|Echo Company 1968 - 1971
Reflections & Experiences
Hau Nghia Province near Vam Co Dong River. I was new in country. This was my first firefight (Killer Team). I was carrying the
PRC-25 radio. I was with Lt. Hadly, Sgt. Barham, Crater, Sgt. Roper, Butch Cawley, Harris, Tony Saxon, Bob Beck and a couple
other guys I don’t remember.
We left our N.D.P. ( Night Defensive Perimeter ) right after sunset and walked back towards the river to a hamlet with rice
paddies all around. We stopped about 25 meters from a hooch. I remember hearing what sounded like somebody beating on
something metal, then another, then another etc…
I realized later that it was the gooks Sit Rep, like our Bluebird Volunteer. We set there for about 30 min. listening and looking.
Then Crater and Cawley jumped up and shot two gooks, with their shotguns, about 5 meters to my left. Then Lt. Hadly stood up
behind us and said to throw frags, then gas. Then the green tracers started flying past my head. Then the B-40 rockets. We ran
about 20 meters to our right and got behind a small patty dike. Lt. Hadly called in Artillery on the hooch. First Willy Pete airburst,
then fire for effect.
I think Sgt. Barham was on point. He had a Starlight scope on his M-16. We would walk about 30 meters and stop while he looked
with the Starlight scope, then We walked and stopped while he looked again. Finally made it back to N.D.P. and linked up with
the rest of Recon Platoon.
The next morning at first light, We went back to the hooch. When We got there all We found was an old Papa San, Mama San and
2 children in a rice paddy. Harris started talking to the Papa San and he said “No VC!” and Harris got kind of rough with him. The
Mama San and children began crying. After searching the area, We walked back to the river and were picked up by a riverboat.
A week or two later We got on riverboats, late afternoon, and went up river. Got off the boat and walked toward LZ Tracy. We
stopped on a trail and set out claymores in a daisy chain (det cord) and smoke grenades with tripwires. I blew up my air mattress
and went to sleep. I woke up when someone blew the claymores, and saw Sgt. McGrath shoot a gook with an M-79 H.E. Next
morning We found two gooks on the trail, one across the ditch. We looked in the ditch and saw the feet of another
sticking up out of the water. We dragged him out of the ditch, he was stiff, and still holding his AK-47 at sling arms.
A little later, a Huey landed with Sgt. Rock and a couple of officers. They looked at the ambush then left. We walked back to LZ
Tracy, ate some breakfast from the mess tent. The cooks (Spoons) were all asking us about the ambush.
Feb 27 1969 by Jim Carew
I finally got rid of the radio and got an M-79. We were operating west of LZ Tracy. Went on another Killer Team. We walked a
long way through rice paddies and stopped at a large paddy dike. Lt. Hadly had his red flashlight out and was calling in a Willy
Pete (White Phosphorus) Airburst to get an azimuth to verify our coordinates. Me, Butch Cawley and Jimmy Ellis were on the
other side of the paddy dike. About ten seconds after the Airburst exploded I saw about 10 gooks walking approximately 20
meters from us. I said “Butch look”, then shot my 79 and hit one of them, and knocked a couple others down. Then the gooks
returned fire with what must have been full clips of tracers. Ellis and Cawley jumped over the dike. I saw the gooks start
running and shot 4 or 5 more rounds. I think I hit some more of them. By that time, the whole squad was firing. I jumped over
the dike and told the guys to watch to our right because a couple of gooks ran in that direction. Within 2 or 3 minutes, a Huey
Cobra arrived. Lt. Hadly threw out a trip flair to mark our position. The Cobra went right up over our heads and opened up with
the minigun. Then we went back to link up with the rest of Recon Platoon. Up to that time we mostly went up the river on the
north side. Then one day we went down river. Some of our guys, Sgt. Rock, O’Brian, and a couple others, were wounded from
booby traps. We found an arms cache on the north side of the river, buried in the bank, metal boxes of AK ammo, mines,
RPG’s, and some SKS Rifles. Delta Co. (Raincloud) was airlifted in to the secure area. We went across to the south side of the
river and set up ambushes. Our C.P. was fragged and Lt. Hadly was wounded, went back to LZ Tracy, re-supplied, then was
airlifted by Huey about 30 miles west to an LZ that had canals around the perimeter and a pontoon bridge. On the flight, we
saw the Black Virgin Mountain. A mountain surrounded by flat swampy sawgrass. We patrolled and set up ambushes there for
a couple weeks. Then we were airlifted to LZ White. We found some Land Rovers about 5 clicks north of LZ White and put
incendiary grenades on the motors and shot holes in the tires.
