Skip to main content

...At one point, after returning back to the 'World' (the USA), I see on the news a report from a politician, 'promising'..."no, no 'we' have no intention of escalating the 'War', into Cambodia. We have never 'Crossed the Border', and do not intend to ever go in!

Well, just another Government Lie! I know as a Fact the US Army took Personnel Carriers, with Infantry, over the border, along with a Tank or Two. The Viet Cong were great at using Trails through Cambodia, to skirt around engaging US Forces along the 'Ho-Chi-Mein' Trail within Vietnam. The VC would come in from Cambodia, wreck havoc, destroy villages, steal food, Murder...and then 'Escape' back to the 'Political Safety', crossing the 'Border' back to Cambodia. Until Ordered, Or Not, American Soldiers of the US ARMY, all agreed Not This Day!! They went into Cambodia and 'Payback' was a Mother F**ker!!

The Vietnam War was 'Fought' by Politicians, the Battles were fought by Teenagers, as the Average age of the Soldier was 25. The Young Sacrificed their Teenage Years. At 19, while a Crewchief on the Chinook, One of my doorgunners was 15 years old. He Lied about his age, and 'Looked' the part. I still remember his Name Randy R. He was wounded, in the Leg had surgery and from that point forward, our Doorgunner Squadron nicknamed Randy, 'Doorgunner Supreme'. For that suffering, He received the 'Purple Heart'. It was 7 days after that, I received a 'Bullet Fragment' that left a Hole through the Sheetmetal of the 'folding stairs', and entered my Shin, I was sitting. Never noticed until, once back at base walking back to the barracks, I felt my left Boot 'squishy', sitting on my bed removing my boot, I poured my Blood onto the floor, my green sock was Red. I did Not tell anyone, nor report it, as the Squadron would have Laughed me right out of the Barracks!! It was just a 'Knick', I didn't give a damn for the P. Heart! I felt Honored, to have 'Spilled Blood' in Vietnam. "The Bravery of My Enemy, Does Me Honor".

The Mission

...Morning comes early. Woken up at 4:00 AM, "Your Flying Today, Ship #...".  I don't remember if I ever ate a Breakfast, Morning Mess. I have finished my preflight inspection, by Flashlight, it's just becoming Dawn, Sunup, when the Pilots show up. The Commanding Pilot, I Never 'Get' the Names! "Is she ready to go Chief?"..."Yes Sir, we are here, the Guns are Up and ready to go". The Pilots take there seats in the Cockpit, go through there pre-flight check, and fire-up the APU. A small auxiliary Turbine engine, in the ships tail, that run Hydraulic Pumps, used to Start the Two Main Turbo-Shaft Engines. After Cranking the Mains and running at Idle, I hear over the Intercom, "Crewchief Come up to the Cockpit". At the Right seat, the Ships Commander..."Come Closer". The Pilot Investigates My Face. "Do You Have a Shave Kit?" "Yes Sir!!".

"You will go 'Take a Shave' and Report Back here! You Have Two Minutes!!" "And Mister, I BETTER See Your Knees Up to Your Chest!! You're Still Here!?" I leave the Ship, warming up at Ground Idle. I am running 'Flat Out, Full Blast', as Fast as I Can. I get to my locker grab my Kit, make it to the  washroom, and SHAVE, two days growth? I even take off the 'Skimpy' Mustache. I was NOT Going to Question this Officer! Back to the locker, drop off the kit, and then back across the Tarmack to the running Chinook...'Knees Up to My Chest'! 2 Minutes Flat!! I report to the Cockpit. I face the Commander, he takes my chin in his Thumb and First Finger and pulls my face closer for inspection..."Good Job!"

Then I get the word. "We will be flying into Cambodia this Morning. It may turn out to be a Suicide Mission" Should you be killed, when 'They' find the Head of a American Soldier, It will be Clean Shaven, You just delayed us two Minutes!" He was Serious! "Now, Take Your Post and guide us out of here" (I am Standing in front of the ship, arms out-stretched, giving hand signals, to guide the Pilot out of the reventment). All Clear, Taxi Forward.

