Request from Medevac for somebody with gunshot in the foot.
2 Feb 1970 D company in field.
3 Feb 1970 D company in field.
An "automatic ambush" we had set up during the night got a wolf.
This was my 1st fire fight! Our Platoon was attached to a Mechanized unit (tanks and armored personnel carriers) for a period of time. We had decided that we didn't really want to be around the tracks (term used for tanks and armored personnel carriers) during the night. So we walked out about 1000 meters or so from them and set up a NDP (night defensive position). During the night we had spotted what appeared to be a fire some distance away. We fired artillery and it finally went out. Didn't think to much of it. The morning of the 3rd we woke up and were just eating and getting ready to walk back to the tracks so we could ride with them during the day. Our "Kit Carson" scout had to go "outside" the perimeter to "take a shit" while he was out he spotted 2 individuals and opened up on them. All of a sudden all hell broke loose. We had rockets (or so we thought) coming in lots of small arms fire. I was carrying M60 rounds for our M60 machine gunner during this time. So I remember the gunner (his nickname was TJ) yelling for me to get more rounds for him. I had to crawl about 10 meters to get them and then crawl back so we could load them up. Suddenly lots of people started yelling to "hold you fire" "friendlies"......
Turns out that we had just engaged with a group of popular forces that were in the same area. Looking back it seemed weird that the rounds coming in sounded just like our rounds (M79 grenade launchers) etc, etc. Also the small arms fire was M16 (just like ours)
When everything was over the first thing I noticed was that all of the rubber trees that were around us had rubber coming out of them about 3 feet higher and up. (This is why we always stayed low).
Of my entire time in Viet Nam I was only able to keep one picture! All the others were left behind when I was medevaced. The picture was taken in the rubber plantation the morning just before we got into the fire fight. I am messing around with the radio on my back. The guy next to me is our M60 gunner TJ. (photo)
Here's the log record of the contact.
4 Feb 1970 D company in field.
We joined up with Glacier 1/6 (Mechanized unit) again.
5 Feb 1970 D company in field.
6 Feb 1970 D company in field.
So much for using C4 to cook with! C4 was plastic explosives that would burn when lit with a match. However if you tried to put it out by stomping on it with your foot, it would explode!
7 Feb 1970 D company in field.
During this time we were doing a search through a village that had been deserted. We had all lined up in a long line to move across the area. As we were progressing the guy next to me (I think it was Bill Belcher) yells "Stop don't move" and then fires his M-16. Turns out one of the guys in front of him (I remember this as being "George") had a 6 to 8 foot snake in a bush right next to him. The snake was "standing up" in the bush and was about to jump at "George". Bill was a great shot and killed the snake with a single shot to the head. Scared the hell out of "George". I can remember lots of pictures being taken so I know some are around. The K-9 dogs we had with us at the time kept trying to eat the dead snake so we ended up burying it. (see Ed Griffith Photo of the snake).
8 Feb 1970 D company in field.
1st platoon (my unit was to recon and secure a landing zone for C company then move into Quan Loi and join up with the Armored unit again.
Here we are flying out of the landing zone that we secured for C company and heading to Quan Loi.
Whenever we flew out of an area on helicopters we would have to call in to tell them where we were so they could come and get us. You will see in a lot of the call logs, a reference to a "map grid" they look something like " 871962" or "XY711587" these codes refer to grid areas that were show on the maps furnished by the military. On the ground, we couldn't see very far because of the jungle terrain so we used rivers, streams, hills, or any other kind of map feature to help us locate where we were. If we got lost (which we did quite frequently) we could call back to the FSB and have artillery fire a round called a "DT" over our position. A "DT" would explode over head and could pin point our position. We also could call any aircraft that might be in the area and "pop smoke" so they could see where we were. Since they were in the air they could see any mountains or terrain features much better than us. "Popping smoke" was a very common occurrence, we all carried at least two or three smoke grenades. These came in a variety of colors including yellow " mellow yellow", green, purple "goofy grape", and red. Red was used to mark a target for aircraft. When you popped smoke to mark your location the pilot would radio in "I've got your "goofy grape" to make sure he was seeing your position. There were stories about the "gooks" popping smoke to try to get the helicopters to land for them so they could shoot them up.
