The 49th Rangers

We are with a Platoon of the 49th Rangers RSVN, (Republic South Vietnam).
I Have been lying in this Hammock for about seven day’s with my eye’s filled with sweat and my heart longing for my wife and son.
Hundred forty-one day’s left, don’t believe broad casting being short on day’s.     I have been with this outfit for over two weeks now been on a lot Search and Destroy missions but hardly any action found a lot of Viet Cong stashes (food, water, guns, ammunition, some old maps, and clothing) we burnt all of it.

    The Rangers carry some kind of tablet that they mix with water and pour on the rice to spoil it, but they take a lot of it with them.

    The sweat just pours off you and you come to a beautiful stream that is so clear you want to stick your head down in it and suck it all up, but you can’t.     We fill our empty canteens and add our purification tablet to the water.

     Moving in a line of assault through these rice paddies surrounded by mountains and a village to the east of us, I am on the trail that leads to the village.
Upon reaching the village I see four men and one woman run into their Hooch. I got up to the Hooch and motioned for help to cover me.
Two of the Rangers came running over.
I went in first to count only two people a man and a woman. There wasn’t a back door so I looked everywhere, one of Rangers started slapping the old man around, and asking questions.
I was really puzzled until I looked at the fire, and noticed it was built on a large flat rock, which looked as if it had been moved about two and a half feet.
With hand motions I got the Rangers to pull the rock to one side when I saw the opening in the floor start to materialize I took a grenade off of my harness, pulled the pin and dropped into the hole. We all jumped back and heard a muffled explosion.
    The hole was in plain view with two dead cong in it. Pretty impressed with myself I got the 'Cock of the Walk Stride' in my walk, after being slapped on the back for finding and killing the enemy.

After being in the Bush for two week’s, we headed back to our Base Camp fighting.
     Saw grass that would cut you like a Razor Edged Knife.
My feet were eaten up with jungle rot and the only thing that saved them was vinegar from the Fire Base Camp.
I would wash off the infection then pour the vinegar over the sores and it burnt like Hell fire itself.     
I had to take time to plot for that nights possible targets in case the 'cong' came during our sleep.
We would use different names like girl names and boy and car names for a specificity junction of a north and east direction.
The Fire Mission would sound like this :
29 Bravo this is 29 Charlie; FIRE MISSION OVER:
Then 29 Bravo would come back with 29 Charlie this is 29 Bravo SEND YOUR MISSION: This is 29 Charlie from CORKY RIGHT 4.3 UP 2.7 enemy movement fire at your command.
Then you would correct it if necessary and it would be like this: Left 1.0 FIRE FOR EFFECT ,at this command the Firing Battery would fire all six 155 Howitzers using a Fuse VT (variable time), this means the explosion’s would go off about twenty meters above the target causing more kills,
thus doing a far better job of doing a better job.

You try not to think of home cause it will take your concentration off of staying alive.
“Stay Alert Stay Alive” this has stuck with me since I first saw it on a sign at Phan Rang 101st Airborne Base Camp 1966.


I got word today that I am being attached to the Korean Army “TIGER Division”
Now these guy’s play for keeps. Their Motto is :
"Little VC ,make big VC, Big VC make little VC ,Kill them all end problem".

 

December 2, 1966
Oh how I love to wake up in the morning, cause it means I’m not Dead.
Have just been told we are being sent to a M.A.C.V to give support in case they need Artillery support.

One of their forward elements has found some caves maybe a 3-day job, then onto my next assignment the Korean Tiger Division. Got hooked up and we can see the Viet Cong going in and out of the caves. We held back while 1st Platoon made a rush on the entrance.
Once we got inside the Huge Cave we found over a hundred beds for sick and wounded enemy soldiers.
They have captured two nurses and one doctor.
There were tunnels going out of the cave in various places. It is hard to catch the little bastards they disappear into tunnels that go everywhere to be imagined, wow.
Just heard a muffled explosion from a tunnel on our left. One of the Tunnel Rats [usually the smallest men in the company are requested for this Duty] must have triggered a bobby trap [a hidden device of death].
I wish every person in the world could see this poor man of eighteen years after being killed in a tunnel search.
Most of his right hand and arm is gone with a large piece of his face missing. I have seen death many times but you never loose the impulse to hurl your guts out at its sight.
We captured a lot of weapons and ammunition.

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