Bob Dingeman: Vietnam and beyond

Bob Dingeman commanded large artillery units in the Vietnam War. (U.S. Army photo)

Bob Dingeman: Vietnam and beyond

This is the last part of a three-part series about Bob Dingeman’s military career.

Between the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Bob Dingeman attended the University of Southern California where he earned several advanced degrees revolving around missiles and nuclear physics. You could say he became what is commonly referred to as a rocket scientist. He became an expert in nuclear weapons, and the U.S. Army made good use of his knowledge during the Cold War.

“As a lieutenant colonel, I commanded the Honest John nuclear delivery unit of the 4th Armored Division on the Czechoslovakian border. I personally commanded it,” Dingeman explained. “I had the golden key to control the nuclear weapons. The other person with the golden key was the president of the United States. We had ultra-secret double checking and so forth. My unit was to provide the nuclear weapons that if the Soviets came through the Fulda Gap, my unit would stop the Soviet armor as they came through.”

Obviously, Dingeman had a huge amount of responsibility on his shoulders during this assignment. What was it like to be in charge of weapons that could destroy entire armies, cities and essentially lead to the destruction of the world? “Terrible,” he said slowly.

As the Vietnam War was underway, Dingeman found himself as an assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He was assigned to a unit that made investigations and inquiries. One of their projects was to find out what was causing the new rifle to break down in the field and make recommendations about how to fix the problem. That rifle, originally named the Armalite AR-15, was the now-famous M16. Dingeman came up with a list of 26 items to be corrected, and it wouldn’t be cheap. McNamara accepted all these suggestions and ordered a four-star general to make the changes. When the general wavered, McNamara ordered him to “implement it now,” according to Dingeman.

While the resulting changes may have saved the rifle and numerous lives in battle, the general never forgot the incident. When Dingeman was up for promotion to become a general, that same four-star general who was forced to implement Dingeman’s list was also on the general officer board, and he was the only one to vote against Dingeman’s promotion.

Therefore, when Dingeman was sent to Vietnam to take command of the 52nd Artillery Group, he did so as a colonel even though the position was normally held for a brigadier general.

A family of colonels: Bob Dingeman (back row, far left) stands next to brothers David and Jim in this family photo.

Dingeman was responsible for artillerymen and artillery guns of all sizes. He had constructed revetments for his 175 mm self-propelled guns that could fire on the Ho Chi Minh Trail 35 miles away. One day he flew into a camp on his helicopter to inspect the revetments.

“I had come in with my helicopter and apparently they saw me land. … They fired a small weapon,” Dingeman said. “The weapon hit and it shredded my arm right here. Once we got it bandaged I went into a bunker and I told one of the soldiers I needed to replace my jacket. Of course, the rumor that went out through the fire base was, ‘the old man has been killed,’ which is not good for soldiers. It was important that I go out and show myself — that I’m not dead.”

A soldier let Dingeman have his jacket, but asked if he could have Dingeman’s shredded and bloody jacket to keep.

“He took my full colonel’s jacket which was covered in blood,” Dingeman stated. “That was his souvenir of the Vietnam War. I don’t know what kind of stories he told about it.”

That particular wound earned Dingeman a Purple Heart medal, but he was not happy about it because in the Korean War, too often men who were awarded the Purple Heart for a wound were killed by their next wound, he said. Soldiers are very superstitious about such things, Dingeman added.

“I was very concerned about that,” he said.

In another instance, Dingeman was using his helicopter to evacuate a sergeant who had been wounded in the throat. Enemy fire hit Dingeman’s chopper as it lifted from the fire base. His helicopter crashed through eucalyptus trees, smashing into the jungle floor. The rotor was knocked off the helicopter and so were the skids.

“The sergeant wrote a note on a piece of paper: ‘This is my first helicopter ride and I hope it is not my last.’” Dingeman said. “I told him we’d be out of it. … Well, some NVA (North Vietnamese Army) soldiers came and I was able to drive them off. … There were only six of them so it was no problem.”

Dingeman, the wounded sergeant and the chopper crew were eventually hoisted onto a large U.S. Air Force rescue helicopter and taken to safety.

