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The Day It Rained Trees

The Day It Rained Trees

The day it rained trees.

The 3rd.Platoon of Golf Co. 2/5 was placed on Hill 34 (a pile of dirt next to the road) for road security. The story about the 81-M Mortar Team that got their guns turned around in the wrong direction during a fire mission and blew away a village was being pass around.

The Platoon Lt. ask me about my MOS of 0341 and if I could call in a fire mission. It had been two years since my training at Camp Geiger but I stated that I felt pretty sure of my skills (I mean—I am a Marine after all!). Well, there was a 81-M team at our position and the Lt. challenged me to order a fire mission on a ridge line that he spotted. I found the position on the map, give them to the mortar team and order one H.E.round for adjustment. I didn’t have to adjust anything. The round hit dead center on the spot the Lt. was looking at (I mean— it’s a sad dog that won’t wag his own tail).

And then showed him that I knew how to move the rounds right-left, up-down, and “walk them in”. The Lt. informed me that I would be his backup for F.O. if it became necessary. I wasn’t all that grateful for this opportunity to be a Forward Observer. I shared this experience for three reasons: 1. This Platoon Lt. didn’t trust the men in his platoon to know their jobs and do them—there for my challenge. 2. His radioman was a big kiss-ass (to get rank) and would tell the Lt. anything on the men in order to look good, whether they were true or not. 3. The reason the Lt took me a long with him on this walk.

The Lt. told me to get my radio and come along with him. We left our premier and started up this ridge which was maybe couple hundred meters from Hill 34. We got almost to the top when we turned and watched about eight VC moving into a tree- line. I assume the Lt got a call about this situation and was told to check it out. Anyways, we got out the map and found the tree line and then called two F 14, who happen to be in the area, for air support. We mark them as they flew over the right tree line. The F-14s crewed that tree line up! They dropped HE and fired their guns and finished with napalm. It is really something to see especially from our point of view. As we sat there a few minutes afterwards to make certain that no one walked away from that hell. The parts of trees started coming down like rain. It was surreal to see that tree line one minute and then have it rain down on us the next. By the way, no VC walked out of that hiding place nor did we get hit the whole time on we were on Hill 34.

Footnote: This Platoon Lt. “loss it” one day and accused the whole platoon of not following his orders and it was our fault that “Ragman” (one of the men) loss his legs to a boobtrap because of it. Man, guys locked and load on him and had to be stop by some of the others. Myself and another guy left for R & R shortly after this situation. While we were waiting in DaNan, we heard that there was a death threat against the Lt.. Someone had thrown a grenade into his hooch but didn’t remove the secondary safety. I also crawled under the Senior NCO and Officers tent back in An Hoa in order get a grenade that had been thrown. The only reason it didn’t go off was the secondary safety. When we got back from R & R, the Lt. and his radioman were gone!

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Ray Sullins, Sgt USMC, Vietnam Veteran, 2nd. Bn. 26th Marines Defender of Khe Sahn, and many other battles - May 25, 2020

