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thumbnail [3)thumbnailthumbnail [2)thumbnail [1)PXL_20240324_203838487.MP...4:30AM Sunday Morning. Wide awake, Tennitis is Killing Me, the wife is Snoring and Very Bad, unforgettable Memories from the Past...Time to write This Chapter! Yes! I've already had years of didn't Help!!

...This Memoir must first start, December 1969. Ft. Lewis Washington. ARMY Basic Training. We only received 1/2 Day of Sunshine a Week, from November to the End of Training and Graduation to AIT, in February. It was Miserable.

In training, in the afternoon, we are practicing our 'Low Craw', very Low, as Low as you can Get! Tonight, in Darkness, we will be Crawling under LIVE Machine-Gun Fire. One of the Drill-Sargents, drill sargent Walters...a New Drill sargent, fresh out of drill sargent 'Training', we were his fiirst Platoon! A great person, a Black soldier back from Vietnam. I Have never seen such perfectly 'Starched and pressed' fatigues!

I'am crawling...not Low enough! Sgt Walters comes over to Me, "Jack! Get that Helmet Down, Drag That Helmet!!" as he Steps his Boot on My helmet forcing it down into the wet sand. Keeping his boot pressured upon My helmet, Hobbling along, keeping my pace, as I crawled, dragging My Helmet some twenty feet. I got the Idea!

That night, late, around 9:00PM. We are trucked to a specially set-up Range. We are shown what we will be crawling under. 3 M-60 Machine Guns of 7.62mm, lined in a row over a Steel Bar that will prevent them from firing too close to the Ground. They are 'Limited' to 3 Feet above the Ground, at the Most. Some of us may be 10 to 12 Inches in Breadth, Leaving a 'Safe' Clearence of, no more than 24", but I know from that Experience, the spacing was far Less than that! The Gunners were Experts! If they were not...they wouldn't be Here!

We were all Lined up at the far end of the field, 4-5 soldiers wide. We were to 'Low' Crawl approximately 50 Yards, half a football field, or Less.  Before the firing started, all of us were down on our bellies, flat out on the beginning of the field. The Drill Sargents cleared the field and their order was given.

"Begin Your Advance!!" The Three M-60's Begin to Fire! This was absolutely amazing!! Red Tracers Flying over Me, Cracking through the Sound Barrier, I was Dragging My Helmet! The guys in front of me were really Moving out! I was slower and being left behind. I was not in that much of a hurry, I Stopped to Enjoy this Further! Amazing! Spectacular!! Bullets and Tracers Flying in all directions, back and forth. Criss-Crossing and over-lapping. Cracking the Sound Barrier. A once in life experience! After just a few seconds, I continued my crawl. I was later than I thought, I was all left behind. I was the only figure on the field, and had about another 30 feet to go. I hear "Get Moving Soldier!!".  I made it, But I was Last. What a 'Blast'!! "We thought you'd been hit!" I didn't realize then, that in a few Months, I would be firing the Same Guns!

Fast Forward to Vietnam, the 147th Chinooks. Around May 1971 Crewchief. One of my duties was to guide the Pilot to Taxi the Chinook out of it's reventment. Using hand signals to confirm clearance and safety. Both arms are out-stretched, raising both repeatedly means clear to come forward. Raising my right arm repeating...Turn Right. Left arm, Turn Left. Arms crossed, STOP!

Now, on this Morning, turns out the Commanding Pilot is training an all new Chinook Pilot...Starting with how to Taxi.

The Front Rotor Blades on a Chinook, sit at 9-10 Feet above the ground, give or take. At 18, I stand an erect 6 feet 5 inches, and then the helmet.

The Pilots have the Engines cranked up, the blades are whirling at a fast ground Idle. I am at My posting, standing on the ground in front of the chinook, it's clear and Not knowing we were training a new Pilot, I give the OK Signal to Advance forward in Taxi. I am Standing with-in the Swept area of the Front rotor blades!

I had never seen this before...either due to too much 'Forward Cyclic', 'Rotor Blade Pitch' or Both; in trying to move forward, I see, just the Ships' Tail raise off the ground. But not just a couple of feet...but pivoting on the front wheels, the Tail has risen 5-6 Feet off the ground. It happened Fast!

Without a Moments thought, I 'Hit the Ground'!! With My Helmet scrapping the Concrete, I heard the Rotors Blades, almost Silent, passing over me. After a Short while, the ship was set back down, I resumed my station and we taxied out and were on our way. I climbed back into the ship via the steps and under my gun mount, folded up the steps and was summoned to the cockpit. The new guy was kind'a dis-shoveled, as in Nervous. The commander wanted to know if I was alright. I was calm and collected, didn't make a big deal out of nothing. Then he tells Me, "We Thought You were Killed, The Blades were 1 Foot Over Your Head!!" I'am thinking, apology Not Necessary, fagetaboutit.

Just one more time, I was 'almost' killed in Vietnam! It's getting to become 'routine'!

"...Drag that Helmet JACK!! Someday it will save Your Life!" Thank You! Drill Sargent!     


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Last edited by marlinjack
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@dang2407 posted:

Yep, you get taken advantage of when you're young and stupid...I thought this was going to be a story about how the machine guns and the helicopters gave you tinnitus... I've certainly got it from being around loud things in my youth ... I never felt that my ears were being damaged at the time....

...NO, the Therapy I was in, was not for My Sever Tennitis, there is NO Cure; it was for 'Sever and Chronic' PTSD. 4 Different Psychiatrists and Dozens of Vietnam Veteran Group Sessions, over many Years.

It didn't help me, much.

"You Know there 'Aint-No' Forgettin'!"

..."Stupid" Huh!? No matter, My Entire Family was split over me serving in Nam, Most Thought the same thing, 'Stupid for Volunteering'!! I and Others, would do it again...We were 'Needed' over There. For a Short Moment our Lives were 'Worth' Something.

"It Don't Mean Nothin'...It Don't Mean a Thing!"

"What doesn't Kill us, Only Makes Us Stronger!"

...Not Everyone who Died in Nam, Died There.

Last edited by marlinjack

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