9 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
10 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
Let's hear the explanation for this one!
11 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
12 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
Appears the rest of the company was in thick jungle which could be a real hazard. One of the guys in 2nd platoon named Nichols had the brush catch the safety on his M16 and it fired hitting him in the right foot.
Here's where my platoon Sergeant (Bill Belcher) was supposed to go to sniper school.
I know let's request another scout dog team!
13 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
Bill doesn't go!
Here's some discussion of changing our "call sign" from "Rain cloud" to "Peppermint Patty". Just shows how dumb the generals are sometimes!
14 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit).
Here's the request for a helicopter to fly our commanding officer to ft. Compton.
We had some problems with the enemy setting booby traps.
Getting ready to move to ft. Compton
15 Feb 1970 D company in field (1st platoon still with armored unit) Moving to Ft. Compton.
16 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
17 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
18 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
When we were out in the field there were a number of unwritten rules:
We took extra precautions to make sure we were as quiet as possible. The simple things like keeping our conversations limited to whispers were the norm. We wore our "dog tags" laced to our boot laces so they wouldn't rattle together. I always made sure that my empty canteens were mixed with the full ones and even went so far as to pour some water in each as when they would bump each other when they were empty, even though they were plastic, they would make noise. We never seemed to have a problem with people snoring at night. If anyone did they were awaked so they would stop. I guess enough nights without sleep and you just stop snoring.
We were issued a military flashlight with a red lens. The idea with red is that red doesn't cause your eyes to lose "night vision". We didn't use even those very often however because the enemy could see red also. If you wanted to have a cigarette at night you had to follow light it while under a poncho liner (blanket). Then you made sure you cupped your hand around the lit end of it the whole time you were smoking. We used to like to drink hot chocolate in the evenings. This involved heating water so we could make it. What we would do is take the helmet liner our of our helmet and take the cloth camouflage cover off of the steel helmet. We would then take a heat tab (cooking fuel) put it in the bottom of the helmet cover ourselves and the helmet with a poncho liner (blanket) and light a match to light the heat tab. Once it was going you could uncover because the flame was at the bottom of the helmet and could not be seen. I am not sure if it was planned this way, but the canteen cups we had fit nicely into the helmet and wouldn't spill. With water in the canteen cup, hot chocolate was just minutes away.
During basic training the drill instructors always made a big issue of not standing around in groups. They would always say "one hand grenade and your all dead". When moving we were spaced about 3 meters (10 feet) apart. When we were stopped you would see groups of two or three but the groups were normally spaced apart.
These were the main reasons we liked being on fire support bases. We could make all the noise we wanted and not have to worry about it. We were still very cautious with lights and groups because we knew the enemy could still see us.
19 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
20 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
21 Feb 1970 D company is with 1st battalion 7th Cav in the area of Ft. Compton.
We are advise we will be returned to 1st battalion 8th Cav tomorrow. "Green Line" refers to a request for Battalion to provide a company to go to Quan Loi to provide perimeter security for the base. I always considered this a "R&R" time since we weren't in the field.
We were to provide the name of a EM (enlisted man) to go to the CLC (combat leadership course). This was a training program for a promotion to platoon leader and normally meant a change in rank to Sergeant. The guy from 1st platoon was Mike Aronnie (nickname Macaroni).
23 Feb 1970 D company at Quan Loi.
24 Feb 1970 D company at Quan Loi.
Just some thoughts. I can remember sitting in one of the bunkers that was named "Stoneys Bunker" on the perimeter of Quan Loi. One of the nicknames I remember is a kid (he couldn't have been over 18 years old) that every one called "junior" He was in 1st platoon and was from New Jersey. I remember his trying to grow a mustache a really catching hell from everybody.
25 Feb 1970 D company at Quan Loi.
26 Feb 1970 D company at Quan Loi. Moved to new FSB Audie.
Here's discussion of the name for the new FSB that is to be built
27 Feb 1970 D company at FSB Audie.
One of our guys got hurt.
28 Feb 1970 D company in field.
Move on to March 1970