I love the Corps to this very day. However, there were many years that I would not tell anybody that I am a Marine Sgt. from the Vietnam War. Then one day I saw on TV, huge skyscrapers having planes fly into them in NYC, Then one into the Pentagon, and my blood ran steel cold. It was 911!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The darkest day in the history of the USA. After a day or two of watching all the Crap on TV, and hearing people making excuses for the murderers who skyjacked the civilian aircraft and flew them into the buildings the Marine Corps Sgt. started coming out. (Oh yes, will someone tell me the difference between a moderate Muslim and a Muslim Extremist, because I can’t find a bit of difference, except a moderate is just an extremist who is bidding his time. They all hate Israel and the United States of America, and are waiting until the time is right to destroy and take over both nations.) Anyhow as the days went on past 911 I became very pissed, and developed an attitude Chesty would have been proud of. So I went first and foremost to my local Marine Corps recruiting office, and said I am here to re-enlist, at first they thought I was joking and had a good laugh, after all I was in my early 50’s. So I had to explain to them, that I was entirely the perfect person for the job. First of all I had on the job experience, Vietnam. Secondly, I was pissed off to the max. Thirdly, I had developed an attitude that Chesty would be proud of: “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” I wasn’t afraid to die, because in typical Marine Corps fashion I had already spent my time in hell. Fourthly, by sending me and those other old Devil Dogs they would be sending the most fierce fighting force they could send, trained experienced killers with modern weapons who had more of this life behind them than they had ahead of them, that wanted to secure for the next generation the great American way of life. The C.O. of the recruitment office commended me and excused me by stating “Sir you have already fought your war, now it’s our turn to carry on for you.” At first I didn’t understand what he meant, but soon I realized the Marine Corps is a perpetual group of highly trained killers, our first and foremost mission is to protect and serve those who cannot protect themselves, even if it means we have to kill them all. Franklin Roosevelt’s wife stated something to that effect when she tried to get us disbanded, but WWII stopped her. Now, 17-18 years after 911, I can say I am very proud of today’s young Marines, they have served our country well, and upheld the highest traditions of the Corps and I look forward to serving with them in the future when the streets of Heaven will be guarded by United States Marines. One last thought, every old Marine will tell you that when it comes to military intelligence in the Corps, it just does not exist. After I came back to the States from Nam, The Corps sent me to Camp Lejuene, NC and sent me thru, get ready for this, Jungle Warfare School. I mean man I already had a Master’s Degree in Jungle Warfare and now they sent me to school to learn how to do it right. Hey, I thought I did it right, I survived Vietnam and everything it had to throw at me. Semper Fi.

MichaelMM - May 25, 2020

I believe those may have been A6 Intruders..bad as flybys.

Larry Dean Johnson GYSGT U.S.M.C. RET 1992 - May 25, 2020

All I am going to say is that I was a Foward Observer that use to get sent out alone for 1/4 and 1/8. I am 62 now.

SUDDENDEATH - May 25, 2020


Murray Hermanson - May 25, 2020

I been wondering on the grenades, It’s true 1969 they started making with jungle clip. I never saw one. Typed Hand grenades used in Vietnam into Bing search and it all came up. As far as a lot of other things said on this site, I know are a lot of bull, but entertaining. I was there Dec 66 till Aug68 and back May69 till Aug69. Went with 1/9, 2/9, 3/9, 2/26 and others on many operations. On Nixons first 50,000 pulled out in Aug 69, they said first in first out, 1/9.

SUDDENDEATH - May 25, 2020


Joe White Sgt. C/1/11 - May 25, 2020

When I was at Hill 55 in ‘67 we had a joker throw a grenade in our hooch. He had pulled the pin out and placed it in the booby trap hole closer to the fuse. All we heard was the ping of the handle flying off and saw the grenade come in. The striker hit the pin so it never went off. Perhaps this is what the FO is talking about. Semper Fi

Sgt Fred Muhs RVN ’69-’70 - May 25, 2020

I was at Hill 34 in 69/70. It was more than a pile of dirt (not much) that was home to HQ 4/11, a Recon team, engineers, and a 175mm gun battery to name a few. A tank unit was across the road where convoys staged on their way to An Hoa, etc. Prior to my arrival, we supposedly lost a gunny to flying shrapnel when the ammo dump near the 3rd MAF brig blew up. We almost always got the short fall stuff when the Da Nang air base received incoming rockets.

scruffy - May 25, 2020

No secondary safties on those grenades. I have a hard time believing this guys story. F-4’s not F-14. Fragging? No..

Cpl. Joe Silvestri, Echo 2-5, 3rd Platoon - May 25, 2020

I was with Echo 2-5 in 66-67 at An-Hoa. The only grenades that we had at the time were M-26. The only safety device that I can think of is the rubber band that I put around the spoon. Unfortunately, rubber bands were hard to come by. Once I pulled that pin I had approximately four seconds to throw it. I remember during Christmas week I had a number of brand new M-26 grenades that failed to explode even though I made certain that I popped the spoon prior to throwing it. Was it sabotage? I guess will never know. As far as the grenade going so many rotations before arming itself, I believe the person is talking about the M-79 grenade launcher that fired 40 mm rounds. In addition, someone mentioned hill 34. I remember My-Loc hill, Phu Loc 6, Nong Son (AKA coal mine), etc. there were many numbered hills which I do not recall. As far as air support, I recall A-4’s and F-4’s Phantoms as our primary air support. After all, most of us are in our 70’s now.

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