It turns out that Dingeman survived several helicopter crashes while serving in Vietnam. One of those crashes brought his chopper smashing down over the border and into Cambodia. Dingeman had been in and out of intelligence units throughout his career, and had received top security clearance, especially when serving with Secretary McNamara. Therefore, Dingeman was required to always fly with a trail helicopter to retrieve him in case he crashed. The Army didn’t want Dingeman to be captured by the enemy.

“Well, as a commander, I couldn’t live with that,” he said.

“When I was shot down in Cambodia, there was great consternation about, first of all, why was I in Cambodia? The answer is ‘inadvertently.’”

Dingeman has one vice. He sips a Coke once each day, and this brings up a fond memory from Vietnam.

“One of the joys of my soldiers in Vietnam is we had lots of soft drinks,” he said.

Dingeman would have his cargo helicopters lift Conex containers filled with sodas into his fire bases for the men.

He had two chaplains in his command, and he assigned each a helicopter and a pilot. Dingeman would have the chaplains visit the fire bases, bringing soft drinks, ice and spiritual guidance. But, the most important thing the chaplains did was to listen to the soldiers, Dingeman said.

He said that he doesn’t like to dwell on the horrible things about his experiences in war. Instead, he chooses to think of the good things. “I think of the American soldiers,” he said. “They’re wonderful.”

Dingeman was assigned as the deputy G3, deputy chief of staff on General William Westmoreland’s staff. He said he and one other officer had the duty of working out details of a peace plan to end the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Bob Dingeman graduated from West Point in 1945.

“The only difficulty is — that ain’t the way you fight wars. If you’re a graduate of West Point, you fight a war and you win a war,” he said. “The peace plan was adopted and we pulled out of Vietnam.”

Dingeman’s last assignment was at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland where he was chief of staff of the Army’s Test and Evaluation Command. There, he helped develop and improve weapons and clandestine devices.

Upon retirement, Dingeman was offered a job as vice president with a large defense contractor. He turned it down because he didn’t agree with the company’s ethics when dealing with U.S. defense contracts, he said.

He and his wife, Gaye, began to travel. They toured throughout the United States and Canada in a motor home. They visited San Diego and eventually decided to settle down in Scripps Ranch. Dingeman soon put his energy into serving on local committees in San Diego and became involved in what was a fledgling Scripps Ranch Civic Association at the time. All his leadership skills, organizational skills and his determination are evident. Today, there is little in Scripps Ranch that he hasn’t been involved with, and he will always be known as “Mr. Scripps Ranch.”

After Bob Dingeman retired from the Army, he and Gaye traveled throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico before settling in Scripps Ranch. (photo by John Gregory)

While he is known as a civic leader in San Diego, it’s important to note his amazing life as a soldier in the U.S. Army. As for his civilian life as a community leader: “It’s been a blast,” he said.

Bob Dingeman’s military career, Part 1

Bob Dingeman’s military career, Part 2

167 thoughts on “Bob Dingeman: Vietnam and beyond
  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this
    is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be

  2. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so
    I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the
    information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Terrific blog and terrific style and design.

    Have a look at my web blog – Xoth Keto BHB

  3. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

    The text in your article seem to be running off the
    screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to
    do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you
    know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Thanks

    Have a look at my site – Helio CBD

  4. Remarkable issues here. I am very glad to look your article.
    Thanks so much and I am looking ahead to contact you.

    Will you please drop me a mail?

    Feel free to surf to my site :: Gemma

  5. Hi there I am so thrilled I found your web site, I
    really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Bing
    for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would
    just like to say thank you for a fantastic post and
    a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more,
    Please do keep up the excellent work.

  6. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe this site
    needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the info!

  7. I precisely needed to say thanks all over again. I’m not certain the things
    that I would have achieved without the tips and hints provided by you concerning such a area of interest.
    It was a fearsome dilemma for me personally, nevertheless finding out a new well-written tactic you treated
    that made me to cry with delight. I am thankful
    for the information and as well , expect you realize what an amazing job that you’re putting in training people today through the use of a blog.
    More than likely you’ve never got to know all of us.

