Kevin Colson Photos – August 1988 Vilseck/Grafenwohr M1A1 Transition


August 1988  Vilseck/Grafenwohr     M1A1 Transition

1.Copy_2_of_B_66___B_2_67.jpg (72084 bytes) B-66 M1A1 being christened by L to R  PFC Bobby Butler-Loader, SGT James Farley-Gunner

2. Copy (4) of Transition B-66 crew.jpg (51106 bytes) B-66 M1A1   L to R  PFC Mathews – Driver, PFC Bobby Butler -Loader, SGT James Farley – Gunner. We qualified this tank twice with distinguished scores in the 900's. During the M1A1 Transition Gunnery we missed being the high tank in the battalion by thirty points. We lost thirty points on the Three Man Crew – Tank Commanders Engagement. When we got ready for the loader Bobby Butler to dismount the tank, we had driven passed the defensive position to be used for the 3 Man Crew Engagement. I had to open the Tank Commanders hatch to back the tank up into position. We then fired the engagement with the Tank Commanders Hatch in the fully open position. I scored a one round 2600 Meter Sabot Main Gun Target hit in less than 4 seconds. We earned 100 points for the engagement but we received a 30 point Crew Cut for not closing the hatch. I think we scored a total of 912 points out of a possible 1000 on Tank Table 8. That was still good enough for a Distinguished Score. 

3.Copy (4) of Tranisition Company Picture.jpg (74031 bytes) B/2-67  posing for a picture after I had signed for all the new M1A1's.

4. Range 118 Graf night firing.jpg (92626 bytes) Range 118  Tank Table 10  Tank Section Qualification. This was an offensive engagement with the tank moving down the Range 118 course road.

5. Night Fire Defensive.jpg (36794 bytes) Range 118 Tank Table 10  Defensive engagement. It looks like the tank did not pull all the way forward in the defensive position. The tank gunner identified the target & fired while the tank was still moving forward.

6.  Copy_2_of_ID_Gunnery_Certificate.jpg (65743 bytes) "IRON DUKE" Tank Gunnery Certificate award for firing a distinguished score on Tank Table 8.

September 1988   REFORGER  Umpire Duty

1.Copy (3) of Reforger Handbook 88.jpg (66040 bytes) REFORGER   Umpire Handbook with the rules that the 7th Corp & the 5th Corp were suppose to play by. This book of rules was signed by Gen Fred Franks the 7th Corps Commander during Desert Storm.

2. Copy (3) of Reforger Unit list 88.jpg (160536 bytes) This is a unit list of all the participating maneuver units with their identification numbers. This is hard to read because it is covered with acetate. Plus it has been stuck hidden in a box of stuff for the past 12 years.

3. Traffic Jam.jpg (62428 bytes) German vehicles causing a road block. Spähpanzer 2 "Luchs

4. German Marder in Trees.jpg (91333 bytes) German Maurder hiding in the trees on lunch break.

5. KC.jpg (28384 bytes) My son Kevin Colson Jr. (KC) was born on the first Sunday of REFORGER 88. We had deployed for Friedberg on Friday & linked up with our units that we were going to umpire. (A Troop 2 ACR). I stopped by a phone to call & check in with my wife Julie. She told me that it was time to go to the hospital. I was down in southern Germany close to Amberg. I picked up one of my LT's in the hummer and drove back to Frankfurt. My hummer, LT and driver went right back to our REFORGER unit because the maneuver was starting the next morning. When  I got into the hospital, I saw Julie in the recovery room. I missed the birth of  my son K.C. by 45 minutes. 2 days later I was back performing my umpire duties

8 November 1988

1. Copy of Draper Award.jpg (102460 bytes)  B/2-67 Letter of Recommendation for the Draper Award form LTC Campbell to ADC-M  3rd Armored Division. The Draper Award is Division Level Award given to an Armor Company or Cavalry Troop for Excellence. We were nominated but did not win.

4 January 1989    Friedberg Training Area  (FTA)  B/2-67 training for Tank Table 12  Tank Platoon Qualification

1. Jan_88___M1A1__Freidberg_Training_Area_6.jpg (20849 bytes) B-65 Acting as Range Control

2. Copy_of_Thermal_Sigth_Black_Hot.jpg (37039 bytes) Thermal sight picture as taken through the sights of  B-66. The thermal sights are set in the black hot mode. You can see the tracks & the turret ring are black indicating a heat difference. This picture is taken in the wide field of view used by the gunner quickly identify targets. 

