Battle chronicled in song
How does it feel to have a hit song written about you?
It’s about the 173rd. It’s about ‘the herd.’
Tell me about the battle.
I was just a private. I was an RTO — a radio and telegraph operator. When the battle started, it was just a giant roar. I got hit right away. My role was to keep my ass alive. They couldn’t get at us. We just had to keep shooting until help arrived.
I was in the hospital for two years.
All these guys — these clowns — you see walking around, they did the same thing.
How did the song get started?
It was three or four years ago. I was a bartender at the Buffalo Bar (in Deadwood, S.D.). Big & Rich were playing there for beer and food — just playing, and hoping they can pay the bills.
I had a Bronco with all these patches on it. They asked me about it.
Did they do a good job with the song?
Oh, yeah. They did a great job with the song. They would call me and ask me about this and that. I was in New Orleans for the Jazz Festival, and they overnighted it (a CD). They were right on. There were very few things we had to change.
They’re helping out now, to raise money for a 173rd memorial at Fort Benning, right?
There was a big benefit in Atlanta in October. We raised $600,000. They need a little more money, but they’re close. Ground-breaking will be next year. We would have been working for 10 years (to raise money), but Big & Rich heard about it.
— Jeff Pieters
For more information about Big & Rich’s song, go to postbulletin.com/weblinks.
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