1. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    I was assigned to a Mech Infantry Unit with the 1st Div in 111 Corp in 68 & 69. And because we were Mech Infantry and had all the firepower we did, we worked some really bad areas. But Loc Ninh was with out dought the worse for me. Loc Ninh was where the highest ranking American was killed in Viet Nam and He was KIA. On Sept 13 1968 I belive but please don`t quote me on the date, Major General Keith Ware the 1st Div Comander`s C & C Chopper was shot down and Gen Ware and and everybody onboard were killed even Gen Ware`s White German Shepard Dog. He was a Good Man. The area was mainly very Old Rubber and Heavy Dry Jungle, and was with in a short walk of the Cambodian Border and the major resupply trails coming down from North Viet Nam. We could and did run into very large brand new Units of NVA. That had not tasted our Red Leg Atry or B52 Ark Light`s yet, and still belived all the BS they had been told of how easy it was going to be to just run right over us. And they still thought they were 10ft tall and Bullet Proof and were looking real hard for a fight. The Biggest Fight I was ever in, was in late Nov 1968 in the rubber just a few klicks north of Loc Ninh. Started off just being 2 Mech Inf Company`s against a large unknown size NVA unit in a large Bunker Complex. But We wound up several days later having most of Col Pattons 11ACR and any other Armor or Mech Inf Units that could get there to help us out. And we were so glad to see all of them show up. By the last day the whole area was really starting to stink very badly with all of their dead laying around. The actual WIA & KIA Body Count was very high on our side, but the NVA`s losses were just unbelivable and I can still close my eyes and see their loss`s. Like I said this was the biggest fight I was ever in befor or since and I have never even seen any thing close to it again, and I had only been in Country a few days at that time. And I remember thinking to my self if this is how it is going to be, my chances of going home were slim to none. But I was a brand new FNG or Cherry Boy at the time and I soon changed my mine on making it thru and going home. I was going to go home and there was no dough about it. One other thing that I remember very very clearly, and it still makes me very angry was. There were no South Viet Nam troops there to help us, and the whole 5th ARVN INFANTRY DIV`s main basecamp was with in 25 miles of us while this fight was going on and none of them came, not even one small unit. I never seen a South Viet Nam ((( ARVN ))) Unit in any type of Combat stand and fight they aways ran with their Leaders the first ones to run. IMHO they were a Nation of Thieves, Liars, and Cowards. The NVA would stand and fight, and even tho we hated them and tried to kill them any chance we got, but we respected them as well. But the ARVN`s could not be trusted on any thing and we despised them for that. That was all 47 years ago, but if I could draw, I could draw detailed pictures of all, of the thing I saw personly witnessed. I think about this quite often and Dream about it most every night. I truley hope I have not Offended or Bored any of You, with the rambleing`s of an old man. But sometime I feel a deep need to share some of my memories that I usually keep locked away.
    ken
     
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  2. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing that. It took me 18 years to tell my first wife anything about it, and she left me not long afterwards. Before that I only shared the 'funny stories'. Just keep in mind that it is a memory now. This stuff can only become your 'present' if you let it. Best regards - Jim
     
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  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for sharing.

    Not everyone can talk about their experiences. My uncle was a runner during the Battle of the Bulge, earned several ribbons including a purple heart and bronze star, but would never talk about it. In some ways I have been deprived, not having heard his experiences of the cost of freedom.

    Thank you for your service.
     
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  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I had 27 years in and never saw any combat, I volunteered for Viet Nam three times but was turned down each time. Volunteered for Desert Storm/Desert Shield also but again was turned down. If telling or writing of your experiences helps you then keep writing, we will listen.
     
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  5. drymag

    drymag Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    If you're a Christian, read hard and pray hard. Let Him sort it out. If you are not, read hard and pray hard and He will sort it out if you let Him. Every day, read and pray. No vacations. James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you. He looks for every possibility to carry our load, but we have to let go first. With His help, you just might let go a little. God bless.
     
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  6. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

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    Cpt-T, thanks for your story it's always good to hear from another brother from that crazy war. I was a young Cobra pilot with the 1st Cav. in 1972 when the big Easter Offensive kicked off. We were Aerial Artillery, you would have known us as Blue Max. When the Offensive started in III Corp in '72 the NVA charged across the border above Loc Ninh in Division strength for an attempt to run down QL 13 to Saigon. Their first stop was the base at Loc Ninh.

    In those days all the American troops had departed from the field leaving only U.S. Advisers with ARVN's to execute the war. It did not go well and we spent 5-days trying to blunt the attack, but were unsuccessful in our efforts. The NVA were too many and very well equipped. We lost some good men there and the base was ultimately overrun. Some of the U,S, Advisers on the ground were killed including the LTC in charge, some escaped and some were captured and put in NVA prison camps.

    We finally stopped the attack at An Loc and fought for 3-months to finally overcome the estimated 4 1/2 Divisions of enemy troops. We proved that Cobras could defeat Russian-built armor at An Loc as they came with hundreds of modern main battle tanks. All told, we lost 8 brave pilots in that fight.