Mar 21 1969 by Jim Carew
LZ White. Went on LP (listening post) on the west side of the LZ. Was with Jimmy Ellis, James Han and a new guy from Lake
City, Florida named Trippet. About 2a.m. Trippet woke me up and said there were gooks in the barbed wire. When I looked,
they were running from the inner barbed wire to the bunker line. I’m not sure, but I think some mortar rounds started hitting
real close to us. We tried to get someone on the radio but couldn't. By that time, the gooks were throwing Satchel Charges
and Chi Com grenades all over the west side of the bunker line. Since We couldn't’t get anybody on the radio, We decided we
needed to get back to the LZ. We got up and started back in yelling “Don’t shoot. LP3, don’t shoot LP3.” Valentine stood up
and yelled for us “to come over there”. When We got to the berm, another satchel charge went off to our right, knocked me
down, and I fell into a trench. I was standing on top off one of the sappers. I could tell he was wounded because he was
moaning and saying something in Vietnamese. All I had was my M-79 I took the HE round out and put a green canister round in.
I got out of the trench and shot the sapper. Then more satchel charges hit the culverts about 30ft. behind the bunkers. I ran
and jumped into a mortar pit. Lappe was there. He was wounded and trying to get an Illumination round into the mortar. After
We got that done, I realized that there were gooks in front of the bunker. Me, Ellis, and Valentine began shooting. That’s when
Sgt. Rock ran around the bunker and killed those gooks. We found Trippet and he was Medevaced out and I never saw him
again. He’s not on the roster either. After LZ White We went to Phouc Vinh. After that a real tall forest in Long Khanh Province.
That’s where John Kopriva died. Then to LZ Westcott. There I was told I was now Squad Leader for Second Squad. I protested
but was ordered to be Squad Leader. After that I went to Sydney, Australia on R & R. When I got back, I did bunker guard on
the south side of LZ Andy (Quan Loi). In the early morning I was awakened by some explosions to my left. didn't see anything.
Then about 5 min. later a bunch of medics with an M-60 started shooting right at out bunker from about 100 meters behind us.
They killed about 20 sappers on a road south of 3rd Bgd. HQ TOC. Then I went back to the field. About a month later Sgt.
Mendes said I could have a three-day pass to Vung Tau. An in-country R&R center. When I got back from R&R our company
Commander, a Captain, told me I had a bad attitude and was bad for the moral of Echo Company. I told him that he was bad for
the moral of Echo Company, and that I had 10 months in the field and he had spent 1 night in the bush and stayed on the LZ.
They gave my squad to Amos Speight and transferred me to Delta Company. The CO of Delta talked to me and asked what this
was all about. He told me I had been decorated for Heroism in Feb. I told him it was news to me. He told his Company Clerk to
make me orders for 3rd Bgd HHC TOC Honor Platoon. I spent the last two months guarding the TOC Com bunker every other
night. One day I saw Doc Dew driving the Battalion Surgeon’s jeep around Quan Loi (LZ Andy) I flagged him down and he told
me Echo Co. was on Greenline Duty on the west side of the runway. He dropped me off there. I saw my pals for the last time.
Bob Beck, Smith, Lowery, Mendez, Jimmy Ellis, and Amos Speight. When it started getting dark, I said goodbye, “I’m a REMF
now.” They all laughed.
After that I learned what the best thing about Vietnam was, and it wasn't the peaches and pound cake. It was the 737 jet
leaving Bien Hoa. Jimmy Ellis was on that jet with me.
Through the years I've heard some guys talking about what they did in Vietnam. Most of the time I realize they probably
weren't in Vietnam. I just chuckle and say, “A real man has nothing to prove.”
