UNIT: 134th AHC, Maintenance Platoon
SITUATION: Surviving an Unforeseen Mission
LOCATION: Pou Hua, Vietnam.
TIME: The Second Half of 1969
Well, he did not have to kill anyone. We completed the mission okay. It was the kind of war It was. It didn’t occur to me until later that we were fighting the wrong kind of war. We were not supposed to be fighting a European war. In that kind of war, you had one group of soldiers stand up against another group of soldiers, and they fired at each other for attrition. This was like the American Revolutionary war where the colonists fought like guerrillas. That is the way the North Vietnamese were fighting the United States; like guerrillas. We all know who won the Revolutionary war under that scenario. In retrospect, we can see that it worked for the North Vietnamese also.
That was one mission. Another mission stands out in my mind was a mission where there was a fire base that we supported. It was somewhere out there northeast of Pua Hua, and we regularly brought them mail and food, supplies, orders, and maybe two or three replacement personnel. Heavy supplies were brought in by Chinook helicopters. I think the location was Phu Hiet, an Army base.
This time we experienced some kind of hanging up. Maybe it was orders, I needed orders to fly, I don’t know, it was something we had to have to fly out to this artillery base. We were supposed to bring orders and light supplies, but we had a surprise passenger. I looked out my door and saw that our passenger was a brigadier, who told us, “I’m going out with you for a supplies inspection, but you are not to tell anyone in advance that I’m coming out. I’ll be going there for supplies and personnel inspection only. You are not to tell any of your air controllers that I am going. This is a surprise.”
Well, I wanted to jump out and stand at attention and saluted him. You don’t do that.
His XO and staff officers knew that he was going also, but they, just like us, were prevented from radioing or telling anyone that the commander was on his way to inspect. We had to...