This story is about when an 8" artillery round landed on our postion one night. We were high on a ridge above a valley in Bong Son when it happened. Some men were either killed or injured but Steve does not remember it.

 

I'm lousy at names but I thought my memory was pretty good about events & chronology.  Still, I don't remember a thing about the incident you describe.  The only time I can remember being on a ridge line with a 50cal was a few weeks after I got to C Co in Sept 66.  I was in 1st platoon  then and we were on a ridge overlooking the Bon Song plains and the South  China Sea.  This was before you were in the company and I was in 3rd platoon. I don't remember anything about getting hit by 8 inch fire or any casualties and that's the sort of thing I would have remembered (at least I  think).  When did it happen?  I was out of the field on 3 occasions between 1/67 and 3/67 and maybe it happened one of those times. Still you would think people would talk about it.  I was on R & R in Japan in 1/67 and something happened just before I got back where the platoon took a number of casualties - my recollection is that they were all WIA and no KIA but I don't recall  any details. I swear I remember an 8" shell landing on our position during the night. I can still remember how hard it jarred the ground. Maybe it was another company that got hit? I distinctly remember the 50 cal being brought out and set up too. We all took some turns firing it at trees and such in  the valley below. At night 'Puff the Magic Dragon' would put on a show too.  I don't remember when it happened but it had to be when I was in Charlie  Co. When I was in D 2/5 recon platoon there would have been too few of us  for a blocking position and in Brigade LRRP even less of us, we had about 8 people tops there.  A few weeks after I got back we were operating near the An Lao Valley and coming down a stream bed with huge boulders.  I slipped and  fell,pretty bad and cut my hand on the front sight of my M-60 and went out  on a resupply chopper later that day.  That afternoon or the next day, the company got in a firefight - I think by stumbling into a bunker complex - and I think had a few KIA's.  Do you remember that? I remember the rocky stream bed, very slippery. I think I remember you getting hurt too. If I recall we spent the night in and NVA bunker  complex setup to ambush them if they came back. It poured down rain all night  and I sat on my tin pot with my back against a tree all night.  First thing  the next morning we saddled up and had just moved a few steps when the ‘care taker' cut loose on us. I don't remember anyone being killed or wounded  but he did put some holes in my ruck sack. He, the caretaker, kept taking  pot shots at us off and on the whole day from far away but never hit  anyone.

I wish I could remember the name of the black platoon sergeant we had then. I know he thought a lot of you whether he ever showed it to you or not and I really liked him too. Do you remember when they brought a scout dog out to work with us? We did an air assault into somewhere and they put the dog and his handler  behind our point man. I can't remember his name either but I think he was a  Semi pro boxer before the army. Anyway we had not gone far when he trips a  Booby trap and gets both his legs broken. It was a rocky stream bed deal and  may have been the same time you got hurt. Anyway they had to medivac him,  The dog and the dog handler. Just struck me as typical of how the army was,

send us a dog to detect mines and booby traps and then put him ten feet behind the human point man. I did a lot of wise thinking amusing while in the back of 3rd platoons column also a lot of cussing the damn radio I  had to carry. I definitely not sorry for any of the interesting things I missed by not being near the front. As for the casualty list, I recall the circumstances of everyone on the List from 9/66 through 8/67 except for William Hancock.  I was out of the  field for at least a week because of my hand and I assume that's when he was  KIA. Hancock got killed in the An Lao valley deal. We kept going up this  hill each day working on caves and we had just started up the hill the first

Day when they opened up on us. He was killed instantly.  4 guys carried him back down the hill, 1 on each arm and leg trying to keep low. Sgt Fowler screamed at them to put him down and then one of you pick he up and carry him over your shoulder like he’s a man and not a sack of shit. One of the few times I liked Fowler. Maybe it was the firefight right after I cut my hand but the date seems a little off for that - or over the course of the past 35 years I've  Screwed up my dates and chronology.  That's real possible - John Evans, the guy from Bravo Co on the list, was one of my best friends and after he died I  was in a funk for about a month.  I was out of the field again when the company  was in the battle where Fred Seput and the guys from 1st platoon were KIA - I  was in the division squad leader school with Jake Van Meter for a week - but I always thought it was in early March, not 3/21.  I had pretty good luck for missing firefights. I will never forget moving into the Marine positions near Du Ko. One Little Marine just could not accept the fact that they were being replaced by army. He wanted to know what kind of Marine I was and what the jump