Bob Beck was a good friend by Jim Carew
Bob Beck was a good friend. I'm sad that he's gone. Crater and Auggie too. On that KT (Killer Team) where they were beating
on cans. Crater was on my left and Beck was on my right. When we got back to the NDP, me and Beck stayed up together on
guard. Couldn't sleep. It seems like me and Beck were always together. He was a real cynical SOB. When we were told that we
were going out on a patrol, he would say something like, "Oh, that's GREAT, I'm tired of laying around the LZ eating real food.”
Or a LP, he would say, "I've been looking forward to this all day,'' He was from Chino, California, and told me there was an
Insane Asylum there. I use to tell him, ''When you get home from Nam there gonna put you in there cause you're fucking
crazy.” He would say something like, ''Yea, probably when I'm walking up the ramp to the freedom bird, a rocket will hit it.”
Anyway, He was my pal.
I talked to Bret Barham and Tony Saxon on the phone and they both asked me to write down my memories of Recon Platoon
by Jim Carew
I got to Recon in mid Dec. of ‘68 and was there until late Sept. or early Oct. ‘69. When I went to the field, We were at LZ. Tracy, We
were working with the Navy, (NAVCAV), Killer Teams and Recon on the Van Co Dong River, Hau Nghia Province. As a FNG, I was
pans. They had a kerosene heater that was in the garbage cans to heat the water. I took off my shirt, got sunburned, and then
had to go on LP. The mosquitoes were thick and the sunburn really hurt. It was one of the most miserable days of my life. One
day We were walking back to the river and somebody shot a gook in the foot. After the guys beat the hell out of him, a chopper
came and picked him up.
Another day We were on a Tango boat that had a ramp that went up and down. We pulled up to the bank and someone spotted
about five gooks in black pajamas about 250 meters from the river. We all began shooting. The Capt. of the boat got on the loud
speaker and started screaming “Ceases fire!” He backed the boat up, turned around, and backed onto the bank. Then they
shot the dual 50 Caliber. I think it was Estes that said, “Shit, they’re probably back in Cambodia by now!” We got off the boat and
reconned the area. We found some medical stuff, then some Ordinance. No dead gooks.
Then 2 Killer Teams I already wrote about.
Then one day We all linked up in a wood line. Somebody spotted 3 gooks walking about 50 meters away. The whole Recon
Platoon opened up. We searched the area and found one gook shot in the neck and an American 81mm mortar round they were
carrying. Some one said that the gook was still alive. Sgt. Rock stood over him and emptied a full clip into him, then turned and
One day right before it got dark, We saw 10 or 15 gooks about a click away. I think Lt. Hadley called in some artillery on them. That
same night a riverboat shot 50 calibers that hit all around us. I jumped into a ditch and then went back to sleep. The next
morning I had about 30 leaches on me. A couple of days later I looked down and saw blood all over the bottom of my pants. I
loosened my pants leg and a leach fell out. It was about 6-inches long and 2 inches round. I put bug juice on him.
I think before We went to LZ Elrod We went to a Special Forces camp on the river. They had a big python in a concrete pit/cage.
They put a chicken in the cage and I remember thinking “I know just how that chicken feels.”
At LZ Elrod one afternoon, We were walking out to set up ambushes and somebody spotted some gooks. I shot my M-79 in the
direction I thought they were, Sgt. McGrath said not there, grabbed the M-79 out of my hand, I was handing him the HE rounds
and he shot about 10 rounds. I never did see the gooks. That was about half a click up the canal from the LZ Elrod. Not far from
there someone had killed a gook, leaned him against a log and put a cigar in his mouth. He was ripe. A few days later We walked
past him again, going back to LZ Elrod and he was really ripe. I remember gagging.
A couple of nights on LZ Elrod the B-52's”s carpet bombed about ten miles away. It shook the ground.
We went back out in the field (Killer Team). We walked into a bunch of swamp grass; there was a trail that a regiment of gooks
must have walked through. Somebody said We were in Cambodia.
We also went into an area with bomb craters. They were about 20ft. across and about 15ft. deep. There were hundreds of them.
