It was early in the morning hours
in an old French compound just north of Hue. Just hours before dusk I had driven
the Captain to the out post. As we drove through the gate it was locked and
sealed behind us. No way out, It had a finality to it that sent shivers down my
spine. It was getting dark fast so their would be no returning to Phubai. I was
assigned to stay with the captain that night. Sorta fell under the body guard
MOS. We were taken to a square cement building inside the compound. It reminded
me of a tomb, Both dusty and damp. He was quartered in the bunk above me. I can
remember it was a fitful sleep, uneasy, I slept with my rifle at my side. This
compound was built in a circle and sand bags were piled high around the edges of
the wall. This was no ordinary outpost it was hit day and night at all hours,
It's reputation preceded this visit.
Machine gun fire brought the Captain out of
his bunk feet first into the middle of my chest. I thought all hell was breaking
loose and I actually had to wrestle him to the dirt until he regained his
senses. Once he regained his bearings we grabbed our weapons and manned the
wall. It sounded like the fourth of July, rifles were cracking and mortars were
flying in and out of the post. Flashes of light were blinding us, flares were
sent up and as they floated to the ground they cast eerie shadows into the tree
line, it was like I was watching this from someone else's eyes. Surreal, almost
dreamlike, but this sure as hell was no dream.
We found that we were under attack, we were
being probed. What set the M60 blazing was just as weird as this Gut wrenching
feeling that came along with this hell hole. It seemed that the gunner had
actually fallen asleep while at his post. The VC were crawling in through the
wire at his position. Charley decided that he was going to lift the M60 from the
gunner, it would be a prize to their arsenal if he could pull it off. Slowly
Charley pulled the M60 toward him easing the machine gun from the gunner, What
Charley didn't realize was this, The gunner had his finger wrapped around the
trigger. When he pulled the M60 just a tad to far he wound up with a burst of
lead in his face, You can guess what hell broke loose after that incident.
Sleepy head sent a spray of bullets from that machine gun that would have made
John Wayne look like Mary Poppins dancing on the hillside. This Sleepy eyed
Machine Gunner had hero written all over his ass.
Hey, If you read this and you
recognize this event, You can thank me personally for dropping your new CO off
that night. The next morning I hauled ass back to Phubai with lightening speed.
Not without taking a few Roosters lives that were just a little slow in moving,
as I was booking through one of the villes. All I can remember was rooster
feathers flying and getting swore at in Vietnamese. Too bad, too sad, While
driving alone in Vietnam one doesn't stop to give mouth to beak resuscitation to
Boon, 1966 Nam.
Rich Preston 7/19/00