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thumbnail [6)...You may have noticed, by now, that I jump around from the 16th Cav, where I Started in Country, to the 147th, where I left from, for Home. I writethumbnail [6) These Memoirs as they are Triggered and 'Jump' into My Mind, uncontrollable, from day to day. I am digging up Many Photos that I have almost Lost, they will be posted on Most of these Recent chapters, Very Soon..

...It Must have been the Barracks of the 16th Cav, once we were up in Can-Tho. Another Soldier and I were just sitting there and passing the time...When we heard the Loud Explosion! Because of our boot camp training, we knew exactly What it was...A Grenade! In training You are required to Throw 2 of them. The little 'Baseball' Shaped Grenades.

We immediately, were on our feet and running towards the Airfield. We saw the smoke rising from one of the Cav Reventments. It was one of our Hueys, engulfed in Flames. All emergency personnel were standing back, letting it burn, there is danger of secondary explosions. There was Nothing they could do, it's Gone!

We just left it there and returned to our cubicles. I returned the next Morning and took a couple of Pictures.

The Details.

One Man was killed. He was a 'Civilian' worker, helping to maintain this particular Huey Gunship. The Huey has two Doors per side. A Large Door that is Always Removed. It is a Hassle to open and close, gets in the way, and would Not stop a Bullet, when receiving fire! Besides, the Doorgunner must have free rayne to perform his duties. There is also a smaller 'Wing' Door, that on this particular ship, the wingdoor, was left on. The day prior, this ship was left out in the AO (area of operations), Unattended, Briefly...although briefly Enough.

A, lets call the person a 'Sapper', had gotten to the Gunship, unobserved, and Wired a Grenade to the Little wingdoor. Now the way this would work is, the Grenade would be 'Strapped' Down with a pull-wire from the door to the Pull-RING of the grenade. Now this ring goes around and through a 'Cotter-pin' which is bent Wider to make it Very Difficult to Pull, unless the cotter pin is bent Back, Closed. This would be done, and the Ring and Pin would be Pulled NOT Quite Out, but, 'Hanging By A Thread'!! You may see 'Grunts' carrying Grenades on their belt or chest, with Many Rubber Bands around the Release Handle, for Extra safe keeping. Before use, they take their Bayonet and Slice the Bands Off.

Well, by now you have the Picture...the civilian had come to work, beautiful day, by the way...Opened the little door, pulled the pin, may or may not have heard the 'Release Handle' Fly off with a Metalic Clang as the Firing Pin hits the Primer with a Distinctive POP/Bang! You have 4 Seconds til BOOM!!

Most any 'Trained' Soldier, would have Instantly Recognized the POP and screamed 'Grenade'! Would have Run, Jumped and Hit the Deck, as Low as is Possible! All Grenades and Explosives BLOW UP!

In My photo you will see where the body lied before recovery, there is a Large Pool of Oil on the ground beside the ship. It's Not Oil, It's Blood.

A second 'Accident'. As said previously the 'Land of Accidents'!

One evening, I was returning from 'Movie Night'. There was a Movie Theater and once a week or two, a New Movie arrives.

I arrived back to my barracks and as I step inside...the feeling was very Very Strange! Complete Silence! NO Radio Playing, No Music, No people talking...NO other Soldiers were there, or Around, Period!! What Has Happened?? At the far end of the barracks I see one soldier. He is sweeping the floor and moving a small pile of dirt forward. I look at the pile, and within It, I can see he is cleaning up, what is a Large Piece of Skull, with the Scalp and Hair still attached to it!

What happened?? His only reply, They were Playing 'Russian Roulet'!

...'They' say that War makes a Soldier Compassionate. I know that is Very True. I learned to Love the Vietnamese Peoples. The greatest resilience in the Face of Horrific Lose. Excruciating Suffering, some knew the why We were there. And some Loved the Americans.

One of Our own 'Personal' hooch-maids, of the barracks was in her 80's! They work diligently to make our lives just a little better. Laundry, they will even shine your boots...when that's not even required.

I never asked her, her name, didn't matter. one day she took a break to eat her lunch. A Baggett of Bread made with RICE Flour. I was curious, so she broke off a piece and offered it over to Me. Yes! Sweet, Delicious. I immediately handed her a 5 Doller MPC Bill, and asked her, next time you come back, please bring me a Baggett. Being that was more than enough money, I had made her Happy.

A couple days later, I see her again, she had brought Me, TWO Baggett Loaves, hands them to Me, turns and begins to leave. I ask her to Please stay, I have something I wish to share with You. We go into our barracks and I offer her a seat on my bunk as I open My Locker and take Out a Pretty good size Jar of 'Peanut Butter', came in one of My 'Care Packages'. Don't remember if it was 'Skippy' or 'Jif', but I know it was the 'Creamy' Texture. Peanut Butter was the ONLY Item I ever asked to be sent to Me from back Home. Please, send Me Peanut Butter!! It does Not exist Here!

Now Peanuts are a Major staple of the Vietnamese Cuisine. This 80 Year Old women, confessed to Me, that She had NEVER experienced the Taste and Flavor of 'Simple' Peanut Butter, that WE Tend to take for Granted. That was about to change. We sat on My bunk as we shared Rice Bread with peanut butter. I could see a Light come on in her eyes, and a smile across her face. Here, have More. We talked. Her English was so much better than My Vietnamese! I 'quizzed' her out of a quest for learning...words spelled here as they were pronounced. What is 'Tall', she answers 'Ohm'. What is 'Fat'..."Mop', and on!

We were now friends, 'for Life'!! She told me 'Affectionately' "You Beaucoup Dinki-Dow GI!"

She got up and was leaving, I thanked her for the bread...I asked her to wait and handed her the Jar of peanut butter. "Here take this with You, take it Home to Your Family". With a Smile, she thanked Me. I never saw her again.

Weeks later, I was leaving through the Airbase 'Gate', heading downtown with a couple of guys. The Guards 'Check' Everybody for contraband, that would be sold on the 'Black-Market', for Monies, or favor. I couldn't help but notice, near a Dozen worn-out, M-60 Gun Barrels, stacked in the corner, up-right on-end. These are changed out when they wear-out. But can still be used, to fire a round, even if just in a Booby Trap. These were Confiscated from some, trying to sneak them out of the compound.

It brought to mind...was our hooch-maid 'Allowed' to take a simple jar of peanut butter home??

To this day. I wonder what became of My friend. It brings tears to My Eyes, what may have happened to Her!?

She Loved Americans and America...'Land of the FREE, Home of the BRAVE'...and Peanut Butter!

...Every time I spread Peanut Butter on Bread, I think of that Old Women. I know she must be up in heaven looking down on Me...and Thinking, "You Beaucoup Dinki-Dow GI!"


...Can You see the Booby-Trap?? 7.62 NATO, 20MM Incendiary, a 40MM M-79 Grenade...Cooking in 115 Degree Sun!

This pile of 'Hot' Ordinance was in Place When I First Arrived in this Company, It was Still There When I finished My Tour, and went Back to the World. The Ordinance Demolition Team Wouldn't 'Touch' it, So it Remained, I got This Close to take this Picture. MJ             


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...Thank You for Your Input. We Both did our Jobs...the Best they could Possibly be Done!

'At the 'Map-Point', ON Time!' And we Survived to Tell Our Story.

...The Best Pilots in The World, I Swear By It!  "Fly Boys Never Let You Down!!"

I Thank YOU for Your Service, Sir!

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