Sunday, January 20, 2013

20 JAN 13 (2)

Before I forget ...
another War Story.

This cartoon may be from the current conflict but back in Vietnam, at the 8th RRFS, Phu Bai, this actually happened.
It was the tail-end of the '68 Tet Offensive. The NVA was mostly beaten but there was a persistent VC mortar crew who would hit us with 5 - 6 rounds, maybe once or twice a week. It was ALWAYS 5 - 6 rounds, then they'd have to di-di because of counter-battery fire. This one afternoon they dropped rounds on us again. The siren sounded and the barracks quickly emptied out. There were guys in towels, having come straight from the shower, guys half dressed, dragging their field gear behind them, guys in full TA-50 and uniform. This was normal. After about 30 minutes, myself and another SP4 (Can't remember his name.) were standing in the trench line adjacent to Star Bunker #3, waiting for the all-clear to sound. Both of us were shirtless, wearing trousers, flip-flops, flak jackets and TA-50 gear. Our helmets rested on the trench edge, our weapons were slung. Around a bend in the trenchline came a frog-hopping  Lieutenant Colonel. We'd never seen him before. He frog-walked to where we were standing, looked up at us through a pair of those black GI issue glasses, and demanded to know what it was we were doing, just standing there. Where was our duty station?  Where were our proper uniforms?? Why weren't we paying attention to the perimeter wire??? ... and on and on. We looked at each other, then down at him (Trying hard not to laugh.), as he squatted there. I explained that the attack was over and we were waiting for the official "all clear" to sound. I further explained that we'd hurried to the bunker quickly, that there had been no time to get properly dressed, there never was and that this was the norm for daytime alerts. He nodded at us, saying, "Oh ... okay." He then allowed that he'd let our appearance pass but we were to be in the proper uniform next time the alert was sounded. He then frog-hopped away, down the trench line towards the bunker.

Turned out he was a nug, TDY from the 509th RRG, down in Saigon. I'd guess that it was his first time being shot at. He was gone, back to Saigon, within the week. Never did find out who he was or why he was there.


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