    Also visit my page … Cool Portable AC

  8. You made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more
    information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your
    views on this site.

    Feel free to visit my blog – Odell

  9. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and
    I’m impressed! Very useful information specifically the last part :
    ) I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular info for a long
    time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Feel free to surf to my website: Louvenia

  10. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared
    to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that
    they just don’t know about. You managed to hit
    the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take
    a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    Here is my page – Mili Tac Watch Review

  11. Hi there, I found your site by way of Google even as looking for a related topic, your site came up, it appears to be
    like good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]Hi there, simply was aware of your blog via Google, and found that it is really
    informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will
    be grateful should you proceed this in future.
    Numerous people might be benefited from your
    writing. Cheers!

    Also visit my blog: Total Pure CBD Gummies

  12. Hey fantastic blog! Does running a blog such as this
    require a lot of work? I have no understanding of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog
    soon. Anyhow, if you have any ideas or tips for new blog
    owners please share. I know this is off subject however I simply wanted to
    ask. Thanks!

  13. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have keep in mind your stuff previous to and you are simply too wonderful.
    I actually like what you have bought right here, really like what you are saying and the way during
    which you are saying it. You are making it enjoyable
    and you continue to care for to stay it sensible.
    I cant wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a great website.

    my site Virectin Loaded Ingredients

  14. Thanks so much regarding giving my family an update on this matter on your web-site.
    Please realize that if a fresh post appears or in the event any modifications occur about the current article, I would
    be considering reading more and focusing on how to make good utilization of those techniques you discuss.
    Thanks for your time and consideration of other individuals by making this web site available.

    Here is my website Far East XL Male Enhancement

  15. I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet visitors, its really really nice paragraph on building up new website.

    My homepage … Sven

  16. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either
    way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to
    see a nice blog like this one today.

  17. I’m really impressed together with your writing abilities as neatly as with the layout to your blog.
    Is this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it’s
    uncommon to look a nice blog like this one
    these days..

  18. Hello very cool website!! Guy .. Excellent ..
    Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also?

    I’m happy to seek out so many useful information here
    in the submit, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

  19. Hello to every one, because I am truly keen of reading this weblog’s post to be updated daily.
    It includes nice information.

  20. great points altogether, you just gained a new reader.
    What might you suggest about your put up that you just made some days in the past?

    Any certain?

  21. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

    My website; Blair

  22. After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added
    I get four emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to
    remove me from that service? Thank you!

  23. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was
    once totally right. This publish actually made my day. You cann’t believe simply how
    so much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  24. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
    shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Many thanks

  25. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank
    you for sharing! cheap flights cheap flights

  26. Thanks for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search for such info.

  27. Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My weblog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Appreciate it!

  28. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with
    web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon.

    Feel free to visit my web page; physical pain

  29. Hello there, just changed into aware of your weblog via Google, and found that it is really informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I抣l be grateful if you happen to continue this in future. Lots of other folks will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  30. It is really a great and helpful piece of info. I抦 glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  31. I and also my pals came reviewing the good tactics located on your web site and so before long came up with an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to the web blog owner for those secrets. These young men became consequently warmed to see them and already have truly been loving those things. Appreciate your turning out to be well accommodating and then for having certain fantastic resources most people are really desirous to understand about. My very own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  32. An added important part is that if you are a senior citizen, travel insurance intended for pensioners is something you must really take into consideration. The old you are, the harder at risk you might be for getting something awful happen to you while abroad. If you are certainly not covered by several comprehensive insurance coverage, you could have a few serious problems. Thanks for sharing your guidelines on this web blog.

  33. It抯 onerous to search out educated individuals on this subject, however you sound like you understand what you抮e speaking about! Thanks

  34. Thanks for the posting. My spouse and i have generally observed that a lot of people are wanting to lose weight since they wish to look slim in addition to looking attractive. However, they do not generally realize that there are additional benefits for you to losing weight also. Doctors declare that obese people come across a variety of disorders that can be instantly attributed to their particular excess weight. Fortunately that people who sadly are overweight and also suffering from a variety of diseases are able to reduce the severity of the illnesses through losing weight. It’s possible to see a gradual but marked improvement with health as soon as even a moderate amount of weight reduction is attained.

