Patrick Tadina, Vietnam War's Longest Continuously Serving R

Help Support Ruger Forum:

Bear Paw Jack

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 19, 2001
Messages
9,654
Location
Alaska, Idaho USA
Patrick Tadina, Vietnam War's Longest Continuously Serving Ranger, Dies at 77

Patrick Gavin Tadina is pictured here in an undated photo wearing North Vietnamese Army fatigues and carrying an AK-47. He died May 29, 2020, at age 77. (Facebook via Catherine Poeschl)

A 30-year Army veteran who was the longest continuously serving Ranger in Vietnam and one of the war's most decorated enlisted soldiers has died.

Patrick Gavin Tadina served in Vietnam for over five years straight between 1965 and 1970, leading long range reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy territory -- often dressed in black pajamas and sandals, and carrying an AK-47.

The retired command sergeant major died Friday morning in North Carolina. He was 77.

"Early this morning my Dad ... took his last breaths and went to be with all the Rangers before him," his daughter Catherine Poeschl said on Facebook. "I know they are all there waiting for him."

He is survived by his wife, two sisters, two daughters, four sons, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, the family said in a brief online obituary. A funeral had not yet been scheduled.


A native of Hawaii, Tadina earned two Silver Stars, 10 Bronze Stars -- seven with valor -- three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry, four Army Commendation Medals, including two for valor, and three Purple Hearts.

After the release of the second Rambo movie, he was profiled in Stars and Stripes, where he was contrasted with Sylvester Stallone's beefy -- often shirtless -- portrayal of a Vietnam combat veteran.

"The real thing comes in a smaller, less glossy package," wrote reporter Don Tate in December 1985. "Tadina stands just over 5-feet-5, and swells all the way up to 130 pounds after a big meal."

His small stature and dark complexion helped him pass for a Viet Cong soldier on patrols deep into the Central Highlands, during which he preferred to be in the point position. His citations describe him walking to within feet of enemies he knew to be lying in wait for him and leading a pursuing enemy patrol into an ambush set by his team.

In Vietnam he served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol, 74th Infantry Detachment Long Range Patrol and Company N (Ranger), 75th Infantry.

Tadina joined the Army in 1962 and served in the Dominican Republic before going to Southeast Asia. He also served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury in 1983 and with the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

A 1995 inductee into the Ranger Hall of Fame, he served with "extreme valor," never losing a man during his years as a team leader in Vietnam, a hall of fame profile at Fort Benning said.

Some 200 men had served under him without "so much as a scratch," said a newspaper clipping his daughter shared, published while Tadina was serving at Landing Zone English in Vietnam's Binh Dinh province, likely in 1969.

Tadina himself was shot three times and his only brother was also killed in combat in Vietnam, Stars and Stripes later reported.

The last time he was shot was during an enemy ambush in which he earned his second Silver Star, and the wounds nearly forced him to be evacuated from the country, the LZ English story said.

As the point man, Tadina was already inside the kill zone when he sensed something was wrong, but the enemy did not fire on him, apparently confused about who he was, the article stated. After spotting the enemy, Tadina opened fire and called out the ambush to his teammates before falling to the ground and being shot in both calves.

He refused medical aid and continued to command until the enemy retreated, stated another clipping, quoting from his Silver Star citation.

"When you're out there in the deep stuff, there's an unspoken understanding," he told Tate in 1985. "It's caring about troops."

He was not one to boast of his experiences, his daughter said in a phone interview Monday.

After retiring from the Army in 1992, he continued working security jobs until 2013, Poeschl said, including stints in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In recent years, he'd been struggling with dementia and other ailments, she said, and he often believed he was back in the Army with his buddies.

He always seemed most at home with his "Ranger family," his daughter said. She was trying to get word of his death to as many as she could.

"He was my dad, but he belonged to so many other people," she said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/06/03/patrick-tadina-vietnam-wars-longest-continuously-serving-ranger-dies-77.html
 

eveled

Hunter
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
4,387
Dealing with dementia and those types of memories must have been difficult. He is at peace now. God rest his soul.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
22,061
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
A soldier's soldier. RIP.

My brother remembered the name,, but served mostly in aviation,, so he didn't have any direct contact that he could recall.
 

tinman

Buckeye
Joined
Jul 19, 2015
Messages
1,812
Location
Texas
Apparently, he was at Bragg same time I was......wish I could have met him.
RIP Sgt Major!
 

173rdLRRP

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
199
Location
Colorado
It a great testament that he didn't lose a man in all the years he led his squad.
RIP Gunny.
He was Team Leader Of Team 4 of 173rd ABN Bde LRRP. This unit became 74th INF (LRP), and finally N Rangers. His ATL was Lazslo Rabel who became TL. Rabel was killed in 28th month of patrolling. His wife Eva Rabel received MOH from President Johnson.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
22,061
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
"
It a great testament that he didn't lose a man in all the years he led his squad.
RIP Gunny."

Just a small polite correction.
He wasn't a "Gunny." He was an Army Ranger. Gunny's are Marines.
 

173rdLRRP

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
199
Location
Colorado
CSM Tadina generally carried aN AK47 but preferred thec
"
It a great testament that he didn't lose a man in all the years he led his squad.
RIP Gunny."

Just a small polite correction.
He wasn't a "Gunny." He was an Army Ranger. Gunny's are Marines.
CSM Tadina usually carried an AK47. He preferred the vz 58 but could not get magazines for the vz58. Elaine and I spent 3 hours at a pow wow this last weekend with a Lakota friend who inherited Tad’s vz58 when Tad was ordered to leave combat. The Lakota himself had 5 years operational combat in RVN.
 

173rdLRRP

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
199
Location
Colorado
He was credited with 116 CQK. His team was able to recover weapons and documents from over 80 of them. 173rd ABN MI told us that they would not consider as “confirmed” unless:

1. Someone else put rounds into target
2. Target was blown off ground by explosion
3. Tem examined target aka “counted coup”
4. Buried target (100% credit)

There were other categories such as “possible” or “probable” but I never heard an explanation.
 

Snake Pleskin

Banned
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
2,180
Location
Aiken, South Carolina
He was Team Leader Of Team 4 of 173rd ABN Bde LRRP. This unit became 74th INF (LRP), and finally N Rangers. His ATL was Lazslo Rabel who became TL. Rabel was killed in 28th month of patrolling. His wife Eva Rabel received MOH from President Johnson.
Did you ever work with LRRP team West VIrginia?
 

173rdLRRP

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 17, 2022
Messages
199
Location
Colorado
I was wondering because their name had come up in some of my work over there. Very quiet, hush hush group.
LRRPs were somewhat “entry level” but folks like Tadina, Boatman, Roubideaux etc from 173rd LRRP and some from each of the other LRRP/ Ranger units were probably as good as any from SAS or SF.

I know what that quote a few from 173rd LRRP went over to SF and made career. One from
Teams 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 of the 40 guys while I was there.
Career Ranger and regular ABN from
teams 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8
 
Last edited:

Snake Pleskin

Banned
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
2,180
Location
Aiken, South Carolina
LRRPs were somewhat “entry level” but folks like Tadina, Boatman, Roubideaux etc from 173rd LRRP and some from each of the other LRRP/ Ranger units were probably as good as any from SAS or SF.

I know what hat quote a few from 173rd LRRP went over to SF and made career
In my work i was 'tasked" to find out if there was any culpability for certain actions and if there was 'plausible deniability" for them. Many of the SF LRRP missions I found out were close to the border of Cambodia and Laos and the "teams" would get "lost" now and then (LOL) when out on Patrol.
 

Latest posts

Top