Charles Gooch entered service in February of 1966, attended Basic, AIT and Jump School and received his first assignment to B Company 1-509th Airborne Infantry (Mech) in Mainz, Germany. It was a weekly ritual for everyone to check the First Sergeant's bulletin board for individual assignments to Vietnam. In April 1967 he received his first assignment to Vietnam with B Company 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep), Bien Hoa, RVN. They worked the War Zone D area for a month and then moved north to the Central Highlands where they remained for the rest of his tour. In April 1968 he received his first Purple Heart and was medically evacuated back to the states. After a period of recuperation he was assigned to Fort Benning, Ga with no direct assignment. He was interviewed by the Ranger Department SGM he was kept there until a School slot was available. He graduated Ranger School in March, 1969 and received orders to Redeye Missile School at Fort Bliss Texas with a follow on assignment to the 2-509th Airborne Infantry (Mech), Mainz Germany. Once there he was tasked with forming and training a section of men to start a Redeye Missile Section for the 2nd Battalion.
In February 1971 he again received orders for Vietnam, this time to P Company Rangers, 75th Infantry in support of the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Quang Tri RVN. In July of that year he was once again wounded and evacuated to Valley Forge Pennsylvania. Once recuperated, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Airborne, 82nd Airborne Division Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He remained at Fort Bragg until December 1974, when he received an assignment to Fort Polk Louisiana Drill Sergeant School. He worked as a Senior Drill Sergeant at Fort Polk until the Infantry training was discontinued and was subsequently assigned to the newly formed 1st AIT Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia in February 1976. Once he finished his Drill Sergeant commitment in July of 1977 and was assigned as a Ranger Instructor at Eglin AFB, Florida. In August 1979 he once again received an assignment to the 509th, this time in Vicenza Italy.
After 3 years in the 1-509th (ABCT), serving as a Rifle Platoon Sergeant, Battalion Recon Platoon Sergeant, Battalion Operations Sergeant and Rifle Company First Sergeant, he was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington where he served as First Sergeant until January 1984. He then received his orders for the Sergeant Major Academy Fort Bliss Texas. His follow-on assignment was to the newly formed 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning Georgia as the first First Sergeant of the Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Company. He was present for the activation of the 75th Regiment and 3rd Battalion in October 1984 and was promoted and pinned Command Sergeant Major in the conference room of Regimental Headquarters by the Commander, Colonel Wayne Downing and his wife.
With an overage of Command Sergeant Majors at Regiment he was interviewed by LTC William (Buck) Kernan for a CSM position at Fort Bragg and became Battalion Sergeant Major of the 2nd Battalion, 508th PIR until it was reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 504th PIR. He remained at Fort Bragg serving as CSM of two Airborne Rifle Battalions before retiring in June of 1987.
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