Then to LZ White, there were forests, bamboo thickets, fuck you lizards and big rats.
There was a trail going north and south about 50 meters to the west of the LZ. About half a click north up that trail, it intersected
with another trail going east /west. At the intersection there was an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) shot full of holes, and an
old NDP. Somebody said that the 25th Infantry had a big battle there about a year earlier.
One day on White, a sniper shot a Sgt. from one of the line companies while he was sitting on the shitter. Head shot. Then some
Lochs and Cobras spotted the snipers position about 500 meters to the east of the LZ. We then searched the area. There was a
platform in a tree that covered about an acre. A huge tree. The platform was about 100ft. up. If that’s where he shot from, that
had to be one of the best shots ever. We found nothing.
When I was talking to Saxon the other day, he was asking me for more details about LZ White. I remember that when I was in the
Mortar Pit with Lappe, he handed me the Illumination round and said to hang it. He forgot to take some of the powder bags off
the mortar round. I put it in the mortar tube. The round went about 2 clicks west of the LZ. It still gave us enough light to see.
Lappe was wounded and laying in the back of the mortar pit. I was looking and heard something, then saw something fly over the
bunker. That’s when I realized that thats where the sappers were. I saw Jimmy Ellis looking over the berm. I yelled at him that
they were in front of the bunker, and he started shooting. I ran from the mortar pit to where he was. When I got to the berm, Ellis
was shooting at the sappers. They were going back out of the LZ the same way they came in. Later that morning I saw a white
cloth tied to the concertina wire where they had spread a hole in it. The gooks that Rock killed had taken sandbags off the front
of the bunker and built a little wall on the right front corner of the bunker. After Rock killed those 2 gooks, We heard “Big Duke
6,5” come over the Battalion radio saying We were under attack by mortars and rockets. Rock grabbed one of the gooks that he
had killed by the foot and dragged him to the TOC bunker. He kicked the door open and threw the dead gook in! He shouted,
“This isn't’t a mortar attack! It’s a ground attack.” By that time everybody that wasn't’t dead, wounded or still hunkering down in
their bunker, got on the berm and started shooting. The battle for LZ White was already over.
The next day the Chaplain came out and had memorial services for the dead. There were 10 or 12 rifles with bayonets stuck in
the ground with boots and helmets. During the eulogy the 105 howitzers got a fire mission and began to fire. There were Huey
Cobras firing; there were mini guns about a mile to the south of the LZ. I Looked over at Sgt. Rock. He had a Mohawk haircut and
a scratch on his cheek. We stayed at LZ White for another month or so, setting up ambushes around the LZ.
We were airlifted and linked up with the maniacs from the 11th Armored Cav. We were in a big rubber tree plantation. I remember
the red dust getting all over everything. Then to Phouc Vinh. Had firefight there. Then We went to another LZ (can’t
remember the name). It started raining. The bunkers filled up with water and at night these huge rats would come out.
June 22, 1969. Out in the forest the log bird landed, got resupplied with water, LRRP rations, sundries, and mail. I got a care
package from my brother consisting of Bar-B-Que pork and beef, fruit cocktail, and some cookies. Bob Beck and I went over
to a leaning tree. We began sampling the Bar-B-Que when a LOCH helicopter came over and the door gunner opened up with an
M-60. We immediately threw out 3 or 4 smoke grenades. Somebody got on the radio and informed Battalion that We were being
attack by the chopper.
John Kopriva was shot over the left eye. The LOCH that shot Kopriva landed. We put Kopriva in a poncho and put him on the
chopper. I always wondered what that door gunner felt as they went back to the rear with him. I never had any doubt how I felt.
Kopriva was a good guy, good soldier, and a good friend. I was just pissed off and I think I still am!
After that We went to another LZ (can’t remember the name). I remember Song Be, but I’m not sure. The LZ was up on a hill with a
small river on the south side. While there, a helicopter crashed and I heard that 10 guys died.
