First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anything

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Admin, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2001
    Messages:
    11,654
    Rick from Mich
    Member
    Posts: 8
    (8/8/02 7:52:13 pm)
    First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anything
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So I've been in the Nam about a week and life is pretty good back at Battalion Headquarters. I've been assigned to a group called Tactical Air Control Party as a team member. (3 guys)I'm a friggin radio operator. We go along with Company, Platoon or sometimes squad sized units to give them the capability of close air support, both fixed wing and helicopter. We also provided expert medevac control as well as resupply, extractions, insertions,spotter planes, and even Puff the Magic Dragon. Anytime a Company Commander from Kilo, Mike, Lima or India decides that he wants us around he calls The Batallion Commander and we get sent. We had three teams and would sort of rotate assignments. But, I'm a "friggin new guy" and don't have a clue how to do anything other than talk on a radio.
    The team leader(Dan) says "hey grab your shit, we're catching a chopper out to hill 52 to practice running some air strikes from the quiet serenity of Mike Companys Hill, it'll be like a day off". Off we go..
    I quickly realize that life at the Company level is not quite up to par with life in Battalion. Hill 52 was not a good place to be. These guys lived in bunkers, I had a hard back tent. The closest other American unit to these guys was a small Green Beret camp called Thong Duc. Hill 52 was on the southwest corner, across the river from a place we called "Arizona", and directly behind it was the dreaded "Charlie Ridge".
    We learn that Old Charlie has an OP on the side of the mountain across the river from us and are asked to bring in some aircraft and blow the shit out of them. He's in a pretty hardened bunker so artillery isn't harming it.Seems that hes using it to direct mortar fire onto hill 52. " Piece of cake" says my team leader, as I stare in amazement. Hey Dan, "what if he starts firing mortars now"! Dan replies, "Well Cherry, just bend over and kiss your ass goodbye"! Thanks for the advice...
    We set up a few radios on top of one of the bunkers, sit on top, and Dan, for the next few hours teaches me the art of "calling in an airstrike". We use probably 4-5 flights of F-4's each with two aircraft flying out of DaNang. To make a long story a little shorter, the OP is now gone along with about 25% of the side of the mountain its on. What a power trip, I'm 19 years old, an E-3, and I can take a radio, make one call, two jets show up, and I can blow up anything I want, no questions asked. Cool...
    The Captain decides to send a squad across the river and check out the damage. Must suck to be them! They set out on their little trek at about 3:00 P.M. Its about 2-3 clicks to their destination, and the river is fairly deep and about 200 yds across. One guy looses his weapon, and another almost drowns but they finally make it. This patrol is not starting out well. As they slowly edge up the side of the mountain, already worn out from their little swim, Charlie springs an ambush. Instantly one USMC KIA, and two wounded. Instead of continuing the fight, because of darkness setting in, they break contact and carry their wounded and dead back to the rivers edge very quickly. A platoon sized group of North Vietnamese are in hot pursuit! The Captain orders a platoon, which he will lead, along with my team of air controllers to take up a position on our side of the river and provide cover for the now fleeing squad of Marines. Why me God?
    We take up positions along the river, now its pitch black out. I can't see shit. The shot up squad makes their way back across the river and reports to the Captain. I'm only about 6-8 feet away from them and I get to hear the whole story first hand. "We had to leave the dead Marine hidden in the bushes along the river, they report". "We were in bad trouble and could't handle that many enemy and control the dead guy also". "Don't worry Captain, we know right where he is and the gooks will never find him". The Captain is highly pissed by this time, quckly turns around almost right in my face and says, " I need four strong swimmers to go back and retrieve the body". Hey, I'm a good swimmer, I'll go! Couldn't help but thinking about 5 minutes later that I should have shut the hell up.
    Four of us take a rubber mattress, one on each corner, and slowly swim cross the river in the cover of darkness without making a sound.I have on no shirt, just my utility pants. An M-16 in one hand and a corner of the matress in the other. I've got one magazine of 18 rounds and a K-Bar for good measure. We reach the shore and three of us remain in the water while the fourth guy slithers out up the embankment to retrieve the KIA. Here I am, looking into the darkness with three guys that I never met in my life, wondering when Good old Mr. Charlie would shoot the crap out of me. I'm thinking Bye Mom, Bye Dad, Bye Sis, sorry about me coming home in a box, I'm going to miss you guys. After what seemed like an eternity, with no shots fired, back into the river comes our fourth member dragging a dead Marine by one arm. We, as quietly as possible place him on the mattress and without any further delays head for the protection of a waiting platoon on the other side.
    We make it back without Charlie even knowing we were there,I assume,because he never fired a shot. Upon our return some guys take the body away from us and the whole group heads back to Hill 52 and relative safety.
    So boys and girls, that was my first trip to the bush. I learned to keep my mouth shut, and, that my odds of making it through an entire 13 months were not very good. But hell,I was getting short - 380 and a wake-up. "Hey Dan, does this shit happen every day"? Shut the F-up new guy and get some sleep. We've got more fun planned for tomorrow". You just gotta love the Nam...




