COL Art Daoulas,
welcome you to the Pacemakers' web site speech.
typed by: Darlene Thornton wife of SP5 Roy Thornton
| First, let me say that Donn Dade has done an excellent
job as the web master. Through his efforts, Don has preserved the Vietnam era
history of the Pacemakers in a very humanistic manner, using voice, colorful
photos, and assorted printed materials. The Pacemaker web site allows members
to interact with their fellow soldiers and share their experiences with
immediate and extended family members. Great job, Donn.
| I served as battalion commander from October of 68 to
July 1969, which was indeed an honor and privilege for me. The Battalion was
extremely large with five organic companies and several attached units. Among
these were the 610th Construction Support Co, the 569th Topo Co, dump trucks
and bridge companies, and a sizable Vietnamese civilian workforce. The
Pacemaker family totaled some 2,000 individuals, and we had huge quantities of
construction equipment, both militarized and commercial. Commanding this large
force was relatively easy since I was blessed with top-notch officers and
warrant officers, extremely competent non-commissioned officers, and soldiers
from all grades that were second to none in their various specialities. Despite
the harsh physical conditions of weather and terrain, and the adverse sentiment
towards the Vietnam war at home, the soldiers of the 864th Engineer Battalion
performed in an outstanding manner. The way they faced each and every challenge
made me very proud to match the high traditions of the Engineers that served
before them in the Korean War, World War II, and earlier conflicts.
|The 864th contributions to the war effort was very
significant. The Pacemakers built artillery fire bases, port facilities, air
fields, counter-mortar and counter-radar sites, bridges and roads, as well as
countless buildings. The later included an impressive headquarters for the I
Corps Field Artillery which was the pride of the 35th Engineer Group and the
18th Engineer Brigade.
|In certain areas where the threat of enemy action was
high, the construction and road building efforts were made more difficult by
having to wear heavy body armor and steel pots. But the Pacemakers never
faltered in keeping main supply routes open. In addition to our primary mission
our nation building projects significantly improved the lives of the Vietnamese
people. After my Vietnam tour of duty, I ultimately served in top level
positions in the Army, however, the most rewarding and hardest assignment in my
career was as the commander of the 864th Engineer Battalion.
|In closing, I again want to thank each and every
soldier of the 864th, and our attached units for a job well done.
|May God Bless you, your families, and
COL Art Daoulas