July, 1969, An Hoa Combat Base, I CORP, 3rd 8 inch How. Btry (SP) Capt. Hudiberg was our CO……I'm a FNG 0811 learning the A gunner job on gun 1. During a fire mission one night, after loading a round and powder charge, I had closed and locked the breechblock, was leaning down and inserting a primer when we had a rocket hit just outside the gun pit (charles was returning fire). Not sure if the concussion from the explosion or him just ducking down, but the gunner accidently depressed the hydraulic lever that operated the ramming chain at the precise moment that my hand was down in front of the breech block. Result: squashed hand…several broken bones and a puncture wound.(no purple heart, heh). Medivaced to 1st MED in Danang and got it wrapped and set, to return a week later with a NO DUTY CHIT. In typical Marine Corps fashion, the powers that be decided that I was of no use to the gun platoon, so I was transferred back to the Northern Artillery Contonement (HQ Btry) to be the S-3 Admin. as a typist…..go figger. Hunt and Peck for 3 months before the wrapping and cast removed from left hand. All my whining to no avail….never did get sent back to the guns. Ended up on the Battery REACT squad.
I'm currently a contractor in Afghanistan (starting my 5th year) at F.O.B. Organ-E. These young hard chargers are still getting it done. Cmdnt Conway and the Sgt Major came to our camp last year(when I was at Kandahar) and I got my picture taken with them and got a coin from each. I can now die happy! OOORAH!
Photo L to R…. Me, Sgt. Major, 1st Sgt Leon Wright (retired), the Commandant, M/GySgt Fred Coburn (retired)
Deck, A.C., 2504732 USMC NCOAD (not currently on active duty)
A C Deck