Ranger would like to recognize a friend and his Vietnam reenactment group in the South of England, the American Infantry Preservation Society (AIPS), going 20 years strong now.
Jack and his group have traveled to Vietnam and been featured in several international magazines, including Armchair General. The AIPS is unique far as reenactors go in many respects. From their mission statement:
"We are the only group in the U.K. that represents the classic grunt in any great numbers, and as part of this commitment to the memory of the line infantryman, the unit we represent is C Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment (Mech), 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. Known as 'Bandido Charlie,' this unit served in Vietnam from 1966 until 1970."
Our friend, Jack, shows the utmost respect and humility in his involvement and unswerving commitment to authenticity. Unlike some U.S. reenactment groups, Jack's insists upon no pretense. The AIPS understands the importance and integrity of every job well done in a company, and are proud of their grunt status.
They even have a Viet Cong unit, "whose role it is to provide opposition to the U.S. forces, as well as reminding us of the sacrifices made by the Vietnamese people." That is brilliant OPFOR for their reenactments.
Ranger's attraction to the unit is as a former mechanized infantryman familiar with their tactics and doctrine. Additionally, he knows the terrain the C-5-60 Inf (M) fought for. For a time the 60th was at Bearcat, a rifle shot away from the small Special Forces camp where Ranger was stationed in 1970-71, Long Thanh.
The AIPS is totally professional and dedicated to realism. "We don't glorify the Vietnam conflict or war in general, but try and recreate what the Grunts went through." Ranger has been pleased to receive and comment on many photos Jack has sent for critique, and hopes to visit with the group and possibly issue them an operation order.
Ranger finds it amazing and heartwarming that a bunch of British blokes care to preserve the living memory of the lowly rifleman from a little recognized war.
If anyone cares to volunteer input to the group, Jack's email is jackthegun81 - at- hotmail - dot - com. The AIPS grunts are the real deal.