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments! I agree whole-heartily regarding your thoughts about the NVA, ARVN and the corrupt S. Vietnamese government. Sometime I seriously doubted our reasons for supporting those people.

    Thanks and I will look forward to seeing more of your posts.
     
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  7. Alaska444

    Alaska444 Well-Known Member

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    I spent nine years in the Army in the 80s and 90 but was stateside by chance, or perhaps God's will more likely. They sent the attending docs at my residency so us in training would not be disrupted and then when Serbia was going at it, my commander would not let me backfill since he considered me essential to his hospital.

    While thankfully, I do not personally know the horror of combat, I have talked with hundreds if not thousands of active duty warriors and veterans who saw more than their fair share. My Uncle did three tours in Korea and never once spoke to me about it until I joined the Army. He came home with a silver star and Purple Heart.

    His first day in combat was on the front lines of the Pusan perimeter. When they were picking up the dead and wounded after three atacks during the night by the Chinese, it occurred to him that most of the dead and wounded were those that ran I. The middle of the night. He made up his mind that he would be the meanest SOB he could be to make it home. By his own account, he got pretty good at what he had to do and was always called upon for dangerous missions.

    He became a journalistic photographer among other things and returned to combat in Vietnam and Cambodia. He lived the rest of his life with survivors guilt pushing the limits sailing around the world, flying driving above and beyond yet to his surprise surviving all of this. He is 87 and living In Central America. Combat turned him to alcohol which in part ruined his marriage to a French girl who became a millionaire from his businesses he had to leave to her after the divorce due to French laws.

    Unfortunately, most veterans will not talk to anyone who has not seen combat themselves which leads to nightmares and worsening PTSD. I wish you didn't have to experience those horrors, but I am grateful you are here today talking about them. It is important to discuss and document these things not only for your own wellbeing, but for the kids today who may consider it glory to experience combat.i am glad I don't have to deal with those memories, but by the grace of God and my commander, I would have been part of that as well.
     
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  8. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    THANK YOU: For your kind words, concerning Loc Ninh a place that haunts me at night in my dreams. You never know, how you will really be recived when you reach out to new people. Some times I just really feel the need to tell somebody about my dreams and the stories about Viet Nam that I usually keep locked away. I have done this a few times befor and quite often I have taken to much for granted. Looking for the guys like I use to serve with in the Army. But you can, and I have been burned many times doing this sorta of thing. This can turn some people off and really offend many of them, and I do not want to do that. And it just makes me feel really foolish that I have miss read new people and just taken to much for granted again. And have over stepped my bounds, and I swear to my self I will never do this again. But if You Guys would like to hears some of my stories and dreams, I would be honored to share some of them with You.
    SnakeDriver: I knew Eddie Rickenbacker and Your CO McKay both fine guys . Quite often Blue Max birds and crews would spend to night with us at Xaun Loc, in the Old Sea Bee`s compound on the SW corner of the airfield. So we very well might know each other. I flew for C Co 229th 1st Cav. But I went home about a week befor the big fight at Loc Ninh and An Loc. I am very sorry for the close friends you lossed. But I am glad You made it Home.
    ken
     
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  9. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

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    Cpt-t, sadly Eddie Rickenbacker & Larry McKay have gone on to the big hanger in the sky. They both sport wings of a different kind now. I was good friends with them both to the very end. Fast Eddie came to visit with us in Florida about a year before his demise. He was a great guy.

    A, B & D / 229th were still around in '72, I'm not sure what happened to C/229th by then. The 229th guys were all awesome and very brave souls. The AAA around An Loc was fierce!

    Since you are also an Aviator, are you a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots's Assoc.? We gather each year and share war stories. It's been a great source of healing for me. You should try it if you're not already a member. It's great to hear the stories from the guys who were there before me.

    One of our Blue Max pilots was an FO with the Artillery down at Chon Thon at about the same time you were at Loc Ninh, did you ever know Mike Brown?

    Enough rambling for now, take good care my friend!
     
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  10. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Snakedriver - It IS GREAT to see you posting - started to get concerned not seeing you post. Most of our dealing with snakes and slicks were with drogue chutes and 50 feet of sling. Snakes didn't have a greenhouse, or I'd left a calling card (clevis) like we used to leave for the slick guys.

    Guess I'm the odd duck here. I agree that from what I've heard, the RVN Government was mostly corrupt, and from what I saw myself the ARVINs were a joke as an Army and dangerous to be anywhere near when they had loaded weapons (they used to shoot at us at night when we over flew the ARVN compound between Camp Hutchmuth Playtex Pad and Camp Eagle POL Point). I have never changed my opinion that we were there for the right reasons. For the most part, our leadership did a great job - when they didn't have their hands tied behind them by the weak-kneed politicians back home.

    Don't know about any other Army units other than the 101st, or at least other than my little part of the war, but the Army kicked butt and did a fantastic job in fighting the Communists. We did the job we were told to do. Do I regret being sent to RVN? Absolutely not. The only regrets I have are the friends lost and the sacrifice and suffering that I saw - that was thrown away by others for the sake of cowardice and political expedience. The crap we all took when we came home is another story. The way I see it, the guys who did their jobs and came back can hold their heads high - the ones who need to soul-search are the ones who stayed home and joined in the chorus of anti America/ pro communist chants while their friends and brother's blood soaked into the soil in Nam.
     
