The Orchestra, Part 2

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

  1. Admin

    Admin Active Member Staff Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Rick from Mich
    Posts: 17
    (9/17/02 7:18:04 pm)
    The Orchestra, Part 2
    Time: 18:00 Hours
    Date: Some time in late July 1967
    “380 something and a wakeup”
    Still a “Cherry”

    We arrive on the afternoon mail chopper on Hill 65. The home of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. We throw our gear on the floor of the Command Bunker and spend some time greeting the various radio operators, corpsmen, and artillery and mortar forward observers. Dan volunteers us to pull a shift monitoring the command radios during the night to help the others get more rest. Since we’d be up at four AM saddling up for the operation we each had one and ½ hour shifts.
    The artillery forward observer invites us to go up in the watch tower bunker where the have a ships scope mounted to the floor. You can see for miles with this telescope looking device. We took turns looking across the wide expanse of the valley in front of us. South of the hill is the Song Vu Gia river, across the river is “Arizona”. It looked beautiful from this angle, small pockets of villages, and wide expanses of rice paddy. Directly north and to the rear “Charlie Ridge”. The ridgeline reaches elevations of 800-1000 feet and runs for miles along the edge of the valley. The slopes are covered with single canopy jungle type vegetation. I’m told that Tigers have been spotted up there with the scope. Everything seemed peaceful today; this was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen.
    The forward observer spots an elephant with long range rockets strapped to its back. Three Viet Cong carrying weapons are guiding the animal on a footpath heading east well across the river in “Arizona”. These suckers are well over a mile away. He calls for a fire mission. “Shot out” comes the command and we watch for sign of impact. A white phosphorous round impacts 100 meters away from the target scattering the group of Viet Cong into a near by tree line. The elephant roars with displeasure but remains in position. “Drop 100, right 100, battery 3, HE, fire for effect” yells the Artillery FO into the radio. It sounds like small freight trains whizzing over our heads as the gun battery swings into action. from the other side of hill 65. 105 MM artillery rounds turn the screaming elephant into a pile of rubble. A secondary explosion occurs further adding to the large beasts demise. I gain instant respect for the Artillery FO, my partner in the “Orchestra”. We head over to the command bunker to report the situation to the Captain. Tomorrow begins the Big Show.

    On this day back in 1967, I was 19 years old, I weighed approx 160 Lbs. Before I tell the next part of the story I will give you a list of gear that I was carrying as I crossed the river the next day, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something:

    · Pants
    · Boots
    · Socks (2)
    · T-shirt
    · Long sleeve shirt (In Pack)
    · Pack
    · Helmet w/band
    · Flak Jacket
    · Cartridge Belt w/ suspender
    · Rifle cleaning kit
    · Mess kit spoon
    · Insect repellant
    · Compass
    · Maps
    · Strobe light
    · Air panels
    · Flash light with red lens
    · Pen flair with 5 extra flares
    · K-Bar Fighting Knife
    · Trenching tool
    · 2-3 canteens
    · 3 days rations (mostly peaches and pound cake)
    · Salt pills
    · PRC 25 radio
    · Extra battery for PRC 25
    · Watch
    · Wallet
    · Dog Tags
    · Poncho
    · M-16 w 18 round clip
    · 45 pistol (optional) w/ 8 round magazine
    · 2 bandoleers M-16 Ammo (not in magazines) 280 rounds
    · 2 bandoleers M-16 Ammo loaded in 14 magazines 252 rounds
    · 1 box 45 ammo – 50 rounds
    · Bullion cubes
    · 4 smoke grenades
    · 1 CS grenade
    · 4-6 fragmentation grenades
    · Iodine pills
    · Battle Dressing
    · Several packs of cigarettes and lighter
    · Towel
    · 3 foot whip antenna
    · 20 ft antenna

    What am I forgetting?

    Firestorm Productions
    Posts: 27
    (9/18/02 2:25:15 pm)
    Re: The Orchestra, Part 2
    Too bad for the elephant. VC BBQ.


    Phantom Phixer/Apache Keeper

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 454
    (9/18/02 6:14:06 pm)
    Re: The Orchestra, Part 2
    Excellent read sir ...

    Might want to throw in a life preserver so that you don't drown from all that weight your carryin' should ya have to get yer feet wet which I'm sure ya probably did ... ;)

    "Semper Fi"


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