    Sorry for the punctuation and poor grammar.. I tried!


    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 2248
    (8/8/02 8:15:49 pm)

    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Outstanding Rick, post some more stories, that was intense!
    Tac




    Rick from Mich
    Member
    Posts: 9
    (8/8/02 9:28:21 pm)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks for the encouragement. It felt good to get that off my chest

    TallTLynn
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 360
    (8/8/02 11:17:02 pm)

    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rick, thank you for posting your story for us to read. We all appreciate it and don't you ever start worrying about spelling or punctuation. It came from your life and you told it as it was.

    berto64
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 542
    (8/9/02 12:10:02 am)

    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Great story Rick,
    As fer spelin an pukshuashion, don' sweat it. If you want to tell the story, we'll figure it out?
    Damn glad ya found us brother!

    berto


    Endeaver to Persevere

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Of Staff*
    Posts: 1200
    (8/9/02 7:37:18 am)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That was a riviting story Rick---you had the stroke and the beat from your opening remark until the very end of your recollections--may I have your permission to fwd it and some of the members remarks along---there is this Doctor's wife in Houston who seems spellbound about WWII and Vietnam stories--she attended Doc Bradley's function and the bookds dedication when his book was written of his exploits on Iwo Jima---FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. wILBORN

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 418
    (8/9/02 10:09:24 am)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Two Thumbs Up and Five Stars along with it ... ;)

    Thanks for sharing Bro ...

    Six

    "HUE CITY SHOOTOUT PARTICIPANT ..... RVN '68 TET OFFENSIVE"

    Rick from Mich
    Member
    Posts: 10
    (8/9/02 12:16:21 pm)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Permission granted High2fly

    Winter11
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 859
    (8/12/02 4:20:32 pm)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    JEEEZUS!!

    Hell of a welcome!!!!

    I have to say though... I'm in awe at the lengths you guys will go to in order to retrieve a fallen brother! I'm not surprised, or shocked... just in absolute awe!!!

    You've got a lot of courage... and don't tell me you don't! It takes a helluva person to put themselves in that position.

    MUCH respect to you....



    Always Faithful

    Firestorm Productions
    Member
    Posts: 2
    (9/4/02 3:45:56 pm)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RE: Winter11

    Try to sell that comment to a civilian. I don't think they'd buy it or understand why. I've never served in combat...yet...and I believe it takes a true military trained mind to understand your comments. As my military service continues to serve me proudly and I serve it, I can understand what the true cost of freedom is... no refund.

    Rick from Mich: That's a most excellent memoir.

    Psycho!
    Psycho's Asylum
    FIRESTORM! Newsletter



    Winter11
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 870
    (9/5/02 9:19:19 am)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Firestorm...

    Not much to go on in your profile... so I don't know much about you... but... welcome!

    I'm Christine... I'm not in the military... as I think you thought I was. The Marine Corps Flag in my signature is a "tribute", if you will, to my boyfriend, Nick, who is a Marine.

    BUT... I am extremely flattered that you thought so highly of my comments... I do have a great respect for the military and for all veterans.

    By the way... in case no one ever told you... thanks for serving :)

    Always Faithful

    Firestorm Productions
    Member
    Posts: 3
    (9/5/02 9:58:30 am)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks Winter :D

    I have updated my signature and profile since I posted here. It's been over a year since I used an ezboard.
    Psycho!
    Phantom Phixer/Apache Keeper

    Winter11
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 874
    (9/5/02 12:00:26 pm)
    Re: First time to the Bush /aka/ Never volunteer for anythin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cool... :)


    Hey ya know... we've got like three people here from MO... what's up with that?!?! Popular Place!! (LOL)