Then We went to LZ Westcott. While there We were ordered to have 2 guys up on bunker guard. There were only 4 guys on the
bunker. I blew up my air mattress, told the guys with me on the bunker that We were going to have 1 guy on guard. I put my air
mattress up on the top of the bunker and went to sleep. Some FNG, lily white 2nd Lt. came up to the bunker and started rebuking
us for not having 2 guys up. The next morning I was told to go to the TOC. The Lt. and a Lt. Col. were there. We argued. The Col.
told me to leave. As I walked away I heard the Col. tell the Lt. that he can’t treat these veterans like that. About a month after that,
I went back to Quan Loi and was put in 3rd brigade HHC (Headquarter Co.) Honor Platoon.
One more thing about LZ White, after the fight We found about 25 Chi Com grenades all over the area. The strings were gone.
They were duds. They didn't explode.
I talked to Tony Saxon Saturday. He asked me to write some more of the things I remember. Tony sent an Email with the radio
report from March 21, 1969, the day LZ White was overrun. I had read the Email that he wrote, still bitching about all the stuff
he carried in Nam. I told him about what I carried over there. When I got the M-79, Butch Cowley told me what to carry and
how to carry it. I carried 60 rounds of HE in a demolition bag on top of my rucksack. I had 2 canteen covers on my belt. One
with 7 HE rounds, the other with the green canister, CS gas, and illumination rounds. I figure about 70 lbs, not counting food,
water, bedroll, etc. I humped that load for about 5 months.
During a Killer-team off LZ Tracy, we were walking around some hooches. There were these big stacks of rice stalks about 12
ft. high, 10 ft. wide. I walked around one of them and almost walked into a water buffalo. Before I could back up this water
buffalo bellowed out a MOOOOOOOOOO. I wasn't more than 3 ft. from it. I backed up and said, 'Holy shit, it's a water buffalo’.
Bob Beck was right behind me, and he started laughing as quietly as possible. On another killer team We stopped and were
starting to set out the claymores. Two gooks popped up about 10 ft. from us, then ran away. We moved the ambush about 100
meters down this trail. Then there was the banana snatch. We were on the river on the boat. The Navy guys saw some
bananas about 100 meters from the river. They asked us to go get them some bananas. We went and got the bananas. Big
clump of bananas. While walking back to the boat we heard some old mama son hollering at us. I didn't speak Vietnamese,
but I'm pretty sure she was saying, "Bring my bananas back you S O B". The Navy guys hung this clump of bananas up on
the boat. About a week later we were back on that boat, and I ate a couple of those bananas. They were delicious.
Then one morning we were on our way back to LZ Tracy. We were on that same trail that we had ambushed the 4 gooks
on. We were about half a click from the LZ when somebody said, "STOP, you Fucking Idiot, Booby trap, you're going to get
somebody killed”. There were some booby traps made from salmon cans and an AK round buried in the trail. If you look at the
pictures there is one with Sgt. Rock holding 2 of them.
One day after we left Phouc Vinh we got on some Hueys and were airlifted to this little clearing. About the time we started
to descend artillery started hitting all around this clearing. Then some Cobras opened up with the mini-guns on both sides
of us. Then both door gunners on the Huey opened up with the M-60s. I had been on a lot of helicopter rides, but none like
this. I thought to myself ' Oh shit, what now '. We got off the Huey, went into the wood-line, set up a little perimeter. About 10
min later We started walking. We walked about half a click and then some artillery started hitting about 150 meters to our
right. I’m not sure but I think Lt. Hadly was calling in suppressive fire. We stopped and got the news that a couple of line
companies had a big firefight, and found a big bunker complex. There were a lot of NVA in the area. We were a blocking force.
There were huge pine trees, 150 or 175 ft. tall, 10 to 20 ft. in diameter. They made the southern pines here in Florida look like
shrubs. Somebody said we were in the Hobo Woods. I said, 'No hobo with any self respect would be caught dead in these
woods'. I thought that they were just bullshitting about the Hobo Woods. Years later I was watching a documentary on the
TV, and they said something about the Hobo Woods. I think we found some bunkers, some old campfires. No NVA, that was
fine with me.
