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Amazing Sights and Sounds of War
March 28, 1970, Golf Co., 2/5 was on a difficult hump through the rice paddies back to An Hoa Base for three days of rest and showers. This time of year in Viet Nam the heat is “awful damn hot” and grunts were starting to feel the stress from the heat and mud and smell of the water in the rice paddies. We had been moving for a couple of hours when Cpt. Darling stop the company. In front of us was this large green mountain and word started being pass along to watch that beast. We stood there in that water for few minutes when suddenly the side of that mountain blew up. My friends, have you ever witness a B-52 air strike? The mountain was a deep green one second and then a massive cloud of dirt thrown into the air and when everything settled back down—nothing! Just one very large spot of rock was all that was left. We hear the explosion what seem like five minutes later. The word was pass through the radio that the air strike had been called on a VC/NVA rest and relaxation camp. Man! Their rest and relaxation was going to be long time. There was no need for a burial detail for anyone. I tell ya, that sight gave us something else to think about for the rest of that hump.
May 4, 1970 (date of the Kent State shooting), G Co. 2/5 was stationed on Liberty Bridge. The third (my) platoon went on search and destroy mission into the Arizona A.O. and had a three sided ambush brung on us. That night, the 191st. Unit of NAV/VC hit us with a zapper attack. They made through the wire on the C.P. and first platoon area. A tank with a .50 cal. covered the road and put them down like cutting grass. You could see a .50 round going through a line of men. I guess they never heard that old saying “shred out—one round will get all of you” (said in a loud ugly voice). And it did!
On third platoon side of the compound, there was a RVIN unit on a small hill of dirt; however this didn’t present a problem for us or concerns about firing in their direction because the 191st. took them out with a Lob Bomb. After a few hours of very close fighting, someone thought to call for some help in the way of “Jolly Green Giant” (or was it called “Puff”). If anyone knows which one was being used in the 1970, I’ll appreciate the help. My brain housing isn’t what it use to be even tho I still have all my teeth, some of my hair, and, according to my wife, my boyish good looks. But I digress, that aircraft would make a pass and all you could see is a solid red line and that sound from those guns. Quad-fifties will mess-up anyone’s day or at least discourage someone from running across an open field. By the next morning, we had used up everything we had with the exception of what we had in our weapons. Even the 81 mortars had burned all of their rounds. We learned that a mortar shell from the NVA/VC had hit our ammo bunker at least once but it was not enough to cause any serious damage. We were told that we had destroyed the 191st. Zapper Unit from being effect fighting unit but we know it was those Quad-fifties and the tank that did it.
No idea what date or even what day it was, Third Platoon was on a rover (patrol) when we found a very big and well made bunker. We didn’t have enough C-4 to blow it (too heavy to carry) and didn’t want to wait for Combat Engineers to do something about it. The Lt called the Company 6 who in turn called Bn. and requested an airstrike. A F-14 (I think) flew over so we could mark it for him. He came back around to the bunker and you could see him swing back and forth sighting in on it. Each time he did, the sun would shine off the jet’s wings. We were close enough to see him wave at us and feel the heat from the niplam as to went through the door of that bunker; of course it might have been the heat from the sun because it was mid-spring—so it was hot!!
I think those of us who have been in combat situations don’t stop to think about the power of some of the weapons used and how well they function for their purpose. I can only imagine what weapons the Marine Grunts are using today. I’m sure they are something to see in action and pray they will bring peace. Semper Fi my friends, brothers and sisters.