wings on my fatigues meant. I remember us sweeping through the villages with our 3 platoons abreast  And our almost getting ambushed. We, the 3rd were on the right with the River at our right edge and there was this sortof L shaped village area. The platoon on our left hit the long part just before we walked into the L  and the fight began. We had at least 2 guys hit. I remember 1 guy got it in the chest area and then again through the jaw as he was falling. That night 2 sappers tripped our flares and we all were just stunned for a moment the opened up on them. We captured one of them the next day hiding in the water at the edge of the river and killed the other one with long range rifle fire as he was on the other side of the river. After we made that ford you remember we passed his body.  Somewhere in this stretch of time our new Company Co, he replaced Lowry, gave us a pep talk about wanting someone to win the CMH. I remember some other times went there were KIA's but didn't put them on the list because I couldn't remember names or the exact dates.  Not long  After Fred was KIA, 1/5 went north to the next province to relieve some marines (at LZ Montzuma) who were being shipped closer to Khe Sanh and the DMZ.  I think we were the first Army troops to serve in I Corps and we were replaced after a few weeks and went back to Bon Song.  I remember we were in a  firefight there where 1 or 2 men were KIA. I'll never forget the strafing. I was at the back and if I remember we  had a relatively new platoon leader and a brand new platoon sergeant. He,  The platoon sergeant was white, a bit older but a good enough guy. I saw the swisps of red smoke and was thinking 'o shit' about the time the whole world exploded around us. I thought we were in Bong Son again but I  could be wrong. I think that was the worst I ever saw any of our guys torn up. I remember the medic, and I wish I could remember him better, saying 1 guy had a hole clear through his head but his pulse and breathing were nice and strong but he may have ended up a vegetable.  Do you remember a few days after that when we had to ford a river that must have been at least 1/4 mile wide?  Also, the day we were strafed by the air force jets with 20 mm cannon (I think it Was 4/21 - if it wasn't then I spent over 30 years getting nervous on the  Wrong day) started when 1st platoon got into some shit.  My recollection is  that a brand new replacement was KIA - he had arrived on a resupply chopper  about 2 hours before he got hit.  That really stuck in my mind, both because of the uselessness of it all and because it seemed like something out of a war movie.  I wish now that I had taken a picture of everyone.  I live just south of Houston, Texas in Sugar Land. Yep I remember quaffing down some Olympia beer. By chance were you and I together the night we got tossed out of the NCO club for winning at craps and having to admit we were only spec 4's. Do you remember getting Olympia beer sometimes in Nam?

 

Continued at a later date:

I do remember having a 50 cal. set up once when the platoon was in a small outpost about a klick outside of base camp for a week in late May ot early June. It was when we did a month of duty at An Khe (about a month after the strafing) and each week did something different. The first week we were the division reaction force and had to stay in barracks near an artillary battalion's club. I remember getting drunk and falling in love with the drummer in an all girl Japanese band and then having to make a night assault into a small clearing to check out some reports of movement. Was this club where you were kicked out/ I don't remember if it was an NCo club but Fenton and I had just made e-5 so it might have been.

I had already medivaced out by the time you guys were back in An Khe. I must have been sick for a long time before I finally crashed because I know I had left 3rd jplatoon and was a squad leader in either 1st or 2nd. I remember leading a patrol out of LZ english and taking some civies prsioner. When we brought them back I was sorry I had captured them because the ARVN's started punching and beating them up the minute I turned them over. The politics of that damn place sucked. I remember trading my 45 ACP for a cutdown M2-carbine. I walked about 100 yrds with the thing and about 100 rds of ammo for it and turned right around and demanded my pistol back. The M-16 might jam but it was easy to clear,light and you could carry beu ku ammo without killing yourself. Do you remember Fred Seput getting his granfathers luger? Poor Fred had it about 2 weeks before some asshole stole it. I cannot remember a single face from my squad and I wish I could. Maybe someday one of them will surface and fill me in. I can remember the guys from 3rd platoon fairly clearly. Guess its cause of how long we were together.

 

You were airbone like I was. When I first got to Cav in 9/66, it seemed like half the company was airborne. Almost all of my jump school class ended up the cav as replacements. By the time I made E-5, it seemed like there were only a few airborne guys left in C Co. DO you remember some guys being pulled out just about the time we started the month at An Khe and bring sent to the 173rd airborne? I'm not sure if I remember this right by my recollection is that somebody told me to pack up my gear to go and then I was told that the order only applied to E-3 and E-4 and since I had just madeSgt. I didn't have to go. One guy in the platoon went-he wore glasses and usally carried an M-14 with the bipod.