“Then one day we were sitting out in this forest. Somebody threw out a smoke grenade. A Huey flew over. A 155
artillery canister full of water came down through the trees and landed about 10 feet from Beck. He looked over at the
canister, then shook his head and said 'could you imagine living through all this shit, and then getting killed by a flying
One morning after squad size ambushes we all got together, went across this ditch into some wood-line. I took off my
rucksack. I was getting ready to sit on it when this guy threw his bowie knife down and pinned this 3ft. long green snake.
It was striking at my foot, and I jumped back. Somebody came up and said it was a Bamboo Viper. This was a deadly snake.
I also saw a Cobra one day I was walking point. About 15 ft. long. Another day in some village we found a big boulder
sticking up out of the mud. It was about the size of a Volkswagen, the color of a key lime pie. I thought it was Jade. I guess
I'll never know.
Pumpkin head and the bluebird by Jim Carew
A little more grunt humor.
One day when we first got to LZ White, we're sitting on a bunker. Bob Beck said, ''Look at that Pumpkin head.” He pointed,
and I looked over and saw a replacement with hair the color of a ripe pumpkin. I said, ''You better not let him hear you say
that.". '' Anyway, I'm a little fuzzy on this part, because I wasn't there. What I heard was that one of our line companies
[Pig Iron] pinned down a squad from Echo, and were calling in a fire mission on them, and Big Duke 6 told them to pop
smoke, and saved their ass. Well, this redhead was on that patrol, and when he got back to the LZ, I guess he had a nervous
breakdown. He left Echo, and got a job in the rear. We had also heard that some guy accidentally shot himself in the foot. I
said, ''Ya accidentally on purpose.''
We were always talking about getting out of the field. A couple of days later we're bullshitting again, and I said, ''I've come up
with a plan boys. I thought about shooting myself in the foot but I like my foot to much to do that. What I'm gonna do is, the
next time we get in a firefight, or an ambush, when we come back in I'm gonna go over to the Colonel and fall down on the
ground, crying, grab him by the leg and start screaming, their gonna kill us all, their gonna kill us all." Beck said, ''Ya, if you
do that they'll probably transfer you to no DEROS (Date Expected to Return From Overseas) Delta. I said, ''Why do you always
have to shit on my plan.'
When we were in the field, we would wait till it was getting dark before moving into our N D P [Night Defensive Position for all
you civilians]. Then put down a towel next to the M-60 with a hundred round belt piled on the towel. We would set out
claymores, tripwire a smoke grenade some frags, the claymore detonators, Starlight Scope, and the Radio. Then turn down
the volume on the radio, so you had to hold the phone up to your ear to hear it. Every half hour or so the CP would get on the
radio and we would get a Sit-Rep. He would say '' How's your Bluebird.'' When in the field we would press the button on the
phone a couple of time to break squelch. If we were on the LZ the appropriate response was 'Bluebird Volunteer''.
We had this guy in the company that I called Elvis, because wore his hair like Elvis. It might be the same guy that somebody
called Smiley. A real comedian. I'm up on this bunker, about 2 AM and I hear Ramrod something, How's your bluebird. I was
expecting the normal response, Bluebird Volunteer. I hear Elvis come over the radio saying, "G.. D....it, Every time I try to jerk
off, you call hunting for this F........g bluebird. Call me back in 20 minutes." I guess the guy calling for the Sit-Rep had a sense
of humor. He said " Jerking off is a great idea, I think I'll join you." Elvis comes back with "If I could get my hands on a
bluebird right now, I would probably try to F..k it!"
The F**k You Lizard by Jim Carew
Around LZ White there were these lizards out in the forest. Every night at dusk they would start up with this WOOOOP WOO,
WOOOOP WOO. This went on all night long. It sounded like there were hundreds of them. When it got light out they would
stop. The WOOOOP WOO, WOOOOP WOO sounded a little like F**k You, F**k You. Everybody called them F**k You Lizards. We
never saw any of them, but they were everywhere we went. Every night, all night long WOOOOP WOO, WOOOOP WOO. Then
one morning after a squad size ambush, we started back to link up with the rest of Recon Platoon. We hadn't walked 50 ft.
when we heard what sounded like a man walking through forest. Jimmy Ellis was on point, and I was right behind him. We
both put our hands up signaling everybody to stop. We all stood perfectly still and quiet. Then we heard it again. I thought
for sure it was some gooks. I think everybody took their M-16's off safe, to rock and roll [ full automatic ]. We stayed perfectly
still for a couple of minutes that seemed like 10 minutes. Then this 8 to 10 ft. lizard walked around this tree and saw us. He
ran about 20 ft. and jumped from the ground about 12 ft. up on this tree and in 2 seconds was up about 75 ft in this tree.
