Different Than I Imagined
I have known Nils Grevillius simply as a Facebook friend for quite some time until we finally met in person recently at Valencia’s Corner Bakery. I’ll admit that meeting him caught me completely off guard as his demeanor was far different than I had imagined. Being Army Veterans, is perhaps why we have always shared opinions on the state of our Nation and fellow Facebookers, so it was a genuine pleasure meeting, collecting his personal information and writing this story for our Veterans Page.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Nils B. Grevillius was born March 22, 1963, at Booth Hospital in New York City which was in the same neighborhood where President Donald Trump lived. Nils’ family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, and lived there for several years before moving to Pasadena, California where Nils spent his formative years. Saying those were his formative years may be a stretch as Nils readily admits that he was rebellious resulting in attending several high schools, all of which he was kicked out. Nils’ father, a U.S. Marine Corps infantryman who fought in WWII and in the Korean War, suffered post traumatic stress disorder following his gruesome combat experiences at Korea’s Chosin Reservoir. Nils’ youth was excessively rough but his disjointed upbringing hardened him as he confronted life’s daunting challenges.
Basic Combat Training
As a young man, Nils traveled to many countries but at age 17 his father signed his U.S. Army enlistment documents and on April 29, 1980, he was off to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training with the 5th Cavalry. Nils entered the Army without benefit of a high school diploma however later on while serving at South Korea’s DMZ he earned his GED (General Educational Development) which is not necessarily equivalent to a diploma. Or as Nils put it, “I received my Good Enough Diploma”. After Basic Training, Nils stayed with the 5th Cavalry for Advanced Infantry Training. Nils then took a two week leave of absence and then traveled to Travis Air Force Base east of Napa Valley, California, where he flew to Osan Air Force Base near Seoul, South Korea. Nils served as a Calvary Scout for five and one half years along with three tours of duty at Korea’s Demilitarized Zone where he and fellow scouts worked reconnaissance missions in areas suspected of communist infiltration activities. During his first DMZ Tour of Duty, Nils was surprised to learn that he received an offer to attend West Point, however he turned it down. Quoting Clint Eastwood from the movie “Magnum Force”, Nils said, “A man’s got to know his limitations”.
U.S. Foreign Legion
Nils takes pride in his unit’s moniker, “U.S. Foreign Legion” as the 1st/31st Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division throughout its entire existence since 1916 has never served on our U.S. mainland. Nils grew up a maverick with a heavy dose of anti-authority attitude but he prided himself with his attention to soldiering and at age 19 he was promoted to Buck Sergeant E-5 and at age 22 Staff Sergeant E-6. During Nils’ service at the DMZ several famous incidents occurred including the defection of Private First Class Joseph White who stole numerous South Korean minefield maps and documents and defected to North Korea on August 28, 1982. White became an English teacher the next year but apparently drowned in 1985. In 1983, the North Koreans attempted to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan with a bomb explosion during an official visit in Rangoon, Burma, but their timing was off, thanks to American intelligence. 21 people were killed including prominent South Korean government officials and another 46 were wounded. This incident prompted DMZ forces to go on high alert as it was strongly believed a full scale attack by North Korea was imminent. It’s noted that North Korea’s army at that time was ranked one of the worlds largest.
1983 a Year of Turbulence
1983 proved to be quite a tumultuous year in addition to Korea’s turmoil. The invasion of Grenada occurred along with two truck bombings that killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French peacekeepers in Beirut, Lebanon. Meanwhile, Nils’s unit continued its high alert status by stepping up its reconnaissance missions always conscious that North Korean infiltrators were constantly active. For a number of years North Korean Frogmen were abducting Japanese and European citizens so clearly their intentions were contemptible. With all out war seemingly in the works, following the Rangoon bombing President Ronald Reagan visited South Korea and diffused tensions between the two Koreas. President Reagan also met with his troops at Camp Liberty near the DMZ and Nils, among other soldiers, was honored to dine with our President. Nils said, “I was very proud to have spoken briefly with my President”. Nils noted that when President Jimmy Carter visited the DMZ in 1980 it was at a rear echelon area away from the DMZ and when they paraded past President Carter rifles were not permitted. However, it was quite the opposite with President Reagan.
Following Nils’ second DMZ tour of duty, he was assigned to a tank battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia, and soon began Counter Intelligence Training Indoctrination and then it was back to the DMZ for his third tour. Nils was Honorably Discharged August 18, 1986, and soon worked as contractor abroad. Next, Nils became a plainclothes Pinkerton Agent operating out of California until 1992 when he earned his private investigator license. Since then, Nils takes much pride in locating criminals and investigating cold cases, however he has zero involvement in criminal defense endeavors. Nils experienced training with the Rio Hondo Police Academy and he’s taken a number of college classes. Nils is a single father of a teenage son who he proudly stated is earning straight A’s in high school. Nils is fiercely proud of his U.S. Army service to our Country and in his words, “The Army made a man out of me”. Nils, I consider you a patriot and a great American. It’s a sincere pleasure to count you as a friend.