3.  Copy (2) of Thermal Site White Hot.jpg (35792 bytes) Thermal sight picture in the white hot mode.

4.  Copy (4) of Daylight sight  FTA.jpg (68098 bytes) Same tank looking through the daylight sight. This tank was sitting about 30 yards from me.

4. White Hot FTA Jan 89.jpg (70678 bytes) This picture shows 2 tanks returning from down range. The led tank has the thermal sight reticle superimposed.

5. T-6 FTA Letter.jpg (111906 bytes) This is a letter I received from the 3rd Brigade Commander  "Thunder 6" Col James Noles. He visited our Tank Table 12 training on that cold day of 4 January 1989. I was in my tank B-66 conducting the training with my three tank platoons so I did not even realize he was visiting our training until he was about to leave. 1SG Perez & XO 1LT James Saldivar handled his visit. Things were going well when he arrived so they did not tell me that Thunder 6 was visiting. He could see tanks moving, hear the action over the radios we had set up at the company CP/Visitor Center. The training that day had a tactical movement with the tank platoon on the course running into a minefield. We had a squad of combat engineers with us that day. This was a hard working & professional squad that would then come forward and breech the minefield. The company would then continue movement out into the open area of the FTA. The tank platoons would dry fire against the pop up targets that I controlled from my tank. We drilled this over & over with each platoon so that they could practice their platoon fire commands, platoon cross talk between tanks & reporting to me. I monitored their platoon radio frequency on my auxiliary radio. This way I could hear all conversations and  make corrections as needed. This training was set up just like the grading that would take place when we went to Grafenwoehr for Tank Platoon qualification on Range 301. I think the results speak for themselves. 


March 1989  Tank Gunnery   Grafenwohr

1. Leopard 2 Graf March 89.jpg (56280 bytes) German Leopard 2 on Range 109. They are getting their safety briefing prior to firing. You can also see the auxiliary power cord attached to the inside of the tank so they did not have to run the engine to power the electronics 

One thing about the Germans going to Grafenwohr with us. One morning after a late night on the range a few of my soldiers were watching video's in their billets. Well the German Soldiers started watching right along with my soldiers. Then the German Company Commander came running to find me to tell me that my soldiers were watching X rated video's.  I figured that they were grown men and there were a lot worse things that my soldiers could be doing than that. He walked off saying he could not believe I would let them watch that type of video. I figured that if it help them shoot better, then I was all for it. 

2. Copy (3) of Leopard 2.jpg (111256 bytes) Grafenwohr Railhead. Leopard 2's on the way home. Our German Partnership Unit was the 2 Company of the 144 Panzer Battalion. L to R  Commander of the 2 Company 144 Panzer, 1LT Jim Saldivar RED 5, 2LT Keith Sabol  RED 1, 2LT Bret Holiday RED 2, CPT Kevin Colson RED 6, 1LT Steve Cramer RED 3.

3. Copy of Gunnery Results.jpg (24172 bytes) Tank Table 12  Platoon Qualification Scores for the company. You will notice that we had 3rd Platoon, A Troop 3- 8 Cavalry attached to our company for the day. They were conducting a Spearhead Shock Platoon Gunnery exercise. They were alerted, loaded on HETT's & moved to Grafenwohr. My 2nd & 3rd  platoons fired excellent during the day hitting all targets. My 1st Platoon missed one target during the day. The tactical evaluation was a score given by evaluators assigned to each platoon. We had a few problems with our night runs but overall the scores were great. 2nd Platoon was commanded by 2 LT Bret Holliday & SFC Fontimeyer. They were the  tank platoon with the highest score in the battalion. The "BUSHWHACKERS" were once again the Top Gun Company in the Battalion.

4. T-6 Letter.jpg (96272 bytes) "Thunder 6"  Col James Noles sent this note to me after all the tank gunnery results were in. I was already out of command & at CAS3, Fort Leavenworth when the note was written. I received it when I returned from CAS3.