Everybody breathed a sigh of relief and a few of us laughed. That kind of laugh when you're scared shitless and don't want
to seem like you were scared. My mental picture of a lizard was a lizard about 6 to 12 inches long. This thing looked like one
of those Komodo Dragons you see on Animal Planet. The only one I ever saw.
The Reason We're Here by Jim Carew
One day when I was back in Bien Hoa at this Combat Leadership School, I walked into this 2nd Field Forces mess hall. I got a
tray and some silverware, and got in line. When I got to the servers, this guy said, "I can’t serve you. You’re not in this
company.'' I said, "Are you shitting me, give me some food you asshole’’.
He said, "I can't do it, you're not from this company."
I threw my tray down and said, "Well, F**k all of you REMFs" (rear echelon motherf**kers), and started to walk out.
About that time this full bird colonel walks up and said, "What's going on here’’?
I said, "I was trying to get some chow and that fucking spoon wouldn't feed me.”
He said, "What are you doing here?"
I said, "I'm going to this map school finding rocks and fence posts out in this big field."
He said, "What's you're Unit?
I said, "Echo company 1st of the 8th Cav, Recon Platoon.''
He walked over to the spoon and said, "Feed this Soldier, He's the reason we're over here.''
When I was a squad leader I had a couple of guys in my squad that I just hated. I didn't want to be squad leader, and now I
felt like a babysitter with problem children. I thought one of them was going to get me killed.
One night on bunker guard, the Officer of the Day wakes me up and said, "Are you in charge of these 2 bunkers.” I said,
"Yea, what's up.'' He said, “There isn't anybody on that bunker.” I knew instantly who it was. When I found him I dragged him
out of this culvert smacked him, then when he started back to the bunker, I kicked him in the ass.
This 2nd Lt. says, "Sgt, You can't do that.'' I said, "Can't do what?'' He said, "You can’t assault that soldier''. I said, "What do
you want me to do? Ask him and say pretty please. That asshole has been on my last nerve for weeks. He’s lucky I don't
give him the beating he really deserves.”
Anyway, a couple of days later Mendes tells me I can have this three-day pass to Vung Tau. Mendes was a real buddy. I got
on a Huey back to Quan Loi, stored my gear, took a shower, got some clean fatigues, got some travel orders, jumped a
C-123 Caribou, and went to Vung Tau. When I got there this beautiful little Vietnamese girl walked up to me, took me by the
hand, and started speaking pretty good English.
She said, "You give me some money and I be your girlfriend, just yours. My name is Tu.” I immediately gave her 10 dollars
MPC. She said, "I like your eyes, you got good eyes.'' She took me to this place and we got something to eat.
Then we went to this NCO Club. I started drinking this beer called San Miguel. Tasted like a blend of wine, rum, and beer.
Must have been 40 proof. After about 3, I was half drunk. Then this truckload of Australians shows up. Within half hour
they were getting pretty drunk. By two hours they were really drunk, and started fighting with these whores.
They were no match for these whores. They had these empty whiskey bottles stacked over in the corner. They started
beating these Australians in the head with these whisky bottles.
Tu said, "We go.’’ We went to this hooch. When we got there she said, "You take off boots, pants." I took off my boots,
socks, pants, and shirt. I'm standing there in this alley butt naked. Tu got some water out of this big wooden barrel, some
soap and started washing my genitalia. Well, I was pretty drunk, but not that drunk. I started getting inspired. Tu looked
down at me and giggled. Then she takes me into this hooch. Use your imagination.
