The story of the "2M's" in the spelling of Commancheros

by former Commanchero 1SG Jim Herriman

The A 4/101 AVN Commanchero Patch circa 1980-90's

When I arrived in A Co. 101st Avn Bn the unit was on it's ass.  There had been flown into the ground.  Their Blackhawks looked like they were on the Russian front, they badly needed painting.  They were suffering from extreme micromanagement from the top (Div).  That was the first week of March 1985.

Early in the summer our new CO Maj. (P) John A. Harris, after having assumed command and settling in in the middle of the world-wide-grounding of the UH 60's, decided it would raise moral if the CO had a Comanchero license plate on the front of his Mustang convertible.  Maj. (P) Harris was a great commander.  He had every badge the services offered, foreign and domestic.  He volunteered to command us in a low point in the unit's history. He told me his peers considered this a bad career move, but he didn't care.

As the shop foreman, the job of creating this plate fell to me.  If you can imagine there was nothing in the unit that said "Comanchero."  Harris and SFC Douglas (Pete) Petersen recalled from Nam that the unit had been called the Comancheros in RVN.  No one know how to spell it, an American problem.  The number of m's was in question.  I knew how it was spelled in the John Wayne movie, but they were the bad guys.  I settled on Commancheros as a play on "Command Heroes."

May (P) Harris, being an educated man, had a lot of problems with my spelling.  I convinced him that since no one knew how it was spelled in RVN, and it took me 10 hours to layout and hand painted this plate, it must be right.  He told me to put it on his car.  He promoted the name endlessly and keep to that spelling.  I have his farewell letter to the unit with 2M's used, I'll be happy to sent a copy.

In 1987, after a 11/2 years in HHC as the result of "going Regimental" and changing to the J series TO&E, I made E-8 and returned to A Co. as Top.  Capt. Hargrove the CO, was having a large sign made for the unit by a Sgt. who was leaving within a couple of weeks (I forget his name but I will sent you a picture of the sign's unveiling he being second from the left of the sign).  The spelling once again come into question but I now know how Commanchero was spelled and now being a retread I had my way.  AS a note, This sign was met to raise moral, but it did not.  The unit was at another low point, OR rate around 50%, working all the time.  Words like COBRA, automated log book, J series, and Phase Maintenance were bracketed by the "F" word in every conversation.  The sign didn't get use out, instead Pat Paeth made E-7 and took a platoon and SFC Jackie Collins returned from Korea and took another, and they got us out.

by former Commanchero 1SG Jim Herriman