Text from Daniel Markell’s video:
Another Chinook Company. They wanted to try and keep some fresh troops so that everybody didn’t leave at the same time. So, a bunch of us from the 271st got infused with the 132nd up at Chu Lai. Chu Lai is right on the coast and it’s actually quite a beautiful area. At that time it was called “Rocket City” for obvious reasons because it was always getting mortared. I was up there for a couple months and one of our missions was to fly to an off-shore island which was about 5 or 6 miles from the coast. We had an hour of downtime, so the pilots said, “Do whatever you want.” That close to the ocean, we all went swimming. So, we were swimming and having a good time and I noticed that, “Man there’s blood coming up.” And it happened to be my foot. I had cut my foot. Okay, so I didn’t think anything of it until the next day when I couldn’t get my boot on because my foot had swollen. What happened was I had stepped on coral. The coral is so sharp and there was enough coral that was – coral is actually a living organism. If any of it stays inside your body, it gets infected. And they couldn’t get the infection to go away. I was actually hospitalized for a week in Vietnam. They said, “You know, we’re going to have to get you to a drier climate. Maybe that would help.” So they sent me to Japan to Camp Zama. I was there for about 2 weeks and it still wouldn’t get any better. They said, “Well, maybe Fitzsimmons, then,” which is in Denver. Well, that’s a good idea. So, I got sent home after about 9 months, so I didn’t get to – I actually didn’t spend Thanksgiving or Christmas away from home. When I was at Fitzsimmons, I got Thanksgiving leave and then I had to go back. And it still wasn’t any better. I got to go home for Christmas and at that time they said, instead of coming back here, we’re going to ship you to Fort Eustis. So, that’s kind of my – the way I got out ahead of time. Which, I guess, is kind of maybe – I don’t know if it’s fortunate because I should have been there through January of ’69. But I got out of there in the fall of ’68. But whenever Tet is – is that January 1st – whenever Tet is, that’s when our company got overrun and several guys got killed and we lost a bunch of aircraft. So I wasn’t there. That’s the reason I wasn’t there. So, my tour was only about 9 months.
Text from David Ziemke’s video:
Deuce and a halves. (Dave laughed) Deuce and a halves and through villages with no rifles and you’re going, “I don’t like this.” You know, because at that time Vietnamese were funny people to me and they’re all talking real weird. At AIT, when we went through the Vietnam village in training, you don’t pick up nothing because it’s booby-trapped. And they tell you all this stuff about villages and watch out because in the village they look friendly, but they’re not and there are other enemies in there. So, you’re brand new in Vietnam and you’re just tooling through these villages and kids are running up alongside the deuce and a halves with their hands out for candy and stuff. And the guys in the front of the truck are throwing candy bars to them while you’re going, “This ain’t what they taught us.” They’re real friendly. We get to Quan Loi, they got Vietnamese right there on the camp and we couldn’t understand that. There letting the enemy walk all over out here. Well, they are laundry ladies, cleaning ladies, whatever. You get to Quan Loi and your barracks are sandbags with a tent over them and just like them Army cot things that are very uncomfortable, but more comfortable than the ground. So, we get there. We’re all set up and here they go, “Okay. Scratch your MOS. Scratch it. You were a Field Wireman. Now, you are anything we need – anything we need.” My first experience of Vietnam – you’re there and you’re going to do whatever needs to be done. Well, the first couple weeks you’re doing nothing, but filling sandbags. You’re going, “Is this what I’m going to be doing all year?” Well, I didn’t know that’s what they do to break you into the weather over there – to acclimate you to the Vietnam weather – is fill sandbags; sweat a lot; and just work. Sandbags I hate today. (Dave laughed) But we filled sandbags for weeks – a couple weeks. It felt like forever. We’re just filling sandbags and I’m going, “Why?” Our unit would clear a place in the jungle and then we would move and the Cav would move in – would take over. And we’d go somewhere else and set up in the jungle, which was really strange, and I didn’t run that much field wire (Dave laughed) for some reason. Filled a lot of sandbags; humped a lot of ammo; crawled in some tunnels. We’d go into a new area. We were always moving around. We were in a Michelon plantation once, which is in the history books now, I guess.
