Roy Sprouse was born and raised in Chatanooga,
Tennessee with two half brothers and a sister. Slight of build, with red
hair and a bit of an overbite, Roy could easily be mistaken for something
other than the exceptional soldier he was. He met his world head on with
determination, skill, integrity, and a self deprecating humor that became
his trademark. To hear Roy tell it, his physical appearance was the result
of being born third in a set of triplets, thus being forced to nurse his
Daddy. Roy spent his early years on Lookout Mountain carrying golf bags
for doctors and lawyers. He worked at a local grocery in the produce
department until he became bored and, at the age of sixteen, coerced his
aunt into signing his mother’s name so he could enlist in the army. Roy
began a twenty two year career in the army, serving with the 82nd Airborne
Division and the 3rd, 5th and 7th Special Forces Groups. Roy served with
Project Delta in 1969-70, his third tour in Viet Nam. Roy served at Fort
Greely, Alaska and as a Black Hat at Fort Benning. He finished his career
as an instructor at Camp McCall, where he was cited by his CO as one of
the best instructors that ever worked there. While in the service, Roy
completed his GED and accumulated several college credits. In 1962, Roy
married Miss Ginny Keesee, the love of his life. Within a couple of years
they had two sons, Boyd, now a Master Electrician; and Ira, a pilot.
Toward the shutdown date of the Project, one of the more interesting routines that had developed was the duck husbandry task undertaken by Billy “Stick” Evans and Recon’s loyal mascot Douche Bag. Stick had acquired a flock of about fifty ducklings from the local market and took it upon himself to be their guardian. He shared this duty with Douche Bag, whose maternal instincts took over and made her the 24/7 guardian. It was a common sight to see Stick, Douche Bag, and any one of the Delta guys stooping to help the ducklings over a curb or out of the street.
Early one morning during the stand down after Mai Loc in 1970, Roy sat
with Brake outside the Badolati Barracks, taking in the early morning
quiet and watching the ducks combing the wet grass for something to eat.
Roy offered that they sure looked hungry and wondered what they ate. Brake
responded that they would eat bugs, seeds and grain. Roy thought they
looked hungry so he grabbed a bag of PIR (Ranger) rice and scattered it on
the grass. The ducklings gobbled it all up very quickly and headed for the
nearest puddle for a drink. They immediately began to blow up like
balloons and keel over, little legs kicking in the air, as the rice
swelled from the water. Douche Bag ran frantically from duck to duck,
trying to stand them up with her nose. Finally realizing what had
happened, the two agreed that, in the interest of their longevity, it
would be best if Stick never found out the truth. They agreed not to share
their secret and shook on it. The tragedy was attributed to rat poison
that was distributed throughout the compound. Roy ran the last recon
mission of Delta’s existence with Maurice “Brake” Brakeman in 1970.
Fittingly, it was a successful mission that resulted in identification of
a good target for the bombers.