Walking point on a patrol, with a bird feather in his helmet and loaded with ammo, Jarvis Schlafmann moves, without a sound, through the jungle of South Vietnam. It was 1970 and Jarvis was in the middle of America’s war in Southeast Asia. Jarvis trained at Ft. Lewis, WA and Ft. Ord in California, and by June of 1969 he was in Vietnam serving with the American Fourth Division in the Central Highlands. Jarvis was educated as an engineer at North Dakota State University. After returning from Africa and starting a new job with John Deere, he received a message from his draft board. “Greeting: You are ordered to report for induction in the Armed Forces of the United States.” On his third night in the war zone his unit ambushed the enemy, it was his first firefight, the first of many.
His combat specialties were walking point, being a tunnel rat and leading patrols when searching for the very elusive enemy. As a tunnel rat, Jarvis had to search underground where the NVA hid themselves and their weapons when they were under attack. He once captured an injured North Vietnamese doctor in the underground bunker. Three hundred and sixty-four days later, he was on the way home, with a lifetime of memories.
Church life. Other important things Special Decorations and Medals: Combat Infantryman Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Civil Action with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Jarvis, on the right, poses for a photograph with a soldier who had fought with the enemy, the North Vietnam Army, and had come to the south to fight with the Americans. He was involved in a program called Kit Carson Scouts. Jarvis was not allowed to ever know his name, but he walked the dangerous point with him on several patrols in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and credits him with saving his life. Kit Carson Scouts was a special program involving the use of former North Vietnamese and Viet Cong combatants as intelligence scouts for the American infantry units.