Category: 1971-2

THE KNUCKLEHEAD!!!! BY JAMES LYLES

I was supposed to go check to see why a knucklehead had not turned in his shotgun after coming in from a convoy. He was laying on his bunk. I sat down on the bunk directly beside of his with a clipboard and when I asked him about the shotgun, he acted surprised and sais, “Oh yea, I guess I forgot to turn it in.” He got up and pulled the mattress back and there was the shotgun.

He pulled out the shotgun and sat down on his bunk holding it in his lap. As I was writing on my clip board, I he had the shotgun, a 12 gage stevens 520-30 pointed in my general direction but then he started messing with it and before I knew it the shotgun was pointed directly at my face. I said, “What’s the matter with you? Don’t you know you don’t point a weapon in somebody’s face?” I put my hand up and with the back of my fingers, pushed the end of the barrel away from my face to the left. At the same time he said, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded, see?” and proceeded to pull the trigger, blowing a hole in a wall locker right beside me. I remember him saying, “OH SHIT!” as I could hear some of the lead pellets falling to the wall locker floor.

The blast took me by surprise but I jumped on him and wrenched the shotgun away. A bunch of guys came running and separated us because I would have killed him. I  looked at the wall locker with the neat fist-sized hole and was curious to see what damage it had done to the contents. I opened the door and there were several uniforms hanging, all with a big hole in them. I moved some of them and more pellets fell to the floor. I picked up a few of them and placed them in a film canister that I keep to this day.

JAMES R LYLES

359th TRANSPORTATION COMPANY

1971-2

THE LIGHTER SIDE BY GEORGE ELLIS 1971-2

One must not forget unscrewing tanker hatches and putting ladies of the night inside to get through the gate.

One of my twin gunners standing on the street in the village with an extended LAW wanting his radio back that another lady of the night took from him. I convinced him it was better to fire the LAW at the hillside, and let me deal with Madam K.

Oh yes: My convoy with a new ROTC 2ND Lt> My tankers knew best on the pass, so they passed him. Slower tankers being pushed by faster ones! When my Gun Truck passed him, he was stopped on the side standing in the jeep waving his arms, yelling on the radio to maintain convoy interval. He was going to write everybody up for an Article 15, but the clerk told him it was around 70 men and our vehicles. So he thought better of it. From that time on he beat us to the top of the pass!!!

Told to call in for permission to fire after the rocket’s hit!!! Wanna bet we did that!!!

Going for joy rides in the OH-6’s at the check points.

I’ve never seen a braver bunch of men who would fight with what ever they had, and would help anyone at whatever the cost.

GEORGE ELLIS

STORY BY GEORGE ELLIS 359th 1971-2

I was the last NCOIC on the Gun Truck “THE MISFITS”. At about 10AM Feb 25TH 1972 halfway up the Mang Yang Pass we were ambushed hard. Much of it is still a blur in my mind. We had mixed it up before but nothing like this. I could hear bullets hitting the truck all over the left side, soon targets were available and all we had were twin 50’s, my single 50, and the drivers M79 plus his M60 were cleaning out the ditches an hillside. I do remember an ARVIN APC 50 yds away would not return fire. I remember being hit twice myself and the twin gunner had a bullet just under his collar bone through his chest. I don’t know his name he was a newbie that day but he kept with a hole in him. My driver was hit with some type of explosive but kept up the fight. Choppers came in and really cleaned up the hillside. All the tankers had made it through so we kept going to the top of the pass. At the top of the pass Dust off’s were coming and going, I managed to get my crew on them. For a moment I looked at the truck before the Dust off’s got me. The fuel tank was gone except for the bottom half which had a few gals of fuel, every stretcher we had between the cab and box were turned into tooth picks. The whole truck was shot to hell, just junk. I never saw my crew again. That night the mash unit in Plieku was in danger of being over run so everything was a blur. My drivers name was Esponoza, that I remember. After the Mash Unit I was taken back through Quin Nhon on the way out. I saw what was left of The Misfits, stripped and ready for transfer or junk yard. So to all who served on The Misfits maybe this will help. THE MISFIT’S FOUGHT TO THE END!!!

GEORGE ELLIS

STORY BY STEVE CAMPBELL 359th 71-2

I was returning from my last convoy on 9 Apr 1972, the 359th had already stopped running convoy’s. I had to take Satins Chariot with a rag tag crew to escort 2 tankers to Pleiku. We got shot up in the An Khe pass on the way up, and returned fire. I called it in to Zero on the way up. Word came back from H.Q. that there were only friendly forces in the A.O. I went back on the radio and told Zero, too late if they were friendlys they would not have fired at my convoy so I fired the pass up. On the return trip same shit happened, so I fired up the pass, and called it in to Zero. He said I have a message for you when you get back to Quin Nhon , your going home. Then on the way back from the trip just outside Quin Nhon I passed a gun truck with the same gun box lay out with the name painted over, and I was sure it was Brutus with an Arvin crew, When I got back to the compound they had my shit packed and put me in a chopper, I was home on the 11th. As much as it pissed me off I am sure Brutus was given to the Arvin’s, they were taking over the convoys.

I’ve got to tell you it’s a good thing they shipped me out, or I would have gotten into deep shit. I was pissed off about the Arvin’s having Brutus. We were always told that Brutus was coming back to the USA to be placed next to the Eve of Destruction. I felt I failed to protect the legend and crews before me and bring it home.

BY CARL GAMEL 1971-2

I think it was around the 27th of march 1972, when the 27th Trans Bn made it’s last convoy to Plieku, when we convoyed back that afternoon, we drove directly to the Port in Quin Nhon, and turned in the trucks and tankers to be washed to be put on ships to be returned to the U.S.

Those with more than 4 months left in country were transfered the next day to the 19th S&S. Those with less than 4 months stayed with the Bn to wash and turn in vehicles and trailers.

Those of us that transfered to the 19th S&S with about 30 Tractors, and 40 S&Ps, along with all the Gun Trucks still did an occasional convoy to Pleiku. Then they started to have the Gun Truck personal tear down all but 4 of the Gun Trucks, and turn in the weapons. As we did less and less convoys.

when I left Vietnam the 11th ov nov 1972, only SFC Monroe was still there from the 359th with Lt toucher in the 27th. There were still 4 Gun Trucks left with the Trans Branch of LSA Quin Nhon. They were Outlaw, The Untouchable, Poison Ivy, and Maverik.

DONALD BARNARD 1971-2

Christmas 1971 we had our own “Boxing Day” where the Officer’s and Senior NCO’S drove, except for the gun trucks. Would you know it, They could have made the run without the gun trucks. Because they had the smoothest run I had seen in about 5 month’s. If I remember correctly, Cpt Rast drove a Tanker that day. It was one of my last runs with the Red Baron. After the crew on Brutus rotated Stateside, I got Brutus, and we started seeing a lot less convoy’s. Or smaller convoy’s leaving. And the trucks that did not go to RSA or LSA made milk runs and perimeter security at night. I so remember Cpt Makarovich, he spoke french, always asked me were my hat was. I’d tell him in german ” in a place were the sun don’t shine”!