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A Couple Of Ambush Snippets

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  • A Couple Of Ambush Snippets

    While at Phuoc Vinh, sometime in Aug 1967, I was assigned to take my Platoon out on ambush along side a jungle cart path about 1500 meters from Phuoc Vinh’s outer perimeter. At this point in time, the civilian curfew around Phuoc Vinh was between the hours of 1900 and 0700. This meant, so the rumor goes, that we owned the jungle during the day and Charlie owned the jungle at night. I was to be in position by 1900 hrs; this is because H&I’s (Harass and Intermittent Artillery and Mortar Fire) start any time after 1900, and Battalion didn’t want to have anyone drop any rounds on their own.

    I selected two squads to go out on this ambush, minus two M79 Grenadiers, but including two M60 Machine Gunners. Briefed all as to the location and how to act once in position (limited to no talking – whisper only if necessary, no sleeping).

    All went well; got into position, claymores out, guns in place, reported back to Battalion. About 10 at night it started; SNORING, nudging, LOUD whispers; hehe other strange noises. Well you guessed it, we didn’t surprise any Charlies on the cart path that night. However just about daybreak, about 0630 or so – not dark not daylight, and before breaking down the ambush site, I took my 1st Squad Leader with me to perform an inspection of the cart path (intel purposes). We’re out there, on our knees, inspecting the path and a black pajama clad person comes around a bend in the trail about 10 meters away from us.

    I jump to my feet, weapon in hand, and am about to blow this person away; but I noticed it was a fairly young girl about 10 or 11, so I held my fire and motioned for her to come forward with hands in the air. Now all this stuff is happening pretty fast; I notice my Sgt (1st Squad Leader) is standing there like a dummy with NO WEAPON! I, dumbfounded asked, “where’s your weapon”? He responds – “back there”. The dumb chit left his weapon at his ambush position. Next, here comes another black pajama clad person around the bend in the path, and he is walking very fast/semi running and yelling, and he has something in his hand (to dark yet to make out what it was). As he got closer I could not see that it was only a sickle so I didn’t blow him away just yet. After a lot of threats between him and I – neither one of us understanding the other – I convinced him to throw down the sickle and put his hands in the air (??kaka-dau seemed to have worked).

    I had these two prisoners tied up (hands only) and reported back to Battalion that we had captured two Vietnamese. After breaking down the ambush site, we proceeded through the jungle back to Phuoc Vinh.

    The perimeter of Phuoc Vinh (like most base camps) is mined with a lot of barbed razor wire surrounding the perimeter. About 100 meters before reaching the outer perimeter of our base camp, I had the prisoners blind folded so they couldn’t see how to get through our mine field. Now sometime while moving through the jungle, these two prisoners had lost their sandals and both were now barefooted and their feet were bleeding. As we maneuvered our way through the razor wire, that surrounded the base camp, these two prisoners would suffer many more cuts to their legs and feet. We turned our prisoners over to MP’s and I was debriefed by S1 (Intel) and S3 (Opns).

    About four hours later I got word that our prisoners had been released because they were local village folks, (a father and daughter), not VC suspects, and were only guilty of jumping the gun on curfew (leaving to early for work). I have thanked God many times for stopping me from blowing these folks away. However, I don’t think we won the “hearts and minds” of these two. Or maybe we did, because they weren’t dead.

    Bu Dop, sometime in early/mid Dec 1967.
    I was about 50 meters away when I spotted a Sgt performing a weapons check of an ambush patrol just prior to going out on ambush. As he inspected the side-arm weapon of a Grenadier (.45 Automatic) the slide on the .45 slipped and the weapon accidentally fired. Problem was that the weapon was not pointed skyward but right at the chest of the Grenadier. End of story.
    1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
    Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
    Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
    What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

  • #2
    thanks ken ...
    owner of the yahoo group for WW1 ,WW2 and Modern TO&Es
    (Tables of organisation & equipment or Unit of action )


    • #3
      Many thanks Ken.


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