  11. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    Snakedriver: It sadden`s me greatly, to hear Eddie Rickenbacker and Larry McKay have both passed away. Both were very good and quite enuique men. It was an Honor to have known and served with both of these Men and to be able to have called them my friends makes them, even more special to me. Viet Nam Viets are dieing much faster than we should. And I really don`t know why. I don`t think I knew your friend Mike Brown by name any way, but I might have know him by sight. Names and certain other things, my memories are starting to fad some what. While others memories that I wish would fade, still remain crystal clear. Can You remember the name of the Village that set on the east side of Highway 13 between Chon Thon and An Loc. That Villages name has faded from my memory completly, but every thing else about that Darn Spooky Village remains extremely clear. Some just unreal and very scarey things happened very close to that Village. And I Dream and Think about the darn place quite often, and it bothers me that I can`t remember its name. Again I hope, I have not bored or offended any one with my ramblings, for this was a very time for me.
    TAKE CARE MY FRIEND`S
    ken
     
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  12. cpt-t

    cpt-t Member

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    JIM BRADY: I hope I did not give You or any Others the impression. That I had any miss givings about going to Viet Nam for 2 Tours. IMHO we went there for all the right reasons. The ARVN`s were the real problems for us, they were a Nation of Thiefs, Liars, And Cowards that could never be trusted or depended on, and we despised them for that. And that was my job I was lucky enough to be in the Infantry & a Chopper Pilot. And I missed my 3rd Tour because of hospital time at Fitzsimmions Army Hospital in Denver. No I would not change what I did for any thing. If I had not gone, I would have never met the unbeliveable Men I got to serve with and become life long friends with. I met and got to worked with men I would have never really known for sure, they really existed. Tho I was never good enough to be part of there Units, I got a chance to work with them a few times and I even knew a few of their names. And that was good enough. Viet Nam was the most exciting and really the most important thing I have ever did in my life. And to tell you the truth. I miss the Rush and being held to a Higher Standard.
    TAKE CARE MY FRIEND:
    ken
     
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  13. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Cpt-t, never worry about offending me, you are my brother. You and anyone else who sweated in and choked on that red dust have more than earned the right to say anything you wish. Many men saw things from a different perspective than where I saw it from, and if you served and supported or served and didn't support it - it's absolutely your call. I only know from my personal experience how I see it - and that does not make me right or wrong. I only did one tour, and that does not make me an expert.

    Odd little story of an event yesterday. Cold in Colorado, so when the wife and I went into town I wore my most comfortable light jacket - and that happens to be an old nomex flight jacket that I bought while on flight status on my last active tour in 1984 (still bears my wings and leather name plate). Has my old 4th Army patch on one sleeve and my Puking Buzzard patch on the other. A man behind us in check out line in Wally World says to me "Thanks for your service" (He is about my age - maybe even a tad older). I responded "Thanks, but this is an old jacket and my service was a long time ago". Turns out he was a Marine - also having been in I Corps. Compared quick notes on places like Khe Sanh, Da Nang, Marble Mountain, Hue, Quang Tri. I ended up thanking HIM for HIS service.

    Sure is a lot nicer than back when we really did just get home....... At least these days you're not waiting for some jerk to spit on you or how you're going to react.
     
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  14. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Supporting Member

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    Strange? Ironic??? Do these two words impart the same question...the same problem?
    I suppose it seems I speak in riddles, but this post began with Ken almost a year ago...Ken
    and I have visited numerous times on another post, but is it not strange that I just didn't
    scroll on down to Loc Ninh...? This morning, here, 12 June 2016, I read Ken's post and
    the numerous replies of other troops remarks such as those of Jim Brady...I guess it just
    goes to show that "you can't be every where........" and that clique ended up, "at once".
    Yeah, it does seem like a 'riddle session'....I just don't know why I failed to scroll on down..
    some of the places and times mentioned by the posting troops was places I had been in my
    two tours of duty ...I used to refer to Vietnam as 'the arm-pit of creation'....today, here all
    these many years....what's it been since 1968...dang, almost half a century. Last early spring
    when I was invited to join 13 other Seabees to go back to Vietnam ..."but hell no"...that
    was my response. The appointed sponsor sent daily videos from the 'arm-pit', showing sites
    where our forces had been...occasionally there would be evidence such as an old concrete
    foundation ...the 'torn and tattered' real estate was not in evidence, nor was the thousands of
    feet of aluminum matting we laid out for operating aircraft . Yeah, I'm rambling now as I tend
    to do here in old age...Jeez, when I was younger I could not tolerate a 'rambler'...Dang, get
    over what you're trying to tell me...I got things to do...records to achieve...places to go!
    My fellow American Warriors...thank you Gentlemen for your valiant service ...perhaps not
    as well-rewarded as it might have been, but you were there at muster....Chief