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...This should Not be too hard to write...it has a 'Happy' Ending. I MUST use Profanity, because that is the Truth as the way it Happened. Anything less, would Tame down the Shock of the Incident.

Helicopter Crewchiefs, and Doorgunners in Particular, are in their own 'Fraternity'. Some went to school and were trained as Crewchiefs, on a Specific Craft. Being behind a M-60 just came with the Job. The Gun was the tool. Others, were grunts, who signed up for another year, so they could 'Fly The Guns', as Doorgunners! A few, Such as I, were Asked to Fly, as I had Graduated from The School in Ft. Eustis, VA. I Started and was 'Taken' From 'The Hangers' as a Mechanic.

The Job...Protect and Keep the Pilots from Being Killed!! When in 'Action', should Both of the Doorgunners be wounded or Killed, Just One Pilot can get all of us Back to base, provided the Ship is not shot down. If Both Pilots are Wounded or killed...Everybody Dies!! Although there were crewchiefs who were proficient enough to fly Hueys, they were a rare breed. Doorgunners, 'Draw' fire away from the Pilots. I painted the front of my helmet White, to catch the Eye of Snipers.

Our Second job, Most of us Proudly Represented the United States of America, our Mothers, and sure, Apple Pie. Throw in, a Little Justice. In Short...'Defend the weak, Protect the Innocent!' That, I did, most assuredly, So!

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilot, was the most Severely Trained, absolute Best in the World. In my time, the 'wash-out Rate' was above 70%. The Instructors, 'want' You to quit, and they will stop at nothing to make it so. Point being, Mostly all the Pilots who flew on my ships, were great, Good People, Outstanding Men. Great Character and Integrity. But!...there were a few, that were just, by all definitions, pure Evil. In one simple case, a Pilot had flown his Aircraft, and Crew over a 'Known' Anti-Aircraft, machine gun emplacement, and then come back to base and immediately put Himself 'In' for a Bronze Star.

The Evil.

A couple of pilots would take 'One' Doorgunner Out on a Flight, to Be 'Vetted'. To See if he could be 'relied upon' to KILL, in actual Combat. Unimaginable, but true. Read-On.

(One thing to note, mostly, Crewchiefs and Flight Engineers are 'Assigned' their own particular Aircraft. They 'Sign' it Out, and they are responsible for it's return! The Pilots just come out, early in the morning, before Sunrise, with their Assigned Mission(s), and Barrow it!)

...Mentioned before, I never had the same Two pilots, twice. Just the way the assigned missions, went. And I Never went into the 'War-Room', where Missions were received and Planned. Most Always, I Never knew 'Where' we were going, until we ended up, there. Missions in Vietnam, Cambodia and One Mission into Laos!

The Old Man.

Back in the Hueys. I found Myself on a flight with two pilots I had never seen before, nor since! I was flying Right Doorgunner. I was Alone, NO Left Gunner.

We are 'Cruising' along, to Lord knows where, I am in my position with the '60' Armed. I remember, we were heading North out of Soc-Trang, at about 100 feet, we're approaching a hillside. The pilots bring the Helicopter right up and to an Old Man, they had spotted, Standing on the Hillside, UNarmed. They bring the Chopper right-up, and Hovering to within 5 feet of this person. He was wearing all grey, he had to be in his 80's! He is facing the right pilot, he had his hands clasped together as in prayer. He was Bowing to the pilot, Repeatedly, and I had my gun Trained on Him! Close enough, I could have spat on Him, but never.

Over the Intercom!...

From the Commanding Pilot, Right Seat, I get, "Doorgunner, Kill Him!!" 'Excuse Me sir. did I hear You Right??' "I Order You to Kill Him"...Then, at that point, the Left Seat Pilot 'Screams' "GRENADE!!!!"

What I felt at the moment was a Surge of Compassion, Mercy, Love, Respect, for this Old Man. He had witnessed a Lot of 'Shit' in his lifetime. He was here long before the French were waging their war. He must have Lost everything he ever Loved. Wife, Kids, Family...Country.