 

It didn't seem important to me in those days. I spent about 3 months between D 2/5 and C 1/5 in the brigade LRRP and had gone through the Recondo school run by SPF in Na Trang. The school was excellant and the Real SF guys doing LRRPs were great but I got sick of all the crap the SF people laid out. To hear them talk they earned a silver star everyday when all they really did was camp out in those little forts they and their ARVN's build and play with sister montanquadsboobies everynight. I had already done 1 full tour in Korea before nam in a leg outfit and never got to draw 1 months jump pay after benning. I would likely have not been to interested in going to the 173rd as from what I had seen and heard the airborne "combat jumps" were all a bunch of BS just to get them stars on their wings. I do remember the guy with the M14. Other then the weight of the ammo he had to carry I envied him the fact that he at least had a rifle that did not jam. Do you remember the older guy that came into the 3rd platoon? He was about a total dufus and one day we were clearing a villiage. Running the old folks and women and children out of their bomb shelters and fragging the holes when everone was 'out'. We're all standing around and the platoon lead tells him to put a grenade into this bomb bumker and instead of walking over and dropping it in he winds up and throws it at the doorway.
It hits the top of the door and jams in between the bamboo slats. We
all dive this way and that and of course the thing goes off and wounds
several of the civies since they don't speak emergency 'get your ass down' GI. I do remember the time we were in the stream bed and the point man hit the booby trap. It was a couple of months after I cut my hand and just a few weeks after we got back from I Corps and relieving the Marines. I was towards the front carrying an M-60 - either just behind the dog handler or there was another man between us. It was also after Fred was KIA as Iremember being pissed at the new medic taking so long to respond to the wounded guy. It probably wasn't his fault - it may have been the first casualty he had to treat. I don't recall the WIA's name but he and I had been on body burial detail together at LZ Bird, dragging the dead VC down a hill to a mass grave.I also remember the fire fight in I-Corps although I don't remember anyone in 3rd platoon getting seriously WIA. I know one of the badly wounded guys was Crazy George, a machine gunner from 1st platoon. If he lived, he probably ended up on death row somewhere - a real psychopath but the best machine gunner in the company. I also remember the wounded VC crawling out
of the water on the far side of that wide river and about 10 guys
lining up
and trying to hit him with rifles and an M-60. My memory is that a chopper finally killed him with close up machine gun fire and dropping grenades on him - also that when we crossed the river the next day, the whole line curved so we could get a look at him. He seemed damn near
indestructible and I was wondering just what it took to kill a VC when it seemed so easy for us to die.

This brought back a memory of Willie Fells. Willie carried about 50 M79
rounds in a claymore bag and kept another 80 or so in his rucksack. I
remember during this fight that I had not competely fired a magazine
when Willie was yelling at me to throw him his rucksack. He had dropped it when the shooting started and taken cover just ahead of me. I fire less than 20 M16 rounds and Willie has already fired over 40 to 50 M79 grenades.That impressed me.

Anyway I'm probably starting to remember more than I really want to.
Still, there probably hasn't been a day in the past 35 years when I
haven't thought about Nam so the memories might as well be accurate. At least they can be a good antidote to some of the shit people are talking about now. I agree we need to retaliate but some of these people just don't have a clue about what its really going to involve. Bad times ahead - I'm glad I'm not 19 again.

I know what you mean. This seems to have helped me some. I used to tear up a bit everytime I thought of Fred and now maybe I can get by it. Hell, maybe not either. Still pisses me off about how we were wasted over there.

a 3rd guys jumps in:

My name is Dan Favreau, I was in third platoon, I remember you very
well. Dale forwarded your e-mail. I really enjoyed it. The machine gunners name was George Sebastion. I rotated a few days before fells, the first Sgt. came out to the field when I had three weeks left and said me and Fells could go in and pull k.p. and hang around camp. I told him no dice. He wouldn't let Fells go unless I went back, said I rotated first so it wouldn't be fair, well Fells had to stay, although he tried to persuade me on a daily basis. The prisoner deal after George was shot, I went into the stream, looking for a place to cross, saw too beady eyes looking at me from the reeds, nearly had a heart attach, brought him on shore, he had a string tied to his ankle that went across the trail, still haven't figured that out, as there was no grenade or anything.