together for sixteen years. Gay had a daughter, Kristine Whitley, and together, they had two more, Ruth Anne and Sarah Joy, and finally, they welcomed their only son, Carl. He married Carol Kirgan on December 28, 2006, and they lived in Marble Falls. Although they separated, they remained close friends. The following excerpt is from a typed memoir. The excerpt is edited by his eldest, Linda, for concision. Greg was only eighteen when he received his orders for Vietnam. He was excited when he first enlisted but then quickly realized that war was nothing like the old John Wayne movies he idolized. He was sent to Chu Lai and served with the H Troop, 17th Calvary, 198th LIB, American Division, Second Platoon. His first night as an active-duty soldier involved a helicopter ride to the My Lai peninsula, that night, his platoon was attacked by the Viet Cong. The firefight lasted only thirty minutes, but for the young man, it felt like an eternity. That following day, Greg learned that his platoon’s mission was in the My Lai villages where Lieutenant Calley infamously ordered his men to slaughter over five hundred innocent villagers, most of whom were women, children, and old men. Despite his cowboy demeanor, Greg was a sensitive man. While he was not at all involved in what became known as the My Lai Massacre, the legacy of that night and the location of his first mission, haunted him. While in My Lai, he thought someone was throwing rocks at him, it turned out to be a sniper. He grew paranoid because it was hard to tell friends from foe because the VC were astute at guerilla warfare and hid within the very population the Americans were supposed to protect. Land mines were everywhere. On one of his missions, a friend stepped on a landmine. His legs were shredded. Greg held his friend as they waited for a medivac. Sniper bullets whizzed past them but the medivac never arrived because it was too dangerous. Greg was loyal. Another soldier, who he was working with, refused an order to remove old French landmines. He was court-marshalled and Greg was supposed to testify against him. He refused and re-enlisted to get out of the unit. Greg’s next assignment was with HHC 79th Engineer Group in Ben Hoa. He later transferred to HHC 2nd Squadron, 11th ACR with a broken spirit and a broken heart. Perhaps the broken heart was from a girlfriend at home, or maybe it was because he had to leave his Vietnamese girlfriend. Greg broke up a fight between two soldiers who were fighting over a woman. One of the soldiers had a gun and shot the other one in the stomach. Greg and another soldier disarmed the shooter. Greg tried to save the young man who was shot, but instead, he died in his arms. Later, Greg’s unit was attached to the 25th Infantry. The Sergeant of that infantry wanted to set up mechanical explosives on a path in the jungle. Greg told his Sergeant that they should not set up the explosives because villagers used the path to get home. Other soldiers objected to the Sergeant’s orders, but he overrode their orders. Later that night, the platoon awoke to a huge explosion. The medics brought in a grandfather and his two granddaughters to be saved. They did not make it. This is the last line from his memoir, “This pretty much ends my first year in Vietnam. I will continue with my second year next.” Greg witnessed a lifetime of violence in one year.
His sister, Carol, remarked how he lost the twinkle in his eye when he came back from his first tour. She was right. He lost his innocence in Vietnam. Greg was more than a Vietnam Vet. He was a protective brother and a hopeless romantic. He loved women. However, Vietnam changed him as it did so many of our young men. Still, Greg found a way to have fun. Greg loved having a good time and his heart was large. He welcomed everyone. He was non-judgmental, and his only hope for his children was that they are happy. He loved fishing and cherished his role as a grumpy, funny, old man. He did not put up with much bullshit. His family wanted more of him but more he could not give. Not because he did not love his family. He loved every one of his kids and wives, very dearly. He was troubled by the memories of his past, memories of the war, and as much as he tried, he could not drown his pain, instead the pain swallowed him. People who knew Greg loved the way his eyes twinkled with mischief. He was comfortable in any space and could talk to anyone. He was a simple man, but always deep in thought. He believed in love. He believed that we are all God’s creatures and that we should accept people for exactly who they are. He was also very stubborn. Anyone who tried to change his habits knew this very well. He wanted to be accepted for exactly who he was. His kind and compassionate spirit will be remembered by all. Greg was preceded in death by his mother Mary. He is survived by his six children, Linda, Susan, Kristine, Ruth Anne, Sarah, and Carl, his father, Floyd, and several of his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 2, 101 FM 580 E, Lampasas, TX 76550 at 1 pm.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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April 22, 2021
You will be missed. The last time we spoke, you wanted all of us to get together. Sadly, due to unfortunate circumstances it did not happen. I am proud that you tried. Nonetheless, we will be united again. I hope your spirit feels our love and may you rest in peace.
Hearing your belly growl as I would pretend to have a nightmare to lay on your belly as we watched John Wayne movies late at night.
Going to work with you in a truck that had one seat. Riding on a bucket, no seat belt... next to a sliding door and talking.
Giving you tools to put Ford parts on a Chevy
Seeing you at a night club and having a random dance.
One of my favorites... you were so determined one day to go fishing. The siblings were in the car. I drove by and saw your station wagon smoking. I pulled over to help. It was a fudge moment and you said let's go to the lake. From there, we all got in my car and enjoyed the day.
I love you.
April 21, 2021
In discussion while at our 2019 San Antonio H-Troop 17th Cavalry Reunion Greg expressed his pleasure several times in regards to his attendance and mentioned that he wouldn't miss another if at all possible and God willing. Being that there were others coming for the first time also, the anxiety of his being alone wasn't as intense, to his delight.
Many of us troopers have expressed those same fears and anxieties towards attending for the first time, but once attending, most have marveled at the experience of being back together again. It was no different for Greg as he expressed, "It is as if we had never separated and conversation was picked back up where we left off".
Sadly though, some have delayed the chance of reuniting and have since passed. I am so happy to once again have had the opportunity to share time with our Brother of H-Troop Greg Reynolds before gathering at our final Laager in the sky.
Rest in peace my "Friend" The War is Over, Time to Rest...
Jim "Wildman" Linton
H-Troop 17th Cav. 1969-1970