Tim Galligan's memories of MSG Jack D. Erskine:
Tim resting in camp.
SSG Timothy C. Galligan Recon NCO - Level One/Longhorn Feb. 1963 - Dec. 1963
TOPOGRAPHIC TRAINING TEAM TEHERAN, IRAN
Feb 1963 - Dec 1963
TIMOTHY C. GALLIGAN February 1963 - December 1963
TIMOTHY C. GALLIGAN
Recon NCO - Level One/Longhorn
About Erskine. I really liked working with him. Short but enjoyable! The best memory I have of him was on a recon about the time of the flood in the dry wash (April of 63). Well, we took off expecting to be back the next day at the latest. Had all the photos, gas, water etc. We got ourselves into a real jam--went down a ledge in the truck and couldn't get back up it. That started it all. We had the photos to read so we were pretty sure we could find a way out. Never did.
A few days went by and we made it to the top of the range - the watershed, so to speak. Then Jack kept saying he heard a plane, I said he was crazy, no such thing. The next day he kept saying the same thing, but no plane to be seen . We kept on going. This time no photo coverage. All we could do was head south and work our way of out this mess. Man, it sure was slow going! We would take turns driving and moving rocks. We started down a dry wash, and amazing as it seemed, there was a small group of huts, stone huts.
The people ran into the huts when they saw us coming down the wash. The village turned out to be Quar. The people were really great there. We stayed for a couple days trading for some food and talked some of the men into being guides to help us get out of there. Could not pay them, though. They didn't like money, but it was a good thing Jack spoke some Farsi so we could communicate with these guys. Well, we got out of there. Had to travel some goat trails (which was a real bummer) but those guys really helped us and set us on our way.
Jack was pretty sure there was a road that ran east to west, so we just headed south. I never was so glad to see telegraph poles! We got to a village and a gendarme station and bummed some gas (which we were totally out of). The gendarmes couldn't believe we drove across the mountains, and they wanted to see our weapons. We said we had none. Then we told them about the village named Quar. They said they don't dare go up there, those people are really bad bandits. Well, then we headed for Zahedan and base camp. Along the way a platoon of soldiers stopped us and asked our names. We told them, and they said they were looking for us as we were listed as missing. We got a good laugh out of that. We took our time and finally got there, really ate well, and had a good night's sleep. Then back to camp.
The thing that impressed me about Jack was nothing got him excited that I know of. He was just one of us. Not better than anyone. I can see him now, wearing that soft GI cap he always wore.