I Calmly, But 'Disgustingly', reply, 'I Don't SEE a Grenade'. The Pilot sitting directly in front of Me..."I ordered You to 'Sanction' Him! Me, 'F*** YOU!!!'..."WHAT??" 'F*** YOU SIR!!!!'

At that point, the pilot in front of me takes his Automatic from his Shoulder Holster, turns around on his left Shoulder and displays a Nickle Plated 1911 '45. He does Not point it at me, but points it up to the roof, so I could see it in Profile. "I could Execute You right Now, for disobeying a Direct Order". My only reply...'You want him, killed, kill him Yourself' Then, he must have realized he just threatened a Man with Machine Gun, who was 'Thinking', I might Not let that happen. As we slowly pull away and leave the old Man alone, standing...I get a Grumbling over the intercom..."When we get back to base, You're 'On Report'!!" I think, 'woopy-do', that'll be Fun, ya Little F***. I never saw those Clowns again! Never knew who they were. Probably got themselves shot-up, somewhere, somehow...by a pissed-off Doorgunner, Not doing their job.

The Old Women.

It was later in the year, I was a Crewchief in the 147th Chinooks. On this day I was flying right doorgunner. We just left Vinh-Long airbase, after dropping-off parts and supplies. We were leaving, heading southwest back to Can-Tho. I remember we are slowly hovering over and past a Guard Bunker, on top of the roof, Sand Bags were all laid out in the Shape of a Large 'Peace Sign', covering the entire roof, about 6 feet in diameter. I waved to a Guard standing outside of the Bunker, we both shot each other the Peace Sign.

Slowly hovering on, we come across a small river, more like a creek, as it was barely a Foot deep. There, I see a Old women Standing, facing us, in a Sampan, at the shore. A tiny boat, narrow, smaller than a canoe. The pilots stop the ship and hover in place, not 60 feet away, down in front of me. Over the intercom, I get..."right gunner, see that Old Women, Sanction Her!!" (I'am thinking. here we go again) My Reply "Sure!!", as I fire a '10 Round Burst' exactly cutting the Sampan in-Half Diagonally. Sparing the Old Women, I 'Gave' Her One Foot. The Sampan split in Half, dropping Her down into the shallow water, amazing she Never lost her Balance and remained standing.

As we hover and slowly pull away the Old women 'Flips Me THE BIRD', with her outstretched right arm. I'am thinking, I deserve that! I just spared Your Life! If You would have done that seconds earlier. You would Have LOST That Arm!!

Back to the Pilots..."I Ordered You To Kill Her!!"..."I Must Hav-Missed!"

Nobody Orders Marlin to Murder! Nobody!! I'am not being paid to Murder unarmed Civilians!



Next Chapter 10 '14,000 Pound Sling Load HE to Firebase Alfa' (12,000 Limit w/pics)



         

Last edited by marlinjack
Original Post

thumbnail [1)PXL_20231226_233100926.MP...our Huey was taking a resupply of ammunition out to a Squad of Soldiers that had run out. Upon arrival, one Soldier exclaimed, in a Tone of Gratitude..."we had 'fixed Bayonets', said our prayers and already bent over and 'kissed our asses Good-Bye' " Then we Heard Your Rotor Pop!

"What Kept You?" 'Well, I had to Finish My cup of Coffee!'

Many Years later, where I worked at a Stamping Plant in Hayward California. We had hired a Young Vietnamese Man, one among the 'Boat People'. I was proud of that, and Welcomed Him. We would take our lunches outside at a picnic bench, in the parking lot. The young man was talking with a Few of my co-workers, and as I happened to pass by, on my way to my car, I over-heard...

"They Killed My Father and My Mother. They killed My Sister. They were about to Kill Me, when we heard The Helicopters!" He Never Knew, I Crewed Ships.

I kept walking, I developed a little smile of Satisfaction and Pride, on My Face. I thought to myself...we couldn't Save them all, But, we Saved Some!

My co-workers, from that day forward, Never 'Bad-Mouthed' Me ever again.

'Fly-Boys Never Let You Down!'

MJ

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