Sergeant First Class Terry J. Sperry


SP/4 Terry Sperry, driving a Sheridan in Vietnam.


Elegy: SFC Terry J. Sperry

That senior sergeant saw two worlds, the present and the past,
But tanks and men and all such things, their shadows never last.
The engine roar, it casts its spell, some ghosts will never rest,
The guidon's snap, the horse's hoof, the sounds he loved the best.

To Vietnam, that trip made twice, the Air Pacific ferry,
Tropic Lightening, Blackhorse Cav ... Charlie, and trooper Terry.
All the while, a recurring dream, the drummer calls the muster,
The 7th Cav, the saddle's feel," I'll ride with Colonel Custer."

At Carson next, it all got done, he rose there quick and fast,
But at setting sun, you ask yourself, tomorrow or the past?
Sabot or saber, horsepower or horse, "I feel a steady pull,"
"This modern Army, Lt, I say, there's really too much bull."

"I'll tell few tales of youthful days, just know me by the patches,"
"These medals won, and here, this one, the wounds were really scratches."
"Snap to it men, I've earned these stripes, Lt, are you just leaving?"
"I run this show, you see these troops, in me they are believing."

"The border camp's a pleasant stop, at Graf ' fire where I lay! '"
A ready smile, "it's my platoon" and always, "done my way!"
" But mesas hold over German hills for me a certain thrill,"
"Of ARTEPs, tests and other drills, I fear I've had my fill."

Another stripe a few more years, "Lt what was your name?"
"These common skills and SQTs, Lt, it's all a game."
"But way out West and way back then, a trooper stood so tall,"
"You walk your mount and clean your kit, Iíll heed that bugle call."

"Fifteen are in and I am done, I'll take my leave of you."
"I'll soldier now in a different way, wool shirt in rough sewn blue."
So far away, Fort Union lies, the mesas through the years,
ď Iíll gladly go and live the past with hearty fellow peers.Ē

" Now close in space to where I fit, a Ranger in this park,"
But just when all is going right, the shroud and then the dark.
A rattler's strike, "I'm moving on, I'm riding with the breeze,"
"Don't morn too long, this trooper's gone, I did just as I please."

SFC Sperry at Camp Lee in 1977.  A consummate tanker, he certainly knew his trade. 

Terry in 1978.  Old school Army, Sperry had two tours in Vietnam, ĺ Cav and 1/11 ACR but surprisingly, innovative programs, ARTEP, SQT, MOS driven individual training, Common Skills, even the Master Gunner program were viewed with skepticism.


LTC Conrad, SCO Eaglehorse, presents MSM to Sperry prior to Terry's PSC move, 1979.  SFC Sperry left the Army when the current enlistment ended while at Fort Riley.

From the US Park Service records, Acting Chief Park Ranger Terry Sperry (left) and another historical inter actor at Fort Union National Park, New Mexico 1990.  Terry came to Fort Union in 1987.  Once a major US cavalry post during the days of the westward expansion, the Fort Union site is considered one of the most remote parks within the continental USA.  In visiting, one is almost traveling back through time.

US Park Service photo, Acting Chief Ranger Sperry and his wife Nicky, another historical interpreter.  Terry was recognized several times by the senior managers of the Fort Union site for his tireless devotion to the inter actor program and the Fort Union experience.

Terry Sperry was an avid student of the US Army in the Indian Wars period; once working for the Park Service, he authored several articles for scholarly journals reflecting his original research as well as two short books, both on Fort Union, for the general public.  Seen here, his photo history book. 

From the photo history of Fort Union, Terry included this image of a cavalry NCO and his wife as they share the harsh life of those times.  Terry Sperry, cavalry trooper in so many ways, died of a massive heart attack at Fort Union, on 23 March, 1993.  He was 43 years of age and survived by his wife, Nicky.