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 our country.
COL Art Daoulas