  35. I happen to be writing to make you understand what a wonderful discovery our girl undergone going through your webblog. She realized plenty of things, which included what it’s like to possess an excellent giving mood to let folks without difficulty completely grasp a variety of tricky issues. You truly did more than our desires. Thank you for coming up with these warm and helpful, trustworthy, informative as well as unique thoughts on your topic to Tanya.

  36. The top casino software developers who supply our recommended online casinos with games have ensured that all of their titles can be played on iOS and Android devices. Most of our listed operators have downloadable casino apps that can improve your mobile gambling experience. However, if you don’t want to download any additional software, you can always play the best casino games directly from your browser. Seamless mobile gaming is something that all online casino India real money sites should offer. Player complained he had self-excluded himself from a sister casino and still he was able to create a new account in this casino. Casino replied that it was true that he had self-excluded himself but he hadn’t admitted any gambling problems so only the account in the first casino was blocked and he was free to play in sister casinos. An uncertain case, the player turned to gambling commission for further assistance. No more update since then.

  37. Vi ar naturligtvis medvetna om Ninja Casinos enorma varde pa den svenska marknaden och det kan inte vara nagon overraskning att vi inte vill lata dess potential ga till spillo. Det ar min overtygelse att ar i trygga hander hos Viral Interactive och Finnplays valdokumenterat sakra och ansvarstagande plattform dar spelgladje och underhallning star i fokus. Ninja Casinos agare ar Elec Games Limited som ar ett dotterbolag till det svenska spelforetaget Global Gaming 555 AB. Casinot har sin licens utfardad i Curacao vilket tyvarr innebar att du inte kan spela pa Ninja Casino skattefritt. Spelare bor ocksa vara medvetna om att de ar det sjalva som har skyldighet att betala in vinstskatt fran Ninjacasino. Vinstplanen for Eurojackpot ar alltsa ingen vacker lasning om man hoppas pa att kamma hem hundratals miljoner. Da kan man lika garna slanta in och testa de progressiva spelautomaterna som finns, dessutom kan man manga ganger lira pa dessa utan att riskera en ynka spann. Som studenten fran Hordaland ville bara ha lite tidsfordriv efter sitt biobesok. Detta gjorde honom 109 miljoner kronor rikare. Kommersiellt innehall – VIKTIGT: Fran 2. juli 2020 kommer alla casinobonusar for svenska anvandare begransas till hogst 100 kr. och en veckovisa insattningsgransen pa 5.000 kr.

  38. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

  39. Here’s what happens now. When the game is over (i.e., when you hit an object), Runner.prototype.gameOver() is called and the action is triggered. In this case, you’ll hear a sound, the game stops, and a Game Over message appears. That’s without our code. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. To run this game: Give the updated game a try yourself (either by turning your Wi-Fi off and loading a page in Chrome, or by setting ‘network‘ to ‘offline‘ in Chrome developer tools > mobile.
    All the games on the platform come with a walkthrough and tutorial video of the game to help you understand the game’s concept and controls. With regular updates and smart recommendations, you can play unlimited games anytime, with players around the world. Varies with device • “Kizi app is so much better than the Friv games” Sonic Wings Rush We have all of the Uphill Rush games, which let you ride speedy vehicles on insane courses. 0 0 0. Kizi Connect: Huge Connect Games List. Get ready for. Avoid obstacles, take out opponents and finish 1st in Star Course, Rocket Race and the Kizi Cup. These free mobile games may be pint-sized but they’re still packed with challenging puzzles, unforgettable characters, and epic adventures. Sos le premier! Version actuelle. Among Us. Guest House Decoration. Aucun telechargement requis. Kizi Games XL is incredible world of colorful juegos kizi adventures and funny jogos kizi stories! Play. BTD Battles. . Domino Breaker. Kizi mobile games

  40. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  41. Howdy, I think your blog could possibly be having browser compatibility
    issues. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!

    Other than that, great blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.