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Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.-- Sun Tzu
War Stories: VietnamWar Stories published under this topic are as follows:
This guy was ROTC and technically he was green to RVN but not green to combat. He had been in Israel working with the IDF when the June '67 war broke out.
The Navy provided the waterborne transportation and close support for the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Infantry. The parameters of our operations were dictated by the decidedly wet terrain. The wet version of the Army's APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or "track" was the Navy's ATC (Armored Troop Carrier) or "Tango".
In order to comply with the directive to maintain a low profile during the upcoming Tet celebration, our mechanized infantry battalion had been ordered to set up in a position off Highway 15, the major road leading to the port city of Vung Tau. All offensive operations were also put on hold during this ceasefire period. And although few of us understood the significance of the Tet celebration in the Vietnamese culture, we were looking forward to some slack time. But such was not to be!
As a member of the 377th Combat Security Police at Tan Son Nhut, Viet Nam, during Tet 1968, I worked a bunker several towers down from the 051 Bunker at Gate 051. Tan Son Nhut gates were numbered, 051, 055, 057, etceteras. It's Tet '68, and my combat experience was zip, and Charlie wanted to kick-ass right into my bunker.
I was flying C&C for an operation in lower III Corps, near the end of the Plain of Reeds, actually further SE, near the Thumb and the Testicles, if you know the area. Our Company XO, a fairly new Captain and aviator and a great guy, was my PP.
In May 1969, I was transferred from 229th Aviation Unit to HHC 1st Bn. 8th Cav. Upon arrival at the 8th Cav, I met a friend, named Preston Taylor. We had completed our Advanced Individual Training together at Fort Sam Houston to become Medics. Preston had just arrived in South Vietnam from the States.
From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Any other time, the scenery would be described as beautiful. The perfectly aligned rows of rubber trees in the Michelin Rubber Planation appeared as a giant formal garden of some English Lord's Manor. The towering trees rose thirty feet or more; and as they reached for the sun, they created a strange environment under their carpet of leaves. Occasionally you would see underbrush, but for the most part, just well maintained rubber trees yielding their thick, dirty, milk-gravy sap which seemed to crawl as it moved from the tap into the container.
From our compound south of Danang a company is detached for security duty north of Danang at the Esso Plant and bridge. One platoon is south of the river and two north at the Esso Plant. Grunts are on the bridge. I'm a radio operator attached for air control to the company from the battalion radio platoon. 3Bn/27th Marines, 1968, I Corps.
I was flying a UH-1 D for the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, the Blackhawks out of Tay Ninh, Vietnam in 1967. Sleep never comes easy in Vietnam, the artillery shoots H&I (harassment and interdiction) fire all night, every time one of the 8 inch guns went off, a small amount of the dust, collected from the dry season would fall off the tent roof and drift to the floor. It was the monsoon season and the cool rain had put me right to sleep.
Note: by Wayne R. "Crash" Coe, Hotel-3 Blackhawk 54, 187th Assault Helicopter Company, 67-8. 7417 Reads
Of all those who made up our platoon, Michael Robert Shapard, or "Shap" as he was called, was to become my closest friend. From the time I had joined the unit at Ft. Hood, it was Shap I had been instantly drawn to, likely because it was he who had made me feel truly welcome at the time of my awkward infusion into the Platoon. Having under gone training with my new unit's sister battalion the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, I wouldn't report into the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry until after the standard 2 week deployment leave.
I was lucky enough to be stationed at a field hospital in Qui Nhon for a couple of months. QN was known by many to be an unofficial in-country R&R center. The town was pretty large, had quite a few GI's, and set right on the beach. Inland was a rather large mountain range that was the home of one of the many ROK divisions that were in-country at that time. In other words, a pretty nice place to be.
Ask anybody who served in Vietnam about rats and they tell you all about the size and ferociousness of the rodents. Rats were difficult at best to control and almost impossible to eradicate. One of the keys to successful rat control was keeping your area policed and trash removed.
I was a 1stLt. copilot in HMH463, and had only been in-country for a month at the time. I was assigned to the flight schedule for the nape drop, and was very excited to be going on one. I had heard about them, but this was going to be the biggest. Charlie Ridge was our target. The NVA there were in tight, and didn't want to move. Attempts to clear the area with fixed wing bombs had failed. Marines were taking heavy casualties.
Soon after arriving in Viet Nam I saw an OV-10 Bronco. It was love at first sight and I was determined to get a ride in one. Luckily my job as an information officer gave me the opportunity. The ALO (Air Liaison Officer, pronounced "aye lo") assigned to the division flew OV-10s so I tracked the unit down.
1818: President James Monroe proclaims naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.
1916: British declare martial law throughout Ireland.
1919: Les Irvin makes the first jump with an Army Air Corps parachute.
1945: Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.
1953: French troops evacuate northern Laos.
1965: U.S. troops land in the Dominican Republic.
1970: President Richard Nixon gives his formal authorization to commit U.S. combat troops, in cooperation with South Vietnamese units, against communist troop sanctuaries in Cambodia.
1972: The North Vietnamese offensive continues as Fire Base Bastogne, 20 miles west of Hue, falls to the communists. Fire Base Birmingham, 4 miles to the east, was also under heavy attack.