24 March 1989  Change of Command  B/2-67 Armor

1.  Copy of CoC 3.jpg (13836 bytes)

2.  Copy of CoC 4.jpg (21096 bytes)

3. Copy of Campbell cup award.jpg (127384 bytes) There were a few awards to hand out prior to the Company Change of Command. I am receiving the first time ever awarded Campbell Cup Trophy. During the Christmas half day schedule, LTC Campbell organized a 4 on 4 half court basketball tournament. Well the team from B/2-67 was the winning team. On my team L to R  CPT Kevin Colson, PV 2 ___________, PFC Hill & not pictured was SGT Rivera my company supply sergeant. LTC Campbell is awarding the cup to me. It was even more rewarding because we knocked LTC Campbell's team out of the tournament.

4. Copy of High Platoon Award.jpg (132898 bytes) 2 Platoon B/2-67 receiving High Tank Platoon Award. L to R   2LT Bret Holiday, SFC Fontimeyer, LTC Campbell awarding the Trophy.

5. Copy of High Cco Award K & 1SG.jpg (127661 bytes)  Bravo "Bushwhackers" 2-67 received the 'Top Gun" Tank Gunnery Award  L to R   CPT Kevin Colson, 1SG Lupe Perez, LTC Campbell awarding the Trophy. 

6. Copy of Company front 1.jpg (113457 bytes) A picture taken of the entire company with the platoon leaders posted. The picture is at the courtyard of the Iron Duke Battalion area.

7. Copy of Company front 2.jpg (171557 bytes) A second picture. I think my camera ran out of film because I have no photo's of the Change of Command Ceremony. I walked away from the CoC  on top of the world. I never again set foot in the Bravo Company Area. I did run into many of my soldiers over the last eleven years. I even recognized one soldier while sitting in church a few years after I was out of the army. He had been the company clerk for the 1SG.

June 1989  Canadian Army Trophy  (CAT)  Bergen-Hohne

Copy of Cat 89.jpg (43951 bytes) When I returned to Germany from CAS3, I worked in the S-3 shop because I was a short timer with only 30 days until I  PCS. I was sent to the 1989 CAT Competition as an escort officer. My job was to hang out at the small O-Club that was set up & drink at night. On the day of the competition, I waited at the entrance to the range under some camouflage netting for Foreign Officer to show up. The officer I was assigned never showed up & I was assigned to escort  an American Officer.. He told me that he did not need me around so I went and watched the tank gunnery show. The 3 AD was represented by C Company,4th Battalion 32 Armor  "Red Lions". This was the first time that the M1A1 competed in the competition. (When D/4-8 Cavalry won the 1987 CAT, they shot the M1-IP not the M1A1. That was the first time that the M1 series tank used in the CAT competition)

Copy of Cat Patch 89.jpg (196255 bytes)  Shoulder Patch from one of the team members from the winning tank platoon. The Dutch Tank Platoon fired the Leopard 2 in the competition.

Cat Sticker 89.jpg (102578 bytes) Sticker from the Dutch Platoon.

Going Home

Copy of Julie Award.jpg (90606 bytes) This is a copy of the "Order of St. Joan de' Arc" Award. It is given by the United States Armor Association located at Fort Knox. It is given to women who provide outstanding support above and beyond expectations to the Armor/Cavalry soldiers. LTC Charles Campbell recommended Julie my wife for the award. She was the driving force behind volunteering to support the Community of Friedberg, OCWC wives club, the 2 Battalion 67th Armor "IRON DUKES"  and to the young soldiers, wives and family members of the "BUSHWHACKERS" of B/2 -67 Armor. We the soldiers of the company were always greeted with cheers and waving family members when we returned from the field. She made sure we always had room at the dinner table to have a few of the soldiers over for each meals during the holidays.

Julie.jpg (63113 bytes) JULIE  M. COLSON 

This picture was taken at the Eagles Nest in Berchasegarten Germany.

I would like to say THANK YOU JULIE! for everything you have done to support me in my career. You are the glue that held our family together during the many days apart that we had to endure. You are the reason that I made it through Clemson University, survived through my years as a LT with the 1st Battalion 63rd Armor, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas and the many long hours required to be a successful Staff Officer and Company Commander with the 2nd Battalion 67th Armor "IRON DUKES", 3rd Armored Division serving in Friedberg, West Germany. I think the hardest time for me to be away from you was when I was back in the United States at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas while you remained in Friedberg. This is why I had to return early and surprise you for your birthday in May of 1988. I could not have had the success as a company commander that I did have without you. I have always been faithful to you and will always Love You!


3rd Battalion 32nd Armor  Nov 1985 – June 86

2nd Battalion 67th Armor   June 86 to June 89

3rd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division November 1985 to June 1989