TG3

I have written before in this blog about my initials, TG3, and why and how I use them. The story is good enough to bring up to date and retell.

My payroll signature is Thomas L. Glenn III. I started using that unwieldy name when I was working my way through college at the University of California in Berkeley. My father, Thomas L. Glenn, Jr., between prison terms, started forging checks against my bank account. So I changed my signature from Thomas L. Glenn to Thomas L. Glenn III. It worked, but I was stuck with a pretentious moniker.

During the thirteen years I spent on and off in Vietnam as a civilian supporting combat troops with signals intelligence on the battlefield, I worked under cover as an enlisted man of whatever unit I was assigned to. The purpose was to prevent the enemy from knowing that an intelligence operative was snooping on them. As far as I know, the cover was effective—the enemy never discovered my presence.

The troops I was supporting knew, of course, who I was. When they learned that my official name was Thomas L. Glenn III, they couldn’t stop laughing. They called me TG3. Because I regularly used tactical very-high-frequency (VHF) voice communications to alert friendly forces to the presence and actions of the enemy, they assigned me the callsign of TG3. The word got around. Every time I went back to Vietnam, the troops knew before I got there that I was TG3.

During one 1967 trip, I operated not far from Đà Nẵng in central Vietnam. Close by was the Marble Mountains. The U.S. troops I was supporting took it upon themselves to hire a local sculptor to make a desk nameplate of black and white marble for me. The name on it was TG3.

More tomorrow.

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