The next morning I woke up and Tu said, "You stay with me okay?” I said, “OKAY.” I stayed with her for 4 more days. Then I
told her I had to go before I get in big trouble. She said, “No you stay and I be your girlfriend all the time. I love you.” I told
her I loved her too but if I don't go the Army was going to put me in the Long Binh Jail. She said, " F**k the Army, You stay
I left, caught a C-123 back to Quan Loi. When I got back to Echo Company this Puerto Rican First Sgt. said that was a 3-day
pass, not a 6-day pass.
I was still thinking about Tu. Tu was right, "F**k the Army''.
I think it is a good thing what you’re doing. Gathering all this information about Echo Co. 1st of the 8th Cav. Recon. I think
we were the only group I can think of that went on Killer Teams, which was basically a search and destroy mission at night.
Kind of like the first Special Ops. I know that the line companies dug foxholes, set up a perimeter and I can’t remember
ever digging a foxhole. We really were an elite group, especially around LZ Tracey. When I got out I remember a few times,
usually in a bar, hearing some lying jerk telling about all the heroic stuff they did. Usually something like, single-handedly
charging a bunker and killing 10 VC with an entrenching tool, or some guy that had to be 10 yrs. younger than me that was a
Colonel at Khe Sanh. I know there were no 12-year-old Colonels at Khe Sanh. They usually had gotten a couple of Silver
Stars, and a couple of Purple Hearts. I never let on that I was over there, and acted like I was dazzled by all their feats of
In 1976 I bought a new truck and hauled Navel oranges to a guy up in Daytona Beach every Saturday. One day on the way
back I picked up a hitchhiker that had a duffel bag. When he got in the truck I could smell him. I had a couple of packs of
peanut butter crackers, and gave them to him. He ate both packs in about 90 seconds. I handed him my soda and he
inhaled that too.
He said “Thanks brother, I haven’t ate anything in a couple of days.”
I said “Vietnam huh”?
He said he was a Marine in 67 and 68. That he was on a hill up near the DMZ and half his company was killed one night. That
he was so scared that he wouldn't even get out of his hole to take a shit. He shit in a C ration box. I could see tears welling
up in his eyes, and he put his hand up an acted like he was scratching his head to keep me from seeing the tears.
Then he said, “Sometimes, I think I should have died on that hill.”
I said, “Why, a living dog is better than a dead lion, and every day above ground is a good day. Then I said, “You could sure
use some Cashmere Bouquet.”
He said, “What’s that”?
I said that it was the soap we use to get in the sundries.
He said “Oh yea, cigarettes and candy. I remember those chocolate bars that were hard as a brick. I liked those square jelly
I said, “Those were called Chuckles.” I told him I was a grunt over there with the 1st. Cav. in 68 and 69.
There we were two Vietnam Vets on I-95 crying. I drove past my exit about 20 miles, pulled over and told him this is as far
as I’m going. I handed him 6 dollars.
We shook hands.
He said, “Thanks brother, I will never forget you.”
41 years too late, just bitchin by Jim Carew
I was watching the news this evening, and saw a report that said that in Afghanistan [A WAR ZONE ] they have Burger King,
Popeye's Chicken, and Pizza Hut. They have computers that give 10 digit coordinates of their exact location within 10 feet,
instantly. Compare this to those Lima Beans we use to get in the C-Rations, The dead reckoning with a topographic map,
and a compass that we used to guess where we were. The Military has 4,000 KIA's in 2 wars [ Iraq, Afghanistan ] over 9
years. When I remember getting $90 a month while I was going out on Killer Teams in Nam. They have body armor and
helmets made of Kevlar. We had helmets that wouldn't stop an AK round. They have Cruise Missiles and Smart Bombs, and
laser guided munitions. They have unmanned Drones with guided missals. We were getting mortared by our own troops,
or shot by helicopters that were out of their AO [ Area of Operation ]
I was thinking if you could send some of these new grunts back in time to Hau Nghai Province with Lt Hadley and Sgt. Rock
on a killer team. Run into some of those Viet Minh bastards that we were fighting, they would have a whole lot of
respect for a real Vietnam Vet.
P.S. I would have killed for a Whopper in Nam.