He had good reason for being Strict. I think he was nervous, and it's a good idea to run-up the ship for awhile and check for anything to go wrong, Now! He had time to Kill, to Leave right on the Exact Minute!! Or, He just wanted to Test the 'Mettle' of a Young Kid who had recently Graduated from the ARMY School of 'Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance and Repairs'!

We fly to Chu-Lai, where we Hook-Up a 105mm Howitzer. It's the Largest Heaviest, Artillery piece a Chinook can Lift. For a 155mm, a Sikorski 'Skycrane', has to be called in. Their limit is 100,000 Pounds!

We are flying the Howitzer into Cambodia, where we will eventually set it Down, in a Specific Orientation. The Pilots find a Clear Field of 'Jungle Grass'. 40 Miles from Pnom-Pen, the Capitol of Cambodia. It Must be Pointed Due East, towards the Capital! There is NO Firing Mechanism in the Weapon! No Ammunition. And Nobody was around! We did Not take fire, but the Enemy Is Out There! We dropped the Load as Ordered, took off and left.

I was Never told the Facts of what exactly we were ever doing, and that includes, on Any Mission!! I can only speculate?

Another ship may arrive with the Ammo and Fireing Mechanism. There, to support a Special Forces team, retreating from their covert mission.

It may have been, just a 'Show of Power', as in 'we can go anywhere-anytime!'

In 1971, were the 'peace talks' starting in Paris?? This could have been a negotiable 'statement'.

I don't know...Politics! We won every Battle, the Politicians Lost the War. There was Nothing to win, And No Way to Win It!

My Mother, in the late 60's, GOD bless her Soul...once told me "They are Killing Off 'The Cream of the Crop'!! I have thought, killing off their future political competitors. Her Oldest Son, my Brother Roger, was there in 67-68. went through the 'Tet Offensive'. He was Wounded but Came home safe, but with PTSD, in 1969, the Year I graduated High School. Roger was a 'Consciences Objector'. He was drafted at the age of 20, he went in and was trained as a Medic. He saved Many Lives! His wounds 'earned' him the Purple Heart and he Was Awarded the 'Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry', for so many Lives Saved. He did Not sign up for college to get a 'Draft Deferment'.

There is No draft in place, now, and 'They' wonder why fewer and fewer boys are going to college these days!? There's No reason too. Pulling Panty Raids and playing beer pong. 'Getting' our Girlfriends while we spilled our blood with Bravery and Honor. Right or wrong America was Our Country. And She will not stand by, and turn Her back, while Innocents are being slaughtered. She sent her Sons, the Best there is, was, and will forever Be!

Nor did Roger Run up to Canada to save his own skin, and be called 'Smart and Clever' for escaping the draft. And Thows who volunteered were considered Stupid. Some lost the backing of their loved ones, the War split-up my family. And ALL lost the support of the Government that called them up and sent them there! I am Not Laying blame to anyone, I surely do not want My Own Son to ever be drafted.

And that is why I can't make friends. Young men who were never 'there', where does their Arrogance stem from? With decades of disrespect and humiliation, and on college campuses, where most Vietnam Vets were 'Invisible' to Women, because we had answered the Call. I couldn't 'Get a Date' to save my Life. And it would have! All my veteran comrades are now dead. These Days, All I hear is whining about how bad things are in America. it's the Best in the World! Wake Up!! What did YOU do to contribute a Good to this Great Nation?? Or do You just Take and Take?

I once asked Eddie C. ...who was killed Twice in Nam, Shot 'Point-Blank' by a VC...brought back to life by the Medics, then Second, had a Heart Attack and then Died, Years Later on his Front Lawn, when his VA Pacemaker Failed. He was in the 'Brown' NAVY, River Boats... "Eddie, would we do it All again??" We both nodded in Agreement, "Yes! without a Hesitation!" We were Privileged to have been Chosen! GOD Bless You, My Brother.

I leave you with this, not caring who it may offend.

"...Far Better to have Died Beside Heros, than to Live a Lifetime Amongst Cowards!"

The Title of My Book...'All the Young Soldiers Came, Running'   

Last edited by marlinjack
Original Post

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.