Tommy grew up in Columbia, Tennessee about 50 miles south west of Nashville. While attending Columbia Central High School he probably didn’t think too much about the army or the draft until graduation in 1968. He soon discovered that others had been thinking of him because he was drafted and shipped off to Fort Campbell Kentucky for basic training sooner than he imagined. This was followed up with Advanced Infantry Training in the “semi-tropical paradise’ known as Fort Polk.By February 1970 Counts had arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to Delta 2/506 of the 101st Airmobile Division at Camp Evans.
His platoon leader was Lt. Anderson and his squad leader were Stanley Diehl and Mark Skinner. Stanly was killed by a mortar round after exiting a helicopter that landed on Ripcord.In the picture we see a young Tommy Counts with two of his best squad buddies. One, George Kitzmiller was from West Virginia and opened a business in Miami, Florida after returning home. John Mason is the other and hailed from Maryland. However, Counts has not been able to contact him since the war.Delta Company and Counts walked over hills and ridges around and on Firebase Ripcord in search of enemy troops until the battle for the hill started in earnest during July. During this dangerous period Delta and Charlie Company assaulted Hill 1000. Later the two companies teamed up to relieve D 1/506 and recover the body of Captain Workman near hill 605. Finally Delta walked in to relieve and extract the badly mauled A 2/506 on July 23, 1970. Tommy recalls meeting Frank Marshall of Alpha for the first time during that last relief assignment because Frank said something to the effect of, “I’m from Philly”. That has stayed with Tommy ever since. As an SP4 and grunt, Tommy felt fortunate to have served with the members of the Delta Raiders under the command of Captain Rollison. In his opinion Rollison was an excellent company commander and the reason many of the Delta Raiders are alive today.Counts spent a few more months in the field following Ripcord and then was assigned his “best job in Vietnam” as the assistant to Chaplain Fox till he returned to the states in February 1971.Since returning to the states, Tommy has been in the billiard business.
For a period of time he was a tournament pool player. However, presently he lives in the Columbia, Tennessee area where he owns and operates a Shooters Sports Bar and Grill. He married his one and only wife, Judy in the 70’s and they produced three children, Lisa, Leslie and Tommy Jr. In turn their children have presented them with grandchildren Blake, James and Julie, Alex Stwart, Anna Stewart, Kayden Counts and Sebastian Fletcher. Tommy says there were many great guys in Delta Company and he wishes more would attend the reunions so they could discuss the many memories. Counts can usually be found at the reunions seeking other Delta Raiders and enjoying the fellowship of other Ripcord survivors.