Text from James Keul’s video:
I’d only been in country about two weeks – in the CAV two weeks. Part of that two weeks, one week is in-country training. You asked about training. They talk about punji pits and snakes and where to look for trip wires and all of that kind of stuff and go through that. It was on January 31st, the morning of the 31st about four or five in the morning. Our Charlie Troop was ambushed by Tan Son Nhut Air Base and we were all awakened. I didn’t even know half of my men because I had just been going through orientation. In fact, the day before we were converting our track. Our tracks were gas and we’d just converted them to diesel because when we took RPGs with gas, it was instant inferno. So, we didn’t have all our machine guns mounted; we didn’t have our radios mounted; and we hustled to get all the essential stuff when they said, “We need more medics. Charlie Troop is heavily engaged and a lot of men down.” So, they fired me up and I didn’t know any of the guys. I asked for volunteers and I got a driver, the .50 caliber, and maybe two others. They volunteered to go down to Tan Son Nhut and we had an escort; a track in front of us and a track in back. We took fire all the way down. (Jim was momentarily overcome with emotion) I’m sorry. When we got there, Charlie Troop – their tanks were on fire; they’re out of ammo; VC crawling all over on the other side of the road; and I didn’t know if I’d make it. (Jim’s voice is tight and shook with emotion.) I had to rely on these guys and it was just incredible. We got it all done and I felt like a veteran in two days because of them. One of them came up to me about two days later and said, “Hey, Lieutenant. We got to get back to base camp.” I said, “What the hell is going on?” He said, “We’re going home tomorrow.” (Jim’s voice tightened up again and became quieter.) They volunteered to go down there. I think I’ve told Sue, “If I knew where they lived, I could find them. I’d fly there; take them out for the biggest steak; and entertain them.” But anyway, we had a little fun, too, because these guys, after about three days, they thought I was okay. That night, about eight o’clock after we’d mopped up; we had a big body count that day, probably twelve hundred guys. We probably lost twelve-fifteen in Charlie Troop and Bravo Troop was there, too.
Text from Raymond Fox’s video:
What I remember about it I was in Anton Bridge, which was kind of a holiday – very easy duty. It was a bridge that was blown up and then they had a pontoon bridge set up and we were there to guard it. The last day I was there I was in a bunker and then above our bunker was another bunker that we couldn’t get to because we didn’t have a ladder to get up to it. So, on the last day I was there, I would say it was about 11 in the morning, an NVA – I assume he was an NVA because he had an AK-47 – let about 2 clips of ammunition shoot into the upper bunker. I didn’t have anything to do because that was my very last day there. The Company Commander called and said, “Where is Fox at?” And the guy said, “He’s outside seeing what’s going on.” The Company Commander said, “Get him inside that bunker. We don’t want him dead on his last day.” Well, I knew that if they were shooting at the bunker up there that NVA didn’t know that we didn’t – he wasn’t a local. He was probably impressing his girlfriend that he was going to let a couple of clips go at the bunker. So, after that I flew to Danang, where it was my departure, and I got to sleep in a mattress that night. 1st time I was on a mattress other than my R&R. I got to sleep on a mattress and I couldn’t believe we’re in a war zone and these guys are sleeping on mattresses? What the hell kind of a war is this? But I slept in my clothes again and the next morning we had to empty our pockets out and whatever we had. I had this little book with me and I thought they were going to confiscate it, but they didn’t. I had my dog tags and I guess that’s all I brought back from Vietnam was that and my memories. And then flew back. I think it was a quiet flight back. But I ended up flying back with 2 other guys I flew over there with.
Text from Robert Meyer’s video:
Off of Vietnam I said, “This is really nice. I come all the way from Minnesota and what do I see? Marshall, MN on the eggs.” I couldn’t believe it, either, but it happened. They had a contract with the government for selling so many eggs. You’d get up there and he’d be standing there and he’d, “How’d you like your eggs?” I’d say, “Surprise me.” “Okay,” and he’d open up a case and dump them in there raw and he’d go, “Here you go. Enjoy!” I’d say, “That’s a little too raw for me.” He’d laugh and dump them out, “How do you want them?” “Hard.” “We’ll get them hard.” And then toast – they had a big toaster thing that just kept rolling and rolling, so you got toast. And then you might have bacon or something like that, too. They fed you pretty good on the ship. You got a good meal. If it was real rough out, they would have what they call “rations” and they would make a lot of sandwiches or soup. And the soup aboard ship – there were posts – and you had to take one arm and wind the rope around you so you wouldn’t slide back and forth on the seats. You could stay there and with the other arm hold you and eat (Bob laughed) and I was left-handed. So, if was really rough, that’s all you could do. Usually you don’t last too long on something like that. Maybe one day it’s real bad, but the next day it’s okay again. But that does happen and they would make sandwiches, cookies, and stuff like that where they could still do the baking. They fed you good in the Navy. My uncle told me, “Oh, you’ll want to eat there.”